"One of the best levels I've played from this contest. The gameplay is cleverly designed, without unnecessary backtracking and sneaky tasks, but never too hard with some fresh and original touches. The architecture is very good, as the placement of objects too; enemies are well balanced, and there's enough ammo for the shotgun; the atmosphere in the hell area is properly achieved, and the texturization appropriate with no major faults. For me one of the jewels from this BtB. Highly recommended." - Jose (18-Oct-2017)
Besides a small brain work I needed to move the last torch from its original place to the place where it had to be switched on, all the puzzles in this game have revealed to be really easy to perform. The developement of the storyline is very nice and quite linear, making this level very relaxing and enjoyable.
Enemies, Objects & Secrets: 9.
The designer has used cleverly many objects that really spice up the level. I enjoyed the thunderbolts weapon against some of the big scorpions, even if the net power of this fantastic weapon is not so big compared to the magnum pistol.
There are not many enemies in all the game but in the final part, where I enjoyed a lot the fights versus the first boss, then versus two other bosses, then versus the final boss. I liked the feeling that after I finished with the first boss I thought I would have had more relax, but after few steps two minotaurus came against me, and then the final big boss appeared when I thought the level was really ended. I need to put here a 9 rather than a 10 because the final bosses could be killed without any damage to Lara just going back to the stair, where Lara can harm them but they cannot reach Lara. Unfair.
Secres are wonderful, in particular the third one with the liquid wall.
Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: 10.
No words can represent my ecstasy when I reached the Underworld. This part of the level is some of the best locations I have ever played. Liquid walls, hellish waterfalls, hell lake with silent skeletons inside: just beautiful. The sound was perfect: every moment has been emphasized with the proper music. Indeed, beside the nice music for the final fights, I enjoyed the funny music for the timed run on the pillars that made the run itself less stressful.
Lighting & Textures: 10.
Nothing to add here, the score says everything. The liquid walls in the Underworld are amazing.
Final comment: certainly a level that I would play again and again. Very recommended." - PiscesAphrodite (16-Aug-2016)
"The visuals of the first half of this level almost gives me a
Jedimaster vibe, with the non-standard, colourful, object use
and organic geometry. The second half is more of it's own style
and also surreal and interesting. It's occasionally a little on the
flat side but it's mostly got a really stand-out style. The
gameplay is relatively straightforward but it also has many
unique aspects and object usages, along with good flow and
nice escalation as you progress. This is on the shorter side and it
ends up being one that follows the "rule" of being around an
hour long. One of the best maps of this BTB, and with a bit
more challenge (and associated increase in level design
complexity) it could have been one of the contenders for my
favourite." - Mman (23-Apr-2016)
"This level perfectly fitted to my
abilities. Nothing too frustrating but
still fun to play through, with a final
battle at the end and three secrets thrown
in for good measure. Definitely worth
playing." - Ryan (06-Mar-2016)
"This level was really enjoyable to be honest. Gameplay is not very complex but still not without it's moments, the boss battle at the end was sadly too easy as you could run back to the stairs and shoot from there. I really liked that this Greece level had a nice outdoor area that you start in before i want you to go to Hell :D The level gets really interesting from the point you open the path to Hell, i thought the atmosphere was nothing short of spectacular down there and with good use of music. There was also a timed run to a door jumping on small platforms, a good torch puzzle. I'm a bit confused though about the skeletons running around where you have to light the torches as they didn't serve any purpose, they didn't find me even if i was right next to them. I'm so sorry because i shot the cat to death at the end thinking it was an enemy. To sum things up, it's a really enjoyable level and i do recommend you to play it." - totizedger (10-Feb-2016)
"This excellent level can be divided in two parts.First
half is more nature-like with rock formations, waterfalls
and a temple.The thing I especially like is the ruins-
effect that is masterfully achieved by careful building
and texturing indoor areas, with appropriate object
placements even including literally broken levers (more
on that later).Second half of the level starts
with....well, with the actual stairway to Hell.From that
point on, the things become darker and more
abstract.Visual quality slightly decreases (not because
of a different theme but the building quality itself, I
am aware those are two very different things) but it's
still very good.Gameplay is really great from start to
finish.What I like the most is that OverRaider presented
us great example how one single wad can be used in so
many creative ways.Imagine a place where you have to turn
off two flames.You turn off one of them with nearby
lever, than you walk to the other lever only to see it
was pulled out from it's frame and lays down on the
floor.So teasing, so brilliant.Maybe I am childish, but I
just love those details.There are also flame-redirecting
devices, ceiling-crushing hammer that helps you in
unusual way, beehive usage and many more.Level is full of
such original moments.About more "concrete" gameplay,
there is a little bit of everything.Mountain climbing,
puzzle solving, shimmying around spiked platforms,
finding a way for a torch and much more.Secrets are
thoughtfully and logically placed and you are more likely
to find their location using your brain than just
randomly.I instantly knew the location of one of them
(the Horn) the moment I changed some seemingly unrelated
things.I was too lazy to go for the "torch secret" but I
knew where it was too.Enemies are well divided into two
categories, lions can be found in the hills, while more
"hellish" creatures wait for you in the second half.Audio
tracks and cameras (both hint-based and atmospheric ones)
are great, especially a few flybys during dramatic
moments.Not to mention the fact that Lara saves a little
kitten from the dark world (awwww ^_^).Bottomline,
congratulations to the builder for making this great
level.Absolutely recommended." - Tolle87 (23-Jan-2016)
"Explore organic sceneries to breach an ancient realm where sights beam with creativity and literally. Almost each pickup differs from another and unusual connections frequently occur, for instance the falling ceiling works both as a hint and a solution, the beehive gives something at last. The puzzle with guiding the fire over the river of Chaos is definitely more Greek and climatic than padding to colored symbols like in the winner level. Also here we have one of few helpful thunderbolts. The only downside is too little noticeable conclusion: an introducing camera pointed on the cat and accompanied with some music would help, but not disperse my expectations for something truly epic after the stairway descent is complete. It was getting really good and I couldn't wait what's behind that door. SUMMARY: Has a bit weak conclusion but uses basics as effectively as possible and never ceases to immerse." - DJ Full (31-Dec-2015)
"Kurtis: Lara, you okay?
Lara: Oi! Kurtis! You should 'ave told me you wanted me to find your bloody pussy!
Kurtis: My...? Oh! Princess Mittenpaws! Is she... is she alright? Did you save her from Cerberus? *Shudders* I hate dogs...
Lara: Cerberus was a doddle! Cheers for warning me about all the other enemies, by the way. *Rolls eyes* I ran into a lot of scorpions and some big nancy boys 'o looked like Winston after a bath.
Lara: Winston says 'ello. What were you doing in 'ell anyway, you plonker?
Kurtis: Oh, right. Well, I was just taking a walk through scenic Elis, Greece - it's a nice-looking area - when a stairway opened up, and you know me and stairways - once I'd stepped onto it, I couldn't really control which direction I was walking in. But you made it out okay?
Lara: 'Ell wasn't so bad. It looked quite nice, too. I spent more time getting *into* 'ell than I did *in* 'ell!
Kurtis: You wouldn't think getting into hell would be so difficult for someone with your... history.
Lara: Get stuffed, you dimwit. I literally went through 'ell to save your pussy. I faffed around for thirty-five minutes with traps and so much jumping around that my legs still 'urt!
Kurtis: But you like all that stuff...
Lara: Cor blimey, of course I do! I just don't like cats, Kurtis. Well, I'm zonked. I expect the cheque is in the mail?
Kurtis: Lara, surely you're not making me pay to...
Lara: Cheerio. *Hangs up*
Kurtis: ..." - Magnus (30-Dec-2015)
"This level is divided into two sections: the 'real world' first half, which features some nice and organic-looking outdoor areas as well as an underground temple, and the hell section in the second half, which features some creepy but interesting underground areas.
The level features some cool moments, such as a hammer knocking ceiling tiles down that disable spikes. The jumps at the beginning of the hell area and getting the torch around the underground lake are fun. There are some moments where the next step is not very clear, such as a vase high on a pillar that has to be shot even before you get a laser sight, or a keyhole placed randomly in a corridor, far from the door it opens. On the whole, though, I found the gameplay rather tame - everything seemed easier than I expected it to be (for example, a timed run that is very generously timed), and often I was confused because I expected something to be more challenging or complicated than it turned out to be.
The enemies are well used in the hell section: I especially liked the skeletons creeping around in the deadly lake. The multiple boss fight is manageable because plenty of ammo and weapons are provided, and Lara can easily take shelter on the stairs. At the end, when Lara enters a large empty room with just a cat in it, I was momentarily freaked out, thinking that the cat would turn into some even bigger baddy; fortunately, the cat just turned out to be Lara's new pet (hopefully, since it follows her out of the underworld). Getting the secrets is pleasantly challenging, and very rewarding, since each secret features a special secret room, filled with a new weapon and ammo.
The outdoor areas in the first half are quite nice and pretty, especially the multi-level opening area. The lighting is a bit flat in the underground temple, but otherwise it looks fairly good too. But the visual and atmospheric highlight of the level is the creepy black and red hell area - I love the use of the water textures to create transparent walls, and the bright red lamps in the cavern look great.
Overall: Despite the 'hellish' location of the second half, this is a rather pretty, pleasant and easy-going level. Recommended." - Mytly (28-Dec-2015)
"Here's another jewel of a game, original, creative,
intelligent. For Lara, a stairway to Hell; for us, a
pathway to Heaven. My favorite things were: (1) the
puzzles, especially the Holy Urn one; (2) the music,
beautiful and very well placed; (3) the Sacred Jewel room;
(4) the little skeletons that protect their fearsome swamp,
and strive to be scary, but aren't; (5) the hammer; (6) the
creative means of advertising the arrival of an enemy; (7)
the cat that Lara frees from Hell (what had the cute little
thing done, to be there? ;)). But all this level is a huge
display of talent and good taste; don't lose it. To the
author, many thanks for a wonderful time." - Josey (03-Dec-2015)
"As good as the beginning of this level is and it is very
good: a tricky climb near the start; a jump into the
water where Lara quickly disappeared; a fun double slide,
still, the jumps over the pillars during the timed run (I
made it through more by luck than skill) and the descent
into hell eclipsed the earlier portion. Here we have a
different view of the lower regions: black waterfalls
spilling into a black swirling lake; an interesting torch
puzzle with a pay-off of the 3rd secret for those who
spotted the necessary lighting; deadly red rays and more
enemies. The reach - in switch for the spiritual core
could have been more prominent as it was difficult to
discern that it was, indeed, a switch but that may be due
to my PC. As the ending flyby shows Lara with the cat who
followed her into the tunnel/wall still by her side, she
may have a new pet to keep her company on the journey
home. It all ended way before I was ready for it to end
and that's the sign of a really good adventure.
Atmosphere, music, flybys and gameplay top notch -
recommended for all." - Bene (22-Nov-2015)
"It's too early for a self-diagnosis of Grecian overdose, but
these BtB levels are definitely starting to run together in
my mind. However, as long as they remain well constructed,
scenic and reasonably challenging, as all of them so far
have been, you won't hear me complaining. After a series of
lengthy adventures set for the most part indoors, we finally
have one in Stairway to Hell that provides a breath of fresh
air with extended outdoor excursions. For the first time,
you're also provided a waterskin that holds exactly the
right quantity of fluid that you need, so none of this
combining, emptying, etc. The three well-spaced secrets arm
the player with some serious firepower, useful for dealing
with the enemies encountered near the end. I spent a total
of about 75 minutes here before reaching that surreal
concluding area, and the length of the raid felt just about
right. It's hard for me to rank these BtB levels, because
they're all so good, but this one ranks right up there with
the best of them." - Phil (19-Nov-2015)
"I found this to be a really special level in the wide variety that BtB offers this year. The actual gameplay progression is not very difficult or unique, as the tasks are quite common and easily figured out, but the whole adventure is wonderfully embedded into a very original and beautiful atmosphere that really draws the player in. There many small uncommon touches that you will notice along the way and the journey from the beautiful caves above the ground then downwards into the desolated hell (and back) works extremely well. Flybys and audio are a very strong point and for me the best I have seen (this is the 11th level I play). Enemies are a bit predictable but serve their purpose well - the final boss fight maybe made too easy because you can simply retreat to the stairs and keep shooting. Loved all those water/fluid effects and the three secrets are a nice design addition as well. Top level for me and should rank high at the end of the competition. [52 min, 3 secrets]" - MichaelP (18-Nov-2015)
"Great Level!.the gameplay was good while the visuals were the best,specially the underworld." - janachorider (06-Nov-2015)
"For me one of the potential winners. An excellent level, well-textured, well lit with beautiful puzzles. I like this kind of gameplay. There is a beautiful representation of Hell with a back with a nice little cat to the Lara's feet. Excellent." - Drakan (04-Nov-2015)
"The very initial area made me question our sanity: when did we thought pixel-precise jumps through triangular surfaces was a fun concept? The receptacle for the golden key, in the middle of an otherwise unremarkable corridor also felt a bit too random for me, but beyond that, this level quickly grew on me. The way enemies are summoned in is pure genius and the clever use of objects extends even further, such as having the hammer drop tiles over spike traps. In the end, I quite enjoyed the descent into hell and had a smile on my face when the kitty followed me through the portal back to the surface. 75 minutes, 2 secrets. 10/15" - Treeble (04-Nov-2015)
"There's a beautifully epic story here (although the
ReadMe is a little long-winded),and this level develops
it with a sure touch.The outside landscapes are organic
and interesting,while the interiors are often
breathtaking in appearance.Gameplay is basically
linear,and of the tried-and-trusted 'how do I get out of
this area and into the next?' variety;and only really
stumbles on a couple of basics - a climbable wall and a
monkey-swing,neither of which are discernible as
such.Otherwise it's always interesting and
ingenious,without ever being too tricky.Enemies are a
varied and colourful bunch,but the final Boss was felled
with only two shots - which seemed a bit of a
disappointment after all the endeavors needed to reach
him.Atmosphere was stunning;music was used superbly;and
the fly-by's were the best I've ever seen (so good,in
fact,that I watched them several times over.) Lighting
and textures were masterfully applied,and the whole level
looks absolutely gorgeous.Clearly the work of an
experienced builder,this is recommended to all." - Orbit Dream (02-Nov-2015)
"This is one of the shorter entries in this year's competition - one of the very few that actually is not too far away from one hour's net gaming time. It's fairly linear, logical and, for the most part, gentle in terms of gameplay, which makes a pleasant change. There's some fun route finding action at the start of the game, as Lara explores the outside area, and a nice bit of torch work once she makes her way inside. The various tasks are great fun and well within the abilities of most players. Enemies are not over used, but effectively so. The atmosphere is terrific, especially the titular area itself, where you can almost feel the heat and smell sulphur. The builder has made good use of the overall package to create some interesting looks and effects." - Jay (28-Oct-2015)
"Another very convincing level in the contest. Starting rather calm and chilly in a beautifully constructed outside area, the gameplay quickly grabs up with some intricate rock climbing and once you arrive in an underground temple. While the tasks are not particularly hard and don't require much thought to absolve, they are rather spectacularly presented and it's very enjoyable. The way the player plays with outside areas connected with interior ones creates a very successful atmosphere and it even gets topped when you arrive at the titular stairway leading you into hell. The music pieces almost feel like written just for the respective scene and are perfectly combined with cameras, which by the way are very well used in general, especially in showing some nice scenes with very good and novel use of objects and enemies. Lookwise there really isn't much to fault, with very clean texturing despite of complex and interwoven architecture, maybe the lighting falls a slight bit behind in some inside areas where it's a bit weird or lacking a bit of contrast, but overall the lighting is professional and quite well done too. Even if the tasks are often linear and a bit simplistic, the gameplay is fun and there are some clever approaches in terms of progression - the torch is very well used too - but I missed some major puzzles or challenging tasks at the end to round the whole thing up to a masterpiece in any regard, which the hideout of the secrets manage, by the way - all with very special hideouts and very rewarding. Despite lacking a tiny bit of depth and challenge this will certainly be one of my favourite BtB levels, mainly because of the excellent atmosphere. 30 minutes." - manarch2 (24-Oct-2015)
"Very solid map. Taks are lineal and easy but varied and
rewarding ones. The underworld and river Styx is fantastic
Difficulty Easy 60 minutes" - requiemsoul (13-Oct-2015)