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Level: TR Forge Advent Calendar 2008 - Sanctuary of Elements (Demo) back home search
Author(s): Piper
total rating:5.89 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Czar 6 6 5 6
eRIC 5 4 7 7
EssGee 5 5 5 5
Gerty 3 4 5 5
jawi 9 5 9 7
Jay 6 4 7 7
Jose 6 5 7 8
manarch2 5 3 5 6
MichaelP 6 4 6 6
Moonpooka 7 6 7 7
Mulf 4 7 5 5
Orbit Dream 6 5 7 8
Ryan 5 5 7 7
Scottie 6 7 7 8
category averages
(14 reviews)
5.64 5.00 6.36 6.57

Reviewer's comments

"As a fairly brief taster, this works quite well and is actually quite entertaining for the time it lasts. The flare bug is in effect early on and remains that way through the rest of the level and the lighting throughout is a bit dark for my liking, although not in an oppressive manner. The textures were solidly crafted (in a sort of Courel's Sands style) and I didn't really notice when I was focused on the tasks at hand. The fires were a little overused and having to retrace shimmy and jumping routes was quite wearying, but there's a little torch work, block pushing and plenty of spikes, blades and oh yes, more fire to avoid. There's nothing Christmassy whatsoever present here, but that may not have been the builder's intention." - Ryan (17-Feb-2018)

"When having finished this level, I completely forgot to review it. I don't mean the level is forgettable, the fire part is really interesting, but the general style of this level didn't appeal me. Textures and atmosphere were OK, but this level had nothing christmassy in it but a sign at the end and the gameplay was - all in all - boring. Not a highlight, rather avarage." - manarch2 (16-Dec-2010)

"In a demo many mistakes are ordinarily. And then ordinarily one fetches to himself the feedback and knows how much is still to be done. With the demo of Piper it is not different and there are really a few things which she must still improve. There was a door without sound and the Flarebug, but it was this already. However, I hope, nevertheless, that Piper will changes a few more little things, before she release the level. I find it, for example, rather senseless to fall down the long shaft and burning the whole way. Furthermore something has disturbed me that the fire on the blocks which stood in the hot water did not go out. It is irritating a little bit if one must move hand over hand along the edges of all the blocks. She should still contrive something with the long ladder, because one cannot recognise, when one should jump to the back in the wall opening on the other side. A small tip would be quite helpful there. Otherwise the demo was quite well-arranged." - Scottie (03-Jan-2010)

"Not bad this short demo, with a lot of fires, spikes and lava to avoid, but with the permission of the author I'm going to do some comments. Could the flare bug be avoided? Too many jumps from the corners of blocks with fires do the game more slow and tedious. Where the enemies and the guns are? Only a flare from the start? I liked the lineal gameplay, the traps, objects, ambience, musics, cameras and textures. Personally I like games with some more action and rooms with a bit more light so you can explore easily (torches throwed anywhere). Even so it seems it will be a decent work." - Jose (23-Jan-2009)

"This is actually a demo you can take seriously. It demonstrates some intelligent gameplay which centres around the utilisation of the safe corners of fire tiles. There's a good 25 minutes of gameplay available and a goal is achieved at the end of the exploration. Terrifying depth plunges into very shallow pools are hardly a believable scenario and the corrresponding long ladder climb is tedious at best. unfortunately this level is also the sanctuary of flame emitters, and so suffers the sad fate of the Flare Bug rendering the flare unuseable very early on in the level. I could have well done with a functioning flare to help me find the torch. The author is really going to have to cut down on the overuse of the flame emitters. These are all things that can be relatively easily improved in a full release. It will be interesting to see if this materialises into a longer and more cmplete adventure. Certainly off to a good start." - EssGee (15-Dec-2008)

"Good demo. Lighting, atmosphere and sound are fascinating. There aren't any bugs. Only textures should be changed. I enjoyed this level. Congratulations to author!" - jawi (13-Dec-2008)

"You will be left in no doubt as to which particular element you're dealing with in this little demo. Just in case there isn't quite enough fire about the place, Lara gets to set a few more things ablaze with her trusty torch. At least all the flames make the place look cheerful. It's certainly not the worst demo I've ever seen and, if it didn't exactly leave me salivating for the full version, it didn't want to make me run away screaming either. Just to be seasonal, there's a Christmas message at the end too." - Jay (11-Dec-2008)

"If you like jumping burning block and ledges, this is your game. And because of all those flames there is the flare bug, so do not use the binoculars or else the game will crash. I found it rather tedious going back and fro. Have to think hard to do this part again in the full version. Also I have no idea what that (timed??) lever did at the start in the emitter room. But I got the scroll and that was the end so ... don't know if I missed something. Not much of a Xmas level though." - Gerty (08-Dec-2008)

"I liked this demo and I'm looking forward to playing the full game, although I hope it changes course at some point as the fires can be a tad boring after a while. Saying that, the first room looks amazing with the fire emitters behind the glass type walls. Here you need make your way over some fire blocks to use two fire levers at one end of the room to open a lever at the other end of the room, and then get back over the blocks to use the lever. There is also a lever at the very start of the room but I have no idea what it did. There is then a spike trapped room to deal with, and then a trip back over the lava floor via the fire blocks to get a key. Return back over the fire blocks to use the key, and then again over the fire blocks to proceed. A little tiresome maybe. Later on we have to get through a spike run which was easy but fun, and then Lara visits the lower areas of the level. There's a small push puzzle here and two torches to light, and then a very long climb up a ladder to get out of the room. Shortly after that and a few more fiery ledges to negotiate, you will find the scroll and the level will end with the words Merry Christmas written on the wall. All very hot looking and some nice touches in the first room. Looking forward to the final game." - Moonpooka (08-Dec-2008)

"Right, well, this second playable treat from this year's TR Forge Christmas countdown doesn't present itself as very christmassy either, but I don't care a hell of a lot about that and could have done without the corny message at the end anyway; it's rather more aggravating that like the first, this too isn't a fully fledged level. However, it does have more to offer in the gameplay department—while it lasts. I found it moderately entertaining, although the burning platforms rather outstayed their welcome, since I generally don't appreciate attempts at padding out a level by having the player go through the same routine over again by 'cunningly' distributing keys and keylocks, switches and doors at opposite ends of the same room. The author will have to get rid of the fetters that are currently keeping his fancy from taking off if his version of the 'sanctuary of the elements' plot is supposed to rival Piega's in any way, especially since it covers the same ground in limiting itself to classical TR4-style tombraidering. Textures are mostly taken from TR4 Library, no surprises here, however they have been applied in proper fashion, excepting triangles, which often appear distorted, and the author obviously hasn't quite mastered the use of the crack mode. We get to see a handful of nice and fitting custom objects, like everything else fully functional and with the proper sounds (sadly not the rule these days), with the possible exception of the 'stargates' at the end, which for some reason didn't hurt me, although I'm not particularly adept in dealing with them. Finally, two TREP-related things: First, TREP appears to be mostly used for ornamental purposes, but if you substitute the original font with a pretty script-type font, at least see to it that the small p doesn't look like a capital P; second, the flare bug was bound to occur in a level like this, so why not remove the binoculars from the inventory to begin with? And really finally now, I the flyby plus full-orchestra-cum-chorus blast at the beginning struck me as decidedly overwrought, because over-the-top dramatic; it's certainly better and more effective to build up drama as the level progresses." - Mulf (08-Dec-2008)

"As a Demo this does everything it should,including showing up the occasional weakness (flare-bug,for example)while providing entertainment for a short amount of time. It's basically all about jumping past flames,sprinting through blades and pulling a small block.As such,it's hard to fault; but the lack of a substantial duration precludes a higher rating in any category (as I'm sure the builder would expect). As a relatively undemanding piece of fun it fits the 'Advent calender' ethos,even while presenting us with nothing whatsoever Christmassy." - Orbit Dream (08-Dec-2008)

"Overall, this demo looked nice enough and the glow of fire all around helped to create a bit of an exciting atmosphere. So, having fallen into some shallow water at the bottom of a deep shaft, we move Lara forward to trigger a flyby which, rather than living up to the pomp and might more than hinted at by the accompanying music, was actually more pathetic looking and much less deserving of the bombastic claims sonically heralded. Such was the incongruity of this, that it made the flyby appear laughable instead of possessing the seriousness it claimed. With Lara looking somewhat 'Harry Potter' with her spectacles, and stretched on my widescreen as she was, I couldn't help but feel like she was fumbling through the path as shown by the 'almighty' flyby as if she were an overweight, spotty teenager who nobody is ever going to fancy and who only has enough oomph to carry her to the next cake. Such a tedious slow traversing over the 'fire blocks' this was, that I almost lost the will to live. This mind-numbingly dull slowdown aside, the rest of the level proved to be a more enjoyable, if very short, affair. After a dark room where one would want to use flares, but for the flare bug that exists here, we are treated to an excessively long ladder climb, followed by more fire blocks, floating this time - YAWN, and then a good long passage with three sets of retracting spikes and chopping hoops to jump through. And there it ends. There's very little to this level and it can be done in about ten minutes. In and of itself, this little demo is reasonable enough, but I think rather too short to have even bothered with it. I would like to see a much more extensive effort with a little more consideration of the boredom threshold of players attended to. Carry on builder, aside from the criticisms, it's still a perfectly reasonable start." - Czar (08-Dec-2008)

"A demo that is promising of a rather challenging coming level , none of the actions are very hard , but you are constantly on your toes given the numerous fire traps and later on different other kinds of trap gauntlets. With all these fires , the flares bug is present during the whole level, and besides I found the level rather dark. Solid setting though and I really like the atmospheric background audio loop. This demo is not really Christmas related, except for the absence of enemies , and the message on the wall at the end. Will wait for the whole scale level to come, as the demo was interesting." - eRIC (07-Dec-2008)

"A demo indeed that will take you about 15 minutes or less only, but it is interesting for the time it lasts if you enjoy maneuvering carefully around fires. After that initial part you drop into a hole and solve a fairly straightforward torch puzzle and make it to the end through a few spike and blade traps. For the full game release the author needs to watch the flare bug and antitrigger as many fire emitters as possible." - MichaelP (07-Dec-2008)
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