View Full Version : SA reviews "Temple of Sun and Moon"

Shining Aquas
01-23-2009, 04:50 AM
After a relatively short hiatus, I figured I might as well get back to reviewing before my queue list overflows like a dam below a metropolis. It's a good thing I'm starting the new set of reviews with one I picked personally, which is to say Voltaire's "Temple of Sun and Moon". Voltaire is better known by his Portal masterpiece "H.A.T.E.", a level that managed to replicate the full Portal experience without actual portals, and surprisingly did it in such a manner as to create a surreal experience for the players here at home. Well, how well does his older TOSAM hold up to HATE? Fairly well actually.

Temple of Sun and Moon is less of an Action Platforming stage and more of an Adventure type, the level features a grand total of 0 enemies and replaces the whole experience with a frequently themed "Temple exploration" level. All in all, by temple exploration the level finds itself being a little bit blander than most, but don't assume the worst because while it does lack actual composition a bit, it makes up for it by being fairly aged. Yes, the aging is the key component here, as this level was made a ways before the temple theme really kicked up to full blast, and it's also fairly entertaining and mysterious in it's own ways.

You play through the level by picking up a sticker first and using it to open up the long abandoned Temple of Sun and Moon, only to be greeted by a very bright entry way. The entrance path is covered with standard temple walkway and random electric moonstones, which gives the whole experience a well deserved pat on the back. The temple is given the very appropriate "Ancient" feeling by having most of the temple appear broken and decayed, and also having this strange glowing rock growing in so much of the rubble gives it an incredibly good design and appearance. So subtle, yet so strong.

Once you get to the alter (or what sort of gives the appearance of an alter), you are asked to bring the sun and moon down from the heavens (or in this case, the top floor). At this point, you will have to swing around tons of spinning sponge blocks shaped like stars, moons, and even a couple meteors (plus the earth is in the center). On the right side there is a series of rising/falling pillars of fire that lead to the Sun, which you have to pick up and navigate through the pillars of fire. Sun gets squished? Don't worry, pray at the Sun's alter (aka push the big red button) and a new sun will be born. On the left side, there is a maze of emitter stones, some electric and some not. Yeah, it's pretty dam easy to navigate, but it still looks nice. Once you find the moon and grab it, the entire maze disappears and blocks drop from the ceiling to make for you a path. And before I go any further:

GLITCH ALERT: In the current version of the level, one of the blocks gets stuck in between two others, and instead of falling into place like a square ends up getting stuck like a diamond. If this happens, the giant platform will not be level and flat, and will make it impossible to carry the Moon through. This didn't use to happen, so technically it makes the level unplayable, but...

SHINING AQUAS GODLIKE SKILL RESCUE: Praise me, because I found a way to actually glitch the glitch and make the level work. If you carry the original moon as far as it will go, you will reach an impasse and not be able to go any further, however the original moon works differently from the spawned ones and actually exists differently from the emitter versions. This means you can create one extra moon, leaving you with two. It should be possible to prop one against the large slant by using the extra, and if you jump up on the platform and gain a lot of momentum, you can "heave" one of the moons up and finish the level. Neato!

Anyways, after you've brought both the sun and moon down, the giant bridge will come down, allowing you into the temple's inner sanctum. The God of Sun and Moon says it is time for you to make a choice. Not only that, but he also reveals that he isn't giving you awesome powers because he likes you, but rather because he is bored and wants you to entertain him. Somehow, watching the dialogue reminded me of the actor that plays Xerkxes (SP) from 300. mixed in with the Shinigami from Death Note. Well whatever, now you have to choose between Light or Dark, which in a hidden sense is a choice to follow the god or betray him. Because it's so late in the level, and the choice for light and dark isn't that big of a deal as far as level impact, I'll just give a brief summary of each:

Dark: The god is intrigued by you. You stumble across a village where apparently everybody knows you, and is trying to figure out why you betrayed and murdered them all. It's like that for a while until you reach the level end. Depressing ain't it?

Light: The god is bored of you already. You find a survivor who says he has a way of destroying the God with some type of special explosive. After placing it near the god, you have to escape from the constantly collapsing temple by using a motor cart of sort sort. After escaping from the now destroyed temple, you find a bunch of people, who then thank you for destroying the tyrant. Exciting huh?

In all honesty, both paths are planned well, but executed in a very boring manner. Also, it doesn't feel so much like Dark and Light as it does Dark with justice and Dark with chaos. In conclusion, it's a fairly good level, it needs a little work here and there (or rather quite a bit of work since it's currently glitched up), but it still feels like a well designed level and certainly worth a play through.

Final Score:
8.0 / 10
It's certainly no H.A.T.E. The actual level feels a bit lackluster in comparison to the gold, but this stage was a first for Voltaire and because of that I felt he did a fairly good job, especially for a first try. The level is glitched currently, it's got no enemies (not that it needs any), and the ending separation and the endings in general are a bit bland, but altogether a splendid performance.

On a side note, I hope that Voltaire reads this and responds saying he fixed the level. It would suck if only the super pro players could handle it.