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Level: The Training - Episode Zero (Demo) back home search
Author(s): Dnf Productions
total rating:7.88 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
DJ Full 6 8 8 9
dmdibl 7 8 8 9
Dutchy 5 8 8 8
Gerty 5 7 8 7
Jay 7 8 9 9
Jorge22 8 8 9 10
Jose 7 8 8 9
manarch2 6 9 9 9
MichaelP 5 7 9 8
Orbit Dream 8 8 8 10
Phil 7 8 9 9
Ryan 6 8 8 9
Taras 8 8 8 8
TheStig 6 8 8 7
Torry 7 9 9 8
category averages
(15 reviews)
6.53 8.00 8.40 8.60

Reviewer's comments

"Seeing as I've already reviewed the full version of this game and the revised version is on my playlist for one of these days, I thought I'd go ahead and review this one, anyway. They do have their moments, but they are also flawed and a bit tedious in some ways. Unlike other reviewers, I had no trouble triggering any of the needed cutscenes in the first level and after using the Supply Key and the Silver Key, I was able to finish after completing all other tasks. I did, however, have lots of trouble triggering the famous rat in the second level that would allow me to continue and solve the button puzzle, despite following the walkthrough. After wandering around the circular hallway for what seemed like ages, I went back to the water, swam round a bit, climbed out and went back and then the rat appeared a few seconds later. This is really obscure and somewhat spoilt the experience, alongside the annoying frozen water sequences. The settings are well constructed undoubtedly, but I found these two levels a little frustrating. I think either of the two complete versions will be more worthy of your time (and I hope the revised version takes care of these issues)." - Ryan (19-Aug-2018)

"I did not mind either of these levels. Yes there are many soldiers and the way forward is often obscure but they were both entertaining nevertheless. I actually found the crowbar easily but then floundered about until I accidentally noticed the jump switch over the torch doors which then enabled me to complete the first level. As for the rat in level two, enough has been said about that I believe. Timed swims whilst freezing to death also not my favourite but hey, it's a demo. It is easy to go the wrong way here so unlike the first level, I needed to resort to the walk through. I actually got to the five switches in the first two minutes and found myself unable to proceed as I had missed 70% of the journey (and the relative keys/switches) so not good level design in that one." - Torry (22-Jul-2018)

"The crowbar placement is very discussable, almost at the border of the map. The supply key secret is very clever though I couldn't tell what is the real method to trigger the baddies who drop it - it seems like another luck-involving setup. The second level has a swim sequence which ends on a medipack so I kept looking for something else to make progress, while in fact an unmarked pad trigger had unlocked without a warning in a completely different section of the map, and you still need luck to step on it, what spawns a rat unlocking a door. As a player with mind as chaotic mind as this puzzle I tuned in and figured it out after 30 clueless minutes, but abandon hope all ye who use logic. Great dialogues, great cutscenes, finally great lighting. If the full version is more clear I should utterly enjoy it." - DJ Full (28-Apr-2016)

"I am not a great fan of demos, as I am usually rather patient enough to wait for the real Thing and in this case the demo is even more pointless for me given that 'the real thing' has been released years ago, but is still on my playlist for one of these days. But as I was looking for something shorter today, I made my way through these two sample sub Levels and all I can say is ... I am not a great fan of demos... Yes, the settings looks competently and solidly designed, as I would have expected from this builder, but all you get is a bit of shooting training with half a dozen or so guards to kill in each part, plus a few keys or cards to collect. So the highlight in part 1 ended up being the torch quest and the Highlight in part 2 the timed run for the secret. Those timed swims were all mightly tight and the rat, well, lots has been said about that rat indeed... So, I am looking forward to engaging myself into the full adventure one day, but as for this one... I am really not a great fan of demos..." - MichaelP (17-Aug-2015)

"Demo as we all know often means incomplete or work that may still be in progress and despite some entertaining gameplay I'd say that's the case here. Split into two halves I liked the cheeky interaction with Lara over the intercom. Both levels are very trigger happy with lots of baddies to dispatch. The section with Amanda seemed I had mixed feelings on. I absolutely hated the freezing water gauntlet section as I always seemed to get stuck on pipes and door edges. I also experienced the infamous running around trying to trigger that damn Rat! Visually both levels are fine though I did feel that Lara's jungle level was perhaps a smidge on the dark-side. All in all I netted just over 1 hour 11 mins between these two levels...20 or so of of which were spent looking for a rat! :P Stiggy" - TheStig (04-Apr-2015)

"Let me be frank, this is for sure not my choice to play on a rainy day. Because then I like something where I can explore and not being hunted down with armies of bad guys. Jeeez, what is that all about? Must be me as I probably triggered almost at the same time all the baddies there were in the level. The positive side was that I also triggered the key some people had trouble in finding as well as that famous rat in the second level. Still don't like swimming where apart from loosing oxygen you loose health, as the water is very cold. Oh well, not at all what I expected from Donald, but he told us it was a demo." - Gerty (29-Oct-2012)

"At last I've completed the second episode using Yoav's helpful walkthrough and found the Random Rat, so here is my belated review. Rush Hour - The first level is a compact TR3-type setting which requires working out jumps and climbing, and I enjoyed the atmosphere here. One has to spot a jump switch, and a lever concealed in an alcove, while combating soldiers who materialize from certain triggers. Nicely textured and well-lit. Air Vent Blues - The second level features Amanda in a base level, and swimming through icy water that quickly drains all health. This isn't that large a level, so I thought she did everything here, explored different vents, did a banana jump to the far side of a pool, and turned buttons 1,2, & 4 blue. However, forum posts mentioned a Random Rat that had to appear, and the possibility that those buttons don't work without the Random Rat. I did everything over three times, and nothing ever worked, and the rat never appeared. So I read through Yoav's walkthrough, and remembered doing everything, up until a part that seemed not to make sense. The walkthrough has Amanda making a damaging swim back to the start, when all she has to do is go to the pool room door--it opens automatically--run up a short slope, and in two seconds be back in a corridor ring near the start. I did that, nothing there. So this time Amanda followed the walkthrough, made the (seemingly unnecessary) swims, pulled out of water, exited to the same ringing corridor...and there was the Random Rat!--a cute little fellow, chittering, and nuzzling up against Amanda's leg in the hopes that she would pet him. Amanda shot him. Then a door opens and I finally completed the last minutes of the level. I still don't understand it. When all is said and done, players want to experience a level, and buggy play overshadows everything else. Theoretically, both levels together should take an hour or less to play." - dmdibl (17-Oct-2012)

"For me the level was done when it seemed I had to run around like crazy for a Rat to appear... No rat and even after the illegal jump around a pillar I couldn't lower a block in front of a machine (if it wasn't for the walkthrough I wouldn't have known the block should go down), so end of attempt. Expected more (better) from this builder." - Dutchy (11-Oct-2012)

"These two independent levels play well as demos, except for the major flaw to be found in each one. Most of the first level (Rush Hour) takes place in a base camp where gameplay flows imaginatively and logically. You trigger the first of three cut scenes upon entry, where Lara exchanges banter with Skip or Flip or Zip or whatever his name is. However, the other two cut scenes appear to be totally random, and it's possible to complete the level without triggering either one of them. Moreover, enemies pop out with no apparent predictability, and if you're in a hurry you can manage to finish with a minimum of confrontation. The flaw lies in a key-carrying villain who remained in hiding (when I played, anyway) until all necessary tasks to finish the level had been completed. Having been forewarned by Yoav's excellent walkthrough, I remained behind and roamed throughout the compound long after I was ready and willing to leave, triggering additional enemies until the guy with the key finally showed up. All you get with the key is access to a secret and some major weaponry (that you can't carry with you to the next level), so the flaw is not a game stopper, but it's an issue that definitely needs to be fixed in the full version. The second level (Air Vent Blues) has a similar flaw, and this one is a bit more critical, for unless you trigger and kill a rat toward the end of the level you cannot finish it legally. Others have mentioned a banana jump, but even this does not allow you to access a vital area via a crawlspace and turn a necessary valve. I finally got the rat to appear by wandering aimlessly along the main outer passage, but without the warnings in the walkthrough and stuck thread I would never have known to engage in such seemingly pointless activity. Again, this is something that needs attention in the full version. Apart from these distractions I found this to be an engaging two-parter that players of all skill levels can enjoy." - Phil (10-Oct-2012)

"The purpose of these two levels, Rush Hour and Air Vent Blues, playable separately, is to show some environments and phase of the game due out on December. This demo presents some errors. In the first level it is often arrives at the end of the world and it may take different paths to reach the same purpose, confusing in this way the player. The second level promises better, more articulate though it probably was cut in several places compared to what perhaps will be the final level. The player can get it after 5 minutes unless you take an alternative route, passing through a broken grate. I liked the previous adventures of DNF and from this demo it can be seen that the work that will be released on December will be fine." - Taras (04-Oct-2012)

"This two part demo is a nice little taster - really quite toothsome. The first part involves shooting rather a lot of guards in a lovely jungle setting, which is bursting with atmosphere with thunder rolling and exotic birds twittering and wolf whistling in the background. There's a lot of weaponry to be found, considering you can get by quite nicely with the pistols, but I expect the full version will involve a lot more mayhem. Part two is a base type setting and has great potential, but at present remains more than a little confusing. There's lots of good stuff going on in the way of battling enemies, raising water levels, finding (and figuring out where to use) pass keys, but the frozen water can get a bit frustrating when it's virtually impossible to get through some areas without gulping down a medipack. As for the whole rat scenario, let's just say we're into 'willing suspension of disbelief' territory and leave it at that. Can't wait for the finished product though." - Jay (03-Oct-2012)

"A surprising return from a builder we haven't heard from since a while. This time he presents two levels about how Lara and Amanda are "trained", but I couldn't help but think this training was a serious attempt in killing those two characters... Rush Hour (7-8-9-9) - 20 minutes: Lara's training seems to be a bit more friendly as the "only" dangers she encounters are plenty of enemies, but their appearance is often very surprising (must be because of random trigger tiles) so she has enough to do. Set in a quite attractive setting that might be in South America, her actions are pretty task-oriented with a couple of nice conversations with Zip that add to the gameplay. I found the two secrets to be well placed and I liked the usage of both the torch and the trapdoors - aren't they from Piega? Air Vent Blues (6-9-8-9) - 30 minutes: The net gametime was indeed 30 minutes, but in fact this level lasted hours and hours of painful searching for that rat that never appeared. I think this level had a bigger potential than the first level, but due to the lack of guidance some players are happy when the level ends. To all those - it's actually possible to finish this level in no time when performing both a hard curved jump with grab and two banana jumps in the pools room, but when the rat finally is found and the door opened, this level actually is pretty fine and thus I'd recommend to wait for the walkthrough and play this level as it is intended. But why not putting some cameras to show where to go next (especially with the door that can open on approach but only after using a button)? And why do we have to unavoidably loose health in those cold water passages? Only Donald knows.
Summary: I had kind of mixed feelings with this level as you can see, but it's for sure a very well designed two-parter with nice new objects and textures, but from a gameplay perspective it's not very good at the moment. But - it's a demo, so we can at least hope for a more player-friendly full version." - manarch2 (03-Oct-2012)

"First of all, Donald is one of my favourite builders. Secondly, this is a demo, albeit a demo that makes for an interesting two parted chapter. I liked both but probably preferred the first because I thought it was much less confusing. The second has a few problems that may easily be taken for bugs... For example, after doing a lot of things, namely in horrid freezing water, the kind that kills you quickly, you have to trigger a rat so you may proceed and finish. Sure, in the final pool (final, but you reach it easily in the beginning, which contributes enormously to the confusion) one can do a banana jump and try to proceed from there. Only, at least from my experience, the button puzzle there won't work if there has been no rat. Ok, I'd never have figured anything about the rat if I hadn't read about it in the forums. And then, it's so random I have no idea how I triggered it. And how come a grated door opened just because a rat appeared out of the blue? I have no idea. Other than that, I still loved the entire adventure, the atmosphere, the ingenious ways in which everything connects, the settings and, sure, I'm eagerly waiting for the full adventure." - Jorge22 (01-Oct-2012)

"The first level was interesting and entertaining. I don't know if it could be a good idea to trigger something necessary to continue playing with a flyby (perhaps the author is completely sure that Lara will trigger the flyby and not run around a long time before activate it). Also I was surprised how I could reach the high ledges near the ceiling and hit with invisible walls telling you that is the end of the world. The second level was very confused. In my honest opinion there are two major flaws in the gameplay here. At some point, probably in one of the rooms through the alleys of ice water something is activated to trigger the rat when entering the room near the beginning. I think at that time should have put a camera indicating that circumstance, the room is far. Moreover when the rat appears, you kill it and nothing happens, could be a camera to show you that it has opened a door elsewhere. This too is unacceptable for my taste. Anyway, as a demo, I guess the author will read these and other comments and perhaps something will do about... Apart from that, the levels are really good. I always liked the style from this author. Looking forward for the full release of the game." - Jose (01-Oct-2012)

"At last - demo's which are very well crafted and provide good,standalone,enjoyment!Nonetheless,neither (particularly the second) are without some fundamental flaws;in particular,the act of reaching certain areas sooner than the builder expected.Demo One is an exploration level,with a considerable amount of shooting thrown in.The playing area is pretty small;which is a relief,as the path for progression is fairly cryptic and entails a lot of running around.Nevertheless,the location is beautifully put together; and the texturing and lighting completely faultless. Much the same can be said for Demo Two (where the inclusion of an alternative playable character seemed pretty superfluous,as none of her actions seemed to have been altered);an adventure amid a superbly constructed base environment,where forward progression was often completely obscure;somewhat buggy;and even downright unfair (the rat- triggering moment,and the consequence thereof).Much of the gameplay can be bypassed by performing a banana jump around a supposedly impassable water pool;but enough imagination remains to indicate that the author had some great ideas which perhaps need to be amended somewhat. Taken as a duo,these are undeniably two great mini adventures;superbly constructed and filled with detail and imaginative flourishes;but the 'demo' appellation is undeniably accurate,so players are perhaps commended to await the Walkthrough before attempting it themselves." - Orbit Dream (30-Sep-2012)
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