trle.net
Level: Reign of Chaos - China back home search
Author(s): illyaine
total rating:9.07 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 9 9 9 10
CC 9 10 10 10
Christian 8 8 7 8
DJ Full 9 9 10 9
Engelchen Lara 9 10 10 10
eRIC 7 8 9 10
eTux 8 9 9 9
Gerty 9 9 9 9
gfd 8 8 10 9
Jay 9 9 10 10
Jose 9 9 10 10
Kristina 9 9 9 9
Loupar 8 9 8 9
manarch2 8 8 9 9
Mezcal 9 10 10 10
MichaelP 8 8 10 10
Mman 8 10 10 10
Moonliteshadow 10 10 10 10
mugs 9 9 10 10
Mytly 9 10 10 10
Necro 9 7 8 9
Obig 8 9 10 10
OverRaider 9 9 8 10
Phil 10 9 10 9
QRS 9 9 10 10
Ryan 9 9 9 10
Selene 9 9 10 10
Sutekh 8 9 8 10
TombRaiderFan 5 8 9 9
Zhyttya 7 8 7 10
category averages
(30 reviews)
8.50 8.90 9.27 9.60

Reviewer's comments

"The series gets better as we continue in China. The music was very well done and the surroundings, lighting and textures faultless. Gameplay was well paced and varied including a very elaborate pushable puzzle. Onto Nadine's levels, I can hardly wait..." - Ryan (20-Apr-2016)

"Do you know what I hate the most in community projects? Rating all levels separately, especially when they feel as a whole, what applies here especially to the untrimmed version (I got one from our dear Hungarians but I still ticked the green link to boost the fake counter). I could just make a long commentary and paste it under each episode with links to other chapters - less chaos and you only read once... why not? The whole adventure will also get common rating however I will highlight the aspect which stands out in each part. So here we are in the age of TRLE which is real archeology to me, like digging out blurred Indian tablets, or analyzing broken Chinese china to repicture the whole thing before it broke. Or like drilling Tutankhamen's mummy... I mean tomb! for deeper impression in the new old chamber. Same for the levelset, the sole storyline of which raises questions. How can Lara survive the gems which feed on nearby life? How could Natla's followers carry her body if they're braindead mummies? Did they use just the claws or also wings? What happened to the New York episode, has it become Be My Valentine, should I seek elsewhere for full experience or is it utterly gone, vanished, forgotten? Not lost in chaos, for in such case it would be here. Most of these won't be resolved even in a long trip which takes an Airport... Agnes, we meet again, what a nice surprise. I liked her previous levels, here I looked for similarities, but this location, while convincing and even holding the first secret, is just a hub filled with trunks, passengers and killable staff, so I shortly departed straight to Mexico, on the contrary instantly familiar. You could think it's nothing special, just a bunch of primeval corridors and basic bulbs, but the essentials are flawless, forming a mini level of maxi efficiency. As expected we hear custom tracks, starting with Ennio's harmonica well highlighting the great loss overwhelming a defined ghost town. I would like the background Mike to be cut with less hearable seam, also the horizon doesn't quite match and few casual objects bring random Egyptian blend. A real nail in the cactus was trying to obtain the revolver but once I figured it out things went comfy and easy, focusing on exploring western cityscape, a truly heartwarming preparation that encourages despite of being cursed and infested with evil enemies - I could even take the wraiths. As soon the level jumps to Free Mexico, we get bashed in the head by some sombrero civillain... hey dude, shouldn't you be grateful, I've just freed your town! But since Lara holds the gem we can assume the guy just mistook her for the reason of curse (or we can just ignore the inconsistency). Right after that we get a bit of wonderful relief (with much better handled Mike), as we start to understand and appreciate the brilliant concept underlying this game - apart from the usual common pickup link, the plot structure is based on enslavement/freedom bipolarity which feel nothing but great when interleaved. I hoped this contrast will last for the entire game. The subsequent transition from the plane flight straight into a Sewer System could be less intense, in fact they could skip the sewers totally, but this instance is different - sharp, bright lighting occurs while the map makes sense. After unlocking more places the intended path gets unclear so we'd better had some plan or local indicators about where we came from and where we go next. Puzzles were mostly about keys and switches and at that point I started to miss something creative. The finale with a cinematic flyby gave me just that, as I usually appreciate one decent cut more than a million flawless textures, but I still wanted to resurface as fast as I can, for a deserved Hereafter Holiday, a whole different approach to Venetian scenery - though the cityscape is missing rooftops, it's convincing and filled with creepy details like floating corpses, blood fountains or zombies hunting Lara's brain to solve tasks on their own. This is a cursed level which follows another, so we may think the balance between ordeal and relief is lost, but this weird platformer under menacing sky where music keeps fitting is still lighter than the preceding sewer so the atmosphere keeps happifying. If the forced medikit usage at the fireplace was intended I strongly disagree with it, but all other gameplay makes sense. Next in order, Say Cheese explains the previous level as an intermediate pre-relief or sub-relief before a really defined purification unit - not until now we were supposed to lively smile and sunnily enjoy, and the disenchanting process has been amplified from two levels to three. In short: things get serious. I wish the final marina was more than a cutscene but I forgot about that little inconvenice as soon as I landed in Underground Temple. This is another kaboom-like transition from an unchained city to an isolated, water-overflown dungeon. Notice how the scope of particular episodes has developed so far from little city through big city to a large temple where scale change implies reasonable emptiness: two-square wide corridors are overwhelming and uncomfy but also give more space for exploration and combat, as chaos appears in form of nasty creatures - things get even more serious. But an enemy more fearsome than spiders and abandonment by everyone else is the inhumanly long multi-floor pushable which, unless Christoph just went chaotic evil, was designed I don't know why. Cave craft, multilevel stack, logical trigger design and other skills needed to create big complex things are involved, yet bearing the task without Silmarillion audiobook in the background would be unmeasurably hard. I wasn't listening about good gems in order to balance bad gems, I just wanted to check both for few years already and before I sail to Aman, and their timing has matched, be it nature or Valar intervention, though the Ungoliant chapter came a bit too late to fit the arachnid content of this level. The next one, China Garden, invites to explore, largely redeems the pushable and is the first one sized to imply a split in two parts (sounds like a compliment). More and more locations get memorable (that was a compliment), I will remember the village, still isolated but differently peaceful. And the outer temple with transition to the rooftops. I also liked the waterfall ways in and out of the blue key area. Possibly the author couldn't decide which one was to be which, but I easily imagined both options for both paths. The key itself could be placed in less ordinary location as well as some other pickups, and in certain places a faster way back could be provided. All concludes with a boat getaway and before I took another plane I noticed the Airport has changed - I wonder if this level was also variable before and it doesn't feel good to only realize now it might have been. Anyway Lara arrives in a toilet, for the first real puzzle, both about time. The task involves destruction but when the door opens the security doesn't bother, I could kill the same guards again and also at each previous return. Though they don't drop a thing I had tons of medikits, but somehow the shotgun was still missing. Its absence had nicely forced laser sight usage, but that was two episodes ago in Mexico. Later it appeared the game allowed to find all secrets but also miss the shotgun, leaving me with 200 shells and no chance to use them until the last episode. For now I just flew unaware to an ominous place holding a Mystic Tree. This is where construction starts to get really complex - after you thought China was big the game expands along another dimension letting us into a mysterious abbey which is more vertical than horizontal, and intensely crafted in all directions. It also feels like a mosque because of intense Cairo wad usage, and while I never liked these red doors the other casual objects are unusually located - unexpected ornate pillars and arched passages form structures which weren't included in the original TR4 but possibly should have been, and the track 109 I found spooky when I had played the core game now sounds beautiful (or maybe I'm just going chaotic evil either). Some texture chunks don't match geometry so I had trouble perceiving certain structures as a whole. The ornaments seem to occur in correct amount but they might have been more understandable if they didn't vanish among similarly ornamental texture patterns. If I mentioned unsatisfactory key placement before, here it evolves with the Tower Key placed on a catwalk (where it would have no chance to remain) and destined for a hole located few squares away. Another key lies on a random roof, but at least these two, the Backyard Key and the Chamber Key are fairly named - because later on the ground we find an Enchanted Light Key which sole name shall be read with epic horns in the background, cause thunderstorms and raise people from the dead... but no it opens a door. Still the place has unique parts like surprising dog usage and possibly the best Lara_Double I encountered until now. After that we get the fourth gem and Córdoba is brought back to normal... Córdoba? Not having heard until now that I'm in Spain only intensified the feeling of being trapped in the middle of nowhere, so despite of mistaking the mosque for an abbey I take it as a well-executed intention, and the 1/1 unit balance between cursed and blessed levels is restored to produce the most intense contrast since the sewer jump. Struck by sudden brightness, I again felt a bit uncomfy, this time because of scenery collage - where have I really been thrown into, a garden, a city, a castle, a palace, a patio, a river? What is real nature of this level? If this is based on a real city, how could any ordinary inhabitant proceed across? Any bit of explanation what really happens here would be invaluable, for instance puzzle items could say a lot... but nope we again get a "ruby cube", "fire opal", "sapphire ocular" and no clue whatsoever. That's why the word "playground" reappears in mind, likely summoned from some Tibetan monks contemplating Mr XY's works in the meantime. This impression only amplifies as we solve the gate puzzle, the first serious riddle I would anyway halve in length because I was already mesmerized and acting like chaotic stupid. I generally love this trope, it works great in non-alterable fiction like voiced cutscenes missing so much in this adventure, but I suppose it might be either totally enjoyed or utterly hated within a bright, open level requiring omnidirectional exploration (I was panned about 65-70% left in this awkward stereo). But the texturing is coherent and while the place is unspecified it might also feel unified because of its slight surreal overlay. I found one banana jump shortcut, but another spot felt like a fast getaway trigger fail so I take it as chaotic neutral, still a tie between good and evil. What I really like was the shrine pushable, one of these nice little things I value over epic sights and generic awesomeness - here's what I consider a masterclass: instant focus, one push, quick item grab and no wondering if anything else is supposed to be done with the pot. After all we take the chopper back to the Airport, and what... the heck has happened here? I'm almost sure this is where the New York segment was supposed to occur, because the plot hole screams with volume of Lara's backpack and feels like substituted with a quick hub action. But it's also good to actually perform some task in this place. After that we can stuff all the gems in the lead-isolated trunk to ensure they won't radiate in the plane (not wanna repeat the Cai'xia scenario) and set off to the final destination so Nadine can again test our geographic knowledge - yes, just like I did with Nevado Huarascan Plateau, I had to google Alnwick, and... what do you mean "England"? Are you sure it's not a sunken rift volcano in the middle of North Atlantic? Or did Natla bother to awaken an uncharted British range for Hellforge? After a brilliant opening when retrieving all gems unlocks the initial door to invoke immediate need for exploration, I found a real treasure of the old editor - a vertical diagonal wall. Even the sun has frozen to watch it for a bit longer, however it's another item which opens a normal door despite of the name scored for high brass, piercing strings, mixed choirs and timpani. Graphic overlay starts to get really coherent at last, it's really the further the better in this game, though some clusters still require quadruple vision to comprehend - maybe these spiders of China would feel entirely comfortable in here, or maybe Nadine is just a WOMAN so to hell with my male 16-bit color perception indeed: I swiftly glance at lightrays and windows, then I focus on my task and I think the moveable bowls of tomato soup are yummy. I thought this even playing that part after dinner, what confirms I liked the puzzle for reasons other than being hungry. Lavafall has more rivers of molten spaghetti, also more lightrays, some so bright I couldn't see through them. Custom objects appear more frequently, puzzles get much better to live their own life or death. Again we get more than a single cursed level, so the 1/1 balance is abandoned for the second time, but this arrangement contrasts more efficiently with the brief breath of Spain - quite fitting considering all the stones are collected and we can entirely focus on breaching the Core Of EVIL. This involves watching your steps, careful trap negotiation, battling flying skeletons... and here's where I realized something doesn't match. Where are Natla's monsters, minions and advanced equipment? In fact I expected them to appear in proximity of every gem, and accumulating with each next stone retrieved as the enemies would slowly realize the seriousness of trouble they're in - but so far no references to Natla's world have been given except from a single meat texture beneath my feet, and without a single trace of her activity you won't even know the mission involves her if you skip the readme, what is definitely the supreme flaw of the game. It felt even more off-topic in the Library, where various book genres resemble a cursed instance of Hogwarts specializing exclusively in black magic, instead of anything remotely linked to Atlantis. Such change of mood would do great in any point of the plot except from the prefinale build-up which should focus on the final goal. This is tricky to explain so just imagine Merlin's Caves as the prefinal level of KAP instead of a side task it is now, and you see what I'm talking about. Later I figured out the real meaning of the Alnwick castle, but at the time when I played the levels I had absolutely no clue. In the same library I also found the only proto-gamestopper - I missed a secret, returned for it and got halted by a one-shot door in the Rusty Key chamber, while the way in was closed for good. The key has a twin and each of these items takes a whole level to find, so as much as I was disappointed with keys before, these two are textbook examples of rewarding effort - I had a whole new dose of motivation when they unlocked the Cathedral. It seems another split has been done here, between this level and Death and Resurrection, as they feel the most coherent with each other - in the first one we breach the scene of closing battle, in the second one we prepare the stage for fight and do the fight itself. The conclusion marks all the essentials: climatic action velocity, the strongest usable items, the most powerful enemy and a getaway with a well-deserved ultimate prize. The final artifact is of really bright concept, though going the opposite way would possibly make more sense, and could also justify the ingame flaws. As a possible better design I can bring here an unplanned other example from King Arthur Project: there are two gems, the official light one and the secret dark one, to fulfill hidden wish of balance. Heck, now I think this levelset and the Arthur game have a lot in common. I wonder what would happen if the two teams cooperated. SUMMARY: Sometimes... chaotic... phfffrrr... <0i>[the author falls from the chair into uncontrollable, spasmatic laughter in admiral of his own brilliance, the rest was written horus later when he finally rose from the floor and restored keyboard aim with fingers still shaking due to lost energy (apparently he got immersed too much so the gems took a bit of his life as well... oh NOW he understands the full meaning.] Variety of objects and locations isn't unified the usual way, resulting in a mix of TR2/3/4 with a TR1 boss, but the overarching contrast of enslavement and freedom, the bipolarity of chaos and order, eventually the location-independent fight between good and evil cement everything instead, and all the authors cared to obey this idea entirely so no single episode subparly executes it. I of course wouldn't mind if this extraordinary glue worked together with progressing Atlantean theme, and if the tasking was more creative, because in such case the project as a whole would be close to perfect - but this is still much more than a pack of levels linked with similar gems: it's rather like a complete symphony you need to analyze bit by bit in order to fully understand, and don't you dare sleep before the finale no matter what disonnances you hear on the way." - DJ Full (02-Apr-2016)

"So Lara is now in China, in search of another gem. At first the place seemed really empty, not much of fun game play and annoying background music. The first level was really the "down grade" for me of China visit. The music was fitting, but at a point it starts being too repetitive and way intrusive to the game play...heck i even got it stuck in my head sometimes...i had to turn off the music on the first level, it was just not bearable. On the other hand, things got up really nicely once the second level came. Lovely decoration, fantastic lightening and the game play was better as well. Of course, ultimately, it didn't represent much of a challenge..not like Venice. I did enjoy the camera working tho, at least we knew what do to since the very beginning (sometimes being too obvious). Now one large complain (regarding as well the sound) the giant spiders spawn with the level and not locally (it seemed that way at least; not sure if that can be edited, since they are from TR2 engine) resulting in this huge annoying sound of their feet...and if you can't kill them right away, you're forced to bare with the bloody sound...anyway to conclude i enjoyed China, more than Mexico but not more than Venice. Venice remains my favorite. Too bad the last two levels are not available anymore." - Zhyttya (14-Feb-2016)

"The third level China in Reign Of Chaos project was quite interesting and enjoyable. But!!! The background music was annoying almost all the time, next why so many big spiders that was another annoying thing, next pushable puzzle was toooooo long, really boring. These were just a few things i didn`t like. All in all very good enjoyable level. 9/9/8/10" - OverRaider (11-Feb-2013)

"A solidly built chinese level, but not an outstanding one. We find Lara in a quite friendly environment compared to the places reigned by chaos she visited before. So the atmosphericle change isn't that obvious after Lara finally has found rthe chaos-gem and proceeds to the (very long!!) garden-parts of the game. Lightning is a bit too monotone as the permanent sound as well. A quite recommended Chinese level!" - Christian (12-Jan-2013)

"Rotten Underground Temple (8-8-8-9): This time Lara won't visit another horror place, no, actually this"evil" level is as bright and friendly as the"beautiful" levels before. The temple area Lara explores has a strong usage of whitish colours that after some time tend to be a little boring, also caused by the rather uniform lighting, but the occasional excursions in some well designed caves certainly made up for it. It seems the gameplay is directly related to the visuals - inside the temples I found it to be okay-ish but not really fantastic; in the cave areas you can solve some decent (though a bit too long) puzzles that are well planned. The only enemies in this level were large and small spiders that had a good placement though a bit more variety would have been nice. I found the background soundtrack to be nice at the start but it soon becomes annoying as there isn't much variety soundwise in this level and the music is not really what I would call relaxing. 40 minutes.
China Garden I (8-9-10-10): A more decent soundtrack used in this level that was extremely beautiful with again great usage of texturing, still in the style of the first level at the start, but when you arrive in the village the setting is really well done with all its little details. The gameplay is little better than in the first level with good exploration and a nice course the builder sends you through, but I still felt a little want, as I somehow expected more intricate puzzles but was disappointed to see the level remains in the style of all the other levels of RoC before - quite interesting built areas with rather mediocre gameplay. This time, it's slightly more substantial than in Mexico or Venice, but it still has its flaws - e.g. it's possible to go through the spikes and miss the important stone that normally deactivates it, thus being stuck later on and having to backtrack a long way because of a too sneakily hidden item; I found the passages to the ying/yang pieces badly hidden - concerning both gameplay and atmosphere, as you first cannot see the passages due to a fixed camera, although those passages should actually be visible in the camera shot, but it only shows the sky where they are. Not a very good gameplay design nor very realistic. I think the textures and objects of this level might be the basis of the 2006 BtB competition as one find several familiar things here that really help to create an atmosphere full of life, but on the other side there weren't any enemies in this level to spice the level up a bit. 40 minutes.
China Garden II (8-8-9-9): This and the last level obviously should work as a single level, I still decided to review them separately because I found the alikeness to be not very good because some of the key items you searched for in the first CG part have to be found here too and the looks are more of the same rather than an even slight thematic change. So this level alone would have got the same ratings as the other part, but they don't work together well as I found myself pretty bored. I really liked the course for the ignition keys but the gameplay as well as the visuals felt a little tiresome, only a few agility tests added to the fun momentum slightly, but there were still too easy to miss items causing the player to backtrack a long way. Luckily the level was not overly long and had a very nice ending with Lara escaping with her boat which felt like a nice climax to an otherwise uneventful level. 25 minutes.
Summary: This is a level with great visuals and solid gameplay design that might even appeal more to other players than it did to me, but only in the second level I had the feeling the quality of the RoC levels raising heavily, but it's still a very worthwhile level trio to play through nonetheless. 105 minutes." - manarch2 (30-Dec-2012)

"Rotten Underground Temple: You explore a temple full of giant Spiders, despite that the ambiance and atmosphere are quite relaxing, and with some "training" on the Spider in Venice I managed to avoid losing it too much around them. Gameplay is quite simple and let down by one incredibly laborious pushing puzzle; I almost wished for another Spider to jump out just so something else would happen. Although the visuals certainly helped with not getting too irritated. One multileveled temple room is quite possibly one of the most beautiful rooms I've seen in the TR4 engine, and several areas aren't too far behind. In some sense I almost wonder if it's a little too beautiful; the other location's "dark" sides are apocalyptic while this seems a very nice place outside of the Spiders (which I guess is motivation enough to fix things for me :) ). In the end you find the chaos gem in an interesting looking underground pagoda.
Chinese Garden 1: I usually clump levels like this together but in this case both Chinese Garden levels come in a linear order and are very substantial. China is now safe and completely free of enemies (and, like Venice, set in a new area), but in the style of the last areas the puzzles are much harder. There are some items in the early parts cheaply hidden by a camera view that I only really found because a review warned of it, but the gameplay is good beyond that although definitely not for beginners (this is where the challenge really starts to pick up). After some gameplay in an interior location and its outskirts (a sort of extension of the last level), you find yourself in an outside location full of buildings that quite possibly surpasses the location I mentioned from the last level in terms of beauty, and the rest of the level takes place there. A great level.
Chinese Garden 2: Now there's more Chinese temple areas to explore to find a boat to get out of there. The beauty doesn't quite match the last level but the gameplay is consistently great (but again, not for beginners). With a trap or two, along with a very cool flyby of water spreading into an area. There are also some tough jumps and navigation puzzles. Another excellent level.
The only real downsides are the block puzzle in the first level and the cheaply hidden items in the second. I was almost tempted to give gameplay a nine despite these problems, but I decided these were big enough to lose another point, especially as the latter could lead to some major backtracking. The visuals, atmosphere and object use are amazing throughout. This is the point where ROC becomes truly exemplary." - Mman (31-Aug-2009)

"Rotten Underground Temple: Oh, what a difference from the"spooky" levels of Venice! Instead of a horror-style atmosphere, here you get a feeling of a lovely temple complex suffering from decay and dampness. The first third of the level is fairly straightforward (except for a rather tricky jump onto a ladder). Things get more difficult on reaching the area with the pagoda - a rather complex spot, which had me running around in confusion for quite some time. The next major task takes place in another flooded part of the temple - a long puzzle involving moving a pot across numerous raising blocks. This one quickly gets very boring (admittedly, this may have felt more boring to me than it is because of an almost identical puzzle in Illyaine's later game, Jade Empire, which I've already played). But my biggest grouse against this level is the background music - the track used is very lovely, actually, but hearing it looping for about the hundredth time really got on my nerves - to the extent that I finally turned off the music altogether (which I otherwise never do). Plain ambient sounds with the occasional melodic tracks on reaching major areas would have been much more pleasant. Huge spiders are the number one enemy here, leading to plenty of"Eek!" moments, as you get ambushed by them. China Garden, Parts 1 & 2: Oh dear, I think I've died and gone to a Chinese heaven ... it is possible for a level to be as stunningly beautiful as seen in the opening flyby? Even better, the flyby is only through the first part of the level - after that is a second part, which is just as gorgeous. It is actually a separate level, but since both parts flow smoothly one after the other, I have considered them to be one level only. Both are filled with beautiful oriental buildings, plenty of gardens and other outdoor areas, with lots of greenery and flowing water. Add to that the complete absence of enemies, and the feeling of being in paradise is almost palpable. But make no mistake: this isn't really a walk in a park. There is plenty of running, jumping and switch-and-artefact hunting to be done in both parts - not to mention, plenty of wondering what to do next. While the gameplay and level design are generally excellent, there are some minor problems with them. In the first part, it's very easy to miss the Yin and Yang symbols, since they are hidden in an area that can be located only by standing in one particular spot and looking through binoculars (did anyone find them without any help?). There's a nice hunt for a fan in the first part - and another completely unrelated fan hunt in the second part. Wouldn't it have been better to have a different artefact to look for instead? Still, such quibbles aside, the level is fantastic, with great visuals and atmosphere (and fortunately a soothing background track), and very nice gameplay. The China section offers a nice contrast to the Venice one before it - the atmosphere is more relaxed, even in the dark level, but the tasks are slightly tougher. All in all, it's a superb section, and works well both in itself and as a part of the Reign of Chaos game." - Mytly (26-Aug-2009)

"Probably one of the most interesting, challenging, and imaginative levels I've ever encountered. Once again, you get a masterpiece within a massive raiding experience that the collaborating authors have cobbled together. The rotten temple could be a good allusion expressing my shifting emotions on conquering this adventure. It provided moments of such confusion, and sheer madness, that at times I was convinced the author must be psychotic, and I had thoughts of murder, but the entire adventure is designed with such a charming soundtrack throughout, stunningly beautiful architecture, and absolutely genius challenges, that I ended up taking my hat off. From so many wonderful experiences, just take one example...while pulling that lever in the Urn puzzle did get tedious, there is no way I was going to look for help there. This is one of those awesome places where, as soon as you enter, nothing makes sense. I was completely lost for hours. When you get your bearings, some really magical, and quantum mechanic actions occur to both Lara and the Urn. Lara actually levitates here, and that really enhances the entire astonishing environment and action sequences, to the point of an almost out of body experience. This is great drugs, mind bending, and intellectually rewarding. There are some problems throughout though. IMO, game play design that permits forward progression without the required items to proceed, reflects immature conceptual creativeness, and is a fundamental weakness in level design. And I don't give a rat's ass what anyone else thinks. The very tricky camera shifts, and wonderfully imaginative hidden crevice locations to access required inventory items are just masterfully devised. And I give points to the builder's intellectual strength in their design. However there is no conceptual maturity in design when players can traverse beyond these points without those items. If I can't find my Yin and Yang when I need them, then I deserve to be left lost in my journey. Don't drop no damn ropes until they are ready to come down! Beyond that, ultimately, what really took my breath away in China is that it never ends. The author lays on such an embarrassment of riches, that you actually become Chinese. There's also a lot of refreshingly bright humor in here, it's just an awesome adventure, and so magically rewarding that you'll never forget it. Well, perhaps the author didn't really want us to, because leaving by speedboat was anything but! Then, I got chills watching the ending perspective fall away, realizing that I never wanted to leave." - Mezcal (15-Aug-2009)

"These levels are very well crafted , with excellent texturing and lighting, very harmonious settings and choice of colours, appropriate objects and musics. The gameplay is rather simple but fluent in the first level, become a bit more complex in the two following ones, with more detailed areas and more objects in the decor. If we except a very long and very boring raising/pushing sequence at the end of the first level, these levels are otherwise quite pleasant." - eRIC (15-Aug-2009)

"It warms up slowly, the first rooms were rather simple, and then came those large underground areas with very innovative design and gameplay. Great cauldron puzzle. That slide down on the chain, while the water falls at the same speed as Lara, so it seemed like the ground was lifting up under her, was something really spectacular. The place wasn't as rotten as the title suggested, it was simply empty, although the clever architecture made it look saturated. The fixed cameras were for the expanse of playability sometimes. The contrast of before and after getting the Chaos Gem was also there, the Garden levels had so many so fitting objects, they looked just wonderful. I missed the enemies, although the harmonious atmosphere of these beautiful pagodas and gardens perhaps wouldn't have been the same if there were some. Perfect textures. Well done." - Akcy (06-May-2007)

"Rotten Underground Temple: 1hr 15 + 1 easy to find secret (7/8/9/8). A long rather tedious pot-push is the mainstay of this level and it can get rather frustrating when you realise that you'll have to make the same journey as many as seven times. Luckily there is a lot of jumping, searching and spider-fighting as well and some Chinese music to accompany these activities. There is also a very nicely retextured boulder. One last thing - this temple didn't seem all that rotten to me! China Garden: 2hrs + 2 secrets (9/8/10/10) a very colourful level with fantastic waterfalls and chinese music; all feels very oriental. It all plays very well and the best bit for me was scaling both of the giant waterfalls. I must say though that I did feel a bit lonely though because there were no enemies to surprise you and keep you on your toes. A must also say that I hated the ladder by the pot because I had no idea it was a ladder because it seemed unclimable when I tried. So, when you get there jump over the pot and just stand there pressing the jump button then the grab button a few times and you will catch on." - gfd (02-Jan-2007)

"A great set of levels in this wonderful Reign of Chaos series. A lot of work has gone into creating the scernery and the atmosphere. The music helps to define the setting too. There are no enemies but in a level such as this, none are really required. There were a few areas where there needed to be a little continuity pointers. I found myself stuck in 2 particular areas and therefore ended up running around for a long time until I eventually found the ying and yang. The other area I was stuck at was the last level. I had been all around the level and back to the beginning and thought 'I should have the key for this door'. Again, I had to back track until I found the key for the end of the level. They are the only disadvantages for these levels. Rather run gameplay!" - Necro (24-Apr-2006)

"Rotten Underground Temple (8/8/9/9, 60 min., 1 secret): Very nice texturing and lighting in this par of the Reign of Chaos series, some great atmospheric audio tracks and a really nice outfit. Add to that several nice flybys and you have a visually pleasing experience. From a gameplay perspective it is fairly linear and obvious in its progression, save for a handful of quite tricky jumps, and has a few too many switches. The puzzle with the push objects gets a bit too tedious after a while and enemies are only the big and small spiders, plus a few traps that you have to deal with. China Garden (8/8/10/10, 45+35 min., 2+1 secrets): Again, after finding the Chaos Gem at the end of the previous part the world looks brighter and more beautiful. The dragon textures are stunning and you deal a lot with water here (flipmaps, waterfalls and the likes). Again, progression is quite linear and obvious, although I had to go back for the Yin and Yang due to the rather unfair camera angle hiding the crawlspaces. Hopping around the roofs and trees is always fun and you get to collect a few keys and fans. At the end you get two highlights - the waterflow effect and the boat ride of Lara. Highly recommended game!" - MichaelP (16-Apr-2006)

"I have to say that these levels are beautiful made, a feast for your eyes. Explore the cave like areas, the gardens and exploring is not only what you do as there are puzzles to solve. The added music fitted very well. The very tedious bit was the moving of the pot bit, you will see what I mean when you play this game. Those spiders gave me the creeps, so job well done LOL. As for the traps you encounter, look and look good at them, you may see how to solve them. There are also great objects added that even enhanced the feeling of being in China." - Gerty (06-Feb-2006)

"I loved the scenery - didn't love the spiders, lol! There are some excellent puzzles and timers in this level. I really enjoyed having to work out the puzzles where objects had to be moved from one level to another using levers, cages and rocks. The room with tiles to maneuver is tricky until you look closely to see the steam. There are lots of places to explore and the music and atmosphere are appropriate to your location. Great level." - Moonliteshadow (08-Jan-2006)

"Cristoph must be one of the best makers of oriental levels you'll ever find!!! The three levels he presents as a contribution to the ROC project are in a class of their own. He knows exactly how to create a far East feel around his levels, the setting, the objects, the enemies, the sceneries......it's a trip through a landscape filled with mysticism, beauty and oriental charm. It starts off easily in the first level: Rotten Underground Temple, which is not by near as dark and sombre as the other levels in the game that are supposed to be in total and utterly chaos. Even the music here makes you feel relaxed and at peace and the poisonous spiders crawling all over the place despite, nothing can break that harmonious impression. There were luckily not an abundancy of enemies here, but plenty of puzzles to keep yourself busy at least for some hours and a few jump sequences. A bit long at times, and with a lot of going back and forth, but nonetheless a journey worth making and noting. After finding the Green Chaos Gem in the previously mentioned level China is once again restored to its former order and beauty. And a beauty it is indeed. Cristoph has in this part created what can without a single doubt be named the Pearl of the Orient. The level, called China Garden, is split into two parts. In the first part Lara must make her way to the village and open the doors to the garden. The second part consists of Lara finding a way to leave China and head back to the airport. The scenery here is dominated by beautiful Chinese style architecture, bright lanterns and gorgeously green gardens, filled with flowers and waterfalls. I must say that the China levels are absolutely the most beautiful levels through the entire adventure so far, but sadly it has a tendency of becoming too much to my liking, as the levels are just a tad too long. But still an absolute jewel in the collection. Splendid work Christoph, I can't wait to add more of your levels to my collection!!!" - Selene (17-Sep-2005)

"Until a worthy challenger arrives on the scene, Christoph has demonstrated by Land of the Rising Sun and this three-part tour de force that he's the undisputed King of Chinese Levels. Reign of Chaos keeps getting better and better, and the China excursion is the most scenic and the most relaxing by far. The ambient music that plays throughout is soothing without ever becoming distracting, unlike other levels that painfully come to mind. Although there are few enemies, the special effects and the eye-pleasing surroundings can better be enjoyed without having to worry about some enemy springing out from behind the next bush. Very well done indeed. With Nadine's parts still ahead, I can already say with confidence that Reign of Chaos must be included with my all-time Top Five custom level sets." - Phil (17-Sep-2005)

"I loved the Land of the Rising Sun and this time Christoph makes another good work. Great settings and buildings, original objects and enemies. Oriental levels are not usual and I always like play varied levels. ROC has all the settings that I love and this one (China) is beautifully done and has great puzzles." - Loupar (28-Aug-2005)

"I liked this very much. The setting is most appropriate with statues and textures that give the idea you're in China. I just loved the garden-like areas and wondering around them, also exploring the caves-like areas. It is a balanced level, with traps, good puzzles and enemies like spiders. One thing I found really tedious was the area with the moving pot because we had to use that underwater lever so many times I got dizzy in the end. The author could have placed a few other switches in higher places so we wouldn't have to go up and down a hundred times or find some other way to raise/lower the cages/blocks. The rest was great; the custom objects like the fans, lamps were a nice touch. I liked the colours this set of levels had, a happy note and enjoyable to play in. The outfit was very nice and there is some great music. Well done, great work from the author, something that goes for all the authors of the ROC game. I found four secrets." - Kristina (25-Aug-2005)

"What a magnificent set of levels! Excellent design and architecture, good puzzles, impressive atmosphere, beautiful new textures and objects, nice musics,... I only don't give highest punctuation in first and second sections because in gameplay sometimes you need an object or a key and you go through various places taking much time and can't continue and have to go back and explore all that huge places again till you finally find that lost item and then go back to the place you've already stay to use it, taking a lot of time. In second section I'd like there were some enemies to shoot showing Lara that there's somebody defending the path and things she retrieve (more realistic). Even so, you'll have much fun with this great set of levels." - Jose (22-Aug-2005)

"There is absolutely no doubt about it . . . if these China levels were devoid of puzzles, actions, gameplay and enemies, they would still be well worth playing for their sheer beauty. I spent as long just looking around. It's perfect. OK, there are some problems, like illegal slopes, but compared to the rest, who cares! Christoph hasn't sat on his laurels, but included some terrific gameplay to make a totally memorable experience. The only enemy you encounter here are spiders, big nasty ones. Creepy enough when they do show up. I had expected to see a few warriors jump out at me, and this kept me on my toes, but there were none. I loved all the objects in this level, including the dragon boulders and the broken and damaged 'lion' statues, Rotten Underground Temple. Starting out, the main thing to do is find keys and use them. It seems easy enough - finding a way to flood an enormous room by climbing, jumping, finding switches. But things become increasingly more difficult as you progress through the level. I reached a room where I was hopping about on what I thought were trigger tiles, when it eventually dawned on me that I needed to do something else. I found a torch, so those so-called triggers had to be lit to release a chain. Doh! Followed by, what looks like an impossible to cross spike floor. Look closely at that floor for steam. And this brings us to an absolutely gorgeous dark underground temple complex. Some great jumping to be done in here, around the rocks, onto the roofs of the pagoda, and to blocks in a watery part of this huge cave. On to another underground cave where there is one of the best object pushing tasks I've done in a long time. This was great fun, despite the constant climbing up, and jumping down, to get to those switches that raised and lowered the cages and blocks, and enabled me to get a golden pot from the bottom to the top of this huge cave. China Garden. This has to be one of the most beautiful levels I've ever played. We've arrived at a sleepy little village at twilight, with gardens and houses, with those sloped pagoda roofs, tall red walls painted with impressive dragon paintings, authentic looking painted screens, colourful paper lanterns, bonsai trees in pots, balconies draped in greenery, street lanterns, bells, gorgeous windows, wooden ramps up to the second fan table, the mist floating above in the trees - simple beautiful. Added to by the objects to find and place, these being a yin/yang combo, paper fans, and sun stone. I have to say that this is my favourite level of the whole game so far, not only because it is visually stunning, but because of the terrific gameplay that includes jumping, climbing, rope swinging, swimming, raising cages, monkey swinging, roof hopping, wall kicking, shimmying, more spike traps, and fun timed runs. And the music was so appropriate and beautiful throughout. In both levels camera angles and flybys were terrific. One fixed camera looks at Lara as she's trying to run down a ramp flowing with water and two dragon boulders in hot pursuit. I found the best way to deal with these is to run as far as the door (that the boulders open when they reach the bottom), wait until you see the left dragon almost beside Lara, and then just jump to the right, because the other boulder is slightly behind that left one. Finally, when Lara reaches the speedboat I was reluctant to get in and drive away from this wonderful place. Again, vital places are well hidden, so we have to look everywhere, which in this case is an absolute pleasure. I loved every minute of it." - CC (01-Aug-2005)

"Setting is definitely where these levels shine. They are simply awesome to that regard. And I loved the peaceful atmosphere of the China Garden. The gameplay relies heavily on research, and you may get lost and confused rather easily, until you manage to catch the author's way of thinking. No real difficulty, with the exception of a very tricky jump, a nasty spikes room and a tight boulder ordeal. But as tricky jumps and ordeals go, once you have the method you can repeat them and succeed ad lib. Very nice placement of enemies in the first level - and what enemies were they! Added a lot to the atmosphere. And the secrets are very well designed too. All in all, an excellent set of levels, maybe just a bit too easy." - Sutekh (26-Jul-2005)

"Lovely scenery, but I really could have done without all the spiders, especially the giant ones that make such revolting noises. The gameplay is an enjoyable mix of acrobatics and exploring with a bit of puzzle solving thrown in for good measure and possibly the longest pot shoving experience in the history of tomb raiding (it got just a bit tedious actually). That slight nitpick aside, I really enjoyed this section of the excellent Reign of Chaos series - it looks spectacular and some of the cut scenes are really well done, especially the excellent finishing scene where Lara leaves by speedboat." - Jay (25-Jul-2005)

Rotten Underground Temple: This level is wonderful. We are adventuring in China, in a sunken, dead temple, in caves, in pagodas. The only enemies are spiders. There are many things to do. The torch has a major role, and leavers around the temple have to be found in order to get on. Shuffling the vase at the end was a little bit nerve-racking. There's one secret on the level. In the spiky room watch the fuming floortiles. I didn't need to use medipacks. At the end we can pick up the Green Chaos Gem and with this liberate China too. :) The textures, the environments and the sounds are all wonderful. China Garden Part1: This level is gorgeous. There are no enemies. We are adventuring among wonderful pagodas, at waterfalls, in buildings. Well, at the beginning of the level, at the big pool you have to look round carefully using the binoculars sometimes to notice the two crawlspaces in the passage that hide two symbols. There are no extremely hard parts on the level, the timed run is only necessary for getting one of the secrets. We mostly have to find levers to get on. There are two secrets here, two Golden Roses, but at the first one we can pick up some ammo and medipack after kicking the wall. Probably this is the most beautiful level so far. :) China Garden Part 2: This level is a great ending for the adventures in China. There are no enemies here either, but some skills are needed. Also on this level I liked the re-textured rolling rocks. The environments here are also gorgeous. We have to climb high walls, get on with twisty jumps, find levers. We are adventuring in pagodas and on their roofs. There's only one secret, that has an opener jumpswitch on a small bridge. We can find the Shotgun on this level; for it I have found only ammo so far. At the beginning of the level we can find an ignition key. We can find a jeep for it, which is a motorboat this time. :) With this we can leave the level. Fantastic idea. :) I missed only one thing from this level. People. Maybe some Chinese women. After all we have to find the lost Chinese Fans, so at least they could have said a 'Thank you!' for us. :) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/15/reign_of_chaos.htm - Obig (18-Jul-2005)

Though this follows the same linear gameplay pattern of the previous levels in the game, where you have to find a key, use it immediately then onto the next one and so on, and at start looks uninspired and a tad bland, this trio of levels literally progresses every ten minutes or so with giant leaps. If you compared the end with the start, it would be hard to believe that it was made by the same builder. For example the start might not play so exciting but then you get to bigger caves and temples, which not only look, oh, so much prettier but have some clever gameplay bits too, like very cleverly bypassing spikes that don't allow you to get to a lever switch, or another area where you have to push and raise a pot to the top of the cave (haven't I seen this in a yet un-released level of another author before, though? ;) :P) which generally is cleverly set up, but I found the constant activating of the unfortunate switch and pushing the pot too tedious at times (sometimes you only had to move it by 1 tile and then go all the way back to the switch to activate it once more, and so on) but that's minor on the whole. What's especially memorable in this chapter of the 'Reign of Chaos' game, is the China Garden level(s), as they're incredibly beautiful and the gardens just have to be seen to be believed. Also, so far in the game, this one, if you can say so has the most gameplay, as while some tasks might not feel so special on their own - on the whole you feel like you've been doing something worthwhile all the time, and that's a nice achievement for the author as well as a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment for the player when they ride off in their (rather slow) motor-boat at the end of this wonderful chapter in the series. - eTux (17-Jul-2005)

I liked the China Level best so far, for its graphics alone with the small gardens that are a feast for the eye. Puzzles are well thought out and make you think, there are many nooks and crannies to find, Lara can explore the roofs and climb around quite a bit. There are levers to pull and some timed sequences as well. Other than that some keys to find. I liked the sound and the atmosphere was crafted rather well. Enemies are spiders only, so this is relatively calm. Christoph has put a lot of effort into this and the objects are used really well. Ingenious - one of the best China levels I have played. :-) - Engelchen Lara (11-Jul-2005)

Wow! Christoph - you have created one very beautiful venue with your contribution to ROC - however long did it take you to produce those buildings? Bravo! These levels are a feast for the eyes - the paper lanterns and fans are so delicate that you want Lara to tread carefully here. And what a dynamite use of these objects. The methods of progression through these levels are perfect! There is only one moment of tedious urn pushing and lever pulling that detracts from the game as a whole. My fellow raiders will love this series! Beautifully done! - Mugs (09-Jul-2005)

These 3 levels only gets better and better! The first one was easy and pretty straight forward. Although, the vase puzzle almost made me scream, cause it took so long to move the vase, pull the switch etc. etc... :) A very clever puzzle though! The first garden level was very nice and had some nice puzzles and great music. The last part of garden 1 really impressed me. All the great objects and textures. A nice oriental feeling. The 3rd part though... WOW! Really amazing! I have never played a better oriental level. Only Miss Kroft's Hanami in Kyoto comes close to the same atmosphere. The mist layers over the temples.. the huge areas and streaming waterfalls.. the music and the great sun and lightning effects later in the stage. A masterpiece! Great job Christoph! 2006-07-05" - QRS (07-Jul-2005)

Good set of levels, with good lighting, textures, puzzles and enemies. Yeah, I missed gameplay. This lacks of it. I got really frustrated with this at times. For example you open a door with a key, you go inside the new room and there is nothing there, but really there has been another door opened somewhere else. The author could have at least put a camera there. I lost count on how many times I was asking for help. This is the only thing that let the levels down. The design and structure of the outside was really well built however. The textures were applied nicely and there were beautiful fog effects throughout the levels. I also liked the new puzzles, which included a fan and sun stone. The shinyness on the objects was appealing, too. Overall, a good set of levels but you may get frustrated due to the gameplay. - TombRaiderFan (05-Jul-2005)
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