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Old 25-01-19, 09:13   #221
gidierre
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Looking forward to the Unfinished Business review now
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Old 25-01-19, 22:22   #222
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Very nicely summed up, TR sure took the video game world by storm and ended with a bang!

Since you're taking requests... Angel of Darkness please?
Based on your other reviews and posts it seems like you're really hesitant to replay it (and nobody will blame you! Some areas of that game feel like a chore ) but it would probably make for an extraordinarily entertaining read The AoDSCU may come in handy during those frustrating parts when Lara just won't cooperate..

Anyways whatever you decide, thanks for sharing the journey with us
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Old 26-01-19, 13:21   #223
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gidierre View Post
Looking forward to the Unfinished Business review now
Ooh... well, I've been giving it some thought, and it doesn't make too much sense for me to skip it, right? I'll see if anyone else is itching for UB, but I may just end up doing it anyway.

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Originally Posted by HarleyCroft View Post
Very nicely summed up, TR sure took the video game world by storm and ended with a bang!

Since you're taking requests... Angel of Darkness please?
Based on your other reviews and posts it seems like you're really hesitant to replay it (and nobody will blame you! Some areas of that game feel like a chore ) but it would probably make for an extraordinarily entertaining read The AoDSCU may come in handy during those frustrating parts when Lara just won't cooperate..

Anyways whatever you decide, thanks for sharing the journey with us
Absolutely! Glad to do these reviews.

Interesting request regarding AoD. It's been a game that I really, really feel like I should tackle just given my strong opinions on it, and I haven't touched it in years. I'll add it to my pool of choices.
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Old 26-01-19, 17:42   #224
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Very good review, although I disagree with your rating, I would give at least an eight.

I vote for Unfinished Business next!
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Old 26-01-19, 18:28   #225
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You're definitely back in style mate. Kind of makes me want to make a comeback. Atlantis is arguably my favourite area in the game because I like when TR takes horror elements and runs with them.

As for what's next? UB.
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Old 31-01-19, 02:24   #226
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Hey Luigi! You should make a comeback - it would be fun to see you writing at the same time.

Just finished Return to Egypt - I'll probably have the review up tomorrow night. I'm really glad I decided to do Unfinished Business again, because boy there are a lot of great things in that first level that I had 100% forgotten about.
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Old 01-02-19, 00:59   #227
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EGYPT
UB Level 1 - Return to Egypt




A Tribute to the TR Gold Design Team

Eight years ago I got all three original Tomb Raider games on my PC and was able to play the Gold expansions for the first time. As someone who had grown up adoring the old TR engine and formula but not having anything else to newly experience after playing through those games so many times, it was pure heaven for me to be immersed in a classic TR world that I had never touched. Because Unfinished Business uses the exact same engine as TR1 (and the same goes for TR2 and TR3's Gold counterparts), the Gold levels are, for me personally, a very amazing experience.

It's hard to believe that it's been a little less than a decade since I first played those titles. In that time, the only one that I've replayed was The Lost Artifact, and that's largely because The Lost Artifact is one of the absolute greatest video games I have ever completed. It may only be six levels, but it's six levels of pure quality in every facet of game design. I would love to give that game a "retrospective" some day as well...

You see, the Gold games are not only so memorable for me because I experienced them during a period of my life completely separate to my original TR adventures, but also because the three expansions are extremely well put-together. They often contain quirky design choices that don't find their way into the main TR titles. This gives each expansion its own breath of fresh air while still maintaining the engine and grid system to properly tie it to its respective game. Phil Campbell and the TR Gold team did an absolutely phenomenal job with the 15 levels they got to craft... and it shows right away in Unfinished Business.


Always stretch before raiding tombs!

Lara's return to the City of Khamoon is a really creative way to get the player immediately interested in this expansion. It takes a highly recognizable area from the full title and places a unique spin on it through the flooding. Instead of traversing this area again on foot, we're instead doing it through the water. There are also a couple of new hidden areas here and there to spice things up.

Spikes, Crocs, and Sand - Oh My!

Whoever designed Return to Egypt had a huge love for crocodiles and spikes. The crocodile gameplay here is truly fantastic, as there are multiple times where you'll trigger a crocodile's appearance and then frantically search for the nearest shore to get the hell out of its chomping teeth. There's even a TRAP hole midway through the level where you fall into a crocodile den with no other goodies. That's just plain awesome. The Gold games tend to do this every now and then - they'll punish you by having to retrace your steps or fight enemies instead of outright killing you with terrible traps or long falls.


What's that old saying? Like shooting crocodiles in a crocodile den?


This island ain't big enough for the two of us

Killing wildlife is a pretty popular theme in Return to Egypt, actually. There's plenty of panther friends to go around as well. I do love the addition of paw prints in the sandy textures throughout this stage - it's little details like these that really sell this experience to the player.

Overall, the middle portion of Return to Egypt is pretty solid, if not a tad bit forgettable. I must say that I barely remembered any of this stuff from my original playthrough. That's not necessarily a bad thing, although it's definitely better if I can pick out parts that I remember in detail, and not too much of the first 2/3 of this level stood out to me. But there's nothing wrong with it. The Gold design team does a pretty admirable job of balancing all facets of gameplay here, so it's very pleasant to try and find your way from Point A to Point B. I appreciate the lack of linearity as well.

Out of the Tombs, Into the Desert

The last third of Return to the Egypt is much more recognizable than the first portion - mostly because it shows off a nighttime Egyptian landscape, which no TR1 Egypt level ever utilized. Before we get to this bit, however, there's a fun bout of ramp-boulder-dodging, and a bit more leaping around spike-filled pits before we hit a crocodile-infested tunnel to make our way outside. As I already said... these designers loved their watery creatures and pointy traps...


0/10 for not being a teleporting boulder. Try harder next time, bud!


Worst game of Marco Polo ever.

There's not much to this outdoor area within the fences. In one corner, you can trigger a surprise boulder trap. There are few pickups here and there, and a few bandaged mummies appear out of literally nowhere once you slide down the nearby sandy hill. The game even manages to sneak in one more crocodile fiend (as if you thought you were done with them! ). The real exploration happens once you realize that you can either: A) use an extremely easy fence bug to get your way to the outside sand, or B) jump behind the level's ending spot to get there the CORRECT way.

Lara's reward is the Uzis and another mummy battle. You also get a reward for trying to explore the outer bounds of the sand dunes, and that reward is... instant death! It's almost as if the designers had no idea how to let the player view the Egyptian desert without removing the buggy fences, so they just said, "The hell with it! The sand out here is hot. Or maybe it's quicksand. We don't really know, just give it an instant death!" and thus this part of the level was created.

In any case, this ending bit is very great for its distinctness alone. One of the main problems that TR1's Unfinished Business levels have is that they use the exact same archetypes as Egypt and Atlantis, and this makes it harder to distinguish them as truly unique entities. As a result, it's really nice when the designers can throw us some fresh ideas (like this open desert area).



Conclusion

I really enjoyed Return to Egypt. It takes the outstanding Egyptian theme from TR1 and adds some new twists to it while breaking itself down into three very different adventures. Phase 1 is the flooded version of City of Khamoon; Phase 2 is the stretch of trapped caves; Phase 3 is the desert exterior. These portions all flow together very nicely as our heroine ventures further and further into this newly discovered area.

Is it that great of a level? No, not particularly. As I previously mentioned, I didn't really remember most of the bits of this level until I saw them again. The only part that I distinctly recalled from my first playthrough was the outdoor Egypt area, and that's simply because it looks so different from the rest of TR1's Egypt.

All in all, Return to Egypt does a great job of putting some fun spins on previous gameplay tropes from TR1 while still creating a very familiar and challenging environment. This will likely continue to be TR1 UB's strength... and also it's weakness, but in any case, it's definitely a very solid entry into the series.

Rating - 8/10

Last edited by sheepman23; 03-02-19 at 17:23.
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Old 03-02-19, 02:27   #228
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Brilliant as always.
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Old 03-02-19, 15:50   #229
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Brilliant as always.
Hey Justin - thanks! Glad you liked it.
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Old 07-02-19, 12:06   #230
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These reviews are really enjoyable to read. Keep it up!
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