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)