Part 10: Simon talks about Wolfang Amadeus CrapstageBlizzard Wolfang
I really don't like this stage, and this might colour my commentary a little, so take it with a grain of salt. I've heard quite a few people express that they like it decently enough already, and can't really fathom why, so my piece on it, and maybe we can discuss what I'm writing for once!
So, the beginning part has actually a neat idea at its base. That is, it's designed in a way (and let's be generous and give them credit for it because while I personally don't like playing Blizzard Wolfang, it's by no means atrociously bad) so that you can dash-jump up the slops just in time to avoid all the avalanches.
Them coming out of nowhere still makes no sense as Eph rightfully mentioned but let's ignore that.
The good part of the idea is that being speedy carries the risk of getting hit if you're not speedy enough, but rewards you by not having to wait. I think designing difficulty in a way that punishment for failure is just a little dampening of your enjoyment, if done tastefully, is a great thing. Recent games that do this very right are Sonic Generations (fuck up and you land on the lower path - less fast and fun, but you get to keep the gameplay flow going) and Rayman Origins (everything, and I mean everything, is designed to be taken as fast as possible, so you're only making the platforming harder by not trusting the system). X6, however, misses the key component of the "little" dampening. If you find yourself having gone too slowly, you get to wait for a solid five seconds in a pit. That's not fun! If you're unlucky enough to have activated Shield Sheldon's Nightmare effect, you'll get pestered by clones all the way, too. So swing and a miss.
Next section isn't any better. You can go fast and avoid most of the avalanches, but it's just not done well enough to get you through all of it, waiting is a must. And that's not fun. Being shot at by a wolf you can't reach at all while waiting for the avalanche to pass by is barely more fun...oh wait. Sorry. It's less. The platforms are also stupidly small and slippery, I'm most decidedly not a fan. Again, this is far and away from the worst instances of level design in X6, I just don't think it's fun at all.
I can't comment much on the area around the portal. It's just kind of a mess and chock-full of Reploids they obviously had no idea of where to put otherwise, because the stage is so short. There's obviously far too many of those, why didn't they cut a few? Might have spared "FFFF" from existing. Oh, and lest I forget, Keiji having the Ultimate Buster is kind of funny in a sad way.
The "Tetris pits" (or, as Eph rightfully put, more like Yoshi's Island 2-1 pits) are a gigantic pain and I hate them the most in this level. Seeing as I usually play X, and unarmored at that, you can't just get out of them with a timely double jump, it's an incredibly boring waiting game with just the right amount of randomness to fuck you over just because at points. You know, they actually realized that getting stuck between two columns that are higher than one block will leave you with no out unless you have the Blade Armor, as walljumping is impossible. So when you find yourself in that situation, the game will auto-kill you. That's surprisingly forethinking of them. You know what would have been better? Not making the whole thing so fucking stupid in the first place!
The final section, in contrast to Eph's complaints, I actually like. It's a far, far better implementation of the falling ice block thing, keeps you on your toes and yes, it's random and thusly can make it really hard four you when trying to go for the Reploids, but I'm okay with that. Especially in the context of X6 and how it handles some Reploid positions at other points...
Blizzard Wolfang is a fucking joke. He hides in the shadows and you can only see his glowing eye, yet his portrait is normally visible because the game was designed by lazy people in case that wasn't abundantly clear so far. Then the fight begins and he's the easiest boss in X6 by far, hell, in all of the PSX games probably. You can do with him whatever you want, there's no threat whatsoever. Shitty boss for a very mediocre stage, and still one of the best combinations in X6!