Level: The Usurped Monastery back home search
Author(s): Marcos
total rating:9.24 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Bene 9 10 10 9
Blue43 9 10 10 9
Camila 9 9 10 10
Christian 9 10 10 10
Daffy 9 9 10 10
Diz 9 9 10 10
dmdibl 8 9 10 9
Don007 10 10 10 10
Gerty 8 9 9 9
Jack& 8 10 10 7
Jay 9 10 10 10
JesseG 9 10 10 9
Jorge22 10 10 10 9
Jose 8 10 9 9
Leeth 7 8 9 8
manarch2 10 10 10 8
MichaelP 8 9 10 9
mugs 8 8 9 8
Nina Croft 8 10 8 9
Phil 10 10 9 9
Ruben 9 10 10 9
Ryan 9 10 10 9
Scottie 9 9 10 9
Shandroid 10 10 10 10
TheStig 9 9 10 9
Zhyttya 7 8 9 8
category averages
(26 reviews)
8.77 9.46 9.69 9.04

Reviewer's comments

"That was short! And actually tasted like it. The ending was out of no where and after so much stuff i was hopping at least some use of the scroll. Even if the puzzles were a bit fun to solve, the gameplay it self seemed like it was missing something. Textures and custom stuff was great BUT the hitbox on some triggers or to catch a key on a serpent was really dull. A great level never the less, but it really lacks something about it and the ending didn't help. Still, highly recommended if you want a level with a really great creepy atmosphere" - Leeth (14-Mar-2016)

"Here we go with Marcos famous dark atmosphere...fantastic as always, really feeding the fear of the player, but in the end i felt nothing out of the game play. Sure it's really innovative and creative (as expected from Marcos) but i felt that the game play was just dull. A good puzzles to solve but in the end...nothing that relevant. Most of the gameplay was a to say? "Easy to pass by unnoticed" that can be a good thing, but on this it wasn't, for example: the "chain + key" snake part, you'll eventually reach out a part where a snake will serve as a chain, where Lara will pull it down, it turns out that you also have a key there to pick up. Anyway, ultimately, it's a good level, but i don't think it justifies it's high score, but then again, it's all about personal preferences." - Zhyttya (14-Mar-2016)

"A very unique level by the master of spookiness, Marcos. Unique and scary scenes and challenging gameplay. Bit dark for my liking but that is to be expected. Well done!" - Ryan (09-Jan-2016)

"No binoculars and getting into places way too soon is not my idea of fun. Found the binoculars later on and that helped a lot as at places the level is quite dark and looking for crawlspaces you need that thing. I know I tried this level when it was just out, but for some reason never reviewed it. So back from the start and it still was an adventure. Now I got stuck at the weirdest places and flew through awkward situation I had so much problems with the first time around. Had to look in the walky a few times and also in here S might be N, so be aware." - Gerty (22-Sep-2012)

"The Usurped Monastery by Macros Mensa does seem to have divided some reviewers and I can understand why. On one front it's a well put together, dark creepy level with some very innovative features, and on the other there's a few elements that might frustrate some players. That said one thing to be clear on is that this offers significant punch but in terms of gameplay and value for a relatively small download. It's certainly an environment you'll find yourself drawn into, and Macros has done an excellent job lighting and setting ambient sound to this level. The textures are of very high quality too, but in the larger spaces can look a little bit repetitive. For what ever minor flaws you might find however, are more than compensated by the innovation. From poisonous fungus to the sequence with Lara floating to meet a set of eyes and a strange embodied voice (which scared the living crap out of me at 2:00am...thanks allot Macros!) it's a really original, challenging and for the most part enjoyable experience. All in all I got 1 hour 42 minutes gameplay from The Usurped Monastery. If you enjoy dark creepy levels and don't mind testing your grey matter when it comes to puzzles then this is definitely for you! Highly Recommend! Stiggy" - TheStig (26-Aug-2011)

"This is another level that makes me rather undecided when it comes to reviewing. It definitely has some great moments, such as very interesting enemies and very clever puzzles, but also, it has some major downsides that should not be ignored in reviewing. Since the level is rather dark and gloomy, it is no pleasure to play it without binoculars. Also, some switches and buttons are so concealed that it seemed to me that the builder wanted to prevent the players from finishing the game. Although the level is very well built and furnished with objects and traps and enemies, I must say that some puzzles were not at all fair. How was I supposed to know (without the walkthrough) which alcove in the beginning is safe? Or that one snake head is actually a jump-switch? Yes, there are many other clues that can tell you what to do next, but also, sometimes they are missing or are too obscure to be noticed or understood. What I particularly disliked here was Lara's voiceover. I don't complaint about the voice, but about the things this voice is saying from time to time. Builders must know that Lara is a British aristocrate, and that she would rather die than allow herself to say this stupid American trash word such as "Awesome!" So, I lowered significantly my review marks for gameplay, due to these aforementioned clueless puzzles (shootable torches??? Come on!) and also, I significantly lowered the review mark for Athmosphere, because of this huge voiceover mistake. Apart from these downsides, the level is great and has some brand new moments and details you will never forget. To mention only one of them, I particularly liked the idea of Lara floating in the air in front of very beautiful and friendly eyes... I recommend this level to all players who like to have their mind twisted by new puzzles, and especially to those who like to see new and different enemies, which are definitely the best part of this level. Highly enjoyable and recommendable!" - Nina Croft (28-Jun-2011)

"I always feel I am not quite doing Marcos justice with the scoring in the categories, simply because he does play in a league of his own in terms of bringing a storyline to life in his levels. The introduction alone makes this one a must play adventure. There are many cool new enemies with their own special moves and a variety of interesting ways to kill them. As the 90 minute adventure progresses you always get the necessary items just when you need them, which also gives you a hint about what you may have to do next. And as is also typical in a Marcos level, these hints are much needed, as you will encounter many things 'out of the ordinary', which is often great when you figured it our and sometimes annoying until you finally get it. Sometimes progression therefore feels a bit slow and painful and I also thought the secrets were placed very much as an afterthought and are rather not as inspired and original as the rest of the level is. But those are áll minor gripes and if you are up for a spooky and creatively original adventure you have just come to the right place here. I really look forward to seeing more levels from Marcos in the future!" - MichaelP (24-Mar-2011)

"I see Marcos getting better and that's great. This mystery level has a fine balance between action and puzzles and a very interesting atmosphere throughout. It seems that someone once made a pact with the you-know-who and as usual it turned out not to be the best of choices. Now, it's up to Lara to fix things - and of course she will. I thought the level was very clever and simultaneously player-friendly, plus there were several details I happened to like a lot because there was originality in them: namely the mouth that sucks you into where the skeletons are and the other mouth that spits you out on fire, the sleeping demon that suddenly wakes up (even though it's not the first time ever that Lara must monkeyswing under fire), the poisonous mushrooms that make you cough coupled with their medical cousins, the way Lara goes "excellent" when finding a secret statuette and the "finally" or "lastly" or whatever it was in the end, plus the bull used as an ancient god, the slow ascension after Lara kicks a skeleton lever, even the perfect serpent use and much more. For all of that, I believe a ten isn't misused in the gameplay area, as in enemies, objects and secrets and atmosphere, sound and cameras. Regarding the lighting and textures, the level can be a bit dark at times but not really excessively and the architecture isn't fully amazing but it's still pretty good - I guess a ten wouldn't be totally misplaced here but I was thinking of a few (different) levels that looked somewhat more thrilling... Nothing worrysome, though. The list of people who somehow contributed to the making in the end must have been appreciated too. Highly recommended for all those who enjoy the genre." - Jorge22 (12-Feb-2011)

"A brilliant hour-long adventure that will stand out in my memory for quite a while. There are many creative and unique events in this level, such as Lara floating upward in a chasm, sneaking past sleepy guards that eventually wake up and yell at Lara before attacking, and a duel with a winged beast before you escape with the pact as your prize. The cutscenes are pretty interesting and well made, and the environment looks just right for such a spooky place. The only gripe I have is that the aforementioned sleepy guard forces you to consume medpacks as you swing away on the ceiling - perhaps an element could have been added to let you avoid losing as much health." - SSJ6Wolf (22-Nov-2010)

"This is a stand-alone level that will nevertheless consume about an hour and a half of net gaming time, even if you rely on manarch2's comprehensive walkthrough. There are some difficult spots, notably a blade-trapped stairway near the end (I found it helpful to side flip against the wall just before the blades were triggered on each step), but most seasoned raiders should be able to make it through to the end without undue difficulty. There are some nice touches, such as a floor lever that Lara kicks instead of pushes, a dreamlike ascent where you must stare down a pair of floating eyes at the top to avoid crashing back down to your death, a collapsing floor that kills a bull but not Lara, and so on. There are also some aggravating moments, such as being shot at by a demigod-like creature while you're in the middle of a monkeyswing and therefore helpless. Oh, well, that's why we have the god mode patch, to bail us out of such moments. The overall ambiance is dark and foreboding, but that's not such a bad thing when the mood established by the surroundings plays such a large role in your gaming experience. The high numbers this level has earned in the reviews are richly deserved. High recommendations." - Phil (09-Nov-2010)

"This level is surely one of a kind. Beautiful textures and ambiences, yet it gave me the creeps! The idea of putrid mushrooms is something really unexpected to me, and it really pleased me that the builder cared so much about the details of this scary level. Hard - but not impossible - traps, brainwhacking puzzles, tense atmosphere... and a lot more made me going straight through this level without resting. I have to confess I am such a scaredy cat, and once I had the pistols back I had them drawn EVERYWHERE! Not to mention the creepy creepy eyes... Thumbs up for this scary supernatural adventure, Marcos!" - Camila (04-Nov-2010)

"Excellent game play, amazing textures and sounds. Though the level is short but very neatly poised. The objects in the entire level are very good. Expecting more levels from the author and team." - Don007 (29-Oct-2010)

"Excellent! A level that's different and actually works. Gloomy atmosphere without being too dark, innovative use of objects, nice little touches (like the coughing when there's poison gas near), good use of enemies without making it a 'shooter', a bit of agility. All these go together to make a thoroughly enjoyable level. The difficulty level was just nice for me but 'different folks, different strokes', as they say, so it won't suit everyone however most should appreciate the work and ingenuity of the builder. Nice one!" - Diz (27-Oct-2010)

"I always know not to expect a lighthearted, happy and bright level when I play one of Marcos' little gems. Of course, he isn't changing up for this level either. Lara must traverse a cursed monastery which looks fabulous and spooky. She begins by entering the monastery at probably the worst possibly place-a spiked trap! Lara rolls out of it none the worse for wear, that is until she notices that she has lost her pistols during the narrow escape! Well, that is the first task for our Lara. I really enjoyed this dark level. It has many great innovations, like powerful energy gems that, thankfully, destroy potentially damaging monsters, poisonous AND helpful mushrooms, a statue that has dual purposes, which does not occur often at all in levels, terrific traps that give clues to their deadliness, and a magical lift. There is so much creativity and some difficulty, that you will scratch your head, primarily because you need to expect the unexpected. Marcos has utilized the TREP engine to it's highest potential, so much so that I can't imagine there is anything a builder can't do with it. If you enjoy mysterious and dark levels with supernatural leanings, you just can't miss this level by Marcos." - Shandroid (24-Oct-2010)

"This fun and challenging game has lots of great attributes and some not so great (for this reviewer!). The premise of the game is an interesting one. Someone has usurped the monastery and it's up to Lara to locate the Stone Key that presumably will restore the Monastery to it's rightful owners. This Monastery is dank and forboding and would have made for a perfect raid had Lara been equipped with the binoculars. Without them, players either resort to some "techno-@#%" to resolve the issue or the player goes on playing what is, at times, a pretty frustrating game. You either love this kind of gameplay or not. I'm in the "not" category. Adding to the frustration is the use of dual-function objects. I'm not a fan. But, take heart - there are some great things in this game too. I loved the face switch that pulls Lara into the "death grounds" with the skeletons - like they warned her, right? And I loved the one that shoots the fire, blowing her backwards. Brilliant! The murky water that adds so much to the atmosphere of this game - what's in there with Lara? Lara gets caught up in a floating spell and coughing around poisonous gas - these were great touches. There are some tricky jumps and traps to conquer, but nothing that is impossible. So, a pretty balanced game, I think." - Mugs (14-Oct-2010)

"Ok I just finished this one ... It is made by a talented builder who made also good games in the past ... this time he tried to make something new with new obiects / enemies and ideas ... well like we all know - NEW IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER - if I take globally this game is a good one ... if I take it piece by piece it has some faults which probably will throw it back from top games category. Generally I see the builders intend in the last period to make gloomy dark setting games - I really don't understand why - because a bright game is always more enjoyable than one at which you need to use flare after flare to see around ... ok let's go to the review itself: Basically is a good game with some interesting ideas implemented spiced with some traps - knife floor / boulder chase / burning floor. No time runs which I remember and a particulary very annoying banana jump ... mostly because there is not enough room for the run & jump due to a pedestal put in the way and the opening is in total dark and requires a blind jump ... the game albeit is very well built but the weak part is the graphics here and particularly the lighting. Like I said before the game is dark ... you have enough flares ... but they don't light the surrounding areas well and are short timed ... also the biggest fault is - THE BINOCULARS ARE MISSING FROM INVENTORY ... and belive me there are a lot of high placed hidden crevices and crawl openings which you can miss also even if you try the sight for revolver which doesn't light the area where you aim ... sadly ... also there is a small room with some locusts and a pedestal inside at which I never gained access and still was able to finish the game ... also the innovative new objects can confuse the players ... torch needed to be shot??!! ... mushrooms designed to be big medipacks ... ok another possible top game which gets thrown back by minor flaws ... but sometimes annoying ... Marcos, you made generally a good game - but learn this from me - new innovative objects and gameplay can induce sometimes confusion for players - ... all in all a recommended game which I don't find to be at 9.50 personally ... I would rate it between 8.50 and 9" - Jack& (13-Oct-2010)

"With such a great and almost cinematic Cutsequenz at the beginning, it may actually be only a real good level. And of course I was not disappointed. The two opponents at the beginning of the level, however, are somewhat too strong, because one has only the two pistols at disposal. Very much made good is the small animation with the mushrooms. They are not apparently well for the health, so one should not come to their nearness, otherwise Lara gets a fit of coughing. Great idea of Marcos and the best proof that anything is possible. There are of course more of such places. I especially like the situation where Lara is standing in front of a stone face and engages in the mouth may be related to something and is suddenly taken through mouth. Of course there are more positive in this level. The puzzles and sound effects are as well. The enemies are pretty tough guys to some extent, but Marcos has spread plenty of ammo and health packs, so I do not think that the inclined players will have bigger problems at some time, apart from the two opponents at the beginning of the level. Occasionally I have seen textures mistakes, but luckily that was so rare that it has the great atmosphere no harm done. Many of the rooms looked excellent, the outside areas could have formed Marcos, however, a little better. However, all together it was a very good level which one may miss by no means." - Scottie (13-Oct-2010)

"*wow* at times, this pre-Halloween thriller reminded me of MPGrill's hell series. And it is a thriller. That is indeed the intent of the builder with it's spooky, dark surroundings more like the nether regions than an ancient monastery and its environs. It's the perfect place setting for a Raid to search for a mysterious scroll. Atmosphere could not have been better.
There's a lot to admire along with an attention to detail: new menu sounds; animations such as Lara coughing when inhaling noxious fumes and well - done cut scenes, all with great, moody audio and then giving Lara a voice - I think she amusingly says "Finally" at the end. There is also an apt warning at the beginning: no little ones allowed.
With twists on torch play and bull-fighting, with the need to sometimes 'use' an object twice, there's a necessity to think 'outside the box' of traditional gameplay and that is always a good thing. It's something Marcos does well here - executing new ideas in a well-worn genre, giving us innovative puzzles to solve.
As every reviewer will probably mention, it is dark, sneakily so and without the binoculars I think it's unfairly so. But then, I depend on them in every level and, usually, never bother with flares but this would not be playable without flares and, fortunately there are more than enough. *EDIT* I just noticed that there's been an update to the game. Binoculars have now been added. Nicely, done, Marcos.
This isn't an 'easy' game but it is interesting and challenging. Even the two seemingly difficult jumps were not at all hard - just interesting. The challenge comes in the form of enemies and new puzzle solving and those tricky blades/knives.
Recommended for all but the very young." - Bene (13-Oct-2010)

"Level finished. The high-resolution textures give a very good looks to the level, enemies and objects are the best of it, also I liked the linearity and some puzzles, although there are quite difficult tasks as the blades in the narrow ramp or too hidden objects as one of the keys. It seems that Marcos has bothered much more by the players getting stucked than think about entertaining and innovative alternatives. Moreover, the atmosphere is good and the special effects are extraordinary. Good job!" - Jose (13-Oct-2010)

"I loved all the new 'pingy' sounds with the game controls and that certainly wasn't the only thing I appreciated. Right from the intriguing opening scenes, this game is something out of the ordinary. Some of the animations are just brilliant and I especially liked the way Lara coughed when in the vicinity of poisonous fungi - priceless. Familiar objects have been used in entirely unfamiliar ways and the gameplay is both inventive and sneaky. The enemies are original and not over-used and one sequence towards the end of the game involves the most novel use of a bull I've ever come across. Generally speaking, there's nothing too hard to achieve in terms of agility, apart perhaps from a series of stair blades that do take some mastering. The scenery is beautifully put together and the atmosphere is excellent. It's a clever and highly enjoyable level and I was sorry when it ended." - Jay (11-Oct-2010)

"Simply incredible game, despite of its relatively shortness (if you know what to do, around an hour). So many enemies completely new and innovatively built! Right from the incredibly long opening cutscene I knew this level rocks. Difficulty I would say is very challenging as there were tons of traps which made life hard for Lara. It took me veeery long to find out how to get across the ramp with the blades and the stair knifes. I would have certainly given ten in a row if this level wouldn't have excessive darkness in most points. Luckily many flares helped out, but still it was not fun to see nothing at some points. Anyway the first level I give 10 for the first categories both and an absolutely highlight!" - manarch2 (11-Oct-2010)

"Right after this level was released I clicked on the builder's name and did a little reading about his previous levels, so I had pretty high expectations for the game. Well, there were no disappointments here. Right from the beginning the player gets the feel that this level is special in game play and atmosphere. There are lots of never before seen objects and also familiar objects (like a jump switch) camouflaged as something else. While I was stuck several times, I still think the game play wasn't overly hard, but it is on the challenging side. One has to be really playing with eyes wide open and look for well-hidden crawl spaces. Not having binoculars we a bit of a bummer. There is some precise jumping needed twice and also a couple of good traps that take some skill to get around. The enemies were well placed and some of them I had never seen before in any other game. I liked the Minotaur statues the best, specially since you never really knew which ones are going to come alive at what point and which ones never did. There were also plenty of pick-ups like healing mushrooms, but I completely missed the revolver, which would have been really useful. The shotgun did the trick instead but it was just a little harder because of the aiming limitations. The atmosphere is dark and spooky, just perfect for a level released before Halloween. While it is fairly dark for the most part, there is good lighting from the wall torches and Lara has lots of flares. Wading through murky water not knowing what is going to jump at you next is one of the typical things in this game that made for such a great atmosphere. The music is just perfect for this monastery setting and there were also lots of nice sounds used otherwise, like in the menu screen. Texturing is also really well done and I couldn't spot any flaws. Mainly brown and gray tones with lots of torch lighting and some greenish swamp looking areas outside. Very realistic and one couldn't ask for more in a level like this. The game play and great atmosphere is what makes this game a memorable one. I think I will re-play it again one day just to find the revolver. This level is another classic example as to what great things are possible with the level editor. Play it - you'll be in for a real treat!" - Blue43 (11-Oct-2010)

"While our fantastic builders are diving ever deeper into the depths of Master Paolones NGLE to discover all its features we as the players community are blessed to witness the results of Paolones works by enjoying the wonderfully designed TRLE games lately released. But it also takes a great builder and storyteller like Marcos to make things happen and to present an almost perfect game like TUM. The cleverly modified switches, the cute little devils ,the spooky athmosphere and well chosen custom sounds are just great to behold . Apparently the builder is a Richard Lawther fan like me ! Marcos has surely climbed up one more step on the ladder towards TRLE heaven and I can only recommend the game to all (except very young) players ,but Marcos has taken good care of this by a great idea of including a sign at the start of this excellent TRLE movie before you are allowed to enter the cinema. Thank You , Marcos ! Aqui se queda la clara : una aventura macanuda ! Gracias Compay !" - Ruben (11-Oct-2010)

"This level is beautiful, he takes us through a universe really mysterious and scary, the lights are very well done and contributes well to the mood of the game, the gameplay is somewhat surprising in its originality and requires a lot of attention . Some passages are difficult to pass (the blades really fast). I personally found himself at a little over (When it's always fun too course) is my only regret. Congratulations to the author for this excellent work." - Daffy (11-Oct-2010)

"Marcos has been making highly imaginative and original levels all his own. "Poor Wiwi" had memorable moments, such as the black harpy erupting up out of a black pool, or a lovely and touching animated sequence as Wiwi returns home. "Multiple Rescue" showed similar never-before-seen moments: a spinal column stretched up to become climbable; a rescue of a baby dragon, returned to its mother; and, of course, the world's most obnoxious fairy. So one expects something of this current release, and players will not be disappointed by the sights and sounds. Lara wandering through waist-deep putrid water, giving lady-like coughs at rising noxious vapors. A good introductory animated sequence, showing how the pact scroll came about, and why it isn't a good idea to lose your head when a demon offers you a deal. We have Lara floating up into the air, dispatching with the normal dull climb sequence of other levels by simply soaring upward. And here are nice looking bull enemies, and small blue creatures grooming themselves in a swampy misty area--and their protective parents. The reach-in nose switches are surely good for a smile, especially when only one of the three is safe. Unfortunately, Marcos's previous levels often resorted to trickery in game play, so players would often miss a crawlspace or something, and in this current release it sometimes feels as though trickery is the main theme. It would be nice if the author hadn't removed the binoculars, so players could look about. There were too many moments when Lara had to do everything possible in order to progress. At the risk of revealing too much, these times included the serpent gem receptacle that was actually a jump switch, or the overly-clever shootable torches, or the bull monster that can only be killed after Lara has exhausted every possibility and starts acting stupid. It's hard not to feel some annoyance. But a Marcos level is always something to look forward to, and players will find much here that is a treat." - dmdibl (10-Oct-2010)

"Wow, what a game! So many ideas! What a realistic atmosphere! A masterpiece. There's nothing more to say!" - Christian (10-Oct-2010)
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