Ended up playing this a bit after Danny's review. Will try to keep things kinda brief:
In terms of map edits to the Evergreen area, I absolutely adored it! The texture work is really nice alongside the darker Evergreen map lighting from Level 4. It creates a really magical Christmas atmosphere that drenches the entire Level and just looks really nice. You even went above and beyond with some extra props to sell the Christmas theme, such as the 'MERRY XMAS' sign on the top of the Flanders' household. Some of the map edits caught my surprise too, such as the wreck and some of the trailers now being absent
. It manages to squeeze quite a bit of life out of a map I assume most players are well familiar with at this point and makes some of the collectible hunting (such as the Snowman Heads) feel fairly refreshing. I especially liked the extension to the school interior, even if it's appearance is fairly brief and it's usage is limited due to the nature of interiors. I did notice two bugs though. One is that interior-based gags seem to play regardless of what interior I'm in? I managed to hear the 'Patio Furniture' gag from Ned and Homer while in Bart's Room. I also noticed that the new trigger for the Bart the Murderer
reference in The Simpsons Household has a fairly large trigger. If you activate the trigger too close to the exit of the interior, the game can crash.
The texture edits that I praised also extend to the coins which are now chocolate, which I thought was a nice touch! And thankfully, there's quite a few things to spend your Chocolate Coins on such as some slightly edited cars, or entirely new ones (such as your previosuly released Try-N-Save Ride, which is always a treat to see and fitting given Milhouse's prominence in the mod). It all totals around to 7, which is definitely some of the most amount of car-based rewards I've seen in a mod, so there's definitely some replay value just to grab them all and try them out. The costumes were surprisingly original and diverse too. Ninjas and Valve references aren't quite Christmas-y, but it's a fun surprise much like Nightbane's mod and I ended up playing through most of the mod with the Valve outfit on.
I actually don't think the missions were too bad and there were some interesting concepts (Spybreak
), but there is some issues with most of the missions revolving around the player moving to the Simpsons Household, the Van's location, or both in the same mission. There are some missions that deviate from this formula (Oh My Principal
) and those end up feeling pretty refreshing. While I also liked Spybreak's concept of beating up the bullies in order to find out where your friends are, the key hunt takes up a considerable amount of the mission and overshadows the concept. It's hurt slightly by Bart having to run back and forth between each key. This issue could easily be resolved if all three keys were collected in the same stage, and then the unlocking is done afterwards.
Despite all of that though, I had a really great time with the mod and enjoyed exploring Evergreen with the Winter theme! A lot of the texture edits from the general terrain, the sky, to the collectibles, to even your cars was great fun to see and was oddly very calming with the Winter theme chosen. The missions have some really cool concepts too even though I think there is some slightly odd padding between objectives, but it's still a really fun entry given yet another tight time limit to produce it. Well done!