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Level: Arabic Monastery back home search
Author(s): KcLaan
total rating:7.48 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
DJ Full 7 10 9 7
dmdibl 7 8 9 8
eRIC 8 8 6 7
Gerty 6 7 9 8
Jay 7 8 8 8
Jorge22 6 5 6 7
Jose 6 7 8 8
manarch2 4 7 8 7
MichaelP 6 7 10 7
Orbit Dream 7 8 8 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 7 7 9 8
Taras 7 8 8 8
Xela 7 8 8 7
category averages
(14 reviews)
6.64 7.57 8.14 7.57

Reviewer's comments

"A level which wouldn't be forgotten if it had carefully applied visuals and less copied elements which clutter player memory. But it was still satisfying and the secret system is one and only so I'll recommend it - only make sure you took enough rest before attempting, otherwise you might be lost if your mind isn't fresh enough." - DJ Full (20-Jul-2019)

"This is absolutely immense. The actual objective may be fairly simple (find enough secret crosses of bronze, silver and gold to access the exit key and then leave), but getting there is anything but. Admittedly I was glad that the author provided a walkthrough, as I wouldn't dare chance this complexity of a game unaided. It's well constructed, but undoubtedly confusing as the areas are very spread out and the crosses are sneakily hidden, not helped by the similarity of all the courtyards and corridors (despite them being well textured). I still managed to overlook one silver cross that was tucked away in a crevice, so I took a slightly unorthodox route to retrieve it back and shorten my time as much as I could. Sound and camera scenes are very neatly used though. A great job for a first, but for the next level by this builder I would reduce the backtracking elements and add a few more puzzles to avoid both a potential frustration factor and loss of enjoyment from players." - Ryan (07-May-2019)

"A first and done by a fellow countryman as well. The concept is quite novel but I have to admit that I did started this 3 times and got hopeless lost so decided this to do with the walkthrough and even then I ran about like a headless chicken at times. Don't mind running around a lot but here it is very hard to see where you've been and where to go as it looks all the same (if you get my drift). Of course in doing so I did found all the secret crosses, as the walkthrough was not clear to me which way to go next. Oh well... I am glad I finally got this of my list and I await a new adventure by this builder." - Gerty (26-Feb-2016)

"Maybe the author was lucky that I chose to play this adventure with the walkthrough very close by, as by doing so I did really have a pretty good time here and drove home with the jeep after about 80 minutes net gaming time. Without a walkthrough it is however quite possible that you may spend weeks in this level. The concept is actually quite novel and well done - you get a map which gradually opens up and connects the new areas you find with those that you have already explored. The guide (monk) is often used and very nicely set in scene. There are only a few enemies spread throughout and they kindly always drop a small medipack when they die. So, for the first 20 to 30 minutes all is rather nice and well, you find your first secret crosses, you solve a push puzzle, you pull a few levers. But then it starts to go a bit wrong: the tasks become more repetitive and tedious and unless you have a master sense of orientation, you will likely be quite lost soon. A maze like feeling sinks in and as said before - only the walkthrough will likely save you from your misery sooner or later. And that is despite the clever idea of using fixed cams to show missed crosses at the end. Still, I do applaud the author for trying something that is a little bit different. The concept as such is smart and set in scene rather well, also with good use of cameras and audio - next time, maybe look for ways to take the player at her or his hand a bit more vs having them explore the full map for missed items and you will have a true winner!" - MichaelP (24-Nov-2013)

"Unfortunately my opinion of this level is mixed. On the one hand it is a solid level through and through. Rooms flow nicely into each other, nothing feels out of place, and by the end the player has access to the entire complex that makes up the monastery. However the level has an almost equal number of faults. Corridors are boring, dark, and turn into labyrinths too often. The scenery, while fitting, feels dull on the whole, making it hard to tell when you enter a new area. There isn't much in the way of gameplay -- only a couple of traps and a dozen gunmen. And there's a lot of backtracking, especially if the player misses almost any of the secrets. In fact, the condition of requiring almost all of the secrets, which there are many, to reach the final trigger feels like it goes against the meaning of secrets. They are usually optional goodies, sought out at the discretion of the player, and are not mandatory because they require going above and beyond to obtain them. The case here will almost definitely require the player to go hunting through the monastery another few times, searching frantically for what they should be allowed to miss. Granted, this is made easier by the complete unlocking of the level for the player's convenience, and the "visions" of the secrets that were looked over. So, in the end, it does seem to be more of a matter of taste. As much as I harp on the concept, players who enjoy carefully observing their surroundings will most likely find the secret idea to be intriguing, and even a worthwhile challenge. But those flocking for a standard Tomb Raider level may be disappointed." - Xela (03-Aug-2013)

"An Arabic monastery it is , with also some Catholic Buddhist and Masonic objects/references. Solidly built , rather well textured , but lighting is poor , the sun bulbs are missing. The gameplay is a matter of taste , it is completely based upon research and observation , the level is rather confusing but in a rather delicious and a bit twisted way, if one likes this kind of original challenge. My stats indicate 2 hours of net gaming time , finally I came to the end with enough crosses so I did not had to go back for more to finish the level. I only missed the golden cross placed by a sarcophagus. I found the map very well made with the various areas that connect very well, and the use of the guide is simply brilliant. It was also funny to see the other guides/monks gardening :] The author surely put a lot of planning and thinking into this map so that everything falls into place eventually. Not too much atmospheric level , but it may be an interesting one if you don't expect much action , but take it as a whole puzzle." - eRIC (04-May-2013)

"It's rare have to find almost all secrets to finish a game. Of course, they are easy to find, but in the rooms where you must place the crosses, if you step over the tiles to see the location of the ones you've missed, many times you think: "and where the hell is that place?"; and then go back and explore the entire level to (hopefully) find them. Not a good idea. Many rooms in the level seem to be copied and pasted whith the editor, and the continuous crawling inside the towers was very tedious. The areas have a good look though and there are some nice flybies, but most of the game was explore, explore and explore to pull switches and find crosses, with no puzzles. Also I missed extra guns and more flares. Could be a good level if you play it reading the walkthrough." - Jose (02-May-2013)

"This is a pleasant enough, although somewhat laid back, excursion through a temple and its surroundings. Along the way you have the opportunity to find many crucifix secrets which entitle you to obtain the exit key at the very end. There's a nice Jeep ride thrown in for good measure, and it's always nice to have the assistance of a guide. Others have remarked on the shortcomings of this level, so I won't repeat them here. The builder has been gracious enough to provide his own walkthrough, which undoubtedly improved my net gaming time of nearly two hours. Everything is well lit, and the player's agility and fighting skills are rarely put to the test. Most of the gameplay consists of searching every nook and cranny for those secrets. Still, it presents some good ideas and a nice change of pace, so I can recommend it to new and seasoned raiders." - Phil (19-Feb-2013)

"For the first two-thirds or so of this level I was impressed with the technical achievement, the 21 secret crosses that are hidden in the elaborate monastery, a few beautiful outdoor settings, and the use of AI guides to help Lara out at tough points. It feels as though this is much better than the scores I am giving it. This is good; early on it kept me engaged. The problem is that it becomes repetitious so that if you have climbed up one tower it begins to feel as though you have climbed them all. This is so confusing with similar corridors that even watching a cutscene can leave you clueless which direction to go. The trouble is that inside those corridors there are no external reference points. At one place the walkthrough said to "back flip into the water." Lara was running around exploring, and she dropped into what seemed the right water room, but there are several almost identical such rooms, and they have identical stairways with balustrades on their sides, and similar entries to underwater passageways. So Lara ended up completely lost, and this happened more than once. The statistics time at the end showed that play took 1:45 hours, but that is misleading. Because Lara got hopelessly lost, I had to resort to earlier savegames, and replay sections, to redo things until Lara stumbled on whatever it was that she had missed. Restoring early savegames made it appear that play progressed smoothly, nullifying the aimless wandering, but my true statistics time here was more like 3 hours. In the last third of the level there are push blocks and closing gates to complicate matters, and here things would be baffling without the walkthrough that the author provides. Players can admire the gameplay as an intellectual puzzle, and admire the author for having constructed such an intricate exercise, but I think most players are more likely to respond with frustration and resentment. The end has a nice jeep ride, but the placing of the crosses was a letdown as they simply go on scattered pillars. (Lara places 8 bronze, 6 silver, and 4 golden crosses. Thus there is an extra cross provided for each metal, so to exit this level Lara needs only to find 18 out of 21 secret crosses.) Lara gets the exit key, and can finally take the jeep back up a steep hill to a gate. If some of the repetitive towers were removed, along with some of those twisty corridors at the push-block sequence, this might have been better received. This is quite an accomplishment, but more for the author than for Lara." - dmdibl (11-Feb-2013)

"A level that can be annoying at first but which improves room after room and becomes intriguing as unravel a skein. There are beautiful textures and objects even if not exactly original. The musics, except for a couple, are those of the original tr4. The level is built well,the atmosphere is fitting and the player spent a pleasant hour." - Taras (03-Feb-2013)

"Lots of nice rooms can be seen here, with good use of the custom textures and objects in combination with some classics, and a nice atmosphere has been thus created (also with good use of sound and cameras), but at the end the very, very boring gameplay sticks out most certainly. The maze-like setting with ever too sameish texturedly rooms will bother you heavily. It's just an everlasting search for all those 21 secrets, in general a nice idea but finding secrets to finish this level isn't very nice and most of them are easy to miss and it's very pedestrian to research all the map for them, especially in the large multi-stage maze you visit with the guide. Many of the "tower rooms" were copied and/or mirrored mostly and thus you'll be doing the same crawling/climbing sequence dozens of time. I am really, really surprised about the (IMO too high) gameplay rating as my taste requires at least a bit of fun to give it a 6 or 7, but opinions differ and maybe it's possible to have fun here, though I couldn't. The jeep ride was maybe the only real interesting task but it's possibly the only thing I enjoyed in this whole level from a gameplaywise perspective. Please take more time in creating a real fun game, the other categories are rather solid considering it's a debut, so I'm expecting more in the next level already announced in the walkthrough." - manarch2 (02-Feb-2013)

"This started off most promisingly and I was really enjoying myself and certainly there is much to enjoy, with the pleasant surroundings and search for 21 crosses in and around the enormous monastery. As mentioned in the readme, this is not a shooter per se, but there are still a few enemies to contend with all the same. Unfortunately, for me, this ultimately overstayed its welcome, with far too much exploration of small tower rooms accessed by crawl spaces that really all looked the same, so that it become far too repetitive and finally getting to the jeep came as something of a relief. A potentially good game that would have been even better with a bit of judicious cutting here and there, but still well worth playing." - Jay (30-Jan-2013)

"In visual terms this takes us back a while into the past, not unpleasantly. Regarding the gameplay, it's a mix of interesting things plus a lot of mazy situations and many repetitive situations that go well with the maze conception but are nonetheless repetitive. The ending with the crucifixes and having to go back for them is apparently interesting as well but actually boring. I went back for a nearby crucifix, placed it and nothing else happened, so I gave it up there. After all, the idea of going back all the way to find a few crucifixes is... repetitive. Even though I liked the game overall, I'll be looking forward to a more understandable and player-friendly continuation." - Jorge22 (29-Jan-2013)

"This is a beautifully designed map.The layout has been ingeniously devised,with more and more of the Monastery opened up as you progress;and plenty of opportunities to retrace your steps across the whole length of the huge playing area via various linking passageways...and,believe me,you'll need them! If it wasn't for the occasional inspired nugget of gameplay (the helpful guide,lighting your way and opening up doors;the Jeep drive;the ingenious watery chamber with pushable blocks)this would all have been maddeningly tedious and aggravating in the extreme.Many of the rooms and passageways appear to have been copied and pasted in order to bulk out the map,and its incredibly easy (as well as extraordinarily tedious and confusing) to lose your way and become totally disorientated.On top of this is the need to collect a couple of dozen crosses in order to place them on the appropriate pedestals near the end;which inevitably leads to a potentially insurmountable stumbling block if you happen to have missed one of them within the epic and labyrinthine environment - and,indeed,one of the golden crosses is incredibly easy to miss(and seemingly inaccessible at first glance,even if you DO happen to chance upon it!) The use of the provided walkthrough is essential to all but the most patient and even-tempered player in order to be able to drive over that blessed Finish trigger. From a technical viewpoint,more could have been done with the lighting;especially externally. Nonetheless,this is a beautifully constructed 2+ hour adventure;and a mightily impressive achievement for a debut. I can only urge the builder to make the sequel considerably more player friendly and easy to follow,lest he risk losing potential players." - Orbit Dream (29-Jan-2013)
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