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Level: Imprisoned Spirits Forever back home search
Author(s): GMac
total rating:9.33 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
DJ Full 8 9 9 8
Drakan 9 9 10 10
eRIC 9 9 10 9
Jay 9 9 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 8 9 10 10
Josey 9 10 10 10
Juno Jim 10 10 10 10
manarch2 7 8 8 8
McRaider 9 10 10 10
Mman 8 9 9 9
Phil 10 10 10 9
Ryan 9 9 10 10
category averages
(13 reviews)
8.85 9.31 9.69 9.46

Reviewer's comments

"As the name suggests this is a follow up to The Imprisoned Spirits and Emerald Dream, with all the familiar signifiers; Grey-ish alien castle-type structures, otherworldly music and surreal objects. Despite being such an abstract pseudo-horror theme, at this point it's well-worn enough to be almost comfortingly familiar, which perhaps isn't the best place for such a theme to end up, but it's well-executed and refined through it's constant reiteration. it's a bit more colourful and there is a little thematic experimentation here, with a great starry water/pit effect in the first map, a water focus in the third, some Ankhor elements in map four and a new take on the series' floating island void type areas in the last map (including a reprise of the starry backdrop). It does stay with the general basic aesthetic though, and I wish the later sets had built on/further explored some of the wilder stuff in the original set, like the "inside a computer" feel of A Time to Dance or the "haunted house" of A Time to Kill, but even with some new textures and objects "underground castle/caves" and "floating islands/swamps" remain the central themes.
The gameplay is similarly pretty familiar, with a decent variety of tasks in frequently quite vast areas; sometimes it's a bit of an item hunt, but there's enough interesting tasks in-between that to keep the momentum going. The main original element is vertical elevator like ledges that are used throughout, and are used to further explore tall structures. Fitting it's name, the penultimate level "War" goes very combat heavy, and provides a nice cap on that element of the series (though the familiarity is also a problem here, because there could have been one or two new enemy types to break your expectations and give a curveball or two). The final level is actually very sedate in comparison, but I felt it worked, with the emptiness and isolation pushed to the limit and leading to it feeling like a climax to the lower-key horror parts of the series, as you've dealt with the spirits and all that's left is an empty fading void. The ending is somewhat abrupt and I'm not sure whether it's a sequel hook or an ambiguous ending to the series, but in the context of the final level I feel that sort of worked as well. What's new here is pretty subdued, but this is another strong iteration and maybe- climax to this series." - Mman (08-Jul-2019)

"There are a lot of things that I liked, platform crossovers and bend blocks not too difficult. I also enjoyed the labyrinth pass with a view from above (think about using the binoculars to see where to move the blocks). Otherwise it's a little routine, the enemies are quite numerous in some places but using the right weapons, it's pretty easy. In short, interesting adventure because not difficult despite the huge areas to go." - Drakan (20-Jun-2019)

"Of course this level is professionally built, with fluent and bug-free gameplay, decent visuals and nicely chosen audio tracks. But if you have ever played one of the builder's other levels, you will feel very familiar as this one does not bring anything substantially new to the whole thing. The atmosphere of all the levels is solid but all levels tend to look quite similar (especially since some rooms are copied) and only the last level brings a bit of a change to the whole thing The gameplay is fairly challenging at times with a few tricky jumps and also a few moving platforms, but most of the time it's very pedestrian with the same kind of easy tasks we've seen dozens of times before in the builder's work; add to this a lot of always the same kind of enemies that eventually grow annoying. That lever puzzle in the ahmet cages in the second level as well as climbing that large tower in the fourth one were incredibly mindless and thus boring. As said it does get better at times but after all those tasks in very similar environments and no real change in terms of atmosphere I was glad to have finished this game after 1:25 hours and a very unsatisfying finale..." - manarch2 (09-Jun-2019)

"Very nicely surprised to see George back, and it's once more a solid release, even though one of those more simplistic and recycled ones (I have a feeling I have seen almost every element in the previous games). Puzzles are casual, enemy usage is creative, music choice is remarkable and the second level is probably the best organized, standing out together with the fifth, while the third one is a lot anti-climactic in the large grey room where all we get for a wall is a single texture. I wish this game had more colors in general because omnipresent white bulbs make an impression of being under constant bright moonlight, and while I know it's supposed to be magical, it gets counter-effective when uninterrupted." - DJ Full (04-Jun-2019)

"It's good to have George back, and although we've had our differences over the years I've always considered him to be one of our premier builders despite our differences in taste. ISF is typically Georgian, with dark but lush surroundings that don't limit the player's ability to see everything clearly. Some of the ubiquitous spike traps are deviously placed, and if you don't watch your step in selected areas you'll be treated to a jarring steel enema. Enemies in chief are ahmets and yetis, most of which explode quite satisfyingly when they die. There's a guide who puts in a couple of cameo appearances but never does anything productive (as far as I can recall, anyway). There's one of those fixed-camera mazes that no one except George seems to be fond of, but this one is quite entertaining without the elements of drudgery I remember in the earlier ones. Some of the jumping exercises are quite elaborate, not to mention hair-pulling, and I'm glad I had Dutchy's walkthrough close by to keep me properly oriented. With its help my total playing time was right at three hours, all of which was thoroughly enjoyable. High recommendations." - Phil (31-May-2019)

"When I started and played the first level, I thought it could be another "remake" but by starting the second level I saw another different adventure. If you've played previous GMac's levels you already know what you'll find here: a great atmosphere, good care with the texturization and the lights and a huge dose of exploration, but with no much backtracking. There are a series of tricky jumps in the tower (penultimate level) and in the last level I got often disoriented with all those teleports, but usually the tasks are not hard and the whole adventure can be suitable for many players. Many thanks GMac for another small jewel. Recommended." - Jose (30-May-2019)

"Gmac is back !!! Great one George !!! Everything was as good as I expected, fairly linear gameplay, a great combination of traps, puzzles, features like the elevators, cool architecture, good lighting, swimming, enemies, lots of territory to explore – OMG – good for my short term memory… I got hung up on that tower – kept thinking those elevators should go all the way to the top, but finally figured out what was obvious to do. Baddies had to be shot with the right weapon – interesting… "Nasty Ahmet Gun" LOL !!! I also like Lara’s jump moves, & the way you used them – just a very enjoyable game all the way through !!! The “changing” islands at the end got me for a while, but finally got all the way through – thanks for another Gmac game !!! Oh, a little over 5 hours too, I like to look around, & that tower had me…" - Juno Jim (25-May-2019)

"Well... This time I must say this reveals great craftsmanship. It doesn't actually bring anything particularly new settings wise (and I could recognize a little bit of this and a little bit of that here and there - most especially in the moving cages part) but it's all so well done... Excellent textures (even though sometimes it's a bit hard to see there's a lever in some specific place because it gets somewhat confused with the wall), a fine balance between plenty of puzzles and plenty of action, nothing even remotely faulty regarding the sounds and the music. And the last level is a grand finale, quite interesting. I must say I wasn't exceptionally thrilled while playing, but I guess that's utterly subjective and definitely not the game's problem. So, yeah, after giving it a good thought, it seems to me that it wouldn't be fair to rate this levelset with less than four tens. And here they go... Forever." - Jorge22 (24-May-2019)

"A levelset quite impressive atmospherically wise , we are used to this with GMac's offerings , it is more than ever superbly done here with cameras and lovely music pieces. Only two types of enemies and that works really well , the numerous battles with them in the level 'War' were very fun with the weapons given. Texturing and lighting are quite good in general and suitable for the different types of gameplay and settings we are engaged in. For aside the atmosphere , gameplay is what will stick in my mind : it is exquisitely legible , and all levels have their own personality and coherency, with large chunks of fun : ledges, ascending of a very high tower or some subtle moments with curved jumps and the like. Fun without being very difficult. I could have rated 10 in this category but there is still these dormant spike traps, the majority of them make sense but a few are completely gratuitous and this can be quite irritating. Anyway a very recommanded game , especially for the audios, the battles , the well mastered gameplay and fun actions." - eRIC (22-May-2019)

"I am a great fan of GMac's games, and this one didn't disappoint me at all! It was pure enjoyment from beginning to end, and I even had a lot of fun with those sneaky multiple sliding ramps... It was an undeniable GMac's game: the huge, dark, severe, forbidding sceneries, with horrid details - but so masterly lighted, flares are almost never needed, and, in the tetrical darkness, those lovely green floating trees; the right number of puzzles, challenges and enemies; the excellent taste for chosing and placing the music; the gentleness in giving us not too difficult tasks. And I would give another 10 in gameplay if I had not been so lost at that part of the rooms with blocks and levers. A few hints there would be indeed useful. (Frankly, I needed the walkthrough for navigating there.) Thank you very much, George, and congratulations!" - Josey (21-May-2019)

"George must have been working behind the scenes for quite a while now, as not only is this a surprise return for him, but it's also a fairly lengthy (just over two hours) one. Luckily, he is back on fine form and this is without a doubt one of his more enjoyable efforts. The first few minutes might seem familiar if you've played Emerald Dreams, but it branches out into newer territory not long after that, which keeps things fresh. There's nothing difficult to accomplish, provided you're careful and keep your eyes open, but there's a good mixture of everything, including plenty of platforming, a few nifty puzzles and route finding exercises and sneaky traps. Eye candy is also high on the list, there's loads to look at and some of the scenery in the last levels are particularly mesmerising. Great stuff overall." - Ryan (08-May-2019)

"And he’s back! This has all the hallmarks of a GMac level – grand architecture, wonderful lighting and well chosen music. It’s in five parts and I found progress logical and enjoyable and managed not to get stuck too often, at least until the final ‘floating islands’ style section with transporters to zap between two versions of the area. I managed to get well confused in that part, but then I have no sense of direction. There’s a good balance of tasks to achieve throughout and I particularly liked the use of lift tiles. The level of challenge is not too gruelling and most players should certainly be able to play this, which is good as I had a great time playing and I think you will too!" - Jay (07-May-2019)

"A magnificent delivery of GMac, with that very particular atmosphere that makes the saga of imprisoned spirits brilliant.. In the first level we did not find much action but in the following levels the player feels trapped with the gameplay and makes him want more.. I think it's a great game and I hope this is not your last job, thank you George for this delivery!" - McRaider (05-May-2019)
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