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Level: The Madhouse back home search
Author(s): Bashar
total rating:8.70 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 8 10 10 9
Bene 9 8 9 9
Blue43 8 8 9 8
Christian 9 9 9 9
Diz 9 9 9 9
DJ Full 8 9 9 9
dmdibl 8 8 8 8
eTux 8 8 9 8
Gerty 7 9 9 9
Glouglouton 8 8 9 9
Jay 9 9 9 9
Jose 7 8 10 10
Juno Jim 10 10 9 9
manarch2 8 8 10 9
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
MpGrill 7 7 9 9
Nina Croft 8 9 8 9
Orbit Dream 8 8 10 9
Pedros 10 9 9 8
Phil 9 9 9 9
Ruben 8 8 9 9
Ryan 9 8 9 8
Scottie 8 9 9 8
Shandroid 8 9 8 9
sonnyd83 8 8 10 10
Steven Svorticher 8 8 9 9
TheStig 9 9 9 9
category averages
(27 reviews)
8.33 8.56 9.07 8.85

Reviewer's comments

"Wow! This is a lot of fun! what a beautiful atmosphere! challenging, I can count my deaths that was almost 1 billion times, but I loved the treps, some scraping musics, that I got into some parts! lighting and good, of the impression that a house that was abandoned for years, the puzzles are incredible and challenging, a script well done, I hope to see some other new level made by this author, because he commands very well! good job!" - Pedros (31-Jul-2018)

"Ooh, my aching fingers! This is a truly outstanding debut. But it has to be said, that some of the challenges on offer here are only for the nimble fingered amongst us. The protagonist has no guns, so outrunning enemies is the order of the day. I can't wait for the next one!" - Ryan (13-Mar-2016)

"Nice debut of this builder, atmosphere is creepy enough to put you on edge. This is a level for experts with all the timed jumping as well as pixel perfect jumps. Not so much to my taste though. I needed help with some of the jumping, as I just couldn't do it, so gameplay for me wasn't one I enjoyed. The enemies in here were well placed and even if you couldn't do much, they for sure found each other." - Gerty (13-Feb-2014)

"I'm not a fan of scary/creepy levels but I decided to give this a try because I find it interesting. I must say it was better than I thought but it was very challenging. I loved how the mansion looked a lot, the atmosphere was perfect in my opinion. The builder did a fantastic job in making the house look scary and creepy. Finding the crystals was very challenging but fun! :D. Some parts did make me jump (I don't like jump scares) but I still progressed and I enjoyed a lot of the game even though I first slowly walked around the house feeling scared. Yes I am a coward. I did finish the level though and I thought it was amazing. I am looking forward to the next part of the level (there should be a next part anyway)." - afzalmiah (09-Aug-2012)

"This is possibly the most atmospheric level I've ever played, I felt very uneasy at certain points, e.g. top of stairs where spooky noises are playing, or dead bodies with appropriate shocking sounds fx, even the blood has texture sound. The level takes place in a manor which looks very similar to Croft manor, there's a deep fog throughout the entire place which has a good effect as it disguises bad things. The texturing is probably the most realistic of any game I've played with carefully applied Tudor style walls, and bare wooden floorboards, with the occasional handmade carpet where required, and there's plenty of depth to things, e.g. the door frames, window frames, panelling etc, indeed, the objects are beautifully crafted, with every room crammed full of furniture, 4 post beds, cabinets, lamps etc, the grandfather clock is really nice with tick tock sound. You wake up from a deep sleep and have no weapons so must explore the building. The first task is to locate a key and use it. More spooky sounds can be heard in the dining room, and a zombie makes an appearance here, the kitchen cabinets are really nice too. There's nice fixed camera's for door openings. Anyway, a couple of switches and trapdoor later and you're in an underground temple, which looks rather Greek, the lava floor is a death trap, some jumps required, and collect a crystal, then attack by a wraith - I think this is too hard, no time to think, then place this crystal, to get the next crystal, there's a pushable block puzzle to get up a level, blades, then climbing whilst avoiding flames, jumps, monkey swing, pull a lever, more jumps, collect crystal, more wraith attacks. This area again has a Greek undertone to it. Then you'll find some unfriendly creatures have made a bid for freedom, place crystal, for the final crystal, it's upstairs into the library, which have impressive bookcases set into the walls, couple of switches to be pressed, rope to be swung upon, and key to be picked up, find way across a room with a mirror wall, collect final crystal and place it, again avoiding wraiths, The final bit is pure genius, you think you've escaped but death makes an appearance once again... Overall, this is a fine but very sinister game which is best played at night if you want the full affect, it's definitely not just another TR Legend manor copy. I didn't need a walkthrough for this level. 43 minutes net playing time." - sonnyd83 (20-May-2012)

"Dark gloomy and foreboding the mad house is set in a dark manor filled with ghostly skulls and dead bodies lying everywhere. Each room is filled with a dark murky smog adding further to the atmosphere. Gameplay definitely verges on the side of difficult (with some particularly tricky mid-air rolls and jumps to achieve. Getting past the blade traps caused my allot of trouble too. Texturing and lighting are excellent, as is the general structure of the level. The music sets everything off perfectly and definitely left me edgy while playing. Ultimately this is not a huge adventure (I completed in just over 36 minutes), however I'd say given the difficulty level it's probably pitched around right. If you keep your cool with it and keep at those jumps then there's definitely a cracking level here to enjoy. Highly recommended, Stiggy." - TheStig (18-Apr-2012)

"A very, very commendable effort for a first level and actually a very strong mystery level on its own is what you get when you start this level. I wouldn't say that it is all that challenging, but it does use elements that players might not be that well accustomed to dealing with (sinking platforms ala Ritchard Lawther's UUB series), so I can see how one could get that impression. But difficulty has not been an issue for me either way as long as the tasks are creative enough, and I'm happy to say that quality can be found here, both, in the way the author sets up the tasks and the pacing. The mirror puzzle is present as you know it since its debut in TR4's "Coastal Ruins", but with a few nice touches, the sinking-tile jump sequences are readily decipherable and easily done if you take the time to think them through and the movable crate puzzle is clever without being obscure either. I also liked how just when you think things are starting to get predictable, you get a nice little twist. In contrast, you do get to deal with pressing buttons, opening doors and hunting keys maybe a little too much; apart from the wraiths, none of the enemies really pose that much of a threat, and I'm still not sure if I reached the buttons in the library in the intended way (I basically shimmied on the ledge from the bookshelves). That said, the promise of very great things to come is truly present. The atmosphere is gripping and the looks solid, with great use of textures lighting and objects (though the use of the same dead body repeatedly throughout the level did jar the otherwise nice attention to details). I imagine the level is actually not that long if you know what to do, but at 30 minutes of net gaming on my first way through, I thought it was an acceptable duration. Managed to find only 1 secret. Highly recommended!" - eTux (11-Aug-2011)

"Phew,that was one nerve-wracking experience!Actually,this is one of those levels that's actually quite quick and comparatively straightforward,ONCE YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO.I had the hell of a time with the 'sinking-tile cellar',which I initially considered beyond my capabilities - until I realised there was a simple logic to it,involving nothing more than well-timed running and jumping.Everything,in fact,is easily doable at the third or fourth attempt;and the builders cunning and ingenuity never lets up from first moment to last.Nor,indeed,does his technical mastery;which is constantly assured,and often absolutely inspired.The atmosphere is relentlessly gripping;enemies are well used (leave them alone and they'll even destroy each other!);objects are placed with thought and care;sound and cameras are perfectly utilised (Mike Oldfield would be delighted);and lighting and textures are impeccable. A stunning debut from a truly gifted builder!" - Orbit Dream (09-Aug-2011)

"Good game !!! The fog was distracting, but I got the beast to kill the bad guys - that was fun. Found all secrets - rare for me... Still would like weapons... Interesting theme, lots of difficult jumps, but not as hard as I've seen. liked the block puzzle - I had to actually think about that one..." - Juno Jim (31-Jul-2011)

"There are two levels with essentially the same name, one very recent and the other nearly six years old, so I decided to download and play them both back to back. They're as different as night and day, but both have considerable appeal. This one is an adrenalin-charged rush that uses the newer technology with its more sophisticated textures and consumes about 40 minutes of nonstop action. You have no weapons, but the few enemies are easily avoided without having to shoot them. My fingers are still sore from some of the complicated jump sequences using sinktiles embedded in lava, but I was able to conquer them all with patience and perseverence. I'm not familiar with this builder, but he displays a seasoned command of the level editor with this release. The pickup at the end promises a continuation of the adventure, which I'll be eagerly awaiting. Highly recommended." - Phil (17-Jul-2011)

"Good debut. The author put the effort in the creepy ambience and the environment, but rooms are too empty though. Tasks in the lava rooms are very hard, even for expert players, and I've missed some more puzzles. The musics and cameras were perfectly placed and the level is very well lightened and textured. Fine work for a beginner, welcome to the builders world. I think this author will gave us (as said in the final note) better levels in the future." - Jose (16-Jul-2011)

"A horror level where Lara is in a house in Athens and finds some dead corpses on the floor; then Lara, like in a horror- thriller movie, will have to investigate. The level itself is not very long, playable in about half an hour, but it won't be at all a half hour of "roses and flowers"! Starting from the atmosphere, I would say that it's great: the rooms of the house seem rather gloomy haunted by spirits. Just starting the level, Lara wakes up and finds a note from a corpse in which she read that, in order to escape, you need to retrieve 3 crystals; in fact she'll have to face 3 hard challenges inside the house, and, once opened the door by using the crystals, Lara will face other dangerous parts, before getting out safely. In the first challenge, after interacting with the levers and a rope, Lara finds herself in a room with a mirror in which we see the whole room; so we've to understand how to go across it in order to find an object. In the second challenge things get more difficult: after other levers, Lara finds herself in an underground lava room and she will have to make a series of jumps on slopes and tiles that get lowered in contact to the lava; it won't be easy because it's necessary to perform various jumps on this type of tiles without stopping, otherwise she'd get burned. In the third challenge Lara has to first deal with a series of blocks to be able to move an higher one (and there's as an obstacle a corpse in the middle of the room) in order to reach the upper floor, and then, after avoiding-jumping 2 dangerous blades, she has to go across another lava room by using ladders, slopes and so on. Finally, after filling the 3 crystals, in an other lava room, after a descent obstacled by a lot of blades, Lara faces the last challenge, perhaps the most difficult, since we have to interact with multiple slopes, ladders and other platforms that lower into the lava at the same time. In the final chamber Lara finds another ticket that represents the congratulations for having passed this shocking adventure. Therefore, a compelling story with a very addictive gameplay, but with a couple of interesting puzzles (the burning mirror room and the one with the blocks to move), although more limited than the gameplay itself. There are 3 secrets, not overly complicated (just look around). As enemies we find spirits that attack Lara when she picks up each of the 3 crystals and during some challenges, like the second one, Lara can lose a lot of health till she gets back to the main room; we also find immortal annoying monsters and, having no weapons, then: let's go away! In addition to the spectral atmosphere, we have very good gothic soundtracks (in some places they remind me of those of Medievil or Silent Hill) and some of TR Last Revelation; spectral laughings even coming from nowhere inspire and give more excitement. Excellent light-textures. In conclusion, more than a good medium-high difficulty level, not at all suitable for inexperienced players; strong points are definitely the gameplay and setting-atmosphere; what a pity for the few enemies or puzzles, but thanks to the other points we still get a more than valid result. Definitely I surely reccomend it!" - Steven Svorticher (07-Jul-2011)

"A fabulous debut indeed for the first level builder from Jordan on this site! Yes, take the warning in the readme, as the level is indeed challenging in the sense that you will have to master a few fairly accomplished jump sequences, but nothing a seasoned raider would not be able to fully appreciate and enjoy. In between those, you can take in a very well working atmosphere as you explore around the (Mad)House, supported by excellent texturing, object choice and audio. Maybe it revolves a bit too much around opening many doors and pressing buttons and finding keys and needs a few more puzzles like the small one with the push blocks. The running away from the enemies adds some nice spice as well, but can also become annoying if you do not easily find your way. I really liked those (not so often used) sinking platforms and the whole quest for the three crystals leading to a nice 'fake ending'. Found only one of the three secrets and the biggest downside of this adventure was its brevity at just over 30 minutes duration. More please!" - MichaelP (30-May-2011)

"A really impressive debut this is certainly. Challenging gameplay with many rooms where you first think "How can I survive this?" and then are proud to have done it. Very atmospheric rooms combined with good sound and intriguing camera work made this level to a very mystical one, the storyline was really good and I liked the finding of three gems to get further. The enemies weren't that much and new but as Samantha did not have any weapons it was the hell to run away from them. I really enjoyed this home/hell level from start to finish, but I don't recommend it for beginners, they would be frustrated too much because of the jump sequences in the lava. Maybe there could be more puzzles (only one pushblock puzzle found here) but this level is quite fun still." - manarch2 (09-May-2011)

"I really like the idea of this level, with the mysterious atmosphere and notes. It didn't end up going in the direction I was hoping it would, with puzzle-solving and scary traps, etc. There were many difficult jumping segments that were fairly frustrating and didn't seem to fit the theme at all. It didn't seem logical for there to be lava inside a mansion. Despite my disappointment with these areas, I did think this builder has the ability to create something truly incredible with more time spent. I loved the scary music and the very nice texturing in the mansion. Please keep building, Bashar!" - Shandroid (06-May-2011)

"Yuck! Dismembered bodies everywhere and a horrible sucking, squelching sound as you run through their gore. Wonderful! No weapons but that doesn't really matter as most things can be run away from in this mix of House of Horror and National Treasure (Or Indiana Jones meets The Mummy!). I really liked the use of the stone flags sinking into the lava, a much underused effect in my opinion. Lots of bouncing around and running away from baddies. All in all - great fun." - Diz (06-May-2011)

"And this should be a debut level? Really? The debut levels these days are not any more that what they were in the old days. There one could recognise a debut level still as a debut level. With stretched textures. And sound problems. And nonexistent Gameplay. Yes, those were the days. This level looks very good. Whereby I must make there however immediately a restriction. This permanent light fog disturbs me very much. He maybe underlines the awful situation in which Samantha is, but it disturbs me very much that I have no clear view. It would have been good if one would have the binoculars at disposal, then one could have recognised both tiles in the mirror room better. I have jumped only by chance on one of these both tiles. I have not noticed them before. A little bit annoyingly are the ghosts who pursue Lara if she takes the Crystals. On the other hand, they pursue Lara only for a short time, because one can get rid of them at a place fast again. Most jump combinations are harmless and to make good with a little practise. Merely the jump to the Monkeyswing requires exact timing. Both knife slides were unnecessary and a little bit unfair. The camera work was very good, the same one takes effect for the sound. All together this was an excellent debut with which have disturbed me merely the permanent light fog and the knife slides." - Scottie (02-May-2011)

"It's always a pleasure to hear 'Tubular Bells' so this level got off to a good start for me and first impressions proved to be correct (and on the subject of audio files, the squishing sounds as the heroine of the story ran through the spilled blood of the corpses was brilliant - I couldn't decide whether to laugh or shudder). This is an unusual level, set in a creepy old house where dreadful events have obviously taken place and the atmosphere is delightfully spooky. There are no guns provided and other ways have to be found of dealing with the effective mix of enemies. There are some highly entertaining puzzles and agility tests, particularly the use of those tiles that disappear into the lava if you're not fast enough. It says 'to be continued' at the end of the level and I personally can't wait to see more levels from this undoubtedly talented new builder." - Jay (02-May-2011)

"A promising debut from another talented young builder. It's a rather short challenge but a real tour-de-force testing Laras athletic skills to the limit. This is definetely a must-play for any raider who likes the feeling when hell freezes over and the rivers run dry . Recommended !" - Ruben (01-May-2011)

"A misleading title choice, as Death House or House of Horror is more accurate. A string of people have vanished from the streets, never to return. Then Samantha is taken, and awakens in an old manor, though players see only a few rooms and a staircase. If Samantha can keep her mop-like hair out of her eyes long enough to explore, we sense that unpleasant things are in store for her. One clue is a corpse and lots of blood. The corpse leaves a note which gives away the plot: wraiths will chase Samantha about the house, but can be destroyed on suits of armor, and three crystals must be found to open the ground floor door. Given all this suspenseful buildup, this small fifty-minute level will keep players engaged, though looking back later the level may feel rather smaller. One suit of armor destroyed the wraiths, but since the owl statue setup can be buggy I'm not sure whether other armor worked. I was a little disappointed when the author quickly used a fixed camera angle to hide a secret. This has been done so much, in Jade Empire and in numerous vintage levels and beyond, that this 'trick' now ranks as a cliché. It is one reason I despise fixed camera angles. The one really clever puzzle was in a room with caged zombies and ahmet. It appears as though Samantha needs to make a jump to high ledges. Since it is often difficult to tell just what is possible in Tomb Raider, players may spend many minutes trying curved jumps and different angles. Eventually it dawns that the solution must lie with five or six pushable boxes. Viewed intellectually, this is an excellent puzzle, but the problem is that it kicks in only after players have spent ten or fifteen minutes on what is probably an impossible jump, so it sure is annoying. The rest of the acrobatics in the level are straightforward, and can be done quickly; the sinking tiles in lava are used effectively. Fast zombies hack at Samantha with swords, and I had her escape by running to the end of a balcony and jumping over the railing. Either the sword attacks or the balcony jumps result in health loss. Couple this with all the health drain from wraiths, and Samantha reaches the final room without medipacks. Nicely done for a debut level, atmospheric and has good ideas." - dmdibl (01-May-2011)

"It can be seen Bashar is very talented if it comes to atmosphere building: texturing is stunning indeed - even if it is filled with cracks and seams here and there, and there is a LOT of them, all these flaws don't disturb so much, because a more important thing - visual unity - is maintained. Also, atmosphere is improved by nice application of distance fog effect, and really good sound - apart from gloomy ambient soundtrack, we can hear many CD effects, and many well-fitting placed sounds, like splashing blood when Lara steps on it, or an obligatory clock ticking. If I mentioned the clock, I feel obliged to say few words about other furniture objects - pillars, bookcases, chairs, tables - there is a whole wide variety of them, and it's hard to make a manor more realistic than this one. Apart from statics, some animatings - undead knights, moving blades, a zombie and a hellhound - spice up the gameplay and keep a player busy. For a while. I know it was intended to be a horror - and everyone expected it to be a horror - and everyone got prepared for a horror - and that's why the game is not scary at all, LOL. After spending several hours on secret hunt (I don't know how I could miss that golden cross) I realized I treat this game as a seriously expanded and challenging manor level - I mean a very good one, but still rather a fantasy/surreal than a horror one. Honestly - if You really want to be scared, try PH's One Room Contest instead. It will scare You for one reason: because You won't expect to be scared even if I already told You there is a scary moment in it. But the thing mixing my feelings the most is the fact Bashar has copied Dick's platforming, along with his textures. Playing this part, I kept having a feeling I am somewhere deep below the Earth surface, and the only missing thing was Demon Smalls. I am not quite sure if it is good - no-one should even try to copy Realm of the Damned, even if the result is a very promising debut level. On the other hand, it was a sweet reminiscence and I don't regret Bashar applied it - so I really don't know what to think about it. While the mentioned agility part is nearly perfect, puzzles are rather obvious - we know at once what we are supposed to do and this brings no satisfaction when progressing. I want something more from a raid - I want making me think, along with not making me stuck. I thing Bashar needs to believe players LIKE to think if he wants to create a true raid, not a challenging platforming level. Lack of riddles makes this game Mario, not Tomb Raider. And I know the author can improve it. SUMMARY: A truly atmospheric level with one of the most realistic mansions I've seen so far. Recommended for platforming fans - they'll get what they want. But don't expect a true horror here - this game is rather a fantasy manor. Still, a very nice one." - DJ Full (01-May-2011)

"As a horror/mystery level fan, I must say this one was pretty good ! Im sure if the autors decides to make a next level that it will be much better. The only two minus points are the gamepley and duration. It was kinda boring and not very inovative..every puzzle was seen in other levels. The level was short and didnt ofered for the player a depht gameplay and stoyline. The atmosphere was just right ! Spoooky :D Sounds and music were also good chosen and well placed. The fog trough the whole level gave the atmoshpere a little bit extra...It all looked pretty realistic. Lightning was maybe too monotone." - MpGrill (01-May-2011)

"Another great debut from a promising new builder. Without pistols it quickly becomes fast and furious. The sinking tiles into lava were used effectively and Samantha as Lara with a quirky hairdo (no ponytail) carries the plot off well. Loved the horror feel but it seems over too quickly. Nicely designed pushable block puzzle and great atmosphere. More, please." - Bene (01-May-2011)

"This is a very nice debut level with interesting and challenging game play. I normally don't like levels with enemies where you start without guns and in this particular case you don't find any guns at all during the whole level. Nevertheless this is still very enjoyable to play because the few enemies can easily be outrun. In my game the only enemy left was a slow zombie, the others were take care of by a newly found buddy, the werewolf. The wraiths were quite annoying and there is a lot of running around required to finally extinguish them. The real challenges in this level are some tricky jumping sequences in lava rooms and unfortunately I had real problems in one area where Lara refused to grab a ledge and after endless reloads I finally made it through this part. I enjoyed seeing those sinkable tiles over lava and once I figured out how to time and line up all these jumps perfectly it wasn't so bad, but I can definitely see an inexperienced player getting frustrated - therefore the warning in the level description. The atmosphere with good music and sound effects was on the spooky side and not having any guns did add a little to the tension this level created. The texturing was simple, yet effective and the lighting was very interesting as the level has this dusty air look that does look do great in those Egyptian tomb levels - not sure if I do like that in a mansion setting through. A refreshing level with entertaining game play, not for the beginner, but otherwise highly recommended. Definitely looking to see more coming from this builder. (28min, 2/3 secrets found)" - Blue43 (01-May-2011)

"Another great debut level, just to prove that TRLE community is getting only bigger, more inventive and more creative. Bashar managed to build a really interesting horror-type level, where we have Lara without weapons, in a very dark and gloomy house full of mummies. She has to collect three crystals to escape this house, and each of them she finds in areas with lava and sinking ledges. Having no weapons is not at all difficult compared to tricky jumps in lava rooms, where we must jump off a ladder, for example, with a twist in mid-air and steering Lara to left or right (also in mid-air), which is usually tricky. Sometimes you have to perform these pixel precise jumps when a wraith chase you, making things even more difficult. However, I immensely enjoyed playing this level, with its pushblock puzzle, or the mirror room, or the zombie chasing Lara with a knife, to mention only these three great moments. The atmosphere in the game is amazing, dark and gloomy, but not excessively, and I particularly liked the music in background, as well as greatly chosen sounds from TR2. The gameplay is great, fluent and interesting, with a lot of things for Lara to do, and only few chances to get hopelessly stuck. For example, I lost two hours just trying to make one simple standing jump to grab a ladder in the second lava room (for some reason, Lara refuses to grab this ladder in most of cases). Also, I was stuck for a half an hour on the slide where you must jump to grab the fiery ledge. However, in spite of these few difficult moments, the game is not too difficult to finish. You can find three secrets, total. A few tips for players: Keep the good savegame and don't overwrite it before you finish the level, take a good look around every room and especially there where camera is fixed, preventing Lara from seeing something. All in all, excellent debut level which shows that the builder has a great talent. I expect so much from him in the future. Highly recommendable!" - Nina Croft (30-Apr-2011)

"A new creative and talented builder has come up on stage. A level without weapons (at least I didn't find any), so you have to run your enemies out(a beast and a very fast mummi). Three crystals have to be found to be able the 'madhouse' - and the name is absolutely adequate. The first room, Lara awakes in, shows this nearly perfectly created spooky atmosphere, supported by unobtrusive but impressive sound effects. The three areas in which the crystals are to be found are very well elaborated, gameplay is partially refreshingly new and quite fluent. Some parts are a bit tricky and obviously not made for absolute beginners. Unfortantely the level is a bit short. Perhaps the author should have waited and used is a part of a greater adventure. I'm looking forward for more of this promising builder, who understand to create great atmospehre." - Christian (29-Apr-2011)

"The madhouse level remembers me two good builders: cowboy for ghosts of croft manor(credits in the readme) and the second one Richard Lawther for the moving tiles above lava.Indeed for each key you have to last a puzzle with fire or lava. Atmosphere is very crazy and especially the sequence of the deadman who follows with his knife. After 10 minutes of running in all the house, i found the thing. Good idea. Now i wait the sequel." - Glouglouton (29-Apr-2011)
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