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Level: The Pagan Reaction - Chapter 1 back home search
Author(s): Franco Bula
total rating:5.75 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
manarch2 4 6 5 6
Treeble 4 7 7 7
category averages
(2 reviews)
4.00 6.50 6.00 6.50

Reviewer's comments

"Treeble's review is already a highly accurate description of this level so I really don't wish to add much more here. This game starts decently in a city-at-night atmosphere, but quickly ends up in mazes inside mazes inside mazes with a few decent traps and puzzles but overall a lot of boring progression through ever the same looking hallways and repetition of tasks that might drive crazy at times. Some timed runs are decent, but the extremely long timed run was not particularly fun because it is not hinted as such and so it's too miss the door. Textures are applied decently but the architecture is just cubic and boxy (in the maze parts texturing is also becoming wallpapered and flares are also rather few despite a few fairly dark parts. I think there are some good ideas here and there in every aspect but it simply doesn't work so well together. Spent 1:35 hours here and found 10 secrets." - manarch2 (30-May-2020)

"I honestly don't understand this level. The author has provided us with good Cambodian levels in the past and the very first impression of this City level was actually great, exploring a few streets and alleys, but it quickly descends into a vast multitude of different labyrinths that's devoid of any fun or purpose. Plus it's dark, excessively so, I am sure everyone will crank the gamma up to 10 (bless you, TR3 engine). The sad part is that there are absolutely no landmarks so you never really have any sense of orientation, running around in circles trying to stumble onto new paths. Level design is uninspired, lots of high and low crawlspaces spread out through blocks placed in checkered layouts, plus lots of jumping sequences in which the ceiling is too low, that makes navigation not only boring but also a pain. On the first level you even have a timed run that spans a lot of jumping to get to, then crawling, climbing and one pixel precise jump off a slope to reach the timed door. How fun. The way the room is setup, the exit door would have made perfectly for a shortcut instead, so I'm not sure what the author was trying to prove here. As you move from one labyrinth to the next, you are never really sure whether you are actually making progress or simply lost, the only way to keep track of things is the general color of the maze you're in. For instance, when you reach the green maze, surprise, quicksand! In that sense, lots of quicksaves and quickloads will help you mitigate the frustration, but not nearly enough I'm afraid. The author is also pretty cruel when it comes down to pickups. You start with a single medipack, no pistols, and I only ever spotted one medipack towards the end of the second level, which I decided not to go for as it'd require a lot of jumping to get back to where I was. There are a few Health Crystals spread around the levels, but it's still rather unnerving. I also ran out of ammo at least once, despite always crawling the lenghty distances for the pickups I'd spotted along the way up to that point. The author has included two different cdaudio.wad files in the download, only one is used but the second one has different tracks in different IDs. Franco, for Chapter 2, please revert to your previous building style. Aim to reward your players with a fun experience instead of punishing them with a test of mettle such as this one. Bottomline is, in a lot of ways this felt like Extravaganza Level cubed and on steroids, and I'm not sure anyone will think that's a good thing... 2h30min, 2 secrets. 03/20" - Treeble (05-Apr-2020)
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