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Ancient Artifact II by Max

Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
Cosmos 9 9 10 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 10
Drakan 9 10 10 9
Dutchy 10 10 9 10
Gerty 9 10 10 9
Hedteur 10 9 10 10
izzynoodles 10 8 8 8
jawi 9 10 10 10
Jay 9 10 10 10
Jose 8 10 9 9
Josey 8 10 10 10
Kubsy 10 10 10 10
LaraSpears 10 10 10 10
Leeth 8 9 10 10
lokky99101 10 10 9 10
LOTRKingluis 10 10 10 10
manarch2 8 9 10 9
McRaider 10 10 10 10
MD 10 10 10 10
Mman 10 10 10 10
Mr XY 9 10 10 10
Nickelony 7 7 10 10
Obig 10 10 10 10
okuhtfesq 9 10 8 9
OverRaider 9 9 10 10
Phil 10 9 10 8
requiemsoul 9 9 9 9
Ryan 10 9 10 9
Samu 10 10 10 10
Sethian 9 9 10 10
SlyRaider 10 10 10 9
Thiago 10 10 10 10
TimJ 8 10 10 9
Wikus Croft 10 10 10 10
Zhyttya 9 10 10 10
 
release date: 21-Mar-2015
# of downloads: 559

average rating: 9.58
review count: 36
 
review this level

file size: 544.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
tombraider.maax@gmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"I'm a bit late to the party and I generally write lengthy reviews, but hopefully this is helpful criticism for whatever Max has in stock in the future. I have to say that I have enjoyed this adventure for the most part, but that I found it to the thing that makes the masterpieces you remember for a long time. That said, it still truly is an impressive work of art and way better than the first installment of the Ancient Artifact series.
Right at the beginning, the menu welcomes you with a powerful music, a different font and different sound effects when navigating. Almost every sound has been changed and the work has been done carefully as to not sound weird but to keep cohesion of the whole soundscape. The flame throwers and the spikes that you encounter quickly in Venice have sounds that are really fitting. Max definitely heard the critics of his previous adventure where sound was a problem and did more than fix the problem. Some sound effects were yet a bit odd though, like the footsteps on wood or the Desert Eagle fire that made some... beeps? Attention to details is also there regarding the textures. To keep with the spikes example, a custom textures has been made to display holes from where the spikes emerge. The implementation of the diary is very clean, with care given to the overall typographic design. It doesn't take too much place in the gameplay, but was a good way to give indications about the new moves or the storyline without relying on an external readme. Some animations are custom made, like when Lara pulls a lever or even the running animation I believe. They are less smooth than the official ones but still pretty solid and free from weird flickering as in other production. Voice acting for Lara was convincing to say the least! I cannot say as much for the mercenary, though, notably because of a poorer mic quality.
=== Venice ===
I liked this level a lot. I'd have preferred if the architecture of the level was a bit more similar to the original venice of tr2, it felt quite cramped at times, with only a very small area of Venice canals to be visited. I also found that there were a bit too many sections in red bricks instead of colourful stones and ornaments. The sound effects for the rain your hear inside the flats and the music from the radio (I would have loved to be able to smash this damn thing btw) were great! This time and contrary to Ancient Artifact 1 the invisible crevices were actually indicated with some white ledge or dangling cables, like in the crystal dynamics series. Max still loves his crevices and shimmying. 8/9/10/9
=== Ireland - Old mine ===
I would have liked that the beginning of the level was in the exact same spot as the old one, notably because there were at least one door that never was opened, it would have tied up loose ends very well. The HD textures were very well chosen to have the same feeling as in the previous adventure. Even if lots of efforts have been made to build this huge cavern, some of the rooms in this mine are quite blocky. This level is way less linear than the first adventure, with lots of path to travel. This level is quite enjoyable to play. Every trap makes sense, like they could actually happen in a mine (there were no spikes for once) and the sequences were quite interesting. Even if levers are sometimes away from the thing they do, there is some sort of explanation, like a pool next to the lever that will flood another room. I had fun when I discovered the coin in this level just after entering the mine. I made a swan dive into the pool and went right through the floor! By sheer luck I'd made my jump in such a way that I discovered the pass-through floor. The light effect on the nasty fish was remarkable, but less so than the exploding kart cutscene! Good job with the animations and effects, there. Worthy of an official game. 9/10/10/9
=== Ireland - Cathedral ===
I love the little mushrooms. I think the map was a nice addition, not that I needed it (I've got a good spatial sense), but other players will certainly have found this really helpful. The sound the ghosts made was really disturbing! I feared that there would be looong chase sequence with no way of getting rid of them, but fortunately Max placed traps for ghost not too far away every time you encounter them. The death animation in the stagnating water was so cool, and the toxic fumes were nicely done, I'm impressed. I've found this level to be the best so far in terms of details. The sequence with the trapdoors and reach-in switches above the deadly water was great. The atmosphere in the laboratory is a bit different than in the rest of the level and I really liked it. There were a lot of custom objects like the flamethrowing pipes, the little wall fountains or an old still. Those are things I will remember.
This level takes over what's been introduced in the previous series by Max and is true to his now recognisable building still. There are crevices and secret behind leaves, but this time it doesn't feel unfair. The crevices are somewhat hidden, but still visible if you get the clues and the leaves were concealing a secret where it could be expected. That's fine work. However, I disliked the underwater spikes that felt too much trial and error. Yes, there was a slight difference in colour, the deadly ones being red, but the difference was too subtle and some players might simply just not be able to see it. I liked the fact that this was a level based on exploration and puzzles with only a few ennemies, but some more ghosts could have added some exciting moments. And I was relieved that for once there were no bats. 9/10/10/9
=== Brijett Lab ===
Paris ambiance is rather convincing at the beginning, it's only a pity that we don't get to enjoy it more. This level is an underground lab that feels more like a military installation with rather dark metallic textures. I would have appreciated a bit more variety in the environment. The training zone is a good example of a section of the level standing out from the rest. I would have appreciated having something not entirely underground: seeing the outside of the city from the lab would have added something more. Regarding the gameplay, this level is a treat for people liking laser traps. Multiple paths lead to multiple paths and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by the size of this place, but that's not a bad thing. There are only a few enemies but they were rather well placed. I would have expected more security guards or security cameras triggering baddies. The level focuses on traps and exploration with a few interesting puzzles. The bonus coin was however not hidden at all and the sequence to get to it fit perfectly into the level. Most secrets were also right on the way, there's only one I really needed to search. All the work on the textures and custom objects is still very impressive, notably the different bubbles effect in the streams of water and poisonous waste. 9/10/9/10
=== Escape ===
Very good work on the textures to mimic light coming from above in the air ducts! I like the subtle change on Lara's outfit. This level managed fo frighten me and that's not an easy feat as I've been playing levels for enough time to know exactly what kind of enemies I could face and how to deal with them. Well done on the atmosphere! Regarding gameplay, I've found this level to be less interesting than the previous one with less puzzles and a redundancy of traps (I was surprised to see that power was still on to have those laser in the airducts). More emphasise could have been put on the collapse of the lab, I really liked the poisonous gas room and the rollingball disguised as machines falling from the ceiling. If I was fearing the moment I would meet the mutants, well there were only two, out of the five that hatched. Enemies could have been more present. The scientists runned faster than enemies from the base game (I think they were reskinned horsemen), but still didn't really attack immediatly even in close range, so they never were a real threat. The level was quite dark overall without any variation in the textures or locations. We could have passed the lunch room of the employees for example. The secrets were all very easy to find. 8/9/9/9
=== Kingdom of Shadows ===
Lara's outfit suddenly is clean again. I guess she had time to take a shower before saving the world and had the exact some clothes laying around at home! The beginning of the level felt really empty and unimpressive. The later sections are very dark. There's a good choice of textures and an impressive amount of work done on them but we can't really appreciate the full extent because we don't see anything, except with continuously using flares. There was a nice puzzle with the symbol, even if it was easy. I was expecting more with increasing difficulty afterwards. I encountered some minor bugs affecting gameplay. Sometimes Lara would lose life even though the spikes were fully underground. Once more, there are stunning custom objects like the turning columns! The spiders were well made, I just regret they never attacked Lara. The floating diamonds room was really nice and add a great sound effect. It's a shame that the lighting in this room wasn't neatly different from the rest of the level, it would have made it stand out more. The puzzle was very nice, though! That also could have been a nice location for a mirror puzzle. The final boss was a good challenge, even though I would have added some more ghosts along the way. It also seemed a bit more agressive than Set in tr4, it's a good point. 8/10/9/9
=== Bonus level ===
This level is really worth finding the bonus coins during the adventure! It's the most accomplished one, with stunning visuals and full of little details. The candles, for example, had moving flames! I have no idea how the lightning effect at the top of the room has been made. Those trees were very pretty, crystals were glowing and the architecture was more developed as in previous levels. Max obviously used meta2tr to enhance the visuals of this level and even make brand new shapes, like the circular room. Stairs have slanted steps, for example. I really like the use of this program in places where it doesn't show Lara going through walls or floating in midair because of the collision not matching the visual. With rare exceptions, that has been done carefully in the case of this bonus level. I can't understand why this is a bonus level and not the main point of the adventure, as there were way more creativity than in the previous levels.
The giant eye room was also very well done. The big metal rod you need to pull to free a stream of air was an excellent and flavourful thing to do! I still would have appreciated a bit more variety in the lighting. The rooms with the portal cores had a purple tint to them before picking up the cores. I think that's typically what was lacking in the whole adventure: some variation in colours. I would have loved to see entire sections of those dark levels having other colours and ambiance to them, while keeping the atmosphere within the level. 9/10/10/9

I might not go along with Max's building style, as his levels can't give me this feeling of excitment other levels do. Maybe the enemies are too few and far between to have something dynamic while navigating those huge levels. I think Josey's review is a good summary of why I can't give a full ten to this release, even though the work that has been done here is nothing short of impressive. I also agree with most of what okuhtfesq has said. I can't really agree with others regarding the timed runs, though. I don't think there were too many and all were generously timed (but I played the updated version).
Overall I think it's a pretty solid adventure that impressed me by how each little detail of it was crafted but the whole failed to "wow" me, except maybe the last bonus level. With all his efforts, Max still couldn't remove a very blocky aspect to his environment, even in the mine, where many corridors where flat. The hightlights are the laboratory in the cathedral and the training zone in the lab. More variety in gameplay and environnments would have been better. The polebar have been used only twice for example, whereas spikes are in almost every level. It's still way more compelling than the first adventure and I would recommend it to any experienced raider." - TimJ (10-Aug-2022)
"Ancient Artifact (the first part) was one of the first custom levels I ever finished and as such it holds a special place in my heart. It was incredibly atmospheric and enjoyable to play. I was eagerly waiting for AAII to appear and I downloaded it right after the release. However, I only did finish it 7 years later... Here are my thoughts on it. The author has grown incredibly since the release of the first game. In AAII you will find beautiful new HD-quality textures, architecturally stunning locations, a lot of animated cutscenes, and an actual plot with a plot twist, which are quite uncommon for TRLE games (at least for me). The game has also a "big Tomb Raider game" flavor. Frankly, I kind of ignored the plot. However, I enjoyed watching the carefully crafted cutscenes. To me, they are rare in the TRLE world, and Max gave them a lot of attention. As in the case of the first game, the main advantage of the sequel is its atmosphere. Every location is immersive in design. Every texture is carefully designed and thoughtfully placed. The lighting and music fit incredibly well. All the beautiful custom- made objects complement the scenery. Another characteristic of this game is the maze-like structure of the levels. Each of them is a complex set of corridors that you'd better memorize because you need to keep track of which switch opens which door and where you should put the next key you find. Running around, you are more likely to find a few secrets than to discover the next gameplay step. But you will also have a good time admiring the magnificent views. Gameplay-wise, it's difficult for me to rate this level. There is a lot of acrobatics involved, which is something I personally enjoy. Occasional fights were also ok, nevertheless, I would wish for a few more to put the hard-earned weaponry to use. Then, there were spots where I was clueless, for example, in the push-puzzle of the last level. I had to use the walkthrough and I still have no clue how was I supposed to discover the solution. I have also enjoyed the more interactive gameplay elements, like unblocking a corridor in the mine or the finale. However, the rest of the gameplay blends in my mind into a huge jog around mazes. Even in the bonus level, I found myself backtracking half of the level because I had forgotten to push some lever along the way. That's why there are 9 out of 10 for the gameplay... I hope the author won't mind, as the game is nearly perfect :) I can wholeheartedly recommend this game if you want to dive into atmospheric locations like Venice, Ireland, or floating islands and you don't mind memorizing mazes. I'm curious if we ever get Ancient Artifact III but if we do, I am sure I will play it! Thank you, Max, for your magnificent games that provided me with so much joy over the last 13 years!" - jawi (20-May-2022)
"Another awesome levelset. I can't decide whether I prefer game 1 or game 2! I loved the mysterious underground locations such as the cathedral and even the the laboratory gives us compelling gameplay when the environment and theme changes in the following 2nd laboratory level. A llot of imagination has gone into the visuals for the last level and the bonus level. Some very cool designs! Took arouns 7 and a half hours to play." - izzynoodles (26-Apr-2022)
"Huh ... It's hard to write a quick insight into this track. Of course, what I have written reflects my subjective, personal feelings and thoughts. I loved and hated this adventure at the same time. I hated it because it was already bordering on the unplayable category for me. I loved it, because it has very good and varied maps, and there is a "bonus chocolate" at the end. :D I don't recommend it for beginners. Takes a lot of time running, and special jumps to play through. (Banana jump to the right, left, down. Corner jump etc ...), but if you can do it, you can relax a bit, but not for long. There are no resting or relaxing tracks. During our journey, we wander around Venice, the mines, Paris and ancient ruins. At the end of the game, we'll have to fight an arch-enemy. If we get all 3 coins, a bonus level will open the door to the treasure chest, where we will collect 20 golden orbs and receive millions of virtual gold. Each of the tracks has a hard time run. Our ammunition and life packs increase as we find the secrets. Secrets aren't very hidden, so with a bit of eyesight they are easy to find. Our enemies aren't too many either, but they aren't easy. :( Lots of mandatory damage. If you can, don't watch the playthrough until you've played it once. I think it's very enjoyable that way and the gameplay is very good, which is why I made a video playthrough of it. There is nothing extra in the graphics, enemies, and Lara is the classic, but not a copy of the original TR. The game is focused on overcoming obstacles. Have fun for all brave warriors who take the plunge. Hungaian videowalkthrough, and savegames: https://treditor.hu/trle/treditor/15/ancient_artifact2.htm" - Obig (15-Mar-2022)
"Absolutely stunning visuals with an amazing atmosphere, sounds, cameras and everything. The only thing I didn't necessarily love about this game was the over the top "openness" of it. I felt like there were way too many places to go and get lost in. Puzzles and enemies were good but definitely not top tier. Objects like the tightrope simply didn't work for me, so I had to use glitches to proceed in the game. Overall, a beautiful and fun experience that I'll gladly replay one day." - Nickelony (04-Jun-2021)
"Here we have another one of the most beautiful levels on TRLE not only did the author worked on this level for a long time (+5 years!!) then the amount of detail that was put in is extremely high-quality. The gameplay is fun with puzzles and platforming with quite tricky timed runs and so on. The secrets and the coins (Which unlocks the bonus level) are well hidden. The textures and lighting are nicely placed thoroughly creating an amazing effect, not to mention extra small detail such as lights flickering or water dripping from the roof which I loved. To conclude, I enjoyed this TRLE a lot and it makes me come back to it once a while. It is an extremely high-quality TRLE and I would recommend everyone to play this one!" - Kubsy (13-Nov-2020)
"What an adventure! Maax delivers his masterpiece with "Ancient Artifact 2", which I recommend everyone to play.
There are a total of 6 levels + 1 bonus level. The city of Venice, a mine, cathedral, laboratories and the kingdom of shadows ... there is definitely variety. For the bonus level you need 3 coins, which you can find in the course of the game, but do not worry, these are not difficult to find, but the way to them is always connected with a challenge.
The puzzles are very diverse and cleverly designed in each level. Traps and timeruns are sometimes a bit trickier, but they can always be done after a few tries. Points are deducted for repeated gameplay deposits. It is certainly not easy to keep the gameplay completely individual with 6 levels, but after a few levels I recognized a pattern that more or less ran through the game. A few more individual puzzles and fewer pushing tasks or going from-switch-to-switch would have been better, but that is complaining on a high level.
Textures and lighting are very well chosen and fit the location perfectly. Small details such as water dripping from the ceiling or flashing lights are very impressive. Everything done right!
There are many new pieces of music and samples. Always suited the situation.
With a few exceptions, there are fewer opponents in this game. This is definitely a game for explorers. I definitely liked the final boss and how you hunt him down.
Playing time is over 5 hours and if you want all the secrets, you probably need even longer. Be sure to play!" - Mr XY (12-Oct-2020)
"WOW… is all I can say. No, I lied: of course, I will say more. But it’s safe to say this adventure completely floored me, especially since I wasn’t such a huge fan of the author’s previous installments. Maax has truly taken all of his talents and created something incredible with Ancient Artifact 2; and any flaws that his previous games may have suffered from have been completely fixed, ironed out, or extinguished. Even though I did get stuck quite a few times, and some sequences were frustrating, all-in-all I loved this adventure. I want to also commend Maax for creating something that is simply packaged in such an aesthetically pleasing way – from the main menu, to the inventory and save/load game backgrounds, to the journal pages, to the FMVs, and everything in between… it’s easy to confuse this with an official release and not a fan-made project. Money should be charged for something like this!!!

Gameplay & Puzzles: The levels are still complex, huge, and require a lot of thinking, as in his past releases. However, this time, all these massive areas no longer feel illogical. Instead, they are connected beautifully. I noticed this straight away in the first Venice level, where it becomes easy and pleasant to backtrack to previous areas in case something was missed. There are also some really cool and unique setups, such as the squishy blocks pushing Lara into spikes if one isn’t quick enough, and the cool steam that lets you jump higher and further in the Bonus Level. The nervously blinking eye is a great visual copy from Temple of Osiris, but with the added challenge of Thor’s disco-ball from TR1. I really loved this entire setup. Also, the final boss battle to the main game is executed beautifully – since it becomes a puzzle in itself and is a step up from the usual Seth-escape we’ve had to work with since TR4.

What I did not like is that sometimes, the path for the main-gameplay was more obscure than the Secrets. This was particularly true for the Golden Coins, especially in the last level. I could often complete these challenges without any problems, but then was stumped for hours trying to understand what I was meant to do in the actual level to continue to the next. This was especially the case in Brijett’s Lab – a map would’ve really helped here. One was provided in the previous Cathedral level – which was a brilliantly designed area, but definitely a bit confusing, so that map really helped in orienting oneself. Out of all levels though, I think Brijett’s Lab would’ve benefited the most from this new mechanic the builder provided. I got a bit fatigued of the Lab theme after wandering around in here for so long, and then the next level is even more of the lab… although this time it’s blown up and in a state of turmoil. It ended up being much cooler the second time around though with everything in disarray. Something else I wasn’t too much a fan of was how Lara’s ledge drop glitch starts to become a main gameplay mechanic it seems… this was acceptable for one or two secrets I thought, but after a while it becomes difficult to know if the author intends us to get to that ledge by glitching when dropping down or not?

Enemies, Objects, Secrets: As mentioned, Secrets were easy and fun enough to find, and I didn’t have too much of a problem with the Golden Coins – which was a great addition I thought, and the Bonus Level is worth 10 Golden Coins! It became a little difficult to find all the Golden Orbs in that level, but I’m glad I did because the reward was a sweet treat. All the custom objects and architecture are crafted beautifully (those cracks in the walls and floor, those moving candle flames, those new traps in particular the differently shaped rolling balls in the Lab level – perfection!). I really also liked how the swing poles in Venice are part of the street lamps (realism!) and how we can shimmy along wires hanging against the wall – a new take on the author’s nearly invisible shimmys in the previous game. Also, the shattering spiders in Ireland are great, and the doctors holding scalpels that charge at you were awesome.

One thing I need to comment on though is the enemy placement vs. the ammunition and gun placements. First, I love how throughout the entire game, the author is very generous with the pickups: lots of flares, and lots of ammunition – particularly Uzi ammo, which is great since it allows us to really have fun with the Uzis. But the big downer and problem to all of this ammo generosity, and finding new guns, is the major lack of enemies – but in reversal! That first Venice level is almost overkill with all the SAS guys who will shoot at you. You’ll take a lot of damage, and probably need to use a medipack. It was similar to how the author’s first Paris level in Symbol of the World 2 was when it comes to all the enemies. I did not mind all this action, but it’s tough with only the pistols. What happens in the following levels though is that the enemies dry up almost entirely! But you’ll keep collecting more and more ammo and new shinny guns. Sure, you get to fight A FEW dogs, angry doctors, ghosts that can be killed (love these!) and 2 giant mutant plant-spiders (only 2 sadly…). But that really is it. All that ammunition for what purpose? It just feels structurally off to me – like the Venice level should’ve been a bit lighter on the mercenaries, and the Lab and Kingdom of Shadows levels crawling with bad guys and monsters respectively, to make use of all that ammunition. It’s the authors choice of course, it just seems like such a waste of brilliant ammo and weapons placement in the game.

Atmosphere, Sound, Cameras: This entire project is dripping with great atmosphere, and even though some of the levels become very dark-blue, I didn’t mind this at all because it looks and feels great, realistic, and like you really are in underground tombs and crypts. I personally was not a fan of the mixing of Lara’s sounds – some from the LAU games, some from the new Reboot, so it’s an odd mix of the older sounding Lara huffing and puffing as she climbs, and the younger sounding Lara moaning in pain and agony when she dies. That aside though, the sound design is absolutely incredible, from the sound effects of selecting in the inventory and turning through the journal pages, to the new sounds that sand-spikes, doors, and trapdoors make. The music and ambience are wonderful of course, enhancing that haunting atmosphere, and who would have thought that a ‘Florence and the Machine’ song works so perfectly as the main menu theme of a Tomb Raider game? Oh and: FINALLY, the author gives us lots of cameras… with every switch and door, so you know exactly where you’re going and what you just did. I loved this. And what’s even better, all of his flyby camera setups feel so cinematic, it once again feels like a professional movie.

Lighting & Textures: I loved the author’s different take on Venice – it feels a bit grey and stormy with the rain, somehow grittier and not like a sunny kitschy paradise as we have grown accustomed to. Things such as the reflected floor effect in some rooms is easy to miss, but a beautiful touch and shows that this author has gone to the trouble to paint a lot of his own textures. So many textures even look three dimensional, or have bump-mapping, enhancing the realism in the most economic way possible. But then, of course, other times the architecture meshes are blended perfectly with the walls, making climbable cracks and surfaces look like an organic part of the whole. The entire game feels like a work of art, and it’s safe to say that in many ways this represents the pinnacle of what we can make a classic TR game feel like with the old-but-enhanced engine. Amazing in every way, and I am now a big fan of Maax’s work." - Sethian (04-Sep-2020)
"I had no idea what I was getting into on picking this TRLE to play. I was blown away... Everything about this trle is entertaining and refined, I can't stop loving everysingle level. An amazing gameplay with amazing jumping arquitecture and rare or none "boring actions", altho I would have prefered some more puzzles. The atmosphere is gorgeous and the sounds perfectly placed. The lightning, the texture, praticaly flawless. This is definitely a TRLE I would recommend for medium-pro tomb raider players. I'll probably play a second time sooner or later!!" - LOTRKingluis (07-Sep-2018)
"I actually played this level set long time ago when it was released but I wanted to replay it because it's one of my all time favorite level sets. Everything including gameplay, environment and atmosphere is done extremely well and I really have hard time finding anything to criticize. What I probably enjoyed most was exploring the very detailed and unique environment, which consists of many distinct locations in each level. You will be visiting very bright day-time Venice, gloomy mines and underground cathedral in Ireland, hi-tech base in Paris and a mysterious otherworld in the end. Every location looks astonishing and contains mostly new custom textures and objects that the author created to give each location highly unique look. Many of the custom objects serve aesthetic purposes but many of them also play interesting and functional roles in gameplay. I found gameplay to be perfectly balanced between action-packed platforming, exploration and puzzle solving keeping me entertained throughout the game. Some of the platforming parts can be quite challenging but I didn't find anything to be overly difficult allowing me to recommend this game to those players who dislike extreme challenges. By the way, make sure you get access to bonus level since it contains some of the most amusing tasks where you have to utilize very strong airflow that can throw you in the air allowing you to enter new areas. I don't know what else I could write except download and play this set of levels unless you have already done that." - Samu (05-Sep-2017)
"Lara gets to visit a few of her old haunts in this adventure as she explores, Venice, Ireland, a lab, and a floating islands section. The scenery throughout is impressive, imposing and very well constructed, although ambience is on the sombre and gloomy side. A few sequences here aren't for the inexperienced raiders, but altogether the gameplay is varied and enjoyable. There are some nice touches here like Lara's notepad, the various FMVs and dialogue sequences. I managed to miss one secret, although I was sure I found them all (maybe a different savegame?)." - Ryan (21-Dec-2016)
"Really enjoyed this level set and it was a challenge an excellent sequel to the first ancient artifact I thought that there were quite a few weird things in this levelset like Lara being able to hang on spike ledges but in most over Trles you were unable to do this. This had an excellent story and it also had a very good boss fight. Really enjoyed this recommended" - lokky99101 (04-Jul-2016)
"Hats off for this young man, he did a marvellous job. I played the original and the revised version (for the walkthrough) and the latter is indeed bit easier to get around in. The atmosphere is just right (although pretty dark at my end as I cannot crank up the brightness of my monitor anymore but you find enough flares to get around), great looking objects and even there aren't that many enemies, I didn't miss them at all. This is exploring and then some, but making saves at strategic places is always a good strategy, but still it is no walk in the park. I did wonder though; as this is a rather gloomy level why not use a flashlight or PDA instead of flares? Can't count how many times Lara died because she had a flare in her hands and it went out, then jumping and grabbing is out off the question. Found just a couple of textures that were askew and got caught in an illegal slope, but who is counting. Thanks to Dutchy; as I couldn't get some of the timed runs, they were just too awkward for me. Keep an eye on this guy, as he is a master in creating a great story and then translating it into a level." - Gerty (23-Jun-2016)
"This is easily one of the best levels of this site. The gameplay and puzzles are totally enjoyable. The sound and atmosphere are perfectly matched. The Bonus level is incredibly wonderful. Congratulations to Max" - Thiago (29-Apr-2016)
"This is the best custom Tomb Raider game I have ever played so far. I LOVE the coin challenges, they were very challenging and super fun. Good work with Lara's talking voice sounds in the levels, especially the excellent cut scenes. I love the textures, shadows and lighting in the game, the game look very realistic. This game is excellent and its a must have game. The bonus level was a blast, I enjoyed it allot. The story line and game play gave me ALLOT of Goose bumps, it is super interesting and well done. The Venice level had a great start with great raining effects, the venice city was amazing with all the mercenaries, objects and puzzles. I loved the mine in ireland, I had allot of fun exploring the mine ruins and the grail Cathedral that was very exiting and excellent. The ghost traps was the icing on top at the Cathedral level and the interesting cut scene at the end of that level. I loved the laboratory, very challenging and super interesting. The laboratory escape was the most awesome level for me, I was scared of the laboratory creatures that got out after that nuclear explosion and that texture effects and the build of all the broken laboratory rooms were the best of the level that seemed very realistic. The kingdom of shadows was amazingly done and that enemy at the last level of the kingdom of shadows was super cool, It wasn't easy to kill but it was an worthy opponent. The game was very interested, a bid scary and very exiting to play. This is a game that I will play over and over again for a long time." - Wikus Croft (09-Apr-2016)
"Where do I start on this absolute work of art, this amazing masterpiece that words can not even give it enough justice? Michael is an artist, I won't call him a level designer, creator or modder, I will call him an artist, because this level is honestly an astonishing work of art, he made a perfect masterpiece, the moment I started playing it, it took my breath away, the first thing I noticed were the polished, perfect and magnificent textures, they looked absolutely breathtaking, I love how diverse the textures are, they all look absolutely beautiful, they don't feel repetitive, stretched or game-like, they seem absolutely vibrant, alive and real life-like, he added small details to every bit of textures, and they made a huge difference in the beauty of this masterpiece. The atmosphere is the most engrossing and most fascinating atmosphere I've ever seen in a level, and I played alot of levels, the perfect atmosphere of this levelset adds so much life to it, when I play this masterpiece I feel like I'm not playing instead I'm inside the level, I'm the one wandering the streets of venice and walking across the cities, the atmosphere is beyond the epitome of perfection, I don't think I will ever play another level as atmospheric as this level anytime soon, you can even see how the ventilation shafts let out steam, I mean Michael did everything possible to let you have the most atmospheric journey he could, and he really perfected it and it worked. The lighting was an absolute work of art, he made the most subtle and beautiful lighting I've seen on a level, the lighting felt warm and inviting, it made the level feel very comfy and cozy, and that is something I absolutely love in games, and Michael did it perfectly, I loved his work, it added more life to the level, not that it was lifeless or anything, but it mode it more alive, the lighting suited every level, the objective of the lighting is to make you feel the weather of the level, and it was well-done in this level, it made you feel cold in certain levels, and cozy, comfy, warm and inviting in other levels, the lighting is beyond perfect. The soundtrack of this levelset is absolutely charming, I loved how when I walked across Venice I could hear the ambience of the nature, I could hear the raindrops hitting the surface of the water, I could hear the rain pouring down, I mean this added so much beauty and realism to the level, I love it when I could hear the water when I'm walking or hear the wind, it's magnificent. The gameplay is amazingly well done, I've played it through and I did not get bored once or get frustrated once, it was well designed, the jumps were tough at times, but they didn't get me mad or frustrated at all, the timed-runs were also done well, they were hard and very tough to complete sometimes, but not tough enough to get you to stop playing, it was one of the best adventures I've had in a custom Tomb Raider level. Thank you Michael for making such an amazing, engrossing and astonishing level that I dearly enjoyed, you made me feel so much joy in this level, I never knew how much that I needed to play this level, thank you again, you are an absolute artist, and I can't wait to see more levels from you." - LaraSpears (31-Dec-2015)
"I have not play the update version but I think my grade will be the same because this adventure is just AWSOME. It was a real pleasure to discovered what happened to Bridget and discovered a new story about the holy Grail. The various levels are very well builds and I have liked the design of the venice one with a lot of news textures and not the ones of btb2010 like my "Relic" level. For me the full adventure is not very hard, I have only some problems to found some secrets but I have found the 3 bonus coins :) I think my favorite place is the Kingdom of Shadow and the bonus. Nice atmosphere and sometime very scary. A great touch is the various FMVS who can be seeing during the adventure and who giving a personnal effect to the story like an original game. A big thank to Max for this fabulous sequel and I hope play another adventure of this author quickly ;)." - Bigfoot (16-Nov-2015)
"Well this was a pleasant game to play.. REALLY beautiful, the atmosphere was one of the best i ever seen and the lightning was like send from good.. Love the history, loved every single level.. And the work on every single detail was spot on. The sound was on of the best, the machinery on the 3rd level if i remember well was sooo great.. Would love to play more games like this.. But... there were a bit of annoying.. things. There was to much timed switches and most of them didn't even show where to go.. And there was a little bug with switches and loading that would made the game IMPOSSIBLE to pass.. only going to a preview save and do it ALL AGAIN.. And a "perfect jump" that we had to do to many times.. oh.. and in the beginning you kinda have to do a bug in the engine to go down the correct path.. that was a bit annoying.. Even if the puzzles were awesome, stuff like 2 exact items side to side and one is movable and the other wasn't.. And stuff like new mechanics randomly appearing was a bit annoying to.. challenging but.. annoying.. Still, would highly recommend anyone to play! It really is a odd to Tomb Raider in the perfect insence that it was!" - Leeth (17-Aug-2015)
"This was an absolute amazing game/experience that i've been having this pass week and it really took me that long to finish up this game. 8 hours to be exact. Through those 8 hours I've seen and felt amazing things, details, music and a huge enjoyment. Let's begin the review by talking about the game play and puzzles: initially i had in mind to give a 10 on this topic, however i came across with various details which annoyed me. Of course there is no denial of the genius mastermind behind the making of the puzzles, but i can't ignore the little details that made me give it a 9. I'll shout out what i recall the best: switch bugs (some wouldn't reset after the time run ended; ONE switch in particular would revert the outcome, making the game impossible to progress if i saved on top of the previous one), too much time runs (yes it does increases the difficulty and the challenge but ultimately makes the level or better that part specifically repetitive, annoying and frustrating), some triggers weren't intuitive, sometimes you had to use known bugs to progress in the levels (rookie players wouldn't know how to execute that or even think about it) and last but not least, you have almost full access to the whole level at the beginning, resulting in continuous backtracking. All of these things were the reason why i gave a 9 out of 10. JUST because these details make the game more challenging, doesn't mean it makes it a better game. But of course all of the atmosphere, textures and creativity is beyond brilliant, giving an absolute vibe of a real world and definitely deserves 3 10 on the other topics. The bonus level was a bit boring though, as you don't really have a specific objective, just to find all of the orbs and crystals. Which is good if you enjoy searching and exploring every single corner, wall, floor of the game. In conclusion this was a fantastic game, way better than current games being released these days, incredibly challenging, and you'll spend at least 1 night on each level. There are 7 in total (counting with the bonus level )" - Zhyttya (17-Aug-2015)
"Firstly, this heavily improves on my issues of polish with the first Ancient Artifact; everything flows into itself in terms of the story and it generally feels much more consistent. The visuals are generally more consistent too, with plenty of custom objects (including some very creative stuff) and detailed locations. The atmosphere is quite grim feeling and there's a certain horror vein running through it (even Venice feels a bit gloomier than usual), which gives it certain style. I did come across various small issues in gameplay, like forced damage and a pit you could fall in and not get out, but none of them were big enough to take away from my overall impression of it, and I liked how the items you needed for the bonus level were pretty easy to find and mostly treated as a side challenge rather than something you constantly needed a walkthrough to get. There's a nice mix of exploration levels and more linear ones too. It's on the difficult side at times and there's a growth in challenge later on, with the bonus level being pretty brutal in certain parts. Overall a great set and generally an improvement on the first. As a technical note, I had an issue with the journal overlay not working at first, but the Windows 10 Preview fixed it, so if you have that issue I actually recommend waiting a few weeks for Windows 10 to be released before trying it." - Mman (17-Jul-2015)
"I want to start by congratulating Max for creating Ancient Artifact II; it is obvious that he put tremendous amounts of love and care into this custom game and spent hours upon hours in its creation. Overall, it is quite an enjoyable game, although I feel that it is not as good as it could have been and it has some severe flaws, which is especially difficult to say considering how much effort was put into it.
The gameplay is mostly fun throughout, with lots of exploring and platforming to be done, although it is a little light on puzzles. The bonus level is certainly a highlight and is possibly the most fun I had during the game: it sure is a blast to find the 20 golden orbs. I also loved the Venice level with its great platforming, the shooting range in Brijett Labs, and the many challenging but reasonable timed runs, to point out a few other great gameplay moments. Of course, the gameplay is not perfect: I think that it would be greatly enhanced by some more puzzles. I love platforming and exploration, don't get me wrong, but Ancient Artifact II is so heavy on those elements and so light on puzzles and fighting enemies that it feels rather unbalanced. The gameplay also feels somewhat stale overall due to a lack of truly innovative or unique tasks to perform. I was particularly disappointed by Kingdom of the Shadow (the non-bonus-level-part), which mostly seemed like a series of going through rooms with little to do other than find some path to the next room.
The enemies are pretty sparse and there could maybe have been more of them, but the custom-made ones are extremely impressive and cool looking, like the blue ghosts, the final boss, and the ghosts in the cathedral. There are too many custom features to count: new animations (including a death animation in which Lara gets pulled into a swamp-like pool), beautiful fmvs and cutscenes, a diary, and countless new static items. I feel that in many custom games that include a diary, it is underused or an afterthought, but it really adds a nice touch to this adventure and is well-incorporated into the game.
The aspect of Ancient Artifact II that I find most underwhelming is the visuals and atmosphere. These levels are some the most dark, dingy, and dour I have ever played. The Cathedral and the Kingdom of the Shadow levels in particular scarcely have a color to be seen. The labs and the Ireland mine are not much better, and even Venice, a city renowned for its beauty, feels rather drab here. This game consists of gray, dull level after gray, dull level, and it really is a shame, because the textures are immaculately placed and there are nearly no technical faults in the visuals. I also find these levels to be quite dark, requiring lots of flares to navigate. I admit that I absolutely love the dark, hellish atmosphere of levels like Underworld UB4 and Kingdom of the Shadow, but even this effect can be achieved with more visual interest - just look at the Beyond from Ancient Artifact I for a great example (The Beyond also happens to be one of my favorite custom levels of all time).
Despite my gripes about the atmosphere, I had great fun during the 6 hours I spent in these levels, and I am sincerely grateful that Max put so much effort into this level for all of us to play. I look forward to whatever this talented builder releases in the future! 9/10/8/9" - okuhtfesq (01-May-2015)
"Venice: 9/9/10/10, Mine: 9/10/10/10, Cathedral: 9/9/9/9, Lab: 8/10/10/10, Escape: 10/10/10/10, Kingdom: 9/10/10/9, Bonus: 9/10/10/10. An incomplete review like on Part1, but again I did a live one in Max's thread (still writing, as there's a lot to say), and I had some native-word reactions to this game, like "jasny pieron" which are intranslatable so I won't throw them on You dear readers. The mine is great yet still differs from other top-notch ones (impossible achieved?) and while the laboratory infiltration matches the best entries of this class, the following escape surpasses all of them. There are dark passages in levels 3 and 6, but it's worth to fight them for the essence. Again this and many other parts require a lot of patience and memory, but this time the author gave us enough cameras and flares, and while these two "little" fixes are enough to keep gameplay on a decent level all the time, there are also some changes for better: the whole sfx sound set has been replaced with arguably the best samples possible, lots of animations are revamped with faster/smoother ones and several nice touches like radios in Venice, bubbles in laboratory or crystals in Kingdom have been applied to prevent monotony. What still isn't fixed is Lara's antagonist and the goal pickup, but these two are not enough to ruin seven hours of upper-class gaming. Sidenote on bonus: I like clear-goal challenges to unlock it - regular secrets are often hard so if their completion was required instead, the majority of players wouldn't see the secret level which is far beyond The Beyond... and the only meta2tr-ed one - a leap in builder's skills only revealed to those who gained corresponding skill in playing, what is just fine. SUMMARY: Could have more visual contrast in some places but, by Perun's bolt, it was mutantastic anyway." - DJ Full (24-Apr-2015)
"As I was playing this extended, eight and a half hour game, I kept having this feeling that awarding it less than 10s across the board would be doing a disservice to the builder. However, toward the end I became convinced otherwise, hence my scores. To begin with, before I even downloaded the game I saw a thread in the forum dealing with a multitude of technical issues. Indeed, my antivirus program refused to install it, reporting a contaminated executable. I tried another, smaller executable from another current game, and everything worked fine from start to finish. This experience makes me wonder why the builder chose to release the game with a larger file causing manifold problems in the first place. Anyway, the gameplay here is complex and challenging from beginning to end, and without Dutchy's masterful walkthrough I would not have gotten very far. I was even able to make my way through without having to use a single savegame, although this pristine record was sorely tested by that diabolical timed run in the bonus level with that flame-spitting Evil Eye. Finally, my primary complaint is one that I've voiced on several recent occasions. I'm growing increasingly weary of playing technically brilliant levels in dark, colorless and aesthetically listless surroundings. And that's exactly what we have here, in practically every level. Psiko got it right with Hypersquare. I'm at a loss to explain why our other talented builders cannot do the same. Despite these shortcomings, which I see from my review of Ancient Artifact I were also present there, this is an unparalleled gaming experience that no serious raider should miss." - Phil (23-Apr-2015)
"I've played much better levels in terms of gameplay creativity; and I've played much better levels in terms of beautiful and coloured landscape; but it is very difficult to see a more "real" level, in all its grey and somber conception. The rain falling in the sidewalks literally took my breath away. Congratulations, my friend, you're quite a designer." - Josey (17-Apr-2015)
"-The best: "Cathedral" and "bonus" level: impressive and a lot of fun. The traps sections are really cool. -The worst: very few puzzles, too much timed-runs and the action is focused on first level and this is a bit frustrating. A solid and satisfying level. Big Thumbs up!" - requiemsoul (12-Apr-2015)
"The storyline from the first installment is very neatly continued in this game and with quite a few cutscenes that must've been time-consuming the builder does a very good job in transferring storyline and tension into the other levels. All the levels are very professionally created with nicely flowing gameplay that is a good mix of everything. For me the quality of gameplay raises with each level, beginning with a slightly dull Venice level with very little in terms of puzzles and tasks apart from a very nicely designed task centered around timed run and a few smaller puzzles, but the further you get, the more fun this game becomes. While the Ireland levels still have too many parts where you use a lever to open a door to use a lever, combined with sometimes quite heavy backtracks, the laboratory bits are more challenging while the kingdom level(s) is the definate highlight. The latter one is actually quite tricky to work through with some spikes slightly differently timed as usual and generally lots of fun platforming and very good puzzles. So all in all a few too boring parts (mainly lever hunts and backtracking) but overall the enjoyment factor is pretty high, especially since the best levels are aptly placed towards the end. The visuals of this level are very authentic and the choice of objects and textures feels quite perfect for the respective setting. There's only very little to fault technically too, with only a handful of texture mistakes. Actually, the only thing preventing from a perfect score is the lighting which could have much more contrast especially in the first levels - again, the last levels are better in that regard, although there's still something to be desired here. A few more. I have the feeling with the lighting the builder wanted to be too perfect but I think that some levels of the first AA game were a little more successful here. Didn't find the game too dark though. Concerning atmosphere, there is almost nothing else to fault though, all levels are very authentic and have their very own charm, with perfect use of architecture, sounds and cameras are also very well done - I accept the few 'missing' cameras as additional challenge as all of them are used in situations where you can find the next task yourself with a bit of thought. I also liked how every enemy has its special place in the game and feels just in the location where it should be. But I'm not sure why there is so much ammo provided - there are so few enemies towards the end that it feels very pointless. There's quite a bunch of secrets to find, and it was a good tasks to find all 26 of them together and overall the secret system is very well done, with a wonderful bonus level to raid through for a great treasure hunt. Many of the secrets are fairly easy to find though and there are quite many which are hidden more or less in the same way, as there are not many more ideas after the secrets in the first levels. Overall, the 4:05 hours are a very complete raid (maybe even play the first level before this one to have an even better experience), but considering all the technical novelties you can see here I think there could have been a little more up to this game. Nevertheless, a stunning and very enjoyable adventure and of course highly recommended." - manarch2 (12-Apr-2015)
"What a fantastic adventure! One of the best I've played lately. Six marvellous levels full of action and amazing features. There are "obscure" and tricky tasks, sometimes not obvious for the players, and another times extremely hard, like some timed runs. I missed some cameras in certain places, and some levels are too dark, even when I had enough flares, the gameplay turns slow when you need to explore big areas with flare in hand. Highly recommended but only for expert players." - Jose (10-Apr-2015)
"Lara's old haunts have never looked better than in this marvellous reinterpretation of Venice, Ireland (my favourite section of the game), Lab and Floating Islands locations. The gameplay is rich and varied, with a medium difficulty level (definitely not for newbie players) and some excellent timed runs, puzzles and traps, although I can pretty much guarantee that by the time you finish the Kingdom of Shadows segment you will have seen enough spike traps to last a very long time indeed! Enemies are well used and seem appropriate to the various locations and it's beautifully put together with some extremely innovative ideas and objects etc (particular kudos to the interesting and lovely 'star' room and the timed run with the giant eye in the bonus game). The only reason I haven't given it a full ten points for gameplay really comes down to the fact that just occasionally the action lags a bit, with a feeling of 'find a lever to open a door to find a lever', and the fact that some of the automatically health draining traps mean poor Lara just can't win no matter how hard she tries, which feels rather mean. That aside though, this is a most impressive and enjoyable game that I highly recommend to any reasonably experienced player." - Jay (05-Apr-2015)
"An excellent level that I recommand! A little different in the two last levels, but the adventure is awesome! I think the one of the best levels in 2015!!" - SlyRaider (05-Apr-2015)
"What an amazing adventure this is... 6 action filled levels which look absolutely amazing with some great new effects in them. I did miss out on some camera's here and there, maybe it should be obvious to the builder what happened, but not to all players. A new feature had me baffled, hanging from a spike ledge. Normally you can't do that so I had no idea how to get that timed run done. The Forum had the answer... Must admit I still have to go try and do that timed run in the Eye room in the bonus level, spent a whole evening there and then loaded a savegame from the forum. But that didn't spoil the fun for me. A Must Play!!!" - Dutchy (01-Apr-2015)
"What an excellent map ! I enjoyed it since the first minute of gameplay and you are immediatly immerged into the game ! The graphics are splendid, very well textured ! Puzzles and game experience completely reaches Tomb Raider's goal, with timers and all that kind of stuff. Lots of secrets make the adventure even more enjoyable, especially the secret coins that are right in front of your nose, but you have to make a challenge to reach and grab it ; a really good idea for your secret level which was breathtaking ! Some new ennemies (but also old ones) and FMW are really cool ! I recommand this map to everybody, it shouldn't be that challenging, but you have to search and keep the eye of an eagle to find the right thing to do. Congrats Max !" - Hedteur (30-Mar-2015)
"Excellent work from the beginning to the end, the bonus level one of the best in terms of gameplay and atmosphere. I could not get all the orbs, only 13... A game rich in textures and lighting and architecture fits into each of the levels...always enjoy the levels of this author and this is pin, highly recommended, excellent work Max!" - McRaider (29-Mar-2015)
"I want to pay my respects to the amazing job of this creator. TRLE games like Ancient Artifact II are rare masterpieces. Definitely this game is one of the most greatest TRLE. I felt that it will be something very special and I'm not disappointed! Gameplay&Puzzles&Storyline First of all I want to say that this game it’s not difficult or easy, it's enjoyable. Every second in game is unique, gameplay is very well-considered. The game very engages a player, it requires a lot of attention - but it's the best part. Every time when I have to solve some puzzle, then every time I feel that I'm playing with the author. I very like that kind of communication with a player, I have a target, I have some tips and I'm just trying to solve a riddle. Of course there are some harder moments or even levels - but always, if we use what gave us author, we can make it without any pain or frustration. Lara's movements are rather basic, but it's nothing wrong with it, what's more I admit that was a good choice. What could be better is that some Lara’s new skills are not supported by NGLE and because of that they're a bit imperfect. The story in game is interesting in classic TR style, and what's more - is very well implemented. Thanks to 2D and 3D FMVs, diary and Lara's commentary we can be truly immersed by the story. It’s rare in TRLE world! Enemies, Objects & Secrets Enemies in game are rather easy and classic - bats, mercenaries or some mysterious creatures. Even the final boss wasn't a big challenge but it gave a lot of fun - good mechanics and wonderful FMVs. Objects look very good - especially in Paris and Kingdom levels, but I will talk about it more later. What’s important here is that, how good author used them in game (also with scripts), what create interesting mechanics and experiences. System of secrets in game is simply amazing. I takes a lot of time and effort to reach them all but it gives so much fun. Especially when we know that there is a bonus level at the end ;) It's another rare aspect of TRLE games, when we want to back again to playing just for those few things. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras The atmosphere is astonishing and I love it the most. Each of the levels gave me something different. I love how Max take me back to the times of classics TR games but without nostalgy, it's a fresh experience. He took classic TR, took what was good and what he wanted, gave a lot from himself and made this beautiful game. If you like TR classic atmosphere this is game for you. Sounds are amazing and fitting to the atmosphere of each level very well. I love how they changes in different locations, it gave so much to the atmosphere. I also have to mention about the excellent voice-overs! Cameras are proper, it always helps a player in switch/door sequences. Lighting & Textures I admire Max as game designer. Lighting and textures are top-notch - especially in Bonus Level. Attention to detail and graphical realization are impressive and really well advanced. From the first level to the last, I see this journey which takes for Michael since 7 years. It was a truly evolution in game design for the author. I have to mention about the excellent graphics design for diary and FMVs. Great choices and remarkable views! Definitely I'm waiting for the next games, please make our world prettier!" - MD (27-Mar-2015)
"I played the first one a while back in anticipation for this. I was so excited for the release of AAII and was eager to know if it lived up to the original. In short, yes it does! It's a fantastic sequel, but I'd say for the most part, it's on par. First of all, as I came to expect from the first instalment, Max has once again created the most diverse and immersive worlds to explore within the game. The levels feel huge, and are very easy to get lost in. They're not open world in that sense, but there are always numerous pathways for you to take, each well thought out and all interconnected with each other. Everything feels explorable! This was also helped with the amazing texturing and lighting and sound effects. This really created the suspense and thrill whilst traversing through the levels. Never have I played a game where the sound effects were so well done, until now! The texturing was extremely well applied, but there was a slight cracking issue (where the wall segments don't line up, creating cracks underwater), but this is a very minor thing to bring up. The secrets were really well hidden too, but I felt compelled to search for them to feel like I completed the game. A new feature was the coins, three of them! If you find all three within the game, you unlock a bonus level. I was a bit unsure of this to begin with, I feel as though if you're going to spend a huge chunk of time creating a particular level, then surely you want everyone to experience it, else they will miss out. I think Max has been quite clever with this though, the coins aren't hard to find, they require a bit of gameplay/ puzzle solving (generally quite straight forward puzzles) but the coins generally present themselves to you as you play through the levels they're placed in. It's generally quite hard to miss them. So that was fair enough. I got to the bonus level, expecting it to be an incomplete/ broken test level standard, but boy was I wrong! It's possible one of the strongest levels in the game! Actually made me feel happy I collected the coins. Like I said, Max was clever with this, the bonus level really feels earned for finding the coins, which makes exploring it feel even more special. With the gameplay, all though it was for the most part really well executed, I was expecting there to be a more varied animation-set that these larger games should really incorporate. Things like ledge and wall jumping really make the gameplay a bit more unique and are so readily available with the TRLE, I felt it was slightly missing. It would really spruce up the gameplay a little, and add a new dimension to the puzzles. The gameplay was definitely the bit which was on par with the original, it's not better/ worse or improved, it's kind of more of the same. Not a terrible thing either, since both did the gameplay really well, and this one I felt generally had better level design. There were also some amazing surprises and unexpected but hilarious homages to other games (but I won't spoiler)." - Cosmos (27-Mar-2015)
"I noticed some weeks ago on tombraiderforums website a topic about this level that it is coming soon and while my current situation is that I am working on a project myself and haven`t played really long time any custom TR so I just couldn`t resist to play this amazing continuation of first part of Ancient Artifact by Max. I played the first part long time ago and would be good choice if I would replay the first part before the second part, but the time just didn`t let me to do that, but never mind, I will definitely replay both of them one day. Well, perhaps I had a little bit bigger expectations from this game which prevented me from scoring full marks while it doesn`t mean at all that this game is not impressive. There are many enjoyable tasks to do, lot of exploration of various locations, some quite challenging jumps and traps to avoid, timed runs always accompanying by counter on the screen, some interesting puzzles to solve and even though they are rather easily to be solved they are always very entertaining, and not to forget about amazing storyline, even the final boss fight is quite an epic moment. But there are also some moments when you solve some creative task by which you open a door/gate where there is just a very small room containing lever which open the door to next area. I mean why to implement such unnecessary task to the gameplay design? To prolong the gameplay? I think no need for that as in my opinion it would be enough to solve the nice creative task which opens right the door to next area. But the whole impression about gameplay design is still very satisfying and I enjoyed every second playing it. I found secrets to be rather well placed some of them really sneakily hidden while few of them are rather easier and some of those few ones even easier than tasks themselves (and this I don`t really like). But there is nothing to complain about audiovisual aspects. It is really quite rare when the background ambience audio is totally fitting to the atmosphere and what impressed me most in sound are sfx sound effects! Absolutely amazing, really very good choice. Other than that it is impossible to not to notice the attention to detail, for both objects placements and textures. The leaking water from cracked ceiling is just one example from many of them in this marvelous game. So if you are still hesitating, don`t hesitate anymore, I can guarantee you that you will have an absolute great TR experience but better if you play the first part before this, especially if you haven`t played it before. My Statistics: playtime 6:36, secrets 26/26, medipacks used 0, golden orbs 20/20, golden coins 3/3. (and now back to building for me) 9/9/10/10" - OverRaider (26-Mar-2015)
"Excellent Adventure of Max, all levels are quite complex with many flashback. The climbable passages are not marked enough for my taste and we can pass by without seeing them. My favorite levels are the last 2 (kingdom and bonus), I'm not a fan of laboratory levels but that's just my personal taste. Often lost the life by jumping high enough, the timeruns are short but feasible. In the bonus level I have found that 16 orbs. Apart from these details, I enjoyed this adventure and primarily kingdom with the final battle with the boss (actually just a succession of rapid progression to find the 3 levers necessary to destroy). Congratulations." - Drakan (26-Mar-2015)