View Full Version : SA reviews "The Twilight Portal"

Shining Aquas
05-09-2009, 10:14 PM
Let it be known that this will be the THIRD time I attempt to write this. For some reason, my computer has been hell bent on making sure I don't finish this review, but goddammit I will get this thing done! Here we go.

The Twilight Portal by Senrir is a 2 part level made in the style of a narrative RPG, which might have worked better if this game was in any styled to be an RPG but is clearly not. At the very least, narrative style is certainly capable of working as telling a story during a platforming escapade is usually a wonderful thing provided their is plenty of entertainment along the way.

Part 1
You play as this boy that attends school like any other kid would I suppose, who after getting out of class is given a stone by his fellow classmate who at the time reminds him of an upcoming geology report. So, you receive the stone as the screen tells you and must return home. There's also a side quest if you want to retrieve some kid's homework notebook from the evil janitor upstairs, but I wouldn't entirely recommend it since the horrible camera angles will get you killed far more than the actual obstacles. Going through the bottom level of the school, the school bullies try to run you over with a giant flaming vehicle that someone was stupid enough to give a bunch of roudy teens in the first place, and assuming you escape or get run over (hard to tell with the terrible camera), you will end up outside the school and must get home. Meanwhile, behind the shadows (or just on the roof of the school I guess), 2 dark figures talk to each other about some amazing stone you happen to be carrying, and how they can't do anything to take it from you so long as you inhabit this dimension. Moving right along, the level gives you 4 different paths, but really the only difference between them all is somewhat increased levels of difficulty only with the exact same reward overall (in fact, I think the bus has the greatest amount of actual reward, and that one is one of the easiest). Anyways, you get home, only to see that your mom and dad are fighting somewhat in the way a blazing drunkard fights with any female or younger child, and are told to go to your room. So you decide to go up to yo-

:hero:SIDE QUEST:p

Get your dog from the kitchen back to his doghouse! Get points!
....the hell was that? Well whatever. You go up to your room and the camera cuts to just above your house where the 2 dark figures from earlier are watching you and decide that in order to steal the amazing stone they must send you to their dimension. Your entire room vanishes and you...fall to the end of the level and must proceed to Part II. But first, how was part 1? Well, to put it bluntly, it wasn't stellar at all. Yeah, some of the designs and general appearances were very good, and there is a quaint touch of charm surrounding the entire level, but the story thus far seems like some odd combination of Harry Potter and Eragon set in the present day. And, while the sidequests are somewhat fun while being entirely pointless, they are...well entirely pointless.

Part 1 Score:
6.5 / 10
Terrible camera angles for the first half of the level, and the second half while having multiple paths did nothing to really enhance the level. So while the entire level certainly seems good, it is a little too slapped together to be truly amazing. Next level please.

Part 2
Well then, continuing where we left off, you are now in the middle of the most depressing alternate dimension your mind can squander for being a freshmen in high school at least. Everywhere you go there are cat people that apparently note that you are the possessor of the magical key stone needed to...do something I guess. Obviously, your sole intent is to return to your own world again, but it seems in order to do so you must activate your latent Legend of Zelda abilities and do everybody's chores so they will tell you stuff. So, the first person asks you to go to the graveyard to collect 5 spirit gems, so off to the graveyard you go. You will attempt to collect the spirit gems by killing the green wisps that float above, but unfortunately a certain part of them has to be touched, so grabbing them won't kill them. This is a real shame since you are at any time only BARELY ABLE TO REACH THEM, so trying to touch them in the "center" isn't so much impossible as it is just abusively frustrating. Protip: Either change the dissolve to a grab switch, or expand the player sensor switch to be bigger. Anyways, after going through that line of bullpucky, you go back to the house only to be sent on yet another errand that involves going down to the forest to kill tree spirits.....and just like last time, you have to kill 5 of them. By the way, if you thought killing the Green Wisps was terrible, you haven't even begun to fathom how frustrating this level gets. Since only the first 2 trees can actually be climbed and bashed at the brain on top of them, the next 3 trees expect you to bounce off of trampoline mushrooms to kill tree spirits that are on fire. In any other scenario, I'd just let the trees die from the flames, but apparently it's more fun trying to "bounce" onto a fully flaming enemy with a half-of-the-time not fully functional mushroom. After killing the tree spirits, you encounter the mother of all the tree spirits, who is too busy raging to listen to you. Your task is to climb up the tree, get behind it, and play it a lullaby using a special device that will calm the tree down to the point of falling asleep or some **** like that I don't know I'm usually asleep by this point in the level.

I actually need to go into a separate chapter for climbing the giant tree, solely because of how utterly retarded this part of the level is. For one, the entire tree is moving about as fluently as a limber octopus; for two, the lighting in the level is a little dark making it rather difficult to see that one random thin branch you need to make it to safety; for three, the entire thing is covered in horribly placed spikes making the climb rather impossible; and for four, THE ENTIRE THING IS COVERED IN SPIKES AND EVEN THE CREATOR KNOWS HOW IMPOSSIBLE IT IS AND WON'T FIX IT! Seriously, climbing this thing feels like trying to stretch the flap of hanging skin under your ear all the way down to your toes with a fish hook, and then stapling it there for all eternity. Christ, I actually had to punch myself in the face to relieve stress. And when I say the creator knows about the impossibility of the section, I know it for a fact when I see the checkpoint continually respawn every couple of seconds when standing on it, meaning it's an infinite life generator made before they even existed and therefore means that the creator isn't just being nice but rather being cruel. I spent enough sackboys trying to climb the thing that if I brought them all back to life I could re-shingle the level's foundation.

The fun doesn't even stop there, cause the music machine isn't exactly much better. Pulling switches to make a song is all fun and good, but why in the hell are there switches hanging like stalactites? Do you know how hard it is to control your swinging direction with that kind of switch, and still make it do what you want? It's just a friggin mess. If you are still playing the level at this point, you now have to find the priestess of the village you came out of only to find that a giant monkey named Big Sackfoot took her. So, in order to save her, you better be prepared to fight what in my opinion is one of the most unintuitive boss fights of all time. Cope with me for a bit, because I'm not saying the fight is bad nor the ideas behind it especially bad, but the organization of things is very terrible and the fight as a whole seems very novice. If you save her, she comments on how strong you are and says to go back to the village.......which while you were dicking around got attacked and burned to the ground by something called the brotherhood, which is probably one of the most cliche of all villain organization names. You reach the exit, only to be given the cliffhanger middle finger, and the continuation is yet to be made. As far as Part 2 by itself is concerned, there are a few things that the level does very well and poorly. On the plus side, the level is absolutely PACKED with content and things to do and so it appears that the level creator must have spent an eternity putting the entire thing together. It's very unfortunate however that the entire project while containing much content was put together somewhat poorly. In many cases it seems as if a number of badly devised shortcuts were assembled, or the right tools were probably neglected for more familiar tools that don't do the job nearly as well.

Part 2 score:
5.5 / 10
It may contain much content, but no matter how much dung you put in a barrel it's still going to be vile and putting in more doesn't help that.

Overall, the series seems like it has potential to tell a good story, but the actual level content needs some work, or at the very least the creator just needs some practice. I'll keep an eye on this one, but unless it improves drastically, there won't be enough to appreciate.

Final Score:
6.0 / 10
Feel free to hold your breath on this one, but keep in mind it might not be worth the risk of suffocation.

On a side note, the Wii remake of Klonoa is absolutely fabulous and I encourage everyone to go get it.

05-09-2009, 10:16 PM
Nice review- however, might it not have helped if the creator logged onto this site within the past two months? I dunno, that kinda ruin s the point...

Shining Aquas
05-10-2009, 07:08 AM
While this is true, I'm really just glad I got it out of the way finally.
Hopefully the future levels will be more worth mention, but until then.....
(checks queue)