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Level: Mysteries of Australia back home search
Author(s): David Rukawa
total rating:6.88 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Ceamonks890 6 7 7 6
dmdibl 7 8 9 8
eRIC 7 7 7 6
Gerty 7 7 7 6
janachorider 7 8 9 8
Jose 6 7 7 8
manarch2 6 8 7 7
MichaelP 7 8 8 8
Mman 6 7 7 7
Nuri 4 4 6 5
Orbit Dream 7 7 7 8
Phil 7 6 7 7
Ryan 6 7 7 7
Torry 6 6 5 7
Treeble 6 8 7 8
category averages
(15 reviews)
6.33 7.00 7.13 7.07

Reviewer's comments

"This may be a nine level game, but all of them are quite brief so it's not something you'll need to spend ages on. I did find the gameplay in this one a little too repetitive, but the variety of solidly textured locations did keep me interested. Nothing resembling Australia as such, but Lara does get to visit what looks like India, Venice, a train station, Peru, Tibet and Vegas, which stops it from becoming too monotonous. There were no secrets as far as I could deduce, but I found the enemies to be well placed (there are many of them, but they don't attack in overwhelming packs too often and although pickups are somewhat scarce initially, you'll find more in the later levels). Objects are also nicely incorporated into the TR2 engine, although a bit buggy in the last level. Overall, maybe a bit too much of the same, but not bad at all for a bite-sized TR2 pack." - Ryan (07-Jul-2018)

"This rather large nine level set may seem formidable at first glance but all the levels are short (the longest coming in at 40 minutes whilst the shortest at 12 minutes) for an overall game play of just on 4 hours. I have to admit that I agree with Treeble on this one, the game play was a might too pedestrian finding one switch after another and another to proceed with very few health packs in the first few levels and a look button that did not function properly if at all. As the levels progressed it did get a little better but unfortunately it was really just more of the same. The very last level was interesting and the final boss fight a doozy but this was not enough to save the level set from a mediocre score I'm afraid. The title also misleads as I could find no correlation in any of these levels to anything remotely Australian like." - Torry (22-Apr-2018)

"David used to be one of my favorite builders back in the Lara's Home days, and it was quite nostalgic to revisit this series. Truth be told I had forgotten most of it, but hey, it has been over 10 years since I played through these levels and so much has happened in that time frame. One of the things that stand out throughout the series is the customization, lots of new/retextured objects and it's somewhat funny but for the most part it makes use of TR3 textures, so it makes for a fun experiment. Now, taking off the rose-tinted glasses, I have to admit the first level is not a very good entry point. It's essentially a labyrinth filled with levers and doors and it has one too many wall mounted blade traps. Back then this wasn't such a big issue because all levels were stand alone, but here it was a bit trickier because I started the second level with absolutely no medipacks in my inventory. It was a rather long while until a medipack showed up, but fortunately I survived ‚ÄĒ other players might not be so lenient, however. Other levels might rely just as heavily on the key-door progression, but it wasn't as aggravating as the environments were neat and fun to navigate (with a few exceptions, of course). Throughout Sanctuary of the Hang I had a very particular issue with cameras, for some reason they wouldn't follow Lara properly and the look button would result in a grey screen, and as it's a level filled with narrow corridors and rolling boulders/wall blades, you can guess it wasn't pretty. I don't remember this issue from back then, but it might be on me as I am using a different set of executables here. As an eternal lover of the TR1 Peru setting, my favorite levels are obviously The Catacombs and City of Dolbamba, but as a whole all levels are pretty enjoyable despite the occasional maze-like hunts for levers or keys. The final level, which in itself feels like a tribute to the original Nightmare in Vegas, suffers a little due to wrong sound effects -- I suspect it could be easily solved by replacing the TR2 main.sfx with the TR2 Gold main.sfx file --, but still provides its due entertainment. Also, I apologize for the walkthrough, curiously enough I had to check it myself a couple of times and this "wall of text" style I used to use is hardly functional... 2 hours, 40 minutes. 06/17" - Treeble (18-Jun-2017)

"Well, this couple of TR2 levels isn't that hard to play or specail, but I enjoyed them anyway. As I understood, Lara is searching for many artifacts/treasuries in Australia, followed by a vacation in a hotel, just like "Nightmare in Vegas" from the director's cut of TR2. It took me about hours to complete all levels, because many rooms were similar to each other and I partially lost orientation. There was more exploring, fighting and just "getting through rooms" than puzzles, which is a shame. But this level is worth to play anyway." - Nuri (13-Oct-2015)

"While this release isn't too bad, there's nothing particularly memorable or noteworthy about it either, as we're simply just revisiting areas from TR1-3 and their various Gold expansions, only with far less compelling level designs, crude texturing, flat lighting, a concerning number of glitches(such as a buggy look function at certain points or the occasional crash to desktop) and a considerable lack of decorative objects in most rooms, with me quickly beginning to grow sick of this release as time wore on regardless(as the constantly repetitious gameplay quickly dragged the experience down), leaving behind a strong certainty that I most likely won't be tackling this one again anytime soon in the foreseeable future. So, best approached with caution and at a steady pace, if still curious." - Ceamonks890 (05-Sep-2014)

"A bunch of small TR2 levels not difficult to play. There are some defects with sounds, paper walls, unmarked climbable walls... even the game crashes in the Metropolis level, but not very important for the gameplay. In some levels there's an abuse of some elements like horizontal blades or the Golden Plate in the Haunted Cathedral level; in the first levels there are few pickups and it's easy get out of ammo and medipacks, but later you'll find guns and pickups enough (if you know how to take advantage of them). I liked the cameras system, help you here and there, and the textures are well applied in triangular surfaces and ramps. An adventure worth to play if you like TR2, but don't expect great puzzles, but exploration, switches, traps and a lot of fighting." - Jose (03-Dec-2013)

"I'm not sure why I selected an 8-year-old TR2 compilation to download and play. TR2 is so crude compared with the TR4 textures that I'm surprised anyone still bothers to use this outdated platform. Some builders do, however, even today. There's nothing particularly noteworthy about this one other than the fact that the player gets a number of different visual settings in the 9 levels that are bundled in the download. The gameplay is fairly straightforward, and I enjoyed dealing with the spear-wielding warriors that turned green and blew up when you killed them. There was one game-stopping moment in the 8th level, when I wound up with two plates instead of the three that the walkthrough said I should have, preventing me from opening a series of doors so I could continue. I played through twice, just to make sure I hadn't missed something, and finally used a savegame editor to provide the missing artifact. In summary, not a bad way to spend a few hours (each level lasts 15 or 20 minutes), provided you do it in small chunks." - Phil (22-Sep-2013)

"I particulary liked this custom level which show that you can do a good TR2 level is you put so much effort in it. the first level had a TR3 feeling but i was annoyed that some doors didn't open for me.the second and third levels were fine although i don't know why the third level it's called metropolis as it has textures from the TR3GOLD chunnel.and a weird sky too.the others five levels were good too although like other reviewers pointed its unknown why the title says "australia".the last level was the best with a little remake of "Nightmare in vegas". in conclusion this is a good set of levels that most of those who built using the TR2 engine should take it like a example.its a pity that the builder isn't building levels anymore but i had accepted that." - janachorider (10-Sep-2013)

"This is the penultimate TR 2 level I didn't play until now, and what you get here, even with a relatively small download size, is is a nine-level mini game. I actually installed for the third time now - the first time I never got further than the second level, the second time it ended in the Haunted Cathedral level (the reasons for that are both that I didn't know back then that unzipping levels helps to quit the game and try again later, and thus I had to finish all games in one sitting). Actually, I finished this game in one sitting too even if the nine levels have mostly different themes; for the rating I will put them together in trios, as that fits quite well at least for the last six levels.
Unforgetable Mountains/Opera Night/Metropolis (5-7-7-7) - 15+15+25 minutes: I really liked how the builder managed to create a TR 3 jungle setting with TR 2 but the gameplay in the first level was rather dull with too many levers to find throughout the whole map and the fact that there are often several paths but a linear gameplay leads to a lot of dead ends and tedious backtracking. The slope sequence in the spike room was the only highlight of this level whose second half seems to be about nothing but jumping over seemingly hundreds of spikes in a very narrow ceiling which was getting spiced up by the fact you don't find any additional health kits in this level (one large and one small in inventory) so you have to get through them nearly without any scratch. The next level, set in Venice, felt a little better than the previous as the map is pretty compact with a nice sense of atmosphere, a few enemies to shoot at the start - unluckily the boat seems to be of no use - and a bit to and fro, but never actually boring with a search for key items and a small side quest in the ventilation shafts that was not hard to accomplish but due to the non-marked ladders it took a bit of time. Also liked the placement of the M16 in this level and all the enemies were quite well placed, although you only get one extra medikit in this level. Metropolis, the next level, was created using TR 3 Gold textures and objects (the small trains were odd but kind of cute too) which kind of worked well, but the lighting was rather flat here in comparison to the previous level. The gameplay got a little worse again for me as I couldn't really enjoy the maze-like setting with a lot of levers to find (some of which didn't have camera clues) and backtracking being mostly the only kind of gameplay provided, apart from overly long ladders or a few enemies. Still liked the bounce pads being used and the cool retextured ninja, but some of the traps behaved rather strangly (e.g. blades moving in walls) and there is one code receptacle next to a door while the whole level does not contain the required green codecard (checked with Fexinspect).
Sanctuary of Hang/The Catacombs/City of Dolbamba (7-8-7-7) - 25+10+15 minutes: This trio that fits better together thematically was actually the best third of this levelset mostly because of the more elaborate gameplay. I found the setting of the first sanctuary level was quite convincing with another TR 3 Gold theme that was nicely executed and some of the ideas were pretty engaging, such as the boulder/blade corridors - luckily with a not so narrow ceiling as in the first level -, a few shorter block puzzles, some smartly designed trap passages with breaktiles and more boulders and a boss fight with Larson. The only things I didn't like so much was the pretty misleading underwater maze and again some overly long ladders. Two levels made with Vilcabama and Qualopec textures (as I said in a recent review - a pretty good mix) follow this one, the first being over when you just get into it after not even ten minutes (and a rather predictable and way too easy flow), the second also being not very long, but starting rather nice with a clever but short snowmobile ride and then opening up a bit with three paths to explore which contained some good block puzzles, swimming sequences. I must admit that the underwater opening was extremely well hidden, and "well" in a positive meaning. The end might be a tad obscure with a glass that only breaks when you step on the tile where Larson came from, i.e. his starting position (not necessarily where he died though). Maybe the builder thought about a trigger that starts when Larson dies, but that didn't work, so he just left it as it is.
Australian Foothills/Haunted Cathedral/Nightmare in Australia (6-8-8-6) - 15+15+20 minutes: These three levels are supposed to take place in New Zealand and Australia, although I doubt the builder would have chosen these settings for the title if he didn't use "Australia" for the levelname or something like this; there is very little resemblance to "down under" here. The first level takes place in a snowy setting with another very short snowmobile ride, a lot of doors to open (which got tiresome after a while) and a few Xian warriors to shoot which was spicing up the rather slow progression a bit, but I was rather glad this level wasn't as long as Metropolis as it would then be equally enerving gameplaywise as there is nothing really outstanding here. The next level is mainly a pure shooter of two different warriors, a few soldiers and ninjas but somehow convinces in its premise as the placement and triggers of the enemies was well executed and there are a few really hard to overcome blade traps and a boulder alley thrown in to not make this level completely one-sided. This felt a lot shorter than the already short previous level but actually isn't; I think that's due to the pretty long time to kill all the enemies. The better lighting made this level to be a bit more atmospheric but texturing (especially interior) was in my opinion not that well executed. The last level takes place in a hotel that is pretty similar to the Vegas level from TR2 Gold, with a few copied areas (as the main hall, the swimming hall and part of the outside area) which on the one side worked well in a way but in the other side this is of course unoriginal. But there are so many twists to the original level, e.g. the smaller kind of elevator (actually it is half-embed in the wall, but who cares). I don't know if the sound was mixed up or if this is intended but it served a few funny moments as basically most of the sounds are exchanged so that the level could actually have been a nice joke level with a little more care. The combats increase dramatically towards the end and the boss fights do not only contain the T-Rex and the bird monster but a lot of thugs and gunmen which made this level a worthy finale to the series.
Summary: Despite the heavy amount of enemies I still managed to get through this levelset without using any health kits of which I can be proud as that wasn't easy - I thought the end would be even more health-consuming and reserved all the medikits for the end but then it just worked without all those of which I can be proud. This levelset left me with rather mixed feelings though as gameplaywise it didn't really convince me as much as the previous TR 2 levels, but the steady change of setting was working well for me in that regard so that the game never got too boring. Maybe a storyline would have helped the gameplay a bit as the levels don't seem to be connected in any logic way but at least you get a reward at the end of each "chapter" (i.e. one or two levels) which at least creates a kind of goal to the single levels. Unluckily there are no secrets to find here which could have been a nice side quest but some of the custom enemies (mostly at boss fights) and in general nice enemy placement was the highlight of this elseway rather mediocre levelset. Spent two and a half hours in here. One more TR 2 level left... ;)" - manarch2 (07-Sep-2012)

"This pack has quite a variety of themes, although I never got an "Australia" feel from any of it, ignoring the title however, the levels are mostly well executed with decent texturing. The lighting is pretty mixed though; in some levels it looks good while others have very little lighting at all. Objects from various TR's are used, and they all fit in well. There are problems with sound at various points, and the final level has some pretty hilarious issues with it (stuff like Lara giving out a manly grunt when you fall in spike pits), the last level also has an issue with the M16 and Grenade Launcher bugging Lara out if you try to equip them (and requiring the reload of a save).
While more solid and accomplished overall, the gameplay suffers mainly from the main problem I had with the authors earlier release The Gen as well; a feeling of several of the levels having little structure behind them and just sprawling on without actually going anywhere. Level three and four in particular just seem to go on and on, and four has some very vague gameplay towards the end too, although it's thankfully the only big sufferer from that. The other levels aren't as bad with it, but they still too frequently move away from interesting looking areas and into cramped maze-like corridors that give no sense of place at all. The last couple of levels are the only ones that really felt like they moved away from that style and were the best as a result despite the bugs; which is hopefully a sign of the author's improvement. It's not a must-play, but if you want something with plenty of environmental variety that can still be finished within a few hours you can do much worse." - Mman (04-Feb-2012)

"This series will provide you with a very solid amount of 3 hours of net gaming in a nicely diverse environment - even though it never feels anywhere close to Australia. All the levels are quite short and flow smoothly. They heavily rely on switches and push blocks and suffer from a few too many too long ladders to climb. Occasionally the battles with the enemies are a decent challenge as there are not too many medipacks around.
UNFORGETABLE MOUNTAINS (20 min): India setting with one tricky slide jump and a bit of an overdose of blade traps.
OPERA NIGHT (20 min): Venice setting with nice exploration in canals and on the roofs. A few unmarked climbable walls are a bit annoying.
METROPOLIS (25 min): Cave & tunnel setting with a few bounce pads (always fun), nice use of train textures and some good camera guidance. A bit much to and fro to get the necessary pass cards.
SANCTUARY OF HANG (25 min): Scottish Castle setting with a few tougher traps (boulders, blades) and a small underwater maze area.
THE CATACOMBS (10 min): The shortest level and one in TR1 Caves style.
CITY OF DOLDAMBA (15 min): Continuation of the previous level with quite a few long swimming passages.
AUSTRALIAN FOOTHILLS (15 min): Not really Australia, but very Tibet looking, including the Xian warriors (always fun to see them go green and explode.
HAUNTED CATHEDRAL (20 min): Still in Tibet and plenty of Xian warriors to kill here and many Golden Plates to find for progression.
NIGHTMARE IN AUSTRALIA (30 min): Again, not really Australia, but rather "Vegas" with a cool elevator, swinging box traps and a decent final amount of battle including a T-Rex and the Big Bird as they final boss.
So, as said, this is a great package of classic raiding, probably best played in small doses as it tends to be a bit repetitive, but certainly one of the rare highlights in the TR2 custome level world." - MichaelP (15-Sep-2010)

"Playing this off and on I canít really even remember which places Iíve seen. All I know that it is a hard level, hard as in shooting quite a lot of enemies and not really having the firepower to do it quickly. The titles didnít make that much sense for me anyway so nothing lost in that area. Be careful also with your health, as medipacks are in short supply as well. In a certain level where Lara had to shatter a glass pane, it wouldnít shatter, run around a bit in that room, it will shatter. What the trigger is, I have no idea. All in all the final battle is with the Big Bird and Lara left the stage with her health-bar blinking and no more medipacks." - Gerty (13-May-2010)

"Despite this being a nine level game,and even with the incorporation of many gameplay elements from TR2,it's hard to rate this too high as most of the levels involve doing the same actions several times over. It's basically all about hunting for keys and levers to open nearby doors;and despite most of the levels being visually diverse,it's rather difficult to remember just what happened in any particular one. No doubt the strongest point was the use of enemies,which are many and varied and often attack at the most inconvenient moments (a good thing,in my book).Secrets seemed non-existant,and objects were used as well as could be expected given the general lack of such things in the TR2 engine.While textures were nicely applied,lighting was often non-existent and hence the atmosphere in any of the levels was never what it could have been. Construction was generally unambitious and involved lashings of corridor running,although the final level was suitably spectacular (albeit very much a copy of the Las Vegas Gold level).The best overall segment were the two snowy levels,which were effectively spooky and incorporated excellent use of the scary jade warriors. Nonetheless,there's a pleasent reliability running throughout this multi-level adventure:you always know what to expect,and you'll rarely get stuck for long in any one place.The variety of locations keeps the player's interest happily maintained,and the trap sequences are often challenging albeit a little repetetive at times. Overall,a good and hearty adventure;and well worth playing for those in the mood for nine scenically diverse yet cosily predictable levels." - Orbit Dream (01-Mar-2010)

"This is the most playable series from the author that I can remember, and its diverse levels really give a taste of TR2, which is certainly a recommendation to play them. In the first level players may be thinking how much better this is than some of the author's formulaic TR3 sets. The full game, nine short levels, takes about four hours. My ammo usage was 2,696 with 2,439 hits, so a few battle must have been going on. This is another author who churned out levels like pulp fiction, caring more for quantity and action rather than for careful revision. He can do excellent work, but there is usually part that is annoying. In the first level there were too many scything blades, though if Lara side flips along the wall where the blade tips touch she can escape with minor damage. In the third level there was annoying back and forth over the tops of trains to get red and yellow cards. The last three levels are the best with Xian warrior statues that come to life, and Lara has grenade gun, M16, automatic pistols, and shotgun, all with ammo count at zero. I count that as annoying, although that also added a lot of spice to this section. I enjoyed the Himalayan parts the most, and there is a final "Nightmare" level that is most similar to an actual TR2 level, with a Three Kings' convention, a huge climbable yellow sculpture in a building interior, and a marauding T-rex. Lara kills a disgruntled giant Eagle (or whatever) and the game ends. Except for this final level, almost none of the titles make much sense (such as "Haunted Cathedral" or "Australian Foothills"). I have no idea why this is called "Mysteries of Australia," when it is actually TR2 locales like Venice and the Himalayas, as well as texturing from TR1 Peru and TR3 Scotland. A good reason to play such levels is to use the hardwired features of the TR2 game engine, such as the Venice boat, the snowmobile, and the spring-loaded jump pads. (In TR4 players get a crummy motorcycle retextured as a snowmobile.) These all appear but too briefly. It is hard to remember Lara even being in a boat, the snowmobile appears several times but the excursions are much too brief. The jump pads are here, but sometimes used in cramped quarters that leave a sense of wanting more. IMPORTANT NOTES: At the end of level six, there is a large glass pane that Lara must break to end the level. She leaped at the glass and bounced off. She shot it and nothing happened. She turned away, and ran to the back right corner where Pierre's body lay (actually ran into the alcove wall) and suddenly the glass pane broke. Is Pierre's body a trigger? Second, I got a new LCD monitor to play the BtB Venice levels, and this is my first experience using it on TR2 or TR3. Lara looked fine, but the textures looked like they were set at 640x400 resolution. In setup, if "bilinear filter" was checked everything was fine. I hadn't needed to use this before. In game in TR2, F8 turns bilinear filtering on and off. These levels can be comfortably played at 1920x1080 resolution without too much distortion from the widescreen." - dmdibl (14-Feb-2010)

"A game with many different places around the world to visit : India , Venice , Scotland , a subterranean secret station , Peru , a Tibetan setting , and finally a Last Vegas setting. I am not too sure about the global storyline , in a few of these continuous levels , Lara finds a Seraph , but does not have it anymore in the following level. The texturing and shaping of the blocks is good, but the lighting weak. There is no difficult actions to do, the main difficulty was to keep enough health in the two first levels. I donít recall any pickup in the first level , and although there is no enemies in this one, there are many plinth blades in narrow corridors ; then some gunmen in the 2nd level in Venice before finding the first pick ups. As I donít have the TR2 CDs anymore, I made a long list with duplicated TR2 background audio tracks , that I launched with Windows Media player before starting the game , so to have some atmosphere while playing. This game is more interesting to play than the TR3 game A Travel in Time by the same author, which I played before , for in Mysteries of Australia there is more puzzles , more traps , and a progression a bit more complex , although remaining quite fluent. I like the spikes rooms in the India level , the visit on the roofs in Venice , the spring boards to jump higher in the subterranean level , the looks of some rooms in the Peruvian levels. Two very short use of snow bikes, a bunch of stone warriors that come to life in the Tibetan levels , and a variation of the Three Kings convention in Australia where we meet the T-Rex. The game ends when the Big Bird is killed. Overall , and despite a few minor flaws , a recommended game [ 3 hours 47 ]" - eRIC (24-Jan-2010)
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