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Level: Land of the Rising Sun back home search
Author(s): illyaine
total rating:9.07 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Aims 9 10 10 9
CC 9 10 10 10
Deekman 9 8 8 9
DJ Full 8 8 8 8
eTux 7 7 7 6
Gerty 8 10 10 10
Gill 10 9 10 10
Jay 9 10 10 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Jose 7 8 8 9
Kristina 8 10 10 10
MichaelP 8 8 10 10
Mytly 8 9 9 9
Phil 9 10 10 9
Relic Hunter 10 10 10 10
rtrger 9 10 10 10
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Samu 8 9 9 9
Sash 9 9 9 9
Treeble 9 10 10 10
Xxenofex 8 9 8 9
category averages
(21 reviews)
8.52 9.19 9.29 9.29

Reviewer's comments

"This is a smooth flowing and easily playable (meaning that the tasks aren't frustratingly difficult to figure and thus are easily accessible) three level set in an attractive setting. The first level is particularly pleasing to look at with its plunging waterfalls and nicely decorated pagoda interiors. The other two levels, being mostly underground, naturally aren't as attractive as the first, but are still nice enough. The gameplay throughout isn't that taxing (with even the tighter timed runs being accomplished easily after a few attempts), there are no complex puzzles (which can be a good or bad thing) and gameplay mainly involves acrobatic and trap sequences, plus the occasional torch puzzle. The enemy count is pretty low throughout which I didn't mind, and the secrets are nicely placed. Overall, maybe worth a go if you don't want something too complex or puzzling. It's certainly a treat visually." - Ryan (28-Feb-2018)

"This builder is a very good architect, the rooms are perfectly made, nice and well applied textures and excellent decoration with the use of new objects. The gameplay is fluid, and it's not easy to get stucked if you explore carefully the areas; I only had to revise the walkthrough in a couple of occasions, 'cause the trapdoors with the very small handle. Only the fist timed run was hard for me, but I never saw imagination to create innovative puzzles; too many switches to pull in all levels, too many gems to shoot in the last one, and a lot of gymnastics. The new enemies are cool, but I found very very few enemies in all levels. The secrets were not hard to find. Good work with the cameras in the first level, but I missed some more cameras and flybys in the remaining ones. Really an entertaining adventure worth to play, but don't expect great puzzles." - Jose (18-Jun-2017)

"Despite of consistent storyline development, the texturing choice per level is odd, so the game seems to begin in China, continue in England and end in Cambodia. In particular levels, too many corridors are painted alike, they end at too many switches of certain sort and I consistently missed some open space, but there are still many nicely crafted Oriental places to visit, which the golden skull room is paticularly remarkable of. Some new objects also need a highlight, especially the skull puzzles and the mystic blue orbs. SUMMARY: Has as many strong as weak spots. Still a nice try to check out. Recommended." - DJ Full (22-Aug-2015)

"For the second time in a matter of days I stumble upon a level that's highly esteemed in the community (it's even a 2006 inductee of the Hall of Fame!) and... well, is not in my eyes after actually playing it. Either a) I'm just that lucky; b) The level-set genuinely hasn't aged that well; or c) I've played far too many levels in between this one's original release and present day (including the impressive Jade Empire of the same author) to appreciate what others have at the time they reviewed it. Which one is it? Beats me, but a lot of things rubbed me the wrong way, and maybe my expectations were set unfairly high, considering this was the #4 highest rated oriental level at the time of me playing it. But I'll start with what I liked first. The best thing you can say about the gameplay is that it's relatively simple and fluent. I got stuck rarely through the 2 hours of net gaming it took me to finish this 3.5 level adventure, and only seldom had to resort to the walkthrough to help me through my stuck moments. Especially in the first level the camera guidance is rather adequate, so despite being sent all over the map, it is difficult to get lost. The enemies are cool samurais, fairy-wraiths, fish, crows, spiders and a really cool final boss, that at least for me was superior to the boss fight of Jade Empire, which I thought to be rather underwhelming. You encounter enough opponents to keep you busy, but this by no means ends up being a shooter. I also liked the use of a shimmy crack and crawlspace to reach a jumpswitch in the start of the game and the final torch puzzle was nicely involved. As far as looks go - I liked the starting area the most with the shallow water and floating huts. And maybe that's also where some of my disappointment comes from - since, judging from the title of the game and the initial area, I pretty much expected the entire venture to be set in Japan, but then for whatever reason the settings depart to rather drab looking Angel of Darkness inspired Parisian catacomb surroundings, and equally bland Angkor Wat lookalike areas in the final level. Besides the initial area, I can at most recall 1 visually memorable setting throughout the entire adventure and that doesn't speak volumes in favour for the game. And one has to admit, even at its best, the game is rather odd. Waterfalls come down in torrents from the roof of the hut you start the game in (where the heck does the water come from there?), decorative objects both here and later on in the game are placed rather oddly and listlessly, texturing is riddled with compressed, strangely applied and at times strangely chosen textures, room geometry unimpressive and for most part boxy, and you wouldn't have to look for additional examples too strenuously if you were so inclined. Even the gameplay with all its fluidity, with a bit more scrutiny applied, just plain doesn't make sense at times. As mentioned before - switches, pickups and the like seem to trigger events haphazardly and all over the place, lacking some logical relations between cause and consequence, thus sometimes having the tinge of being sent around the area just for the sake of it. "Who cares, as long as it's fun and entertaining?" you may ask. Well, if it isn't very noticeable, I would agree, but eventually the game ends up being so much about just running all over the map for that purpose with so little else to sink your teeth into, that noticing it did end up being at least part of my experience. I am not saying this makes it a bad game, but the other responses I've read have been rather perplexing. I was a bit unhappy about it misleading me into thinking it will be something else, but even at its best it has some glaring oddities that I am surprised never got pointed out (or at least matched in ratings) and that due to this it never received more varied reviews through the 7 years it has now been released to the public eye. For what it's worth, here is my alternative point of view, then. Found 4 secrets." - eTux (13-Sep-2011)

"Unfortunately, this level is no longer available for download on trle.net. Fortunately, it is available on the builder's own site, and that too, in what appears to be a slightly updated version (i.e. including a patched exe).
The game begins on a very high note - the first level is superb, and I was prepared to love this game thoroughly on the basis of that. But unfortunately, things go somewhat downhill in the second level, which has neither the lovely looks nor the amazing atmosphere of the first (though it's still pretty good in itself). The third one does remedy the situation to a certain extent, with a slightly better atmosphere, some beautiful locations as well as quite ingenious gameplay. The overall gameplay is mostly very easy (in the good sense, i.e. the tasks are intuitive), and there is rarely any pause in the very smooth flow. The first two levels are by and large only elaborate hunts for keys and switches. There are slightly trickier tasks in the last level, including a minor boss fight at the end, but nothing that even novice raiders would have trouble tackling. I particularly like the torch puzzles in the first and third levels.
The Japanese theme is strong in the first level, but the second and third levels, with their Cambodia textures, do not seem to be Japanese at all, except perhaps the Samurai warriors (which are a really nice touch, by the way). I love the colourful sky and the beautiful village that makes up the centrepiece of the first level, but the later levels feel dull in comparison. Most of the rooms look way too square and empty.
Overall: A mostly very nice and very relaxing levelset, though the quality is a bit uneven throughout. Recommended for anyone who likes Oriental-themed levels." - Mytly (22-Sep-2010)

"Wow, illyaine never fails to amaze me. Fantastic! Loved the main menu flyby, the enviroment, the musics...every part of this game. Well, maybe the gameplay was annoying at some places, but all in that it was very relaxing and nice. The main task is to solve a ton of puzzles, light lanterns, pull thousands of jumpswitches, collect keys and such in this not too linear levelpack. It's not hard, but not too easy. Absolutely recommended!" - rtrger (23-Jan-2010)

"I liked this game mainly because of its unique oriental setting. The environment and especially the first area looks very good and interesting containing nice textures, lighting and a good way to use different colors. Shapes of the rooms may look even a bit simple at times but all in all very good. This game has also some new objects and nicely retextured objects such as the blue ninja guys. Sometimes I found the gameplay to be slightly tedious containing very much switches and items to find. Hopefully author has included also some timed runs, push block puzzles, torch puzzle, nice flip map area etc. Despite some minus sides, I enjoyed this game really much and I recommend it for every raider." - Samu (22-Mar-2008)

"Another level that was on my re-play list as I was so stuck. Now I know what I missed and could slap myself. And to be honest I didn't mind at all as it is really a great set of levels. Right in the beginning I was mesmerized by the fireflies. This is exploring on its best, at least I think so. I had to admire many times at the details that went into this game. Every room has something, plain eye candy. The gameplay was rather fluent and as long as you keep your eyes wide open you can progress. Don't forget that revolver and sight are there for a reason, yes, practice shooting. The only problem I had was the tight rope, I hate it and I just couldn't do it on my computer. I wasn't the only one as my nephews both tried it and although they are really nibbled fingered, it didn't for some reason work. Those two parts I had to cheat. There are nice puzzles and also not too difficult timed runs. Of course I did loose the way but that is good as mostly I find secrets then and I got 7 I think. 09-09-2005" - Gerty (09-Sep-2005)

"Serenity. At first. The beginning of this series of levels takes place in a beautiful Japanese village, all the more interesting for the waterfalls in and around the dwellings and the fact that these little homes are surrounded by water. But soon you are on your way into the depths of some ancient underground areas to retrieve and return a missing Buddha statue. The Japanese influence seemed to taper off a little the father you progress, becoming more castle-like, but you still feel you're in the right place. The music was wonderful and apropos. Lara says something in Japanese whenever she bumps into a wall. A friend of mine said she was saying 'Oh, no!' I listened to every sound file in the folders looking for it, but it eluded me. Enemies and traps all in the right places, and I still jump at the sound of a triggered spike trap. I liked that when it came time to place the skulls found along the way, the receptacles weren't all in a row in one place. You have to do a bit more exploring and climbing and such to reach each receptacle. Another nice touch were the fireflies flitting around outside one of the dwellings in the first level. It was an enjoyable and generally soothing level. My Japanese friend (who doesn't play) thought the screenshots I took of the village were lovely." - Deekman (13-May-2005)

"This is a very fun-play three-part level that reminded me a lot of Legacy of the Gods in a Japanese setting. The level of difficulty is medium, but everything flows smoothly and I was helped immeasurably by Lizard Queen's impeccable walkthrough. The ninjas are artistically retextured to look and act like samurai swordsmen, but enemies here are few and far between. Most of the gameplay rests upon opening doors and walls and gates, but never in a way that becomes boring or repetitive. There's a particularly clever use of the torch near the end. Before playing these levels I noted some complaints in the reviews about there being too many sound files. I may have missed much in the way of ambience, but I decided not to load any of the sound files provided with the level download, and I don't feel deprived as a result of that decision. You owe it to yourself to play this one if you've missed it for one reason or another." - Phil (20-Feb-2005)

"This is really a stunning package of a level series that should not be missed. Take your time to enjoy the long title flyby and then dive into the adventure. The Hunt for the Buddha Statue (7/8/10/10 60 min. 2 secrets): This is right from the start very pleasing to the eyes. Great oriental atmosphere with the pagodas and a really nice Lara outfit. Music is very well used to set the atmosphere. Gameplay starts a bit slow and even with a tendency to be tedious with a series of buttons and keys and wading through the water several times and enemies are rather few (samurai fish a crow spiders). But the brilliant setting with nice textures and excellent lighting makes up for it. Many cameras make progression rather smooth you get a bit of action with a torch and two rose secrets. Nice first part to set the mood not too stressful. And a rather thin Buddha statue is your prize at the end. The Temple of Mysteries (8/8/10/10 50 min. 3 secrets): Gameplay becomes a little more tricky in this Temple without being too hard though. More keys and switches along the way and you will rarely have to think for too long before knowing what to do next. The flooding of the rooms is nicely designed there is a mirror room many elements used from Angkor and Library WAD a mechanical scarab helps you along some jumps burners and lava make an appearance as well as a waterskin (which gave me a really hard time before I managed to extinguish the fire) and some tightrope walking. So - great diversity of action here. The fairy wraith is cute (but apart from being helpful it's also deadly). Again few enemies overall and I did not like that you could end up in an illegal slope on your way to one of the secrets. After placing the prayer roll you finally begin your escape. Escape from the Temple (8/8/9/10 65 min. 2 secrets): This looks even more Angkor style but just as the parts before is really nicely textured and lit. Special mention goes to the effective use of fog and waterfalls. A few more tricky jumps here so difficulty nicely increasing towards the end although still easily manageable most of the time. Rather entertaining use of raising cages and blocks some target shooting collapsible tiles tightropes more keys to worry about and three skulls play a major role. I was a bit surprised that suddenly cameras seemed to be rather absent but you won't miss them much. You finally get to place your little Buddha and make your way out past a nice boss (who is fairly easy to kill though if you collected and kept the revolver ammo) taking a little dragon along as a souvenir. The torch is used rather smartly and I enjoyed that whole area a lot. Was a bit disappointed that two of the three skulls needed so little 'work' to get to. All in all this has been a wonderfully pleasant raid for me that I can only recommend also to the not so seasoned raiders as the flow is always very 'fair' and not frustrating at all. Try it and you will like it!" - Michael (25-Jan-2005)

"These three levels were easy and good to play through. There were no difficult passages. Very annoying was that the cameras have always got stuck so that my Lara died even under water. Opponents were very many but only the altered hammer man near the end was a little tougher to defeat. Otherwise I liked the levels very much." - Xxenofex (25-Nov-2004)

"WOW! This is a great adventure maybe a bit on the easy side but nevertheless it's one not to be missed nor to be lost! These three levels have great atmosphere crafted into them and you'll not leave them until you finish them. Pay attention to the outfit too definitely worth a mention - even if very much alike to GeckoKid's new Lara to his new upcoming level (which by the way 'lend' this level several textures). Hunt For The Buddha Statue: This level was pretty confusing at the start with many paths to go most closed and there was quite a decent number of things to do. Gameplay though was pretty linear on the switch to switch and key to key progression with the eventual torch puzzle. There were a couple of timed runs to spice things a little. Not many enemies but you'll be busy enough looking for what to do next without them. There are some well hidden switches so pay attention to places you visit. The visual of this level is absolutely stunning: textures well selected and perfectly applied and all of them work together as one making the result fabulous. The level ends shortly after getting a grip onto the statue itself. 60 minutes 1 secret. Temple Of Mysteries: Not just this one is as visually stunning as the first part but this double level also goes heavy on gameplay with several tasks to do here. There at least two new things (to me): sinking one spirit to make water safe and also using the waterskin to extinguish a fire. There was also a short side quest for a Smaragd Ocular which was the highlight on the puzzles bit and even the mechanical scarab makes a short appearance. 50 minutes 3 secrets. Escape From The Temple: In terms of visual definitely the entire levelset is FABULOUS. This part of the level is pretty straightforward and it had a couple of shatterable gems well hidden. I admit I had to use a savegame editor and give me myself a revolver because I didn't find it (and managed to shatter previous gems with the Shotgun and the underwater one with pistols). I got troubled into the dragon room (brilliantly done) when the Shotgun wouldn't reach that high. I just think this shouldn't have happened (being able to proceed WITHOUT the Revolver when it would be crucial later) but I guess that's ok - perhaps I was the only one to overlook it. Good use of torch puzzles here. 60 minutes 1 secret. Bottomline: this was one damn fine adventure which I enjoyed thoroughly. Recommended. 11/04" - Treeble (16-Nov-2004)

"Though this three levelled game is set in the orient and is beautifully introduced there with a great pagoda environment to explore the second and third levels strayed ever so slightly from this theme with the second feeling like I was in some sort of castle and the third in an Angkor Wat world which I know is Cambodia and therefore an Asian country but just not the one you would expect by the title. This though did not at all erode the pleasure of these locations and for myself I actually enjoyed the last Angkor level's surrounding the most. Putting that aside the crux of these levels is to find a statue of a Buddha that has been secreted away in the first level and return it to it's rightful resting place in the last. Along the way there are some really impressive enemies to deal with such as the fairy wraiths that you just have to lose some health with so that you can look at them up close some new to my knowledge samurai warriors in both normal and demigod size and a tinman that although I'm sure couldn't have been looked uncannily like a matador there are of course other enemies that we all know so you can find out about them as you play. The game itself wasn't too difficult with some nicely close timed runs torch puzzle and the like which allows the player not to struggle too much but it's sometimes the silly obvious things that may have you wondering what you've missed. Each level played about an hour and I ended with a total of 7 gold rose secrets in my stats." - Sash (11-Nov-2004)

"Three levels here the first being the most beautiful. It's a little oriental village with raised houses during what seems a torrential downpour but actually is a waterfall and a gorgeous sunset. You search all the little houses for keys and switches and eventually find the Buddha statue. Throughout these levels enemies are few but well placed and look fantastic these are samurai overfed crows barracuda giant and baby spiders and finally a large samurai warrior. The music is beautiful and the flybys are great - check out the wraith in the first flyby they are fairies. The second and third levels are going more towards Angkor Wat style but still retain the oriental elements like lamps and statues. There are times when it is confusing where to go what to do but never once did I feel bored and I thought a lot of this was very cleverly done. We do quite a lot of actions here like tightrope walking climbing jumping swimming shooting unusual objects avoiding beautifully retextured boulders good timed runs breakable tiles over lava using a mechanical beetle to deactivate spikes and some very clever torch puzzles and a couple of great object pushing puzzles. There are some well hidden gems to shoot and an almost impossible to see trapdoor in a dark corridor. In this last level underground we find the altar to place the Buddha statue on. At the end I got the impression gameplay was reasonable easy it was more about searching and finding which is fine by me we are doing this in gorgeous surroundings. Highly recommended level for all players." - CC (08-Nov-2004)

"First of all I'll complain about one thing: the huge amount of sound files that come with the game - looking at all that I simply didn't make any backup files of anything I'll just uninstall and reinstall the level editor and I'm certainly glad this isn't the case with every game. That having been said is it still worth the download in spite of the multitude of sound files? It certainly is. Right from the start you just have to be amazed at the sheer beauty of the Oriental surroundings where you move. You begin in a waterfall pagoda with several others around and an astounding reddish sky and your mission will be finding a Buddha statue while exploring all the different spaces and finally light a torch (that must have been the weirdest jump to a tree I've ever seen and I thank God there was a walkthrough telling me how to do it) with which you'll light up several candles and get into level 2. Levels 2 and 3 are more in the Cambodian style but the puzzles go on and on and you'll never have a dull moment while you're playing. That's what it is about loads of puzzles and few enemies except for some angry samurais and the occasional big spider with its children (or at least some smaller cousins) plus a bigger samurai warrior near the end. The puzzles and the settings are varied and solid and you may get stuck more than once (as I did) but frankly if you take some time to think at those moments the gameplay is never too tough. Which is good: neither too easy nor too hard really well balanced. The Oriental music is great too and contributes very interestingly to the atmosphere at times. To cut it short I believe this is the best Oriental custom I've played to date. You should play it too... (October 16 2004)" - Jorge22 (18-Oct-2004)

"What a great set of levels! The story is short but sweet; an ancient Buddha statue has been stolen and Lara must search through temples to find it and replace it at its rightful resting place. The mini-game consists of 3 levels all good fun starting off outside in a beautiful pagoda style area around a lake with a waterfall in the middle coming over a room in the centre. Main task is to claim a torch to light little lamps around so you can reach the main temple so you must go through each pagoda. Then the next 2 levels are inside the temple; the first is getting access to the place where the Buddha must go clever puzzles and windows showing a red sky where the sun is setting; and in the 3rd level placing the statue and escaping the temple. There were some nice new items and new enemies which looked great. Items like re-textured skulls and little ruby cubes and enemies like fairy wraiths and samurais! Nice oriental music was added to really make it feel like you were in orient. The texturing was cleverly done too as it had some of the Angkor Wat from tr4 but still made to feel like an oriental temple even without Chinese/Japanese writing on the walls; but with added items like Chinese lamps and the doors from TR2's Temple of Xian it looked just right! I really liked a flame emitter re-textured into a dragon with wings and some boulders which looked like harmless dragons! I really enjoyed these set of levels they were very fun to play and not too difficult. It took me just under 3:20 hours to complete and I found 6/7 secrets. I highly recommend this to everyone. Play it now!" - Aims (15-Oct-2004)

"What a lovely set of levels these were indeed. I thoroughly enjoyed myself in this whole adventure from start to finish and was extremely sad when it had ended. I just wanted too carry on and continue further into this wonderful Lara adventure. I am just hoping that the author will decide to continue with a part 2. (Hint-Hint) The textures layouts lighting & gameplay was superbly done well done Christoph you have really done an excellent level building job here. There were not too many enemies to deal with and can be easily deposed of seeing as you get the shot-gun very early on in the game. I don't think I got all the secrets as I believe there were 7 and I only managed to find 6. There were also a few timed-runs to deal with and me being the most dreaded timed-run fan of all but even I managed to get through them after a few tries. The only other problem I encountered was a difficult jump when placing one of the skulls jumping from one sloped block to another; this indeed took me several attempts to achieve it. These levels are not too hard and most players should have no problem in finishing the game. So in my opinion these levels are well worth the download to enter again in the wonderful adventures of Lara in achieving her mission of wonderful game play. Thank you Christoph." - Gill (03-Oct-2004)

"The Hunt for the Buddha Statue: This begins with a flyby of some rather lovely oriental structures and fabulous music as we see Lara standing in a tea house. Having despatched a samurai warrior a crow and some fairly ferocious fish it's time to explore these lovely surroundings. A lot of running swimming and wading ensues to find a variety of keys and switches to open doors and raise or lower blocks. There's a nice torch puzzle with a useful hint contained in the mystic book you pick up quite early on. There are also a couple of tight but fun timed runs and eventually you find the statue and go through to: The Temple of Mysteries: Things start to get just a little more complicated in this section but still nothing overly difficult although I did get really stuck at one point due to a fiendishly well hidden trap door. More samurai to battle objects to push rooms to flood and my all time favourite object the mechanical scarab to find. I just love that little beetle. Two ice wraiths beautifully re-textured as fairies chased me out of this section. Escape from the Temple: Luckily the killer fairies were lost in transition. There's plenty of exploring to do here; it's a lot less linear and I lost my way once or twice. The three skulls you need to collect are a nice change from keys - they look so cheerful. Yes I know skulls can't help but grin but these were positively chortling. There's also a short but fun collapsing tile run - I always enjoy those - and a good bit of work with a torch. You finally get to place the Buddha statue you've been carrying around all this time and try to kill a seemingly invincible enemy. Eventually the swine does die and leaves a key to enable you to grab a dragon artefact and leg it out of the temple to finish this very enjoyable game." - Jay (30-Sep-2004)

"A nice oriental game that if I had to guess the author I would have sworn it is Jackie Wu. Well it isn't but Christoph has managed to create a game with similar architecture as the levels from the author mentioned above which I consider to be a master at that field. The setting is more impressive than the gameplay though. There are a couple of torch puzzles and new objects to find like the Buddha statue as well as some target practicing. Lara's new outfit and face is nice and I noticed a sound when she was back flipping. The enemies in general were samurai and skeletons plus a few fish. Also you'll find a couple of timed runs. I found six golden roses in about three hours or so." - Kristina (20-Sep-2004)

"I had a great time in this nice oriental style adventure. Lara is looking for the Buddha statue which was hidden by a group of bad guys and now Lara has to find it and bring it back to its original place. The adventure starts out with a flyby of a village surrounded by a stream of water and that was beautifully constructed. From there the adventure progresses nicely even though most of the gameplay in level one is to look for switches but there were some good timed runs too. In the second level it has more of an AOD look because of the textures but still looks good and has nice gameplay. There were some new objects in this level but alas there weren't any decent timed runs. In the third and final level the level resembles Angkor Wat because of the textures. Still there is some good gameplay there and there was a really nice collapsible tile run that I enjoyed. I got lost in the third level most of the time but it didn't take me much time to get back on track. There is also a showdown at the end but a short one as you can quickly kill the boss with the revolver. Lara then ends the adventure with a dragon artefact in her backpack and I found six out of the seven secrets. There were many new textures here and also new objects along with a really great new outfit. Give this level a go when you're bored." - Relic Hunter (07-Sep-2004)
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