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Beach House of a Friend by Astraf
eRIC 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 7 7 8 7
Jorge22 8 8 8 8
Jose 6 7 7 7
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 8 8 8 8
Sethian 5 7 6 6
StudBuddha 7 7 8 7
Wolf7 7 8 8 7
 
release date: 26-May-2020
# of downloads: 666

average rating: 7.48
review count: 10
 
review this level

file size: 77.70 MB
file type: TR4
class: Coastal
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
tristantmwastraf@gmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"A pretty nice debut, I had plenty of fun playing it! It has its flaws relying for sure on the texturing that appeared to be quite stretched and the pretty wide areas, quite empty. What really shines the most in my opinion is the wonderful usage of the original coastal objects into a totally different kind of level. Great job! The overall atmosphere is pretty decent too, I really liked that one. Not really much else to say, I can recommend it for a nice raid! Wolfy Regards." - Wolf7 (01-Sep-2020)
"I was alerted to this builder due to seeing their recent Young Lara level which just came out and needed a review. I quite enjoyed that level, and so decided to look at what else this builder has done and it turns out they’ve only been building and releasing levels since May of this year. So, I decided to start at the beginning.

Sadly, this first one was not too enjoyable. For a debut level, Astraf comes up with quite a few decent and interesting setups, such as the torch puzzle, which, although tedious and annoying with the jumps, is nevertheless clever. We need the torch quite a few times and the author does a good job of always coming up with a new way of traversing the environments. However, the downside to the entire level is that gameplay is a little vague and obscure – it’s often easier to find Secrets, rather than the main path you’re meant to progress on. The Ornate Handle is hidden away much better than any of the Secrets, and this had me stumped for a while. Also, the first underwater swim sequence was just too long and cruel, particularly with all the illegal surfaces Lara kept getting stuck on. You’ll be drowning and redoing this one a lot. Towards the end of the level, the hidden opening in the waterfall that leads us towards the finish was just beyond inane – you can’t find it unless you 1) are the builder himself, 2) check the walkthrough, or 3) happen to be psychic. You can take a guess which option applied to me.

The level’s environments also suffer from the usual first- time builder’s mistakes: extremely big rooms with very little in them. However, at least everything is nicely textured and playable from start to finish, with a bit of an odd aesthetic combination of TR3’s Coastal Village meeting TR4’s Coastal Ruins. For all the author’s efforts at creating a tribal beach house, caves, cliffs, and a beach with an ocean, he seems to have built everything in the wrong alignment with horizon’s rotation… meaning you’ll see land and the city out in the direction where the ocean should be, and the part that is meant to be the black endless ocean expanse is where all the rooms have been built.

That aside, he has some cool object setups, such as the first rolling ball puzzle that we trigger via the torch which opens the underwater trapdoor for us; plus the second rolling ball that tries to kill us when we rush at it too fast and don’t just calmly wait for it to slow down. The level features an overdose of crocodiles, but I thought this was quite fun – they’re placed in very devious ways in the underwater passages and paired with jump-scare music tracks, giving a fresh edge to an enemy that usually just gets stuck in the wall while swimming. The plastic torches from the Egyptian Adventure are a bit odd, as is the way we get the key that’s higher up and out of reach, but otherwise, object and enemy placement seem to be this levels’ strong point (minus the overtly easy Secrets). Not the greatest level, but definitely an okay start for this author. PS Lara: I don’t know who this friend is who has the beach house, but after all those death traps he has set up for you I think it’s time you find some new friends…" - Sethian (13-Aug-2020)
"A good debut, but as a debut still several features to get better, like the textures in triangular surfaces, the rude architecture, the empty rooms, the musics... The gameplay is not very friendly, with many traps, numerous enemies, and certaing backtracking, even with the shortcuts, but I found enough ammo for the shotgun though; near the end, the hidden room behind the waterfall was not a good idea, 'cause you get a camera shot of the opening trapddors you never saw before. I never found the uzis, perhaps in a secret place. Anyway this author brings fresh ideas and a new way to build levels. Continue so." - Jose (06-Aug-2020)
"Another level I wrote a walkthrough for and promptly forgot without having reviewed it. Even so, I have fond memories of this one after having refreshed my recollection through a cursory review of my walkthrough. It's not sophisticated but it's fun, confining the exploration to a sprawling beach structure that presented an enjoyable raid. Recommended." - Phil (29-Jun-2020)
"Here we have crocodiles to shoot, tunnels to swim through, and sconces to ignite. Most of the level is exploration, with a few spike traps and enemies sprinkled about. Well, one could say that the crocodiles were heavily lopped on. It is a nice run on a beachfront, but too much time is spent backtracking. The ocean ends in a boxlike fashion, hurting the immersion slightly. The texturing is wallpapered in a few places, particularly the underwater tunnels, but the lighting is nicely chosen for the setting. It makes for a relatively relaxing coastal raid. 1 hour 25 minutes." - JesseG (16-Jun-2020)
"A perfectly solid and competent debut effort from this builder. Don't be deterred by the comments in the readme because they rather undersell this level in my opinion. Although the backtracking with the torch is a bit wearying, the gameplay is sufficiently entertaining with its various traps, centrepiece torch puzzle, exploration and plentiful though not overpowering enemy encounters (alongside some nicely placed pickups for you item hunters out there), while the scenery and textures are definitely pleasing to the eye and appealed to me as a fan of the coastal genre. The tight swimming encounter with a few crocodiles was just a bit irritating, but overall I'd class this as a good all-rounder and should definitely entertain you for an hour or so." - Ryan (13-Jun-2020)
"From the readme, I wasn’t expecting a great deal from this debut level, but I think the author has rather sold himself short because this is actually a pretty decent level. It’s on the jungle side of coastal and very attractive. There are a few spike traps and the usual coastal enemies to deal with, but the gameplay is very much exploration-based and there’s quite a lot of running around with a torch. The ending is strangely abrupt, but otherwise it’s a lively and pleasant experience, although I do hope you weren’t expecting a nice relaxing beach holiday. As if!" - Jay (10-Jun-2020)
"Gameplay & Puzzles - The exploration is great in this level although I would have preferred a little more convenience of getting around more easier in the map with the backtraveling and even exploration. But the map isn't too big to where you won't eventually find your way around. I would recommend looking all around. With the exploration we get a new climb up animation. I actually liked it. It seemed a bit faster than the original. I thought the way Lara holds her pistols was a little weird though. It looks stressful imo. I didn't take this into account on my score. The puzzles of the burning torch along with the platforming. I thought was pretty fabulous. Although I think some geometry choices could have been a few bits more spacious in some areas. Another personal thing that I feel effects the gameplay & puzzles is that I felt there was a lot of running around that could have been prevented. Maybe it was too late to change this. But as a builder I try to keep this in mind and avoid it. I know about the trapdoor for the torch item. But while playing idk I still feel like you could have placed some items in better spots. I feel maybe your next release, you can do this. Enemies, Objects & Secrets - Enemies for me personally could have been stronger. Meaning deleting a lot of them. That's not the be mean at all. There's an ambush spot I explored through with 5 or 6 crocs coming at me at once. That was just too much. I did however manage to take them out but when I reached the end I got confused. I expect a lever or a pickup item. But I found out I went the unexpected way. And a few other crocs I would have gotten rid of. But it's truly okay. I was surprised to see those enemies from the beginning of Youth TR4. I didn't know they were that strong lol but I still enjoyed even though it's different. Some of the skeleton placement along with how to kill them I thought could have been stronger with the shotgun. I thought they got in the way and I didn't find a grenade launcher. I would have preferred a bit more ammo as well. I liked the way you placed the spikes with the geometry, OCB, with the gameplay and puzzles. I didn't like the last pitfire static because I ended up reloading again and caught on fire (No slope needed?). Also the fire at the end of the beach, why not just a sink? That was a little mean lol. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras - A few cameras could have been tweaked for better viewing I thought, but I felt okay. The atmosphere is pretty good here. Some weak areas like boxy areas and spatial awareness. Maybe more decorative objects next time for those big areas. I think that would have been kinda cool here and more inviting. The ending camera and TR music and the flyby with the first bolder was pretty nice. Lighting & Textures - Lighting was pretty good. I thought some of the underwater spots were a little too dark. And some dark area where it was a bad idea to but a dark spot on land. Texturing was pretty decent I thought. There's wallpapering but barely noticeable. A missing texture, a few squeezing as well. More variety would be awesome too. I'm on a roll with a lot of solid raids. This is another adventure that I enjoyed. I'll give your latest level a shot because this adventure was pretty fun. Took me about an hour and I found four secrets. I recommend and I see a lot of potential in this debut builder =)." - StudBuddha (06-Jun-2020)
"Well, this really had its moments (not the finale, which was as sudden as it gets) but I can't help wondering how much the crocodile-infested, skeleton-filled beach house could be worth... It's a true back to basics in its looks (even in the weird way Lara holds the torch), but quite nice in that way, and a good, bright mix of action and discovery, with the widespread torch puzzle in plain focus. I must say it was enjoyable." - Jorge22 (02-Jun-2020)
"Good first level with the Coastal atmosphere enemies and objects and textures from South pacific ; Lara's model is different as she has a fun animation to climb higher and can introduce herself more rapidly in openings. The gameplay is based on exploration and some enigmas about your progression and use of a few objects , the torch in particular. So a bit of thinking is required which is a plus without the level being too much cerebral as there is also jumps , traps , and enemies. Technically well done level in all respects and well thought out. I found the end confusing for reason of finding a shortcut (you don't really need the last use of the torch as you can reach the place where the horseman gem is used without opening the couple of trapdoors in the water ; so later when using the torch and as i did not found the way of the end which was opened already, i was wondering if i was becoming nut). Even so a recommanded level with a few subtle moments , well appreciated by this player." - eRIC (27-May-2020)