Keen 8: Dead in the Desert

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CommanderSpleen
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Post by CommanderSpleen »

I'm reposting this here in case my feedback was lost amidst the banter over at the PCKF.
Andy, who I've just accidentally summoned, wrote:10/10.
Xky wrote:The first few levels took me right into the desert atmosphere, and I thought to myself "Wow, this feels really great, but it's going to get monotonous quickly, seeing all this yellow and nothing else..." and what did you do? You answered that complaint right away by changing the scenery to Red underground caves! :) And just when I thought THAT was going to get tiresome, I had all these Blue factory innards to explore! Sweet!
What they said.

Congratulations, you've created a mod that feels like part of the original series.

I haven't yet finished it, and I'm in no hurry for it's far more enjoyable to savour the experience. The flow, or progression, though I overuse these terms in reviewing pretty much anything, is superb. Everything feels like it's there for a reason, and contributes to moving the experience forward. The levels come across as real environments rather than platforms stacked together any old way, the hazards are balanced, and the puzzles are coherent and intriguing. The excellent scenery is the icing on the cake. I don't much like cake icing and usually cut it off, but it's great to look at. Good thing one doesn't usually eat scenery. No pun intended.

What I said about the levels feeling like real places holds especially true for the map. Your use of interactive elements, the way everything links together, the non-linear arrangement of the levels, all form an immersion that I'm yet to see in any other mod, that I recall.

Oh, and one must definitely mention the music. Kudos to Mr. M and ZidaneA. The new soundtrack helps to override any resemblance to the original Keen 6 and create a completely unique environment. Superb.

(Addition:) I also noticed the environments contained elements of all three Galaxy episodes. That was rather nifty.

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Tulip
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Post by Tulip »

Ceilick wrote:Was there anything in particular about the first levels you didn't like?
I know you tried to make them look like dunes with all the slopes, and that turned out nice. But overall the first few desert levels all seem the same to me in they lacked structure. generally, if you manage to stay up on the surface, they are very linear from left to right. And the monsters (Cactoid and the Cobrit as well as that giant Cactoid) I found rather boring and annoying (so many of those Cobrits, It felt like every single platform had one of those).

Don't get this wrong, some of these first impressions might change in a while, as the mod may grow on me. And part of it is surely due to my sucking at playing the Galaxy engine.

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Ceilick
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Post by Ceilick »

I get what you're saying Tulip, sorry for the monotony of the desert :\ Glad you enjoyed the rest though :)

And Spleen, since I seem to have read and forgotten to reply on the pckf: Glad you liked it. I recall previously a comment from you about the keys of Krodacia being good but not quite having the epic feeling that TUIT required, glad to see this is a step in the right direction :)

Stealthy71088
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Post by Stealthy71088 »

I finished it. = )

The Good: -Boss fight was awesome! :) Definitely have a boss fight in your next mod. You could combine behaviors with patches to make a boss that can use multiple moves if you want, but itll cost you multiple sprites. You could also make a separate mod just for the final boss fight, and then you could combine as many sprites as you want. But that's just a suggestion.

-I liked how you had different themes that were all very well developed graphically.

-Your enemies were very well drawn, I was impressed by this. I wish you used the Ceilick, but I've read your posts and understand why you didn't. I bet we would have liked it anyway- your sprites always look amazing.

-Level design I thought was good for the most part. I wish there were a few sneakier tricks involved in the levels than a simple get the key and put it in the next door until you get to the end type of thing, but I found the levels very enjoyable. :)

-I liked how you used the squibs in the secret level. It caught me off guard, and it was a challenge. :) Out of curiosity, were you supposed to use the impossible bullet trick to get the tower of drops in the beginning, or was there a secret passage I couldn't find?

-The music was awesome, kudos to everyone involved.

-Imposter Keen was a stroke of genius

The bad:

-I liked the story, but I don't think it was developed quite enough. You can see the alien race that the imposter is a part of all over the place, but there's almost no backstory. The helpfile hints at a mysterious unknown motive, but this was never developed further. Also, who owns the water factory, and what does it do? The monsters are all robots except for the blorb replacement. Are those pretty cool floating eyes intelligent? And if they aren't in charge of the factory, who is and why didn't they do anything when Keen decided to march in? I suppose this could be stuff that you are planning on answering the next mod, but if you weren't, I was left wondering.

-Every keen game I play seems to have one enemy you absolutely fear. In keen4 it was either the dopefish or the berkeloid for most people. In keen5 it was the shikidai master for me, but for some it was robored. In 6 it was the bobba- they're huge and encountering one will always make you sweat. In this mod there really wasn't anything I absolutely feared. The Squib were incredibly tough for me in the beginning, but since they're so small I learned to just pogo over them. The imposter keen would have been this enemy, but since its a boss fight that only appears once as it is, you don't really fear it during the game, only at the end.
But I dunno, maybe I just like having a big scary monster :).

Despite these, I still loved the mod, and I give it a Stealthy rating of 10/10. =)

levellass
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Post by levellass »

So does anyone else think there should be a really aggravating monster in the mod? I've heard of such things, and they're uniformly described in a negative light.
I get what you're saying Tulip, sorry for the monotony of the desert :\ Glad you enjoyed the rest though :)
Isn't that the point of deserts? They tend to bring to mind words like 'barren' and 'empty', certainly they're no barell of fun.

Stealthy71088
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Post by Stealthy71088 »

I think its kind of cool having an whole race of cactuses :)

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The Shifted One
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Post by The Shifted One »

I think 1 really tough monster in a mod is good, as long as its not overused and not used to get to manditory areas (which was 1 thing I didnt like about KoK, damn brombos) .

Also, isnt the plural (or however its called in english) for cactus "Cacti"?
Im not sure and its been something ive been wondering ever since this mods been released :P

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Post by EricMushroomWilson »

Well, I've played this a fair bit now, and I like it a lot. It's quite polished, it's obvious a lot of work and dedication has gone into it, and I often quite like desert levels.

My main problem so far is not so much a fault of the mod as it's a fault of me not having played much Keen for quite a while: my Keen skills are rusty, and Normal mode is providing me quite a lot of deaths. In-level saving is helping, though. Perhaps I should play on Easy...

Very solid work, though. I'm impressed.

Edit: Found a lantern! Hell yes!

levellass
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Post by levellass »

Also, isnt the plural (or however its called in english) for cactus "Cacti"?
Oh yes, it is, but like other irregular plurals (sheep, and deer come to mind.) there's a lot of tolerance for the regular form. Frankly, I hope one day all words will be sensible like this.

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Ceilick
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Post by Ceilick »

Stealthy: Thanks for the comprehensive review!

On the boss: Glad you liked it! Making a seperate 'boss level' mod is something I'm definately considering. Given how much people seem to want a dynamic boss battle, there may be the Keen 9 mod, and a seperate mod attachment featuring a more comprehensive boss battle. We'll see :)

Level design: glad you liked. I've never considered myself very good or clever when it comes to level design. Pherhaps I'll ask for level design ideas when the time comes for keen 9.

On the secret level: Glad you liked those squib spots! It was by complete accident that I discovered the squib jump height worked perfectly for those jump-down platforms and designed this level around that. The door for those bottles is near the exit, right above the keygem door (if i remember right).

On the story: The spikard/blorb replacement is robotic too. The story behind the facorites is that they're abandoned for unknown reasons and were pretty much left empty except for the machines inside (a more thorough backstory can be found in the release forum at the pckf). And the rest of hte story, theres not much to tell, everything on the planet is pretty insignificant to whats going on in relation to hte Universe being toast. Probably not the best of plots in the grand scheme of things.

On enemies: The stomper and giant cactoid weren't scary? :) Maybe I should have patched them to take more hits...
I get what you're saying Tulip, sorry for the monotony of the desert :\ Glad you enjoyed the rest though :)
Isn't that the point of deserts? They tend to bring to mind words like 'barren' and 'empty', certainly they're no barell of fun.
Indeed, thats was my reasoning, deserts aren't for everyone though.

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh »

Tulip wrote:generally, if you manage to stay up on the surface, they are very linear from [side to side].
Hello, first two levels of Keen4. ;)

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shikadi
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Post by shikadi »

Ceilick wrote:On enemies: The stomper and giant cactoid weren't scary? :) Maybe I should have patched them to take more hits...
i think they are to common, you also know somewhat were to expect them.

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Tulip
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Post by Tulip »

XkyRauh wrote:Hello, first two levels of Keen4. ;)
Exactly.

Stealthy71088
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Post by Stealthy71088 »

The stomper would have been scary if it could take at least one more hit. On hard there was a group of three of them that I was able to kill without too much trouble, because I could just run away and shoot. It would also probably have been a lot scarier for me at least if there was some way of patching the distance at which the stomper sees you to pound the ground to make it so it could see you from further away.

The big cactus wasn't that scary, although it did kill me a lot, mainly when something smaller pushed me into it :) I really liked how they were animated though :)

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XkyRauh
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Post by XkyRauh »

I had to pogo OVER a big cactus and make a run for it, in one of the earlier levels... I completely ran out of ammo!

I think what makes the huge cactus not scary is that if you stand perfectly still facing him, he doesn't actually charge you (because he's based on the Fleex, I s'pose) which gives you time to jump/retreat and peg his oversize face with shots along the way. :) Remove his "stop and look around" bit, and he'll be much more fearsome.

I didn't even realize the Stompers were Stompers, because I killed most of them before they could stomp! Making them take an extra shot would definitely help...

But I think both of those modifications would benefit from a tiny bit more ammo in the desert levels!

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