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Crystal Palace - The Amulet of Life by abbath81

DJ Full 9 9 9 8
JesseG 9 10 9 9
Juan Carlos 10 9 10 10
Phil 9 9 9 8
Ryan 9 9 9 9
tuxraider 7 7 7 7
 
release date: 25-Jul-2023
# of downloads: 1271

average rating: 8.75
review count: 6
 
review this level

file size: 334.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cold/Snowy
 


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Reviewer's comments
"Amazing game. All the time absoltely intensive. A lot of emotions. Every chapter lovely. I liked it a lot. Just one BIG COMPLAIN! How is posible to arrive to last part, where you have to kill three skeleton in order to continue the game and you don't have a weapon to destroy them! I had to play all the game again just to get the crosbow and be able to kill the skeletons and finish the game. That is the reason I give a nine in objects." - Juan Carlos (20-Sep-2023)
"I have very mixed opinions about this set of levels. Some of the levels are overly simplistic and boring. Other levels are good, but suffer from bad soft-locks. Generally it starts deceptively simple, but can be extremely challenging. Getting through this requires expert knowledge and sometimes starting over. I think I still liked it.

Level 1 (HOME SWEET HOME):

  • Pretty boring and mediocre standard home level. I like home levels, but this one isn't very good.
  • The inside and outside training courses don't have a timer and seem pointless.
  • Often looks irritatingly empty and dreary.
  • You can exit the level without getting your guns, but then you can't finish level 2. This is an unacceptable soft-lock.

Level 2 (MOUNTANIOUS RIDE):

  • This looks better and more exciting, but ultimately it's still sterile and linear.
  • Riding around with the snow bike is still fun.
  • The only hard part was where to get up to find the keys. That left me confused for a while.
  • Until here, the difficulty is still rather easy.

Level 3 (DEATH TRAIN):

  • A standard train level, but I think the gameplay and visuals are getting much better here.
  • One of the better levels of this set. Gameplay is actually fun now.
  • There are some surprisingly tricky jumps, warrants at least a "challenging" rating.
  • Moving that block with the flame emitter was really mean and tricky to figure out.

Level 4 (ICY CLIFFS):

  • Looks even better. I really liked the concept and the overall architecture. It was my favorite level of this set.
  • Although the texturing is occasionally monotone, it mostly fits the location and atmosphere.
  • It seems to have a serious problem with soft-locks. If you do certain things wrong, you can't finish the level.
  • Finding your path is the most difficult thing about this level.

Level 5 (BETWEEN FIRE & ICE):

  • Relatively short level, there's not much to say.
  • Some extremely tricky sliding+jumping sequences.
  • The cold water at the palace entry makes diving more time critical.

Level 6 (CRYSTAL PALACE):

  • Final level. This is longer and one of the better levels of this set.
  • Requires some true expert moves to get through.
  • The jump sequence with the breaking tiles for one of the Redeye Crystals is rather tricky and can end in a soft-lock. You should keep a savegame before starting, you're safe once you'Re back to the entry. This seems to be intentional.
  • The push puzzle is another puzzle which can end in a soft-lock, and which looks intentional.
  • And another soft-lock: if you're not quick enough when releasing the 2 snow boulders, you simply can't open the exit and finish the level. Obviously intentional.

Conclusion: there are some good levels and some bad levels. The good levels are legitimately fun, but suffer from soft-lock issues. At least some of the soft-locks are obviously intentional, but I think it's fundamentally not OK to add them. If you're not an experienced player, I definitely can't recommend this game at all. If you're an experienced player, go ahead and try it, and don't let the first 2 levels stop you because might think they're too boring or too easy, it gets better!" - tuxraider (24-Aug-2023)
"Disliked
  • The last puzzle of the game rubbed me the wrong way, it's the moment where two boulders drop from the ceiling. It boils down to pulling three switches in a specific order. The first issue is that the player is softlocked if they don't solve it on the first try. The second is that two of the switches momentarily disable Lara's movement after being pulled (one of them does so twice). It feels arbitrary, and I can't be the only player who wondered if something was wrong with their keyboard. I can only guess that this was done to enforce the "correct" solution, since the levers could otherwise be pulled in a different order to reach the end. Either way it makes the solution feel artifical.
Liked
  • I love the colorful lighting in this adventure, especially in the last level. It helps add variety and add distinction to different parts of large areas.
  • Aside from what I noted above, there are other puzzles that I found enjoyable, whether it was tracing lines to switches, or pushing blocks to activate a pressure pad.
  • With timed runs, crumbling platforms, and tricky slopes, the platforming is not for beginners, but for me it was engaging. It will be difficult to progress without knowing the "hop backwards off a ledge and tap action" trick to reach lower ledges.
  • There's not a large amount of enemies, but when they do appear they make an impact and put Lara's arsenal to its test. Enemies come in a nice variety as well.
Time: 3 hours 18 minutes | Difficulty: Very Hard | Rating: 9.25/10" - JesseG (24-Aug-2023)
"I was given the honor of being asked to test this series of levels before their release. Actually, my "testing" consisted of following along behind Dutchy, using his notes to make my way through as he was compiling his written walkthrough (without which I would not have gotten very far). The game consists of six parts with a welcome variety of "looks," and the last level is long and complicated enough to justify release as a standalone. The gameplay can also get quite complex and difficult to manage at times, so I made several suggestions which may have been incorporated into the final version. One of the secrets in particular I was unable to reach, even though I knew where it was and how to get there, but since the only reward was adding another necklace to my collection, I didn't lose any sleep over that. The game as a whole is well conceived and put together, but from a purely personal standpoint it was a bit dark for my tastes and the surrounding areas didn't have that "eye candy" appeal that I like to see in custom levels. Still, it's a fine effort that I can recommend without reservation." - Phil (03-Aug-2023)
"Let me get the few minor negatives out of the way first (spoiler alert!). A couple of the breaktile sequences may be slightly flawed in that you cannot use all of them on the way "there" otherwise you may arrive at an unintentional dead end. So, do save often if necessary. The occasional long backtrack was somewhat arduous too, especially if you decided to collect certain secrets. Aside from those, this was a supremely enjoyable and surprisingly rewarding adventure, with a nice difficulty progression throughout. The first three (including a wonderful train segment) ease you in with the occasional challenging gymnastic and trap (and, OK, a quite tricky snowmobile exercise) and do a nice job at setting the scene for the later part of the adventure. The challenge quotient ramps up again here with plenty of fairly difficult (but not frustrating), timed runs, noticeably more fearsome enemies and a couple of well executed block and lever puzzles. Amongst all the ice, fire also makes an appearance in a few of the trap rooms. The last level, in the rather impressive ice palace, utilises the hub room concept neatly and offers plenty of variety in terms of traps and puzzles and doesn't let you in easy, even when you reach the objective of your quest. Entertaining stuff throughout." - Ryan (01-Aug-2023)
"Softlock warning: don't lose the bike in the manor as you need it to finish. Actually the level is also finishable without getting the pistols, which may or may not impact gameplay in next levels... which are a bunch of maps quite fine to go through if you don't care - since abundance of pickups and perseverance for secrets may extend the duration twice. I would say it's a very good game but two things made it more painful than it should have been: wherever I went, the map was consistently underlit, and on my way to the end I counted at least five possible softlocks. Also, despite of quite good choice of materials, there is almost never any transition between them, what makes the map look like glued together instead of organic. For these reasons I would call this release a beta - but I see there's already a second version... so, should I replay? Oh, no..." - DJ Full (29-Jul-2023)