The Mezunian

Die Positivität ist das Opium des Volkes, aber der Spott ist das Opium der Verrückten

The Legend o’ Legend of the Four Switches: Part 4 – The Blue Switch

World C: Shroom City Mainland ( revisited )

3 mo’ levels from this disparate “world”.

Piranha Trap Pass ( revisited )

Music: “Overworld”, New Super Mario Bros.

As expected, the secret exit that clearly leads to that wide space on the left side o’ the map to the left is on the left side o’ the level.

Mo’ evidence that I redid this level @ a later time: I wisely got rid o’ the blue P-switch that was here before & just had the pipe open @ the end. Originally, the blue P-switch was where the fire flower now is in the cave section, on the far left side, a copy o’ a trick I use later, so ’twas redundant here. Similarly, the pipe @ the end used to have brown blocks round it, in a much less interesting copy o’ a few levels we’ve already seen.

As I show in the cave section, while I added an extra pipe to allow one to get back up, this only added a way to get stuck & be forced to start-select out or wait for the timer to kill them if they haven’t beaten the level yet. That pipe was added @ the behest o’ SMW Central back when the P-switch was still there as it made it impossible to beat the level if you made it past there without grabbing the P-switch & you didn’t have a cape. ’Course, since the P-switch is gone, there’s no reason to need to get back up anymo’, so it would’ve been better had I ne’er added that pipe @ all.

I have mixed views ’bout the main challenge o’ the part after the cave: though I like the way the tricky jumps don’t outright kill you if you fail, which is nice for an early level, the fact that you have to swim all the way back makes it almost worse. Also, the ease is a bit silly considering all the levels with plenty o’ bottomless pits round this level. If you can’t handle these simple jumps, I don’t know how you’d handle the level after the next — or the level before this 1.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 22
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Totally Stoned

Music: “Marble Zone”, Sonic the Hedgehog

The name’s a joke my teenage self clearly thought was funnier than my current self.

Here’s a level that taught me a devious hack to trick people into thinking a level’s design is less boring that it truly is: spruce up the visuals. The level’s mainly just the same simple gimmick o’ breaking open clogged passages with Koopa shells, which I found rather boring. But I ’specially found the original graphics, which were just a typical tree BG from a few levels & the normal graphics found in many other levels in this hack, so I changed them into Sonic graphics to make it a’least look mo’ interesting. Now ’stead we have to deal with tacky cut-off thanks to the top o’ the grass being move-throughable.

’Course I also spruced up this level by cutting out a lot o’ the filler pap. I remember an earlier version had this long section where you had to go up some stone tower & dodge a bunch o’ Koopas to get a throw block, & then you had to race down so you could throw it @ a brick to pass through. Actually, I think just moderating that would’ve been better than cutting it out completely; might’ve made this level a bit mo’ interesting.

The layer-2 section is 1 o’ the least bad implementations I’ve done, ’specially thanks to the weird gravity-defying Spike Top.

I do like the final trick o’ the shell-kicking gimmick @ the end.

  • P-Switch level count: 14 / 23
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 4
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 3

Bootropolis

Music: “No Eating Crackers in the Theater”, Mother 3

O, this level. This is 1 o’ those levels that’s big, but quite a bit o’ it is irrelevant — a’least parts o’ the night section. One could also argue that this level falls into a bout o’ trying to do too much & not keeping focus. ¿What do Munchers on pipes have to do with a city haunted @ night? ¿& why would the pipes be high up in the sky? ¿Wouldn’t it make mo’ sense had I put it underground — specially since I don’t think there were any bottomless pits in the day portion, so it shouldn’t have conflicted with the upper portions. There’s also some copied parts: the whole “Disco Koopa chases you through spike blocks you have to navigate through” gimmick’s already used later, & here it’s easily made trivial by just rushing forward, not allowing the Disco Koopa to drop from its perch.

The dark half is also mixed in quality. On the good side there’s the death holes scattered in the formerly solid streets, emphasizing the uglier side o’ the haunted night section, as well as just how generally mo’ twisted the dark side looks; on the other, some parts are just jarringly off, like the big holes o’ nothing in many places, such as round the top, & the weird section with the weird white Piranha Plants with the spike holes that slowly kill you ( since you can’t jump out o’ them ). Also, I’ve noticed that Boo Carousels — whatever they’re called — aren’t truly challenging; they just waste your time.

Still, I have a bit o’ a tenderness for this level. The way the level changes @ night & the weird Muncher-infested pipelines in daytime have character, & while SMW Central complained ’bout the need to intentionally kill yourself to continue past the “Ghost Mushroom”, or whatever it’s s’posed to be ( while admitting that the infinite lives makes it less mean ), I still stand by it as clever & no harsher than some o’ the puzzles considered legitimate in other hacks. It’s basically a power-up filter that gives you some power-ups afterward, which is mo’ lenient than some hacks give you.

I’m surprised the puzzle I made for fighting the Boo boss hasn’t been done mo’. I’ve seen convoluted pipe mazes you have to kick shells through, but ne’er a straight race to hop up platforms with a throw block before it disappears. But as the video shows, mine was a bit mo’ lenient: there’s a Koopa that offers a’least 1 guaranteed hit; & technically one could get 1 o’ the many Koopas lower down, if desperate.

I should also probably ’splain the arrow coin pointing down next to that pipe in the 1st area:

That was a friendly li’l riff on SMW Central who kept complaining ’bout blind jumps in LOTFS. Sort o’ imagine some asshole hacker saying, “Uh O: better warn the player that it’s OK to fall down this long fall”. I’m not sure why I felt the need to tease them, since I’m sure I should’ve agreed with them — I’m certainly no fan o’ blind jumps, & they certainly don’t fit in LOTFS’s main mission o’ not being a bullshit kaizo hack.

Finally, I always hop off the side o’ the building as the Boo boss reaches the bottom o’ the screen ’pon dying, causing us both to plummet back to the bottom o’ the tower ( since the Boo boss doesn’t die till it goes off-screen, regardless o’ where the camera moves ), & was saddened when purplegoomba64 didn’t do it. ( Also, I forgot all ’bout that o’erworld glitch that happens afterward in that video. )

  • P-Switch level count: 15 / 24
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 4

World F: Mt. Windsnow

Music: “Walking the Snowy Mountains”, Final Fantasy V

Earlier on, this world was much shorter: there was just “Mt. Windsnow”, “Caves that Is Cool”, “Celsius Lake” ( though as I’ll mention when I get to it, it changed immensely, too ), & the lab & switch levels. Feeling ’twas unfair to have this world so short, I lengthened it; now, ironically, it is probably 1 o’ the longest.

’Bove: original Mt. Windsnow o’erworld, circa 2007
Below: latest Mt. Windsnow o’erworld

& the very original version, when ’twas called simply “JJW Game” & none o’ the levels were e’en made, it looked completely different:

Mt. Windsnow

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7

A simple but challenging romp that I actually had fun playing. It helps that I wasn’t as familiar with this level as most o’ the others, so it actually felt fresh. I particularly like the part near the end where you have to walk down staircases with spikes, something that’d be trivially easy if not for the ground being slippery.

You can tell I changed this late in development by the use o’ quite a few custom sprites. For some reason I hardly e’er used custom sprites. It’s not that I found them hard to use; I just ne’er thought ’bout it for some reason.

I’m not sure why I felt the need to tell players to use Birdo’s egg to continue through the level; ’twas a trick ripped straight off from Super Mario Bros. 2, & that game didn’t have to tell players what was an obvious use.

  • P-Switch level count: 15 / 25
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 5
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 4

Caves that Is Cold

Music: “Blizzard Buffalo”, Mega Man X3

I’m thoroughly satisfied with the 1st half, which was also spruced up late in development. The level design was simply tightened up, with the P-switch run actually being timed so that there’s some challenge, & not just me trying to guess when would be the right time to end it; but the true improvement are the foggy graphics. The original version was just a bland blue cave.

The 2nd part is still lame. I think I tried to shorten the raft section from the original version, but it’s still a slow-ass raft. I ’specially love the bat that’s pointless, since it’ll always flutter below you as your raft rises. I think the keyhole secret was the only reason I kept the raft section.

The blue P-switch is useless. Yeah, it challenges you to realize you can go left sometimes; but that’s it. Also, this level reuses the “go to end to get switch so you can race back to a pipe near the beginning” gimmick already used back in “Basidio Bridge” & “Dark Desert”.

  • P-Switch level count: 16 / 26
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 5

Celsius Lake

Music: “Underwater Tunnels”, Wario Land II

A nice bonus level that’s hardly challenging @ all. There’s not e’en much to say other than to point out how sparse this level looks ( the background’s just some Game Boy style kelp ) & how lazy I was that I couldn’t e’en make whatever it is that’s keeping you from freezing to death not blue mushrooms — ’cause it makes sense that blue mushrooms warm you up. Also, ¿why’d I let the bar go red when you’re close to freezing? Should be the opposite.

Originally, there was a different level here: 1 where you had to hop on dolphins hopping o’er deadly water, with some sections in which deadly water ( purple ) & safe water ( cyan ) jarringly stood right ’side each other. It sucked hard, which was why ’twas replaced. Just wanted to remind you that as weak as these levels may be, there were far worse before.

  • P-Switch level count: 17 / 27
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 6
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 5

Shroom of Shivers

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7

I may be misremembering, ¿but wasn’t the secret sea world already hinted @ in ’nother “Shroom” level? God, these levels are so repetitive, I couldn’t e’en stop myself from repeating messages, ¿could I?

Hotel Baltic Ave.

Music: “Fortress”, Super Mario World 2: Yoshi’s Island

Not long after the long “Bootropolis” we have ’nother long level.

This level has a history. When I was making it I had grand plans that this would be my “magnum opus”, a’least for this hack. I think I was watching raocow play The Second Reality Project 2 & was champing @ the bit a bit @ how nice it looked, so I decided to make a super snazzy looking level that uses 6 whole graphics “banks” all for itself. I certainly think it still looks nice, since it uses graphics from Wario Land 4, which looks great. I only wish I could’ve done mo’ with the outside graphics. I also wish I’d had any talent with porting music & could’ve made a port o’ “Crescent Moon Village”.

That said, I think the level fails to keep up with my expectations. The 1st problem is that my expectations were high: I wanted this to be some huge, nonlinear level full o’ secrets & exploration — something close to “Hotel Horror”1, which is where these graphics originate. But as you can see, it’s quite linear, actually: there’s just a bunch o’ rooms with short puzzles to get 1 out o’ 4 topaz quarters, or whatever they’re s’posed to be, to get through the door to the midway point, with a few pointless rooms with power-ups & coins. I dunno, I feel like I could’ve done mo’ with the different floors.

Worse, this level’s imbalanced: after the midway point you have a long ice area that, as the video shows, is literally just a troll job — a self-inflicted jab @ my o’eruse o’ “take item @ point A to point B to get item to unlock point C, etc.” All you get for completing it is a fire flower… which you need to start the puzzle. & after that you have a short hallway with the cheapest Fishing Boo e’er ( I swear in 1 o’ those deaths in the video the flame just warps to where Luigi is ), & then a short climb upward. What we had for a exploratory level turns into pure linear, color by #s level design.

But the absolute worst is the secret exit. You have to go through the whole 1st half ’gain, & then you just go left in the hallway with the Fishing Boo. That room has no challenge & the puzzle was done in a much funnier manner in Brutal Mario. ¿Why bother with the secret exit when ’twas so clearly thrown in & just makes the level mo’ repetitive & annoying? ’Cause this was my magnum opus & ’course there needed to be a secret exit, e’en if it serves no purpose.

If the secret exit were gone, it wouldn’t be too bad, though. I guess some o’ the puzzles are clever, like Yoshi-jumping bridge-building or that secretly challenging room with the Chargin’ Chucks… or a’least they would be clever if you couldn’t mow through them with a cape, as the video shows later on — a cape you’re pretty much guaranteed to have since the level gives it to you & you need it to reach the switch.

  • P-Switch level count: 18 / 28
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 7
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Some Igloo Level

Music: “Blizzard Buffalo”, Mega Man X3

See, this 1’s almost the opposite: it has much cleverer level design, but banal graphics. A’least it’s secret exit is something different.

Just a few points to say ’bout this level:

  • That midway point is hilariously devious — though not in a particularly punishing way, since there’s a fire flower right there.

  • I don’t demo it, but the purple water is instant-death. Probably should’ve put a message box warning ’bout that. Funny, since I read a SMW Central person complain ’bout “Highway to Hell” not warning ’bout its deathly water, e’en though there is a message box telling you exactly that in that level, but didn’t say anything ’bout this level.

  • I don’t know why getting in that passage to the keyhole is so hard while big.

  • I probably should’ve shown off where the vine area leads ( ¿why are there vines in an igloo? ), but I’m sure it just leads to a power-up — a power-up not worth the effort to get. I wasn’t great @ balancing challenges & corresponding rewards.

  • I like the last puzzle, the way it challenges you to do platforming to get through the Muncher patch @ 1st, but lets you easily run o’er it with the star. I generally like sections you go back & forth through, but in a different way ( such as that 1st “Dead Shallows” section ).

  • P-Switch level count: 19 / 29
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 8
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Holy Shit It’s Cold

Music: “Freeze Man Stage – Iceberg Area”, Mega Man 7 / “Hot Head Bop”, Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy’s Kong Quest

This was the place I was talking ’bout when I mentioned saving my swear words for someplace special.

But the funniest thing is, as purplegoomba64 mentions, this is probably the worst level to have this name, since it isn’t that cold: ¡half o’ it is a molten volcano! The whole gimmick is that it goes back & forth through ice & lava, àla “Hailfire Peaks”.

I don’t like this level. It’s not terrible; it’s just lame. There’s not much to the switch ’tween the 2 types: sometimes lava turns to water & sometimes ice cubes melt. You have to go through the 1st section in both versions, & it hardly changes ’tween them, making it repetitive.

Also, the use o’ the P-switch here has to be the worst in this entire game. Not only is it a copy o’ the “go backward to find it hiding in a corner”, but it makes you wait right after the brown blocks you turn to coins so that a brown block you do need to use as a platform turns back to a brown block. I guess the idea was to challenge the player not to go too fast & grab the coin, but that’s stupid. Worse, it’s a tricky jump that’s easy to fail, forcing you to go through all that ’gain.

The graphics also look like shit: brown Donkey Kong Country mountain background looks tacky. The various clouds @ the top look stupid & are pointless. In general, the level looks thrown together — like that pipe that’s just there in the middle o’ nowhere in the lava version o’ the 1st section. I guess it’s s’posed to be hard to notice, since you need to go into it to beat the level, but it just looks lazily designed.

The lava version is particularly worse, & it takes up more o’ the level than the ice section, e’en though this is an ice world. I don’t know — this level just feels wrong. It irks me. Let’s speak o’ it no mo’.

  • P-Switch level count: 20 / 30
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

Lab of Blizzards

Music: “Hunffin’ and Puffin’”, Paper Mario

Here’s a much better level. It’s definitely the best lab level, with the best boss.

If I remember correctly, originally this level was just the 1st half, which I found trivially easy for where ’twas placed, so I added a 2nd half. This half, in contrast, has quite a ridiculously hard jump o’er instant-death… ¿cold lava? I don’t know what that’s s’posed to be.

Also, I think the cracked frozen lava edges in the 1st half are @ the behest o’ SMW Central, who are infamous for hating cut-off. Can’t complain ’bout the decision; cut-off is tacky.

The boss is the only good 1, since it’s an actual clever puzzle, & it’s not just a Goomba or a bunch o’ Koopas. The only problem is you have to be careful, ’cause if you lose all fire flowers, you’re screwed.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 31
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

The Blue Switch

Music: “The Axem Rangers Drop In’”, Super Mario RPG: Legend of the Seven Stars

This level, meanwhile, is too easy ( e’en if I die a bunch in the video ). Most o’ the switches in this game feel anticlimactic; this 1 could’ve had much mo’ depth.

  • P-Switch level count: 21 / 32
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 switch: 9
  • Levels with mo’ than 1 o’ the same switch: 6

We’re already halfway through all this game’s levels & have only 1 mo’ switch to hit.

Posted in Legend of the Four Switches, My Crimes Gainst Art, Video Games