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Level: The Way Of Relic - Part1 - The Seraph Monastery back home search
Author(s): Franco Bula
total rating:7.35 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Ceamonks890 7 7 7 6
Diz 8 7 8 8
DJ Full 8 9 9 6
dmdibl 7 8 7 7
Gerty 5 7 7 6
Jay 7 8 7 8
Jorge22 7 7 8 8
Jose 8 8 7 7
manarch2 9 7 7 8
MichaelP 7 7 7 7
TheStig 7 7 7 6
Treeble 7 8 9 9
category averages
(12 reviews)
7.25 7.50 7.50 7.17

Reviewer's comments

"What stood out for me was that nasty timed swim/run, yuck. That is not the only thing in this level though. It is a bit of a trap galore and precision jumping that will have you reload quite a bit to get it right. Didn’t like that curtain maze as I got so lost in there. But if you love a challenge you for sure have to try this one." - Gerty (07-Sep-2017)

"My initial impression for this level was rather bad, with an obvious illegal slope you have to jump past and a random crash just a couple of jumps and climbs later. However, the more I played the level, the more I enjoyed it, the only really bummer in my opinion is the maze of "tapestries", it was really annoying to navigate because the camera insisted in being one room behind and by the time you had the Look button pressed - surprise, surprise - a rolling blade had already brought an abrupt end to your life. Otherwise, everything you'd expect is in here, plenty of traps, a few baddies (I had 1200 Uzi clips by the time I reached the Seraph, so don't be afraid to spend them), one hurtful timed run. The placement of the three prayer wheels was a bit unorthodox, but I found them without much effort so a little exploration should get you through without any problems. 45 minutes. 06/17" - Treeble (11-Jun-2017)

"Now this is most definitely a good step up from Franco's previous levels, as we find ourselves trying to enter another monastery for no real reason, other than to serve as just another location for Lara to traverse through. Don't get me wrong though. While there were some aspects that I didn't enjoy(such as the irritatingly constant crashes to desktop, unconvincing level design or the curtain maze that's utterly confusing to navigate around, on top of having rolling blade traps placed everywhere that can easily catch you off guard and lead to an untimely demise for our heroine), I didn't necessarily find myself getting too frustrated during my initial playthrough(especially with a well-written walkthrough on hand to keep me going). Gameplay was decent enough(offering a welcomed bit of variety and a slightly more fair difficulty curve), enemies and objects fit about as well as you'd expect them to and the lighting and texturing is generally alright(though still can be done far better from what's demonstrated here in comparison to other TR2 custom levels). Regardless however, if you're looking for something to test your skills in, than this is one release that can be given a rather shaky recommendation. Although I must warn any potential players to tread lightly when giving this one a go by saving as often as possible, due to the aforementioned crashing problems seemingly occurring at any point during gameplay and can just as easily lead to the loss of a good amount of progress, if you aren't careful enough. So best approached with caution." - Ceamonks890 (10-Sep-2014)

"This is definitely a real step forward from the author's last level and more how I was hoping to see them progress. While visually there's still a fair bit of work to be done to some interior spaces Franco is definitely starting to get to grips with the lighting and structure of the levels. It's a nice environment that you have to both scale and descend through to get to your goals. Gameplay I'd say is set at above average difficulty. It's quite easy to miss items early on (you have three prayer wheels to collect amongst other items). The first two are hidden away off the main route and I dare-say if I hadn't glanced at the walk-through early on for another reason I'd of probably missed the first one completely! There's also a tricky timed run (though some of it is probably me fluffing a few simple jumps, which Stigs are never very good at doing under pressure!). I quite liked the rather devious curtain room, which with it's rolling blade-traps provided rather difficult to pass (and I had to revisit the room a few times to find everything I needed). One other thing worth mentioning was the odd crashes I would get occasionally. Usually these would occur in the middle of a fire-fight (both with human enemies and the crows). The motto here therefore is save early and save often! All in all I got 1 hour and 30 minutes from The Seraph Monastery. Franco's levels continue to get better and better and I look forward to playing more. Recommended. Stiggy." - TheStig (30-Jan-2012)

"Unofficial Level Editor has several advantages over TRLE. One of them is an ability of placing objects far from a square center. But this is not the point. The point is: TR2 atmosphere is what I simply love - pure white colour of Tibetan snow, feeling of shipwreck rust cracking under my feet, the best enemies, animations and sound ever designed... Ahh, sweet memories... That's why I can't help overrating TR2 levels :D. In this particular one we also encounter pure white colour of Tibetan snow, the best enemies, animations and sound ever designed... A feeling of shipwreck rust cracking under my feet is missing - all in all, we are in Tibet. I wonder if someone puts a shipwreck into Tibetan scenery someday... Maybe Noah's Ark or whatever else it could be. Why not? But no, no, forget it now. Here, it's classic Tibet, without any shipwrecks, only with pure white colour of Tibetan snow, the best enemies, animations and sound ever designed... Apart from that, the initial platforming for the shotgun and the first key is awesomely creative - even if made of classic, quadrangle blocks, it will satisfy any platforming freak, regardless from texturing, which is a little bit squished in several places. Franco seems not to care about how a place looks like, but he rather inclines to design smooth gameplay (what doesn't mean the level looks bad). Such flowing action can be seen here, and in the later locations as well - there are lots of traps, agility tests, key and pickup hunts, no secrets (I expected some kind of a way of finding them like I witnessed in [i]Going to New Venice[/i]), but quite well hidden weapons competing that - simply: gameplay in this adventure rocks, just like rocks surround You. Of course, that maze filled with rolling blades moving among the walk-through canvas was purely annoying and it was the moment I quitted the game. I returned next day. I also had some mixed feelings about Gem2, which is hidden in a way being equally mean as clever. And I didn't like those parts where one can take a wrong route and needs to get back or reload a savegame (e.g. diving under the bridge). Honestly: for me, such moments are the most difficult thing to rate in ANY level. If I got into a place I am not supposed to get yet, and I need to return back to a junction, is it my fault or the builder's? Hard to decide. I think if all corridors except the right one were closed, the game would've become extremely linear - so getting rid of such confusing design is impossible. I think it's a matter of equilibrium between confusion and non-linearity - and if I am right, confusion unfortunately wins in some places where the path splits in two in the Seraph Monastery. Fortunately, inventive sliding 3-click door placement, meeting old Buddhist friends and, of course - what I was saying? Ah, yes - pure white colour of Tibetan snow, the best enemies, animations and sound ever designed - it all kept me going. A row of flame emitters joined with rolling blades was also cool... I mean, hot. Heheh, I found a way to bypass the finish trigger... You need to feign grab the edge of the hole and You will land behind the square. Of course, this is rather an advantage than a flaw - I like finding such things. Puzzles? I played the game three weeks ago, now I launched it again... and got stuck, lol, rotfl, win. That means they are good. SUMMARY: I'm gonna play [i]Little Ideas[/i] soon, to know all levels by Franco. For me, TR2 never gets old. Sometimes it's entertaining, sometimes tedious, but NEVER old, and I am very lucky there are still some never-old-school creators who bring me back sweet childhood memories. Thank You." - DJ Full (16-Apr-2011)

"Iíve said it before, I donít like TR2 levels. Everything is clunky and weíre used to better so Iím never sure why builders continue to make them. That said, and Iíve no doubt Iíll say something similar on the next TR2 level review, I enjoyed this one. A Tibet/Monastery level, itís well made and well lit. Thankfully the builder has left in the monks Ďtaking care of businessí with the baddies which definitely helps the player out. The best, and perhaps one of the most frustrating part of the level was the curtain maze, which I had to negotiate a few times. Luckily Iíd managed to figure out where to go at the end but I did spend an awful lot of time dying and reloading before that happened Ė nice one! I would recommend you played this level even if you donít like TR2 ones." - Diz (22-Mar-2011)

"I usually like Tibet/Oriental levels and this hour long adventure is also rather well conceived, but somehow it did not click with me as too many of the tasks felt more like an ordeal than being entertaining and fun. There are several jumps that need quite a bit of precision (and thus many tries) and I got caught out many times by the traps places by the author and rather lost when navigating that devious curtain maze with rolling blades in it. The monks fighting with the uzi guys was fun to watch though." - MichaelP (13-Mar-2011)

"Well, I guess a TR2 level must be reviewed like one would review a pacman game or something... There are too many drawbacks, Lara just isn't flexible enough, she can't even crouch, she can't even run, the settings are the way they are and the atmosphere takes its toll. Having said that, I thought the puzzles were well done (even though a little too hard just because of it being TR2, namely in the curtains rooms or jumping over fiery tiles and fires, for example)and the sceneries were usually fine (despite a few walls where the very same texture just kept repeating itself over again), resulting in a TR2 adventure that didn't bore me at all (the original doesn't bore me either). I guess it's some kind of mark, like having dinossaurs in one's levels or something, and not only well done but also probably quite appealing to those in a nostalgic mood. Just a shame that the ending was so abrupt really, but maybe that also adds to some kind of nostalgia and I'm not being ironical or anything, I mean it. My final advice? Do play it. In spite of everything I may have mentioned, maybe I prefer it to many legend-like levels that don't hold much more than a good looking exterior." - Jorge22 (11-Mar-2011)

"Good progression of this author seeing previous levels. This time the monks will help Lara, but it will not be easy to get the Seraph, because the monastery is full of traps and dangers. Be sure that Lara will die many times. There are quite complicated tasks and very difficult jumps, including the timed run is pretty tight. The level is still quite entertaining, with challenges that are not entirely impossible and ammunition to spare if you get the uzis near the beginning. The hardest part was finding the second crystal in the nasty deadly maze of curtains. Good ideas but a bit hard. We will see in the next part. Good work." - Jose (09-Mar-2011)

"Franco certainly does like his TR2 levels and I have to say that heís excelled himself with this one. If you tend to ignore the TR2 levels because they can admittedly be a bit Ďtameí by todayís standards, then you should really give this one a go as it may just surprise you. There are some unexpectedly challenging jumps, runs and traps to negotiate (the timed swim/run in particular is definitely not for beginners) and some really good traps to avoid. Thereís a curtain and blade trap maze that is both ingenious and frustrating in equal measure, especially if you have trouble finding all three prayer wheels, as you will have to negotiate said maze more than once. There are also a few enemies dotted about, but for the most part you can allow Lara to take it easy whilst those friendly monks deal with them instead. The whole spirit of Barkhang Monastery is well created here and I have seldom enjoyed a TR2 venture this much since the original visit. Do try it." - Jay (19-Feb-2011)

"This is a lot better than the author's previous recent levels. It is a genuine full level that will take between one or two hours to get through, depending on how quickly players locate a slyly hidden prayer wheel. (Nicely done.) Some of the interior rooms in the monastery are attractively textured, although the opening exterior area looks wallpapered. The game play as far as the level map is concerned is well thought out, so looking back this seems pretty good. But the detailed execution leaves one wondering if the author used any beta testers. Some things feel more hostile than fun. There is one area with many hanging drapes. Lara can walk through these, but not see, so a number of roller blades, running at cross angles, mow her down. If Lara had only gone into this area to collect a large crystal this would have been clever. But Lara needs to explore this area at least three times, which means that most players will probably end up exploring at least four times, when the novelty has worn off. The author has discovered that clanging teeth blades don't have to be separated by the width of a tile, in a long series that concludes with two out-of-synch teeth doors, closely spaced. Lara has to exhale deeply, and hold her breath while squeezing between two sets of doors. Some things, like three secret dragons, or an early large medipack, are just for show but can't be reached. A timed run was good, finely calibrated so that players will wish for a dash key. It was nice to have monks once again helping Lara fight off mercenaries. The author really just needs to pay more attention to atmospheric lighting and how levels affect players." - dmdibl (17-Feb-2011)

"Lara, once again, visits a monastery to get the Seraph. The original level, Barkhangs Monastery, was my all-time (!) favourite original (in fun) level, maybe not with the best textures, but great gameplay. And this one keeps it quite up with it - you could think the rather sloppy start is the indicator for a rather mediocre level, but this turns out into a very fun exploration level with many big and for a TR 2 level well textured monastery, with nearly all gameplay elements these levels can have. It is close to the max what the builder did with traps, they were worked out perfectly. I only mention the insane hard, but with a very good timing thoroughly fun jump and run series with some firepots and blades to get the second prayer wheel, or the at least interesting curtain area in which nearly every player certainly gets lost in. The level contains everything from a jump session with few very hard to master jumps up a tower, monk against soldier battles with Lara choosing to interact or not, to an epic finale with first some long corridors to a lever, jumping over some boulders and getting to the final lava room with the Seraph to find, maybe way too quick to insert, but spiced up with a nice tile puzzle - only one tile is not deadly, you have to jump on it to get to the Seraph. All objects were cleverly placed, also the three secrets to find - even if not getting them really and they are on normal gameplay path - and all the things Barkhang also had - looong swimming parts with "Air, air!" cries of the players. There were also many camera hints in this level, luckily also one for the timed door - otherwise the player would not know where to go. It was not the atmospheric level, only well designed maybe, but the setting looked very good. Puzzles also were not too few, some obvious block puzzles or the aforementioned curtain maze. I was wondering if I give 8 or 9 to gameplay and puzzles, really think the 9 is worth, simply because I thought it was very good for a TR 2 level. A brilliantly thoughtout level and it's now on rank 3 for me on the list of the best TR 2 levels. Well done, Franco! For me, it's your first masterpiece on your special task to build unofficial levels!" - manarch2 (17-Feb-2011)
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