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Level: The Quest of Gold 8 - Mystic Experience back home search
Author(s): TC14
total rating:9.13 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 9 10 10 9
CC 9 10 9 10
DJ Full 9 9 10 9
Dutchy 9 9 8 8
Gerty 8 9 9 9
Jay 9 9 9 9
Kristina 9 9 9 9
manarch2 8 8 9 8
MichaelP 10 8 10 9
Mytly 9 9 9 10
Phil 9 8 9 9
QRS 10 10 10 10
Ravenwen 10 10 10 10
Relic Hunter 9 9 10 10
Samu 9 10 9 9
Sash 10 9 10 10
Sutekh 9 9 9 9
Torry 6 7 9 9
category averages
(18 reviews)
8.94 9.00 9.33 9.22

Reviewer's comments

"This rendition of Floating Islands must be the most frustrating, confusing and downright mean level of that genre. Honestly, there is no logic to the progression here at all and if you choose to trust your luck and dispense with the walk through you will be simply wandering about for hours with no forward progress to show for it. Things must be done in order more or less to allow the raider to progress and woe betide the raider that does not follow this order as you will likely simply give up and trash the damn thing. So get out the walk through early folks as without it you are doomed to miserable failure. Right at the start you need to get around a crack in the building you find yourself in to commence and not jump towards one of the inviting floating blocks on either side of you. Downright mean if you ask me. Speaking of cracks you are tasked with jumping to a number of these throughout the level and some are simply not identifiable as viable cracks to grab so again, keep that walk through handy. Sorry but I did not like this near four hours in the bowels of hell at all." - Torry (12-Dec-2018)

"This fantasy-style interlude of the series could've been quite a fantastic level for me. Floating islands style (which I love), many varied tasks to solve, partly challenging platforming and a very nice atmosphere - this had the potential to be my favourite level of the series until now. But there is one thing where it went wrong, and that is lack of structure. Like DJ Full I found almost every possible unintended shortcut in the whole level, which often results in doses of backtracking because a certain action was missed out during that shortcut. On creating so many platforms one has to be really careful that a certain ledge is not too close to be able to jump to, but there are just too many occasions where this is possible. There are also some spikes you can get past without deactivating them. The worst of all was that I ran into a game-stopping bug - after finding one of the orbs, a spike trap that was supposed to detrigger activated instead, so I couldn't climb the ledge, the only way out was to use another, this time handy shortcut (...). There are also a few rather pedestrian parts like rather long ladder and shimmy sessions that don't really do much for the gameplay, also there could've been a nicer way to return over the white ledges than just to backtrack all the way over them. Nevertheless, there are very creative traps to pass, a few good puzzles to solve and it was actually more fun than it sounds, with a good fluent progression, at least if you follow the route in the walkthrough. Enemies are competently placed throughout the level and quite a nice challenge at times, while secrets seem to be placed as an afterthought and all were pretty obvious to find. The architecture of the islands is great, and there are quite complex structures at times. The mystical atmosphere works nicely mostly, the only thing I didn't like were the outer walls being very flat and uninspired with wallpapered textures throughout. The lighting also felt a bit flat, but I did like the blueish colour scheme very much. Overall a good level that could have been an excellent one with a better worked-out structure and a few tiny cosmetic changes. It ends after 50 minutes with a very nice cutscene showing Lara's departure from Canada." - manarch2 (31-Aug-2015)

"If a level has floating islands, it's instantly more thrilling, atmospheric and original, but if You think one can just climb a pile of levitating rocks into the Hall of Fame, then You're wrong. When more care is demanded from a player who's not willing to kill Lara every single step, more patience is also required from the builder to interconnect the paths on many altitudes, avoiding unintended access in the same moment. I'm very sorry, but the latter is messed up here. It took me four hours to check every single platform of this particular jumping madness, and I was many times landing behind the burners I should have first extinguished or behind doors which were supposed to open before. Often I unnecessarily repeated a passage, not knowing what I'm really doing. However I never get confused enough to completely run out of concept and get stuck anywhere, so the level managed to defend itself from my bad luck to follow unplanned routes before the intended one. In some spots, the author moved the playable zone a bit too close to the borders, so geometry flickers without portals, and half of the world is surrounded with a rock edged both with a flat top and flat bottom, but the intensive platforming and search for eight key items attracted my focus quickly so I almost instantly stopped to care about little graphic unpolishments, and the visuals are generally very pleasant. The color scheme has something of Obsidian Heights mixed with Recruiting Demon Smalls but an all-present TR2 Gold element continuing from previous levels adds that something which makes this little world stand on its own. This is also because a very nice usage of Indian objects - I think about half of hanging rocks, even the smallest, has one of these standing on them, so the power of the spirits can be felt... and fought, for several nicely placed demigods guard the peaks, shooting Lara from other floating structures. What is noticeable, this demigod instance has the opponent at safe distance so Lara has enough time to evade the homing plasma rounds, yet she needs to take care not to fall off - well balanced. After all the struggle for items, what I was first overwhelmed with (eight again?? what the.. I thought), it's all well rewarded with epic death slide conclusion and, if that wasn't enough, we get a final cutscene after a whole episode comes to an end. SUMMARY: Unfortunately too many confusion, so I can't maximize gameplay rating, but it's mystic indeed and also quite challenging, as the end of episode should be. I noticed the overall difficulty balance in the series is top-notch so far." - DJ Full (15-Apr-2015)

"This single level was one of the most difficult levels I have ever played. The traps and other things were very hard to get by. Although the challenging difficulty this level was very nice with textures from TR1 peru levels but the colour was changed. The level was very white with floating islands everywhere. The main aim of the level is to find an artifact but first you will need some lizard spheres. This level is the final level of the canadian chapter of TC14's amazing duest of gold series. Very nice and recommended." - afzalmiah (29-Mar-2011)

"I have been thinking of trying out The Quest of Gold for a while now, but every time I note the size of the Gold edition, I chicken out. So I thought I'd try one of the single levels from the series - and what better than this floating-islands type level, a style which I love? Ok, this level is presumably not very representative of the whole of The Quest of Gold - but, hey, it looked the most interesting!
Well, my original impression wasn't wrong - this is definitely an Interesting level (with a capital 'i') and quite an unforgettable one as well. I love the minimalistic visual style: bright blue blocks against a white background, with just the occasional touches of other colours like bright yellow and brown. The surreal looks and slightly spooky ambient sounds make for a great atmosphere. The enemies - demigods, harpies and sasquatches - are very well used.
And the gameplay? Wow! It's great fun picking out paths over the blocks, weaving back and forth across the level. The traps are enjoyably sadistic (if that makes any sense). The non-linearity of the level makes it quite confusing at times, but since there are no real dead ends, you eventually wind up on the right path to at least one of the lizard spheres you're seeking. And if not - the walkthrough is always there. My main issues with the gameplay are the overdose of shimmying required, and the fact that the main objective of the level - deactivating the spikes near the zipline - isn't very clear. Oh, and the white walkway? Great idea in theory, bad one in practice.
The level ends with a nice cutscene of Lara walking serenely (nice to see her taking things easy instead of always running around ;)), getting picked up by a helicopter, and on the way to her next destination. Sadly, I won't be going along with her - this time at least. But I'll be there one day - once I get myself to brave the whole of The Quest of Gold." - Mytly (09-Mar-2010)

"I usually avoid this kind of 'labelling', but in this case I just have to say it: you can't consider yourself a serious raider if you haven't played levels like this one! In a totally different mood than all the previous installments of the QoG series, 'Mystic Experience' finds Lara in a dreamy, psychedelic and haunting environment where nothing seems to be on solid ground; everything is hanging in the air or hovering above her head, and there are so many traps and dangers that the journey results in being one constant challenge from start to finish. TC is a master of such creations anyway, if you bring into mind his masterpiecical 'Kingdom of the Dead' from 'Revenge of Osiris', which moves along similar lines. Wicked jumps, tricky sequences of actions, inventive moves, thorough observation of the surroundings, are only a few of the things that this level requires from the player. But it offers a lot more, it offers a sense of highly challenging adventure that tests your expertise, a major feeling of accomplishment once you've found all the items that you need (disovering most of them is very very hard!) and some of the most beautiful and original environments that you have seen in custom levels (especially the invisible walkway part is brilliant). Absolute and total perfection from any aspect. Those of you who still haven't played this level, do it right away!" - Ravenwen (25-Sep-2007)

"This level is simply amazing. Since I played"Obsidian heights" by Inchdix, I thought nothing would even come close to match the category as the best 'floating island' level. This level is just as good and even if there are much tedious backtracking and extremely hard jumps, I enjoyed every minute of it. A highlight was the search for one of the snake gem in thin air! A great and inventive part of the level. It reminded me of Dick's 'Lizard's Lair' and Nintendo's 'Ocarina of Time' ;);) There were a few spots in which you could use shortcuts. The jump switch near the snake receptacles comes to mind. It could be reached from the roof and not via the long way around as the author intended. Nothing that will lower my scores though as I never got stuck due to a short cut. The atmosphere was amazing and the cut scene in the end extremely informative and fun to watch! Way to go, TC14! Korea, here I come!" - QRS (10-Feb-2007)

"A fabulous rendition of the floating islands theme. This is quite a long (90 minute) level and a difficult one too, as there are many challenging jumps to master and plenty of spike, burner and blade traps, plus a few harpies, demigods and gorilla guys making an appearance in least convenient moments. You are on a quest for no less than eight lizard spheres and from the starting room make your way pretty much into all directions, including up and down, to get them. The whole architecture is truly ingenious and very clever, although it can be challenging to find the right next step. Some of the climb/shimmy passages are a bit long and tedious, but overall the pace is really quite fast - except for the invisible walkway, which I did not like much. At the end you finally get to use the zipline for a long ride and are treated to a very cool cutscene, as Lara gets picked up by a helicopter. Found 3 secrets." - MichaelP (19-Nov-2006)

"Where are we now? We are high above anything that may, or may not, be 'down there'. Floating islands in a whole lot of nothingness. At least the nothingness is a pale blue sky and not pitch black. All those who love this type of level will have a ball here, as we make our way around castle walls, huts, temples and walkways via bridges, ziplines, falls, climbs, monkeyswings, shimmys and plain old jumping. Correction: make that pixel perfect and extremely difficult jumping at times. No indians up here, but plenty of nasty apemen, demigods, and blue harpys. We are in search of eight gold pieces to place into the mouths of eight snake statues. To find these we must negotiate spikes, swinging blades, hammers, fires, and using numerous blue face tiles. The overall impression I've left with is the route around this place, not the enemies or objects. I really enjoyed it, but I'd recommend the walkthrough as it can get very confusing, frustrating and time consuming if you don't know where you're going. One gold piece was right under my feet and I couldn't see it, so I skipped merrily off somewhere else without it. Certain parts are covered a number of times, so you really need to know why and for what. Another gold piece is at the end of an intriguing 'walk in the clouds'. Following the odd skull on a pole is your route, but there are pitfalls to trap the hasty. As in all the previous levels, saving often is essential. When all is done we make our way back to that shaft of light, and are transported back to the Canadian Forrest again, where the helicopter await us, and carries us away to a totally different country." - CC (23-Sep-2006)

"I'm not sure I've reviewed any levels during the month of June, due to my Hidden Gardens walkthrough project, so I thought I'd try to squeeze this one in at the 11th hour. This level marks a radical departure from the previous levels in this series, but that's not a bad thing at all. When I skimmed Dutchy's walkthrough before starting to play, I expected a Jedi Knight-like ordeal. Instead I found a challenging but quite do-able (with Dutchy's help) hour-long level that's designed along the lines of Floating Islands. Of course, you find the same theme in Obsidian Heights, and it's strange that I would play two such similar levels back to back. The enemies are few and far between, mainly harpies and mutant men, but the challenges consist of making your way back and forth between several buildings with multi-layered sequences of floating blocks in between. There are flame blowers and spike traps to deal with along the way, and near the end there's a neat blind maze where you're walking around in a gray nothingness where one false step means instant death. I've really enjoyed this series, but it'll be nice to get back to solid ground again. Highly recommended." - Phil (01-Jul-2006)

"Now this is what I'm talkin' 'bout! I loved, loved, loved this level and without doubt it is my favourite of the whole series so far. Why do I love it so much, well firstly when it initially loads up you just aren't expecting to be smack dab in the middle of a wondrous floating island world as the levels leading up are all so normal, but this isn't any old namby pamby floating island deal, every move, every action has a pay off so that there is never a moment where you just feel like you are running around without purpose. The environment is also a step above any of the same genre and for me when I started and took a 360 view of my surroundings I almost felt like a kid in a candy store wanting impatiently to just get to every possible destination I could see, and I can tell you the wait was totally worth it when I did get to visit all corners of this brilliant level. In this mystical world your aim is to collect 8 golden Lizard Spheres to place into the mouths of what looked like snake heads, although I guess they have to be lizards, what great deduction there Sash. This probably seems easier than it sounds as it felt like collecting the first took me ages but once that first is in your grips they all slowly come to you in a steady flow. I also am not sure but I think you can go for most of them in any order you like as I found the one in the void of white nothing, which by the way was fabulously executed, first but by the walkthru that is further down the collecting line so there is a sense of non linearity. I have to say that I thought the 3 secret roses could have been just a tad harder to collect but even so they still had a sense of accomplishment connected with them once found, and like in previous instalments of the series I navigated past a couple of spots easier than the intended route was meant to be. One being the spike-flame-smashing hammer trap where instead of running along the top and having to avoid all those nasties I simply grabbed the edge and shimmied past them making it very easy, also there is a jumpswitch that turns off a burner so that you can go on a slightly long monkeyswing and climbable ladder flipping adventure to get to a hole in the wall of the surrounding floating mountain but instead I simply jumped from the top of a building and glided down that mountain wall until Lara slipped inside the hole. These little shortcuts didn't detract from the game as it is always a bit of fun finding an alternate route. Please go out and play this 100 minute level as it is absolutely the bee's knees!" - Sash (29-May-2006)

"This is very same kind of level as The Floating Islands in TR2. There are a lot of things to explore and challenging jumping tasks to complete in the game and mostly you do everything in a one huge and breathtaking area. Sometimes it was a bit frustrating to find every items which you have to find because they are really hard to find and it won't be easy for beginners. I had still a lot of fun when searching them and if you like the The Floating Islands level in TR2 you will like this too." - Samu (29-May-2006)

"Having played more levels by Thibault, I know what to expect a bit. This was the pits for me as I hated Floating Islands (sorry Thibault) and this wasn?t that much better. Don?t get me wrong I have a tremendous fear of heights and jumping from block to block, knowing that there is nothing in between cuts my game play pretty short as I only can play a very short time and then I have to do something else before coming back for the next jump or so. But saying that you have to admire the guy as there is never a dull moment. Around every corner there is always something to do and a bit exhausting as well. Your main goal is getting eight Spheres with many traps in between" - Gerty (28-May-2006)

"The portal of the great spirit in the previous levels now takes us here to this floating city in the mystic world, and it is quite an impressive looking city bathed in a Floating Islands atmosphere. The aim here is to collect the eight lizard spheres in order to get your hands on the Essence of Nature which you'll probably be using in the following levels. The search for the spheres is totally non-linear as you trek through the surreal expanses of this level looking for them, and the search won't be easy. Demigods, harpies, apemen, numerous and clever traps will be there to test your raiding skills! It can be quite easy to get lost in this huge city though, and make sure you search everywhere in case you miss a sphere. I was panicking throughout the level because I couldn't find my last sphere, only to learn it was under the receptacle platform, lol. The white walkway bit was unique, as I don't recall seeing something like that in a custom level before. Great level, off to Korea now." - Relic Hunter (06-May-2006)

"I just loved this one with all the jumps and floating island-like blocks. The construction of this level is wonderful and full of mystery. The path were you have to travel through a total white area with the skull-like objects to guide you was inspired, although it reminded me of the area with the guide in one of the levels made by Richard Lawther. You have to find ways to make spikes retract or to climb and access certain areas. The enemies you'll be facing are mainly demigods and easy to get rid of. I liked the secrets very much because you could see them and had to find a way to get to there and grab them. I found three secrets and I hope the next installment will be as enjoyable as this one." - Kristina (15-Apr-2006)

"First off, be aware that this one is for experts. Not absolutely expert experts of extraordinaire expertise, but experts nonetheless. Tough jumps, hard traps and a slight feeling of confusion are what this level is made of, gameplay-wise. My main problem was with the latter as I more than often found myself scratching my head, looking in every directions and wondering where - and how - to go next. More camera shots and maybe some more hints would have helped but hey, I managed to find my way without resorting to the walkthrough (although the temptation was really hard to control at times), so it's not impossible. The tricky jumps and traps are more of the "find the method" type than the "be very lucky" one, so I eventually enjoyed them a lot. The only moment I gladly would have skipped is the "lost in white nothingness" trip to the last item, where I had to resort mostly on trial and errors to get through. A bit tedious. The settings is made of floating blocks and platforms which some love and some hate (I'm with the former) and is mostly blue and white - with some molten gold here and there, but still very monochromatic. This gives a lot to the atmosphere which is eerie, to say the least, and very "clean". In that regard the choice of those brown brutal yetis somehow clashed and spoiled the whole impression. All in all a very finely designed level, very original and beautiful. One which is worth its difficulty - if only for that rewarding feeling of "I finally beat it" - and a unique experience." - Sutekh (18-Mar-2006)

"This series just took a turn for the surreal with an exotic Floating Islands style setting, complete with invisible walkway section. Cue some heavy duty climbing, sliding and jumping and major spike/blade avoidance, with added harpy, yeti and demigod activity. There are eight lizard spheres to find and frankly I was knackered after the first one. This is extremely well thought out and provides a real treat for the experienced raider in need of some challenging agility tests." - Jay (13-Feb-2006)

"Not a level I would usually play as I'm not very fond of those black, in this case white depths, but even though I liked it very much, because in a while you'll forget about that as the level will need your full attention while doing numerous hard jumps and figuring out what way to go now was also quite time consuming. Never got bored in this one, the white walkway I didn't like although many might say it's nice. But getting through wasn't that hard as long as you walked slowly and it might take you a jump or two to get to the next part. Collecting the 8 Spheres took you through a wide variation of rooms with nice traps and in the end you were able to access the final Zip-line to get to the last artefact and you could move on. Good storyline in all these levels, this one was not quite my kind of level. But if we get more like the previous levels, I'm in again. Got the three Secrets, but then again they weren't that hard to find." - Dutchy (30-Jan-2006)
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