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Juhani's Levels by Juhani Piironen

CC 7 6 7 7
eRIC 5 5 6 5
Gerty 7 5 7 7
Jay 7 6 7 8
Jose 5 5 6 6
Josi 6 5 6 7
Kristina 7 7 7 8
MichaelP 7 5 7 7
Mulf 5 4 5 4
Obig 6 7 8 8
Orbit Dream 7 5 6 8
Phil 7 6 6 7
RaiderGirl 7 7 7 8
Ryan 6 6 6 6
Sash 6 3 7 7
Tombaholic 6 5 7 6
Treeble 4 5 5 5
vienna 6 6 7 7
 
release date: 04-Sep-2003
# of downloads: 54

average rating: 6.21
review count: 18
 
review this level

file size: 41.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
juhani.piironen@luukku.com

Reviewer's comments
"The single release from this builder is obviously a compilation of efforts from the early days. While the technical issues aren't prominent, level design still takes shape of huge and empty rooms with little of interest. You zoom by a number of huge rooms, sometimes go up and down and make slow progress through the long monkey swinging or shimmying bits and it goes like this until the end of the third level, where you are thrown into a huge underwater maze which doesn't give you any pointers on whatever you're looking for. On that regard, I must say the abridged walkthrough is deceptively small, but it's still a simple raid all things said and done. The first level also has a weird mix and match of textures which didn't quite work, although well divided (it's like the author thought about hiding an egyptian area in the middle of a jungle). 55 minutes, 2 secrets. 03/22" - Treeble (03-Apr-2022)
"I think we’ve all learned by now that we need to multiply manarch’s durations by three if we want to arrive at a workable estimate of the time you’re about to spend in any given level; eRIC’s are not quite as extreme, but still closer to a speedrun than to a regular first-time playthrough. My net gaming time for all three levels combined was just under 90 minutes.
“Jungle Ruins” (7/5/5/4): This first part comprises three main areas which differ widely in their construction as well as their looks. The first of these looks the most familiar, as it is a variation on the traditional TR3 India theme. Your main task is negotiating your way over and across a set of pillars, which turns out to be an entertaining, not too obvious platforming sequence, thus setting the tone for the rest of the level. Next up is a large and deep pit with a long sliding slope that leads to a transparent pyramid at the bottom. It also contains a series of very tall pillars that would make the builder of Return to the Hollow Mountain proud; if you climb them too early, you can jump over and do the slide again to return to bottom quickly and with no health loss. The third area is a system of walkways suspended over a water flipmap you need to activate. This one is decidedly crude as regards the visuals; the mixture of textures from different sets doesn’t gel into anything approaching a distinctive look. Its construction, however, is sound. Guided by helpful cameras, you jump, climb, swim, shimmy and monkeyswing through these various areas along what turns out to be a circular course that brings you back to the beginning in order to eventually place an artefact acquired along the way, all the while unhampered by any interlopers, and with no traps to impede your progress (with the exception of a row of spikes on the long sliding slope and a surprise rollingball near the end). Considered as a stand-alone, this might well be the most player-friendly custom level I’ve ever played. Focused entirely on platforming, it manages to sustain interest throughout, and although the level is fairly complex, you’ll never get stuck (except in the odd illegal, that is).
“Coastal Village” (3/4/4/4): Clearly the weakest of the three. Gameplay is reduced to you tracking down one puzzle piece in a fairly large Coastal environment, then shooting a target which opens an underwater gate to the final area, where you have to find the one spot that allows you to jump towards the finish trigger. There are no puzzles, no traps and no platforming, and the few enemy encounters fail to spice up proceedings in any meaningful way. Had the surroundings been designed with proper care, it could still have been a pleasant outing (though more akin to a walk in the park than to tombraiding), but as it is, it is a typical example of a beginner overestimating his capacities when setting about designing scenery in spacious outside areas. It is also a reasonable assumption that the surroundings were built first, and some semblance of gameplay was inserted only later as an afterthought.
“Golden Pyramid” (5/4/5/4): Not “Temple of Karnak”, as stated erroneously in eRIC’s review; it’s an understandable error though, as this level uses the Karnak wad, and for a short while it looks like a fairly generic Karnak-style adventure as well. However, most of the gameplay takes place in a huge room in which you need to climb up and slide down (the long slope from the first level appears for an encore), negotiating various side-rooms at different elevations in search of two Canopic Jars. You need these to make those two pharaohs spout enough water to partially flood the room, thus allowing you to access a previously unreachable crawlspace. This crawlspace then turns into something that looks suspiciously like the builder eventually lost it, caved in and ended the level and the game with an underwater maze; but fear not: it seems like all passages eventually lead to the area with the Golden Pyramid (apparently the thing you’ve been looking for all along). All that remains for you to do is climb on top of it and slide down the other side towards the finish trigger (after which something like a credits level loads; a rather odd one, in which Lara is confined inside an aquarium, drowns, and the game crashes to desktop). The pyramid area gives a strong impression of being unfinished (the interior of the pyramid sports a number of ledges and arches, but there’s nothing to do in there), but at least it provides a conclusion to the adventure, if not an entirely satisfying one. More serious is the fact that the builder seems to have been in a bit of a rush here, to the extent that even alpha-testing must have been rather sloppy: you can easily avoid triggering the bird blades at the topmost level; and players who place Canopic Jar 2 right away without bringing #1 along will be stuck for good and need to load an earlier save (this is not unlikely to happen, as the path towards #1 is quite cleverly designed).
I think the current average score of 6.41 sounds about right, although the game has been too generously served in the design department if you consider its frequently rather shaggy looks and the widespread absence of lighting. (The game found itself at the receiving end of an uncharacteristically harsh review by Phil, yet his scores are at the upper end of the scale. Had his review been lost along with many of the others, who could have guessed that he considers two of the three levels barely playable? Mysteries of TRLE reviewing!) It would certainly have done better had the uninteresting middle part been scrapped and the remaining two levels been developed with more care. Also, as usual: betatesting, betatesting, betatesting." - Mulf (26-Oct-2019)
"Of these three levels, the first one in a jungle setting provides by far the most amount of gameplay. It's simple enough, mainly involving collecting artefacts to open doors and doing quite a bit of jumping and swimming, but entertaining enough for half an hour or so. The other two levels seemed rather odd, though, because there were a few areas that seemed accessible, but I could find no way to actually get to them. I managed to finish them anyway, but something seemed amiss nonetheless. The textures were also a bit rough, although I thought the jungle level looked quite pleasing. Not a particularly memorable raid." - Ryan (24-Feb-2019)
"An average level for finn. I liked first level but the Egypt level is hard and it doesnt have any red line. It was a question mark that what I have to do to progress in Egypt. Solution is to climb up to pyramid. Textures could be more accurately but lighting is great. There is more to do on cameras. Some places it freezes its shooting position and you have to use savefile to get normal view. I gave some points because designer is finn and ending level has nice pictures on Egypt." - vienna (13-Mar-2017)
"The first level (Jungle Ruins) was moderately entertaining and consisted primarily of finding various artifacts to place in their receptacles. The short second segment (Coastal Village) was so crude and unfinished in appearance as to be virtually unplayable in my estimation. I stuck with it mainly so I could see what the third level (Golden Pyramid) was like. It too was rather crude, but at least it's marginally playable. Your main task is to find and place two canopic jars to provide access to the eponymous pyramid, and a few minutes later you slide down to complete the adventure. A forgettable raid." - Phil (24-Oct-2016)
"Not bad this set of levels with some backtracking. Many rooms are too huge, and often empty of objects. There are very few enemies to shoot and few pickups too. Easy tasks, based only about exploration to find items and place them in their receptacles. It seems that the author wanted to give us different ways to finish the last levels, 'cause I found several ways in the last two. Correct use of cameras and sounds, textures are not well applied in many places 'cause the big surfaces, but usually the environments have a good appearance. Enjoyable but not very entertaining." - Jose (19-Oct-2016)
"Despite having an amateurish feel to them , and areas that are unequal in quality of the looks , lighting , and even gameplay , these levels are pleasant to go through. This builder had some interesting ideas of progression at times, even if the technical quality is not always there, or if more could have been implemented in some places in terms of gameplay and objects. [JUNGLE RUINS 32 Minutes] The longest level , which has mainly 3 big areas , you spend some time in the 1st mainly looking for some vases to shoot, and there is some enjoyable moves around trees. After a rope swing and a long slide, you can admire a translucent pyramid in the second area where you will make a few jumps later on, and in the 3rd there is fun jumping around , and with 2 flipmaps to find a cartouche that allows you to reach the top of the translucent pyramid, before returning to the 1st area with the full Eye. [COASTAL VILLAGE 10 minutes] Despite being short and the less eventful level of the set, i always enjoy a costal city ruins, there is not much to do here , a couple of crocs to kill, an object to find , a skeleton to dodge , a target to shoot , and the most interesting part is to use some blocks to continue your way when the path around some pools seems to stop there. [TEMPLE of KARNAK 15 minutes] A Karnak level with a few rooms textured like in TR1, the main actions take place in a huge room with ledges, cracks and slopes in order to place two canopic jars to flood the bottom of it, it was good fun , too bad that there is a possible stuck situation if you have found only Canopic jar 2 and placed it, as later on there will be no way for you to place the other jar. Then with quite a bit of swimming Lara can reach the inside of a pyramid , climb it to the top from the inside and slide to the end." - eRIC (05-Aug-2009)
"The level starts in a very nice Indian style level called Jungle Ruins. There's an eyepiece on top of a column and you almost reach it straight away but can't. There are vases up high I was able to shoot them jumping up with pistols so when I found the revolver and lasersight I only had one more vase to shoot and that took a while to find! In this first area we get the feeling that maybe these levels will include a fair amount of jump sequences which is great and that is exactly what we get a lot of very interesting jump sequences swims and climbs. That was a well hidden switch behind a statue and wall. I went straight from Jungle Ruins to Coastal Village. Having read about the extremely short The End level I didn't bother with it. I liked the 'town' in this level but the rest was so-so texture problems in places. It's just a run through to get a pharos knot kill a warthog and skeleton and place the knot. Also some problems with illegal routes. I liked the idea of the different water areas where you can get up from one area and jump over the rocks to another area and the route into Golden Pyramid. I particularly liked the huge rooms in the golden pyramid and the climbing shimmying and jumping in there to get the two canopic jars that was fun. And when you actually see the golden pyramid and dive into the water it's a very confusing swim underwater so save before going in. A lot of work has gone into creating huge areas and it's a shame that a lot of them are not used enough. All the same these levels were great fun to play and the author shows great potential for the future." - CC (06-May-2004)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Tombaholic (28-Jan-2004)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Josi (12-Nov-2003)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - RaiderGirl (11-Oct-2003)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Michael (06-Oct-2003)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Gerty (22-Sep-2003)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Jay (22-Sep-2003)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Obig (15-Sep-2003)
"Level 1:Jungle Ruins: When you consider that this was a TR3 Jungle level,there was a disappointing lack of expected atmosphere (the lighting was either non-existent,or consisted of meaningless shadow bulbs);and no music tracks. I got completely stuck at one point,as I didn't think there was anything behind the area with the pushable statue (the sides were formed from illegal slopes). Nonetheless,once the walkway was activated it was all very logical and often clever - in a "so this is where I've ended up!" way. 45 minutes;and pretty entertaining on the whole.
Level 2:Coastal Village: Apart from a rather confusing ending (there appear to be two different methods for reaching the Finish Trigger),this was a strangely uneventful journey through a basically empty location.The atmosphere was an improvement over the previous level,but there were several places where you could observe either the end of the world,or witness a swathe of untextured areas. It was quiet and peaceful (the enemies were no threat);but as an exploration level,it left rather a lot to be desired.
Level 3:Golden Pyramid: After an initial encounter with this levels sole enemy (the most remarkably uninteresting black ninja ever to appear in a custom level),the bulk of the gameplay takes place in and around a large grey room,with lots of slides,shimmies and jumps. So far,so reasonable - but then you arrive at an outside area with a large golden pyramid,and everything gets weird. With a bit of cunning,you can climb to the top and jump into it - but there's nothing in there. Or,you can slide down to a room with the Finish Trigger in a deep pool. Or,you can swim through a maze into a room with a trigger tile (awkwardly placed on top of a tricky slope) which activates a cage inside the pyramid,which (once you have negotiated your way back through the underwater maze) allows you to climb up the inside of the pyramid to the top,and thereafter slide down to that same Finish Trigger. Short-cutting that latter gameplay section allowed me to end the entire game after 98 minutes. Doing it the proper way added another 10. I preferred the 98 Minute version,myself.
Overall then,this wiled away the time and exhibited quite a few entertaining platforming ideas - but it suffered from a complete lack of beta-testing;which made it feel distractingly rough around its edges. Nonetheless,for a first (and,seemingly,only)effort,it showed potential." - Orbit Dream (14-Sep-2003)
"***review comments unfortunately lost due to admin error***" - Sash (10-Sep-2003)
"The first part of the game is a nicely done jungle with much greenery exactly how I like it. It isn't hard to go through it and you soon leave that area after completing a couple of tasks to go onto the second half. You will find a hand, a cartouche and the Eye of Horus but to get your hands on one of the pieces you have to do some hard work. The second part finds Lara in a shore getting through the rocks to arrive at the third part which is the pyramid. I found the second part very short. The last part has you exploring for a vraeus, two canopic jars and shimmy around the rocks to get to the other side and place your items. Throughout the levels you will see ninjas, crocodiles but there are very few which is noticeable. As a beginners work this game has some of the usual bugs which don't interfere with the game play if you make an exception for the lack of enemies. Although the textures are good enough there is 'the end of the world' bug appearing in every level. The secrets of which I found three have nothing to give you, I am not sure why that is but I couldn't find anything to pick up in those rooms. The game is simple but with good moments such as the river area with statue, the underwater maze was well built and the two pieces of the cartouche were a challenge to find. It's obvious to me that the author has potential. With some work to fix those bugs and by adding some more puzzles especially ones that don't just require you to find and place puzzle items, the next game can be a great one. This is worth taking a look at, it is simple but entertaining." - Kristina (05-Sep-2003)