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Egypt and Beyond - The Complete Adventure by QRS

AKlara 10 9 10 10
Christian 9 10 10 10
Dick 9 10 9 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
dmdibl 10 10 10 10
Dutchy 9 10 10 10
EssGee 9 9 10 10
herothing 10 9 10 10
Jack& 10 10 10 10
jawi 10 9 10 10
Jay 9 10 10 10
JesseG 9 10 8 10
JoeTheCrazyGamer 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 7 9 10 10
Lady_Wise 9 10 10 10
McRaider 10 10 10 10
Mezcal 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
MigMarado 9 10 10 9
Mman 9 10 10 10
Moonpooka 10 10 10 10
Mytly 10 10 10 9
okuhtfesq 9 10 10 10
OverRaider 9 10 10 9
Phil 10 10 10 10
rtrger 10 10 10 10
Ruben 9 10 10 10
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Samu 9 9 10 9
Scottie 9 10 10 10
Shandroid 9 10 10 10
VoodooChild97 9 10 10 10
release date: 16-Aug-2009
# of downloads: 451

average rating: 9.70
review count: 33
review this level

file size: 385.33 MB
file type: TR4
class: Egypt

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I am a mere 15 years late in finally playing the New level portion of this labour of love by QRS, so the adventure does have the challenge of how well or not it has aged over time, but here goes my comments either way, level by level - played the "New Levels only" path:
The Aqueduct (9/9/9/8, 6/6 secrets, 90 mins): Just as I dimly recall from the original Egypt & Beyond, this is equally a bit of a maze of many connected corridors, a huge amount of swiches and levers and generally not on the easy side, even if you do manage to somewhat keep your orientation. There are boulder runs and a series of timed sequences near the beginning that are not too hard in the end, but will take a few attempts to get them right. I could probably have done with a few less revisits of the squish block alley – or in fact less revisits of a number of places, as you do get setn back and forth quite a bit, but in hindsight it is all very clever and quite rewarding to gradually open things up. Very nice use of the torch here, you get a full elements puzzle to complete and the beetle pyramid as well. Once you finall get your hands on the sword (crowbar) after about an hour, you go through the area again finally using it in all the places where you saw you need it before (and that means about a dozen (!) times in total, counting also the prying off of the beetles). Secrets are great and a bit of a game of their own to master (including a quick revisit of the Limbo level) – I doubt I would have found them all without the help of Val’s excellent walkthrough. The overall atmosphere, the textures and also the lighting are a bit too bland and all very grey and sameish looking by todays’s standards, but on the other hand maybe that did even help the immersion into the game a bit.
Wrath of the Wraiths (8/9/9/8, 4/4 secrets, 90 mins): The next level felt a bit like more of the same in many ways, but the difficulty went up a notch here, I thought, and generally in a good way. It has the same maze feeling, the same many switches, the same looking textures like the previous level. There are also timed sequences, but several of them are just a short agility test. But then, true to its title there are no less than 6 occasions of a wraith chasing you around, while you have quite a number of tasks to accomplish before being able to get rid of them. Looking back, it is actually not all that bad IF you know what to do (for example, by following the walkthrough), but it is more of an ordeal than being fun in case you need to figure that out on your own first. I enjoyed the clever push block puzzles, even if they were partly a bit too tedious and slow and the whole navigation around the drawbridge room is very smartly designed. The slope jump sequences are not so tough, but take a few attempts to figure out the right sequence of moves – which feels quite rewarding when you succeed. There is really only a single enemy – the devil – which you get rid of by means of 3 keys you collect, and as before, the secrets are not easy to spot and I would most definitely have missed the main Pentagram secret without the walkthrough.
Lair oft he Serpents (8/9/9/8, 4/4 secrets, 105 mins): There is a really a lot of great things in this part, but also a few I did not like at all. The overall grey setting remains the scenery here, but the loong drop at the start and then the subsequent raising of the waterlevel piece by piece is very clever. Timed runs only feature at the very beginning this time and from then on it becomes the usual run-around-to-find-things gameplay. This time still many switches, but also 7 snake stones to unlock the good old 7 serpent heptagon puzzle. There are some rather tedious sections unfortunately – one where you need to dive into a deep pool repeatedly and another when you get to push a block around a bit too much. And there seem to be a few trial and error puzzles (or rather try- and-die-and-try-again puzzles), like in the 9 lever room (or I missed a clue?), which is never really a good thing). The three big dragon serpents and the target shooting to kill them was nice though and as always the 4 secrets are quite a challenge and I would not have found them without the walkthrough.
Bonus Level 3 – A Tribute to Luis Martins (9/8/9/9, 1/1 secrets, 90 mins): Oh my, this Bonus level takes no prisoners indeed. For the first 30 minutes, I was quite prepared to score it a 5 or so, as the whole quest in the underwater maze searching for underwater levers was no fun whatsoever and I was glad when that ordeal was behind me. But from then on, the massive sequence of gauntlets, timed runs, sloped jumps, breaktiles, boulders, lava and spike traps was right up my alley and made up for the dreary start. There is also one sneaky secret and a bit of target shooting and I really liked the concept of stages that theoretically allowed you to exit the level in between – but which raider in their right mind would take that opportunity ;) Equipped with the many goodies collected along the way – onwards to…
Runaway Train (7/8/9/8, 2/2 secrets, 30 mins): A breath of fresh air after all the many hours in primarily grey settings. And a welcome relief to get a fairly straightforward, run of the mill train level here that serves more like a transition. Solid camera work, a few bad guys to kill and a nice idea to have some of the guys break a few boxes for you.
The Tinnos Tower (10/9/9/9, 4/4 secrets, 60 mins): My favorite level so far of the whole set. It has less of a sense of constantly being lost in a maze and has a bit faster pace between the tasks you need to accomplish. That is not to say it is an easy one, You still get your fair share of slope jumps, lava traps, breaktiles, squish walls, spikes right at the beginning, but by now it all felt quite manageable to me. The frozen pool room was easy on the eyes, there is a decent torch activity to accomplish and a fun slope jump timed exercise that you even get to do twice if you want an extra secret. It all gets topped off with a small maze where you get a sequence of spike balls to drop before making your grand exit. Overall, better balance here than before, more concise and highly enjoyable!
Back to Egypt (9/9/10/10, 5/5 secrets, 90 mins): The whole look and feel here was up a notch vs the previous levels, so it was great to roam the place and look around. Gameplay revolves around two larger areas and it is again comparably straightforward. Maybe again a little too much swimming back and forth required for my taste. There are very long and good looking flybys that also serve the purpose again of actually guiding you on your upcoming path, namely the extensive torch puzzle you get to work your way through.
Calm before the Storm (9/9/10/10, 60 mins): Wow – that was a bit of a surprise setting. A huge pyramid floating in the sky with huge structures floating around it. Love the setting, even if the gameplay gets a bit more tedious as you need to watch your step all the time and jump around more than you run around. Plus you get a Senet game that you have to win and I have not done one of those in decades, so that was great fun! The torch action was also trickier than expected here, but a great level to prepare the finale..
The Final Showdown (9/8/9/9, 25 mins): I am a bit in two minds about the finale, but how do you end such a huge adventure properly anyway? In this case you get a sequence of battles on floating islands which are more tedious than challenging due to your acquired arsenal of weapons, ammo and medpacks. And then topping it all off with a breaktiles, spike trap timed run just before the finish trigger felt like a poor choice that may frustrate people more than feel rewarding. But once you make it you get a nice credits role that is worth watching and reading!
Overall, it is amazing how one person could mastermind and build this whole massive adventure. It has a consistent high quality throughout, despite the (for me) described moments of tedium and repetition along the way that I could have had less of. And I am glad I finally played my way through it! Kudos, Anders – so well done!" - MichaelP (21-Jul-2024)
"I recommend this level to players wanting a long and challenging adventure. It is truly wonderful and very well built! The storyline is somewhat lacking, but it does present an interesting and surprising ending. Textures are very good overall, but tend to become repetitive over long levels, and sometimes from level to level. Not too many enemies, until near the ending, just like I like it. Absurdly good atmosphere! This second part is better than the first. Not as grueling to get by, better interconnected and flowing. A true wonder of the TRLE world. Don't miss it! Congratulations on all your work, QRS! Thank you from a new fan." - MigMarado (13-May-2021)
"Whilst playing Egypt and Beyond - The Complete Adventure I was reminded of an episode of Frasier, (They're Playing Our Song). It's the one where Frasier is tasked with writing a jingle for his radio show, and he proceeds to go about this with great enthusiasm and gusto. At one point his brother, Niles, who is observing the huge orchestra being assembled, turns to Frasier and says: - haven't you heard of the saying: “less is more”?' to which Frasier replies: - Yes, but if less is more, just think how much more more will be!' I suspect Anders would agree with Frasier, because that is precisely what he delivers in this gargantuan level-set - MORE - 17 truly massive levels to be precise if you include the originals and the bonus stuff. To put this into context, the walkthrough, ably written by Moonpooka, runs to about 130,000 words. That is about the same as a 500-page paperback novel!! Anyway, time to talk about the game itself. My initial intention was to play everything, and use the walkthrough to ensure that I had what I needed for the bonus levels, but I became frustrated with the gameplay of the original levels finding them to be repetitive and cluttered with timed runs, so halfway through Ye Obelisk Sequence I bailed out, and started again with just the new levels (and I forewent the bonus material) hoping that they would be better, and it turned out that they certainly were. They were fantastic, in fact. The first of the new levels, The Aqueduct, felt like a transition piece and was somewhat heavy to play: constant time challenges and a very confusing layout but it was a marked improvement. After that, from Wrath of the Wraiths right through to the end, it was a joy to play with many impressive locations and innovative tasks to perform. Still way too much timed stuff for my taste, but hey ho, many players like precisely that. Only the last timed sequence, at the end of The Final Showdown, did I not feel up to the task, but I even got through there eventually, with the help of a video walkthrough! Lighting and texturing was a strong point of the level-set with everything being applied expertly and there was an agreeable sheen present in all levels. However, I think the overall atmosphere was lacking something-or-other because most of the levels shared the same texture-set, level design and lighting regime - impressive though those were. Overall - a mighty behemoth of trle. I hope Anders has not turned his back on level editing, a new project from him would undoubtedly be awesome." - Dick (24-Oct-2020)
"This is just one of them levels where a prefect score is required, The Creativity and Puzzles is spot on. Recommended for the Raiders looking for a challenge not for Amateurs tho" - JoeTheCrazyGamer (12-Oct-2019)
"Well what can i say, this game was huge! However is gets a spot in my top 5 most favourite. Game play and puzzles - Very enjoyable, some were quite tricky i have to say and this builder loved a good ol timed run, which used to be one of my pet hates but as my skills as a raider have developed i have learned to love them and love the challenge and u always get that great sense of accomplishment when you make. A few puzzles were a tad tedious but manageable. I didn't find many secrets to my dislike but maybe one day i will come back and find them all. I tend to focus more on the main game. Objects were well placed but some did have that sweet spot theme to it which i find annoying. Although it was very dark in some places the builder does make up for that by supplying a good amount of flares so you are able to see. There were of course some well hidden items and switches along the way. Camera were placed well in parts, not giving to much away which is how i like it. I like for the most part to figure out the solutions to things myself without to much hints." - Lady_Wise (26-Mar-2019)
"excellent from start to finish, I've played the new levels and all are great. Varied very well created puzzles that guarantee a fun to play through, each of the levels have a great playability and that makes them highly recommended. QRS thanks for this great adventure!" - McRaider (03-Mar-2016)
"One of the best adventures I have ever had the pleasure of playing. QRS and his testers have invested a lot of time and effort in this series and it shows in every category. Well done QRS and well done Moonpooka for the walkthrough!" - Ryan (18-Dec-2015)
"Author states in readme file that it would be nice if we reviewers would rate rather the new levels and to take the old levels as a "bonus" levels, but would he wished this even though that I liked old levels a little bit more? So I am gonna rate the whole adventure as it is. So as already said this is really a big adventure containing 5 old levels plus 9 new levels plus 3 bonus levels and dispite that it is a big adventure it is also (what I didn`t expect) really challenging what I loved. Levels are mostly long and complex where there are many tasks to accomplish, various puzzles to solve and many many exploration of very atmospheric environments and areas, there are also some good classic tasks implemented in a different way and many ingenious ideas. All this and much more you must accomplish in already mentioned very atmospheric and perfectly textured areas where lighting is mostly professionally applied, but in some parts of some levels the lighting is not in such high level. The music is also very well chosen and even though there are some soundtracks used many times the same they are mostly fitting the situation as well as background music, camera flybies are also very well done and always a pleasure to watch. Enemies are appropriate for the environments with good variations and quantity as well as fitting the situations and atmosphere. All in all really a great adventure or let`s say masterpiece and even though that I am not really a fan of egypt class of levels I enjoyed this very much and there needs to be keeping in mind that the class doesn`t really matter, what matters is how the location is built and how the location catches the atmosphere. there also must be mentioned that perhaps there are too many switches/puzzle items for my taste but mostly to reach the switch you must accomplish or solve the task and even backtracking in some levels which required to get through the same traps wasn`t so bad and mostly there are some shortcuts provided for you. This is a game which shouldn`t be missed by anyone but prepare yourself for a real challenge especially if you want like me to find all secrets where the secret system is very well thought out and some are required to reveal the access to bonus levels. I hope that QRS will be back one day with new levels. Playtime 17:10 secrets 63/63 (and just to mention that I didn`t use any medipack in a whole adventure, can you take the challenge? :D ). 9/10/10/9" - OverRaider (25-Sep-2014)
"I think I've just witnessed another builder to whom we could refer to as genious, especially for his weird yet successful way of mixing the basic with the complicated: cubical geometry versus HD texturing; basic key items versus lots of travelling for their holes; quite long corridors versus interconnecting areas; long-corridor running versus dense, multi-topic, mind- and agility- testing spots; just 2-3 switch types per a level versus variety of them per area (which might be both flooded for UW levers and dried for pushblocks and torches, what in turn gives extremely long time in extremely small space). Still, I feel the author has not enough attention, and people might omit his work because of length and challenge (just like I kept doing until I was finally ready). And this is exactly why I'm writing as follows (read whoever is brave enough):
The Quest For The Sacred Birds is a perfectly isolated underground cube, nicely themed with texturing fitting the grid with almost no visible cracks. It feels almost like if the author was sitting in front in the screen with a ruler. This obsessive accuracy and symmetry is held till the very end of the game, yet without dropping variety of settings, but unfortunately also without any compromise: whenever a ceiling is made organic with help of random number of clicks lowered and this would be impossible to cracklessly transit to walls... there will be no walls. A set of often yet fair timed runs reminds us the temple is still working, and some ancient Egyptian wanted it to be so.
The Hidden Tinnos Temple starts with another underwater maze (SIC!!!). Those people really don't know what to build. It seems no matter how experienced an author might be, every single one of them might ventually construct a series of deadly sunken passages filled with switches and opening doors, artificially adding 20 minutes to gaming time. This particular maze is pretty good-looking and comfy, but still the universal question remains "why". Fortunately, then we're off to explore a series of corridors with multi-task gameplay. Here goes that zone which I mentioned in the preamble, where You're supposed to flood, push, pull, press and burn things, all within the same chamber, which gives really brilliant feeling of seeing the same room from different points of view. Also, after two levels spent in completely alone (maybe except of shooting some non-significant anacondas), a whole bunch of poisonous mutants attacks poor Lara, and of course the greater the preceding isolation was, the greater the occuring battle is. Unfortunately Lara has no time to block the first attack, so due to lack of my own time I finally dropped attempts to save medikits (Mytly seems to have succeeded without taking one). After we finally collect all four items scattered around another central cubical hub (much brighter than the 1st level one), we can realize we're actually inside a double hub: two other levels spread from this one, and we need to clear both before we return. The only other case when I've seen a level treated as one huge puzzle of this kind was Psiko's Steel Tower of Four Elements. Even though QRS's effort can't beat it, it's very close to do so.
Ye Obelisk Sequence, on the contrary with extremely huge and mostly sprinted temple, concerns a really small yet multi-storey space with a lot of interconnection with grated transparency, requiring a lot of time to solve despite of it's little size and because of another instance of stacking land/water levers in rooms which have to be flooded/dried. This way I had a feeling of exploring a parallel dimension. After switching between all parts of the hub, exchangingly flooding and dried, chased by the bull and pointing the obelisks at the central to-be-shattered case, we finally get our well-deserved torch, and honestly I don't remember, in any other level I played, a greater struggle for this item, seen from the very beginning just like everything else in the level, but holding its mystery to the very end. It would take more effort to dislike this level than it took to build it. Rarely it happens to me to consider one of beginning sections the best of a set, but this is the case.
The Torch Challenge involves burning things, but the more significant point is not to drop the carried torch. Here we encounter the first really ambitious platforming challenge - as it will appear later it's one of many - and a STARGATE trap kind which will bother us here and there until the very finale. Have I mentioned it's placed in another underwater maze? (What do people see in them is a total enigma to me, really.) Fortunately when there's no choice, several first minutes can make us learn how to negotiate it without health loss, so the subsequent instances are not that annoying like this first set. Two various action themes are incorporated, applying respectively to the fire and water part. From now on, they will be recognized as main challenge themes in the rest of the game.
Gauntlet, with its tightrope walk asked from a player several times in a row, would be more than tedious, but here it contrasts with just-performed challenge series, so it really can be felt relaxing to slowly and surely keep pace, caring for balance instead of hasting through knives. Following and restoring action, lies a small sliding-floor accuracy test. All is wrapped in a set of 5 OCB-d switches unlocking a secret, a "gotta catch'em all" concept, working perfectly for some players including me.
The Aqueduct path oscillates around one, straight corridor. We visit that place several times, but each time to do something new: first we're led here through a set of traps, then we have a wall switch sequence, then a timed run, finally a flipmap in the lava room with a series of platforming, then we pull crowbar switches and pry items from walls, finally we can use a secret key. Everything concerns the same straight corridor, yet every return it feels like a new one. Classic feeling is achieved, and everything is done just in order to unlock the next hall, where we still have a lot of things to do.
Wrath of the Wraiths was too cruel. Already from the title, I knew it will be, with its numerous timed runs, evil jump sequences and constant save/load. It could all have been made rewarding, but the ending is so disappointing... I've been struggling for several hours to avoid using medipacks, and it was all wasted when Lara got helplessly exposed to a hammergod beating her pulling a block... Unfair, I would say. Still graphically advanced, filled with transparent portals and a lot of see-through doors, so let's just forget about the gameplay fail and move to next one.
The Lair of the Serpents is that awkward level when hydras become a scary yet satisfying bunch of enemies. Also those 4 mutants fought in the same moment can be brought to demise on a relatively short switch-shooting path, allowing to end the section with quite acceptable amount of save/load operations.
Limbo is so beautiful that it should be much longer, while it's actually one of the shortest. Greenish ambience of unknown realm filled with teleports and floating platform calls for more exploration and explanation, while there's neither the former, nor the latter given.
Hall of Fame 1 and 2 will be counted by me as one. I think the author wants it, because they share the same concept, so simple that its execution highly surprised me. When entering it, I thought I'm just to enter/exit some tributary areas filled with pictures of favourite TRLE works of the builder - but no! I was shocked when a door opened revealing a whole cathedral behind, what made me aware this is a fully-playable level, and subsequent tributes are unlock on our way through which are nothing more, nothing less than full-size areas excerpted from custom levels QRS found marvellous. I loved each one of those episodes, except the Luis Martins part. This is really not my type, I cannot understand how it's possible to tribute a level so much which has annoyingly flat lighting and unicolor walls one can barely see a standable part on. This place was the first one along the whole game where I really, really started to have enough. Yet I struggled through, and the whole rest appeared to be worthy of that.
A Tribute to Luis Martins has its beginning literally painful. Pulling, in an underwater maze, 5 ocb-marked UW levers type 1, so no telling if pulled already or not. The above plus search for underwater doors that imitate solid walls. A nail to the coffin: open access to the rest of the level, so skip one lever and have no idea until the finish of the following section: a dully-lit raisingblock/lever sequence with repetative geometry, what, combined with total lack of cameras, in turn causes total unawareness what actually has just been triggered. I had Hand 3 before Hand 2 and Hand 2 before Hand 1. A nail to the coffin: after this outrageous intro, a player is asked if to leave or if to continue. Of course I continued, and rght after that point, gameplay INDEED jumps to marvellous - since then, I enjoyed every second... but how many have left at that point, repulsed by the fatal intro, will always remain a mystery. To summarize: for me this looks like if the author merged two completely different projects not belonging to each other, respectively for the beginning and for ending. Notice in the raisingblock zone we have a series of random lava traps above the water level, without any justification nor purpose except burning lara to artificially lengthen the "challenge". But the REAL lava zone is perfect - almost every square of it is required. The spike trap was a masterpiece of all masterpieces. And there is no way back, so You KNOW You must do it or die, with no possibility to get stuck.
Runaway Train is a brilliant, relaxing intermezzo after the struggle. The boss workers are my absolutely favourite enemy of the set. Tifa must have been in extraordinarily creative mood that day she created them. Not much more to write here. It's a normal train level. Holy scupltures from original TR4 appear, together with BtB Venice switches in shatter cases, both types not often seen used.
Tinnos Tower implements a really creative torch throw moment. A great memory on which underwater passage leads to which puzzle is required. Guess wrong and backtrack a long way. A set of evil jumps stacked in one place recalls those from Wrath of the Wraiths. A thing unexplainable for me is that we're supposed to collect... buddhist prayer wheels, invented thousands of years after Egyptian golden age and on a completely different edge of the world. Technical info: there is a shortcut in this one allowing to enter the wasp zone through the intended exit. Due to that, a later found underwater switch opening that exit is useless, for it closes it instead of opening.
Back to Egypt is a true diamond. There's nothing better for a modern Egypt level than Anniversary textures used properly. Again, putting memory on alert is vital, otherwise we'll run back and fro, unable to locate the right passage for a long time. Gameplay is simple: find two keys, open a door, find two disks, open a door, put out fire, open a door, locate four gems, open a door - but once again everything is interconnected, and even though we're forced to progress linearly, the central structure remains in sight all the time, what grants familiarity to all places, including those not yet explored.
Calm Before the Storm: suddenly and unexpectedly it appears the whole structure of the previous level was actually floating in midair, and now we are walking the rooftops of a temple earlier perceived as solidly embedded in the ground. A great surprise, with a kinda science-fiction feeling.
Final Showdown continues with the midair setting, with the action going crazy. It's plainly a long, great fight, with number of enemies fought per minute exceeding usual baddy count per a whole level. Everything goes fastly and easily, now we can finally fire those hundreds of bullets collected throughout the game and do it all remorse-free, e.g. killing horsemen without regretting usage of revolver ammo is brilliant. Traps are here rather to speed us up in our rush towards the grand finale rather than to stop us from getting the final prize... but after all those fights and running there's no explanation. What was it all about? Why did we have to kill all those enemies for an artifact Lara didn't want to some time earlier? Why did that civilization happen to possess that item? What was that civilization? All those questions needed to be answered, and they are not. A getaway element is also mistaken, in exactly the same way as in many, many other custom levels autors of which have polished everything except this final touch: IT'S MISSING. I know there's a camera sequence running along with the credits, when Lara is seen sliding down from the trophy room... but we can't do it ourselves. We can't hear a sound of relief, there's no light at the end of the tunnel. We drop the action leaving Lara still trapped in an unfamiliar realm and we don't have an opportunity to come rescue her. In the end, I continue to feel both satisfied and tired, but now I must additionally admit I'm still puzzled after the end credits scrolled down.
SUMMARY: Gameplay suffers a lot from technical side. I never was sure if what I find is an intended detour for a secret, or an unwanted shortcut that will eventually doom me, but fortunately the latter has never happened). But what is destroyed by those elusive flaws, is though recompensated by almost everything else we can name. The whole series is held together very nicely, nothing is felt out of place in any moment and, for a levelset as long as this one, it's a huge achievement. Music gives a proper theme to specific actions, taken among vast and epic sceneries. Some parts might not be, or rather certainly won't be suitable for beginner players - for example I cleared one tributary excerpt without problems, yet I remember its original place had caused me extreme problems several years ago when I wasn't that experienced yet. Thus, for those who have no experience, I won't recommend this game, for they will be simply unable to have fun. For pre-intermediate players, I'll suggest the game plus the walkthru. Suiciders like me will take on the whole thing plus bonus levels plus secret hunt plus no walkthru plus basic EAB (also with all secrets and no walkthru) without any recommendation given, but I'll give it anyway, because the game deserves one." - DJ Full (19-Jun-2013)

Egypt and Beyond – The Complete Adventure had been highly anticipated by me just before the release. It took me two years to finish this amazing custom. Feelings? Well, rather positive.

QRS had a great idea to rebuilt the old levels and include them in the download with the new ones. This is quite nice that the whole game is in one package from the beginning until the very end. Author doesn’t want to review the older levels, so I just have one sentence for them: Good job!

Now, what’s so special about this custom? It’s huge. All together there are 17 levels, varied enough to provide a big amount of entertainment with no boredom, rather a few pass-through problems, but eventually balanced difficulty. Pity, that author didn’t come up with an interesting storyline, so the levels were for me connected with each other in the way that I didn’t understand. But I think it’s the point of this game – levels are made for joy not for the storyline. Anyway I had so much fun with it, I couldn’t complain about a single aspect.

Another thing is the gameplay. Author paid a lot of attention to it, made some unique touches and came up with a couple of really clever puzzles and jump sequences. All of its elements are really satisfying and I mean here all timed runs, all burner, collapsible tile, spike or whichever type of the jumps. The top of the builder’s skills is ‘Tribute to Luis Martins’ level which I loved (gaining at the end the ‘Jedimaster’s Certificate’). Gameplay is so enjoyable that the only rightful score for it is 10. As for its dark side, only two things annoyed me: hidden switches and a lack of enemies (despite the last level). These things should be worked out in the next instalment of this builder.

What also is worth focusing on: lighting and texturing. Both work pretty well in this custom. Although the former consists mostly of the sun bulbs, it definitely makes all the levels recognizable as QRS’s and cannot be mistaken with somebody’s else. The latter is ok, but unfortunately in some levels the same textures are repeated all over again so sometimes it might get a little bit boring to look at them. But, what’s really significant, I can’t remember seeing a single crack or a stretched/squished texture. Have in mind that it’s a 17 levels adventure, so congratulations on this really hard work.

The Aqueduct – The Lair of the Serpents: These four levels (including Limbo and the Wrath of the Wraiths) are quite similar, although they have their unique moments. The last one is, in my opinion the best of the whole levelset. Even though they have the same, heavy atmosphere and similar textures are a bit different in gameplay and architecture. For instance, Lair of the Serpents is, in fact a huge temple with many puzzles and complicated gameplay. I loved it for the outlook of the great hall, which is breathtaking. It has only one weak moment – a huge pool with some well hidden pickups – it cost me quite a bit of time, to collect them all. Other than that, the level is great.

Bonus Levels: For me there’s not much to talk about them. The first two are boring. Of course they aren’t taken into consideration in the scores. Yes, it is interesting to see author’s favourite levels, but on the other hand it isn’t so enjoyable (the same background music all the time…). Worth playing is the Tribute to Luis Martins. After the swimming, what was tedious, there’s much better aqueduct-like area and at the end, there is great lava pool room, where I had lots of fun. That could be the only reason for looking for the secrets – to have some jumps in the last area and gain Jedimaster’s Certificate. It’s enough for me.

Runaway Train & Tinnos Tower: These levels bring some fresh air to the whole game. Not only as they are a bit gameplay-different but also as they are completely not similar to the previous ones. I mean the atmosphere, the lighting, the texturing and many more. But still there are too few enemies. Some Tinnos mutants are not enough to waste even a piece of the huge amount of ammo given. I liked these levels and the rolling ball sequence at the end of the tower was one of my favourites throughout the game.

”Return to Egypt” levels: Surely a masterpiece, the essence of QRS’s levels and a journey from a huge tomb, through the flying islands to the arena filled with enemies. I love them (especially the ‘Calm before the Storm’ level). Those are really complex and you have be careful, in order not to lose yourself. All the tasks, either timed runs or jumps over gaps are a bit of fun and will stay in my memory as one of the best ever. They also create some sort of a conclusion of the whole game. Interesting one is also ‘The Final Showdown’ having plenty of enemies. Nevertheless, I still had enormous amounts of ammo at the end. I think that many foes throughout the game are just not in QRS’s building style. Anyway, describing these levels in three words: huge, epic, enjoyable.

[Epic] Conclusion: “Egypt and Beyond – The Complete Adventure” is definitely one of the most memorable games in custom levels history and stands in the row with the best. With the epic areas and challenging gameplay, it never gets boring to master. Everyone, who hasn’t played it yet, should take it into consideration. See for yourself what you can discover in Egypt and Beyond…

" - jawi (17-Dec-2011)
"A long set of levels deserves a long review so here goes. It is almost 2 years to the day from my first save game for E&B2, and after picking it up and putting it down several times between times, today I finished this great level set. The term 'epic' is overused in today's language, but I can truly say that E&B2 is an adventure of epic proportions. As a fellow builder, I can only sit back and admire with deep appreciation, the effort and structure that has gone into creating this game. The intricacy of design of the intertwined corridors and paths that are a trade mark of these levels is amazing. Couple this with the grand hall locations that play host to the many side passages, and you have a series of challenging and awe-inspiring levels.
The game is long with many levels averaging 2+ net gameplay each. My total net game time was just under 25 hours playing both old and new levels. So, two years after starting this game, with only the final bonus level opted out of (although I have a savegame to revisit it later) I hit the finish line. The game demands your attention and needs to be played in several dedicated sessions. This sort of commitment at times eluded me and probably contributed most to such a prolonged completion of the game. But I'm really glad I stuck with it. The strengths of this game far outweigh any weaknesses. As a player there were times that the game broke my spirit either being too difficult, or too obscure in where to go next. But the lure of the beauty of the environments always kept me coming back for more. I could not have completed the game without the regular guidance of the walkthrough, which is an epic literary piece in itself (well done Moonpooka). The constant need to refer to the walkie was distracting, but a necessary evil for continuing in the game. Enough of my quibbles about the game, let's focus on what's great about E&B2.
QRS has made no secret of the fact that he set out to design a set of clever, challenging, hard levels. He's certainly achieved that goal. A title once reserved for Palopique's levels, Anders could well be crowned the new 'Mr Long, Hard and Satisfying' of level design.
Texturing: the whole game is a master class in pixel perfect texture application and room geometry. It is faultless and with the use of large hi-res textures it just looks great.
Secrets: There is truckload of them (63 in all) of which I got 49 and coupled with the bonus reward system for access to a total of 3 bonus levels, you have a subgame within a game, which is guaranteed to offer replayability.
Enemies: Sparsely used throughout the game, with the exception of the final onslaught, enemies are always used well, often carrying important items, thus ensuring that enemies should not be bypassed by impatient players.
Music: Beautiful choices and I loved the Myst-like background drone that is present in the levels.
Flybys: Always impressive, dramatic and panoramic.
Gameplay: diverse ideas, clever, challenging, at times too obscure or difficult for the average player, but always interesting. The game is cleverly set up so that the player can opt out of bonus levels if the going gets too tough.
Objects: It didn't dawn on me until late in the game that objects were used somewhat conservatively, but it never felt that way. Objects that were used were always beautifully textured and lit correctly. Perhaps it's more of a tribute to the marvelous room geometry and texturing that objects did not need to be vastly used. My only criticism is my pet hate of levers that don't use a slot texture (lack of realism). This only occurred occasionally and most levers were set up perfectly.
Atmosphere: The main room designs in the game are grand. Wonderfully large halls or landscapes that are jaw-droppingly beautiful and enhanced by good use of distance fog. My favourite levels were definitely the last two - Calm before the Storm and The Final Showdown. Both are inspired pieces of level design incorporating the classic form of ancient Egyptian architecture with the surreal Floating Islands styled layout. The bonus 'hall of fame' levels were also brilliantly reconstructed.
Recommendations: It's fair to rate this as a hard level set, so not for the novice player, or someone after a quick raid. The game requires patience and dedication. If you commit to this, you will be rewarded with a rare custom level experience of extraordinary quality and quantity. A definite 'Must Play'." - EssGee (02-Aug-2011)
"Well, some parts were a little mundane and actually made me abandon this adventure a year ago. I speak of The Aqueduct and The Lair of the Serpents. I think the reason for my sentiment was a rut in gameplay. There were too many pushable cubes or underwater levers, things that just don't get you off after a while. I also ran into a semi-major bug or two and was perplexed to see Lara's arsenal shift shapes so unrealistically. But such ruts and blemishes are brief or insignificant, I do have high expectations, and the rest of the adventure is an utter masterpiece. One of my favorite moments was actually in Lair of the Serpents, which is the level that tried my patience the most. (That moment, Mr. Svensson, was landing on top of your coveted Secret Key.) It just goes to show the unique, engaging quality of Egypt and Beyond. This game demands careful skill, patient zen, and a pure focused intention to go in and get the job done... and your reward is dazzling! The second half of Tribute to Luis Martins was pure adrenaline, a gem among levels, even among Luis Martins' levels! I dare say QRS outdid the old devil. The train ride was very cathartic after surviving Hell, the Tinnos Tower was cool and snugly, and the last three levels are tomb raiding in its prime: you get a beautiful Egyptian paradise reminiscent of Shadow of the Cat, majestic hanging lava ruins, a gratifying final showdown and... finally... a revelation worthy of the quests of Kings. What stands out are the challenging acrobatics, the glistening textures and lighting, which are the most perfect of any custom, and the totally immersive and mystic atmosphere. I'll remember it forever. QRS, you're as good as the greats. You've made few mistakes here that are not overwhelmingly offset by your talent. I hope your next adventure is even harder and just as beautiful and packed full of treasures and rewards. For serious raiders only, an historic game." - VoodooChild97 (20-Apr-2011)
"So after a half year, I finally finished this adventure. 15 challenging levels, but they're delighting and keeps you glued to the keyboard 'till the end. I'm so sad because it's over and I'm shocked in a good way. I've never played better levelpack than this one, seriously. Everything perfect in it. Too bad I played Back to Egypt in 320x240, but this is my fault. The only bad thing I should note is the Senet game. I simply hate it, but that's my problem again. But, despite this, I think this is an amazingly built levelpack, and it became my all-time favourite level. I can say it's nearly designed to my taste. All in all, you miss a stunning experience if you don't try this levelset. I must congratulate to QRS and of course, I must recommend this brilliant pack. Indeed, a huge download, but trust me, it's worth it. You will clearly see that there's a lot of work in it. Now download it and play!" - rtrger (20-Jun-2010)
"This game took forever to finish but it was worth it after finishing this long journey you get such a sense of pride it makes it all worth it. The puzzles never bore you, there was some pretty hard parts, if you enjoy alot of puzzles and finding artifacts this game is your best choice and i suggest play the old and new levels if you havent play them already. I also like you could tell where you were by the background music because it can get confusing which sub level you have and havent played. but overall great game!!!" - AKlara (23-May-2010)
"When I read for the first time that QRS was building a sequel of Egypt & Beyond and that he also wanted to integrate the old levels of Egypt & Beyond, it occurred to me that I could make use of the old savegames which I saved on my hard disk. Thus, I could avoid replaying the first five levels as I already had known them and just start with the new ones. Well yes, but that are the thoughts of someone who doesn't have an idea of building levels. When I wrote down my thoughts in the forum, I was told that this wouldn't be, regrettably, possible.
That also meant to play the old levels whether I liked it or not. Yes, yes, I know. It will probably make the level builders' hackles rise who read such a phrase. But what's the heck! I'm only a player with having no idea of building levels. But when all facts were revealed just before the release, I just started thinking about it. The old levels were said to be re-textured completely. And you can find five gems and thus play two bonus levels? And you can really select whether to play the old levels or not? All of that sounded very interesting. Wouldn't it be great to replay the old levels but this time with considerably better and more detailed textures? And to get an enormous distant view? And as reward for finding all secrets two bonus levels? I'm actually less interested in bonus levels. I am to find all secrets to get access to these bonus levels? That's how it is in most cases. And as I am not a real secret hunter, I never play such bonus levels. But then, somehow, I was possessed with ambition this time. And a lot of time later, I realized that it was the right decision. Of course, I was familiar with a lot of locations. On the one hand I had a lot of aha moments, on the other hand there were a lot of things I didn't remember well. Therefore, these were best conditions to play Egypt & Beyond right from the start. As the old levels have already been reviewed in detail, I spare myself a more detailed description. However, it's a great pity that the nice sound of the pistols wasn't taken over.
But there is a scene in the old level Ye Obelisk Sequence I would like to deal with. You solve a difficult flame puzzle, as a reward you already spot a large medipack and then, suddenly, you nearly lose all life energy. And the medipack disappears somehow. In addition, there is a spiteful laugher. However, QRS isn't that mean in the end. After pulling the lever and leaving the room, you regain full life energy. That's simply brilliant. Has that already been in the old level or is this something which was added? Anyhow, I cannot remember it.
Limbo: At the very start you can choose whether you like to play the old and new levels or the new ones only. It's definitely worth playing all levels as the old levels were re-textured completely. Anyway, you can find five crystals here. With them you can gain access to two bonus levels. Don't miss them under no circumstances. If you find all 12"Eye of the Serpent" which are hidden in the two bonus levels, you can collect the three secret pentagrams which are hidden in the following levels. Limbo resembles very much the floating islands from TR2. People have already seen such things in other custom levels. And it looks really good. And you find well-needed goodies in the most impossible places. You can also find timed runs here. This level is something like a control centre in most of the areas. Everything starts here. You have to return to this place if you like to play the bonus levels. The player can collect a lot of goodies here. And you get back to the other levels. However, you're finished with Limbo after the third bonus level. Then you will directly get into the five remaining levels.
Aqueduct: This level is very large and it takes a long time to finish it. One reason is the fact that you have to play several things again and again. Because you will find the crowbar very late in the level. And you need it for the four beetles in the wall. You have already visited these four places to accomplish other tasks. That's why there is sometimes too much backtracking for my taste. But, otherwise, this level is very good. So I particularly enjoyed the moment where you had to walk down a longer way in a cave with several rolling balls stuck close to you. So you either had to be very quick or avoid getting hit by them when they crash down beside Lara. Another great task was to climb up again to a place with several timed levers and teeth spike traps.
Hall of Fame I+II: These two bonus levels are something really special. One might even say they are the best of the best of QRS's favourite levels. You will certainly know Lara at the Movies. Lara is in a cinema and can gradually watch several movies or rather play these movies. That's how you have to imagine these two levels. From a central area which isn't that small anyway, you get to the favourite places which have been rebuilt by Piega. Altogether, there are 8 levels in the Hall of Fame. So, I was able to see what I've missed so far because I only knew two of these levels. My favourite level was"Santuary of Souls","Clockwork Cathedral" by Piega. These large clock simply looks amazing. I liked those 8 teasers that much that I must definitely play the original versions.
Wrath of the Wraith: This level is an exception. Lara has no weapons here. But you don't need them as you are only followed by a ghost from time to time. Of course, there are places where you can get rid of him. But this turns out to be a little bit difficult as you have to do a lot of things before. And there are very well done timed runs, too. Particularly worth mentioning is the very tall hall with many sloped blocks. You have to reach the top by jumping on them. I have never played such a crazy and difficult run. This was a real challenge. There are also such a lot of diving routes here that it would be no surprise for me if Lara turned into a fish woman with gills.
Lair of the Serpent: You really notice that QRS is a real freak of timed runs. I sometimes really had the feeling that nearly every action ends in a nasty timed run. But I love such things. I just can't get enough of timed runs. But once ,my heart sank into my boots. This was when Lara dropped into the pool and was suddenly surrounded by three large dragons. However, this task turned out to be much easier than thought. You only have to shoot four swinging balls and that's it. But there were two things I didn't like at all. There were six levers in a room with a glass bottom. The right lever triggered an event, the false ones burn Lara. The problem is that there isn't the slightest hint which levers to use. So you have to follow the principle"Try and die". I wonder why such a good level builder as QRS really needs to do such a thing. Another place which is badly done is the area where the key for the secret room lies. A raising block lowers right in the middle of a lava lake and there the key lies. Well, so far OK. But then you certainly start looking for a lever which floods the lava lake. Of course, you can't find one as you have to jump directly from one of the towers to this place. This is the only way! That has been badly done as there is no hint to do it that way. A flyby would have been very useful to explain it. However, this was the only negative score in this really good level.
Tribute to Luis Martins: Well, I have played such a lot of levels. And I had seen any degree of difficulty. At least, I thought I had. But this level increased the degree of difficulty considerably. I have know QRS as freak of timed runs so far. But here he showed a totally different side of himself. A good example is the narrow passage which is lined with spikeballs. Actually, this passage isn't that long, however, very narrow. On the left and on the right side, you can drop down into the hot lava. Additionally, there are fire fountains on the ground. You have to cope with this passage twice. Otherwise, you slide down long slopes at another place, nearly jump down in the dark several times because you can hardly see the next slopes. Then, when arrived safely at the bottom, there are only a few fractions of a second to decide what to do next. If you wait too long, you're overrun by a rolling ball. Or you slide down long slopes in another place, leap several times into the unknown for the next slopes can hardly be seen, Then, when getting down to the button in a healthy state, you only have a few fractions of a second to decide what to do next. If you wait too long, you'll be overrun by a rolling ball. If you decide to jump to the slope on the left side, you will be spiked. Therefore, you have to jump to the right side onto a falling block. And that's the way the game continues. You have to run over falling blocks and slopes, jump to places you thought they're impossible to reach. And so on. Well, the first parts seems to be the easiest one. Lara has to dive a lot once again, run through narrow passages and show her jumping skills at a dizzy height. The interesting thing about this level is the fact that it is divided into three parts. If you manage one part, you will be able to get the reward and decide whether to go on or to go into the next level. I always went on because it was a lot of fun despite everything. However, this level is really only meant for the real freaks. The previous levels weren't that easy but now QRS really step it up a notch.
Runaway Train: This level is relatively short, but one of the reasons why it is funny is that there are not enough train levels. As I am not a level builder, I don't know what the reason is but I guess it is hard to realize. Enemies are a few MPS. But Lara also gets some support. She frees two mutant MPS who shatters a few doors for her.
The Tinnos Tower: Here, Lara has to dive a lot once again. There aren't many enemies. I simply encountered three or four of those giant mutants. A real highlight is the beginning of the level. Lara is in the high mountains and after a few minutes she finds the building she was looking for. The view is truly magnificent from this point. QRS has taken a lovely sky and a lovely horizon as well. And the small mountain tops look really great. That's how rocks should look like. They are partly covered with and without snow. Apart from the many dives, there are, of course, timed runs and difficult leaps again but this time there are significantly fewer ones than in the previous levels. There is one part which is exceptional good. In this part you have to open two doors to get access to the places where the three wheel prayers must be inserted. There are a few levers and some spike traps. You have to very careful not to get spiked here. A very difficult task is a combination of jumps over a lot of slopes up to the top. But as the player is used to such things in the meantime, it isn't scary any more. And as in the other levels, this level is textured very well again. You cannot stress this often enough, after all, there aren't many level builders who can work so precisely over such long distances.
Back to Egypt: As they say: each to his own. In other words: Every enemy can easily be defeated, the question is only which weapon to use. Let's take, for example, these strange tall creatures in this level. They rumble and spit like hell and if you try to kill them with explosive ammo, it only raises a slight smile on their faces and they immediately restart attacking Lara. And even 50 explosive ammo roll off these guys. But one shot from the revolver and they're history. Everything is possible, you only have to know how to do it. In this level there are such a lot of passages, dives and tasks that you can easily loose track of it. Not to speak of the mean traps and timed runs. But everything can be achieved. There are no unfair places. But once you managed to get to the top in the giant hall, you're rewarded with a sensational view. Deep down there are the water basins. This view is almost more beautiful than a sunset. And being on the top, it's absolutely necessary to take a swan dive right to the bottom. It's just a huge fun. If you're on the top you will know what I was talking about. QRS should really be given a medal for this fantastic view.
Calm before the Storm: This level strongly reminds of the level Limbo again. It definitely looks different though. This building rather resembled the stepped pyramid of the Pharaoh Djoser in Sakkara and one of the pyramids of the Maya in Chichen Itza. You had to go through several passages and jump from one wall opening into another inside the pyramid. One nice point was that these passages were equipped with bars instead of normal walls. Worth mentioning is also the lava on the ground. In total, the inside of the pyramid was arranged very openly. Most of them looked as if a large cube had been built with the upper right and left segments being sloped a little bit and then being cut into pieces. In those buildings several blocks were missing in some places. In this way you were able to jump to the other buildings. Those could be found at theend of floating island chains which were connected by suspension bridges. This ensemble was build in a marvellous way and due to the large view you are able to see lovely panoramas again, particularly, if you stand on the pyramid. The Senet game from Tomb Raider IV was also included. This level was one of the easiest ones in the whole game. There were no enemies, the jumps weren't that hard and there was nearly a flyby sequence for every lever. So you knew at any time where to proceed. Another highlight is the sound. I liked the music very much. When the player has finished everything, he can enter a rolling ball and get into the next level. Lara rotates that often that she surely feels dizzy afterwards with a thick head.
The final Showdown: Another floating island level. Here you'll find two multi-storeys islands and a large building which are connected with suspension bridges. And the one who thought that weren't enough enemies in the whole level will now really enjoy himself. There are demigods, horsemen re-textured like skeletons, flying skeletons, normal skeletons and re textured bird creatures you know from Tomb Raider 2 who keep Lara on her toes. But it really never gets unfair. The demigods always attack Lara separately and you can flee from the skeletons and the bird creatures onto higher places. Merely the re-textured horsemen attack in groups. But that isn't a problem either. Just always jump backwards while shooting at them, then Lara won't get any harm at all. Of course, you'll find one of this fantastic timed runs here. But as you could practice enough in the previous levels, it will be no problem to master this last timed run.
The longest time I have ever spent in a level was in Quest of Gold. It took me 38 hours net playing time for this masterpiece from TC14. For Egypt & Beyond I approximately needed 34 hours net playing time. And I enjoyed every single minute. You have to be careful with superlatives but E&B 2 is an absolute masterpiece just like Quest of Gold. There is so much I could write about. For example:
-degree of difficulty: The degree of difficulty varies between easy, like in Runaway Train, to the really hard bonus level Tribute to Luis Martins. But most of the time it's roughly equal. And that's a good thing. It would be that pity if only hardcore raiders appealed to it and all others were ignored.
-the timed runs: I've never seen such a lot of timed runs in one level so far. And I don't think I will ever play such a thing again. It seems as if QRS only builds levels to put as many timed runs as possible into his pieces. However, I have to admit that he has come to the right person with that. I love timed runs which are well-done. And here you'll find so many of it that I could have hugged QRS with joy several times. The timed runs aren't really unfair at any time. You can manage them with some skill and practice. QRS always allowed as much time as needed to master them most of the time. There are only a few moments where things get a little bit cramped. But if you are always in motion, you won't be frightened by such timed runs.
I think there is no need to stress the fact that the whole level was built and textured outstandingly. I think it's very difficult to keep such a high level over such a long period. But QRS really did it. I didn't find any texture which gave a bad impression on me. The sound deserves a special praise. The pieces of music are sensational. And there is also nothing wrong with the normal sound. I simply missed the above-mentioned pistol sound from the first Egypt & Beyond. One question remains, however. Will there be a sequel? Concerning the ending of the level, you can really assume that there may be a sequel. I really hope that this will be the case.
A handsome praise to Moonpooka at the end. Her walkthrough is simply fantastic. Fortunately, I didn't need it that often but this walkthrough is written that well and detailed that I simply must mention it.
(Translation by Joerg (Die Basis))" - Scottie (12-Mar-2010)
"I have waited a while before reviewing this game; mainly because I lost the will to review for a while, and also because I wanted to detach from it after spending months testing it and writing the walkie. So, having managed to finally re-play it without looking for missing textures and short-cuts, I can hopefully make an unbiased review. However, even this late on in the day, I still can not fault a single thing with this game and I still think it's one of the most beautiful, entertaining and well engineered games I have ever played. Yes, it can seen a tad confusing in places; especially in the Aqueduct where you have the trip to Limbo, but once you get to grips with the routes all becomes quite clear. It's also great that QRS decided to give the player a choice of new and old or just the new levels to play. Of course, you will miss out on bonus levels 1 & 2 if you choose the new levels only route; so I suggest players play the full game as it would be a pity to miss out on the entire adventure. As you can see, from the enormous amounts of detailed reviews already posted, this game has been a huge success and I doubt another long review is necessary; so, I will try to keep mine as short as possible. Apart from the fact that the old levels have already been released and played, they are still, IMO, a must to play again. Textures have been re-mastered, a few new areas have been added and there are those all important gems to collect to access bonus levels 1 & 2. So, the new levels are really what this review is all about; the stuff we hadn't seen before so to speak. Lara arrives in The Aqueduct. This is a sort of hub level where you can nip off to Limbo and/or bonus 1 & 2 - or you can just proceed through the level and head off to the next. The aqueduct is huge and you will have many tricks and traps to negotiate in order to collect the various items to get through the level. It's quite a lonely place and you're only blessed by a few scarab attacks and one mounted skeleton, but traps are abundant and there are many inventive tasks to keep you occupied. Limbo: A beautiful array of floating islands and temples; where you can nip off to bonus levels if you have all the necessary items to do so. If not, then you can grab a couple of secrets and just admire the view. Wrath of the Wraiths: Is just that. A complex system of rooms inhabited by angry wraiths. Here you will need a good memory to remember where you have been and where you need to return to, and those wraiths will have you tearing your hair out at times - so will the sea hag as you meet her in a gruelling exercise for underwater levers. Lair of the Serpents: My favourite level. Enter the lair and be astounded by it's beautiful rooms and magnificent serpents. This is maybe by far one of the trickiest levels however and you really do need to have a lot of patience with timed runs and an enormous amount of routes to take. Bonus Levels 1 & 2: This series of levels are designed from some of Ander's favourite levels. You'll need to open each door leading the each level and then you will find yourself in some familiar places; such as Sanctuary of Souls by Piega, Caverns of the Dead by Michael Bender and many more old haunts. All have been perfectly re-mastered and melted down into smaller adventures than the originals. Bonus level 3: Let's hope you found all three pentagram secrets in the previous three levels. If so, you can access bonus level 3 and zap yourself of into the wonderful tribute to Luis Martins. Now, this level is humongous and the game-play is very hard at times. However, you have certain points throughout the level where you can choose to leave if it all becomes too much. I hope you stay to enjoy it all though, this really is a treat. Runaway Train: Following Lara's so far exhausting adventure, it's not time to take a short train ride. On board a runaway train, Lara will hack down a few baddies and final uncouple the train from it's carriages; allowing her to travel onto the next level. The Tinnos Tower: A change of scenery now as Lara arrives in snow filled mountains and gains access to the Tinnos Tower. There are more tricky jumps to do through lava laden passages and you'll also meet some rather angry mutants. When you have all the prayer wheels you need, you can leave. Return to Egypt: We are now back in Egypt and about to explore a huge inner temple inhabited by panther mummies. I suggest you keep the walkthrough to hand as this place can get very confusing, but it's also addictive and you will find yourself just dying to see what happens next. Calm Before the Storm: Lara begins inside a huge floating pyramid and needs to find her way to the outside. Once outside you will be breath-taken by what lies ahead. Fabulous floating islands, temples and structures all held together by floating bridges in a wonderful orange tinted abyss. There are a few tricky jumps inside the pyramid, but the rest is mainly exploring and nothing too complex. You also get to play the senet game; which was a real treat. The Final Showdown: The last level in this game and you'll be fighting all your worst enemies to get to the final floating temple and grab your quest items. Each set of enemies are on their own floating island and after grabbing the necessary items, you place them and get zapped off to the next island. This is a great shoot out level and a perfect ending to this awesome level set. Well, I tried to keep it brief; but to be honest, with such a huge and memorable level set it's hard to scale things down to just a few lines. I will of course add the obvious; that this is a MUST to play. Everything (and I do mean everything) is so well thought out and beautifully designed, and with faultless texturing, awesome atmosphere and stunning game-play you will not be disappointed. God, I wish I could rate this higher than 10 LOL. Thank you, Anders, for one of the best custom Tomb Raider games ever created :-)" - Moonpooka (28-Feb-2010)
"Talk about addiction. I believe I lucked out by missing the earlier release, as I was able to experience the revised and expanded set as a completely new adventure for me, which really emphasizes the"Beyond," aspects of this powerful raid. Many of the earlier reviewers have already noted the major aspects, both pro and con, about this level set, and I always enjoy seeing how diverse the raiding experience impact can be for every individual in the community.....what some find tedious, others love, etc. Ultimately, what interests me is whether or not the author's intellectual creativity, their level of craftsmanship, and their uniquely designed"worlds," have the power to capture and hold my imagination. In this regard,"Egypt and Beyond," can be considered as an embarrassment of riches. This is a huge adventure, with an amazing amount of enjoyable game play. The sheer magnitude and beauty of the work kept me coming back for more through some of the weaker repetitive elements. Yes, there are many"lost in space," frustrations inside the massive worlds.... And a lot of ,"Crap, don't go this way, even though it's the obvious path!" moments...but they are always overcome by the constantly renewing intensity of shock and awe packed inside the imaginatively inventive game play, beautifully rendered architecture and textures, elegant lighting, wonderful audio, and innovative flybys. What really made this so much fun for me were the enormous numbers of incredibly enjoyable challenges which have a sublime complexity so ingeniously built into them that the simplest of tasks often appear magical. Underscoring the entire adventure is a subtle, joyous spirit, and, at times, such downright insanely hilarious moments, that it is impossible not to stay immersed in the author's powerful grasp. Be sure to sign on for the full tour, you'll get an opportunity to become a Jedi Master. Essential for me was the awesomely detailed walkthrough enclosed, and if Val got a dollar for every time I referred to it, she could be retired to the French Riviera. This builder's trip not only pays homage to some of his favorite inspirations, it rewards us in spades with the heart and soul of challenging our raiding passions with his own uniquely masterful and intensely creative power." - Mezcal (04-Feb-2010)
"Egypt and Beyond is by far one of the best level sets I have played so far, and I have played quite a few of them. The enemies and objects are well done and creative (especially the switch-mummies), and the secrets are well placed but not too hard to find. The music is wonderful, with amazing Egyptian themes as well as classic Tomb Raider songs and many others. The lighting and textures are also very nice, and look very realistic for Tomb Raider. I do have my complaints, however, most of them are very minor. The textures were great, but they were quite similar between levels and not too colorful. Some of the ambient noises became tiresome after a while, especially the one from the Luis Martins Tribute level, which was used in many levels. Also, the gameplay, while clever, was very repetitive and sometimes just too plain difficult (such as the lever timed-run in Hall of Fame 1)! Not that timed-runs and slope challenges are bad, but there were too many of them! I do really like the complexity of these levels, but this resulted in shortcuts that were not covered up very well, using hidden spike traps and invisible rails, and these could have been dealt with better. Despite its flaws, Egypt and Beyond is an fabulous level set that is highly recommended." - okuhtfesq (29-Dec-2009)
"I really didn't want this experience to end. I had been playing these levels here and there in 30 to 45 minute segments since I downloaded them in late August, and when I finally finished today I had run up nearly 31 hours on my game clock. Although I had played the original Egypt and Beyond series when it was first released, I played the full version without ever having this feeling of deja vu. The main difference is that QRS has found a way to make the game crash if you try to enable the flycheat, so I had to play everything strictly by the book. And that's a good thing, because it gives the player a wonderful sense of accomplishment when objectively difficult tasks--and there were at least a dozen of these sprinkled throughout the game--are finally mastered after numerous attempts. I was forced to resort to a savegame only once, and this was early in the game for a short timed run along an angled corridor. There was probably a trick to shave off a split second, as I discovered was the case for later sequences, but I never figured that one out. It goes as an understatement to say that this is a classic in the annals of custom levels. I would hate to be forced to list my top five releases (listing the top ten would be considerably easier), but this would probably be among them. Although there are enemies galore, the hallmark of gameplay here is undoubtedly its complexity. I cannot conceive of having made it even through the first level without the assistance of Moonpooka's thorough and painstakingly written walkthrough. (Thanks, Val.) If there's anything at all to complain about (and there's not, really), it would have to be the lack of anything bright and colorful (unless you want to count the lava rooms). Most of the action takes place indoors or underground, and the constant gray and blue surroundings grew somewhat wearisome to me after a while. The later levels bring you outside to a floating islands environment, but even here the skies are orange instead of blue. On the other hand, I did have a unique experience here: I won a game of Senet for the first time. (You don't have to win in Tomb Raider IV in order to proceed, but you do here.) On a negative note, I felt that the final timed run was a bit unfair to the player. I jumped the crumbling tiles in what I felt was the optimum time, but I had hardly reached the exit passage when the spikes were triggered. Since no builder yet has found a way to keep me from patching the executable so that I can play in god mode, I simply reloaded, paused a split second on the final tile until the spikes sprang out, and then ran right through them. In summary, this is a milestone effort that richly deserves all the praise that it has received." - Phil (16-Dec-2009)
"I want to do justice to this grand game with my review. After all, given how many hours of pleasure (and some frustration) it has given me, I can surely devote a bit of time to writing about it in detail. Those who don't want to read the detailed descriptions of the levels, feel free to skip to the last three paragraphs.
The old levels: Since QRS wants reviewers to focus mainly on the new levels, I'll just include a quick paragraph about the old levels. They were just as new to me as the rest of the levels, since I haven't played the original E&B. The first one - Quest for the Sacred birds - was nice, but not fantastic. But things picked up from the second one, with each level having its own grand showpiece - be it a place (the huge main tower area in The Lost Tinnos Temple, the water slopes room in Gauntlet) or a gameplay sequence (the whole torch challenge in, um, The Torch Challenge, and the bull-fighting in Ye Obelisk Sequence). Brilliant stuff, simply brilliant!
Limbo: Limbo makes for a very nice hub area, with plenty of gameplay in its own right, including a trap gauntlet, timed run, several secrets, and the ability to get the three pentagrams for the third bonus level. I especially love the surreal floating islands style, and the colour scheme and architecture in this level are simply lovely.
Hall of Fame I & II: I have lumped the two Hall of Fame levels, since they interconnect so much that they're basically just one huge level. The idea itself is superb - what better way to honour builders one admires, than to rebuild some bits of their games as a part of 'museum exhibit' of sorts? I haven't yet played most of the levels featured here, so my 'To play' list increased considerably. Each showcased level is great fun. But the 'museum' area connecting them all is considerably less enjoyable. It's stunningly beautiful, no doubt - but there's just so much running around back and forth trying to hunt down switches, then hunting down the doors they opened ... it gets quite tiring after a while. This was the level when I finally stopped trying to resist the walkthrough, and gave into it unashamedly (so far I had used the walkthrough mainly to ensure I didn't miss the 5 Mystery stones). Even with the walkthrough, there was at least one major frustrating moment: the multi-lever timed swim for opening up the doors to the second half of Part II. It took me days to get past it, and was the only point in this game when I felt I would have to rely on someone else's savegame to continue (fortunately, I didn't have to).
The Aqueduct: You visit The Aqueduct several times, since you have to pass through it to get to and from Limbo and the bonus levels. IMO, it's one of the less impressive levels in this game, mainly because of the overuse of one single trapped hallway, which you have to pass at least about 6 times, and many more if you want all the secrets. It was definitely one of the low moments in the game for me. The level does pick up towards the end, when you have to revisit certain sections, this time zooming back and forth via shortcuts.
Wrath of Wraiths: Can't say I wasn't warned, since the name of the level makes it pretty clear what the main enemies are going to be, and the no-guns sign at the beginning also makes it clear that there will be no simple way of getting rid of any other enemies. Thankfully, there's only one of the latter: a very annoying sea hag. However, the near-constant attack of wraiths is just so irritating that it's very hard to think objectively about this level at all. There are some seriously cool areas in this level, including a very tall room filled with a lot of slope-jumping action. Unfortunately, the extremely challenging jumps become nearly impossible, because you also have to keep dodging the wraith on your tail. And just when you get rid of one - voila, there's another. I used only a single medipack in this entire game, and guess which level I was forced to use it in? On a more positive note: there is one puzzle I must mention, since, IMO, it captures QRS's style brilliantly. On the face of it, it's just a basic push-block puzzle. But the same 4 blocks are used in three different ways, all within one tiny room. He really knows how to squeeze a maximum amount of gameplay from even the simplest of level building elements.
Lair of Serpents: Instead of the claustrophobic tunnels of the previous level, here you get a massive and beautiful hall with interconnecting towers and bridges. There's plenty more huge architecture, but a lot of it is underwater. The eponymous serpents make their appearance quite late in level, and start off small, but get bigger as you get further into the level - until you finally come face to face with 3 HUGE snakes spitting fire and bees at you. It's a great sequence. There's also a serpent-themed puzzle, and snake stones to collect, and basically all things snakey. A very nice level - as long as you're not afraid of snakes! ;)
A Tribute to Luis Martins: I must admit that I have never played any of Luis Martins's levels, but if this tribute level is an indication of his usual style, I certainly intend to try out his stuff. This level starts off with a whimper rather than the bang I expected: a long and tedious underwater lever puzzle. Fortunately, it soon picks up pace, so that when I got to the first transporter room (where you can choose to quit if you like), I happily chose to continue without a second glance at the transporter. And yup, the 'bangs' were there in full force now, with lots of insanely difficult jumps, traps and timed runs, which kept getting more and more difficult with each new section. Still, it was all exhilarating, kind of like a crazy roller coaster ride. And of course, it was with great pride that I picked up the Expert's Certificate at the end.
Runaway Train: Wow, outdoors at last! The indoors-only location of nearly the entire game so far had been getting on my nerves for quite a while now, so this level was quite a breath of fresh air, in more ways than one. Sadly, other than this, it has hardly any merits. It's a pretty straightforward train level, with lots of crates, MPs who shoot at Lara for no reason at all, and some annoying fixed camera angles. Only the bit with getting the YRPs to smash crates was interesting.
The Tinnos Tower: After a very tiny outdoor bit, you are once more back underground (though snow does keep falling into some of the caves from holes in the roof - a nice touch). After a traps-and-slopes gauntlet, there's a torch lighting puzzle, and then a whole lot of underwater passages. This section includes one of the most unusual puzzles in the game, i.e., the rolling spiked-barrel one. I've never seen anything quite like it. There's also another slope-jumping sequence that I enjoyed a lot.
Back to Egypt: Back to another lovely Egyptian temple complex. The tasks and traps start feeling a little repetitive at this point, but still, there are some cool bits, like fake switches that turn into mummies when you approach them - deliciously scary!
Calm before the Storm: I love mystic levels like this. This level is a visual treat, with its huge central pyramid, surrounding by the various 'floating islands', and all of them enshrouded in orange fog. There are also a couple of seriously cool moments in the level - like the adorable rolling cage that Lara travels in at the end; and of course, the game of Senet, which is always fun. But there are a couple of negative bits too, like traversing the floating structures which mainly involves very repetitive run-jump-grab sequences. Switch placement is also very arbitrary - it's quite easy to miss many important switches, and then you have backtrack through half the level to find them.
The Final Showdown: Apparently many of the other reviewers think this level was not a good finale, but I definitely do not share that opinion. I loved this level wholeheartedly, and enjoyed every action-packed moment of it. I just wish that a few of those dozens of enemies had populated the earlier levels as well - especially those huge hammer-wielding monsters (argh!) seen only near the end. Why weren't they around to scare me silly earlier in the game? But never mind. The whole level was one big adrenaline rush, and I finished it with cramped fingers and a huge grin on my face.
Overall: I guess I should justify that 9 in the textures/lighting category. Honestly, I would have given this category 9.9 if I could, but I simply couldn't give it a perfect 10, so I had to round it down to 9. From the technical viewpoint, lighting and textures are quite flawless throughout the game - quite an achievement for such a vast undertaking! But from the aesthetic viewpoint, I felt the textures were far from perfect, especially in the middle-levels (The Aqueduct, Wrath of Wraiths, Lair of Serpents, A Tribute to Luis Martins), as well as the non-Egyptian levels in the old levels. Seeing the same bland, greyish textures adorning wall after wall in level after level was tiresome (not to mention the same greenish lighting). Given how beautiful and detailed the Egyptian textures were, the bland ones in the other levels stuck out even more.
I was going to give the Gameplay category a 9 as well, but changed my mind, because it's just too brilliant. I am very much the type of player for whom harder gameplay equals better gameplay, and I make no apologies for that view. So my only complaint about the gameplay is the very arbitrary/illogical placement of switches in some of the levels, but I can easily forgive this, as a very comprehensive walkthrough is bundled with the download package, so it's fairly easy to figure out where to go when you're lost (btw, thanks for the excellent walkthrough, Moonpooka).
So the bottomline is: This is an absolutely marvellous game. While it's not quite perfect, and parts of it are certainly not everyone's cup of tea, I'd still recommend that everyone at least give this game a try. It's too good an experience to be missed." - Mytly (07-Dec-2009)
"I'm not going to say much, since so much has already been said. This game took me months to finish without having the walkthrough as a forceful companion and missing just a few bonuses along the way. It's huge. It's imaginative. It's perfect in the way it looks and sounds albeit somewhat on the classic side, generally speaking. The ending level sums the rest up in a more "relaxed" (because simpler, the levels are really very complicated in their tasks and orientation, but really packed up with action) and there remains a fringe left for us to know whether Lara escaped the pyramid or not. I did not take notes along the way and there's so much to say, anyway... In a word, it's hard but it's unmissable. Four tens, naturally." - Jorge22 (03-Dec-2009)
"This game is definitely an adventure you won't soon forget, that is, if you have any hair left from pulling it out in frustration, in that case, you might just remember that instead. I enjoyed much of this adventure, that must have taken hours upon weeks upon months to complete, but it should download with a big, blinking red warning at risk to your sanity! Ok, I may be joking, maybe. What I am saying here, is THIS GAME IS HARD! And confusing in places, and tricky and needlessly head-scratching. There are levels that are worse offenders than others, especially the bonus levels, where the walkie was a requirement. I realize that QRS was going for challenging, and that it was, but I can't imagine even the most seasoned player being able to finish this level set without checking the walkie, heck, the board was flooded with questions even though the walkie was included with the download..hello!! That said, there are definitely brilliant rooms, textures, lighting and puzzles, to be sure, and this is a level set not to be missed. Just prepare yourself for a very long time to devote to one adventure, and perhaps wear a hat for added protection." - Shandroid (17-Nov-2009)
"I'm very glad I gained the ability to play patched level series, because I was able to experience this work of art. I am not sure I can do it justice with any string of positive adjectives I could come up with, and as such fear that this may come off as a negative review in the end - rest assured, players, you will not regret having played through this epic adventure. I did the whole set, and it got me 14 hours of puzzles, action, and plenty of eye-candy as well with its huge, beautiful surroundings. Many custom items, traps, and enemies serve to stand in the way, and many times Lara must use her crazy athletic prowess (ie. your agile fingertips) to barely make it through alive. I found it fascinating that two of the bonus levels would not center on more of the author's own work (though the "hub" is certainly lovely), but on the works of others. Now, there were a few things I feel can be improved on, if the levels are feel look more professional. One thing is the use of hidden death-tiles, spike traps, or invisible walls placed around the levels. I know shortcuts can really break a level, but these hidden obstacles come off as quick fixes that punish the player for being observant (or perhaps desperate, as I was in some situations!). The best solution would be to fix the level structure so that it does not lend to such shortcuts, though I understand this could be quite a bit more work, depending on when in the building process a certain shortcut was discovered. I also feel the levels would be better if they relied less on the idea of savegames. For instance when you lose the torch at what seems a reasonable spot, and progress along for a while only to realize you still needed it, it was too bad for you and you can only hope you have the right savegame to go back and try again, or else you are stuck for good. Perhaps some nifty signs, like those "no guns" ones used to cue the player in, would help avoid frustration in this respect. Or remove the possibility of being stuck, although that might make certain parts less interesting. Without these issues the levels would feel more convincing. The only other quip I had was with some of the backtracking (place artifacts to reveal more receptacles across the world, etc.), but the environments were so interesting that I did not mind it as much as I would have in other cases. Again I know this review will probably come out as harsh, but this is very much a great series to enjoy. Give it a go, it is a rocky but highly rewarding road to travel." - SSJ6Wolf (11-Nov-2009)
"An amazing game in one word, you will never be bored about how it all looks. One part in the gameplay was a bit boring I thought, it sticks to my mind still. It was the passage with the spiked moving blocks in Aqueduct. How many times did we have to travel through this passage to get things done? I did have some problems with timed sequences here and there, but I wanted to do it on my own and never had help with savegames. But now I stop nagging as the rest of the game was absolutely top class. I spread playing over about two weeks (and that was to give my nerves some rest here and there) Loved the chosen audio tracks, except for the background loop in the"Luis Martins levels", they became nervewrecking and I put the music down all the way to play onwards. What can I say about texturing, lighting and atmosphere... All top class. It is an expert level as stated in the read-me as I found out only later (Yes I also forget to read them), pity, as more people should be able to play though these levels, maybe make a somewhat easier version later? At certain points I was quite happy with the splendid walk Val provided, chapeau! Once more... Top level and a must play if you're not weak at heart. Playing only the new levels: Gametime 25 hours." - Dutchy (17-Oct-2009)
"I finally finished it. This one is setting standards. In every sense. I don't want to make much words about it. Why not ten in a row? The adventure is more then excellent, but sometimes it is a bit on the long side, the complexity of gameplay maybe frustrating from time to time. But that's known by the author and relativized by a sophisticated walkthrough... A must to play with a lot of demanding timed runs!" - Christian (29-Sep-2009)
"A masterpiece, and considering the time these levels take to play, somewhat equivalent to tackling a massive classic novel--one that requires hefty annotations for full comprehension. Some reviewers did this in 14 hours; all I'm going to admit to is that it took me in excess of 20 hours of statistics time. At the outset I decided to play all levels and find all secrets, and this really requires extensive use of the excellent walkthrough. If I tried to play too much ahead of the walkthrough I was always having to backtrack or reload to pick up the next secret: early on, a safe square in a lava pool, and later (in the Tinnos tower I think), when I was congratulating myself on finding the next secret, I read that Lara had bypassed a switch hidden behind a smashing column. Then there was the time in the "Runaway Train," when Moonpooka's walkthrough suggested that if one wanted to see some cartoon humor, use the crowbar on the panel to the left of the secret. So when I read that, it seemed I had missed something, and I had Lara rush back into the carriage and....well, the less said about that the better. In scoring the game play, I have taken into account that there is a walkthrough to keep players from becoming hopelessly lost. The levels have uniformly professional design, so that players may relax in an immersive adventure, without fear that overlooked details will disturb the flow of the game. Parts of the play can be quite difficult, as in the "Tribute to Luis Martins," but there are several exit points provided in that bonus level for those who want to opt out of further challenges. Also the more grueling timed runs and slope jumps are often reserved for secrets, and are therefore optional. It was interesting to replay the first five levels, and discover how much I remembered, and to easily recognize the new additions. Sometimes, replaying other adventures, only a few areas have seemed vaguely familiar, but here the early pyramid and the various torch tasks at the tower had all been etched into memory, as well as the water slide room that many people have enjoyed. Another reason to think this is all pretty good. For me the most enjoyable parts followed this, the "Hall of Fame" I and II. These levels feature a number of vignettes suggestive of popular author levels, and I found this whole section to be delightful and cleverly done. All the new levels are very satisfying and varied, including a fun train ride. As mentioned, the "Tribute to Luis Martins" is designed to be deliberately maddening, er, involving. I did find the very end to be something of an anticlimax, not as good as almost everything that had gone before it. All the enemies at the end didn't seem that big a deal, and the final timed run forced me to see the same camera sequence over and over again, klutzy player that I am. So enjoy the journey and don't worry about the destination. This adventure is probably better than most of the professional games being marketed today. In such a short review I can't begin to cover the rich details and wealth of experience contained here, so play it for yourself." - dmdibl (15-Sep-2009)
"Finally, after a long month, I've finished this complete adventure, at last! I've playing several hours all days and it cost me almost 24 hours of useful gameplay, more than 1.400 savegames and innumerable additional hours reloading and trying a lot of times the same tasks (how many times Lara died!). The best of the game is that sometimes you can choose to play or not certain levels or areas, but I think many people like me want to play the entire adventure so they can be in serious problems (even with the walkthrough, many people asked for help in the forums). Many times there are very difficult timed runs or tasks which can take you easyly to the most deep frustration (the timed run through the smashing spiked walls in Aqueduct, for example) but another times you can enjoy marvellous puzzles and a satisfactory gameplay. I'm a player who usually like explore the levels by myself (without walkthrough) and sometimes I found that the game was too much no-lineal and it was easy to miss a switch hidden anywhere so I had to replay the same areas a lot of times; this was not good for me. George Maciver wrote: """Not every Raider is alike and yes, there are a handful of players who love repeating exceptionally difficult tasks, but most do not. Don't judge gameplay by the views of this handful of hardcore challenge loving players who highly rate ridiculously difficult levels. Chances are they are the only ones who actually finished these games and, therefore, were the only ones to have reviewed it! What about the hundreds of players who gave up on these tough levels and binned them because they were too hard? If you think Tomb Raider is about frustrating players and killing them at every opportunity, rewarding them with spikes and instant death for completing a challenge, cramping their fingers with timed runs that can only be achieved after 100 practice runs, please go back and replay the originals and try to learn something...""". I said this 'cause for me the tribute to Luis Martins (what a great builder) was an authentic torture (yes, I know that I could abandone this level in several places, but everybody want to "get" the Jedimaster's Certificate). Talking about another things, I missed some more enemies in some levels, but the ones I found were original and very well implemented; the objects are very good too; the architecture is perfect; the atmosphere is really fantastic, the best I've ever seen in a custom level and the environment with all those magnificent textures and very appropriate lights was simply impressive. I've loved all those flybies and many surprises I found when playing, the cameras helping you a lot and many other features I can't remember (if I wrote all the sensations I got when playing I could send several pages). Really a huge adventure from a very expert builder who has worked hundreds of hours to offer a good work to the Community." - Jose (15-Sep-2009)
"After having seen some previews of this game and knowing how long it has taken to create I had rather high expectations from it. QRS however, managed to fulfill my expectations very well by offering many hours of great gameplay in well crafted and atmospheric setting. Tasks which you have to complete consist of a bit everything such as various puzzles and finding items and figuring out where to use them. Jumping and timed runs are also an important part of the game and some of them are very challenging requiring a lot of experience and precise controlling and timing of the jumps. This can make the game unplayable for novices but for experienced players they will surely offer plenty of great gaming time. What I liked also is that gameplay flows mostly pretty fluently from tasks to another involving not much backtracking even if it may not always seem so first due to scale and complex design of the areas. My only complaint about gameplay is that in later levels it started to some degree repeat itself containing a lot of jumps, finding keys and switches etc. which had already been seen at that point. This is of course just a minor complaint and overall the gameplay is very professional and well thought out. To say something about the environment, it looks truly good throughout the game and also quite varied containing many different sort of areas such as Egypt themed places, kind of gothic places, a train level and a snowy temple level as well. The best part of the game however is the atmosphere which is rather mystical and intensified with some great music containing also few tunes from 'Final Fantasy X' that fitted perfectly for certain situations. It's though a pity that some of these beautiful audio tracks can stop before they finish if you for example save during a boss fight and then load which will stop the audio from playing. This could be fixed with new audio engine of NGLE but it nevertheless doesn't affect reviewing since it's just a small detail. The final category where objects, enemies and secrets belong is done very well too. Many trap objects are for example used inventively to make some intense jumping sessions and statics together with animating objects are chosen and placed well too. I don't have much bad to say about the use of enemies either though the last level was maybe slightly overloaded with them in my opinion. All in all I enjoyed this game very much and I highly recommend it for every experienced raiders who have gotten used to completing some tough jumping tasks. Don't miss it." - Samu (03-Sep-2009)
"It's hard to know where to start writing a review on this one actually. It's a work of such astonishing scope that I can't even begin to imagine how many thousands of man-hours QRS must have put into building this epic, but it certainly took me days and days to play it. It's not for the fainthearted, as parts of it are very challenging and certainly you will have to commit a great deal of time to get through it all, but I strongly urge you to do just that because it really is an incredible experience. I had played the original levels when they were first released, but they seem to have been considerably tweaked, as I didn't recognise large parts of them and I don't think my memory is quite that bad. As before though, I have to say my absolutely favourite section was the brilliant water slide room - such fun. The download comes complete with a walkthrough (and I must digress at this point to congratulate Moonpooka on said walkthrough - what an achievement) and I strongly recommend that you consult it from time to time to ensure that you don't miss any of the artefacts that will enable you to access the bonus levels. QRS really has done a splendid job of paying homage to some of the Hall of Fame levels and you simply cannot play this game without wringing every last ounce of pleasure from all the different areas. The new levels are also a joy and even include a train section (which I always enjoy and it makes a nice 'intermission' from the other sections. If you feel at some point that the enemies are few and far between, that's because most of them are waiting for you in the very last segment, at which point you'll be very glad to have found so much in the way of medipacks and ammo. I also particularly enjoyed the choice of music throughout the game. If I have one slightly negative comment to make it would be that some of the tasks seem a touch repetitive after a while (especially the underwater ones - my personal bete noire), but that could probably be deemed inevitable in a game of such length. Perhaps this is one to play at leisure, with breaks for other games in between, but however you choose to play it, do play it." - Jay (01-Sep-2009)
"ohh boy ..... this game rocks ..... so good and complex TR game i never played in my life !!! now i dont start to write all about the levels particulary cos was made allready by heroting ........ but man . this game is huge ...... i advice to play it from beginning i mean old + new levels cos at old levels u can colect alot off ammo medipacks and guns wich u need at the grande finale trust me ;) u think u have 100 revolver bullets ? 80 shotgun shells ?? 20 or more medipacks ? well u wil need it at grande finale cos u need to deal with alot off foes from skeletons to demigods 2 or 3 times + some giant yeti creatures at the last stages ....... all game is a masterpiece from beggining to the end - i think share the first place all time with TC game - Quest off Gold iff even is not better ......bonus levels are very tuff .... some off it ... and iff u think u can finish without reading time to time the walkthrough - FORGET IT!! .. cos i dont think that someone can finish this one without read at least once or twice from walkthrough ......... generaly the top TR games involve 3 aspects ...1 tricky jums & timed runs / 2 great puzzles / 3 exploration ......... WELL HERE U GET A MIX OFF ALL 3 !!! all game is a piece off art graphics is top notch puzzles are very hard ones - some off it ....... alot off timed runs / spike trapps/ burners and exploration & swimming... alot off items to colect and use . alot off enemyes .. i think all off them is in this game . but except rocket launcher u get all the guns u need ..... and medipacks alot but u need to explore the areas for it ......all levels are very nice builded and some off it involve alot off exploration + very hard tasks ..... but personaly i was like moustly the final 2 levels -The calm before the storm and the Final Showdown carefull through to find all 12 serpent gems from bonus levels ..... cos u need to use to get 3 pentagrams for bonus level 3 -- i get only 10 off it cos i was played moustly without read the walkthrough and missed 2 Later u can find 3 more from New levels .... but i get only 1 (even dont serach for other 2)cos i was know that i have 2 after placed the 10 serpent gems from Limbo but that 2 was not show up at inventory -- bugg?? __ and needed a save game to can play the bounus 3 level ..... from this considerent i was think to give 9 for gameplay ... but man I CANNOT GIVE 9 COS THIS GAME FULLY DESERVE 10 IN THE ROW OR EVEN MORE IFF WAS POSSIBLE ...... MANNY GREATINGS TO QRS wich proved to be one off the best builders all time ...... highly recomanded - but moustly for hardcore TR players .... cheers ....." - Jack& (28-Aug-2009)
"How many levers must one woman throw before her arms get tired ? And how many switches has one girl to pull before the builder is satisfied ? Now how many timed runs must one player try before the time has expired ? The answer my friend... can certainly be found in this TRLE adventure designed by this fantasic builder from Sweden. It must have been some two hundred or even more plus one suitcase full of keys to open numberless doors. The old Egyptians must have been very jealous about their own treasures by deciding to keep them well hidden from the eyes of strangers as if to say : Everything that can get locked must get locked away ! This is one huge adventure and one of the best ever created in TRLE history but the gameplay falls behind : levers , levers and even more levers ! switches , switches and how about some more switches ? Time to fall asleep ? No way ! You have not completed Timed Run # 25 yet ! And what about the two dozen of keys your heart is yearning for which are still not in your inventory ? This type of gameplay doesn`t make my day , I considered a much lower rate here but I must admit these inconveniences were made good by the criteria in all other slots. Maybe Anders is not a director of Arts like Dickie Lawther but he is surely a builder who knows how to do the job ! On many occasions I needed some help from Moonas fantastic and very professional walkthrough as I assume only very few humans would have been able to complete some of the weird tasks in here ! There were also one or two timed runs which drove me nuts - Usain Bolt would probaby enjoy this game ! The overwhelming majesty of the comlete game makes it an unforgettable experience ,but certainly not for TRLE beginners ! Beginners ? Is there anybody out there ? The Doors into The Hall of Fame will open wide for Anders Svenssons masterpiece !" - Ruben (28-Aug-2009)
"The author requested that reviews focus more on the new levels rather than the original Egypt and beyond levels (not to mention they are the section where my memories are the most fuzzy), so I'll put them together: very good, with some interesting use of rising/lowering water puzzles, some epically huge areas-especially the Tinnos Temple at the centre of it all-and one of best torch uses I've seen. The torch challenge also has some of the best uses of Spiders I've seen (to my chagrin), with them ambushing you, instead of just walking around as cannon-fodder, this also applies to Tinnos Mutants as well for that matter. It was also good to see certain flow-helping things added for the new version, for instance, the final puzzle in the original involved a series of excruciatingly long ladder climbs, the new version makes use of elevator tiles, which is not only much faster but also more original and fun. On the bad side there's a slight over-reliance on mazes, and the offshoot areas from the centre rooms sometimes feel a bit neglected, which partially goes into the mazes point, as they occasionally feel like a jumble of corridors rather than having any sort of structure. The good easily outweighs this though. Now for the more detailed reviews of the new content:
Limbo: An interesting concept; it's less of a level in its own right and more of a link to the bonus content, although the distinctive theme and nasty flame trap gauntlet makes it stand out despite that. It does all it's intended too, but there's not too much to add as it was probably not meant to be anything more than that.
Hall of Fame 1+2 (bonus level 1 and 2): This is one of the most immense homages I've ever seen and essentially two levels that work as one; sections from levels/packs of various other authors (most of them recognisable to me), wrapped up in a massive hall that quite possibly overshadows all of them. The gameplay in the main hall areas is relatively sedate and provides some calming exploration after the last couple of levels of the original E&B. The difficulty of the homages tends to be somewhat similar to how difficult they are in their respective levelsets (translation: expect things to pick up once you wonder into the Luis Martins section). One of the best bonus levels I've seen, not to mention the fact it actually works as a bonus level (E.G. It's not something that could really be fit into the normal level progression).
The Aqueduct: Technically you go here first in the new levels, but I'm reviewing the levels in the order I played the majority of their content. The first half of this level is made up of nasty trap gauntlets, jumping puzzles and timed runs, making it a pretty brutal introduction to E&B complete. The gameplay mellows out as you continue, and the later sections involve quite a bit of swimming (as the name hints at) and some exploration in a very cool looking hall. After getting the Crowbar equivalent (a sword) the level interlinks back to earlier parts and you explore the old areas with new goals and with minimal backtracking, which is where it hit me how ingeniously this level links together. Excellent, although I preferred the second half to the occasionally-frustrating first half.
Wrath of the Wraiths: This level starts by making your guns unusable, although it doesn't really matter as there isn't much to shoot anyway; the title being the hint about what your main opposition is. Most of the level takes place in confined corridors and swimming areas, rating it on its own I might have considered this a flaw, but in context it provides a perfect complement to the massive levels after it. It also fits with the spooky atmosphere the ambient music establishes. The later sections of the level involve climbing a tall tower of sloping blocks (with a slightly novel block puzzle at the top), then finishes up with various tasks in a huge chamber that contrasts with the rest of the level and ends in a sort of boss fight. The only problems I recall are an underwater enemy that seemed quite cheap, as there's no way to kill it and it takes off big chunks of your health while you are pressing underwater levers, and the fact you can skip the boss fight with a series of curve jumps that really didn't seem that out-there with the general high-difficulty of the pack.
Lair of the Serpents: Now this is something else. You quickly end up in a massive chamber full of towers, which leads on to a humongous underwater area, which then leads onto an immense Serpent room. Notice a pattern in the adjectives here? It's not just the scale that makes this level so brilliant though, but also the way it links together. The"non-linear yet linear" style that QRS seems to have mastered was evident in the previous levels but this is where it really becomes evident; you follow a relatively straight path through the level, yet you are constantly interlinking with earlier (and later) rooms with minimal backtracking, and certain areas are re-purposed for new tasks multiple times. It all builds up to flooding a shaft you fell down at the start of the level a floor at a time, and there's a sort of boss fight along the way too. I also liked the calm cyan lighting scheme a lot of the level was lit in. One of the block puzzles felt slightly laborious, and there were some silly switches that killed you off with seemingly no warning or logic, but the rest was so good that I'd quite possibly rank this as one of the best levels I've ever played.
A Tribute To Luis Martins (bonus level 3): I admit Legacy of the Gods+BPs is the only Luis Martins production I've played so far, so I'm not sure if this is supposed to be evocative of a specific Luis level or just an attempt at emulating his style (I assume the latter). Overall though it seems more like a way to throw in sadistic traps and jumping puzzles that were deemed too much for the normal game, and it's even nice enough to segment the building challenge with periodic teleports out if you really can't do it. Really though I didn't find it too bad; the level again uses the"non-linear yet linear" style that keeps interlinking and flows very well outside of some overly obtuse underwater levers at the start, so you can fully focus your attention on survival, rather than worry about whether you missed a lever half-way through the level or something. Another great level.
Runaway Train: The weakest link for me, but not for gameplay reasons so much as thematic ones; the earlier levels hinted at a backstory of Lara progressing through various strange alien dimensions and structures, or some sort of lost mountain complex (going by the map provided with the pack). Then out of nowhere you go in a teleport and are suddenly on a Train fighting government agents. With no explanation it harmed my overall immersion in the pack (although I got over it pretty quick with the later levels). It feels like a missed opportunity to do something different like some strange alien train. Using holy sculptures to open a door was also kind of odd. It's a good level in itself though, one of the new enemies was pretty amusing and getting the secrets also involved a nice little trick. I admit that the theme issues I mentioned above have tainted my overall opinion of this level a bit though.
Tinnos Tower: Moving on from the train you find a buried structure and are back in more familiar settings. There's another trap gauntlet to get through, leading onto a torch puzzle (all going into another great example of interlinking and re-purposing areas) and progressing into a series of"trials" reached via a set of underwater passageways, although that's quite an overly simplified summation of how it works and fits together. There were some invisible pushblocks that were kind of cheap (they didn't catch me out, but they very easily could have), and making the switch for a certain door hidden before a sloped block gauntlet also seemed pointlessly cheap, as I ended up having to do said gauntlet three times to work things out. Very good beyond that, although the name seemed a bit of a misnomer; the"tower" part only comes in at the very end, and you actually seemed to spend most of the time descending, it seemed more like the Tinnos Dungeons or something, not that this changes my score at all.
Back to Egypt: Exactly what it says it is, although the Egypt theme has been injected with a dose of epic; you soon find yourself in a large Egyptian hall, and, after solving some puzzles there (including the introduction of some amusing switch doppelgangers), end up in another hall about five times as large (namely vertically). The vast majority of the gameplay takes place in the second hall, and this is one of the only levels to have true-non-linearity in it, with four objects to find at various locations and tasks to solve in pretty much every part of the towering structure. If you get stuck on something there's pretty much always something to try elsewhere. The variety and amount of stuff to do in the main section is huge and makes great use of space; this level is up there with the Lair of the Serpents in quality for me.
Calm before the Storm: Still in Egypt (or some sort of Egyptian realm anyway), but now it's time for something completely different; after going outside from the building you start in you realise you are on a series of Islands floating in an abyss like the earlier Limbo level, centred around a large pyramid/ziggurat. And some initial exploration quickly establishes the goal of finding various Serpent themed artefacts around this place. You gradually open things up and get access to more of the islands, until you make it to the top of the pyramid itself and finally end in a funny rolling-ball thing. There's also a Senet game to play along the way, which is interesting as it's used very little. There was one switch to access torches that I thought had a nonsensical placement. Beyond that it's another level I really liked, and has a very unique theme.
The Final Showdown: A continuation of the previous level in theme, and pretty much exactly what it says, with combat against a lot of enemies. I thought the amount of Tinman replacements was far too much, considering there's no way to kill them in numbers, but beyond that it flowed well and worked as a climax (including a nice"no guns" section and some enemies I've never seen before) and finally ending with an extremely tight timed run that I imagine will give many people some serious headaches. It would have been good to have an escape sequence at the end beyond a little stuff in the credits, but I guess you need to leave a sequel open somewhere ;) . It does what it's trying to do well, although its nature obviously prevents it matching some of the great sequences before it.
I didn't go with a full ten on gameplay due to various small issues I mentioned throughout (I'd say the occasional"needle in a haystack" switch hunt and un-warned switch traps were the worst of these). I was considering a nine on the enemies/objects/secrets, but decided that the great use of objects and obvious work put into the secrets outweighed the overuse of Tinmen enemies in the last level and my personal issues with the Train level (I should note enemies are very rare outside of the final level). There's the occasional area I felt had slightly flat lighting or lacking camera hints, but decided that the overall size and quality of levels easily outweighed those problems, so they get top marks too. If I had any issues with the music it's that the Tomb Raider theme almost seemed overused; great as it is it loses its impact a bit when you hear it every hour or so. Overall one of the best packs I've ever played, don't expect an easy ride though (or a light one; it took me 17 hours), however, it mostly flowed very well with minimal walkthrough use, and even when I did use it I only needed it for one or two parts and didn't need to constantly reference it every ten minutes like in some levels." - MMan (22-Aug-2009)
"My My, i must say that i can't think after reading the previous review. I thought that this was only a level for an expert builder, i havent seen anything like this before. This didn't remind me of Egypt at all, the builder has just bought level editing into a whole new perspective. For me, i thought the puzzles were by far the most outstanding part of this level. The part i was amazed most with was either the rising or the lowering water puzzle thing or just how the level looked in general, there is so many different types of areas to visit ranging from snowy sort of places, to an inside fiery looking, foggy maze type of thing. I was quite happy since there was minimal backtracking, so that saved me some of my time. I enjoyed the sensation that the level started off how it was supposed to, i mean, straight from the start there were traps, timed runs etc and it made me feel as though the builder has tried to incorporate everything possible into this level, i've seen this done in a few other levels but i don't think it's ever been done as well as this, so i congratulate you on this success. On the other hand, occasionally i came across some, not bad, but not so good lighting also, i wasn't really too keen on the spiders as i think, to be honest, they have had their time now and its about time a new type of enemy is brought into the game. Overall, thats all i have to say, a great level with lots of things you wont have seen before; a must play. Grade = A**" - herothing (22-Aug-2009)