View Full Version : SA reviews "The Dark Age"

Shining Aquas
11-22-2009, 05:41 PM
AWESOME! After 3 weeks of broken internet, I HAS THE INTERNET AGAINS!
:hero::hero:"insert Hallelujah music":hero::hero:

It's a good day indeed. Let's go murder-I MEAN REVIEW a level.

The Dark Age by Stabbz is a level focused mostly around the darker side of fantasy with humans being terrorized by powerful creatures beyond their ability to handle. You play the role of the stereotypical hero who came to this neck of the woods and is now being enlisted by the mayor of the town of "insert-name-here", and I'm certain it's the mayor because there is no other position one can have in a town when being that round and wearing a skyscraper top hat, and he asks you to save the town from the terrible drake. So, forward you must travel in this night-lit level to fight the minions of this monstrous drake, and save the village from his powerful grasp. Premise wise, I feel like this is a mostly normal setup for a level: You're the hero in a fantasy setting set to save this town from a powerful beast of legend.

Starting the level, you need to climb across multiple platforms, and I didn't plan on spending really any time at all talking about this part of the level since it takes all of 25 seconds of slightly patient jumping and about as much precision as hitting the ground with a rock, but here it goes:

Why does only the middle platform have invisible pistons on it
Seriously, the other two platforms have overly abundantly obvious piston connections, and then you have the middle platform which floats in the air like its freaking levitating. What the hell is up with that? Did the author forget to "invisi-piston" the other two, or did he accidentally make one invisible without realizing? Was it intentional, and if so why?
Honestly, I know it really isn't that big a deal,and it really shouldn't bother me, but I can't help but question the whole oddity.

Anyways, moving on you will encounter a magical barrier and a standard switch setup that basically just requires you to pull every coloured block until it's directly above the identically coloured conduit below. Once all three match up, the barrier will fade away with the nicely placed sparkly "Whoosh" sound. After crossing the barrier to the straightaway path, in which just about every single obstacle above and below you will attempt to make material mincemeat out of poor little sack, and really I say attempt because you really should not be dying for any of this. If you are, you might need to get you eyes checked because the pitfall traps standout about as much as females at a gaming convention.

After making it through the paltry obstacle straight, you run into the guard tower where the security guard tells...himself I guess to lower the gates. Time to kick it up a notch, as you may notice a quickly creeping stream of spiked walls falling down behind you. I couple of narrowly placed short hops will see you to safety (although honestly, you could just go through the entire thing faster if you just LET THE WALL KILL YOU AND SPAWN FURTHER UP). Once you get to the end of obstacle course number 2, you will find an enormous pit with a powerful beast at the bottom. To be completely honest, I thought for half a minute that this was the accursed drake that I was supposed to be finding and killing, and it fooled me only because it has a lizard-like head and breathed fire. I was almost disappointed when I thought this was the last boss because it only had three weak points, all of which were fairly easy to hit, and it died after killing me all of maybe 2 times.

After murdering the imitation drake, there's a hook to lead you up to the base level of the cliff. Once up and about, you must fight your way through a vast army of.....french swordsmen.
Why would you put that in there? Why?
...sigh. I don't even have an appropriate rebuttal to that. Standard dark fantasy with magic and dragons and poorly outfitted townsfolk, and you decided to throw in current era French swordsmen? Do I even have to make fun of this? Honestly, that's like watching Pirates of the Caribbean and watching the Black Pearl get taken down by an F-22 Stealth bomber.

Anyway you murder a plentiful number of the French, go through some basic electric death platforming segments, and them run into another miniboss, this time a French version of Captain Hook. He's covered in weak points head to toe, all of which are fairly simple to take out. After you kill him and his ridiculous mustache, it's time to face down a small troupe of.....samurai sumo wrestlers ohcomeON! What the hell man, can't you adequately decide what time period you are imitating? Is it fantasy, colonial France, or anything from Modern day Japan that doesn't even exist in Japan (Sumos using katanas, that's classy). Even for a level called "The Dark Age" this is way too much of a stretch from the actual Dark Ages.

Ugh, I swear this level better finish spectacularly. After the "Sumorai", you then have to fight the big bad drake. Starting this off, you enter a platform with.....a paint gun. I quit. That's it, I'm gonna lose it right here.
Fantasy. Remember that genre you started with? Remember the stuff you were doing before there were French duelists and Sumorai invading the scene. Well, I was willing to forgive that, but a paint gun is inexcusable. Even worse, the music in the background is go******** Metal Gear Solid music. Like, the techno stuff, which last I checked doesn't belong in fanta-you know what, screw it.

You fight the drake by shooting it in the head (BTW, the battle is done fairly decent for what it's worth), and you ride down a huge ramp into the cheering FANTASY STYLED townsfolk and get launched straight into the exit.

So, what's my final word on TDA? It's ABSOLUTELY AND EXTREMELY ok. Just ok. Not spectacular or terrible, just ok. The platforming is very normal and at times a little bland, the enemies while being somewhat creative in design (and designed with wacky fun in mind) are overly easy, the atmosphere and music choice is for the most part perfect until the very end, and the whole thing WOULD be an excellently styled fantasy stage if it weren't for the second half of the level. It seems for everything this level does right, it has about an equal amount of crap holding it down so overall it feels very standard.

Final Score:
6.0 / 10
Brought down from my original score of 7.0 due to heavily messed up time periods at work here. It's decent, certainly worth a play through but not worth any truly abundant thought.

On a side note, my internet is still spazzing a lot, so I can't guarantee consistency with reviews here.