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The Frosted Maze solution...


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#1 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 6:28 AM

It seems to be an acknowledged fact that the Candy Cove stage in Christmas Carol is the deadliest, most hated level of the game.  I know I hate it with the burning passion of ten-thousand suns, and many people have expressed their deep distress at losing life after life of an otherwise successful play run, once they reach that level -- especially on the higher difficulty ranks.

 

However, year after year, basic statistics extracted from the player's entries of the Carol vs. The World! Championship reflect a different reality:  Frosted Maze, the second stage of the adventure, is as deadly -- and at times even deadlier -- than the infamous Candy Cove itself! :o

 

To me this is not only surprising, but very disturbing, for I find this level to be one of the easiest ones.  It is a stage in which I can always get a Perfect Score, no matter the difficulty, and no matter how many mistakes I make.  In fact, time after time, I make mistakes and keep hitting that Ghost and resetting the presents -- but no matter how long it takes, I always manage to recover by cleverly exploiting the "platform" level design to keep the Snowman away.

 

This leads to fun sessions of several minutes to complete a single board, losing the presents as fast as I can pick them up, until eventually I complete it.  Always a "Perfect" score.

 

So in order to help those elves who for some reason or another haven't manage to figure out the Frosted Maze environment, I present to you...

 

The Frosted Maze Solution.

 

Here's a video of me casually playing this level.  Notice that there is no real pattern, and no real strategy, just an overall idea of where to go.

 

 

Things to note on that video that may help you succeed:

  • Once the Snowman enters a "platform," he is committed to it until he gets to the other side.  Use this to your advantage by making sure to stay on the opposite side of where he's going.
  • Avoid the center platforms; there is a split level in there that helps the Snowman be able to switch directions and get on your tail.
  • If you must enter the center platforms, stay close to the tunnels and flip back and forth to make sure you are always in the opposite side of the Snowman.  Then, when the coast is clear, dash in, pick up whatever, and return to the tunnel!
  • Try to pick up the center candy first.  Presents and Snowflakes you'll get while running around, but that center is dangerous and clearing the candy will help you get a Perfect score.
  • Mind the candy and snowflake positions around the presents -- especially on the last one!  Remember that once you enter a "platform" corridor you will get stuck in that direction if the Ghost or Snowman enters after you.  That means that, if there is a candy or a snowflake after it, you won't be able to get from the side you're on if it is the last present.
  • Try to clear candy first, ignore presents (mostly).  Stay close to a tunnel, wait for an appropriate moment when the coast is clear, dash in and pick up some candies surrounding the presents, then bolt out and back to the tunnel area.  With the screen cleared of candy, it's easier to get a perfect score.
  • Take your time, don't rush.  Use the tunnels as a safe spot and clear the board by sections:  go in, pickup, get out and back to tunnel.  Wash, rinse, repeat until you get all candy, snowflakes, and presents.
  • Remember that when you pick up a present, the Ghost will turn around and go to it!  It is best to just wait until he is away to pick one up.
  • Remember also that a Snowman will flip directions if you eat a Snowflake, so make sure he is in another level or far away before eating one.
  • Ignore the Ghost (mostly).  Your enemy is the Snowman, who can kill you.  The Ghost is annoying, and it is certainly frustrating to lose all your presents in a flash; but don't fret.  As long as you avoid the Snowman, you are still in play, and you can recover.  Go back to the tunnel area and do the dash-pickup-escape routine again.

 

I know that people may have patterns for this level, but I don't think they are necessary.  I feel it is more fun to actually use some clever techniques to avoid danger, and observe the behaviour of the enemies.

 

If anybody else has any other tips or tricks on how to beat the Frosted Maze stage, please post them here.

 

Now, everyone, on to play and post your contest entries! :)

 

     -dZ.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:34 AM.


#2 intellivotion OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 8:20 AM

... I'm not sure I want to read the solution....



#3 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 9:50 AM

... I'm not sure I want to read the solution....


It's more if a "tips and tricks" than an actual solution. It's definitely not a pattern or a cheat.

#4 pimpmaul69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:18 AM

Video doesnt work.

#5 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:25 AM

Video doesnt work.


I'm uploading to Vimeo to have it embedded. In the meantime, here's a link:
http://www.carolvsgh... - Solution.mov

#6 pimpmaul69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 11:36 AM

I'm uploading to Vimeo to have it embedded. In the meantime, here's a link:
http://www.carolvsgh... - Solution.mov

good stuff.

#7 Fushek OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 1:35 PM

  • Avoid the center platforms; there is a split level in there that helps the Snowman be able to switch directions and get on your tail.
  • If you must enter the center platforms, stay close to the tunnels and flip back and forth to make sure you are always in the opposite side of the Snowman.  Then, when the coast is clear, dash in, pick up whatever, and return to the tunnel!

 

Yep ... the center is where you get into trouble!  I like to shoot through the tunnel first just to get to the present on the right and leave that snowflake there for later when I need it!

 

This is one of the levels that if the ghost does get you, you can still survive if you are PATIENT.  Don't freak out if the ghost gets you, just avoid the snowman and dart in and out of the tunnel, picking up presents one or maybe two at a time.  I get into trouble when I rush and/or panic over the ghost!



#8 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 4:41 PM

I'm asking a moderator to grant me access to edit the first post, but in the meantime, here's the video from vimeo:

 

UPDATE: Top post edited.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Thu Dec 10, 2015 5:02 PM.


#9 pimpmaul69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Thu Dec 10, 2015 7:36 PM

I go for the middle presents and snowflake last. I can get a perfect score most of the time. If i eff up the direction im trying to go i might die on it.

#10 intvnut OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:08 AM

I find this particularly interesting, as this is the one and only level in Carol that I actually contributed*.   :D    I never intended this level to be hard; however, I guess it has its subtleties.  :evil:  The long-horizontal-path dynamic (and how it affected the Snowman) was on my mind, though, when I made it.  Like dZ, I tend to clear out the middle first when I play it.

 

I'm off to go watch the video now...

 

EDIT:  I like the "wiggle to get Snowman's attention" ploy in the video.  Awesome.

 

_______________

*I believe dZ did edit it a bit; I provided the main layout and he took it to production.


Edited by intvnut, Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:20 AM.


#11 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 1:24 AM

Man, for some reason, my skills just disappeared.  I'm having trouble getting to 300 points without dying, and my best score in the last 3 days was 977.

 

Something terrible has happened.  :(



#12 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:15 AM

I go for the middle presents and snowflake last. I can get a perfect score most of the time. If i eff up the direction im trying to go i might die on it.

 

How can you die in there?  I mean, likw Fushek said, as long as you are patient, there is no way to die.  Just go back to the tunnel area and perform the dash-pickup-escape routine, one present at a time. :)

 

Man, for some reason, my skills just disappeared.  I'm having trouble getting to 300 points without dying, and my best score in the last 3 days was 977.

 

Something terrible has happened.   :(

 

Ah... the game is learning from your game-play and adapting.  (No, not really! :lol:) Perhaps you need a break from your 47-hour Christmas Carol marathon...? :ponder:

 

Just remember to have fun, that's the name of the game.  And don't forget to spend some time with family and friends, drink some eggnog and eat a cookie!  Christmas Time is the bestest! :)

 

 

     -dZ.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Fri Dec 11, 2015 5:15 AM.


#13 pimpmaul69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 10:09 AM

 
How can you die in there?  I mean, likw Fushek said, as long as you are patient, there is no way to die.  Just go back to the tunnel area and perform the dash-pickup-escape routine, one present at a time. :)
 
 
Ah... the game is learning from your game-play and adapting.  (No, not really! :lol:) Perhaps you need a break from your 47-hour Christmas Carol marathon...? :ponder:
 
Just remember to have fun, that's the name of the game.  And don't forget to spend some time with family and friends, drink some eggnog and eat a cookie!  Christmas Time is the bestest! :)
 
 
     -dZ.

i dont generally die in there. But sometimes rearely it happens using the disc when im toying with the snowman and i try to go one direction and the disc has other plans

#14 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 11, 2015 3:06 PM

As Fushek said, it's important to not freak out when the ghost hits you. It's not that hard to avoid snowman in this level, so take your time.

 

I think the snowflake in the middle corridor makes it very easy to get that present.

I let both middle snowflake and present for last place in my list. With that snowflake, I'm much more calm when the ghost hits me. :)



#15 Illtiger1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 7:57 AM

Tip of the day: by the third beer, your nerves are settled thus providing the best opportunities for a high score.  The snowman's howl, at first fearful, becomes a tuneful croon setting you along on your merry way.



#16 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 12, 2015 8:12 AM

Tip of the day: by the third beer, your nerves are settled thus providing the best opportunities for a high score.  The snowman's howl, at first fearful, becomes a tuneful croon setting you along on your merry way.

 

Great tip, Illtiger1! :)  Now... where's your score? ;)



#17 Illtiger1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 15, 2015 7:27 PM

IMG_20151204_224247.jpg



#18 pimpmaul69 OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:22 PM

IMG_20151204_224247.jpg

you need to post this over in the carol vs the world thread.

Edited by pimpmaul69, Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:22 PM.


#19 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Dec 15, 2015 8:37 PM

 

 

you need to post this over in the carol vs the world thread.

 

It's all good, I got it. :)



#20 Illtiger1 OFFLINE  

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Posted Wed Dec 16, 2015 6:30 PM

Thanks for moving my pic to the correct thread DZ.  Amazing some of the scores on there.   


Edited by Illtiger1, Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:08 PM.


#21 DZ-Jay OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:50 AM

I find this particularly interesting, as this is the one and only level in Carol that I actually contributed*.   :D    I never intended this level to be hard; however, I guess it has its subtleties.  :evil:  The long-horizontal-path dynamic (and how it affected the Snowman) was on my mind, though, when I made it.  Like dZ, I tend to clear out the middle first when I play it.

 

I'm off to go watch the video now...

 

EDIT:  I like the "wiggle to get Snowman's attention" ploy in the video.  Awesome.

 

_______________

*I believe dZ did edit it a bit; I provided the main layout and he took it to production.

 

Yes, I forgot to mention it in this post, but I've made sure you get the credit for this level.  It is really one of my favourites. :)

 

By the way, I didn't really edited, at least I don't recall changing it at all.  I know that I created the custom tile set because originally we were only working with solid "ice-cubes," and I may have moved the presents and snowflakes around (though again, I don't recall touching it at all).  I did adjust the level parameters to make it fit within the rest of the progression.

 

I also recall that, in the original line-up, this level was fourth, and Candy Cove was second.  Candy Cove was supposed to be an easy level with the challenge only when you want to get a Perfect Score (since there is so much candy around).  However, in practice, it turned out to be quite hard! :o

 

After much waffling and discussion, I decided to switch them.  I really found Frosted Maze very easy, and I was already starting to resent the evil soul of Candy Cove.  Then I tweaked the parameters of each to make them fit appropriately in their new place within the line-up.  So, I guess that's why they are so close in deadlitude.   :)

 

Christmas Carol Fun Fact:  Joe created Frosted Maze using a custom maze editor he created from the game code itself.  It was crude, but usable; and it let you design levels and then play and test them.  Our idea was to use this to make all the other levels, but for some reason we never used it for anything else.  I guess I found it easier (at least for me) to design the levels in ASCII maps, as I had in the past.

 

We also always intended to include the maze editor in the production release, along with the Practice Menu I made and the flash-mem High Score Table that Joe built.  However, for some reason the maze editor fell through the cracks and was completely forgotten.  I know I still have it somewhere.  Perhaps I'll release the ROM someday in a "Super Pro Christmas Carol Construction Set" edition. :)

 

  -dZ.


Edited by DZ-Jay, Sat Dec 19, 2015 7:53 AM.


#22 intvnut OFFLINE  

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Posted Fri Dec 25, 2015 4:40 PM


We also always intended to include the maze editor in the production release, along with the Practice Menu I made and the flash-mem High Score Table that Joe built.  However, for some reason the maze editor fell through the cracks and was completely forgotten.  I know I still have it somewhere.  Perhaps I'll release the ROM someday in a "Super Pro Christmas Carol Construction Set" edition. :)

 

Completely forgotten, indeed!  I forgot I wrote that.  But I still have it checked in my repository.  If you ever want me to send you another copy let me know.  The copy I have isn't actually integrated with your engine at all, though.  It's just a screen editor that knows the tile set, and has buttons for placing candy, ice cubes, snow flakes, and the presents.  I think you may have taken my screen shots and transcribed them to ASCII manually.  After all, each screen isn't very large.

 

I also have the high-score leaderboard code too.

 

Hurray for source control!



#23 Opry99er ONLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 26, 2015 1:10 AM

Hey DZ Jay...

Here is another method. I play this level like a robot... Same lines every time, straight mechanical pattern play. There are two levels I do this on... Frosted Maze and Freezer Burn. The others I typically play as you suggest; loose and free, focusing on behavior.

I thought I would post this video here... I hope you don't mind. :)



Edited by Opry99er, Sat Dec 26, 2015 1:11 AM.


#24 LidLikesIntellivision OFFLINE  

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Posted Sat Dec 26, 2015 6:06 AM

Hey DZ Jay...

Here is another method. I play this level like a robot... Same lines every time, straight mechanical pattern play. There are two levels I do this on... Frosted Maze and Freezer Burn. The others I typically play as you suggest; loose and free, focusing on behavior.

I thought I would post this video here... I hope you don't mind. :)


It's a very familiar pattern, I like it and I use it too. :)

I have patterns for all levels but I don't recommend playing any of them with a strong 'mechanical pattern play' mindset.

I think the better approach is to divide a big pattern in sectors and understand why it works in every sector.

That way, when the ghost hits you, you can recover easily.






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