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Level: Courel's Sands 2 - Full Version back home search
Author(s): AngelR
total rating:8.54 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Andzia9 10 10 10 10
Diz 9 10 9 9
DJ Full 8 9 9 7
dmdibl 9 9 10 9
Dutchy 8 8 8 7
Gerty 7 8 8 7
Jack& 6 6 9 9
Jay 9 10 9 9
MichaelP 8 9 8 8
Phil 9 9 10 10
Ruben 8 8 8 8
Ryan 9 9 10 9
Shandroid 8 8 7 8
TheStig 8 8 8 8
category averages
(14 reviews)
8.29 8.64 8.79 8.43

Reviewer's comments

"This is quite a challenging levelset, which I believe is slightly underrated at present. Lara travels to a variety of environments in this 7 and a half hour long adventure through sandy deserts, dark caves, beautiful snowy climes, foliage ridden jungles and finally back to Egypt. There are a generous total of 33 secrets some of which do require some preparation before going after them. Plan to set aside a spare few days for this game, but it's definitely worth it. Recommended. PS. Good choice of music too." - Ryan (23-Dec-2016)

"Most of authors I played lately had that sudden rapid change from wrong to right. This one is different, he shares every bit of improvement, what is often tiring but also enjoyable in a very special way - when I remember a bug from initial version and I see it defeated in the revision it feels like a kind of boss fight battled indirectly, subconsciously, beyond the usual gaming experience but feeling equally great. That's what everything I could say about the initial part of this adventure boils down to. The entire game showcases constant improvement, what might indicate these levels were build in the same order as they now exist in game, and even if they don't such impression is very strong, and very correct. As follows playing this isn't the best thing in the world but in the end it feels like if you've just watched one of these karate movies when the main hero totally loses the first round but then we witness him training until he eventually becomes an absolute kickass badass. It's all here. Imperfect all the way but progressively solidifying and getting enjoable until the final stages are damn good, this game is like life, making you aware how much has to be practiced and fixed in order to gain great skills, and in the end I could totally relate to the builder's path. He's one of our lost authors I would love to return in full glory, with something truly mindblowing constructed." - DJ Full (11-May-2016)

"This review continues from my review comments of the earlier release of the first 6 levels which is posted there.
Ice Levels: Cold Snap / Icy Plains / Ice Punishment / Cold Snap Part 2 (8/10/8/8, 20+15+30+20 min, 0+2+3+3 secrets): A rather complex set of three interlinked levels in ice and snow. It starts out gently with a few snow leaopards and a snowmobile ride, but then begins to branch out across the three levels and can get quite confusing. Gameplay is less action packed here and more on the sneaky side with very well hidden switches and a few items where you need to be either a mind- or a walktrhough-reader to figure out where you have to put them (like the glass of wine). The surroundings look much better here though, with a better and more appropriate scaling and quite a good sense of place in the icy caves and the buildings you get to explore. There are a few decent battles, like the one with three of those big birds and a few yetis and again plenty of torch action. Several of the secrets require you to accompish a number of tasks to get to them, so they are quite an adventure of their own and really well done. Quite a step up from the earlier levels of this adventure - so onwards and upwards to the next ones!
Water Levels: Aquamarine / Lost World (8/9/9/9, 60+30 min, 3+2 secrets): Now we enter a TR1/Peru style world in NextGen textures. And a beautiful workd it is - and you will see a lot of it as you will go back and forth quite a few times, unless you are lucky enough to spot the often sneakily hidden levers on your first pass of each respective area. Enemies are a few and of the tougher kind: Shivas, sharks, demi-godesses in the first part and obviously the dino variety in the second part, including a double T-Rex encounter. However, they did not pose a real threat with all the accumulated weaponry available to you by now. There is a push puzzle and some ledge hopping, but by and large you search switch after switch after switch in this section.
Orb Levels: Thunder Plains / Gravity World (9/10/9/9, 60+45 min, 2+1 secrets): I call these Orb levels because you are on the hunt for the three orbs, but they could also be called 'Mu Levels' because many textures and objects are 'borrowed' from that highly acclaimed level series. I did not mind that at all though, because they look great and fit the storyline and progression very well. The thunder and lightning throughout creates a great and looming atmosphere. The moving spike walls and trap gauntlets from the first levels of the series are back and very well executed. Enemies are a modest challenge, including willards, flying sea hags, shivas, skeletons, winged mummies and green harpies. There was maybe again a bit too much to and fro, but in a convincing setting like this one, it did not bother me much. The flowing lava looks good and the final floating island area is really impressive.
Courel's Desert (8/9/9/8, 50 min, 3 secrets): And so this long adventure comes to and end in the desert where it started, but with some nice looking side rooms which you get to explore for the necessary keys to progress forward towards the final door. A few push blocks, some fun jumping in a big room with deadly waters at the bottom and only a few small annoyances, such as the magically appearing blocks in a far away room without any camera hint. Instead of a single boss battle the author chose to rather have waves of enemies come at you at the end, which was no challenge with the weapons in Lara's inventory, but still fun to weed through them.
All in all, this is a hugely ambitious project with a nice structure that takes you through a variety of 'elemental' environments. As others have said, the scores for the later levels are higher and reflect how the builder has learned his lessons over time, so if you can be patient enough to make it through the initial set of levels, the last 5-6 hours of net gaming are fabulous fun to be had and no serious raider should miss out on them." - MichaelP (04-Apr-2011)

"Quite long game with levels of different subject matter. We have Egypt levels, Atlantis levels, Snow Levels, Oriental Levels and many more. This game was average difficult. Often we have to run forth and back. Graphic, music and athmosphere was excelent." - Andzia9 (02-Oct-2010)

"If I could sum this level series up in one word it would be this ¡V Evolution. Having taken a look at the other ratings offered for this outing I really did wonder if I had downloaded the wrong level series at first. The texturing in the first few rooms is borderline dreadful. Lighting initially is flat, and you feel like there is very little depth to the world¡¦s you are playing. Then, slowly bit by bit, everything starts to get better. Texture application gets stronger, lighting gets better and the level geometry starts to hang together really well. The same can be also said for the gameplay which initially feels a bit muddled. I haven¡¦t played the earlier outings of this title so I don¡¦t have a base to compare it against. In some ways I am glad that the author has left the early levels intact as it does speak volumes about how they have progressed in terms of use of the editor. What you¡¦ll find here is a long, challenging and occasionally frustrating adventure. Environments are highly varied from fantastical Atlantis inspired levels, Greece Inspired levels, snowy sections (my favourite) and Forest environments. There¡¦s some real nice object selection that¡¦s gone on here too. There¡¦s plenty of traps to catch out the unwary as well. Critisms? Well I did get annoyed that¡¦s sometimes as you progress you find yourself being steered towards a secret when the key/door/lever you need is more obscurely hidden. There was one occasion where there were multiple levers and a Bell that you needed to shoot in one room. There was so little contrast with the Bell on the ceiling that if it wasn¡¦t for the walk-through I strongly suspect I would of downed the game there (I¡¦m playing most of these games on a pc connected to a 40¡¨ LCD television so I don¡¦t normally miss much!). Additionally for the element puzzle there is one point where you collect a water-bag. When you transit into the next stage you have a bag in your inventory, but if you pick up the one in front of you (which is how the first few other elements of the element puzzle worked), this empties your inventory of a bag with water and you have to revert to an earlier save. This isn¡¦t good gameplay mechanics. I also found Lara¡¦s many changing faces a bit bizzare and would have preferred to keep the character model more consistent from level to level (not a hard change to make). I¡¦m also not a big fan of trial and error spike traps. My final gripe is reserved for packaging a Tomb Raider 4 .exe with no widescreen support. This support has been available for ages and most people today play on systems equipped with Wide-screen monitors, so it was a shame to see this omission. All in all however I have to say this is one of the better and more complete adventures that I have played. The ending leads me to suspect the author may go on to release a Courel¡¦s Sands 3? The game too me 13 hours and 15 minutes to complete, and you¡¦ll find the very last section highly satisfying. The 2nd half of the game is definitely worthy of praise (and most of my scoring reflects the later sections). Ignore the texturing in the first few levels and play through it, you won¡¦t regret it ƒº Highly recommended! Stiggy" - TheStig (17-Sep-2010)

"There are some nifty moments throughout this very long adventure, and there are some not-so-nifty moments. I was quite surprised that this level caused my computer to bog down when it was minimized due to the author's usage of dated textures, but maybe I have no idea what I am talking about. As the newest level designing tools come out, we players expect more and more glorious atmospheres and textures. This level won't excite in this department, nor will it inspire auditory pleasure, as there is no music that I remember, something that damaged this otherwise pretty fun level set. I was also less than thrilled with the backtracking in some levels and the many head scratching moments. I thought the author made the secret detours seem too much like the regular way to go which was frustrating. The levels do have great bosses and enemies and some nice puzzles too. Definitely worth the play time, but expect to be visiting for a good long time." - Shandroid (28-Jun-2010)

"I waited until Dutchy' walkthrough was available before tackling the full version of this game. I'm not sure which impressed me more, the levels or the walkthrough. I remember having labored long and hard over the walkthrough for the demo version, so I know how much effort must have gone into mapping each move (including the 33 secrets, which I felt doubled the quality of gameplay here) and putting everything coherently down on paper for the full version. When all was said and done, I'd clocked more than 10 hours of net gaming time, and even the parts I replayed from before felt fresh and new. The complexity of the artic levels was nothing short of inspiring, and although I took the better part of May nurturing the game from start to finish, I never felt the least bit bored or in a rush to get it all behind me. Courel's Sands 2 comes just short in my mind of attaining classic status, but it's a wonderful raid that every Tomb Raider fan should experience at least once. Highly recommended." - Phil (31-May-2010)

"Although this is an epic of sorts, and it took me over 20 hours on the teller, at the end I was glad it was over. The bugs from the previous levels are ironed out. So that is good news. Flybys are great. Textures, well, still quite a lot that could use some serious attention. There is in the beginning a stuck moment and a reload to a previous save is the only thing that will help you. Some things were quite obscure in what or how to do it. Not nice are the trial and error things you come across; luckily there were only a few. There is also in almost every level a galore of levers or buttons to push; opening a door with five levers is a bit over the top in my opinion. At a certain moment getting into a new level I was thinking: oh no, not again as the numerous back and fro that wouldn't let up, starting to annoy me. Unnecessary prolonging the game-play it is called in my book. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against it if it appears once in a while, but in here it is ALL the time. Tip for the builder, no rope swinging through walls please. Music wise the choice is a bit eclectic, but I can live with that. I did encounter some glitches, like placing at the end the bronze orb, save and finding the gold and silver orb (saving in between) then I noticed no teleporter??. The bronze orb was gone, so back to the start and doing that part all over again, sigh. Apart from all the grumbling from my end, it is a huge adventure Lara has to take on. A pity that I already played the first couple of levels as a demo, but the rest was a good addition to finish the story." - Gerty (08-Apr-2010)

"The last (?) and final version of Angels game is surely an adventure of almost epic dimensions but,alas,the players spend most of their time in backtracking from Z to A in order to pull another switch to open another door to get another key to find another keyhole. The overall atmosphere of the game felt like a good one supported by good music and cameras. Make sure to save your game at any point for some triggers have a life of their own after re-loading. The teleports will transport you back to the hub level every time you think you accompished a serious task to reward you with an empty bottle for which you think you just risked your life to fill it . It's plain to see that the author has tried to fit together a number of single levels coming from various stages of the complete experiment to make it work thus trying to create an imaginary vision of a whole complete adventure both in story and gameplay." - Ruben (01-Apr-2010)

"What is it by now, the 4th edition of this game? An enormous job, putting a level series like this together and believe me, I know how much work goes into building a game like this. I liked it at several points and didn't like it at all at many other points. I never played the first edition of this game, so couldn't say what exactly changed in the first"old" levels, but seeing the old walkthrough, it must have been only some extra secrets. The search for the secrets was a hard task by itself, sometimes many tasks had to be performed to reach that secret, for the secret hunters certainly a challenge. The"new" levels in this game were definitely better in texturing although I still noticed many flaws (rotation and stretching/compressing of textures). A few things that stuck in my mind after this game; For instance all the illegal slopes you could get yourself into and (because I still forget to save often) I had to play a lot of parts over again. Sometimes tedious backtracking through the same passage 4 times only to get through the level (Aquamarine) and with exploring it first that was 5, maybe to go back for a secret it became 6 times and that is too much IMHO. Same goes for some places where you had to use up to maybe 4 levers for one gate, all within the same room to finally open the exit. That's not very exiting game play. In the last level the wide open area you had to drive through with the Jeep, chased by boulders had some nasty blackouts when you reached a top of a slope (wrong stacking of rooms?)." - Dutchy (31-Mar-2010)

"This is a massive download, but is absolutely worth it. There is no fat here: there are six levels of the original Courel Sands 2, and now eight new levels, all of them packed classical adventures. I would not rate these as hard, but they are challenging and complex, so seasoned players won't feel let down. There are gymnastic feats and timed runs, but the main requirement is perseverance and sharp eyes--really sharp eyes. My original review of the Demo no longer applies as the cited problems have now been fixed by the author. I still think the opening level gives a poor first impression, with its dark chamber (this was pitch black when played with a CRT monitor), and crude design, but things rapidly improve. Added secrets enhance the first six levels, spicing things up with things like multiple jumps past rolling boulders to reach goodies. The problem yeti-in-a-maze is gone. Killing the Torso Monster no longer triggers blocks to lower; that function has been placed on a switch, so game saving here is fine. In my previous review I said that a moving spike wall was ineffective; Lara just stood in an alcove and let the spike wall pass. When Lara tried that in this new version it turned out that the mentioned alcove was now flame trapped. The newer eight levels are the work of a more experienced builder. The interrelated ice levels--nice to get away from lava--are "Cold Snap," "Icy Plains," and "Ice Punishment. I went back and replayed these after finishing the game. These took a day to play the first time through, with constant backtracking between the various levels, with bafflement as to what was being triggered. The second play of these levels gave me an entirely different impression (this time finding all eight secrets). These can be very simple to play. Lara need only explore the first level and about half the second level in order to get a torch, a snowman head, and a key that opens the exit transporter. But playing this way misses out on the wonderful scenery and castle-like building of the third ice level, and misses the game's most complex secrets. One really needs to play these levels twice before it is possible to appreciate them. Next there are two water levels. The textures of "Aquamarine" give a lovely appearance, and there is a nice touch where voracious fish, which are always trying to take a bite of Lara, are now helpful. However, the bell to shoot is almost impossible to spot, and for God knows what reason the author is still using those invisible ledges. The last levels are quite varied, with the final "Courel's Desert," taking Lara back to where it all began. The full game is rich and complex, though sometimes the author is being a bit too tricky. I might mention a timed button in Gravity World. Lara presses it, then finds two crawlspaces. One leads to the next room, one leads to a secret. Lara climbs up for the secret--invisible ledges again--then figures out how to get down. Finally she takes the second crawlspace to a room where all doors are shut. If players have forgotten about the button (not knowing it is timed), they are totally stuck. A walkthrough will be appreciated. Excellent classic raiding." - dmdibl (20-Mar-2010)

"This game consists of over 12 hours of net gameplay starting with the (tweaked) Courel Sands Demo that has been released before. I think this would have been better served by having the original as Part 1 and the latter half as a separate game, Part 2. Although I enjoyed the original demo, I have to admit that I wasn't looking forward to going over old ground, just to get to the juicy new stuff. As it was, I had forgotten just enough to make it enjoyable and the juicy new stuff is juicy indeed! The builder seems to have tried to put something in for everyone and, for the most part, succeeded. Puzzles, trigger tiles, timed runs (generously timed), collapsing tiles, agility, boulders, spiked boulders, enemies galore, jeep runs, boss ending.... need I go on? The difficulty level is nicely judged and should suit most average to good players and, indeed, would hone the skills of newer players with its variety. My criticisms would be, the constant going back and forth between areas although this may be due to the way I played it and because I rushed through the earlier part (the Demo I'd already played) I probably missed a lot of secrets - only found 21 of 33. All together a very enjoyable level." - Diz (15-Mar-2010)

"Since this full version varies from the demo in only minor ways, my review for said demo still stands and I shall concentrate here on the new sections. Cold Snap/Icy Plains/Ice Punishment: After all the flames and lava associated with the previous sections, the ice and snow came as quite a refreshing change. The opening boulder sequence is most reminiscent of the original TR2 Nepal level, soon followed by a short snowmobile ride. After that, everything takes a more mystical turn, with beautiful ice sculptures, fantastical enemies and snowmen to adorn (it almost felt like a bloodthirsty Advent level at times). The action comes and goes across three separate sections and is most absorbing (if occasionally confusing) and set in some very lovely scenery. Aquamarine: Lara's changed out of her cold weather gear and back into shorts for a trip to the jungle. Actually, given the amount of swimming required in this section, a wet suit might have been a good idea. The Shivas are quite fierce, but for once those voracious fish are actually rather helpful. Lost World: Given the title of this segment, you'll probably be expecting dinos. You'll get them, from tiny compys to huge great (re-textured) T Rexes, but not for very long as this is definitely one of the shorter parts of the game. Thunder Plains: And thunder there is aplenty, which makes for a dramatic atmosphere. We're back to fire and lava too, so if all the previous ice and water has made Lara cold, she can dry out in short order. The main objective is to find three cogwheels and I found one of them extremely easy to overlook. It was great (and simultaneously nightmarish) to see the mutant spider from TR3 again. Gravity World: There are some fearsome spike traps to negotiate in this section, in search of three teleportation orbs, and a brief but definitely vertigo-inducing 'floating islands' style section at the end before a quick trip back to the hub area. Courel's Desert. I loved the jeep ride with accompanying spike balls - it looked so good and was great fun. There's some enjoyable jumping about in search of a key and scarab talisman and by the time you reach the boss ending with a big variety of enemies you'll be glad to have an equally diverse choice of weaponry. There are longer custom levels out there, but not many. This is a real labour of love and should give you several days of fine raiding. There's a good variety of tasks to accomplish (nothing too hard to achieve for a reasonably experienced player) a wonderful diversity of scenery to enjoy and some well chosen music to accompany each location. There are also 33 secrets to find and if you manage that feat you deserve a medal as they are fiendishly well done and could probably constitute a game by themselves. I'm not saying how many I found; let's just say I could definitely have done better." - Jay (14-Mar-2010)

"well this game is insane hard one ..... from demo one contain 3 or 4 more levels the aim is to get 3 masks and use it to can finish ....... easy to say ,., harder to doo it ......... iff someone like hard games wich provide challenge i doo ............. but man ...... this game is insane ......... have alot off frustrating sequences .... only to point some .......... room with giant dragon ..... u need to run avoid his flame balls in meant time to jump at a block -wich off course have a timed burner and get ito the opening and even iff u doot this u still get a fire ball in the ass from the dragon ...... with some luck can be made it but very frustrating / 2 - rolling boulders room wich are rolling at a narrow platform and is 4 off it with lave gapp between them ... this run u could doo it only at 1 run cos iff u stop u end crushed . 3 -5 boulders wich cannot pass only run from it .... back in mean time need to jump over lava gaps and the camera is 3 fixed one !!! so is a big pain in the ass ..... 4 -a place with 2 pedestrals with ammo and a MG gun but 3 giant enemyes attac and iff catch u ur dead and they dont die with 4/5 shots even from shotgun !! and iff not catch u pull u on the burning floor around !!!...... alot off burners and boulder trapps / 5 - rope swing for the upper ledge wich is simply too high up 6- a place with wall slicers 4 or 5 !!! and between them are deadly gaps one off it is insane . cos u need to jump down at the gapp wich have 2 burners so u need to land EXACTLY BETWEEN THEM AND JUMP UP AT LEDGE 50 TRYES COS I CATCH FIRE ALL THE TIME ...... needed 50 tryes untill i get it ......and manny other very frustrating parts wich to describe i would need 3 pages ..... so to resume well crafted game and locations but insane frustrating hard gameplay and very hard to kill enemyes + NOW ENUFF MEDIPACKS !! FOR THOSE WEIRD GIANT ENEMYES WOULD NEED A ROCKET LAUNCHER I FIND AMMO BUT NO GUN .. ....... so all in all would be a very good game but throw back bye exagerated hard - frustrating gameplay -trapps / burners / rope jumps and too manny tough enemyes ......i would recomand it only for the very experienced players WITH STEEL NERVES ........" - Jack& (14-Mar-2010)
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