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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(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.
I think the answer is probably both? The hack is definitely hard, but sections are purposely short -- about 30-45 seconds, according to the description on SMW Central. I'm halfway through and I'd say it's probably a little below Invictus in terms of difficulty, if only because of the short sections. They do share the same kind of tightness in their setups. In my amateur estimation, in terms of design El Dorado leans more on the side of extra button inputs/item juggling where Invictus generally keeps a more limited set of obstacles for any given section to force a specific sort of vocabulary based on what that level's theme is. It's pretty interesting to compare the two! I hope Juz plays this one, I'd love to hear his thoughts about it.

Also poison mushrooms are the wooooooorst

I kinda feel like the hacks that've come out in the past few months have made a perfect difficulty ramp between Akogare and Invictus. If you asked me now what sequence I'd recommend to someone who's already played the easier hacks, I'd probably say Akogare -> Hyperion -> Hark 2 -> Akogare 2 -> El Dorado -> Invictus. At least for me personally, I think I would've felt ready for Invictus if I'd worked through those first.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Arrakis down, seven exits cleared. Wow was that level unfun. Those pokeys are waaaay too particular. Definitely my least favorite level so far. But it's over now. I might go down the other branch and do those levels before continuing to Sunset Breeze.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210327-194056.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
That's funny, I've been watching Hyrulian Knight play this game and Arrakis was his favorite kaizo level ever, even though he spent hours on it. Oh well, some people (me) even enjoy levels with poison mushrooms in them.

Also poison mushrooms are the wooooooorst

I kinda feel like the hacks that've come out in the past few months have made a perfect difficulty ramp between Akogare and Invictus. If you asked me now what sequence I'd recommend to someone who's already played the easier hacks, I'd probably say Akogare -> Hyperion -> Hark 2 -> Akogare 2 -> El Dorado -> Invictus. At least for me personally, I think I would've felt ready for Invictus if I'd worked through those first.
This is interesting to me, because that Juz video that we watched last year is already impressively out of date. I don't know if people set out to make games that were of beginner/intermediate difficulty or if it just happened by chance; I'd actually be more impressed with the former, since it probably requires quite a lot of knowledge. Either way, if anyone new decided to pick up kaizo these days, I'd have quite a different set of hacks to recommend for them than I would have four months ago.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Finished off the poison mushroom level, which I enjoyed to the last (sorry). Then I played 16x16, which was also really good - I'd say more fun than its counterpart in Invictus, even. I'll admit that the double-disco-spiny room was a pain, though. That finale was excellent, really clever and fun to execute. Dipped my toes into Ascension, which seems cool (and has a really nice Castlevania port), but I was out of time, so I stopped before getting very far. Those last two levels took maybe 30 minutes each? Nice and brisk. This is a really good hack!
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Eight exits down. Went back and finished the regular exit of Thalassophobia, and I'm really glad I did, because that part of the level rules. I absolutely loved it. Now we're in uncharted territory, because I've never seen the levels on this branch.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210328-004302.png
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Two and a half more exits into El Dorado, which means 8 exits down total. The second half of the portal level was a lot easier than I expected! Silhouette Summit was a real standout for me so far -- beautiful to look at and full of very tough-but-fair platforming. I was worried that all the Yoshi item eating was going to give me trouble, but I somehow managed to do all of that stuff pretty consistently. Shout-out to the excellent checkpoint troll.

Montagne was tough and even though it was relatively short, I really think it should've had a checkpoint. It had some cool tricks but it was just a lot to do in one sitting. Oh well, at least it didn't have poison mushrooms.

Anyway, this hack is still fantastic and I'm excited every time I sit down to play more of it.

Next time: cape level with the delay patch. This'll probably take a while. Whenever I run into this patch I have to spend some time relearning how it feels.
 
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SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Nine exits down. Mount Moon was a doozy of a level and kinda long, but I actually loved it. This hack is really clicking with me for the most part.Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210329-005012.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Oh lawd, it's Toasty Coals.

Next time: cape level with the delay patch. This'll probably take a while. Whenever I run into this patch I have to spend some time relearning how it feels.
The delay patch removes the random wait between releasing the B button and when you start fast falling, right? I've only barely touched the cape in kaizo so far, but I think I remember that being an issue in vanilla.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
The delay patch removes the random wait between releasing the B button and when you start fast falling, right? I've only barely touched the cape in kaizo so far, but I think I remember that being an issue in vanilla.
Yep, though it's not random -- normally when you have a cape the game checks to see if you're holding X/A every 16 frames. That sounds like an odd amount of time but in practice it becomes very easy to feel when you're going to start falling and you can build that into your inputs. I think it's only more recently that people have started using the delay patch regularly (of the other hacks I've played I think maybe only Akogare 2 has had it so far?) so it still feels "wrong" for a lot of players.

Really it's just a design choice, and in a fast-paced hack like El Dorado I can understand why the creator wanted this patch. It's just something to adjust to in the moment.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Probably not playing more tonight because my hand hurts, but I ended up getting through that level in an hour and 10 minutes (split almost exactly between the two halves -- 40 minutes for the first, 30 for the second). For a level I'd thought of as "the cape level", there was a surprisingly small amount of actual flight. As expected, though, I lost several lives due to forgetting about the delay patch in one specific part right before the checkpoint. Most of the level has you using the cape just for slow-falling, so by the time I got to that trick I would inevitably expect normal cape physics and then eat it when they weren't there. It was a cool obstacle (making a loop around two floating platforms to regain P-speed) but I didn't love having to relearn the execution. Happily, the first time I successfully made it past that part I went straight into the checkpoint, so I didn't have to spend much more time on it.

Two exits to go! I'm gonna miss this hack when it's done.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
And El Dorado is wrapped! I really, really enjoyed this hack. So much that I'm considering immediately running it back!

The final two levels were especially strong. Admiral Snackbar has some of the hardest tricks in the game, but holy hell do you feel like a badass when you pull them off. I spent an hour on the second half, which was twice as much time as the first half, but I didn't get too salty and made it through. I'm pretty sure everyone reading this has played or seen the final level, so I don't have to say much about how cool it is. Both halves of that one took about half an hour each, and I was surprised (and pleased) to find the escape wasn't that bad at all.

I really want to see what speedruns from good players look like, it feels like the game was built for them. Why isn't there a leaderboard for this one yet?
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
There’s no leaderboard because the hack is literally two and a half weeks old. But if you remember The Voipah from the times he stopped by the stream, he’s been speedrunning it. He probably has some runs in his recent Twitch VODs that you could watch. As far as I’m aware, he has the world record!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Well then he should be at the top of the leaderboard, shouldn't he? I'll take a look at his VODs later.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
So I was pretty happy with that 49 minute run of Hark 2 that I did last week, but I think I like this one even better:



Of course that had to happen off stream, but what can you do? It's not like I'll be submitting a time with quick restart enabled anyway. Gonna grind this out until I have my sub-30 and then it'll be time for the training wheels to come off.

(Sadly, this run concluded right as stew lost an incredible run of GPW2 at the Eyrie. He was on pace for a 44:xx until he got a few bad breaks and wound up abandoning the run. I decided not to share my progress in his chat...)
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Nice job! And Hark 2 isn't an easy game!

Speaking of not easy, I'm on the second half of Toasty Coals, and I'm pretty sure all the Rip and Tear Until It Is Done is going to drive me up a wall before this is all over, because I've been at this for so long.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice one, that's a ton of progress! Also, you shouldn't feel like you can't submit a run with quick retry on -- right now that time puts you at 8th place on the Any% board! Unless you're trying to grab the world record, it seems just as valid as any other run.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Nice one, that's a ton of progress! Also, you shouldn't feel like you can't submit a run with quick retry on -- right now that time puts you at 8th place on the Any% board! Unless you're trying to grab the world record, it seems just as valid as any other run.
It actually isn't valid at all! It's stated explicitly in the rules that you aren't allowed to use quick retry for either category. I think that's bullshit, because a really good player (ie stew) wouldn't want to waste the time hitting the switch in the first place, but that's how it is. This run had, uh, a whole bunch of deaths, so we're still pretty far from my goal of sub-30 with vanilla retry.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Huh, I had no idea. That seems unnecessarily restrictive, especially for a game that has categories like Food%.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I finally beat Toasty Coals! That was a Kamek-length grind, but I finally pushed through! The second half in particular was brutal, with small optimizations being required to go fast enough. But whatever, that hell is now behind me and I can enjoy Sunset Breeze.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210401-194409.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Great work! Toasty Coals has always struck me as an extremely difficult-looking level.

I'm excited to dive back into Hark 2 and try some runs with vanilla retry, but I think I might be a little too tired tonight. We've got tomorrow and Monday off for Easter, though, so hopefully I'll have a few good kaizo sessions over the weekend.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice progress, Snake! Your dedication to the grind is super inspiring. (I mean that sincerely!)

Since we were all talking about this the other night, I thought you both would appreciate knowing that superben recorded a Storks run tonight to submit for SGDQ. I hope he gets accepted! After that, he immediately set a new PB for Quickie 2 that put him in the top 10 "just for fun". He did the bean skip in RB's Clock Tower and the disco skip in Blocks on the Rocks, and got both yumps. That was a fun one to watch.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Hey, did another exit tonight just because. Puts me to 11 exits. Wow was Sunset Breeze so much easier than what I just did before. That was nice. Now to get kicked in the dick again.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210402-012207.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
The pain of the dick kicking is temporary, but your GPW2 save file is forever.

Thinking I might do an afternoon stream in a bit, since I have the day off! It's time to start playing Hark 2 for real 😬
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Hey, I beat Sen's Fortress! That means I'm halfway done with the game! Really impressed with myself that I can make it this far in such a hard hack. Now...Deuce Lair. Welp.
Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210403-162130.png
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
If all else fails, blame Barb's chat.

I hadn't played any Kaizo since beating El Dorado, and I remembered that I said I was going to play Cute Kaizo World as a palette cleanser, so I took some time to run through that today. It was indeed cute and fun! Pretty easy, as advertised, but sometimes it just feels nice to blast through a bunch of levels really quickly. First playthrough, 100%: about an hour and 20ish minutes.

I noticed today that there's an updated version of El Dorado on SMW Central awaiting moderation -- no changelog yet, so I'm not sure what's different, but I might wait for 1.1 to get okay'd before I do my runback.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
I played through Cute Kaizo World yesterday! And it was cute and breezy and fun. Also was nice to finish in one sitting.

Meanwhile, back at GPW2...Grand Poo World 2 1.1-210403-204833.png
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Holy, uh, shit! You already finished Deuce Lair? Or did you just get the secret exit for now? Either way, great work, that's a hell of a level.

I've been doing some offline Hark 2 runs, but I'm not making a lot of headway right now. My time loss never seems to happen in the same place, which says that I should eventually be able to pull together a decent run, but all my attempts so far have fallen apart eventually. My sum of best segments is below thirty minutes, so I'm fairly confident I can pull off the sub-36 it will take to get on the leaderboard. I'm not sure I'll be able to bop many of the other players on that board - I don't think I have enough kaizo experience to consistently pull off difficult strategies the way they do - but I'll be happy if I can make sub-30 in the nearish future.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Assuming you can still see it after the switch palace color palette burns your retinas out.
 
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