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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
oh noooooo

Good luck! Please keep us posted about how your journey goes, I'm so curious to hear how it feels from a first playthrough perspective.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Good luck indeed! That's about as far as I was thinking I might go at this stage, and since you're there already I'll probably stick with my Hark 2 plans instead of falling down the GPW2 rabbit hole.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Just clocked the final three exits in Bunbun 2, which means that game is done! Like I said before, it's definitely a vast improvement on the first game. (I'd go so far as to say the first one is skippable.) Difficulty was pretty mild all around, with no crazy spikes that I can remember. I liked that the final exit was a shoutout to all of the playtesters, though that made it longer than I was prepared for. That's a lot of playtesters! Overall I had a lot of fun and I'll definitely check out Bunbun 3 whenever sio finishes it.

Next up is Sayonara. I really have no idea what to expect from this one and I'm excited to see what's in store.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Interesting, I wonder if having a shell to toss at the end of every phase would make the fight more engaging? Honestly, my biggest problem with the fight is that it's very long, and the first two phases are completely braindead once you get them down. If there was a checkpoint either right before or right after the disco shell phase, you at least wouldn't spend the bulk of your time on two phases that stopped being challenging after the first hour.
Next up is Sayonara. I really have no idea what to expect from this one and I'm excited to see what's in store.
I saw this and I had a small window last night, so I fired up the first level. It was harder than I was expecting, it took me almost half an hour to get the checkpoint! I was pretty confused by the bouncing spiny, to be fair. Anyway, had to stop there and the checkpoint didn't save, so I dunno if I'll actually get into this hack just now. Solid music on that first level, anyway.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Welp, I beat El Dorado. Holy crap that hack is disgustingly good. It rivals Hark 2 as being my favorite hack released this year so far. Please play this hack.

Now I'm grinding out Laser Lifts in GPW2. I'm making progress, but it's slower in comparison to Marathon. Still, I don't anticipate having a huge amount of trouble with this level.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
El Dorado is definitely very high on my list, how hard would you say it is? I'm not going to want anything that approaches Invictus levels of difficulty for a little while yet.

As for GPW2, from what I've seen the first real hurdle will be Arrakis. Not to say that anything before that is easy, mind you. Are you going in completely blind, or have you watched some runs? There's a bit at the end of Laser Lifts that is simply incredible, but I don't want to spoil it for you if you somehow haven't seen it.
 
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SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
It definitely is under Invictus level, though it has some custom mechanics that might take a bit to wrap your head around.

And I've seen speedruns of GPW2, so I know what waits at the end of this level...sort of.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I managed to get RetroArch working today, but it felt like a struggle every step of the way. The interface is so awkward and counterintuitive, and once I finally got into a game it seemed to have the exact same amount of lag as OpenEmu (for better or worse), even with the run-ahead function turned on. Since OpenEmu is way more user-friendly, that's where I'll stay for now.

After an hour and 20 minutes, I'm two exits into Sayonara. This hack is tough! Definitely not as hard as Invictus, but it shares the same feel of needing to react to things immediately. So far the level design seems very much in the "trial and error" school of kaizo, where you have to die to an obstacle to learn how to get past it. Because of that, I wish the hack used fast retry instead of instant retry -- being able to take a second and examine the screen where you died would be helpful, but it's not the biggest deal.

The first level took me 40 minutes (evenly split between the two halves), but I spent almost as long just getting to the second half of the second level. The trick right before the checkpoint gave me a really tough time. Somehow I managed to get through the second half in five minutes, though, so I'll take it. With the exception of that one spot everything's felt pretty good to play through.

El Dorado is definitely going to be the next hack I play after this one, I'm already looking forward to it.
 

Mightyblue

aggro table, shmaggro table
(He/Him/His)
I mean, RetroArch is just the UI. It runs off of individual cores that you download per platform and not all of the cores are equally good.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Sure, but they advertise the run-ahead feature as eliminating all lag. In my experience, it didn't! And that's fine. I also found it really frustrating to navigate in general, so all I lost was half an hour or so. I'm not particularly hung up about it.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Two exits down in Grand Poo World 2. Laser Lifts took me all day to get through, but I finally got there. For comparison, Marathon took me 2.5 hours. I think I'm good enough with the grind now that I can make a real go at beating this game.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210320-012559.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
All day meaning like 6-8 hours? I'm pretty impressed by your tenacity. Being able to power through something really long and difficult like that is what makes a true kaizo player, IMO. One of the most important skills I've learned by playing harder hacks is endurance. I still remember playing Wedding Nails for the first time and being beside myself that it took all of 45 minutes to complete a level. 😜
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Riptide Slide is down. This took me slightly less time than Laser Lifts, maybe 5 hours. The fish gate in the second half is ROUGH, but I made it through.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210320-191221.png
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Hoo boy, the dolphin level in Sayonara may be the least fun I've ever had in any level to date. The first half was whatever, but the second half was just terrible. Rather than do anything interesting, it simply asks you if you can press the jump button for the exact same duration 22 times in a row. And, like, maybe that's fun for somebody? But I'd rather actually play Mario when I sit down to play Mario. If someone would like to explain to me why I'm wrong and this section is Good, Actually, I'm all ears, but I found it a huge disappointment after the first two levels. The nicest thing I can say is that it's not very long.

The good news is that the next level looks pretty cool, but it's gonna have to wait until my next play session.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Ahahaha yeah the dolphin level is definitely a love-it-or-hate-it affair. I personally love the way it feels to move through freefall like that, but I certainly can see people absolutely hating the memorization required for it.

The next level features sticky Yoshi, and it's pretty good. The ghost house that comes after is a high point in the hack for me. You're definitely past a hump here.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I had a little time this afternoon, so I decided to check out the first level of El Dorado. It makes a really good first impression! Strong aesthetics, good music, great platforming and a light sprinkling of chocolate to top it off. The challenge is a little stiffer than I was anticipating - I spent a little over an hour on the first level and couldn't quite finish it. I'd say it's kind of like a mid-tier Invictus level, or at least that's how it feels to me. Looking forward to spending more time with this one in between Hark 2 runs.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Decided to listen to the GPW2 soundtrack today out of solidarity for Snake. There are so many bangers, and most of them are com_poser ports - he's like the DannyB of SMW! GPW3 will be worth it just for all the kickass ports he'll be creating, I'm certain.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'm 6 exits into Sayonara and I think this one's just not for me. The sticky Yoshi level and the ghost house were both cool, but then you have stuff like the second half of the skull raft level where Super Margot tries to turn SMW into a shmup, and that's not what I'm looking for. I watched her speedrun video to see what the back half of the game looks like and a lot of that doesn't seem fun to me either (why a gravity flip level? why so many autoscrollers?) so I'm gonna politely bow out.

I'm not saying the hack doesn't have cool ideas or is bad by any means*, just that I play Mario for platforming above all, and that's not really what Sayonara is about. I'm still glad it exists and that it was really well received!

Next time: we start on the road to El Dorado.

*Aside from the dolphin level. The dolphin level is bad.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Please enjoy the first level of El Dorado, and let me know if you make it past the first screen of the second!
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I'm 6 exits into Sayonara and I think this one's just not for me. The sticky Yoshi level and the ghost house were both cool, but then you have stuff like the second half of the skull raft level where Super Margot tries to turn SMW into a shmup, and that's not what I'm looking for. I watched her speedrun video to see what the back half of the game looks like and a lot of that doesn't seem fun to me either (why a gravity flip level? why so many autoscrollers?) so I'm gonna politely bow out.

I'm not saying the hack doesn't have cool ideas or is bad by any means*, just that I play Mario for platforming above all, and that's not really what Sayonara is about. I'm still glad it exists and that it was really well received!

Next time: we start on the road to El Dorado.

*Aside from the dolphin level. The dolphin level is bad.
I'm sorry the game didn't connect with you, but your assessment makes sense. It's cool that we all have our own tastes in what we like in kaizo!
Please enjoy the first level of El Dorado, and let me know if you make it past the first screen of the second!
I say this to be encouraging: If I can do it, y'all can do it. Even if you need to look up a video to do so. And at the very least, that trick is in the beginning of the level, so you don't have to make a trek back.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
I say this to be encouraging: If I can do it, y'all can do it. Even if you need to look up a video to do so. And at the very least, that trick is in the beginning of the level, so you don't have to make a trek back.
I seriously appreciate that it's the very first thing you have to do. It gives you a chance to practice without all the weight of a succesful run on your shoulders. Putting something like this as the last obstacle in the level would be soul crushing (looking at you, Absolute Power).
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'm sorry the game didn't connect with you, but your assessment makes sense. It's cool that we all have our own tastes in what we like in kaizo!
Absolutely! I really appreciate how our different interests help expose each of us to new things, too. I'm glad I played as much of the hack as I did.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
After being walled for a couple of days on Caradhras, I made it through two exits of Grand Poo World 2 tonight! Really feels like I'm starting to hit my stride with this game.Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210324-010014.png
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Took a couple of days off from kaizo, but I've finally started El Dorado! I just played through the first two exits. This hack is definitely hard, and it feels very similar to Invictus so far in that there's generally no breathing room between setups and you're constantly in motion. But once you learn those setups, they feel fantastic to pull off. The beginning of the second level is a great example of that. While it's incredibly input-heavy and precise, it just feels great to perform once you've cracked the code.

Speaking of that screen, I actually recognized what the game wanted me to do right away, but getting the inputs consistent was the bigger challenge. I spent half an hour getting to a point where I was able to do the whole Yoshi sequence consistently, but once I did I hit the checkpoint after another 15 minutes.

Most setups have been super tight, but almost every death has felt fair and like a direct result of me doing it wrong rather than jank or weird spawns. The relative shortness of each section keeps the difficulty from feeling too aggravating. I'm definitely digging this so far, looking forward to playing more.

Clear times because I know Mike's going to want to compare whenever he plays this:
First stage (forgot the name already) - first half 30 minutes, second half 10 minutes
Slime Time - first half 45 minutes, second half 40 minutes
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Six exits down. Got through Yacht Club Castle in a couple of hours. A nice break from how difficult a lot of these levels are and also a cool level. Now we're at Arrakis, which so far is proving pretty challenging.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210324-191712.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Godspeed, Snake. You'll need it to keep up with the pokeys!

I spent another half hour on stage two of El Dorado and got the checkpoint, so I guess it isn't too bad after all. It felt sick as hell to pull all of that stuff off, and I feel like my kaizo horizons expanded slightly in the process. So yeah, really good hack so far. Too tired to keep at it for tonight, but I'll pick it up whenever I don't want to run Hark 2 (or do...whatever one does to YUMP 2).
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Got through another three exits in El Dorado! I didn't keep track of individual times, but I played for about an hour and a half. Some thoughts on each:

DMT - ugh, one of my least favorite kaizo mechanics combined with ultra tight setups and no checkpoint makes this one a no from me. I swear the hitboxes on the poison mushrooms extend at least half a block past their sprites. It's even worse because there's never really any point where you can stop and breathe and see what you have to do next, you just have to die to every single obstacle to figure out how to get around it.
16 x 16 - I do enjoy this style of level. Most rooms were pretty fun except for the disco spinies. The last room in particular was very well thought-out.
Ascension - another one that took a few minutes to learn but felt great to perform properly, particularly the second half. I mega-cheesed the beginning of the first half where you have to throw the shell because it was easier (and somewhat less obtuse?) than the intended strat.

With how tight everything in this hack is, I bet speedruns are going to be super fun to watch.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Took me a solid half-hour to get the back half of Slime Time figured out, I think I'm a bit less good at item juggling than you guys are. I dipped into the next level for a bit, with the poison mushrooms, and so far I like it a lot. It's pretty similar to Plumber's Nightmare, but I like the way BeefStew reuses the poison shrooms so that you have to avoid each of them 2-3 times. I've got to admit, I'm having a hard time figuring out how difficult this hack is. In the moment-to-moment, it always seems pretty demanding, but levels aren't taking as long as they did for Invictus. Are the sections shorter, or have I just gotten better? Not sure, but there have been plenty of tricks so far that I was impressed I could pull off at all.

Hoping to get my Hark 2 time below an hour tonight! I made huge gains last time I ran the game, so I'm not expecting anything as dramatic, but getting it under an hour would be a big milestone. Makes it a lot easier to do consecutive runs, at the very least.
 
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