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Level: Dragons Dagger back home search
Author(s): HSwyming
total rating:7.95 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adrian 9 9 8 9
Fairy Godfather 10 10 6 7
Feder 7 8 9 7
Jorge22 8 8 8 8
Jose 6 7 7 7
Josey 8 8 9 9
manarch2 7 6 7 6
Phil 9 9 9 9
PolishRaider 9 7 7 8
Ryan 8 8 8 9
category averages
(10 reviews)
8.10 8.00 7.80 7.90

Reviewer's comments

"What a super intense debut effort and what a huge duration for a single level (plus a brief dragon battle at the end). It's possibly a little too overstretched and ambitious for its own good and maybe too ambitious as there were a fair few irritations around. First and foremost, the looping audio tracks. These are never a good thing to include in levels and when the player is subjected to it for the entire duration (in my case more than 2 and a half hours net time), the player will do little more than become a bit too ill-disposed towards the level as a whole. Another big issue is the frame rate drop. The game ran so slowly at times that it became a nightmare to get through at times, which I'm sure is not what the builder wanted. I also encountered a couple of scenery breaks near the end, and thought that some of the tasks involved too much repetition and trial and error. But on the upside, this is otherwise very well done for a first effort. The sceneries are gorgeously crafted, enemies are well placed if a bit too tough to take down and the gameplay really shows intuition in the form of some of the exploration segments, traps, mirror rooms and pushblock puzzles. The dragon sequence was also not too frustrating this time round and I encountered no game crashes. Maybe in his next game, the builder might tone things down a bit, but nonetheless this is a frustrating but involving game. I feel quite wrung out." - Ryan (14-Sep-2018)

"To be a debut it's good enough to entertain players. The puzzles are not very innovative, and there are a couple of very tricky tasks which could be avoided, like the frustrating jump after getting the sight. Of course, there is enough ammo and medipacks, plenty of enemies to shoot and the secrets are not hard to find. Not agree with the background music, only changing when visiting a new area and not very appropriate; I missed more camera shots and more hints to create a more fluid gameplay. The lights are worked but I think only the general lighting of the rooms and the areas have a good look but not well worked the small texture surfaces. The last area with the dragon has no hints to know where to place the movables; perhaps the Chinese characters in the first room? so I better used Phil's walkthrough saving a lot of time. Enjoyable but don't forget to save some medipacks for the final fight." - Jose (26-Jul-2018)

"I gladly welcome a builder from continental China for a change. Still, my feelings are somewhat mixed regarding what he's done here. This two-set level is huge and has some rather creative moments. I think it's generally well built but it's also a bit annoying in ways, which reflects itself in the fact that I was getting a bit tired of it after a while - and that hardly ever happens with really great levels. The use of looping music throughout was annoying and the forest area could be considered somewhat confusing. I also found the final battle against the dragon to be way too long and quite confusing. Still, a nice effort. Hopefully, more will come and definitely better too." - Jorge22 (21-May-2018)

"I wonder if this is the builder of Bodhisattvas Cimelia because it feels pretty similar in terms of overall style. Just as that one, this level could have been a candidate for the Hall of Fame, as it has atmospheric and grand-scale locations as well diverse, creative and entertaining gameplay, together with reasonable technical skills visible here - but, sadly, this is one more example (of way too many now) where missing beta testing really destroys the whole feeling. At first, the audio tracks are beautiful to listen to but please, PLEASE don't let them loop almost endlessly! The same with objects - they are (mostly) well placed but some areas are so crowded with objects (like the lake and forest areas later in the first level) that it became almost impossible to pass through the level (let alone jumping and trap sequences) because of a frame rate of ... 3 FPS? Things a decent testing team would immediately notice. In later parts of the level, there are more and more crashes and I had to replay parts of the level because I couldn't reload games when I went out to the desktop, compatibility mode didn't help either. The second level is free of those issues (except of another looping audio) but the pushable puzzles are not really logical (at least not if you don't understand those Chinese signs) and thus another either a very tedious trial-and-error tour or you have to use the walkthrough, which I did. Add to this more trial-and-error pushable puzzles (but on a smaller scale) in the first level, lots of unwanted shortcuts, secrets you have to find in order to progress, some heavy texturing mistakes (especially, there are many missing textures near water surfaces), lots of places where you can easily reach the end of the world (in some secret hideouts, you actually have to get up to the top of the map), textures blinking in and out of existance, cameras going through walls, a rather cartoonish look in some areas, invisible blocks in front of doors and some quite boxy rooms, even outside. All these, at least as far as possible, should never be included in any decent game and ironed out in beta testing. Credit must be given to the builder that this game is still rather entertaining on the whole, and the issues I mention are really of the sort "more care is needed" rather than "missing talent", so my hopes are high that his next level really blows us away, as for a debut level (?) this is really half as bad. Found 12 secrets (that, apart of the two you need to find, were nicely hidden) in 1:45 hours." - manarch2 (21-Apr-2018)

"To be honest, this level is well built has great challenges but here is some polishing up to do. The music is a bit too loud and the fade out-in is a bit too noticeable. I like music more when you are unable to tell where it starts and ends. The lighting in some areas wasn't too great. Like above the dojo. On the other hand, I got really frustrated with some jump puzzles. I can't explain why but I always ALWAYS have bad luck with rope jumping. And there is one jump part at the first level I really hated. A bit too much rope jumping to my liking. But besides that, great job for your first level!" - Fairy Godfather (18-Apr-2018)

"This quite beautiful level could be a very delightful experience, but unfortunately it has too many monkey crashes and lags for that. (Honestly, I thought that after the Khmer Empire's BtB experience, builders would banish monkeys from their games; and here there are so many of them!) I also agree with the reviewers that complained about the toughness and bunchness of enemies, the non-stop (although lovely oriental) music, and the quite boring part of the dragon. And I think there were so many comings and goings and backtracks by tree trunks, meeting monkeys all the time, a lot of them of the ressurrecting kind; one passage should be enough. Thus said, let's pass to the praises: good light, some tricky novelties in gameplay (as the counting of thick bamboos' sequence, for deactivating spikes and picking up a golden rose, although it seems that some people could pick it up without deactivating the spikes, a real impossibility for me), a sound display of gameplay creativity and good taste for objects, coulours and places, quite enjoyable and varied gameplay, with a lot of difficult, challenging sequences. In resume, PLAY IT." - Josey (18-Apr-2018)

"I had a rather bittersweet relationship with this remarkably complex debut release. The constantly looping music quickly got on my nerves, and the worst part of it was that it obscured the secret chimes so that I found but was unable to document two of the secrets in the first level. And the game crashes became so constant near the end of the second level that I could neither save nor check my stats to determine whether that dark room at the bottom of the ladder was indeed the final secret. Another drawback was the toughness of the enemies, but there was so much weaponry and ammo to be found that I suppose I shouldn't grumble about this. Finally, there were some texture dropouts, notably in the forest area in the first level and in the water trench in the second level. I've deducted a single point in each rating category for these issues. In all other respects I found this to be a wonderful raid that took me more than three hours to play (I was writing a walkthrough at the time), filled with scenic rooms and outdoor areas and providing a variety of gameplay ideas. For the most part the game crashes were sporadic (about a half dozen) and only mildly annoying until I reached the last few minutes, at which point the game became virtually unplayable. That's too bad, because this dampened my enjoyment of what up until then had been a consistently enjoyable exercise. Highly recommended, with the noted reservations." - Phil (06-Apr-2018)

"Considering the fact it's a debut project, it actually deserves lots of praise. It is located in a vast Oriental compound divided into smaller sections, each with a unique theme and objectives. The first level is all about exploration and typical raiding, while the second one introduces a really tedious boss battle and is quite a turn-off. Another problem must be stressed as well. Sadly, the later areas are plagued with considerable framedrops which slightly takes away the immersion and becomes quite obnoxious, never hindering the gameplay though. Hopefully, the author will have a look into that issue and release a tweak of some sort. Puzzle-wise it is as varied as possible, offering tricky jumps, time trials and clever use of sniping abilities. Some sections however require multiple attempts and become utterly daunting. I had to replay them dozens of time and was even close to cracking my gamepad with rage. Combat is a little bland with enemies highly resistant to ammo. Graphically, it looks dazzling for most of the time, with interiors filled with nice little props, huge exotic paintings and skillful use of light. There are also custom music pieces playing continually in particular segments. I myself found them really pleasing and never muted. Secrets are well placed and definitely obtainable. I managed to grab all of them. Summing up, it was a great lenghty adventure, occassionally troubled with in game faults and truly difficult challenges. We should give the author a big thumb up and await his future contributions. We just might've witnessed the birth of genuine a TRLE talent." - PolishRaider (02-Apr-2018)

"Not a bad debut for this builder. Lighting was good, but the textures have been placed with a little less care in some places. I liked the first pushable puzzle, and the tasks were generally fun. The design was good, very atmospheric, still, I don't know if it is just me, but there was a very nasty lag that grew heavier and heavier as I advanced on the level that made almost impossible to enjoy the gameplay. I think that’s due to the huge wide open areas overflooded with static objects. That’s something to consider for future releases, because no matter how good it looks, you have to respect the limitations of the game in order to avoid texture draw problems, objects disappearing and lag. Cameras were very well applied, but the music turn very annoying after a short while since there weren't any other soundtracks in the game. Also, enemies were very tuff. That wasn’t so much of a problem because of the generous amount of ammo, but it is a little unreasonable to kill a bat with more than 10 shots. The final fight could’ve been better, but maybe it’s just me getting tired of fighting the TR4 dragon and his locusts. Overall, a nice level with enjoyable gameplay, if you don’t mind the lag." - Feder (30-Mar-2018)

"I liked this level a lot. Very enjoyable overall. I don't much care for locusts and having to keep performing the save/load manoeuvre in the final area somewhat repetitive. Music a tad annoying) in places. Lovely atmosphere otherwise - I am partial to Oriental levels. Maybe could do with a few more camera hints. Good secret placement - I found 8/12.Textures generally well applied - but towards the high end-of-the-world they would often not be drawn. Recommended." - Adrian (28-Mar-2018)
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