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The Last Jade Dragon by Leoc1995

BlackWolfTR 10 9 9 9
Dick 10 9 10 8
DJ Full 10 10 10 9
Feats 10 10 10 10
JesseG 9 9 10 9
JimmyBeon 10 8 10 10
John 9 10 10 9
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Lorax 10 10 10 10
Mahetus 10 10 10 10
Mman 9 10 10 10
Passalaqua 9 9 10 10
Raider278 10 9 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 9
The Snarky Lesbian 10 10 10 10
 
release date: 06-Feb-2023
# of downloads: 778

average rating: 9.68
review count: 15
 
review this level

file size: 82.60 MB
file type: TR2
class: Mystery/Horror
 


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email(s):
folkloristdiary@gmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"I so rarely give 10 out of 10s for a level or level set, in fact I only did it once before, that is just how hard I am to please, and I hope one may forgive me for it. This level set though deserves all the 10s I can give. The first level in the set is pretty good, and would be praised by me regardless, but everything level-wise that comes afterwards is just mindblowingly good. In fact, if one allows me to be somewhat hyperbolic I’d say it breaks new ground! At least within TR2 based custom levels. Allow me to elaborate.
Something I keep praising Feder’s level for, is the use of various and differing custom textures to keep you on your toes and your mind interested, too long with the same textures and you get bored, it swims together. So this was avoided. In fact the use of custom textures elevates the levels quite a bit, underlining the horror aspect nicely. The same was done with the level geometry. The first level uses various slants and hilly terrain to look more immersive, and the manor levels screw with your expectations by changing altogether, keeping you guessing. I easily lose concentration, but these levels kept me focused, interested and amazed all the time. Something was always happening and the levels never got boring.
Now let me the discuss the horror aspect of the latter levels. Excellent. Outstanding. Never before have I (at least in TR1-3 custom levels) seen such an effective use of audio. Background sounds, glass shattering sounds, footsteps, the sounds were used perfectly the boost the horror atmosphere in many key aspects. Furthermore, the use of scripting does the same. In the second level you are “hounded” by a creature at various points, existing just out of reach. Said entity is scripted to walk past you in various places, and here comes the kicker, often the event is triggered about a square before the place it appears in leaves the camera. As such you tend to see it only shortly in parts of the screen, in the corner of your eyes. Which is pretty genius in my book. You know, whatever this creature is, will of course be killable with your weapons, but the setup, the teasing (it does the same by teasing you with out reach secrets) is perfection.
On top of that comes my usual spiel. Excellent use of “thematic expansion” - the levels become increasingly crazy and otherworldly. “Pickup ratio” is also well done. I pretty much never used the default pistols and ended the set with pretty much no ammo left – well balanced. Puzzles are very fun and neither undermine your intelligence nor feel too complicated. And final point – all levels provide you with more than enough flares to explore it’s various dark corners multiple times. Commendable. 10/10" - The Snarky Lesbian (20-Sep-2023)
"This is without a doubt one of the most interesting and unique TRLE's I have played. The opening level is classic tomb raider (interesting desert/china theme though) but once the player reaches the manor, where the main bulk of the game takes place, things start getting weird. To be honest, in terms of settings I'm more of a fan of the traditional tombs/temples but I have to say the manor setting here completely won me over. Its design is really great, and Leoc has created a spooky atmosphere (This is definitely one to play at night in the dark), especially with the music cues and lighting. I particularly enjoyed the various pieces of artwork that can be found dotted around, and loved the fact that sometimes these were used to provide hints to the player, that was a nice touch. There's a nice variation of enemies to fight, great traps and puzzles, and the overall vibe is just completely unique. You even get rickrolled at one point. In terms of negatives, i'm really struggling to come up with anything, other than the fact that the manor levels can get very dark in places but plenty of flares are provided and let's be honest, it's a horror level, it kind of has to be dark. Whilst I would never usually be drawn to a horror TRLE, I am super glad I played this one. Definitely recommended." - Passalaqua (24-Aug-2023)
"This follows in the experimental theming of Leoc's other modern releases, with it starting in an environment that combines Nevada, China and Alaska textures before moving on to a mansion building that uses all kind of texture styles. Like before it mostly works, with texturing combinations and edits that make them seem natural despite how wild their sources are, or are clearly supposed to be intentional surreal and chaotic. The lighting is also very strong with a lot of contrast within TR2's limitations; it's on the dark side a lot of the time, but there are a ton of flares provided and good use made of highlights to showcase what's important. There are also a lot of clever object edits, and I think this is the first time I've seen Lara with modified movements in a TR2 engine release.
The gameplay starts off with a more action-style TR2 theme featuring quite a few human enemies and some vehicle action (including a nice take on the Venice timed door), but it then slows down and becomes more exploration and non-human enemy based as you progress into the manor and things get stranger. There's a heavy horror theme in the later parts, and it makes great use of the music and all kinds of clever effects to sell that, including great ideas like using the natural movement of the camera during certain actions to reveal things. The actual gameplay mostly isn't too difficult, but there are some spikes here and there with precise and difficult challenges. Despite the theme there's a certain amount of humour throughout, with various levels of overtness, and that, along with the various strange paintings and images around the mansion areas gives this an almost Richard Lawther style (Some Imps clearly inspired by their usage in his sets even show at one point). One level does heavily reuse the previous map, and, while the gameplay and progression is mostly quite different, it does still feel a bit empty compared to the first trip through it. These surrealistic nightmare adventures by Leoc could lose a bit of their novelty if the style is reiterated too much in the future, but this is another excellent release with a ton of original ideas made even more impressive by being on a more ancient engine." - Mman (03-Jul-2023)
"very nice TR2 level with a masterpiece atmosphere, in my opinion one of the best TR2 levels on TRLE so far" - Raider278 (26-Jun-2023)
"Was given a little nudge to play this one, while I had it downloaded already and glad I was! A thoroughly enjoyable level set throughout! Gameplay was engaging and enjoyable! The mansion levels were the highlight, loved the spooky atmosphere and the choices of ambient tracks and music only accentuated the foreboding tone! If I'd known what this level was all about I'd have saved this for Halloween, but don't let that stop you from playing it any time of the year! Couldn't recommend this level set enough! Get it played!" - Feats (25-Jun-2023)
"Quite a creative TR2 levelset in many ways, very nicely constructed throughout too. It's apparently based on Fleshdoom, a game that I don't ever recall playing but if it is ported, so to speak, it's done very admirably. The unsettling atmosphere really draws you in right from the start and the texturing is well up to standard for a game utilising this engine, although the numerous dark corners were slightly irritating, thankfully copious flares are provided. Alongside the involving traps and puzzles, the highlight of the gameplay is the mansion which almost acts as a puzzle itself, as it keeps changing its layout and manipulating its environment to try to trick Lara, which undoubtedly helps to keep things interesting. The boss battle was a satisfying and thrilling finale to a very enjoyable set of levels. Recommended." - Ryan (11-Apr-2023)
"This TRLE is amazing! I couldn't stop playing it. The atmosphere is top notch, Leoc always makes brilliant TR2 trles, and they are always interesting. Took me 3 hours to complete, and was never too difficult, the only improvement i can think of is the placement of levers and secrets in the first and third level, but in all honestly it was not something that put me off, infact i just wanted to keep going." - JimmyBeon (08-Apr-2023)
"I was betatesting this level set, yet again writing the review just now :]

This is a great horror/surreal level set. Very enjoyable gameplay that includes good variaty of tasks that keep everything dynamic, I wasn't bored and did not encounter any dull moments at all. There's a lot of clever ideas and interesting usage of certain objects that I have not seen in any TR2 level, not to mention I would not expect it to work hehe.
The combat is balanced and the amount of ammo for the game is good enough.

Visually it is stunning, very careful texturing and good mix of few texture sets. It didn't look off, it all worked well together. Lighting was done in my honest opinion perfectly. There are a few very dark spots but we can find plenty of flares across the levels so it is all well rounded.

Entertaining level set that I can recommended to everyone. Great work Leo! :D" - Mahetus (01-Apr-2023)
"Head Trip. Designed specifically to be hallucinatory this extraordinary level-set succeeds in pulling that off 100%. It's helped along by some very suitable audio, but it is the imaginative use of numerous flipmaps that really sent The Last Jade Dragon into hallucination overdrive; many wtf moments. When I started playing Tomb Raider, many years ago, I used to dream about the levels I'd just played, and this game felt like one of those twisted dreams.
Down to the specifics: Gameplay is full of interesting puzzles of various flavours, and overall it is quite forgiving - you get hints for the puzzles and a bit of slack on the timed stuff. Atmosphere is awesome, as I've already said, and it is technically of a high quality - but at the end of the day - it is still TR2 and it has the flat lighting and flickering textures of TR2. (Actually this was a TR2 level built with TombEditor (go figure). It is not obvious what contribution TombEditor made here, maybe it allowed for all those flipmaps, but I don't know.
Overall: a masterpiece - almost. The TR2 engine held it back - a slick TRNG version could have brought more to the table." - Dick (16-Mar-2023)
"Wow what an adventure that was! starting off in a great rocky cavern and canyon area which reminds me of Nevada from TR3 with great exploring, platforming and even a speedboat timed run! then onto my favourite type of level: a huge manor/mansion! although this one is very spooky and creepy with jump scares, great puzzles/tasks, spring pads and traps aplenty! right up my street! Speaking of jump scares a lot of these are with undead warriors walking around, monsters or your surroundings abruptly changing in front of your eyes especially the finale omg! i nearly fell off the sofa! i wont spoil the surprise here haha! I particularly enjoyed some of the platforming challenges and portrait puzzles and the atmosphere music and textures were just top notch and deliciously done. The only negatives for me was too many dark areas needing to light a flare every 5 mins! not fun! and the towards the end the constant running around the house backtracking started to become quite excessive but wow yeah an almost perfect level here, so much fun and so much variety in gameplay fantastic!" - John (26-Feb-2023)
"I don't like messing with the registry, but so be it. This was a perfect TR2 horror level, at least from the moment Lara finally reached the mansion on. There was indeed an atmosphere, and, of course, baddies (a gunfighter Lara included) and even puzzles, including the back and fro (still interesting and original) paintings puzzle. Most of the level set wasn't overly complicated, except for the fact that you had to explore quite a bit and have a sense of where you were and where you'd been, but it did keep you on your toes. I guess there were a tad too many pitch dark spots, even though at least there were plenty of flares too. I only found one secret. All in all, clearly recommended." - Jorge22 (17-Feb-2023)
"This was really good. Even if you aren't into horror levels, you should give it a try." - DJ Full (17-Feb-2023)
"Another high-quality surreal level by Leoc1995. Definitely one of the engine's best. It consists of 7 levels, some shorter, some longer. We get to explore deserts with oriental architecture and haunted mansion. The level is very unusual because of how it mixes both themes. Gameplay is interesting and engaging, as in TR2. Many clever and even innovative ideas are implemented. Lots of puzzles, enemies, and hallucinations. The hallucinations are creative and scary; I jumped on my chair several times. The motive with the green guy appearing out of nowhere and disappearing is an inventive idea. Design-wise, it's very good. I liked the layout of the mansion and how well constructed it was. I liked the constant foreshadowing too. Textures are used in a creative way. I have a little remark towards the lighting; I took one point off because it felt kind of unbalanced at times. Especially in the mansion, some places were too dark in contrast with the rest of the room. Besides that, the lighting was okay. The level uses customised enemies and lots of funny paintings on the wall representing different jokes and memes. It's a nice addition. As I said, the level uses a few innovative ideas, such as never-seen-before shootable vases in TR2, enemies with boosted speed, and custom animations. It's really nice to see some new things in the TR2 engine. I also have another minor point; I believe the first level could have benefited from some more lush or plants to make it feel more decorated and less empty. Just a suggestion. All in all, Leoc serves us another mysterious and horrorish experience with lots of hallucinations, puzzle-solving, and combat. It is definitely worth playing." - BlackWolfTR (11-Feb-2023)
"Disliked
  • While Fleshdoom has some original content, and essentially turns the house into a puzzle, I still would have preferred a new setting instead of having to explore the same mansion a second time.
  • What's up with the pictures referencing critiques on past releases? Just like with any other art form, it's impossible to please everyone; no need to add negative energy into this release because of it.
Neutral
  • The lighting has a good sense of dynamics, although I could have done with a lesser quantity of dark areas. (This isn't a large issue due to the high number of flares provided)
Liked
  • There are some nice puzzles present throughout, my favorites being the timed bell chime platforms and the clocks.
  • There are some neat trap sequences, like the bookcase
  • The texturing and architectural design is strong, providing an immersive adventure
  • TR2 has a strong disposition for combat and this adventure taps into it well, using both classic and original enemies to chase down Lara.
Time: 3 hours 9 minutes | Difficulty: Hard | Rating: 9.25/10" - JesseG (07-Feb-2023)
"I knew to expect something interesting from Leoc but wow this blew away my expectations and is by far my favorite trle by him and probably in my top 10 or even top 5 trle's. The pacing here is amazing especially for a horror game the way it starts out slow with the journey to the mansion, before the second level drops you into the experience. Pretty much textbook horror pacing. The levels feel pretty varied, just when a level starts to drag on the next level starts and does something new and different to keep you interested. I found the general design pretty good, I never got stuck due to confusing level design. The moments of humor are also fun, some are more inside jokes not everyone will get while others I'm sure everyone will find funny/charming. There's a quality here not many trle's can reach where Leoc almost feels like a director of a movie who's directing your experience. Can't recommend this one enough. 10/10/10/10" - Lorax (06-Feb-2023)