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Ruler of the Sands by Astraf

billie2001 9 10 10 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Feats 10 10 10 10
JesseG 9 10 10 9
Phil 9 9 9 9
Ryan 9 10 10 9
tuxraider 8 7 9 8
release date: 24-Jan-2024
# of downloads: 951

average rating: 9.29
review count: 7
review this level

file size: 355.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Egypt

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"A very polished and well-rounded adventure, maybe the best from this builder. My only complain is the density of the fog in conjunction with the rather fast health drain, but after several reloads it is doable. Medium difficulty for the more experienced raiders, challenging (but not overly so) for the less experienced ones. Took me 3.30 hrs to finish with all secrets. Definitely recommended." - billie2001 (17-Apr-2024)
"[clears throat of sand]... Two things would add +0.5 to the overall rating: 20% longer health drain time and 10% more world visibility. Sometimes I didn't even know which direction I'm going in. Luckily those fogged up parts are still not very long, and the less you care the faster you go, so anybody will enjoy this level more than I did. The temple level lacked some good shading but high and mid tones were okay. Recommended." - DJ Full (28-Mar-2024)
"Another great level by Astraf here. I have played a few of their levels by this point and never had a bad time. This level is no different! What feels like a sprawling epic condensed into a much shorter run time. I liked the sandstorm mechanic for the most part. While it may have taken away from the visuals slightly with it being a sandstorm n all, it added a bit of peril to the exploration. Would definitely recommend this level set to anyone its well worth your time!" - Feats (23-Feb-2024)
"Greatly expanded from the earlier demo release, and very engaging and intriguing it is too. There are four interconnected levels (plus a very brief final boss battle to round proceedings off) that you venture back and forth between while opening up new paths along the way. There's a nice sense of circularity to it, as you constantly revisit familiar places from previously unreachable angles. There's a lot of puzzling action and trap sequences along the way, and the torch certainly gets a good workout too. The secrets are well worth going for, providing plentiful supplies and even a bit of background on the story. I do agree with Jesse that something could have been done about the hieroglyphics paper to stop it from disappearing from the inventory when you changed levels, as it did become little more than a trial and error puzzle afterwards. The fog in the sandstorm was also a little overdone for my liking, and didn't make it easy to trace routes initially. Still, a thoroughly enjoyable experience." - Ryan (18-Feb-2024)
"This is currently billed as a "challenging" game. I would beg to differ if we're talking about difficulty of execution, as most if not all of the physical activity here is quite accessible to the average player. On the other hand, I would certainly agree with that assessment if what we're talking about is knowing what to do and when to do it. There are four main levels, the first of which was offered not long ago a demo and is here with few changes. When we get to the second level there's some back and forth between the first two, and this intensified when we get to the third and fourth levels, to the extent that I sometimes did not know if I was coming or going. But as is the case with all of Astraf's releases, this is a fun raid that's a great pleasure to play. The enemies are relatively few in number, which means that by the time you get to the fifth and final level (which I would call a "bonus" level due to its brevity) you have so much accumulated weaponry and ammunition that getting past the so-called boss enemies is a walk in the park. Flares are also provided in profusion, so I was never in jeopardy of running out despite flicking them with abandon. The 13 secrets give the player some background "story line" information as well as a wealth of pickups, so it's well worth your while to look for them. This is Egyptian raiding in the grand style, and I had a great time playing these levels. High recommendations." - Phil (17-Feb-2024)
"A nice little game with a great atmosphere, definitely recommended.
  • It's a competently built, very polished game. Great looking locations, good gameplay.
  • Starts simple, gets harder is it goes, ends with a final boss fight.
  • One thing with which I had problems was the lever puzzle in the big open room with the water. I didn't find any hints (and too many to brute force). I just looked at the video walkthrough.
  • There's another five lever puzzle in an underground room, which seemed to have a logic to it, but I didn't fully understand it and mostly brute-forced the gates.
  • The enemies are reasonable, but you should save up some ammo and medipacks for the final "boss". This one is relatively hard and has three stages. You need some endurance.
  • One other part that is rather challenging are the timed spikes (before you get a shaft key) which require exact timing.
" - tuxraider (16-Feb-2024)
"Bugs/Functional Issues
  • The sheet of paper listing some button pushing sequences disappears from Lara's inventory when she moves between levels. Best to take a screenshot of it when picked up.
  • A cutscene with a sphere of light interupts Lara in the deadly sandstorm, which may cause her to die offscreen if the player doesn't have this forsight.
  • The sandstorm fog, while a critical part of the game, is just a little too thick for my tastes. This visual obstacle may make it hard for players to navigate through the storm quickly.
  • There are some nice puzzles, although sometimes there is some "brute force" needed in solving. I particularly enjoyed figuring out the gray doors in the temple entrance.
  • I admittedly didn't find many secrets, but it is a nice touch that each secret shares a bit of backstory alongside the goodies for Lara's backpack.
  • The final encounter goes through several stages and makes for an exciting finish to the adventure.
  • A very strong sense of architecture adds to the impressive visuals, particularly in the temple entrance.
Time: 2 hours 28 minutes | Difficulty: Hard | Rating: 9.5/10" - JesseG (05-Feb-2024)