April 27, 2011

An Attempt to Not Be Biased… Rossman: Episode 1 Demo Review

Rossman: Episode 1 is a 2D independent game developed by some guy I used to “know.” “Knowing” what I “knew” about this guy, I knew not to expect much from the demo that he uploaded. But what the fuck.

I’m starting with sound for this review, why? Because the title screen song plays, you click new game to start a new game, and the title screen song does not stop, but the level 1 song plays. Automatic ear rape, instant muting. Not a good first impression at all. I know it’s a demo, but you can’t possibly be that lazy to not check something as simple as music stopping when it should be stopping.

I’m getting graphics out the way because I can see my player, my enemies, and where I need to go. That’s enough for me… except when the muthafuckas hide behind waterfalls. It’s one thing if that’s the specific purpose of the specific enemy, but it’s not. That’s not fair, put them in front of the waterfall, okay? Thanks.

I also want to question the animation choices here. The standing and jump poses are normal/standard. The running animation is :/. :/ doesn’t even accurately show the facial expression that I want to give. It’s clearly a blatant sonic copy with the blurred, non figure 8 swirl legs… whether he’s running regularly or in “boost” mode. Oh., we’re gonna get on that boost mode shit, which has completely unnecessary after images. Honestly, it’s unneeded; you can use the memory there for something much more useful… like more animation.

Imagine if Super Mario Bros. separated the functions of running and shooting bullets. That’s pretty much the control scheme here. He’s a beginner programmer, so I’ll forgive the lack of control configuration, but he needs to look into that. Also, you can’t “boost” in the air… weird.

Game Play
Here we go… the point here is, the game is shit. The enemies are standard Super Mario affair. The game is standard Super Mario affair… except, he really needs to look into getting better physics. He’s using the Game Maker program, and the Mario physics that he’s obviously trying to emulate are very well documented for Game Maker. Stop being lazy and look this stuff up.

Rossman has two speed: slow and not as slow (aka boost). There’s a boost bar, but “boosting” doesn’t make the boost bar go down… GOOD! Imagine if Super Mario Bros. limited how much you could run with a Run Bar… then again, don’t. Video Games would be dead by now if that was the case. If you’re gonna make a Mario Game clone, you might as well keep everything that simple. Kill the boost bar, put bullets and running on the same button, and fix your fucking physics.

The level design here is boring, and provides nothing that makes me want to say, “WOW! I CAN’T WAIT TILL THIS GAME COMES OUT!” What’s the difference between the top path and the bottom path? The normal path and the “secret” path? Not much. Nor is it a challenge to “find” the “secret” path or stay on the top path. If you’re gonna try to tale elements from Sonic games, you might as well try to figure out why the fuck those elements made those games great. Don’t be lazy, you’re not just playing games anymore, you’re an aspiring developer. Act like one.

The bullets… you can shoot a shitload of them for free. This is cheap and makes every enemy easier to kill than they already are. Plus, putting 10+ bulles on the screen slows the game down. There’s a reason why Mario can only shoot 2 on screen bullets at a time. Think about it.

On a scale of 1 to 10, the game is shit. It’s operational, but at what cost? Anyone saying that this game is good is either lying, didn’t play the game, or is awestruck because they don’t know what kind of warlock magic is being used to even create this “original” content. (I use the word “original” loosely.) Based on everything that I know about this game, he's better off hacking Mario 3 or Mario World. This is seriously a terrible, terrible attempt at making a game, especially one that is trying to be “sold.”

Direct Message to You:
Why did I even bother to play Rossman? Why bother looking it up? Nothing more than curiosity. We still shit on you maybe once every two to three months because we can, but I figured that maybe, you actually learned something from out fiasco damn near two years ago, but nothing could be farther from the truth. You’re still the same unoriginal, uncreative copycat that we left behind. You even decided to separate Rossman into “episodes” a few weeks after Sonic 4: Episode 1 was officially announced by that name. (“But wait! That would mean you’ve been following me!” No bitch, you know me, I will do the research.)

Why do I care enough to dedicate an entire blog post to this? That’s a good fucking question that lacks a good fucking answer. I don’t know why I did this. There was nothing for me to gain from this. I’m just weird like that… I just do whatever I want at times. I do remember one thing you said, “Oh, I’ll be more famous than him by 2010.” (that’s a loose quote.) I remember my response, “I hope he does get famous, because at that point, he’ll either have to sink or swim.” If you woulda made a whole episode based on what you were working on, you woulda sunk. Hard.

You can get mad at me pointing out the truth (aka calling you out for remaining an non-innovative copycat) all you want. It doesn’t matter to me. However, I would like to believe that maybe you’d take the advice and the criticism here, apply it, and actually learn something. Sure, Rossman might be a bullshit copy over of Mario and Sonic games, but at least you can make it decent. And playable.

Peep this: I’ve been fucking with Game Maker off and on since 2007. I made about half the default tutorial games for GM, made some other tutorial games, learned the difference between walls, floors, and ceilings, and learned how to use a boomerang and allow the player to select between different weapons/power ups. I have a semi-decent plat former physics engine that I could use to make a game right now, but I didn’t. Why? 1) because I need to step my graphics game up, and most importantly 2) game design is more than just the characters, the level, the story, the music, etc. It’s taking all of that and making the sum much more than the parts. There’s a thin line between good and great, and even thinner between great and classic.

Like, seriously, study this shit if you’re serious about it. Look up articles on game design. Look up stuff on why Super Mario Bros. is great. Lurk the Sonic Retro forums on why the Sonic games on Genesis are classics. Look up David Sirlin’s article on why Donkey Kong Country 2 is the greatest platforming game ever made (his personal opinion, I think Yoshi’s Island is the best platforming game ever made). Look up articles on Metroid, Street Fighter, arcade games, casual vs. hardcore games, gamer psychology, how achievements fucked up game design, etc. It’s out there. You just gotta find it.

Still, why do I care? I still don’t know.

But I just gave you the truth. Maybe now, you can make a decent game. You’re welcome.

lol. I posted a link to this review on his "Official Rossman" Page. He apparently deleted it. That's a damn shame. Well, he can stay stuck on stupid. His choice.

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