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The Relic of Gaia by Olympus Mons

DJ Full 6 7 7 6
JesseG 8 7 6 6
Jorge22 7 7 7 6
manarch2 3 5 3 4
MichaelP 6 7 6 6
nerdfury 5 7 4 5
Phil 8 8 7 7
Ryan 6 7 6 6
The Snarky Lesbian 4 4 3 3
Tolle87 5 6 6 5
Torry 7 9 8 7
 
release date: 03-Jan-2023
# of downloads: 209

average rating: 5.98
review count: 11
 
review this level

file size: 64.60 MB
file type: TR2
class: Ship
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
olympusmons1995@gmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"I always enjoy a TR2 Ship level setting and this one does a lot of things right, but still does not fully engage me, mainly because it is a bit bare and square in its design with fairly empty rooms mostly, or to be more precise, rooms mostly filled with an abundance of pickups that you really do not need and plenty of bad guys to kill. Three cards and three secrets to find and easy to get through in about 20-30 minutes with a little bird boss ending thrown in for you. Solid level, but probably won't stick in your mind for long." - MichaelP (10-Feb-2024)
"Have to agree with Phil on this one it is not bad at all. Not perfect but an entertaining raid that will keep you occupied for around 30 minutes or so. There are pickups everywhere so you don't lack for goodies. Fairly linear so you don't get lost and wander about aimlessly for eons. Found all three secrets which are really not that difficult to find and the only one you have to work for is the first one. Boxy rooms but it is a TR2 level after all. Enjoyed the final fight." - Torry (16-Feb-2023)
"(5) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is an easy adventure that took me ~20 min. The gameplay starts off rather dull, with an overabundance of pickups, but things get more engaging after you pick up the harpoon gun. Shortly after this, the builder mixes things up with some spicy combat, traps, and (simple) platforming sequences. Unfortunately the gameplay is really lacking in puzzles. (7) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemy encounters were my favorite aspect of the game (more crazy shotgun guys, flamethrower guys, and bladethrower guys, please). My only suggestion for improving combat is that I would not place crates right next to the dog encounters, as the player can just jump on the crates, which nullifies the threat. I feel like the jade dragon path is too straight- forward and doesn't really feel like a secret. Many rooms are lacking in object decor and this is an area that I recommend the builder focus on in the future, to build immersion and environmental atmosphere, which brings me to -- (4) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The environment just wasn't convincing, with many oversized/empty looking rooms. I encourage the builder to think about not only bringing rooms to life with more objects, but also to try mixing up different room shapes, so the player doesn't have an overall "boxy" impression. Some boxiness is to be expected since we are in a man-made environment, of course. If the builder wishes to continue with a classic TR aesthetic, I encourage them to take a look at some of Stormchaser's newer levels. Although he focuses on TR3 and not TR2, his levels are still educational in terms of minimizing "boxiness" and maximizing immersion using a classic engine. Sounds and hint cameras are adequate, although a suggestion for the future is immersion-building camera angle changes when entering new and important areas. (5) Lighting & Textures: The level doesn't look awful, but it looks rather "raw". I never had to light a flare which is great, although something for the builder to consider in the future is more dynamic lighting (i.e. more shadows in corners and on the edges of rooms). More care is needed regarding stretched textures and wallpapering effects on large surfaces. Also, I do not think the Maria Doria stained glass window texture is a good fit for the environment. Overall, this is not a bad debut, and I would recommend it to TR2 fanatics who love combat, and want a very short level. I hope I provided constructive notes, and I am confident that for the builder's next release, players will see elevated gameplay and atmosphere. 5/7/4/5." - nerdfury (15-Feb-2023)
"Short, sweet and simple TR2 raiding in a fairly classic Oil Rig environment. It's not badly constructed for a debut and does have its moments in the form of sneaky traps, rather engaging combat sequences and the always appreciated three dragon sequences, but the texturing is rather plain, the rooms are a bit too huge for their own good and it doesn't really leave a lasting impression in general, not helped by the sterile atmosphere either. Not at all bad, but probably more for die-hard TR2 fans than anything else." - Ryan (23-Jan-2023)
"I must be growing more mellow in my old age. I actually enjoyed myself immensely while playing this TR2 level and writing a walkthrough for it. You have to be paying close attention to get two of the secrets (the third one is duck soup), and there are enough encounters with deadly enemies to keep the player constantly aware of conserving ammo. There's only one flare pickup, but I finished with plenty to spare. There's nothing of award-winning quality here, but it's definitely an entertaining raid that all players should enjoy." - Phil (22-Jan-2023)
"A rather lukewarm 20 minute TR 2 level with lots of big and uninspiredly looking rooms and IMO not a real sense of atmosphere, but also a few enjoyable fights, especially in small spaces, three okay secrets and a few easy acrobatics along a lot of running through long corridors. Expendable for the future." - manarch2 (13-Jan-2023)
"DJ Full, please, allow me to quote you: "Has this retro feel of the early 90s when levels were literally level." This must actually be the retro-est TR2 level I've played in a very long time. Loads of complicated enemies the first time you encounter them (then, you load a save and put an end to their misery), some simple yet interesting platforming, barrels rolling towards you, rather grainy textures, music and sounds where they belong, some swimming, and you really don't have to think much (which isn't so un-ok as it may seem). The rooms could use more work. Simple, short, entertaining." - Jorge22 (12-Jan-2023)
"This makes for a brief visit styled after the docks from TR2, although perhaps a bit less visually pleasing with its stretched + wallpapered textures and mostly simple, boxy rooms. It's engaging to play however, with the strongest emphasis being on the combat, with a nice variety of enemies to overcome. There's also a bit of platforming and some traps to dodge on the way to finding a couple of keycards. Not a TR2 level that's going to make a big splash, but it makes for a decent if short raid. 29 minutes." - JesseG (10-Jan-2023)
"Has this retro feel of the early 90s when levels were literally level. Uses some proper lighting so it's enjoyable despite of basic shapes and textures. Nice combat and secrets also." - DJ Full (08-Jan-2023)
"When you can follow the builder's development process throughout the level itself, it's always a good sign. It starts in a boring way with some repetitive generic rooms and a bunch of fights, but it gets better as it goes on. Not much better though, but still enjoyable with some well-thought rooms and nice platforming sequences. There are some expected flaws for a debut, like totally squarish rooms, stretched textures or invisible walls in front of a door (although it came from a good intention - I appreciate going for realism by allowing the player to close the door from the other side), but it's all part of the learning process. However, there are some things that should be pointed out for the future: Random deadly trapdoors without a single clue - that's a big 'no'; Using the flames to prevent progress, but then placing the water right behind it - that's even bigger 'no', because it's easy to skip 70% of the level by running through the flames and jumping in the water. Six testers missed that, really? Apart from that, there are some little things with the usage of certain items that don't make much sense, but it's not worth mentioning in a debut level. Anyway, it's not an impressive level, but there are some details that tell me that we can expect much bigger things from Olympus Mons in the future. This one won't take you more than some 30 minutes, so it's worth checking out as there are some good things and no frustrating ones. Oh and the sweet paradox of writing "please read the readme file" inside of that exact readme file..." - Tolle87 (06-Jan-2023)
"So first thing I felt coming into this level, was that the level structure is extremely unorthodox. Gigantic rooms, lots of areas to go immediately with seemingly nothing in them but lots of pickups. And that goes for the entire level, rooms will seem gigantic, then lead to small corridors that lead to the next big epic room. And each of these big rooms has multiple TR2 enemies thrown at you with structuring. There is little rhyme and reason to which enemies appear, starting with typical Offshore Rig enemies, then becoming Ship Enemies, and suddenly you have Floating Isles Knife Throwers and then Venice shooters and also a Talion Guardian, usually in a big room. It feels almost like Painkiller with lots of little Battle Arenas in a way. Given Tomb Raider's hitscan shooting enemies that would be a problem, if the level also didn't fart lots of pickups at you. Constantly. At every turn. In corners, on enemies, in the open, under Boxes, under water and behind your ear. And the same goes for weapons. I'd say that makes the level qualify as a nice Shooter Stage, but I don't think you really get enough enemies, or tactical depth. But that is okay for a first level.
A similar thing goes for the thematic cohesion, which it does not excel at. The level goes from Offshore Rig Textures, to Ship Textures to Floating Isles aesthetic very abruptly. And since we start in an interior, we have little idea of where we actually are. Are we in a factory? An oil rig? A ship? Other than the texture use, we have absolutely no frame of reference, including the overall styling of the levels. If any lesson is to be taken here for future levels, I'd recommend looking into structuring and styling levels to mimic realistic places. Admittedly a difficult skill to learn, given Tomb Raider's blocky nature.
What IS done well, is the thematic escalation on the level of gameplay factors. We go from easy switch and keycard puzzles to big combat rooms, then back to smaller jumping puzzles and return to bigger combat areas. The combat arenas grow in difficulty each time and have enemies from later TR2 levels. Before the end we need to collect 2 key items to enter the main boss areas, then we have 2 boss-esque encounters and then the level ends. It's not elegant by any means, but the base idea of difficulty structuring and thematic escalation is there, and I'd even say it does a Boss fight better than many levels from other creators. Again, not elegant, but the passion is there!
Overall the entire level smells strongly of someone's literal first level. Getting comfortable with the level editor, how to place enemies and pickups, how to create platform challenges for keycards and how to style levels. I am more than happy in looking forward to the next levels this creator makes. Again, I'd mostly recommend working on improving the structuring and styling of levels to make them more overall coherent. Entering a grand gigantic room loses it's charm quickly when every room is that big. Save huge rooms for special set pieces in a level.
Overall, thank you so much for this level. Please continue making levels ♥" - The Snarky Lesbian (05-Jan-2023)