Level: The Palatium of Ankh back home search
Author(s): Owin
total rating:6.41 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
DJ Full 8 10 10 9
Drakan 9 8 8 7
Gorty 7 7 5 4
Jose 3 5 7 6
manarch2 7 6 7 5
MrJavi94 3 1 3 4
Phil 8 8 8 7
Ryan 6 6 7 6
category averages
(8 reviews)
6.38 6.38 6.88 6.00

Reviewer's comments

"I too have some very mixed feelings about this levelset. There's no doubt that there is potential here, but there were a few irritating gameplay choices that made me decrease the score slightly. But let's take it from the top, shall we? As said, the gameplay left me with mixed feelings. There are some nice trap sequences and timed runs to accomplish, but the third level, Sobek's Domain, is comprised of nothing BUT traps, some of which went overboard (particularly the spiked walls and flame traps), and there is also one rather tedious movable object exercise and long monkeyswings/ladders. Furthermore, it's too dark in many spots and I found some missing textures. Nonetheless, it's not terrible by any means, but a lot of irritations crept up on me." - Ryan (15-Jun-2017)

"Throughout the game one can see the builder has a lot of nice ideas and there are a few quite epic moments - the trap sequences at the end of the first level for example, or the Run Lara Run (yet even more refined) type of non-stop trap gauntlet in the fourth level - I really think there's a lot of potential already visible here and with a bit more care also for playability the builder can easily enter the Hall of Fame someaday. It really has been mentioned all - the almost omnipresent darkness from the second level on is really a downer, as it's really hard to know where you should go and I also think the amount of provided flares is simply not sufficient, as in some areas you would have to light one after another (if you had so many). It might add to realism, but on the other side the more bright spots aren't realistic either; another point is the massive tedium in some of the parts - the pushable puzzle in the second level is quite clever and it's actually not possible to screw it up (at least I think so) but more than over the top (yes even if hell is at the bottom). I was a bit faster than Phil but still half an hour of pushing is really not what I call fun. But that's not everything - there are many long ladders, monkeyswings, repetitive (also because some have to be done twice) platforming tasks that it might have been better to rethink the level structure and maybe adding shortcuts (or, at least for playability sake, teleports?). The good tasks in this level really would end up at a rating of 9 or so, but they are spoiled by not very player-friendly decisions. The object design is a bit meager and the rooms are quite barren mostly. Still, the second category has two other elements, and I don't see why it should be downgraded that heavily for it, as the enemy attacks are often quite efficient and the nine secrets are nicely hidden, not sure about that 9th, though... The looks are sometimes quite appealing, with good architecture in a few areas and some fine views, but also boxy and uninspired rooms and quite a few texturing mistakes (even one or two of the "completely missing" type) that should have been avoided. As Phil said, this is extremely difficult to score as there are many good things and bad things creating a strange heterogenous mix. I still applaud the builder for being brave and trying to implement his ideas, even if they don't work so well, instead of making a run-off-the-mill game that no-one will remember for a longer time. Next time consider the players' point of view more and do more beta testing, that really helps a lot. Finished in 2:30 hours." - manarch2 (04-Jun-2017)

"This is an extremely difficult release for me to score fairly. Writing the review is a breeze, as I need only record my personal impressions of what I experienced. However, quantifying those experiences by assigning numbers to the rating categories forces me to balance objectivity and subjectivity in a way that no other custom level in recent memory has done. Indeed, the five reviews submitted to date run the gamut from highs to lows, and as is the case in most such situations I feel the "truth" lies somewhere in between. First of all, there is no question but that the builder has put a great deal of thought and planning into this production, and it seems fundamentally unfair to me for anyone to mark it down substantially in the gameplay category. On the other hand, it suffers from excessive darkness, as most levels do these days, and since flares are in short supply here I manufactured without shame an unlimited supply of them in the early going. There's also a short segment called Ammit's Domain that can only be described as brutally sadistic. It's almost as if the builder was trying to tell us -- "Just see if you can get past this part, nyurk, nyurk, nyurk" -- either oblivious to or uncaring of the fact that a great deal of players will not have the skill or patience to weather this segment and complete the game. I got through the first part after multiple attempts over a half hour or more, and when I then came to the burner section I called it quits and begged a savegame from a more competent player than I am. I'll mention in passing that, although I know nothing about the mechanics of level building, I have this intuitive feeling that putting together a trapfest such as this is not really all that difficult, and is symptomatic of laziness on the builder's part. Someone will surely correct me if I'm wrong. And don't get me started on that pushpiece puzzle at the beginning of the second level. I waited for José's walkthrough before attempting this section, and even with his clear and concise instructions it took me forty minutes to get through it. Forty friggin' minutes. And with no wasted time, I might add, so anyone who claims to have done it in substantially less time is stretching the truth. By this time I was determined to stick it out until the end, no matter the cost, and upon reflection I'm glad I did. My total playing time was about five and a half hours, and there was rarely a dull moment from start to finish. MrJavi94 gave me the locations of the secrets José missed, including an extra (and unfair, I might add) secret near the end that doesn't register in your stats, and I've amended the walkthrough to document them. I've also provided a couple of savegames in the Ammit's Domain section. Hopefully all of this will encourage other raiders to play and review this game, as it's really quite an accomplishment in a number of respects. I can't quite bring myself to recommend it, but it's definitely an invigorating raid." - Phil (10-Mar-2017)

"Good debut, here we have a promising builder, but not a good adventure for me. The gameplay is full of classic tasks, but there are many tasks too hard I had to reload hundreds of times, ruining the gameplay like the very strong current in the water room in first level, the nasty room with shallow waters and all those crocs in the main level or the very tricky tasks in Ammit's Domain level. The puzzle with all those moveables in main level is brilliant, but also tedious and boring move all that objects very long distances. Also I've found several situations where, if you don't do the tasks in the same order the builder intended, the player can be stucked forever with no ways to go back and continue playing so I recommend keep many savegames or perhaps you are forced to prematurely abandone the adventure. For this I think the game is not properly betatested. I also missed more ammo for the uzis and the shotgun; I had to shoot many enemies only with the pistols and also more medipacks 'cause there are a lot of situations Lara will be forced to miss health. I also missed some more flybys and musics, and the texturization is not very good in many rooms, even I found mising textures in the secret room I found in the pool room with many crocs. Definitively, I hope this promising builder will continue building, not only for a bunch of expert players but for many players, for everybody." - Jose (02-Mar-2017)

"I struggled a lot with this level set to get to the end. Not because of some very bad gameplay, mostly because this game was very demotivating for me. It's just was so blank, nothing dragged me into it. I have to say a few things about the download size. It seems to be very popular these days to have packages above 100 mb. This one has an audio folder with 180 mb ! The whole download package has 193 mb. Next time I download something like this I will immediately delete it and not even bother playing. There must be some normal acceptable ratio of the level size and **** audio in it. And of course, even with this 180mb audio the original karnak audio is playing in the background. The next thing that really bothers me is the rating criteria of some reviewers here. Some gave it a 9 for lighting and textures, but clearly this one is under average in light and textures. Not slightly under. It has so many texturing errors and such a bad lighting it can be beaten by most average levels released here on This is the authors first submission to the community, so I guess that many things in this levels are wrong because of the lack of experience in level building. The first level starts in a very chaotic environment. The author used some very low res textures that looked so weird and bad. All over the place are very hard texturing errors ... so many stretched and wrong rotated and wrong aligned textures. A real mess. Painful to walk through with Lara. Why the author decided to release the level with so obvious errors is a mystery. He probably doesn't care. The light was very flat, monotone, but the geometry was at some parts good. The horizon was buggy. Mostly the environment looked very blocky and unnatural. The inside parts of the first levels looked better, probably because the darkness covered the grotesque imperfections. The big hall after the swinging part looked like a box and not like some cave. Every single room and corner had texturing errors. Like really careless errors. Many rooms were just too dark. There were also too many little enemies that annoyed very much. The later parts of the first levels started to look even worse than the beginning ( room design and texturing ) probably because the author started to rush things to get the level done. The gameplay got very repetitive as there were too many same spikes/rollingball traps. After finishing the first level, things did got a bit better. The levels did look better, light also, but still there were too many parts that were too dark. Placing shadow bulbs to achieve some dynamics in the light is never an option. Still rooms looked boxy, beginner-ish, unnatural and very basic in design. Texturing errors were still very obvious. Gameplay was overall not that bad, but it gets repetitive. There were some painfully long pushable puzzles. I doubt for some traps that they could be avoided without losing health. There were also traps that I enjoyed figuring out what to do, but some traps are so hard. Even too hard. Some areas did look good, with not much to complain, but those parts were rare. Overall, the gameplay was ok, but not innovative or too interesting. At some points even hard. Lighting and texturing was in the first level catastrophic and in the latter parts better, but still not satisfying. I have to mention that the other 3 levels were confusing at some points as I lost direction where to go many times. I walk through the levels for 10 minutes and reach a dead end or slide into death square. Due to the audio file size and some very careless errors, not recommended." - Gorty (05-Feb-2017)

"While playing throughout this game, I've constantly been in the need of finding objects among the abusively used textures from the Egyptian levels in the original TR4. This is why I can only give it an "1". Gameplay is a bit varied at some points but there are lots of really painfully challenging moments in this game, mostly in the Ammit's Domain level, which is basically a successive set of hard traps one after another with no rest in between, and this makes saving not to be advisable until you've past through the last set. Even though this should increase the grade I would give to the Gameplay&Puzzles section, there's a counterpart to it that, after analyzing it coldly, I felt that I should decrease it 1 or even two points. That thing is related to the multiple timed runs, so I'll explain what it is about. In the middle of some of the timed runs where doors are involved, if you're not fast enough and don't manage to succeed it time, the previous door(s) will be closed and there's no way for you to get back to reset that timed run. I could easily notice this in the Sobek's Domain level during a succesive set of timed runs where doors were involved, so I'd strongly suggest you to use your several available savegame slots to your advantage and don't use just one frequently since this may happen to you. Secrets weren't hard to find in general except for two of them in my opinion (and one of which is the special secret that by the way won't be registered in the stats). I also don't understand the why of the very frequently applied darkness along the game, so I'll advice you not to waste your flares in vain as there will not be many of them either. Being short, this is definitely a very challenging game full of classic gameplay moments but with a big lack of objects where I needed over 4 hours to hit the end trigger and with all the nine secrets found. I would still recommend this one to those who really love the classic Egyptian theme." - MrJavi94 (03-Feb-2017)

"Huge level, there are many things to do before taking the ankh. The lighting and texture is not perfect, there are many cracks, twisted or stretched textures, and overall the level is too dark (lara is dull), use a lot of flares and it is tiring for the eyes . The sound of the rolling balls is missing, so we are surprised. There's a huge jigsaw puzzle with the pushables where I spent a lot of time doing it. It lacks cameras, we do not always know the action made by a lever, or the camera shows a place that we do not know and as the level is enormous, we do not remember (lara made many kms ). There are also many timeruns with several levers in succession and if one does not understand one can stay locked in a room or carried away by the current. Otherwise the gameplay is good and those who like the traps will be served in the 3rd level. I found 6 secrets. Congratulations to the author, who for a first level did strong. Congratulations." - Drakan (29-Jan-2017)

"Seeing a KV5 set is alone unusual, I just recall one author start Egypt and all work with it not a default one. But she had less seams and better lighting while this canyon is rather crude for its size, boundaries abrupt, so extra background would do fine. In the very beginning we're greeted with a pair of jackals not taking health at first attempt - shouldn't it always begin that fair? Then we see go for the cartouches, but only after knowing where the holes are, proper approach again. The underwater narrows end with an epic cave with numerous cracks like if basic skills was traded off for almost symbolic knowledge of tension and solution, breath in, breath out. Not even the bats in that cave claim your health again - you see, it's possible. After some nice secrets we get thrown to where we were, no backtrack, so the game achieves perfect balance. I feared something may destroy it, and it did at the palace gates - the missing spikeball and entrance door sounds get followed by a pushblock riddle Satan himself wouldn't think of creating. I ran away to search elsewhere, and I fell into a crypt with a neat mummy-beetle combo I've never seen before. Chased, you need to pull a sequence of switches - what a great opportunity to use hint cameras on different doors! - but here you keep running around wasting flares, getting a medikit but not them, evading rusty swords and tons of crap trying to kill you, hoping you don't miss any secrets, willing to get out asap. I don't know what drove the author to turn perfect immersion into a big nope in few minutes, fortunately it quickly ends with an action set of blocks falling into a death pit - here I again don't like it's pitch dark, it always makes me anxious about missing something. After that I found opposing slopes just unnecessary, until I understood this discreet lesson before the upcoming challenge - it's all planned... or at least seems to be. Then it appears the path was free to choose but certain places have more useful pickups, creating an optimal order of visited corridors, so the concept of non-linearity goes to hell - choose wrong and end up in a dark corridor fighting two giant scorpions with no shells and flares. The last error of the unfortunately dense row is inevitable health loss from my 2nd most hated trap - the library cog, may its original creator have his head pryed off with a crowbar, may he be roasted by a firewraith while screaming trapped inside a horseman armor, may he get hammered with the horseman's axe and trampled by the horseman's horse, for making countless players suffer this over and over. Even worse, here the ledge is too high for the quick evasion backflip, so you get sliced more than usually - come on, this is what even I don't design! Of no help is health staying between level jumps, and nothing of the entirely classic content preparing for it - maybe except from the nicely updated secret count. Meanwhile, I gathered courage to reattempted the pushable, and, Joe Pesci help me, that took 50+ minutes in stats, possibly the longest one I remember. It really didn't have to be three blocks to rise, two would do just fine, also the room could be diminished a bit to reduce the moving distance a lot. But the result is satisfactory, and since that moment the curse is broken - with the worst bit behind, map memorized and fine amount of pickups acquired, gameplay is restored and leaps high above average, with each room making sense, though the connections between them could feel more palatial. Having the two side levels to pick from the hub. Because I again had flares I chose Ammit Domain, expecting it to be darker. It was but in different meaning - the whole unit is a constant challenge, possibly the best classic trap array of this decade, with stunning usage of spikes, moving walls, falling blocks and opposing slopes, explaining the earlier training. The Sobek Domain is much longer, a whole separate complete level, with its own hub. The tasking is properly nested: platforming leads to switches, switches to minor guarded items, they in return to the final relic, so the feeling of getting closer to it never left me and it was a reward like supposed. This and all other gems unlock a portal back in the major hub, to feel even more important, and the prefinal hunt for the two stars occurs at the very top of the central room of the central level, again resorting to natural symbolism - if it's high, it's utmost vitality. About that time I unexpectedly crossed sections I thought I'll never see again, always approached cleverly from a different side or angle, for multiple moments of surprise - this is just what should you do if you have classic pickups. The last guardian stand on the way to the prize is just excellent, if you get the secret weapon it can be easier, and well marks the climax to perfectly resolve with grabbing the title Ankh. Then as always I only required a little getaway to make the solution sink in, but the actual aftermath can even match seriously high expectations, it's just how you do "epic". SUMMARY: A game which demands an offering of patience, persistence and memory but rewards them better than expected. Its strong invitation made me endure the low point, accept the challenge, withstand it and conclude not only fulfilled but also believing we have another top builder onboard. Definitely try this, but mind a few stuckpoints so use those different savegame slots at your disposal." - DJ Full (26-Jan-2017)
back home search