CC2LP1: A Review
#1
The day was May 28, 2015. I remember there was a chance I could come home from work early, so I did everything I could to make sure that happened. Of course, that was the day Chip's Challenge 2 was finally released. I actually never thought that day would come.

I remember reading about CC2 as a kid, even that there were some lucky beta-testers who had a copy of it, and I would daydream about somehow contacting one of them and they would be nice enough to give me a copy. I wondered who these beta-testers were, how did they get acquainted with Chuck to be able to be on that team? Do they realize how lucky they are? Do they still play it? There were only a few screenshots of CC2 and that video of Pigeon Holes. So many weird new features, it was a dream. It was actually #1 on my wish list of games that I wanted. But alas, that day will never come. There were so many new things about it that I didn't know. But I knew one thing: it would never be released. I knew about the rights-holder changing hands and the difficulty on aggreeing to terms and all that. I know how these things go. Who cares about a sequel to an old game that most people have never heard of? It'll just be one of those things that I will never get to experience and I accepted that. I became content with CC1 and moved on.

I couldn't explain to anyone around me my surprise when I heard the game was actually going to be released. You see, I'm the only one I know in my life who plays it. Sure, some of my friends played it when they were kids and it's a well known oddity among them that I still play it. They don't understand the appeal and so they wouldn't understand my excitement that my childhood wish was coming true. I didn't bother trying to explain. But suffice it to say, I was excited. So a countdown began in my mind for May 28. And I knew I was probably hyping it up too much and there was no way it was going to live up to my unreasonable expectations. But I was still going to enjoy it.

And then May 28 finally came. And what did I find? The game itself I enjoyed. I was finally able to play CC2! I didn't even know about boot dropping; I had to completely change the way I think in order to solve puzzles. I was overwhelmed by the potential of this game. But the levels reminded me so much of CCLP2, and for good reason, as CC2 was compiled in much the same way as CCLP2, and around the same time. Kinda neat how uniform the level design scene was, how even different designers could put out levels that had the same feel as those of CCLP2. Nothing against that set; I know it has its fans, but it's never been my favorite. In fact, I kind of dislike it... :scream:

Even the first time I played CCLP2, I was a kid and I could tell the levels were not up to par with the quality of the original set's. I don't think I had even played any custom sets yet and my general feeling was still, "They voted on these, and this is the best they could do?" I've come to appreciate CCLP2 more since but it is still far and away my least favorite of the official packs. But I couldn't help but have similar feelings about Chip's Challenge 2. All that potential, not wasted, but definitely underutilized. But I didn't want to lose perspective. I should just be happy that I could go and purchase this game myself and actually play it. I wanted to give CC2 credit where it was due. It threw a lot of stuff at the player and it did a decent job with what it had for the time. Sure it's not perfect, some of it is frustrating, the aforementioned Pigeon Holes being way less fun to execute than anticipated. I couldn't really be disappointed, but at the same time I wondered what the community of level designers now could do with this, and the thought of a future CC2 community level pack excited me again.

In the years since CCLP2, level design took some big strides, and the quality skyrocketed in my opinion. Nothing reinvigorated my love for the game like CCLP3. For years, it was my favorite official level pack. A few years ago, I posted a review for the newly released CCLP4 and made this comment: "Overall, I loved it. I can say with pretty good certainty that this set was better than CCLP3, which means it's my favorite!"

"Pretty good certainty." I was calculating my opinion of CCLP4 like it was a math problem. Since I knew the levels beforehand, voted on all of them, and many of the ones I wanted got in, I assumed that meant it was now my favorite. But it's not really about number of levels you like, it's more about gut feeling. And now when I look back, there was nothing like that feeling I got playing through CCLP3 for the first time. Although I have my issues with the end of that set, there are still so many levels that made a deep impression on me, that make the set as a whole more special to me than the CCLP's that came after. Maybe it was because I had not voted on CCLP3 (I think the only levels I was familiar with prior to its release were the levels from CheeseT1 and DanielB1 and 2, and of course my own.) Every level a new discovery. It made for the most unique playing experience, certainly more memorable for me than CCLP1 and 4, where I played every single level in voting. Despite what I had posted about CCLP4, CCLP3 was still my favorite.

That is, until now.

I knew I wasn't going to have the time anymore to play through the voting packs, so I decided to just wait and see what the community came up with for CC2LP1. Being largely unfamiliar with any of the CC2 custom scene, I expected to see some extremely creative puzzles, and the community DELIVERED. I was a little afraid that some of the levels would be too high of a difficulty for me to solve. Nothing approached the threshold of Old Frog, but there were still some very hard ones. There were a few I needed help on, a few I had to straight up watch the replay, but in my opinion, they got the difficulty just right. It wasn't just puzzles though, there were all kinds of levels, and the emphasis seemed to be on FUN, as it should be. Even the level count of 200 over 149 helped out the set, because there is just so much to love. I feel like it is the perfect number. That greatly increases its replay value for years to come.

Now I don't have trouble with deciding what my favorite official set is, I can feel it in my gut. CC2LP1 was everything I had hoped CC2 would be as a kid. It somehow exceeded those expectations. Incredibly inventive, deliciously clever at times, not too easy, not too hard, and that is what puts it above CCLP3 for me. And there is something to be said about not knowing any of the levels beforehand. Thank you to everyone who worked hard on this project. Congratulations on making what is, in my opinion, our community's crowning achievement.

Looking back at it, there really isn't a bad level in the set. I will now post some of my thoughts on certain levels that stood out my first time through:

#13 Temporary Housing: One of the only levels I was familiar with because I had just played it a few weeks prior in the CC3D2020 DLC. What a mouthful.

#86 Hydrochloric Acid Factory Disaster: Super fun level and bonus.

#97 Around the Corner: I really love yellow teleport puzzles like this. Getting the bonus was fun too.

#114 Pairing Off: This was really hard for me. I'm not used to pop-up puzzles where you have to finish where you started from and somehow that made it so much more difficult.

#118 Phantoms: The first level I needed help on, but it was a very simple thing I was missing.

#129 Small Matters: Amazing how much can be crammed into such a small space. Really neat level.

#153 Slow-Motion Hallway Fight Sequence: I really like this one. And the title too.

#163 Boot Warehouse: Maybe my favorite Josh level in the set. Just beating the level was one thing, but figuring out how to get the bonus was a lot of fun.

#165 Cold Comfort: Extremely devious little puzzle. It was so satisfying to figure out though, and I'm surprised I did it without help. Whenever I saw 'By H.' after a level title I pretty much knew it was going to trip me up.

#178 Tank of Justice: Still have no idea what is up with that 2nd bowling ball or how to get any of the bonuses.

#179 Oversaturated Contrast: Another stumper. I actually looked at JB's LP to figure out a section. Didn't realize I could just consult the replay. Yep, it was the trap room.

#180 Slither: I noticed a lot of the Tyler levels had a gimmick that was really frustrating to me the first time through, but I came to appreciate them later. This is probably my favorite.

#182 Two Minds: Oh man, this might have been the toughest level in the whole set for me. I was kinda able to just wing it on Lady in the Water earlier and found a solution that worked, but this seemed way more strict. Unfortunately I had to resort to cheating off of JB's paper again.

#187 Return Strategies: A really devious level that I'm surprised I got so fast. I really loved this one.

#188 Noen Cheoc: Really satisfying to solve. I kinda figured it out on accident, not really sure whether what I was doing was right. Joshua Bone might have the best batch of levels in my opinion.

#190 Blocko's Modern Life: Ok maybe this was my favorite Tyler level. I love that this title exists.

#191 Leaving It All Behind: Just an epic level. Super hard.

#192 Sequence: I was super stumped on this level. But I think it was Jeffrey who gave me the best hint ever: There is a hint in a previous Andrew Menzies level that I had completely forgotten about. After a thorough search, I was able to finally solve it. That was a great feeling.

#193 Connected Component: I was determined not to cheat on this one, but it had me stumped for a long time. Eventually, I'm proud to say I was able do it without help. But now, don't ask me how I did it.

#195 Teleblast: Another yellow teleport J. Bone puzzle that you have to be really careful to solve. But man is it satisfying.

#196 The Girl Who Was Left Behind: I needed help from Jeffrey again. A solid level.

#200 Swivel Castle: A pretty fitting finale level. It was nice to end on a not too hard note.

Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoyed.
~Bowman
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#2
Thanks for sharing, I loved reading your story! A lot of recognition in there. Isn't this game and the community just the best Heart
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#3
(27-Jan-2021, 7:20 AM)Ida Wrote: Thanks for sharing, I loved reading your story! A lot of recognition in there. Isn't this game and the community just the best Heart
Pretty much.

Thanks Ida.
~Bowman
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