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Sanguis Virginis (Beta Release) by PedroCroft_

DJ Full 7 8 8 7
Kubsy 5 5 5 6
MichaelP 6 8 8 8
tuxraider 7 7 7 7
 
release date: 08-Jul-2023
# of downloads: 1542

average rating: 6.81
review count: 4
 
review this level

file size: 525.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Venice
 


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

Reviewer's comments
"Alright, this was more than I anticipated, as the previously released demo is now in the middle of two additional levels and with each of them at about an hour length you get an extensive 3 hour adventure here.
The first level is set in nightly Venice and while you will have to keep your eyes peeled to not miss crucial switches and the likes, I quite enjoyed the play through that one. It features spike and burner traps and you spend about the first 15 minutes or so in the sewers before coming back up and exploring the city and the upper floors quite a bit. One sort of the goons really has too many hitpoints, which does not make the fights harder - just much more tedious. There are a few looong swims, many windows to shoot and at least one very sneakily hidden key. I thought that maybe more could have been done with the motorbike, which only gets used very briefly here.
The second part is then the very same as the previous demo releases - now split into two separate parts, but largely still the same level as the definitive demo, so you can see my comments there. Good to see that the missing camera near the start has been added and it seems the water drain and flood switch is fixed now.
The third part is oddly called Back to Germany and even more oddly features a bunch of tigers, but that aside it is a decent exploration level in a mine setting. And with exploration I mean serious exploration as you get sent back and forth a lot and need a good sense of orientation - especially as rooms tend to look a bit the same. The overall maze like feel lets the level down a bit as you often try to remember where things were and then have to travel quite far to get there. There is one fairly nice climb, jump sequence, but when you get to do it for the third time it gets rather old for example.
It all ends with a bit of a cliff hanger, so more levels to be expected here - and maybe my advice to the builder would be to move on from these levels and let them be and focus the further work on these new and additional levels, making them even better and more coherent based on the learnings and the feedback received to date." - MichaelP (06-Jan-2024)
"I am sorry but I couldn't enjoy this beta release (which apparently casual players have to play to provide feedback? What about the testing BEFORE releasing it?). There are many minor mistakes (some are beginner mistakes) that I couldn't finish it.
The gameplay is of course just finding switches, keys etc etc. So nothing to say that, although I had a lot of problems with enemies being way too OP and taking a a lot of bullets to take down. There are also jumps that require a bit of challenge to make especially for beginners at TRLE, if you complain about that then well get told off by the author that you don't have "good play skills" on the forums.
The diary feature is okay however, I hate the idea of them not being saved in the inventory and only can be read once.
The textures are applied mostly ok, but you can see in Germany level that they are very wallpapered and there's no variation whatsoever. Another thing is levels being dark with no contrast applied, more sunbulbs and lighting variation should be used.
Some rooms also felt blocky and no attempt was made to actually made them look "natural" or making them less blocky.
I could go on and on with the issues. But I would like to now point out the stuff that disturb me: The fact that the author did not provide the readme crediting the authors of the used objects bothers me a lot. And no the excuse shouldn't be because "the main levelset is not complete yet" wrong, you still released the beta release to the public and you should be making a readme no matter what.
Another fact that disturbs me is the fact that (being not the only one to notice this) but a few of rooms (not all of them) were awfully similar to maybe borderline same to Max's Ancient Artifact 2. Sure you can of course get inspired but copying is a big no no for me. I have been playing TRLE custom levels since 2012, and my brain is now adjusted to be able to recognise levels and rooms and in this case it recognised this. This made me frustrated.
In conclusion, a levelset with a good idea but with not so good execution, the author has been in the community for years and I still feel like he is not improving with his level design skills, and unfortunately does not take criticism well. I don't know what else to say, I can see potential in Pedro but again he does not want to improve in my opinion." - Kubsy (23-Jul-2023)
"After a "Demo" and a "Definitive Demo" here's a "Beta Release". It still makes an unfinished impression. Unless you want to give feedback, it's probably better to wait for the final release. Compared to the previous "Definitive Demo", it's significantly longer and new levels were added. Some problems in the existing levels appear to have been fixed. Thew new levels are good, with some problems. I'm just dumping my observations for each level. They're mostly problems I spotted, so maybe it sounds a little negative.

Venice:

  • It took me a while to find how to get started. Lara getting forced to look at something (basically the wrong direction) distracts from making progress instead of helping the player.
  • Lara can't jump over the small rail (near starting area), just hits an invisible wall.
  • Also near starting area, there's something that looks like a climbable texture, but isn't. Only later it becomes clear that you can climb on this ceiling, but you can't jump to it yet.
  • The diary forcibly opens and blocks gameplay. Not a big problem, but it would be better if it only notified the player of new entries.
  • In one place, when Lara jumped towards an enemy to attack him, there was a cut scene that interrupted the game. Not nice.
  • Apparently there are voiced lines during cut scenes. I play with audio turned off. Subtitles would be nice.
  • You can get easily lost in Venice. There is a large area to traverse, you can get stuck wandering around without knowing what to do next. More hints, opening up shortcuts, or less zigzag over the entire level map would be nice.
  • Driving the bike over the bridge turns on a pretty bogus camera, that hides the view when you enter the room. The room with the baddies is a bit frustrating: the stuck camera issues, getting stuck with the bike, the overpowered baddies. I didn't check whether Lara can get back up to the bridge if she slides down. She needs to get an item, but could slide down while leaving the bike on the bridge, so if she can't back, the gameplay is broken.
  • On the poles, you sometimes need to change the "swing" by pressing another button. This is pretty obscure, many players might get stuck not knowing this.
  • The weapon power seems to be rather differently tuned from TRLE defaults. Shooting the baddies with the normal pistols took long and was almost exhausting. I needed many medipacks. With the new guns you find later, each baddy was defeated with two shots. I think this is fine, even if unusual.
  • There was a useless block and a corner with missing textures. Looks very confusing.

Security perimeter (sewers):

  • I didn't get the problem with the bottom room this time. No problems with the ladders either.
  • Instead of the invisible wall in the museum there's a grate texture now. But when the camera changes (so it's inside the big room and looks at Lara) the texture is missing.
  • In the room where you use the dynamite, Lara collides with things on the floor and sometimes gets pushed in the water. Odd and annoying effect.
  • After the explosion, the dynamite bundle is suspended in the air?
  • I found this level less confusing this time. I don't know if it improved, or if I just knew it better. Anyway, I liked it.

Security parameter (part 2):

  • I couldn't reach this level the in the previous release because of a crash, but it worked this time.
  • The truck on the edge has no collision. Lara can walk through it and go inside the fenced area. Maybe it even interfered with gameplay.
  • I didn't get the switch puzzle and the hints. I looked at a video WT on Youtube to get the solution. I don't know if the hints were too cryptic or if it's a problem with my brain.

Germany mines:

  • Why are there tigers in Germany?
  • The beginning was very tricky again. This and the later zigzag across the level map reminded me negatively of the Venice level. Some more hints and opening up shortcuts later may help to improve the level. But in general I found the gameplay good and entertaining.
  • Some tricky timeruns with platforms, but not very hard after a few tries.
  • Tricky skeleton you drag away: although I knew you can drag it, it took me some attempts to get it done.
  • There was a bad game stopping bug. You can get into a camera loop when reaching the big cave/chasm through one of the doors on the surface. I suspect once this bug is triggered, your savegame is broken forever. I could jump back in the short breaks between the loops, but found no way to get down the chasm from this point. You can only hope not to trigger it. The camera itself was slightly buggy too, some textures became invisible for brief moments. It seems the camera flight is supposed to be actually triggered later, when another character sits on the edge, for story telling reasons.
  • There is an invisible block in front of a door, that opens later. It's in the small tunnel near the bottom of the big cave, where you use the crowbar to open another door to get access to the tunnel. I noticed similar issues in other places/levels.
  • I don't know why I had to drain the big pool, or how I did it, or what exactly changed. Making it more obvious for the not as astute players like me might make the gameplay more fun, like adding more cameras. Also there was a weird tile, wooden boards with a water texture on top of it.
  • The "broken" cog (not meant to be useful) you pick up in that area appears in the inventory and is named "Load". When I went back again there, it disappeared and reappeared on the floor, if I remember right. There were strange issues with the camera not switching back to Lara, which seemed to be connected to this.
  • Why could I pick up 6/4 secrets?
  • The crossbow you pick up is weird. The explosive ammo doesn't explode. There seems to be only one type of ammo, but three are displayed and all show the same ammo count. The weak and useless crossbow was disappointing.
  • At one point, a bunch of baddies all appear at once and were clumped together. I was glad to have many medipacks.
  • This level and Venice could use more decorations to make it visually more interesting. There are too many bleak looking areas.
  • Lara gets stuck in some of the levers when using them and turning around. Harmless, just a minor annoyance.

Conclusion: the camera loop bug needs to be fixed before making a final release. The game is generally playable and fun, with some minor issues. I hope my comments help the builder to improve it, and I'm looking forward to the final release." - tuxraider (20-Jul-2023)
"I heard this game was binned because of lighting, but I managed to extract the best of it with brightness 85, contrast 72 plus night vision (and yes, the lattermost I need to set to Strongest for every custom level, not just Pedro's) - all that on MAGQRF274-QD (and yes, whoever at MSI is responsible for naming those models should be fired). After my eyes got acceptably comfy, the ears couldn't - please fix the rain sound and the game will be 10% better already... I dived into ageless waters for bricks, pipes, sewers, something industrial related. Then onto terraces and rooftops, disposing of mafiosi, using battle tactics with upgraded weapons - just all you'd expect from Venice. In some cases if you miss an item you repeat a travel, and rose receptacles perfectly blending into the background will likely elude you (I would update the level with those being either more prominent or having a camera hint), so in the end I played for 20 minutes too long, but eventually I dropped into... yes, more sewer. Since the previous level had it only as a cameo, it was not enough, so now we deal with sewers for entire full unit. I remember this area from the demos and this time I was much less confused - no idea what improved, the level or me. Fixable are tons of debris and blue fog covering the entire map, and which would do much better if organized in more sensible, natural way (so again, update plz). Not discouraged, I reached the museum. I think this part was also revised to be less cumbersome (or it's me, again I don't know). Deeper down in the dig, I didn't get the puzzle hints so I did trial and error, not good. In the fourth level - the mines, possibly the easiest on the eyes despite of the topic, I found a softlock - save before the jump to the pool at the bottom of the mine, as the accompanying flyby tends to loop forever. It's not 100% broken, so you can pass if you jump over the triggers instead of activating them, and then save some steps after the pool jump is done. The final session left me a bit confused because the playable area kept expanding yet I kept triggering remote objects. Also, I never figured out the logic of the chain puzzle room, and when I watched the walkthrough, I noticed I had missed a whole bunch of interactions - which however didn't prevent me from finishing the game. If speaking of finishing already - it felt like if the game is missing an entire final level, as I still don't understand what Lara's discovery was all about. Eventually, I launched trview and figured out the numerous grenades and even more uzi clips I picked up on the way were useless as there was never a corresponding weapon provided. What does it mean? Should we expect a sequel?" - DJ Full (19-Jul-2023)