I recently got a chance to play this episode, and it wasn't very good. First of all, other people have pointed out mistakes months
ago that still
haven't been fixed:
PROX wrote:in level 1-2, the area after the purple pipe maze, the coin arrow shouldn't be there; in fact, it would be better if that entire section was gone. I mean, why would you make a player think that he or she can go to that area only to find out that they have to turn around. There's no key, power-ups, or secret pipe/door so that area is completely pointless.
And this is by far the biggest problem that has already been pointed out:
Lord Nagaviper wrote:The strangest thing I came across was that there were 4 collectible stars in world 2-1, the hammer suit level. However, the Star World painting shows that there are actually 6 stars in that level, and I couldn't find the other two. After looking in the level editor, I found that THREE SECTIONS of the level were taken out and left unfinished, with two stars in them both.
Why didn't you bother to fix these issues? It's not like they're minor issues that would take a great amount of effort to fix; in fact, they're fairly major issues that are quite simple to fix. If you've forgotten where the two unreachable stars in 2-1 are, I've provided screenshots so you can remove them:
Anyway, my review of LEGEND OF MARIO:
The episode starts off quite promising with a relatively decent first level, despite the aforementioned mandatory invisible block and ground block. For the invisible block, I recommend placing a Toad under it who says something like "If you see something suspicious, like this coin above me, try jumping! You might be able to find a secret! Just keep in mind there may not be a coin to indicate the other secrets." and for the ground blocks, I recommend adding a Koopa generator somewhere in that section since, in my play-through, I killed the Koopa shells and was unable to progress without cheating because of it. Yes, your intro level has a design flaw that forced me to cheat.
However, the episode's biggest problem becomes prevalent by the first level:
That isn't even a reference or an homage to SMB1's 1-2; that's flat-out theft. I don't even know what to say; you should just know not to do that. Not only is it just wrong, it's also lazy design since it shows that you couldn't think of something original to put there instead. The worst part is that this isn't the only instance of level theft; you also steal 5 levels from SMB3 as well (one of which is the last level in this episode!
), along with the battle arena from Mario Bros, which you used twice in the same level
. That would be lazy even if the arena was
your original design!
Speaking of design theft, having almost each level end in one of those SMW bonus room clones gets repetitive after a while. It would be better if you simply had the levels end instead of warp the player to one of those corridors each time, especially since it's really easy to get lives outside of those SMW bonus room clones.
Anyway, back to the parts where you actually tried:
When I made it to the first castle, I noticed that the castle names weren't translated. I know that this technically isn't your fault since you weren't in charge of the translation, but I still think it's worth mentioning.
Speaking of the first castle, it's unintuitive that the player is supposed to leave the key at the bottom and climb the vine without it, mainly because it is
possible to bring the key up the vine without cheating, as PROX implied, and because all of the previous levels made the player keep the key until the end of the level. I recommend removing that key and unlocking the door attached to the chain.
Another big problem this episode has are the lazily designed boss fights. Not only do you just stick one of SMBX's pre-programmed bosses in the arena, but for the first two dungeons, the arena is designed so that the fights become easier
than if the arena were simply a flat, empty room, making the boss fights even more boring. For the first boss fight (which, sadly, is the most fun and well-thought-out boss fight in this episode), you have the player start on a ledge where he/she can simply jump on top of the bosses when they come near, removing any challenge the bosses once had. The second boss fight is actually easier than the first since it just involves fighting a swarm of normal enemies, and the one pre-programmed boss that does appear can be beaten by simply standing still and waiting for the boss to jump into you and kill itself:
The third boss fight isn't even worth mentioning since it's literally just a generic SMB3 Bowser fight, and the final boss fight is literally exactly the same as the third fight!
Even if you were too lazy to make a custom boss, you should have at least designed the arenas in such a way to make the pre-programmed boss fights unique and challenging. If you're not sure how to do that, I made a tutorial on the subject: http://www.supermariobrosx.org/forums/v ... =81&t=8890
All right, on to the hub levels:
In the first hub level, the warp in front of the door in section 11 (warp 9) is a "Moving Up" pipe warp, not a door warp. You should fix that. Also, the song you used in that section is quite short and repetitive. I recommend using a longer song instead, like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZgnwVAss8M
I will say one positive thing about the first hub: the location of its secret star (the one in section 4) was clever.
Speaking of the hubs, while it is nice that you allow the player to see how many stars are in each level, having each door in its own section is rather annoying since the player has to enter the section, run to the door to see how many stars the level still has, then run back to the entrance and redo the process for each of the levels' doors. I'd prefer if you did something similar to Super Mario Star Expedition and just had each of the star indicators a couple units away from each other with a sign letting the player know which level each door is for. Plus, there's the aforementioned error with 2-1's door and the unused stars, which clearly shows you didn't test this episode (or that you didn't test it enough). In fact, it was when I noticed that two of 2-1's stars were unreachable that I stopped trying to get all of the episode's stars; after all, if you didn't care, why should I?
One more thing:
Moving on: the houses in "Village Toad" aren't Yoshi-friendly; if the player accidentally ends up at the bottom of a ladder with Yoshi, the Yoshi has to be abandoned for the player to progress. This is especially annoying since, in order to get one of the chickens, the player has to enter a door that leads to the bottom of a ladder, and there's no way to get out of the section except to climb said ladder, forcing the player to abandon his/her Yoshi if he/she has one at that point:
Another annoying aspect of "Village Toad" is that you have a wall on the right side of the section, meaning the player can't exit the level that way. Why did you do this? Not only is it inconvenient for the player because the player is forced to run all the way to the left side of the section to exit the level, but it doesn't make sense from a design perspective, either, since Mario is going to the right on the map to progress.
By the way, in English, adjectives are placed to the left of nouns, so saying "Village Toad" would refer to a Toad from a village, not a village of Toads as you intended; it should say "Toad Village" instead.
Speaking of "Village Toad," there seem to be quite a few unused ideas, even in plain sight of the player. For example, there's a Toad that tells Mario that he can take all the coins in his basement, but after doing so, the Toad becomes hopping mad and doesn't say anything, implying you originally intended for him to become angry at Mario, then changed it but left the event in the level for some reason. There are various other oddities like this throughout the episode, like a ladder beside a background image and a few pipes on the world map that don't lead anywhere, but these aren't inherently bad design choices, and they're too numerous for me to list here.
One more positive remark:
Anyway, back to the levels:
In section 15 of 2-2, it is possible to jump on the Venus Fire Trap's pipe and get the star without a Yoshi, and if the player enters the pipe by the star, this happens:
I recommend either adding a ceiling to the star's box or removing the Yoshi blocks.
I have two questions regarding 2-4:
As for the second castle, aside from the aforementioned lazy boss fight, the only problem I saw was that the background was odd since the second frame is the same as the fourth (sometimes this works, but it doesn't work for this background). I recommend going back to the original graphics for that background
and using every fourth frame for the background (since there are 16 frames total, SMBX can only handle four frames at once, and 16/4=4).
In 3-1, the star in section 2 is attached to the "star" layer, meaning the player won't be able to get it until after hitting the block in section 1 to reveal that layer. This is a mistake since that layer is clearly only meant for the star in section 1. Plus, the star in section 1 is unintuitive to get since there isn't anything to indicate that the block that reveals said layer is any different from the normal bricks around it.
For 3-2, I recommend swapping the location of the checkpoint and the warp pipe since the player will most likely enter the warp pipe before getting the checkpoint as it is. By the way, this level's boss fight is also rather lazily designed, and it reminds me of something I should have brought up when I was talking about your other bosses: if you're going to have a hammer suit in your episode, you have to make sure it won't break the episode. By not building your bosses around the fact that the player can take a hammer suit into their arenas and basically instantly kill said bosses, you made a Classic Mistake. I recommend making better boss fights, but if you're not willing to do that, I'd say at least move the hammer suit levels closer to the end of the episode so they won't break your other levels.
On to the next level: in this section, it's clear that the player is supposed to abandon the Podobo's shoe in order to progress, but the lava lowers slowly enough that the player can easily progress without abandoning the Podobo's shoe:
On top of that, the final section in that level has "Offscreen Exit" set to "Yes," meaning the player doesn't even need to enter the locked door to beat the level and can therefore beat the level and keep the Podobo's shoe without cheating.
I should also mention this: not only is the final level in this episode an exact replica of the final level in SMB3 (you didn't even try to shoehorn the locked door gimmick that the rest of the episode has into it), but you also didn't even bother to have the level trigger SMBX's in-game credits; the player just enters a door and ends up back on the world map; there aren't even extra levels that get accessed nor is there any incentive to collect all of the episode's stars. It actually fits the episode quite nicely: a disappointing ending for a disappointing episode.
Many of this episodes flaws can be forgiven (and there are even a few clever puzzles in the episode), but padding out the episode by stealing level designs that aren't your own is the laziest and worst design choice you could have made, especially stealing levels as famous as the ones you did. Honestly, this episode should not have been featured for that reason alone, but even aside from that, the episode has its fair share of problems.
By the way, what did you mean by "RPG elements"? This episode doesn't do anything different from other star-collecting episodes like SMB: A New Beginning or Super Mario Star Expedition (aside from having many more bad design choices). In fact, if any newcomer who hasn't yet played this episode is reading this, I recommend giving this episode a pass and playing those two episodes instead.
now i am done with SMBX!
You should at least be willing to go back and fix your episode's numerous problems (including removing all stolen content).