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Level: Midnight Express back home search
Author(s): Yoav
total rating:4.05 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Blue43 3 3 4 4
DJ Full 6 5 5 5
dmdibl 5 5 4 4
eRIC 4 2 4 4
Gerty 4 5 4 5
Jay 5 5 4 4
Jose 4 3 3 4
manarch2 4 3 4 3
MichaelP 5 5 4 4
Orbit Dream 3 2 3 3
Phil 5 3 4 4
Ryan 4 4 4 4
Scottie 5 4 4 6
TheStig 4 4 4 4
category averages
(14 reviews)
4.36 3.79 3.93 4.14

Reviewer's comments

"Somewhat of a cleaner appearance here than in Yoav's previous works, in that some rooms do have a certain attractive quality to them. Still nothing impressive in the gameplay section, but an improvement is an improvement, nonetheless. No enemies scattered around here, so you can just concentrate on finding the levers and keys necessary to progress (the way to one jumpswitch admittedly had me foxed for a while)." - Ryan (20-Apr-2019)

"Another "Readme" file renamed to "Review.txt" and filled with observations and suggestions. Here it goes: This game requires a "new old tr4.exe" for it to work in widescreen mode. Someone should make a list of those games needing such notification. At first, I heard a standard city ambience, so I presumed the root wad is city one. I noticed a paperthin wall, anyway I felt good in the scenery filled with apple tree, Venice trapdoor and bringing back old BTB memories. Lighting in the initial room and following corridor is weird. As is the presence of a truck in a place it would have no possibility to drive in. OK - everything is rather weird here. E.g. no door frames have collision - probably the author wasn't aware about proper usage of invisible debris objects. Still, I find it all atmospheric. Spotting the right passage starting the raid took me way too much time than I intended it. All in all, I had a forced prolonging break from playing. Wait... I just reminded myself about the reason - I was NOT supposed to play anything until my BTB project is done. Naaahh... I should have known I'll forget about this promise. Anyway, almost linear gameplay, even though the place has quite complex structure. More and more I felt being surrounded by wallpapers, so texturing started to disturb (it didn't earlier). Missing lever sounds. Second episode is a massive appearance of railing - What a large amount of these objects is applied here! Joining realistic objects with wallpaper textures gives this place a nice, surreal atmosphere. I like it and I agree with Gerty that Yoav is making progress. Oh, a burning grass killed me - thankfully, I saved just before it happened. It can be felt Yoav made this game for fun. Especially those Angkor heads. Of course, I found both secrets before finding the way out (I've been searching for it for quite long). Nice thing with those windows - at first inaccessible, then becoming a second-storey way through a house. But what about that dried pool with reflection effect on the walls? I jumped in there and nearly killed myself! In the "castle" part, at first I found trees inside the building odd. Later, I got used to them - as I know a cafe with trees growing inside, and these from the level remind me of it. Also, monotonous and wallpaperish texturing looks kinda glasshouse, so I can finally agree those trees fit there quite well. Compared to the whole preceding part, the arboretum appears to have quite advanced and quite impressive geometry. Unfortunately, this part includes flat lighting and a gameplay glitch - the jumpswitch is accessible directly from the ground, allowing a player to bypass the upper track. But what concers me the most, is the bell switch. If You have no secrets found, there is no way for You to throw it, and You need to go back through the whole level. Later on, I replayed the whole thing more carefully, to find out what triggers what - as I had a certain suspicion something is wrong... And I was right - if You don't throw a certain switch at some point of the game, You are likely to be doomed later. Not good. SUMMARY: The ending surprised me - it was rather sudden, especially because I haven't seen any Midnight Express yet. Maybe the game is an introduction to the actual train level. I hope so, because I felt really good here, even though it's not a really ambitious project. It's full of potential moments of getting stuck if You miss something, but fortunately two things prevent it: 1. crucial pickups and a lever switch are impossible to miss; 2. Nice camera work helps - even though sometimes cams direction is not accurate, the most important thing (hints) is maintained. It's a shame the only sound is ambience and secret tune. On the other hand, the level appears mysteriously silent... so it can be considered a kind of concept. CONDENSED SUMMARY: Short, relaxing, with many sprouts of good atmosphere and pleasant (even though way too contrasting) lighting experiments. Recommended." - DJ Full (21-Jun-2011)

"Yoav is definitely showing progress here. His levels are getting structured better and better with each release. There's still a bit of 'wall-papering' going on with his texturing, but the geometry is improving more each time, as is the attention to lighting and pickups. Took me 25 minutes to complete. One item of note is that I found the level totally playable (something which can't always be said for some of the prettier releases sometimes). It takes a considerable amount of time and effort to get even a basic level out. I hope Yoav keeps at level building because I think there is great potential here :) Stiggy" - TheStig (30-May-2011)

"I can see that Yoav is making progress. Always great to see that though. Although gameplay wise I was so lost at certain points and I have been running around far too much for my liking. On the other hand I completely overlooked an opening in the floor where a key was hidden. For the rest it isn't a difficult level with some levers to find, doors to open, making shortcuts and some jumping to do." - Gerty (14-Sep-2010)

"Yoav is showing a definite upward learning curve. I fired this one up expecting a 15 or 20 minute romp, but it wound up taking twice that. There are some interesting gameplay exercises that show some advance plotting, such as completing a given task to open up the way to a new area, but on the other hand there's a complete absence of enemies. There's adequate lighting to see what's going on around you, but my relatively low score in that category signals a need for improvement in background texturing and appearance. It gets somewhat tiresome to keep running back and forth through bare tunnels to pick up items in bare rooms. I understand that such improvement comes only with continued application, so I urge Yoav to stick with it and build on this trend of having each of his levels being rated higher than the one before." - Phil (17-Aug-2010)

"The looks and atmosphere are still unsophisticated , and no enemies , putting some may have helped here to make the level more interesting. Good progression at times nevertheless, I did not use the raising block and the pillars in the bigger area where you spent much of the time (it is possible to pull up through the railings), and I wonder what I missed as there was a lever I did not pulled." - eRIC (08-Aug-2010)

"This is one of the levels where the only thing you do is running and running around and around looking for something. A labyrinth of streets and buildings where you will look for switches and keys to open doors. No enemies, traps or puzzles to stop and think a bit sometimes... For all this the level was bored for me. At least the author could look for a way so the player can not return to the first area without the sight and the revolver, even when they are easy to find. Only a camera in all level, no musics, no sound for the wall switches, no worked lights, textures are not bad at all. On the line of previous levels from this author." - Jose (04-Aug-2010)

"Another pacey little offering from Yoav. From the readme, you'll see that there are no enemies so you can put your pistols away and have a relaxing time. It's nice to see an improvement in the look of this level - some areas are quite attractive, albeit somewhat spartan in terms of decor. This could be a good one for a beginner to play as it's quite straightforward and there are no difficult manoeuvres to achieve." - Jay (02-Aug-2010)

"This is a rather strange level, which has lots of running through long hallways, corridors and boxy sparsely decorated rooms. The game play consists of finding a few keys, pulling a couple of levers and firing a shot. Most areas are empty and there is nothing else to do. The later part of the level is somewhat confusing as it is almost labyrinth like and areas are all similar looking. The game is easy otherwise as there is a complete absence of enemies or any complicated jumps and there are no traps, except for a grassy looking area that will set Lara on fire. The lighting is very flat throughout the level and cameras are kept to a minimum. Textures repeat themselves but are clean looking. I think this level would have profited from a bit more decoration, a few enemies and some more 3D lighting effects. Nevertheless it is an improvement over the firs 2 level of the builder and a step in the right direction." - Blue43 (28-Jul-2010)

"Okay for what it is, an author experimenting. I had fun with it. Lara travels a mazelike route, randomly picking up a couple of keys (but not the crowbar--the level fooled me there). The revolver (Desert Eagle) and laser sight are secrets, but then they are necessary to get the last key. Lara raises platforms and opens doors by hunting up switches. Only one room is large, though plain, with two giant idol heads. If one thinks back to the author's last level a pattern emerges. Lara goes through intertwined, sometimes twisty, small passages in what feels like a maze. Typically there are intersections back with earlier parts of the maze, er, corridors. (In the previous level double gates opened for a cross passage, but here overhead fences achieve this effect of crossed paths.) I think the previous level ended in a sparsely furnished open courtyard, and here the level starts in a sparsely furnished open courtyard. The author's current game style could produce a good Base-type level, but more rooms need believable decoration and a feeling of spaciousness." - dmdibl (28-Jul-2010)

"Although perhaps a little more accomplished texture-wise,this level suffers from being little more than a large and somewhat confusing labyrinth.Some areas inexplicably cause Lara to self-combust,while others can be shortcutted.As long as you pay attention in the two large and seemingly empty rooms,you should get through with few problems;although,due to the complete lack of any enemies,you'll find little to keep you interested.As can be judged from the ratings of each category,the builders learning curve is somewhat slow;nonetheless,there are a few good ideas here,especially toward the end of the level. This is alright for a quiet explore,but there's not too much else to recommend." - Orbit Dream (26-Jul-2010)

"Slowly but steady works Yoav the way up forwards. The textures are processed substantially better than in his previous level. However, the lighting does not so feel well yet. It is mostly steadily light and in many rooms is the Sun absent, so that Lara does not look so flat. With at least one door the Ceiling was too deep, so that the door disappeared in the upper third into the Ceiling. It were absent for various levers the camera hints and there were some sound problems. Thus, for example, the sounds were absent for the levers. But as already said, the progress is to be recognised." - Scottie (25-Jul-2010)

"At the beginning, level was very linear. But then, there were so many different rooms and corridores which were quite confusing. I didn't know where to go, first time this happens to me in a Yoav level. The textures in some rooms were very uniformly. The sound wasn't very good and as a reviewer before said, there wasn't a sound while pushing levers. Except from searching levers and keys, there wasn't much to do." - manarch2 (25-Jul-2010)

"The level title is a bit of a mystery to me. Either one should play it at midnight and it is a bit of an express level at 25 minutes duration - or maybe Yoav built it during a long night? Thankfully the level is anything but pitch black, in fact it's rather bright throughout. Gameplay involves plenty of running through what feels like a giant city maze, although (maybe because I was lucky?) I seemed to never get lost for long and always moved forward with the occasional circling back as doors opened up new paths. To that extent it is a fun quick game with slightly improving looks vs Yoav's initial releases as the textures looked fresh and some of the objects placed did fit in well. There are two small shortcuts and apparently you must find the two secrets in order to end the level. Some of the objects did not have the rtight sounds assigned. Still, a continued learning curve is very visible for Yoav and I am sure we will be seeing better and better levels from him in the future." - MichaelP (24-Jul-2010)
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