Level: Harbor of Ocean Level3 back home search
Author(s): AlesJPN
total rating:9.05 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
afzalmiah 8 10 9 10
Christian 9 9 9 10
dmdibl 9 9 9 10
eTux 8 9 9 10
Gerty 8 9 9 9
herothing 10 10 10 10
Jack& 8 8 8 9
Jay 8 9 9 10
Jose 9 9 9 10
Juno Jim 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
Mman 8 10 8 10
Mytly 8 10 9 9
Pablito_it 10 10 10 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ruben 8 9 10 9
Ryan 9 9 9 9
Scottie 9 10 9 9
Spike 8 8 9 7
category averages
(19 reviews)
8.63 9.21 9.05 9.32

Reviewer's comments

"I loved the calm atmosphere that this level conveyed, helped by the cool, blueish atmospheric lighting that often contains hints of red or green, which gives it a beautiful look. The audio cues also helped. But don't be lulled into a false sense of security. This game is not for the faint-hearted. There are some perilous manoeuvres to overcome (A couple of jumps in The Diving Pool took me a few tries) and there are some devious traps and puzzles to conquer, but something kept me going all the way to the finish trigger, which surely must mean I liked it. I did encounter one major (or minor, you decide) annoyance at the boulder puzzle in the Hall of Time where one boulder travelled too short a distance to be stopped by the chain, so I had to forego that secret. Recommended overall, but strap yourself in for a wild ride." - Ryan (21-Mar-2017)

"What a lovely and unique level set! The textures are quite minimalistic but the lovely lighting Ė mostly cool blue and cyan, highlighted with yellow and sometimes red or green Ė give the level set its unique look. All four levels (not counting the bonus level) have pretty nearly the same look, but thatís hardly a drawback in this case. Even the toilets look pretty! The music is also lovely and well-suited, and the atmosphere is consistently good throughout.
Gameplay is essentially classic raiding: jumps, traps, puzzles and combat all play a role. The logic behind some of the puzzles can be hard to grasp at times, though. The occasional invisible walls are also annoying. The large number of fixed cameras are usually helpful, but sometimes (as in The Hall of Time) actively serve to hinder progress. The secrets are coloured crystals, and finding them often involves quite lengthy side-quests.
Pools: The longest level in the set, and you can return here near the end for a secret. After a bit of setup in getting into the resort and into the main area, the level revolves mainly around one large indoor pool, with quite a lot of running and jumping about, including some tricky jumps over the chandeliers, and of course, some swimming as well. Unfortunately, there are plenty of moments when the next step is utterly obscure (for example, a climb-through ceiling in one place), so the walkthrough is necessary.
The Diving Pool: This is pretty much an extension of the first level, set around (as the name suggests) a diving pool. There are a few very tricky jumps in this level. You come back to this level near the end for a boss fight, and then a tough timed run for the exit. You can also take a jeep ride back to the first level for a secret (though the jeep is not really necessary).
Temple of Ocean: The level starts off with a cool cutscene. The level itself is divided into two large rooms, each housing a piece of an artefact. One room is quite tough, with tons of traps Ė spikes, rotating blades, squishy blocks, etc. Ė but itís great fun to navigate. The other room involves a puzzle, which is not bad at all, but quite unintuitive, plus a timed run and a mini-boss fight.
The Hall of Time: This level is one large puzzle only (plus a fairly long hunt for a secret), and is mostly enjoyable, but the logic behind the puzzle is far too obscure, IMO, with too little camera assistance. The overly hidden switch at the beginning is also poor design. Still, the level on the whole is quite good and innovative, and the secret quest at the end is fun.
Bonus level: This is just a showcase of the builderís first level from 2001, and serves mostly as a curiosity and a glimpse at how far he has come since then. A nice touch, but it does feel a bit anti-climactic.
Overall: If you are looking for something that is both classic raiding while being fresh and innovative at the same time, and all set in a beautiful and unusual setting Ö do try this one Ė you wonít be sorry!" - Mytly (10-Mar-2011)

"This was an amazing level with a lot of exploration and puzzles to do. A very original lavel and really good storyline. The textures really fit the level and the lighting makes it a whole lot better! The auther uses a lot of blue in this level. The lights, some objects and even the enemies! Secrets are different coloured diamonds. I didn't find all of them. Lara's outfit was good as well. Very good and recommended to everyone." - afzalmiah (04-Mar-2011)

"This is actually a fine level, taking me nearly two and a half hours to complete even with the assistance of Yoav's concise but thorough walkthrough. I was tempted to dock gameplay a substantial number of points because of what I consider two flaws in the construction of the level, that I encountered near the end. I'm referring to the four-boulder room with the extended puzzle. I solved the first leg easily enough with the help of the walkthrough, but the timed door did not act as advertised, at least not in my case. I got there in plenty of time, but the door remained closed. But after waiting around a few seconds, I was surprised to see the door lift for a split second, then slam shut again. Upon reload, I was ready this time, but when I attempted to run straight in I was met by an invisible barrier. I tried yet a third time, and I found that when I ran in at an angle I did not experience the "force field effect." So far, so good. The last straw for me was the later exercise where you have to pull chains to trap four boulders at the zenith of their roll. The problem was that one of the boulders stopped short of the point where it could be trapped by the closing door. I allow for the possibility that the builder was just trying to be cute, making that fourth boulder the object of a pixel-perfect drop. If so, I am not amused. Vimmers was kind enough to point me toward a posted savegame, allowing me to proceed. When I learned that successful completion of the puzzle led only to a secret, and that failure did not mean an inability to finish the level, my foul mood was somewhat ameliorated. Still, it was a wet blanket surrounding an otherwise rewarding gaming experience. Recommended, but if you're a player of average skills you should definitely have the walkthrough close at hand when you play." - Phil (29-Nov-2009)

"I loved this game !!! One prob - the binoculars... However, the rest of the game was a lot of fun !!! I can tell that Ales likes water, and swimming pools - so do I. I guess he likes speakers too - they were everywhere - LOL. Little things like the roll out from crouch position. The footsteps sounds, good. The rolling ball puzzle had me go to the walkthru, even then, it was a challenge, but fun. The tower platform in the main pool area was very realistic, it took me back to when I was on a ten meter tower, and it looked like if I jumped too far, I could jump all the way across to the other side and crash, until a little kid came running bye, and jumped into space !!! LOL again. Lara could make a perfect 1 1/2 from that tower. Very good game, keep 'em coming Ales !!!" - Juno Jim (02-Sep-2009)

"Pools: This quickly presents itself as obviously being unique; as opposed to a standard Tomb Raider themed level it's instead the kind of pack where the author shows you a different world. And between a rarely-utilised texture set and heavy use of calm blue it pulls this off very well. The gameplay is good, although a ceiling you have to climb through seeemed a little odd, plus one section was more of a puzzle due to artificial restrictions with mesh boundaries than something more sensical. I do wonder if the toilets could have done with some slightly gloomier lighting considering the creepy ambience there, but that may not have been the intention. It's very good beyond that though, as well as including some impressively scaled areas. Diving Area: This is very short and more of a transition level, the challenge also ramps up suddenly with some nasty jumps, it almost seemed a little too rapid after the relatively sedate previous level, but it does at least stay pretty consistent beyond this. The central area itself is one of the most impressive areas in the pack. You return here for a boss fight and final timed run to escape after the Hall of Time. Temple of Ocean: This is based around two challenges that can be done in any order; one involving a trap-filled climb and the other a timed puzzle. Both are good but the initial puzzle in the latter room involved a very obtuse block puzzle (there is a logic to it, but the clues are somewhat obscure) and a certain timed switch could have done with a camera hint. Then there's a mini-boss fight before you head in to the next level. A good level, and the puzzles mostly manage to be difficult but fair. The Hall of Time: This level starts out with a ridiculous switch placement and camera view that purposely makes it invisible without the binoculars or looking from the right area; not such a good note to begin on. This level is based around a pretty unique rolling ball puzzle that isn't too bad if you work out the timing (hint: pay attention to the number of "earthquakes" as they roll). However, the entire puzzle suffers from a lack of camera hints; it turns out I had worked everything out myself when looking up some help, but there's no clue whatsoever as to what you have actually triggered. Which is a shame as it's a good puzzle beyond that issue. Pool (old version): The very early level the author made that this entire pack is inspired from; it's extremely basic and simple, although it's interesting to see the initial design behind certain areas in the main pack. Note that this level has no influence on my score as it's obviously intended as nothing but a curio. One cool thing about this pack is the use it makes of "next- gen engine" features; there's a diary that provides clues and story detail, along with stuff like enemy health meters and story cutscenes. It could have really done with an English proofreader though; even the title itself could be considered somewhat of a typo (lacking "the"), but it's readable enough. The gameplay is good but let down by a few flaws, including very deliberate obscuring of one vital object and an odd difficulty curve between the first and second levels (it starts off moderate, but suddenly goes into the hard category within a couple of jumps). The object and enemy use is pretty much perfect. The third score is let down by the deliberately obscuring fixed camera in Hall of Time, a couple of other irritating fixed cameras and a lack of hints at the boulder puzzle. Lighting and textures are great (and original) beyond the toilet lighting I mentioned (which, as I said, may not be intended in the first place). Hopefully the author will bring us more projects in the future." - Mman (24-Aug-2009)

"First you have to play this level to the end then you get to see how it looked when the builder start building. There is a big difference, youíll see. I played this together with Titak who was staying over and it is always fun to play a game together, but one thing we agreed upon is the nasty fixed camera. Sometimes they have a purpose but we both found them utterly irritating. There are also quite a lot of puzzles in here, not all were obvious in what and how to proceed; like the shooting of the gemstones (as a for instance). The many traps were fun to do, at least I thought so. There was one nasty timed run and that did spoil it a bit for me at that moment. The best part I thought was the four-boulder puzzle, well done." - Gerty (21-Aug-2009)

"A few weeks ago I had put the question to myself where then the level builders from Japan have remained. Do they build generally still? But as one sees, was my worry unjustified. There is really a sign of life from the Far East. Namely a really strong one. As the author writes in the Readme, this is his third level and partly a remake of his first level. And so that one can recognise the differences, the level builder has added his first level as a bonus level. And the differences are gigantic. Here one can understand very well as AlesJPN has developed. Level construction, textures, sound, Flybys: Here there is, actually, only a little what one can criticise. The level is built fantastically and is equipped very nicely. Me have liked particularly the chandeliers at the ceilings and the diving tower at one of the water basins. Indeed, something has disturbed me that one could not jump over the half-high lattice fences. These lattice fences were obstructed at several places in the game and it is implausible a little bit if one wants to jump over them and bounces off on an invisible wall. In two big rooms with a big water basin in the middle I had the feeling which was the second room only a copy. There were of course a few differences, but one could clearly recognise the same plan. The textures looked partly very realistic. There were, for example, damaged places on the walls. This looked really good. Indeed, I would have wished all together a little bit more change. More colour or different structures on the walls would have quite felt well here. The sound felt well. However, the permanent music in the background has disturbed me. I know such a thing from movies like Independence Day. There it is not one minute silence. And here just it is. I do not like this at all. The Flybys were made good and very informative. Gameplay, riddles, time runs, opponents: Especially remarkable it was here which there was an insertion at whom Lara shoots and how often one must shoot at the opponent, until he falls down. So information is very helpful. I hope that we get to see this feature still on occasion. Then one can also decide better which weapon one must choose. The riddles were very interesting. Here would only be mentioned the room with the four Rollingballs. One must work on these Rollingballs in such a way which all four rolls at the same time in the same direction. Since only if they are exactly aimed, a door opens for a short time if all four balls roll at the same time over a certain place. Very well I have liked the room with the many rotary knives. Though this place was not so quite easy to master, but it has given, nevertheless, a lot of fun. Here I would like to to quote perry:" How would you like it then? 100 gramms of Lara sliced, or it may be also a little bit more?". Better one cannot describe this place. The opponents were, up to the bats, retextured. However, these opponents were not too many and with the shotgun it was no problem to defeat them. Though there were a few places where one did not know what one should make then now, but all together this level was to be played very nicely. and the time run through a door was no big problem. Summary: Very good level with a few small criticism points." - Scottie (10-Aug-2009)

"Pools (45 min, 2 secrets found): An interesting setting right from the start, reminiscent in a way of the style that Nadine and Christoph have applied in their work before. There is a remarkably good choice of audio throughout the entire game and a simple storyline that is nicely being supported with some intermittent short cutscenes and through the use of the diary - not often seen in custom levels and well executed here. While gameplay is not all that difficult per se, it can be sneaky and somehow I found it to be very slow in this first part, although it did get better later on, or maybe I just got used to the author's sytle of hiding things.
The Diving Pool (8+5 min, 2 secrets found): Essentially just one major room, but a very cool diving board to jump from and a few fun jumps to master around the ligh ledges, plus the boss fight with a demigod and two dogs and a tight timed run when you come back here later.
Temple of Ocean (40 min, 2 secrets found): This part is great fun with its combination of traps and puzzles, including rotating blades used to great effect, pulling chains that only work after some preparation and pushing a few blocks around. It also has a nice little fight with an ahmet as kind of an intermediate boss.
The Hall of Time (20 min): Very, very clever, but also a bit obscure. This part is all about one major puzzle involving four rolling balls. I really loved the original idea, but execution is a bit tedious and you need to be lucky to hit the right timing.
Bonus Level (5 min): I thought it was a nice touch by the author to add his very first work as a bonus level here, versus actually releasing it to the public back in 2001. It won't take a lot of the player's time now, but demonstrates nicely how far the builder has come after all these years. A very enjoyable level set to play through! Found 6 of the 10 secrets." - MichaelP (08-Aug-2009)

"A great job for the Japanese author thet proposed a number of levels very well created with puzzles not difficult but original, very beautiful rooms, good architecture and textures, there are not easy steps but for the rest the game is almost always linear. 10 secrets not easy and some hard, pity for the bug to retrieve the red crystal at the beginning rather than at the end game. Beautiful job." - Pablito_it (07-Aug-2009)

"Well, this was refreshing. Using a texture set not often seen in custom levels, along with a particularly unique setting (swimming pool cum ancient temple, anyone?) already interested me, and seeing it through to the end proved that it also managed to be a quality adventure as a whole. Gameplay focuses mostly around exploration, with a good few jumping and trap sequences thrown in for good measure. Backtracking is also kept to a minimum thanks to some handy shortcuts back through areas, and a number of welcome cameras placed throughout also helped greatly. Aside from the slightly out-of-place "try your luck" lever pulling in the large room with rollingballs nearer to the end of the game, gameplay was smooth and progressive throughout. As mentioned before, the camera work is great from beginning to end, and coupled with a particularly good atmosphere and pleasant music (though the random Egyptian piece in the middle of it all felt a little odd) made for a great "feel" to the level. Visuals were good, and textures were applied well, though the lighting in parts felt very messy with random colours and shadows dotted around without managing to blend in too well. The newly retextured (and meshed) enemies and objects also fit well into the level, furthering the appeal of the unique setting. As a whole, the levelset is original and entertaining, and the bonus level at the very end (while looking a little...less than desirable in comparison, shall we say ;) ) was a nice look at how the builder has progressed." - Spike (03-Aug-2009)

"The beautiful blue tones of the lighting in this level make it quite hypnotic and really suit the whole watery theme and I would just like to say that any builder who provides a sky high diving board for Lara to achieve spectacular swan dives is a hero in my book. Thanks for that. Itís not the only thing to enjoy either. There are some excellent traps and puzzles, crystalline enemies to battle, periodic diary entries to read and lots of exploring in the gorgeous and slightly surreal surroundings. My only slight grumble would probably be concerning the fixed camera angles. There are times when they can achieve dramatic impact or serve to give the player handy hints, but too many of them can really grate. However, itís a small nitpick given the overall quality of the game. Itís also most fascinating to see (in the bonus level), the embryonic concept for the finished level, clearly demonstrating that although this may technically be a debut level, the builder has obviously spent long hours honing his skills with the level editor. Time well spent, Iíd say." - Jay (02-Aug-2009)

"This game definitely feels like a breath of fresh air on all accounts. I can't say I've ever seen a similar interpretation of the TR3 Gold It's a madhouse! textures, lest even in form of a temple that's apparently been rebuilt to be a complex of swimming pools/Spa center (according to the story), and as such I suppose fits into the category of levels that show what a little creativity can do to the standard resources. Maybe there was a dark corner too many for my liking, but with sufficient flares supplied, the blueish temple settings still managed to remain as convincing and inviting till the last minutes. As far as tasks go, the game balances on a tight line between the obscure and the ingenious - thus sometimes being a love/hate thing on my end. On one hand there are such brilliant tasks as the 4 boulder puzzle closer to the end, the maneuvering over the chandeliers, a couple of fun jumps and the mother of all trap sequences, but on the other end - a plethora of obscurely hidden switches, the uncalled for rise in difficulty with some particular traps (namely the monkey-swing with the rotating blades, but I'll be the first to admit that maybe I just didn't think of a better strategy than pumping Lara with healthpacks) and some tasks that would've made more sense had there been a camera clue. I couldn't help but wonder what motivated the builder to include those parts as well, as without them his ideas could give the best builders out there a run for their money. The story is carried nicely with the excellently set up fly-bys and the use of Lara's diary - I found it to be nicely executed, as this could've been overdone so easily! There aren't that many enemies there but they were placed strategically - always appearing when a key story moment was playing out, or just to shake off the sense of security the shimmering, dreamlike settings can sometimes convey so nicely. I only managed to find 2 of the 10 secrets, so I can't judge much about their placement. But all being said and done - you will most likely remember this 1.5 hour long adventure for its rather unique setting, an interesting story-telling device and some memorable tasks, and while not without faults - it still gets my highest recommendations!" - eTux (01-Aug-2009)

"It's stunning stuff. The bluish dark lightning gives these levels a refreshing new atmosphere, a style never seen before. Nearly perfect and unique! Aside from some annoying camera angles and the binocs-bug mentioned in the readme gameplay is great, so I had very much fun by jumping from one chandelier to the next one. Maybe the hints on the ceiling for a pushblock-puzzle were a bit hard to see. Two timed runs are there to make it a bit challenging, foremost the 2nd one leading to the bonus-level is hard, but doable. All things considered: It's one of these very rare levels you can't stop playing. Highly recommended!" - Christian (01-Aug-2009)

"A beautiful set of levels, with some wonderful ideas. The blue spirits that actively protect this ocean resort remind one of Japanese animated films by Miyazaki, such as "My Neighbor Totoro" (though when the blue dog spirits first attacked I initially mistook them for anteaters, and hesitated to shoot them). Some of the play has the same fanciful quality, so I definitely recommend the levels, even though this means that actions can be obscure, that there are doors and pathways never used (secrets? dead ends?) and one sometimes longs for a walk-through. In the first level Lara fixates on a mirror, but the object she seeks is actually in the hallway beyond the mirror, and is an invisible crystal. In the men's dressing area of the resort there is a similar setup, but this time no clue from Lara, yet there is also an invisible crystal here. In a normal level these would seem unfair secrets. Lara reaches a large lovely pool area, but on the dark balcony where she must climb the camera angle becomes fixed to hinder the player. The same annoying trick is used in the temple area near the end, where a corner switch is "hidden" by a distant fixed camera, so players will only spot this switch by using the binoculars. The binoculars have a bug and only work in the horizontal plane, so Lara can't look up or down. This a real disadvantage since one has to search out marks on the ceiling, or follow monkey swings. The binocular bug is discussed on the TREP web site, where the fix is given. The use of pull chains is obscure, as it's unclear when these become active, so I had Lara going back multiple times to pull chains, until finally some exterior event made them operational. For instance Lara made a difficult climb up through rotating blades to find separate rooms with pull chains. Pulling them does nothing. Lara searches and shoots gems held by large idol statues. Going back and pulling the first chain again appears to do nothing. But now pulling the second chain causes a gem (half a black crystal) to appear on a pedestal. I had the same puzzlement with a separate set of four chains. Pulling the first two freezes the central area (even though it wasn't water to begin with), Lara walks across ice and pulls the second set of chains. Nothing happens. Eventually an adult (big) blue spirit bursts out of a door. Lara goes into the spirit room and stands on a tile. Now one pull chain becomes a fire trap and the second chain does nothing. Then pulling the second chain opened a trapdoor. Is this whimsical behavior part of the spirit world, or is it bad game play? I did like the big blue spirits and their interactions with Lara, revealed through the diary, though the diary could have explained more. Maybe players just have to put up with a certain amount of ambiguity in this level set. Refreshingly different." - dmdibl (01-Aug-2009)

"A beautiful little adventure ,great atmosphere and music ! Stunning good level design in all locations ! Alas , the Rolling Balls Puzzle near the end was annoying and stretched the time of gameplay , I am sure many other players will be happy having a good time playing this game !" - Ruben (01-Aug-2009)

"well a interesting level from anew builder and pretty good for a first level .....this game is set up from 3 or 4 parts ... + a short bonus level ...... moustly the gameplay involve some tricky jumps a rather short timed run at the end .. moustly indoor areas .. and mousty huge multilevel rooms at wich u need to make ur way up and down ......u get some gems in the game . but only 1 -combined one u need to use ......... also i got a HIDDEN TRESURE of OCEAN artefact wich cannot be used and dissapear from inventory after loading the bonus level wich i find it short and a bit dissapointing .....enemyes not much .... 2 big demigods ... some small creatures ..... a crock + some boars at bonus level the last stage off the game i find it a bit frustrating the alignment off 4 rolling balls at designed tile bye stoping each with a lever ... is difficult cos after camera change u can only quess where is the rolling ball so needed alot off patience and tryes .... also after last rotary handle pulling no camera to show wich door opened and was a pain cos that rotary handle was timed !!! all in all a fun to play game and i am convinced his next game will be much better like this ..... cheers ." - Jack& (01-Aug-2009)

"What a progression from this author! Playing the bonus level at the end you can't imagine that the same author was able to build such an excelent set of levels. There are some annoying cameras sometimes, and a very hard timed run near the end, but in general the game is very good, secrets are hard to find and there are very few enemies; gameplay is based about exploration and think to solve puzzles. The best for me was the architecture and textures, creating a very good look in all areas. Good work!" - Jose (31-Jul-2009)

"Wow, compared to the first version of this game, this is astounding. This is a level only an expert builder could pull off. It has architecture, story, it has everything. The gameplay is excellent but for me a little too hard seeing as though sometimes you had to progress through the dark but i couldn't manage to spot ledges etc. I think this sort of level is based from on exploration rather than going round, killing things and opening doors and progessing from there. The lighting was amazing, the rain really fits in well from the outside, textures were generally good but i did notice a few mistakes. Enemies were these strangle crystal looking things which reminded me of Pokemon, sound was great, it's amazing how much things can be better from changing only a few things. To improve for the next game, the builder should maybe make these levels a little more easy, it took me a rather long time to get through the simplest of things because of some of these hard puzzles and invisible walls. Grade = A*" - herothing (31-Jul-2009)
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