Level: Courel's Sands (Remake) back home search
Author(s): AngelR
total rating:5.29 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Ceamonks890 2 2 2 2
DJ Full 5 6 6 4
dmdibl 8 7 6 5
eRIC 6 7 5 4
Gerty 6 7 5 4
Jay 7 7 6 4
Jerry 7 5 5 4
JesseG 8 6 6 5
Jose 4 5 7 4
manarch2 6 5 4 4
MichaelP 7 6 5 4
Ryan 7 6 6 5
category averages
(12 reviews)
6.08 5.75 5.25 4.08

Reviewer's comments

"The opening two segments of this next section are largely similar to the original Courel's Sands, so my comments for those remain pretty much unaltered. After those, it broaches into newer territory with a definite increase in challenge. The aesthetics are still really mediocre overall, the lighting is too dark and flat in places and the room decoration is lacking but providing you can look past those, there's some fun and intense gameplay on offer (minus the dark mazes). The torch sequences were nicely executed, as were the breaktile jumps (despite the fact that they were overused) and timed runs. The enemies tend to be quite menacing, and there's one particular sequence at the start of level three that has you facing a battle royale which would have been fun if a few more supplies had been provided beforehand. In my case, I had to reload rather a lot. I also agree with manarch2 that the T-Rex sequence was a bit obscure. Not the fight itself, but the exit only opens if you run over an unmarked trigger tile somewhere in the huge area. If you can overlook these negatives, however, you'll experience a decent and invigorating raid." - Ryan (01-Apr-2019)

"Having played the original Courel's Sands over three years ago, I decided to check out the remake & see if it was any better, than what I vaguely remember of the original. And oh god... It is certainly not! It's so bad in fact that I eventually just gave up on any chance of properly completing it full-stop, after my resources were completely spent on the first combat section of the third level & by that point, my overall patience with this poorly-designed drivel altogether too. When comparing my thoughts on the original Courel's Sands, with what is ultimately presented here however, I think my younger self was being far too generous during that review(as none of the elements, including the ones I previously praised, made going through this release any less agonizing to play). Environments are the same large, blocky, empty messes as before & combined with the repetitive texturing, sloppy lighting, unacceptable glitches and half-hearted attempts at atmosphere, it makes the stressful platforming and enemy encounters all the more long-winded & infuriating, as every room is dragged out for as long as its unnecessarily bloated spaces can allow, completely outlasting its welcome by the time you're done. For the sake of your own sanity, do not play this! It isn't worth wasting your valuable hard-earned time on." - Ceamonks890 (12-Nov-2017)

"Sorry but I usually never give a 5 or more if I can't finish an adventure in a legal way. I say this 'cause in second level, in that damned courtyard with all that closed doors, I hadn't enough medipacks and ammo to deal with all that hard enemies (bull included) appearing when I walked onto the trigger tiles to open the next doors, so I had to use a savegame editor to increase the medipacks and ammo. Also at the end of another level (I can't remember) there are a lot of nasty fire traps combined with thousands of beetles and I had to duck/crawl and waste a lot of large medipacks too (savegame editor again). Also in that second level, there is a black maze, and with the flare bug present I had to throw hundreds of flares all along the nasty maze (savegame editor again). I don't know why many rooms are so huge and empty of objects, with a very simple architecture, involving that way a monotonous texturization. Many tasks are repetitive, like all the jumps to the floating breakable tiles, and if you don't choose the correct path you'll have to reload. The best I found in this levels was the use of musics and cameras, even when the cameras never restored, sometimes even pressing the "look" key, having to save and reload (again). Good effort, Angel, but not an adventure nice to play for me." - Jose (16-Aug-2017)

"I still don't know who Courel is but I admire the word - it's really hard to invent a nicely sounding name and this one is perfect, the sole thing which triggered me to play this series, so if some of you still think the title doesn't matter, you should change your mind immediately. The first part is almost a direct remake of the builder's initial attempt, again we see the same nice usage of beetles and other enemies in unexpected configurations, but this time things are a bit more complex, the underwater boulders are gone for better and as we proceed the variety of tasking expands to eventually include all sorts of classic interaction while more enemies in rare combinations and even some ridiculous trap sequences appear, everything doable without a medikit. Not good the map is insanely oversized so many of these tasks become boring despite of creativity, and lighting makes the progress even more monotonous not to mention flare bug occuring at some point so the general flare shortage stops to matter. Same can be said about audio tracks, totally good yet lacking variety. And flyby sequences, properly introducing locations but flying around definitely for too long. But something inside the builder seems to rebel against this crude design and for instance cries out when after crossing one of the boxiest rooms possible to construct we stumble upon a random blue fountain. Or when we find a secret room textured with wallpaper different from all other wallpapers. It shows the author definitely knew how to make the right things feel important, even though he obviously wanted to run before he started to walk. The game finale abbreviates all of this to a satisfying battle which misses any artifact prize. SUMMARY: Unacceptable environmental design fighting sparks of creative immersion blends down to experience which is both surprising and utterly boring. I like the mind behind this overally mediocre level which shows care and foreshadows something better." - DJ Full (10-May-2016)

"Lara has to explore way too vast areas here, run through endless passages, with many annoying ladders to climb, crawlspaces, monkeyswings and underwater passages to pass - in short: this is, just as the (included) debut level, a very tedious and also frustrating level. The gameplay ideas are really plentiful and creative to fill a good or even very good level, but with the questionable execution of the level they just lose their charm. I mean, the way the builder uses breaktiles and in general creates platforming sequences, sets up traps and also uses enemies really is something not many levels manage, so there is really a lot of potential here. But then the rather poor design choices like dark mazes, dead ends, unmarked death tiles, puzzle rooms just serving for ammo or the things mentioned at the start downgrade the fun in this level. I had a serious problem with the T-Rex at the end (not only that the trigger for it is very obscure, but also the door that should open afterwards only does so after running around the room and might even close later on forever before getting through). The sceneries are slightly better worked on compared to the builder's debut, but are not more than functional and still very basically designed, with boxy geometry, uninspired, wallpapered and also otherwise misplaced textures and rather flat and dull lighting. The use of sounds and cameras is not bad, with enough camera clues and a few well chosen sounds, but the ultra-long flyby at the start of the third level is just annoying, although technically okay. Still, atmosphere doesn't really come up with a wild and incoherent concatenation of rooms most of the time where you can basically everywhere see that the rooms are just made for the purpose of serving for the play. I haven't started the builder's later parts of the series yet and don't know how good they are, but still I dare saying that with a bit more own care and perhaps also guidance he could've reached the 8-10 range in the first category even with this effort. Spent 70 minutes in here and found three secrets." - manarch2 (11-Aug-2015)

"This is a lot more fun than its ratings would indicate. This is the Remake, not to be confused with "Courel's Sands 2," which is completely different (though on download this zip file will be CourelSands2). Game play gets steadily better as Lara progresses. Rooms tend to be big and plain, with repeating textures, but may have plenty of action. Seasoned players will do the early parts quickly, but there are places to challenge: nice rope jumps to collapsible tiles, or a timed run through twisty passages studded with flame pits. The good stuff is often used a second time, which cuts down on the variety. Variants of the rope swing show up later. I enjoyed collapsible tiles in one big room, but enjoyed them less when two rooms later Lara had to do a whole different set of collapsible tiles. In a darkish small maze Lara has to search out four levers to open a door near the start. Later, in a darkish small maze Lara has to search out torches to light--see the difference?--in order to open a door. There was one room where a bull is a complete pest, running around, getting in the way while Lara battles crocodiles, harpies, jackals, flying bugs, and demigods. I wanted to conserve Lara's sole small and large medipack, and had to repeat this until she got through unscathed. The end to Part Three was maddening: Lara beset by spikes, and crawling underneath flame emitters while beetles devour her. Those two medipacks vanished before it dawned on me that the only way to play this was to do a full retreat, get rid of the beetles in an earlier pool, then traverse the passage. At the end temple it may appear that Lara is stuck because the exit SE door is closed, even after placing the Sands Of Time and killing the T-rex. Lara has to run out into the huge sandy area in front of the temple, where most sand tiles will trigger this door to open. (The walkthrough doesn't mention this.) The author does use helpful camera shots, but when Lara uses the torch to light something, the camera shot sometimes locks. The only way to restore is to save the game, then reload. The walkthrough mentions a flare bug, but I played this with my own TREP tomb4.exe, with expanded buffers, and never experienced any flare bugs. If for nothing else, this is a reason to use TREP, as it solves the flare bug except for rare anomalies. If you can ignore the plain decor, this adventure is surprisingly good. Well worth playing." - dmdibl (06-May-2010)

"Usually levels rated this low don't last very long, but this is a huge exception - you'll spend almost 2 hours running through needlessly large and empty rooms with wallpapered textures. To top it all off, there are several dark mazes involved. With all the dark corridors it is quite a shame that there are absolutely no extra flares given, so I had my screen turned up plenty of times. I suppose this makes the level sound pretty bad, but there are some good aspects too. The author is at least making a solid effort at providing entertaining and lasting gameplay, with many trap sequences, timed runs, enemies (including a sort of arena that might be tough to survive) and a few other puzzles, mainly involving the torch. The one problem in that area is that, because of the way the levels are structured, it can be so easy to get stuck if you miss something, or you might just have to backtrack a long, long way. In fact the idea of level structure is really the one thing that choked the life out of the experience. The author must spend more time considering the meaning of a room or rooms before constructing them - trying to make them more than just another large, high corridor with a bunch of platforms and stuff in it. I liked the custom music though. Recommended for maze enthusiasts and players who can get past the mediocre aesthetics." - SSJ6Wolf (28-Aug-2009)

"To be honest I can't remember the first level from this builder anymore but judging by the MB's I had to download, it had to be a bigger level than the first. Dutchy and I took turns with this one and that was not a bad idea. The overall remembrance of this game is that it had a load of traps and also a nasty black maze. The lighting could have been better as there are hardly enough flares and at a certain time the flare bug kicks in. Note to builder, do anti-trigger all the torches and so, you use to give the level a more"natural" look, that'll cure the flare bug. There is also a nasty battle you encounter with by opening a couple of gates, and all kinds of enemies will pester you, as well as a bull that you cannot kill. There are more bulls roaming around in one level or another, so take care. Also keep your eyes peeled at some lion's head as I missed one for a long time LOL. There are also torch puzzles and I liked them. Also in some instances I could use the torch for some extra lights. There is one thing that puzzles me though, in the last level I opened all doors except one and after killing the T-rex I let Lara frolic around over the sand and found a trigger there for that door, that is really weird. Overall the rooms are big and empty, a pity though" - Gerty (05-Feb-2009)

"If you like big, square and mostly empty rooms which are repetively textured, this is surely your level. Gameplay-wise it starts rather tame and gets more challenging in the course of the game with bolders, fire traps, spikes and (as far as I am concerned) an overdose of jumping over crumbling platforms in high places. Besides that big buddy in the end you encounter enemies of the sort we know from Egypt levels, like demigods, dogs, bulls and harpies, many of whom prefer to attack in numbers. Particularly at the beginning of part 3 they become a real pest, the more so because at this point of the level I had only 3 medipacks left in my backpack. Lighting is nothing of note with very dark places and the flare bug later on. Weapons and ammo are enough, but medipacks are rare, so watch out not to waste them." - Jerry (24-Jan-2009)

"Courel's sands Remake is more than a Remake of the author first's level, it is an extension of it, and even in the areas that were visited the first time, some little changes have been made. The game has a fast pace to it ; the main problem is darkness and a dull lighting, and there is a ridiculous amount of flares. So bright up your screen ! Courel's Sands 1 (5 7 4 3) This first part covers most of the author 's first offering. I noticed the addition of a whole underwater area. There is a smart use of some enemies (little beetles , bulls, harpies) and combination of them, a simple torch puzzle , two lion heads have to be shot in order to raise blocks. The texturing could be largely improved , often only one texture has been used for the walls even in the big rooms , and walls textures are used for the floor ! [40 minutes / No secret] Courel's Sands 2 (6 7 5 4) A slight improvement in the looks and generally the gameplay is fun. We have here first the last areas that were visited in the author 's first work, the big room with all the breakable tiles, a room with pillars, and the room with Seth and timed doors. Then the highlight which is new is a very big room with plenty of jumps , and some breakable tiles as well. I quite like the idea and the moves to do with the last breakable tiles to reach the Monkey swing. We have a little maze after this , too bad that the flares bug shows up here, then a corridor with stunts over lava, and another one as well to get the final secret in this level if all switches in the previous areas had been found. Not many enemies here , a couple of dogs , Seth and 2 demigods near the end , the dying of the 2nd one opens a door, which is well made [35 minutes / 3 secrets] Courel's Sands 3 (7 8 6 4) In the two last levels of the set, all areas are new. This third one is more challenging. Right at the start there is a nice combination of rope swinging and breakable tiles before entering in the main room of the level that must be climbed with fire burners and breakable tiles to negotiate, not that it is hard though. Before climbing there is a whole army of enemies to defeat , combination of demigods, big beetles, harpies, or crocodiles, according to which switch you pull with the addition of a bull all the time, this was quite fun as here it was not possible to deal with the demigods as usual so one has to find how to deal with them while avoiding being bullied by the bull. After this great room there is a fine torch puzzle with a timed door , a puzzle with switches (and booby traps alas) , then a great escape through corridors with fire burners , swinging blades and other blades while being eaten alive by little beetles. A good and challenging level, not too hard though. The different textures used throughout the level do not fit together. [45 minutes / No secret] Courel's Temple (5 5 5 5) The level starts a bit like the third, but soon it changes to a new area where on your quest for two hourglasses, you have to circumnavigate a labyrinth which is not bad at all with squishy blocks and other traps except for the irritating booby trap when you pick up one of the objects : why not using a popping spike instead ? I also encountered something strange with Lara catching fire and dying in the room with water and blue harpies. Eventually Lara continued by reloading a savegame. The incongruous T-Rex is there as a special guest, it is absolutely necessary to kill it in order to reach the end of this adventure [25 minutes / No secret]" - eRIC (04-Jan-2009)

"This has been greatly expanded from the original version and even the parts I did remember seem to have been changed somewhat. It is certainly a far more interesting game than the previous version and by 'interesting' I mean as in the old curse 'may you live in interesting times'. Don't, whatever you do, squander any of your precious medipacks - you are going to need every single one of them as you battle multiple enemies and negotiate spike/flame emitter traps with voracious beetles snacking on you. There are quite a few collapsing tile runs, some of which involve rope work, which I thoroughly enjoyed, torch puzzles and some timed elements to achieve, but nothing too difficult - even the battles aren't so bad if you just keep moving and use appropriate strategy/ weapons and in that regard you do get quite a goodly array of weaponry. If you quite liked the original Courel's Sands, give this a go; you'll find it a definite upgrade." - Jay (20-Dec-2008)

"Not only a remake but more of an extension of the author's original adventure, so this will provide about 2 hours of gameplay in total.
Part 1 (6/7/4/4, 30 min): To me this seems almost unchanged compared to the original although some of the former secrets seem to be no secrets anymore, but I could be wrong about that.
Part 2 (7/6/5/4, 45 min, 3 secrets): You will still remember most of this part, if you played the first version and it shows the author's 'trademarks', ie the huge room introduced by a long flyby with a long path to get through it, typically involving some collapsible tiles and fire traps. It is rather fun to play through that room (if you ensure you keep a save in case you get the sequence wrong somehow) and is followed by more elements that are quite interesting, such as a series of timed runs while Seth is roaming around, some torch work to do and tricky jumps in a lava room. Sadly, there is also a maze and it is very dark and the flare bug shows up, so that spoils the fun a lot.
Part 3 (8/6/6/4, 35 min): For me this was the most accomplished part maybe, with a huge battle arena at the start where you open door after door and each time another set of enemies to deal with pops out - made most difficult due to the presence of a bull that has you on the move all the time while dealing with the other foes. Had to start this one over as I ran out of health packs, so quite a challenge here. Further on it gets back to climbs, jumps, use of a torch, another nice timed run and plenty of burner and blade traps.
Courel's Temple (7/6/6/5, 20 min): Starting again with a lava room, ropes and collapsible tiles to master. The maze here is not as dark or confusing as the one before in the game and it is spiced up with spike, burner and squish block traps. The T-Rex suitably serves as the boss enemy but is of course easily killed if you managed to get the right weapon before.
Overall, I thought that gameplay is actually quite fun and challenging at times in this adventure and it is mainly the simplistic and square room geometry and very bland texturing and fairly dark lighting that let this adventure down. Try it for yourself though!" - MichaelP (16-Dec-2008)
back home search