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Level: The Quest of Gold 14-17 - Saint Francis Levels back home search
Author(s): TC14
total rating:9.53 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adrian 10 9 10 9
DJ Full 9 10 9 9
Elsa 10 10 10 10
eRIC 10 9 10 9
Gerty 10 9 10 9
Ivan 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 8 10 9 10
Kristina 9 9 9 9
manarch2 9 9 9 8
MichaelP 9 9 10 9
Phil 10 10 10 10
Ravenwen 10 10 10 10
Ruben 10 10 8 10
Samu 10 9 10 9
category averages
(15 reviews)
9.60 9.53 9.60 9.40

Reviewer's comments

"Mountains of Saint Francis (5-8-8-7) - 20 minutes: A change of style here with a somewhat different texture set (even aside of the different location) that has an almost cartoonish appeal which still isn't bad, there are also some really nice sights in this level. On the downside, the areas feel a bit boxy and unnatural and the end of the world is not well hidden, plus the lighting is fairly flat again. I liked quite extended guide tour with Pierre throughout the level that is nicely spiced up with a few cutscenes. The gameplay feels a bit too slow and dull in this game though, it was somewhat"meh" (already with too many switches but a few fun moments) until you enter the maze at the end (through which Pierre guides you but it's still very tedious), the ultra-long cutscene at the end was also overdone, so I was very glad to finish this level with three easily found secrets after a while and move on to a much better level.
The Hall of Legends (10-9-9-9) - 2+3+50 minutes: This is hands down the best level of this set and it's almost sad to say it's the first and only level that really totally convinced me in the gameplay. First you can go for two side quests in the two other levels and then the main part of the game begins - it's basically one large puzzle, and a great one too. Very well set into scene and the eight side quests are all very much spot on. Atlas had very creative and challenging boulders to use to your advantage, Apollo an intelligent if slightly tedious and buggy pushable (at one place better don't reload or there might be an invisible block above a trapdoor), Artemis a demanding series of timed runs including shootable balls, Hephaistos an intriguing torch puzzle, Damocles"only" a short fire pillar run with wraiths chasing you, Hades was my least favourite one with a bit too much of wading and climbing, Prometheus a stunning remodelled"Lara" statue, Hermes a sweet little sliding sequence. All in all with many nice mythological touches and clever and fun puzzles and tasks so that level was really my cup of tea. What I didn't like so much were the rather Roman enemies and the from time to time flat lighting, but the looks are rather professional and cover up most of the (not too many) issues.
Myth of Sisiphe (10-9-9-8) - 30 minutes: Another very mythological level and perhaps the most ingenious idea in that regard - bring up the boulder and see what happens. The use of slopes, elevators and hammers is very creative and all in all I didn't really mind the long pushable sections because I found it thrilling to see where I could take it to. There are also a lot of other tasks, puzzles, timed runs, all clean fun, and also good traps towards the end so this level does stand rather well in the series. The architecture is maybe a bit too boxy and the lighting again rather flat but not overly so and there are nicely designed areas as well. Aside of the main puzzle there is not much else to do but it's been enough to entertain for the half hour it lasted and the level does its job very well.
Poseidon's Domain (9-9-10-9) - 45 minutes: Perhaps the best looking level of the Greece part with very nice texturing and at least here the lighting is not flat at all, maybe a little on the dark side but never gameplay-affecting. The gameplay is quite complex here and can easily lead to serious stuck moments but the flooding and draining is really well set into scene, although there could be a somewhat quicker shortcut to the flood lever, I don't know why the same jumps have to be done again and again. But the border between immersive and borderline tedious is never exceeded and when you think"not again a trip up", it was probably the last trip up, at least if you searched carefully for every possible thing to do in the flooded or drained stage. The only room I didn't like was the one with half a dozen of levers, near the very end, it was just too much of go here, go there, but it's quickly finished. One of the secrets is quite hard to find (the two others are good too), I found another invisible block in front of a gate (...) but overall the enemies, especially Poseidon himself, are decently set into scene.
Caves of Midas (8-9-9-9) - 20 minutes: Starting with a most impressive flyby after placing the ten keys, this last level manages to succeed with very fluent gameplay (aptly for a final level, at least if you play the Gold version) in a very well designed cave setting with great atmosphere and a lot of beautiful scenes. Quite many enemies to use the well spared ammo on (I still had way too much left), nicely hidden secrets to find, it all ends with a very nice finale. Overall not the most creative part but certainly with strong gameplay in a very beautiful setting so quite a good level.
Summary: While there are a few shortcomings in the looks like partially too flat lighting or boxy geometry, this is for me the best part gameplaywise, especially the middle levels which are a threat for everyone enjoying puzzles and challenging tasks (without being overly difficult though). The first part is not quite fun though, but thankfully short and at least transports the storyline. The final level though is still a very good, if not outstanding, level and rounds up the game nicely. All in all 2:50 hours that are strongly recommended for anyone. Found all secrets." - manarch2 (03-Oct-2015)

"MOUNTAINS OF SAINT FRANCIS: There's just one "enemy", but what one! The whole level is like a huge preparation cutscene, similar to the guideworks of Beyond the Scion, so I think this is why my movie-making head particularly likes this one despite of it not containing anything else apart some switches to pull and secrets to collect. The lighting nicely repicutures climate of Greek levels from TR1, and there's also a classic water current puzzle we know from older games. Just the ending got flat. So, it seems I reached the folly. I think TC wanted to capture the classic atmosphere, but referring to it in completely flat way is not what I like since the TR4 lighting system is far more advanced than TR1 one. I'm always missing some smooth gradient (hard to expect a fogbulb in VolFX off level, but I'm not THAT demanding). Somehow a similar fade deficiency didn't disturb me in the mineral city as much as it started to trouble me here. 9.10.10.8
THE CISTERN: This is called "Poseidon's Domain", but heck, it's the cistern, and I chose to play the water element first, for I knew it will be my greatest nitpick so I wanted to have it cleared as soon as I could. Again, the author thought one flood/draught cycle isn't enough - but while it was quite bearable and really creative in case of Indian water element puzzle, here it borders with nightmare. How many times is one supposed to do the very same monkey swing to get all the things right? At some point, as in about three hours of swimming around, I stopped to think because I simply had enough, and for the first time in this series I referred to the walkthru. Of course the solution was something simple and if I forced myself to take one more jump I eventually decided not to, I would have stumbled upon a solution and it would be rewarding - though accidental solutions don't match these which come to mind when You know what to do. Still, I admire the author's skill in platforming and puzzle arrangement, and I know it would be hard to do them better when they're that sophisticated. The ending trap sequence was a miniquest on its own, and it was surprising to find Poseidon in a completely different role than always. SUMMARY: Highly and lowly recommended. It's a technical masterpiece, but I'm glad the swimming is over and I can move to dry stone rolling. 7.8.8.8.
CAVES OF MIDAS -> SISIPHE: Something still lit wrong, but it's often easy to forget since the majority of rooms would be bright anyway, either lit with gold or some windows letting the sunshine in. Never mind - can You imagine a whole level (actually a half but it's like a full) to be an interesting pushable? Well, the author did. I shouldn't say anything more except a bit of rage on the fake opacity secret. Don't waste my time. SUMMARY: Contains the best and the worst included in the whole series so far. 9.7.9.7.
THE HALL OF LEGENDS: The main room is indeed a hall filled with nice architecture, but it works as a hub connecting various Greek substories with each other - something like the Indian portal from two episodes ago but much more complex. There's not much to do in here apart from pressing some wall switches until the majority of level is unlocked after returning from two instantly accessible quests of Poseidon and Sisiphe taking up one and a half of previous levels, so this is why I rate this one after these two. Only then the rest follows non-linearly and we can really sink into the bulk of this one. I guess the author just ran into some limits so he had to split the setting in three units and the lever control panel into two rooms, but it only adds variety, if Greek legends didn't have enough of it. Since each God was a patron of something else, no wonder each quest is different yet they all naturally work together, bound with Olympic relations. But it also takes a good builder not to lose track, plan carefully and utilize the knowledge which can only result in masterpiece if handled properly - and it is here. The shooting range of Artemis and the rescue of Prometheus from the eagle's claws were my absolute favourites. Also I didn't expect Damocles in a completely new form (much like formerly described Poseidon), and the Hades part is memorable as well. I only totally don't get the Apollo - shouldn't a package delivery belong to Hermes, whose garden room is the prettiest btw? Haven't these challenges been accidentally swapped? Wait if I count the formerly reviewed Hephaistos puzzle in the same pack, I'm in fact not sure if I have any "favourite" anymore, considering I already mentioned over a half of them. 10.9.9.8
CAVES OF MIDAS -> MIDAS: Even though this one and Sisiphe were both ancient cursed kings, let's assume each of them has a different level. On the 2D map, they are plausibly separated with huge void of nothing anyway. I expected something great in here, for it's the last level of the set but I got out a bit undersatisfied. It's hard to match the Korean finale - but on the other hand, what would one do? Put another dragon, made of gold, into the pool of gold, to prevent Lara from taking gold from the Midas's hands of gold? No, the last three are enough, we don't need the dragon. Though the lack of some boss is felt, and the griffins somehow didn't convince me. I would rather like to see a giant mutated zombie lions half-turned into gold by the touch of the cursed king. Or the statue itself coming to life - we always see just legs, legs... btw how many arms did that Midas have? Still a nice little level to explore - well, maybe "explore" isn't a good word for a spacious room with everything visible from the start - anyway, it's a nice setting to admire (oh, that's right word) while running for the golden bars and concluding secret without frequent stopping and quite a clarity what to do. Just one thing... that pushable shouldn't be here. I agree it's a nice vase, but it doesn't belong. I'd rather put it in the main hall or anywhere else BEFORE the Sisiphe boulder which should be the last and followed by none. Doing otherwise is like playing a random note after a romantic symphony finale comes to an end. 8.8.9.9. SUMMARY OF ALL: The beauty of this levelset feels a bit unloved but the beast is unleashed at full power. Never mind the cistern, I was just too high... or low." - DJ Full (15-Apr-2015)

"Because of several things (awesome mediterranean/ancient temple settings, St Francis Folly memories, brilliant gameplay) and the sentimental factor (the greek themes that dominate and that are amazingly exploited and elaborated), this levelset could have easily been my favorite part from the QoG saga (so far, as I've still to play Martinique), were it not for certain sequences where there's a lot of repetition and backtracking. Not that these elements lower in any way the quality and beauty of this levelset, which is so original and so cleverly organized that it almost puts the St Francis section of TR-Anniversary to shame; it's just that, as much as I love challenging gameplay, I know that with a little less complexity I would have enjoyed this ingenious levelset even more. "Mountains of St Francis": in an idyllic mountain setting, you begin your exploration along with your friend Pierre. This is a brief introductory section, where your mission is to locate the entrance to the next part. "Poseidon's Domain": a cisterny section, where there is a lot of switch-pulling, flooding and unflooding. The atmosphere reminds a lot of the original Cistern, however the action is far more complicated and challenging. At the end of the section, you find one key that you'll need later. "Caves of Midas" & "Hall of Legends": a massive, rich and complex network of rooms where you have to roam so as to find more keys, the quests for which offer some of the most intelligent puzzles and trials (the rooms that hide the keys are named after gods and heroes of the greek mythology, and the trials you have to pass through are references to their attributes or legends connected to them - ie, in the Sisyphus room your task is to move a boulder up a (not so even) path, or in the Artemis room it's all done with target ball shooting) as well as some fantastic and imaginative details (the sword spirits in the Damocles room, or the pool of blood in the Hades room). Once you find all the keys, you have to use them so as to unlock the secret entrance to the caves of Midas in a spectacular way. Your task there is to find three iron bars and turn them to gold; doing this, opens the way for one more precious artifact. Like all the previous installments of QoG, this one too is a beauty environment-wise, and as far as gameplay is concerned, it's definitely top quality stuff: puzzles, traps, tricky jumps, elaborate moves, tight timed events, everything is there to contribute to an unforgettable gaming experience. Highly recommended for experienced players as it is extremely professionally made, and surely a gem in the custom level production." - Ravenwen (01-Oct-2007)

"I am impressed by all the work and ideas that go in these levels. The first level where Lara needs Pierre as a guide is very well mastered, it is also an easy and fluent level. The St Francis main hall is beautiful, and the double-puzzle with buttons to open up all the different quests is clever. The Sysiph level is rather easy except at the end with the dark pit with spikes , this one is also a pleasant level to play. Good use of flyby to give the illusion of pushable rolling balls. The Poseidon level is quite impressive, TC displays here his engineer brain for conceiving such a complex area with flip maps. I spent quite some time in this level which is rather dark. I've been stuck a few times in this one wondering what to do next. The mother of all Cisterns puzzle :)! The smallest quests are quite enjoyable with maybe the exception of the Hades quest, the most interesting of them for me were the Promotheus and the Hephaeistos quests which also display he creativity of the author, able to pack so many puzzles in only middle sized areas. And the Midas level for a great ending , set in another big area around a deadly pool of gold, with a variation of the famous 3 bars puzzle. Circumnavigating this room was fun and interesting, with good puzzles and very interesting jumps. Well done !" - eRIC (08-Jul-2007)

"Thibault has managed to surpass himself with another great adventure. I especially liked the hub level"Hall of Legends" where you had to visit the well know heroes of the Greek/Roman mythology. Although in retrospect I thought this was more of an exploration with just a few devilish timed runs and one fiendish jump sequence, compared to some of his other work. If you played the other level made by Thibault you know a bit what to expect and he will not let you down. You are playing an adventure, without getting bored as he still makes new puzzles or change them in an original way. There is action enough but also enough exploring and the chase to get every artifact one needs that it will keep you at the computer till you finished the game." - Gerty (20-Jan-2007)

"I have just completed a marathon of TC's levels, from start to finish it was a fantastic journey. The author has done everything right, from the scenery to game play. There are so many creative puzzles and wonderful rooms to explore. It took a long time to play but it is one of the most entertaining custom levels out there, you should play all of these levels they are great!" - Elsa (30-Dec-2006)

"It`s getting better all the time : Thibaults Levels seem to improve every time he releases a new sequence of his fantasic story. But alas its also getting harder all the time taking the innocent to their limits and even demanding a lot of patience and re-loads from the experts ! Having to jump the balconies over and over again was a bit of a nuisance, a shortcut would have been much appreciated ! Music was rare and I had wished for a few more french style background sounds but unfortunately many authors still believe that a left-alone Lara only accompanied by howling winds is enough to please the TRLE -Raiders hearts ! Therefore only an 8 here , all else was just great raiding fun ! Merci Beaucoup !" - Ruben (29-Dec-2006)

"Mountains of Saint Francis (7/9/10/8, 30 min, 3 secrets): From the long flyby which introduces Pierre you dive into a luscious environment and follow your friend along, mastering some mildly challenging acrobatics. The waterwheel was very impressive and ths intro to the series has good camera work but is merely a hunt for a series of switches.
Poseidon's Domain (9/9/10/10, 75 min, 3 secrets): As you can guess from the name water plays a key role here. There is lots of swimming and some of it timed. But there is also plenty of fun jumping and the overall concept of flooding and draining the main room repeatedly is quite ingeniously put together. Rather original is also the torch puzzle, including the part where you need to swim with burning torch in hand. Plenty of rats and crocs inhabitate the place but are not really much of a bother. You get to use a waterskin twice and meet up with the aquaman as kind of a boss ending to finally get one of your Legend Keys.
Caves of Midas (9/9/9/9, 40+30 min, 2+1 secrets): This level is kind of split in two and part one before the Hall of Legends is dedicated to Sysiphe and consequently is just what that implies: tedious. The idea of getting that boulder back up that you see drop at the start of the level is neat, but the execution is quite a pain and rather slow gameplay, despite the flybys where you see the boulder moved on by hammers. When you come back later and place all your Legend Keys it gets more interesting as you master your way around the pool of gold, finding three iron bars, turning them into Gold and making your escape. Lots of jumping and two or three rather tricky ones that took a fair amount of attempts to master and the usual spikes, hammer and burner traps.
The Hall of Legends (10/9/10/9, 5+5+90 min, 3 secrets): Initially only a pass through level, it fully unfolds as you get to search no less than eight Legend Keys here, each to be obtained from an area dedicated to a Greek mythical figure. The switch puzzle as such is a bit tedious, but the areas that open up behind them are nothing but an enormous amount of diverse and fun gameplay - way too much to mention it here in fact. My favourites were probably the very clever torch puzzle (Hephaestus), the boulder puzzle (Atlas) and the raise a block puzzle (Apollo).
All in all, Thibault maintains the high quality of his series with ease and even as this approaches 20 hours of net gaming overall he still manages to keep this entertaining and throws in a surprise or two every now and then. Top quality and I will now keep my save for the continuation of this masterpiece." - MichaelP (16-Dec-2006)

"Another sequel from Thibault which is as beautiful and interesting as the rest of them. I have a soft spot for this one though due to the Greek theme it has. Pierre is your guide, make sure you don't shoot him, and eventually you will be acessing the Hall of Legends. There are many ways and short levels to visit, each of them with different puzzles and challenges. The items you need to find are scattered through those levels which are named after the Greek Gods. I enjoyed this full game, that was my idea of it, very much but I didn't find all the secrets unfortunately. As always keep your folder for the next installment, I sure did." - Kristina (05-Dec-2006)

"I believe these are the levels with which TC14 has come into his own. I've played all the previous levels in the series, as indeed you must because of their linked nature, and the steady improvements in gameplay and sophistication are quite noticeable. I spent most of the month of November playing this huge segment in the series, a little bit here and a little bit there, and I had a grand time with the indispensable assistance of Dutchy's walkthrough. These levels would compare favorably with any of the commercial releases. Play them now if you haven't already done so. They're classics in the making." - Phil (27-Nov-2006)

"I really like the way this series of levels has progressively increased in difficulty, as any less experienced players should by now be able to tackle the more challenging aspects of the game and those who like their levels fairly hard are likely to enjoy this excellent series more and more. Mountains of St Francis: Pierre is on hand to guide you through some beautiful mountain scenery, which to my knowledge is the first time he's been friendly. Unsurprisingly, there's a lot of climbing to do. The Hall of Legends: Bye bye Pierre. The Hall is impressive and acts as a hub level for various areas as well as containing rooms based on the original mythological character the builder has added Sisyphus, Hephaestus, Apollo, Hades, Artemis, Hermes and Prometheus rooms. All these beautifully crafted and offer challenging, fascinating and delightfully appropriate gameplay. Caves of Midas: Gold, gladiators and - most noteworthy -an ingenious push puzzle involving a boulder that turns into a pushable object - clever stuff. Poseidon's Domain: Well, lots of water obviously and huge great rats. It's a large area and there's a lot to do, involving flooding and draining (which I always enjoy) in pursuit of four tridents. The use of the torch is particularly cunning; in fact the whole gameplay is extremely well devised, complex and interesting. Super level - certainly not for the inexperienced as it is extremely challenging in parts, but oh how rewarding." - Jay (18-Oct-2006)

"Amazings and very beautifull levels. Besto for now from great maker. Played with inspiration and looking for too see what is next. Gods from odd and very good made all "rooms" nad area for finding keys. 10 Keys needs and at last in new Palace Midas. Some new sound of animals, laughing and like talk :). Old feelings from old Tomb 1 surround all game, from beggining to the end. At first for finding keys and jumping on invinsible spots and later on golden hands. Poseidon's Domain are bueautifful adn more complexive part and very hard for playing but not too hard for finding at last exit and new moves. Cistern was my one of few favorite levels from Tomb 1. This cistern level is great. Lot of spikes, Doors, levers, shadowed and lighting areas, interesting swim with torch and finding waht to play next. 10 is my opinion for all these levels :) Cheers." - Ivan (16-Oct-2006)

"And the quest of gold proceeds... This time we're taken back in our memories to TR1 and there's lots and lots and lots to do in this huge game. It all starts in the mountains of St. Francis, an easy, linear level, where Pierre shows Lara the way. Then things get complicated, when Lara arrives in the Hall of Legends, a level that serves as a slot to at least ten levels, where Lara must find ten Legend keys in order to reach the final ordeal in the caves of Midas (revisited), all related to characters of the greco-roman mythology: Sisyphus, Poseidon, Hades, Atlas, Prometheus, Arthemis, Hermes and so forth... One must say, for the sake of justice, that this game must be among the most imaginative ever conceived with the editor. Some of these characters make it a bit easier on you, but some make it really hard. It's the case of Poseidon, where there's a large room which is virtually undoable without help. Or the final Caves of Midas, where some of the parts must be repeated over and over again until you finally manage to do it right - and it's a bit confusing too. So, I leave this game with somehow mixed feelings - such imagination (albeit not tops in beauty terms) and, at the same time, such an exagerated level of difficulty, which takes away part of the fun at times, making it all less fluent. Should you play it? Certainly. It's a classic, but maybe you should wait for a walkthrough to be available, so you can have real help at times. Lastly, I'd like to thank TC for being present most of the times and Dutchy for the precious help given in the Poseidon level. Now, go ahead and play it." - Jorge22 (30-Sep-2006)

"This series keeps getting better. It is certainly in my top ten and has moved me to make a review for the first time in hudreds of levels played. The first level, Mountains of Saint Francis, is an easy and linear 'guided' level with Pierre. The locations though are beautifully textured and laid out so the quality of the building is clear from the outset. The hub level, The Hall of Legends, is a nicely constructed set of 8 puzzles each leading to a key. It is generally clear what needs to be done, but there is usually a little twist in the puzzle solution so as not to make it too easy. Poseidon's Domain - this level is the best cistern level I have played. There is a lot of flooding and de-flooding but it is none the worse for it. There was a single texture error after that I found. Finally Caves of Midas is also a great level with some evil jumps not for the faint hearted. There aren't many enemies but some have been nicely retextured. At the end if you save and go back to the brigde its textures have become invisible. I only found 6 secrets and there were a mix of easy, challenging and difficultly placed ones. Play it!" - Adrian (25-Sep-2006)

"After I had completed the previous part of this series, I have been looking forward to seeing the next part, Saint Francis Levels, and finally it's released. This adventure takes place somewhere in Italy and you will have to make your way through some very beatiful mountain areas in the first level. After this level Lara will come to Hall of Legends which is a kind of temple and there Lara's real adventure is about to begin. I must tell that gameplay is pretty well balanced and there are no boring moments in this game. You have always something to do like figuring out how to complete some pushable block puzzle or how to get a torch into a place you need to get it into. The environment is designed very well too despite the environment is designed even better in the previous part, Korean Levels. Nevertheless, playing this game was an unforgettable experience for me and I really like the way TC14 builds his levels. Only thing which could have been done better is level designing and how the game is created visually. More imagination could have been used too to make this level more artistic and worth full points but it's not always nesessary. However, this is very impressive work and I'm looking forward to seeing the next part." - Samu (25-Sep-2006)
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