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Level: Under the Moon - Magic or God back home search
Author(s): Franco Bula
total rating:7.18 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
dmdibl 9 9 8 8
eTux 7 6 6 6
Gerty 4 6 7 6
JesseG 8 9 8 8
Jorge22 7 7 7 7
Jose 5 7 6 7
manarch2 7 9 8 8
MichaelP 6 8 7 6
sonnyd83 7 7 7 7
Steven Svorticher 8 8 8 8
category averages
(10 reviews)
6.80 7.60 7.20 7.10

Reviewer's comments

"The level is not very bad at all, but the very tight timed runs near the starting areas and the invisible tiles in the dark maze ruined the gameplay. The secrets are cleverly hidden, I liked the placement of enemies too and the camera shot showing the locations of the triggered objects, but I missed some more musics and flybys. If you are lucky with the moving spiked walls in the timed sequences at the start, you'll not find more nasty challenges; the remaining gameplay is well playable, but I still found a couple of tricky tasks: the curved running jump around that corner (I did it better without grab) and the jump to the top of the first pillar in the dark maze." - Jose (04-Sep-2017)

"To be honest I didnít like this level at all. Too many devious and tricky runs and a very (in my opinion) nasty timed run around corners. There is also a nasty black maze so you can understand why I didnít like this one. It is just devious and I think the gameplay does suffer." - Gerty (25-May-2016)

"There's something about the original TR3 that, despite the years that have gone by and how much the graphics have evolved, makes it unique and it has to do with variety, atmosphere, the plot itself. Unfortunately, nothing of that was actually truly captured in this level. It does have some great moments - not counting the jumps where one can only succeed after hundreds of tries - and I did enjoy it. But the atmosphere seemed a bit empty and so did the plot if there is one. The settings were mostly repetitive and uninteresting as well. It's funny that I'm being so apparently negative whilst saying I enjoyed the level... I did. But I think it's lacking in some kind of mistique. Maybe Franco could give the TR4 engine a try?" - Jorge22 (18-Feb-2013)

"If Franco is making gradual steps to improving his building skills, this particular level has the boldest step towards better gameplay he's yet attempted to my knowledge. It's true that some of it is just head-banging-against-the-wall difficult - and moments like the curved 90 degree jump (if our experiences were similar, Michael was not just exaggerating, when he said he made it on his 100th attempt. I wish I could tap into this kind of perseverance and stubbornness for things other than mastering seemingly impossible TR jumps in my life), the run against the moving spike wall and burners, and the invisible ledge in the maze were a tad over the top and probably needed separate walkthroughs in their own right, but if you can look the other way (so much harder when you're actually at those particular moments) this is actually a rather content-dense and thrilling ride to take. In its more balanced moments, I had a lot of fun looking for the best routes to master the the double timed run, battling the poison-exhaling reptilians and mastering the thrilling, though usually one- shot trap sequences. The intent of the title or the storyline are as of yet rather obscure to me, but this is one of those games that can be played just for the sake of it. On the downside - the author dabbles in the deceitful territory again by making some windows shootable and other identically looking ones not, and making the switches blend in a bit too well with the surroundings for my liking, but those are not as prominent as in the other Angkor level of his. As far as the looks go - I have to commend the author on making some (for him) interesting room geometry choices, including some organic cave settings, catacombs and a brief excursion outdoors. But it has to be said, that overall the looks feel a bit drab and half-hearted. There could've been more in the way of contrasts, intensity and light/shadow play, as the overall feeling was monotonous. If the energy crystals were intended to designate secrets, I found a total of 5, but only 3 of them registered as secrets. Not a bad pick for a TR3 level, but certainly not for the fainthearted." - eTux (20-Oct-2012)

"The main aspects of gameplay were putting a ring on a skeleton, 2 spike walls with lava in between, a timed run which is incredibly difficult (the door opens on the side facing Lara) you think you need to do one thing but it turns out it's something else, e.g. the slopes before collecting the arrow - I didn't realise there was a crawslspace leading to the arrow, then you have to contend with a ceiling spike timed run, followed by a few slopes, then a mid air jump which I couldn't do Enemies were mainly skeletons which you can actually kill, poisonous lizards and dogs. Textures were nice on the walls, but floor textures were quite blocky, lighting was good butdidn't change much, nice variety of doors. bugs were - crawling in one area you can see outside the game, you can get trapped in area with spikes if too quick or not quick enough" - sonnyd83 (05-May-2012)

"A good TR3 level from this author that in his chronicle as level designer is improving more and more. I remember the previous level was quite good and even this one contains even harder parts-challenges. Like in the previous level, here we find several rooms and we often get stuck because of the presence of nearly invisible switchs (not invisible, but the colour is similiar to the walls one).. so the player has to keep very open eyes. There are some tricky parts during the gameplay, some time trials like the ones with the spike walls calculated at the second.. the only problem: if you aren't able to go over these traps and you aren't killed by them, you couldn't simply continue the gameplay because the trap becomes an obstacle to your path. A positive aspect is a double time trial with 2 switches that I appreciated very much.. I think it's not only a good point for the gameplay, but even for enigms because the player shall reflect why an only switch doesn't allow you to reach the door in time. Over the middle of the level there is a particular banana jump to make and I found it so difficult, even if really I was wrong because I continued to press action after the curve and this simply made things more complicated! Good enigms: the double time trial, the arrow to find and to put to the archer, the hidden crawlspaces, the invisible tiles to reach a key in a dark maze room, the very strange breakable windows ecc. I found 3 secrets. Good atmosphere (even if Angkor Wat textures aren't among my favourite ones), good textures, lights. Good and balanced presence of enemies: dogs, mortal skeletons (as TR5 gladiators) and very annoying ahmets. Globally: a level with a hard and not always linear gameplay, effective but sometimes annoying; good enigms and secrets and anything else always good. I rate 8." - Steven Svorticher (20-Feb-2012)

"Insert a big sigh of relief here... finally I managed to get through this level. I can now understand why this is only the fourth review that it receives. Most players will stop already quite early when they get stuck behind a moving spike wall that they cleverly avoided, because then there is no way to progress further, as you need to manage a tricky little run AHEAD of that spike wall. Those who get past that one, may give up at a very challenging timed run which requires you to sprint around several corners. I almost gave up at that seemingly simple blind curved jump around a left corner until I managed it at the 100th attempt or so. And to add insult to injury it all culminates in a pitch black maze area, which requires you to jump on a few invisble ledges to reach the final key. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Not really for me. I like a challenge in a TR level, but this one has rather mean challenges and drags on between them and I simply had not fun at all playing through it - sorry. To end on a positive note though, the looks overall are decent and believable, the idea with the archer and the arrow is cool and the use of relatively challenging enemies throughout is quite well balanced. I also liked the secrets (missed two of them though). Next time a little more balanced gameplay again please, Franco!" - MichaelP (19-Jan-2012)

"This TR3 level is not for beginners. There are many tricky timed runs, spiked traps and boulder sequences and they will take most players several tries to get through. Personally I loved the challenge provided so the level was fun for the most part. However gameplay has a chance of getting broken, for instance if you let a spiked wall pass by you you may be eternally stuck. There are also quite a few "one way doors" and if you go through them too soon then you will have to backtrack a long way again. The best part is the objects, which are well chosen and there are some good adaptations of tr4 items as well as some original and creative puzzle objects. The level is riddled with camera shots, some are helpful but others get annoying and should have been set as oneshot cameras so they don't keep reappearing. In general the texturing is great, but is hurt by unmarked death floors, poorly marked ladders, and inconsistent monkey swings (textures that could be grabbed onto differ between areas). Overall a challenging and engaging adventure that came to a sudden end after 41 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (24-Dec-2011)

"I keep repeating myself with Francos levels: They are always something different and they have plenty of moments where you think "This can't be a non-TR4 or even a non-TREP level!" But lately, his last levels (actually since the third and last level of "Way of Relic") also had something very annoying. I really didn't like searching around and around the place only for a pushable, invisible platform or crevice in the wall. Nonetheless, the ideas used here are great, as the skeleton that needed a bracelet, skeletons as enemies, the archer and the deadly rays, but I think Franco ran out of ideas in the second half of the level, as everything was pretty uninspired. Difficulty is much higher than in the first part of the series, there are many trap sequences and timed runs. The dark maze was really unnecessary, and how can we players know there are some windows that can be shot while others that look exactly the same can't? Well, who knows. The looks of this level were solid, with few sound usage but good texturing, I both liked the texture set with some new textures and some Angkor Wat ones and how you sometimes can see the light through some broken walls. The cameras were nice but guess I wished there were more hints what to do. I don't mean cameras after pulling levers - these were enough - but e.g. there could be a screen of the window, and we know we have to do something here. All in all I finished this level after an hour with quite mixed feelings." - manarch2 (23-Dec-2011)

"The author's last level was criticized for weak gameplay, and those reviews may have been taken to heart as this level gives us gameplay galore: a tricky double-door timed run (hard enough that I couldn't even do it late at night), a blind curved jump around a corner, a couple of nasty places with descending spike ceilings, and Lara squeezed into flame emitters by converging spike walls. The skeleton enemies are menacing. I spent close to two hours getting through this, as sometimes it is not at all obvious what to do. May be the most accomplished of the author's levels, although not the most attractive as texturing is often drab. The first timed run is clever, but the flaw is that there may be a ten or twenty minute delay in spotting a wall lever seamlessly merged with rock textures. There are too many places where the author's design encourages players to overlook something crucial. Play picks up again, but climbing surfaces aren't that well marked (a basic brown rock texture is sometimes climbable), and monkey swings may look like a regular gray ceiling. The strong point of the level is the agility tests. These give satisfaction once they have been figured out and accomplished--things like the blind corner jump, or the scramble between alcoves to cross a lava pit before a spike ceiling descends. I enjoyed Lara climbing up from underground, to emerge in surroundings similar to the author's previous Angkor Wat level. The ending shapes up to be clever until Lara plunges into a dark forest of pillars that needs the binoculars from TR4. Lara monkey swings, her flare burns out, leaving her in total darkness with only a tiny dimly lit alcove in the distance. I suppose this is a good created effect, although while Lara is hanging in darkness it mostly creates anxiety. Understand going in that Lara needs to be sharp and limber. Players will find much to enjoy here." - dmdibl (17-Dec-2011)
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