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The Lost Emperor by Sabatu

Danjo86 10 9 8 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 10
dragooncroft 8 8 9 8
DVA12 8 7 6 8
eRIC 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 9 7 10 9
Jose 8 9 9 9
kliqx_ad 7 7 9 6
Lara_Shin 10 10 10 10
manarch2 7 8 8 8
Mman 9 8 9 10
Passalaqua 10 8 8 9
Raina Audron 10 9 9 9
Relic Hunter 9 10 10 9
Ryan 9 9 10 9
The Snarky Lesbian 8 7 10 10
Torry 10 10 10 10
release date: 28-Sep-2020
# of downloads: 361

average rating: 8.78
review count: 17
review this level

file size: 211.00 MB
file type: TR2
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I've played a few of Sabatu's levels before and always have a pretty good time with them. I had not played TR in a while and was in the mood for something challenging but not brutally hard. This set delivered, and I absolutely devoured these 6 levels over a two-day period. The environments are very solid, with some really nice larger areas. Difficulty level was perfect, I enjoyed the challenging platforming yet never really felt lost or confused. Sabatu doesn't really implement much in the way of puzzles, but I wasn't really in the mood for puzzles anyway. Recommended." - Passalaqua (03-Mar-2024)
"Having played all 6 levels of Sabatu's "Lost Emperor" set, I have to say I have enjoyed the experience immensely. Perfect? No, not quite - but notwithstanding a few nit-picks, this review will be mostly dedicated to spending time on the positives, because there's an awful lot to like here. Sabatu has used textures mostly from TR2, save a trip to Egypt lifted from TR1. In remaining faithful to the locations borrowed from those games respectively, credibility has been pursued over complete originality here and I have to say the set succeeds at this. In the main, the textures and environments created across this set are immersive, seamless and expertly handled. There are a lot of dark areas, but you are also bestowed with such a ridiculous quantity of flares that you need never be anxious. The levels here are challenging, but almost always in exactly the ways you want them to be. Apart from a few blind switches (more on that later), and an armed ambush in Tibet as you climb atop a ladder, much of the trickiness comes from the platforming and traps which is of course the territory you want it to occupy. It's worth giving the platforming in particular a mention here, because without doubt this is the most prominent aspect of almost every level and every variety of demand has been included, from positioning, to orientation and timing. For me, this is where this set really shines and is most often from where the difficulty comes. Speaking of difficulty, this is well judged and executed throughout. I found myself needing a few attempts at some of the more unforgiving challenges (including a timed switch in Ocean Trench and a mercilessly swift closing spiked wall in Pharaoh's Gate), but moments such as these were still very achievable and were not thrown in excessively. As such, the experience always flowed well. This leads me to another point of praise for this set, which is the overall pacing and design. It's all too easy when designing demanding levels to go overboard - or in creating something expansive, to fill it with padding. This set does not suffer either of those criticisms - I'd even go so far as to say I found this aspect nigh-on perfect. Nothing feels irrelevant or unnecessary, and yet at the same time no part of these levels feel forced or too contrived. Levels are large and meaty, but they are also well laid out, designed and broadly commensurate in length with the larger levels of Tomb Raider 2 which I loved. Combat is a prominent feature, but beyond the first two levels there are few human foes, and at least until the end of the set, most enemy encounters are relatively brief and routine. There are however strategic opportunities to conserve ammunition and health with many of these battles, which is always welcome. There's some good enemy diversity, although the set seems to have something of a love- affair with giant Spiders during the Egyptian levels. Unusually, some of the more memorable and enjoyable combat sequences involved Frogmen. Sabatu seems to have a penchant for very large, cavernous underwater spaces (they feature in half of the entire set of levels), which provide generous room to dogfight with the Harpoon Gun in ways that many of the original games rarely, if ever, allowed. Whilst vast and varied, the levels here are not especially labyrinthine. Much of the progression is relatively linear, but we are indulged with some open and cavernous hub- designed spaces in the third and fourth levels especially, which provide the opportunity for extensive exploration, and some very enjoyable item fetching. This was especially well done in the third level, Ruins of Heracleion. So are there any criticisms? Yes, a few minor ones. The first level, set in Venice, seems to have a couple of odd glitches or miscalculations - these include a black screen when backing up for a particular jump, and the spawning of two goons who then almost immediately perish by virtue of touching water before Lara even gets to set eyes on them. There are a handful of moments in the set where the camera angle is outright horrendous. One of the worst offenders is a ledge with a low overhang by water in one of the Egyptian levels. Lining up for the next jump is a matter of trial and error, as the camera is simply zoomed in on part of Lara and the entire screen judders constantly. Sabatu also seems reluctant at times to provide visuals that show you what a lever or switch has just accomplished after you pull it. This could be argued to provide a closer to real-life experience, but it can at times be mystifying. For me, the pick ups could have been slightly better judged. I found myself with abundance of flares and medipacks, but ammunition was more scarce - even with finding almost all of the secrets. The middle section of the game in particular seems to suffer from a famine of shells and clips, and giant spiders are numerous but unfortunately they don't come packing. Those gripes aside however, this is honestly a thoroughly enjoyable and highly recommended set of levels and one of the more memorable sets I have played for a long time. Superb." - Danjo86 (19-Oct-2022)
"I love the custom levels that are built with the same integrity of the old games, and if you love TRII, you will enjoy this adventure too! This game was full of exploring and fighting, albeit not as saturated with gunman as the original TRII. My absolute favorite part of this game was the last section with the flowing water and jagged rocks, which created a creepy and mysterious environment perfect for the final level. The environments throughout in fact were very well done; I spent a bit of time just standing and enjoying the surroundings. I'm not too sure what the file you are supposed to run before playing does, but when I applied it (I did this late) it seemed to change the camera aspect, and the health bar and menu background were changed to PSX format (I actually preferred the settings before this patch, at least visually). There were a few bugs including spiders which animated weirdly when killed, many glitched textures, and Lara catching on fire when jumping into a frigid pool of water. I also ran into several tight spaces which made the camera angle too awkward, especially before a long jump to another platform. There were some puzzles throughout that didn't quite make a lot of sense to me. For example, a section in the icy had rising platforms, and I kinda just "skidoo'd" up to the top part (not sure if that's what you were SUPPOSED to do, but it got me to the next level!). Finally, the boss room felt a bit crammed, but I appreciated the creativity of not just throwing in steroids bird or a dragon. If you look past these, which are actually pretty minor, the game makes for a fun ~5-hour adventure!" - dragooncroft (08-Sep-2022)
"@Jorge22 ...and anyone else who cares > "Why is it '!!!! CRUCIAL TO OPEN AND APPLY OpenAndApplyBeforePlay.reg BEFORE PLAYING.'? It's always a bit scary and that's only common sense, but I trust Sabatu [...] on this." I don't. Which is why I opened the REG file and checked what it does. Those are basically plain-text files and pretty easy to read. In this case it changes / creates a few entires for TR2 which control draw distance, (underwater) fog and some more graphics and gameplay-related stuff, like disabling slow-turning and instead making Shift-Left or Shift-Right produce a sidestep. Now for the actual review. This is my first on this site and I'm pretty happy for this level pack to be the "victim" ;) Gotta say, though, it's a banger. Having not read any other reviews before playing and now reviewing it myself, I have no idea if I might be repeating anything others have already stated; I wanted a blind experience, basically. Gameplay (7). Since there's no better category for this: TR2 best engine don't @ me. Already a huge plus for that, but this'd *probably* also be enjoyable in the TR4 engine. Anyway... all of the levels' general philosophy is parkour and backtracking, sometimes more, sometimes less, but overall that describes it pretty well. The parkour sections are overall pretty challenging for an idiot like me, especially the timed jumps over the water in the... water level. Backtracking, however, detracts from the experience. Having to return to already-cleared areas and finding out that that one lever you pulled 15 minutes ago (with no camera change, of course) opened a door there or that the key you just picked up is for the keyhole 27 miles back in the direction you came from is incredibly frustrating imo. While we're on the topic... I usually *hate* water levels with a passion. And to a degree, this one is no exception, *especially* after pumping me full of spears and making me rely on the Harpoon so much. Still, it's well executed and was more or less fun despite my bias XD. Enemies and secrets (7). Well, numerous and hard to miss for both, I gotta say. The water level will test your patience and ability to press the '8' key while shooting the Harpoon because HORDES of Divers will assault you from 23 angles at once. Starting with the third level, you'll have your arachnophobia cured slowly but surely 'cause you'll often be fighting several Giant Spiders at once. Overall, enemy usage and placement felt... lazy. This is only amplified by the straight-up *weird* pickup placement and distribution. Half of them are flares, literally making you run the risk of overflowing the 2 bytes that store their amount if you just don't use them XD. The other half is ammo for guns you don't have or don't need because all the enemies are pathetic lil' spideys... [MAJOR SPOILER ->] One thing, though... Starting area of "Pharao's Gate", left side of the room at the back of the statue. Glitching through that gate and finding the Uzis, Grenade Launcher and M16 plus ammo and medipacks!? "Obviously can't be dev-intended", one thinks but carries on with it, especially because rolling through the gate is all that's required to get the goodies. What makes it even weirder is the missing texture on a block in that "secret-but-not-really-secret" room. Atmosphere, Sound, Cameras (9). We don't need to talk much about the decoration and general level design, all of the levels get a "fantastic" and that's it. Especially the homage to "Unfinished Business" with the cat eyes in "Pharao's Gate" and generally the textures and design of the Egypt levels bring back so many pleasant memories. As I said, however, because of missing camera "spoiling" about hidden doors etc., this isn't a 10, that might just be me, though. Lighting & Textures (6). Designing your levels in a way that *requires* darkness for them to be authentic is not inherently bad, but I consider this not to have been executed well in this case. There is a reason you get tons upon tons of flares: half the time you can't see shit without them. I consider this bad level design because it doesn't fit the picture the rest of the level pack paints (well-lit or outdoor areas, generally not the right "atmosphere" for darkness like that). This extreme contrast of going from bright sunlight into near-absolute darkness is just... weird. Overall (29 รท 4 = 7.25). A fun level pack, however with low replayability and lots of unnecessary "details" that detract from the great gameplay that it *would* have deserved." - kliqx_ad (15-Sep-2021)
"Another long game by Sabatu which gave me mixed feelings in the end. On one hand there are large chunks of fun gameplay mostly because of inspired bits of platforming. Some levels are better , my favourite is Ruins of Heraclion despite a shortcut for one of the four quests , i like also the Venetian level with good use of the boat although the end is a bit strange as some baddies died without any reason, and the Underwater level Ocean trench was good also and kinda relaxing , there are loads of frogmen to kill which generally i'm not very fond of but here there is plenty of space to manoeuvre. In comparison the 3 latter levels did not offer enough change of gameplay or enemies nor better visuals, imo the visuals were less good to me. Many enemies and enough goodies , and secrets are generally hard to find in all levels. Overall a good game with solid raiding but 3 or 4 levels would have been enough, but that's just me." - eRIC (30-May-2021)
"Good adventure but overall the quality of the levels, both in terms of gameplay and visuals, is rather mixed. Good to very good looking larger areas mix with slightly underdeveloped smaller corridors with less nice texturing and architecture. The gameplay in the first two levels is also not very inspired but this gets better and I enjoyed especially the third and fifth levels with decent usage of traps and platforming. More could've been done in terms of puzzles, though. There are a lot of enemies, but also enough ammo especially if you search for the 18 mostly well hidden secrets. Perhaps this long game could've been slightly shorter so that the quality would be a little more even and slightly dull parts had been cut off, but on the whole this game is enjoyable even for the 2:35 hours it lasted for me." - manarch2 (03-Feb-2021)
""9/10 boulders recommend Lara to step into the shadowy corridor." This set of levels was a blast from the past! I did not check how many there were, so I just kept playing and playing, only to find out there were quite a few! It is heavily inspired by the original TR2 adventure and comprised of 6 levels but they are not short by any means. It starts off really pleasantly in the canals of Venice, get to try the boat and some familiar, walk in the dark flare action. Then Lara goes to search for an underwater wreck - the scope of this level is huge! I do not think I have seen a bigger underwater cavern. It was perhaps too big as I was running out of air constantly and there were so many divers to shoot, I ran out of harpoon ammo. After this comes the next set which features TR1 tile sets and again, we find large statues and temples in this area. The spiders did not stay in their death pose, so it was a bit freaky to walk around them! The only thing I would nitpick is that the lighting here was very bright, even though you could see starry sky above you. After this, Lara ventures into Tibetan mountains which has the most amazing vertical climbs I have ever seen. Lots of curved and difficult jumps but not impossible. I advise to save often, it is a long way down. The last level was a bit shorter, the final showdown was epic, I almost run out of all my medipacks and ammo I cannot overstate how many times I have witnessed Lara being killed off in so many ways - constantly ran over by boulders, impaled by spikes and icicles, deadly jumps... Good to see a challenging level! Should have had a death counter on the screen :D Some jumps were really hard but never felt unfair, I really had to think on what I was doing and where I needed to get and how to get there. Luckily, Sabatu knows how to design a compelling level and I did not need to check a walkthrough once. I wish there were a bit more places with music, but the overall ambience was well done. Can only recommend!" - Raina Audron (05-Jan-2021)
"First of all: I loved playing these levels! The fact that it was more than one level always makes me happy :) the feel was very nice as well: a combination of the classic TR1 and 2, that's a job well done! The Tomb Raider 2 levels really felt like TR2, very nostalgic (I can't speak about TR1 as I never played it (Yikes!!! I knooow such a shame)). The enormous underwater cave was impressive btw, I've seen very little caves like that before! But the downside was that the camera was a bit annoying there, and this was a reoccuring problem throughout alle the levels, the cameras. Not that bothersome if it wasn't for the difficult jumps you had to make whilst seeing nothing, that was hard. Speaking of difficult jumps: I suppose the motto of the author was something like "jumping straight forward is for losers" or something :p If you're not really into the acrobatics, keep in mind you might get stuck sometimes or swear a lot :p For me it was just hard enough, harder would've been annoying. Another small sidenote is the music: it sometimes started playing again at random moments because I triggered it by walking on the same spot as I did before. Not that big of a deal, but it breaks the immersiveness a bit. Buuuut overall: really nice levels, especially the first and the last one! Great job! I would definitely recommend them." - DVA12 (08-Dec-2020)
"Sabatu proved that you can make wonders with the TR2 engine and textures, this adventure really gave me the feeling of a TR2 original game with a notch of challenge. I am giving this 10/10 despite few very micro minor bugs here and there at my end because you still managed to pull a fantastic adventure despite the limitations and how deceiving the engine itself can be and none of it is your fault, the level of creativity and how the textures were fantastically used blew me away especially the Egyptian levels which looked way less attractive in the original TR. Your well placed traps gave me the spooks of my life especially the clank clank doors and sneaky boulders :). I would say for Egypt the amount of my most hated enemies like spiders were scary and was wondering if some crocodiles and black panthers would have fitted better? Still just a thought and not an issue for me as it's a matter of preference and creativity. Make no mistake as this adventure is challenging and has no ordinary jumps in some areas and some secrets...oh boy....they are "very secrety" indeed but I found the idea being fair as some secrets shouldn't be that easy to find... well in my case it was a challenge but it made the exploration more interesting since you get to see the entire work done in the map. There's plenty of ammo if you look for it, plenty of flares and med packs, the idea is to use stuff wisely but Sabatu gave the right amount of pickups and it is much much more better than plenty of other TRLEs, find the secrets and you will get pretty rewards :). This adventure gave me everything I really wanted for a long time, TR2 vibes with great levels and some challenge, top notch for me. Congratulations developer, I hope this encourages you to pull another great adventure using TR2 or TR3 without letting any limitations demotivate you! Thank you very much for making this. Lara_Shin." - Lara_Shin (08-Dec-2020)
"This is a trip through a variety of themes, as you go from Venice to underwater Egyptian ruins to oriental tombs in a Tibet setting. Each area is well executed visually, with very few visual issues and some original theme mixes like the underwater+Egyptian sections. It's limited by the nature of the TR2 engine but does about as much with it as it can and is easily a contender for the best looking TR2 set I've seen. There is a weird bug with the giant Spiders where their death animation is broken and they reset to an idle pose after it plays, which is simultaneously creepy and amusing (although very much on the former side if my arachnophobia was anything like it used to be). There is also a bug where music triggers replay if you return after loading a save, but I think this is an unavoidable engine bug I've seen in other TR2 maps.
The levels are mostly medium sized, with some varying, but them generally not being especially long. The set follows TR2 in having a lot of combat, but it also follows TR2 in not letting that compromise on interesting exploration and level design either, and there are multiple nice interlinking set-piece rooms throughout. As well as combat there are quite a few traps too, and that all adds up to put this on the tougher side for a TR2 level set, although it's very forgiving with providing a ton of medikits and plenty of ammo. In general the numerous enemies fit, but the Egyptian levels streched the believability a bit, with a combination of Divers, Hawks, Spiders and Rats that don't exactly mesh too well; the Spiders in particular feel like they work better as occasional enemies and the fear they occasionally evoke gets dampened by random clown cars of them to mow down, especially as there are no webs or other environmental storytelling signs for their existance. One end fight put a ton of tough enemies in a small area that made them feel nearly unavoidable, but it is essentially the final boss at least. Despite the occasional issues this is up there with Feder's sets as the best of TR2 custom levels and a must play, and it seems that the overall quality of this side of the TR editing space has improved a lot recently." - Mman (03-Nov-2020)
"This is an absolutely cracking TR2 adventure. Even in "only" six levels, it still manages to encompass a wide variety of environments (Venice, sunken ship, Egypt, Tibet and China) and the rapid change of scenery is undoubtedly one of the game's greatest strengths. Atmospherically, this hits all the right points. The scenery is really nicely crafted aside from a few overly dark shadows which weren't too annoying since copious amounts of flares were provided and the textures are extremely faithful to both the original TR1 and TR2 games. Gameplay nicely evokes the original classic TR2 feeling. Maybe not much in the way of conventional puzzling, but the whole flow is generally very fast-paced and the exploration factor is very nicely executed indeed. I especially liked the way that the secrets were hidden, some even requiring you to explore new areas just to locate them. The only real downside is that the enemy distribution is a bit uneven. Quite often, they tended to attack in rather wearisome hordes which tended to cause Lara more health loss than I would have ideally cared for, and I thought that the final battle with around ten Chinese warriors seemed like definite overkill, even with all of the supplies I had accumulated beforehand. Still, this is overall a great adventure in the classic sense and I definitely recommend it." - Ryan (01-Nov-2020)
"Excellent adventure by Sabatu. A very good design, variety of tasks and the TR2 spirit in all levels. Perhaps there are excessive enemies (big spiders) in some levels, but you'll find always enough pickups to deal with them. Sometimes I missed some more cameras and flybys, but the old musics are well placed. The very best was, as usual, the fantastic architecture, forcing the players to take all kind of gymnastics and building hidden places for the secrets. Definitely, if you are a TR2 lover, you can't miss this extraordinary adventure, and if you are not a TR2 lover I highly recommend it anyway, you will not regret. Thank you very much, Sabatu!" - Jose (28-Oct-2020)
"Why is it "!!!! CRUCIAL TO OPEN AND APPLY OpenAndApplyBeforePlay.reg BEFORE PLAYING."? It's always a bit scary and that's only common sense, but I trust Sabatu (except for the lack of an explanation) on this. It's an obviously grand TR2 adventure in different settings, starting with Venice, going through amazing underwater caves and ending in Tibet and China. I clearly enjoyed the settings and the atmosphere, as well as the way the whole adventure unfolds - 6 whole enticing levels. So, yes, not being the pixel expert some are, what may I add? It's really great (and often intriguing) TR2 wise, never devoid of emotion. Very well done, in spite of some perhaps excessive darkness at times (I know, there are plenty of flares lying around). Unlike some, I enjoyed Venice and thought it was a great starting point. Now, for what I liked less (and these things are somehow connected)... The big spiders? No, the spiders, entire hordes of them, were ok, fortunately not poisoning, just threatening. So, that was fine. But I thought having to find all secrets to get all weapons and more medipacks too was a little too cruel, especially when you think of all the truly hard spear warriors you encounter as you near the end. Just before coming to a close, Lara gets to a tiny room, in which she has to fight four of those warriors simultaneously, while jumping in between those who are still waiting to wake up, and that is, I believe, utterly impossible unless you have the grenade gun and plenty of ammo, plus medipacks a go-go. So, facing the impossibility of sadly having to use the classic all guns cheat, I was fortunate enough to get help from Phil (thanks, Phil!) and his savegame editor, which allowed me to defeat the otherwise undefeatable warriors and their murdering spears. I know, I was really near the end, but I thought that was a little too much, when you think of how well provided you had to be for the occasion. So, recommended indeed, but do take care to get all the secrets, no matter how long it will take you to explore and explore..." - Jorge22 (28-Oct-2020)
"I've been working my way through this wild ride of an adventure for the last two weeks or so and recently finished, and it was an absolute blast! With Non-TR4 based levels becoming more commonplace as Tomb Editor develops, it's definitely fun to play with the tools that Lara had available in past installments, like the auto pistols and M16, as well as re-experiencing the mechanics the older Tomb Raider games had that TR4 took away. As for this level set itself, it presents a variety of locations in its six levels. From Venice, to a fusion of undersea and Khamoon-style Egypt, to a Tibet and Xian fusion at the end, the action flows very smoothly from one level to the next with a myriad of platforming tasks, timed challenges, and good enemy placements for satisfying combat encounters. Rarely did I feel stuck, and if I did it wasn't for long. Aesthetically, this felt like a genuine expansion to TR2 as the author's way of building rooms and texturing them was faithful to the original games, even with the occasional texturing flaws. Even so, each level has a distinct visual theme that is pleasing to the eyes. While generally polished to a high degree, I felt like the later levels lost a bit of their steam and relied more on heavy combat encounters. The last level was a culprit of this with pitting Lara against up to four spearmen at a time in tight quarters. Thankfully I had just enough ammo for the stronger weapons, and plenty of medipacks throughout the levels to get through each challenge thrown at me. In the end, I absolutely recommend playing this - it's a great throwback to old school Tomb Raider with very solid environments and platforming. Well done, Sabatu!" - Relic Hunter (25-Oct-2020)
"I'm rather into small, cute and comfy scenery, and that's probably why the first level of this game appealed to me the most, unlike the subsequent epic and overwhelming ones. But this doesn't deny the excellence of every room which is on par with Feder's. I really cannot imagine how you could get any better in this engine. I would just shorten the Egyptian chapter, which had too many cases of another and another and another cave, and in place of one of those caves, I would fit a complete oasis, the scraps of which we can see but never enter beyond that epic door. Such thing, also tipping a hat to Unfinished Business, would be much more desired and substantial. Throughout the runtime, I complained about combat a lot, but 70% of that misery I brought on myself at my own will, so I'm not gonna penalize the game for my haphazard playing. I would just include fewer and more cleverly distributed scuba divers because they just seem to replace fish instead of serve proper tension handling. Also, there were two or three cases where you get attacked completely defenseless, the ladder in Tibet being absolutely dreadful so, you better park the bike directly where you pull up, to run over those guys immediately before they drain you. Still, even with speedrun voodoo strats, chances are very slim to avoid using medikits, so be mindful to conserve them, especially if you are novice - and yes, I think you should play this adventure even if you are. It feels like a proper TR2 Gold expansion, which in the end left me satisfied and absolutely sure my time wasn't wasted. I would even say Sabatu did a better job in TR2 than he did in TR4, which leaves me quite tranquil about the future of upcoming TombEditor projects. Good job." - DJ Full (21-Oct-2020)
"This six level Tomb Raider 2 set brought back all the joy of those early days of raiding and quite honestly, I found it better than the original. The only level I did not like was the first as let's face it, you cannot do much with the Venice package but what there was, it was interesting enough. There are a few "boss" fights in these levels, the most serious being the last and when I entered that fateful chamber I had little ammo left and when I exited I had none (after many, many reloads I may add). I only found 11 of the 18 secrets and whilst I saw a couple I gave up trying to find my way to them. I did enjoy the TR1 sandy desert features in a TR2 game. That was different and unexpected. Enemies are numerous and general attach em masse and the giant spiders worried me as after they were dead they appeared on all six legs (and not on their backs as in the original game) so that when you re-entered an area I was unsure if what I saw were dead spiders or new about to spawn spiders. Creepy. Graphics were great, atmosphere fantastic, game play absorbing and whilst there were near no puzzles I did not miss them. There were many, many dark areas but you had flares literally coming out of your backside that that was not an issue. I just loved this and spent the better part of two days here. Thanks Sabatu." - Torry (13-Oct-2020)
"Oh dear, this is collection of levels (6 levels in total) very hard to Review in a shorter form. Cause I definitely enjoyed my time with them, enough to post a more longform Review on the forums. But breaking that down into a smaller more concise version? Well maybe my struggle there is well reflected in this collection, as it also struggles with a concise gameplay flow. I'm not exaggerating when I'm saying that "Short and Sweet" is not a phrase fitting these levels. Pretty much all but the last one take too long, tend to meanders around until you lose interest in finishing the level and drag in it's details a bit too much. I'm serious, these levels say in two hours what you could say in one (kind of like my writing). Sadly it also sported an odd pickup ratio, where in the early levels you kinda drown in it, while the middle levels cause a minor famine. And when you do get pickups, you get multiple at the same time, as if trying to fill a quota somehow. And the enemies? Let me ask you this: Do you like Spiders? The entire middle section of the collection, featuring the Egypt-style levels, consists of you mowing down armies of giant spiders. Say good bye to that ammunition of yours. In later levels you have a lot less spiders, but often huge groups of enemies that ambush you while trying to climb ladders or bombrush you in large groups while you're in a tiny room (hello finale).
But I must halt myself here. It's like all is negative. But it isn't. In fact this may be mostly due to me being nitpicky. There is A LOT to love about these levels. Firstly, all of these levels hit their thematic background perfectly, and work out nicely in representing "where" they might be in reality. They consist of thematic progression as well, having levels progress from a lighter theme, to a more deep and thematic one over time. ESPECIALLY the second level jumps out to me here. Ocean Trench (the aforementioned second level) is finely crafted level starting in a corral riff, leading you through big and wide ocean pockets, down to claustrophobic tight corridors in a wreck, and back to freedom. A light in the darkness, and you ARE feeling that. The Atmosphere in both the second and the last levels are beautifully realised works of art. And while the other levels thematically work as well, their slow meandering nature might make you quit early. Don't push yourself, just allow yourself to take it in slowly, play it over multiple days, and then see for yourself. There are some real gems in here, you just have to dig for them." - The Snarky Lesbian (12-Oct-2020)