The Forgotten Adventures
"Yes, well, I have very little to add to the previous reviewers' comments. It's abundantly clear that this gigantic 36 (!) level set has been released without any extensive beta testing beforehand, as the surroundings look rather amateurish, the textures are sloppy, lighting is erratic in places (it's actually nicely colourful in a few places, but mostly it's very haphazard), and the gameplay is extraordinarily tedious, consisting as it does of dragged out, uneventful artefact hunts, running through long corridors, climbing long ladders and crawling through long, narrow tunnels (yes, I know the word "long" is used three times in a row there, but that's very much the operative word here), with pretty much no puzzles (or excitement, for that matter) to break the monotony of going through one tedious task after another. Added to which, most of the levels don't connect with each other, so you pretty much have to start from scratch every time. I ended up going through 25 of the levels in this game as: 1) I don't think I would have been able to bear going through 36 levels of the same damn thing. 2) I think 25 levels is more than enough to prepare this review as you've pretty much seen it all by then. There were also a couple of remakes that I spotted of Max's Symbol of the World level, the official TR4 Guardian of Semerkhet level and even an earlier one in this game. In any case, I would just read eRIC's review as I completely agree with him. I think maybe the builder should have focused his energy on making a more wholesome and entertaining single level, rather than throwing this huge download out there that's put together in a bit of a slapdash manner. As it is now, it just isn't worth the effort." -
"I see this place was silent for six years, but since I love to discover forgotten things it was just a matter of time for me to eventually show up here. Let's support this corner of our house with a beam of my opinion and at least for me also close the chapter of playing through >300MB releases. This one is particularly interesting by the sole title flyby which shows unusual imagination and makes it even more intriguing why this package is so unappreciated. Let's focus on bit by bit:
LARAS FORGOTTEN ADVENTURES: It's like a standard Egypt level with classic mummic and skeletal explosions but with multiple triggers per door and surreal materials like from
. Particular rooms are well designed and remarkable like the enemy firewalk staircase or the spikeball chamber. One secret is done illegal way, one floor lever doesn't work so in both cases you need Fexinspect to check how much of great stuff you have missed. Weirdly this thing shows the second secret in a completely different place than it triggers ingame. Unusual stuff but with too long corridors.
THE ADVENTURE GOES ON: Yes it does. Interesting level structure offers a bit of see-through teasing and very unusual geometrical ideas you should see, the graphics are less mystic, more Egyptian and I like sand, however the whole thing is again too large. This time apart from linear puzzling we get some ninja combat and statue pushing.
IN THE DARK (I): Luckily not the Cain variant, this one is anything but what the title claims. Only in the end the lights go off and we suddenly step into a gloomy cinema with an unexpected custom track. Before that we do some skeletal combat which is always-pleasing especially when you can wait for these guys to accumulate and annihilate them all with a single blast arrow. But here the big scale really starts to get boring - corridors are still long but only because of being scaled to the size of everything else. Even though the city has just one location it simply feels HUGE and the path isn't well thought - path repetition occurs and one serious shortcut which looks far easier than the intended way so I spend a lot of time on ensuring if I follow correctly.
IN THE DARK (II): We start in the same cinema where we ended the previous unit but unfortunately a failed leveljump forces title load what resets the inventory deleting the crossbow with 40+ kaboom arrows. But we get it all back and soon I didn't even notice when I had 99 of this ammo. We also get a new crowbar, twice - it seems the author was aware of the flaws and despite of leaving them he cared to provide us with what we lost and he made sure we will have these things no matter of what - fair enough. If we skip the gems we go a loooong way back and the star receptacles meant to be blocked by spikes are in fact accessible so it's easy to skip the white platform flipmap. Another flipmap occurs, both very nice, so the builder is advancing and I think the architecture is best so far. It could mean up to this point the levels were played in order of building. The local tune was also fine.
THE TOWER OF HARPYR: Another title reset begins this level with pistols only, facing a bunch of harpies - not nice, also these guys could shoot something else than Lara's legs. The return to the hub hall is brilliant and every room is something different though the architecture is simple and we encounter definitely the ugliest fence I have ever seen in a custom level, still one of few we can stand on. The part ends with a pickup gallore which cannot prepare us for later challenges due to another inventory reset. The builder is full of great ideas and so far I could understand them even though most of them failed to execute.
THE FORGOTTEN CITY: Possibly the best map in this row, it has that nostalgia of older game cities, it's quite convincing with satisfying textures and combat despite of being way underlit. Not much to complain except from really basic layout and another bit of long running. The monkey swing confused me a bit, I thought we need to pass it all but we don't. The level ends the way suggesting a manor level will follow but nothing like this happens so I think one or more projects are still missing from this pack. Another title drop concludes exploration.
LIBRARY OF MYSTERY: Rome. One more time interesting geometry with tinmen fighting and familiar cogs also do appear. We can see lots of globes through a grating so the place look busy, but only four of these orbs are really pushable on a very little distance - that's transparency how it should be and a relief I like. In this level you might be disturbed by a potenial stuck point and ladder texture inconsistency, I also never used two gems.
LIBRARY OF MYSTERY (II): Another stuck point happens to gems. While the last push was interesting the one contained here is too long and now we also extensively swim. It might be the level misses a track but the church, one of the best rooms in the entire set, contains nice custom music instead. The cage zone is also remarkable.
THE SEARCH GOES ON: Another city map, also quite good but with flat lighting and constant hunt for similar puzzles. The path design is suddenly really messed up: in the end it appeared I did everything out of order but the intended way would only increase backtracking so I treat the found shortcut as a better option, in favor of the builder. The small medikit should count as a secret, as the only challenge. The level also has a whole underwater maze with nothing inside so while I understand it as a place where the plot would follow in the finished version, it should be shallowed in this one to avoid unnecessary swimming.
TEMPLE OF HOPE: Ten levels in, the music switch is the first interesting interaction, until you realize the song already heard in the first cinema goes in loop till the end of the level. In this case missing audio would be an advantage, so DON'T touch the button! Fortunately there are other buttons to provide audio variety. The puzzles and the map seem to be the most interesting so far as well.
JUNGLE TEMPLE: Whoah, something sudden yet incomparably more organic. I liked the puzzle with multiple guardian keys and a chance to blow up the dogs before they are loose. We can also encounter the classic rollingball swing. Inbetween interior graphics appear a step back. Here we have a choice to either quit to menu and follow to level 12, or automatically skip the whole middle of the game and proceed straight to Level 24. In any case I didn't know what to expect so I took what the game wanted from me.
END OF BEGINNING: It opens with a flyby, totally unexpected after all the simplicity. This unit is well organized, coherent and with little redundant corridors but still too large. The author continues to apply combo interaction per door - now apart from twin puzzles we have two instances of triple switches. The medikit zone is crazily designed, something I like. Instead on skeletons now we can try multikill on mummies though they gather into a one-shot pile a lot slower. The game again resets to title so I continued with script level 12 and about this time I stopped to count title drops.
WAY OF THE PYRAMID: The central structure is really nice and transparency would be well used if it was applied on portals. We can choose the path and more musical switches, I have a feeling this should go together with previous Karnak remake. A pity we couldn't pick up the grenade launcher but the end meant a crash anyway.
LIBRARY OF MYSTERY (III): This one has a stuck point if you descend to the red platforms too early, but also unexpected usage of static cameras and this time even the music switch is surprising. First one in order which has more than ordinary secrets and more varying gameplay with revolver switches and enemy pickups. Some structures are again unusual but geometry gets more casual and the symmetry gets devastating. The ladder section is a bit tedious and could be cut in half. The level crashes at the end.
MUSEUM OF WEAPONS (I): Smallest and comfiest map, really nice town square with fuses and glass cases. 10 minutes or so.
MUSEUM OF WEAPONS (II): A very nice change from day to night time is still convincing despite of the failing jump between the two parts, but the downside is since we lost the weapons we fight multi sas ambush with pistols. You can meet some weird MIP guys, I guess these are the real exhibits but they should be labeled as such for clarity, no wonder people consider them a glitch. What is real trouble is an unmarked fall to finish but at least this one works.
CLEOPATRAS PALACE: Something familiar? Nooo. Completely different colors and textures than in original cleopal cover this level, together with symmetric staircases. We can do a boulder challenge and a weird push through a green room. Back to mediocrity but less boring as the author keeps playing with shapes, some of which appear smoother than elsewhere because of the large scale - even the very high climb at the end is unexpectedly attractive even though it possibly shouldn't. Monkey swing is a different thing. Minor unintended order occurs but you shouldn't get lost.
THE OTHER WAY: There's again some nice transparency, fencing and tinmen fighting but the symmetry starts to be really tiring. I can understand the author's need for symmetry and since his cured mine I'm also grateful. Again we collect a whole arsenal of weapons to prepare us for another jump, only to lose it seconds later.
THE TEMPLE OF HATHOR: Tutorial repainted by Jewish aliens. Some extra platforming added and it's nice to reach the room behind the glass a long time after it's foreshadowed. The zone outside the pyramid is quite cool either. The finish jumps back to level 24. Could be all these 24s were supposed to mean "main menu" but don't.
TEMPLE OF MYSTERY: This one deserves mentioning for backtrack reduction however the pharos pillar is really easy to miss so pay attention. Or rather pay attention all the time in this game. Here you can also do the only scarab hunt instance. Foliage and water are nice, as well as the secret. Few rooms from the end a failed portal prevents legal finish and any at all.
THE PYRAMID OF WATER: Nice concept but you can just slide down and finish too early. This keeps you wondering if you did everything already or if you shouldn't proceed yet, especially since you discover this time the finish DOES work and you're concerned about potential missed pickups that may be required in the next level.
THE PYRAMID OF WATER (II): If I mentioned skeletal multikill before, this time they're even more. The level also contains a quite nice room where you see nothing except the destination door and a switch which opens it, and have to figure out the path between one an another.
TEMPLE OF MAH NUH ELAH: A highlight with creative lighting, unusual architecture and back to alien texturing merged with Egyptian stuff possibly the most seamless way in this episode, or entire game. No sign of boredom appeared despite of extensive symmetry. The end throws back to level 24 so about 100 explosive arrows are lost, but before that happened I killed more mummies and skeletons than I could wish for anyway.
THE OTHER WAY PART II: Nice architecture continues with lots of skeletons, two demigods and six secrets. Some rooms are absolutely oversized, some other are perfect and I think the harpy cage might be treated as the climax of the game. This time transition to level 24 is to the one which really follows but I doubt it was intended.
THE SEARCH FOR HAMUNAPTRA: The last named unit is a Kingdom/Cambodian level on a huge platform with linear and quite relaxing puzzles but watch out for the gems in the water or go back for them. There's a nice pushable near the end though its last part involves trial and error. I think at that point I stopped to count failed leveljumps.
PART 02: Brace for a shockwave - from the best piece, the game jumps straight to the worst design of puzzles included. You are very likely to do things out of order what in such case almost certainly makes you unable to finish. But I found out this unit, despite of missing the whole second half of the walkthrough, is actually finishable and especially the part which was hidden until now appears satisfying if you persist to explore it.
PART 03: I view this as an escape from the previous leve as you keep running through outside sceneries including a primeval cityscape and a high tower. Keyholes would imply a long backtrack in case of missing their items so again watch out, but if you do nothing is that easy to overlook. The architecture is nice and one of most pleasant, it could be a great catacomb if better lit.
PART 04: Not sure if meant this way or just visually buggy, but the palette fits the ending stargate object. I also liked the flood flipmap and the boulder cameo.
PART 05: Descriptions get shorter, it seems I started to lose patience after 28 levels... about time. Still I replayed this one when I noticed I did it out of order, what is extremely easy to do. More confusion appears with 5 stars but 4 slots, and portal hole but no effigy. Redundant pathways make the level take twice more time than should be invested in playing it, but other than that it's quite short. One crystal is on the balcony but I bet it should be at that empty underwater pedestal just the author forgot to move it to its proper resting place from the improper testing place. Nonetheless I'm glad I know him already so well that I can see what he meant to do, so in case if he returns I will betatest him.
PART 06: A blatant, barefaced, vicious, outrageous, enraging, infuriating, unacceptable, abominable, insolent, hedious, blasphemous, obvious ripoff of
Symbol of the World
so I played the original first and then this copy to check the changes. It doesn't differ at all except from the messed up audio. A true hidden virtue is you can remember Max better.
PART 07: A nice Arabic city plus bike you can run over... bats with... that's what I haven't seen yet. There's also a fine wraith setup where they're triggered with the bike on the move. One gate with two guys behind didn't open, anybody can do that?
PART 08: A copy of
The Search Goes On
with the same progress, including the medikit which still doesn't count as a secret. Or maybe I should check again if there's no difference, I could be a bit too fast here.
PART 09: I like pickup placing in this level. The quadruple monkey swing with differing audio is a nice "one change at a time" application, however a bit tedious. A shortcut is possible from one gem shelf to another but I did it all legally for full experience. Other puzzles are fine, but the location is again seriously oversized.
PART 10: One of the least inspired levels. Could be a manor, Atlantis or library part four attempt, or scraps of all. Despite of the encouraging song I didn't even try that pushable on my own, I just proceeded with the map in hand. But at least it's easy, with few nice rooms including the insane pool trampoline in the end.
PART 11: Remake of original bull level, with identical puzzles, enemies and secrets only with missing table collision so you won't pick up the reward goodies from the little beetle room. Texturing is Pirated for some reason and when you think it's over you get a single extra platforming stack which in no way matches the quality of original level.
PART 12: A mixture of all cities we saw in TR series, only BIGGER.
: I can't believe I made it. From now on, everything will be simple. To cross this line it was worth to check this release - not a milestone in building but definitely in playing. Possibly the only two problems of this game is too large scale and frequent utilizing of identical items together with obvious shortcuts and early or failed finish triggers so you keep wondering if you do the right thing, if you follow the right way, or if you don't.That said, geometry and visuals are sometimes very good, the middle section being a treat in this aspect compared to the rest, so here's where the ability to freely choose these levels may help. Or maybe you will endure the challenge which is lack of it, and then you will fish simple things out of surrounding medium to enjoy every applied lightbulb, every correct local tune and every touch of creativity - for nowhere else are the basic principles as satisfying as here when obeyed." -
"This huge levelpack doesn't include many new ideas, levels like the Playable Tutorial Level or the Semerkhet one were remade with even worse textures. I didn't find a finish trigger in some of the levels, which mainly consisted of searching levers and sometimes some papyrus scrolls. In the level "Water Pyramid" or so you had to shimmy kilometers to get on, which was very annoying. Despite of this, sometimes the rooms looked very good and atmosphere wasn't so abominable. But unfortunately just sometimes." -
"What could possible be added to eRIC's extensive review? He really says it all. The author mentions in the readme that these levels are about "running and finding things" and he is dead serious. In this huge pack of 30+ levels this is essentially all you do - a LOT of running through huge areas and a LOT of items you pick up and then soon after use to open the next door for progression. And as such it gets tedious already in Level 2, not even mentioning Level 5, 10, 15 etc. On a positive note, this package really has enough solidly designed rooms and even a few ideas on how to reach items and enemy placement here and there, to put together a decent level or three IF (and that is a big if) the author would have cared to focus on bringing out a coherent level vs dumping his harddisk content of what must have been many, many hours of building into this set. A pity really, as this could have been some good classic raiding. As it is presented here though, it is only a painful and tedious experience and full of bugs too, as levels do not connect with each other and several of them cannot legally be finished. Only for those among us who really want to play each and every level out there..." -
"This is such a shame that this level set is released in one huge level set instead of one at the time (or even a couple at the time) as it still is full of bugs. This is a first for me that after playing more than 1800 level, I had to use the position editor to proceed. It starts quite promising though, going from one level to the next and then the level jumps are not possible anymore, you have to choose them from the menu. No problem, you hear me mutter, apart that you loose everything you gathered in the previous level (guns and ammo), the artefacts you get in every level. Do save at strategic points as I found out that picking up one key, the other I already had, disappeared from my inventory. All in all one can see that there is no beta testing done, textures although sometimes quite eclectic are stretched, squashed and sometimes not even there. Invisible blocks in front of doors, paperthin walls and a lot of huge, huge rooms, so running back and fro is a must. Lighting was poorly done and the placing of enemies rather random. I even came in a room where I didn't trigger the guards and saw them waiting behind pillars to be triggered. Can't even remember all the levels I have played and I know there are some I couldn't finish. All in all a brave endeavour but alas such a waste of time and effort for the builder as this isn't it." -
"A huge levelset , 36 levels , well in fact 33 for [The search goes on ] and [ Part_08 ] are the same , [ Part_06 ] is a replica of Max' s Symbol of the world , while [ Part_11 ] is a remake of the official Guardian of Semerkhet TLR level textured differently and not for the best. The levels use mainly the original resources , with sometimes new textures. Only a few of the levels linked together while the great majority are stand-alones. You have a few Coastal towns, Catacombs and Libraries, Egyptian levels, various Cities , levels more"mystic" looks wise or others which are a wild mixing of textures throwing all sense of atmospheric realism and/or harmony out of the window. They last between 20 and 30 minutes generally. It was certainly not a good idea to release all these levels in one go, the author should have released them as they were built so to have appropriate feedback to improve his/her work. For there is every type of flaw you can expect in this level set, although of course not all flaws are in all levels : the settings are generally not good looking except for a few rooms which are nice , the lighting is absent the majority of the time and too bright but there is also dark areas, there are doors not placed in portals, thin walls , missing textures, stretched textures , disappearing textures [map in the lowest right corner of the editor grid], some of the enemies appearing out of thin air , unintended shortcuts [you can reach the end of Pyramid of Water in no time], and all the"see through" textures that are not placed in portals should be absolutely avoided. The author has tried to come up with settings that are too much ambitious for his skills. About the types of gameplay you can expect here , there are mainly two sorts of them, some levels offer a straightforward course, and others consist of exploring a huge area. Some common traits to many of the levels are a symmetrical design, the use of too many artefacts needed for progression, and a lot of uneventful running. Almost no puzzles or things interesting to perform, it is a lot about running , with also the basics abilities of Lara for climbing , swimming , sometimes jumping or shimmying. I can recall only one ropes swinging and one pole climbing, but I may have forgotten another. The author has also incorporated some 'mystic' ideas in a few levels with jump/fall or swim through apparently normal textures ; or gameplay 'mysteries' such as the climbable walls [in Library of Mysteries and Library of Mysteries III] which look exactly like other walls not climbable , unmarked trigger tiles [ at the end of Search for Hamunaptrah ]. As if the basics actions of the regular course were not long enough, there is also in a few levels parts of areas or ladders that unnecessarily prolong the gameplay time, or maybe they are red herrings. There are the occasional good idea , such as the jumps from spider web to spider web in the Tibetan level [End of Beginning] , the effect in the water at the beginning of [The other way], the safe translucent path in another level, the use of the swinging chains and the use of a boulder trap to open a door in one of the Library wakes up the player a bit from the monotonous constant search for horseman gems, golden stars, knots , hands, music scrolls , guardian keys and other keys ad lib and infinitum. Now the worst parts is that some of the levels can't be finished no matter what [Lara's forgotten adventures , Museum of weapons, Temple of Mystery] , it seems that the author has not made the levels beta-tested, while for a few others you need to be lucky in your choices to not be stuck for good : in [ Jungle temple ] you'd better use your guardian key to open the door where there is a timeless sands artefact , and farther on don't dive into a pool before spotting the opening with a switch. In [In the dark II ], if you don't pick up the horseman gems, you 'll be stuck for good later on. The placement of the objects is sometimes very bad indeed, with key artefacts or puzzle_holes that do not need any puzzle_item to come to the end , which adds a lot to the confusion of the levels that are not straightforward. What about the placing of the artefacts in [the Search goes on] ? You can finish this level in no time by only placing the hand of Sirius and not the hands of Orion. According to all logic so that the gameplay makes sense , the hand of Sirius should have been placed where one of the hands of Orion is , so that the 2nd cartouche be not useless, and even so there would still be a shortcut to get it as you can go there from above without using the cartouche to open the door ! And I am speechless the author has not placed the good kind of Fuse so to finish [Museum of weapons] properly , too bad as this level was better and pleasing without big areas and endless staircases where you can consume two or three flares in a row without seeing the end of it. Sometimes you use two guardian keys to obtain two guardian keys + a few pickups or you use a horseman gem only to get the crowbar that you already have in the inventory ! I finished [Temple of Hope] with three different artefacts in the inventory ! What is the use of the first couple of stars in [In the dark II] ? Aside from the few levels that can't be technically finished although you don't miss a lot of these when you get stuck for you are almost at the end, I also did not finished a couple of levels in the last third of the set [ Part_02 and Part_03 ] as I could not cope anymore with the boredom of these mazes like areas and unfinished aspects of these levels which are probably the worst of the set, so don't even bother with those. I give credit to the author to have tried at times to come up with some originality , also with some resources of his own such as the nice orange Turkish textures for one of the City levels [Part_07], and some of the levels weren't unpleasant to play. But I repeat that the levels should have been released as they were built so that a learning curve would have been visible, and no need to say with a minimum of beta-testing." -
"I can see the builder has spent possibly a lot of time on this. Some of the levels are better than others with some being rather empty and lacking objects and lighting etc. Some of the levels contain rather detailed versions of this but seeing as though they have all been incorperated in one big file, i have to ruin the overall score to match the worse done levels. In my opinion i don't think some of the textures fit in a few of the levels and i had a few problems with cameras. Lighting looks ignored in some of the levels, as shown on the pictures Michael has placed on the information part of this level. Puzzles are once again just something you would see in normal Tomb Raider games, although some of them got me thinking. Some of the objects i picked up didn't actually register, but that was possibly something to do with my computer. I think that next time, the builder should not have so many levels comprised into one big folder, seeing as though some of the levels has nothing to do with other levels, in my opinion i thought it looked a bit jumbled up. Take this advice when you make your next. Grade = B" -