Marker Man Misadventures 2
Welcome back. The first time seeing something is always a thrill. New experiences are had, new things can be learned, and there are new threats to overcome. What I'm trying to say is that I am fairly confident that the first post is as good as it's going to get. It's all downhill from here. I'm in this for the long run. Will you join me?
Pretty annoying. Marker man is not a good character for vertical climbing. First of all, the previously mentioned fall damage is a great inhibitor to trying to explore height-wise. Secondly, the bouncy platforms suck. It takes like 20 seconds before the jumps are high enough to reach another elevation. Thirdly, marker man's jump is REALLY low. Mario in Super Mario Brothers can jump up to five times his own height. In Marker Man, a game with a much higher maximum ceiling, the poor guy can only jump up to around 2/3 his own height. The only way to realistically get to vertically different platforms is to draw or use the power ups.
Now's a good time to talk about power ups. Along with using markers to replenish health, the stick figure can consume 3 of them in order to gain a temporary super power. While a power is being used, you can activate a different power in the same time period and it won't consume extra markers (thank goodness, because getting the right power can take several tries). Here are the following powers:
- Tiny: Makes marker man really small. Haven't found a use for this yet
- Jump: The most useful one. Allows marker man to jump really high, AND be resistant to fall damage
- Swim: There are a few levels where water comes into play. This lets marker man be able to swim in it without drowning.
- Speed: Marker man moves fast. Sometimes useful for long jumps or going through long boring sections of level.
In order to activate a power, a shape must be drawn directly on marker man. Some shapes are harder to draw than others, mostly because the engine is bad at determining what the player draws. This is my ranking of how hard it is to make certain shapes:
- Line: easy
- Circle: easy
- Triangle: not easy
- Rectangle: AAAAAAAA
Using this information, we can now determine how difficult it is to activate each power.
- Speed (jagged line): easy
- Swim (circle): easy
- Tiny (triangle): not easy
- Jump (rectangle): AAAAAAAA
Of course the most useful power up is the hardest to activate. One more nuance is while you are able to switch powers without any cost while one is activated, once it reaches the "running out" phase where marker man starts blinking to indicate the power is almost out, trying to switch powers at this point will consume another three markers. Weird.
This enemy doesn't deal any damage! Instead, they will push you back when you touch them. Since level 7 is full of small spaces and spikes, that makes these guys an actual problem.
Wow. I'm surprised there isn't a new-but-functionally-the-same enemy here. What I am surprised at is my first invisible wall that wasn't at the beginning of the level. Keep going to the right, and attempting to go past the second man-eating house results in hitting an invisible wall, which may confuse the player enough to end up being eaten by the house right next to it. Knowing how these levels are designed, that was probably the intent of that area. Otherwise, the level is really straightforward: just go up.
This is also a really easy level. Just run right. There are a bunch of spikes and man-eating houses but they are all hiding under platforms so the player isn't really in any danger the whole time. Plus, you know that all the yellow houses are man-eating houses so there is no element of surprise. What a strange idea for a level.
Simply give your character the super jump power and have at it. This is also the first level where you start from the right side of the map. At the middle of the map are two choke points guarded by those spike walls, so you may need to switch to super speed to get past them: I recommend going the bottom path since you have plenty of room to run there. Another really short level.
A level that's fully vertical. Be very mindful of where you drop, because you can die really easily to falling. There's also a really weird set of moving platforms at the bottom left of the map. There are three of them and they move around this center point like a ferris wheel. There is zero reason to be over here, as there are no rewards and there's a pit of spikes underneath the platforms.
The moving horizontal platform at the start doesn't take you anywhere. If you're really courageous, you can use the horizontal momentum gained from the platform to shoot yourself to the right and land on the nearest right platform. This is the only scary part of the level, as after you pass the Giant Pit of Doom getting the coin and the exit is trivial. I think even the developers are starting to get tired of making levels. That apparently seems to be the case, as the end of this level takes me all the way to level 163! So much for having to beat over 100 levels: I'm going to be free soon!
A beehive which sits in one place, shooting bees out in random directions. If a bee touches you….. nothing happens. I thought this was an enemy. It's actually just a background element that spawns bees that are also background elements. I was so bored these past few levels and this beehive got me excited and it was going to be such a cool thing to talk about and why doesn't THIS BEEHIVE DO ANYTHING?
On the bright side, it looks like I was right! The dog is at the end of the level! Marker Man finally reunites with his companion and the game ends. Thank you everybody for being a part of this crazy journey; it was difficult at times, but in the end I'm just glad it's…. wait.
There's more to the game.
I'm back to level 13.
And the background music changed.
I did the next sensible thing and died so I could game over. However, when I pressed continue, I started back at level 13. There's actually checkpoints in this game! There was a dumb cutscene of marker man, the dog, and a rabbit chasing each other, so that plus the music transition must have signified that I'm in a new world now, and new worlds are checkpoints. Excellent. I lost all my markers though, so that sucks.
This level is huge. I'm honestly surprised I mapped it as well as I have. Near the far right of the level is a giant tree with three floors. The higher the floor, the more skilled you are, only getting to the top is mandatory because that's where the coin is to complete the level. The way I did it involved a lot of timing and momentum to move from one moving platform to the other, but you could just go to the end of the level, ride the end platform up and then go backwards from there.
I'm starting to notice the subtleties of this game. The squeak of marker man's jumps. The quacking of shoe boy (it quacks?). The background music looping after 12 seconds. At least it's softer music so I don't mind it repeating as much. It helps to soften the rage whenever I die. The first part of the level is so boring you'd think the developers used up all of their creative ability on the previous level, but then all of a sudden, there's water .
This is one of the rare times where the hero is better in water than on land. When in water, marker man can swim in any direction for as long as he likes: however, there is a drowning system. Without the swim power up, marker man will slowly start to lose HP. At first it's about 1 HP per second, but that loss increases the longer you stay in the water. I've made it go up to over 10 HP per second loss and it still climbs, so there's probably no limit to how much damage you'll eventually take in the water. That's not usually a problem, though. The problem is getting out of the water. Marker man has a hard time escaping. To escape, you have to swim up until marker man is out of the water temporarily, then latch on to a nearby platform to climb up it.
Anyways, there are three branching paths and I am going to have to visit every one of them.
This looks like it's going to get really messy, so I'm going to save the branching out for the next post.
Because the first world is complete, I thought it would be neat to see all the connecting levels in one easy-to-see map. So, here it is!
If you look closely, there is a path to go through every level! 1 -> 2 -> 4 -> 3 -> 6 -> 151 -> 5 -> 7 and so on. In case you wanted to do that for some reason.