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Level: Return to the Old Spire back home search
Author(s): raidertom
total rating:9.03 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
alan 9 9 10 9
DJ Full 8 9 9 7
Drakan 10 10 10 9
JesseG 8 10 10 8
Jose 4 9 9 10
manarch2 9 9 9 8
Phil 10 10 9 9
requiemsoul 10 9 9 9
Ryan 9 10 10 9
category averages
(9 reviews)
8.56 9.44 9.44 8.67

Reviewer's comments

"Not a type of level you can call "a type of level" - paranormal activity causes material mixing and dislocation, noticeable where textures deliberately don't match or when a ladder doesn't point to the opening so you do a pushable for an alternate climb. The demons responsible for this mess need a scaffolding material which is exactly what Lara uses to defeat them - brilliant idea, just like the mirror hints, plants faded to different and not meaningless colors, or a squishy block gate you may only see in this game. The pushable, unlike the readme says, is best to attempt before and after the break, because the first time you'll surely mess something up - solving it has destroyed half of my neurons. What may be more troublesome is a load of backtracking but the intention is usually clear so you mostly know where to go and even if you take one of remaining shortcuts, it's not damaging so just don't care and you may enjoy more than if you do. And while texturing was imported from various BtB worlds, the lighting somehow wasn't, so instead of Venetian/Steampunk warmth or Nordic cold we get a global grey tint, also not matching the colorful objects - sometimes rather than stuck in a puzzle, I just didn't want to go further into the eye-unfriendly landscape. Possibly the intention was to make it sad, but in such case solutions like in OverRaider's Dying World work much better to me. What sustains immersion instead is a load of fitting enemies, secrets with separate tasks and little bits of storyline unfolding as we progress. In the end, we get a properly satisfying conclusion of the mission being complete. SUMMARY: Not a game for everyone but if you like to think, don't think and take it." - DJ Full (23-Jan-2017)

"What a complex level! Sometimes it's hard to realize what to do next after doing certain things. I suffered headaches with this level, but nothing serious, it's just that sometimes I got so desperate that I had to check the walkthrough. I wouldn't have done it without it. So... I must say I didn't like it so much, but I am not going to rate it low because there IS gameplay, lots of gameplay. Maybe others can enjoy it, but not me :$" - alan (14-Jan-2017)

"Superb map with clever tasks. Not really hard but very rewarding. The backtracking is not annoying. The most difficult section is the first one. Highly recommended!." - requiemsoul (17-Sep-2016)

"Another excellent and inexplicably underreviewed level from this builder. Full of great ideas concerning gameplay and with a quite nice layout that occasionally gets a bit beyond the edge of tedium with some parts that have to be done two or three times, but mostly I liked that the given path is not totally clear, with a nice complexity given to the whole thing. Tasks like the acid rain area and the timed run in the plantation room are challenging and unique. The enemies are also used very well here as are the objects and the secrets which are especially sneaky to find. The builder knows how to create a believable fantasy atmosphere and with great architecture, well thought music choices and excellent cameras he did a very good job here. Perhaps the too bright grey texturing and lighting that dominate the visuals are a bit of too much, there are also a few wallpaper effects on larger walls, but everything is quite strongly put together nevertheless and the 80 minutes I spent in here were very well spent in any regard. Highly recommended, especially for a change in creativity and difficulty to some recent levels." - manarch2 (27-Aug-2016)

"When the level was released and I saw vimmers' comments in the forums I thought about wait for a walkthrough (excellent walkthrough, thanks D&G). Even always following that instructions, I spent more than 3 hours of net game (without the secrets). The level is not so big, but the enormous backtracking and the continuous reloading 'cause the very difficult tasks ruined the gameplay; example: in the toxic outside area I wasted around an hour 'cause the continuous reload and reload when Lara died, even when I knew what to do and where to go; in the big room where I got the heart, I had to climb the same ladder a lot of times; once you get the last crystal, you're forced to revisit the deep pit and take all the long way back to the room where the dragon is following a path you've alredy followed several times, etc. The only area I really enjoyed was the room with the moveable crates puzzle; the remaining tasks are pull hundreds of levers, get artifacts and keys and do tricky jumps. The other features are quite good; enemies are well balanced and I found a lot of pickups, there is a great atmosphere too with all the appropriate musics in many places and the mirrors triggering flybys were a good idea too. The level is a bit dark in some places, but at least I found enough flares (I think Gerty's suggestion, lol!). Now I understand how, after a month from the release, there are only four reviews in this forum." - Jose (09-Aug-2016)

"The author states in his readme file that it is a long level. Indeed it is, for me it clocked in just shy of three hours. It is also ,at times, a difficult and ingeniously complex level, which may go some way to explaining the low review count nearly a month after its release. Luckily it isn't "Madness is Not A Shame" difficult, so maybe more players could come forward and give it a try. There are some highly enjoyable agility tests to perform, some with the torch and a well thought out pushblock puzzle about halfway through. It was nice to see the BtB Venice and Northern Legends assets present in this level again. Also, I would like to praise the author for finally utilizing a way to protect Lara against the dragon and accompanying locusts. Bottom line, I loved playing this and recommend it to everyone, although be prepared to invest some time in this level." - Ryan (03-Aug-2016)

"Lara sets off on a perilous quest to free a dragon trapped in a large, labyrinthine environment infested with demons. The most shining part is the atmosphere, there is some well-done and creative crafting (swimming through a functioning "mouth" is only one such moment) with excellent use of audio and cutscenes to immerse the player, alongside the variety of decorative objects and demonic enemies, and secrets that are enjoyable to hunt down. Gameplay consists of many timed runs, running from acidic rain, and some creative puzzles, including one rather challenging and enjoyable pushblock puzzle. The main issue is that you will probably spend a large amount of time backtracking, and to my surprise that included having to perform several of the timed sequences two or three times over. Granted, it will vary depending on which tasks you may have forgotten to do earlier, but it was tiresome all the same, and the level would really have benefited from a more centralized layout that would enable players to get from one area to another with ease. The textures are well used overall, but the biggest flaw there is wallpapering, which becomes more apparent when you are in some of the larger chambers (the best example that comes to mind is the chamber leading to the purple crystal). The lighting is shaded nicely, but could have used a bit more color. In conclusion, a long-winded but immersive and enjoyable level. 2 hours 29 minutes." - JesseG (01-Aug-2016)

"Here's a level that's definitely not for the faint of heart. Without Dutchy's advance walkthrough I would have gotten absolutely nowhere with it. For the three and a half hours it took me to complete it, I was obliged to go back and forth through a number of different areas, notably an immensely tall opening room, an outdoor segment with a deadly golden lake, another immense room with many platforming exercises, and an outdoor harbor area that leads to a final room guarded by a dragon. Quite a bit of backtracking is required, especially involving the quest for a final secret that's about as complicated as anything I've ever seen in a custom level. There's a convoluted block puzzle about halfway through that will have you tearing out your hair if you try to figure it out on your own. Finally, there's a unique timed run where you have to navigate your way through a number of time zone changes (that's the only way I can describe it). If a level is to be rated on the basis of innovative gameplay, a variety of tasks that are challenging but fair, and an exhilarating pace sustained throughout, then this one deserves top marks." - Phil (19-Jul-2016)

"I finally finished this enormous level, a lot of backtracking, many challenge and reflection (Pushables, colored shrubs to open the door ...) .It must be patient to find the 3 crystals of energy that will free the dragon. I found 5 secrets, all well concealed. Excellent but preferably for experienced players or those who have patience." - Drakan (18-Jul-2016)
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