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Lost Spirit of the Cavemen by Astraf

DJ Full 7 7 8 7
eRIC 4 5 7 6
grizzly 5 5 5 6
Jay 6 6 7 8
Jorge22 9 9 9 8
Jose 3 6 6 7
MichaelP 6 5 8 7
nerdfury 5 6 6 6
Orbit Dream 6 7 7 7
Phil 8 7 7 8
Ryan 6 7 7 8
Sethian 6 7 4 4
StudBuddha 4 3 3 4
The Snarky Lesbian 8 6 7 8
release date: 01-Jun-2020
# of downloads: 197

average rating: 6.32
review count: 14
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file size: 93.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cold/Snowy

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Reviewer's comments
"Knowing there is a remake of this early release of this builder out there, I can say I am looking forward to playing that one, as I am guessing this 30 minute adventure is all but a nice appetizer for it. Except of course for the design choice of releasing that lost spirit (aka wraith) and then only offering a means to fully get rid of it at the very end. Quite doable, especially if you manage to drive it away a bit by shooting at it, but just highly annoying, rather than being an actual challenge in itself. That aside, the atmosphere works well, the path is quite clever as you do tasks and then come back to see what has changed and there are some very decent camera flyby moments that also help the atmosphere and immersion overall. A dozen or so wolves roam the place and a few croc fish and a few skeletons and the one secret feels like an afterthought only, but like I said - I am curious now what the remake looks like..." - MichaelP (17-Jan-2024)
"I was initially blocked at the door of the room of the pushable which remained closed. I realized when I started again that I had not gone there immediately after having operated the leverswitch and the door had closed (why?). The other drawback (for my personal taste) is that at the end of the race with the wraith that follows us to the end. That said, this level is correct with an interesting lighting. A few dogs to eliminate quickly and sharks to avoid are the only enemies. We get 3 beetles but they are useless." - grizzly (27-Dec-2023)
"I strongly disagree with wraith drain design - and guess what, it's the main point of this level. I challenge you to play it without meds and I'm 99.9% sure you will fail. The survivors can enjoy some interesting rooms, and also notice shortcuts to reduce backtracking - which in the end may indicate the author didn't want you to suffer (beyond the necessary, that is). I recommend playing both this and the remake, for scientific comparison." - DJ Full (13-May-2023)
"(5) Gameplay & Puzzles: This easy adventure took me about 30 minutes. It mixes up exploration, platforming and combat well enough, but it's pretty underdeveloped in the puzzle department. I found 3 softlocks while just exploring and following a logical route, which left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. (6) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemies are OK. Sometimes they're not very thrilling at all (you land in a pool with a group of barracudas, but you can quickly climb onto land and then shoot them, which is just dull); other times, they effectively add an element of thrill (wolf surprises, as well as the barracudas near the end of the game when you're running away from the wraith). Okay, so about this wraith that is triggered near the end of the game. Prior to the wraith being triggered, the player doesn't see the associated bird statue. This, combined with the fact that you're scrambling to escape the wraith for quite awhile with no clue as to the location of the bird statue -- I don't think this is a good idea. I think it would have been much better if initially the player was able to get a glimpse of the bird statue, and then after their adventure, they finally get to return full circle to the bird statue with the wraith hot on their heels. The object decor is decent enough in some areas, but pretty minimal or totally absent in some areas (such as in the large cavern that you flood). The trap setups aren't very exciting or memorable and they mostly consist of some darts. (6) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The atmosphere is not very convincing in many rooms that represent rocky caverns, and I often felt like I was exploring a giant man-made cube. The builder does effectively utilize some music/sound cues for events, although there is a flyby where Lara pushes a rock downhill that has no music cue, and I think it should have. There are a number of flybys to build immersion and there are generally enough static camera hints, however as mentioned above, I really think there needed to be a camera pointing at the bird statue early in the game. (6) Lighting & Textures: It's a well-lit level, but at times I noticed that some small rooms seemed very flat lighting-wise, like there were no lighting effects applied. The lighting is pleasant and attractive in "main" rooms, however. Misshapen textures were common, as was bad wallpapering in rocky cavern walls. When escaping the wraith, the climbable vine textures are not visible enough. As the level featured many natural elements, it would have been better to have incorporated more blended textures for these natural grassy/rocky formations. Overall, I would summarize the gameplay as well as aesthetics as "okay, but not memorable in any way". 5/6/6/6." - nerdfury (16-Sep-2021)
"This second level by Astraf definitely shows a bit of improvement from the last one – in some areas, however some regression in other areas. First and foremost, this level is much shorter, which I guess makes it more pleasant if you get annoyed with it. The puzzles and gameplay are straightforward for the most part, however I don’t think having such a tightly timed run in the very first room is a good way to draw someone into your level. That aside, I only experienced one major moment of confusion where I was stuck for a while: Lara drops into a rocky room and keeps looking up at a texture on the wall… she can’t climb up there and she can’t shoot at it either. Even the walkthrough was clueless about this. It’s only in retrospect that I now realize what was up with that: it’s meant to be a grating texture that’s there to show us that if we flood another area with water, then the water will also flood into this room through that grating and so we can then reach the much needed Crowbar which was hidden in an out-of-reach alcove. This was cool – but also a bit too obscure and seems to have left most people scratching their heads.

Astraf does a good job again with setting up his enemies – Crocodiles appear at some really inopportune times, making them that much scarier and the underwater moments more tense. The wolves are used extremely well and its particularly cool to see them heading towards Lara around a long ledge along the perimeter of the room so you can get ready to shoot them. The Wraith that appears is a bit mean – mainly because it’ll take a while until you find the Crucifix that will get rid of him. I guess this is the angry “Lost Spirit of the Cavemen” that is part of the levels story, so I understand it’s purpose and that it’s sort of the final ‘boss’ if you will – however more large medipacks could’ve been given to the player earlier on to make this final ‘escape’ less annoying. Two skeletons appeared for me, and this made me grateful I selected the shotgun to play the game – no idea if maybe the enemies change if you select a different gun? It was certainly a cool idea to start the level with forcing us to choose between different guns, and I always did have enough shotgun ammo to accomplish everything… however it seems the shotgun is sort of a must due to the skeletons? One final note to all the objects: most of them do fit a bit better into this environment than in the last level, however a lot of them (mainly doors, darts, and the rolling ball) are missing sounds and this really takes one out of the experience.

The levels weakest point is the texturing, lack of lighting, and general lack of any good atmosphere. So, while there are some cool gameplay moments - especially with more creative rolling ball setups – it was definitely a bit of a step backwards in some ways to his previous level. The rooms are no longer so gargantuan and suffer from wallpaper texturing as in the previous level, but the nice lighting the author seemed to have done an okay job with in his first level seems to be reduced to nothing at all in this level. It’s short and sweet and makes more sense than the last level at least. Keep going and keep growing Astraf." - Sethian (13-Aug-2020)
"I was enjoying the level, until I got to the place with the big circular door. Exploring the area I found some situations you can get trapped forever without the possibility of continue playing: using the floor lever to open the door to the room with the moveable piece, if you don't go immediately inside, the door will close and you get trapped forever; the big area with the wall beetles, if you slide there without the crowbar, you'll get trapped forever; further on I was not able to find the statue to kill the nasty ghost so, when I got out of medipacks, I was forced to abandone the level. Don't you really have someone to test your levels?" - Jose (10-Aug-2020)
"A nice little level gotta say. Starts out quite interesting in having you choose which weapon you wanna use for the level, with all other available ones bursting into flames. I took the default pistols since it tends to allow for all kinds of shenanigans and is a fallback lightsource. And it seems I might have chosen wisely enough there, because I didn't really much ammunition in the game, but it also only consisted of dogs and wraiths as enemies, so it seems to weapons were kind of a trap. The puzzles are all fairly par for the course, a couple timed runs and dodging boulders. But I think it works quite well, in fact the boulders opening up passages was quite a nice touch in my opinion. Thematically, it makes sense that a temple would function like this, and I appreciate thematic cohesion like that. Another nice thing to mention is how well the level is structured. Moving almost in a spiral pattern at various times, having little side corridors that end up looping in on themselves. Pretty clever and quite charming.
Action: 2 Puzzles: 5 Gameplay Flow: 7 Artistic Cohesion: 7 | Action Difficulty: 2 Puzzle Difficulty: 4 Platforming Difficulty: 5" - The Snarky Lesbian (26-Jul-2020)
"This is somewhat eclectic looking, but borrows quite heavily from the Peru levels, with elements of other objects and enemies creeping in, which does give it a certain quirky charm. It’s quite a short level, but fast paced, mainly involving climbing, swimming and shooting enemies, although there are a couple of timed runs (with those irritating cog wheel levers that, frankly, I dislike a lot). Not bad, but I have to say I preferred his debut level." - Jay (21-Jul-2020)
"Although this level definitely has its moments, the end result was a little too aggravating to be fully enjoyable. The high points are undeniably the creative, charming visuals and flyby sequences and the neatly thought out sequence with the torch. Unfortunately, there were a couple of places where you could get fatally stuck with no return: one with a floor lever that opens a timed door and one in the room with the beetle pickups where it seems you only have one opportunity to jump correctly to the third one. I also had the nagging feeling that I left certain things incomplete, as I never figured out what the situation was with that window texture on the cave wall. If it was set up deliberately to fool the player, then it seemed a bit cold-hearted as it certainly looked interactive. But the tip in the walkthrough for shooting the wraith worked like a charm although I ran low on shotgun ammo, and Lara escaped with two secrets and her presumable prize, so mission accomplished, I guess." - Ryan (19-Jun-2020)
"I was enticed to give this level a try because of the posted video walk. However, the more I progressed the more I realized the video poster was as clueless as I was, if not more so. Moreover, he or she cheated to obtain the crowbar, so I endeavored to find the rest of the way on my own. I was assisted greatly by the hints in the stuck thread, particularly the one provided by vimmers regarding that crawl space in the ladder shaft. However, I never did see the significance of the texture mentioned in Ian's review, so any insights along these lines would be appreciated in the interests of a more polished written walkthrough. The recent debate over this level in the review forum quickly degenerated into a series of irrelevant ripostes until all lips were zipped by executive order. The two primary participants have already submitted their reviews of this level, so I'm confident that my review will serve as the last word on the subject, at least insofar as they are concerned. I must say that I have to place myself in Jorge's camp here. The level is quite well designed and executed if everything is done as the builder intended, and it provides a thoroughly satisfying raid. I found but one secret near the end, and if there were any others I would appreciate knowing their locations. Not a Hall of Fame candidate, but certainly a praiseworthy level in my estimation." - Phil (18-Jun-2020)
"A lot less good than the builder's first level , obviously this level was built in less time and it shows. Astraf should make his levels beta-tested , also to take his time, as here several things could be ironed out or largely improved : atmosphere and cameras are okay , the choice of texturing fitting , but texturing/segmentation of blocks and walls is not clean when the said blocks are not square or rectangular. The gameplay has its flaws : if you flip the floor_switch to open the door to the pushable object and don't go immediately into the open door , the door is closed again when you come back and you're stuck for good. The inconsistency of the climbing greenery in the waterfall section when you are chased by an angry elemental is bad design, the dogs and ammos near the end are useless , generally the level without being difficult is not very fun nor gripping. It is short at 30 minutes. I like some of the secrets. I recommand the builder's first level (Lara's beach house of a friend) and probably the third when it will come out as this builder has potential." - eRIC (18-Jun-2020)
"Although well constructed,this 40 minute adventure was a little hit and miss. The hits were definitely the atmosphere and overall visuals,which were generally interesting and impressive;and some quirky gameplay choices (especially the nifty rolling boulder sequence). The misses included a somewhat elusive camera hint (a meaningless texture,which served only to confuse;until much later on,when it's significance was finally retrospectively revealed);and an absolutely awful wraith,which kept nipping at me for the final third of the game - and which was only destroy-able mere seconds from the Finish Trigger! This may indeed have provided something of an adrenaline rush;but it also precluded any form of exploration. The waterised rooms were reasonably well set in scene,though;and the secrets were entertaining to reach.On the whole,it was all rather imaginative - but not quite as enjoyable as it could have been." - Orbit Dream (09-Jun-2020)
"Gameplay & Puzzles - I'm just gonna say it. I don't understand how a 9 can be throw out for this level. If you have played the builder's debut level, this level is more annoying and even worse in every category in my honest opinion. The gameplay and puzzles are actually quite reminiscent of the builder's first level. But no real improvements anywhere. What I said in my first review still stands. The timed door was annoying, tight and I even caught on fire again. Luckily I picked the pistols. Enemies, Objects & Secrets - Enemies was pretty much the same. Why the dogs? The crocs weren't so bad. The white wrath was really annoying and it seemed required to the end. Causing me to lose a lot of interest I had throughout. And barely any interesting objects to enjoy. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras - I don't remember a camera on some boulders vs the capturing burning rope boulder moment you had in your debut level. These are the things I'm talking about. Music isn't there and entire landscape is flat and even more boxy. a geometry error I had too. Lighting & Textures - Lighting was overall bright enough. But everything felt bland and flat to me. The wallpapering is there. Not so obvious again though. And again no variety. It's not the type of level you've present at all. It's the way you have executed this level that I did not enjoy to be honest. I'm harsh because your first level really has potential. But I don't want to dwindle away. 30 mins no secrets." - StudBuddha (07-Jun-2020)
"That certainly was a fast-paced, fun ride in a very classic style, a bit inspired by TR1, plus a touch of this here and a touch of that there. Sometimes intriguing, but never actually hard. I understand now why the author's first level, in spite of the designing style, was actually good. Not a masterpiece and containing at least a building glitch in the room where Lara creates a pool by getting three scarab-like stones off the wall, because she may be unable to continue if she doesn't jump directly from the second to the third stone. Could that be a certain lack of betatesting? Anyway, I thought the wraith in the final part was a really neat touch. And I recommend choosing the pistols because it takes two revolver bullets to kill a dog, which... honestly! :) . I liked it." - Jorge22 (05-Jun-2020)