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Hollywood Mini Adventures - Ninja by MBog

eRIC 7 8 7 7
Jay 7 7 8 8
JesseG 7 9 8 9
Jorge22 6 7 7 7
Jose 8 9 9 9
manarch2 5 6 6 7
Mulf 7 6 6 8
Orbit Dream 8 8 8 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 7 7 8 8
Torry 9 7 9 9
release date: 15-Oct-2019
# of downloads: 844

average rating: 7.59
review count: 11
review this level

file size: 69.10 MB
file type: TR4
class: Oriental

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"This took me 30 minutes to complete and I only had to refer to the walk through once (that pesky swim through crack) so kudos for that. I found the level enchanting and my ONLY complaint is the slowed down walking animation for Lara. The level was well laid out and you can get to the boss fight without the shotgun but I recommend you find that swim through crack and follow through to get it for the boss fight. Even with the Uzis she is formidable. No secrets that I could find and I am unsure if there are any." - Torry (12-Jan-2020)
"Of course, not a masterpiece, but a very good level for me. Short but interesting and entertaining with no hard tasks, always keeps the interest with cool cutscenes and a fluid gameplay. Nice environments, new objects, you'll always find a way to continue playing, and the extra ending was a good touch too. Only a wrong sound when Lara picks up items is not enough to defile an interesting level. Good work, MBog1 Recommended for everybody." - Jose (06-Jan-2020)
"I agree with the earlier reviewers. This fun level is a quantum leap forward for MBog. It's good looking throughout, it's well lighted, it provides sufficient challenges for most of us, and the divergent ending paths is a fresh, creative touch. I don't know if anyone else used that upper level switch for the pushpiece puzzle, but from the way the posted video unfolded I suspect it was put there as a red herring. Diabolic, I must say. No secrets, but that's no reason to deduct points. Instead of saying "aha" when Lara picks up something, you get this sound like a Tinnos wasp dying. Another offbeat variation. Nothing fancy, nothing really memorable except for the gorgeous surroundings, but still a good, pleasant raid." - Phil (31-Oct-2019)
"Definitely less "mini-er" (I'm doubtful that the Oxford English Dictionary lists that as a word, but you know what I mean) than the previous Mini Adventure installments, this is now more of a sufficiently entertaining experience in its own right. It's still markedly shorter than other average-length levels out there, but that's just a passing comment and isn't reflected in the scoring. It's a very smooth flowing raid in itself, with the only possible stopping point being the pushable puzzle halfway through, although that should be easily solved providing you hit upon a reliable strategy. The cutscenes moved the story along nicely and the atmosphere was well caught in an Oriental sort of way. Lara's ninja garb seems to have restricted her movements quite a lot though, which I really disliked. I'm not sure why this figure is still used, but each to their own. I encountered a couple of minor sound issues when picking up objects, but nothing too annoying. However, my overall impression of this jaunt was definitely a favourable one, as reflected in my scores. And I thought that the double ending was a really neat touch." - Ryan (31-Oct-2019)
"A nice, immersive level, if a bit brief. Gameplay includes a trap sequence, a pushblock puzzle, and some enemies; the rest is exploration. As the story implies, there is a way for you to alter the way the game ends if you are observant enough. I always like the idea of multiple endings and thought this was a nice touch. Camera cues are needed and would have helped me figure out what I was accomplishing in the game. Textures and lighting are nicely done, and the rooms are filled with a good amount of decorative objects. 44 minutes." - JesseG (28-Oct-2019)
"The builder is slowly but steadily getting better in building and this is definately his most mature release so far. While the starting area seems a bit boxy and rushed (the first jumpswitch is not needed at all to progress), the game evolves towards the end, especially if you find the alternative ending. If not, you will miss a lot, perhaps a bit too much actually because it is a run-off-the-mill story with less gameplay. On the other side, it is a reason to replay this one. The traps are decently used in this game, although few pose an actual threat, the pushable puzzle was agreeable but it is way, way simpler than it looks at first glance. Concerning the visuals, they also improved during the game although the architecture is still simplistic. Texturing and lighting are quite good, perhaps the sounds when picking up items and some others are a bit odd. As usual I will give a minus point for the odd running animation. Overall a nice little level that ends on a high note if you manage to access both endings. 20 minutes." - manarch2 (26-Oct-2019)
"It’s about time MBog thought about renaming this ongoing series of his or maybe dropping the overarching title altogether, as ‘mini’ seriously undersells this most recent offering (if admittedly not its predecessor), and I could never quite figure where ‘Hollywood’ comes into it anyway.
What we have here is an entertaining and in most respects well-designed ‘Oriental’ fantasy with a running time of comfortably less than an hour and pretensions towards a fully-fledged stand-alone game complete with plot. In this latter respect it failed for me, not least because of the fact that in the finale, you can both kill and not kill that lady at the same time (I forget her name, but it’s something other than Schrödinger); also, I haven’t any better idea who that Winston bloke may be than Lara, who asks herself that question in the game—but I do know that the builder wanted to have another artefact besides the combo item that is your nominal goal in this game, so Winston and ‘his present’ were written into script (maybe there [i]is[/i] a Hollywood connection after all). However, coherent plots have never been TR’s strongest point exactly, and I, for one, don’t play TR for its storyline. At least it wasn’t so cringeworthy in this case as to distract from what matters.
With that out of the way, let’s talk business. The game was made using mostly prefab material (from the 2006 BtB contest), which has been given a new spin, most obviously by the addition of a new Lara model (ostensibly a ninja, but really a catburglar), and yes, Bobbing Lara is back, much to my chagrin, as irritating as ever. Over the course of the game, I became somewhat used to her animations, but I’m never going to like them: excellent though they may be from a purely technical point of view, they are annoying in-game, the running in particular feeling clunky, unresponsive and, with weapons drawn, looking silly. However, according to recent forum posts, MBog has taken criticisms like these to heart, promising to ‘do better next time’, so there’s hope.
For most of the game, your only opponents are a gang of burly kendo enthusiasts; it’s only near the finale that you get to see the spiders from Xian once more and, eventually, a re-modeled (and killable) Seth. The former retain their TR2 looks and feel therefore slightly out of tune with the otherwise high-res environment; the latter is, I believe, a modification of Trinity’s Princess Amygdala, who has no legs (the download includes no readme, hence no credits). Because she has inherited the original animations of ol’ Seth, it pleases the legless princess to stomp around a lot.
The traps that you have to pass through present players with moderate challenges; players can usually assess how best to deal with them in advance or while negotiating them, and are thus allowed to work smart rather than hard. This does not apply, however, to one ill-devised boulder trap (players who go back rather than, counterintuitively, forward will find themselves permanently stuck).
There is also some platforming to be done, but not much in the way of puzzles. The pushable puzzle is one of those in which you have to use switches, ‘raising blocks’ and trapdoors in order to move the pushables where you need them. It is neither difficult nor unduly prolonged, but it is colour-coded, and the colours are not easily distinguished. I don’t know whether this was an issue in the BtB contest where they made their first appearance, but the builder silently acknowledges the problem by preventing the player from moving the one to be used last (red, but doesn’t look like it) until it becomes necessary. Very considerate, but surely something could have been done here with the lighting instead?
Apart from the atmospheric and consistent, but somewhat murky lighting, and the slight incongruence of some low-res enemies as well as the TR3-style box-shaped trees at the beginning, there is not a lot to gripe about concerning the visuals, though much of the credit obviously goes to the creators of the material that served for a base. Well, the waterfalls, prominent as they are, stand out as grey and should have been given a tint more suitable for them to fit in with the rest of the environment; nor would an adjustment of scrolling speed (or simply choosing a different texture) have gone amiss. Sound design, however, is a different matter. Absolutely no effort was made by the builder to mend the sounds once Wadmerger had successfully messed them up. Although the builder was luckier than others in this respect, there are sounds noticeably missing (levers, the ‘plough’ trap), Lara makes some weirdly high-pitched noises, and most annoyingly, something like an electric crackle can be heard throughout a considerable chunk of the level (due to a wrong sound placed in or near the room where you pick up ‘Winston’s present’, I suspect). This grave negligence (and the Bobbing Lara problem) I hope to see addressed in the builder’s next effort." - Mulf (19-Oct-2019)
"Loved the shotgun ammo retextured as Mun Shou pottery. Hated the use of clunky Lara – she might have looked cool, but she moved like a constipated hamster. Otherwise, this is rather pleasant. The oriental setting is well done and attractive and the enemies appropriate and not over used. For a mini adventure, it manages to pack in some good traps/puzzles etc. I liked it." - Jay (18-Oct-2019)
"It is a mini adventure, but not so mini that it becomes appalling for its shortness (it gets near that point though). Quite straightforward and good-looking, it's a nice pastime for each and everyone with a couple of puzzles and at least a minor trap environment, some Japanese warriors and a spirit that almost depletes you of your entire health near the end. The truly annoying thing is Lara's animation (and I still don't get why anyone would choose this king of thing): rather slow moves, hands down when carrying the pistols and it looks like she isn't going to grab anything when she has to because she keeps an arm down. Oh well. But it was a nice little adventure." - Jorge22 (17-Oct-2019)
"Head and shoulders in quality above this builders other levels,this hour long romp was a lot of fun.The visuals have been beautifully handled;the enemies,entertainingly varied;the gameplay was eventful without ever being very difficult (although progression through the opening area required a bit of thought);and you even get a choice of two endings (although the significance of the imagery in either of them was lost on me). What irritated,though,was the incorporation of 'sticky' movements in the Lara model;which made all her moves feel irritatingly sluggish. Nonetheless,this is a highly entertaining not-so-mini adventure;with a noble attempt at telling a plot. Recommended." - Orbit Dream (17-Oct-2019)
"More than a typical Oriental level , even if the textures and some of the objects are those of the Back to Basics 2006 , we have also some different objects and animations ; first a ninja/Lara who seems to be more lymphatic than the normal one and this model sometimes makes sounds of a woman and sometimes sounds of a little girl. There is also some weird sfx for ex when you pick up some object. The originality in this level is the two different endings both linked to the storyline, and some animations. Now the gameplay is rather classic and user-friendly with easy moves , a couple of traps area which were enjoyable, and a puzzle with coloured pawns (btw i found it strange that placing one pawn on the correct tile then moving it away , then placing the 3 other pawns on their correct tiles opened the door , so far so good , but then i noticed that placing the first pawn which was moved away back on its own tile shuts the door). Looking wise it is rather pleasing , it was strange however to see all the waterfalls with very fast moving anims but no waterfall mist in the water. A recommanded level , not very long , to see a few different things , and the 30 minutes spent here were pleasant." - eRIC (17-Oct-2019)