Okay, it's about time someone began reviewing these levels. First of all, you don't need the screenshots in the spoilers if you have them attached to the post because they'll show up automatically.
And now, my review:
This is actually a pretty good level for the most part. The level takes the player through various locations until the Desert Dungeon is reached, and even the dungeon itself has some variety to it. There's even a shortcut to the dungeon if the player manages to find it (although it's not too hidden; heck, it can be reached easily without even triggering the vine under it!). Unfortunately, there are quite a few problems with it that bring the level down. For starters, there's a sign in the second section that mentions red coins, but there are no red coins in the level. Second, if the player falls onto the pipe shown in the first screenshot (third in the spoiler), he/she is stuck there and is forced to take a hit in order to escape. A simple fix would be to add a warp to the pipe. Also, in Section 9, if the player isn't fast enough, the initial two Koopa Paratroopas will fly off-screen and disappear, meaning the player won't be able to get the coins there; moving the Paratroopas up a few units should prevent this. By the way, although I normally encourage variety in levels, the airship section just felt out of place. It's not like Mario needs to board the airship to reach the dungeon or that the airship takes Mario to the dungeon or anything like that; it's just kinda there.
The Dungeon of Doom and Danger itself also has a few problems. In the dig-able sand section (6), there aren't any blocks placed off-screen, and having blocks placed off-screen is a requirement for Wrap Around sections if you don't want enemies and the player to fall when walking off-screen; I recommend compacting that section and adding block-walls on the sides. Later, in that same section, you make the player blow up a brick floor with SMB2 Bob-ombs, meaning the player has to throw them beside the floor and wait for them to explode, and waiting = boring = not fun. This wouldn't be as tedious if you used SMB2 normal bombs instead because those bombs explode immediately after being thrown into a block (but it would still be a bit tedious; I recommend decreasing the delay by a few seconds as well). Also, the line-rider section is very empty relative to its length; what few hazards it has are spaced about five seconds apart and don't even pose much of a threat (the first Venus Fire Trap always misses), meaning the player is just waiting there for the segment to end.
Speaking of lack of hazards, the boss is also quite boring. Since it's a Mother Brain sprite-swap, it requires the use of other NPCs in order to be challenging, but the NPCs in the boss's room are even more spaced out than the ones in the line-rider's section! Despite the fact that the Shy Guy generator's delay is 8 seconds, the player can easily cause 3-4 points of damage before making it to the next enemy wave, and since most of the Bullet Bills can be avoided by ducking and the Paratroopas bounce off of the top of the boss, what few hazards there are don't pose much of a threat. Heck, the boss can easily be defeated and the level beaten before the Thwomps even have a chance to make it on-screen! Although I normally encourage use of custom-made bosses, this one just seems lazily designed and is boring to fight, and it's mainly this boss that brings the level's score down. If you can't make a custom boss that isn't less boring than the pre-programmed boss AIs, just scrap the boss and end the level with a ? sphere or something.
Although this level is generally well designed, the flaws are great enough to bring the score down, especially that boss. I'd say this deserves a 5.5/10.
I've decided to cancel SMBXville Under Seige. After my 1st Senior year of college, I realized I wouldn't have enough time to devote to finishing my four-level episode. Apologies to those who cared.
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