www.tombraiderforums.com  

Go Back   www.tombraiderforums.com > Tomb Raider Series > Tomb Raider II

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 15-02-16, 19:35   #41
Enya Brennan
Relic Hunter
 
Enya Brennan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Moons of Jupiter
Posts: 7,061
Default

I've always seen the ballroom with the chandeliers as one of the most iconic and memorable bits of the game, and possibly of the whole franchise. I find to be such a satisfying moment, beautifully crafted and with a perfectly matching ambiance
__________________
And their tower of confusion could not drown the light from your star...
Enya Brennan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 15-02-16, 20:46   #42
trfan16
Archaeologist
 
trfan16's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,519
Default

This is one of the levels I reviewed in my rankings thread. I love your perspective of this level, and I agree with your critique. Unlike the previous level, Bartoli's Hideout goes back to the Classic TR mechanics. Even though we don't see Lara exploring a tomb, its a nice change of pace to be outdoors for once. The level is filled with classic moments including traps, intriguing level design, and perfectly fits the beautiful scenery that the rest of the Venetian levels offer. And I agree with Enya, the chandelier room also sticks out as one of the most memorable moments for me. It was a neat puzzle that didn't rely on some overly-annoying gimmick. On the downside, the copious amounts of human enemies ruin this level. But I am more forgiving of this level because it is the main villain's hideout. Also, I felt the felt a little too empty. It would've been nice if the rooms were a little more decorated.

And lol at the burner hallway count. Yes, this game really did love their burner traps. Wait until you get to the Maria Doria levels.
trfan16 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-16, 04:29   #43
Hiroyuki
Explorer
 
Hiroyuki's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Croft Manor
Posts: 603
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enya Brennan View Post
I've always seen the ballroom with the chandeliers as one of the most iconic and memorable bits of the game, and possibly of the whole franchise. I find to be such a satisfying moment, beautifully crafted and with a perfectly matching ambiance
I think it's partly the ethereal music, which doesn't get played again until you enter the secret gold room in Kingdom in the Golden Mask adventure. In the case of the chandelier room though, the peaceful aura is somewhat tainted by the presence of the baddies, it's a shame they didn't leave that room empty.

It's nice that there's several ways you can do the chandelier room: as Sheepman said there is more than one way of reaching the safe; but there are also two ways into the fireplace, two ways out of the flooded basement and a choice of exploring it before or after you dive down the chimney. All that flexibility is a classic example of the TR Classics ethos.
__________________
We don't have a plan so nothing can go wrong.
Hiroyuki is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 16-02-16, 16:05   #44
WolfRaider
Archaeologist
 
WolfRaider's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: Somewhere I guess
Posts: 1,179
Default

Yeah BH was a level that just doesn't really stand out much beside the chandelier room, but still enjoyable nonetheless.

And kind of funny that yeah it felt like it had a balance between Venice and Opera House in terms of traps and all, cause it the middle level, so Venice as a section got more trap fest as you go through.

Last edited by WolfRaider; 16-02-16 at 16:08.
WolfRaider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 27-02-16, 19:39   #45
Enya Brennan
Relic Hunter
 
Enya Brennan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2014
Location: Moons of Jupiter
Posts: 7,061
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by trfan16 View Post
And I agree with Enya, the chandelier room also sticks out as one of the most memorable moments for me. It was a neat puzzle that didn't rely on some overly-annoying gimmick. On the downside, the copious amounts of human enemies ruin this level. But I am more forgiving of this level because it is the main villain's hideout.
That's my main gripe with the whole Venice section. A brilliantly constructed set of levels that gets ruined several times by the exaggerated amount of human enemies appearing one after another :\

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hiroyuki View Post
I think it's partly the ethereal music, which doesn't get played again until you enter the secret gold room in Kingdom in the Golden Mask adventure. In the case of the chandelier room though, the peaceful aura is somewhat tainted by the presence of the baddies, it's a shame they didn't leave that room empty.
Excellently put. I agree, which is basically what I wanted to express in the above quoted message. The atmosphere of Venetian canals is constantly interrupted by baddies.
__________________
And their tower of confusion could not drown the light from your star...
Enya Brennan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 19-04-16, 22:44   #46
sheepman23
Relic Hunter
 
sheepman23's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: Iowa
Posts: 8,668
Default

After almost two months of me being too swamped with work to do a review, we're back - and ready to tackle another level! I hope that this period of inactivity has inspired a fresh analysis, so enjoy!

VENICE
Level 4 - "The Opera House"




The Opera House probably remains as one of the most recognizable Tomb Raider levels, and for good reason. Levels like Bartoli's Hideout fade into obscurity because they're solid enough to be enjoyable but have no real defining moment or feature to set themselves apart from the rest of the experiences. Even more unfortunate for Bartoli's Hideout is its striking resemblance to its predecessor Venice, which tends to get most of the attention.

While The Opera House certainly maintains the Venetian atmosphere in terms of architecture and enemy types, the designers invoke a sense of danger and urgency with newly introduced traps and gameplay styles to shake things up a bit. Glass shards make their first appearance, and TR2 continues the Tomb Raider tradition of having some objects that completely defy inertia by refusing to ever stop swinging. Proximity-triggered sandbags also show up here, and let it be known that these things were the bane of my existence when I was a kid.


Discount spikes are... discount.

Putting aside new dangerous hazards, The Opera House is also the first level of Tomb Raider II to feature the "centralized chamber" type of gameplay. In this commonly used style, there is one central chamber (usually of good size) that connects various points of the level together. It serves as a hub of sorts, and in the case of this level, our hub is obviously the opera house. St. Francis Folly, Sanctuary of the Scion, and the Obelisk of Khamoon are just a few examples of levels that implemented this tactic in Tomb Raider.

I'm pretty sure that if I were to take an average of the quality of every stage that uses the "centralized chamber" gameplay method in the series, I would come up with a positive score. Large, exploration-oriented rooms generally encourage the type of gameplay that we look for in this series, and as long as you don't make that room completely devoid of life or interesting features, it should turn out well.

Of course, The Opera House is no exception to this maxim, and that is probably one of the most pertinent reasons for why it's generally an iconic level. Going beyond that, however, I think that The Opera House also gains a lot of points for not relying too heavily on key-fetching. Sure, there are three puzzle items here, but all three of them have very different functions and are used in different parts of the opera house itself. The Ornate Key, for instance, is necessary to regain access to the Circuit Board port. I'll also point out how much I have always appreciated the utility of the Relay Box, which allows Lara to travel by elevator to the exterior of the building. Little touches like this make levels feel more real and wholesome.


Lara's onstage pistol rampage results in a mass exodus from the crowd.



In terms of atmosphere, The Opera House earns a solid gold star. The moment captured in the overhead screenshot is quite bone-chilling, especially since you have no idea what is lurking in the waters underneath the stage the first time through. Music tracks are inserted at the right spots in this level to give the most profound impact without overdoing it.

Finally, I have a rather weird opinion on the presence of humans in this level. For once, I must say that I think I am actually okay with their abundance here. That's not to say that they could have been a little more thinned out, but I feel like The Opera House is a darkly atmospheric yet intense experience, and the humans help accentuate that. When viewed on completely individual terms and not in the context of Tomb Raider II, The Opera House doesn't really seem to suffer from the gunmen and club guys that it gives us, so I'm not going to knock off points here for that reason.


For the record, small suspended crates result in a ****-ton of head trauma.

So What's Lacking Here?

So far, I have had very little to say about this level that is negative, and I'm actually quite surprised by that. The Opera House only made it to the 70's of my TR level ranking list if I remember correctly, which is within the top half but not the top third of all levels from TR1-Underworld. Basically... it was good, but did not really blow me away.

So what is my problem with this level? Well, I don't have one particular problem, but rather a lack of huge positives to point out. The Opera House takes the concept of the "centralized chamber" gameplay and executes it pretty perfectly. It does not overuse any annoying traps or have any poorly designed sections, and difficulty-wise it does about what I would expect this game to for a fourth level. Puzzles are pretty standard but polished. Despite all of these good things, there is not one thing that really dramatically impresses me about this stage. I reach the level, I enjoy playing it, and then I move on to the rig and Maria Doria levelset... and that's it. Despite its high memorability for the general classic TR fanbase, I don't really think that The Opera House articulates any one strong point well enough for it to be considered elite.

This ultimate truth about the level puts me in an interesting situation in terms of giving it a rating. While I could bump it up to a 9/10 since it is definitely better than Bartoli's Hideout, that would be on the same tier as The Great Wall... and that does not seem right to me since the latter level seems undeniably more interesting to me. On the other hand, putting it at an 8/10 is a pretty safe option but almost a bit of an injustice to a level that does not really commit any flaws at all.

I'm going to compromise and go with:

8.5/10


Current Ratings (and rankings):

1. The Great Wall (9/10)
2. The Opera House (8.5/10)
3. Bartoli's Hideout (8/10)
4. Venice (7/10)

Anyone who has read my TR Level Rankings thread knows what they're in for during the next review, so get the popcorn ready.
sheepman23 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-04-16, 10:14   #47
Shark_Blade
Legend
 
Shark_Blade's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 36,578
Default

*clap clap* I'm enjoying this. Welcome back.
Shark_Blade is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-04-16, 10:30   #48
tomekkobialka
Relic Hunter
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: London
Posts: 5,040
Default

Cool review! The standout quality of Opera's House to me is its dark atmosphere. There's something creepy about that central auditorium, because when you enter it for the first time, it looks empty, but then you discover there's a guy with a mask below you, and a guy running around on the stage. It's a level that definitely evokes that sense of dread and isolation.
__________________
TRF: Bringing TR fans closer together
tomekkobialka is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-04-16, 13:48   #49
Trenton
Tomb Raider
 
Trenton's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: St.Francis' Folly Gender: Male
Posts: 18,684
Default

Always a pleasure to read your reviews Sheepman!
__________________
Lud's Gate = masterpiece level
Trenton is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 20-04-16, 15:58   #50
peeves
Legend
 
peeves's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Heaven with cats and TR1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, UB, GM, LA, and Times level
Posts: 65,598
Default

Welcome back and it's a pleasure reading your reviews.
__________________
TR's 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 9, 1 gold, 2 gold, 3 gold, 4 times level the best
peeves is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 20:36.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.11
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions Inc.