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Level: Wings of Apocalypse: The Beginning back home search
Author(s): Kurtis Scout
total rating:7.24 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Blue43 5 6 8 8
Diz 5 7 8 7
DJ Full 6 6 8 8
dmdibl 5 7 8 7
Gerty 3 5 8 8
High Priestess 9 7 10 8
Jay 6 7 8 8
JesseG 5 6 7 8
Jorge22 5 7 7 8
Lara_Fox_Croft 8 6 8 7
manarch2 5 8 8 9
MichaelP 5 8 8 7
Nina Croft 7 7 8 8
Phil 8 9 9 9
Ryan 6 8 8 9
Shandroid 6 8 9 9
sonnyd83 6 7 8 10
Soul 6 7 7 8
Steven Svorticher 5 6 8 8
category averages
(19 reviews)
5.84 6.95 8.05 8.11

Reviewer's comments

"I should think that builders have learnt their lesson by now - alternative methods of saving will not be everyone's cup of tea. This two level set requires you to nip into a nearby bus shelter if you wish to save your progress for later. But luck must have been on my side, as I only had to reload once due to a swingpole manoeuvre that proved quite buggy. There are also no enemies to speak of, so the save system might be less severe than you think, if you are careful that is. That caveat aside, I think that the builder has done a great job with the construction here. The cityscape is nicely conceived and the custom textures are often amusing (especially on some of the questionable adult stores scattered around), while the atmosphere is also well done, aided by the various objects. The second level is a rather more brief mansion segment (this time with saving completely removed but you'd have to be pretty inept at raiding to mess up here anyway) and the gameplay here is more uninspired, but it doesn't last very long. Recommended not so much for the gameplay, but for the pleasing environment and general simplicity." - Ryan (29-Apr-2019)

"I played this level before, way back, but it's possible I never completed it. Maybe I played it at the time of its release and a walkthrough had not yet been released but I instantly recalled two issues from memory. Firstly of course was the ability only to save in the various bus stops. Second to that I do recall having a horrendous experience with the first swing pole after the moveable box (near the homeless lady stood by her trash can fire). It still didn't function correctly this time around in that I overshot the pole but miraculously, Lara still swang on an invisible alternative just beyond the actual pole! I am a BIG fan of urban levels and this was a very well lit area with lots of aesthetically pleasing detail. Perhaps the city lay-out was a bit too square and uniformed but it was realistic in every other way (I'm British so accustomed to less uniformity). I have to thank the builder for the nostalgic song - Automatic by The Pointer Sisters which I recall well from the bar area the first time around. I Googled it when I first encountered this level because although I recognised the song, I couldn't recall the artist (very masculine sound for a female lead singer!). The second part was of less interest - a short exploration around Lara's decadent manor to locate a few items to exit the front gates. I think many Raiders are really through now with manor levels because there are only so many empty bathrooms and libraries etc to continue to get excited about so for me at least, the city area held the most appeal. The bike could have perhaps been introduced a little sooner to avoid a lot of back-tracking on foot but I had fun exploring. Recommended." - High Priestess (04-Jun-2017)

"This trailer doesn't execute a bit of readme storyline (which could be again shortened to "AOD sequel, rescue Kurtis"), but focuses on pure training. GTA textures are well used (as a series fan I'm unable to dislike them). Then we visit Lara's home so I guess the levels should go in reverse order, also the place is quite oversized but still feels like one of better manors - it seems Lara hired the same interior decorators Tommy Vercetti's villa once had. All this mood introduction, the highlight of immersion being Greenkey's lines, is done to prepare us for later adventure though in current version it leads nowhere, we can even find weapons we'll never use as the game is enemy-free. It's really a solid teaser with plenty of secrets and some tribute or easter eggs provided, the only serious trouble are certain things only supposed to work in full version but never described as not working in the demo, so we're likely to spend a lot of time trying to lift a permalock or guess why we opened a door which stores nothing behind. SUMMARY: I hope this game will be finished someday as the manor is pure peace, the city feels alive and such things should be experienced in full scope." - DJ Full (28-Apr-2016)

"If builders have learned one thing over the years, it's that you just don't mess around with the player's ability to save anywhere. This builder violated that cardinal rule here, and from the howls pouring forth from the reviews one would think that World War III was under way. Perhaps that's why I've put off playing it for so long. But now that I've taken the plunge, I find that the quirky save feature wasn't such a handicap after all. You have two levels with totally different looks. The first takes place in a city environment reminiscent of Nerkopolis from a few years back. The atmosphere, the lighting and the visual features are exceptional, and to save your game you have to locate and enter one of several bus stops scattered throughout the block. Since I was playing with manarch2's walkthrough, and since there are no enemies, I was never confronted with a dying situation and saved my progress in a nearby bus stop only a few times. The second level is a house level, but it's a gorgeous house level that makes up for the almost nonexistent gameplay. There's a voiceover at the beginning that tells you that you can now save again, but it's a lie. Perhaps the builder intended to restore the save function for the second level, but it doesn't work. No matter, there are no enemies here either and even fewer dying opportunities. I found this to be a pleasant, stress-free raid that almost of necessity needs to be played at one sitting. The secrets are uniformly easy to find in both levels, and they don't give you anything other than whatever satisfaction you might derive from finding them. Included is a meaningless secret somewhere in the water surrounding the city in the first level, which I didn't bother to look for. Recommended for the serenity and the scenery." - Phil (28-Aug-2015)

"This level was at times very interesting to play and at times very annoying. The builder obviously has a talent for level building, but he needs to improve some details when it comes to architecture, especially of outdoors area. He can definitely use the objects and textures nicely, but the downside of the architecture and geometry is the badly solved problem of the "end of the world". In New York, the starting pier could have been "limited" by a closed gate, for example, and channels surrounding the town area could be "limited" with some high buildings and not with the empty horizon. Also, walls should have been divided into sectors better, in order to avoid many cracks. When it comes to Lara 's home, no such huge mistakes are to be seen, due to the fact that most of the level is placed inside the mansion, and the courtyars is surrounded with walls. However, some badly solved problems of the "end of the world" can be seen here as well. When it comes to gameplay and puzzles, there is no problem that I have encountered. The gameplay is fluent and easy, maybe a bit linear, but nevertheless interesting. The puzzles are also clear and not so hard to solve, except of an almost invisible torch. There are no enemies in these two levels, objects are placed and used perfectly, and secrets are easy to find (except one, hidden in the New York channel, which made no sense to me). Atmosphere is nicely enhanced with the rain, audio tracks and brand new sounds of Lara's steps, and the voice-over of Lara is excellently chosen and surprisingly authentic. Camera hints are usually missing, but that's not such a big problem in the levels where you know exactly where to go and what to do next. A couple of flybys would have been nice, to make these two levels richer. Lighting is decent and textures are nicely chosen, but as I said, there are some cracks that should have been avoided. What most of the players found annoying was the save system. I have myself not so much trouble with this save system, as the gameplay is easy and I died only two times in the whole game. However, I would avoid this save system with bus stops and no save system at all in Lara's mansion, in the future. I am definitely curious to see the sequence of this level, and hopefully, the end of it, and the rescue of Kurtis, as the builder promised. Keep building, Scout, and pay more attention to the details I pointed out, and I am sure you can build excellent levels in the future. Highly recommendable for people enjoying easy gameplay and need an hour or two of easy fun to get through a rainy day." - Nina Croft (06-Oct-2012)

"A nice level to begin with, with an utterly gameplay destroying weakness: the saving system. In the first level, supposedly located in New York, you can only save in like half a dozen bus stops, which means you have to retrace loads of routes in order to get to where you need - and that's an absolute nuisance especially at the top of the buildings everytime Lara has to perform a jump and fails, like everytime she can't grab a bar (and it looks like some kind of occasional bug, although I can't guarantee). Then, in the second part, Lara's humble abode, it becomes totally impossible to save and that means you really have to be stubborn or adore the game to make it non-stop to the end(I must have been more on the stubborn side). The best thing in this second level must be some details, such as the lights coming through the windows, but that's about it. This is mostly a double level whose gameplay consists mainly of opening doors, doing long jumps and finding things, namely secrets. I can't think of one memorable moment in the entire game, sorry but I really can't and there were a few problems even with the textures at times even though that doesn't mean you should take my words wrongly: the looks are generally interesting, just not very carefully designed in the whole. So, what can I say? I've seen better levels in my days, sorry but I really have. Since this is only "the beginning", I do hope the author will make an effort to improve it and, most of all, give up on the saving originality - it's usually great to be original but in this case I suppose most players may agree it was a pretty bad idea." - Jorge22 (17-Sep-2012)

"18.01.12 This was very different to what I expected. The texturing, lighting and objects are stunning to say the least, I believe the author to be very talented. You start the first level at a pier (which strangely has nothing to support it!). The basics of the level are searching for the entrance to a building, jumping to other buildings and finding keys, opening doors and the like. It certainly lures you in with the ultra realistic setting which reminds me of GTA Vice City in some respects (even the music in the club!). There's a very arkward pole jump in there, but I felt satisfied completing that bit. Im not sure why the subway seems to go nowhere but perhaps its still under construction. The second level is Laras home, and this has a small amount of puzzle solving (sun and moon), and a lot of running about. The soundtrack on the second level brought it to life. I was a little disappointed with the ending since I was expecting Lara to meet Kurtis Trent or at least read the book with his notes - but no. If this is part of the authors next levels then thats fine. I think the lighting in the second one is maybe not quite as good as the first one, but marginallly. There are no enemies whatsoever in either levels. I feel the main theme is searching for secrets, which there are many. I don't know how many I got (probably about 9) since there's no stats screen at the end. There are some bugs which include, no collision on many objects (especialy during the bike ride), allowing player to throw torch into water thus stopping all gameplay, and the different water strengths in the sea (you can see the water underneath if certain bits ripple). A few sounds missing in the second level. I enjoyed the talking guy in the club, the mona lisa room in the house, the bike ride, jumping about on the rooftops, and the general feeling of being very alone in the whole game. The savegame system consits of bus stops in level one, and no saving at all in level 2. I minded only a little when I had to do awkward and fatal jumps, perhaps the author should have savegame crystals at arkward points. There should definately be some enemies to challenge you, and more use for the bike. I feel a little sad for the author as he's worked so hard getting the atmosphere right, but spent too little time on the gameplay. The good points and bad points unfortuntely lead to an average rating in my opinion." - sonnyd83 (10-May-2012)

"Although it is a very nice looking level with excellent texturing, well laid out map and architecture and generally a good atmosphere, I personally started to dislike this level because of the save system. It seems like a good idea to create something different than the norm, but the fixed save points system in this game is not one of them. I personally like to save often; especially when there are long jumps involved like in this game and since they have to be precise. On top of it Lara sometimes just doesn't want to grab and keeps falling off, which forces the player to replay from the last bus stop save. I am almost glad I am not the only one, who got really frustrated at the swing pole sequence. If it weren't for that it would have definitely been an enjoyable raid, but as it was I had given up several times and played something else, just to finally return to it because I felt obligated to finish what I had started. Since this is obviously part of a series, I hope the builder reconsiders going back to the normal TR save system for the next installment. (57 min, 8 secrets found)" - Blue43 (15-Feb-2012)

"New York Backstreets (5/8/8/7, 30 min, 6 of 7 secrets): Yes, as everybody else was saying, get rid of that stupid bus stop saving system. Initially I missed a few of the pole, balcony jumps, so ended up re-doing boring actions several times and then switched to even more running back and force to get saves created - not fun! That annoyance aside, I did enjoy the premise of the level as such. It looks a bit empty, but the desolate city feel is certainly there and there are many great objects and textures used. Lighting could use much more work though to further enhance the atmosphere. Searching the secrets added to the otherwise rather non-existent gameplay. It is all about running around and exploring, flipping an occasional switch. The verbal hints work well and the trip underground was a nice diversion, even though the bike did not seem entirely necessary.
Croft Estate (4/8/7/7, 15 min, 5 secrets): Like in the first part, the use of onjects is impressive and those lights falling through the windows do look cool indeed. No saving here either, but it is also rather impossible to die, so no big deal. Even less actual activity in this shorter part, which is a bit of a pity, as the manors great looks would really invite the presence of some decent puzzles or agility tests.
All in all, maybe a bit overambitious as a project, but if more coherent and interesting gameplay could be thrown into the mix, then this can turn into an intriguing series in the end." - MichaelP (02-Feb-2012)

"Gameplay&Puzzles: I found a lot of good ideas in this level, for instance: the bus stop to save the game, but this idea turn into a bad thing, in the second level no more bus stop...So no save? I liked to search some keys, I think the gameplay was good. Ennemies, Objects& Secrets: No ennemies, and easy secrets, objects were not so bad placed. Atmosphere, Sound&Cameras: I liked musics, but by moment they were too repetitive, or they cut suddenly. There is not a lot of cameras, but that's cool like that. The atmospere was cool, a bit empty by moments but good enough. Lighting&Textures: Textures from GTA Vice city make me laugh, photos were funny too. But there were some of bad placed textures. Lighting was good. A good level, I liked it, maybe you'll like it too." - Lara_Fox_Croft (29-Jan-2012)

"A brief raid through a city level and Lara's house that is decent, but could use improvement in all areas. Most of the gameplay was simply running around and involved no combat (yes, that shotgun you found was worthless) and very few puzzles to get the player thinking. On top of this, the game can only be saved at bus stops on the ground, making it very risky to perform some of the jumps required at neck-breaking heights above. The second level doesn't even have a way to save so you have to complete it in one shot. The only plus in this area was getting the bike near the end of the first level. As far as objects go, there are plenty of decorative objects in both levels as a nice touch. However there are crowbar doors that are not crowbar doors, some doors have invisible walls in front of them, and the biggest hit: you can drive through the fences when you are on the bike. Actually, you can drive through just about anything on the bike. Some camera shots are used well, but more camera cues would be nice. The atmosphere is broken by the dozen of paper-thin walls in Lara's house. The texturing is the best part of the production, I did not notice any wallpapering or mis-shaped textures. The only improvement in that area is to add more lighting. Overall it is a fair release but there is still plenty of room for improvement. Finished in 36 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (24-Jan-2012)

"2 nice levels with good graphic aspects, particularly the first one, set in a desert New York (really it seems a lost island) and with textures which, as manarch rightly said, make remember the Grand Theft Auto ones (that I'm playing during this period eheheh). At the beginning I was glad while playing in this contest, when I noticed the f5 key wasn't working and discovered I just could save in the bus stops.. beh so original as irritating because in some parts you have to make particular jumps and anybody would just save, but here you can't and if you die, you are f***ed. Enigms are sufficient: finding a crowbar, weapons, a torch to ignite. Normal gameplay.. beh so and so.. you've to climb roofs but when you have to use a pole I never understood why I was sometimes successful and anytimes not, because I just jumped on the middle of it (and I've read I wasn't the only one with this problem).. you make this mistake and thanks to this save system and you start from the bus stop again..irritating! At a certain point Lara finds the motorbike and she'll use it to go faster or to go over some gates (a TR4 bug), while she isn't going to drive it for ascents-slopes.. so it's useless. No enemies, not so many objects.. there are 12 secrets ( I found 6 in the first level and 6 in the second one), all very simple to find, just 2 a little more reasoned. In the second level you can't really save, but luckily everything is quite, there is no possibility to die.. all set at Lara's home and in the backyard; the purpose is to find some objects, open other doors and find other secrets.. still quite easy. Globally.. good graphic structure and same thing for the textures, but about enigms, enemies ecc the author has to work more. I would just consider this chapter as a demo because some aspects miss- are incomplete and I image-hope the author will use in a complete version." - Steven Svorticher (20-Jan-2012)

"I understand that there are people around that like Lara, there are also people around who like Kurtis more, so.. for those I would recommend: go an play another game. The same goes for save crystals and that they have been changes into bus stops doesn't change the matter that TR is a game where you can save ANY time and ANY place you want. Being thrown to a bus stop and having to do the climbing over and over and over again is certainly not my idea of having fun. I know that a bus stop on top of a roof is a bit daft, but still. Sorry this way it just ruined the whole experience. The next level is a house level, here you cannot make a safe anywhere. I hate it that I have to play a level in one go even if it is a short one." - Gerty (20-Jan-2012)

"This two part level is memorable mainly for the interesting, if irritating, use of bus shelters round the city as Lara's only 'save' points in the first part. Allegedly, in part two saves should be enabled as usual, but I found the exact opposite and couldn't manage to save at all. This was annoying, but, given the easy, straightforward, enemy-free nature of the game, it was hardly an insurmountable problem. The city area was very nicely made and pleasant to explore and the mansion was fairly predictable. You do get to ride a motorbike in the city, which is a fun plus point and I liked the choice of occasional music. Overall, the gameplay is simple and there really aren't many chances of killing Lara, so you just have to make sure you play it in one session - it shouldn't take you more than an hour at most. If you can stand to play a game with very limited saving options (which I confess I normally refuse to play) then you might want to take a look at this." - Jay (19-Jan-2012)

"The level starts well, a good fly-by and a great looking town layout. Then the cracks start to appear. That 'Save'! What was the builder thinking of? One of the best things about Tomb Raider since the very beginning with TR1 is that players can save whenever they wish, just got a pickup, do a 'save', about to try a tricky jump, do a 'save' and so forth. The notion of the 'saves' in a Bus Stop is quirky (and I applaud quirky) but completely pointless, irritating and time-wasting (I got caught on the problem swing-bar and had to reload back at the nearest Bus Stop about a dozen times; the level nearly ended up in the recycle bin!). This 'Save' problem then pales into insignificance with the latter part when Lara says you can save - but you can't, at all,so the whole bit has to be played in one! Right, grumpy old git mode off! On with the rest of the review. The level doesn't look bad although there's a lack of variety on the rooms and the whole thing needs more 'furniture' to take off that bland look. Talking about 'bland', there's nothing, absolutely nothing in the sea (although I'm told there's a secret there, I couldn't find it) except for a terrible 'edge of the world' effect. The gameplay is simplistic and linear, no puzzles, no agility (or very little), no timed runs, no baddies. If the level had been made with more involved gameplay and without that ridiculous 'Save' feature, it could have been a half-way decent game." - Diz (19-Jan-2012)

"There is a reason no one likes the "bus stop" save system in this game, but it could have been so much worse. It feels like a waste of time when you fall down off a building and have to work your way back up where you were. My biggest concern for this way of saving is that the player feels like he/she can't try something out because he/she will probably die and have to redo it. This has been said before, but you were supposed to be able to save at the mansion, but you could not. There were some overlooked things, like an area outside the motel that had nothing in it, an empty sea, which means that there were no plants or junk, plus it was way too clear for New York. I don't know if it is possible to make the water less clear, but for reality sake, it needed to look dirtier. There was also a laser-protected uzis that I could not find a way to get into. I think the level would benefit from more to do and a normal save system. The levels looked very beautiful and I especially liked the sky in both levels. I found it funny that New Yorkers would just throw away packs of cigarettes, given how very expensive they are! I also enjoyed the dive bar with the old tune. The secrets were much too easy to find and weren't really much of secrets, except for a few. I thought the audio was quite good, especially the great sounding thunder, however, Lara sounded like a clomping horse, even on the grass! She's not that heavy. For the upcoming levels, I hope that the author trashes the bus stop save system and develops more satisfying puzzles and gameplay. He obviously has a firm grasp on the editor, for the levels looked so good. Looking forward to the next installments!" - Shandroid (19-Jan-2012)

"I finished this a couple of days ago, but have been reluctant to review it, mostly because of annoyance over the lack of a normal way to save games. Unfortunately, I still feel annoyed. On the plus side, this has good atmosphere in a seedy city section, and the second level is a somewhat different Croft manor with interesting features. In the city level Lara gets to make high balcony jumps, explore a section of subway track, or zip around on a motorbike. While the city is not very elaborate, it does have its merits, and there are twelve secrets to find in both levels. In the city, Lara needs to step into a bus stop to make a save game. This means that whenever she attempts a balcony jump she can't afford the slightest slip--most rooftop falls are fatal. Then everything done since Lara was last in a bus stop will have to be repeated. This constrains a lot of exploration. There is no way to test jumps to see which method is the best way to do things. Nonetheless, this can be fun, and the motorbike is a fast way to get around. For some reason I assumed that saves would be permitted in the second level. Indeed, at the start of the second level, Lara states that players can now make save games whenever they want. However, that isn't true: F5 doesn't work, and there is no SAVE in inventory. I had intended to halt play, but instead stayed at the computer until the finish. Objectively, Croft manor is nicely done, with Lara hunting up a Sun and Moon artifact to open outer gates in order to exit. But it is awfully inconvenient if one isn't prepared to be locked into the game. This may be more appreciated by players who are prepared ahead of time for the absence of a save game feature." - dmdibl (18-Jan-2012)

"Watching the first cutscene I was sure to be in for a treat. And the first look at the rather big city was indeed really great with all those GTA-textures (I had to smile, when I saw "Ammu Nation") and the many eastereggs and details that gave this level a personal note. I also thought that the savesystem was a nice touch...until I failed at a jump that seemed rather easy and had to do about 5 minutes of gameplay again...and again... Seriously - it wasn't such a bad idea to disable the normal save-option and have savepoints instead, but the way it was done here just lead to too much frustration. Maybe some extra savepoints or (better) an extra-version for those who don't like this type of challenge would have helped...Well - let's move on - as said the first impression was really great and so I was a bit disappointed to see so many beginner-mistakes, including loads of paper-thin-walls, odd texture-placement and an easily accessible and all-time-visible end of the world - funny enough that a secret (to be exact - the most obscure secret I ever saw in a C-Level) was at a place right next to it. It seems the author just didn't care at all about that, even if it can be (and imo it is) a real atmosphere-killer. While the first level has still some pretty nice gameplay, the second is a typical "find lever/key and see what it did/where to place it"-Home level that did look rather nice, but also had the beginner's mistakes I described above. The fact that one could not save at all, while it was promised by Lara at the beginning somehow shows that this level was not (properly?) tested - so I hope that we might get a more polished version of it, once the whole game is released - there certainly is a lot of potential!" - Soul (18-Jan-2012)

"The starting cutscene was just as great as it can be, Lara visits a beautiful New York with many nice GTA textures and objects. We can forgive that it is possible to reach the end of the world in the sea (tip for the builder: water current). But we (at least me and presumably a lot of other people) cannot forgive the save system. I love TR also because of the option that it is also possible to save. So why doing such a thing? I know that in GTA it is also only possible to save in certain places, but first of all, the character doesn't die that often because there are often places to hide (and not many jumps across the roofs), but second, even it may be a nice technical detail, it is simply annoying. That said, this level was fairly enjoyable, with nicely designed buildings, a pub and a motel and even a subway with a little block puzzle and a motorbike ride. The secrets are not really hidden in my opinion but there are many of them so it is OK. I missed enemies completely here - what about at least some bats or thugs in the subway? At the start of the second level, Lara states that now it is possible to save, but somehow this doesn't work. And there are no save bus stops. At last, there are no real dangers in the second level, but if the game crashes or you want to go away, you have to restart this level... grrrrr. The gameplay is pretty linear and there are no real puzzles as there are mostly some levers and keys to find. The key items - the sun and moon pieces - were nice and at least the moon one was a little better hidden. Again the used objects were nice but some of them had no collision (as well as the billard table in level 1). The repeating sound was annoying in both levels - one shot triggers should help. This levelset really should have been called differently as this is apparently only the prequel to the game (even the title screen calls this part the beginning). I recommend it for the strong usage of design elements, but I disrecommend it for the save system and also for the too linear and eventless gameplay in parts of the first and also the second level." - manarch2 (17-Jan-2012)
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