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The Mystic Artefact - Part 1 by Mahetus

Akirakina 9 8 9 8
BlackWolfTR 10 8 8 7
Charles Kane 9 9 9 9
DJ Full 8 9 7 7
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 9 8 7 7
Jose 7 8 9 7
Lorax 9 9 9 8
manarch2 5 7 6 6
PedroCroft_ 8 8 7 7
Phil 9 8 8 7
Ryan 7 8 8 7
steven35175 9 8 9 8
The Snarky Lesbian 10 9 10 10
Torry 10 10 10 9
TRaider1996 8 9 9 7
Treeble 8 8 8 8
release date: 19-Oct-2020
# of downloads: 43

average rating: 8.18
review count: 17
review this level

file size: 119.00 MB
file type: TR2
class: Cave/Cat

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"A well made TR2 engine level made by Mahetus. It consists two levels set in Egypt/Cave vibes. Gameplay As for TR2 gameplay is very solid and very well done, probably even perfect. We are going to explore caves and temples. Game relies on a lot of platforming, jumping and parkour. There are few some really good puzzles with pushables and tile jumping. I personally loved exploring the dark caves and fighting with a lot of spiders. Traps are placed well and they caused quite of a trouble for me. There was some backtracking but it wasn't annoying and boring so it is a good point. On the plus is also a clever usage of flipmaps, for example the opening of tomb. I also liked usage of a puzzle item from TR4 engine in first level, it's quite refreshing to see something from other engines in TR2. Design and Atmosphere In contrast from gameplay, design has some flaws. At first I want to mention that most of caves and caverns were quite blocky, with flat walls and wallpapered effect on them. Despite flaws of cave areas, the architecture of temples and ruins was done well. As for textures, they were sometimes repetetive and as I said there were some wallpapered walls in caves that didn't look really good. In temple areas wallpapered walls could be still found but more rare. Some designs of temple locations were looking pretty unique as for TR2 custom level. As for lighting, well in some areas it was pretty good but in others it was flat and without contrast. Some rooms were missing decorations too and they fell quite empty. Atmosphere in general is pretty nice with a lot of dark, gloomy places and temples. Usage of sounds is fine. Conclusion It's definitely a good level on TR2 engine with gameplay that was nearly perfect and design with some noticeable flaws but it's still going strong with its gloomy atmosphere. I can definitely recommend it :)" - BlackWolfTR (13-Apr-2022)
"Great debut level, as a whole I found it thoroughly enjoyable and it kept me hooked the entire time. The lighting and textures aren't bad at all, in fact I quite enjoyed them but compared to how good everything else was that felt like the weakest point of the level. Mahetus has the potential to be a really great builder. I'm excited for whatever his next levels may bring and how he'll improve." - Lorax (01-Feb-2022)
"It´s really a good start for the builder to publish his first level. I enjoyed this level a lot. I have to admit some secrets are well-hidden, which can make players miss them so easily. First level is pretty easy. Just player need to look around very carefully. However, there's not many kinds of enemy types. Level 2 really give me more thoughts. I started to eager to explore more when I reached Cat eye-like temple. The Uzis guarded by two rolling blade traps is really fun and challenging. I was impressed by the hanging bridge area. the whole place is pretty dark. Seriously I never expected to find a secret down there. It can give creeps to players due to the darkness. Despite some jumps in this levelset are tricky, the whole content is excellent. The gameplay time is really what a player should take. For the Difficulty is medium to me, I don't know how other thinks about the difficulty for the level. Look forward to see the continuation in the future. Keep it up !" - steven35175 (09-Jun-2021)
"As a Debut level I tend to be more critic on it to provide more and proper feedback, but this Debut.. Wow. I am impressed, let me say that of the start! So now for the review! Gameplay&Puzzles: Puzzles are well thought of, as I would expect from a TRII level. It make me search for my bacon, I was backtracking and all, to see what I miss, but then there is even more! because I missed parts. Story based, it is really fair. Enemies,Objects: and secrets: I disliked the Yeti/sasquatch without proper weapon like: nade launcher. probably personal liking, I got the job done but I would have put less in, I get the idea and up the difficulty curve, but to me that might be a little to much. Maybe I am just an old dude. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: Not much to say, well laid out with the atmosphere, I even got scare vibes of what is going to happen next. As well for sound and cams, It is fair, not over the top, right on. Maybe some more ambient sound? But I don't mind. Lighting&Textures: I personally do not like to dark of levels, I just burn through all my flares like being on fire and using medkits, I would have upped the brightness a little, again personal liking. textures are nice, not boxy or weird, it is nice. Again for a Debut, A well worth your time to play! Cannot wait for the follow up!" - Akirakina (28-Apr-2021)
"A very well-balanced level set to play. Made by more amazing that this is the builder's debut. Gameplay and Puzzles are never boring, you always have a sense of progress, even though the paths can be confusing sometimes. Enemies are also well-placed, often made you use your stronger weapons so that you won't have to conserve too much of your ammo. The atmosphere and lighting are done nicely, feels much like the original TR2 levels but with the builder's original trademark. Have a great hope that the next chapter will be as awesome, or even more awesome. Keep it up, Mahetus." - Charles Kane (03-Apr-2021)
"before I start I want to say that I played this level together with the author, so I will quote points from point to point here. Gameplay & Puzzles: I found gameplay the strongest point of this project, they are very fun in my opinion, good exploration and we have a lot of places to explore here and there, cuz I found the puzzles well seasoned, even because inside the temple we have to pull two blocks over a long distance and slow? yes more and solid and fun, the puzzles of the two levels in general are very solid, some parts are difficult as in level 2 that trap of bags full of thorns, my god and my torture. although a few attempts were enough. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: I find it interesting to say that the secrets are very silly and easy to catch, I didn't have so much difficulty, as the project uses textures from the home of the spiders as a cave and the rest and Egypt, I liked how it was thought, several objects of the TR4 and the new sprite Is it also really cool and creative, even more and meaningless to have yetis in this cave that seems to me to be somewhere in Egypt? or an Egyptian temple buried somewhere in the world? Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: unfortunately the weak point of this project and its lazy atmosphere, but not at all times, there are some very productive and cool parts to be honest others are frustrating, although it is not that bad. the soundtrack of the game and well positioned, cuz the tracks are very immersive at the right time, that is one of the positive points. Lighting & Textures: here comes another bad point here, the textures of the spider's home are repeated so much that it starts to get sick, and also some rooms are strange and again this repetition, the author should have noticed this before and made some variation. although the lighting is very dark and some moments are bright and sufficient for me. first level 1 secret of 3, and on the second level 2 secrets of 3. for me it is a solid level but a little frustrating, and a good pass of time, you can be sure. 1h35min." - PedroCroft_ (16-Mar-2021)
"What a wonderful Tomb Raider 2 level set. This has all the aspects that make a level great and my only complaint was that the second level was overly dark but plenty of flares are provided so that you can find your way. There are a couple of homages to the original game here which I liked and a seriously pixel perfect back flip, jump and grab that had me reloading time and time again which I did not like much at all and oh, let us not forget the dastardly tile puzzle where the graphics and lighting simply let the exercise down flat. Still a great level that had me at the keyboard for three days on and off." - Torry (30-Nov-2020)
"Finally, a TR2 level that executes the way it's supposed to, when you double click on the executable. The more recent TR2 releases, including one that's apparently destined for Hall of Fame honors, fail to pass this simple test. There are two parts here, the first of which takes just less than an hour, and a follow-up that consumes nearly an hour and a half. Like Treeble, I would have been satisfied with the first part alone. The second segment, with its dark caves and wearying climbing exercises, became something to be endured rather than enjoyed well before the end. Still, if you just have to make TR2 levels, I suppose this one is as creative and challenging as any of them. I saved at least 90 times during the course of the game, many of them during that segment where you have to push five buttons while dodging a room-wide row of rolling blade wheels. And a map (or a more detailed written description) in Treeble's otherwise excellent walkthrough would have been helpful in that room where you have to step on five well-spaced tiles to open a door at the other end of the room. In my game the non-brown tiles all looked pretty much the same, so I had to take a peek at Doggett TV's video to find out which were the magic tiles. As most of you know, TR2 is not my favorite engine, but I did enjoy myself here, especially in the first level." - Phil (14-Nov-2020)
"Hmm... Did this couple of levels actually need the work of all the people mentioned in the final credits or is this some sort of Back to the Future? Anyway, there's plenty of TR2 action in this game, including Yetis, spiders and fish, fire and brimstone, platforming, traps and puzzles. Quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, one of the things that also stands out may be summed up in the phrase "very dark caves". I thought this was a pretty good work, except for the said caves a go-go (even though there are also plenty of flares around) that leave you an impression of maybe a little rough on the edges texturing at times. I could be wrong though... Generally fun." - Jorge22 (10-Nov-2020)
"Really an impressive debut with some fresh ideas, like the puzzle with the movable blocks in the small lake in first level. There are some tricky jumps but never too hard; even with the shortcuts sometimes the gameplay involves constant backtracking, even more if you don't choose the "correct" path; the enemies are well balanced and the secrets not excessively hidden. I found some rooms too huge, nude and walpapered, and many rooms are very dark. The best for me was the use of the musics in special places; the cameras... sometimes it should be better place some more in certain places. Anyway a very promising builder; looking forward to the next release. Good work!" - Jose (10-Nov-2020)
"Not having played a TR2 level for some time, I was rather pleased to find myself enjoying the experience. It’s all too easy to dismiss some of the earlier engines as being a bit boring compared to the more sophisticated stuff on offer now. Certainly TR2 Lara has restrictions, but there’s still enjoyment to be had here and it’s a very decent debut level." - Jay (29-Oct-2020)
"This is definitely a competently constructed effort for a first and were it not for a few choices on the part of the builder that I personally wasn't keen on, this would have earned higher scores from me. The gameplay undoubtedly contains a huge amount of tasks to accomplish, ranging from traps of all different shapes, sizes and combinations, pushblock puzzles, bracing timed runs and even a little springboard exercise, but what somewhat spoils it in that respect is that there are also a lot of long, tedious climbing passages and bland corridors that do tend to get monotonous after encountering them numerous times, all of which somewhat diminished my enjoyment of the level. This is also true of the aesthetic side of things, whereby the mixture of TR2 Xian and TR4 Burial Chamber textures mostly create an absorbing, imposing and unsettling atmosphere (aided by some effectively used audio files), but the looks are spoiled a bit by some eyesore wallpaper effects in quite a few rooms. Which is a shame, because when the builder gets it right, he most definitely does get it right, as the secrets are well hidden and the enemies enjoyably placed to keep you on your toes. Overall, it's a bit of a pity about the negatives mentioned above, but rest assured there is definite potential here." - Ryan (26-Oct-2020)
"Quite an impressive release for a debut level, and using the TR2 engine no less. Admittedly, I enjoyed the first half of this two-parter a lot more than the second one, but the second level is so ambitiously big. There's a fair share of backtracking, but generally speaking it's a fairly linear set of levels where you need to go is obvious (except, maybe, for one camera clue to a flipmap in the first level, I had no idea wherever that was at first). There are fun jumping sequences in both levels, sometimes peppered with traps and some throwbacks to the original games such as the timed fire pillars or the room with several rolling blades protecting a series of buttons. The use of TR4 textures and objects under the limited color palette of the TR2 engine creates a weird (yet effective) nostalgic feeling. My only complaint is that for the most part in the second level I had to have a flare in hands, I appreciate the atmosphere the author wanted to achieve with these underground caves and what not, and there were plenty of flares to spare, but still, it was a bit too dark for my tastes. All in all, like I said, quite impressive debut levels and I am looking forward to future offerings from this author. 90 minutes, 5 secrets. 10/20" - Treeble (25-Oct-2020)
"Sincerely, this had potential to be a 9+ so seeing all the misapproaches is much more painful than if it was a bad level. Too crude wherever it should be organic, too dark in caves, too bright in tombs, lacking hot and coldspots everywhere, and it could all end after one hour instead of three, however I noticed the second level gave more chance for fast return. The rest is enjoyable - especially puzzles, very effective despite of technical simplicity, and secrets which were a proper highlight as well. So what I'd suggest is a takedown, a fix and a re-release, because reviews can be updated as well as the level." - DJ Full (22-Oct-2020)
"About an hour long level duo with a lot to do actually, but it still feels tedious - too many shimmies/climbs/pointless block pushes are put into this, add to this a few nasty backtracks (despite occasional shortcuts). Sadly so because the overall mix of traps, a few timed runs and exploration is otherwise enjoyable, especially in the second level. There are not so many utterly creative moments but the classic TR ideas are realised well enough here and progression is interesting. I noted two unintended shortcuts: in the timed run in the water room it is not needed to stop the water and move the blocks because you can directly jump to the ledge with the key, and it is also possible to use the springpad to directly get to the ledge with the crystal, skipping half of the second level! The looks are TR 2 Xian mixed with TR 4 Egypt which works well overall. I liked several of the larger areas and fixed cameras are also used decently, but still had this feeling of emptiness and monotony as the areas tended to look all the same after a while and the grey/brown colour scheme is also rather uninspired as well as some wallpapered textures. I liked how the secrets were hidden (some of which you can see early, but have to figure out how to access) and the enemy encounters are decent, but there's little variety actually with just yetis and spiders to shoot. Overall, a good debut level but remember sometimes less is more, especially when it comes to pointlessly long sections and too large and sameish areas. Finished in one hour." - manarch2 (20-Oct-2020)
"I like playing TR2 levels. This one was nice as it felt like a proper TR game. My only complaint would be that the environment seems to always be the same (the spider cave for example) and I think some diversity would have been nice. It is nor too complicated nor too easy. I would recommend." - TRaider1996 (20-Oct-2020)
"WARNING: This level has spiders!
Did I just find a level with spiders again? To be honest, after experiencing Sabatu's expedition to Spider-Land, I was not expecting to feel particularly good about this level. But I gotta say, what was a weakness in his levels due to a limitation of the TR2 Engine - that being the inability to provide strong and durable enemies without having to use the enemies that TR2 happened to give you at later stages of the game, which were sadly strongly tied to specific themes - is actually a strength here. As opposed to the Egyptian desert crawling with spiders, these 2 levels present you with Spidercaves to begin with. Which, while creeping the living hell out of me due to my Arachnophobia, worked extremely well to provide a nice dark atmosphere. And I gotta say, it was done "tactfully", meaning the creep level to which some games (Hello Dark Messiah) will go with the Spider stuff, was kept fairly low. It's on the level of the original Tomb Raider 2, a bit less scary, but for longer durations. And in this environment, the big spiders actually made for really good enemies. They bombrush the player at about twice the speed of Bartoli's Melee enemies, while also taking much more punishment. Making them quite formidable enemies that force the player to use valuable resources. More importantly, the creator managed to avoid one of the big cardinal sins of many levels with melee enemies - providing high ground to just pelt down from. Except for one instance right at the end, you have to face your enemies head one. So as opposed to many other Custom Levels, these 2 right here do not allow you to easily cheese melee enemies.
With that in mind, another thing that I tend to complain about in my Reviews, is the pickup to enemy ratio, as well as the availability of guns. Something this creator also aced. First of all, he managed to resist the temptation to throw all weapons in to the levels that Tomb Raider 2 has (no Grenade Launcher or M16, that would not fit anyway), so it's tightly balanced around a few weapons for the right job. Secondly, he - as mentioned before - forces you to actually use your precious resources because encounters are hard to cheese, so you will either go with Pistols and lose med-kits, or go with stronger weapons and lose limited ammunition, and third - the pickup amount feels fairly balanced (for the most part). You're happy to find a pickup, but not to the degree where you feel close to famine (like in Danath's first level set). Slight caveat though - towards the later half of the second level, there is suddenly a huge influx of pickups compared to a small amount of enemies, and also more ability to cheese them. Also the amount of enemies should have been higher in this second half by a good 20-30%. Something to keep in mind here, is how strong Uzi Pickups are in TR2 for how much ammunition they provide. One tends to forget how overpowered Uzi pickups are in TR2, so I cannot fault the creator too much here, but still. This and the somewhat lackluster enemy density in the second half of the second level, is what lead me to take off a point here. But think of it as 9 1/2, cause what is on offer here, is fairly rare. This is the hallmark of good balancing.
As mentioned before, the first level as well as parts of the second level, do fairly well at realizing creepy crawly spider caves. Initially it lead me to believe that I would find a Xian-style temple at the end of it. But I didn't. Instead I found an Egyptian-esque tomb. But not like so many other Egyptian Tombs, in drab yellow beige with the occasional colours. No, this place is both all over the place colour-wise AND working really well. Like a mixture between a lava-tomb and well an Egyptian tomb. It uses TR4 Textures, which I did not know you could do for TR2. So it mixes themes from TR4's yellow tombs with brown-red-black obsidian-esque palaces. Normally I detest egyptian tombs (Don't @ me), but this level creator made them fairly interesting for me (Did I see some Atlantis textures in there?), and I did not get fatiqued at all. This coupled with me having to use a good deal of flares (which I was prvovided a good supply off) to check dark corners and find pickups well hidden in the corners of your main path made me enjoy my exploration quite a bit.
Overall I have to say, I am stunned at how well executed this level was, especially by a new creator. Some of the things in this level might not stick out as incredibly well to many players, but there are many small things, artful designs and genius balancing acts that I nonetheless noticed (like not being able to cheese most of the enemies) and I have to celebrate for how refreshing they are. Specifically the use of TR4-style textures took me by complete surprise. If this creator keeps on improving on their already glaring strengths, then I can see another Feder-level creator rising up here. And I absolutely love to see it. Not just because I'm afraid of those moments when I run out of TR1-3 games and have to play boring TR4 levels, but also because these levels keep me more than engaged, they have me positively hooked! KUDOS to this first level Mahetus!" - The Snarky Lesbian (20-Oct-2020)