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Level: Reign of Chaos - Mexico back home search
Author(s): Agnes
total rating:8.40 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 8 9 10 9
Akcy 8 9 8 9
Bene 9 8 10 9
BHM Productions 6 8 6 6
CC 8 8 8 8
Christian 7 8 9 8
Deekman 7 8 8 8
Dimpfelmoser 7 7 7 7
DJ Full 9 10 9 9
Duncan 9 9 9 8
Engelchen Lara 9 8 10 9
eTux 8 8 8 8
Gerty 8 8 8 8
gfd 8 9 8 7
Jay 9 9 9 8
Jose 9 9 9 9
Josi 8 7 7 7
Kristina 8 8 8 8
Loupar 8 8 9 8
manarch2 7 8 9 8
Mezcal 10 10 9 10
MichaelP 7 8 9 7
Mman 9 8 9 9
Moonliteshadow 10 10 10 10
mugs 10 9 9 9
Mytly 8 7 9 8
Necro 8 7 10 8
Obig 9 9 9 9
OverRaider 9 9 8 8
Phil 8 8 9 9
QRS 9 9 10 9
Ryan 8 8 9 8
Selene 9 9 10 10
Sutekh 8 9 10 9
TombRaiderFan 8 9 8 8
totizedger 5 8 8 7
Zhyttya 7 8 8 8
category averages
(37 reviews)
8.16 8.41 8.73 8.30

Reviewer's comments

"I've been saving this series for later and finally got to play it now. The first area you visit is a really creepy town with some walls painted with blood with the word "muerto" which means dead/deceased. The atmosphere is very good even though the architecture is a little blocky. The zombie in the house startled me, i did expect some zombies to appear but the fact that i didn't see him at first really made me jump. Gameplaywise this level was a bit basic with maybe too much reliance on just exploring the town but it got better in the next level with a nice use of a torch and some jump sequences, timed runs. Atmospherewise this level was great so that makes up for the gameplay a bit. If you are considering playing this game then i must tell you that not all the levels are included anymore but i still recommend you to give this series a go because there are some really nice moments that you just have experience yourself. The first part is by no means bad it just would have been more enjoyable if the gameplay had been more complex. Recommended !!!" - totizedger (26-Sep-2017)

"The Mexico section is quite lovely and "friendly" for an introduction to the game. Consists of a fluent game play with rare "hard" puzzles. The atmosphere is fantastic and really peaceful (well, not counting with the dead bodies of course, and the angry Mexicans). A particular moment of this chapter left me quite disappointed, because it consists of a 'take free damage' part, which you can't avoid and it's completely necessary to progress, hence lowering the 8 on game play to 7. Loved the 'Fiamma Nera' dressed up like Mexicans. To conclude the Mexico chapter was really nice and i enjoyed it dearly." - Zhyttya (04-Nov-2016)

"Given that I've seen labels for this series such as "exquisite", "incredible", and even "legendary", I was kind of let down by how average this level is. That's not to say that I didn't like it, I actually enjoyed my time playing this. Gameplay was a bit repetitive and confusing at times, but still interesting and had a good pace throughout. Overall level design was pretty cool, it definitely felt like a ravaged Mexican settlement (but the design was a bit bland and scrappy in some areas). The music choice was very odd; it felt more like music for an epic survival movie than a Tomb Raider level, but it was still captivating and easy on the ears. Overall, it was a nice level and it kept me mostly captivated. I just have trouble finding it to be anything more than just simply good." - BHM Productions (05-Jun-2016)

"We begin in Mexico, land of the mariachi. This is an easygoing beginning section, no really challenging tasks except maybe the sliding pillar room near the end. The attention to detail is well done as expected from Agnes. Let's see what Venice has to offer..." - Ryan (19-Apr-2016)

"Do you know what I hate the most in community projects? Rating all levels separately, especially when they feel as a whole, what applies here especially to the untrimmed version (I got one from our dear Hungarians but I still ticked the green link to boost the fake counter). I could just make a long commentary and paste it under each episode with links to other chapters - less chaos and you only read once... why not? The whole adventure will also get common rating however I will highlight the aspect which stands out in each part. So here we are in the age of TRLE which is real archeology to me, like digging out blurred Indian tablets, or analyzing broken Chinese china to repicture the whole thing before it broke. Or like drilling Tutankhamen's mummy... I mean tomb! for deeper impression in the new old chamber. Same for the levelset, the sole storyline of which raises questions. How can Lara survive the gems which feed on nearby life? How could Natla's followers carry her body if they're braindead mummies? Did they use just the claws or also wings? What happened to the New York episode, has it become Be My Valentine, should I seek elsewhere for full experience or is it utterly gone, vanished, forgotten? Not lost in chaos, for in such case it would be here. Most of these won't be resolved even in a long trip which takes an Airport... Agnes, we meet again, what a nice surprise. I liked her previous levels, here I looked for similarities, but this location, while convincing and even holding the first secret, is just a hub filled with trunks, passengers and killable staff, so I shortly departed straight to Mexico, on the contrary instantly familiar. You could think it's nothing special, just a bunch of primeval corridors and basic bulbs, but the essentials are flawless, forming a mini level of maxi efficiency. As expected we hear custom tracks, starting with Ennio's harmonica well highlighting the great loss overwhelming a defined ghost town. I would like the background Mike to be cut with less hearable seam, also the horizon doesn't quite match and few casual objects bring random Egyptian blend. A real nail in the cactus was trying to obtain the revolver but once I figured it out things went comfy and easy, focusing on exploring western cityscape, a truly heartwarming preparation that encourages despite of being cursed and infested with evil enemies - I could even take the wraiths. As soon the level jumps to Free Mexico, we get bashed in the head by some sombrero civillain... hey dude, shouldn't you be grateful, I've just freed your town! But since Lara holds the gem we can assume the guy just mistook her for the reason of curse (or we can just ignore the inconsistency). Right after that we get a bit of wonderful relief (with much better handled Mike), as we start to understand and appreciate the brilliant concept underlying this game - apart from the usual common pickup link, the plot structure is based on enslavement/freedom bipolarity which feel nothing but great when interleaved. I hoped this contrast will last for the entire game. The subsequent transition from the plane flight straight into a Sewer System could be less intense, in fact they could skip the sewers totally, but this instance is different - sharp, bright lighting occurs while the map makes sense. After unlocking more places the intended path gets unclear so we'd better had some plan or local indicators about where we came from and where we go next. Puzzles were mostly about keys and switches and at that point I started to miss something creative. The finale with a cinematic flyby gave me just that, as I usually appreciate one decent cut more than a million flawless textures, but I still wanted to resurface as fast as I can, for a deserved Hereafter Holiday, a whole different approach to Venetian scenery - though the cityscape is missing rooftops, it's convincing and filled with creepy details like floating corpses, blood fountains or zombies hunting Lara's brain to solve tasks on their own. This is a cursed level which follows another, so we may think the balance between ordeal and relief is lost, but this weird platformer under menacing sky where music keeps fitting is still lighter than the preceding sewer so the atmosphere keeps happifying. If the forced medikit usage at the fireplace was intended I strongly disagree with it, but all other gameplay makes sense. Next in order, Say Cheese explains the previous level as an intermediate pre-relief or sub-relief before a really defined purification unit - not until now we were supposed to lively smile and sunnily enjoy, and the disenchanting process has been amplified from two levels to three. In short: things get serious. I wish the final marina was more than a cutscene but I forgot about that little inconvenice as soon as I landed in Underground Temple. This is another kaboom-like transition from an unchained city to an isolated, water-overflown dungeon. Notice how the scope of particular episodes has developed so far from little city through big city to a large temple where scale change implies reasonable emptiness: two-square wide corridors are overwhelming and uncomfy but also give more space for exploration and combat, as chaos appears in form of nasty creatures - things get even more serious. But an enemy more fearsome than spiders and abandonment by everyone else is the inhumanly long multi-floor pushable which, unless Christoph just went chaotic evil, was designed I don't know why. Cave craft, multilevel stack, logical trigger design and other skills needed to create big complex things are involved, yet bearing the task without Silmarillion audiobook in the background would be unmeasurably hard. I wasn't listening about good gems in order to balance bad gems, I just wanted to check both for few years already and before I sail to Aman, and their timing has matched, be it nature or Valar intervention, though the Ungoliant chapter came a bit too late to fit the arachnid content of this level. The next one, China Garden, invites to explore, largely redeems the pushable and is the first one sized to imply a split in two parts (sounds like a compliment). More and more locations get memorable (that was a compliment), I will remember the village, still isolated but differently peaceful. And the outer temple with transition to the rooftops. I also liked the waterfall ways in and out of the blue key area. Possibly the author couldn't decide which one was to be which, but I easily imagined both options for both paths. The key itself could be placed in less ordinary location as well as some other pickups, and in certain places a faster way back could be provided. All concludes with a boat getaway and before I took another plane I noticed the Airport has changed - I wonder if this level was also variable before and it doesn't feel good to only realize now it might have been. Anyway Lara arrives in a toilet, for the first real puzzle, both about time. The task involves destruction but when the door opens the security doesn't bother, I could kill the same guards again and also at each previous return. Though they don't drop a thing I had tons of medikits, but somehow the shotgun was still missing. Its absence had nicely forced laser sight usage, but that was two episodes ago in Mexico. Later it appeared the game allowed to find all secrets but also miss the shotgun, leaving me with 200 shells and no chance to use them until the last episode. For now I just flew unaware to an ominous place holding a Mystic Tree. This is where construction starts to get really complex - after you thought China was big the game expands along another dimension letting us into a mysterious abbey which is more vertical than horizontal, and intensely crafted in all directions. It also feels like a mosque because of intense Cairo wad usage, and while I never liked these red doors the other casual objects are unusually located - unexpected ornate pillars and arched passages form structures which weren't included in the original TR4 but possibly should have been, and the track 109 I found spooky when I had played the core game now sounds beautiful (or maybe I'm just going chaotic evil either). Some texture chunks don't match geometry so I had trouble perceiving certain structures as a whole. The ornaments seem to occur in correct amount but they might have been more understandable if they didn't vanish among similarly ornamental texture patterns. If I mentioned unsatisfactory key placement before, here it evolves with the Tower Key placed on a catwalk (where it would have no chance to remain) and destined for a hole located few squares away. Another key lies on a random roof, but at least these two, the Backyard Key and the Chamber Key are fairly named - because later on the ground we find an Enchanted Light Key which sole name shall be read with epic horns in the background, cause thunderstorms and raise people from the dead... but no it opens a door. Still the place has unique parts like surprising dog usage and possibly the best Lara_Double I encountered until now. After that we get the fourth gem and Córdoba is brought back to normal... Córdoba? Not having heard until now that I'm in Spain only intensified the feeling of being trapped in the middle of nowhere, so despite of mistaking the mosque for an abbey I take it as a well-executed intention, and the 1/1 unit balance between cursed and blessed levels is restored to produce the most intense contrast since the sewer jump. Struck by sudden brightness, I again felt a bit uncomfy, this time because of scenery collage - where have I really been thrown into, a garden, a city, a castle, a palace, a patio, a river? What is real nature of this level? If this is based on a real city, how could any ordinary inhabitant proceed across? Any bit of explanation what really happens here would be invaluable, for instance puzzle items could say a lot... but nope we again get a "ruby cube", "fire opal", "sapphire ocular" and no clue whatsoever. That's why the word "playground" reappears in mind, likely summoned from some Tibetan monks contemplating Mr XY's works in the meantime. This impression only amplifies as we solve the gate puzzle, the first serious riddle I would anyway halve in length because I was already mesmerized and acting like chaotic stupid. I generally love this trope, it works great in non-alterable fiction like voiced cutscenes missing so much in this adventure, but I suppose it might be either totally enjoyed or utterly hated within a bright, open level requiring omnidirectional exploration (I was panned about 65-70% left in this awkward stereo). But the texturing is coherent and while the place is unspecified it might also feel unified because of its slight surreal overlay. I found one banana jump shortcut, but another spot felt like a fast getaway trigger fail so I take it as chaotic neutral, still a tie between good and evil. What I really like was the shrine pushable, one of these nice little things I value over epic sights and generic awesomeness - here's what I consider a masterclass: instant focus, one push, quick item grab and no wondering if anything else is supposed to be done with the pot. After all we take the chopper back to the Airport, and what... the heck has happened here? I'm almost sure this is where the New York segment was supposed to occur, because the plot hole screams with volume of Lara's backpack and feels like substituted with a quick hub action. But it's also good to actually perform some task in this place. After that we can stuff all the gems in the lead-isolated trunk to ensure they won't radiate in the plane (not wanna repeat the Cai'xia scenario) and set off to the final destination so Nadine can again test our geographic knowledge - yes, just like I did with Nevado Huarascan Plateau, I had to google Alnwick, and... what do you mean "England"? Are you sure it's not a sunken rift volcano in the middle of North Atlantic? Or did Natla bother to awaken an uncharted British range for Hellforge? After a brilliant opening when retrieving all gems unlocks the initial door to invoke immediate need for exploration, I found a real treasure of the old editor - a vertical diagonal wall. Even the sun has frozen to watch it for a bit longer, however it's another item which opens a normal door despite of the name scored for high brass, piercing strings, mixed choirs and timpani. Graphic overlay starts to get really coherent at last, it's really the further the better in this game, though some clusters still require quadruple vision to comprehend - maybe these spiders of China would feel entirely comfortable in here, or maybe Nadine is just a WOMAN so to hell with my male 16-bit color perception indeed: I swiftly glance at lightrays and windows, then I focus on my task and I think the moveable bowls of tomato soup are yummy. I thought this even playing that part after dinner, what confirms I liked the puzzle for reasons other than being hungry. Lavafall has more rivers of molten spaghetti, also more lightrays, some so bright I couldn't see through them. Custom objects appear more frequently, puzzles get much better to live their own life or death. Again we get more than a single cursed level, so the 1/1 balance is abandoned for the second time, but this arrangement contrasts more efficiently with the brief breath of Spain - quite fitting considering all the stones are collected and we can entirely focus on breaching the Core Of EVIL. This involves watching your steps, careful trap negotiation, battling flying skeletons... and here's where I realized something doesn't match. Where are Natla's monsters, minions and advanced equipment? In fact I expected them to appear in proximity of every gem, and accumulating with each next stone retrieved as the enemies would slowly realize the seriousness of trouble they're in - but so far no references to Natla's world have been given except from a single meat texture beneath my feet, and without a single trace of her activity you won't even know the mission involves her if you skip the readme, what is definitely the supreme flaw of the game. It felt even more off-topic in the Library, where various book genres resemble a cursed instance of Hogwarts specializing exclusively in black magic, instead of anything remotely linked to Atlantis. Such change of mood would do great in any point of the plot except from the prefinale build-up which should focus on the final goal. This is tricky to explain so just imagine Merlin's Caves as the prefinal level of KAP instead of a side task it is now, and you see what I'm talking about. Later I figured out the real meaning of the Alnwick castle, but at the time when I played the levels I had absolutely no clue. In the same library I also found the only proto-gamestopper - I missed a secret, returned for it and got halted by a one-shot door in the Rusty Key chamber, while the way in was closed for good. The key has a twin and each of these items takes a whole level to find, so as much as I was disappointed with keys before, these two are textbook examples of rewarding effort - I had a whole new dose of motivation when they unlocked the Cathedral. It seems another split has been done here, between this level and Death and Resurrection, as they feel the most coherent with each other - in the first one we breach the scene of closing battle, in the second one we prepare the stage for fight and do the fight itself. The conclusion marks all the essentials: climatic action velocity, the strongest usable items, the most powerful enemy and a getaway with a well-deserved ultimate prize. The final artifact is of really bright concept, though going the opposite way would possibly make more sense, and could also justify the ingame flaws. As a possible better design I can bring here an unplanned other example from King Arthur Project: there are two gems, the official light one and the secret dark one, to fulfill hidden wish of balance. Heck, now I think this levelset and the Arthur game have a lot in common. I wonder what would happen if the two teams cooperated. SUMMARY: Sometimes... chaotic... phfffrrr... <0i>[the author falls from the chair into uncontrollable, spasmatic laughter in admiral of his own brilliance, the rest was written horus later when he finally rose from the floor and restored keyboard aim with fingers still shaking due to lost energy (apparently he got immersed too much so the gems took a bit of his life as well... oh NOW he understands the full meaning.] Variety of objects and locations isn't unified the usual way, resulting in a mix of TR2/3/4 with a TR1 boss, but the overarching contrast of enslavement and freedom, the bipolarity of chaos and order, eventually the location-independent fight between good and evil cement everything instead, and all the authors cared to obey this idea entirely so no single episode subparly executes it. I of course wouldn't mind if this extraordinary glue worked together with progressing Atlantean theme, and if the tasking was more creative, because in such case the project as a whole would be close to perfect - but this is still much more than a pack of levels linked with similar gems: it's rather like a complete symphony you need to analyze bit by bit in order to fully understand, and don't you dare sleep before the finale no matter what disonnances you hear on the way." - DJ Full (02-Apr-2016)

"I enjoyed the first level from Reign Of Chaos project. There was some "good" stuck moments, good ideas, some good and some not good music choise, lighting textures quite well, easy secrets, really a good start in adventure. 9/9/8/8" - OverRaider (11-Feb-2013)

"Reading the last reviews I was inspired to replay the reign of chaos series, a level-set I enjoyed very much a couple of years ago. As I haven’t ever reviewed – here we go: An interesting level with a lot exploring; some vases – not always easy to find – have to be shot to reach another part of this Mexican town, which in a 1st part, before we find the gem of chaos, shows obvious signs of death and destruction. The author succeeded well in creating an atmosphere of despair and hopelessness (the main theme of the series) Lara has to fight against. After Lara could defeat the evil forces in Mexico the author could create a convincing change concerning atmosphere. Lightning and sound are very well combined here. It’s a pity that gameplay seemed sometimes to be a bit uninspired by some running to and fro between the different parts of the town. One nice (not that hard) timed run has to be performed, tasks are not really challenging at all. Highly recommended!" - Christian (02-Jan-2013)

"Mexico (6-8-9-7): A very good flyby starts this first search for the five gems. Soon, I had to notice texturing was, even if quite realistic, improvable and for my taste the city looked way too squaric to be realistic. I still liked the very creepy atmosphere in parts of the city and the sewers, including the newly textured mummies, but there also were wrongly placed archway objects and gameplay was only exploration based, I could only find one very little puzzle in the whole level, and with the exception of the last sewer part the traps weren't really hard to get through, but the real interest is to keep ammo and health packs for later for searching and shooting five vases on the roofs - one of my favourite tasks in this level – and quite challenging fights against big flies. After a bit over half an hour you end this level getting the first Chaos gem whose placement near the start was really interesting. One could think the Mexican part is over now, but you have to escape first... 30 minutes.
Free Mexico (7-8-9-8): This part was a bit shorter than the previous, but it was at least as enjoyable, if not a tad more. After making the sun shining brighter in Mexico, the area that could be visited in the previous level now looks much more beautiful and I found texturing better than before. Lara opens up more and more doors to finally escape with the helicopter, and gameplay was more interesting with more puzzles, the slopes area and a boulder room at the end. Tasks vary from finding a torch and lighting and using it, exploring mansions and not too big underwater mazes with spike traps in. I found the bandito enemies really cool but the fire wraith didn’t fit in this “beautiful” level. Lighting was a bit on the dull and bland side though and I wished the builder had a few more creative ideas on what could be done with it. 20 minutes.
Summary: All in all a solid but often uneventful adventure mainly consisting of exploration rather than puzzle-solving or traps. While the graphics could be improved, the atmosphere created is really nice and the contrast between the two levels is really well done. It served well as the first “real” level in the Reign of Chaos series as it was never too hard, so it is suitable for beginners too. 50 minutes." - manarch2 (30-Dec-2012)

"This is a very scary and amazing level. You start in mexico where it is a ghost town and there is a dead corpse in the middle of the floor. There are zombies and wraiths to kill. You go to little houses and the sewers (which I didn't really like). This is because of the violet chaos gem. After you pick up the chaos gem, mexico becomes very beautiful with plants and birds singing. There are still some enemies like scorpions and mariachi bandits. Recommended." - afzalmiah (04-Mar-2011)

"Mexico: You find yourself in a cursed, abandoned Mexican town looking for a chaos gem. The theme is pulled off very well with an atmosphere and abandonment and decay, the visuals are a little blocky in places but in this instance it gave me a certain feeling of minimalism that added to the feeling of decay. A lot of the level takes place in sewers, that manage a few visually appealing areas (like one arched area), and later on there's a cave type place that makes good use of Half-Life textures. Gameplay goes smoothly and provides a good introduction to the pack, with some nice use of the Revolver to make progress. There's one odd area where you have to climb into a spike pit and take damage to get the Revolver, I thought I had skipped something and gave the walkthrough a check after finishing, where it turns out you were supposed to do that, which is pretty unfair. That's the only real issue I had though.
Free Mexico: Picking up the crystal instantly changes the location back to its former self; this duality idea throughout the pack is a great example of how a backstory can elevate a pack beyond just hunting down artefacts or similar. While most of the level is free of hazards there are some men ready to smack you with poles, a couple of ill- fitting but entertaining traps and, oddest of all, some fire wraiths. Gameplay is quite possibly more intensive than the last level, with a nasty timed run and some very sneaky shootable objects, but it's mostly still quite light, and there are some great looking areas.
A good intro to ROC, although not quite as impressive as the later levels from what I recall of my last playthrough of it." - Mman (30-Aug-2009)

"Mexico: The opening flyby shows you a deserted town filled with barren trees and murky pools, and littered with skeletons … and you slowly realize this is the effect of the Chaos gems mentioned in the Intro. The spooky atmosphere is superbly done. Pulling off an effective “dark” level set in daytime is hard enough, but the builder manages it very well, especially with the beautiful and haunting background track. But in terms of visuals and level design, the town is not particularly impressive: too many blocky and very similar looking houses to poke around in, which gets old rather quickly. Getting into the sewers feels almost refreshing! Actually the sewers/underground tunnels are rather nicely built – sort of like a 3D maze. There is also a slight overdose of enemies: everything from huge beetles to skeleton harpies to zombies is haunting this town. Gameplay is fairly basic: the main goal of the level is to get to the part of town where the violet Chaos gem is by opening up a gate, for which you have to find and shoot pots (somewhat illogical, but nevermind). It’s a surprisingly short level, and ends when you pick up the violet Chaos gem. Free Mexico: The transition from the dark to the light state is wonderfully done – indicated just by a subtle change in colours and background music. Now the place no longer seems like a ghost town, though its only inhabitants seem to be a bunch of murderous thugs who are not at all grateful for Lara’s help. Oh well, Lara doesn’t care, and just goes about trying to find her way back to civilization. Exploring the houses which are now prettily decorated is not as tedious as before, and is spiced up by a somewhat tough timed run, plus more shooting puzzles and other challenges. The new areas opened up are very nice, especially the square with the church. Then there is a final area just outside the airfield, where things take a slightly surreal turn, with the sudden introduction of a lava-filled underground room. The boulder trap which follows also feels out of place, though it is admittedly quite enjoyable. And then of course, we bid Adios to Mexico, as Lara finds herself a plane. I have been rather generous with my marks for this section, simply because it forms a nice and effective introduction to this massive adventure and firmly sets the “dark vs. light” dichotomy that features throughout the game. It’s not a bad section at all, of course, and has many good points – but its most interesting feature, IMO, is the part it plays in the whole of Reign of Chaos." - Mytly (24-Aug-2009)

"My reviews of these levels are influenced by the experience of the full game. In fact, I am bewildered why any release would expect isolated level reviews…as a player, my experiences and reactions to each level are going to be affected by the entirety of the project, and I expect it to be cohesive, and related. “Andale!”…. Mexico, or, rather, not. Our arrival in Mexico engenders a different sort of culture shock; so devoid of that absolutely incredible surrealistic feeling when one actually crosses that mysterious border, I was saddened by the missed opportunity of a chance at creative design for a truly interesting country. (The author was kind enough to advise that she has not yet had the opportunity to visit there, so I took a close look at where we actually do land.) In essence, it appears to be a slapped together texture of a disjointed pastiche, one-horse, dirt town straight out of a Sergio Leone spaghetti western fake version, which might have been better advertised as a journey to Italiaxico. “OK, to make this Mexican, mano, I’ll throw in some sandstone desert textures, crumbling brickwork, scorpions, hanging laundry and Argentinean gaucho zombies.” Alas, even designing the very scary Tex-Mex discombobulated environment of a really dangerous Juarez, or Matamoros would have taken this gaming opportunity to a more interesting place. Actually, it appears we are smack dab in the middle of Monument Valley, inside good ole’ John Ford’s Utah and Arizona. Egad! Tienda signs that no self respecting Mexican would post, advertising their wares in gringo English, “groceries, beer, and tobacco.” Dios Mio! Where can one get some cerveza, tortas, and refrescos? And what’s up with that Enya falls in love with Yanni soundtrack? Yet another major missing design opportunity, where, instead of being immersed in a mixture of authentic Norteno, powerful ranchero la Raza accordions, drunken lovelorn mariachis, corridos, and canciones, it’s sweet dreams in new age gaga. Ahh, best bet here is to gobble up a handful of mushrooms, a bottle of the best Oaxaca mescal, imagine we have been up speeding for three days and nights straight, and forget Mexico. And guess what? It works. There are rewards here aplenty. No matter how much I dreaded traversing around (again and again) that ladder maze trying to figure out how to get to the revolver, it was ultimately an astonishingly delightful quest. Kudos to the designer for just an ingenious, and kick-ass solution. A gem within a gem…and again, how cool was that when we picked up the violet stone of chaos to resurface and find ourselves in a completely surprising leveled-up version of the same, but oh how enchantingly different, place. What a wonderful treat that is. Ok, I can go with what the hell did Natla do by dropping Egyptian sarcophagus scattered around this dumb ass dusty deserted town, and get accustomed to encountering African statues crouched in grotesque fecundity, and even textures that are climbable in certain locations, but not in others…because the bottom line is, this is a wonderfully designed challenge, and an interestingly haunting, and intelligent raiding introductory level to the Reign of Chaos. While the opening announcement probably should have advertised this as a flight into time spent at Charlie Manson’s deserted ranch in the California desert, in the end, that strangeness really complimented this brilliantly challenging level. It commands our attention in such a charming and demanding way, that coming out of the desert with the revolver in hand is time well spent." - Mezcal (14-Aug-2009)

"Very nicely made town, both at first as a ghost town, and later as a more cheerful place. We explore it from rooftops to basements, to get the first Chaos Gem. The natives were hilarious. Generally easy gameplay with some nice puzzles, and hidden jumpswitches and shootable things. Fitting textures and objects, only the Me109 was out of place again. I only know the stereotyped Mexico from movies, but based on that, this set of levels offered everything what I expected, and then some. Nice job." - Akcy (06-May-2007)

"Mexico (1hr 30 + 3 Secrets) I must say I liked the zombies on this level! I also liked the fact that the secrets were not impossible to find; and the level was not too taxing either. Which is not to say that some of the switches were not pretty well hidden because they certainly were. I enjoyed this level quite a bit because there was a lot to do and I didn't get stuck much at all (quite rare for a level these days). I also want to mention the excellent music and rather lovely cut-scenes, both of which help keep your interest and help make the level feel more professional. The only real downpoints were that maybe it was a bit too dark here and there which means you spend a lot of time lighting flares, but not enough to annoy. There were also an awful lot of 'false' doors which don't do anything and I always feel that this breaks the immersion a little bit. I mean if a door is just a graphic and doesn't do anything, why include it?" - gfd (22-Aug-2006)

"Well, I knew I was in for a great experience after running through Agnes' Airport but I was blown away with how realistic Mexico felt. The music, the scenery and the objects were fantastic. I must admit though I was really stuck until I found out that something could be pulled and that got me underway again. In the second of the Mexico levels, I found myself stuck again and wondered how to get that diamond in the water without getting skewered by the spikes but after what seemed like days, I found my way around. That just shows that the level was not only great to look at but quite challenging too which is something I like. Excellent stuff!" - Necro (22-Apr-2006)

"Mexico (40 min., 2 secrets): The first Reign of Chaos location lets you in relatively easy with a great introduction flyby and music. The desolate Mexican City is maybe a bit blocky in its achitectural design, but the atmosphere still comes across nicely, with all the skeletons lying around and the suitably devious enemies (scorpions, wasps, skeleton harpy, wraiths, bats and zombies). Gameplay is of the exploring type as you need to get your revolver and laser to shoot five vases, making your way through some sewers and across the roofs and only near the end avoid a few traps before finding your first Chaos gem. Free Mexico (25 min., 1 secret): Great idea to have the overall atmosphere changed to something more friendly and pleasant after picking up the Chaos Gem. Only a few Mexican baddies, scorpions and wraiths to deal with in this part and a little more gameplay with a timed run, some target shooting, a torch and a boulder trap room. Then find the plane and make your way back to the airport to travel to Venice next." - MichaelP (16-Apr-2006)

"Arriving in Mexico I felt that I was in Mexico. I liked what Agnes made. There is plenty to do so there is no time to hang out and act like a tourist. The gameplay is not difficult and I was glad, apart from the timed run as that will take some doing. Getting the Gem and then back to the Airport. Wish it was as easy as said LOL. But what a fun start of this project." - Gerty (06-Feb-2006)

"I felt as though I was busy right from the beginning here with scorpions, harpies, and other enemies to deal with, corpses to move, doors to open and things to break. Soon afterwards there are zombies trying to intimidate you. The atmosphere here is a bit scary. Not a nice place to be. It’s much more pleasant once you get to free Mexico. Scenery is fantastic throughout, and I loved the “nooks and crannys” A great level." - Moonliteshadow (04-Jan-2006)

"Zombies and bugs and wraiths, oh my! Sorry, I couldn't resist. Never been to Mexico myself, but I feel like Agnes has captured the look and feel of this Natla ruined South of the Border town quite well. I had to go places I didn't want to go (the sewers) and places where I loved (the villas). The town is a bleak and nasty place until Lara finds some keys and the first of the Chaos gems. But once the objective is achieved and everything is rosy again, it's still no cakewalk. You still have to find your way out of town. The music was perfectly suited to the locale. Not too hard of a pair of levels to start off another grand adventure." - Deekman (19-Nov-2005)

"A deserted (well, almost) village in Mexico, not a place I'de like to go for a holiday, not even after finding the gem, there are some nasty senõres around. There's a lot to do before you can pick the gem up though, find some keys, shoot vases, push or pull levers, avoid traps and shoot creatures that will kill you if you don't kill them first. I really liked the way the scenery changed when I picked up the gem, everything looked much more friendly. After you get the gem you have to find a way to the plane, so you can get back to the airport. 2-7-2005" - Josi (19-Sep-2005)

"Judging from Sutekh's 156-page (not counting maps) walkthrough for the complete game, I imagine that this one will take me quite some time to work my way through. Since reviewers have been asked to rate each segment individually, I'll plan to submit my reviews after playing each one while the level is still fresh in my mind. First of all, I strongly urge that you take the time to convert and install the new sound files (all 100 of them). I usually don't do that, because sound ambiance isn't all that important to me, but in this case the files currently in your audio folder will prove quite distracting. Besides, the provided sound effects are very effective if this opening level is any indication. I've read that the levels become progressively harder, which stands to reason in that Mexico is of no more than medium difficulty. There's one fairly tight timed run, but I was able to conquer it in only a half dozen tries. There's also some climbing and jumping in a lava room filled with sloped pillars that would have taken me far longer to negotiate had the walkthrough not been close at hand. The enemies are some cleverly clothed Mexican banditos, scorpions, bats and flying bugs. Sure, the level is fairly linear and not overly taxing, but it provides much visual and auditory pleasure and is a delight to play. I'm looking forward to playing the remaining levels." - Phil (06-Sep-2005)

"We’re definitely in Mexico, judging from the men with the sombreros and the cactuses. It’s a set of two short levels with nice small houses and underground areas. Lara will find a few keys and face zombies, scorpions, dragonflies and flying skeletons. There’s a timed run thrown in which isn’t hard. These levels are part of a bigger project, the ‘Reign of Chaos’ and my opinion is that it should be reviewed as one game. Respecting the builders’ wishes though, we give feedback for every set of levels, separately. There is no difficulty involved so expect an easy raid. I found three secrets." - Kristina (25-Aug-2005)

"I like this kind of levels because his design near of reality, details like openable doors which never open (we can't pretend that the real Lara wants to go all the corners of a city, but only places she needs to go to get her objectives) or going through a path and at the end of it have to get back and there's nothing to find (in the real life it happens ourselves). Features like those give us a sensation that a real person could do what Lara does and this way the player feel the game with more intensity. Level is linear, and there aren't very difficult tasks, yes good puzzles but over all you'll have to explore a lot! Highly recommended." - José (22-Aug-2005)

"The first step in the Reign Of Chaos adventure is a trip to Mexico. Lara arrives to a deserted village, full of scorpions and another awful enemies (skeleton harpies and zombies). The first level, is dark and it has a great atmosphere. After Lara finds the purple gem of chaos all the city becomes beautiful and the enemies are then men with mexican hat, scorpions and wraiths. The puzzles and the exploration are the best of this set of levels. Very well done this first part. I found all (three) secrets and keep playing..." - Loupar (10-Aug-2005)

"In overall I was quite impressed with the first location in ROC. Agnes really knows how to capture the spirit of a dead and deserted town in the middle of nowhere. This part consists of two levels; Mexico and Free Mexico. There’s one main goal in each level. In the first it is to locate the first Chaos Gem to free Mexico from the evil spell that is leading to the demise and decay of the country. In the second level Lara has freed Mexico and must now find a way back to the airplane to complete her mission and go back to the airport. From the moment the level starts with a fly-by and some of the creepiest music I’ve ever heard in a Tomb Raider game until you unlock the gate to the plane, these are two levels you are bound to be captured by. The two parts balance each other; in the first you’ll almost feel burdened down by the heavy atmosphere and the feeling of great tragedy where death is closer by than ever before (literally) and in the second part you run around with a sense of amazing relief amidst flowers, green grass, blue inviting pools and charming residences in wood and white chalked stone. The puzzles consist mainly of anything that can unlock gates, doors and previously unexplored levels. There are also some parts involving a torch, some keys that Lara must locate and besides that an underwater maze plus the occasional traps and one timed run. The sound is absolutely awesome and very well fit for the levels. The eerie, yet sad and beautiful music played throughout the first level is gently replaced by chirping of crickets and the joyful singing of birds as well as some instrumental themes that are particularly used during fly-bys and upon entering new areas. The enemies that can be mentioned in the first level are as one can expect zombies (though luckily not that many of them), winged skeleton harpies, bats, black scorpions and fire wraiths. In the second level there are far less of them, only a couple of fire wraiths, some black scorpions and a few Mexican bandits here and there. All in all a great gameplay with difficulty at an average level, especially in the first part, and it’s an awesome start of the Reign Of Chaos adventure. A top notch location and levels that really made me look forward to playing the rest." - Selene (01-Aug-2005)

"Not having played any levels for almost six months, I felt slightly disappointed after I finished the first episode of the Reign of Chaos adventure. Somehow I had naively assumed that level building had made a great leap forward during the time I was busy with other things. Or that the Richard Lawther-style had become the new standard. Judging from the thrills that Mexico holds in store for the bold raider, this is not the case. There are jump-switches to find, boulders to avoid, a timed run to master and an assorted cast of Latin-American foes to eliminate. All very entertaining in its own way, but there was nothing that really set my pulse racing. On the contrary, I found the two underwater mazes and the many crawls and climbs a bit tedious. Gameplay is relatively smooth and linear, which is just as well cause on the one occasion where I got stuck with a burning torch in my hand, wandering around aimlessly and looking for things to set fire to, I couldn't help noticing that the textures have a certain patchwork quality to them and the atmosphere was a bit bleak in places. This is what you might expect from a Mexican town but I found it all a bit charmless. There's nothing wrong here; everything fits together quite well, and yet, if I see that this level currently boast an average score of 8.8, and out-rates classics like Jörg Schnitzler's ‘The real Life of Tut Angk Amun’, I feel a bit confused. To me it seems as if almost everything in this level is average. The gameplay, the setting, the atmosphere, the enemies. There is not a single wow moment as I can recall, not a single twist in the storyline and no spectacular environment to leave you awestruck. Well, or is that just me? You better go and see for yourself instead of trusting a grumpy old bastard like me." - Dimpfelmoser (01-Aug-2005)

"Our first pit-stop is a small Mexican village. The music (like in all the other levels) really adds to the atmosphere. So in the first part, simply called Mexico, we certainly feel like we are there, with giant cactus plants, rocky mountains in the background, sensible housing, darker cellars for keeping wine perhaps, and of course that big stick wielding thug with the sombrero. This is a fairly easy level to start the ball rolling, shooting a couple of harpys, move an object in the town centre, look for and shoot vases, wading through the sewers (now there's a novelty!), zombies in a cellar, jumping on walls and roofs, monkey swinging. Then again, it does have a few harder tasks to perform, slamming hammers, boulder trap, spikes in the pool preventing you getting the first gem, an unusual setup of climbing up and down ladders in a maze type place, and a great little timed run. Something bad has happened here as there are the bodies of dead soldiers laying about. Oh yes, I remember now, it's Natla's 'chaos gem' that is draining the life out of the place. Your goal is to open that big gate to another part of the town. And we enter Free Mexico. This is the posh side of town, as the decor is more plush. Grabbing that gem has changed everything for the better. Here are trees and plants, clock tower building, an ornate pool - not the hole in the ground in the first area. Interiors are more sumptuous with posher objects to push. The airport is on this side of town, and we need to find keys to get to the plane. Doing this involves some swimming, climbing, a torch puzzle, a boulder gauntlet that is actually very easy to negotiate, and a great room of sloped columns to jump over lava. Here starts one of the most frustrating tasks that occurs again and again throughout the whole game - finding the very well hidden switches. An excellent level to play, and a great start to the whole game." - CC (01-Aug-2005)

"What with the scorpions, zombies and winged skeletons, this is not the ideal holiday destination. Picturesque village though and fun to explore. I just loved the thugs, with their sombreros – very Mexican looking. There’s a quite tight, quite long timed run that took a few goes to achieve but apart from that, nothing too difficult. I enjoyed myself." - Jay (25-Jul-2005)

I don't know if I'm getting used to difficulty after having completed the series, but I found this one a tad too easy. Only a tad, since there are challenges and you won't ever get bored playing it. Research is very well thought, as you'll have to think to find your way - and keep your eyes open - but won't ever get lost, confused or wandering aimlessly not knowing what to do next. In the settings and atmosphere departments, those levels absolutely shine. And Agnes has managed to render two very different atmospheres, and both perfectly, be it by the choice of sound and music, the lighting, the settings or even the enemies. The first level has a great Ghost Town touch, oozing desolation. Something terrible has happened here and it shows. The second one is lighter. You feel like you've entered a ‘normal’ part of the city - although it's dangerous as well. I absolutely loved the Mariachi Bandits there. Great touch! All in all two excellent levels, masterfully staged. - Sutekh (20-Jul-2005)

The mournful, howling music sets the atmosphere from the very beginning for this dark, dead ghost of a town. Once the entrance for the underground area is found, sewers and vents must be traveled to find the revolver. Gameplay is generally not too difficult and there are some very nice puzzles that are tricky and clever. Since this was the first of the series for me, the change to a lively, pretty town, once the Chaos gem is picked up, was especially memorable. It's a theme that I looked forward to throughout every destination. Do make sure to save soon after the change(Free Mexico,the second part)as the trigger for the timed run could not be re-set and I had to go back to a save. This game grabbed me from the beginning and I thoroughly enjoyed it. - Bene (20-Jul-2005)

Mexico: We are adventuring in an abandoned district among skeleton harpies, flying bugs, zombies and bats to find and shoot 5 jars in order to open the way to another district. There, at the end of the level, we will get the first stone: the Violet Chaos Gem. And with this breaking the power of the evil we can now follow to Free Mexico. It is important to pick up the Revolver in the duct at the spikes and the Laser Sight that lies under a movable crate, because some of the jars can be broken only with these. There are two secrets on the level. The textures are great and so are the sounds. Free Mexico: Here, only some Mexicans, some scorpions and two fiery wraiths try to set us back on our way. To fly away from this place we have to find two blue keys, and it is also important to get the torch that lies at a bench. We also need some skills. There are timed runs, jumping on sloped platforms and tricking rolling rocks. We are going from the deep of the drains to the top of the houses. There is onl yone secret on the level. The textures are very beautiful, and the sounds too. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/15/reign_of_chaos.htm - Obig (18-Jul-2005)

The first adventure the airport takes you to is a spooky, deserted Mexican town, and it generally is well done. Liked the idea which is carried on thorough the other levels too, with the ‘before picking up the Chaos gem’ and ‘after picking it up’ levels. The 2 parts are rather contrasting - before the chaos gem being picked up, everything.. well... um - is chaotic! The dead living, skies are dark the atmosphere gloomy. And after Lara claims the gem to her possession everything's suddenly cheerful, sunshine and all that stuff. This isn't a critique for the Mexico level in specific but for the whole series - that I found these pass-overs hardly believable (one moment people are dead or undead, and the next - happy, like nothing had happened), but I think the message, that the gems are bad and cause chaos, got over to the players and that's all that matters. It's a game, and I suppose the builders are allowed some artistic license or exaggeration to achieve what they want, so I didn't take this point much into consideration when reviewing any of the levels. But on to this level specifically - this is a seldom used scenario (can actually only think of 2 other levels who use it - Hendrik's ‘The Quick and the Dead’ and Silent Viper's ‘Christmas Special’(?) levels), and as that the author has some advantages and can experiment freely, as the players don't have any pre-set expectations they might have had if there were dozens of levels in this scenario. And Agnes uses it well to her advantage and so we get to travel through sewers, creepy long vertical climbing chambers/shafts, as well as the narrow sandy streets and courtyards. The gameplay is linear and straightforward, but never too confusing (well, maybe determining that the pad starts a timed run in level 2) and you can always rely on that, that the solution is nearby - I seldom got stuck and that's a good point, cause you can tell author has not unnecessarily over-exaggerated the tasks and they are made for every player - which is necessary, especially early on in an adventure. The enemies were ok, though maybe the sombrero guy was too cliche, lol - but never been to Mexico so can't judge. Great level in the ‘Reign of Chaos’ game, very enjoyable! - eTux (17-Jul-2005)

This prolific author has given us another fun level that is packed with things to do. Set in movie-version of Mexico that is quite consistent and well made, it features strong straight-ahead gameplay. This author understands very well that energy and flow are huge parts of what makes a level fun to play, and this level is a great example. A level doesn't have to be super hard to be a delight to play. Well done! - Duncan (11-Jul-2005)

Another superb adventure from Agnes! This ‘South of the border’ ghost-town is just that! Zombies, flying skellies, and wraiths await you as you search for keys and the Chaos Gem. Agnes has included some tough elements in her game: timed runs, complex jumps, and puzzling through gaining access to the various areas. As with all of Agnes' games, I always feel like they are too short....a sign of an excellent raid. - Mugs (09-Jul-2005)

I have never played a level that takes place in Mexico before. The result is great! It is a very easy level and if you are an experienced raider you will have no problem with it. Just pure fun! The music is great and helps the eerie feeling before Mexico can be free :) Gameplay and puzzles are just a tad too easy but still good. The only hard part might be the hidden jump switches from time to time. Lighting and textures are just as great and the atmosphere is perfect. Also, the map layout was great. Thumbs up from me to the first part of this long adventure! 2006-07-02 - QRS (03-Jul-2005)

I started with Mexico….and I especially liked the sound and the atmosphere. Lara needs to find five gems in total and she gets one here. The task and puzzles are relatively simple: two keys to find, levers to pull and an easy timed run. But there are a few traps where you need to watch out. Other than that there are some easy enemies, you find the revolver and laser and three secrets in this level :) - Engelchen Lara (03-Jul-2005)

I’m reviewing this as the Mexico level. I think most people will give high ratings simply because it is associated with the Chaos project, which I don’t think is right. That’s why I have been honest and not just given high marks because of the Chaos project. The gameplay is good. There are lots of things to do. I loved the shooting of the vases to open the door. The enemies were nice, especially the men from tr2 Venice with hats on ;) The landscape design was pretty good. There were lots of beautiful buildings, which make up this lovely town. There are some difficult jumps to overcome with spikes, which nearly took me 20 minutes to do! The opening flyby was fantastic. It showed a lot of the areas you will be travelling around. The music was very well assigned and suited the levels. Overall these are 2 great levels that consist mainly of pulling switches and finding the door. - TombRaiderFan (01-Jul-2005)
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