Posted by: Junahu | October 27, 2011

Roundtable Review – Dark Star

Rool: Welcome to another roundtable review, folks! We’ve put together a somewhat new combination of reviewers for this one. Maybe they’d all like to pipe up and introduce themselves.
Junahu: Indeed we have Rool, at least we’re both here to keep things relatively sane…?
Duck Twacy: KingK.Rool, yipes! Junahu! Davidreamcatcha! Oh no, Legendof…LegendofLink. M-M-M-MasterWarlord! WOLFMAN!
WolfMan: WOLF! WOLF! AROOOO! WOLF!
LoL: Are you implying that I’m insane?
LoL: I’d like to think that I’m one of the more sane MYMers…
Warlord: Because you haven’t had enough reviews entirely to yourselves.
Rool: Indeed. Now Warlord is here to give equal representation to the side that DOESN’T think that we’re the cleverest people in the whole wide world.
David:I have no strong feelings one way or the other.
LoL: Damn Neutral (D)
Warlord: Indeed, you mustache twirling clever devil you.
Junahu: Hey, silly men, the review? Dark Star? Get on the ball, men.
LoL: Dark Star’s one of those weird sets that is a lot different to review now than it was to comment way back when it was first posted.
Rool: It’s kind of clever how n88 did that. Dark Star isn’t literally a different moveset now, but we’re definitely looking at it differently.
Warlord: I’m honestly kind of glad that I’m getting to re-comment it now, considering how many changes were made since the initial comment. In the end, it ended up to be somewhat number crunchery.
Junahu: Since I’ve only recently read the moveset, would anyone mind running over what was changed?
LoL: Mainly he had us play Guess the Playstyle with it.
LoL: Now we know exactly what he planned.
David:He nerfed a terribly OP move and posted the playstyle.
Rool: The more significant change was the addition of the playstyle, it seems to me. Number crunching is easy to overlook.
Junahu: That’s odd, because I rather understood what the playstyle was on the first read, the playstyle section was helpful of course, but I didn’t need it
Warlord: I considered the broken move in question more than number crunching because the large amount of dark star duplicates -did- flow, with more to rebound off of stuff. It seemed to be his intention, anyway. I thought it ended up as spammy.
LoL: Yeah, he did strongly consider not editing it in at all.
Rool: The dark star duplicates are probably my favourite trick in the set. That’s the billiards-style gameplay that I imagined for the set the first time I read it.
David: Duplicates, Rool? This is not MYMX.
LoL: Well, if we’re going to review this set from the top down, the first thing that needs addressing is the organization. Or the lack thereof.
Rool: This is standard protocol n88 organization, but with all the moves scrambled up and mangled… which gets a bit mind-boggling when there are special smashes all over the place to muck it up.

Junahu: I think it recalls Pachinko, more than snooker.
David: It definetly brings Vicinti to mind, I didn’t like the organization that one either, but that may just be me. Still, it worked into Nate’s whole game of “guess the playstyle” quite well.
Warlord: It doesn’t feel like it’s that concious of a Warlordian bottleneck writing style. It’s there to a degree, but some of it is just for random chaos, which is what he was going for with no playstyle summary included, originally.
LoL: They are definitely in a specific order in places. Specifically the Bomb being introduced first, and the dark line and reality tear being right next to eachother afterward.

Junahu: I felt that the muddled inputs was a very deliberate decision
LoL: I’d say there was a method to the madness.
Warlord: I’m not saying that the random chaos isn’t intentional. No playstyle summary pretty much confirmed it.
Rool: There’s definitely no bottleneck here. n88 leaves every move sort of hanging out there in isolation and makes us puzzle out how some of them work in the bigger picture, even WITH a playstyle section. I mean, there’s some pretty heavy individual move creativity running through Dark Star.
Junahu: Some of it even felt like a little parody of movesets that scatter moves onto inputs with no regard for what input does what action.
LoL: At least the directions made sense for the most part. Though that “Special Pummel” is rather bizarre.
Junahu: My problems with Special Smashes in general persist here. With a character like Samus, the Special Side Smash was just the same as the Side Special, but more forceful
LoL: Indeed, the game sets a precedent in the controls, but I don’t think it’s too bad for MYM to override that if it ends up being somewhat natural.
Warlord: Back. I do feel that the introduction of that one move which is nothing but fodder to be rebounded off of, the reality tear, and the grab are all very intentional things to be shown first. Everything references them, if only in passing.
Rool: The grab in particular seems to make his game work in all kinds of ways even outside of the reality tear KO scheme. I mean, he drops a billion projectiles and then can remotely control their movement toward him AND away, as well as the foe’s. He’s a very effective spacer and also in some ways a midair trap character.
LoL: I do like the idea of drawing your invisible duplicates in toward you to make a shield of sorts.
Junahu: Mentioning the important moves first was indeed very intentional, especially when the rest of the set purposely sets itself up as a chaotic mess. Being able to spot the important points of the playstyle running in the background was very neccessary for understanding where the other pieces may fit.
Warlord: The one thing organization wise that I felt n88’s style didn’t really sell for this character was his inability to put in pictures. If you don’t watch the boss fight, you’ll think all these random things are magic syndrome. How am I supposed to know what a Satellmite is?
LoL: Yeah… What’s a “Satellmite”?
Rool: Eh. If you think that, he’ll just correct you afterwards.
Junahu: I had to look up what a Stallemite was, since the , oh hi mark Warlord
Rool: And yes none of us knew what a Satellmite was. I suppose that’s the price of low detail. But for the most part he does a good job of describing weird attacks concisely.
Junahu: A couple of extra words would have done wonders.
David: Yeah, I think I need to be off (wary)
Rool: If that’s really the best you can do with complaints, Warlord…
LoL: Well, there is another complaint I can level at it outside the organization.
Junahu: on an unrelated note, I listened to the music the set linked to… it was, wierd. Made the Dark Star sound almost.. friendly.
Warlord: We’re just talking organization, is all. Trying to have an organized train of thought in the review. If we want to move on. . .
Rool: Fair enough. Let’s segue into LoL’s complaint, then.
LoL: The set uses a lot of “back” moves, and those appear to be Dark Star’s only way of turning around at all. That’s pretty resrictive.
Junahu: Or maybe he could jump?
Warlord: He’s constantly in the air. I don’t think he has jumps.
Rool: I didn’t see that. He has one Back Standard and using it does automatically turn him around. I don’t think that implies that he can’t turn naturally.
Junahu: He has jump height of 10
LoL: I think he has a standard jump -> double jump with a float.
Warlord: I feel that this is kind of a nitpicky complaint, regardless of whether he has jumps or not. The way I see it, he’d double tap backwards to turn around, or just tap it to move backwards.
LoL: He doesn’t explain anything about turning around, and having to suffer lag of an attack just to tunr around is a bit of a pain.
Junahu: If you don’t hear any explanation from the moveset itself, try assuming default behaviour.
Warlord: Well, not to open up a can of worms, but when you have such a minimalistic detail style for such a set, you have to do some assuming for such basic things as this.
LoL: Default behavior for being in the air is not turning around without use of a move or being a multi jump character.
Junahu: Then, that’s the price Dark Star pays when he chooses to jump into the air. You have to plan these trips ahead of time
LoL: He’s on the air always, otherwise the “back” standard/smash wouldn’t work
Junahu: He doesn’t touch ground, but getting near there restores the jumps, so a simple hop turns him around.
Rool: He could also turn by ricocheting off in some direction with his grab, I imagine.
LoL: Either way, this is a somewhat important detail that shouldn’t be left out.
Warlord: One complaint in this vein I have, come to think of it. . .Seeing he’s essentially constantly in the air, shouldn’t he be able to move during all of them? Like a floating character. That’d break him a lot more.
Junahu: Besides, this difficulty in turning gives Dark Star a unique feel of control. You have to be more mindful of where you face, and how you turn. Very introspective and selfish.
LoL: Most of his moves are projectiles, not static hitboxes. Floating character abuse moving hitboxes with their floats.
Warlord: Well yes, but Peach can’t spawn projectiles while in the air. Just throw one she already has. This makes his campier playstyle easier to go through with.
Junahu: So, I’ve noticed that if you can get the foe into helpless above a reality tear, you basically won; just direct the foe with Dark Lines, which don’t deal flinching, over to a pit, and the foe falls in.
LoL: Well, you have to hit them to win. And that gets them out of helpless.
LoL: It’s only an intant win at KO percentages.
Warlord: Generic stalling. Get them at a higher percent, throw them in while they’re in helpless. That is pretty bad conceptual brokeness.
Junahu: Dark lines don’t deal damage, or even render a hit, they just force the foe to slide down.
LoL: That could be a problem… but all the opponent needs to do is DI against the lines as they disappear.
Junahu: ? As the dissapear?
Warlord: I assume he means DIing over to the ledge to get out of it.
Junahu: With effort you can Dark Line the foe well away from any ledge. Even when they’re NOT in helpless.
Rool: Sorry about the short absence, folks. As to this conceptual brokenness, well… is Dark Star exactly an effective damage racker? Isn’t the damaging the greater part of his game?
LoL: Balance aside though, the reality tear funnel is definitely the strongest point of the set in my opinion. Forcing an aerial battle on just about any stage and against any character through physics warping is just cool.
Warlord: I think Dark Star hits enemies with the same moves to KO and damage rack, so no, he kills earlier.
Rool: Okay, here’s the fix: the foe is immediately brought out of helpless – “refreshed” – when they enter the reality tear.
Junahu: I still think Dark Line is the only tool he really needs.
LoL: They don’t last forever.
Junahu: They last 10 seconds which is ages. In that time, you could blanket the stage with em.
LoL: Wait, they don’t have a limit, do they….
Warlord: Well no, that’d require giving up the minimalistic writing style.
LoL: Yeah, that is a problem.
LoL: I has assumed there was a limit to their numbers.
LoL: yeah, limiting it to 2 is probably the best way to go.
Warlord: Of course, that -is- an incredibly easy fix.
Junahu: What happens if two Dark Lines criss-cross, so that they meet at a point. And then what happens to the foe if they fall into that.
LoL: Then the opponent is stuck there until one fades.
Rool: They can’t crisscross, they stop extending when they hit another Dark Line (he did say “absolutely anything”.
Junahu: True, true.
LoL: Anything positive to say though? I really like the set, but there’s a lot of negativity going around.
Rool: Yeah, to backtrack, I agree that the pitched aerial combat (my typo “bombat” is fitting too though) is a really neat thing to set up, and that’s just one side of his gameplay, along with the sort of domino-effect bullet hell he covers the stage with. As I said, projectile stage control character. That’s pretty cool just to begin with.
Junahu: I love the Pinball/Pachinko board like set ups you can make, directing the “ball” (either you or the foe, or the cloned foe) to where-ever you want it to go.
Warlord: The Reality Tear is the part of the set I like the best, like LoL. The rest of the set is very controlled projectile billiards that Junahu is just talking about, but I still feel it’s a bit undermined when the projectiles being shot out are invisible. I think the DS could’ve benefitted more from, say, a standard gimping game to play with foes in the reality tear.
LoL: I would have liked it better if the clones weren’t invisible. It’s kind of hard to make use of and control what you can’t see.
Rool: We need a little visual cue, maybe. But hey, it’s in the source material, no?
Junahu: Dark Star sure does a number on the majority of MYM movesets, given that many of them openly admit to filling out aerial inputs with whatever they can lump together.
Warlord: Reality tear would probably be more balanced if it covered up a -portion- of the platform rather than the entirety of it. Lots and lots of number crunching to be had.
LoL: Many MYM sets also include amazing recovery and/or teleports to get out of such traps.
Rool: I’m sure we can do something with aiming projectiles into the Reality Tear. Maybe we could use Dark Beam, aimed into the Reality Tear, to drag the foe up to the top blast zone just as they’re falling through it?
Junahu: What happens if Dark Star uses his grab whilst half inside the Reality Tear? Which direction are things pulled?
Rool: Is it possible to be half inside the Reality Tear?
Warlord: He doesn’t say it’s not to, so we have to assume you can be. I guess the suction is different on both sides.
LoL: Well, if that is a problem, Portal Man already breaks it, regardless of what is is in the set.
Rool: Sounds like an instantaneous teleportation to me.
Junahu: It’s still a hole, not a portal. It’s like the Acme holes Wile E Coyote would use… and then fall in.
LoL: All of these tiny details are starting to add up…
Warlord: One thing I like about the set in particular that was undercommented is the shadow clones. They’re a great way to lure the foe where you want, though I thought they were underutilized.
Junahu: It’s a nasty way to force the foe to take damage, regardless of whether they want to play your game or not.
LoL: They seemed like a generic damage racking tool to me. You just hit them while the opponent can’t get to you. Free damage.
Warlord: Watching the boss, it just seems really obvious what to do with them. Have them correspond to the enemy’s movement so they have some control over them, so the foe has to move about two hurtboxes.
LoL: Too bad it has no AI then…
Rool: Unlimited superarmor. How could the foe have any control over them?
Junahu: Clones can fall… can they fall offstage and KO the foe by proxy? If so, there is an utterly unstoppable super broken combo here. Make a clone, Dark Line it offstage. Bam, dead foe.
LoL: If they mirrored the moves, ala Teferi’s Paradoxes, that would be a how. But they don’t, unfortunately.
Warlord: That’s what I was thinking, yes. In the boss fight they jump when you do.
Rool: Well, at least you can make them fall alongside the foe in your Reality Tear zone. Then they can just be striving to protect their “second hurtbox”. Not quite as complex, but the foe really does have enough to worry about at that point without literally juggling a clone.
Warlord: It would be conceptually broken, of course, but the current version isn’t much less so.
Rool: I’m wary of this phrase “conceptually broken”. Anything can be fixed, somehow. There’s always a solution.
LoL: It can’t be conceptually broken and in need of number crunching at the same time, and I’m leaning more toward the latter in this set.
Warlord: DarkMega is the example I keep going back to, recently. Regardless of whether or not it’s good for his character.
Rool: Nah, not number crunching. More creative solutions are needed and it doesn’t necessarily deserve a free pass when appraising the set – but that doesn’t mean it should make or break.
Junahu: Hey girls, eyes on the prize. Dark Star, remember?
LoL: Dark Star, DarkMega, close enough (shifty)
Warlord: Well, even if you get us to agree on conceptually broken things, people outside MYM will tell you stuff like Silver the Hedgehog is conceptually broken.
LoL: The fact that Silver can pull an infinite combo like he’s some sort of super Akuma is the problem with him.
Junahu: I’ll just be discussing Dark Star further down the page…
Rool: Yeah, I’ll join you, Junahu. Not because I’m more focused but because I don’t remember Silver. (WARY)
LoL: Yeah… moving on.
Junahu: So, we haven’t gotten to discuss my favourite subject yet; character. Does Dark Star come across as you think he really is?
Warlord: Well, if Rool’s not going to play the game. . .Dark Star uses all of the moves from the boss fight – yes, he actually has invisibility and duplicates. The one thing I think the character comes across the strongest is in the organization with the chaos. Dark Star is more an entity than a character.
LoL: Well, doesn’t the fact that the Dark Star happens to be alive come out of nowhere in the game? I’m not too familiar with it, but it seems like it had little character to begin with.
Junahu: It’s the essence of evil and chaos. You cannot understand it’s reasoning, which is exactly the kind of characterisation you need to shoot for here. A chaotic, undreadable being.
Rool: The chaos part, I think was nailed here. In more ways than one.
LoL: Chaos is definitely covered, yeah.
Rool: Is it sufficiently malevolent?
LoL: Well, with all of the nasty traps and keeping the opponent -just- out of reach of salvation, it can com across as pretty malevolent.
Rool: The infinite falling does sound like something a supervillain would come up with. It’s downright sadistic as a central concept for a playstyle.
Warlord: The playstyle being rather messy with a few different strands also seems to be what he was going for with the chaos theme.
Junahu: I don’t think anyone likes falling forever. That’s like, a basic human fear, and it applies to Brawl in spades.
Rool: Most characters are just looking for solid ground beneath their feet. Sooner or later, for their games to function, they want to have access to their ground moves. Unless they’re Yanmega.
LoL: I can just imagine the despair felt by a Yanmega player once he’s caught in the funnel.
Rool: Yeah, there you go, even Yanmega of all characters can’t function if he doesn’t land occasionally.
Junahu: (HMM) Do I have any sets that can function in mid air…
Junahu: I think, Cutesy of all characters would be reasonably okay, she can jump more or less forever and refuel in midair.
Warlord: I would get into a debate about how Cutesy’s specials are what make her tick, but you’d accuse me of going off-topic again.
Rool: Jumpluff would have a fine time teleporting repeatedly to the very top of the top blast zone.
Junahu: How would Abra fair? Oooooh, this is fun! Dark Star is making us talk about aerial sets! I love it
Rool: Abra can only use three teleportation moves in midair before landing, but anyway he’d be able to escape from the Reality Tear pretty easily with them.
Warlord: Shortly after the moveset was posted we were having a discussion much like this one in xat about match-ups. FA, Dave and I. . .Except we were talking about pitting him against Nappa, Dutchman, Valozarg, and company. And he usually ended up winning.
LoL: Something to keep in mind is that the projectile speed of the Dark Line is not elaborated on.
Rool: How much fun would it be to trap multiple foes in the reality tear zone and leave them to duke it out?
LoL: That detail makes or breaks a lot of matchups.
Junahu: Reality Tear Zone? Is that a new Sonic level?
Warlord: They’re running out of ideas. Wouldn’t surprise me.
Junahu: That’d be a hilarious level, just instant falling, forever.
Rool: It’s not as snappy as Green Hill, but okay.
Junahu: I prefer Genocide City Zone.
LoL: Falling forever in Sonic games would be bad, as Sonic never reaches terminal velocity. He would just speed up until everything is incomprehensible.
Warlord: On-Topic, I think that this moveset’s general “OPness” is largely because of the writing style above anything else.
Junahu: I agree there. It’s a tricky balancing act when dealing with minimal detail, to pick the RIGHT details to explain. Since if you choose un-wisely, you create more problems.
LoL: A good example is that speed of the Dark Line I mentioned earlier. If it moved slowly, It gives character a chance to escape, and isn’t quite so bad.
Rool: The playstyle section makes Dark Star sound like a bit of a flowchart, with very distinct stages in his game. I don’t see it as accurate, but that’s the way n88 painted it in the end.
Junahu: That did feel weird, since I felt Dark Star had a more “do what you want” open-ended progression to him.
Rool: Do whatever you need to do. So much power at your fingertips and whatnot. No restraints.
LoL: Yeah, it was an almost E.E.D. level of sandbox.
Junahu: Dark Star certainly doesn’t sound like a set that would fall over dead if one of its moves was somehow disabled.
Warlord: It’s much like EED in that there’s a very obvious main style but there’s a lot of room for variance.
Junahu: Delicious, delicious variance.
Rool: I admire that sort of playstyle, which is unique enough but still allows the player plenty of room to choose how they want to do things.
LoL: Versatility done right.
Rool: And along those lines, are we ready for some final impressions or is there any other detail to run through?
Junahu: I think we’re nearing the end.
LoL: It stands in a weird contrast with n88’s simpler sets, but is shares the same cohesiveness that he’s so good at.
Warlord: n88 in general is either very Unsmash or very simplistic with minimal middle ground. It all depends on whether he’s doing a minion or some over the top villian.
Junahu: I like how n88’s movesets can run the full gamut of styles when need be. He’s quite adaptable.
Rool: n88 always shoots for fairly simple attacks, deep playstyle. Even his specials are rarely too flashy and it’s rare that any one attack stands out in a moveset.
Warlord: I wouldn’t say that applies to n88 in general, but it undoubtedly applies here.
LoL: Overall, the concepts in this set are just too cool to pass up, even with a few balance issues and some missing details standing in the way.
Rool: As ever, I’m glad to overlook problems in balance for the sake of characterization, and I’m glad to overlook underdetailing for the sake of the reader’s breathing space.
Junahu: (D) Those are my lines you are stealing, Mr Holmes.
Rool: What’s that old phrase about the sincerest form of flattery? (A)
Junahu: The sincerest form of flattery is a gift basket.
Rool: Well, maybe I’ll get you one of those next year.
Warlord: I can respect the writing to a degree regardless of how I’d like it to address my balance concerns. Ignoring them, yes, the moveset does a pretty good job of actual legitimate versatality with a lot of cool things in it. My original complaint I was going to bring up here was how easy it is to make a moveset for this character while doing fancy schmancy things, but the main draw of the set, the reality tear, wasn’t even in the boss fight. It mainly just applies to the shadow clones.
LoL: If he’s Holmes, do I get to be teleporting eldritch abomination Watson?
Junahu: Yes, you may. Oh hi Mark Warlord.
LoL: *does this* www.youtube.com/watch?v=13YlEPwOfmk
Warlord: Why I keep going on and on ceaselessly about balance is that if any one things becomes too overpowered, it undermines the set’s versatility.
LoL: Indeed.
Rool: I see MYM as the design process. There’s always a development process afterward to work out the kinks. It’s just common courtesy to bear with the writer in what they’re imagining, even if they don’t really have the knowledge of Brawl to keep it balanced (not that I’m saying that n88 is a Brawl n00b or anything).
Junahu: I wonder if sets have been going through power creep over the years. Dark Star would have been read as an OP joke set back in MYM3 or 4.
LoL: Meta Knight can play aggressively in Brawl, but why should he when he can camp an edge and be invincible?
Warlord: There has indeed been a general power creep, with people just making characters how they’d naturally be.
Junahu: So, yes, I believe we should stop now… or soon. Come on Krillin, I will. Why not?
LoL: More interesting concepts tend to be more powerful than simpler ones, which has led to powercreep in the name of creativity.
Rool: Dah, if you say so, Junahu. I just hope I don’t get killed, is all.
Warlord: So what would’ve happened if I hadn’t come into this review? Just a 3 way seeing Dave was barely here?
Rool: A glorious three-way.
Rooster: What’s going on here?
Rich Douchebag: What’s a Roooooooster?
Rooster: A Roostor evolves into Roostallion if he learns Diamond Skill 7.
Rool: So hope you found the review useful, n88, and Katapultar, and whoever else likes to read these for fun.
Warlord: Well I learned a lot by just having to re-write down my opinions on this set. I probably benefitted from this as much as anyone.
LoL: Indeed, this was quite educational.
Rool: These are indeed very useful exercises for the reviewers as well. (A) So, Junahu, you want to sign us off with a witty comment of some sort?
Rool: No? Uh, Warlord, you got anything?
Warlord: Well, quite.
LoL: Quite, quite indeed.

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Responses

  1. You guys did a really great review. Addressed a lot of different stuff, talked a good bit about design philosophy and looked at the set both on the small and large scale. And most impressively, you had Warlord, Junahu, and Rool all discussing a moveset together and things weren’t just civil, they were practically amicable!

    But… I thought you were going to recruit me for this one.

    I even READ the SET in anticipation.

    I guess I’ll have to comment it then sometime in the vague future *grumble*

  2. Definitely an improvement on the last roundtables.

  3. Great review for a great set.


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