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Level: The Zoprium Project 1 - The Strange Lab of Nevada back home search
Author(s): Danilo Rocha Mara Croft Renato Wanser
total rating:8.37 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
CC 7 7 9 8
eRIC 7 8 9 8
eTux 7 8 9 8
Gerty 7 7 9 9
Jay 8 8 9 9
Jorge22 8 7 9 9
Jose 8 8 9 8
Kristina 8 8 8 9
MichaelP 8 8 10 9
Phil 9 9 10 9
Richard Ba 10 9 10 9
Ryan 8 8 9 9
Shandroid 8 8 9 9
TheStig 7 7 8 9
Whistle 8 9 8 8
category averages
(15 reviews)
7.87 7.93 9.00 8.67

Reviewer's comments

"This is a two hour long adventure spreading across three levels. The game starts with Lara at her mansion and she receives an urgent note from a close friend, telling her to get to Nevada as soon as possible. Then the game commences properly. The rough canyon areas and caves are very authentically crafted and are rife with vultures, snakes, spiders and guards. The gameplay mostly revolves around exploration in these areas, locating keys and switches and doing some bike riding. Stock up on supplies as the enemies get progressively tougher towards the end. Good fun and it's a shame we've seen no sign of the promised sequels..." - Ryan (02-Feb-2017)

"Some levels are enjoyable primarily for their gameplay, others for the beauty and variety of the surroundings. Here's a three-part release that has them both. The action begins in a brightly-lit outdoor Nevada setting, then moves indoors as you explore a vast research complex. By the time it was all over I'd spent nearly three hours here and was sorry to see it come to an end. The final screen promised a continuation of the adventure, which alas will apparently not be forthcoming. Dutchy has provided his usually thorough walkthrough, which was especially helpful in navigating the research ccomplex. This was the most thoroughly enjoyable raid I've had in a long time, and it's not to be missed." - Phil (07-Aug-2011)

"A good 3 hours adventure , quite fluent in general , despite not having lots of cameras to help , but with well executed flybys. The opening cutscenes with the new animations are pretty well done. The lighting is pleasant , but i needed to add flares in the first dark cave. The outside deserts areas are rather huge but not overwhelming at all, the inside places in the 2nd level were a bit more confusing . I did not liked all the fixed cameras , especially the one in the room with the 2nd fuse, as there is also a switch there to reopen a door somewhere before. Found also a couple of shortcuts , the first tightrope was not necessary, and you can avoid going on the ledges in the room with fire emitters. In the 3rd level, the switches do drain or flood the tanks function , but the state of the tanks do not correspond well with the intended actions of these switches after the first use. Despite these small glitches , and not many puzzles throughout , the authors have made a very good work , i appreciate much the rather natural atmosphere of these levels." - eRIC (15-Jun-2010)

"Here's another review that's long overdue. I remember reading the first glowing reviews for this game and that drew my attention to it, so I started it up and finished soon after its release, but abandoned the thought of reviewing it for a while. A strange strategy and most definitely not a recommended one, but the thought of reviewing this became fond only recently so here I am. It starts out with a rather lengthy, nonetheless well structured exposition cutscene that gives you some background and sets the tone for the whole game here. It's interesting though maybe a bit tricky to follow due to the accent of the voice-over actors, but well done all the same! As far as settings go you start out and spend quite a while in the desert and ultimately end up in a base (as you can pretty much conclude after reading the title alone) and while they are excellently constructed as such - both settings are ungratifying in the sense that they fall prey to feeling like just being more of the same very soon and unfortunately it's no different here. It doesn't necessarily detract from the overall appeal of the level, but does leave you wishing that there had been more to it than there was, if that makes sense. Gameplay-wise there's a rather memorable ride through the desert on your bike and a neat puzzle or 2 before all is said and done, but overall the gameplay is more of the shooter type, and it seems nothing has changed over for me over the years of playing custom levels and that's still not my favourite type of gameplay. I suppose it works in form of a few battles to keep the action going, but I'm not sure I'll ever fully enjoy a game that predominantly relies on it. That said - this game has more than enough to make up for it even if you, just like me, don't enjoy that facet of the whole experience too and it's worth a try. Looking forward to any possible sequels - I hope the team has not abandoned the project just yet!" - eTux (22-Oct-2007)

"The Call (6/8/10/9, 25 min, 1 secret): Well, what an opening! First, take your time to watch the nice title flyby and then you get several minutes of introduction cutscenes that are very cinematic and worth loading up this game just to see them. Gameplay in the first part here is little after that though, just killing a few vultures and spiders, solving an easy puzzle with four doors and finding and using to keys gets you to...
The Basement (8/9/10/10, 70 min, 4 secret): This is raiding in very authentic looking desert canyons and caves, avoiding the occasional boulder, walking tightropes, looking at beautiful rivers and waterfalls and then later exploring your way into a Base / Warehouse setting, looking for fuses, a card and a few keys. It actually has maybe too many enemies (tough bad guys, snakes and vultures), so better watch your health, and in the later part also a few too many switches which make the gameplay progression a bit boring.
The Research Complex (8/8/9/9, 45 min, 2 secret): Just as the previous part this is quite a shooter as you find the huge research facility in the desert, which actually looks almost like a castle from the outside. Not only do you encounter plenty of guards but inside you also need to deal with poisonous mutants as you search for plugs and keys. The area with the water tanks is quite a complex puzzle overall and was fun to get through. The bike seemed almost a bit underused in the huge overall area, but was still fun to drive around in and then especially as you chase the Jeep at the end.
Bottomline this is a very ambitious project with great looks and at times tough gameplay due to all the enemies, but I sure hope the planned sequel will become a reality one day." - MichaelP (21-Apr-2007)

"The game is divided in three levels and each of them is very interesting. The main setting is the desert of course so expect to see some condors, snakes and guards when you finally visit the labs. There are some wonderful cut scenes and the dialogues are clear enough for us to understand. Unfortunately during the last cut scene the game crashed. There are many areas to explore that have plug keys, regular keys and fuses for Lara to find. The motorcycle is also used at the last level and I enjoyed the last fast ride. I found seven secrets that although weren't that hard I managed to miss one of them. It's a fun level with a good story and the necessary elements in-game to support it. I recommend it for almost three hours of fun." - Kristina (12-Apr-2007)

"A good initial set of levels. Plenty to shoot at, in fact too many at times. However you do need to conserve ammo for the more powerful shooters for the multiple attack occasions. Vultures, snakes and spiders in the early sections and plenty of baddies in the later ones. Puzzles are there, consisting of block type in 3D and the tank one towards the end. Pickups are not frequent, ande I found a few more ammo dumps would have helped. The folk who like plenty of jumps, will be well satified as these occur both on foot and bikes. Graphics fine if a bit repetitive at times, but I found that a few more sound effects would have made the atmosphere created a bit more dramatic. I await the sequel." - Whistle (01-Feb-2007)

"This is really a great proyect with a lot of work behind. It's not usual that custom levels include animations, but this adventure delight us with several great animations. Another good detail was Lara drinking in the fountains (good!). First level is short, but following levels are long with a lot of tasks to do, huge areas and no-lineal gameplay sometimes you can get disoriented. The aspect I didn't like was the very few ammo you can dispose; there are a lot of enemies to shoot and majority times you can use only your pistols (so I give less punctuation in the objects section). In the last level the Bronze Key didn't work in my game, I had to go back and flood the tanks and then it fortunately worked. At the end the game crashed and I couldn't hear the final words. A good work anyway. My best regards to the next levels of the serie, I think they'll be better." - Jose (09-Oct-2006)

"Overall an enjoyable adventure. I absolutely love large environments and this has them in spades. It's also good to see someone who understands that outdoor environments need to be made tall with this engine to be made belivable. Lighting for the most-part is superb. I did encounter one or two wafer thin walls, but nothing excessive. Pleanty to pick up and pleanty to shoot at :) Easy progress can be made through each level, and I didnt find myself excessively stuck at any point. I found some of the combat very very frustrating. If you're gonna provide this level of enemys you either need to up the medi-pack count or provide some better hardware to deal with them. Some of the static camera work seemed to be put there for the sake of it, and as other reviewers comment, detract from the gameplay. I couldnt view the last cut-sequence, as the game crashed. Some elements of the audio are also unpolished. All in all, a great effort, and I'd recommend as a download." - TheStig (01-Oct-2006)

"On the mac, I could play this only by using the original scripts and choosing each level separately. So I was able to see all the amazing flybys. But I would have preferred to play it right through as this is really something else. These flybys are lengthy, very cinematic and well worth watching. We witness long conversations between Lara and a (doctor!) J. Leavy, who has written to her at the Croft mansion, asking her to come to Nevada to investigate his discovery of a mysterious alien lab. The odd thing about these conversations is Lara's South American accent. We 'could' imagine that she is speaking to the doctor in Spanish. Well, it's worth a try, lol. Appropriate enemies are vultures, spiders and huge snakes. Lara tightrope walks across canyons and finds an unfortunate man who lives only long enough to tell a tale (another excellent flyby). The player must find two fuses before entering a base. Enemies in the base are humans. For me the only 'puzzle' was raising a block to get two other blocks up onto a higher ledge. And the rest is finding and picking up items. Take a look at Lara's slower crouch and pick up motion. The flybys are the stars of the show here. As I couldn't play this properly I may have missed a lot of other great things. I hope the next instalment, in Scotland, will be more mac friendly." - CC (23-Sep-2006)

"The Call: What a wonderful cinematic intro this has - very professional. Lara's been called to Nevada to assist with mutant problems (oh great). Cue much exploration of caves and labs. The enemies here are buzzards, snakes and jumping spiders and on meeting those in a crawl space it wasn't just Lara that was crawling - my flesh joined in too. Spiders, yuk, bring on the mutants. The Basement: The desert scenery really is beautifully created and feels very real - something about the quality of the light, I think. There are some tough baddies hanging around in the rooms and they really take a lot of killing, so finding the uzi was good news. There are also a lot of fire emitters and drills in the passages and you need to be a bit cautious turning corners or you'll fry. The Research Complex: I grumbled a bit about getting a brace of buzzards in the face at the start of this section, but that was entirely compensated for by the totally brilliant animation of Lara refreshing herself at a water fountain. Outstanding. I don't know how builders manage these clever things, but if you're taking requests my dearest TR wish is to see Lara sit down at the piano and give us a tune one of these days. Sorry, I digress. You get a little bit of bike riding and a lot of dirty great mutants too. I don't care, I still prefer them to spiders. All in all, a jolly nice adventure." - Jay (22-Sep-2006)

"This is my first review! Ok, moving on..I really enjoyed this level. I am very impressed with the flow of this level. What I tend to look for in the levels (and seldom find) is a "pro feel", or the feeling that I paid for the game and that immersive feel I get from a professionally made game. I love cut scenes because they add to the story and make me feel like I am playing a pro game. Zoprium had these cut scenes, albeit a few were a bit long, especially with the heavy accents. I usually have trouble understanding what the characters are saying without the accents, but with them, it is almost impossible. Sadly, I will tend to space off during the dialogue, and I don't want to do that! Gameplay was quite fun and I rarely got lost, but some areas were a bit convoluted and I felt stuck (Gerty to the rescue!) Almost every area was also non-linear to a point. I frequently would arrive at an area and say to myself, "Well, which way do I go? I don't want to move on to a new area, but I don't know which way is best! Argh!" There is one area where you have two directions you can go, one will take you to an area where you need a fuse that is necessary for the other area. If you take the direction that needs the fuse you will frustratingly realize you need to backtrack to the other area first in order to proceed. That kind of non-linearity is so frustrating and could be avoided by closing off that one area with a door that you open in the other area or whatever. Some folks may like that kind of openness, but I prefer not to waste my time backtracking. There were some nice puzzle areas that I really had to sit there and study to see how to proceed. I felt pretty skilled getting past them (lasers, you know who you are). There were lots of enemies, sadly, they liked togetherness, so it was difficult at times getting through these areas without using up the limited medi-paks. I, didn't however, believe there were so few medi-paks that I felt compelled to cheat. There was nice use of objects, especially during cutscenes where also the great animation (when Lara put her hands on her hips) gave the level more of a real feel. Speaking of real feel, I simply adored the "Drinking Water" fountain. How great was that?!! I only wished drinking the water bumped Lara's health up a bit, reminiscent of another great game, Dark Cloud, however, that may be a game engine limitation. Secrets were few (unless I was just too duncey to find them!) I really hated some of the camera angles, especially while on the motorcycle at the end. Lara saw the bottom of the canyon one too many times because of this. Also, after dying and re-loading, the enemy jeep stayed in the garage instead of escaping again. I was unsure if this would mess things up, and thankfully I had another savegame. All negative bits aside, I was very impressed with this level and genuinely depressed when it ended. The level flowed very well, looked great, kept me intrigued and best of all, made me want to play the next installments. Nice work, TRBC!!" - Shandroid (02-Sep-2006)

"This first part of a longer saga is nice and un-nice all in a row. The desert landscapes are magnificently built and the three levels that constitute The Zoprium Project 1 will keep you busy for a while with some very imaginative obstacles along your way. This much tells you it's one game you should definitely play. So, what's un-nice about it? a) Too many deadly baddies (namely the blonde ones with their weird weapons)and too few medipacks. I was afraid I couldn't make it to the end. b) A flipmap bug at the end of level 2. Dreaded, dreaded. Hadn't it been for someone else's savegame I wouldn't have gotten into level three. c) The fact that some things aren't really very obvious and it's a bit easy to become stuck. Then, there are plenty of animations in the game, which seems to point to a current tendency in level building. Lara drinking water from fountains is cool. Sometimes, however, the cut scenes just go on and on for a bit too long, right at the start, for example. I say maybe there should be some restraining there, but what do I know? It would also have been nice to have been able to understand all of the speeches, since there are so many of them... But that funny Brazilian accent... Would it be possible to find someone else to cooperate in the voiceovers? Well, don't let this get you down. Play it and you'll be in for a treat. I'll be looking forward to the continuation in Scotland and I'm only praying that there'll be some more medipacks along the way and more careful attention to possible bugs - otherwise it's a bit sadistic." - Jorge22 (26-Aug-2006)

"I got a major crash while playing it with the original TR4.exe so Mac players, you can try it and I hope it will work as I read on one of the forums that it can be played with the original TR4 exe file. You cannot deny it that the beginning of this level is impressive. I found Lara a bit hard to understand but I got the drift what was required. You also can get the story by reading the readme and talking about the readme, is it 6 or is it 7 secrets as if I add them up I come to 6 and that is also what I found. There are however some paper thin walls, I was missing some sounds and I had a BUG with the Bronze Key and although I did reload from an earlier save it still wouldn't work. So I had to play a big part again and never saved in between and that worked, but only the second time around (that is with a new download). The fixed cameras in here made me feel queasy but the purpose of course was to make it just a bit harder to follow the path." - Gerty (24-Aug-2006)

"OH MY GOD!!! WHAT WAS THAT??? THE GOD's TOUCH??? NO MIDA's ONE?? This serie is really impressive, the cutscenes, oh my, the enviroment, the introduction, the dialogue between Lara and the doctor, the sounds, the background, every detail, I think that words arent enough to describe such perfection, of course it has some fails, the enemies some times are hard to kill, BTW the atmosphere bring us some real feelings, like "Oh my I'm in nevada, it is hot here, I need some water" and then you find some water, AND DRINK SOME WATER, the lab, of course, it is gloomy, it scared me, but it is not a kinda "ooh it is a way too hard to complete", no, it is not too easy, and at same time, not too hard, it is very, very, very enjoyable This level, surely is my hall of fame, because it is awesome" - Richard Ba (20-Aug-2006)
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