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Old 09-10-13, 01:44   #121
sheepman23
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Thank you for all of the comments guys. I will try and post the Palace Midas review tomorrow night.
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Old 09-10-13, 07:54   #122
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just read the reviews thus posted and i'm really enjoying them, sheep! looking forward to the rest!
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Old 09-10-13, 13:06   #123
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Finally you're doing palace midas tonight. It took you a long time to do it since you did colosseum.
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Old 10-10-13, 03:00   #124
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GREECE
Level 7 - Palace Midas



Lara... enough with the nude suits. Seriously.

Similar to how The Lost Valley is labeled as "The Dinosaur Level," Palace Midas takes on the alias of "The OMG LARA TURNS TO GOLD ON THE HAND Level." It is sort of a big deal, after all. This is probably the first time in the series where something that is realistically impossible - in this case, magic - is presented to us in the gameplay. (I wouldn't count dinosaurs since they did exist millions of years ago.)

Really through, this is sheer brilliance on the designer's parts. I don't remember being surprised at turning to gold on Midas' hand since my mother had spoiled that little secret for me (that's what I get for playing this game as a kid ), but I can just see the looks on the faces of players as they watched Lara's form being solidified into solid gold. Because at this point in the game, there's no reason for something like alchemy to exist - yet it does.

So yeah, there's that. But like The Lost Valley, the overall concept of Palace Midas is often overshadowed by the mysterious golden hand when in reality, the beauty of this level comes from far more than that single moment.





One thing I do vividly remember from my initial visit to Palace Midas is looking upward in several different rooms of the level and thinking, "Wow, I'd love to get up there." Only to have that exact desire granted in about ten or twenty minutes. Palace Midas is the first level of the series to use this form of design. This phenomenon has occurred many more times in subsequent games (Temple of Xian is another good example of it), but this case it's special since the entire palace is interwoven; as a result, the palace feels much larger and grandiose than it actually is.

Which brings me to another point; the level layout. It's perfect. There's no linearity here, but at the same time the palace isn't confusing to where you don't know which switches have opened which doors.


I could bust into the new Bruno Mars song right now, but I feel like that would be awkward and inappropriate.


One of TR1's best puzzles. Ironically, it was removed in Anniversary... go figure.

While the palace does feel large, there are focal points of it that allow you to keep your bearings and avoid that sense of confusion which sometimes taints other levels of the series. The five-switch room is a good example of a central point, as is the Midas garden or the aqueduct cavern. Speaking of the switch room... I love the puzzle that's showcased here! It's nothing particularly tricky, but in conjunction with the lead bar puzzle it's an excellent way to open up the different challenges.

Memorability? Check. Grand design? Check. Puzzles? Check. Gorillas and crocodiles and lions and... no Pierre DuPont (which is actually good in this case, since it adds to the feeling of isolation)? Check. That means that only one thing is missing...


Oh, don't worry Lara. If you fall, there's a rat-infested pool to help you get out.

Traps! And damn if these aren't some of my favorite ones of all time. Again, the burner chamber is nothing fancy. Future games have taken the concept of fiery pillars and enhanced it to the fourth power (Lost City of Tinnos, anyone?). However, this run in Palace Midas holds a special place for me because of how tough I found it the first time through. You have to understand that I wasn't the best gamer ever at 9 years of age, so this room took me a fair few tries to master. But for all of the sweat and tears I put into it, there was nothing more satisfying than reaching that lead bar at the end of the tunnel.

In contrast, the spike pillar room is a lot easier, but at the same time it has harsher penalties than the fire room. Fall in here, and the water catches you. Fall in the spike room... and you get a thorn in the thigh.


I've always wondered why the spikes are bloody. I mean, it's not like there's tons of skeletons lying around.


This secret is kind of unforgiving. As if it wasn't hard enough to find the switch, our reward is two pairs of slamming teeth and ANOTHER SPIKE PIT.

One final thing before I wrap this thing up: What's up with the "unreachable medipack" in the switch chamber? Does this mean that the designers were trying to tease us, or that they actually knew about the corner bug and knew that we would get the medipack anyway? I think that this unreachable pickup has confused me more than any other in the series. In the case of Temple of Xian and Coastal Village, I can safely conclude that the medipacks were pure teasers since there's no possible way to reach them. But with a simple bug that doesn't involve the fly cheat, I can quickly reach that medipack in Palace Midas.

Hmm...

Conclusion

If anyone has ever seen me preach about the definition of a top-notch Tomb Raider level, then you've more than likely heard me mention Palace Midas at some point. Or maybe two or three times. Or more. I dunno.

When it comes down to the core of what Tomb Raider is about - the wonder of exploring, grand views, and killer atmosphere... Palace Midas ticks all of those boxes and gets every extra credit point. Every aspect of this adventure works together to create one of the most defining experiences of the series. The puzzles directly correlate with the layout of the palace. The enemies are abundant, but properly placed so that the trip is exciting in addition to being sentimental. The traps are appropriately inserted to give us challenge while still keeping the calm atmosphere intact. And above all, the level has a sense of connectedness that few other levels can achieve.

That being said, not everyone has the same idea of what "the perfect Tomb Raiding experience" is, and thus some may just see Palace Midas as a tangled mess of corridors that are overpopulated with gorillas. And thank goodness we all have those different views or things would be really boring. However, Palace Midas has been and probably always will be my prime example of what makes Tomb Raider great.

Best level of the series? I think so.

Rating - 10/10

Last edited by sheepman23; 10-10-13 at 03:02.
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Old 10-10-13, 10:48   #125
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I like palace midas because it has a perfect example of fun things such as the traps, enemies, and the hand where lara either turns to gold or sand.
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Old 10-10-13, 20:31   #126
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I do like this level a lot even though I've said many times in the past that it is an average level, and seeing your screens and reading your review reminded me of some of the great gameplay sections it has. Maybe I was a tad critical in the past.

Anyway, fantastic review.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepman23 View Post
That being said, not everyone has the same idea of what "the perfect Tomb Raiding experience" is, and thus some may just see Palace Midas as a tangled mess of corridors that are overpopulated with gorillas. And thank goodness we all have those different views or things would be really boring.
I can't help but feel this is somewhat directed at me.

But I do agree completely, the fact that we all have completely different opinions on each level is what makes it so interesting. Even if having Madubu Gorge in your top 3 is a little strange.
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Old 10-10-13, 21:21   #127
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Madubu Gorge is an amazing level!
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Old 11-10-13, 09:32   #128
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The new bruno mars song reminds me of the gorillas.
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Old 11-10-13, 09:44   #129
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sheepman23 View Post




Such simple, unfussy architecture everywhere. Really gave it a feel of being otherwordly, a long lost society that had evolved elsewhere.

Has an elegance and beauty all of its own.
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Old 11-10-13, 15:54   #130
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10/10? Meh, standard.

No, but seriously, this level fully deserves the top mark. My favourite sequence out of any TR game is located in this level - namely the path which weaves you through the whole palace (and takes you to the gold bar on that temple roof). I just love that kind of thing! It's so cool following this path taking you up and up and up, and then finding yourself at the top of the aqueduct room!
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