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Level: Zipangu back home search
Author(s): Alphonse
total rating:8.54 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
DJ Full 8 10 10 8
Drakan 8 10 9 8
Gorty 8 5 6 4
Jay 9 9 9 8
Jorge22 10 10 10 9
Jose 6 9 9 9
Josey 9 10 10 8
manarch2 8 9 7 7
Phil 8 9 9 8
Ryan 9 9 9 8
Sakusha 9 10 10 9
TheStig 9 9 8 8
category averages
(12 reviews)
8.42 9.08 8.83 7.83

Reviewer's comments

"This is a pretty innovative levelset and can be quite challenging in places, but not to the extent that it became frustrating or a turn-off in any way. You may spend a lot of time in the initial levels running around quite a bit, but everything will come together if you search hard enough. There are some pretty hair-raising enemy encounters, particularly from harpies and ninjas and there are no additional weapons provided aside from the crossbow (explosive ammo works wonders). I was able to gain access to extra secrets that required gold roses by retracing my routes slightly. I played this one after the Palatium of Ankh and I definitely enjoyed this one more, probably as it was more player friendly. I can't wait for this builder's next work." - Ryan (17-Jun-2017)

"Quite an impressive release as for a debut from this builder, as it's a full 7 level game that took me 2:50 hours to complete. The gameplay is often quite puzzle based and there are particularly nice ideas like the crowbar lever one or a revival of the Senet puzzle. The platforming in the mountain level also was quite enjoyable. On the other hand there are also very easy and straightforward tasks that don't require any thought at all and a few tasks are also quite tedious, the builder especially seems to like implementing crawlspace mazes which is quite a fun killer. Nevertheless, the very creative usage of objects here in countless occasions are adding a lot to the enjoyment. The enemies are few but all quite fancy and nicely placed, there are quite a few allusions to Richard Lawther in that regard. The secret system is quite interesting as well in that you don't have to search for most of them but place one to find a task which leads to the next one, although most of the tasks are very simple and could've been more challenging IMO. The level lacks a bit on atmosphere, as even with some large-scale areas and some nice views there's a certain sterile look and feel to the whole thing, with very flat lighting in many areas (in most lighting isn't even touched) and also a few quite empty areas. The architecture is often quite basic and even some intendedly natural cave areas are very boxy and unrealistic. There are almost no flybys or cameras - except of the very nice kite cutscene -, and the usage of music is also just mediocre. Also I could find a lot of end of the world moments and invisible walls (in the first level there's a strange room in which you can't do anything and which has a very unfinished feel). Everything still works together well enough and the level has a very unique comic-esque feel that is at least consistent. On the whole, not quite a near-perfect raid, but as for a first effort this is quite a remarkable adventure and the very good object design alone together with a few nice gameplay ideas makes this adventure recommendable." - manarch2 (15-Jun-2017)

"An amazing adventure with a lot of new textures, new objects, new enemies and new and fresh ideas. Good architecture, specially in the areas with natural environments; the oriental buildings are very cool too. I've enjoyed some tasks and puzzles in certain levels, like in the mountains or in the golden hall, but I didn't like another features like the backtracking in the levels with very huge outside areas, the crawlspaces mazes, the many switches puzzle in the first level or the many crowbar levers puzzle in the ninja's house (they were too "obscure" and I had to use the walkthrough). No extra weapons needed to deal with the few enemies I found, but I missed the shotgun or the revolver; I've found very few secrets 'cause I never thought about to use the golden roses I found. There are well-done animations and cutscenes, a good atmosphere and the lighting and texturization are well worked too. Perhaps many rooms are too empty of objects, but the new ones are cool. A fantastic adventure worth to play, but with a lot of patience and exploration." - Jose (10-May-2017)

"This level series was pretty amazing in several ways. The Senet game made quite an appearance, the adventure is set in a wide variety of environments from Dracula's House to temples, with plenty of Japanese cultural references such as lighting fires to make lanterns move through the water, a little ninja trying to trap Lara with a package of flares, a monkey bathing in a hot spring, and Daruma dolls as boulders. The cutscenes really stood out by having Lara ride horses and glide around. Gameplay consists of tight timed runs in some places, a few enemies here and there (such as a maniacally laughing woman, or ninjas, or gun-wielding samurai), jumping through slides, dodging boulders (especially in mountainous passages...very realistic in this adventure), finding switches and key items in large spaces and after going through long passages. However, some passages did end up being tedious, especially when the same trick was applied in every level. For instance, many secret passages are marked with skull signs, which indicate the promise of a golden rose, but require going through a deadly passage to get there. The crawlspace mazes were also too long for my liking. While the rooms lacked lighting contrasts, the textures still depicted realistic settings. It was exciting to find out the passages revealed by the golden roses. Some aspects of this level series are really novel, but other parts are repetitive. So I think this level series is worth looking into, but it does require patience and perseverance to go through. And then this level series is even more enjoyable with some knowledge of Japanese culture and language." - Sakusha (24-Apr-2017)

"This is different, this is great, this is lovely. Thanks a lot for this level! Many unusual objects and FMV sequences. I admired specially the treatment given to the finding and using of secrets - a rare feature in TR games, where secrets generally are not for direct usage. I (as other forum members) had the misfortune of seeing my remaining golden roses disappear after a level break, and was obliged to seek for a new golden rose (without having to use one) in order to play two very interesting sequences for grabbing secrets; this was awkward, for I had to backtrack a lot – but in spite of this, I couldn’t give less than a 10 for the secrets’ item. As to gameplay, I found one puzzle (the crowbar levers and multiple rooms’ one) completely unfathomable, and I considered quite unfair to hide a key inside a bell, considering that the camera doesn’t show the item when Lara is covered by this bell. (It’s a fact that without the walkthrough I would never have found that key of solved that puzzle.) It was also difficult to find holes or niches in a very uniform mountainous background, and to imagine that there was a specific bamboo that Lara had to climb, and this explains my textures’ mark. Nevertheless, these are minor problems in a so creative, fun and satisfactory level." - Josey (17-Mar-2017)

"What fun - a light, bright, player friendly level for a change, with a game of senet quite early on in the proceedings. I haven't played senet for ages and in fact I've kept an appropriate save game in case I feel the urge in future. Wonderful. This is an innovative and clever game that never once loses sight of the fact that most players just want to have a good time, preferably in a setting that enables them to see what's going on. There are a variety of areas to explore throughout the multi-part game and each one is a feast for the eyes and a great pleasure to play. There are some excellent re-textured objects (take a bow mechanical ladybird) and I particularly liked the use of underwater buckets to indicate well openings leading to upper areas and the amazing turtles. This is an assured and impressive debut and I cannot wait to see what this excellent builder comes up with in future." - Jay (11-Mar-2017)

"I played this rather gargantuan release at the same time I was playing another gargantuan release, The Palatium of Ankh, and so their details tend to run together in my mind. However, although both are maiden voyages, I had a much better time playing Zipangu. It's challenging in places, but it's not sadistically brutal in the vein of Ankh, and the lighting is much more player friendly. I also liked the device of placing already collected secret roses in blue vases to have the chance to acquire more of them. However, since for some reason my accumulated rose(s), the presence of which I verified just before completing the level, was/were not carried over into the next level (I can't remember which one), I was unable to collect the roses in that level. No great loss, however, as most of the secrets did not afford any additional pickups. Dutchy has provided his typically clear and compact walkthrough which allowed me to get through without having to resort to any of his provided savegames. I spent a little more than five hours here and had a good time from start to finish. High recommendations." - Phil (07-Mar-2017)

"An interesting and pleasant collection of levels here from Alphonse. Cute title screen. Story wise? Well I must admit I’m a little lost, you start off playing a level Dracula’s house as young Lara filled with various traps puzzles and spooky corners.  I felt like I missed a substantial part of the first level out (perhaps because I won the board puzzle?).  I also recall a section early on where you pop up out of a hatch in the water to be presented with a room with an invisible wall that you somehow can't enter?  Anyway eventually by the end of the first level you’re teleported (thanks to an alien ship), to a more oriental setting (and now suddenly as adult lara with guns).  From the Great Buddha Hall onwards it starts to play as a more complete package.  Pretty much all of the main spaces are immense.  Some of the texturing is perhaps a little repetitive, though it’s offset with excellent lighting.  This level also contains some of the nicest custom objects I’ve seen and the outdoor Pagodas for instance looking very authentic.  Whilst the locations are great I don’t feel the original TR3/TR4 music queues fit that well either. In terms of gameplay it’s fairly light on combat and focuses more on puzzle solving and exploration.  There’s a fair bit of boulder dodging too. Everything for the most part is accessible though and even the timed sections are forgiving enough not to trouble most players.  Unfortunately I did find myself completely stonewalled on third level (Five Storied Pagoda) and couldn't progress until I’d read G&D Productions Walkthrough on the forum. All in all I netted 6 hours 53 minutes from Zipangu.  Abrupt ending aside, this is a fun adventure definitely worthy of your consideration. Stiggy" - TheStig (26-Feb-2017)

"A long game including 7 levels with similar design. My review will have a different opinion that the 3 reviews posted prior. The game starts with a cool title screen. Something new, innovative, havent seen it before. A good point. / Level 1 /. The first look at the level is nice, but walking only few steps I see right at the beginning that this is not going be what I expected, a TRLE masterpiece with a rating of 9,20. Its an outside area, but the nature is totally empty. This empty feeling of the environment starts here and keeps through the whole level set. The cliff/stone geometry was doubtful. One thing I notice that the author didnt care about changing the texture sounds so that everything has a stone sound assigned. First texture errors are noticeable ( squeezed textures on the walls like the author is saying I dont care about using half of the textures so that it looks not squeezed or stretched ). The very low resolution textures didnt look nice. The ˝end of the world˝ is obviously not hidden and some more work is needed around this part to make the illusion of being in an outside area. The light in this first area is also very bad. Its a sunset, the light should be vivid, not monotone like Im in a laboratory. After reaching the inside area Im noticing the ˝blank house˝, empty, no objects placement but after reaching the first water it kind of started to look good, some atmosphere was finally building up but it lasted only very short. After exploring this sunken Dracula house the same problem persists like in the beginning. Big empty boxy rooms, no objects use, very monotone and flat light, some corridors with catastrophic light . Some objects needed light adjustment. Definitely this whole area needs a little bit more work feels unfinished. I reached also an invisible wall that prevented me from entering a room. Reaching the end of the level things started to feel atmospheric. I really liked the ending and reaching the teleporting spiral. The atmosphere through the first level was decent, mostly because of the background music. Gameplay was ok in the first level. / Level 2 /. It starts looking a bit better than the previous one, but the area still fells empty. Few texturing errors are noticeable, some of them including very stretched textures, wrong rotated ones. The light was still very ultra monotone. After the caves I reached the outside area with some houses. Objects had wrong ( if even any ) light adjustment so that they were like glowing. Had some problems figuring out that I was able to climb up those trees. The horizon looked very weird in this area its pitch black I dont know if that was the intention like Im now playing by night ( probably, because there is a moon in the sky ), but the lighting in this whole level ( and after levels ) doesnt fit to that idea. Another disappointment was the reachable ˝end of the world˝ texture thats supposed to show a forest/trees while looking from far away, but youre not supposed to let Lara walk to it that close. The flyby sequence was good, but the music ended to fast leaving the second part without it. This whole area and the similar looking ones in the other levels look just so basic in design, very very very empty, like a dead environment without any diversity. Some more objects placed would live up this whole thing a lot. The light was again non existing, blank, flat, monotone, even catastrophic in some parts. I liked the idea with the key in a bell. Gameplay was actually fine, not too hard. After one third ( or more ) of the level I reached some inside cave parts that looked just awful in light, texturing and design it was just painful to play through this parts. After a while I reached the inside parts of the house. The same problem I had with the previous parts till persists in the house . Empty, flat, careless light and so on. Some painful long crawl corridors were included. The gameplay was ok for me. / Level 3 /. Starts in a box like cave with even worse design and light than the previous levels. Seems like built with no imagination. I started really questioning why this has a rating above 9,0. This third level felt really amateurish, basic, careless, beginnerish I couldnt enjoy playing it. After this horrific inside box cave I reached the outside area which looked exactly like the outside area of the second level no difference, no improvement everything looking same with the same imperfections. At least the house design was good while walking on the roofs. / Level 4, Level 5 / - this level were the same as level 2 and 3 with some minor differences. Im not sure if I can tell them apart. Maybe its just me or I played this levels set too long. / Level 6 / Again this awful looking box caves some snow parts included. Nothing special to say about. / Level 7 / - Finally something different, but still, not impressive, average or under average in all categories. I liked ˝fighting˝ budha Havent seen that in any level. The best level in the game. And thats a ˝quick˝ review of all levels included in this package. First of all, I dont see the point of having 7 levels and using the same objects and textures in close to all of them. Whats the point ? It makes the already monotone levels look even more monotone and repetitive in design. One thing I noticed is that this level were already released few months ago ( or I might be wrong ) and that this release is like an improved version ? The gameplay was overall ok but I couldnt enjoy playing this levels set because of the design. The light was just catastrophic, even non existing The author didnt spent much time or didnt care in playing some light dynamics, adding a few light bulbs, making the rooms a bit more darker, adding a sun . Just a flat, monotone light through all levels. Very disappointing. Texturing was not bad, but had some easy fixable errors and also, I didnt liked the low resolution textures ( not a particular negative point ) but often the textures were wrong placed, sharp transition between textures ( this was a very frequent mistake ), wrong rotated . Level design and architecture was completely basic ( in most parts ), mostly boxy. The whole game needed a lot more work with the objects as the use and integration of objects in the level was very bad. All levels feel very empty and dead. Atmosphere was very good in some parts of the game, but mostly it failed to drag me in and make me play the game. Maybe I didnt have the same opinion as the others because of the TR2 or TR3 Idea behind the game, but thats not an excuse to ignore the features of the TRLE ( light especially ) and not try to make the rooms look more complex, natural and not boxy. Im not a reviewer who will just go with the flow˝ and give similar ratings like everyone or rate it high because it has 7 levels. Just for comparison, this level has worse light than ˝ The Palatium of Ankh˝, some better texturing and is in some categories worse. As a final word, not recommended, unless someone enjoy playing through the same basic design in 7 levels." - Gorty (11-Feb-2017)

"Yet another new game that makes me sad as it comes to its completion... We're being spoiled! This is eons away from the old, pixel perfect jumps - no clues of where to go or what to do, Japanese games. And so much better in every sense, the great simple yet effective and still eye candy design, the player-friendly gameplay (except for the tight ropes, I suppose), the variety and the secrets, oh the secrets, that become a pleasure to find instead of just hidden things. The only thing I liked less was a cave, somewhere among the rocks but with a flat light that made it almost impossible to discover - hence my 9 in lighting and textures. The rest is innovative in the classic tomb raiding style and loads of fun. Somewhat a breath of fresh air among the same-ol', same-ol' stuff. Couldn't be any more recommended." - Jorge22 (06-Feb-2017)

"Pleasant series of levels, it is well lit and the logic would have been to put much less flares (I do not remember if I used it). The long shimmy of geckokid would have been very useful because there are many. The med kits were also useless as there is really no difficulty in this adventure. Many high ladders, slides and labyrinthine parts follow each other during all these levels. I liked it anyway because easy enough and it's almost relaxing." - Drakan (06-Feb-2017)

"A game just outstanding with its custom interaction, meaningful animations, unique object set and a crude graphic scheme producing a specific Japanese mood like in no TRLE so far. I enjoyed every bit except from unforgivably long and frequent maze parts - they try hard to be remembered instead of the heavenly creativity, but I remember both, hence (6+10)/2=8. Secrets are a separate line - I recommend to persist and figure out what they're about in Buddha's Hall, because since that moment you will appreciate all of them. SUMMARY: If you like games where everything matters here's one, however I still pray for a mazeless revision." - DJ Full (31-Jan-2017)
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