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Level: Search for the Golden Elephant - Part 3 (Demo) back home search
Author(s): Lara_Fox_Croft
total rating:9.19 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
JesseG 6 9 10 10
Jorge22 9 9 9 9
Jose 9 10 9 10
MarlenaCrystal 10 10 10 10
Phil 9 9 10 9
Relic Hunter 8 10 9 9
Ryan 9 9 9 9
The Snarky Lesbian 8 8 9 10
TheStig 9 9 10 10
category averages
(9 reviews)
8.56 9.22 9.44 9.56

Reviewer's comments

"An unusual offering from Lara Fox Croft here - but an intriguing and excellent demo of a larger project I really look forward to playing. The training level is very different - initially I must be honest I found it frustrating enough to nearly turn away, but once I'd got my teeth into it it actually started to become quite rewarding. My first pass through was nowhere even the bronze trophy time! It's a fun little diversion and gets you familiar with some of the more unusual moves (pipe walking, and climbing etc). Some aspects of Lara's move are more limited (jump height seems reduced). The main part of the demo is in a Soviet Base were there is lots of stealth, puzzle and exploration activity. I quite enjoyed sneaking up on the guards to knock them out! Progress is pretty straightforward throughout, well paced and kept things enjoyable. The environment is filled with believable architecture but my biggest compliment is the fantastic lighting. The author makes absolutely great use of perfectly lighting the statics in the level, and making sure they react properly to the various dynamic light- sources placed throughout. There are even thoughtful little touches like shadows off corners and off pipes on against the walls that really make things feel more believable. The FMV's and custom animations are also very nice touches making this feel a very polished and complete experience. The only small issue I did encounter was during the scenes where some of the more intense particle effects were used (the outdoor blizzard scene & gas scene particularly) where I experienced quite allot of slow-down (I intend to try this again on my more powerful desktop for comparison). All in all I netted just over an hour from Search from The Golden Element Part 3 (demo) - It's been a great level to come back to after an absence playing any for a while. Great work Lara Fox Croft & I look forward to playing the completed adventure in the future. Highly Recommended - Stiggy." - TheStig (27-Mar-2020)

"Here we have a training level and a brief exploration of a base, while collecting tons of gauze and antiseptic bottles. I have mixed feelings about the action button working as a punch. It certainly invites some stealth from the player, but the fact that any enemy can be defeated with one punch makes the guns a bit redundant (perhaps a good thing since the ammo supply is low). Maybe a stealth takeout could be differentiated from a regular punch, one that does less damage? Unfortunately I am not in favor of the jumping animations used. The jumps are stunted, as if an invisible force is pushing down from above, and it felt like playing with a Lara wearing heavy weights. It felt unusually difficult to grab ledges, and the inability to swan dive or change directions while jumping is also quite jarring. Changing Lara's physics is always tricky and this seems like an unnecessary adjustment to ask of the player. On the plus side, the environments and the way you interact with them are very immersive, almost like playing through an action movie. I also enjoyed the hammer and sickle puzzle and would love to see more of that kind of thing. It's definitely a promising demo, I just hope the builder will reconsider some of the gameplay adjustments. 40 minutes." - JesseG (19-Mar-2020)

"Really a very good design, next to the last TR games. Extraordinary. The environments are very pleasant to explore, and the tasks are never hard. I'm not very agree with the limits for the jumps and movements, but it's never too annoying. I liked the puzzle with the big hands and the great atmosphere, but sometimes the ambience is too dark. When placing the C4 I quickly ran to the elevator, the doors closed and I had to go down and up again so the doors open again. Looking forward to see what can offer us the complete adventure. Good work!" - Jose (06-Mar-2020)

"Now, here's something quite different from the usual demos you see out there: one that presents both a solid length (just short of one hour net gaming time in my case) and has a plausible storyline. Not that other demos don't, mind you, but this one is nicely integrated into the game and you even get a little flashback to the previous episodes in the series, reminding you of what has happened so far.The training level breaks you in nicely, with the opportunity to plod along at your leisure or go for one of the three speedrun trophies. I gave it a fair few shots and my personal best was the silver trophy, which I decided was more than satisfactory. The stealth scenes were nicely executed, and I didn't mind the minimalistic setting too much. The second part constitutes the bulk of the game. There's plenty more action here with both face to face and stealth combat, and the limited ammo feature wasn't too much of a handicap. The setting throughout is well done and the atmosphere is convincing. I didn't care too much for the reduced jumping distances, but you do sort of get used to it. Overall, it certainly whets the appetite for more and the full version should be something worth waiting for." - Ryan (05-Mar-2020)

"The two parts of this demo are as different as night and day. The opener is a timed training session that has elements not experienced in the longer second session. Lara's jumping range is restricted, but that poses little problem. If you happen to miss and fall into oblivion, you don't die but are transported back to the beginning. And there are spots where you repeat your moves in an endless loop if you persist on doing things your own way instead of as intended. If you complete the timed course quickly enough, you're rewarded with access to a bonus area in the main base level. The training exercise was fun and could easily be expanded to serve as a stand-alone level. The much longer base level features weapons with funny names (in my walkthrough I used the more familiar name that seemed to match the characteristic of each weapon. The Antiseptic Alcohol and Antiseptic Ointment appear to be medipack equivalents, and they apparently have to be combined with pieces of gauze (according to Snarky Lesbian's review) in order to be used. I liked the idea of saving ammo by sneaking up on enemies and clobbering them from behind. One thing I didn't like so much was the camera angle when cabinets were being opened. There are other features here that aren't seen in other custom levels, but they don't impede gameplay in the slightest. Recommended." - Phil (04-Mar-2020)

"Wow, this is something I'm really after for years - someone who dares to try out something new with the Tomb Raider engine. I'm a little bit shocked, that there aren't more reviews yet, maybe it's too different for all the classic TR players. The game wants to be something different and it introduces itself pretty well, so people should take it like that and not like a classic TR experience. The newer TR games aren't classic either and nevertheless they are "accepted" from most of the people of the TR community. The gameplay is a lot of stealthing, which really feels like stealthing, not like the stealth attempt from TR5 - absolutely well done. Some negative comments about the new jumping are comprehensible, but it's just a matter of getting used to it, it's just irritating at first. But it seems that the author has already designed the level and the further levels that way, so it would be difficult to include the old jump again, I guess. The overall atmosphere is thrilling, it's a lot like Metal Gear Solid and the cinematic story telling (in great combination with the puzzles) is absolutely entertaining. There were some complaints about flat lighting, too, but it's a realistic kind of lighting. A lot of games (especially the classic TRs) try to play with different lighting to make the rooms more interesting, even if it's unrealistic. I think it's a design choice to go with a realistic way, which is probably not interesting for the eye all the time, or to try out an unrealistic, but more interesting one. For me the lighting looked fine as it was and the whole environment was supported and improved by the huge amount of custom objects and geometry, which was stunning all the time. It was like a playthrough of saying "Wow" all the time. I really hope, that the author will finish this game soon and that a lot of other people will appreciate the work and effort he or she has put into this. It took me about 50 minutes to finish. Absolutely recommended for everyone who likes to try out something different in the TRLE world and who wants a well balanced and entertaining gaming experience!" - MarlenaCrystal (28-Feb-2020)

"An excellent demo which is actually a demo, not an almost complete level needing a few chanes. I enjoyed the atmosphere and the basic stealth feel of it all. I found it to be by no means hard, just a tad surprising, definitely starting with the interestingly weird-looking training level. I found the jump moves rather awkward. I suppose it's a path the editor can take, which is great as long as (and I think I always say that) everyone doesn't start copying. It's actually quite well crafted in general and I'm looking forward to playing the entire game once it's out there for us to enjoy." - Jorge22 (27-Feb-2020)

"So this Demo already seems quite ambitious, with custom animations, changed jump physics and a nice overall theme. It seems quite reminiscent of Metal Gear Solid, and listening to the main theme I am guessing that is on purpose. Both levels that are part of this Demo similarly reminded me of Metal Gear Solid (With the Resident Evil Mansion level having come out a bit earlier it really seems like a nice coincidence to have a little PS1 revival here.), the tutorial level looks like the VR- Mission training of MGS, and the following actual first level looks like Shadow Moses. Sadly so far it is quite short, and the VR-Mission level was horrible for my eyes because everything kind of looks the same and seems to grow into one another, making it hard to understand where to go sometimes. Compared to the Tutorial level the actual first level I cleared quite quickly, with both secrets, which sadly was fairly short. But it did good to show of the technology and the kinds of encounters we can expect. And while I liked the Atmosphere overall quite a bit (especially the cold exterior area) it had some really annoying fixed camera angles that could not be tricked with the Look Button.
Now these levels come with a new feature, which is melee. It's used by pressing action next to an enemy, which can be used to knock them down instantly from behind. This is definitely a nice feature and might be extra cool once we have more indepth encounters, so far it sadly was quite boring. Especially since the weapon you find early on is purely used to solve riddles, pulling the action down by quite a bit. Kind of a bummer, but I am sure the finished version will have a ton more action. Another interesting factor I found, was requiring two items to heal yourself, as opposed to just one. You had to combine two items to create a full healing item, which could provide a good deal of added difficulty in the final game. Not here though, cause I noticed that all but one encounter were easily doable without losing any health because the enemies spawned with their back to you and would not patrol at all, creating effectively just instances that forced you walk slowly for a few seconds. So while I liked how well the two secrets were hidden, their rewards (medical items) meant nothing to me because there was almost no action to begin with, and when it was it was more of a puzzle element than anything else. Lara would not even aim her gun to shoot enemies. I'm really looking forward to the final game and to more of these strong environments.
Action: 3 Puzzles: 6 Gameplay Flow: 6 Aesthetic Cohesion: 10" - The Snarky Lesbian (26-Feb-2020)

"I was drawn to this new release in Lara_Fox_Croft's series with its resemblance to something out of the classic Metal Gear Solid franchise, and true enough the author does succeed in very competently combining the elements of MGS and Tomb Raider to craft a stealthy, puzzle oriented exploratory adventure that serves as an appetizer to the full release that is to come later. Despite not having played previous parts, the author does provide a helpful "Previously" FMV sequence that recaps the essential pieces to understand the context of this adventure. The author effectively uses the VR-training concept from Metal Gear Solid with the training level at the beginning as there are some changes to Lara's physical abilities and skills. Her jump height was reduced to more closely match what a real person can do, she can recover health by briefly pausing in place, and ammo pickups come from walking on top of ammunition boxes. While there is a timed component to the training stage, players can take their time getting used to the mechanics changes and complete it at their own pace. I gave it a few more attempts and managed to pull off second, though I didn't quite understand if that gave me any kind of benefit in the demo level proper or if I'm supposed to place first to acquire a bonus. As for the actual demo level - from the very beginning I appreciated the homage to the middle portion of Metal Gear Solid as its a similar scenario - you've been caught, you're quite beat up, and you're defenseless as you make your escape through some air vents and ruin a poor guard's day when his IBS acts up, paralleling a similar character from the franchise this game pays homage to. I absolutely have to praise the animation work the author put into this level as he smoothly implemented hand-to-hand combat for Lara, allowing her to pacify unaware guards and even those that are on to her presence which is refreshing and new compared to making Swiss cheese out of her foes like usual. The SOCOM holding animation, match animation, and meshswap moments like Lara stepping outside severely under-dressed were well made. The setting is also well realized and enhanced with Meta2tr features to make the base more organic with believable rubble and torn out rail ramps where appropriate, and making pipes usable as grab and walk surfaces. I felt that the lighting was sometimes a little flat and not atmospheric, so maybe that is one area of improvement even though I couldn't perceive any technical faults. The believable setting complemented the gameplay well. You could distill it to a puzzle item hunt with some light backtracking, but it made sense to me as the setting is a base that has multiple security clearances and codes barring progress. Moments to stealthily take out the guards added satisfaction to the level's progression. I'm impressed overall and look forward not only to the full release, but to checking out the previous two parts to this series as well!" - Relic Hunter (17-Feb-2020)
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