Level: The Way of Relic - Complete back home search
Author(s): Franco Bula
total rating:7.93 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
AdamR 8 8 9 9
Ceamonks890 8 7 7 7
DJ Full 9 10 9 9
dmdibl 9 9 8 8
Gerty 7 8 7 7
Jack& 6 6 8 6
Jay 9 9 8 8
Jose 8 9 7 7
manarch2 9 10 9 9
Nina Croft 10 9 9 9
Phil 8 7 7 8
Ryan 7 8 8 7
TheStig 9 9 8 8
Torry 5 6 6 5
Treeble 8 8 8 8
category averages
(15 reviews)
8.00 8.20 7.87 7.67

Reviewer's comments

"I did have high expectations taking into account the glowing reviews this game had received, but in the end I found it to not work so well for me. Despite the gameplay being ingenious and enjoyable in places, there was far too much backtracking to endure and the walkthrough was rather obscure in explaining how to get back to places visited a while ago. A few of the traps were also far too tricky to pass and I utterly hated that curtain maze. The textures were also too crude and unattractive for my liking, even taking the TR2 engine into consideration. That said, the secrets were well hidden and enemies were well placed (although I saw that a couple of them required too much repetitive backtracking, according to the walkthrough), but otherwise I didn't 100% enjoy my experience here." - Ryan (31-Oct-2018)

"Sorry but overall this level set was filled with frustration and inept design in my opinion. I generally love levels on the original three games but this one left me scratching my head right from the beginning with the Uzis that cannot be retrieved (no matter how the player tries) to the death filled curtain maze that you need to negotiate on too many occasions. I agree with Gerty on this one it was simply too taxing with much reloading required as you found your way more with dumb luck than with any amount of skill. Textures were thin and I found the whole environment "blocky" much more than usual using this engine." - Torry (15-Apr-2018)

"Apart from that you have three levels to play, you better take your time, as they are not easy, at least I didn’t think so. There is some nasty jumping that had me reloading quite a bit, nasty curtain maze you have to get through 4 times. Sometimes there are camera’s to show you but still I got so confused that it took me ages to find what I needed. Walkthrough wasn’t much helping me I am afraid. Textures could use quite a lot of attention. There are enemies and some of them hard to kill, but the builder gave plenty of places to hide so the fights were made a bit easier this way. All in all it is not one of my favourite levels, but you might like it." - Gerty (07-Sep-2017)

"I couldn't start this level without an immediate crash to desktop, but Ceamonks890's review set me on the right path and I looked up for the savegame in the forum (pro-tip: here!). The first level is pretty much the same as the stand alone release, as far as I can remember, with the exception of added secrets and lots of retextured objects. The second level has fun looks, and despite making use of what I'd assume to be TR4 textures, you don't really get a TR4 vibe out of it. It's something else entirely, but I have to say I didn't quite enjoy it as much as the initial level. I had to resort to the walkthrough more times than I've been used to as far as custom TR2 levels are concerned, and this includes a random trigger for an enemy and a door early on, and then later on a red herring lever at the end of a hallway (for some reason the trigger you want is halfway through said hallway, which also activates a trap you can't escape if you go to the lever). Other than that there were some fun tasks and a lot of custom objects, including a pushable column which also had me stuck. After you retrieve the Eye of Horus itself, you are given a small conclusion in an open-ish desert area which felt too mazey-like to me, but not really difficult as it lasts about 10 minutes on its own . All in all, tehre were some nice moments and features, but as a whole I have to say I found a lot more enjoyment in the one-level release than in the whole package here... 110 minutes, 4 secrets, 06/17" - Treeble (30-Jun-2017)

"After spending what felt like an eternity trying to start up a new game(only to have it continually crash to desktop), I gave in and downloaded a few generously-provided savegames to allow me to proceed onwards. So(ignoring the previously aforementioned crashing), how does this complete edition hold up, in comparison to the 'Part 1 edition' then? Well, for the most part, it manages to hold its own in terms of quality, although tedium caused by constant backtracking and one unintentional death after another(due to questionable design choices in the second level), did drag the experience down considerably for me, with the final level feeling generally like an afterthought with its surprising brevity and as improved as the lighting is from before, the texturing is still just a tad too crude for my tastes, with level design not fairing much better. Overall, while this is admittedly one series of levels that I can't imagine myself going through again any time soon, it's definitely the best thing to come out of Franco Bula under the TR2 engine for certain. If you're up for the challenge, then give it a go. But be prepared to put up with a lot of archaic design quirks along the way, if you even wanting to get very far." - Ceamonks890 (11-Sep-2014)

"A good solid three hour adventure here from FrancoBula, and a further development on the author's previous Way of the Relic release. Not many people build using the TR2 engine today so it's always interesting to see what levels based on this engine bring to the mix. One thing that you will have to get used to is back-tracking (as there's plenty of it here). The first two levels are also quite significant in terms of their size (it still took me over an hour to complete the first level despite there being only minor changes from the version released before). The 2nd level (where you embark on a search for the eye of Horus), knocks the level of difficulty up once more. You'll need to be fast on your feet here with gun-men and ancient blade wielding warriors to run away from! Early in the 2nd level I missed a very well hidden key covered by a moveable column (so just be mindful that just because it's TR2, it doesn't have to be square to be movable!). Lighting and texturing for the most part are good. Sadly I don't feel the last level really matches the quality and playability of the first two. It's a little tedious, not especially well textured, and not a patch on the other 2 excellent levels in terms of difficulty or gameplay. That said I really enjoyed the way of the relic. Given the solid work Frano gives us in TR2, I'd love to see what they could do with the later generation engines and editors. Recommended. Stiggy." - TheStig (01-Apr-2012)

"This is one of the most well made TR2 levels. If you can get used to old graphics and the limited potentials of lighting of TR2, it can be really funny. I didn't understand why there was no music in the game. That is ruining the good atmosphere. The places are constructed nice. Texturing was successful and I liked the lighting, which is very rare for a TR2 level. There were some parts were it could be better or Lara could be more affected by it, but it is good enough anyway. The puzzles were nice too. The exploration is funny, but there were some confusing parts, like the one with the rolling blades and a hidden path behind them. You had no clue and it is hard to find it. Also, I didn't understand why I had to go so many times back in curtain maze. There are many enemies, but there is a big amount of ammo too and some monks who will help you. It was nice to see Lara pushing a column and not just blocks, as she does in TR2. The Xian warriors were a nice touch, but I would rather to have to fight some of them in a room where there wouldn't be a place for Lara to hide and she would have to fight some face to face. Every time a warrior is appearing, Lara can hide on a ledge and just shoot with pistols. That is not very challenging. Also, I didn't understand why there were death many death tiles in the middle of Lara's way and why there was no clue that they are death tiles. Also, I found invicible things which were killing Lara. I haven't understand what they were and some fires were invicible too. Anyway, I enjoyed a lot this adventure and it can be compared to many TR4 levels. It has interesting gameplay and it was really funny." - AdamR (16-Mar-2012)

"Good adventure but not easy to play. You'll find a lot of tricky tasks and sure that you'll die many times. The first level was the best for me, in the monastery with a Barkang style and full of tasks to do, some tasks very tricky like the timed swim/run or the deadly tiles to get the seraph. Second level is good too, but puzzles are not so original and environment is not so nice. Last level is short, but full of action too. Enemies were one of the best features in this adventure, with monks helping you occasionally and well balanced baddies in strategic places. Of course, there is plenty of ammo to deal with them. Sometimes there are cameras to show you what was triggeded, but another times you must figure out where to go after something is done. The worst were the textures, sometimes applied the same way in walls and floors and another times very stretched in small segments of the walls. Anyway it's an entertaining level worth to play." - Jose (14-Jul-2011)

"I remember thinking, back around the turn of the century when TR2 was released as the first TR game built for the Windows platform, that this was the best thing since sliced bread. Then came TR3, and after that a new and improved game engine used to build most of the custom levels out there. And now we have newer enhancements whose potentials are even now being realized. All of this being said, I was able to enjoy myself here and indulge in a bit of nostalgia while enduring the relatively crude environs inherent in the TR2 engine. The first level was quite engaging and took me close to an hour and a half to complete. Near the end of the second level, however, tedium began to set in and I deliberately bypassed the last two secrets (I was using manarch2's walkthrough, so I knew where they were) because of the additional laborious backtracking that would be required to get them. The third level seemed to be something of an afterthought - or maybe an unfinished project - because it ended so briefly and there was a door requiring a key that never got opened. Furthermore, the textures were so crude here that by this time I was anxious to get it all over with and return to levels built with the modern amenities. This builder has some good ideas, and they're applied with good effect in this three-part release, but my humble advice to him is to ditch the TR2 model and turn his considerable skills to projects using the best available tools." - Phil (23-May-2011)

"If you normally avoid TR2 levels because they lack a certain excitement compared to more sophisticated fare then this particular level might just surprise you. It's a three parter and my review for the original demo, which comprises the first part here, remains pertinent since very little has been changed. Part two becomes even more impressive as Lara has to battle not only armed thugs but also those mighty Xian warriors who can prove so deadly with their 'chopsticks'. I was very glad that guns and ammo (not to mention medipacks) were generously provided throughout. The puzzles and agility tests are not neglected either, with some quite challenging moments, made especially interesting because of course TR2 Lara cannot crawl, sprint or shimmy round corners so one has to rethink one's tactics from time to time. The final part is quite short and mainly involves a most enjoyable bit of snowmobile riding - proper TR2 snowmobile that is, i.e. great manoeuvrability and guns. Yay. Do try it; I think you'll be impressed." - Jay (21-May-2011)

"After having played the yet very entertaining part 1 of this series, I was hungry on the full series and weren't disappointed.
The Seraph Monastery (9-9-8-8) felt even better than in the previous version, with custom styled boulders, monks and Lara's outfit. The boulders looked extremely cool in their appearance near the end. On the other side, there were even more areas to explore and the keys got named accordingly. Playing this level a second time, it just felt as perfect as it was in the first time. The gameplay and the well textures fitted and made this level very special.
The Eye of Horus(10-10-9-9) was one of the best single TR 2 levels I have ever played, only Cape Fear was as good as this one. I loved the wonderful use of the pillar as pushblock, nice (and mostly still logic) secret paths, the ways how to kill the warriors and the trial of Franco to imitate a TR 4 level, in which he absolutely succeeded. Most of the enemies were new textured, the boulders again had a new look and were well timed. Timed runs can be found very often in this level, with quite a while to finally reached the door. I had big problems with the spike room at the end, but soon realised how to really solve it (not the best idea I think). There also were few puzzles, as the deadly gap room, pushable puzzles - nearly everything the TR 2 engine can give. Few lacks in texturing, but only minor ones as general texturing and lighting were quite strong throughout the whole levelpack. The slope sequences and the maze jumps absolutely aren't recommended for beginners but they were quite fun. The best level of this pack for sure, with incredibly good work from Franco.
Lost in the Desert (7-9-8-8) was my least favourite level in the series, the gameplay was at parts quite confusing because of the uniform looks of the desert, but at least players get a snowmobile ride! And even a challenging one requiring to jump over gaps and not making the vehicle explode! Very nice. Even if I didn't really enjoyed this part, it was at least quickly finished (10 minutes) and it ended with a very cute helicopter (the 9 for the second category only for this piece of art) and a little slideshow.
The first TR 2 custom I play where I considered this to be better or at least equal to the original. Well done! I knew Franco would come one day and provide such a great game, and I hope he can still improve. Maybe a level with atmosphere from The Vagrant and Franco's objects and gameplay ideas someday will make it in the Hall of Fame (althrough I wish both levels best luck). Two hours of great fun - try it, it's absolutely recommended!" - manarch2 (12-May-2011)

"Ok when I was looking at those high marks I was shocked at first glance ... 9 mark is way way too high ... ok I don't want to detail more a game which was already commented by fellow reviewers ... I want to only tell a summary why I find those marks VERY HIGH! Ok - if you observed, this is a TR2 game ... and visuals cannot be like TR4 one ... so visuals are poor ... with wallpapered textures etc ... another thing which you can witness is - you are unable to duck and sprint ... another TR2 old engine flaw ... ok this builder tried to compensate the poor graphics and simplistically built areas with unnecessary hard traps, unmarked tiles and player confusing trigger buttons. Also ... medipacks are not enough and enemies are set to take a lot of bullets. 3 levels of total boredom and frustration that you will get ... Well, again a game which was not my piece of cake. Cheers." - Jack& (27-Apr-2011)

"TR2 is still alive and kicking. And Franco Bula is definitely the best TR2 builder I have ever seen. He definitely knows how to use TR2 Lara and make an epic adventure. Yes, there are backsides, such as Lara's inability to crawl or sprint, lack of certain clues or backtracking (and sometimes backtracking to the beginning of the level or much earlier save). But still, the good sides of this mini game are so great and inventive, and you will be so amazed at the ingenuity of this builder, that you will surely forget the downsides, or will not notice them at all. This TR2 saga deserves its place at the Hall of Fame, despite the fact it is TR2. Just to make clear, and not giving any spoilers, I will say that this adventure of Lara Croft is not at all easy, and beginners should not try to play it before they play TR2 the original game. The Way of Relic has the same style and gameplay as TR2, meaning exciting, adventurous, with a lot of traps, action and puzzles, and long and big maps. The mountains, the monastery, the snowmobile, monks, everything looks like TR2, only with much better lighting. Sound is extremely well, you can hear the enemies, the traps or the doors closing/opening, the switches working, and everything sounds great, just like in old good TR2 which is famous for having the best sound in the early school TR. The gameplay is also great, fluent and there are a lot of things for Lara to explore, a lot of places to stuck and get lost, but nevertheless, the little quests of finding this key or opening that door, are mixed together in one big and very dynamic and exciting adventure. I must say, sometimes this game gets pretty hard. There are a lot of traps, pixel precise jump sequences, merciless timed runs (you will curse the game because Lara cannot sprint), or you can get lost inside complicated curtain mazes with traps, or you can get drowned because the surface is too far... But no matter how hard this game may be to most players, it is utterly exciting, and it brings back memories on TR2, one of the best sequel in the history of TR. I highly recommend this mini game to all TR2 hardcore fans, but also to all those who say that TR2 is dead... It is not dead, and Franco Bula has proven it." - Nina Croft (26-Apr-2011)

"The 1st level is kinda good (see the demo reviews). The 2nd one is kinda epic. It's like moving from TR2 straight to TR4. Angkor, Catacombs and Karnak texture sets and objects are mixed with old good Tibetan to make a completely unique world what makes this game a technical TR2 equivalent of Chosen. Lighting makes it only better - even in 1st level, already known to TR2 fans, it was improved. Also, dragons on the burning pillar are gone and replaced with three rewarding gems we can pick up while solving the Seraph Monastery part, which may be considered a training level before a real challenge in the inner complex, where we encounter many of well-known and challenging TR2 enemies - especially retextured jade warriors, which are a real deal, and Bartoli's thugs - hostile but having weak points a player wants so much to use to his/her advantage. And there is also a waterfall covering one enemy - You can't see him, but Lara can - You need to trust her and be fast enough to escape when the boss (yes, I think this enemy can be classified as a boss) emerges from behind the water, before he manages to hurt her. During the whole fight, You can hear his footsteps and this is the really awesome design - You need a lot of agility and using more than one sense to survive. Lots of other enemies and traps make the level hard, but probably possible to complete without using a full medi (You can even jump onto certain spike fields without losing any health. Everything is set in a nice environment full of inventive platforming and agility tests, including jumping on spike fields without health loss and various other features possible in TR2 - boulders, rolling shields and even a descending ceiling (this place is rather badly timed). There are also some flames and those are rather easy to bypass, however You need to keep in mind flame emitters can't be seen (I have no idea what causes this bug). I was so sad this came to an end... until I got lost in the desert. Yes - it appeared there is an epilogue! For all those months that have passed until I've played Tibetan Foothills for the last time, I forgot how wonderful the snowmobile sounds are... and the last level recalls them, even if it is a little bit... no, it's VERY dismal! Everything ends in old, good way - in a helicopter. SUMMARY: The Way of Epic. Second best TR2 game I can remember, right behind Cape Fear. After so much experience gained in his previous levels, from which I assumed his talent will burst into full creation phase soon, Franco finally proves he's a leading TR2 custom levelbuilder at the moment. I got more from this game that I have expected. I still look for at least three missing secrets, as they are extremely challenging. And finding the Black Key was the most rewarding thing since solving Luke's Mystica. CONDENSED SUMMARY: Why so many of You think TR2 times have passed away? This is not true. If enough time is taken to make a level, time rewards its builder with leaving such game alone. I really hope one day we'll welcome unofficial Franco to official Hall of Fame. In my personal HoF, he has his well-deserved place since he has built Going to New Venice. If You are still not convinced and want to play something more TR4-like, I'll ask You something: if this adventure is not TR4-like, why the heck couldn't I help searching for jumpswitches and crawlspaces when playing it??? YET MORE CONDENSED SUMMARY, BECAUSE THE PREVIOUS ONE WAS ACTUALLY AN EXTENDED ONE: No, really. Play it, it's well worth it. If You're a beginner, You'll probably need to take an additional weapon with You (the walkthru), because some riddles, especially secrets, are really hard - I'm still looking for missing diamonds, as I don't wanna any gem to be missing. You shouldn't miss any gem as well - and that's why You should play this game." - DJ Full (24-Apr-2011)

"This is an improvement over the one-level release a couple months ago. The first level seems better; I enjoyed it more going through it a second time. There are now ten gem secrets to find throughout the three levels (and none of that annoying stuff about dragon secrets inaccessible on burning tiles). There are minor changes, and I think Lara's outfit is brighter, but essentially follow remembered game play. It is level two that is the standout, with a large map that is fun to explore. Lara encounters Xian warriors again, but the animation sequence is missing where Lara's body is raised up on their spears and flung aside. Consequently, they are tough and dangerous, but don't feel quite so difficult to deal with as in the original TR2. Lara had plenty of Uzi ammo, and that helped a lot. Players have to stay alert and thinking to deal with unexpected movable pillars, tricky jump sequences, or a marked/hidden shimmy crack. A timed run near the end is fair as players can hear the door closing, and figure out that the switch was timed. What wasn't fair was a red spiked ceiling that descends and traps Lara at the end of level two. This is ridiculous to solve, and had me considering lowering the review scores drastically. {SPOILER AHEAD} There is a switch at the end of a corridor that is a dummy. Its sole purpose is to lure Lara to a place from which she can't escape. The corridor contains an unmarked trigger tile. Lara has to run back out as soon as this is touched. This is the author showing off, but it doesn't allow players to stay in the game. {END SPOILER} I decided the author had simply gone crazy, a frequent hazard for creative people, and so left the generous review scores. Level three is a short coda, Lara in the desert having to escape snowmobiles mounted with machine guns. Annoying at first, then fun, this goes quickly. Overall, when this is going well as in level two, it is as well-done as a TR4 level. The texturing and design may be a bit simpler, but there were plenty of places where I forgot about that while guiding Lara through hazards in three hours of play. Not just for TR2 fans." - dmdibl (24-Apr-2011)
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