Strawberry Jam Collab/The Solar Express

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The Solar Express

Creator Soloiini
Collab Strawberry Jam Collab
Strawberries 3 1
Difficulty Grandmaster
Soundtrack Ultraviolet, Mauveine
The Solar Express is a cracked difficulty Grandmaster map made by Soloiini. The map features Madeline progressing through a broken-down train called the Solar Express while carrying a crystal. The crystal must be used to power the train and get it moving again. The gameplay takes place both inside the train and outside, in the asteroid belt.

Location[edit | edit source]

The Solar Express is located in the top left corner of the Grandmaster lobby.

The pedestal can be seen with a strange planet in the background, as well as a couple of crystal and rock decals. The tiles are themed to be like an asteroid.

Story[edit | edit source]

This map features an in-depth story with great character development and world-building.

Setting[edit | edit source]

File:Train Front.png
The front of the Solar Express

The Solar Express is set in an asteroid belt in space, near a strange, hovering train which got involved in an unknown accident. The train, appropriately named the Solar Express, is now stationary and unable to move, and has not received any help due to the absurdity of the situation. It is unknown to the player how exactly The Solar Express ended up in this situation.

Plot[edit | edit source]

Show/hide content

As Madeline enters the train, the first person she meets is the conductor. This character seems to be made completely of fire but still manages to have decent clothing on. The conductor has given up hope of getting out of their situation, but they seem content living as long as necessary in the belt. Madeline takes it upon herself to find a way to give power to the train and get it moving again. Soon after, Madeline finds a crystal which seems to hold some energy in it. She begins to carry this crystal through the planet, taking breaks to occasionally explore the interior of the Solar Express.

The Overseer

After progressing further, Madeline soon meets a character made of purple fire. This character is posted at some sort of communications system and reveals that they are there at the request of someone named Venus. Venus has asked them to "oversee a resource extraction operation in the belt." This person remarks on the number of crystals on the belt.

  • When asked about who Venus is, the overseer will tell Madeline that Venus gave them purpose. The still unnamed character will also talk about how they remade their own form in Venus' image.
    File:Crystal Fish.png
    The Endangered Species
  • Madeline also has the option to ask the character if they are a geologist. They say that a geologist is one thing Madeline can call them. Madeline will also ask about a map. The geologist will tell Madeline that the map is classified, but she may be able to sneak a peek if she checks out a strange endangered species nearby and brings back a verbal report. Venus apparently told the team excavating the belt not to disturb the species, but does not care about a third party checking them out. The player can then go see the species themselves, which turn out to just be crystallized pufferfish. Upon telling the geologist that the fish are indeed just fish, they will remark that having the fish out of the way will make work easier. They will also offer to put in a good word for Madeline to Venus, which Madeline will take.

After the interaction with the geologist, Madeline will progress further to find another red fire character named Cornelius J. Betelflame. Cornelius is not only made of fire, but he also has the Japanese and Chinese symbol for big/great (大) on his otherwise blank face, a character featured prominently in the daimonji festival where a bonfire in the shape of 大 is lit. Cornelius is an actor and self-proclaimed celebrity, although Madeline appears to have never heard of him. Betelflame complains about his current situation and how he is stuck on the asteroids. After voicing his complaints, he asks Madeline why she came to the Solar Express. Madeline tells him that she isn't sure anymore, and gets upset that she has been carrying the crystal to the train's power source without any help from others. Betelflame sees her situation and tells her he might be able to help if they go to his luxury suite. He then disappears and leaves behind a portal that sucks Madeline in (Makes the player wonder why he couldn't just teleport out of the asteroid belt!).

Madeline wakes up inside the Solar Express, alone. Madeline begins to carry the crystal through the train again until she makes it to where Cornelius is sitting. She gets upset and says that she thought she could trust him, to which Cornelius responds that he finds it sad that she thought to trust a famous actor. He tells Madeline to give him the crystal she's been carrying, but she refuses. Cornelius does not seem bothered by this and instead responds that he would like to see her try to get out of the train. He says that, eventually, she will grow tired of trying to escape and just give him the crystal. If Madeline fails the proceeding room enough times, Betelflame will tell Madeline that he is disappointed that she isn't acting well. He reveals that he has been looking for someone on the asteroid belt with some semblance of acting potential to no avail. This information just gets Madeline more upset and determined to escape from the train.

File:Cornelius J. Betelflame.png
Cornelius in his suite

As Madeline progresses through the next room, the train starts to leak oil, which slowly rises and kills Madeline if she touches it. When the player finally clears the room, Madeline gets trapped and cannot escape the oil, until Cornelius randomly saves her. Cornelius is now suddenly convinced that Madeline is a great actor and would do well in the field. Madeline declines his offer to work with him. Betelflame then says that Madeline has retrieved the one ticket that he needs to get out of the asteroid belt and that he really sees potential in her based on what he's seen of her ability to maneuver with and carry the crystal. He is also impressed by her sheer determination to get the crystal through. When Madeline asks Cornelius why he trapped her in a room with an oil leak, he says it's so that he could activate her acting potential by putting her in a real situation, or, in other words, 'method acting.' Madeline is slightly upset but gets over it quickly, and then Cornelius tells her that she can take the crystal to the boiler room just outside and finally activate the Solar Express. Madeline takes one last trip outside and finally throws the crystal into the boiler, revealing the crystal heart which ends the level.

(WOW. That is a lot of plot for a single map with about 13 rooms of actual gameplay. Great job to Soloiini and Valkyria for coming up with that narrative.)

Gameplay[edit | edit source]

File:Solar Crystal.png
The crystal

The Solar Express features gameplay centered around the crystal throwable, which acts just like a Theo crystal. Players are expected to have a mastery of throwable smuggles as they dash through dream blocks and perform many tricks. The map also teaches players how to dream hyper while smuggling a throwable, which requires some very precise inputs. The player is also expected to master what they are taught to pass the many challenges in the map.

File:Dream Spikes.png
Dream Spikes

The map does not use any custom mechanics, but it does use a custom entity in the form of dream spikes. These spikes line the side of a dream block and will kill the player if touched without having dashed into them.