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ALilGrayBoi

Why are water levels in games so bad?

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Most water levels in games suck. Some notable examples being Classic Mario, Classic sonic, Wolfenstein New Order, and PVZ2. I have yet to see one that is actually fun to play

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Guess its just nermal for them to be designed that way

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3 hours ago, Milkeno said:

Guess its just nermal for them to be designed that way

IMG_1767.thumb.jpeg.00c51826dbcdff29f2cb

 

5 hours ago, ALilGrayBoi said:

Most water levels in games suck. Some notable examples being Classic Mario, Classic sonic, Wolfenstein New Order, and PVZ2. I have yet to see one that is actually fun to play

water levels usually come from a desire to change how movement works but only within the confines of a level or 2, so it's very underdeveloped. they also just suck, like having to swim slowly, going to surfaces to get air, no challenge in how you navigate spaces, it's just boring and repetitive. 

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Posted (edited)
15 hours ago, ALilGrayBoi said:

Most water levels in games suck. Some notable examples being Classic Mario, Classic sonic, Wolfenstein New Order, and PVZ2. I have yet to see one that is actually fun to play

"Coral Capers" in Donkey Kong Country SNES was awesome.

Some of the best water level I've played. Then the music turns it into a unique experience. 

 

 

Now let me tell you about one really bad water level, "Underwater" in: Chaser (Windows, Shooter 3D, 2003) 

 

This is by far the worst water level I've played (vid here). Map is extremely convoluted, drone enemies have tons of HP, the fied of view is confusing (this is specific to this particular level) and worst of all: a hunt for glowing beacons that you have to activate if you want to find your way out of this nightmare. 

Cherry on the cake: they are 2 sections, so when you see a loading screen and think it's over, you're actually in for another round that's even more painful than the first. 

 

Just to clarify: I actually adore Chaser, it's a wonderful 3D game that has a lot to offer to old-school 3D shooter aficionados. I felt the story à la Total Recall was gripping. Great graphics for it's time. A pity the Engine, the CloakNT, wasn't licenced much (shattering glass was well done for instance), tons of weapons and a unique power to slow down time; this game was released before F.E.A.R. (2005) so this feature was innovative somehow. 

 

Now if you don't like exploration don't touch this game, sometimes the level design doesn't flow like an ordinary shooter. Often you have to scrutinize your environment to progress. These devs were talented but devious.

 

When I play Chaser, I do it regularly, I know I have to endure that dreadful level. 

note: I have saves to skip this part when I'm not in the mood, though. ^^

Edited by CrocMagnum

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10 hours ago, Milkeno said:

Guess its just nermal for them to be designed that way

Hahaha so funny

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5 hours ago, CrocMagnum said:

"Coral Capers" in Donkey Kong Country SNES was awesome.

Some of the best water level I've played. Then the music turns it into a unique experience. 

 

easily in my top 5 snes midis. hell of a song.

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Posted (edited)

Underwater levels tend to mostly look similar, and mostly look like shit. Other common "features" include poor controls and movement/physics, unimaginative and annoying enemies, a slogging pace, and confusing level design since everything tends to look the same. They often feel forced and obligatory, and bonus points are awarded for annoying water levels featured in games that also have forced and obligatory "ice" levels with annoying slippery movement. That's the main problem - forcing it. Knowing that most water levels suck, and still creating one/several of them anyway was so common in PS1-era games that most people who lived through that phase have had enough. Games from that era really overdid the whole "Earth/Fire/Ice/Water" thing, in my opinion. I'd take any other stock theme, such as a haunted house, over any of that.

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9 hours ago, CrocMagnum said:

Now let me tell you about one really bad water level, "Underwater" in: Chaser (Windows, Shooter 3D, 2003) 

Unrelated to the topic but thanks for recommending me another classic. At first I confused this with Gore: Ultimate Soldier for some reason lol.

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They are quite mazy and confusing, have affected movement and go on too long. The last level in The World is not Enough has this issue in spades and in most other shooters, maybe they had to be there but dang, these days, why would anyone like that?

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Posted (edited)

Because people want them to be ;)

 

Mechanic that throws you out of comfort = bad for most people. Personally,  I like to be disoriented. Back when I played WoW, PvP skirmishes in Stranglethorn Valley had a tendency to involve water clashes in some way. Brutal. You could win some of them just by holding your breath longer by virtue of being an undead, a shaman, or a warlock

 

Later on Cataclysm, Vashj'ir was the first, and only, water level of WoW and I loved every second. Most people did not

 

Now, Vashj'ir's case is, I believe, common among water levels: implementing good mechanics for a single level is a waste. What Vashj'ir is right now is not even close to what was planned

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Hydrocity Zone from Sonic 3 is an example of a good water level -- there is a good mix of water and non-water segments, and if you're skilled enough, you can mostly avoid the water sections by taking the top path at the start of Act 1.

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They usually have a very annoying mechanic (drowning, blinding or slowing you down), the worst map design in their game which makes them feel like filler / blocker in old games so you can't quickly beat a game or just the devs ran out of ideas but still didn't think they had enough maps. Also they usually have very annoying pest enemies that don't fit match with the rest of the game.

 

Still I don't think the fault of the sewers themselves but rather mappers messing it up or having no idea what to do with it. Ion Fury has so many damn sewers but they don't feel like a bother in that game nor do they play similarly to each other.

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On the one hand, we have the notorious TMNT dam level. On the other hand, we have most Megaman water levels, which are all fun.

 

A lot of people don't really like the slower movement or different controls, making it harder to navigate the area or dodge enemies or fireballs. Same reason why a lot of people don't like ice levels. Megaman did their water levels quite well since you can jump a lot higher, even to the top of the screen in many cases. But spikes. However, that adds to the fun factor. Megaman's ice levels...not so much. Not just because of the low friction, but throw in the disappearing blocks (also slippery), and you have a headache and a chore rather than something enjoyable.

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I feel like this thread is meant to serve more as confirmation bias for OP rather than to actually intelligently answer the topic at hand. I like Crash 3 water levels. I like Spyro water levels. Hell, even the Water Temple in OoT would be perfectly fine if not for the menuing being painfully slow. The Underwater Frigate is a fine area in Metroid Prime. Torvus Bog in Metroid Prime 2 is neat.

 

This is not to say that all of them are winners either. But I personally find their existence to be more of a positive thing than a negative thing. More of them do something interesting with the addition of slower movement and lower gravity than not, or whatever other gimmick they come up with!

The best thing you can do for yourself is to play more games. Maybe you'll eventually find one that does something you like.

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46 minutes ago, riktoi said:

I like Spyro water levels.

I played Spyro 1 to death when it first came out, and the first time I got to try Spyro 2 was in a department store. When I realized that the sequel added underwater swimming, I dove in and was blown away. I knew immediately that Spyro 2 was going to be an incredible sequel (it is).

 

And I think this is because Spyro's underwater movement is very fun. It's fast, you're still steering around to headbutt and break vases and grab gems, but now you're moving in three dimensions.

 

I can't think of any other game off the top of my head in which the fundamental act of gameplay, movement, isn't ruined when you go underwater. I mean, Sonic Minus Speed Equals Fun? Mario except without all the jumping? If you have a fire flower and you can rain destruction on all the baddies that can be fun, otherwise it's a chore.

 

The underwater sequences in The Sinking City are miserable from a gameplay perspective, but it's not really a great action game anyway. They're quite compelling atmospherically though.

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I like water levels. The slower pace is never a real problem, the alternate controls aren't usually hard to handle, if they're mazey that's just a plus for me, but the main point is that they tend to be incredibly atmospheric and immersive.

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On 4/18/2024 at 3:01 AM, riktoi said:

The best thing you can do for yourself is to play more games. Maybe you'll eventually find one that does something you like.

 

Or more likely find 5 more annoying ones you wish you never played.

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On 4/18/2024 at 2:14 AM, Faceman2000 said:

Does Underhalls count?

How about Heretic episode 3? That's technically underwater.

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Are they? I never noticed. I think it's just a meme from people who grew up playing that one Zelda game :p

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On 4/17/2024 at 5:01 PM, riktoi said:

The best thing you can do for yourself is to play more games.

I’m broke

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I just started playing Sonic Triple Trouble 16 bit the other day, and Tidal Plant for me was an enjoyable experience, just as much as the other zones. The two-act structure is utilized really well here, with a switch to submarine gameplay for Sonic & Tails' story. Plus, the music is great.

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7 hours ago, ALilGrayBoi said:

I’m broke

pirate

 

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Posted (edited)

Water levels are often poorly executed, usually by a significant deviation from the player's sense of control and agency.

 

If I could fairly implement drowning in a Doom WAD, I'd make it a factor - otherwise I'm going to assume Doomguy has infinite lung capacity and limit the amount of underwater exposure. @EduardoAndFriends did reasonably well with scuba suits subbing in for rad suits in Deep Breath and using 5% damage floors.

 

Perhaps a WAD that wants to use drowning and radiation with damaging floors can update the rad suit with a temporary HEV-style suit.

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Posted (edited)

Water physics slow down player movement. When most of the game is at a much faster pace, water sections can feel like an unnecessary drop-off in the action. However, Hydrocity Zone in Sonic 3 works really well because you can opt out of the water in a number of places. 

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