Level: The Pagan Reaction - Chapter 1 back home search
Author(s): Franco Bula
total rating:6.25 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Treeble 4 7 7 7
category averages
(1 reviews)
4.00 7.00 7.00 7.00

Reviewer's comments

"I honestly don't understand this level. The author has provided us with good Cambodian levels in the past and the very first impression of this City level was actually great, exploring a few streets and alleys, but it quickly descends into a vast multitude of different labyrinths that's devoid of any fun or purpose. Plus it's dark, excessively so, I am sure everyone will crank the gamma up to 10 (bless you, TR3 engine). The sad part is that there are absolutely no landmarks so you never really have any sense of orientation, running around in circles trying to stumble onto new paths. Level design is uninspired, lots of high and low crawlspaces spread out through blocks placed in checkered layouts, plus lots of jumping sequences in which the ceiling is too low, that makes navigation not only boring but also a pain. On the first level you even have a timed run that spans a lot of jumping to get to, then crawling, climbing and one pixel precise jump off a slope to reach the timed door. How fun. The way the room is setup, the exit door would have made perfectly for a shortcut instead, so I'm not sure what the author was trying to prove here. As you move from one labyrinth to the next, you are never really sure whether you are actually making progress or simply lost, the only way to keep track of things is the general color of the maze you're in. For instance, when you reach the green maze, surprise, quicksand! In that sense, lots of quicksaves and quickloads will help you mitigate the frustration, but not nearly enough I'm afraid. The author is also pretty cruel when it comes down to pickups. You start with a single medipack, no pistols, and I only ever spotted one medipack towards the end of the second level, which I decided not to go for as it'd require a lot of jumping to get back to where I was. There are a few Health Crystals spread around the levels, but it's still rather unnerving. I also ran out of ammo at least once, despite always crawling the lenghty distances for the pickups I'd spotted along the way up to that point. The author has included two different cdaudio.wad files in the download, only one is used but the second one has different tracks in different IDs. Franco, for Chapter 2, please revert to your previous building style. Aim to reward your players with a fun experience instead of punishing them with a test of mettle such as this one. Bottomline is, in a lot of ways this felt like Extravaganza Level cubed and on steroids, and I'm not sure anyone will think that's a good thing... 2h30min, 2 secrets. 03/20" - Treeble (05-Apr-2020)
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