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Level: Theft of the Dagger of Xian back home search
Author(s): Nicolas Lepy
total rating:2.42 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Ceamonks890 2 2 1 2
DJ Full 2 2 2 3
dmdibl 3 4 2 2
eRIC 2 4 4 2
Gerty 1 4 1 1
JoeTheCrazyGamer 6 5 5 4
Jose 2 2 2 2
manarch2 2 3 1 2
MichaelP 2 4 1 1
Nuri 3 8 3 4
Orbit Dream 3 3 1 3
Ryan 1 3 1 2
SlyRaider 1 1 0 0
Taras 4 4 4 4
Treeble 1 1 1 2
Xela 1 3 2 1
category averages
(16 reviews)
2.25 3.31 1.94 2.19

Reviewer's comments

"This is one of the times where I have got to disagree with the other reviews of this adventure and Although it has very few puzzles and secrets it was very fun to go around and shoot lots of bad guys However I would seriously consider thinking about improving the texturing other than that I loved it." - JoeTheCrazyGamer (16-Jun-2019)

"A slaughterhouse is pretty much what you experience here. The other reviewers have really said it all: an 18 level game, roughly the length of the original TR2, and each one following the same format - slaughter mindless wave upon mindless wave of enemies of all shape, size and type, find the switch to open a door on the opposite side of the level, go there and pull another switch to open another door... and so on until the end of the game. Actually, there is more than enough ammo and medipacks to see you through, but really... I doubt anyone enjoys being constantly fired upon while trying to figure out what to do next. Camera clues are pretty much nonexistent, and it consequently becomes so mind-numbingly tedious that it becomes a nightmare even for the most patient raiders. The rooms are all similar, with mazelike corridors, bland, dull texturing, barebones atmosphere and nothing that really makes an impression. I persevered through this because I suppose I was either a) really stubborn or b) really stupid. So overall, if you do gain some sort of pleasure from gunning down endless enemies like there's no tomorrow, then you might enjoy this. But everyone else should just avoid it like the plague." - Ryan (04-Jul-2018)

"This is the first custom level that frustrated me. It has no gameplay, it's just running from room to room, pulling switches and returning to other rooms over and over again until you find a finish trigger, leading you to the next level where the same thing is going on: only pulling switches with too much backtracking, all in big, empty, undecorated rooms. The whole levelset is like a Tomb raider 2 remake, but a really bad one. Something prominent in these levels is the amount of enemies. There were like 500 million alltogether! That's actually not a problem because you'll find enough equipment to deal with all of them, but it's just the same goddamn thing during the whole game, even with the enemies. There is no variety in these levels, it's always the same thing happening for hours! The only part I liked is the one with the snowmobile, that was fun. The rest was like........ SOMEBODY HELP! Not recommended! Don't waste your day with this." - Nuri (23-Feb-2018)

"I thought about starting this review with a philosophical approach, such as "Why are we here? What is the soul? Why do we dream?", but as I played this series I started thinking about a somewhat decent third person shooter (well, a lot more fun than whatever the TR2 engine allows anyway) I used to enjoy and then one of the tracks that played as you sliced and gunned thousands of enemies sprung to mind. If you intend to continue reading this review, may I suggest you open this link on a new tab to help set the mood? If you're looking for reasons to hate the TR2 engine, you just found them. By the time I finished the second level, I had had enough, but much to my displeasure I still had another 16 levels to go before I could leave this nightmare behind. If I never hear the gunfire sound of those Venice thugs again, it'll still be too soon... Level design is atrocious, and gameplay is all about the things we absolutely love about Tomb Raider: locate random placed lever (or key) to operate a door on the opposite end of the level, rinse and repeat. Added bonuses are an insane amount of enemies " Michael was not exaggerating " and an insane lack of camera hints; in hindsight, I think there was a grand total of zero. So not only the levels are sprawling mazes with areas that all look alike, everytime you pull a lever you have no idea where anything changed. The trail of corpses doesn't help, either, and in fact you're more likely to add more bodies to that as apparently every little action triggers new enemies, even in areas you've been to before. Awesome. Level 4 had some issues with walls that had no collision, both above and underwater, and although not a gamestopper it sure was weird. Then level 5 of course would take all your weapons away, but fortunately you still retain any ammo and medipacks you've collected along the way. Towards the end of level 8 you come across the first underwater open conflict and by that point I had around 24 harpoons. A frogman takes about 6 or so to die, so as I realized I didn't have enough to kill them all the "proper" way, it was quite annoying to lure them to the one-tile opening and shoot them from surface. As you have no room to sideflip, you waste a few medipacks in the process. But the worst comes next, as you swim through untextured narrow corridors filled with eels. Why am I still doing this? The final kill count is obviously bogus, as level 11 will illustrate. You'll run over about 100 enemies, all popping into thin air much like a joke level of early TRLE days, and yet your stats for said level will read 0 kills. In that same vein, in the following level you'll certainly wait for the monks to drop as many thugs down as they can before stepping in yourself, only to eventually kill all the monks because hey, why not! (Note: you actually have to do that in order to collect a key item to proceed). Two of the levels use TR2Gold as basis, so you have weird SFX and this is noticeable (and hilarious, in the first twenty seconds) in level 14. Level 15 feels like a rehashed release, in which all you do is drive a snowmobile through repetitive tunnels mowing down snowmobile thugs... Level 17 is probably the most interesting as far as visuals are concerned, mostly due to new textures, but it's still built and plays the exact same way as all the other levels. And then Level 18 takes all your inventory away and gives you just the Shotgun. Make the most of all shells you get, otherwise you might be short of ammo towards the end - but then again, you can probably skip a few fights and just rush for the button that'll end the level. Not sure why the original TR2 cutscenes are included, but considering halfway through the levels have the original TR2 script names, I'll just presume even the author was bored beyond belief with his own joke (I mean, 18 flat levels like this must be some sort of joke, right?) and just pushed it out assuming no one would bother. I am not sure why I did it myself, so perhaps I should resort to my initial philosophical approach - why am I here again? Bottomline: overkill, in the most literal sense: my stats claimed 749 kills, but I'm sure there were hundreds more as stated earlier. 5 hours, 15 minutes. 1 secret. 06/17" - Treeble (26-Jun-2017)

"OK for those who haven’t played it, here is the drill. Shoot everything in sight; gather all you can find and walk to the other end of the area you are in. Pull a lever or push a button and go back all the way where you came from. If you get lost a bit, no worries, you know you are on the right path if you encounter even more enemies. And so on and so on, it gets rather boring after a while, if you ask me. OH, I forgot, there is a snow bike ride level that is a tad different and lets not forget the numerous invisible blocks in front of closed doors." - Gerty (22-Jun-2017)

"I'd love to have awarded Gameplay a higher score,because I clocked up a total of eight hours over eighteen levels;and surely,a series of that length deserves considerable credit? Oh,if only life was that straightforward.Instead,what you have are eighteen remorselessly identical maze-based levels,filled to the brim with platoons of marauding enemies.98% of the playing time is taken up with shooting,shooting,shooting;and using up dozens,dozens,dozens of medi-packs.There is not one iota of subtlety or creativity anywhere here;although,in a perverse sort of way,the utterly remorseless bloodshed became surprisingly addictive after a while.It's so easy (from around ten minutes into the first level) to predict exactly where and when the attacks are going to take place,that the sheer predictability becomes almost comforting - especially as enough weapons and medi-packs are provided to make the almost infinite enemy encounters fairly stress free (aside from those that take place in infuriatingly confined spaces).It's not that it's all bad:you have a tight timed run and a slide/jump room in Level One;Level Eleven consists entirely of extraordinarily silly snowmobile slaughter;while the final level is a veritable gauntlet of uncountable enemies,with only limited medi-packs available.Unique among all of this is Level Four,which actually presents the player with non-linear gameplay around a Hub room - and is somewhat enjoyable,while being fairly well designed.There's little else to mention.Textures,while never stretched,are all drearily placed;there is no sound (apart from the snarls and grunts of omnipresent enemies);cameras are entirely absent;and objects are kept to an absolutely bare minimum.On two occasions,the author decided to place sun-bulbs;which beggars the question of why he never bothered with them anywhere else? For those whose lives revolve entirely around gaining vicarious pleasure from enabling Lara to slaughter a seemingly infinite number of enemies,these eight (or thereabouts) hours of non-stop killing will probably be the answer to their prayers.Everyone else,just stay well away." - Orbit Dream (04-Mar-2016)

"I would venture a guess that this series may have taken less time to build vs what it takes to play through it (5-6 hours net gaming time). No less than 18 levels here - and all of them follow the exact same concept: 8 click high corridors with repetitive texturing and no lighting, filled with hordes of enemies, and then constant backtracking from one end of the map to the other and back several times to flip a switch to open the next door. The only variation is in the type of enemies you encounter, the occasional - sort of fun - use of snowmobile action and a few very short timed runs. Other than that it is just kill, kill, kill and then kill some more. I did not count, but there must be more than a 1000 (!) kills in this series - so if that is your thing, go for it... all others should not waste their time." - MichaelP (21-Sep-2015)

"If I had to describe what it is like to waste 6 hours of your life (that's a fourth of a day), this would be the experience I would proffer. An entire game's worth of levels filled with box rooms, stretched textures, poor lighting (if any), and wave upon excruciating wave of mindless enemies. Every level, except the two snowmobile ones, is constructed with the same, maze-like tedium that I can only imagine was a banality to the author to build by around the fourth level. There are no platforming sections nor competent puzzles, just room after room of slaughter and backtracking. No context to the brutality or consistency to the environment. Every room has different textures (though the intra-room textures are uniform for all of the walls and the floor and ceiling), meaning that a sense of atmosphere fails before it can even start. Worse yet, the identical layout of each room makes it nigh impossible to remember where doors are when you're backtracking to find them. One of the reviewers suggested using this to vent frustration; well, don't. These maze levels will only exacerbate whatever negative feelings you might have. My advice: if you really absolutely must play this one, save yourself 30+ minutes of pickups and just perform the inventory/ammo cheat. I won't tell anyone that you did it, trust me. Also, set up some podcasts or an audiobook to listen to; it's a great way to power through some of them. Might as well not totally waste your time." - Xela (11-Feb-2015)

"So disappointed by this adventure! It's Tomb Raider II, but turned into hallway with enemies." - SlyRaider (10-Sep-2014)

"While I understand that this debut levelset must have taken a lot of time to develop(despite me thinking otherwise), that doesn't mean everything on offer is actually polished and/or legitimately fun to play here. Oh quite the contrary in fact, as I found this levelset to be among the worst releases that I've ever experienced under the TR2 engine so far and was quite shocked at the fact that I had to physically play it, during my runthrough of near-endless levels to review. Overly-dramatic feelings aside, this one was an absolute chore to get through, not helped at all by such serious problems as repetitive texturing, flat lighting, a non-existent atmosphere, confusing almost maze-like level designs(which completely lack in terms of believability) and finally, overarching gameplay that boils down to essentially being, 'Here's all of Bartolli's workforce. Kill thy arses', with an extreme lack of consistent variety in the gameplay itself to keep raiders of all ages entertained for very long. Perhaps fans of shooter levels will be able to enjoy this one for a lot longer than I did while playing, but at the end of the day, this is just not worth all the trouble putting up with. Can only really be recommended towards those with a lot of patience and time on their hands, while everyone else are better off downloading other levels over this." - Ceamonks890 (25-Jul-2014)

"Really I recognize there is a big effort to build all this levels. I'm very sorry but I can't recommend this adventure. Only go from place to place pulling switches, killing excessive enemies and looking for keys to open doors is not my idea of an entertaining game. Also many times you need to run long distances to visit places you've already visited and return again... Architecture is very simple, always the same; texturization is very monotonous; rooms are very empty; lots of paper walls; no cameras; no ligths; no puzzles... Really not a game for my taste, but perhaps for people who like shooter levels." - Jose (07-Mar-2013)

"A massacre, a slaughter. Pulp Fiction and Saving Private Ryan together don't reach the number of people killed in these levels. 101 medikit used, 745 killed, with only a cliche from start to the end: you share a lever, open a door and immediately swarms of enemies rail against Lara. Bad guys armed with machine guns, with sticks, packs of dogs, leopards etc. .... 6 hours of play always the same. It does not make sense, even more so if we consider that the "QI" of the enemies of Tomb Raider 2 was in 1997. Now they seem stupid, one or hundred enemies are the same thing, they just make you waste time. A level particularly impressed me: Lara starts on a snowmobile, runs along the narrow corridors large a sector with one enemy for each sector, in a row, well, she kills them one after the other hovering over them and are at least 50 enemies. The rooms at all levels are lean and free of objects, not a puzzle and the walls of the portals are thin. I recommend the adventure to those who wanted to vent repressed anger against the employer or after a divorce." - Taras (17-Oct-2012)

"A most of the time horrible remake of TR 2 consisting of 18 "playable" levels, as the meaning of the word play gets heavily extended in this level. All levels suffer from the same issues, namely large and maze-like maps, wallpaper texturing, blocky rooms, too much to and fro - without any camera hints at all - and worst of all hundreds and hundreds of enemies in this level (I killed more than 700 in the whole game). At least at one place it isn't needed to use a key since the door opens when stepping in front of the keyhole; some doors open only after a few seconds of waiting on the trigger tile; some doors have invisible blocks in front of them; in two levels the sound is heavily messed up. There were only very few slightly brighter sides in this levelset - there was a sense of atmosphere in the opera level and the street level and some enemies were nicely retextured in a couple of levels. The best levels gameplaywise. were the monastery and the Xian levels for me as for the first one, I always will like the fights of monks against soldiers, even if I wasn't too fond of the change later in this level, and in the latter one the snowmobile massacre was quite fun to do. But at the end of the game, those few highlights seemed rather minor in comparison to the large amount of wasted time - I spent 6:30 hours in this level and was more than happy to finally finish it. By the way, I found a 19th seemingly playable level with Fexinspect, but this one never loaded..." - manarch2 (15-Oct-2012)

"After playing four levels, I have to say that DJ Full deserves a medal for spending two days on what is a total TR2 game replacement. Sometimes this is agony to play, and it may not even be possible to play unless one immediately edits a save game and gives Lara the Uzis and 4,000 rounds of ammo. In four levels, I used those 4,000 rounds. I enjoy a good shooter, but this isn't a shooter, it is too mechanical for that. Basically, go down every corridor and turn every corner with Uzis drawn. The first level took 45 minutes, and seemed superior to what followed, although this isn't saying much. There are no camera shots. One switch was timed, but doesn't reset upward. So I checked this switch, but since it was still in a down position, assumed it wasn't timed and wasted a lot of searching. That meant that switches can't be trusted. The design is basic with paper-thin partitions, long corridors, box rooms. If there is a sky room, then the ceiling of a corridor shows as paper thin. We have all played beginner levels, so it wasn't until the second level (30 minutes) that I began to suffer. Lara goes back and forth between the ends of a crude level. She climbs up and spots a switch and a keyhole. So when Lara picks up a key at the other end of the level, you know that key isn't for any nearby or middle doors, but for the farthest, least accessible keyhole. I wondered if this level would ever end, and at this point read DJ Full's review to discover that these levels never end--they go on forever. The third level (30 minutes) was more of the same; gameplay is always the same: switches to doors, Uzis blazing. The fourth level (50 minutes) is supposedly the Opera House, but balcony ledges are paper thin. This is absurd compared to other TR2 levels inspired by the Opera House. The official opera house had metallic vents and a fan, so in these levels we get a back room with metallic textures. All textures, everywhere, are wallpapered. After four levels (2 hrs, 35 min) I saw no reason to continue. There is no attempt at creating architecture or genuine texturing. Gameplay does work, but it is repetitive and mechanical. In the first room of the opera house Lara can jump to pillars but she falls through them. When diving for a circuit board, Lara ran short of air. Solution: swim inside a wall, out of the level, where Lara's air is magically restored. I completely understand DJ Full's review, and am amazed that he had the fortitude to continue with levels that truly make a player suffer. The cutscenes from official TR2 are included in the release, but they did not trigger for me (there should have been one after the Opera House)." - dmdibl (14-Oct-2012)

"Quite a fascinating game made of 20 levels, with seemingly the same script than in TR2 , and the same types of enemies in the corresponding levels, except there was no"boss" , no T-Rex , no monster Bird , no dragon but with all the different gunmen and goons , some wildlife and Xian warriors near the end. A repetitive ongoing massacre in rooms that do not resemble to real locations with sometimes thin walls or ceilings and some doors not placed in portals. Some levels seem to be the same although they are obviously not. In the level named 'opera' we have a bigger central area, in plenty of others it's mazes like areas galore from beginning to end. At one point early on in a level that is supposed to take place in Venice , when I found the key named"Clef du hangar bateaux" (boats hangar key), I thought at least we shall have a ride with the boat. Of course there was no boat , not even a canal. All expectation to see something that would offer different stuff vanished very early. All expectation to have some peaceful place never existed either even when finding the key named"Clef de la salle de repos" (resting place key). I continued to play only for this review. Sometimes a rare timed door , the use of a snowmobile or a pushable block , offered a little change , but not sufficient to forget that 99 per cent of your time here is spent running around, killing baddies , pick up the goodies lying among the dead bodies , and use keys. The levels last between 25 and 30 minutes with a few exceptions. As I don't have the TR2 CD anymore I listened instead to some favorite songs on youtube while playing ; a couple of levels are very short where enemies never cease to appear by entire packs and it was funny to see the baddies disappearing and reappearing as I did not killed them all but went ahead to the finish trigger ; in one of these shooters of shooters , Feliz Navidad by David Crowder Band made the experience quite joyous I must admit. There is naturally plenty of backtracking , but it is not that confusing , piles of corpses indicating that Lara has already been there , new enemies appearing indicating that you have found the new area you are looking for. I don't know to what kind of player profile this game could be recommended , perhaps those who have bad days at work and want to evacuate some steam playing one level each evening ( do not exceed the stated dose , the instruction is for 20 evenings ) and at the end , their job will not seem to them so boring and absurd after all . You can't go wrong when listening to David Crowder Band , you can even play this game without damage for your own sanity, and I did not even completely lost my time for I have discovered new titles in the process. But if i have to play this game again, i will ask to be paid for that." - eRIC (13-Oct-2012)

"A murderous rush through a TR2 abomination incomparable in its evilness to anything hosted here so far. All violence boundaries beaten to painful death and buried halfway down to the Earth core. Countless amount of baddies attacking wave by wave in endless corridors of repetative texturing and architecture, numerous pickups, chained backtracks through many locations and a complete lack of camera hints cause a feeling of being stuck despite of constant progressing through this incredibly enormous batch enemy slayer. The setting only changes for an opera house with paperthin balconies, several themed yet emptish patios giving some sense of open space, some audio tweaks in Tibet part (I think this is where the whole project began) and finally two bike rides in levels 11 and 15, named respectively "Tibetan Foothills" and "Temple of Xian". Just like for all other levels, their titles and order match those from original TR2 this particular levelset seems to be a complete remake of, however with polygon number downed by 90 percent... In fact, the scenery is mostly reduced to a single, wallpapered passage of death, curving like a claustrophobic maze until it finally ends on an ultimate switch. We press it and watch TR2 end credits, because the author left them, as well as all original cuts we can watch at leveljumps responding with their number to those which contained cutscenes in TR2. No game-stopping flaws and all puzzles working indicate the betatesting of this project must have occured - so the game form is definitely not created by an accident or lack of knowledge, but all made on purpose. The question is on what purpose. Hard to assume the author had an identical idea for almost all levels, so it looks like if he wanted to annoy us, and if the latter is true, he might achieve a total success in case of majority of players, who will treat those two days of their life as wasted. Only hardcore raiders who like beating weird world records might attempt this, but even I did it without enjoying (except bike rides), and it's actually the first TR2 type game I had enough of before it ended." - DJ Full (11-Oct-2012)
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