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Spear of David by ViridionSama

Adrian 10 10 10 10
dinne 7 8 8 7
DJ Full 7 9 9 8
eRIC 9 9 9 7
g12STL 10 10 10 10
JesseG 7 9 9 8
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
manarch2 7 8 8 7
Phil 8 9 9 8
Ryan 9 9 9 9
release date: 24-Nov-2021
# of downloads: 68

average rating: 8.75
review count: 10
review this level

file size: 133.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Base/Lab

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I'd say it begins like a 6 but ends close to a 9, with both visuals and gameplay requiring some improvement throughout. I felt like if the builder didn't really know which direction to push this game in. But this is definitely a level with a soul." - DJ Full (14-Sep-2022)
"First of all, this two-part adventure is not correctly classified. The posted glitch-free videos last less than two hours, so at most the game is "long" rather than "very long." And while there are certainly some spots that require multiple attempts to conquer, I was able to get through without undue frustration (and without having to resort to someone else's savegame) and I feel that "challenging" is a much more accurate description. Less experienced and more time-conscious potential players may be put off by the misleading categories, so they should be changed. As for the game itself, either segment could have been released as a noteworthy stand-alone level, and each provides an addictive and satisfying raid. The gameplay also gets quite complicated, so Lizard Queen's written walk was indispensable for my continued progress. My main objection is the sustained darkness throughout the game, leading me to conjure up unlimited flares in the early going. One of the 10 secrets doesn't register as such, but for the pickups they offer they're definitely worth the extra effort required to get them. For some reason the builder has waited until the game is almost over before allowing the player to acquire the uzis and the shotgun, rendering them nearly useless (ammo for both weapons having been liberally sprinkled throughout the game). The TR3 ambiance was quite convincing, and at this point I feel the levels have been underplayed and under-reviewed, probably due to the misleading categories mentioned above. Recommended." - Phil (12-Mar-2022)
"A very solid debut level, even better than many second levels.
This level can be put into the "challenging" category but in several cases it's because "tedious", not just posing a planned challenge, so what makes it challenging are some design flaws for the most, although some bits are meant to be challenging by the builder and they actually are.
A long adventure but that could be shorter because frequently stretched by a LOT of backtracking required in many situations (either by design, or when the player didn't check something first), then there are some gameplay fillers here and there and the darkness stretches exploration, requiring to carefully observe many corners with a flare. Some main path areas and interactive items feel more like a secret because difficult to spot (sometimes even intentionally) and this can make the overall experience longer as well.
Gameplay in general makes sense, but some bits are very misleading or random and I didn't get the why of several things and choices. Many times I felt like:"So why am I doing this? So what am I looking for? So why is there this stuff then?" etc. I think some things were either leftovers of previous designs or "options" of some sort (I even found an "optional" softlock with a purposeless pushblock) but that anyway make the player replay some bits to be sure to have done everything. Some filler areas instead have potential puzzles but that just consist in pulling all the levers or doing something in order (worst filler: the gas rooms, made of backtracking only to reach a sequence of levers, that's almost trolling). Occasional "solution-before-the-puzzle" moments, such as opening a door before being able to reach that place, which makes them fillers as well. The only actual lever puzzle is flawed by the absence of a reference for the progression (for sure a player won't keep in mind everything by just looking at static textures).
Some areas are well planned because flow correctly without opening too many scenarios, while others require backtracking (or "encourage" it) if the player doesn't explore things in the best order. Shortcuts are there sometimes but some of them feel useless, as well as some entire areas (like the zombies with female soldiers around) or that will be used for something to remember for later, which won't happen.
Automatic doors are also not a good thing and this level has many of them (which means they can be missed) and some camera hints are not really indicative.
Combat is often good but it gets a bit tiring after a while due to the repetition of the "surprise" formula (to the point that after backtracking some pulled lever I was already drawing weapons out, expecting enemies "surprising" me, and often I was right), but they're generally well placed and ammo/medikits are balanced.
Aesthetically, the main problem is the lighting. Not only too dark (for any monitor I would say almost) but also, often, flat. This made me overuse flares even when the light intensity was ok, just because I needed to detect geometry shapes. And flares are really the real precious pickup in this game, not even special weapons or anything... I ran out of them at least 2 times. Moreover, light is often not colored and shows pitch black random areas next to bright ones. While texturing is most of the times correct and appropriate, just occasionally wallpapered in some big areas with basic geometry.
Many sounds are messed up although they make the game funnier and soundtracks are appropriate for the moments of the game.
I didn't "enjoy" much all in all, but it's an okay level that promises more in the future, and I've generally positive memories of what I played.
So, resuming, pro and cons:
- Pros: well executed baselab mood, challenging platforming, enjoyable combat, variation of environments
- Cons: backtracking, bad lighting, mysterious design choices, too many tasks opened at the same time, dull puzzles" - dinne (20-Feb-2022)
"What a tremendous work for a first. We really have been blessed with some high quality raids lately and this ranks right up there. This may or may not have been intended as a belated addition to the recent Create a Classic Competition, but no matter now we can enjoy it in all its glory. It proved to be rather a challenging experience at times, due to the ferocity of some of the enemies and the admittedly irritating booby traps right near the beginning of the game, but those are minor annoyances. And yes, maybe the backtracking could have been streamlined a bit. But there's still loads to enjoy here. The surroundings throughout are solidly constructed, pleasing to the eye and nicely revoke memories of both TR5 and TR3 Gold, while the gameplay has a lot to offer in terms of puzzles, traps and acrobatics, being challenging without stepping into frustration territory. Thoroughly enjoyable from start to finish and highly recommended. Pity about that one secret that didn't register though." - Ryan (12-Jan-2022)
"I decided to wait on visiting this levelset as it seemed redundant after playing Premonition, but there's actually not much in common besides the premise. In this set of two levels, Lara explores a Russian base, subway tunnels, and sunken vessels in search for the Spear of David. The visuals are pretty good, but the textures could use a little more TLC to avoid wallpapering and warping. The variety of lighting was great. Gameplay features some straightforward pushblock puzzles, a good switch deduction puzzle, a couple of timed runs, as well as some squishy pistons and flames to dodge. There's also a nice variety of enemies, and after using several medpacks to get the secret grenade gun, I was all too happy to unload it on them. The main downside is the backtracking. Yes, there are some shortcuts that can be opened up, but if that isn't done early enough then Lara will find herself repeating timed runs and tricky jump sequences to get back to where she was. Missing the crowbar was a particular headache for me because of this. I appreciated that one flyby near the end served as a substitute for backtracking, immediately bringing Lara up to the top of the level from down below. It was a good raid overall, but maybe a bit too non-linear for its own good. I would consider trapping the player in a few of the areas until they find the important items there. 2 hours 7 minutes." - JesseG (06-Jan-2022)
"Double level game with a lot to explore and do , the first is spent in a base where Lara has to avoid various traps , make acrobatics and solve some puzzles based on the new possibilities of today levelbuilding. The second one is spent in a dig site with fun platforming and some good swimming too, in this one some more different enemies with mutants frogmen or sharks. Both levels are unteresting to raid as there is some good ideas along the way, the exception is for the barrels that explode when Lara stand on the same square even if not touching the barrels , this was unrealistic and not necessary as there is already enough places where attention is required from the player. Aside from that the game plays well and even is player-friendly despite many challenges but the difficulty never crosses the line. Good atmosphere. The setting is solidly designed even if there is place for improvement in some areas for the looks and lighting. The placement of the enemies are often well thought of. Pickups are generous. The secrets offer sometimes extra gameplay and the game has a good replay value as you can raid a few places differently. Good and satisfying game !" - eRIC (30-Dec-2021)
"The gameplay in the first level has some lengths but generally I enjoyed myself quite a bit doing various timed runs (also a lengthy one including gas rooms and backtracking), platforming parts and traps are also engaging and progression smooth. The second level was okay too but got a little boring towards the end as there's more to and fro and not so much diversity and challenge. Enemies are quite well used here, the TR 2 enemies fit the TR 3/5 enviroments well. Secret placement is decent too (sadly one didn't register for me). Overall this is a quite atmospheric level duo and the builder has done a good job at choosing several (classic) texture sets that work together as a unit. The visual design is solid mostly but let down by some unexplainably amateurish usages of textures - some rooms, especially the walls of the huge cave at the end where you find two secrets, have a serious wallpaper effect, there are some stretched textures and the lighting is sometimes flat; I also found a paper thin wall at one place. Still this is far from bad especially as a debut level that already shows the builder's got talent and also makes me hope for more to come soon..." - manarch2 (23-Dec-2021)
"This level had some excellent action and well-placed objects! The rooms were nice and the map was not overwhelming as it was still a busy map. Some of the traveling required some skilled jumps to make which I really enjoyed out of this level as well! I would highly recommend this level for all skill levels to try out!" - g12STL (22-Dec-2021)
"This was a brilliant classic TR level with all the trappings you would like from it. If it weren't for my poor eyesight I wouldn't have been stuck (almost to the point of giving up) until the builder generously opened my eyes and I was able to finish this very thoughtfully constructed level with 9/10 well-placed secrets. Most enjoyable and recommended. Tremendous work." - Adrian (18-Dec-2021)
"True, this two (long) level set can, and does get very confusing, especially due to all the back and fro required. I also left a couple of doors unopened (maybe they were for secrets, as I found 8 out of 10? Every secret felt extremely rewarding.), and, for the life of me, I simply cannot figure out how to make them work. But I simply don't have it in me to downrate this otherwise very thrilling adventure just because it took me so long to figure out all the billions of things needing figuring out. I loved the design and the TR3 atmosphere, something very rarely achieved, even by those who use the TR3 engine - even though there are, for instance, some of the new moves here; and they're actually needed, at least once that I can remember. What an exquisite mix. The baddies, loads of them, most based on TR2 baddies (also TR3 big mutants, hell hounds and mummies), were quite well placed and very often took me by surprise. The colour use (and how it interacted with objects and situations) pleased me enormously. You get a bit of everything here... Trains or tubes, platforming, vast underwater situations with a bit of the Maria Doria touch, some VCI style places, Russia, a few puzzles, honestly I can't even remember anymore, but yes, it's varied in just two actual settings. Just a few situations are very tough, and could have been made easier, but the toughness on the whole comes mostly from hard exploration and figuring small things out. The only thing I didn't like so much was that I thought the very ending was rushed. Great debut. It made my grey hair greyer, but I'm a fan." - Jorge22 (04-Dec-2021)