September 25, 2009

Return to Egypt - Review

Level info:

name: Return to Egypt
release date: February 2003
class: Egypt
number of levels: 2
author: Titak
exe: unpatched, TRLE needed
size: 16 MB
type: TR4

download link: http://www.trle-hosting.net/levels/2003/0203/Titak-ReturnToEgypt.zip





storyline:

Lara has to find two artifacts to gain access to The Tomb of Seth. One of the artifacts has already been found by others and is being heavily guarded at an abandoned village at the oasis. The second artefact is hidden within Orion's Caves. Up to Lara to retrieve both artifacts, get rid of her opponents and enter the depths of Seth's realm.




review:

Well, this is the first level ever released by one of the most famous and successful TR builders, Titak. She didn't experiment at all here, so we encounter textures, objects, puzzles and enemies we already saw in The Last Revelation. This was her debut, and as a debut, it isn't so bad at all.

Although Titak was a beginner here, we could already notice the power of her imagination. The game is not so hard, but it is immensely interesting and thrilling at the moments, with a lot of surprises, although she never used a single custom object. There are a lot of dead ends (which has always been a good thing in the world of TR), sometimes there are more than one way to reach to the other side or to accomplish a certain task, the overall ambiance is so realistic that it is even better than the ambiance in the original TR.

The game has a lot of glitches and bugs. For example, you can climb or jump to an area that wasn't supposed to be reached at all, but only if you are persistent like me. I guess that this game wasn't tested so thoroughly, and that these glitches occur due to that. Default game bugs are also there: holster bug, corner bug, the most notorious flare bug when your flares don't shed any light, but that's due to the Editor, not due to the author herself. Later she used TREP to fix most of these bugs. Still, she did a great job designing the open areas. Although she didn't use TREP to fix the drawing distance range, nor did she use the distant fog to avoid drawing distance, not once can you see the objects or buildings disappear in distance. She gave her best to fight against that really big problem with TRLE.

I was astonished at the way she designed the open areas, especially the mountain. Even then, at the beginning of her carrer, it was obvious that she has a great talent for designing. Folks who build custom TR levels should learn from her how the mountains and the open areas are supposed to be built and textured. Even the authors of the original TR have something to learn from Titak about this.

Despite all the flows and glitches, these two levels are amazing. There is a lot of action, climbing, puzzles and switches, and Titak included some of the hardest TR4 elements in her game, like jumping from one dangling rope to another, for example. Her timed runs in this game was not so merciless as they are in her newer levels, but still they are hard enough to be rated as nothing less than excellent. The game flows smoothly, you can hardly get stuck in a level, and that's also a good thing, because we really hate gameplay killers (when you reach a certain point and realize that you are stuck and cannot get back). These two connected levels are perfect for beginners, since they are not too hard, but still, not so easy either.

There are a lot of custom Egyptian levels available, but this one is definitely the best, especially because Titak used only the object packs that comes with the original TRLE. You think you really need custom objects to create an original and interesting level? Well, think again. Titak proved that it is not so necessary after all.

My rating: 8.2 of 10.

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