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11.28.2021

DJ'S TRLE Corner: Boot & Reboot

This blog mirrors the last TRLE community stream including 3 trilogies - classic, gold and reboot - so I had to compress it a lot. Rather than games greatly exposed already, I show good levels you might have not heard about. It starts as always - with crude levelsets, absolutely great if you look for raw isolation. It's no coincidence so many of them are rooted in TR1.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Idealist - Here Be Dragons

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Schookbaer - The Forge of Scion

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

eRIC - Omegapolis Heirs

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Isis - The Wrath of Thor

But this need never dies and you might get such level even two decades later.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Baslakor - Legacy of the Scion

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Sabatu - Lost Ruins of Atlantis

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

EyeOfIsis - Lost Lunar Complex

Among a gallore of TC14's levels, a lesser one stands out. In BtB2009 where people were allowed to pick a theme, he treated Temple of the Cat completely offtopic, producing a spinoff of a spinoff. A packed, organized clockwork, it should flop - but it didn't:  

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

TC14 - The Deadly Sands of Bastet

Moving to TR2 chapters in the order from the original game, we start with the Great Wall. Of 9000 attempts I picked this one, because in a challenge of unboring this level, the builder has succeeded - and did much more.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Mordyga - Return to the Great Wall

Alike for Venice, the attempts are uncountable. But what about a twist? While the current discussion if horror elements belong in Tomb Raider is still going on, in custom levels it's been solved ages ago.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

karlo002 - Say Cheese!

The city was also one of those hijacked for a Christmas level. Not so common, the prequel to this one was made by a different builder - Miss Kroft. Nick also has a Gold-class levelset Late Summer worth mentioning.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Nick - Christmas in Venice II

I picked Piega's 2010 contest level for a common denominator of entire group of 23. Yes, I really think you should play all of them because this package is like a cherry on top of a cherry.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Piega - A Very Good Year

To sum up Venice's many lives, here's the latest one. Might be you heard about it.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Leoc1995 - Night in Venice

It frequently happens an author makes a level more popular than his older release and suddenly the former loses audience. Yep, this is still my favourite of Feder, and I cannot let it vanish in the shadows because it's just ingenious.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Feder - The Hidden Dagger

While Tomb Raider and RMS Titanic possibly wears the crown (or a diamond necklace) of the most played Maria Doria levels, there's one which keeps going under the radar. The heart of the game rivals the best ship levels...

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

jawi - Selphia's Hall

...like this one, maxing out Piega's revamped HD asset.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Quasar - Wreck of the Blue Storm

Of forgotten sagas we got over time, Mystery of Eden consists of 11 levels and is one of those games where you can see the simplicity yet still have fun.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Sweet - The Mystery of Eden 2

A dragon tale but not like you might think, quite opposed to well-anchored twists and customs, Year of the Dragon shares the mood of Chinese chapter in its own way.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Miguel - Year of the Dragon - Part 1

To me still the best one of Danath, and another one underplayed because of the author's new releases, Mystic Realm will make you jump. For more than one reason.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Danath - Mystic Realm

We will also never forget The Great Chi and his input for the community. Some things were lost, but he will live forever in thewolf's game.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

thewolf - The Great Chi

About to leave TR2 and take a shower in the manor... oh no, something went wrong and we need to solve it first AGAIN. This level is a bit harder but was up there far before Messy Christmas, Croftmas Manor and modern Advent team levels arrived to steal the scene.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Uranos - The Night of Shadows

We're now in TR2 Gold. Fortunately, the game engine didn't allow damage water back then, and some builders stayed faithful to it.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Eden95 - Russian Mountains

The textures of this one are mostly from the oil rig platform levels, but the vibe and gameplay is definitely Gold.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Topixtor - The Alaska Incident

Meant for speedrun purposes but also playable the old-fashioned slow way, TimJ's map can be done in 15 or 50 minutes and is always a pleasure to watch.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

TimJ - Captain Alban Olympics

You can experience the rust and frost much more pronounced in what is for now the only level showing the mood of Golden Mask with a high-definition asset. 

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

PhryneCroft - Treasure of Tornarsuk

To me, still the opus magnum of classic tributes, this one derives from multiple settings of the first trilogy, over the course of 10 levels. Here, small rooms often have more character than big rooms in other games, and the slow yet regular pacing makes it the best when played in solitude.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

LaraHCroft91 - FOA’s Hideout

And now, into the forests of TR3... Before Mike became our resident BtB builder, he has planted this one.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Chronicles5 - Northern Shrine of Brahma

Compared to it, Flake must have dropped an entire truck of jungle saplings. Low canopies with high draw distance make it look much denser and bigger. I can't remember this approach from any other level.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Flake - The Golden Temple

Ma.ximo is one of builders who don't neglect any visual FX tool. He made several short levels, so I advise to play them all in release order. 

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Ma.ximo - Little Escape in Cambodia

Oh, what's this? The game must have frozen... as well as the author's building process - I really hope this is finished one day, because it was the one and only.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Soul - Curse of Winter 2 (Demo)

I think 20x20x20 levels are like those 3D cube miniatures which capture the root (haha, jungle.. haha, root.. meh) of the chapter. But they're often more playable.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Tombraider95 - Mini Adventures - India

Concluding the jungles (for now), yet another needs a bump. Most of people know Trix's Time Odyssey levels but it's her crash site adventure which I consider a model on how to use lighting, not just in TRLE, but in any engine. It's just flawless.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Trix - The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Justin is known from the second highest rated custom level, but his Dark Skies cityscape stands among the best London renditions. Here I also need to mention the jungle part of his older Atlantis saga.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Justin - City Streets

And now, arguably the best London level which doesn't overstep the classic mood:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

OverRaider - Shadow of Darkness

Once upon a time, London got its own Back to Basics competition. Here's a good example of what has been made for it:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

PaoloM - BtB2007 - Escape to St. Paul's

Among these London levels, one is particularly extraordinary, formed almost exclusively of the Illuminati part. If you step in, will they let you out?

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Mirai - Grand Lodge

Nevada levels often feel like TR3 ones with parts shuffled. Except from this one, made by the Brazilian community. I'm still waiting for Part 2.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Danilo Rocha, Mara Croft, Renato Wanser - The Zoprium Project

After the military bit it's time for tropical chill... actually, no. This level hides so much you will have to play it several times to understand 100% of it, and it likely remains in the top 5 most daring experiments in TRLE history.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

DarkDeath - Royal Bengal Tigers 

Now we chill for real. If you were overwhelmed with the previous one, this one will give you what you wanted, offering several hours in the Pacific.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Snap125 - The Stone of Perseus

Tomo has recently returned with the fifth part of his Last Saga. Here's a magma blast from the past:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Tomo - Volcano

Remember the bridge in Madubu? Yes, THAT bridge. Now you can cross it in another levelset which fills the plot hole. The entire saga has 4 parts and also touches on the subject of Tinnos.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Yasin - The Forgotten City of Sanus 3

Speaking of Tinnos, there are several multilevel adventures which follow the TR3 pattern and make this lost city the core of the game. Here's one currently in status of legend which becomes a myth:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Emoo - Island of the Silver Moon

And, similarly constructed but much smaller in scope, good for desserts or appetizers:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Bibi Phoque - The Evil Stone

At some point we had a boom of texture remasters and we also got a HD Tinnos pack, which makes the setting look clean and unlost, like if it's been through a laundry:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

XianDani - The Secret of Orion

But there was even an attempt to smoothen the entire look by running it through third-party modelers. Round pillars are just a teaser, there's much more wonder behind this door:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Francesco Venco - Frozen Past

Eventually, to quit with a bang, I give you a levelset probably the most dedicated to Tinnos, made of nine levels located exclusively there. I still don't know how the author has managed to pull it off but yes, it's there.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

TombRaiderFan - Search for the Hand of Rathmore

Wait, did I forget Antarctica? Oh, DAM it...

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Agnes - Putoranaplateau Siberia

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

DaroRaider - Willard's Hideout

And now, the ultimate mix of TR3. The revised version is also much like AOD in TR3 engine.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Sarikman - Poseidon's Sanctum 

There's some weird trend among the builders. If something was in a Gold expansion, it almost always stays small, like if it was forbidden to be more than one level. So we get those small adventures perfect for an evening play:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Astraf - Ruins of the Evening Sun

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Blacksheep - The Thing in the Cellar

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Die Basis - Shakespeare Cliff Revisited

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Treeble - Vendetta!

But of course there are exceptions, like this minisaga, including the ancestor of underwater bases:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Baddy - Atlantis 2

which was then followed by Crystals of Amun, to achieve the visual summit in levels like Gateway to Atlantis and Sleeping with the Fishes:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

tombraiderxii - Sleeping with the Fishes

Another one by Baddy lets us actually ride the Chunnel train instead of exploring its wrecked form:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Baddy - Searching Sophia

A builder who treat expansions on par with mainlines is definitely Seth94. As long as there's a complete chapter, it's a base for a complete story, no matter which game it comes from. He first did it with TR2 Gold in Search for the Golden Mask, and then with the French location of Lost Artifact:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Seth94 - Relics of Power (Part 2)

Originally I wanted to split this blog into separate trilogies but we still don't have many Reboot-inspired levels. For now nobody has built a shipwreck beach, or a sky gondola, so I really don't know what they're waiting for. But there is one level which captures the mood of hanging japanese monastery. It didn't get much screen time in the mainline, so here you get like 5 hours:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

l.m. - Legacy of Oda Nobunaga

And just when I was about to close the Reboot topic, I remembered something which I maybe should have not:

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

DJ Full - 20 MB of Trash

Moving on to Rise, there are some locations which pay direct tribute. LoreRaider did his best to capture the frozen mountain mood from the pre-Syrian prologue.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

LoreRaider - The Forgotten Sealed Masks

And speaking of Syria, AgentXP's final room of her 2016 level was a retrification of the Prophet's Tomb.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

AgentXP - Lara of Arabia

Spinning off but still sounded and visualized alike, we get a bit of Mongolia. Makes me wonder how it would be if the full thing has seen the light of the day.

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Max - Pearl of Kojada

But I think if any level is close to tributing Shadow of the Tomb Raider, it might be this one. It preserved elements from older Peru, but also allowed the new engine to increase the definition of the surroundings, so now the architecture is properly eaten by nature. Omnomnom.  

A TRLE screenshot of the aforementioned custom level

Mohrruebe - Incan Ruined City - Full Adventure

See you around, somewhere, sometime

- DJ

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