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Level: Black Light back home search
Author(s): Damian Hawes
total rating:5.46 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Baratheon 2 2 8 4
Blue43 5 6 9 7
Bradley 6 6 8 5
Christian 3 4 3 4
Diz 6 6 7 5
DJ Full 6 7 9 7
dmdibl 5 6 7 6
eTux 3 5 8 5
Gerty 4 6 6 6
Glouglouton 5 4 8 4
Jack& 2 2 2 2
Jay 5 5 6 5
Jose 4 5 8 4
manarch2 3 5 4 3
MichaelP 5 6 9 5
MpGrill 6 6 10 8
Nina Croft 3 5 6 5
Orbit Dream 4 6 7 6
Scottie 7 6 7 7
Steven Svorticher 6 5 9 5
category averages
(20 reviews)
4.50 5.15 7.05 5.15

Reviewer's comments

"Ask anyone and they will tell you that my favourite movie is ďThe DescentĒ and so when I learned that someone had created a level inspired by exactly that Ė I had to give it a go. Ultimately, I was in admiration, mainly because I could recognise areas from the movie entirely and the gameplay set pieces that matched (being stuck in the shaft, the large chasms, and the blood pool) were spot on. However, I canít judge the level on how much I love the movie and so to be fair: I can see and dream of the potential that this level had but unfortunately it falls flat. I found myself bored and tired of the gameplay and textures, the atmosphere (while fantastic with the soundtrack) was lacklustre and the pitch darkness that only affected Lara and the creatures was a pet peeve. In the long run, it paid homage to the movie, and it was a fun, albeit short level that had me interested until the end. I love both endings." - Baratheon (11-Oct-2014)

"I really tried to like this level but sorry, it is not my cup of tea. First of all the overall darkness was a bummer, so instead of atmospheric it was just bloody dark. Havenít seen The Decent, it just didnít tick any boxes at my end. Because of the darkness I got pretty peeved in drowning quite a lot and all that for some stupid flares. A pity though as you can see that a lot of work went into it and it didnít pan out. So this is one of those, you either love it or hate it." - Gerty (22-Nov-2011)

"Of course, "black" is the appropriate adjective for this level. It seems that this new builder was only occupied in creating a good atmosphere. Exploring all those caves was very tedious for me, sometimes finding dead ends and another times finding only medipacks or flares. Rooms are extremely dark and it completely ruins the gameplay; sometimes it's difficult to find the right path 'cause you must always run with flare in hand, and in many rooms if you turn off your computer it's the same as this odd game. Few enemies, architecture is good, some gymnastics and very few things to do except exploration. Not for my taste, but I think this author has potential enough to build better levels." - Jose (06-Aug-2011)

"Nice level and if you want even original in which Lara is trapped in very large caves and she has to find a way out. The level is particular (and this will be a negative point, although its originality) considering there are no levers to pull or objects needed to open doors; Lara just has to explore these enormous caves, with many ramifications, find several flares in order to proceed, as most areas are completely dark. At a certain point, Lara arrives somewhere where you realize there will be monsters to take care of her, so you'll have to hurry up and find the exit. Towards the end an area will completely flood and Lara in front of a branch will have to choose between the right of 2 directions (to jump across platforms in the dark to avoid the ceiling collapsing and then reach the outside light along a path or resurface in an area full of monsters that will make end the level badly with Lara's death). Let's say that overall this is a level of exploration and desperate research of flares to illuminate most of the areas that are completely in the darkness. Speaking in this way it would seem a good, curious, interesting level: yes of course, but on other hand it isn't and I will explain why the result isn't one of the best in my opinion. As I said before, Lara hasn't to find levers or solve puzzles; the only problem for the whole game will be: where shall I go? considering the way in which the author built all the caves and the deep water (very large, dispersive and more roads which often has only one output, and everything is still in the darkness or with low lighting). So we may consider nearly discrete puzzles, although some of them are different from the traditional ones, compared to what we use to look for (the fact of finding a set of flares will always be a not easy goal to achieve, considering the places where they were placed). But the great weak point consists of the fact that there are no levers and doors: what does this mean? Lara can explore caves in 3 or 4 different ways, but everyone except one will always have the way to return to the main area (the huge cave); so if you take for the first time the main path (the one which doesn't return to the large cave), Lara doesn't automatically explore the other without exit areas. In this case we'd skip entire sections of the level, a disadvantage for the player, whereas then he will be forced to visit more obscure areas with fewer flares aviable; the various pickups that are in dead-end paths (medikit and flares) are considered secrets (or at least in the walkthrough), even if in the statistics they aren't counted: thus another element that can raise the ranking together with the original idea, but according to the reasons explained above, by averaging, we get a more than sufficient result. Speaking about the gameplay, unfortunately I cannot give a positive opinion: I realize that, according to the storyline of the game, Lara finds herself in a very dark setting and that she has to escape as well as thre secondary objective to find flares, but personally I think that the author could have created more and darker areas but not completely or at least not always; at least at the beginning most areas were almost acceptable (the color that prevailed was the dark grey), but from the second half of the level especially when you must escape from the monsters in darkness automatically becomes exaggerated and the gameplay becomes much more frustrating if we then have to deal with various gullies and traps in the dark! In general there is no hard jumps, but to make the gameplay harder is just the excessive use of black. Speaking about enemies, as mentioned above, we find the beasts (not many) similar to that of the Labyrinth of TR Chronicles and Lara, having no weapons, must run and run away! Ok for the textures and generally how it was made all the setting in general, some flyby showing the larger areas, but no need to repeat what I think about lights, while I believe that the atmosphere is very special, and at the same time suggestive, full of suspense, plus the entire level is accompanied by an excellent dark-ambient soundtrack, very suitable with the environment As Well, by mid-game, just before you meet the first beasts, there are other amazing soundtracks (rock- electronic, probably by the film that inspired the level?) that make up your adrenaline and some material of TR Last Revelation doen't miss. In conclusion, a level where the author has developed more than good ideas and was able to put its original features: strong points are the setting and the puzzles, but lights and gameplay are a great weakness. Difficult to give some marks considering these ups and downs, but it doesn't matter: I think it is definitely to play at least once and if you want to do, you have to have a lot of patience or it will be easy to get lost and never find an exit. Good luck to those who have not played yet!" - Steven Svorticher (29-Jul-2011)

"An example for a level that was destroyed just because there were no flares. I had to walk for like 20 minutes without flares. If I only had the pistols I could light the cave without flares. This is actual the only negative point I can think of. It was annoying, but even fun to run through the darkness not knowing where I will fall through. I liked this level very much. It kinda reminds me of the movie ˝The Descent˝. The caves are amazing ! The environment looks pretty realistic to me. A few textures are wrong placed, but who cares. Some stone object had the wrong lighting, so they looked like they were glowing. The music was good and well placed. Please make another level like this and place enough flares or flashlight !!! This could be such a big hit level. Iím really looking forward for the next game of this author ! Good luck !" - MpGrill (26-Jun-2011)

"I thought I was going to enjoy this level as the Ďhow do I find the way downí type of level is one of my favourites but, unfortunately, this one didnít push my buttons. Itís not that it isnít well made, it certainly is. Itís how big, rocky caverns should be, big, rocky and cavernous but it has three of my pet hates. Firstly, no guns. To my way of thinking if Iím running through an area just to get away from a baddie (in this case Ahmets) I donít have time to explore the area and appreciate the builders work and skill, just give me the guns and double the baddies. Secondly, I know it was an underground cavern, which are dark, and I know there were plenty of flares, but stopping all the time to use the binoculars to find my route just upsets the rhythm of play, it wasnít dramatically gloomy, just too dark. And lastly, I really dislike earthquakes, they give me eyestrain and just make me want to finish the level as quickly as possible which is unfair on the builder as this could have been a very pleasant 25 minute play. The route out of the cavern was nicely tortuous, with plenty of red herrings and dead ends and it had a good solid feel it. Where lighting had been used properly, it was well done and atmospheric. I particularly liked the swimming sequence and the choice of endings was inspired (of course, I went the wrong way first, but that way I got the most out of it) This level had a great deal of potential but didnít quite make it. I look forward to this builders next level as I think it will be really interesting." - Diz (04-Jun-2011)

"I think the Hawes brothers need to join forces and build a level together. While Bradley seems to lean a little more in building gameplay, Damian's forte is clearly the atmosphere. Black Light convinces with its setting, even though it is rather too dark in many places. The suitable audio - brooding in general with outbursts in special moments - the construct that Lara has no weapons and always fears an enemy around the next corner - really creates a nice tension in the game. Unfortunately the gameplay itself is only about finding your way (and finding the necessary flares), with only a few boulders and a bit of steam added to spice things up. I have not watched the inspiring movie, so the relation and the two endings escapes me, but I was rather finding the good ending a very suitable climax after a little under 30 minutes." - MichaelP (30-May-2011)

"This debut level is something for the fans of dark and spooky games! Lara (without weapons) and has one simple goal: Find a way out or die in a big dark cave. The game play is not very challenging and is without difficult jumps, timed runs or puzzles. You just have to find a way through this place, which is a little easier said than done, since there are lots of dead ends and only a few lit areas. Most of the time it is dark and gloomy and Lara has to completely rely on the use of binoculars and also lots flares, which are generously supplied and also last for a long time. The only somewhat confusing part for me was the long dark monkey swing where Lara actually got stuck inside a wall if she missed the turn. There were multiple secrets Ė according to the walkthrough a total of four - but the chime was missing and they didnít count in the final stats either. There are a couple of cave monsters that give Lara a hard time and will eat her eventually if she goes into the wrong opening toward the end. The atmosphere is the strong side of this level. The music and sounds match the darkness perfectly. The texturing is pretty simple and monotonous but I donít think about this as a negative. As a matter of fast, I think it was actually perfectly chosen for this type of level Ė it is an unexplored cave after all. Since it is dark and Lara has to constantly pay attention not to get hit by falling rocks, run into dangerous steam coming out of the walls or stumble into one of those holes in the ground, she wonít have much time to admire the surroundings anyway. Very nice level Ė I really liked it. Definitely recommended, especially because of the good atmosphere. (About 30 minutes)" - Blue43 (23-May-2011)

"Without weapons? I really have to play without weapons? Without my beloved pistols? This may not be true! Well, if it was absolutely necessary, I'll play just without weapons.
The Flyby at the level beginning was very good, there I am curious how the rest looks like. And the rest was good as well. This already starts with the fact that Lara must unscathed find a way down. And this is not so easy at all. If one is then for the moment completely below, the question is, where one should go. However, in principle, it is easier than I had first supposed. Though it is frequently quite dark, but the level builder has placed enough Flares. And, moreover, one still has the binoculars with low light amplifier. Though here some of the Ahmets walk around, but they interfere only now and again. The sound and the background music was very good. Here and there a few texture mistakes were to be recognised and at the level end a texture was absent at one place, but thereby the good general view was not affected. All together this level is a strong debut. Hopefully we see even more of this level builder. But then please again with my dearly loved pistols. Please, please!" - Scottie (21-May-2011)

"I suppose one can truly congratulate the author for really pulling off the atmosphere - the vibe of "The Descent" really struck with me right from the get go. For me it was the most effective when Lara was on her own and merely anticipating the encounter with the beasts. The encounter itself was OK, but (thankfully) didn't scare me out of my skin or anything. But that's also where the game lost a bit of the punch for me, and the remaining time was not as intense any more. I later read in the walkthrough that the author mimicked the endings of the 2 film releases, which I thought was a nice touch, but I only managed to find the 'bad' ending. Being a bit of the original-release-purist who likes to pretend the 'good' ending and the sequel it inspired didn't exist, that was fine with me. Technically - one can see that the author definitely has honed some skills - the fly-bys are well done, the texturing decent, and though there really isn't that much to do, the few tasks that are there work fine. However - I thought many of the areas, especially at the start were unnecessarily large and underutilized, a feeling of darkness can be conveyed without making the level pitch-black, and as said - there really wasn't that much going on in the gameplay department. I also felt that the download size was unjustified for a level of this duration and size, and if the author really wanted to keep the audio tracks as long as they were - he could've looked into making them *.ogg or *.mp3 files to lighten the load. The most redeeming aspect of the level is the atmosphere, which you will appreciate all the more if you'll have seen the film it was inspired by, and it's worth playing for it alone, but it doesn't disguise some rather obvious faults - the darkness, the lack of tasks, the download size. If those don't bother you that much, do give this a change." - eTux (21-May-2011)

"After finishing this dark cave level, I looked at the readme file again, and read the author's revealing description of a scary atmospheric level based upon the movie The Descent. This finally made some sense of what had happened. The intentions were good, but unfortunately that is not how I experienced the level. This starts well, in a carefully crafted dark cave, with Lara able to plot out her descent from her beginning perch. On the way down the route divides, and one branch yields a small medipack. There will be other protracted dead ends in the cave leading to flares, and these are secrets that don't register. The cave becomes excessively dark and frustrating because Lara has to stop every few feet and turn about using the binoculars light function, which is too annoying to be scary. Lara monkeyswings in the dark, and it is a complete pain trying to see where she is supposed to go. The author uses a distant fixed camera at the worst possible times to make navigating even more difficult. Lara has no weapons, so we are surprised to encounter ahmets. This meant I simply saved the game, explored, then reloaded to continue. It would have been far better to have only grunting sounds of creatures, or to have a camera shot over an ahmet's shoulder, as it stares down at Lara from a high perch. Let players anticipate creatures in the dark. That is suspense. To deal with actual ahmets is just a nuisance. There is no opportunity here for players to use their imaginations. Lara swims with a black blob-like creature, maybe a big eel or something, but all players see is a black lump totally obscuring the view. Finally Lara gets to a big room with more ahmets and suddenly is swimming in water. Later, looking back, I realized the earthquake (yes, the end has an annoying earthquake) must have opened a fissure so the room flooded with water. Lara swims up, the camera freezes her, showing vague creatures, and Lara screams. The End. Lara gets eaten, but I was suspicious because the cave has many false dead-end branches where Lara falls to her death. Was this the end, or another one of those false leads? So I looked at the walkthrough and, sure enough, there is another tunnel Lara can take which allows her to escape to the surface. Lara took that, but there is still that damn earthquake. Interestingly, the movie The Descent has two endings, one in which the last survivor escapes, and one in which she is eaten. The author needs to look at levels where darkness is suggested--see TR2, the entire undersea section, the crew quarters, where darkness is tangible, but players can see. The design work and texturing are good, the level map fine, so this author could easily leap up several levels in scoring." - dmdibl (21-May-2011)

"This is a very good "horror" level. The fact that Lara has no wepons just add's to the fear! I like the good or bad ending idea. I do have to say though : there is no real reason for Lara to be in this cave. I like to imagine she accidently fell in though (I know it sounds very unrealistic but oh well). I enjoyed this level a lot. I beleive the builder has good ideas but he should put them into a "tomb raider level".(completed in 30mins; no use of walkthrough; overall rating: very good; ***" - Bradley (21-May-2011)

"The wonderful world of custom levels constantly allows for a rich variety of ideas and concepts,and this debut builder must be given credit for coming up with a novel idea for a subterranean adventure,which he has very nearly pulled off.The atmosphere is pretty potent at the start,and the overall construction is quite clever (as in most caverns,there are tunnels aplenty;many of which don't actually lead anywhere);while enemies are used quite effectively,and there are plenty of natural hazards to avoid.Texturing is unavoidably repetitive,although not adversely so;while sound and cameras are used creatively. Nonetheless,I can't avoid mentioning the darkness;which,effective though it may be at the start,becomes ludicrously extreme as the adventure progresses. If you eliminate every light source in your playing environment (I pulled the curtains,switched off all the lights and waited patiently until the evening) it is just about possible to make out what's happening on the screen - but you then find yourself unavoidably utilizing the computer keyboard from memory,as you sure as hell can't see it. This became too annoying,and it was with relief that I finally hit the Finish trigger of the 'good' ending (having already endured the 'bad') and could end the level. Full marks for effort,then;and I encourage the builder to continue,as he clearly has imagination and the relevant technical skills;but please,make your next adventure more visible!" - Orbit Dream (21-May-2011)

"After playing, I considered beginner builder point. Of course, this is a debut level, but I think the builder isn't that bad as this level. He obviously knows how to make atmosphere, the starting room had some nice things in it and good camera views, and he knows how to make some thrilling parts, as well as the interesting ending choosing (only seen in Egypt again... again before), but I really can't understand the total darkness in this level and the rather shockingly bad texturing. OK, you get a lot of flares in forms of not-counting secrets, but I think they don't completely help in the darkness. There are few better jump sequences in this level and I liked the steam/fire sessions, but the endless wandering around and not really knowing if your path is the right doesn't help. The multi-ahmet cave was really spooky but to find the exit is a very big puzzle (that's not a good thing). Some objects were fitting quite well and I liked the new form of boulders used throughout the whole level, they were a bit more realistic than the circle ones, but unluckily you cannot see them often, as there is close to no lighting at the end..." - manarch2 (20-May-2011)

"Another debut level and obviously the builder has spent a decent amount of time with the level editor because itís well built in some respects, at least as far as I could tell. The action takes place in a huge cave area and exploration is the main aim. The cave is quite dark in places so youíll be glad of every single flare you manage to find. Lara has no guns so encountering ahmets is something of a shock. Thereís some swimming to accomplish and boulders, fire emitters and steam jets to navigate, plus a bit of monkey swinging, but the main thing is to find a safe way out of the caves. Short, not entirely sweet, but definitely promising - next time, Iíd like to see what the builder can achieve with more than (mainly) rock textures." - Jay (20-May-2011)

"A very strange level. Despite textures are always the same and the gameplay is quite linear, i like this level cause there are a lot of area with nothing to do. That's why each area shall be eplored carrefully. Moreover the darkness add a good difficulty in this type of level. Good job for a beginning although the visual quality of this level shall be improved." - Glouglouton (20-May-2011)

"This level shows You don't need anything particular except light and sound to make a true horror. Highly recommended as a short, spooky intermezzo between two relaxing adventures, even though the screen shakes constantly in the final part." - DJ Full (20-May-2011)

"I have to admit I only finished this debut level due to my work ethic as a reviewer.... Somwe descending into a cave, some swimming for secrets, some steam-emitters, some shimmying. Most of the secrets are flares - finding them is absolutly necessary, 'cause this cave is completely dark. Running around, using one flare after the other is not that sensfull concerning gameplay. There's no storyline, no convincing atmosphere, even though the author obviously invested a lot of work into textures. The author has talent - but it still has to be developped." - Christian (20-May-2011)

"I am rather ambiguous about this debut level, because at some points it looks really nice, but still, there is something huge missing here. The level is placed inside a cave, and we never see a reason why Lara has come here at the first place. There is nothing for her to collect, no artifacts, no maps, nothing except a few supplies. There is even not one door to open or switch to press, the gameplay is rather easy (which does not necessarily means that it is bad), so Lara only goes through this cave in order to do some sightseeing. There are also some nicely hidden secrets to find, some interesting jumping sequences, long swims and just a nice bit of climbing. Puzzles are non existent, enemies are there, but Lara has to outrun them because she has no weapons, there are no objects except some skeletons scattered around, and there are definitely some nice flybys to be seen. The level is very dark, which is, I guess, normal for caves, textures are decent but sometimes badly applied. Architecture of the cave is a little more blocky for my taste, but still, the level is decently built (nothing spectacular, but decent). The builder obviously has some nice ideas, which is obvious at the very end, where you can have a bad or a good ending, depending on the path you choose. But these ideas must be much better realized and the whole level, especially the gameplay, must be developed much more and much better. Hopefully, this is just a crude start, and in the future, the builder will make us happy with some new and better developed levels." - Nina Croft (19-May-2011)

"Again a game which is practically un-reviewable- Ok, I know it is a debut level but still ... well, to sum it up: You find yourself at an insanely dark pit like cave until you find out how to get lower at the bottom of the cave you need to get drunk first ;) ... you need to get at bottom because you need to collect flares ... without them it is game over, trust me, because I have never played such a dark game until now ... in this game all the raiding is simply ignite flare after flare, jump from a rock to another, crawl from a place into another, monkeyswing across rocks, pass some steam traps and drink beers in mean time to calm down and to not brake the monitor lol ... miserable game ... almost unplayable ..." - Jack& (19-May-2011)
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