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ORC21 - Return to the Great Wall by Mordyga

BlackWolfTR 8 9 10 9
dinne 7 8 8 8
DJ Full 9 9 9 8
Feats 8 9 7 9
Jay 8 9 10 9
John 6 8 8 7
Jose 6 7 8 7
manarch2 7 8 7 7
MichaelP 8 8 8 8
MigMarado 7 9 9 8
Mizakiharuno 6 8 9 10
Mman 7 8 8 8
nerdfury 9 10 9 8
p1kaa 7 7 6 6
Phil 8 8 8 8
Raina Audron 5 6 7 8
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Torry 7 9 8 8
Wolf7 10 9 10 9
 
release date: 22-Apr-2021
# of downloads: 134

average rating: 8.04
review count: 19
 
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file size: 37.40 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc
 


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Reviewer's comments
"While I in all honesty I didn't have the greatest of times playing this level I can appreciate the effort and there's still a solid raid to be had here. For me the myriad of slopes in this level was a bit off putting on the gameplay side of things. Sound also sounded a bit muffled, but the level looked fantastic and the combat was fun with some challenging swimming sections. Would still recommend anyways if you're after a quick raid and haven't played it yet :)" - Feats (25-Jul-2023)
"This a challenging and confusing level and you will have little hope without referring to a walk through. I spent so much time and effort trying to get that one and only secret right at the start of the level and just ended up drowning time and time again. Surprise, surprise you actually manage to reach it near the end of the level. I thought that was Clever? Mean? You decide. The tasks involved a lot of platforming and mostly the path to follow was unclear. The underwater sections were nightmarish and confusing as hell and please, how does the raider discern that those underwater objects had to be shot with the harpoon gun to open doors? Finding a lever to pick up to sue as the lever for the one underwater switch was clever though. The final firefight was tough and you do not have enough heavy fire power to get through unscathed so save those med packs as you will need them." - Torry (24-Sep-2022)
"This TR2 great wall style One room challenge level is definitely a challenge indeed! right from the beginning i just could not work out how to progress without a video walkthrough and unfortunately that did not change throughout the rest of the level because the amount of knowledge you have to have about which slopes you can jump to at which angles in what areas to progress around the exterior areas of the wall was intense! Thankfully the level is not just about all of that because we have a lot of underwater swimming and underwater currents and traps to avoid as well as keys and switches to find. The builder certainly did not want to make a simple or basic level here as we have a couple of original ideas as well as all the tricky jumps such as shooting chains with your harpoon gun, finding a pole to make an underwater switch to use and finding and using a bomb to blow up a hidden underground area where the finale beckons. There is a few enemies here and there with men and tigers to contend with and i applaud the creativity in making something fresh but nostalgic but constantly relying on a video walkthrough because the level doesnt give you any clue or idea a lot of the time about where you can and cant access wasnt exactly very enjoyable" - John (27-Apr-2022)
"A TR2 level but with a TR4 engine; the recreation is good, with all those old enemies, musics and environments of the Great Wall level, but after 10 or 15 minutes from the starting you note that it will not be a piece of cake. There are some tricky tasks and certain backtracking if you don't choose the right route the builder thought; the enemies are well balanced, but not enough ammo for the extra guns, and there's not much care with the texturization in big surfaces. On the other hand, I saw a good architecture and TR2 atmosphere; the lighting is well worked too and there are not many switches to pull (except the switch-chains to shoot). An enjoyable level but not for beginners." - Jose (21-Oct-2021)
"This level tries to recreate the Tomb Raider 2 aesthetic as closely as possible with a Great Wall setting, and does a good job at it. Within the limits of what it's going for it's very faithful in textures, objects and lighting. It also does a good job recreating TR2 objects and enemies in TR4. Given the nostalgic theme the platforming is oddly difficult with a lot of jumping on the correct angle tiles, and a very obtuse swing mechanic in one area. Outside of that there's a decent water sequence and various bits of combat in TR2 style. It felt like a shortcut or two could be present as the one issue I had with the overall structure is some major backtracking at a certain point. A good entry that's mostly enjoyable if you don't get held up too hard by the initial platforming, but could have been elevated with a couple of design convenience." - Mman (22-Aug-2021)
"This was a beautiful level, it was short and I enjoyed playing it, the most annoying part was I have to remember that this is a tr4 engine which has more to it than tr2 engine, like pushing small height boxes and doing the pole flip, it gets confusing. The haze or the fog by the water was a big no no for me, it just makes things washed out, I don't see any benefit adding that specially the engine is too old and not all effects looks perfect. I give it a 6/10" - p1kaa (06-Jun-2021)
"This level started out on a low for me, because I have simply been to the Great Wall too many times and it took way too long and too many failed attempts before getting out of the very first area. And then it continued like that with seemingly no task possible to be mastered at the first attempt, so balance is a bit of a problem in this one. Having said that, the more I got into it, the more I began to appreciate the cleverness of the whole setup and while never being really easy, the level is actually not has hard as it pretends to be. I love the more creative moments like the special underwater lever and the secret is really well done too. Maybe I would have appreciated a shortcut to be added on both sides of the wall as the repeat trips are quite lengthy and you have been there and done that alerady, so it felt a bit like padding out the time, which for me ended up being 35 minutes. Nice effort and definitely one of the better interpretations of the Great Wall." - MichaelP (27-May-2021)
"A pleasant TR2-style adventure (TR2 is always pleasant) made in TR4 engine, but unfortunately ruined by an incredible amount of backtracking, some almost-pixel-perfect jumps and a memory leak bug that forced me to reopen the game 8 times. Not fault of the builder but from a player perspective this is anyway a problem.
The good sides of this level are the usage of most of the areas, where the mountains aren't just landscape but have a purpose and this increased a lot the platforming in a good way because it makes the player think (it can be difficult for some average players anyway), although this has the issue of having some pixel perfect jumps and slopes that can't be really identified as walkable easily and this causes a lot of reloads (and so, the bug), and blind attempts; while other good points are the creative traps and a nice combat, finally with enemies that pose an actual danger, plus having balanced the weapons/ammo/medikits well (but only if you take the secret, otherwise one more big medipack and one more shotgun ammo would have done a better job). However the main issue of the game is the backtracking and this is really a game killer. If you follow the "intended" shortest path (that you can't know in advance anyway) you can backtrack less (but still you have to) and even the underwater area suffers of that. It could have been easy to fix this by simply opening connections between the underwater areas in the right moments and, outside the water, creating new ways to reach back the other sides of the Great Wall, unlockable only after reaching the correct places. This way you backtrack but never from the same path and it would feel more like a shortcut.
Other smaller issues are a camera view underwater (the air pocket) where it prevents potentially the discovering of the Pole pickup (skipping this requires more and more backtrack) and the unexpetedly climbable slope to reach the crate under the ladder is also a potential way to make the player stuck (unnecessarily).
The secret is probably the worst one of the ORC competition because it's found by accident and especially doesn't really reward you, but punishes you with some more backtracking.
Without all this backtracking that acts like a filler, the tasks are very short. Visually there are no major issues, resolution of the objects is coherent all over the level, texturing and lighting are ok. The only thing that I didn't get was the intention: it's not clear if the builder wanted to totally emulate TR2 or if the intention was to makea mix with TR4 style, because many TR4 elements are left in place and it doesn't look like an "empowered TR2 game", but just like a "TR4 level with mostly TR2 style"." - dinne (19-May-2021)
"This late entry to the competition also has some fairly enjoyable and quirky tasks, especially in terms of moving traps and other new object usages (I can't remember that use of the car keys in other levels...). I also enjoyed finding my way in the outside landscapes which is not directly obvious right from the beginning. What I found less nice was to repeat some of the tasks, but not to the point that it was tedious. The setting is solid but the restrictions of the competition do show somewhat in the overall geometry and texturing quality in a few places; otherwise the texturing is rather solid though. The greenish lighting outside had its certain something but it was a bit monotone. Enemies were decently placed, best is to save as much ammo for the final boss as it might get a bit hard otherwise. All in all a solid raid that still stands well in the competition. Found the single secret in 18 minutes." - manarch2 (07-May-2021)
"It took a while for this one to start growing on me, and so I'm unable to assign the same lofty numbers as some of the earlier reviewers. The gameplay is rendered competently enough, but after the breathtaking surroundings provided by Ayutthaya and Egyptian Adventure I felt a bit of a letdown here. The platforming isn't as player-friendly as I like, as there were entirely too many sloped surfaces that were impossible to stand upon. I was impressed, however, with the placement of a pole to create a workable underwater lever, not to mention the quirkiness of shooting underwater chain segments with the harpoon gun in order to open gates here and there. And the use of tree limbs to swing from one area to another was something I had not encountered before. The TR2 look is preserved quite nicely in this TR4 level, which I found much more appealing in appearance than when the actual TR2 engine is used. A fun raid, but not one of my ORC favorites." - Phil (06-May-2021)
"I must say, it made a pleasant change to play a Great Wall-themed level that tended not to revolve around the same tried-and- trusted gameplay formula. The surroundings are undoubtedly nostalgic and somewhat familiar, but the gameplay has been given a whole new twist. Admittedly, it took me a fair few tries to even escape the first area (requiring a somewhat unorthodox jump), but once past that everything progressed relatively smoothly and it turned out to be a most riveting gameplay experience. The enemy attacks give the player a surge of adrenaline and keep them on their toes, the animations are a neat addition (loved the one with Lara opening the car trunk to retrieve the detonator), the traps are challenging but reasonably so and Lara's movements are utilised nicely. Definitely worth playing." - Ryan (06-May-2021)
"Over the years we have had quite a few Great Wall levels, most of which were fairly faithful copies of the original. How lovely therefore to have a completely new adventure in the general vicinity. The traps are definitely more challenging than Great Wall ones traditionally are and there are occasions where the villains really gang up on Lara so you’ll probably need some fancy footwork to avoid losing too much health. Lara’s also got some superior abilities since her first visit, such as swinging from tree branches. There’s a good use of objects and animations and I loved Lara opening a car boot to get the detonator. Good fun and, of course, nostalgia-filled." - Jay (03-May-2021)
"(9) Gameplay & Puzzles: I was thrilled to experience this nostalgic adventure. It was a fresh take on TR2 Great Wall, and the builder had many interesting gameplay ideas which kept the gameplay engaging the whole time. While there are no traditional puzzles, problem-solving how to get from point A to B was great fun, and there's a robust mixture of exploration, platforming, traps and combat. While the platforming isn't really challenging, I would describe the gameplay difficulty as medium-to-challenging, as the player is required to think a bit outside the box at times and keep a very keen eye on their surroundings (e.g. using a branch as a swing pole). I haven't had much fun in the underwater sequences of other competition entries, however the underwater exploration here is exciting, and never frustrating. I subtracted a point from gameplay due to the backtracking being a bit too excessive at times. For example: I think, after the player grabs the car keys from the cave, it would have been better if a raising block had been activated so that the player has a shortcut to climb back up the Great Wall, instead of redoing the whole platforming sequence again. (10) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: I often find, in other levels, that enemy engagements are too easy, or too over-the-top. Here, the builder perfectly balances enemy fights in a way that's thrilling without being obnoxious. I thought the final group fight was excellent. HINT: the dual-wielding guy does the most damage to Lara, but Lara has much longer weapon range. Use this to your advantage and don't just stand right next to him while shooting him. The trap selection and classic decor objects were wonderful (I noticed a tree with no collision but it's not a big deal). I was so happy to see the classic spike wall trap, as well as something I have never seen before -- *moving* blade traps! (9) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The atmosphere is one of the highlights of this level; it was such a wonderful feeling to stand at the top of the Great Wall and look around at the scenery. I enjoyed the classic sounds and particularly the builder's effort to include subtle customizations such as changing Lara's footstep sounds. This is the kind of Lara customization I welcome heartily. While there were a number of camera hints, I think a bit more could have been done with cameras. Such beautiful scenery absolutely needs at least one flyby for immersion, in my opinion. Also, I noticed a couple of times the builder included unnecessary cameras, but didn't include cameras when it could have helped (e.g. Lara could have looked at the suspicious branch near the start of the game, and a guidance camera when the detonator key is picked up at the car). (8) Lighting & Textures: The level's classic aesthetic looks great, and I loved the lighting. There's a good number of stretched/misshapen textures though and I think texturing is the area that most needed some extra care. Overall, aside from some backtracking, I had an awesome time from start to finish. Highly recommended to more experienced players, especially players who want the nostalgic feel of TR1/2/3 while also playing with the TR4 engine. I'm not sure how many more ORC21's are coming but this is most likely my favorite of this competition. I'll play it again for sure. 9/10/9/8." - nerdfury (26-Apr-2021)
"I usually enjoy TR2 inspired levels but sadly, had to give up on this one. Having the moveset from TR4 felt like an odd choice to start, it should have been mentioned either in the Read Me or on the level page. If you can´t figure out how to get out of the first area within 5 minutes, something is wrong with the level design. And this happened in each new area I entered. It was frustrating having to look around for slanted surrounding ledges constantly. Another problem was that all the underwater gates had an identical design but only some could be opened by Lara directly. Enemies were well placed but there was barely any shotgun ammo so I had to rely on pistols. I definitely love the premise of Lara returning to the wall and having to play through this section again with Giovanni´s troops, however, the progression is not just clear enough and while I had awareness of where to go in general, the gameplay did not flow well and many times felt counter intuitive. It does show a lot of promise, though, so I am curious to see what the author can come up with next and I hope they can rectify these issues next time." - Raina Audron (25-Apr-2021)
"Quite excellent in two aspects: 1) has no wasted sectors, exactly how those levels are supposed to be, 2) I liked how everything seems to be a decoration until it reveals its true purpose. Also pretty bugfixed, with only a single one-shot trigger bug in the end. I would make the light a bit less green, and I would make the first fight a bit less draining, since then the final one is very unlikely to clear without medikits. Oh, and one more thing: make this Talion keyhole 3D because new players will have no idea." - DJ Full (25-Apr-2021)
"A very pleasure raid and great nostalgia trip. As title said we are back to Great Wall. I really enjoyed this level which has really good Great Wall nostalgia touch from TR2. Gameplay was good but sometimes very basic. I very liked climbing on rocks and on great wall. Also views are very nice, especially when we get at great wall. We will meet old "friends" which again will want to stop Lara for entering to the temple. Lighting was really good, I found some streched textures, but mostly they were good placed. Overally, good and short nostalgia trip to great wall in orc release. I recommend it!" - BlackWolfTR (24-Apr-2021)
"(Please note that this review contains minor spoilers) This level was a beatiful blast into nastalgia with the Great Wall in Tomb Raider 2. The texturing and general feel of the level was very reminiscent of the original, and therefor A+ on the design, look, and feel of the level's Atmosphere, Sound, Lighting, and Textures. Also, the secret placement on this level was PERFECT! That was a good location for a secret and I was happy I found it. Note that I would have made the reward just a little bit better (I'll explain on the last portion of the review). This level fall shorts on the objective direction, but I will break it down section-by-section. First Area (Start) 2/10: The start of this level was highly remeniscent of the start of Tomb Raider 2 and I absolutely loved the look and feel starting. That being said, I struggled greatly on the beginning area of the level, as it was not at all obvious which direction to go. Once discovering the area that was most likely the location, I spent another large amount of time figuring out how to get there (including looking up a walkthrough of someone elses playthough). I feel that if one must reference a playthrough for pointers, the objective of the player isn't obvious enough. There is a fine line between challenge and frustration, and the beginning part walks that line. Path to Second Area (Underwater 1) 8/10: This portion was a bit more straightforward (despite my own stupidity in figuring out the way to go). I noticed that in the spike trap area there is a method of bypassing the intended route my simply swimming along the bottom corner, but the challenge matched with the urgency is well crafted. My only suggestion would be to fix the camera issue when Lara pulls the underwater lever. It causes the camera to freeze and the player must use the look button to cancel it. Second Area (Boxes) 6/10: This area was almost as confusing as the first as far as what I was supposed to do. I hadn't realized immediately that I could pull half-blocks, nor did I realize I could swing on trees. Having something that helps to indicate that these are possibilites (possibly with introducting them in the starting area) could have benefited the playthrough greatly. I also managed to do this area by skipping a majority of what I was supposed to do, but I once again had to reference another playthrough to figure out the expected direction. Path to Third Area (Atop the Wall 1) 8/10: I feel this area could have been expanded a bit with a little more challenge and/or platforming to get from one side to the other. However, the goons, and the boulders were a nice touch. I was able to kill the goons in the third area from atop the wall, though I do not know if that was intentional. Third Area (Underwater 2) 10/10: This is by far my favorite section of the level. The direction at this point is very well defined, I knew what to do where to go, all except for 1 minor detail. I did not realize that I was meant to use the harpoon gun for the chains (though I figured it out quickly). I didn't have to reference the playthrough at all for this part and was rather pleased with the difficulty vs playability. This portion had everything and, as I said, was my absolute favorite part of the entire level. WELL DONE! Get the Car Keys (Path to the Keys) 8/10: The general direction of the objective has been solidified at this point, making the playthrough much more enjoyable. I was getting frustrated by my own shortcomings and not the level design. Overall this was a very nice portion of the level as well. I especially enjoyed the spooky tiger cornering me! Boom Goes the Dynamite (Path to the Fourth Area) 8/10: This was a repetitious task. Because I knew how to go through this portion of the level this time it was a lot quicker, so I didn't have as much trouble as the first time. I really enjoyed the mechanic of this portion though, with the explosion and everything it was really asthetically pleasing. Fourth Area (Finale) 6/10: I feel that the difficulty of this area, was a bit high. With the amount of enemies, I feel there should have been more ammo drops through the level. I tackled this area with the reward from the secret as well, and still felt that it was more on the difficult side of things. I would highly recommend either adding more ammo drops through the level, or make the reward for the secret a little more. Overall, despite the hiccoughs at the beginning and trying to figure out the level, I thuroughly enjoyed this level! It was fantastically visually designed and only fell short on a few gameplay mechanics, but that is completely fine. If you would like to watch my playthrough for commentary durring play, you can find it here (18+): https://youtu.be/qYirw5-Ffoc" - Mizakiharuno (23-Apr-2021)
"The concept is interesting and worked out great in-game. I thought the gameplay was obscure and a bit frustrating, since there were placed you could reach unnecessarily and there were ways to go around the official way through. That means I got lost a lot more than I should for a 20/30 minute level. The looks of the level could have been improved upon, and I found some weird textures and lights. For this to be great, as it certainly can be, there are a few key hints missing, mostly in the form of cameras to clarify gameplay: the first branch needs to be brought to Lara's attention. The place where all the booming damage is to be made also needs pointing to. Then, the architecture and textures should be better defined and a bit upgraded. Difficulty-wise, this is not for beginners. It is challenging, especially if your fighting skills need refining. Thank you, Mordyga! Congratulations on your good work and nice effort. You just need to lend a hand to the player a bit more, otherwise it's unnecessary pains for all." - MigMarado (23-Apr-2021)
"An amazing custom level that nicely shows us how exactly Lara from after she got to the door of Xian after having obtained the seal of Tatillion (I am sure I wrote that wrong).
The Gameplay is divided into a section of underwater exploring and a section of platforming, I liked a lot the latter, but the underwater was made good too, fairly easy to explore with a pretty interesting trap idea inside! There was a little bit of backtracking in the level and I have criticized this in Shabab level so I do have to criticize it, but it saves itself thanks to the not overly precise movements to go back to the previous area, that on the other hand Shabab's level had.
Enemies placement might seem a bit overwhelming at first, but with some good strategy you can really survive this off, it is a bit complicated, and perhaps even impossible to do a no meds, but I did not had the time during testing to assure that out. Object placement was really good, several pc were bought by Bartoli's man, and the back of the cart opening to reveal the explosive was a charming addiction! The chains that were used to use unusable levers were a surprisingly neat idea ^w^. I needed the author to tell me where exactly the secret was, but I am glad I did :3 the secret placement was super clever and I would have never managed to find that on my own at all!
The atmosphere was really nostalgia inducing, like a whole lot, the subtle coloring might seem a bit weird for a Tomb Raider 2 inspired level, but it really worked here, and gave a vibe that struck with me a lot, if you then add up enemies behaving also how they are supposed to (with even cheering animation after Lara's demise!)! On a side note, cameras are fairly helpful and they do a wonderful job underwater especially!
The texturing was okay, with some unfixable cracks or problems that, due to the competition limitation, could not be fixed at all, the lighting was what really elevated this, and it lays in its simplest things, just look at the water, there is a thin layer of transparent looking water and then, in the bottom a foggy like layer of blue looking water, elevated even more by the very subtle presence of fog, to imitate the little drops of water that fly around next to waterfalls, truly wonderful work.
It is a fairly short one, easy to pick up and replay, due to how fun and satisfying it is, would recommend to an intermediate raider, as there are section that might require some more skill than other. Apart from that, great job, Mordyga, keep surprising us this wonderful way ^w^. Wolfy Regards. :3" - Wolf7 (22-Apr-2021)