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Return to the Maria Doria by Masked Goon

BlackWolfTR 7 8 9 9
Charles Kane 8 9 9 8
Chel 7 7 9 8
DJ Full 8 9 8 9
eRIC 7 8 9 6
Jorge22 8 8 8 7
Jose 7 8 8 8
manarch2 4 6 7 6
McRaider 9 10 10 9
Mman 7 7 7 8
p1kaa 9 9 8 8
Ryan 7 7 8 8
The Snarky Lesbian 7 7 9 9
Torry 8 8 9 8
Treeble 7 8 9 8
 
release date: 31-Aug-2020
# of downloads: 215

average rating: 7.92
review count: 15
 
review this level

file size: 57.20 MB
file type: TR2
class: Ship
 


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Reviewer's comments
"This is a pretty faithful take on a Maria Dora style level, with convincing design, texturing and lighting to capture that theme. It's starts off with a good looking cave area, and then becomes more confined once you get inside the ship and it goes for the more claustrophobic aspects of the theme. The object use is convincing and there's a few new/modified textures to add a little to the theme (like bookshelves). It did seem the visuals improved towards the end, and I was a little disappointed that the pool area right before the end went by quite fast when it was the most impressive looking part past the starting rooms.
This is a relatively straightforward and linear level in structure, but there's a decent amount of combat and traps and it keeps momentum despite some backtracking and other things that could have dragged it down with worse execution. There's also some nice effects like the use of flooding in one area. With the amount of dark corners it's clearly going for a spooky atmosphere, but it's a pretty breezy experience overall; even the dragon secrets are pretty easy to find. Like I said earlier I felt the last area before the ending went by a bit too fast and went underused, and it's also odd how you seem to be able to just ignore the quest item altogether and leave without it (also skipping some effects that add some thrill to the last segment). One door was also placed so it had an invisible wall in front of it before it opened. A pretty short and simple map, but it's enjoyable and keeps a good range of challenges even if it's mostly action based." - Mman (01-Jul-2023)
"Good fun with this level remembering the official levels without being a remake. The texturing could be better but aside from that this was an enjoyable raid , mostly straightforward with a good pace. A few traps , flipmaps, and numerous baddies and fishes like in TR2 without being a shooter. Excellent atmosphere. 48 minutes with 2/3 secrets" - eRIC (10-Apr-2021)
"The title kinda give an impression that after finishing the original story, Lara returns to the titular ship to find the 2nd Seraph 😁. But jokes aside, despite not playing the original game for a long time, this custom reminded me of those days playimg the original, which shows just how brilliant Masked Goon made this level. Even more awesome when you remember that this is his debut. This level is quite challenging, yet still fair enough as to not being brutal (maybe except the puzzle to open the final double door, which require you to jump back and forth to avoid flame pit below.) Texturing and atmosphere are also made nicely, evoking a claustrophobic feeling by making you feel trapped in a large-yet-tight ship under a deep sea. Long story short, a well-made reimagining from a new builder. I'd like to see how he'll perform in building a TR1 or TR3 level." - Charles Kane (17-Mar-2021)
"Really a great debut. Another TR2 level to enjoy. Even when there are not puzzles to solve, the gameplay is fluid and entertaining. The secrets are easy to find, and there is enough ammo and medipacks to finish without problems (I only missed some more harpoons) even when there are a lot of enemies to shoot. Musics and cameras are well implemented, and the environmets look good with some shadow effects and well applied textures. Looking forward for more levels from this promised author. Congrats!" - Jose (05-Nov-2020)
"Very good demo. Solid even as a prologue level. Particularly decent usage of hot/cold spots of lighting to add depth to texturing, already correct everywhere except from the swimming pool room which needs refining. A bit too many enemies because I was running short on every ammo. I would also add one flare pack a bit earlier because if you check the initial cave twice, you will run out. And the Seraph is too important to be in a simple corridor so maybe give it a better place in the full version. Recommended." - DJ Full (29-Oct-2020)
"First level from this author is very good. Gameplay was good but quite straight forward. I liked architecture and layout of this level. There was some mistakes like textures mistakes, last artifact wasn't named, but it's still beginner builder so some things can be forgiven. Level was nicely decorated with many objects and cool things. Secrets were definetly to easy to find. Best points of this level is atmosphere, lighting and texturization. Atmopshere was really wonderful as for the ship level. Textures are very various. There are many dark areas which build atmosphere even more. It's very good level I would recommend it. I feel big potential in this author :)" - BlackWolfTR (25-Oct-2020)
"I find it amazing that not only new builders are still joining our little niche in the community, but also that these come along with non-TR4 levels. While the engine certainly feels more limited, it always has that little extra factor of nostalgia. Here's a nice Ship level which shouldn't be too taxing to the player and, as such, it's a nice way to unwind and simply enjoy the flow. Gameplay is pretty linear, having you search for a few keys and a couple of switches to proceed, and the level design keeps you on the move, always setting you off to your next target. I definitely enjoyed my time here and I hope we'll see more from this author in the future. 30 minutes, 3 secrets. 09/20" - Treeble (20-Sep-2020)
"For a first level, this is pretty impressive. Hit the nail on the head with regards to atmosphere and crafting a TR2 level that 'feels' the same as the original shipwreck levels. Map was fun to explore and the props, design and style of the many rooms in the ship were great. I enjoyed the theater, the flooded holds and the giant pool room. The windows offering views of the lurking apex predators were nicely placed as well! Enjoyed flipping the switch that flooded one of the rooms with hungry fishes. Gameplay was very straightforward and linear; fairly logical progression throughout. With the exception of the flooded hold I never felt in danger of being lost or possibly dying. The frogmen are just plain nasty enemies and it's always fun to dogfight them with the spear gun. The rest of the baddies, to quote the Geordie Bob undead guy in Aldwych, "die easily." Or maybe I've just played way too many TR2 levels. Their placement was good - they were positioned as if they were actually guarding things instead of just running around randomly leaving the player feeling like they had been dropped into the middle of a shooter. I thought the amount of pickups was generous - I snapped up every item I saw and had plenty of ammo and health packs to tide me over. Found all 3 secrets and was kind of sad I didn't get a nifty prize for doing it but it was the end of the level after the Jade Dragon, so oh well! I agree with another reviewer that the addition of a bit more of an escape sequence after scooping up the Seraph would have awesome. Atmosphere is great - it feels like the original Maria Doria and living quarters levels. I appreciate so much that you worked out a registry fix to address the underwater music mute bug. Audio clips were well placed and added to the overall sense of immersion. My only gripe about lighting is that it was extremely dark in some areas. I'm about blind as a bat anyway so I did need to blow through the flares and it took me longer to get through the darker areas; exploration to check for hidden things takes longer when you can't really see what the heck's in front of you. Textures were fine - didn't have any stretched walls or other wonky looking issues. Nice! Overall, good first level! Looking forward to whatever you do next." - Chel (20-Sep-2020)
"It's quite rare to stumble upon a sunken ship level nowadays and this was a pleasant return to familiar stomping grounds. All of the usual trappings (mercenaries, divers, underwater cave areas) are present and correct, along with a lot of the usual gameplay mechanics including the theatre area and rolling barrel traps. It is a little light on the puzzle side of things and a little too reliant on combatting mercenaries, which does get wearying after a while, but the surroundings are up to standard, music cues are used well and that moment where you enter a certain cave and get your first glimpse of the shipwreck nestled at the bottom of the cave is certainly memorable. Not bad for a first effort, either." - Ryan (19-Sep-2020)
"A short TR2 level that seems to work quite well in spite of its excessive darkness and a certain lack of medipacks that may make you a little uneasy in the final part. It has what you mostly expect from a Maria Doria, TR2 level, such as lots of goons (some carrying batons, others using fire arms, luckily all easy to kill, plus a couple of divers), sharks and other aggressive fish, a bit of fire and broken glass, pushables, keys and rolling barrels. The map is simple, yet enticing. The ending was really sudden. There's nothing particularly wrong about it and I enjoyed the ride." - Jorge22 (06-Sep-2020)
"First of all, let me THANK YOU, for making a TR2 based level. Not just aesthetically, but also in engine. This didn't flow into my review score, but I'm so goddamn thankful for every T1-3 style level!
Otherwise, good level. Especially coming from a new builder this is a very good level. It might not seem crazy to someone playing a lot of ambitious TR4 stuff, but I enjoyed this because it played EXACTLY like a TR2 level should. A flipped over boat level, with the same / similarly styled puzzles and sections as in the original game. Which is why my points on Lighting, Textures and the Atmosphere are all at 9. They work perfectly like they should. Caves look and feel like caves, the ship interior resembles areas that reference a bar and a theatre, there are many windows showing sharks and barracudas circling the ship. It all works. Only thing I would like to bring up there, something SirDanielPonces did in his Ship-based level that I cannot forget now, is being thorough on the aspect of the ship being "flipped". In his case that affected puzzles too, but just an overall aspect for your level would be, that with a flipped ship, the theatre and the bar would have to be flipped upside down too. But I cannot fault you too much there, because I'm not exactly sure how much this flipped aesthetic was specifically desired by you, and because the vanilla TR2 did have irregularities as well. But overall, the aesthetic fits. And I especially enjoyed the little pool at the end.
What I am a bit split on, is my opinion on enemies, pickups and secrets. Let's go with the secrets first, as they kinda saddened me a little bit. They started out great with the Golden Dragon, but the Stone Dragon was basically just in the corner of an underwater section, and the Jade Dragon was un-missable at the very end of the level. Now I was saddened a little bit because collecting all 3 didn't award anything, but it would have been useless anyway, because the level ended immediately afterwards anyway. As much as I initially liked the ending section that gave me a "rush" almost like the aforementioned SirDanielPonce's Hostile Waters that had a big Metroid-esque escape sequence. But sadly your escape sequence only consisted of one slide and the Jade Dragon. This section would have gained a lot from being slightly longer, having enemies hunting Lara for getting the Seraph or possibly even a little boss fight section.
This isn't the main reason I am split on the enemy section though. Here is the thing: The enemies are placed well, and in situations where they make sense. They guard important locations, they seem like they are looking for the same treasure as Lara (so as direct competitors) and their ambushes make sense too. So the enemy placement itself is well done. The issue is, that they - outside of the frogmen in the underwater section - are way too easy to deal with. I would have recommended a good deal more enemies, having to defeat them in tighter spaces, more ambushes and potentially a bigger final section, like them having found Lara's ship and placing guards there to ambush her on her way back. But alas, the underwater section with the two frogmen WAS dangerous, and actually made me play hide and seek with them. That part was masterfully done, and kudos for that.
I hope I wasn't too critical here, I definitely enjoyed my time playing this level, and I cannot wait for your next level!" - The Snarky Lesbian (06-Sep-2020)
"I didn't find a nice level such as this one in a while, strait forward puzzles and fun to play and solve, kinda suprised that were a ton of enemies to kill in such a small level however it tunred out so well, Secrets weren't the hardest on this level, all of them weren't really hidden, You just find them in front of you, stone secret maybe hidden -a bit- Im more into well hidden secrets, adds a lot to the level, specially if you do speciall puzzles to reach it. The level was too dark, I don't mind playing dark level, but there was a lack flares so at least should put some more flare pick ups here and there, some scene camera weren't in place specially if the room is dark and can't see anything, it didn't make sense, no camera when doing levers it's just a thing that won't affect the gameplay specially for a level strait forward like this one but it's something we are used to it in tr games so.., Overall very nice and well built level, a really good underwater theme, well used textures, I give this level a solid 9/10, secrets found 3/3. I highly recommend this level :) I had a bug when looking around with the camera the screen turns black, and returns back to normal when releasing the button, I had this issues in several places, I don't if it's the level or the game itself" - p1kaa (06-Sep-2020)
"Decent enough for a debut level and the builder already shows some nice sense of place in his first level with a few rather well connected areas. It is still a bit on the simplistic side at times with a bit of functional or unrealistic architecture, especially in those caves, texturing and lighting also need a bit more care, but I think it's quite okay overall. There are some decent takes on fixed cams, not all of which worked together well with the gameplay but it never got annoying. The gameplay is not very diverse with very easy traps and no real puzzles. Progression is not dull but heavily based on using keys and levers for doors in previous parts of the adventure and not so much on real exploration. I would have liked to have more harpoons to deal with the frogmen, also didn't find the automatic pistols but ammo for them (perhaps my mistake), but overall enemies are decently placed. The three secrets are too easy to find but of course a nice addition to the whole thing that ended after 25 minutes for me." - manarch2 (04-Sep-2020)
"Solid Tomb Raider 2 level that works quite well. Not too much in the way of puzzles and the level is fairly linear but quite fun to explore. We have the usual denizens of the deep here along with the Goons and guards that are relatively easy to dispatch. It felt like I was back in the Maria Doria and that was the whole point of the level. Found all three secrets." - Torry (02-Sep-2020)
"Good adventure inspired by the original with which I had a couple of hours entertaining. There is a lot of action with enemies and the gameplay is fluid, just one observation... although there are quite a few flares it is a bit dark in the last part, except that it seemed to me a good game, well done!" - McRaider (02-Sep-2020)