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Beyond the Scion by EssGee

afzalmiah 9 10 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 10
birdmonster 10 7 10 10
CalrOsario 9 9 10 10
Christian 9 10 10 10
Diz 10 10 9 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 10
dmdibl 10 10 10 10
eRIC 10 10 10 10
eTux 9 10 10 10
Feats 9 9 10 10
Gerty 10 10 10 10
indigo15 10 9 10 10
izzynoodles 10 7 10 10
Jack& 10 10 10 10
janachorider 9 9 9 10
jawi 9 10 9 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
JesseG 10 9 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 9 10 10 10
Juno Jim 10 10 10 10
Kara 10 9 10 9
manarch2 9 10 10 9
Matie 9 10 10 10
Mehrbod 8 10 10 10
MichaelP 9 10 10 9
Mman 9 10 10 10
Mytly 9 10 10 9
Nina Croft 10 10 9 9
OverRaider 10 10 10 10
Petaludas 9 9 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
rtrger 10 10 10 9
Ruben 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 9 10 9 9
SeniorBlitz 10 10 10 10
Shandroid 10 10 10 10
TheStig 10 10 10 9
Torry 10 10 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
TrueRaider 10 10 10 10
Vaughnage 9 8 10 10
release date: 01-Mar-2010
# of downloads: 309

average rating: 9.74
review count: 44
review this level

file size: 181.83 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I finally got around to playing this after many recommendations and hearing many good things about it. For the most part it definitely lives up to its masterpiece billing. While maybe unfair to look at it through modern eyes, there are some things holding this level back. Lara's animations are a bit "jumpy" for lack of a better term. Also the implementation of Lara's new moves I'm thankful have been a bit more streamlined in more modern releases, as some were a bit of pain to pull off at times. But does nitpicks barely takes anything away from what is an epic adventure with an amazing concept for a story. The levels look and sound amazing too and for the most I thoroughly enjoyed myself playing this and would wholeheartedly recommend it!" - Feats (10-Apr-2024)
"This is a great game! Very Nice! Planty of details, good environment and textures. I loved the gameplay despite being a very accessible game. Recomended!!" - CalrOsario (19-Apr-2023)
"I played this level set when it was released 11 year ago, and I was amazed by all the cool features it offers, some of which were introduced probably the first time in this game. Even tough many of this stuff may not seem like super exceptional by today’s standards, this game was still equally enjoyable to play as it was back in the days. It is really impressive how much custom stuff Essgee has created for this level set to make it stand out from the mass both visually and gameplay-wise. Some of the custom stuff includes: custom animations (ledge jump up/back, ladder to monkey swing – usual stuff in these days but not during the release), kayak, custom switches and puzzle items, new traps, bouncing pads (or whatever the things from “TR2- Temple of Xian” level are called), machete that can be used to cut plants, and much more. This game has also some of the most memorable enemies that I have seen, such as the war elephants and the giant gorilla. Although the game is excellent, I think that some areas contain too many hidden switches that can be very difficult to find, causing you to run around and wonder where to go. In addition, some of the pushable puzzles require you to move the objects quite a long distance, which can be slightly tedious. Nevertheless, the overall experience was super enjoyable and I highly recommend this to everybody. I don’t know if Essgee is still building but it would be definitely interesting to see more levels from him." - Samu (20-Sep-2021)
"Ten years after, im playing this jewel.U already know u should play this reading the comments below and i agree for sure.Everything is so well fitted here, the enemies, the flybys, the puzzles, the music,the outstanding sceneries. Whatelse do u want??? My only negative thing i can say is that , i dont prefer the natla level, so alien and not so tr thing for me. Mostly i enjoyed troubled water and congo mountains for sure, loved them ..Gameplay overall was easy and keepgoing so u i enjoyed it, the only thing, can stop u is not noticing a well hidden lever so u have be observant in some cases.Also loved the rewardings ,the amount of ammo u can get, the trophies, the MESSAGES(love when builder do this thing) And of course the ending is so satisfying that closes this brilliant trle Ty EssGee" - Petaludas (23-Apr-2020)
"Pretty great level set, I'm particularly fond of "what if?" scenarios, so the premise caught my attention, however I feel like some connective tissue in relation to the narrative, after the second level cutscenes kind of take a backseat, making level transitions feel kind of jarring, the final level ends quite pretty abruptly, the diary also wasn't used particularly well, there were basically no observations or remarks from Lara's part outside of some statics and the objective of the level (not saying that it should be used for hand holding but some flavor text would be nice), in terms of level design there were some instances were fall damage was obligatory, which I find rather cheap, and it took a good chunk of your health to boot, outside of that the level design is pretty good, while I wish the new moves were utilized more, it makes up with good pacing, balancing exploration, combat and puzzle solving, the locals are pretty varied, though most of the levels are quite linear, I strongly recommend you give it a shot." - SeniorBlitz (22-Apr-2020)
"Wow! Just wow! One of the most extremely enjoyable adventures hosted on TRLE.NET. The amount of details for such classic is jaw-dropping, and you will never feel the real essence of it until you download it and play it. The gameplay is a little bit challenging, and sometimes you need to look out for your medipacks, but other than that, everything is superbly amazing. THANK YOU. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED." - Mehrbod (05-Apr-2020)
"Wow, what an unbelievable adventure. I played the normal version of this game. It was challenging but not frustrating. The puzzles are excellent. Visual aspects are stunning and some of the flybies and animations took my breath. I am not surprised that Scott worked on this adventure for four years, it really shows. Amazing." - Ryan (04-Apr-2016)
"Not joking here but I played this level for the third time and I am still very impressed. First of all it is pure eye candy, you cannot do anything else then admire the objects that are used in here. Lots of little details are added throughout. The atmosphere in every level was spot on. The only thing I felt bad about was shooting some of the animals that roamed around. I loved every level and especially the Australian one even if it was a rather short one. I played the so-called easy version and although I did try the hard version, I couldn't succeed (even with the beta testing I did many moons ago). This will stay on my HD and I will have another go at it again (and again)." - Gerty (13-Mar-2016)
"A lengthy and very detailed levelset with each level having a completely different theme from the last. A lot of imagination and skill has gone into the game and needs plenty of congratulations for such a wonderful experience in gaming. It was nice to have the end of the original games (TR1 and Anniversary) both mixed together and with some personal changes, which set the scene for the story which followed. A very challenging TRLE which I wouldn't recommend to those new to Tomb Raider (I played the normal difficulty). The only criticism is the lack of secrets for such a long level set, although once you had collected all secrets from a level, it was a nice touch to receive a trophy along with some goodies. A brilliant TRLE which deserves its place in the Hall of Fame. Took 9 hours to complete." - izzynoodles (21-May-2015)
"I had heard a lot of great things about "Beyond The Scion" before I played it, and it totally lived up to the hype, and felt like a game that the Core Design team could have come up with. NATLA RISING Parts 1 & 2: The opening Atlantis levels were a fantastic combination of the Atlantis of "Tomb Raider: Anniversary" and the one from the first "Tomb Raider," while still being original as well. I was especially glad that the climb to the top of the lava-filled chamber was nowhere near as difficult as the one in "Anniversary." Adding the burners to the Torso battle made it more challenging to maneuver during the fight, but I was slightly disappointed that the Natla "battle" wasn't really a battle. I think it could have been more challenging if Natla had been invulnerable to Lara's weapons until after she hit the switches arranged around the room, and she could only take damage after the final switch is hit. But overall, very well-done levels. DREAMTIME - THE LEGEND BEGINS: This quick jaunt through the canyons of the Outback was short, but quite fun. I really enjoyed Lara's guide, Billy, and the platforming and puzzles required to get him to the bottom of the canyon. Despite several areas where Lara is required to take fall damage, and a few unexpected underwater traps, the level isn't too difficult. TROUBLED WATERS: I really enjoyed this level a lot. I didn't think I would once I learned that the kayak is required for a bit of it--I disliked the kayak and its controls in TR3--but EssGee made this kayak much more maneuverable. The large lake area that makes up the second half of the level can be intimidating at first because it's so big, but once you figure out where to go first, everything else quickly falls into place. Completion of the level requires quite a bit of backtracking, which is an element of the Tomb Raider games that I've always enjoyed, and the final cinematic was a wonderful end to the level. INCAN SECRETS - QUALOPEC'S SECRET TOMB: Probably the largest single level in the game (and my personal favorite), Qualopec's Secret Tomb has everything you could hope for in a Tomb Raider adventure: exploration, backtracking, intricate platforming, tricky secrets, and several moments where you scratch your head because you have no idea where to go next. There are lots of hidden jump switches throughout, and remarkably few enemies. There is an underwater puzzle that seems to have been inspired by "Tomb Raider: Legend," and the activation of the two stone warriors reminded me of the ones in the first "Tomb Raider" movie. I particularly enjoyed the use of textures from both the original "Tomb Raider" as well as "Tomb Raider: Legend." There is a great sense of satisfaction that comes from placing the first Scion piece, as the level is quite long and has many areas that can be a challenge to get through. SRI LANKA - TRAIL OF POWER: This was probably my second favorite level of the game. The war elephants and royal guards were a very nice touch, and getting all four gold coins that are required to progress from the chamber with the spiked walls was quite the challenge. There are some pretty interesting traps in the Sri Lankan temple Lara explores, and a few spike traps that catch you by surprise. Perhaps my single favorite moment from the game comes in this level: the battle with the two giant Shiva statues. The spinning blades and burning floor made for a very difficult battle, even with the amount of space you have to move around in. I loved seeing textures from the Indian levels of "Tomb Raider 3" updated and used here; they were stunning. The only drawback to the level are the tigers, which tend to be very buggy and sometimes seem invulnerable to Lara's guns--I shot at one in particular for two or three minutes straight before it dropped. Overall, though, another highly enjoyable level. CONGO - MAN OR BEAST Parts 1 & 2: Almost right off the bat, the introduction of the springboards made me smile and sigh at the same time--I loved the springboards in "Tomb Raider II" once I got the hang of them, but I knew quite a few deaths were on the horizon, at least until I figured out where I needed to angle Lara. The moment I became "stuck" the longest in the game came in Part 1 of the Congo levels--the outdoor area with the bridge. It's not obvious at all what needs to be done in that area, and I spent over an hour running back and forth through the area, exploring the pool, etc. to try to figure out what I needed to do in order to progress. The tribesmen tend to show up without warning, there is a nice timed run in a room full of spinning spiked walls and ladders, and the mountain gorillas near the end of the Part 1 were difficult without being too hard. Part 2 begins with a boss battle with a massive gorilla named Kong, who can be dispatched very quickly with the bazooka found at the end of the previous level. The wall inscription later in the level explains what needs to be done in order to end the game, but is still vague enough to make you think. The entire floating temple area was a marvel, and the "Big Kaboom" is one of the most impressive cinematics I've ever seen in a custom level. I was slightly disappointed that there wasn't another boss to contend with before placing the final Scion piece, but that was a minor detail. I was not expecting to face another gauntlet of spike and boulder traps after collecting the reward for placing the Scion pieces, and it made for a nice, but very challenging, getaway. These two sprawling levels were a near-perfect end to a wonderful, well-made, and ingenious adventure. Well done, EssGee!" - indigo15 (19-Aug-2014)
"Scott, here I am! Despite having been one of the beta testers way back when this masterpiece was still under development, I had forgotten a fair bit about these levels. The amount of reviews already in definitely suggest that I'm very late to the party, but at least I finally made it! And I'm damn glad I did. These levels probably contain every single thing you'd expect from an actual TR game, and then some more. I'd like to throw in an extra kudos for the voice acting, although it was restricted to the initial levels, but it was still nicely done and helped setting the mood. Also worth noting is the absurd amount of 'novelties' here, everything feels fresh (and yes, I'm aware I'm four years late, but, for what it's worth, I haven't played those all-flashy recent levels either, so yeah). Natla Rising: this could perfectly be described with "something old, something new", as it's a perfect mix and match of Atlantean levels of both the original TR and Anniversary, remade with all new gameplay and yet it feels familiar all the way. There are a few unique highlights here such as the doppelganger sacrifice and the Natla boss battle itself. Lara then receives a letter from a mysterious T.O.Khan (ha, brilliant!) fellow asking her help to scatter the remains of the Scion to prevent it from falling into wrong hands again, so Lara finally goes to Australia. Dreamtime - The Legend Begins: most of the level is played alongside Billy Two Dogs (guide), so gameplay mostly revolves around both of them making a path, although not necessarily any less brutal. Long drops and several traps will consume careless players. Eventually, Lara discovers her future destinations. Troubled Waters: first up, Peru. I have mentioned time and time again how much I love South American levels, but this is very different from the BtB entries, so it wasn't entirely up my alley. Still, it sure had its moments. I had some troubles steering the kayak, but nothing major, and despite feeling like a headless hen for the most part in the huge outside area, I eventually found my way through. More backtracking involved than I remember though, but I'm not one particularly known for my memory. Incan Secrets - Qualopec's Secret Temple: is where Lara finally gets to stash the first piece of the Scion. At the drain pool built in the same fashion as a TRL level, my mind reminded myself this is the where I'd let Scott down back during the beta tests. There's a lot of things to be done here and in a few spots it wasn't always so clear (wonder if it's at all possible to reach the upper ledges over the first gemstone), but it's not terribly difficult either. A few sneakily hidden jumpswitches might have you stranded for a while now and then, but, as a whole, rather straightforward and not overly difficult. Sri Lanka - Trail of Power: I've been playing (or rather, trying) a level per day and when I got back to this I kind of freaked out as my save wouldn't load for any reason. Luckily I had one at the very beginning of this level and just replayed the initial section again. Other than this issue, in quite a few areas this is a feast for the eyes. The feint fog, combined with the rain, helps developing a rather unique atmosphere. You spend as much time indoors, though, so there are quite a few temples to explore as you collect a few items to proceed. I loved the war elephants, but can't really say I felt the same about the pulling rings (but that's probably only because I was never really expecting to find them until I finally did). The grand finale with the two golden shivas among fire and saws was also nice and had me reloading a couple of times before I decided to resort to the Shotgun. Congo Mountains - Man or Beast: is actually a two-parter, and probably the most difficult of the whole lot (fitting, seeing as these are the final levels after all). There were one too many moments I was left wondering where to go to or what to do next, only to find out (via D&G) that the answers I looked for were right in front of me. Protip: when in doubt, look for a jumpswitch. Early on I was worried that the springboards could have been overused, but I think I only came across two (fortunately -- lining up the jumps was somewhat tiresome to be honest). Kong was also a badass boss, despite not being as much of a threat as we'd like it to be. And, finally, the floating chambers in the end... just wow. Ambiencewise I'd like to say Congo was the best of the lot, but that's not entirely true as all levels were nothing short of exceptional. Bottomline, play this. Treasure this. Keep the walkthrough at hand, if you must, but don't miss out on this one. Thank you, Scott. 6 hours, 15 minutes. 6 secrets. 03/14" - Treeble (19-Mar-2014)
"I enjoyed playing this very much. I was pleasantly surprised at how incredibly detailed it was right from the first level. The textures and design were very well done and had obviously had a lot of time put into them. Very challenging parts throughout the whole game and i enjoyed the link it had with Tomb Raider 1. A lengthy and challenging game, even if there were a couple of bugs this wasn't too much of a problem as they weren't big enough to ruin the game-play or stop me continuing throughout the levels. I recommend Beyond the Scion to anyone who enjoys a challenge." - Kara (12-Jan-2014)
"I loved this custom level.its a new twist on Lara's first adventure.all the settings were breathtaking and well builded specialy the Australia setting looked so real. EssGee if you are Reading this let me tell you you are one of the best levelbuilders in Trle!." - janachorider (09-Jan-2014)
"This game is one of those which you never forget. This game became one of my top collection long time ago, now I replayed it and enjoyed as much as for the first time and now found all 12/12 secrets (nicely hidden and excellent secret system). There are two versions of this game: normal and hard (I played always hard version) and I was never bored, challenge is waiting in every corner, atmosphere is breathtaking and sound fitting in every situation. There are also new moves (I rather prefer no new moves because mostly they are annoying but if its very well thought out and very well worked out then its acceptable) and some impressive details (for example when Lara is inserting key then you can see how Lara inserts and turns key, I think I`ve never seen something like this before, nice idea). There are also many puzzles, tasks, atmospheric areas waiting to be explored, nicely hidden jumswitches, storyline, jumps and timed sequences, cutscenes, and a lot more so if you still haven`t played this one yet, then what are you waiting for? Download it right now and play. It`s a masterpiece, a mustplay, an absolute recommendation, one of the best of trle world. I appreciate all the hard work EssGee had to put into creating this fantastic adventure, respect from me. 10/10/10/10" - OverRaider (02-Dec-2013)
"This game was absolutely fantastic and I will remember it for a long time and will definitely play it again. At first I thought the game was pretty easy and I knew where to go about halfway through when I played the Atlanits levels up to Troubled waters but after those it started getting confusing. The first Atlantis levels looked really breathtaking and they looked a lot like the Anniversary Atlantis. The gameplay was a mixture of the Anniversary and Tomb Raider 1 and I really enjoyed it and never really got stuck. It was hard and I did die a couple of times but it was very fun. The boss fight with the torso guy was really fun but I wasn't a big fan of the Natla boss fight. It did give me an adrenaline rush though. I only got the bronze artifact in these levels so I didn't get the trophy. The next level was in Australia and I already liked it in the wombat cave. The texturing was great and it looked really nice. When I got out of the cave I was very impressed with the open area and the talk with the man did remind me of Von Croy in Tomb Raider 4. Most of the gameplay was with that person and following him around and helping you. The areas you explore are very beautiful and they were mostly canyons and caves. A very nice level to start the adventure going. The next level was another great level and was probably my favourite of the whole game. The whole level looked absolutely stunning and the gameplay was simple but made you think in certain areas so you know where to go and what to do. The enemies can get a little annoying at times but they were a small problem compared to the beauty of the rest of the level. When I first saw the kayak I was getting a little worried because I never liked the kayak in Tomb Raider 3 but this kayak was a lot easier to control and it was just a modified motorcycle. The large area with the large mushroom rock was definitely my favourite area of the whole game. I was just staring at the beautiful area for a long time and even the water looked brilliant. The gameplay in this area was easy and not too confusing even though there were a lot of places to go to. An absolutely fantastic level that I will remember for a long time. The next level was another fantastic level and here was when the game started getting hard for me. I needed the walkthrough more now but I still enjoyed it very much. When the level started I was immediately amazed at how the level looked but I was stuck too. The jumpswitch was hidden very well! The temple looked very nice and those large areas were fantastic. I actually decided to find all secrets in this level and then I realised that it is definitely worth getting all the secrets. You get a lot of goodies and a nice looking trophy. This level was longer than the previous level and had a lot of great parts and puzzles. The next level looked probably the least impressive but still looked really nice. I just thought that the floor looked pretty plain and needed more to it. Other than that this was a magnificent level. The lighting was really pretty and the rain looked really nice with it. The fog looked really good too. My favourite room was probably the large room where you had to find 4 coins and kill those guards and those elephants. A very impressive room and the textures looked amazing. This level I needed the walkthrough even more than the previous level and things also got more harder especially at the end in the Shiva room. I died quite a lot of times in that area. I also got all secrets in this level and got the trophy. The next levels looked very impressive and the gameplay was really good when you start but when you get to the end things start to get frustrating. Especially near the end in the flame floor room with the golden artifact. I died so many times in that level and got really annoyed too. There was also another room with a ladder on one wall and a spike wall that sometimes pokes out. I died a lot of times there too but then found an easier way to get through it. This level was really impressive though and the area outside with the lake was my favourite area in the first part of the level but in the second part I loved the last area with the floating temple. Fighting Kong was so fun and I loved how he first killed those annoying tribesmen trying to kill Lara. The bazooka was great help in the fight. I got all secrets again in these levels and the ending of this adventure was very nice even though I thought it would end when I got my prize but you still had to escape from the temple and it was pretty challenging. In conclusion I think this is a fantastic game with a lot of beautiful places to explore and definitely deserves its place in the Hall of Fame. Highly recommended." - afzalmiah (16-Mar-2012)
"This levelpack is surely one of the most brilliant levels on this side. I can only recommend it for everyone. NATLA RISING (2-3 levels) was a remake of the first TR game, but the texutres used here and the spectacular puzzles really made me think the engine used here was TR Anniversary. The builder has created many new moves here and the wall levers were completely new. Three secrets could be found in the last level of it; finding all of them lead to another room with a trophy, an idea which I thought was very good, but the final fight with Natla was a bit uninspired and you just had to run away from her pulling four levers to kill her. All in all really nice levels. (9-9-10-10). DREAMTIME-THE LEGEND BEGINS was interesting because of the guide which helps and leads you through the level and the dialogues were really funny. The animals in this level were completely new - like dingos, koalas and razorbacks. A stunning atmosphere here. (8-10-10-8) TROUBLED WATERS was a bit too linear but the kayak ride was of course great fun. Lightning was really good in this level and again the atmosphere was fascinating. (8-9-10-10). INCAN SECRETS-QUALOPECS SECRET TEMPLE was much better in gameplay, just because there were more gameplay elements as the interesting puzzles like the boulder ones. It was surely the highlight of the whole game. (10-10-10- 10). SRI LANKA-TRAIL OF POWER was however not my favourite here as the atmosphere was not so nicely done. Only several enemies like (invincible) tigers made the level recommendable. (9-10-8-9). But this level was the big exception as the CONGO MOUNTAINS-MAN OR BEAST levels (2) really were an adventure I would call a masterpiece alone. The (final) battle with Kong was quite hard without having found the Bazooka earlier but doable. I can see that the builder has made this level quite difficult because some balls (which should go "kaboom";)) were nearly impossible to find, luckily I could read the walkthrough which helped me a lot then. The final monkeyswing part was very difficult, too, it took me a hundred times to get to know at which place I should start to jump. (9-10-10-9). Resumingly a eight-hour lasting adventure with so many completely new things to discover and of course a must-play for everyone who has got enough time for playing it!" - manarch2 (10-Oct-2010)
"Congratulations EssGee !!! This one was so good, I took notes. So many good features, good plot and gameplay. As usual, this game took me several days, all of which I looked forward too. Cool stuff: Showed remaining ammo, very handy. The roll out of crawlspace is always nice. Cool rapid jump up onto objects. Very neat transition from MS to ladder, and from water to ladder. Nice detailed outfits. Excellent music, sound effects, detailed visual effects & scenery (falling leaves, etc.). Cool idea for magnetic winch. New traps, interesting enemies including dingos, jaguars, wild boar & crocs. I liked the ocean kayak, EssGee must have used one. Torch disposal - don't want any loose fire !!! All in all, a very nice game - play it !!!" - Juno Jim (05-Oct-2010)
"Well it's here, finally my review of the level I've been waiting to play since its release. I've been tempted to skip ahead through my review schedule, but I've wanted to wait for and savour this release. It reminds you just what is possible with the tools out there now, and a substantial amount of effort and talent. You know, when a game takes close to 11 hours to complete, features never before seen elements, has fantastic flowing gameplay and environments that wouldn't look out of place on a professional release that you're going to be in for a treat. I played in normal mode to avoid getting any frustration with timed runs etc. I found the gameplay superbly balanced, and it was only my own lack of observations that ever caused me to get stuck. This release easily qualifies as one of the most complete and fulfilling adventures that I have ever played. Texturing and lighting are first rate. Music selections are perfect. The architecture is fabulous with outdoor environments having a great organic look to them. Then there's some of the larger animated set-pieces later on in the game. Honestly, I haven't seen anything to this standard before. I also love the unique features like the enemy health counter. I guess the greatest compliment I can pay EssGee is this, I got as much playability and enjoyment from this as any official Tomb Raider released by Core or Crystal Dynamics. If you've been sitting on the fence as to whether or not to play this, my answer is play it now! Absolutely 2000% recommended! Stiggy" - TheStig (05-Sep-2010)
"I had played Scott's level set back when it was released, but had forgotten to review it. The other day I thought to myself, 'I really want to play one of the most highly polished, innovative and exciting custom adventures again'. So I chose this one. Rather than repeat many details other reviewers have given, I'm going to state the bits which really stood out for me. But first, I ask you, pick any room in this game and just stand still. Use that look key and admire what you're seeing. Notice all those tiny yet impressive details around you? Swaying plants, waterfalls, a cool new animating object, not a wallpapered wall in sight. It's these little touches which really really made this game. Well done for putting the time and effort into making each and every area that bit special. I know that it takes a lot of time (and usually frustration) to make these things that, I guess, you can technically do without. But I'm so glad they were there. They added to the atmosphere ten fold. The Aussie outback section is simply stunning, but what I liked most about it was the humourous banter one has with Billy. At last, someone wrote a decent script for a custom level! The challenge was pitched perfectly (for me with the 'normal' setting) and I never got completely stuck which is exactly how I like it. Simply superb, Scott, and your effort is appreciated to an enormous extent for providing us with several hours of first class entertainment." - TrueRaider (16-Aug-2010)
"After 5 months after release, this genius level still changes the TRLE world. EssGee included some features never seen before: a diary, ammo counter, flare shining time counter, enemies' health counter and enemies' names. And now people are already using these things for making their own customs. EssGee's levelset, apart of being a revolutionary game, is built in a way that deserves maximum 10 points in all criteria. These are the reasons: Author brings to us four completely different styles: Australian, Peruvian, Indian and African, and uses an Atlantean theme to bind them all. Breathtaking locations, surrounded by sounds of nature and inhabited by natives (animals and humans) make the feeling of unforgettable quest into the deep wilderness, that doesn't leave player for a single minute of the game. Top quality soundtrack plays in most appriopriate places and always fits the situation. Enemies are great, and the final boss explains at last what Lara has the bazooka for. All the weapons are useful. It's very rare, even in good sets, but EssGee was devoted to this piece, like to many other details, which - if patiently underdone - always make a masterpiece, just like in this case. It's a must play for everyone, even for beginners, because the ambitious puzzles of this custom are never getting frustrating. I got stuck in it many times, many puzzles seemed too hard for me, but EssGee hasn't made any unreal or illogical solutions, except the surreal part :) but this is an exception that is well announced when a player approaches it, so he/she can prepare his/her mind to switch to a different kind of thinking. Puzzles aren't exhausting also because of the beauty of environment which often keeps player's mind exploratory and calm. When I was playing "BTS", the reality of nature amused me so much it doesn't let me give up through whole game. As a result, I never used a walkthrough and was very satisfied at the end. No other custom was so motivating to me. SUMMARY: More than week of discovery, duty and survival, which reminds you of feeling the presence of the nature's absolute, watching you from somewhere beyond leaves, beyond branches, beyond ruins, beyond you... And "Beyond the Scion". IMO it's the best custom of the first half of this year. And one of the greatest ever made." - DJ Full (18-Jul-2010)
"It certainly feels like an eternity ago when I could first take a look at the Atlantis and Peru levels as a beta-tester and even back then it was clear I was in for one heck of a game when all would be said and done. Not to praise my clairvoyance skills, but that's exactly how it turned out to be - Scott takes us on a remarkable epic journey through some fairly familiar settings that have dressed up for the occasion (Atlantis & Peru), but mostly to places where no one in the custom level world has been before (Australia, Srilanka, Congo) this time to hide artefacts instead of finding them, which I thought was a clever touch. It seems almost futile to count the innumerable new objects, cool effects, enemies and situations you'll end up encountering over the 5+ hour journey without extending this review to ridiculous lengths, you'll just have to experience them for yourself - and that's probably the best state to go into this game and just let the sense of wonder overwhelm you, when you do encounter them. The Atlantis section is a rather faithful tribute to the Anniversary version of the same level, which is a compliment considering the effort it must have taken to get it to work within the confinements of the old engine. As short, sweet and tame as it was - I absolutely loved the Australia setting and think it has potential for a spin-off of its own. The 3 locations where the actual adventure takes off deliver on every level as well, especially the secret hunt is rewarding and provides you with a plethora of goodies, thus making even the harder version of the game very agreeable and providing enough supplies to never really run out of stuff even during the games hardest moments. If I had any critique - then I didn't find the reliance on hidden jumpswitches something that would constitute exciting gameplay on my part, and while all the sequences of lightshows and monumental rocks moving were cool to watch - mostly they did feel just like fireworks for the show - not something that intrinsically made sense to happen within the context of how the game functions. But all that can be easily brushed aside when weighed against the game's positive aspects, and I can do nothing more but encourage you to take the time and immerse yourself in Scott's world and let it become yours for the duration of the adventure. You won't regret it." - eTux (29-Jun-2010)
"This custom appeared in two versions. Having finished it on a ‘normal’ difficulty, I can’t imagine how hard the ‘hard’ version must be. One is for sure. In the harder version there are definitely less medipacks and ammo – pickups in general. On the ‘normal’ level I had 30 small and 30 big medipacks and lots of ammo (about 100 shotgun shells). That is surely a difference between these versions. But still I don’t know how the gameplay can be harder? It’s very difficult already! The parts of gameplay, which annoyed me the most were fragments when you arrive to big areas and you have to look where is a sneakily hidden switch. Those were very successful ‘gameplay killers’. I often got frustrated with them and I turned off the game. That’s the reason, why I played this for such long time. Back to my gameplay opinion: I liked the ‘jumping’ parts and the timed runs (ok, those I can imagine in harder version) and puzzles (which appear very seldom). What impressed me the most in the whole game, were objects. These looked wonderful! They were very detailed, what’s more – they fitted greatly with the textures. I was very fond of the key that appears while it’s being used – normally the key doesn’t appear. Next: textures were nice, but I wasn’t so amazed, as with objects. I liked those from Sri Lanka the most. And maybe that’s why this is my favourite level. What I’d like to add: for me there was too small number of flyby cameras during such a long game. Something like them would be much appreciated. Although I found 9/12 secrets I had only one of the trophies. In each of the ‘big’ levels I missed one secret. Another well made element were the cutscenes. These told the story to the player in a very nice way. Here I’d like to say that I don’t understand why Lara travelled in a such weird way. I mean that on the picture in ‘Dreamtime’ level there was a green line which showed were to go next. It should be: Sri Lanka->Congo->Peru. But in game was: Peru->Sri Lanka->Congo. I really don’t understand this. [b]Natla Rising[/b] – level in atlantean climate with nice atmosphere, but with bad ambience track – uhh, I don’t like this from Catacombs TR4 level. Textures and objects were ok. In this level I noticed, which objects were ‘extra’ for the ‘Normal’ version – those which were laying in groups on the floor. Gameplay was fluent – I had no problems with finding the way forward. I also liked the objects, which were like in TR Anniversary. After this level I was very satisfied. It was a nice intro to the whole game. [b]Dreamtime[/b] – this was a very unique level, because no-one has ever made a level with Australian outback yet. So I had very good experience with it. Nice crafted environment (for example kangaroos – those were my favourite) made me real fun. Here lighting, textures and objects fit very well together and only disadvantage of this level is it’s shortness. [b]Troubled Waters[/b] – another small level with some enjoyable puzzles and kayak swimming. The ‘Troubled’ name comes from some kind of war taking place there. We meet many mercenaries who try to kill us. Gameplay is linear, mainly we go through the temples and jungles. Short level but quite enjoyable – a nice prelude to the next one. [b]Qualopec’s Secret Temple[/b] – A long level with lots of exploration and puzzles. I won’t go here into details, so I can only say that it is an enjoyable one. I was quite amused of the size of this level, which present us very big temple rooms. This one is worth seeing. Although these things, I don’t quite understand why there are Natla’s mercenaries there. Natla died, didn’t she? [b]The Trail of Power[/b] – This is certainly my favourite level in the whole custom. It’s full of colours, filled with great gameplay and puzzles, very well crafted areas and so on. I liked all of the components here, especially the epic battle at the end. This game is worth playing because of that level, that’s all I’m saying. No less no more. [b]Man or Beast[/b] – The last (but not the least) level placed in Congo, shows great environment, but quite poor gameplay. Here I only went through the corridors in ‘finish it and start writing review’ mode. There were some tricky parts of course, but I missed some more emotions here. After some time lighting became boring (despite of one, very well lighted area) and I was happy finishing it. Of course I enjoyed very much the last ‘big kaboom’, like everyone did ;-). Overall, good, solid custom, but: -a little bit boring -a little bit too tricky sometimes (mainly in jump parts) -a little bit not exciting (argh, the ambient tracks) You can enjoy it because of: -great objects -nice custcenes -superb new ideas -gameplay (if someone likes searching big rooms for on little switch from time to time) I hope the next custom from EssGee will be… well, more enjoyable. But I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this one. Congratulations to the author!" - jawi (25-Jun-2010)
"Very rarely a set of levels come around that just affect me, they are so good. This set of levels very easily joins the few impeccable levels that have made that list. Firstly, I absolutely adored the concept and theme of the levels. I really felt like Lara was on an important mission, not just the usual relic search. Secondly, it really does not surprise me that EssGee has been working on this project for four years. There is so much creativity and whole slew of "wow" moments that the game really, for me, was an experience that rivals professionally designed games. I also loved how he had enemy HP levels listed to see how much longer Lara would need to plunk away at them before they died. Nice touch! The secret quests were awesome and rewarding as well. Sadly, I did have one little problem and hopefully, I won't be offending Scott by stating this, but this was really annoying for me. Lara sounded like a granny! Ugh, I said it. I realized Lara was voiced by a relative of Scott's, but perhaps he could have found a younger lady to voice Lara? I apologize to Mrs. Ginn, but hearing Lara sound grannyish was a bit off-putting. That and the strange placement of a very deadly ending were the only problems I had. Regarding the ending, why exactly would Qualopec and Tihocan make the exit extremely deadly for the person who just risked life and limb in order to do them a massive favor? Here's your reward, now die! Ha ha ha!! Maybe Scott should have thought that one over a bit!" - Shandroid (05-May-2010)
"A great adventure which I enjoyed playing much. And with amazing objects , animations , flybys, enemies , and great ideas for the gameplay at times. A few textures could be applied better, and some parts are a bit less interesting to play (for example in the Sri Lanka level) and I found a couple of bugs in Trouble waters (Lara could jump through a closed door , and I couldn't go out from the Sun disc room as I stepped again on the square(s) that closes the entrance , but that is not a big problem for it was obvious what has to not to be done here after reloading a savegame). Overall a game that flows well most of the time with unique sequences and inventiveness. I also appreciated the fact that the different worlds have their own special actions and innovative objects. The lighting is very well made in my eyes, architecture and textures too. One of the most unique masterpiece, and quite enjoyable as well. This review concerns the 'Normal difficulty' version of the game, which is aptly named for the difficulty is quite reasonable, the timed runs for example are easy." - eRIC (28-Apr-2010)
"I should note I played the hard version. This pack starts off with TRA's version of Atlantis modified for the original engine. I hate TRA's version of Atlantis, and while the older engine results in a somewhat more cerebral experience, and the technical achievement is notable, I frankly don't think the pack would have lost much with this section not present (or handled as some separate prologue).
After that though it picked up fast for me; Australia provides one of the more elaborate guide set-ups I've seen, and also provides a setting that has been used very little in TR packs. Then to Peru, where the main TR gameplay begins and continues throughout. The pack does things on a massive scale; each single level is about the length of two levels of most packs, and there are huge rooms full of details and puzzles. The pack also does a great job at some less explored themes; along with Australia, I found the atmosphere of both Sri Lanka and the Congo very unique (I especially liked the outdoor areas of Sri Lanka), Peru is more standard, but on a much bigger scale than all but a few levels have done before.
Another strong point is the interactive nature of many areas, tasks you do frequently result in large changes to the areas, and almost every object is new (and manage to stay intuitive to use, unlike a trap some packs with new objects fall into). Enemies were implemented well, although random killer Wombats in Australia are perhaps unintentionally comedic, and some of the enemy damage registration is a bit bizarre; the bulletproof Tigers in particular. Gameplay flows very smoothly while remaining challenging throughout, and I only had any real trouble once. Outside of my personal issues with the Atlantis part the only real problem I had with the gameplay is the multiple parts where you are forced to take fall damage to make progress (although it seems to clear up towards the end). Also, while the design is mostly amazing some areas seemed a bit flatly lit, and some object colours seem a bit off with the actual lighting (although there's nothing glaring). However, the technical achievement of the majority of the pack is so great that I can just about overlook that. One of the biggest and best LE achievements ever." - Mman (24-Apr-2010)
"Well, I don't know where to start with this review... When I played this game and when I finished it after a whole week, it took my breath away... This game is grandiose, and it should have the number one position in the Hall of Fame... This is a perfect blend of adventure, exploration, puzzle, hard-core platforming and action, including some really challenging boss fights (shivas were the best for me and most exciting, although other bosses were also great). In short, this is the perfect TR adventure, the real good old raiding game, even better in its realization than the original TR, in my humble opinion. The story is convincing, the gameplay is intense and flowing like a dream. Surroundings is grandiose, especially outdoors area, that are obviously imagined and built by a master of level editing. Lara's new moves are spicy: although you can see some really cool moves introduced earlier by other builders (crouching roll, for example), you also have many brand new moments, such as grabbing the ladder from the water (that was great indeed) or paddling in a kayak, or bouncing pad etc. The whole ambiance in all locations is realistic and once again, we see that in a hand of a master the level editor may be used to create really good games, the ones that force you to play them a few more times in the future... As other reviewers also emphasized, there are a lot of new enemies and objects, decoration of the rooms is brought to its perfection, the architecture is really convincing, the camera, sound and lights are perfect, etc. I would like to add those little details that gave this game the special unforgettable taste. Do you remember those little koalas in the palm trees in Australia? They weren't enemies, they just hanged in the palms. That was really a nice touch and I remember I was very glad to see them, although they were unimportant for the game. Do you also remember the winch puzzle, how the rope pulls the pillar out of the way? That was something that could be done by a flipmap usually, but this time it is done in-game and in a much more complicated (but also much better!) way. Also, I will never forget the moving stargate trap or waterfall Buddha room with burning ledges... There were certain glitches in the game that could help you find the most difficult secrets in the easy way... That was something I discovered early in the game, by accident (and I had already found that secret when I discovered the much easier way to get into that high opening). Also, there were some smaller faults in the texture, and few cracks, especially under water, but in general the architecture and ambiance are so perfectly built that you don't mind those things. One has no time to pay attention to glitches or bugs or cracks, because the game is so interesting that it makes you proceed with your mission without a question. What I liked particularly here was the reward system. In some levels you have to collect three artifacts in order to gain access to the Prize Room of that level, where you will be rewarded with bonus artifacts and goodies. Secrets are always well hidden and you have to involve all your skills and brains to find them all. They sometimes look like side missions (for example, the quest for the Silver Artifact in the Lost City of Atlantis), and they are not obligatory, but somehow, they are compelling and I doubt that there is a player somewhere who is indifferent about finding all the secrets in this game. However, at some points, the game is really hard, in the first as well as in all other levels. If you are a beginner, I recommend playing Adventures of Lara Croft or Last Revelation (or easier custom TR levelsets) first. There are a lot of new moves, and even without them the game gets really hard from time to time. Certain timed runs or jump sequences are really merciless (even in the normal version), and you have to be very skilled to finish them successfully. Some puzzles also, are brand new and you won't solve them so easily. But they are all immensely interesting and inventive, so enjoy this great raid." - Nina Croft (10-Apr-2010)
"I downloaded and played the normal version of this level set (Mama didn't raise no fool). Using Dutchy's impeccably precise walkthrough, I took my time nursing my way through this wonderful adventure, accumulating more than eight net gaming hours by the time I was through. I was tempted to forgo that trap-infested sequence at the very end, because I was ten seconds or so from the finish trigger, but I stuck with it and finally made that monkey swing to finish the game. There are many innovative and challenging sequences from beginning to end, and the cut scenes (particularly near the end) are nothing less than awe-inspiring. You get a variety of indoor and outdoor environments, which is appreciated in a game of this size and duration. I must admit, however, that I would have had an even better time had everything been a little more brightly lighted. That's a matter of taste, of course, but I've never been one for gloomy and shadowy levels, and you get a lot of that here. Still, the overall quality of this production merits a perfect score, so that's what I've given it. One of the classics." - Phil (09-Apr-2010)
"Natla Rising: This is EssGee's version of the last two levels of Tomb Raider Anniversary. He has done an extraordinary job of creating the style and feel of that game within the clunky confines of the Level Editor. He has reworked some of the areas, added new quests for the secrets (with a special secret area reminiscent of TR1), and in general made the levels his own. The level is quite tough, at least in the hard version, with enemies tougher to kill and heavy ammo more limited. I was a bit disappointed that the fight against Natla isn't a fight at all.
Dreamtime - The Legend Begins: An Australian level! Screenshots from this level were what originally intrigued me about this game while it was in development, as Australia has never featured in the original TR games, and rarely even in custom levels. This level is quite short, but has some interesting bits, like a very charming guide, and Australian flora and fauna (kangaroos, dingoes and wombats, oh my!)
Troubled Waters: I love the atmosphere in this level, especially the dripping water ambient sounds. It's fun to ride the kayak, but unfortunately, the ride is not too long nor particularly exciting. The lake area that forms the second half of the level is nice, but can get quite confusing.
Incan Secrets - Qualopec's Secret Temple: This is a long and complex level, with many new types of objects and puzzles, e.g., the unique light puzzles. There are plenty of wow moments - to pick one at random: you jump into what appears to be an ordinary pool, then realize it's a huge flooded temple.
Sri Lanka - Trail of Power: I love the outdoor areas in this level, though the indoor ones are a little bland, except for the final room with the Shivas. The elephants are very cool - I wish there were more! I could have done without the tigers though, as they are so buggy - sometimes they become almost impossible to kill, and they get stuck in the environment a lot.
Congo Mountains - Man or Beast 1 & 2: Basically a single level in 2 parts. The indoor areas of the first part are a bit dull - except for the bounce pads, which are always fun. The outdoor bridge area is very nicely done, though. And I loved the room with the gold reward! The second part is shorter and more exciting, starting with a boss fight, and ending with an explosive finale ('big kaboom' indeed!) and escape.
Overall: The detailed textures, and simply enormous number of custom objects and new enemies give this game a look far beyond the average TR custom level. So the objects category gets a perfect 10 from me; however I can't do the same for the textures & lighting category. That's partly because of some technical glitches, like cracks; partly because of a much more subjective reason - i.e. the visual similarity among almost all the levels except the first two, and the almost complete lack of any colour except green and brown in these levels. Yes, I get that all the main areas are tropical jungle-type places, so green is to be expected in the outdoors areas, but the indoor spots didn't need to be so uniformly brown/greenish-brown. Also, the lighting isn't quite perfect. Most of the indoor areas are too dark, and several outdoor areas seem quite unnecessarily dull - a prime example is the large lake area in Troubled Waters. Going by the look of the sky, it's a bright, sunny day, but the bland lighting would be more appropriate for an overcast day.
Gameplay and level design are good but not quite perfect. The level design is pretty linear, except for the occasional secret-related areas and enforced backtracking, like in the last part of Incan Secrets. Gameplay relies too much on hidden switches. The puzzles are mostly quite enjoyable, especially when they centre around the new objects and new moves; but often, they can be quite tedious, especially when you're forced to do certain sequences again and again or backtrack pointlessly. I also dislike the enforced health losses throughout the game (due to long drops or unavoidable traps) - yes, plenty of medipacks are provided, but it still feels like a cheap trick.
But in spite of the above-mentioned flaws, I mostly enjoyed the game immensely, and marvelled at the builder's technical achievements. Beyond the Scion definitely marks a milestone in TRLE history. Highly recommended." - Mytly (05-Apr-2010)
"This is one of the best games I have ever played so far. The atmosphere is perfect everywhere, you can almost feel the warmth in Atlantis, for example. The sounds and cameras were used perfectly, the beautiful musics were great addition to the atmosphere, especially in the Sri Lanka level. The lighting and texturing were very good, so was the gameplay, however there were too many jump switches throughout the game in my opinion; towards the end of it I always knew I have to look for a hidden jump switch when I got stuck. The puzzles are made very creatively. The objects are awesome, especially the wide variety of enemies, some of them hasn't been seen before in custom levels, like the elephants (I haven't seen any before, leastwise). I found 8 secrets out of 12, the timed run for the last one was rather tight, but enjoyable at all. It is a game full of wonderful areas, challenging tasks, no one should miss this brilliant adventure!" - Matie (27-Mar-2010)
"Really nice job! Thought the Atlantis levels' look aren't my cup of tea, but they're still fun to play. The other parts are both good in graphics and gameplay. I was totally amazed by the beauty of Troubled Waters. Incan Secrets and Congo Mountains have great gameplay elements, like the TR:Legend style underwater puzzle or, well, killing the Kong. It's an incredibly big fun, on Hard difficulty too. Must note the voice acting is funny.:) Definitely worth to play." - rtrger (26-Mar-2010)
"Three years+ in the making and it shows in every category that can be rated. Gameplay and puzzles had that almost indefinable and hard to capture mix that only a top designer can fully realise. Difficult at times (played on the normal version)such as the timed retracting ledges with the 'pounders' set in the first level, the enticement to play never wavered. Gameplay was intuitive and never more than a thought or two away from the next move. Enemies were placed perfectly and with just the right degree of difficulty such as the Shivas battle. Once the safe floor was figured out and the player didn't encounter the bug, what at first encounter seemed impossible turned into a massive high point in the game. Objects were a delight - well created switches and levers along with other very cool objects and new ideas. The 'X marks the spot' and the notes found on the wall were creative and funny little nudges to the player. The close to the end pyrotechnics (Boom!) were a memorable and fore-warned surprise and the note from from Qualopec and Tihocan (sp?) another touch showing the uniqueness and creativity of a master builder. This is one game that I don't think any one review (certainly not mine) can come close enough to describing the brilliance that is shown at every turn including the new moves, especially Lara reaching up to grab a ladder from the water (I've waited a long time to see that) or grabbing a MS from a ladder (seen before but never utilised enough). Don't let this one slip by. It's truly a must download for any Raider - a classic game in the best definition of the word and a masterpiece in any definition." - Bene (22-Mar-2010)
"Natla Rising (9/10/9/9, 80 min, 1 of 3 secrets): Right from the storyline intro the adventure draws you in and the fresh and fancy looks and cool new objects have you anticipate a wonderful adventure. Gameplay flows quite smoothly in this part as you make your way up and up and around, battling some pretty tough Atlantean mutants in various shape and form. The tricky sequence with the moving platforms took me quite a few tries and was much harder than the actual battle with the big TR1 mutant monster - despite the inconveniently placed burners in the corner. The sinking platforms in the lava made for a nice challenge and you get another boss "fight" with Natla near the end, followed by a long cutscene, nicely introducing your tasks ahead for the rest of the adventure.
Dreamtime - The Legend begins (8/10/9/9, 30 min): A transition level with great use of the guide (Billy), dingos and cangaroos to chuckle at, but also a bit slow with the interactions to & fro with Billy. Not sure I liked Lara's voice as it is so different from what we are used to, but it was certainly very clear and easy to understand.
Troubled Waters (8/10/10/9, 60 min): Another transition level of sorts, but introducing a few traps, panthers and fun use of the kajak. The big lake area is well done overall, but I found the gameplay more on the tedious side with lots of searching across lots of ground for the right next thing to do and quite a bit of backtracking if you got the sequence wrong, plus a bit too heavy reliance of the gameplay on yet another well hidden jump switch. Fabulous scene with the light beams though, making up up for any frustration you may have encountered before.
Incan Secrets - Qualopec's Secret Temple (9/10/10/9, 100 min, 1 of 3 secrets): Finally getting down to the business of placing scion pieces in safe spots around the world, I did enjoy this part with its focus on 'ledge gameplay', ie jumping, climbing, shimmying around the locations with some added challenge through enemies (soldiers, jaguars), rope swings, many traps and generally rather fast progression. There is a sequence with a bit of swimming and then draining an area of water which was nicely designed and a Legend style area with moving pillars and statues which looks great. The backtrack near the end seemed rather long, but that is a minor quibble and the animation when you place the Scion is indeed very cool!
Sri Lanka - Trail of Power (8/10/10/8, 80 min, 3 secrets): Not exactly sure why, but I liked this part the least of all the quests - it is still very well done though. You get a few short timed sequences, (tough) tigers to deal with, coins to collect and many levers to pull, which often blend a little too well into the walls and can make the search frustrating. The moving slicer dicer was cool and the shiva fight was nicely spiced up by the room architecture making things just that little extra difficult.
Congo Mountains - Man or Beast (9/10/10/10, 60+40 min, 3 secrets): Appropriately placed at the end, this was also my favourite part. Both in terms of looks and in terms of gameplay. The atmosphere created works really well, textures and lighting are impeccable, the bounce pads were fun, the machete (crowbar) made me smile each time it was used... At times the pushing of objects got slightly tedious but never too badly. The whole bridge area is very well done including the timed run across the bridge. You get wooden traps of all sorts and flavours and a very tight timed run before entering the final boss fight area with our friend King Kong - and I even forgot that I had the rocket launcher and killed the beast with my revolver. After that, there is more - with some sneaky target shooting (and maybe just a bit too subtle clues and too few camera hints to help you along) and some great 'kaboom' finale indeed.
Overall, I can really recommend the hard version for every seasoned raider, as it is not a huge challenge at all in terms of pixel perfect jumps, impossible timed runs and the likes. I ended the adventure with more than 20 big medipacks in my inventory. It clearly shows the tons of work that went into its creation over a period of more than three years of building and I truly enjoyed playing this bit by bit in the course of an entire week and wanted to always see what will happen around that next corner. Add to that the brilliant scenes along the way which you just get to sit and watch and enjoy and a great choice of music throughout and it simply does not get much better than this. A masterpiece!" - MichaelP (21-Mar-2010)
"A perfect score for a perfect game. Lara travels from Atlantis to Australia, Sri Lanka, Bolivia and Peru and finally to Congo, just the kind of game that made me like Tomb Raider (it was TR3 that I played first) from the start. There are several novelties, starting in a few moves (at last Lara's able to grab a ladder from the water!) and ending in the appearance of creatures such as the wombat, the kangaroos and a huge gorilla among others. The settings are excellent and seem to fit each location to perfection, the textures look faultless, the sounds and music are well applied, there's a fine balance throughout between puzzles and action, what else can I say? Oh, I thought Lara's voice was "different" - but that doesn't count as a minus feature, now does it? It was a good idea to offer the possibility of choosing between a softer and a harder version (I chose the first, of course :) ). Do play it because it's a classic." - Jorge22 (21-Mar-2010)
"Lara must find the three secure locations to keep the scion pieces apart in this post-tr1 adventure (though you get to settle in with a recap of the final encounter with Natla). The new moves took some adjusting but I was able to keep up rather well...I noticed that some animations I have released where incorporated and I'm happy that EssGee was able to put them to good use! Brilliantly crafted custom objects adorn the 5 or so different environments and you won't expect what will pop up next with the pull of a switch. Custom enemies provide a new challenge, though it also leads to odd behavior in motion, or the fact that sometimes your bullets do not lower the displayed HP of the enemy. But that is a small matter. After some minor smoothing out in terms of objects I can't really find much room left for improvement. It felt like there was a new puzzle at each turn, and the whole package took me a good 6 hours to get through. Any raider should be pleased with this work of art." - SSJ6Wolf (20-Mar-2010)
"Well, I do love this game. Excellent scenery, perfect for a Tomb Raider follow-up, and I had a real challenge going through this game, I love challenges. The textures and light were well created, and it was warm, yet dark and mysterious throughout most of the level. I also liked the fact that the enemy health was on the screen, but the enemies didn't seem as original as I was hoping for, just Atlantis Tomb Raider 1 style demons, but they fit rather well in the overall game. Highly recommended, you should really download this!" - Vaughnage (20-Mar-2010)
"A wonderful set of levels from a master at the top of his game. I have not raided in years but this level set brought back the magic for me. All the beloved TR games are represented here. Infact some sequences from TR1 whilst trying for a secret are emulated almost verbatim. The bitch Natla is back but easier to bumb off than the first time. Bounce pads are back from TR2, Shivas from TR3, intelligent puzzles and more raiding than you can shake a ponytail at. I found all but the Qualopec level intuitive. That is they were easy to "read". The Qualopec level confused the bejeebas out of me. New moves took a little time to learn but they are all explained in Lara's Diary so read up folks. Some I had seen before but the one that impressed most was climbing a ladder from the water. Oh my, I have waited YEARS to see that. Gameplay was just difficult enough to keep you involved but not so hard that the player would spit the dummy and question the author's parenthood. I have read of some "bugs" but only encountered one whilst persuing the Silver secret in the Natla level. High up in the chasm, attempting a back flip with twist, when lifting onto a slope to gain more height for the backflip Lara would all of a sudden be lifting herself from the Lava 80 feet below. Weird. I disliked the counter when firing at enemies. Sure, it gave you an idea of how much you had to pound them to knock them off but hmmmm, well, I just didn't like it. Some enemies were VERY difficult to kill. I did like the reward system when finding all three secrets in a level. Not only did you get a trophy but all kinds of other goodies to help you on your way. There were new, never before seen objects and critters. The Wombat, Kangaroo (nicely done Scott) and the dingo. The flies buzzing around the gin's head in the General Store in the Dreamtime cut scene made me laugh. All that was missing was the good old Aussie wave! All in all a very impressive job and a level set that any raider worth his or her salts should not miss." - Torry (11-Mar-2010)
"Long levels don't need long reviews. It's about 12 hours of outstanding gameplay. It's a real masterpiece. The stunning high quality standard concerning all reviewing-criteria is kept through the whole game; every single room is brought near to perfection. The story line is convincing from the first to the last moment, the puzzles are almost not too hard to solve, the timeruns in the normal version sometimes a bit too easy in my opinion. There were sequences I did without even noticing they were timed. If you do the challenges of the first level you'll be able to do the rest of the levelset without any problem. The partially very well hidden jump-switches may have impact on gameplay. It can be a bit annoying to have to light every corner searching them. There is a lot of new amazing elements and ideas such as the underwater-chains, the switches to be pulled out of the wall, worth mentioning also the elephants and a few other new enemies, the new moves are modestly used and well embedded in the gameplay. I can't find any words for the atmosphere created here - it's composed perfectly. Every detail is elaborated well, it's absolutely perfect. This level sets standards." - Christian (10-Mar-2010)
"well i even dunno how to start to review this masterpiece ... from ages i was dont played so good game ....this one have absolute all ingredients needed to be a big succes .. beautifull places ... / some very short time runs moustly combined with trapps burner ones or spike ones . some very difficult jumps / well hidden levers / JS -es ....very inteligent puzzles tough enemyes ..... moustly the giant Gorilla .... extremely well crafted game ...... but i must admit not for begginers ..contain 6 or 7 levels wich get progresively harder and harder .the finale is extremely hard one u slide down at a slope in mean time camera change from back view at front one to be more tough and u need to jump over spike trapps and avoiding boulders and jump up at a milisecond time and catch the monkeyswing above and avoid to be crushed by the rolling boulder .. ... THIS IS A SURE HALL OFF FAMER GAME and belive me not just but between top 10 Hall off Famers ....this game i trhink will battle for the game off the year for sure thx EssGee ur master of the masters between builders ....... highly recomanded game - moustly for hardcore riders and 10 in the line from me ." - Jack& (10-Mar-2010)
"A four-year project, culminating in an epic adventure. Here are professional-grade craftsmanship, grand architecture, scenic locales, Lara's new moves, and the sheer fun of it all. We get to see expanded visions of Atlantis, and visit Peru, Sri Lanka, and the Congo (plus a brief visit to Australia). I thought Atlantis would be my favorite (has a tribute to TR1 at the silver secret), but as the series progressed with new ideas and scenes it became impossible to choose: the lake of "Troubled Waters," the temples of Peru and Sri Lanka, or all the animated machinery as Lara flips a switch and idols slide together, artifacts rise out of the ground, stone bridges extrude an extension, and power beams transform the surroundings. These are all places touched by Atlantean technology, and one remembers Arthur C. Clarke's dictum that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. There is an encounter with a giant Kong-size gorilla. There are all the little touches like the way the pieces of the Scion are sealed away from the hands of mortals. Loved the music and the elephants. And it is about time that custom levels incorporated the water-to-ladder move for Lara (for years I've thought it was odd that Lara couldn't grab a ladder rung when she was swimming in water, but now she can). And of course Lara has many other new moves. With such scope there are points to be criticized. I was aghast to see Lara shoot a wombat in Australia. Would koalas be next? And in the Congo, part I, there is a monkeyswing blocked by a blade, represented by a wood piece with sharpened prongs. Every time Lara got near this, it stopped, completely blocking her way. It was impossible to get past, and much time was wasted here. Then Lara took the monkeyswing from the start, and the sharpened spikes stopped in an open position, giving her a clear path to proceed. I have no idea what finally triggered this. Maybe I'll figure it out when I replay this. There is a hard version of this game available, and there is a trophy reward system for finding all level secrets. The secrets are cleverly hidden, or require extra gymnastics from Lara. An adventure that most players will want to experience more than once. Congratulations to the author for this outstanding achievement." - dmdibl (08-Mar-2010)
"Good. After more than eleven hours I've finished this amazing adventure. Really was a very good idea to release a normal version and a hard version so everybody can enjoy his/her own preferences. The truth is that it's a true masterpiece. There are some small bugs and I dislike to have to look for the underwater switch in the huge lake area, or the very difficult (even in normal mode) timed sequence with the retracting platforms and pushing blocks ain the first level. Even so the game was very good for me. I loved the cool animations, the cutscenes, the musics, the cameras and especially how well worked are the many new objects and enemies. The final animation before you put the third piece of the Scion is truly impressive. Highly recommended. Hopefully not having to wait another three years and a half to enjoy a new adventure for this author. Thank you very much for this adventure Scott. Congratulations!" - Jose (07-Mar-2010)
"Hard Version. Not so hard as to be diabolical, just enough to be challenging. The first part is set in a large cavern with lots of winged demons and demi-gods. As it said in the 'read me', the trick is in the technique of fighting them. A nice touch was the countdown of the enemies heath, which was definitely encouraging when you're fighting multiple demons - thank you EssGee! Well-judged timed runs and unusual shootable objects will keep you on your toes. In Australia you'll meet Billy Two Dogs who's a great help except when he gets hung up on something and you find yourself looking for something else to do when what you should be doing is re-loading and trying again! Apart from Billy's accent and the unusual enemies, you'll be hard put to tell you're in Oz as most of the action takes place in tunnels. I'd hoped to see large areas of outback and maybe Uluru but, no. Chile is next. Kayaking, sneaky enemies and lots of schlepping about - great stuff. Then on to Peru, great big caverns, great gameplay and excellent use of re-textured switches and trigger tiles. Few enemies but they're guaranteed to take you by surprise. Zipped to Sri Lanka. Shiva statues and tigers are the main antagonists here and, believe me, the tigers aren't the pussycats you've had in other levels. Add in a horseman, who gets back on his horse with lots more life if you're not careful, and you're well supplied with baddies. Very few things are as they seem. EssGee seems to have taken great delight in changing stuff - well done, squire! And now, to the Congo! This is in two parts, not surprising really as it's so large. Nasty natives with blowpipes and really aggressive gorillas (I thought they were passive veggies?) Innovative timed runs and excellent puzzles await you at (nearly) every turn. Wonderful! Thank you EssGee, I really enjoyed myself. Only found 10 secrets (shame)!" - Diz (07-Mar-2010)
"I have put so much effort into a detailed review on this fantasic game until my computer crashed ! The only comments I was able to save were: This game is another milestone in TRLE history . It has Hall of Fame written all over it !" - Ruben (07-Mar-2010)
"With admittedly some trepidation, I opted for the hard version of this game and I'm jolly glad I did because it was judged to a nicety - challenging, but definitely achievable. Natla Rising: Yes, the Atlanteans are quite tough, but I liked the way you can see how much health they have left and if you keep moving you shouldn't take too much damage, even with the torso baddie. The only real health drainer is the final conflict with the mutant Natla, but by that time you should have a generous amount of medipacks in your inventory, provided you haven't squandered them along the way. Dreamtime - The Legend Begins: I adored this section set in the Assie outback - the touch of digeridoo in the Tomb Raider theme music was inspired and really set the scene for what was a most amusing interlude. It was great to see wombats, kangaroos, dingos etc., in a Tomb Raider game and have an aborigine guide. I can't believe Lara has never visited Oz before now and I just hope she goes there again at some future point. Wonderful. Troubled Waters: On to Chile and a spot of highly enjoyable kayaking. There's also quite a lot of swimming, but nothing at all difficult and enemies are panthers and thugs, which for the main part are easy to deal with. True, four thugs do gang up on you at the end (after a most impressive cut scene) but unless you really want to pick up some shotgun ammo you could just jump in the water and leave them to play amongst themselves whilst you make your way to Peru. Incan Secrets - Qualopec's Secret Temple: This is a very atmospheric section, albeit in a rather dank way from time to time, and the emphasis is more on exploration and puzzles than tough enemies There are some impressively built areas to enjoy and some more really great cut scenes. Sri Lanka - Trail of Power: Note to self. Next time you find yourself really stuck at the beginning of an area, you might want to reflect on the fact that the builder has just provided a revolver and sight, which could conceivably be a bloody great big hint. Sigh. The monkeys were no help at all either, but at least they didn't try to bite. Oh, and wow - if you thought the kangaroos were cool, wait until you see the elephants. I really hated to shoot them. There's a horseman and a couple of Shivas to deal with in this section that are quite hard to bump off - the Shivas in particular, as both of them gang up on you and the room is full of blades and hot spots so keeping away from all those scimitars takes some nimble footwork. Also worthy of note is a circular blade trap that actually comes towards you so the normal side flip to get through takes pretty concise timing - not seen one of those before. Congo Mountains - Man or Beast: How lovely to be able to use bouncepads again. This is a large section, split into two, and full of really good agility tests, timed runs and interesting enemies (and, yes, that is 'interesting' as in the old Chinese curse), great puzzles and an incredible 'fireworks' cut scene before a final assault course ends this amazing adventure. Scott has spent more than three years creating this game and it shows. The attention to detail, with wonderful custom objects, animations and cut scenes, the splendid variety of venues and gameplay all combine to make this an absolute must-play. Superb." - Jay (06-Mar-2010)
"I played ... I thought cool ... Very cool ... I did not like the enemies. Moreover it was too difficult for me in certain situations to find the next mission. But still, the gameplay, atmosphere, textures and lights stood out to phase defects." - birdmonster (05-Mar-2010)