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Old 18-05-16, 15:56   #131
peeves
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The main reason the adriatic sea in TR2 is my favorite location is because of the atmsophere.
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Old 18-05-16, 19:46   #132
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Man was the Deck so beautiful looking.

I feel like I should go through it again to realize more that despite it feeling quite combat heavy, the amount space these encounters at least mostly had in this level makes it more forgiving and fun, especially when encountering those flamethrower grunts.

Maria Doria overall is indeed a remarkable section for sure, that personally its stands out among the best of water theme levels. After the rig levels, the game really picks up well with this section (despite a bit of stumble via Living Quarters), and it just going to get even better.
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Old 18-05-16, 20:51   #133
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I consider the rig levels and maria doria levels to be the same location the adriatic sea.
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Old 18-05-16, 23:07   #134
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Although the Deck has no big boss, the flamethrower guys at the end can be tricky if you come down the side tunnel as it's hard to get a shot at them without them toasting you. OTOH if you are coming down by hopping across the blocks to the jade dragon you can pick them off with the M16 before their flame throwers are in range.

I don't mind the side tunnels, climbing up the steep one is quite fun especially the first time when you have no idea where it leads, although the side to side twists and turns of the other one can be a bit annoying. Also one of the side tunnels offers an epic shortcut to the top! Overall there's lots of interesting corners to explore and I like that you can do things more than one way, like jumping straight into the deep side pool at the very beginning to get the key, or exploring the lower deck and cave first and coming back to the pool via the hatch at the bottom.
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Old 19-05-16, 03:27   #135
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I think you took the words out of my mouth for this level! This level is a masterpiece and truly deserves the best ranking for the Maria Doria section. I love your comparison to Sanctuary of the Scion because both levels feel very similar. I love how both the Deck and Sanctuary of the Scion are located in giant chambers and both levels have you traversing through a labyrinth to reach the highest most point in the level. As for the Deck, it is definitely an epic level and great way to end a wonderful section. I enjoyed the departure of exploring engine rooms and empty hallways of the ship in favor of the openness of the cavern. I think what really makes this level great is the sheer size of it. There are so many intriguing places to explore, especially the vast lake.

I agree with your sentiments about the human enemies are pretty fitting in this level. I love how they included the Flamethrower guys in this level because they made it feel like we wouldn't see them again after the Offshore Rig levels. I love stepping out on the deck of the ship for the first time and getting surprised by the Flamethrower baddie. Another fascinating part of this level is how layered the whole design is. It is very rewarding finding your way to the top of the ship. But have to be on your toes at the same time because if you fall down then it can result in having to make your way to the top all over again.

If I had to complain about one thing about this level it will be the mandatory health losses. The drop on the yellow raft is pretty cheap and kind of overused at this point in the game. But the biggest letdown is that this is the last level of the Maria Doria sections. I am glad that you loved this whole section because I feel that it was a masterpiece. I love how the designers took an unpopular game mechanic like swimming and created a whole section out of it. TRI and TRII are the only games where I really enjoyed the swimming mechanics because they were used mainly for exploring without going overboard on the traps and enemies. I would give the Deck a 9/10!
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Old 19-05-16, 19:58   #136
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Originally Posted by indigo15 View Post
I agree with you about the human enemies; as much as I despised the flamethrowers in my first playthrough of the level, I now feel like I wouldn't have minded more of them (any excuse to whip out that M-16!). My only real gripe with the level is the fact that there was no boss fight. I remember thinking, the first time around, that there would surely be someone or something guarding the Seraph, but when there wasn't, I was slightly disappointed. That being said, The Deck is not only one of my favorite levels of Tomb Raider II, but it's also one of my all-time favorite levels in the entire series.
Agreed on both of those things: The Deck is one of the first levels of the game where I whip out the Uzis or M-16 at most occasions. Engaging in gunplay with the flamethrowers and other baddies is always a lot of fun. The lack of a boss battle is disappointing... but then again, it would probably have been a double-shotgun guy like they had in The Opera House, and I'm not sure I would have really liked that haha.

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I also thought the fact some levels are upside down, and the latter two aren't was cool - the fact the ship had broken into several pieces and fallen at different angles (hence why 40 Fathoms and Maria Doria are upside down, but the Deck remains intact mostly)
Yep, the attention to detail of the Maria Doria set is really very cool. One of the biggest reasons why this section ultimately shines.

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Originally Posted by WolfRaider View Post
Maria Doria overall is indeed a remarkable section for sure, that personally its stands out among the best of water theme levels. After the rig levels, the game really picks up well with this section (despite a bit of stumble via Living Quarters), and it just going to get even better.
Yep, we are pretty much on the upward climb here. Interestingly, I feel that Maria Doria is generally underrated by TR fans due to how much Tibet and China seem to take most of the attention concerning Tomb Raider II; in reality, Maria Doria is almost as great of a levelset as the upcoming six levels, but it's very easy to forget about it when analyzing the entirety of TR2.

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Originally Posted by Hiroyuki View Post
Although the Deck has no big boss, the flamethrower guys at the end can be tricky if you come down the side tunnel as it's hard to get a shot at them without them toasting you. OTOH if you are coming down by hopping across the blocks to the jade dragon you can pick them off with the M16 before their flame throwers are in range.
True dat. I usually pick them off with the M-16 from up above, but this time I ventured down below before going after them, and it was surprisingly tough to get them without being doused in flames. As you can see, I got some nice screenshots from that encounter.

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I agree with your sentiments about the human enemies are pretty fitting in this level. I love how they included the Flamethrower guys in this level because they made it feel like we wouldn't see them again after the Offshore Rig levels.
Same here. I actually do think that the flamethrowers could have been used even more throughout Tomb Raider II in the place of some of the other more monotonous humans, but I really did appreciate them here.

As for humans as a whole: it is my belief that they should have cut down the humans in the previous two levels by about 75%, focused more on traps, and then allowed The Deck to be the big shoot-em-up of the section. That would have made the gameplay more varied and also made more sense.

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I am glad that you loved this whole section because I feel that it was a masterpiece. I love how the designers took an unpopular game mechanic like swimming and created a whole section out of it. TRI and TRII are the only games where I really enjoyed the swimming mechanics because they were used mainly for exploring without going overboard on the traps and enemies. I would give the Deck a 9/10!
I've never thought of how TRI and II do the swimming mechanics differently, but I think you're right. There are too many times where I hate swimming in TRIII simply because they tried to do too much at once in the water. The end of Lud's Gate comes to mind, as well as the ludicrous water puzzle in Lost City of Tinnos. I also was not a fan of the murky London waters at all, that got really frustrating. I much preferred the exploration-based swimming of the first two games.
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Old 19-05-16, 21:03   #137
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I enjoy the swimming in TR2 as long as you're not in danger of running out of air (an underwater puzzle in the Temple of Xian springs to mind, and of course the gold dragon in 40 Fathoms where you have to shut yourself in underwater!). I've never been a good swimmer IRL, but after playing TR2 quite a bit I started having really nice dreams about being able to swim freely underwater, exploring flooded buildings and caverns!

BTW did you try circumnavigating the lake, sheepman?
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Old 19-05-16, 21:20   #138
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BTW did you try circumnavigating the lake, sheepman?
I did! I had no idea that you could make it over to the other cave without even stepping into the water - that was a nice touch.
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Old 20-05-16, 01:07   #139
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Yes, this kind of thing is a complete contrast to the white-painted ledges approach to level design!

I really love the amount of attention they lavished on the design of the levels in TR2. In some games it often feels like it's just a random quirk that you can get to some odd place, but in TR2 I always get the feeling these routes were deliberately put there by designers who really loved playing the games themselves.

I wonder if originally they weren't going to have the exit crack that you swim through at the end of the lake, and were going to make you backtrack after getting the dragon and go round the edge of the lake instead? That might explain the otherwise pointless landing stage on the right hand shore, it could be where you were supposed to get out of the water and continue on foot.

When I was first trying that route I didn't think it would be possible to get across the rocky outcrop at the end of the lake, the angles looked too steep to stand on so I was amazed when I found it was really possible! (In contrast my attempt to find a walking route through Madubu Gorge in TR3 foundered when one crucial move proved impossible. I was so sure they'd sneakily put a route in there along the lines of the walking route through the Tibetan Foothills but it seems I was wrong. )
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Old 20-05-16, 04:19   #140
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The Deck is the best level of tr2 ( in my opinion )
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