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Stereo Madness: A Critical Analysis

Stereo Madness: A Critical Analysis

We all remember what it was like; opening Geometry Dash for the first time and playing Stereo Madness. I'm here, 4-5 years after that moment happened for me, to give a critical analysis of everyone's first level.

Starting with the first cube section, the first few jumps are decently varied in presentation, especially how the third, fourth and fifth jumps are handled.
At around 10% is where — in my opinion — it really starts to bring its identity forward. I have to applaud the way the structures and ground spikes are handled in that first section, it makes it feel very organic, especially with the half blocks transporting you between the two platforms at 13% to 17%.

The section after has some unique jumps for the level, jumping onto half blocks to go over some spikes below followed by doing the opposite by falling into the pit to avoid jumping to the spikes above, leading to the floating platform segment (all of the floating platform segments are incredibly good for an introductory level) and jumping into the corridor leading to the first ship section, building incredible tension to what's next.

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The first ship of Stereo Madness really subverts your expectation on what Geometry Dash can hold, graciously giving you a small segment to get a hang on the controls before making the area more dangerous. It gives you time to think of what could come next.

In the second cube segment it immediately feels like an upgrade from the first, especially in the structuring of the first few seconds. The first coin placement is also very well done, taking advantage of the decoration blocks and pillars in the part. The first bit of the cube segment does have a lot of pillars. I feel as if it really plays to its strengths of how they are unique as you are going through the level for the first time. The part after, however, I feel can be lackluster at times. Some of the structures feel disjointed — as if they were built independently from each other and just put in the same segment. Although each structure individually is quite nice.

An ingenious fake in that area is the segment with no jumps and just a four block wide structure preventing you from jumping while having nothing around for you to jump on or over. The jumps at 72% are some very good ones, being very climactic for nearing the end of the level. The second coin placement in the level is good. The players sense of finding paths where they wouldn't expect them to be and rewarding them for it is an incredible design decision. The heavy use of half block platforms in the leadup to the second ship segment also feels very climactic.

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The final segment is great, having heavily built upon structures and a masterful coin route. Being the final segment, it gives the level very good closure with how well spaced everything is from each other while still being part of one core design.

The third and final coin in Stereo Madness is my personal favorite, and from what I know, most other players like it as well. It tests your ship control and skill while also introducing a new gameplay concept.

As a general level, Stereo Madness is an amazing introduction to the game, being a test of skill and a test of the players ability to adapt. Not to mention the sync in the level is great and the level feels as though the song was made for it, which is always the sign of a good level.

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