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Level: Aspidetr Easter Time 2012 - Once Upon a Time - Inside the Magic Gem (Demo) back home search
Author(s): Greywolf
total rating:6.53 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 7 5 7 7
Andzia9 5 5 5 5
Christian 6 7 8 8
DJ Full 6 6 7 8
dmdibl 7 7 7 8
Gerty 5 5 5 6
Jay 7 7 7 8
Jose 6 5 6 5
Josey 8 7 7 8
manarch2 7 7 8 7
MichaelP 7 5 6 6
misho98 7 8 8 8
Mister-B 7 6 7 6
Orbit Dream 5 4 5 7
Phil 7 7 6 8
Ryan 6 6 6 8
Soul 7 7 9 7
Steven Svorticher 7 6 5 6
TheStig 7 5 6 6
category averages
(19 reviews)
6.53 6.05 6.58 6.95

Reviewer's comments

"Although the concept of having artwork by a famous artist as the inspiration for a level is by no means a bad idea, as is having no weapons (due to Young Lara), this demo turned out to be nothing more than average in my opinion. The cartoonish scenery and the fantasy setting is a matter of taste although quite nicely executed, but the gameplay wasn't really to my taste. It's not bad as such, but there's not much up to it short of solving some obscure puzzle or bypassing a trap, returning, going to the next room and doing the same thing and then to the next and doing the same thing, which got boring after a while. The blade traps in tight spaces were also annoying. As a brief break away from reality it's fine, but I'll likely never replay it." - Ryan (21-May-2018)

"I played and reviewed the full version when it was released, but enough time has passed for me to play this demo without a compelling sense of deja vu. It's a little stark and cartoonish in appearance for the most part, although there are some outdoor areas where the scenery is quite pleasant. The gameplay is a bit obscure in places, and I was glad to have manarch2's walkthrough to guide me along. It was nice enough for the 40 minutes I spent here, but not a level to put on my replay list." - Phil (18-Oct-2016)

"An attempt at something different here from Grey Wolf. The concept is based roughly around one central room with impossible geometry where doors & stairs appear on ceilings & walls. As you progress you therefore find yourself on different points in the same room. Unfortunately the execution is just that you feel like you're going from one odd room to another. Doors are closed from point to point which takes away from the illusion (it would have been nice to add these even if just stepping/falling through them started an instant re-load/death trigger). Ambience is mainly stock TR4. Lighting is bright and texturing & structure are good. Some of the blade traps are rather nasty, but there's nothing in this level that's going to nibble at you and medi-packs are in plentiful supply. I must admit, the lever puzzle really had me taxed towards the end. I had to map the levers out on paper to figure out how to solve it. How 'Easter' this level is I'm not sure, but as I have a habit of playing things out of season it didn't matter too much to me. Now it took me an hour to finish this, looking back at other reviewers I'm not sure why it took me so long (but I do tend to explore every corner of the map & this includes leaving the clock running while I worked out the lever puzzle). Something original which despite it's rough edges is definitely worthy of a play through. Stiggy :)" - TheStig (11-May-2014)

"This is a cross between a fairy tale (Lara on a swan in the load screen) and the drawings of Escher. The latter is very hard to pull off and the idea behind it might be a good one, it doesn't translate to actual gameplay. This is more a hit and miss than anything else. Then again the question: why remove the binoculars?" - Gerty (26-Aug-2012)

"A "nice" short level - it's a demo - released in the Easter Time contest, even if I've seen really nothing about Easter.. besidess following this theme it should be a pacific level, instead there are some traps, blades.. so according to this logic even enemies and weapons could have been added, while they miss. I'm a little confused, but never mind..or does it? I rememeber the Quantic Island that I played 2 or 3 times last year and I played with passion to those 3 levels, over all for the ice palace. Unfortunately I can't say the same thing for this level.. ok it's a demo, but I haven't felt it in the same way.. surely the complexity of Quantic Island misses.. doesn't exist! A few interesting parts of gameplay: some rotant blades to avoid (easy), the circolar ones, typical of lost library of TR4 hurting Lara while she's climbing the rope, a couple boulders and a little time trial turning off some fires.. not effective at all because when the time trial is over and fires turn on again, you can trigger it again by jumping on the tile and not by using the jumpswitch again. Some nice enigm like the 4 dragon statue to move or the one where you've to move a static boulder on a floor hole (easy) and finally the greatest enigm: the serpent one.. structured in the same way of the one in lost library, but this time only some switches are necessary.. so the player has to note for every switch which flames it turns on and try to reflect (sorry for my bad English, but I hope the concept is clear :) ). Personally I read the walkthorugh just to know how many switches were necessary (not being able to solve after several tentatives) and knowing only 4 switches were necessary, I started from the obvious one (the only switch triggering a certain flame) and then I tried again and this time I got successfully, after a couple tentatives-tries. A great enigm, "the portant column" of the game. Nearly total absence of objects.. to be a temple, it seemed to be too empty. Partial positive note for secrets: well hidden the 2nd and 3rd one, while about the first one, I understood where it is, but it's too hard to reach.. I refused to get too nervous. Strange atmosphere.. let's say that the idea of the rotated towers of 90 degrees is very good, but the result didn't give to me the same sensation, maybe because of the too repetitive yellow textures.. some rooms have even good decoration elements, but that yellow colour gets annoying.. obviously it's my own judgement. Good lights. A few musics, the atmosphere is a little flat, some nice flyby, but no screenshot showing what switches trigger. Considering it's a demo, I hope the level is revised in the future.. I keep the idea there are good ideas as basis, but these ones aren't developed in the best way and there are some annoying bugs. I hope the complete game will be realized in a better way." - Steven Svorticher (26-Apr-2012)

"You can trust getting a bit of an odd level with Greywolf, as he tends to come up with special ideas that sometimes are a tad bit on the obscure side, hence hard to grasp for the average player. It is not too bad in this 30 minute teaser though where things can be figured out generally ok, with a simple push puzzle, a few blade traps, a boulder push puzzle and the serpent puzzle which I had not seen in a while. The concept of the rotating stairs room is a good one but the execution of that design seemed a little rushed and rough around the edges. Maybe the more complete version when the builder had enough time to polish it will suceed better in that regard. This works ok as a demo, but does not fit really well into a seasonal offering of an Easter calendar." - MichaelP (21-Apr-2012)

"Well this was definitely an original level but doesn't really have that Easter feeling. I liked the main area with the sairs and fake doors. I like how it is very orange/yellow. The puzzles and traps were pretty hard sometimes but once you get the hang of puzzles they are actually pretty simple. The traps were pretty hard for me like the spinning blades on the pole, I hated them from TR4. I don't know much to say really. I wasn't a big fan of this level but I know that the full level would be brilliant. I am also very excited for the Easter levels this year, I love Easter!" - afzalmiah (11-Apr-2012)

"A single room flipping so it seems to turn around every time we visit it again. The impression caused by staircases running in all directions and angles is neat, although You need to get used to unicolor walls, for not to fall and die. But You learn it quite fast, as the chamber isn't big. In the meantime, when we leave the room to check side paths, we're supposed to perform some minimissions and agility tests. Amongst them, there is a copy of flaming snakes heptagram task, derived from the original Lost Library. The solution is different, so one might think the heptagram shouldn't be there at all. But fortunately, we get a hint leading us out of confusion. Shame such hint isn't present in case of the pushable puzzle. One needs to simply believe in some logic here, to find out where to put those statues, and this breeds a problem: every brain is different, and You might consider several possibilities, depending on priorities of Your own logic. Will You follow textures, object function or symmetry? Hard to specify which solution You choose, and without a hint You are likely to choose a wrong one and become frustrated. Luckily for me, I made a right assumption this time and got that bowl without a problem.
Those miniquests happen within a scenery filled with texturing placed with a great devotion - I saw only one squished tile in the whole game. Some cracks are noticeable, but only underwater. And we have a convincing lighting, although with no flares. The game is of Young Lara kind, so we also don't have neither binocs nor pistols to make corners brighter. I looked down into a certain hole several times and I never spotted a crawlspace, until I finally decided to drop, kill myself and see this is indeed the right way. Whoah... Not good. But even TRNG can't help here, so it's not Greywolf's fault. He had a YL vision, so he made a YL level. And I also learnt something again: from now on, when I see such project, I will just step into the darkness and just press Action to check if there is something to grab or not.
How to tell a player "You're not supposed to go in there"? Here, it's by making a survivable pit filled with scarabs and locusts. Well... I suspect many raiders will treat those evil plagues as a definite clue they're about to find a secret down there - while they're in fact supposed to DIE, DIE, DIEEE!!! I think one reason to justify this pit being so shallow is that if the pit was a bit deeper, an illusion of turning rooms would be damaged. But as long as the game is a TRNG one, a pit didn't have to be deep to provide death. The author could have simply made a flipeffect of killing Lara in midair, one click above the floor, so when she hits it, she would perform a right animation of crashing of a fall damage. It's also an illusion, but anyway it would be a much better solution in such case.
I didn't like a possibility to follow both "solve puzzle" and "exit puzzle" routes, as this causes confusion and unnecessary repeating. If we are supposed to solve something before quitting a location, please LOCK the exit so we don't have to reload anything.
SUMMARY: An idea presented in this level is a great one, the atmosphere is also crazy, however several things could be executed with more care (e.g. not throwing darts on defenseless Lara while she opens a door, and somehow mark pushable blocks, as we don't have flares to locate them). This quite long demo closes Easter Time 2012, leaving a kind of mess in our heads, as follows differing from what other authors provided, just like if turning to something new, and it indeed is - because it opens a new adventure, maybe to call an Aspide Easter Aftermath 2012. Let's see what we'll find in the full version." - DJ Full (11-Apr-2012)

"A level which wants to be original and fresh... Well, really original, but not so fresh. There is a couple of puzzles to make you think (moveable dragons and rolling ball), but many classic tasks too; it was really difficult to me to place the complete dish, even when I supposed where to place it. Rooms are simple and too empty, without furniture or objects, only some trees in the gardens areas. The enemies... I only found some locusts and small beetles when going into the pit. There is an small effort with the musics, but cameras or flybies are really forgotten. Textures are often monotonous and very bright in many places. The end trigger could be in the middle of the corridor... Not the kind of levels I like; sorry." - Jose (10-Apr-2012)

"Have you read the story? It's a real fairy tale, and I wish a game was developped with the swan and all! In truth, it doesn't seem that Lara is inside a gem, but nevertheless I thought the game very enjoyable, many thanks to the author. The class is Young Lara, if I'm not mistaken, and it was very refreshing to play it. I liked specially the dragon and serpent puzzles. Good job." - Josey (08-Apr-2012)

"Some Demo's have great gameplay,but a flawed concept/execution.Others have a great concept,but poor gameplay. This one sort of hovers in between,with a concept that is outwardly intriguing but hard to pull off in actuality - and,indeed,there must surely be more effective ways of achieving it than that presented here? Perhaps cleverly triggered flip-maps or level jumping - but running from a yellowish chamber with staircases,into a mis-matched room containing some generally obscure puzzle,and then back into a different yellowish chamber with staircases...was not a particularly gripping gameplay element.The Demo (as it stands) does not flow well.The first puzzle with pushable objects is quite obscure;the pushable rolling boulder is somewhat flawed as it's not obviously pushable(although its geographical position is a clue),and the tightrope leading to it is unnecessarily tricky;and the final switch conundrum seemed to be nothing more than a random try-try-try-again puzzle. Nonetheless,the corridor with moving blades was good fun,as was the pole-swing past flame burners;while the texturing and lighting was vibrant and well conceived,with an eclectic variety of elements.Enemies were absent,thus justifying the absence of Lara's guns - but what excuse was there for removing much-needed Binoculars and flares from the Inventory? Camera's were generally absent aside from the opening fly-by;and the whole surreal atmosphere was probably a matter of personal taste. An abrupt Finish Trigger,unopened doors and a non-lowered block were all indicative of the Demo status;so it's hard to objectively review a clearly unfinished project which still needs a lot of work all round, except with a middling score.Not the sort of thing to recommend except to those who adore beta-testing (and there are plenty of those out there)." - Orbit Dream (08-Apr-2012)

"An intriguing tower, a nice and logic first dragon puzzle - after a few minutes I really thought this level would be a great one. But when I finished this level after about half an hour of net gametime, I couldn't say that I have just finished a great level. Well, the boulder that you need to pull on a certain tile was nice, as well as the rotated versions of the central tower and the trap passage, but the overall game was a bit dull with too easy progression and the serpent lever task at the end was mainly about trial and error and thus a bad puzzle. I liked the visuals in this level but the textures in one room didn't fit to the textures in the other room, but I must say the way the textures were used was quite well, if not for a few rooms where you easily can see the map ends here - maybe it would be better to build a few unaccessible areas behind them so that this feeling doesn't show up. Also, some of the stairs in the rotated rooms were buggy as you can stand on them but not run around much. Found two of the three secrets (yet) which were nicely hidden but not too hard to find." - manarch2 (06-Apr-2012)

"I liked this level - puzzles were simple, but good, textures in the inside were nothing special, but the outside rooms were made pretty good. I don't find connection between this level and Easter, but I like it anyway. I hope the full version will be uploaded on the site someday too. Took me 30 minutes." - misho98 (06-Apr-2012)

"a surreal style mix that still needs some betatesting before its final release. The Dali-like surrounding in the tower looks interesting. Even though this tower is full of traps, gameplay is not quite demanding or interesting. But it is a demo that makes me looking forward to playing it." - Christian (06-Apr-2012)

"Wow - that was certainly something completely different. The idea behind this level was to honor M.C.Escher by recreating his most famous work "Relativity" in the level editor and Greywolf did a bloody good job at it, hence the high rating in the atmosphere section. Even if the rest of the level is rather mediocre, the central room that was introduced by a very nice flyby gave me goosebumps, despite the rather weird choice to colour it all in a yellow tone. Kudos for that! Sadly I can't say such praising words about the other rooms, that all seemed arbitrary to me, due to their rather boring design with hardly any interesting architecture and not a single (visible?) reference to Escher, except for some "artistic" textures. I think it might have been intended by the author, to express some kind of a violent contrast to the main room, but this way loads of potential was dumped. From the technical point of view this level was also far from perfect: there were many "blinking" objects, that disappeared when viewed from a certain angle, some squished/stretched textures and loads of cracks that diminished my enjoyment, even if the gameplay was rather good in my opinion. The level lasted for about 30 minutes and still had 3 puzzles that made me put on my thinking cap. And while one of them was a bit too absure for my taste (the one with the 4 dragons in a rather small room) I really loved Greywolfs take on the serpent-puzzle from TR4. All in all I'd say that every raider should try this level just to see "Relativity" in the Level Editor. Recommended" - Soul (06-Apr-2012)

"It's an interesting concept having a level based on the drawings of M C Escher and this demo certainly makes for an intriguing taster of things to come, with its areas of impossible staircases contrasting with the rather more conventional, and pretty, outside areas. There are some fun manoeuvres to accomplish, but nothing too difficult. It doesn't appear, at least from the demo, to have any connection with Easter and it's definitely not one for the kiddies, despite it being a young Lara. I shall be interested to see where the full version takes us." - Jay (06-Apr-2012)

"Nothing real special. All we have to do is open many doors, pass the traps, solve few puzzles. Author used either doors as textures, sometimes strangely placed. The blade trap was very annoying." - Andzia9 (06-Apr-2012)

"Odd for an Easter level. To the good, the works of M. C. Escher are used to texture doors and walls, and one of Escher's famous etchings, where figures walk on stairs that are upside down or sideways with alternate gravities, has inspired a room or rooms. I once considered doing something like this myself, perhaps using the seamless instant teleport of NG to place Lara on a ceiling. So at the start this level looks very promising, although some of the Escher graphics are wasted in cramped places, or have muted colors. But when did Easter levels become full of damaging gameplay? Lara swings on horizontal poles through flame emitters, or she slides down a pole through rotating blades, or she has to dodge moving blades in a hallway. The tightrope walk was curiously difficult, as once Lara began to totter even the fastest and determined countermeasure failed to prevent her from falling. There are many dark places, but the author has omitted flares, binoculars, and pistols that might give illumination. I thought Lara was stuck at the end because she walks into a passageway that is too dark to navigate, but then she moved to the side to hit a finish trigger. Some places cry out for camera shots. Players are warned at one spot not to save until large doors have opened. Then Lara places a tile to complete a graphic, and runs around baffled, checking doors and a raising block. The change in the room is too easy to overlook, and is invisible from some perspectives. My impression is of too much needless frustration. Since this a demo, it is hard to know how this level will develop, but surely dark areas can be reconsidered." - dmdibl (06-Apr-2012)

"I don't really know what this level has to do with easter. Lara finds herself in a surreal surrounding with many stairs and many doors. The main hall is a very bright yellow and takes some getting used to. There a some puzzles to be completed in the anterooms resulting in Lara being rewarded with a tea service. Nothing very difficult to be completed and most players will complete this level in about 45 minutes. Found 2 of 3 secrets." - Mister-B (05-Apr-2012)
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