Level: Jackson Pollock's Puzzle back home search
Author(s): semitonic
total rating:7.32 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
alan 7 6 7 5
Bogey 9 7 8 8
CC 8 9 7 6
David 9 6 9 9
Dick 9 7 10 5
Dimpfelmoser 10 7 7 9
eRIC 8 6 7 5
eTux 6 5 5 4
Gerty 8 7 7 8
Jay 8 7 8 7
Jorge22 10 8 9 7
Jose 5 4 7 3
Kristina 9 9 9 9
MichaelP 9 8 7 9
Miguel 7 6 7 6
Phil 8 7 8 7
RaiderGirl 9 8 7 9
Ryan 8 7 7 6
Sash 9 7 8 9
Scottie 7 7 6 5
Treeble 9 7 6 6
category averages
(21 reviews)
8.19 6.90 7.43 6.76

Reviewer's comments

"It's another level of this author and it uses some custom textures like his previous one. Here there are a lot of ways to go. When a flyby shows the scene, it looks good but in some rooms the textures are stretched, others are missing and repetitive. There are some flipmap effects that make, for example, make some pillars appear/disappear. The animations for pulling off a star and opening a door with the crowbar are very weird. There's a tight timed run that took me some tries to complete. I liked running and jumping in the tower, and making a swan dive to the water after finding the gem on the cross. I found a bug with the lever that activates and deactivates the current in the pool, after reloading the current was there even when I had pulled the lever and I had to do it again. Finished in 1 hour, 6 minutes." - alan (23-Dec-2017)

"It's a bit of a weird level, this one. The surroundings are surreal, but incredibly crude, with quite a few missing and stretched textures as well as overdone darkness with no flares provided. There are some unique areas like the maze with Lara's faces and the end room with floating platforms, but even then it's not visually appealing. The gameplay can be fun but rather frustrating, including a couple of alternating rooms, boulder traps, a labyrinth and some texture hints, but there is also a lot of backtracking. I was rather glad when it ended though, because most of it was rather unenjoyable." - Ryan (27-Apr-2017)

"I played this level many years ago, not long after it came out, and I'd quite forgotten how involved and non linear it is. Also, I remembered it as being rather better built than it actually is. I suppose a lot of that is the incredible strides that have been made in level building over the years, but I was surprised by the sheer number of missing textures - one of which made me confuse a pillar with a slope and left me wondering what I was supposed to be doing for quite a while. It remains a remarkable work in many ways - the puzzles are innovative and intriguing - but it hasn't worn quite as well as I'd hoped. Still worth a look though." - Jay (27-Jul-2015)

"Again, I'm very surprised about the ratings for this level. The texurization is quite bad, with a lot of elongated textures, but some members gave a "9" to this section. The level is long and complex, too no-lineal and your goal is to find a couple of artifacts and 5 blue gems. There are some innovative and original tasks I've enjoyed, all builded with flipmaps, and even the timed swim through the underwater tunnels is not very hard, but the author force the players to re-visit the same places a lot of times (example: the roofs) so I can't give a high rate in the gameplay section. Very few enemies, only skeletons, so the uzis and the revolver I found were totally unuseful 'cause even at the very end I didn't need to shoot any vase to finish the level. Where are the flares? I missed them a lot! The best of the game were the flyby cameras showing the triggered objects, but even here they're bad placed and often run through black areas (out of the world). Even following the excellent Dutchy's walkthrough, you'll get problems to finish this level." - Jose (22-May-2015)

"This builder released a couple of levels at the very beginning of the TRLE era and then abruptly stepped out of the picture. That's too bad, as he probably could have made quite a name for himself. This rather surreal offering has several nice touches for such an early level, notably shifting surfaces that require precision timing to navigate successfully. Since such exercises aren't my cup of tea, I didn't have a real good time here. Moreover, the surroundings are quite crude and don't have a great deal of aesthetic appeal. There's a vase-shooting puzzle at the end that you don't need to solve in order to complete the level. For whatever it's worth, the solution provided in an addendum to the walkthrough didn't work for me. In fact, I saved before and reloaded after shooting each of the five vases. Every one caused me to burn and die. Anyway, play it for a change of pace, but don't expect to be overwhelmed." - Phil (07-Feb-2014)

"This level of semitonoc's just might be the ideological parent of just about any surreal games that have ever followed suit in the custom level editing world. It might be a stretch to say it was a direct inspiration, but if you'd think about it, it wouldn't be that hard to find some kinship between this and the works of Psiko, Richard Lawther, nada and possibly other builders. It has a great number of ingenious moments, mainly involving clever usage of flipmaps - where I was particularly impressed by the direction-changing current tunnel, and the new pickups appearing every time you reentered a particular room, though there are a great deal more of those. The settings are quirky and inventive too, though I don't know to what extent I should be familiar with Pollock's works to appreciate the references in here. That said, when playing it now in 2012, it feels terribly, terribly dated for a number of reasons. Despite the interesting overall look and some successful texture choices, the looks are far from awe-inspiring, laden with stretched, compressed and wallpapered textures, lighting raging from non-existent to completely random. There's artistic license and interpretation, and then there's just being sloppy with your brushwork, and I can't really agree that the former applies to this game. Gameplay fares a little better in comparison, but has its own pitfalls - sometimes there are no clues as to what some actions did, or what the objective of a particular puzzle is - climbable walls are universally unmarked and look no different from their environments, and the setup is just plain confusing with little consideration for the player in mind. There's no denying that when its more inspired moments come along - they are really good for a level of its age, but I can't honestly say I was having a great deal of fun dealing with the more confusing parts. These days it might be more of interest to the completist, than than casual gamer, but give it a go if you like the weird and the unusual, and can live with a game not being very player-friendly." - eTux (07-May-2012)

"I must confess that I cannot understand the good scores so properly. I find this level about wide distances quite ugly. Textures lack, one sees stretched textures, there is no Flares, climbing textures lack et cetera. The riddles are really made good, this is beyond debate. But this is already the only really good thing in this level. The buildings look just strange. These strange dark pink at the level borders also does not look much better. A few rooms look quite nice, but otherwise I am glad that I come to the levelend without having remaining damages for my eyes." - Scottie (23-Feb-2010)

"This is such a weird level and albeit an old one, it has lots of things I haven't seen before. This surreal city is a huge riddle and will have you questing five gems through a variety of puzzles (most of them are time/space based, as stated by other reviews), my favorite being the "blessed be those who return to worship", that was a novelty to me despite this level's been available for almost 6 years. Unfortunately I had to follow Dutchy's fantastic walkthrough most of the time simply because this level is really confusing. I think the textures could have used more work, as they are often stretched/compressed and the pink ceiling was a nice improvisation, bearing in mind the catacombs don't have an horizon, but being able to touch it shouldn't be possible. Oh well, it's quite a surreal level anyway. I didn't quite understand the final puzzle with the vases, but you still can climb up to the end of the level without shooting them at all, so I wonder what difference it makes (other than making the bottom floor deadly). 60 minutes, 1 secret. 02/07" - Treeble (20-Feb-2007)

"I thought this was going to be a joke level with loads of brash colours and little else. How wrong I was - OK the colours were lurid in places - but there was so much more to the level than that. Not a joke at all - this is an intricate and highly original level. A fine piece of work with an overall look which is as superb as its demanding gameplay. I strongly recommend you download it. Having recently replayed this level (may2004) I feel obliged to update my review. This is still a very clever level but it has dated badly. It was built at a time when there was very little feedback from players via established forums and reviews - and this shows. The textures may include customisation but the application is as bad as I've ever seen: - alternately ultra compressed and then ultra stretched. Lighting also is very crude ranging from no lights at all to total shadows converting Lara to a silhouette. The gameplay has aged better but again it shows evidence of having been developed without any critical feedback (boy this needed beta testing) :- so we get climbable walls that are unmarked puzzles that can not be solved logically and flip maps that flip-off after a save/load. But the sheer inventiveness of the better puzzles and the trippy atmosphere of the whole level still stand up to the test of time. I genuinely still believe that semitonic is one of the greatest talents ever to build a custom level - it is a shame he quit before he had a chance to hone his skills. If he was still building now - we'd all know his name." - Dick (07-May-2004)

"An intriguing puzzle and exploration level in a weird setting. Under a pink sky there is a town embedded in a strange framework structure which supported by huge pylons extends over a gloomy park. There is also an eerie dark church and a couple of indoor arts exhibition areas. Technically the level is an exhibition of the creative use of flipmaps some of which oscillate to create various spatio-temporal puzzles. A few parts of this level are quite dark but in general one doesn't need flares (except in the beginning) and in the darkest places one should indeed not use flares. There are some skeletons to dispose of and a few other enemies but enemies and traps play a minor role. You need to explore the areas carefully and do heed the instructions given in some places. In the last puzzle the designer seems to have mixed up a couple of objects (brown vases) so the logical solution doesn't work. However one can finish the game anyway. All in all this is a very inventive level with a singular uncanny atmosphere. It does have a few rough spots though." - Bogey (01-May-2004)

"It's amazing for an old game quite amazing how someone could exercise so much originality with a simple catacomb.tom file! The settings are transformed and perfectly new and it's all quite a puzzle indeed! All the back and fro and back and fro I had to make in order to complete this game! And how tough it was to finally understand how to get the fifth gem I needed for the final! There are of course some weird things too: walls that allow you to see through them a wraith that attacks Lara and suddenly disappears some place else until you hear a 'bang!' - it's dead - in the distance... And a certain lack of medipacks... There are many ways apart from baddies to severely lose one's health. But let's face it this is a masterpiece in conception especially when you come to think how far back it goes already! Well I tried and tried over and over even made drawings of every vase in the last rooms with the paintings but was still unable to solve the final riddle... Somehow Lara always ended up on fire. That was frustrating. Of course I did finish the game by jumping from platform to platform all the way up to the top but I suppose that mustn't have been all... And I dare you to finish it too hopefully in a more perfect manner than I." - Jorge22 (05-Apr-2004)

"The title made me think that I was going to have a kind of weird experience in this level and in a way that is what I got. Not so much Pollock's art all over the place as other famous artists i.e. Picasso Klimt and the Mondrian maze. It can't be described realistically but safe to say it's like a little city/town weird pink-red sky above lots of roof hopping kind of grid tower structures with cool 'lift-up' pools with sink actions castle textures in water tunnels extremely dark almost black tunnels to see Lara reclining on an altar. That was an extraordinary slope going up to the maze as you climb the 'standing' parts of the slope can alter and turn back to a slide very unique. I got squashed by that boulder after picking up the crowbar a few times before it dawned on me that the door needs to be closed first. I thought all the flipmaps were great like in the cage maze. And I had to read about going back to see Lara in the dark tunnel to get the fifth blue gem (high score in objects and secrets for that the crowbar trap and other good pickups). Very unusual level even by today's standards. Possibly a little too weird for some people though." - CC (12-Feb-2004)

"Talking about a bummer this one was a bummer for me. I had to give it three tries before I could finish it and afterwards I could slap myself. First time around I just couldn't swim against the current second time around that part was OK but I couldn't remember where that lever was to open that particular door and third time around it worked. Don't get me wrong this is not an easy level as there is some hard thinking to do as I found out. There is also a nasty timed swim what took forever it seemed. The textures are out off this world so be prepared to see a purple wall/sky and art work from Pollock going from jungle to hard steel. The slope with appearing and disappearing steps was a novelty and rather hard to do. Also that maze that changes all the time. All in all there are rather some great and clever things to find in here and I definitively had an 'aha Erlebnes' or two. The skeletons are a pain in the neck the wraiths and beetles were easier to handle. Getting two stars and five gems is your goal and don't forget the scroll crowbar pillar and knot Lara had the wrong animation with the crowbar but it worked and the shooting of the vases had me baffled till I read some of the reviews. Glad I am not the only one who couldn't solve that one. 30-10-2003" - Gerty (12-Nov-2003)

"I had been putting this level off for a while as I thought it was going to be hard and there were a few tough spots but mostly I found it highly original with smart puzzles and some really neat textures (including pictures of Lara scattered about). It took a while to get through but I think it would go pretty fast the second time as there are things to do that aren't really necessary to finish the level and once you know where things are the whole thing would go pretty quick. Some of the puzzles include a maze that changes constantly a switch that transports you to the top of a scaffolding a timed door for a golden star a switch puzzle for the crowbar and a room that you return to a few times to find different pickups. I was the most confused at the end - there are two vase-shooting puzzles after you place the five gems. In the first room I died no matter what vase I shot first so didn't even try in the second room. Now that I look back on it maybe the two rooms were connected but you can complete the level without the puzzle so I say just skip it and enjoy the view." - RaiderGirl (09-Feb-2003)

"Jackson Pollock's Puzzle is a Level which can separate the player community in two halves - you will like it or you will not. There's not so much space in between. First of all you need to know that here are some cultural art textures - that is question of taste. A lot of textures are badly placed; some parts show that the builder maybe had not enough time for building; you will see through the floor and have some paper-thin walls. Yes I am sure you can build metal towers with a floor! The water-textures show some errors - maybe working them out did not work so well. But you will see some good ideas - builder takes you to a wrong way - rolling ball or the sinks. And very good use of flipmaps - like the ascending in the higher places... What should be that kind of 'shoot the pots'-game I didn't find out - I left them there and went out. Even thinking of all the possibilities of shooting them made me wonder...Fog a little bit too strong and I didn't like the purple sky - but maybe this is art? Also why is Lara missing the correct animating for putting out something with the crowbar - that you could fix." - Miguel (23-Oct-2002)

"Should you ever find yourself in the utterly wonderful country that is Australia make sure you pay a visit to its capital Canberra and then head straight to the National Gallery (there is nothing else to see) as it hosts one of the best collections of modern art. And as the Australians by and large have no interest in anything cultural you will have the museum to yourself; which is excellent. Now somewhere in the area dedicated to American Artists you'll find my favourite painting by Jackson Pollock. It's called Eight Poles and when I stepped into the room I was really lost for words. It's so brilliant. And this level is not bad either. Actually the gameplay is downright ingenious and the atmosphere (especially in the rooms near the end) is groovy as well. There are quite a few questions that remain unanswered like what was the two stars lever for? Why did the shooting Puzzle at the end not work? But don't let that put you off. There are so many neat and inventive ideas here most of them not seen anywhere else. The clever use of flipmaps that constantly change the rooms the altar that you have to return to at least four times a brilliant timed swim the Mondrian maze (never thought I would like a maze) the trick with the crowbar. True some areas are a little too dark sometimes the eclectic mix of designs seems to get out of hand and quite a few textures are missing but that doesn't matter really cause in Pollock's World everything seems possible. The whole thing is very non-linear so chances are that you will get stuck cause some places are easily overlooked but if you explore throughout you should eventually get all crucial items. The fly bys are rather clumsy the skeletons seem out of place and you have to do a lot of backtracking but all that doesn't really spoil the enjoyment. Just to rope swing to this lever in surreal surroundings high above the main ground is definitely worth the download. It's kinda obvious why Richard likes this level as what you get here can be described as a Head Trip but a very enjoyable one at that." - Dimpfelmoser (06-Oct-2002)

"Surreal setting and ingenious gameplay! Now of course in hindsight you could actually end the level without finding the two stars and the five gems in a very short time but where would be the fun in that? This level does not actually cover a large area although the setting seems huge but in the area it covers it allows you to get to almost every corner and in order to get all the pick ups you will have to and it is so much fun to scratch your head and think about what to do next. Ok there are climb through ceilings and unmarked climbable walls which I hate but they are few and as you run out of ideas to do anything else you will find them. I actually had no trouble finding the knot but did search the rather obvious and close by pillar for a long time. The stars help you trigger one of three nice perpetual flip effects (very clever) but you can actually get to the gem high up on the cross without it flipping. The timed run or rather swim is a challenge and the 'alternating walls' in the maze very cool. I needed a hint in the forum to get that scroll by swimming against the current. Found one secret (shotgun ammo) and enemies were no trouble here (skeletons and wraiths and beetles). On the downside the flybys were very bad and carelessly done some areas were pitch black and I was somehow too stupid to figure out the right sequence of shooting those vases. Well you can end the level anyway so I wonder what I missed. 2 hours of net gaming time and great fun!" - Michael (06-Sep-2002)

"This truly is a kaleidoscope of textures that would make any fan of surrealism proud from large steel caged areas to ever changing puzzles and splashes of color and mood all the way through combine to make this an extremely complicated and entertaining level apart from all that it just simply looks different than any level I have played and will keep the player thinking for quite a long time." - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

"An excellent and large level with lots to explore. There are some tricky sections and items are well hidden though a keen eye will spot some of the routes around the structures. The strange scaffolding thing is good fun and I liked the hints given on some of the texture panels - however the 'Give Control Back to Lara' on top of the scaffold doesn't seem to mean much. In particular ensure you return to worship Lara at intervals to get all the pickups you need there. Two areas of concern. First is the means to get to the gemstone in the large bright geometric room beyond the simply superb changing slope (10/10 for this!). There is no real clue as to what you have to do and the solution is backwards here for those who get stuck: pmuj dna brag redun eht lartnec erutcurts. uoy nac neht dnecsa hguorht dilos sgniliec. The other problem is the shooting puzzle at the end. All very well to have one correct order of shooting five pots but there are 3124 incorrect sequences and there seems to be no apparent way of working out what the correct order might be. However you don't need to do this to complete the level just head for the top of this room. Also when all the blue gems have been found and all the doors opened in the gem room ... there seems no further point. There's nothing in them and you can't do anything more. A shame as the opportunity could have been taken to have placed a small puzzle in each of the rooms. Despite these shortcomings this is an excellent level and one which could perhaps do with a proper walkthrough being made available." - David (21-Jun-2002)

"A definitely original level textures like as well as puzzles involved. Speaking of textures they are mostly original and painted from the author colourful and in many parts whole rooms sometimes you can see pictures of Lara or her face to be more exact. There are big metal bridges throughout the level and every area has a different and occasionally difficult approach. From having to get the crowbar with combined actions from a timed door that involves fast swimming or even fighting the current it's very challenging until the end. A stepped sloped room with the steps appearing and disappearing and searching in the dark for the way to the gem and the underground way to the garden behind the building makes it fascinating. Having to pry stars and finding gems in the most unbelievable places the climbs and difficult jumps will nail you down. The skeletons are chasing you while you try to solve a puzzle and even giving you trouble in the higher of places. A cross that changes and allows you to get the final gem was superb but so was the rest of the level I found particularly clever the idea of getting back to an area about five times or so and every time collecting an item. I would recommend it blind folded." - Kristina (21-Jun-2002)

"At the start this level does not seem to be very attractive. Although it is based on the Catacomb wads it recalls more the City wad for the dark and sinister atmosphere. The player has to explore many areas; a little town where you have to climb on the roofs opened spaces with jungle or Scottish textures metallic structures and an area with a church to find a knot a pharos pillar a scroll and 5 blue gems. Not very attractive but nevertheless the level is interesting for some very good puzzles and challenging tasks. As it is a puzzles level the enemies are few: a wraith and some skeletons you can get rid of with the shotgun found at the very beginning. The puzzle to pickup the crowbar without dying is very good and the timed door with running climbing and swimming is great. The author has made also a very good work with some special flip-map effects. But there are also tedious actions like swimming against the current to find the scroll and the two shooting puzzles at the end is a bit strange. Some puzzles can only be solved with perseverance as no logic is required. The most annoying thing in this level is that you can't reload a savegame without crashing to the desktop very annoying for some challenging tasks. I found also bugs with solid textures in the air near the roofs. As for the textures they are often stretched in the huge areas the lighting is bad and there are no flares. For a conclusion this is an interesting level to play with some original ideas in the puzzles and the new textures (actually Jackson Pollock 's paintings) but there are some downside points that spoil the fun a bit. Note: I have completed the level in two hours and have still two golden stars in the inventory." - eRIC (21-Jun-2002)
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