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Lara of Light by GMac

dinne 6 6 7 7
DJ Full 8 9 8 8
Jay 9 9 10 10
JesseG 7 9 7 9
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 7 9 8 9
Juno Jim 10 10 10 10
manarch2 7 8 8 8
McRaider 10 10 10 10
Petaludas 8 8 10 8
Phil 9 9 10 9
Ryan 9 9 10 10
tuxraider 8 7 8 7
release date: 21-Aug-2020
# of downloads: 161

average rating: 8.69
review count: 13
review this level

file size: 208.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Other reviews remark negatively that it's repetitious visually and in gameplay. Maybe that's true, but it's not necessarily bad at least wrt. gameplay. You pass through area for area, and many gameplay elements are indeed repeated, but it gets more elaborate and slightly harder every time. I think it's well put together by the level author, and it's fun to play. In general, the gameplay is on the easier side (clearly deliberate), so it might be good for beginners. For some negative things: The beginning of the first level irritated me in some ways-maybe I had to get used to the style of the gameplay at first. Although the builder clearly put effort into making the levels look good and elaborate, areas sometimes have a too "tiled" look or look empty. In "Forever and a Day", which looks like floating stone islands suspended in empty space (no ground), it's irritating that there actually is an invisible ground that makes Lara die, instead of a chasm. Lara can accidentally walk (shift key) into death, can't hang from ledges, and sometimes accidentally hits the death trigger when jumping on bridges. In the last level, there was a situation I couldn't get out of, possibly a gameplay bug. Close to the end, an esoteric looking website was advertised on a piece of paper that Lara had to pick up. (Not sure if that was necessary.) Although I felt like it was getting repetitive around the level Memories, I still had fun. Even visually, every level changed up somewhat. Some reviewers suggested to cut the length, but I would have gladly continued if it was longer. (It was the first level I played by this author.)" - tuxraider (19-Dec-2022)
"If you've played any of the builder's other levels before, you won't miss out on much if you skip this level. Admittedly a solidly designed levelset with overall good design and if you're up to it the storyline might be intriguing, but on the other hand it's more of the same and actually the amount of repetitive setups in this game is way over the top. Doing the same tasks again and again in the same kind of environment is just not fun after some time. I enjoyed a few of the trap sequences, especially those with the movable platforms, but all those (in small scales surely enjoyable) pushable puzzles that often cover half of a level's length and mazes in general are exhausting. The enemies are well designed and fit the environments, but those felt bare and square and often pretty dull due to the colour schemes used. Texturing and lighting are solid but never anyhow creative and a 'wow' factor is definately missing in this game. Most of the 24 secrets are pretty easy to find, and when the game ended after 2:50 hours I was pretty glad about that." - manarch2 (25-Jun-2022)
"This review is made as a blind player who never played anything from this author before.
Main keywords to describe this levelset: castle themed, long, very lazy, absurdly repetitive, uninspired, lack of creativity, clashing colors, very basic tasks, debut-alike levelbuilding, no camera hints, backtracking, tapefixing. Story is related to something religious and biblical and it looks like Lara is attending a path in the afterlife.
My overall impression is negative. Also, I discovered at half of the game that we're not dealing with a total beginner, but with a seasoned builder with lots of contributions from 2003 and this absolutely puzzles me and I cannot understand in any way how this outcome is possible, because really a lot of the common beginner mistakes are found all over the levelset, lack of variation and inspiration is also giving a very limited adventure in terms of interactions and tasks (and this is usually what beginners provide, because they've no skills to implement more), so I ended this game with a lot of questions in my mind.
There are really few positive aspects of this levelset that could be worth mentioning (that don't make the level "good" or "special", but just make it "sufficient"), such as: no bugs were found, it's easy to play and it's difficult to get stuck, only one softlock was found (even if really serious and can be a dealbreaker because you "start" it at the beginning of the second level and then realize it at the end of the level), generally no skips (except in the lake level where there are some), no invisible ladders and no trespassable fake walls, texture placement is generally correct except many distortions in the 7th level and several cracks, sounds are correct and have a correct pitch, generally (but not always) you find the items after seeing the puzzle holes and know where they go... And what else?
Gameplay: a tedious dragging adventure with no creativity and an incredible overload of boring repetitions (repeated types of puzzles, repeated ad-nauseam items to retrieve which are always thistles/rubies/skulls, lot of backtracking forcing you to repeat the same steps backward or even twice forward, and even repeated level concepts), incredibly basic tasks that provide a very very limited adventure because based solely on: find an item-run-place it, elevating platforms, mazes/corridors, pushblocks, find-some-levers-in-a-room, lava and spikes/fire, slopes platforming sequences, endless running and never really touching any other possible feature even of the basic level editor, such as poles, ropes, crowbar, torch (appeared once but sadly not used for any task), trapdoors, other types of traps (there are really many available), other types of switches, waterskin, vehicles, shatters (which appear probably 3 times in total)... Why? Literally, in 8 levels, how...? And to add to it, often the level design is so poor you're just running through empty corridors or face a big squared room with nothing inside except one interactive element.
Aside of that the full game doesn't use even one single camera hint and the 2-3 times it did they were small flybys, so I assume the builder doesn't know how to set cameras and this also contributed initially to make me sure this was a beginner work.
Some very rare creative moments are often failures because we got pushable spikes (after educating the player for 3 levels that those spikes are... spikes), and sometimes vertical platforming but we got one tower to climb twice in the lake level, or some very linear vertical platforming in the last level (of course with 2 similar vertical shafts, how ingenuous could I be to even think there was only one?). Moving traps in the mazes were instead successful.
Now let's take a moment to talk about mazes, because at some point in the last level I seriously thought the builder was either deliberately trolling, or was actually totally unaware about level design (yet builds from 2003). In this game we first of all face some "minigame" mazes that are not really puzzles because consist in pushing a block linearly, and they were already repeated 3 times, then we got a huge maze with pushblocks that is actually consisting in intelligent puzzles but the length of it is incredibly dragging. After it, we get a rooms maze with levers, which isn't really a puzzle because it consists in pulling the only available levers time by time (except once?) but it's still unnerving and then you have to backtrack it to exit, then the game concludes with other TWO big mazes, one of which (last one) is fortunately a simple linear path with nothing to push. Still, the first maze of the last level, even requires backtracking through all the path and the pushblocks. This is just insane, I wanted to scream. And again, levels littered with mazes are usually what beginners do because don't know how to implement other stuff and have no feedback yet from the community to improve their level design... I really didn't know what to think anymore. I might not have played as many levels as others, but this is by far absolutely the most boring and tedious experience I've ever met.
Objects: an obsessive repetition of items to collect is present through all the game, they are always the same over and over except probably one. I don't remember anything else over than: thistles, rubies, white/golden skulls and ONE black crystal... Not even one key or any other kind of puzzle element. The same repetition affects also other interactive objects: same switches, same pushblocks, same display cases with lifting glass, and enemies, which are always the same as well and some laziness causes also to see walking enemies underwater (and often!) instead of putting some swimming ones.
Statics are often (if not always?) not even customized in their lighting, so it's common to see them standing out from the darkness or not blending with the surrounding. And as well, like the other things, a very (very!) small asset of statics is used, we get continuously the same super bright green teme9 trees and grass. Also, many statics are very out of place because sometimes that kind of glossy dark blue architecture asset is used but in surroundings that have nothing to do with that, or some plants with exotic leaves pop up somewhere in this castle/nordic-like environment. And: the aliens. Random aliens sleep underwater here and there, sometimes, because... "Yes". Textures: I think after playing this levelset you won't dare touching any other level using similar assets. Here a very very small set of textures is used and repeated obsessively, which are all the same through all the 8 levels except for really a few. Usually placed correctly, but sometimes a lazy hand is spotted because of some stretched textures, diagonally, especially in the 7th level.
A very weird choice is also using a strange base-lab texture all over the game with a red stripe on it and sometimes a yellow text on the bottom of the metal, and then some scifi textures in the last level as well, that were always totally out of context. The presence of those random aliens sleeping underwater and such textures made me think we were going to get a finale related to aliens or something that would have anyway explained this inconsistency, but then we got nothing.
Lighting: Lighting is a poor aspect of this game (and is repeated all over, with also the same mistakes). The good aspect of the lighting is the contrast and the clarity: even if not always, there are often no struggles to understand the geometry around and to spot the passages. But the colors choice is really bad because we have a generic grey look, which isn't really "grey" sometimes but it doesn't let any atmosphere or dominant color to settle, because alongside with zero room light ambience colors (except maybe for the Memories level somewhere?) there are some totally clashing strong colors here and there. The builder often combines some bright red, bright green, punching electric blue pools of water in the same room on white ambience light, and none of them blends or sets an atmosphere of any sort but only looks like totally random colors dabs thrown accidentally on a (white) canvas. In the 7th level we get a cyan fog on white room light with red lava and violet light spots around and I think this is the peak of the bad color choices in this game. Architecture: Terrible. Everywhere. Places don't make any sense, they're often showing that common beginner squared empty look (the second level is the quintessential beginner who tries to experiment TRLE features for the first time in a big squared space), puzzle holes and important items are weirdly placed or are found in some big empty rooms in some disorganized place, styles are sometimes not matching and room structures are sometimes repeated just to add to the list of the possible things to repeat no other builder is capable of even conceiving.
A lazy tapefixing practice can be also spotted all through the game and usually affects the geometry. The open mazes have a solid invisible ceiling to not let you trespass the walls instead of fences or whatsoever, in the first level we get a teleport to avoid creating a proper shortcut and other minor things.
Audio: the audio choices are often appropriated but 2-3 times the game punches you with a sudden loud and agitated track even if no danger or threat is happening, and the second level has a weird cicadas background track even though we are in a gloomy cave. Secrets: generally very easy, I took most of them without even paying any particular attention and a couple of them were punitive because required to repeat the same path again to resume the game.
Story: The story rotates around something biblical/Christian, which is quite cryptic for those who have not a very strong religious culture (assuming there are many references to catch) and it has confusing plot elements like the aliens and the scifi textures, but not only. I thought we were going to get an explanation for such futuristic additions, but then we didn't. I've to say I've been quite surprised to find out the usage of a level to advertise an author's book, that's actually an original idea although I've mixed feelings about it because if placed at the very end of the game it looks like this is the main artifact of the adventure (but plenty of people here are not interested in anything spiritual or religious at all and wouldn't play a level "for that") so it's quite a weird choice. And even in case the story was better explained in the provided website link, I think it would be a tapefixing way to fix a poor storytelling that should be done through the game instead.
For sure the experience would've been better if levels were only 1 or 2, because if we take levels individually they can get a slightly better rating alone, but the overall experience stacking boredom, drag, nausea and frustration for 8 levels definitely worsen it. I could have made an average among the rating of all the individual levels only if they were playable separately, but this is a full game and I rate it as a whole.
Over than all the flaws I listed, there are unfortunately many specific ones I wrote while I was typing my comments for each level but I had to shorten the review.
Sorry but I can't recommend this experience to anyone and I'm not really looking for more from this builder, because if this is the peak after almost 20 years of TRLE, then I don't think we're going to see improvements soon, or ever. I also can't understand other reviews here but given the long presence of this builder I'd think such reviews are given for friendship or to not upset the builder, because even if opinions are subjective, this game is so FULL of very repeated flaws that it's truly impossible to "not notice". Sorry but this game has really nothing to do with other 9+ ones, in any of the aspects that characterize a game.
Sorry for my blunt manners but I won't hide how dissatisfied and frustrated I am after this 2 days journey I'll happily forget. I can't give more than 6.5, motivations are too strong." - dinne (23-Jul-2021)
"Another great one from GMac !!! Found 6 Silver, 3 Red & 7 Gold secrets... Long & fun play time, new puzzles & traps - pretty linear - I don't like backtracking... Timed runs not impossible. That tower got me, & a few other surprises. Interesting mazes & push block puzzles. Thanks GMac !!!" - Juno Jim (24-Oct-2020)
"This is trademark epicness of George but this time even greyer and more copypasted than in the myths. I don't rate negatively the inclusion of previous maps since I presume this project was to be a kind of "The Best Of", so if you didn't play the builder's previous games, you will know him from this one. But if it's really such summary, why to include completely useless parts which bring it down? There was absolutely no reason to run here for 40 kilometers, there was no need to repeat those pushblocks several times, and that maze pasted over and over was the breaking point when I decided I won't rate this product higher than 8. Which brings me to the same as I said about Cowboy's latest levelset: cut 1/3 of the game and it won't suffer. It will only help." - DJ Full (19-Oct-2020)
"I'm going to be blunt and start by saying this set of 8 levels comes off as pretty repetitive, and my outlook of it would be more positive if there were less of the temple levels. Almost every level uses the same textures, the same enemies, and even the same music. Some gameplay elements that are repeated throughout include pushing blocks down a linear path, gem or skull collectathons, and linear trap "mazes" that for some reason have a low invisible ceiling. My favorite part of this adventure is the traps, which include timed sequences and sometimes involve moving fireballs, spikes, and platforms, although I am not a fan of the platforms moving sideways - you would expect Lara to move with the platform when standing on it, just like the ones moving vertically, but that is not the case and this makes for some counterintuitive action sequences. There's certainly a nice variety of tasks in each level, I just wish they were a bit more cerebral, and also more varied across the levelset as a whole. One of the biggest pitfalls of this levelset is the lack of camera shots. Things like flames turning on/off, doors opening, and even important puzzle items appearing on pedestals will happen without cluing in the player, and it's a shame that such a simple detail makes the game not very player friendly. The levels are textured, lit, and decorated quite well, although many areas are boxy (even outdoor areas) which hurts the atmosphere a bit. I would recommend that those who are a fan of relatively straightforward levels with a good dose of nonlinear gameplay at least give the first couple of levels a go and decide whether to take it further. 4 hours 32 minutes." - JesseG (07-Oct-2020)
"Dont know if the community has got smaller..Otherwise this trle would have many more reviews and scores..Epic atmosphere, 'epicest' music, good exploration, nice secrets..what else do u need..must to play level" - Petaludas (05-Oct-2020)
"Not very agree with the other reviewers, indeed another fine set of levels from George, but you get the impression that you have played it before, with the same environments, the same objects, the same tasks, the same textures, the same atmosphere, the same heroic musics... Nothing innovative with respect to other adventures from this author. Still entertaining, but I missed a lot the camera shots when you pull a timed switch and some fresh puzzles, because the tasks here are very repetitive (the maze with many doors was a nightmare) and you feel that you are always doing the same. Even so, a good set of levels worth to play with no many complications. As usual, a professional work." - Jose (02-Oct-2020)
"That was very impressive in George's own style. A mega-game, and there was never a dull moment. I had a great time, and I think that's the most important. I still remember some sections in a few of his older games, which seemed nearly impossible and quite frustrating - not anymore. This is simultaneously challenging and player-friendly, something that makes a game worthwhile. I disagree that there may have been little variety after a while. Maybe to the naked eye, but many were the times when some challenge (or version 2.0 of some challenge) managed to surprise me. It is homogeneous, yes, but never repetitive. The atmosphere can be quite gloomy and the sounds and music are a great aid at that, always only as much as needed, and absolutely fitting. The textures and general architecture looked faultless. The maze segments were excellent. What else can I add? I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you." - Jorge22 (25-Sep-2020)
"It's good to have another GMac release, as they all are unfailingly compiled in professional style and they consistently provide an entertaining raid. The typical shortcomings in my mind, on the other hand, have been detailed in my earlier reviews, so I won't belabor them here. The words "bright" and "cheery" aren't part of George's vocabulary, but I've become resigned to that fact. The darkness in his levels isn't the can't-see-what-I'm-doing kind of darkness, but an atmospheric darkness. There's a difference, it's a matter of taste, and I certainly respect that building philosophy without feeling obligated to applaud it. I spent many enjoyable hours negotiating these eight levels while writing a walkthrough for them, and my impressions were overwhelmingly positive. I would only note that the dominant motif in one level was often repeated in another level, such as the connected islands and the ledge mazes. This suggests to me a certain measure of laziness, but the work as a whole is most entertaining and I'm eagerly looking forward to George's next release." - Phil (24-Sep-2020)
"This eight part adventure has all the GMac hallmarks: impressive, monumental architecture, wonderful lighting and excellent music. The first three sections are set in the same environment where there’s plenty of exploring, platforming, push puzzles and those always fun lift tiles. The transparent enemies are effective, especially the unusual underwater ahmets, and you have your trusty torch bearer as a helper. In part 4, we return to a familiar area, i.e. the magical Lake of Stars, thence to a short Floating Islands scenario, and back to vast stone halls and more inventive block puzzles/traps. It’s a long game and perhaps a touch repetitive after a while, but it’s vastly enjoyable for all that and definitely not to be missed." - Jay (21-Sep-2020)
"As I've undoubtedly mentioned before, George's offerings do have a certain recognisable quality to them, whether it be the haunting, darkish atmosphere, the greyscale, brooding aesthetics or his own unique style of gameplay, in this case rather a lot of traps and pushblock exercises. The textures and architecture are pretty much sublime all the way through, the atmosphere and music definitely help to aid the spooky feeling of the whole thing (although background audio was a bit on the quiet side) and the gameplay generally keeps the interest throughout the five hour playing time, but occasionally I found that some of the tasks outstayed their welcome a bit too much, for instance the ledge maze sections with the (in my opinion) rather strange invisible ceilings or having to backtrack past numerous flame or spike traps. They kinda ended up being repetitive gameplay tactics and slowed the pace down considerably. On the positive side though, the secret quests are well thought out, enemy attacks are bracing and involving and the whole thing in its entirety is enjoyable. It's pretty much quintessential GMac... not necessarily a bad thing." - Ryan (18-Sep-2020)
"It is always a pleasure to play these types of levels, a fervent admirer of GMac's work, therefore time very well spent. What more to ask from an author with vast experience and trajectory in the Tomb raider world who guarantees levels with interesting gameplay. One of the things that attracts me is the atmosphere given in the levels, large rooms textured in harmony and always with almost perfect lighting, which is what makes these types of levels captivating. I've spent a couple of days enjoying the game and as always waiting for the next one, thanks George!" - McRaider (30-Aug-2020)