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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2003 - One Thursday in Advent back home search
Author(s): masha
total rating:7.57 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 8 7 6 8
alan 7 7 9 9
Bene 8 8 9 8
bERT 8 7 8 8
CC 5 5 9 8
DJ Full 6 7 7 8
Duncan 8 7 7 8
eTux 6 8 9 9
Gerty 8 7 8 8
High Priestess 6 5 5 7
Jay 8 7 9 9
Jose 6 7 7 8
Josi 8 6 10 10
Kristina 8 9 10 10
Lady Lara 8 8 9 9
manarch2 6 6 7 7
MichaelP 8 6 8 8
misho98 8 8 8 8
Mrs rjb 8 8 9 9
Mulf 4 5 6 5
Obig 8 7 9 9
Orbit Dream 5 7 7 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
reborn1995 7 7 8 8
Ryan 6 7 7 8
Sash 6 7 8 7
Shandroid 8 8 8 8
Treeble 7 8 9 9
category averages
(28 reviews)
7.04 7.04 8.00 8.21

Reviewer's comments

"A cute level in Lara's house. Tasks are simple consisting of lighting fireplaces with the torch, moving some blocks, pushing buttons and finding candles. The atmosphere is very nice in the cold and snowy outside, and in the cozy and warm inside of the mansion. I found all secret roses, and enjoyed this little Xmas level." - alan (21-Dec-2017)

"Here's a nice pleasant Advent level set inside a well constructed mansion where the search is on for four candles (no jokes, please) and to light one of them. There's a bit too much upstairs and downstairs backtracking for my taste, some blocks are a bit difficult to spot and you could misplace your torch a bit easily, also the looping cheesy music got annoying after a while, but it's otherwise a nice pleasant 30 minute experience that might work as a little respite from larger levels." - Ryan (28-Nov-2017)

"OK maybe not one of Masha's best levels but he's a good builder and I like festive levels. My only complaint here was the sheer amount of intertwined staircases and that dreadful music which plays on the loop throughout the level. I had to mute it in the end. Not a bad Raid and one I have evidently played before but for some reason had not reviewed." - High Priestess (13-Nov-2017)

"Another Christmas level nice to play without enemies or traps. Beautiful musics, the same old tasks lighting some items or dragging some blocks; the difficulty here is about find hidden moveable blocks attached in the walls. Also in the bathroom where you can dry the bathtub, was not a very good idea to place the same texture in different walls when you can trespass only one of them. There are some helping cameras and the texturization is often good, but deformed in some places. Play it if you wanna enjoy some peace." - Jose (07-Nov-2016)

"There are three things I would repair in this level: after picking up each candle the camera points to the final door instead on these which are freshly open; I think the candle trigger should be combined of four flames rather than just one (what if somebody tries a wrong side); finaly the number of wall pushblocks is simply over the rainbow so we end up running around the house to examine walls with a torch in search for subsequent cubes. Basically, the latter takes up the majority of the game but it can't get boring as the bulk is rather short, and the search for Advent candles pictures waiting for Christmas in smaller scale very well. There was one unexpectedly good moment with the bathtub flipmap and a surprisingly atmospheric room with the second fireplace - it uses the same resources as the rest of the level but somehow arranged in particularly comfy way. The ending cut marks a fine closure and roses are nice addition as well. SUMMARY: A pleasant Xmas home level. Can't be called a "raid" but You know what I mean." - DJ Full (02-May-2015)

"This level offers great atmosphere, beautifully and originally built mansion and simple but fun gameplay with tasks mostly being pushing hidden blocks and using the torch to light and trigger something. I really liked it, I think I have played it in the past cause the beginning looked very familiar. Anyway, found all four secrets, took me about 30 minutes. It's a great level, recommended!" - misho98 (12-Dec-2014)

"Even if this is a very early work of Masha, I think that her trademarks, even not perfectly accomplished yet, are quite visible throughout the game and the level spreads a certain warmth that only this builder is able to construct. The setting you'll raid in is pretty compact but you'll get a lot of smaller tasks (blocks are pretty overused here) and there are a few sneakily hidden things, especially the pushable in the bedroom is very hard to find, but in this small mansion it's not a large issue. You'll find a lot of objects typical for the 2003 advent calendar in here, and while some had either strange collision or a few missing textures, they were very much fitting; the four secrets (if rather predictable) are a nice addition. I didn't really like the ever-repeating background audio which got on my nerves after some time, but the other sounds and cameras are rather well applied. In the outside area, the textures weren't placed very nicely, but things improved later on inside and apart of some missing window textures and a stragne walkthrough block in the bathroom there's not much to fault. Overall, another lovely 15 minute long level which I'd consider a good pick for something in between for the season." - manarch2 (06-Dec-2013)

"It's hard to believe there's a Masha level out there I haven't already played and reviewed, but here it is. It's a nice, 30-minute piece of fluff, most of which takes place inside a peaceful house at Christmas time. Moonpooka has provided a walkthrough so I didn't have to think my way through the level, but of course there are no enemies or fatal traps, so much of the gameplay is a stress-free search for buttons, candles and secrets. You need the torch at the beginning to enter the house, and at the end to finish the level, and without the walkthrough I probably wouldn't have known that. The music is appropriate for the season, although the looping "Christmas Song" started getting on my nerves after a while. That haunting piece in a minor key that played during the closing flyby was very appealing, but I didn't recognize the tune. A nice start to this year's Advent season." - Phil (30-Nov-2012)

"The level begins on the outside of Lara’s mansion; it’s encompassed by a suitably snowy horizon that sports a big blue moon as well as high mountains, suggesting the mansion has been relocated once again, this time to the Alps maybe? Anyway, Lara has had the interior of her mansion completely reconstructed (using among other things some building blocks she brought back from the tomb of Semerkhet), and it’s of course decorated to fit the season. The level starts out prettily, if oddly—you press a switch to trigger a giant snowball which lights one of six TR4 Lost Library sconces that have been mounted on the façade...? Oh well, nevermind. Next we’re being treated to the homely first few rooms on the ground floor; there’s nothing much to do here, but the christmas decoration looks nice, although Jean-Yves’s chair from Alexandria has unaccountably lost some textures and/or faces during shipping, and I’m not sure it was a good decision to borrow the garish green wallpaper from Commari’s earlier level, especially when applying it to the walls of a room that is otherwise predominantly red. After that the level design deteriorates dramatically, with the greater part of the game taking place exclusively around the unimpressive central staircase and adjoining low and narrow corridors, all of which look exactly the same. Fittingly, the level now becomes boring, boring, boring. The fact that you had to light six sconces one after the other in the introductory outside section acquires the character of a premonition: I haven’t seen a custom level yet that relies so much on a single element of gameplay that repeats over and over and over again, and the fact that it’s the ‘pushable block that looks like a piece of wall’ ploy doesn’t help one tiny bit. In retrospect it seems as though it was the only element of gameplay throughout, as was the case in Commari’s level from which it was borrowed (only there it was employed only once, thankfully). While this is not actually the case, it still holds sway over the gameplay, if that indeed deserves to be called so. As all of this takes places in the all-samey corridors mentioned above, you may count yourself lucky that there are some rooms that go off from them, but even here…it’s spot-the-block time. Again. And again. The first of these pushable chores has a mildly exhilarating aspect though: You need to press two switches high up on the wall, and in order to reach them, you move two pushable blocks on two tiles in order to trigger two blocks that rise from the floor to exactly the same shape and height as…the pushable blocks. Why not push the pushables directly there? Because…it was the pre-patch days, when pushables weren’t climbable. Of course. But do you need to rub it in as blatantly absurd a fashion as this? Made me smile, anyway. The smile quickly went away though, as all of this is accompanied by an awful audio track, which sounds like a six-year-old torturing his Bontempi electronic organ, and which plays throughout the whole level. I notice that some reviewers have described the choice of audio here ‘nice’, even ‘wonderful’; I beg to exempt at least this background track, because at best it is a wonderfully appropriate soundtrack for banging your head against the walls of your padded cell for 6 hours in a row. Such a relief when it was occasionally (alas, too rarely) interrupted by a different track, whatever it was…hell, even Richard Clayderman would have been welcome here!—Now, I understand that the author deliberately delimited the options for gameplay by excluding enemies and traps, but as other ‘advent calendar’ levels demonstrate, this does not necessarily entail the merciless, almost mechanical, repetitiveness that is the main characteristic of this level in terms of gameplay as well as design and audio. Your objective, incidentally, is this: Find four candles, stick them on a wreath, light. (You don’t actually light any of the candles, you rather set the empty middle of the wreath on fire.) Once this task is accomplished, the camera quickly pulls out as if slightly embarrassed and passes into the flyby that ends the level. There are a few minor graphics-related issues, and the secrets are difficult not to stumble across. The things I liked best in this level are the mirror room—yeah, nothing special, lifted directly from TR4 Coastal Ruins as it is, and as implausible here as it was there; but at least it involves no pushable, unmarked or otherwise—and the cat on the window sill at the end. The cat would have been an even nicer touch if you hadn’t earlier shot a similar one to smithereens." - Mulf (13-Dec-2009)

"This is another seasonal level which means well and tries hard,but it falls short of the 'delightful' tribute on a number of occasions by being just a little too irritating.Even with the help of the trusty Torch many disguised pushable blocks are still fiendishly hard to spot;the kitchen key is perhaps too deviously concealed;and the music,which sounds like a poor relation of a Charlie Brown christmas cartoon soundtrack,outstays its welcome by about 30 minutes.Nonetheless,a wealth of charm and imagination is on display here;the ambience is sweet and gentle;and the lighting and texturing is undeniably beautiful.It's a generally peaceful and relaxing way of spending 30 minutes (60,if you miss a pushable block or two) and you can always turn the music off." - Orbit Dream (13-Dec-2009)

"A thirty to forty minute venture through a very lovely home. It was nice that the home was quite altered from any default layout of Lara's home. the music was warm and relaxing and just right i think. Nothing in it was terribly inventive in terms of gameplay, but it was still strong in atmosphere. Nice." - reborn1995 (07-Jan-2008)

"A very nice Christmas level with good gameplay and fitting task, to find the candles. I liked the objects, and the textures. The downside was the music, the one that played throughout the entire level, it's Christmasy for sure, but after a few minutes very annoying. The one, that played with the nice end fly-by was much better. But it's a good level, nontheless." - Akcy (26-Dec-2006)

"I am reviewing this level three years after it was made, and with all the new patches out there now, this level can really hold up well. Lara's mansion is lovely and warm inside, but I especially love it from the outside. Gameplay is great and not too difficult, perfect for Christmas. Your goal is to find all the Advent candles, which will keep you busy, but not be terribly difficult. I found all four secrets which I am never able to do, so that made me smile. My only complaint was that I hate the low ceilings of the hallways and stairs, it doesn't feel natural. I realize Masha had to do this in order to make so many floors in the mansion, but I still feel claustrophobic. All in all, this was a very nice level that I enjoyed in 2006, which is saying a lot." - Shandroid (24-Dec-2006)

"It's a mansion level, so I can hear many people already mumbling, but don't expect a deja vu feeling, not only this house is much nicer with all those colorful textures but the entire house has been rebuilt. I loved the idea to collect the four candles and light only one as this was the first thursday that year, even though my religion doesn't support the Advent itself. As I said, the entire house is wonderfully made, with very tricky movable blocks hidden across, it's snowing outside and, well, you feel at home. I came across a little glitch, though: in one of the bathrooms you have to shoot the crates after draining the bath, but if you shoot it first it will reappear later (you have to drain it because there's no water after the crawlspace to swim through). One not to be missed, although I can believe that playing it in December might enhance its effects. 25 minutes, 4 secrets. 03/05" - Treeble (13-Mar-2005)

“A wonderful snowy start outside Lara's mansion followed by a trip round the inside to collect four Advent candles and four secrets makes for a really enjoyable level. The torch shows which blocks are moveable but even then it is easy to miss some of them. There are no enemies in the game and so time can be spent appreciating the surroundings. The game which has Lara wearing a well designed Christmas outfit ends with the placing of the candles in the Advent crown and the lighting of them. This is followed by a quite breathtaking flyby to conclude the level. Overall I feel this is a game well worth playing.” – Mrs rjb (18-Dec-2004)

“This Christmas level is another fine work again. The story takes place in a house starting on the ground in the basement and reaching the 4th floor. You will collect 4 Advent Candles which will be lightened with a Torch in the end. Meantime you have to find the Silver Key in the room with mirror and lighting the fire in the fireplaces. You will find 4 Golden Roses in 4 Secrets. The textures are nice the added sounds fit well to the level giving high spirits to it. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version) savegames and pictures here: http://www.freeweb.hu/treditor/12/one_thursday_in_advent.htm” – Obig (01-Mar-2004)

“Here we have a mansion level but as it is xmas time the whole place is decked out festively and it’s beautifully snowy I really had a fun time playing it. There are no enemies as per most advent levels but what you’ll find that will give you some grief are many movable blocks and another lovely object that at times are very well camouflaged so take the torch you use to solve the puzzle at the beginning with you through the whole level and this will bring some light on the problem. Your quest is to seek out 4 candles place them in a wreath and light one to end the level with a warm and inviting flyby of the mansion you can also go on the hunt for 4 golden rose secrets but as they aren’t hard to find you won’t have to hunt very hard. This really is an enjoyable way to spend 30 minutes and for an Advent level will even stump some players which is always a good thing.” – Sash (24-Jan-2004)

“A Xmas level from beginning to end. Starting from standing in the front yard in the snow and seeing a tree till lighting the four candles you need to find (although I found out you don't need the candles as I could light that wreath and get the finishing trigger anyway). The torch you will find in the beginning do keep it somewhere handy as you do need it later on. A key is also necessary and look out as some blocks need pushing. There is musac (that is what we call music that one can hear in shopping malls) all through the level. Found the 4 secrets. 30-12-2003” – Gerty (14-Jan-2004)

“A very beautiful house-level. Find four candles and put them on the wreath. That's all you have to do but it's great to walk around the house to search for the candles and secrets. A wonderful Christmas-level really worth playing.” – Josi (13-Jan-2004)

“A peaceful puzzle level that looks good and is not without its challenges. The four candles are a nice touch and the level is well put together. Cleverly hidden basement room that is essential to find. I did not care much for the design of the central staircase as it did not flow well. A relaxing time in TR land and a welcome contribution.” – Duncan (05-Jan-2004)

“Another delightful Christmas level. Lara's mansion has never looked lovelier with the snow falling the fires burning and every room decked out with Christmas decorations. Lots of presents to find and blocks to push as you explore the beautiful setting. The ending with the advent candles and the final flyby is quite magical.” – Jay (03-Jan-2004)

“Ahhhhhh falling snow and a Christmas mansion. Perfect. There's a hunt on for Advent Candles and some weren't too easy to find. A mirror room that had me stuck for a bit - a matter of standing in the right spot. Christmas music and Lara dressed for winter with a red cap and red top with black pants and boots. Nice entry for the Calendar as the atmosphere couldn't be better. Thanks again Masha.” – Bene (03-Jan-2004)

“Wow this was my favorite Christmas level of them all. Took me several tries to get it to download - had to use getright. I love houses and this house was sumptuous. I spent much time just looking into the windows and then looking out of the windows. Truly beautiful and just pure enjoyment to play. Got 4 secrets 4 candles flares torch and medpack. Fantastic!” – Lady Lara (28-Dec-2003)

“A delightful Christmassy mansion level with many floors and different tasks to be done. Mostly they're based only on running around and pressing buttons but I had some hard time looking for the advent candles as well - the mirror room was nothing original but nice nonetheless. The mansion was textured nicely and the fly-by's nicely done as well. Overall a fine level with a great atmosphere that is greatly enhanced by the wonderful custom music but maybe had too less action/ things to do for my liking.” – eTux (27-Dec-2003)

“Again about half an hour well spent in a cozy little mansion in the snow where you gain access and then need to have a careful look out for movable blocks in order to find a key four candles and four golden rose secrets. I really liked the appropriate use of the torch and the overall setting. There are a few really minor texture issues with some windows and a small bug as you can actually shoot the parcel in the water but can then not swim through to the candle so have to do it the right way and the parcel magically re-appears. Maybe a few too many buttons but a truly beautiful ending flyby and nice seasonal music added. A joy to play.” – Michael (26-Dec-2003)

“Another Christmas level and I enjoyed it immensely. Lara has to explore a decorated mansion with trees gifts while it’s snowing outside. Yes you heard right it’s snowing and it looks awesome. There are four candles to find and a lot of moving blocks around so keep an eye for them. The torch is useful outside as well as inside the mansion buttons are hidden or not easily accessed but I liked the most was the mirror room although I couldn’t get those flares nearby and the flyby at the end. Finding the key is one of the last things to do which eventually will bring you to the last top room and place the four candles ignite one and watch the magnificent flyby showing you the mansion and listening to a beautiful Christmas song. In fact the audio is very nice and never stops in the entire level which makes you feel jolly. I found three golden roses. This is no doubt an excellent level with no enemies suitable for kids and a must for all to get into the Christmas spirit.” – Kristina (26-Dec-2003)

“Lovely Christmas mansion level. You roam the house in search of four necessary candles to start the Christmas festivities. Everything is in tune with the main theme with Christmas trees snowmen hearts and stuff standing/lying around and supermarket music on the radio haha. Some nice cosy fires around too. Gameplay is also in tune like when you have to light the cosy fireplaces. In other instances however there are some things that are not in sync with my TR-book and that's where a secret thing is combined with an action you have to perform to progress (the glass moveable block). Nevertheless little fun level and I always appreciate people creating us something special just as a treat for special occasions like this!” – bERT (26-Dec-2003)

“What a lovely little Christmas level. It's yet again a large house but a lovely house I particularly liked the rooms i.e. the bathroom with the big windows through which you see the snow falling onto a winter landscape. I'd recommend taking the torch with you everywhere so you can see which blocks to push or pull and that is mainly what needs to be done here. There are no enemies so there's no need to panic but you will need the pistols to shoot things. All this ends in a very nice flyby to the outside of the house. Oh I forgot to mention Lara's lovely outfit I really liked it.” – CC (26-Dec-2003)
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