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Level: Escape from Serpent City - Falls of Naga back home search
Author(s): Beck
total rating:7.75 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Ceamonks890 8 8 7 8
Diz 9 8 8 8
dmdibl 9 9 8 7
eTux 10 9 8 7
manarch2 8 8 8 7
MichaelP 9 8 8 7
Nomad 5 7 5 7
sonnyd83 8 7 7 8
category averages
(8 reviews)
8.25 8.00 7.38 7.38

Reviewer's comments

"It is a good thing I let myself cool down before reviewing levels or else I would give all categories a definite 1. The level is literally testing the player's patience to inhumane levels. Everything has to be near perfect, most jumps have to be made at exact spots in exact microseconds. Some tasks even expect you to make unofficial jumps which should be a no-no. Game is not impossible obviously, but quite near there and difficulty is so high the enjoyability is no where to be seen. You are immediately pushed into the heart of extreme traps and if you happen to go for the hole there is a nasty flaming surprise waiting for you too. Near the end of the level, the triple timed run seals the nightmare perfectly. Eventually you will understand that you just have to save very often during the run and reload at ANY mistake. After I reached the final part I had only 5 gems (even though I found the first 2 gems in the beginning before the fall) and I was not about to go through any of this again to see the better ending. Perhaps it was because of the difficulty that I could not absorb the surroundings but the atmosphere was non-existant. I would advise playing this level only play if you want to test your tr mettle." - Nomad (13-Jul-2017)

"*phew* This was undoubtedly one of the most tough releases that I've ever tackled during my tenure as a reviewer, with traps and enemies seemingly around every corner, essentially demanding that you remain alert constantly. And while this is all perfectly achievable, you will have to go through a TON of trial and error, before you'll find yourself getting anywhere within this level. But aside from all that, texturing and lighting are handled about as well as you'd expect under the engine of choice, with the limited enemies/objects fitting their surroundings perfectly. Overall, an incredibly difficult but satisfying experience that I highly recommend to veteran raiders looking for a serious challenge. Beginners on the other hand, are required to approach with serious caution however, as this is one level that is most certainly not for the faint of heart, and will show no mercy towards even a single mistake you may or may not unintentionally make. So best to go into this one with that type of mindset beforehand." - Ceamonks890 (26-Jul-2015)

"This has to be by far the most challenging TR level I've ever played. I've been playing for 16 years and never encountered anything like this! You begin with a long slope but must jump in the right direction or else, then followed closely by huge boulders, then monkey bars/flames, and a few tricky jumps. It seems to get slightly easier from there but not much. The gameplay is literally one trap after another, and sometimes 2 traps at the same time! This is definately not for someone with a heart condition. Texturing is what is to be expected in a TR3 game, with a few misshapen ones occasionally, and it is very dark, which isn't an issue. There's not enough medipacks. The main enemy is the poisonous lizard and they can be elimiated at a distane mostly." - sonnyd83 (04-May-2012)

"The third and last level of the series that starts on a high difficulty degree with a slope sequence and then two fairly hard boulder runs. All in all I must say this level is nothing for beginners, as there are quite a few challenges that even trouble the more experienced players; no challenge however was that unfair as the sloped block challenge in the previous level. The gameplay in this level was actually great fun as it was challenging throughout (only thinking of the quite brutal timed run which only can be solved when you save often and plan your route well) and never ceases to entertain if only for several slight annoyances, namely the fairly obscure block puzzle with a not hinted timed run after having placed the last block, the uneven placements of the gems that serve as yet another complex secret system in this level - you need to find at least one for real gameplay and conserve six of them (but it's actually possible to get two or three more which I didn't like) till the end to get the six secrets and get an alternative and really rewarding to see ending afterwards - I somehow found some of them way too easy too find and several were close to impossible to find without the walkthrough, as a nearly invisible and as narrow as can be passage. The looks of this level are again pretty amateurish with most rooms being wallpapered with one single texture; only the starting and the end areas were more decently textured (the ending was remarkably beautiful in fact). The enemies this time were lizards and Tinnos monsters, I must say both of these are pretty much the ones I disliked the most in TR 3 but they at least were placed effectively, as the three monsters at the end in the huge lava room making life hard for Lara, the lizard in the crawlspace or in a very small room. Several of the traps were also nicely done as the spike wall room, the boulders and the piranhas that can get pretty pesty if you don't watch out. All in all I spent 65 minutes in this level and certainly had the most fun in this last installment, but not only the texturing style of the builder but also the gameplay sometimes felt like being in a beta phase, still it's a big improvement of the builder and with quite a distance the best of his levels." - manarch2 (25-Mar-2012)

"Well, this was fun! Right from the start the builder throws you in at the deep end with boulder chases, collapsing tiles and cries of “Where do I go next”. Usually followed by ‘Splat’ as Lara dies yet again! You’ll do a lot of re-loading in this level as you try to figure out what you should be doing, how you should be doing it and where to go. If you like a quiet raid then look for another level but if you want a challenge then go and make a strong cup of coffee to heighten your reflexes, crack your knuckles and it’s eyes down for a raiding treat. Everything is do-able in this level but the builder has cleverly made jumps look impossible, routes invisible and timed runs to make you weep. In particular, there’s a triple timed run that’s an absolute peach, it was ages before I even realised it was a triple timed run and not just a double – took me a while to do but, wow, the satisfaction! Some good agility testing too, I really liked the bending slope jumps avoiding the fire emitters (yes, multiple bends and fire emitters!). Baddies are limited to lizard men with really bad breath but they do pop up when they’re not wanted, including in a crawl space! A thoroughly enjoyable raid and I was sorry when it was over." - Diz (01-Oct-2011)

"I have to agree with eTux here - everything in this adventure is quite achievable, although it will often take you a few attempts to master the more tricky jumps (and there are several), and you will need some patience to kill those lizards before they poison you, as medipacks are relatively scarce, and it will take some planning and practice to master the triple timed run, but once you get the hang of it, it really is not as tight as it may initially seem. Still, the above paragraph tells you that this level is by no means a walk in the park. You will have to work through it rather than enjoy a leisurly play - but the sense of achievement is worth it for sure. I ended up with a total of 12 snake gems found, three used in game to progress and six used for the secrets at the end, which gives you an alternate ending with a few more jumps and a helicopter, so there are at least three spare gems in the level and maybe I have missed a few more. Overall, clearly a highlight among the TR3 levels out there and one to try if you dare. 75 minutes." - MichaelP (17-Jul-2010)

"Just to counter anyone sharing the opinion about the difficulty of the level right from the start, nothing in here is even remotely impossible and with some effort or timing can be done sans cheating. For the tripple timed run specifically, the trick is to not attempt doing it perfectly in one go. Recognize when you've done a certain section of the run well, save, continue mastering the timed run from that point on if needed and you'll be done in no time. Just proves that sometimes things are hard just because we make them hard. That said, this level certainly pulls no punches right from the start, and if you want to know whether you are fit enough to play it, you just have to see how much trouble the first minute of gameplay will give you. Interestingly, there seem to be different ways to play this level, depending on whether you're determined to get most of the gems or not. If you're content with skipping out on the alternative ending, your stay here will still be challenging, but not quite as much if you do pursue them (for example an initial area with Tinnos beasts can be skipped, pirahnas are never set loose in the first lake if you don't go looking for a nearby gem, etc.). Neither of the experiences is a walk in the park though, and you will probably enjoy it more either after you've reached a certain skill level or are in a mood to deal with its challenges. I found it to be right for my liking, not necessarily because of the difficulty level, but because the tasks are actually very clever and not just tests of agility or knowledge of obscure engine oddities. So much that it's sometimes hard to believe this is a level of 2002. What does give away the level's age though are the looks. It's not an ugly level by any stretch, but with a little extra care given to the texture and lighting diversity, would've been a whole different experience from an atmosphere and looks point of view. As far as gameplay criticism goes - I found the movable block starting a timed run for one of the optional gem challenges a tad obscure and closer to the end - Lara refused to land on the platform with the last gem receptacle from the monkey swing, which was odd, because the exact same scenario worked fine on another tile, but fortunately there was a way around it and I could still enjoy my alternative ending for gathering the gems. Yet despite these grievances and the frustration I sometimes felt while playing this, my appreciation for it's more clever parts far exceeded any negative feelings. It's not hard to see why this opinion might not be shared among the majority of players, but for any self-proclaimed experts, this is a must play." - eTux (20-Jun-2010)

"Rating this level is hard. I had no idea from other levels that the author was so accomplished, capable of creating imaginative, fun, and challenging game play. This is an eye opener for people who think TR3 levels are too tame. But to be practical, I have to admit that this level is not only difficult, but has a triple timed run that is impossible. I kept replaying the opening sequence until Lara could reach the lower depths with only a fifty percent health loss. Then she jumps to a platform surrounded by lava, and two giant mutants attack. With only pistols, Lara dies so many times it becomes clear this is a tough level. There are tricky jumps throughout. One was close to a pixel perfect jump, but my favorite moment was Lara dropping off a huge waterfall into deadly water. The waterfall looks like a straight drop because of its height, but it is slanted, so Lara slides down a long distance, and does a flip and twist to grab a crevice. This is the first level in which an author starts a timed run with a push block: while Lara is admiring her placement of the block, the door that opened is actually on a timer. There is excitement with ceiling spikes descending, slope and ladder jumps that work at only one placement, and swimming with piranhas. The multiple fire jumps would be impossible, but in TR3 the save-and-reload trick works even better than it does in TR4. Then comes a game stopper: a triple timed run in what amounts to an obstacle course. I relied on Harry Laudie's walkthrough and its instructions on how to do hex editing on a savegame file in order to make the timed run possible. It is a shame that people will be turned off by such a cheat, because so much else in the level can be enjoyed. (If you can't do hex editing, you may never make the triple timed run.) The cave has mundane texturing, but the dramatic moments compensate. The alternate ending is good, but if Lara gets enough pink gems she plays a better ending. A level not for the faint of heart." - dmdibl (15-Nov-2009)
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