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Level: Create a Classic 2019 - Monastery of Talion back home search
Author(s): PhryneCroft
total rating:8.95 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Cbl 8 9 9 10
Ceamonks890 8 9 9 9
Chel 9 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 9 10 9
Drakan 10 9 9 9
eRIC 6 8 8 9
Jay 9 9 10 10
JesseG 8 9 9 9
Jorge22 9 9 10 10
Jose 8 9 9 9
Lizard Queen 9 10 10 10
manarch2 8 8 8 8
MarlenaCrystal 7 8 9 9
Mman 8 9 9 10
Phil 9 9 10 9
Raina Audron 8 8 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Sabatu 9 10 10 10
Torry 6 9 9 7
category averages
(19 reviews)
8.26 8.95 9.32 9.26

Reviewer's comments

"Here we have a hunt for three ice crystals and four masks. While I did enjoy exploring the many areas, the level was scaled too big and there was a bit too much backtracking for my liking. I sometimes got confused between all the flooded rooms. It would also have been nice to give the player some indication that they've found what they need in the second level, so that they can turn around and head back to the first one. The secrets were fun to find and there were a nice variety of puzzles. Overall an impressive Tibet-themed adventure. 1 hour 52 minutes." - JesseG (14-Mar-2020)

"Excellent. Really a classic level with a TR2 taste very nice to play. Despite the small defects like some missing sounds or the wall switches without covers, the environments are well made and really nice to explore. Only a "but": the gameplay is not very "friendly" for the players, because if you choose a wrong path, you'll find often dead ends and have to go back or reload a previous savegame. Even so I've really enjoyed this small adventure. Good work. Recommended." - Jose (16-Jan-2020)

"Excellent TR2-based set of two levels, just so cold! I found it to be rather well built, nice to look at and with the right amount of challenges, well placed baddies and quite doable traps (excepting the underwater doors that take several tries). It actually ends up being quite long, perhaps because most of the time things aren't too obvious, especially amidst all those confusing snowy mountains and, even though I didn't find it thrilling, I thought it was very satisfying in its own TR2 league. There's nothing one could call faulty and the secrets aren't overly complicated. Recommended." - Jorge22 (10-Jan-2020)

"Well made level but at some points I felt a bit lost but once you figure out what is your goal, it is not that difficult. The backtracking to the main level was a nice touch and overall, had the feeling of a different take on the Monastery level from TR2. A bit puzzling as to why did the author used stock TR4 skins and sounds for weapons and Lara, since they used the rotational inventory. There are many caves to explore in the hunt for the masks and crystals which provides quite a lengthy gameplay (took me just under 3 hours to complete, missed 1 secret). There were two instances where I didn´t know how to proceed - one with the jump switch hidden a bit too well and the other with seemingly no way to open the very last gate where the masks could be inserted. The solution was not apparent at first, but I still enjoyed the levels." - Raina Audron (03-Jan-2020)

"I'm pleasantly surprised to have been able to download and play all 18 of this year's CaC levels within the designated playing time. My favorite is still Sleeping with the Fishes, and I would be hard pressed to make my pick of #2, but Monastery of Talion has certainly earned a place in the top three. An earlier reviewer complained about the complexity, but since I always have a walkthrough (either written or video) in my back pocket when I play, knowing what to do next is never a problem for me. Some have said that this ruins the immersion, whatever that is, but I feel immersed in the game just fine even when I know what's about to happen around the corner. In this case Dutchy's written instructions were indispensable to my progress, and I take my hat off to him. The final timed run near the end almost did me in until I realized I could jump directly onto the ledge and roll without having to grab and pull up. The traps and enemies were spaced nicely, so that I never had this feeling that I needed to save after every sequence as I did in Tomb of Thoth. The environs are darker than I like, but ample flares are provided. One of the clear winners in this year's competition." - Phil (28-Dec-2019)

"A level that is pleasant to play most of the time , with good sequences of gameplay , even some where you need to think a bit ; But i was surprised to find a few places where the progression abruptly lost logic and intuitiveness and the temptation is high to give up on the level. The places to raid are well done especially some natural caves and the atmosphere is convincing despite a couple of missing sounds. The design of the courtyard with the two lateral areas ressemble too much to the builder's first release though and there is this bug with the invisible block in the hut. Fun wise , not on par with the better levels of the CaC 2019 i've played so far , still we can see the builder is a good one." - eRIC (28-Dec-2019)

"There was a well made overall atmosphere, but unfortunately the gameplay had its flaws. Torry already said everything important in his review (and I also had to look up a walkthrough and was glad after I finished it finally; there were some puzzles with switch combinations I didn't get at all). A TR game doesn't have to be that kind of difficult. For an experienced raider, who is familiar with TRLE logic and the common puzzles in Custom levels and who might also proved a lot of patience in previous levels it might not be too hard to get through this level, but for a new player... Well, a good game should not rely on any previous knowledge or experience and you should be taken by the hand from the game, so that you can experience something new step by step. The entertainment curve should be balanced and it's not enough to just have classic assets and puzzles and to let the players entertain themselves with them. But even after all this complaining about the gameplay, there are also a lot of positive things to say. The atmosphere was good and all of the objects (except for missing or wrong sounds) and textures were fitting well together. The puzzles themselves were also creative, but they would have been better, if they were a bit more intuitive or if they weren't that hard sometimes. It's better to have an easy puzzle, than a pixel perfect jump sequence or time run, where you have to save and reload every second. It took me over two hours and I found 5 of the 6 secrets." - MarlenaCrystal (26-Dec-2019)

"This game does a lot of things right, starting from gameplay which at the start still feels like a bit too quick and linear as the builder's debut, but later on opens up more and more and actually gets better in the meantime. I liked some of the puzzles and also the timed runs. There is more than enough ammo and items, but at least a few quite interesting enemy encounters you can approach strategically. Perhaps the "boss fight" with two Talion monsters feels a bit too easy and not like a satisfying finale (not exactly finale, as the game going on a bit afterwards but without major fights). The setting is technically quite well constructed (minor issues like too flat walls and a few texturing mistakes aside) but it lacked its certain something for me, many areas felt somewhat empty and were slightly on the drab side as well. The architecture is still occasionally great, especially in the cave areas, but the monastery also did not feel very impressive, e.g. compared to the original game. It is good stuff overall and I can hardly say this game needs more care, so the perhaps more personal issues must not be yours while playing this. Spent 55 minutes in here having found all six not very tricky secrets." - manarch2 (20-Dec-2019)

"Here we have yet another one of these overly complex levels with a myriad of paths to follow, switches to find and doors to open that will test your patience and question your sanity so get that walk through out early folks. It actually started off well and was quite promising but quickly fell into the miasma of frustration for me. Tomb Raider does not need to be this difficult guys. I just do not understand the current thinking among level builders (lets utterly confuse and piss off the player). I found the level too dark in many places although sufficient flares are provided. Right at the start we call Lara's pistols the M1911. Well 1911 is the design and you got that right. Then later on we pick up the Revolver and you call it a Desert Eagle? No, a revolver is a revolver and a Desert Eagle is a Semi Automatic gas operated pistol designed to use revolver cartridges. "Sigh". Now I did like the secrets. Not only did you get a gold skull or whatever but you also got a heap of goodies such as ammo and health packs and this is what a secret should be in my opinion. Anyway, after three days I finally got to the end after the disappointing boss fight (way too easy) and all I felt was relief that the damn thing was over." - Torry (20-Dec-2019)

"I have to say I really really enjoyed this level! It was exactly what I was looking to play at this time... not too difficult, not too easy to be boring... just right! As for the things I loved: 1) I loved the library part where you get to go way up high and jump to your destination with the torch. 2) I loved how you can jump over the railings. 3) I loved how there were several torches available in the cubby in case you didn't take it with you (good level builder thinking). 4) I loved how there was a resting point at the lowering trapdoor sequence, so you could save and then go for the sconce. 5) I loved how the 4 switches in the mask area served dual purpose depending on which ones you activated. 5) I loved how there was a safe place to take out the Yetis (and I loved the Yetis too!) 6) I loved jumping, twist and grabbing the ceiling columns! 7) I even thought it would be fun to do a rope swing and sure enough there was one later on! It seems that everything I loved to do was in this game! As for the things I didn't like: 1) BUGS! The TNT door where I got stuck in the invisible block behind. Every time I retried it, the baddies pushed me into it and I had to reload. I'm sure there must be a way to level design it so that this doesn't happen. So this was a big no-no for me. Also got stuck in a corner wall between a block and had to reload. Another no-no for me. 2) Backtracking too much for missed items. I think something could have been put in to prevent progressing until you pickup the Monastery key. 3) Just a pet peeve, would like to see more quick cut views of what to do when you do things such as shoot the Lion mouth crystal, because without the walkthrough, I would have absolutely no clue what it was for. Nevertheless, I still absolutely loved this game and cannot recommend it highly enough. Well done Verena!" - Lizard Queen (12-Dec-2019)

"Another well constructed level from PhryneCroft and again it foreshadows what she could be capable of in future. The Tibet environment has always been a favourite of mine and this particular one is beautifully constructed and the chilly atmosphere is on point. The gameplay provides a wide range of tasks to get stuck into to prevent boredom from setting in, ranging from timed runs and torch puzzles, to block pushing sequences and devious traps. The Talion Guardian also makes a welcome return, alongside his evil twin and plenty of Bartoli's henchmen and a few of the local snow leopards. The only thing that I thought was odd and could have been changed was the switch puzzle that, while there were hints for one of the masks, there wasn't any clear indication of the hint for the final receptacle room, which was rather annoying. The hiding place of the crowbar was also a bit arbitrary and unimaginative. That aside, I really enjoyed the hour and 45 minutes I spent here." - Ryan (08-Dec-2019)

"This is a Tibet type level and it covers all the base styles of that theme (with a little TR2 Gold base flavour too). It doesn't do anything super surprising or original, but it's all well executed and good looking with a natural melding of those themes. After some terrain and base areas to lead-in the Monastery is the hub which you explore for the main quest items. There's nothing too brutal, but gameplay is on the challenging side with navigation in particular involving some things that are easy to overlook, although the Crowbar placement is the only thing that felt pretty cheap, being just randomly in a corner under some objects (technically it's pretty near where you need it, but it's easy to miss). I did feel a few puzzles had questionable trial and error design; maybe I just missed clues but there were a couple of switch puzzles I could find no real clues for beyond guessing (and one has a double purpose with no hint towards that). I also felt the ending could have had a bit more to it; there's technically a boss fight, but it comes a while before the end depending on how you do things. The general tasks are decent though. There are actually two levels, although they are relatively self-contained with only one item to transfer between them. A good small set, although I feel being a little more adventurous with the theme could have taken it to another level." - Mman (06-Dec-2019)

"A double level that returns Lara to Tibet, complete with Bartoli’s goons and an encounter with the giant Garuda guardian. The level begins with an exploration of snowy caves and some modern structures (with textures from TR2 Gold) before Lara blasts her way through a wall of ice, at which point the real challenges begin around the monastery. The various keys and stones used to unlock later stages can be found in any order, allowing the player freedom but also potentially leading to some long backtracking in search of missing items. Sometimes, switches caused more than one thing to happen, which could be confusing. While a few areas, such as the central Buddha statue, appear to be almost the same as the original Barkhang Monastery, the level really shines with the new areas to explore, including a giant underground chamber with flickering mist and the ice cavern area near the Bird Guardian battle. Some of the puzzles, like the ceiling mirror, were a bit difficult to figure out because the clues were so subtle. Others used textures in a creative way, slightly modifying the original versions to make a point. Navigating the temple itself was fun, often involving backflipping off of ladders: the monks must have been very acrobatic, although only their skeletons remain here. 2 hours to complete, and found all 6 secrets." - Cbl (01-Dec-2019)

"Long level, it will take a long time to find the 4 Tibetan masks. The 4th behind a grid with 4 levers to combine, I tried a lot of combinations before finding the right one. Some enemies but we have the necessary weapons, the 2 big ones were pretty easily eliminated. Some enemies are gurgling when they shoot. In conclusion, nice level to do for lovers of monastery (which I belong) and for others." - Drakan (28-Nov-2019)

"This is most definitely a pleasant trip down memory lane. Tibet looks better than ever and the monastery is, of course, imposing, if puzzlingly devoid of monks. Perhaps the baddies have disposed of them all. There’s a lot of outside areas that take some exploring and it can cause confusion at times, but the atmosphere is wonderful and I really didn’t might all the sightseeing. The only thing I didn’t enjoy, needless to say, was shooting the snow leopards – I never did care for that at all. Definitely recommended." - Jay (26-Nov-2019)

"Feels like you've never discovered it all but in a very specific way: this edit of Barkhang has a cornered, abandoned, desolated, spooky overtone which implies there is something more to the story than told in the readme. Also, minimal architecture feels both like a shelter and a trap, like if it was easier to corner all the monks when they had nowhere to run... You'd think with all the books around you'll find some explanation scraps, but maybe you shouldn't... muahahaha... I can only guess the reason for those creepy applications but they make it much different from any other Tibetan level, so, despite of sound issues (fixable in 20 minutes if you allow me), I did something unusual and awarded max score for the buggiest thing. Gameplay is totally basic yet minimal architecture neither halts you in one place nor lets you proceed too fast - just like in Agent's level, it feels neither dragged nor trimmed. There are two dissonances in gameplay: 1) a weight shift with the switch puzzle, quite unexpected since there are no riddles before and suddenly a double one, which feels single so I just walked away and I would get stuck if I wasn't backseated; 2) search for the last mask has a room which, though not a copy, feels like repeated main hall instead of a quick direct pass, much desired near the end of the game. Visually it's OK but some materials cut into each other and demand transitions, but not like the one which is already here - please, please never use the big aerograph unless in Advent levels, because it always looks like sugar and never like snow. 9.25, I think..." - DJ Full (21-Nov-2019)

"In my opinion, this level is Pure bliss. I really enjoyed this level. The level itself did not contain anything extra new like new puzzles or gameplay mechanics but that's what I love. I ain't against new mechanics and move but I prefer classic tr gameplay. Switches, keys, simple puzzles and push block. The atmosphere is amazing As you may know, I don't like coloured lights with tr1 and tr2 but this level is an exception for me. Same as AgentXP's levels. I really love this level and I will strongly recommend you to play it. This author is one of few i would like to work with. Because my crystal of live redone will containt the russian base like tr2" - Sabatu (16-Nov-2019)

"A very satisfying two-part raid that successfully manages to recapture the atmosphere of TR2's Tibet with flying colours whilst utilizing the assets from that series of levels to its advantage across most design areas. However, the level design can prove problematic at times if you aren't properly paying attention to your surroundings, so having some environmental clues would have proven helpful in this respect and saved me some minor annoyance in retreading my footsteps greatly for key items I somehow missed. There's also some missing sound effects for a few of the levers and the snow leopards. But overall, still an experience well worth recommending if you're up for the challenge." - Ceamonks890 (12-Nov-2019)

"Verena has hit another home run with The Monastery of the Talion. Her second (girl's a dynamo I say!) effort took me a solid 3 hours of net game time to complete. Located all 6 secrets. There is a wonderful sense of isolation and gloom in this monastery. Books and bones litter the floors and the structure is falling into disrepair. With the exception of the occasional intrusion of the local wildlife and the remnants of Bartoli's ski-masked thugs, Lara is left to herself. This level is somewhat non-linear. There are a few items that are needed to unlock further areas that must be found before progressing, but like Barkhang's prayer wheels, this monastery contains 4 artifacts that are needed to unlock that final door and those can be picked up in different order. I became sidetracked by sightseeing and secret hunting, and my time reflects that. There's a lot to do here and my way was perhaps not the most efficient. This is worth a replay and hopefully next time I can challenge myself to scoop up all the goodies and knock it down to a 1/3 of that time. :] Puzzle hints were good. Very clever and unique. The one involving the 'eyes' I thought was really well done, as was the push puzzle that unlocked a secret door in an upper alcove. My only gripe with the puzzle logic is that there wasn't any indication of how to get that last gate open to place the 4 artifacts. It was trial and error for me. Hopefully I'm just blind or dense and overlooked it? Combat was just right, with waves of thugs making appearances at key moments instead of just randomly popping out of the woodwork. The mini-boss encounter was great! That creature scared the pants off me and no TRII monastery throwback level would be complete without him. Only other minor quibble are 'stuck slopes' which result in having to reload. If there's a glitchy spot, I will find it. Seems to be my lot in life, lol. In conclusion, phenomenal adventure. Absolutely wonderful and worth every minute of play time. Please Verena, keep building and growing your skill-set. You have a brilliant imagination and a real talent for this. It was a pleasure to tag-along in your creation for an afternoon." - Chel (11-Nov-2019)
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