Zreen Plays Older Custom Levels (Not Really Reviews)

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Zreen Plays Older Custom Levels (Not Really Reviews)

Post by Zreen » 29 Jan 2017 01:33

Hello, all! This thread's also on the blue forum, just adding it here to let those of you who aren't on there what I'm doing.
*note: Chat seemed the only place to put this*

I made a list about a year ago of the many different levels that have been uploaded to trle.net, and sorted them chronologically and whether they were in the Top 100, Hall of Fame, or above a 7.9 rating.

This is my thread for my thoughts as I go along (I'm already quite into the list, but only a select few of what I play make it onto this thread list). I also found out that if I were to devote an hour to each level per day, I'd end up playing the list for the next 9 years. (originally 10 years, but that was a year ago)

Now, I know normally people who play the games usually give their thoughts in the form of a review which I could easily do for those levels. Thing is, I'm not a reviewer.

I don't review levels the same way most reviewers seem to, so I'm making this thread as a substitute for that. This is just my thoughts on the level, little to nothing about technical things.

I'll update this thread as I finish a custom level. For now, I'll start with the levels I've already done.
*note: I've started recording playthroughs of the ones that make it on the list, will be updating often*

Beneath the Forbidden City - GeckoKid - Jan 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tE-MktUah48
I found this one to be a nice surprise for an early level (and the first on my list). Custom shorts surprised me. Very easy on the eyes, lovely environments, and just overall a good time.

Catacomb Towers - Piega - Feb 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CoQFsmXRH-Y
This expansion of the Catacombs level was astounding for its time. I had a lot of fun going between the two main large areas, finding out different ways to get places rather than a straightforward approach (even though it may seem somewhat linear).

Tomb of the Nelomgals - Gary LaRochelle (Writer of the TRLE Manual) - Mar 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pwtla0H97uo
...eh. This game's rating and reviews pretty much got the game pinned down. It's ... functional. Too cruel at places, and too few hints, lighting, or distinguishable hallways (I felt like I was in a maze most of the time). For a game made by the guy who wrote the original manual for TRLE, I expected something a little more... user friendly? Who knows, maybe these were Gary's thrown out ideas that he just cobbled together to make this. It works, it just... needs polishing here and there.

Tarragona - Josep B - 2001
Sadly, I was only able to get through a couple levels of this series, but what I did play was amazing. The builder knew how to create vast, interactable environments, and this was the first time in my list that a builder had to split a level in two because it was too big. I know I'm going to come back to finish this one.

The Rescue 1-4 - MagPlus - May 2001
I played this before the HD remaster. It was fun to play, though it was quite confusing at times, even with the walkthrough. I have not continued the series yet, but I probably will, like Tarragona.

Cave of Pandora - Hokolo - May 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pH6Bkgmx7l0
This short level was a nice break from the large adventures of Tarragona and The Rescue. I enjoyed the ingenuity of some of the puzzles, though that one hidden ladder infuriated me to no end. All in all, not a bad level.

Technoegyptians Portal - Psiko - Jun 2001
Yes, one of the earliest "see how much stuff you can cram into a level" levels on this list. Psiko's builds are... unique. They're fun when you figure out what to do, but otherwise at first glance it's very intimidating. The four giant statues and jumping around them was probably my best memory of it, though I did get stuck a couple times because of out-of-order sequence of triggers. This level is a must-play.

Artifact of Heroic Maniless - Mulf - Oct 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_e5e1tqdr0U
Great contrast between claustrophobic tunnels and wide open areas. Fun moving from place to place and I enjoyed the custom soundtrack as well. Seems to be missing a second part though.

Return to the Blue Planet - UFO - Nov 2001
Sadly, I could not finish this level. This was very much a Stargate level, with Stargate stuff here, Stargate stuff there, overall quite fun. I'll be coming back to this one.

Lost Acropolis - Harly W - Mar 2002
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuV2flJm3XY
This was a very interesting levelset, based on Lara tracking down the Guide from The Last Revelation after his supposed run-in with the Guardian of Semerkhet. The previously video at the beginning is mine.

Ynys Witrin I-III - Miss Kroft - 2002
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JxCKDWfocI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wiOqGaA7OuY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8JHee69gqs
Ok, this has got to be my favorite custom level on this list so far. Scottish castle, with all the trappings you'd expect, and then some. In the first level it starts with music from Lord of the Rings! (something I noticed from levels around this time). It goes on for another few levels, absolutely gorgeous, fantastic puzzles, amazing platforming, intriguing solutions! Must-play.

Lost City of Pompeii - Cowboy - Aug 2002
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6ADu8aE8DM
This one. Wow. Custom outfit, custom textures, custom objects! I can see early on Cowboy had a knack for this kind of thing! This level in three parts was a fun challenge, I had to use the walkthrough a couple of times, but overall very good job in this. Highly recommended!

The Lost Mine - Pauco2 - Sep 2002
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ktqMIYVx6s
A lot of the areas seemed to be retextures of previous TR locations, like Great Wall, RX-Tech Mines, Cold War, Rome, and Area 51 just to name a few. This made navigation slightly easier, and also very fun to see how things "changed". The addition of the Kalishnakov and Desert Eagle was an improvement, and really helped with the "surprise" near the end of the first level (though in the end I didn't need them). This 2-level custom game was fun to play, and the end surprised me - it was big. Great level.

More levels and my thoughts on them as they come, and remember, these aren't rated reviews, just my thoughts on them.

*these next ones were posted as separate posts as time went on, I'm consolidating them here*

Astrodelica 1-2 - Richard L - Sep 2002
Oh. My. God...
This was amazing.
Took a while to get used to how things worked, awesome use of double-sided textures. The custom objects, textures, and some sounds made this adventure a very good treat to play. I can't even imagine how much planning took place for this custom set! I don't even know which part was my favorite! The hoverbike? The jungle gym? The various pad-trigger puzzles? Or even the very end, where you see the Earth and Moon as cute little texture pixels! And that shoutout to the player playing the game, this custom level was simply amazing. A definite must-play.

Twilight City - Hokolo - Sep 2001
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PtuoI4OY3Mc
This level was interesting. Small bits and pieces of it were fun to play and explore, but I personally found it more frustrating than it needed to be. I found myself looking at the walkthrough every 25 minutes- and 20 of those minutes were spent running around looking for what to do. This level could've used a bit more cameras, hints, and a more forgiving environment. There were too many cruel random traps I kept finding myself in, forcing me to save every 30 seconds just to get through an area. Interesting level, but I see why I didn't finish this before.

Deep in the Jungle - Hokolo - Mar 2002
Ok, this one was better. Much more fun to play, but at the same time much more frustrating. I used the walkthrough more for the first level of this than the second, mainly because I couldn't tell where anything was or what to do (for example, the broken wing on the steps- if the walkthrough hadn't said anything, I would've never shot at it). Both levels were beautifully well-designed, the first one a claustrophobic deathtrap, and the second one a wide-open (-ish) mountaintop. I enjoyed the second one more for that reason (that I didn't need the walkthrough as much- the only time I needed it was to confirm something I already concluded). There were still some cruel random traps here and there, but they were better warned. The ramps+rolling ball+pendulum room was interesting to get through, but the cake has to be the vehicle segments. Quite fun, if frustrating at times.

Center of the World - Psiko - Jan 2002
A continuation of Psiko's "Technoegyptians Portal", this was again a unique build. Quite fun once I figured out how things worked, otherwise a lot of the beginning was spent pouring over the walkthrough. After a while, I got used to the design and Psiko's uniqueness again and was able to get through it. It's very challenging, but also extremely large, with interesting puzzles and a great vehicle track (with some of the most challenging ramps I've had to go on). A great level, a must-play, but only after the first Techno Egyptians cause it's in order.
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