"This level set should be the new gold standard. It has so much of what is missing from other levels.
(1) It is plot-rich. There is one large, clear story arc with a plethora of mini-arcs in between none of which detract from the larger goal. There are well-placed reminders of the larger mission placed throughout.
(2) It is interactive. There are characters throughout with whom you must speak, for whom you must perform tasks, and without whose help you couldn't advance.
(3) There are so many spaces that are fun to explore. Several levels in the set are so vast and visually spectacular that it's fun just to run around and look. I'm thinking particularly here of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.
(4) It is strongly ambient. The music is very well chosen throughout. There are video sequences that are wonderful--an elaborate dance sequence near the temple, for example. So many things work together to create an atmosphere.
(5) There are creative game-play elements. The builders clearly took the time to think about objects and their use--playing a lute to lull tigers to sleep, finding a bottle of wine to use as a bribe, throwing a pebble to distract some guards, and milling grain to bake bread for the temple are great examples.
I only have a few criticisms.
I thought the last level was a let down. It was way too dark (even with the monitor brightness turned up, I had to squint and get close; it was frustrating). I'm not convinced the level should've had the giant snake. And the ending wasn't the payoff that I thought I was building to--a rather simple, small room with the ark that Lara only sees for a few seconds.
I also thought some of the game play was actually a little too hard. If I hadn't been able to consult walkthroughs, there were a few tasks I never would've guessed how to do and objects I never would've found (the glasses, where to bake the bread, are examples). And I tried the jumping task to get the crescent moon secret several times but after a dozen tries it just didn't seem worth it.
But these are very minor blemishes on an otherwise brilliant set of levels. Highly recommended. I will likely play this again." - reborn1995 (14-Jan-2017)
"Wow, wow, wow, what an amazing game and a
masterpiece. Even the main menu cutscene is
worth downloading for. Lara is on the search
for the Ark of the Covenant and travels round
Jerusalem, past and present. The puzzles are
unique and item combining is done more
creatively than usual. There are no needlessly
tricky parts (although there are a few that are
challenging), so sit back, relax and dice into
this magical world. Well done, Clara, Masha and
Sponge!" - Ryan (19-Jun-2016)
"The Jerusalem Project is a Lara adventure that does what
most custom levels fail, and that is to bring our heroine to
life. This talented team of builders take all the elements
of exciting game-play, amazing puzzle solving, interaction
with environments, awesome objects, and characters with
conversational encounters, suspenseful moments of wonder and
brilliantly designed recreations of religious holy sites in
stunningly beautiful textures of sensory brilliance, with a
hauntingly gorgeous musical score raiding across massive
maps of awesome exploration. They have created one of the
most intensely immersive raiding experiences in the true
spirit of the original concept. I don’t find many levels
that take me away from that boring repetitive platforming,
silly keyboard mashing jump attempts, crawling around
similar textures searching for that ridiculous crack in the
wall into a world of magical brilliance like this
masterpiece does. This amazing adventure combining so many
wonderfully intelligent, uproariously hilarious, such deeply
emotional, and instructive elements is just too good to be
true. But there it is. I just do somersaults chasing
fleeing ninja maidens while carrying home huge hams." - Mezcal (17-Nov-2015)
"I enjoyed very much this multi-level adventure, which has innovative gameplay and a wide variety of environments to explore in Jerusalem as the title of the game suggests. There are really not so many custom levels having Middle East locations, which is one of the reasons the gaming experience was so special in my opinion. All the levels are constructed with great care and authors have used a wide selection of textures and objects to give each level an unique visual style. The game has also an elaborate story, which is told really well with a number of cutscenes. What comes to gameplay, it is very different in each level and contains some inventive and unseen tasks that often involve interaction with new custom objects. To give some examples, you have to ride a horse in a one level which I have never seen before in custom levels. The same level also has some impressive stealth parts where you have to avoid being seen by ninjas. You also have to e.g find and craft some new items from different raw materials and then use them in new and interesting ways. Even though gameplay is full of really unique and fun puzzles, it can be sometimes quite confusing at least in my opinion. I don't want to spoil anyone's gaming exprerience with examples but I found it often rather hard to know which are the objects you can interact with and where you have to use some custom items. What makes this even harder is that the levels are quite big and non-linear making it sometimes difficult to know where to look for some items and where to use those items. Sometimes I didn't even know what I am looking for. Despite some tasks many be a bit confusing, I fully recommend this game to everybody since the gameplay is after all highly inventive and enjoyable. In addition, the game is worth playing just because of its story, well crafted locations and great atmosphere." - Samu (14-Jan-2015)
"For more than two years both masha and Clara used every opportunity to remind me that I had to play and review this adventure and finally I sat down to play it and as expected it was a great experience.
Al-Kashkar (8/10/10/9, 45 min, 3 secrets): Right from the start this adventure impresses with the title sequence and the unique and original animations built into the game - including a few pretty cool ways to kill Lara. The opening level works very well with some unique areas like the 45 degree turned rooms and a brilliant enemy that you cannot kill. There are actually a few jumps on the tricker side as well.
Jerusalem 2011 (8/10/10/9, 30 min, 1 secret): This part is largely about exploration and finding your way around the city. Still, there are numerous small touches to look out for, that will often put a smile on your face.
Church of the Holy Sepulchre (8/10/10/10, 60 min, 1 secret): A very impressive location indeed! Gameplay ramps up a bit here, including a timed run, some easy torch action, use of the guide/priest and a clever code puzzle. Playing tic-tac-toe with the devil was just a hilarious idea! This part can be a bit confusing with all the running around in the huge church, but was great fun nonetheless. At the backend of this part you can experience a very well designed history lesson in Yad Vashem and eventually return to do your time travel into the past...
Jerusalem 70 AD (9/10/10/9, 60 min, 6 secrets): The core level of the adventure really has it all - exploration, original puzzles, many secrets, great flybys and audio. And a lot of sheep - which can get on your nerves after a while - lol. The fire bowl puzzle and push/flip room puzzle were great fun to solve and the sliding floor room a nice challenge. Another hilarious scene here with the little djinn moment...
Herods Temple (10/10/10/9, 60 min, 1 secret): If you thought the previous level was creative then wait till you play this one. Here you play a lute to put tigers to sleep, ride a horse, help a griffin get its egg back, deal with a bull chasing you around and feed a lion. And all of that before you even get close to entering the Temple itself. Inside you get some interesting stealth gameplay elements and a truly cinematic scene after hitting a gong. Quite a Wow moment there! Following are some nice acrobatics around the high temple walls and all in all this was clearly my favorite part of the adventure.
Jerusalem 70 AD Part 2 (9/10/10/9, 60 min, 4 secrets): More creative ideas here, although it was a bit obscure how that crossbow had to be built - lol. Highly original moments again, as you get a mill going to grind the grains to get the flour you need to make some bread. It all culminates into a cool scene at the end with many wraiths.
The Wailing Wall / The Temple Mount (8/9/9/8, 45 min, 1 of 2 secrets): You are beginning to bring everything together here, explore a few more nice chapels and work your way around the Dome of the Rock to open the all important trap door into the underground. I missed one secret here because I could not resist earlier in the game and had Lara drink that all important wine by herself ;)
The Cherubim are Calling (8/10/10/8, 75 min, 1 secret): The grande finale leaves a bit with mixed feelings. It offers a nice change of setting as you are now down in the caves, but the initial maze is quite tedious, despite the monkey help and only later when it gets more linear I did warm up to it. you get to kill a dragon in a nice way and trigger yet another explosion to get out. And of course, Lara does find at the end what she was looking for - including a somewhat unexpected addition - and this wonderful journey ends back at her manor with yet another cinematic scene that wonderfully brings the story to a close. All in all, this great team of builders has yet again outdone themselves and given the community a game that everybody will remember for a long time! A true classic!" - MichaelP (14-Dec-2013)
"This level set is certainly one of the most original ones , with lots of innovation. It has it all , great locations to discover, often realistic , custom objects and excellent innovations in the situations , even humoristic bits at times. And some puzzles are really excellent and fun to solve. Other still puzzle me , like the burners puzzle in Old Jerusalem , residential district. These levels in Old Jerusalem are those where bugs began to kick in , with crashes in some area (Herods temple , the courtyard where the Ruby has to be placed) but I could proceed, and more annoying was the problem with the objects that disappear from inventory after the level jump when we return to present time. I could only continue by borrowing a savegame at Walkthrough by D&G Productions. Despite my frustration , I wanted to see it all. While most levels are based on exploration and use of objects (there are many of them) , the last level is different with more action and that was welcome. I particularly enjoyed raiding the cave with the crane. The end disappointed me , but i understand why the authors did it that way. Don’t mind my incomprehensible lack of luck when i played, this is a complex set of levels that simply can not be missed." - eRIC (01-Apr-2013)
"When i started to play this amazing project i knew at first level this will be something special and it didn`t disappointed me. I played this superb adventure some time ago and it became one of my top 5 custom levels ever so far. I still remember many things from this game superious puzzles beautiful areas interesting tasks perfect textures lighting sounds and realistic atmosphere. I will replay this perfect adventure for sure and not only because i didn`t find all the secrets but for the adventure itself as well. This is unforgettable custom game and i recommend it for every TR player. Biggest thank for the team biulders for this wonderful adventure. Full 10/10/10/10" - OverRaider (25-Dec-2012)
"When you play something that's taken this level of time and dedication to craft you wonder whether it is possible to write a review that does it justice. These last 10 or so hours of gameplay have been some of the most enjoyable, immersive, original, fascinating , challenging and entertaining of any that I can recall for any custom level. The work gone into creating the environments is breath-taking with fantastic expansive spaces to explore. The music is perfect, the incorporation of cut-scenes blends perfectly. The narrative and storyline is stronger than anything else I've had the pleasure of playing. Each of the puzzles is bespoke and original too, and will have you thinking, back tracking and exploring each level fully. This is one of those titles that redefines standards and shows just how talented people in this community are. Every level is a Jem. Definitely one to be replayed again. Thankyou Clara, Masha and Sponge for this exceptional release. Absolutely totally 1000% recommended. An inspiration to all us aspiring builders and players alike! Stiggy :)" - TheStig (17-Aug-2012)
"And thus, Neon God has been kicked off its throne in my personal favourite custom levels ever made palace. This is truly a remarkable work excelling on all fronts. It starts off easy, in a relatively linear level, only to afterwards drop you in one of the best looking cities I've ever seen built in our beloved editor. And then you're given a total freedom, which may be overwhelming at first, but since the desire to explore this gorgeous is only natural and will kick in instantly, you ought to find yourself loving every single bit of it in no time, even when you'll be clueless as for what exactly are you doing at that given point. And just when you begin to think this game couldn't possibly offer anything even more beautiful, charming, elegant and ostentatious (in the best way possible), it opens the door to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which might be the single most phenomenal level I've ever had the privilege to explore in ANY custom game. After you manage to pick your jaw up from the floor and firmly assure yourself the game can't possibly have any even remotely as powerful tricks up its sleeve anymore, Lara hops onto a flying carpet and travels into the past. And needless to say, it's in the past where the gameplay of the game really flourishes and is at its most rewarding. Herod's Temple, in particular, offers what could be the most innovative gameplay experience you could ever hope for in a custom level. It's filled with so many original ideas (which are to my eternal surprise realised really, really well) it simply takes one's breath away. The last two levels of the game are completely different from the rest of it (along with the first one), almost as if they were torn from an entirely different levelset. Some may say that's just inconsistent, I say it keeps the variety very high and therefore guarantees your constant attention and interest, and that it will never once fail to take you by surprise. What the game really got me with though must be the incredibly clever and, again, innovative use of secrets. There's no bonus for finding them all, because they don't need a bonus. The process of finding them is a reward itself. If I made a compilation video displaying nothing but finding the secrets, you would never guess it's an entirely optional, extra content. This just goes to show how much care and love has this level been made with. More care and love than I have ever felt before. This game simply brought an immense joy to these cold days, and with over 10 hours worth of gameplay (which is longer than Tomb Raider Legend and Underworld combined!), I can't possibly stress what a must this is for every classic TR fan. Beware though, this is a game of the harder sort, clearly intended for the more skilled and experienced of raiders. Don't let the generous packs of flares and medipacks fool you - the difficulty setting is high, combining challenging puzzles and other tasks with usually large, open areas, entwined in a rather non-linear fashion. That's hardly a drawback though, on the contrary - I love me some challenging raiding, and while this isn't by any means the hardest set around (it comes nowhere near the craziness of Taras), it definitely satisfies. Don't let that discourage you from playing it, though! Regardless of your skill level, or of your experiences, this is a masterful, incredibly enjoyable gem of a custom game, which every single future level builder should take an example from." - JayHannel (16-Feb-2012)
"Getting a bit of a taste what was to come with Wesselys Last Will, I am not disappointed after playing this epic. Albeit I was frustrated at parts, because I came into places where I had to come much later, so lots of unnecessary climbing was the result. The most disappointed part was the pole swing with the ropes as that took many, many tries before Lara indeed grabbed that pole. For the rest the story played itself out and there are even some funny moments. The spoken words were loud and clear (who cares about the accent, I don’t) and the use of the diary was a nice touch. Hats off for Clara, Masha and Sponge." - Gerty (20-Nov-2011)
"Finally I could finish this game. This is awesome and wonderful game with a great story from starting to end. Only difficult/confusing part was puzzles to get items from level to level. This is really superb set of levels.
- Don 007 (9-10-10-10)" - Don007 (29-Sep-2011)
"I had been eager to play this level ever since I saw the tiny screenshots in Clara’s forum avatar and signature last year. I downloaded it the day it was released, though it took me over a month to finish (while playing other levels as well, of course), and it would have taken longer if I hadn’t had access to the walkthrough for the last level.
Title: As in the prologue level, Wessely’s Last Will, the title flyby is actually a cutscene with dialogue – a very interesting idea. The title here sets up the story (though it’s best to play WLW to really understand what’s going on), and has Lara setting off for Israel with Zip … and Winston serving Lara her boots on a platter – cute!
Al-Kashkar: Lara begins her exploration (after signing official forms, that too!) in a village in Israel. There’s some great geometry in this level – for example the tilted flooded underground temple, as well as the numerous organic-looking caverns. Gameplay is quite good, with some new ideas. For instance, Lara can tip a tall box over to get an artefact inside it. She can even choose to be naughty or nice while doing this, i.e. she can knock an innocent man off a cliff in the process, or wait till he leaves. In the latter case she is rewarded with the man’s help in dealing with the level’s boss, a giant frog. At the end, Lara finds the loom that can weave a flying carpet, but the artefacts needed to start it are in Jerusalem, so she returns here after the first trip to that city.
Jerusalem – present levels – first trip: This huge and beautiful city ‘level’ actually consists of 4 separate levels, broken up for technical reasons, presumably. (The fourth one, The Temple Mount, is not accessible until the second trip.) The huge vistas cause some framerate drops, but it’s worth it, because these levels are simply gorgeous. The degree of detail is incredible – a level like The Church of the Holy Sepulchre can easily rival professional games like Assassin’s Creed in its attention to detail and sheer beauty.
The setting is familiar if you’ve played Wessely’s Last Will, though now many more parts of the city are accessible, and it’s summer, with a lovely sunset sky. Gameplay mostly involves exploring the streets and buildings, and talking to some people. The Holy Sepulchre level is more puzzle-oriented: the Dolorosa stations puzzle is quite intriguing, but the pushable tic-tac-toe challenge at the end is my particular favourite.
Jerusalem – past levels: Lara crashes her carpet in the year 70 AD, and finds herself in ancient Jerusalem, with Herod’s Temple dominating the skyline. In the town level, you can choose to explore first, or quickly move on to enter the Temple itself. The Herod’s Temple level is chock-full of wow moments: Lara rides a realistic horse, soothes savage beasts (tigers) with her musical abilities, chats with a griffin, distracts the temple guards by calling in the temple dancers or throwing a stone in the opposite direction … really, you have to play it all to truly appreciate it. The animal menagerie provides a very interesting and unusual setting, though it does mean that the tasks are not your usual TR-type ones, and require considerable thinking outside the box, or better yet, a walkthrough.
The town area is actually two separate levels with the same name (Jerusalem – Old City, 70 AD), and the second one can be accessed only on returning from Herod’s Temple. The first part is full of puzzles, some great (the vase pushing puzzle), some obscure (the fire-pots puzzle). The second part is more complex, with the overall aim of changing the flow of water to a mill in order to grind flour, but to do so you have to do a lot more things, like creating weapons, fixing a well, gathering numerous keys and solving many puzzles. Once you get the flour, you can return to the first part and bake bread to use in Herod’s Temple, and from there, return to the present.
Jerusalem – present levels – second trip: Back in the present, you can now explore the parts of the levels that were previously closed off, and tie up some loose ends. You can also take a trip to Yad Vashem if you forgot to do so previously. In the newly opened areas, you can find the keys to the Temple Mount level. This level, set in and around the Dome of the Rock, is another visual treat, like The Church of the Holy Sepulchre, but much shorter, with very little gameplay. It mainly serves as an entry to the next and last level, The Cherubim are Calling.
Yad Vashem: This is just a tiny ‘special’ or bonus level, set in the real Holocaust museum of the same name. There is practically no gameplay – except for Lara placing flowers in the Hall of Remembrance – but it’s hardly necessary, as this level is a tribute. The highlight is undoubtedly the black-and-white ‘film’ of Aushwitz that Lara can watch in one of the rooms.
The Cherubim are Calling: I wonder if this level would have worked better split into two or three, since it features extremely diverse locations, such as an underground labyrinth, a modern base, and the remnants of an ancient temple. Still, apart from the lack of cohesion, this level is very impressive. At the beginning, Lara makes a new friend, a monkey who guides her through the labyrinth, and opens the way to the boss fight. The boss is a huge fire-spitting snake, and defeating it involves a puzzle/platforming challenge – the toughest part in the whole game, and probably the only one that a novice raider might have difficulty with (apart from the difficulties that can be resolved by using the walkthrough, I mean). After that, Lara blasts her way into an underground lake, which surprisingly enough, features a modern base. After some toilet humour and more blasting, Lara finally uncovers the entrance to the remains of Herod’s Temple, and the Holiest of Holies. The final scene comes in good and bad varieties, depending on whether you find certain key items. It’s worth watching the really cool animation for the bad ending, before doing things the right way.
End Cutscene: The final scene is once again set in Croft Manor, with Zip surrounded by the treasures Lara found on her journey, including a Kinder egg (!), plus a couple of new friends. A charming ending to a fabulous game.
Overall: There are some amazing little touches in the entire game that show just how much thought and effort was put into it. The story is far more complex than any I have seen in other custom levels. Lara’s interactions with other people and the environment are also surprisingly realistic: She chats with several people in the past and present, and tries to help them whenever she can; she buys and exchanges items; she creates weapons from handy items when forced to give up her own; she takes off her shoes when entering certain holy places (and remembers to put them on again when entering a labyrinth full of snakes!); she pays tribute at the Holocaust Museum. There are cute comic scenes like Lara yanking hair from a horse’s tail, and getting kicked by the indignant horse; or Lara shooting in a holy place and then feeling embarrassed by her own actions.
Every now and then, a level is released that sets new standards for the TRLE community. There is no doubt that TJP-TCaC is one of these. The looks, the atmosphere, the plethora of new objects, the level of detail and realism, all deserve 10/10 without a second thought. The gameplay, unfortunately, does not live up to this perfect standard. It is very, very good, no doubt – miles ahead of the vast majority of levels. But the severe non-linearity of the levels makes for some confusing and frustrating raiding (at least without a walkthrough). The non-linearity is not just within the levels themselves – which would be understandable enough, considering that most of them are city-settings – but also in the order of the levels. For example, it is possible to skip almost the entire of the first part of Jerusalem – Old City, 70 AD, and enter the Herod’s Temple level after completing only one puzzle, and without picking up a certain necessary item. In the present, it is possible to play the whole of the Yad Vashem level before going to the past, or after (which is understandable on hindsight, since it’s mainly a bonus level, but not obvious beforehand). And of course, the severe non-linearity within the levels means that you’re forever running to and fro, mostly with no idea of what you’re looking for. This completely destroys any kind of flow in any of the levels.
But in spite of certain flaws, TJP-TCaC is ultimately a magical raiding experience, and one which I heartily recommend to all players, newbies and veterans alike. Thank you, Clara, Masha and Sponge!" - Mytly (27-Sep-2011)
"As this is a big level I will comment each part separately, so my review could be more complete. As a whole I should say that your creativity was incredible and the story you created, amazing.
I was quite surprised when I began this level because everything was so well crafted and the surrounding very well decorated. I love all the new objects you included an how you distributed them in the several situations. I found pretty funny the stage where you should sign the documents to get the relevant permits. I was astonished when the man at the cliff fall, I really felt guilty and because of that I didn't wonder about him ''controlling'' the giant frog. My favourite part was the folded (and flooded) room, it seem quite imaginative to me and I really enjoyed going up and down.
JERUSALEM-OLD CITY 2011
The several connected levels at Jerusalem were pretty confusing: It was huge and I had no clue where to start from. However I suppose it makes the game more realistic, you see, when you are looking for something and you don't know where it is your only choice is to try guessing the right way (this has even more sense if you don't exactly know what you are searching). Leaving that aside, the mixture between the old buildings and the new stores was highly successful. I loved how Lara got the key to the Church, I really appreciate humour in the game. I thought about Yad Vashem as a nice considerate gesture, and its modern-futuristic look contrasted the rest of the city, so you could have a different environment for a while.
CHURCH OF THE HOLY SEPULCHRE
This is, without any doubt, the most beautiful stage (and my favourite one too). The pictures, the architecture and the imagination you used to create it....Everything was just perfect. Besides, the puzzle games here were really entertaining (that stupid ghost was not going to beat me out!).
JERUSALEM OLD CITY (70AD) RESIDENTIAL
As the others, the scenery is marvellous. Both the light puzzle and the one below were great and different for the others I had seen. The place which was full of arrows and spikes was interesting too, though a little simple. And what about the TINY genie? What a hilarious character! It was so sad that he didn’t appear again until the very end.
Wow! So many surprises in here, I thought it was my birthday. Okay, I know I said the church was my favourite part but I lied. This one is too. The animals became a little bit annoying after a while, but I was lucky to find a way to get rid of them. In the meantime I was able to make them sleep (Zzzz..) with that magnificent lute (I was not aware about Lara’s musical skills). I was really brave against the evil chickens and I got the griffin egg back to his (o her) mother. It resembles more a RPG game that a classical level, it made it innovative and different from the rest. And now the thing for which I will love you forever: the horse. I have played Tomb Raider since I was a little child and I have always wanted to see her up in a stallion I could control and actually, you made it! I read you built it from the truck, you made such a good work.
JERUSALEM OLD CITY (70AD) INDUSTRIAL
Water, Flour and an Oven…mmm… I think stealing these things would have been easier, but that’s not Lara’s style, so she preferred making them from her bare hands (and some “unnecessary” tools). To achieve your purpose you have to Move a mill, repair a well and some other things. The crossbow was original, yet slightly thoughtless of Lara to take horse’s hair from its back.
Well, blowing things up is one of my hobbies but it would have been easier climbing the crate wall (just kidding). I was happy for finally finding the shovel to combine it with the stick. I felt ready to dig. The only part I dislike about this level is the timed fire slopes, they were boring because the precision needed was high and so I caught fire usually.
THE TEMPLE MOUNT
It was not as well built as the other levels, the swingpoles were not placed correctly and it was almost impossible to guess where to use the spade (thanks to the forum guys).
THE CHERUBIM ARE CALLING
I loved my new friend (the monkey), down there it felt lonely without Zip. He was quite useful along the level. The giant snake was somehow weird, its head twisted oddly. I still don’t understand why Lara caught fire when pushing the rock if you didn’t step on the right tile, it had no sense to me. I liked the effect of the room getting flooded and the following filthy toilet with toxic air. It was so disgusting hearing the man’s… well…you know. The end was epic; I wonder what sort of toy was found inside the kinder egg.
So, to sum up, this adventure is fantastic and you job unsurpassable. I hope it becomes a Hall of Fame level in no time. I should mention the great job DJ Full made writing the walkthrough (which I used randomly), it was so fun. Thank you to all the builders and collaborators for delighting us with such good stories." - Minaru (21-Sep-2011)
"This is a truly epic release that will surely stand among the top ten custom packages of all time. It was an 11-hour adventure for me, assisted by DJ Full's sometimes cryptic walkthrough, and I was able to collect all 20 secrets with his help. I made it all the way through without taking any unauthorized shortcuts, although some of the tasks were quite difficult indeed. With all of the special effects and the realistic environs, and the sheer scope of this work, it would seem a bit ungracious to award anything less than top marks. The lighting was very much to my liking except perhaps in the concluding level, and gameplay was a delight from beginning to end. Others have grumbled about Lara's voice, but hey, the people putting these levels together are entitled to make these calls. In all I spent nearly a month here while doing lots of other things on the side, and I can't recall a more immersive gaming experience, even with the commercial releases. An instant classic." - Phil (16-Sep-2011)
"This game is another milestone in TRLE history . I only wish the builders had incorporated the previous little adventure "Wessely`s Last Will" into the main game for it shows more interesting details both as to gameplay and atmosphere in the Jerusalem section than the complete game does.I never really figured out how the puzzle with the changing flames on tiles really worked but finally managed to do it in the end. The little Ginny who lives in the bottle was beautiful to behold . "Why are you so small?" Reginas voice sounds really beautiful and authentic. Clara , Masha and Sponge have created a most entertaing master class TRLE adventure ,real Hall of Fame Stuff ! An absolutely stunning game nobody should miss out. Having been some days in preparation a splendid time is guaranteed for all." - Ruben (02-Sep-2011)
"Well, I'm once more disappointed because this pearl of an
adventure ended (something that seldom happens) and at the
same time relieved because it was so mind-boggling so many
times and I was left stuck for ages once too often. I wish
the authors had remained a bit more faithful to the prologue
we all played a while ago, because it was so interestingly
crafted in the sense of how much interaction between
chracters there was - but I can understand they may have
somehow been pressed into finding a bit of balance there by
a few reviews of people who'd have preferred it otherwise.
This very long level is filled with loads of excellent
details, sometimes more serious, other times more playful,
brand new ideas and that must be rewarded. Nothing at all
bad about the settings, textures, objects and sounds used,
quite on the contrary, it's all pretty beautiful and
imaginative quite often. And you do know I love levels that
take you back and forward in places and time... Loved it and
hope there may be more." - Jorge22 (02-Sep-2011)
"Just one word: EXCELLENT
Lovely story, great game, a game made to be enjoyed. You can solve the complete game with out help. just think in a logical way and dont worry, Lara can do it. A very artistic atmosphere and excellent music. This is the kind of level that you solve only thinking, without stupd jumps where you need to break your keyboard and try a 100 times, waiting to have the luck to do it, I really thanks a lot that I could solve this game with only normal moves and normal jumps. I really enjoyed the puzzles.
Thanks a lot to the authors for making this kind of levels, hope to play more works of you.
An well, the history, between different temples and religion, is the kind of game I love." - Juan Carlos (28-Aug-2011)
"Wow, this really is a masterpiece! Firstly, I loved the interesting concept and choice of countries for Lara to visit. Secondly, I could have been knocked over with a feather by the incredible environments, texturing and objects. And the music was just divine and perfectly chosen. Last but not least, I thought gameplay, although challenging and head-scratching at times, was truly inventive. I happen to love creative combining of items. This can get confusing because it isn't what we are used to, but it really is never boring. One of the few things that I would change would be the voice of Lara (she must be English, even an American speaking with an English accent is better than another European doing Lara's voice). I mean no disrespect to the person who did Lara's voice, but to create a masterpiece such as this levelset and have a Lara not sound like Lara really bums me out. The incessant running around the new and old Jerusalem collecting stuff and figuring out what to do probably took up a good 5 hours of playing time. I like open-ended play to an extent, but it really irks me when I am running all over tarnation trying to figure out what to do, and this tarnation was HUGE! Besides those things, I loved the heck out of this levelset, it deserves that perfect score, because there wasn't enough negative stuff to lower it. Superb job, Clara, Masha and Sponge!" - Shandroid (22-Aug-2011)
"Well I was hardly able to finish this one - with a lot of help - just in time before starting the BtB2011 levels .... Well I might disappoint a bit the builders of this game, mainly because it is an excellent game - but only with walkthrough in hand ... and I explain why - this is a very complex game and multi leveled; basically all the story spins around the Jerusalem city which is split in many parts ... each part is practically a new level ... well, all is nice and sweet ... until now ... but the gameplay is very confusing, mostly because you need to collect a lot of items scattered around in the levels and a lot of backtrack and fro between levels! For example - you get an item from level A and another from level B or even C which you need to combine and use at level D! And the city is very big ... and if you don't know which item you need from A and which from B and where to use or miss one of them ... you get stuck easily and this many times! ... the city itself is a charm - textures are at pro level, but from the player perspective a very complex and confusing game ...... highly recommended - BUT ONLY WITH THE WALKTHROUGH IN HAND ..." - Jack& (22-Aug-2011)
"My first review!... How exciting!!.
Superb level. With a frenetic rhythm , areas of traps, jumps
and more action would have been almost perfect. The gameplay
is based too much on visual acuity. I didn't like the ending,
it seemed childish and inconsistent with the story. Excellent
sound, objects , atmosphere and cutscenes. Nice wink to the
Life of Brian. In a nutshell, one of the best levels of the
year, but I prefer other another works of these authors
though." - requiemsoul (18-Aug-2011)
"A very complex set of levels that was both intriguing and frustrating. The use of multiple levels and the requirement to morph between levels to accomplish set tasks became ever more confusing as the story evolved. New, never before scene interactions between Lara and objects were impossible to ascertain without the help of trle.net forum members and as such, made gameplay tedious at times. Whilst hints in the diary helped, sometimes these hints were just too vague to provide the raider with adequate guidance to the task at hand. The story line itself was intriguing and I was stunned to see a depiction of Auschwitz within the cutscene. I would have thought the subject taboo in the light of the never ending History Channel depiction of the horrors committed there. This new, decidedly un-english Lara took some getting used to. Surely, there are plenty of English ladies who could take up the mantel of voice-overs to at least keep the appearance of the original heroine intact? Lastly, some of the puzzles were solved with more luck than anything else.
Overall, a very very good raid, albeit frustrating, even to the seasoned raider and one that the uninitiated should not attempt without access to a solid walkthrough." - Torry (14-Aug-2011)
"Phew! Finally finished after nearly 12 hours of gameplay. If that sounds like I’m glad it’s over then you couldn’t be more wrong. I just wanted to go on playing and playing and playing. This level is brilliant and this triumvirate of Master Builders MUST, I repeat MUST, make more levels together. Now to the review: I won’t go into a blow by blow account; other reviewers have done it better. The scenes are stunningly well made, the gameplay excellent (and sometimes somewhat sneaky – sneaky is good), challenging timed runs but well within the abilities of the average player (as is so often, it’s usually the method rather than the speed), good agility tests, a bit of baddie disposal but not too much, puzzles to make you think (or my poor old brain to ache), massive but beautiful areas to explore, great lighting throughout and wonderful choice of music. Add to this some emotive film-work (lest we forget!) and wrap around with a thick solid layer of professionalism and talent and we’ve got a ‘cert’ for the Hall of Fame. To sum it up….WOW!" - Diz (14-Aug-2011)
"I had many expectations and – like many others – have been
awaiting this levelset for a long time, since the release of
the prologue, “Wessely’s Last Will”. And the day it was
released, I at once downloaded. Just a tip while downloading
(when not having DSL 16000 like some players in the forum):
Do something you wanted to do before checking the new level
thread, e.g. making breakfast, go shopping, or, if you
ultimately don’t even have DSL, you even can drive in
holiday. OK, returning, so I downloaded, and just before
reaching the record amount of 569 megabytes, my computer
told me I don’t have enough space for it. How nice! OK, I
deleted some of the bigger games previously played by me.
But my computer kept saying NO.
An hour later. After several frustrations and can-let-go
moments, I re-downloaded the whole 569 megabytes, and
installed the game. What a wonderful and detailed menu
cutscene! Great, my expectations were surpassed. And then
the game started, finally…
Al-Kashkar (9-10-10-10) The helicopter from mentioned
starting cutscene takes Lara to Israel. First, Lara enters
the flat of her friend, with so many realistic objects and
beautiful graphics. After some raiding through the little
(very realistic) village she can decide if she gets the
first star directly or later, with the advantage of being
helped in the frog cave by a man she otherwise would’ve
killed. This was the first real of many “wow” effect in this
set. Later, I was amazed by the architecture of the caves
and especially in the “diagonal room” and of course in the
outside areas. Great camera use here and professionally used
sound. Coming to another big “yes” in my opinion: Even if
there were big areas where Lara normally was stuck there
often were diary entries that lead the player to the right
way again. So, players could concentrate on the regular
gameplay that was even without immense exploration (even if
this happened in the later levels) was filled with hard
jumping parts, traps and puzzles. Unfortunately, not always
in this first level. Although the gameplay elements were
plenty and challenging enough (like in the frog cave), I
somehow found at some places there could be a little more
puzzles or thing to let the player think. Of course there
were such things, the frog cave where Lara has to observe
the cave exactly to find the way up again, or in the room
with Rana, but here and there a puzzle could’ve been
helpful, as I found the chapel being quite beautiful made,
but actually nothing than going through can be done here.
Not to say this level is bad in any kind – the end cutscene
and the helicopter are stunning nonetheless, and I highly
enjoyed this first level.
Jerusalem – Old City, 2011 AD (10-10-10-10) After the
rather short prologue, Lara gets into the Jerusalem City
with a breathtaking view from one of the highest roofs,
which at once shows the ingenious atmosphere and reality-
like character of this level, which – at the first visit –
can actually be called a big mega level consisting of three
levels, so my rating for Wailing Wall (1) and Yad Vashem
will flow into this level’s. Although the city is big, as
city type levels use to be (as well as often being very
confusing), you don’t have to search for too long – the
reason are the mentioned diary entries. Right at the start,
you know you had to search the Muslim that shoots at you and
after doing so – hey – you get a key and can get on. The
actual playing time in this level wasn’t really long, after
finding several keys for the church level and the first
crystal (nice timed run against the water flow in the
sewers) you’re done with this part. Beautiful objects –
especially in the houses – and funny but also helping
dialogues fulfilled their tasks and made this level perfect.
Nice love to detail here with the US soldier on top of a
wall or the scene in the house of the old man.
The Church of the Holy Sepulchre (10-10-10-10) If the
atmosphere in the city level has convinced you, this level’s
will blow you away. Ten seconds in this level and I was
completely absorbed by the unbelievable beauty of this
church. Texturing and lots, lots of new objects made this
level almost feel like having a non-TR engine. Everything in
this level felt so accomplished, so sacred, so sublime – I
simply couldn’t stop gazing at the different chapels and
objects. But, coming now to terms of gameplay. One could
think that such beauteous level could be bare at gameplay,
but that would be a big fault. Four dolorosa stations had to
be found and the numbers of the stations formed a code.
Pleasantly, the diary helped to remember them, and also a
big map of the church to locate the chapels. The setup here
was again more than convincing – only after finding Revolver
and Lasersight in the city level, you can make your way up
using the key that can only be found after those two things
and shoot the object there, so the builders had very good
ideas how to lead the players in the right direction. After
lots of fun and exploration, also with a few traps on the
way, in this quite vast area you eventually can input the
code – and the most fun part of the level starts. A
brilliant puzzle against Death (or some Dark Soul)
resembling Tic Tac Toe a bit – with an immense technical
ability. The varied and much fun tasks and the atmosphere
made this level to one of the best of this pack.
The Wailing Wall – Part 1 – This was a revisit
to the setting of “Wessely’s Last Will”, but without snow of
course, this time. In the first visit, this level is quite
short, but had some fun in it with an ingenious way of
placing the paper piece, thereon a quite classic vase
puzzle. The architecture of the wall is still great and the
atmosphere convinced me just as in the Christmas level (the
only backdraw there were the missing camera hints and hence
too much confusion). After getting the last crystal Lara
gets back to Al-Kashkar to place them and flies into the
past (nice scene with the carpet) …
Yad Vashem When you have found the entrance to the
cellar in the Wailing Wall level, you get a secret level
that shows some holocaust memories and I really thought this
is very well made. From the self-opening doors to a circle
walkway to get the flowers to place them in the memorial
room, over a doleful cutscene about the concentration camp
in Auschwitz (realism pure) where I didn’t believe my eyes
at first and afterwards really was sad. And, last but not
least, a nice Torah to find – and afterwards it all was over
very quickly, but left me impressed.
Jerusalem – Old City, 70 AD – Part 1 – (10-10-
10-10) I cannot really get finished with perfect level
ratings in this levelset. What you get here is the Jerusalem
situated in Herod’s time – unluckily, the flying carpet had
some configuration mistakes ;). Beautiful texturing, lovely
characters and animals (mostly sheep) in this level, that
clearly had the most intensive gameplay in it, with finding
some keys first, starting the puzzles with a vase puzzle and
then solving a hard but fun fire puzzle, afterwards a
complicated slide puzzle – all puzzles were really a
pleasure to solve. What you get here are diagonal placed
levers, a little balcony you actually can stand on, more fun
with the platforming above the roofs and just another
engrossing atmosphere that just lets you walk around for
hours without doing anything than admiring the
professionalism of the architecture, e.g. when standing on
top of the stairs. As an additional task you can find
actually six secrets here, which will enlarge your visit
quite a lot if you try to find all of them, because they are
really trickily hidden.
Herod’s Temple (9-10-10-9) It wasn’t that I didn’t
like this level, but at parts it felt quite confusing,
especially in the beginning. Being set inside the (quite
vast) temple area, you first have to do a lot of stealth and
funny tricks to get on, such as playing a lute to set some
tigers asleep, or, thereon, riding a horse (ridiculous!)
that also has gallop mode. But somehow after finding it the
level’s size got bigger and bigger and even with the horse
you needed a long time to get to the different locations.
Some tasks even were a bit obscure, some doors are too well
hidden so that this level got an hours-long search for me.
Another point I didn’t fully like were the textures in the
outer circle of the temple, as they were good but not so
special than in the other levels, maybe a bit monotonous.
After finally entering the inner part of the temple,
gameplay got much better, you had to climb in and around the
big tower, doing more stealth elements with the stone and
the gong (wonderful idea to get rid of the guards). I really
liked this second part so that my impression about the first
part soon got vanished by the – yet again – ingenuity of the
second. After a while you enter the temple but you’re
missing some bread to enter the inner part of it, so you
return to the Old City level and arrive at another part of
Jerusalem – Old City, 70 AD – Part 2 – (10-10-
10-10) Again a level close to perfection, with a great
gameplay (finding three levers to raise the big river in the
centre of the level to activate the mill). Yet again,
wonderful atmosphere (I start to repeat myself) and another
professional cutscene (needed, as this level is huge and
there are many things to do) right at the start. Many things
to be lighted with the torch, clever and logic gameplay in
the well and a nice lever puzzle to get the stone discs. The
way of creating a crossbow is crazy; make sure you find the
special secret room in this level to see the private room of
the builders. Texturewise I found the first mistake in this
level (on a roof) but this doesn’t disturb the overall
feeling in any way. After quite many tasks you finally get
the dough and leave this challenging level, whose secrets
were the most difficult ones in the whole set. You return to
Herod’s Temple afterwards, which by now is besieged by
Romans (the graffiti “Romani ite domum” – “Romans go home”
with the dead ninja in front with the ink bucket in his hand
was very funny) and place the bread to see that your visit
to the past wasn’t as you expected.
The Wailing Wall – Part 2 – (10-10-9-9) You
return to the Holy Sepulchre church, then get to the Old
City 2011 again and solve a little puzzle in the forge.
Afterwards you get back to the Wailing Wall level, this time
you can get behind it after breaking in Fax’s flat (the
diary entry helped to find the Star of David here, but read
carefully). The area behind the wall is maybe not that
impressive as the other levels, as it’s a bit too blocky and
monotonously textured for my opinion. Gameplay still is very
good, with the detonator, the timed run inside the chapel
and the way of finding the second secret. You get to visit
Pete from WLW again, also you will have to deal with a few
soldiers, but since you have the Shotgun or Revolver this is
an easy task. This part actually wasn’t that big, and you’ll
soon arrive at the Dome of the Rock.
The Temple Mount A quite short level (so rating
influences Wailing Wall level) where you first have to lure
a skeleton and let it use its sword to destroy a glass box
(nice idea!), then doing some platforming with timed runs
and ropes to find the four stone disks and get underground.
The atmosphere didn’t really come because of good texturing
here but (unfortunately) only because of the big Dome of the
Rock, while the outside area looked very huge and squaric
again. However, the underground with the rocks Lara has to
dig away was very well done, and after just 15 minutes you
get into the final level.
The Cherubim are calling (9-10-10-10) Indeed a worthy
finale, but before getting to the Ark a long way is still to
be overcome. A “guide monkey” shows Lara the way through a
cave labyrinth with a big snake inside and a great creepy
atmosphere, but after some clever stone pushing to destroy
some rocks he also wants something in return… In a big cave
Lara has to kill the giant snake boss Clever timed run
against the fire (while letting the door explode), and
afterwards the level nearly turns in a base style level for
some minutes, Lara has to kill some workmen and get into the
men’s toilet to switch on the ventilation so that she can
breath again (hilarious). The tasks that have to be done
here are not always so obvious, and it is easy to miss an
item like the glasses or the key in the underwater vase.
After some more explosions and a longer block push (huh?
Classic raiding?) Lara enters the cave with the Ark (and
also the dead Indiana Jones) and has to call and introduce
the priest to finally open it…
The ending cutscene may not be the happiest, but it’s very
well made and a lot of love to detail can be seen (the
secrets you have found are on the table, the ones you missed
are missing here too; the monkey from the last level is
there). Thanks, Clara, masha and Sponge, for the best game I
have played until now, and it surely deserves the 9,93
rating and hence the all-time #1 ranking." - manarch2 (13-Aug-2011)
A cooperation of 3 levelbuilders who have agreed to test an alternative scripting tool by Larson. 300 flipeffects in a single game... wow. One flipeffect overlapping another... Fixing a problem may imply three new... It's like fighting Hydra - and this is where we, betatesters, enter. Why did I choose Jerusalem? The answer is simple - I was there and I fell in love with the city. So when I met Clara on X2 TR Meeting in Bad Grund, I offered my beta-testing service at once. During the whole betatesting phase, I never told her, nor Masha, nor Sponge, what I think about their game. Now it's time to reveal my opinion.
I'm standing in front of the Alpha and Omega dillema which all reviewers face sooner or later (and the moment depends on when they play an epic game): if I say a word about everything remarkable, I will give many spoilers to those who haven't played the thing yet. If I say nothing, readers will think I gave four tens while knowing nothing about the game. And I can't say I know nothing - I've been betatesting this level for quite long, in order to get rid of minor issues, for reviewers not to complain about things that don't matter. This implies another problem - I learnt many things about levelbuilding. Yes! This knowledge, even though being a blessing for a builder, is a real curse for a reviewer - earlier, I didn't know some problems are unfixable, and I must confess I used to lower my rating because of them - so I have a strange feeling none of my reviews I've written so far is truly fair... Now it seems some similar minor flaws are still remaining in Jerusalem Project, and I don't know if I should count them into my rating (like I would do before) or if I should not mind them at all, as I finally know no builder can help them... In second case, should I adjust scores for my 300 remaining reviews? Rewrite them all? And, if we speak about rewriting: I downloaded this game from laraslevelbase, and they want a review as well - what must I do? Rewrite this one there? Naaah... Thankfully, I like to write. This is why my reviews are usually filled with long prologues giving no info about a level.
All the time of the flyby, customized animations occur. This says all about the atmosphere of all following levels. You watch a title.tr4 designed like this, and a will to play catches You even before pressing "New Game". And You know it won't let You go to the very end of the game.
Once called Negeb, this level was half-finished when I touched it for the first time. Witnessing it develop, I always had mixed feelings - because I couldn't get used to more and more changes. It took me a day to accept the underwater maze Lara enters right after conversation she has with Rana in the beginning. The whole rest (the mosquee with falling guy [once red, now blue], keys placement, arrangement of corridors) is also a bit different than in once was - however, everything finally fits each other and I can't complain about it. OMG, why can't I complain??! Why?! I DEMAND IT! Anyway, we find Lara in the desert... this is actually a second prologue - something similar to [i]Beyond the Scion[/i] (this game has two prologues as well). We penetrate local caves in search for two keys to open the shrine containing the Mysterious.... wait... I don't remember Lara signing a permission at Rana Barton's apartment that could allow me to give anymore spoilers here!
Jerusalem - Old City 2011, and the neighbouring places (Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Yad Vashem, The Wailing Wall, The Temple Mount)
IMO, there's no need to describe these levels separately - they are just like Jerusalem quarters - differing from each other, but anyway sharing a common thrill. Let's simply slide into the legendary city and explore Muslim mosquee and minaret, Jewish Yad Vashem and Wailing Wall, Christian church and push some Armenian vases... accompanied by oriental music sounding like it was played somewhere behind the nearest walls... everywhere. However these locations are much smaller than in real, and placed closer to each other, we can still feel their slight atmosphere difference depending on which culture and religion is owning the one we're actually in. Artifact symbols of all three religions we can find in the city highlight this difference the most, and they are some of the most fitting secret pickups I can remember. But our main task comprises of exploring the hub market level and stepping out of it in various directions in order to take on subsequent miniquests. The word "miniquest" is perfect for a city level - as no task is too long, we can feel the city is alive all the time, bothering us with much work wherever we go.
In 70 AD, Romans have destroyed the Second Temple. Masha has rebuilt it now. I want to tell about that particular building separately - all in all, it was (and still is) more a part of heaven than a part of the city. And, as it should be in heaven, the place is the most fantasy-like of all levels. Wild animals, temple dancers, magical creatures (two of them: one adult and one hatchling wannabe, yet in form of an egg when we meet it), Herod's henchmen and Lara fighting for her life, sometimes with sound, and sometimes with silence. All of this to discover she needs to sacrifice some bread. I remember me suggesting such thing while betatesting, having no idea they had already applied it. And turning water into wine will be legendary forever, belonging here like nowhere else.
Jerusalem - Old City 70 AD, with industrial and residential districts
As I already mentioned, we have to bake some bread... and we have the whole Old(er) City to help us. Lots of pushing here, but it never gets boring - listen to the "Mystery Pushable Ambient Soundtrack" to understand why. In the industrial district, we have to start the mill (origin of which we can find in Trix's Dayport). At first, I was annoyed her idea was copied here. Fortunately, my attention was rapidly drawn away when the horse impressed me so much that I stopped to mind anything and started to laugh.
The Cherubim are calling
Finale Grande. Classic raiding all the time - caves (with snakes), a separate cave (with a bigger snake), more caves (with a giant snake), even more caves (without any snakes) and a huge cave in the end, with a huge base inside... and one small snake. But the most important thing is that, for the first time in my life, I died in a toilet right in the moment when it was INTENDED by the builder. I also loved the baboon and the way to shatter the vase. I would like a translation of the last cutscene, because the only word of the High Priest I can understand was "Israel".
Epilogue flyby. Just like the prologue, it's animated from the beginning to the end. Very climatic, as most characters and items from all the game are starring here. A significant thing it left in my mind was a will to replay the game for missing secrets. Not too many custom levelsets can make me do it with pleasure, and this is one of those which could.
Holeless plot based on a marvellous storyline. Lots of photos taken directly from Jerusalem in order to make textures and custom objects. Over 1,5 hours of music/speech/sfx. (As a musician, I have to say I am impressed. I'm disappointed it isn't said in any thread nor readme who wrote that amazing music. I've been listening to it separately from the game and it's still in my mind - after 2 weeks after playing the game. It rarely happens there is a day I don't think about it.) 12 years of work if we count 4 years per 1 builder, + probably another 4 years of scripting Larson has spent. Overwhelming amount of work, patience and passion. If You read the end credits, You will find out the game has been made by over 50 people. If we think about all other people who - even though they didn't build any part of any level - have given their help, supported and advised the builders and object creators, we'll get an uncountable number of people who have been working in order to create this game. So I can agree only in 2/3 with Jay's statement that "it wasn’t produced by a large team of professionals with a huge budget working for some well known company" (however I understand her intention) - as those people are professionals indeed, including freaks who can't sleep if they don't paint something marvellous, animate something fluent or invent something crazy first. If all devoted builders of our world joined their forces, they would be able to build a levelset as large and as intelligent as the real one itself... Of course, it would have some disadvantages as well - it probably would be THEM who would have started the apocalyptic riot of machines. Facing such powerful form of creation, which can be felt in its all splendour while playing Jerusalem Project, I had a wonderful time and You guys have all deserved a reward. I have no other choice than to give You full 40 points for this achievement - 10 per each year spent on designing it. There is no, and there won't be, any custom level like this. From those, to whom much is given, much is expected. Indeed. But I simply can't expect anymore from a custom levelset. This is all I have to say. Romani ite domum.
I really hope Larson and Paolone start to cooperate and provide us with hybrid scripter allowing both kinds of commands, and fully compatible with TREP. BRING IT ON!!!" - DJ Full (11-Aug-2011)
"What to say. This custom was brilliant. Beautiful levels, objects and textures. Great action, wonderful music. I really enjoyed it." - Andzia9 (10-Aug-2011)
"It may have taken 10 years of raiding experience to do it, but I think this is the game that broke the proverbial bank. With this game we have crossed into another era of tombraider gameplay, venue design, and story-telling. I had to keep propping my jaw closed and the jealous drool in check all throughout this adventure. This adventure is chock full of new objects and delightful animals - the likes of which we will probably not see again - pity how these things are kept under lock and key, but understandable I suppose. And speaking of keys - they are fabulously re-fashioned for this game. The splendor of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is something to behold. And the palpable sense of emotion felt in the Jewish Holocaust Memorial was extraordinary!
Clara, Masha, and Sponge will get tired of the steady stream of accolades, but they sure do deserve them.
Okay. The adventure: Lara sets off to see if she can track down the Ark of the Covenant. She will visit modern-day Jerusalem and the city 2,000 years ago ( a magic carpet ride indeed). Each location contains fabulous venues for exploration with thought-provoking puzzles to challenge even the most brilliant-minded amongst us (I actually saw Vimmers ask for direction in the Stuck Forum - only fleetingly of course. lol.).
What a fabulous way to enter the next decade of tomb-raiding. Thank you so much!" - Mugs (09-Aug-2011)
"This is a new epic series by several experienced builders
that's likely to very quickly become a classic. There's a
full story that develops throughout with Lara trying to find
a way back to the past to find the Ark of the Covenant, and
coming across a lot of problems along the way. It's probably
the most well integrated story I've seen in a TR pack.
Al-Kashkar: As you begin to explore the initial areas
one thing that very quickly starts to stick out is the
variety of settings here; after some exploring in a town and
small temple you go down a well into an underground ruin;
which has the cool feature of being entirely tilted
sideways. Then you move onto caves and canyons, among other
things, and it all looks excellent. It works as a great (and
not overly difficult) intro to things, with tasks like
climbing the tilted ruins and a giant Frog in one area.
There also some sort of small moral choice, where you can
kill someone to get an item early or come back later when
they have moved, although it doesn't seem to change much
(the evil path gets an amusing cutscene though).
Jerusalem 2011 AD: This is actually several levels,
set around the Muslim quarter, a Church, and the Wailing
Wall area that the prologue, Wessley's Last Will, was set
at. Playing that prologue adds a lot to the area as you
finally get to see what's behind all those closed doors
(it's obvious that a lot was planned out already in that
map), there's even an entirely optional Holocaust memorial
area with a movie to watch; I don't know how close it is to
the real thing, but the obvious references/recreations of
real places adds a lot to this pack. While the other areas
look good, the real showcase is the church area, which is
full of stunning sights and great mesh use. There's quite a
bit of non-linearity and it can be easy to get in trouble if
you head for the church too soon as you need to do some
things elsewhere before you can make progress there, if you
don't get caught by that it's not overly difficult here if
you explore thoroughly enough.
Jerusalem 70 AD: Lara finally finds a way back to the
past, this is another set of levels, with two large town
areas and Herod's temple. There's a very different style and
atmosphere to this part, and, at least in the town, it's
mostly calmer and more sedate in general mood, with a sunlit
setting compared to the late noon feel of 2011. There's also
a ridable Horse that actually manages to feel slightly
different to the normal vehicles (it doesn't blow up in
water for one thing). Despite the calming atmosphere this is
where things start to get really difficult, with intensive
exploration and some tricky puzzles to work out. There's
also a stealth sequence that can get frustrating due to the
unskippable cutscenes when you fail, but it's not very hard
once you work out how it works (hint: crawl). There are also
one or two slightly obscure object uses. It ends with a
large-scale change that creates a very impressive set-piece.
One completely optional Genie lamp sequence was the part
where I truly knew this pack was a classic.
back to Jerusalem 2011 AD: The final set of levels in
the pack. It starts with you ending some last loose ends in
the areas you have already explored, before moving on to a
finale at the Dome of the Rock. My one issue with the
visuals comes in here, as one section just before the Dome
of the Rock felt too plain compared to everywhere else in
the pack, but that doesn't outweigh the huge amounts of
detail everywhere else. The last level also has a nice
atmospheric change towards the creepy (and a completely
unexpected theme-change near the end). The build up to the
end isn't too tough, but the final level is definitely the
most difficult, with some difficult puzzles and a boss
fight. The final level also has a couple of items that are
way too hidden and would be more fitting as secret areas
than required progression. There is one potentially game-
breaking issue in this section, as you need to use a
Skeleton in a puzzle, yet you have a Revolver+Lasersight
that lets you behead the Skeleton and make the puzzle
unsolvable (unless there's some other way I didn't find).
While the final cutscene is great I thought the very end was
a bit anti-climatic gameplay wise, with things just sort of
petering out and the only real end challenge being an item
or two you may have missed and have to backtrack for.
Between the things listed above I couldn't go all the way
with the gameplay score, but there's still a large array of
varied tasks between those issues, and some of the most
detailed design in a TRLE pack ever. This is another
essential." - Mman (08-Aug-2011)
"Firstly, if you haven’t already played the prequel to this game, Wessely’s Last Will, I urge you to do so as it will give you a proper background and in any case you’ve missed an excellent level.
This game begins in Al Kashkar. I have no idea whether this is a faithful reproduction of an actual place, but it certainly has a stunning realism about it. Well, possibly apart from the giant frog. Yes, I did say giant frog – it’s brilliant. There are some wonderful animations too, especially the scene where Lara uses a large box to shove some poor unfortunate soul off a cliff.
Once Lara arrives in Jerusalem, you can surrender yourself to an incredible experience. Everything is quite breathtakingly well created and the sheer magnificence of the church interiors has to be seen to be believed. Visiting the various locations around the city is fascinating and occasionally very moving. I defy anyone to watch the exceptional Auschwitz cutscene without tears in their eyes. Lara gets to go back in time and visit Jerusalem approximately 2,000 years ago and that’s quite an experience also – Lara on horseback, anyone? It’s not just a visual delight either. The puzzles are endlessly inventive and there are some good agility tests along the way, although nothing too strenuous, plus a smattering of interesting enemies, some of whom Lara has to overcome through stealth tactics. It’s a long game, which in this particular case is a blessing as it’s compulsive and extremely hard to stop playing. Cutscenes, animations, camera work, scenery, objects, music – everything just superb and hard to believe it wasn’t produced by a large team of professionals with a huge budget working for some well known company. Eat your heart out Square Enix!" - Jay (07-Aug-2011)
"A remarkable, must-play series of levels that takes Tomb Raider to new height with its broad vision of Lara traveling through space and time, scenic wonders, and audacious puzzles. Players may remember that in the prologue to these adventures, Wesselys Last Will, Lara obtained thread to construct a magic flying carpet in present-day Jerusalem. Using the carpet in the middle sections Lara will visit old Jerusalem of 70 A.D. in search of the Ark of the Covenant, and eventually will find that she has arrived in a war as Roman soldiers attack to destroy the temple. Before this Lara had to evade a horde of temple guardians, who are captivated by a dance of their female counterparts. Then there is the genii who--well, I was going to narrate the entire humorous script, as this genii is smart, but that would only spoil the fun. Not only are players amused at new objects, and the originality of puzzles, but amazed that anyone could have even thought of attempting such things in Tomb Raider. Here Lara finds catapults lobbing boulders in ancient siege warfare, and a giant frog the size of an SUV. Near the end, Lara reaches a wide pit, too far to jump, and pushes a tall column over on its side to bridge the gap. Players who are used to object collisions will be surprised that Lara can jump onto the horizontal column and trot across it. Since this is Jerusalem, Lara will obtain a Bible, Koran, and Torah of the three religions who hold this ground sacred. While the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is brightly colorful, there is also an effective emotional and somber episode in the Jewish memorial. This is the scope and range of these levels, which took me fourteen hours to play, which may translate to a week or two of real time. The three authors have extended puzzles over multiple levels. This means that we learn from Lara's diary that to make bread she needs to grind flour, add water, and bake in an oven, but that doesn't mean everything will be accomplished within the current level. In modern Jerusalem, Lara finds a crowbar door, but this will not be resolved until Lara has gone through her long adventures in the past and returned to the church with a Bible. By then I was somewhat disoriented, having to readjust to everything that Lara had previously done in church and in city, in what seemed a lifetime ago, so I thought that when Lara finally opened the door onto routine fire traps that this was something of a letdown. Maybe a rare instance of the authors not anticipating a player's mood. I thought gameplay was sustained at an unusually high level throughout, until the final level, The Cherubim are Calling, with its beginning frustration of dark mazelike tunnels, compounded by a dragon spewing incessant fire balls. Soon the level picks up for a grand finale when Lara opens the Ark of the Covenant to find.... Note that the baboon is sitting on the couch for the ending epilogue, and look for other details. Highest recommendations." - dmdibl (07-Aug-2011)
"I just finished and... I don't know what to say.
On the one hand say it is very complex, particularly in the area of Jerusalem 2011, which can give access to various levels and you must look for many items in some levels to use in another ones. On the other hand there are plenty of new objects that you don't know where to use or how to interact with them. A really tough adventure. Many hours of hard play and much exploration, but often the cameras and the diary help a lot to know where to go and what to do, as well as dialogues.
On the other side of the coin are some breathtaking scenery, very well maintained with great detail, some fantastic animations, a great story, some incredibly well-crafted objects, an unsurpassed atmosphere and special and very clever puzzles.
The level I liked most was the Herod's Temple, where Lara will have to deal with no guns with a lot of enemies throughout the level, but in an intelligent way. At this level, you notice there's a bug, so do not try to confine the bull in a cage before the bull opens the two doors needed to open, otherwise perhaps you can not continue.
It is this a kind of adventures that delight people who like exploration and challenges. Highly recommended. Directly to the Hall of Fame." - Jose (05-Aug-2011)
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