View Full Version : SA reviews "Afraid of Monster - Hospital"

Shining Aquas
02-09-2009, 04:39 AM
"Previously on Shining Aquas Review Corner"

Let me be frank, creating horror levels in LBP requires a certain degree of finesse, you can't just turn the lights off and make tons of random sounds with a Cloverfield type environment where the monster shows up all of twice in the entire level.

"1 month and 2 weeks later"

Yeah, it's old material but I stand by what I said about making horror levels in LBP, mostly because of how generally silly and quirky LBP is, making it scary is like trying to add a certain level of fear to lollipops. That's why this level actually managed to surprise me to a degree.

Afraid of Monster - Hospital is a level that is honestly trying to be creepy and for LBP standards actually managed to do a pretty good job. Maybe not stellar, but still pretty good.

I'm not going to bother going over the stage as a whole this time around, I figure if you are at all interested in the stage it would just be better to go play the level and find out for yourself. Rather, I'm going to spend my reviewing block talking mostly about what the level does and doesn't do well.

First of all, the appearance is gorgeous while also being quaint, it's not trying to overexert itself into looking good it just somehow manages to do that naturally even with the simple design. Obviously having a simple appearance and making it work really well is the sign of good organization and brilliant presentation on the author's part so cheerio to you. Although just as quickly as you find yourself enjoying the appearance of the stage you will also find yourself quite tired of it very fast mostly because the entire level takes place in the same 4 freaking rooms.

Now, what exactly does the above statement signify? Normally having an entire in door level taking place within a span of 4 rooms (although in this case it might be more accurate to say 4 hallways, one of which is the basement) would go on to say the level is incredibly short and has no substance, but in the particular case of this level it manages to jump the shark a bit. To say that the level has no substance would be a lie, since even though the level is incredibly small space wise it still takes about as much time as any other custom level to beat. Although the amount of actual space is small, the creator decided to design this level in the style of some Zelda dungeons in which you will often retrace your footsteps and have to go to previous rooms to hit switches you either missed or weren't available before, and that setup actually works pretty well here from a standpoint of simplicity.

Looking at the whole picture, it's quite clear that this level was very easy to make and manages to take a half-way solid amount of time to beat, but within the backtracking strategy comes one of the level's biggest flaws: repetition. Beyond the initial appearance, the rest of the level is more or less the same and doesn't really give you much to expect since by the time you've hit the halfway point you could just as easily predict how the rest of the level will play out and about 70% of the time you will probably guess right, which takes some of the fun out of it. This is one of the reasons I generally don't like horror-themed levels in LBP because in order to make it worthwhile it needs to contain a certain element of surprise, and usually is never capable of holding it. I'd say the only level that has actually managed to do that well so far is Little Dead Space (which is an amazingly good level btw) and even then it wasn't about trying to be scary as much as it was just trying to surprise you.

Finally, the only other thing I feel the need to mention is something that hit me as a first in a custom made level and something that I hope people start keeping in mind from here on out: Paintinator Ammo Limit. In this particular level it did a great job for adding a certain level of terror amongst the sackboy as his only weapon of defense did not have a limitless supply of ownage, and since most of the enemies you find need to be killed by your paintinator. I like the idea behind this, and felt the creator executed it fairly well, though I think it could have been better. It could've felt a bit more horrifying if there weren't sooooooooo many places to recharge your ammo. Next time, I recommend less recharging stations, larger clips.

Final Score:
7.0 / 10
Well organized, nicely made, and actually manages to keep a certain level of spooky alive within it. It still has it's share of flaws present, but most of them felt very fixable.

On a side note, I hope everyone tries out my new level :) (Shameless plug)

02-13-2009, 08:40 PM

I wanna try.