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Level: Darkness Castle back home search
Author(s): Peppigno Rafiele
total rating:1.93 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Ceamonks890 0 1 1 1
dmdibl 0 0 1 1
Jay 1 3 2 4
Jose 2 2 3 4
manarch2 1 2 1 3
MichaelP 0 5 5 3
Mman 2 1 1 2
Nuri 2 3 2 1
Obig 0 5 0 4
sonnyd83 2 3 2 5
Treeble 0 1 1 2
category averages
(11 reviews)
0.91 2.36 1.73 2.73

Reviewer's comments

"Holy cow!! I'm kind of glad that I've finally managed to finish this custom level after 40-50-60 maybe 90 attempts. As all previous reviewers mentioned: YOU CAN'T SAVE YOUR PROGRESS IN THIS CUSTOM LEVEL, because it always crashes due to some issues that are caused of I- don't-know-what... So it was a very very hard challenge to play this. I definitely needed to read a walkthrough to get along the level, because there are certain points, where you would never find out how to continue, best example is the point where you can use the detonator key. There is even no use of camera angles showing you what a switch or lever does, although they are absolutely necessary here, especially for the timed doors!! Speaking of the timed doors: There are not one but two rooms with timed doors, that won't open again after they're closed, which is intensely bad, because you're trapped...... and you can't get out...... I was pretty angry when I found out about the first room with this error and had to play the whole level again. I was lucky at the second timed door where the M16 was, because I encountered a nice glitch, to bring Lara out of that room by straightly running and jumping against the closed door in a diagonal angle. I'm not gonna mention all the typical TR2 bugs, being almost everywhere in the level: Invisible blocks, graphics glitch with repetitive frames, the INCREDIBLY annoying glitch, where Lara gets stuck in a texture, being nowhere, and you can't get her out, enemies and textures being invisible for a while, enemies running against walls... By the way, there are plenty of flamethrowers, which makes the whole game a 50% harder. Not a bad feature, just saying it! Probably the most annoying thing in this custom level was the "headache-corner" with the 3 blades, where it's almost impossible to jump through without losing health or even dying. And one of the mentioned timed doors is even reached by passing this corner!!!!?!? I was annoyed enormously when I attempted to do that timed puzzle and those blades killed me for several times and ALL MY PROGRESS WAS JUST LOST LIKE THAT. The only thing that pleased me in this brain-cells- killing custom level was the nostalgia. I love the style of the opera house in every custom level." - Nuri (26-Feb-2018)

"I was playing almost 15 or 20 minutes, but finally I got out of medipacks and ammo for the extra weapons, even taking much care escaping from the enemies and saving ammo, but if you can't save the game it's very difficult to finish, 'cause the numerous enemies and few provided medipacks. But the level has a good look anyway, and I should like to finish some day." - Jose (18-Dec-2017)

"I seemingly hold the dubious position of being the first person to actually finish this level. It's actually not too long, and you can finish the documented parts of the level relatively fast, then there's not much left except for a couple of big battles. This level is infamously buggy, and it's hard to tell how much of it is unfinished design and how much is just player hate; it's like some morbid bug museum here with the broken objects/inventory, constant pop-in issues with enemies and, most obviously, the complete lack of an ability to save. That's on top of a myriad of others like broken visual effects in certain rooms, and a part where climbing a part "wrong" will leave you stuck in a void. Second most infamously after the save issue is a couple of timed runs where failing leaves you completely stuck and forced to restart. There's also an unmarked ladder in a large room and the one key has to be used on a relatively random tile (and is named wrong). Flamethrower enemies are also used in infuriatingly unfair ways at times, and, while there are ways to deal with them easily, they're trial and error made worse by the lack of saves. Even the stats screen at the end is bugged to be unreadable, to rob some catharsis from finishing.
While not a good level, in some ways being ruined by so many issues is a shame, as there's actually some potential here; without the issues the general tasks would be pretty okay, and, despite the visual bugs, there's some cleverness to the structure as you reach the areas that are the reason the level has the title it does and discover ramparts that let you look down on some large scale areas. While most of it is small scale and monotonous there are also some areas that show some decent basic visual design. In the end though it is that legendarily broken mess, and I can't say there was anything to really make the quest to actually reach a finish trigger worth it." - Mman (15-Nov-2017)

"Other reviewers have said it all, really. This release obviously misfired, as it's simply unplayable because you cannot save without crashing the game, so any time you die for whatever reason (note that none of the pickups in the initial areas are medipacks), you'd have to start over. I had 32 kills in the 8 minutes I lasted here, and I did spot Colt on what I would suppose to be the battlements of this "castle" but couldn't reach him - I could shoot enemies through the other gate even if I couldn't cross it. I suppose the switch to open either of these gates lies behind the triple wallblade trap on the ground floor, but as you'd expect, I died. Oh well. 06/17" - Treeble (04-Jun-2017)

"OK, let's get this out of the way first... This Venice-based level is simply UN-freaking-playable!! With so many enemies thrown the player's way at once alongside an extreme lack of health packs or ammunition for the more powerful weapons to balance out the gameplay difficulty(on top of not being able to save at all), I'm left wondering what the builder's mindset was when designing this, as I simply cannot imagine anyone managing to beat this level without the use of cheats. And with such poorly unbalanced gameplay and a large amount of bugs(such as invisible items in your inventory or texture glitches when moving around in some areas), does the rest of the game design hold up any better? Well unfortunately, I can't really say any kind words towards other aspects of the overarching game design either, as texturing is rather crude, lighting is flat and what little atmosphere there would be, is lost among all the frustration of trying to avoid Lara getting herself killed(which of course is practically an inevitability). Did I forget to mention that you can't save in this game whatsoever?! So yeah, if it weren't obvious enough already, I didn't enjoy playing this release and simply gave up on any chance of actually completing it, along with my full reviewer integrity(although I doubt that I'll lose any sleep over it). In conclusion, nothing more than an atrociously unbalanced and unfinished mess that would make any competent builder hang their heads in shame and therefore, cannot be recommended to any interested players. Avoid like the plague." - Ceamonks890 (12-Aug-2014)

"Why? Why make a game that cannot be saved at any point? Perhaps that wasn't deliberate. Why did I bother trying to play it? Simple - my 'reviewer guilt' told me to get it off the wishlist. How far did I get with it? Not very. Shame really as I'm fond of TR2 Venice levels, but this is just unplayable. OK, let's just leave this particular Venice to sink beneath the waves." - Jay (13-Aug-2013)

"Ok, another game I can not complete. This begins in a classic Venician setting in a room with plasterwork falling off the walls, textures are not that bad in my opinion with wooden beams and nice fireplaces. The main baddies here are gunmen and a flamethrower guy, and a horde of mice. I find TR2 baddies quite threatening since you can hear them but not see them always. Unfortunately, this level is unplayable due to bugs and flamethrower. With regards to bugs, I wasn't able to save as the savegame was too big apparantly, also if you don't tread on a certain square in the first room, less baddies appear, on the steps (after second room), you have to jump backwards on one step as jumping forwards pushes you back. This is where I got up to because there was a flamethrower guy in the way - that's bad gameplay since it's a single block corridor and you can't save nor jump away." - sonnyd83 (09-May-2012)

"You know, I have learned to put a lot of trust into dmdibl's opinion and when he says this level is unplayable, I just believe him. Of course, I did spend a little bit of time killing the first round of enemies myself. I even tried a handful of times to see how far I could get, but then really - should we not all have better things to do? It's Venice textures and enemies as we have seen a hundred times and as you cannot save the challenge is all a bit much and simply unfair. I did like those cute rats that appeared in the initial room though when you got back to it... Stay away from this one and play something fun instead!" - MichaelP (19-Sep-2010)

"Of course there is gameplay but you can't manage to end it because you can't save. Textures look OK so far and I only hope the saving problems will never be there in future. Played Temple of Shiva Demo and it was the same. Wonder why levels are released with this mistakes though." - manarch2 (26-Jul-2010)

"First, and list time I review a level without I completed it. Bu I can suggest some thing for the players. First, you can't save. You can't make anything, it's exit after the saveing. The second problem is that there are many enemies for real, and we have to challange them in small places too. And the medipacks aren't enough, same with the ammos. But the most annoying enemies are the flamethower guys. You can avoid the first group, if you switch fastly the shitch in the first room. And there won't be appear in the second room. So I can't suggest for the players, for the hardcore players too. It's not a TR adventure, just a suction. If someone could make a savegame-friend version, I would try it, 'cause I'm intrested in end of the level." - Obig (29-May-2010)

"An abomination in the sight of God and Man. Not recommended under any circumstances. I did not finish this level, but I did get farther than Henk Eland's walkthrough. He was unable to make the first timed run. And the sole reviewer at Lara's Levelbase couldn't even manage what Henk had done. It is not possible to save in this level. Bugs abound. Lara hits invisible barriers, or produces multiple images, one after the other, as if in slow motion. The design and texturing are extremely crude. A mass of enemies descend on Lara and gun her down in an Opera House type level. After days of play I determined that Lara will not target one of the gunmen, so that he is blasting her with a machine pistol, and she is initially helpless to return fire. There are no additional medipacks until much later in the level. With normal play Lara dies immediately, but I found the trick was to open the double doors and rush inside immediately. For some reason the enemies haven't arrived yet. (If Lara pauses to pick up any ammo lying around then a hoard of enemies are waiting for her. Since enemies sometimes walk through closed doors they often shoot Lara in the back when she has no chance.) Any health loss at the start will make the level impossible to play. The next switch opens two sets of doors. Use the corridors to get protection for Lara. Now Lara goes up the stairs, shooting as she goes. By then the kills have reached about forty, counting mice and dogs. Did I mention that there are no medipacks and it is impossible to save? A timed switch opens a door back at the start. Every time Lara fails she has to go up the corkscrew stairs to try again. Over and over. The timed run can be done. Once inside the door it is very hard to see. A mass of gunmen crowd the stairs, shooting. If Lara has a sliver of health left she may be able to leap and run by them and fall into the water. It is hard to see in the water, and of course there is no saving. Find a large medipack. Find exit. Throw a switch and go through a gate that opens. There is broken glass on the floor, but if Lara walks the door to the hall closes at the same time the gate behind her closes. The switch was timed FOR BOTH DOORS. Lara is trapped. There is no way to open the gate behind, and no way to open the door in front. Lara had to dash through both sets of doors, and the broken glass was designed to make her hesitate, so she would be sealed in. The author has done this deliberately, after making it impossible to save. Even if one spent hours replaying this game, to finally reach this point again, there are probably similar traps later on. Unplayable." - dmdibl (01-Mar-2010)
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