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It'sa me, Kaizo Mario!

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
24 exits into Akogare 2 and I'm finding that the harder the game gets, the less I like it. It seems like Mega's way of making levels more difficult is to make the inputs more and more specific, which turns the game into a kind of invisible precision hack. For example: there's a bit in Northern Range where you have to jump, grab a feather and the dive bomb to open a gate, then run a short distance and launch into a spin fly. Except it's possible to both overshoot AND undershoot the divebomb: if you go too early, you fall in the lava, and if you go too late you don't have enough runway to regain P-speed for the spin fly. So you have to learn how to bomb the exact left edge of the platform...except there's no visual cue that this is important, you just realize it after dying a bunch of times. When the levels are easier, I can at least read them fairly quickly and make some progress, but as they get more difficult it's like solving a puzzle that I can't see, and I don't enjoy it much. I also find that the majority of the level design is fairly straightforward, so after two dozen levels it still feels really samey. I did just stumble onto the secret challenge area, which I really appreciated, because it was weird and different. Also, what's the deal with the toy castle hint? Anyway, this hack is obviously very well-made, but I'm starting to think that Mega's design ethos isn't really what I want from kaizo. Which is kind of too bad for me, as Akogare has had extremely far-reaching effects on the kaizo creator community in the last few years.

Also, how the fuck did the second dive bomb gate in the back half of Northern Range make it into v1.1? I died there like 4 times because the switch double-triggered, which meant the wall blinked out and then back again. So either I would get stuck behind the wall with no way to trigger the switch again, or else I would get killed by the reappearance of the wall because I made it onto the switch tiles in between triggerings. It sucked!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I'm sorry to report that I didn't have either of the problems you had in Northern Range, so I can't really relate on that one. For the first dive bomb, the coin trail shows you exactly where you need to be going, so that doesn't seem like as big of an issue to me? I vaguely remember just holding right to make that trick work. But I'm fully aware that it's been a while since I played it, and everyone's experience is different, and your issues are still valid. Maybe I blocked it out!

I did just stumble onto the secret challenge area, which I really appreciated, because it was weird and different. Also, what's the deal with the toy castle hint?
I honestly have no idea what you're referring to with either of these. It's been too long!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
The secret area is in one of the last levels in the game, with all the SMB2 flames. You ride a platform up through an obstacle course of flames and Mario bounces constantly on the surface of the platform. It's pretty easy, barring a bit at the end where you have to squeeze through a one-tile gap (because with the constant bouncing, it's much harder to stop your left-right movement) and it was a nice bit of variety.

As for the initial divebomb in Northern Range, you literally jump up then come down with cape in a single motion, but the jump has to be on a very specific arc. I actually don't remember there being any coins there, but I'm also not the most observant player. I will say that you have to jump before the end of the platforms where you initially build up P-speed, otherwise you'll systematically land too far to the right, and I don't think that is indicated.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I actually don't remember there being any coins there, but I'm also not the most observant player.
Also, I feel like I should mention that I didn't remember Northern Range by name so I looked up a video of Kez playing it, which is the only reason why I know there's a coin trail.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
New Hark 2 PB! It’s a 24:25, which is 40 seconds better than my last time and only 38 away from #BoppingTheSlop. I still have random bad levels every time I play (my sum of bests is under 20 minutes), but nonetheless I’m pretty pleased with how consistent my runs are getting. Different levels will mess me up on different runs, but the overall time is roughly the same, and it’s slowly coming down.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Nice work Mike! I know you're gonna get a 23:xx (or less!) any day now.

I didn't play any kaizo for a few days because of Real Life stuff, but today I put another few exits into Mad with Kaizo Power and I'm now officially halfway through (10 exits). It's been an interesting play so far. I've found that there are some exits where the theme is just something that's incredibly difficult for me, but for every one of those there are two more that I more or less breeze through. The ones I struggle with, though, I really struggle with. I mentioned earlier how it wasn't too frustrating to get stuck in any given room, but I'd like to amend that statement: when you fail at the first or second jump of a room for 15 minutes straight, that is incredibly frustrating. There's one exit where the theme of most rooms seemed to be "jump off the last possible pixel of this platform", and man was that unpleasant.

There was also one room in the item swimming exit where I'm genuinely not sure how you're supposed to do the intended strat; I cheesed it with a little bit of good RNG and I recommend everyone else do the same. (At least, I think I cheesed it. I don't think a precision hack would make you win a coin flip to get out of a room.)

I'm still enjoying the hack, but it is merciless at showing you exactly what your kaizo weaknesses are. On the flipside, it's also been pleasantly surprising to learn that I've gotten so much better at swimming, both with and without items. I even made it through a fish gate on my first try!
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Yikes, not gonna lie, that sounds a little intimidating. Maybe I should play a Nightmare Café or two first.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I still recommend Mad with Kaizo Power to everyone, but I 100% recommend playing some Nightmare Cafes as a warmup first.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Still been busy with other stuff, but I've been slowly chipping away at Mad with Kaizo Power. I'm 16 exits in now, and it's tough. I've generally been doing two exits per session, as any given exit seems to have one room that holds me up for anywhere from 15-30 minutes, and then the rest of the level isn't much of a problem. Naturally, those tough rooms get pretty frustrating. Still, I'm only two exits away from Any%, and then there's the optional special world (which I'll still play). Might roll credits tomorrow!

I also played Nightmare Cafe VII this week, because I was frustrated with MwKP but still wanted the single screen feel. Looks like Lush just released IX and X as well, with the promise that X is the last one. Apparently these both have over 100 rooms, so he's really ending it with a bang. It's gonna be weird playing regular hacks again after all this single screen business!
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Wrapped Mad with Kaizo Power today. Saw the credits, and did the first of two optional special levels. I tried the second one, but it turns out that's a cape level, and I'm actually unable to do what the first room wanted from me -- I'm just not good enough at cape tech to be able to do precision tricks with it. It's a shame, because I watched Shovda's clear video and the rest of the rooms look completely doable, but the first one is beyond me. I spent maybe 15-20 minutes trying to get through, and then decided I was done.

I'd definitely recommend this hack to everyone who plays kaizo. It's not easy, and if we're being honest I was often frustrated, but that's mostly because excessive tightness isn't something I enjoy and that's what most of this hack is designed around. But it will absolutely make you a better player, and give you a workout in pretty much every single aspect of the genre. You feel accomplished when you beat most rooms, and everything you do can be applied to every other hack you'll play. If you want something that'll sharpen you up, look no further.

As a victory lap, I blazed through Nightmare Cafe VIII in about 30-40 minutes, with most rooms going down on the first or second try. I don't know if it's just because I've gotten used to Lush's style, or because of Mad with Kaizo Power, but this one felt like the easiest yet. I'll play the last two in the series, but I'd like to get back to more regular-style hacks again. I don't know what to play next! I might just dive into Riff 2 and see how bad the slow retry feels. There are a couple of levels that I'm really not looking forward to, but a lot of it just looks so cool. There haven't really been too many other hacks lately that have piqued my interest, so if you guys have any recommendations I might've missed, feel free to share.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Congratulations on going Mad! I would offer you new hack suggestions but I, uh, haven’t played anything kaizo other than Hark 2 for weeks now. I managed to get a 23:35 a few days ago, which will put me at 5th place on the leaderboard if someone could just verify it for me. But for some reason I’m still not ready to stop, even though it’s getting really hard to make progress? I mean, the most obvious reason is that I’m certain I can get a 22:xx run - heck, my PB is basically one bad up-pipe away from that already. But I’m also just enjoying sinking into this one game to an extent that I never really have before? I’ve started learning screen scroll starts on the first level, for god’s sake. I don’t know how much longer this will continue but it’s certainly a new experience for me.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Congrats right back on not only your new PB, but on #BoppingtheSlop! I'm calling it now, you're gonna learn the rest of the screen scroll strats and try for world record.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Mike, I made my first ever Twitch clip just for you:


Edit: I thought that would embed the clip itself but TT's telling me it can't be embedded. Just click through, you'll like it.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Oh, it’s on! Looks like we’ve got an honest-to-goodness rivalry on our hands. Thanks for clipping that, it will be a nice reminder of the brief moment in time before slop completely destroyed my run.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Inspired by watching countless hours of Mike's speedruns, I gave Hark 2 a runback this afternoon. I wasn't speedrunning because I don't do that, but I got through Any% in two hours, which felt pretty nice! There's a lot of fun to be had in this hack for sure. Also, it's deceptively tricky! Hats off to Mike for making it look easy.
 
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MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Hooray, more Hark 2 in the world! Did you try for the speed strats in Back and Forth? Also, two hours is a pretty decent time for a runback...
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I did! It was a lot easier than I thought, I don't think I missed that first jump once. It was definitely as fun to pull off as it looked.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Alright, after saying "I might load up Riff 2 and see what slow retry feels like" for actual weeks, I finally loaded up Riff 2 tonight and cleared the first exit. Turns out, slow retry feels fucking terrible. I found it incredibly aggravating, which is disappointing because the level itself was fun to play. But in the 50 minutes it took to clear, I think I spent literally half of that time just watching Mario die and re-entering the level, i.e. not actually playing the game. That, to me, is unacceptable. I really felt like the hack does not respect my time, and I don't have the stomach for 32 exits of that.

I want to play Riff 2, the level design is awesome and it seems rightfully beloved. But I just can't handle the slow retry. It's 2021, no game needs to be this way.
 

SilentSnake

Administrator
(He/him)
Staff member
Moderator
Let's talk Odd Sands.

This is a new collaboration hack from some of the brightest minds in kaizo creation, Lazy, gbreezesunset, and MiracleWater, all of JUMP team. The idea is that this is a hack with some heavily galaxy-brained setups, but with short level sections. In other words, exactly my kind of shit. I'm three exits in and loving the hell out of it, but that's no surprise given how much I love stuff like Unintended Behavior. It's a really thinky hack, but not super puzzley, though it does require some adequate knowledge of SMW to play. (Knowing stuff like which way you'll throw a shell when you're on a vine depends on Mario's foot position, for instance.)

I'm digging it, and though it's like 28 exits, again, the levels are very short, so I don't think it will be a long grind, at least not for game length reasons.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
As soon as I saw people playing Odd Sands, I said to myself "This is a hack for Snake." You're gonna love it, but watch out for the last level -- it's super tough.

I started Peachy Moat World today after bailing on Riff 2, and am having a much more pleasant time. I'm two and a half exits in and even though I know it gets rough in the late game, I think it's gonna stay fun at least until then.
 

MCBanjoMike

Infamous third lava dolphin
(He/him)
Wow, already? I saw them talking about it in someone's chat the other day. Sounds like it's a little, shall we say, cursed?

I've been sick and tired this week - just a cold, but I'm not used to having them any more and it kind of shut me down. Kaizo takes too much effort to play when I'm tired, so I've barely lifted a SFC controller in the last six days. Feeling better now, but we've got a busy day or two ahead of us before I'll really have a chance to get back to it. I hope I haven't lost too much progress on my Hark 2 grind, I really want to get one last PB before I put the game down.
 
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lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
Yeah, that's...not the new AmperSam hack we've all been waiting for. As far as I know they've still got a proper follow-up to Hyperion in the works, but this one seems extremely rough. I saw a bit of Barb playing it earlier today and he was absolutely miserable -- he actually said "I wish I hadn't played this hack" (in context, he said Amper is a creator he really admires, but he found the hack incredibly unfun). I'm glad Amper made the thing they wanted to make, but I'm still really looking forward to their next one.
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
I have some sad news for you, Mike, Slop_core just took his Hark 2 time back with a really solid 21:20. He was actually on a sub-20 pace but took a rough death at the end of Sidetree, and had another during the final boss fight.

On the upside, Stew knows who you are!



On a more serious note, I'm still super impressed at how far you've come in running this game that you're legitimately competing with runners like Slop. You should be proud of your runs!
 
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