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Are slippery stages good design?

by Erik_Twice Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:48 am

Slippery ice is one of the most common stage gimmicks in retro videogames. Do you think they are good? Do you think they are bad? Let's discuss it here!

Have to say it intrigues me because I don't think I really understand those stages, there are gameplay opportunities here I haven't tought of. And who can be better to explain them to me other than the videogame experts of racketboy?
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by o.pwuaioc Thu Nov 10, 2011 7:50 am

We just talked about this recently in the lost game mechanics thread. Although I hate them personally while I'm playing them, I do appreciate them, and would rather have them than not. As a side note, I love "ice" stages in other sorts of games, like for example Secret of Mana - just beautiful and serene.
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by alienjesus Thu Nov 10, 2011 8:17 am

I always like slippery ice stages myself, they give you a continued feeling of movement that I like in a platformer. I like being able to run and duck to slide under platforms and enemies too. The way they make it hard to start running isn't a deal breaker, as it encourages you to be constantly moving too.
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by (-_-) Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:28 am

I agree. They give a change of pace and change how you approach the game using the same mechanics. It also creates a lot of tension and other emotions because of that uncontrollable inertia. I both love and hate them. The reasons I despise them are what make me think they are good though. My inability to maneuver them successfully drives me insane but that feeling of challenge makes them so much fun.
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by dogman91 Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:56 am

It depends... if the controls were slippery to begin with (like Croc), it becomes highly frustrating. Otherwise I don't have an opinion on them one way or the other... they provide a nice contrast to other levels I suppose.

I think the Donkey Kong Country series has very interesting ice/snow gameplay mechanics... eg. jumping between ropes that slide your character up or down with hazards on the top or bottom.
Another one is in DKC2 where you can actually freeze a body of water in order to walk across it... not only is the floor slippery but it can also "melt" at any time.
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by boltfanSD Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:35 am

Like most gimmicks, it really depends on how the developer handles it. If they simply add slippery physics to increase the difficulty of existing level designs, then the choice comes off as lazy. On the other hand, if they design their levels around the idea that ice makes starting and stopping more difficult, there's an amazing opportunity to create some fast and fluid momentum based platforming.

One of my favorite examples of ice physics is the beginning of level 4-2 in SMB2, where you're simply running along a flat row of ice blocks, jumping and duck sliding to dodge an onslaught of flying enemies. Extremely simple design that wouldn't be much fun without the ice physics forcing you to carry momentum.
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by BoneSnapDeez Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:24 pm

I like them! They were implemented quite well in Mario 2/3 and Donkey Kong Country.

I will say, there is this one ice stage in New Super Mario Bros. Wii (in world 9) that made me want to kick my television. Mother of god.
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by Pulsar_t Mon Nov 14, 2011 1:26 pm

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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by Bradtemple87 Mon Nov 14, 2011 2:25 pm

I hate the damn ice levels, especially in a game as hard already as Mega Man
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Re: Are slippery stages good design?

by Luke Wed Nov 30, 2011 4:08 pm

Love ice levels when done right. Blaster Master definitely did the ice level correctly, plus it has some of the best music in the game that includes what sounds like a frog swallowing.

I think what makes a good "ice level" is that when you jump, you are stationary again. If you just can't stop moving, boy does it get frustrating.
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