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Level: The Hidden Garden back home search
Author(s): Inchdix
total rating:9.00 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bex 8 9 10 10
Boris 9 9 9 10
Brigidsgirl 10 9 10 9
CC 9 7 9 9
Cuqui 9 9 10 10
David 9 9 10 10
Dimpfelmoser 10 9 9 10
Drew 7 8 7 7
EssGee 9 10 9 10
eTux 8 8 9 9
Freeman Porter 10 10 9 9
Fridge Raider 10 10 10 10
G.Croft 9 9 10 10
Gerty 9 8 9 9
gfd 8 7 9 9
Ivan 10 10 10 10
janachorider 7 8 9 9
Jason 7 8 9 10
Jorge22 8 8 9 8
Jose 8 8 8 9
Knuxx 8 9 10 10
Kristina 8 8 9 9
Loren 9 9 10 10
Loupar 10 9 10 10
Magnus 9 8 9 10
manarch2 8 8 10 9
MegaGamer 8 8 8 8
MichaelP 8 9 9 8
Momster 8 9 10 10
Monika 9 9 9 9
Moonliteshadow 9 9 9 10
Navi 10 9 9 9
Nutman 8 9 9 9
Orbit Dream 7 6 10 10
Phil 8 8 10 9
QRS 10 9 10 9
RaiderGirl 10 10 10 10
Relic Hunter 10 9 10 9
Samu 9 9 9 9
Sash 7 8 8 9
Sherry 9 9 10 10
Snap125 10 10 10 10
tizerist 9 9 8 8
Tombraidergirl 8 9 10 10
Torry 9 9 10 10
Treeble 10 9 9 9
TrueRaider 7 10 10 9
Wendee 8 9 10 10
Whistle 8 7 7 8
Xxenofex 9 9 9 8
category averages
(50 reviews)
8.68 8.70 9.30 9.30

Reviewer's comments

"A good level. The gardens are really beautiful and the textures were nice. It's better than a couple of levels in the series. The gameplay was a little tedious at times, although I still recommend playing this series." - MegaGamer (19-Apr-2014)

"well...im going to be honest:this level has a great building and atmosphere but a bad gameplay.i hate non-linear levels and this one got me enraged at the point of cheating im sorry but going from one place to another climbing up and down surfaces and going through crawlspaces is not my style." - janachorider (21-Feb-2014)

"Right at the first cutscene this one was a visually top game for me. Textures and sound were very good. The area in this first level was not too big, but full of great tasks. There weren't many enemies, but the ahmet fights was really nice. Nothing too hard here, except for some jumping parts in the trees and in the last lava room. The three secrets were hidden well and it was a pleasure to get all these weapons as a reward, really helpful in the following levels. The idea to make this to a hub level was also very nice. I found nly one little bug, you could stand on invisible ledges at some places, but this didn't disturb the gameplay. This game was incredibly real, I think, with a very good atmosphere. I hope the series will have some real highlights, I don't mean this isn't good, but a bit too much to and fro with too much leverpushing prevented this level from being a masterpiece." - manarch2 (23-Jan-2011)

"This is the first level of a series so you can finish it without do all the tasks you can do. It's no-lineal so sure that you'll have to retrace your steps many times, and at the end there are several exits to go to the next levels and get four golden vraeus. I liked a lot the architecture and the tasks in the lava rooms. I only found the crossbow, but ammo for the shotgun and the revolver too so I suppose I'll find those guns in next levels. There are few sounds, but I liked the background musics; the best for me were architecture, lights and textures." - Jose (18-Nov-2008)

"Like Celtic Folly from the same author, this is another series that I have pushed away for quite a long time, mostly because I'm not much of a fan of nonlinear and long levels, but I was pleasantly surprised with the start of this series. The atmosphere is flawless, and the way that gameplay was built into this level is brilliant to say the least. I do have a few gripes though such as a number of compressed textures and most of the switches don't have cameras attached to them, but the level is so nicely crafted that at least I didn't get bored running through the same series of areas twice or thrice looking for what to do next. I also ended up reaching the end of the world while looking for my next objective. This is also the main hub level for the entire series, and the way the gates to the next levels are distributed is just neat. 50 minutes, 3 secrets. 04/08" - Treeble (01-May-2008)

"TOMB RAIDER: HIDDEN GARDEN. I'm going to review this levelset as one game. I would hazard a guess that its based in Peru or somewhere similar. The Hidden Garden area is basically a HUGE monastery complex, broken up into 5 distinct looking sections. The whole structure is in ruins, containing massive flooded sections, an area caked in lava, an overgrown area, the outdoor garden hub area, and a magical section made up of a castle built upon the foundations of floating blue rock, and you're free to travel back and forth between these locations in a free-roam style, but theres one section you're required to come back to time and again. Its actually the most peaceful part of the game and it's a relief to return there. The exploration aspect far outweighs the action, and it's better for it. Theres some really nice architecture here too. I also like the way corpes stay on the floor alot. However, i'm a bit baffled as to why each section has a different coloured sky. Also I don't understand the way the game ends - Lara simply drops down a hole. My play time was about 12 and a half hours. Anyway, a great adventure. 9/10" - tizerist (30-Apr-2007)

"I have to tell this was a very nice level including really good looking central garden area which is connected very well to other levels and areas. There's also a lot of exploring and interesting tasks to accomplish so there are no dull moments in this level. If you haven't played this level yet, I suggest you to play it." - Samu (18-Apr-2007)

"Playing Inch's Hidden garden series is an inspiration. I recommend them to any builder as something to aspire to. When I wrote this review I was unaware that the levels were listed individually. I played the gaame as an entire series and my review is done on that basis, so you find an identical review for each of the levels. Architecture, texturing and lighting are stunning and provide an amazing atmosphere. Inch is the master of not having a straight surface, so you'll always be checking every little corner for something hidden, especially in the cave like areas. The Emerald Lakes level provided me with the greatest difficulty and I particularly enjoyed the Firewalk level. The atmosphere of Obsidian Heights is a must see. Enemies are never overused, but you'll be kept busy figuring out some great puzzles. And even if you get stuck with some of these puzzles you can just walk around and soak up the atmosphere of these picturesque levels. Although now an older release and lacking the bells and whistles of custom objects, you'll marvel at how well these levels stand the test of time and match it with any of the latest releases." - EssGee (10-Mar-2007)

"This level serves as a hub to all the other levels in this saga. When it comes to architecture it is a masterpiece. The huge areas with temples, trees etc. A fantastic level. The gameplay is also extremly good. Everytime you get back here or just explore, you find new things and often discover a secret hehe. The atmosphere is also perfect. You can't ask for more actually. The only thing I didn't like was the textures in many places. There were also tons of cracks in the water areas that made the experience less nice. Other than that, this level is amazing!" - QRS (10-Feb-2007)

“A brilliant level from Jon. This level is the central level which links to the four other levels of the Hidden Garden series which are Emerald Lakes Firewalk Obsidian Heights and Serpentine Gorge. We start out in a very nice jungle area with baboons frolicking and for our first visit here we have to collect two tridents to flood the valley to get access to the rest of the levels. We also have to find two gems to open up the entrances to the other levels and open the entrance to the room where we have to place the four golden vraeuses after our visits to the other levels. I particularly liked the lava rooms where we have to find the first trident before the entrance to Firewalk and finding a horseman's gem in a larger lava room that was rather difficult to get through but I managed. There wasn't any new texturing here but they were applied very well and the lighting fit the level very much. Here we had to kill some bats and a few ahmets. Off to Emerald Lakes I go!” – Relic Hunter (14-Aug-2004)

“What a wonderful start to the series. Inch has a keen eye for detail in his levels and this one is gorgeous. The scenery is absolutely stunning. This is very well lit and textured one of the best I have seen. The title may lead you to believe this level is set mostly outdoors. Don’t be fooled for there are a lot of hidden caves to explore as well all of which are challenging in places. There are not many enemies in this level only bats and monsters. The monkeys are harmless so try to avoid shooting them if possible. This a level you will certainly want to take your time with and although the puzzles are a bit confusing at times it’s all very rewarding in the end.” – Knuxx (14-Mar-2004)

“Overall this is a GREAT level! I enjoyed playing it and did so for a little over 3 hours. The puzzles had me running all over the place and it was really fun to just explore the elements in the different areas. It is apparent that the level was thought out very well and then executed beautifully. The textures are great layout excellent and the puzzles are hard but really fun to figure out. My only issue with the level is a secret (at least I think it's a secret) that I can't get to in one of the rooms and that's probably just me not trying hard enough lol.” – Brigidsgirl (02-Mar-2004)

“I loved the fact that this nice looking level features creatures that are friendly and do not need to be killed; it made it seem much more 'real'. Nothing too difficult in this map then apart from a rather deceiving looking drop into a lava pit. A nice relaxing and good looking level. I completed it in 1 hour and 15 minutes and found 2 secrets.” – gfd (03-Jan-2004)

“This is a classic and I must say I had high expectations for it namely in items such as beauty. The name itself Hidden Garden is promising. But it turned out that it was simply a jungle with roman buildings some monkeys and some monsters nicely named ‘ahmets’ as I saw afterwards in the walkthrough. So much for the amazingly beautiful surroundings then... Beautiful yes but in no way amazing. I must state I had fun playing this level no matter what I've said already or what I'm about to say... For example the lava room at the end is one of the most buggy rooms I've had the pleasure of dealing with in a custom level - Lara can do certain things and then she can't anymore (that is after you reload) from sliding directly from one side of a climbable wall to the other instead of simply moving when at first she did to falling into the lava while making some move that previously left her untouched. And what's that first lever in the hole before reaching the room there for? I saw a gate closing but it only confused me... Anyway since that part is so buggy it's lucky one can find his way around in more than one manner or the game would be left unfinished. And finally as I used all the five levers/switches right before the end what's the sense of the gate opening into the next room when Lara could simply go back the way she came? Worse I went and took a look at Obsidian Heights when I should have headed for the Emerald Lakes (I went there too a lot of water but nothing as beautifully promising as the name Emerald Lakes might suggest). I believe I could have gone anywhere. What's the sense of that? Shouldn't I only be allowed to get to the second level and then to the following and always that way instead of level jumping accordingly to my own free will and probably not the author's? I know this sounds too plaintful... and there are reasons! Still I advise playing this level not because it's ‘amazingly beautiful’ not because it's totally bug free God no! not because it always makes all the sense in the world but simply because it's good tomb raiding fun and clean enough. On that you can trust me...” – Jorge22 (09-Oct-2003)

“Hidden Garden is the first level in a series of five. In fact it serves as a hub level for which the other four are ‘spokes’. The gameplay for this level is divided into two parts. In the first the player is required to locate two Tridents and gain access to a high temple-like area to use them to flood a deep low-lying portion of the Garden. Doing this also opens one of the doors giving the player access to one of the other levels. The second part of the gameplay requires the player to locate two Horseman Gems to be used in the temple to access a room with five switches. Two of these switches open two more doors to other levels. (The fourth level is accessed by triggering two shootable switches that open yet another door.) The puzzles are well thought out but I felt that there could have been more of them and the gameplay was a little too easy on the player especially compared with the gameplay in some of the other levels. Enemies consist of bats and ahmets. There are some baboons running around but since these leave Lara alone unless she attacks them they don't really count as enemies. The objects were well chosen and well used to enhance the atmosphere. I found three Secrets none too easy but I felt that two of them could have been a little more challenging to reach. The atmosphere is delicious and the sound lighting and textures really add to the author's intent to make this level a very beautiful setting. This whole series of levels more than any other that I've played feels like a Myst game (Myst Riven Exile) and Hidden Garden to a large extent feels like Myst Island. The player is required to visit each of the ‘spoke’ levels to find a Golden Vraeus to use in Hidden Garden to access the end of the level in much the same way the player in Myst was required to collect red and blue pages. But the atmosphere itself is spectacular.” – Loren (24-Sep-2003)

“The first in the series this one is set around a lovely looking grassy and tree filled area with slightly dilapidated buildings sometimes set in lava to explore you will also find the large metal gates that connect to all four of the other levels in the series. On your journey around you will have to go and collect a couple of tridents that when placed will fill a section of the outdoor area with water then on to find a couple of gems. I really enjoyed the 50 minutes I spent playing this but in the scheme of things there wasn’t a great deal to complete here though you still feel quite busy. I found all three secrets torch puzzles to collect two loved the tree climbing and tried not to kill any of the exploding monkeys while going after the ahmets.” – Sash (13-Sep-2003)

“As Jon knows I have been attempting this series for a while now but I couldn't get it to work not the complete download and not the single ones they all threw me back to my desktop specially the single downloads. So I had to rummage through my CD's and lo and behold I finally got it to work. Is it me or are there bugs in this level as Lara wouldn't do some grabbing not the first not the second but sometimes only after a tenth time going back to a saved game. Found a couple of illegal slopes and even at one part a big piece of texture missing. It is eye candy I grant you that but doing a jump over and over again because you are a fraction 'out' isn't my kind of game. Also I went in the lava room first down to get that switch and then up to the pedestal to find out that I first had to light a torch (as I needed that sight I think). That is a big NO NO in my book. I had to refer to the walktrough and apart from knowing how I was supposed to play it wasn’t much help as I for sure pulled some switches that weren't in the walkthrough and I still don't know what they did. Also found some brass balls that one has to shoot but presumably that will happen after coming back when all the levels are played. I was a bit disappointed to say the least but I am on my merry way to the next level. 20-09-2003” – Gerty (15-Aug-2003)

“First part of the series. Lovely garden setting with temples and trees to climb on and jump from to get around the 'cliffs' and monkeys walking around minding their own business and not yours. The scary enemies are the ahmets (would someone explain to me what these things are and why they are called ahmets?). Some scary jumps in the lava room below one building dodging boulders. Another challenging lava room to get a 2nd horseman's gem and the lasersight. Got a little lost in there but the way out is actually easy. Objective is finding switches and getting two tridents to flood one big temple area so you can go on to next level. This first part of the Hidden Garden series can be done quite quickly when you know where to go! And you know you'll be back because there are doors not yet open. Very nice introduction to the rest of the series now onto the next part - Emerald Lakes.” – CC (31-Mar-2003)

“I love levels that grow and expand as you play them and THE HIDDEN GARDEN is a great example. We start in predictably enough a garden with monkeys and a cursory explore reveals some areas to get to but lots of locked doors. However further persistence starts to really open up the level and before long the place is flooded and there are entrances to four further levels available: EMERALD LAKES OBSIDIAN HEIGHTS SERPENTINE GORGE and FIRE WALK. Each of these is different and each is pretty hard to complete. Perhaps the hardest is FIRE WALK for which I needed the walkthrough and I also had to check on progress on some of the others from time to time as well. The use of graphics is brilliant and each place seems real and a lot of care and thought has gone into them. There are several things to kill - bats ahmets and clockwork men mainly with dragonflys in OBSIDIAN HEIGHTS as well oh and several crocs sharks and other assorted nasties including bugs in one area. My one complaint in the whole thing is in FIRE WALK when you have to shoot 5 vases in the correct sequence - how are you supposed to know? I thought at first that the colours of the translucent floor tiles on your way into the area was the key but this seemed not to be the case at all. I hate this kind of random-ness to a level - there should be some clue as to what is going on. Despite this I got over 10 solid hours of gameplay from this and it was great fun. Definitely one of the best level sequences I've played.” – David (23-Feb-2003)

“Excellent level. It begins in a garden with nice trees for climbing. Beautifully designed atmosphere and textures are superb. Great rooms and lovely fountains. Flybys are impressive. I liked the way to find the two blue gems (the second one was very well hidden). Fun very fun. I'm going to play the next.” – Cuqui (27-Nov-2002)

“I've learned to approach Jon Heywood's levels with a mixture of dread and anticipation. I had more fun playing Celtic Folly than I've had in a long time but it was so difficult for an old duffer like me requiring me to take time out for help more times than I can count that I was relieved when it was finally over. I knew better than to begin tackling the Hidden Garden series before I had a walkthrough safely in hand. But even with its help I found myself getting bogged down frequently. I even had to turn to my benefactress to send me screen shots to supplement her walkthrough for crying out loud whereupon I would discover to my anger that I was trying to grab a slope on the wrong wall or I was on the wrong branch of the wrong tree or I was trying to navigate around the wrong pillar. Some of the more adroit among the raider community may relish the challenge of these difficult levels but they're extremely frustrating for run-of-the-mill gamers like me so I'm docking gameplay as a result. A word of friendly advice for Jon and the other gifted level authors: Make your creations as challenging as you wish for the elite who can handle them but as a courtesy to the rest of us keep the DOZY cheat enabled so we can move forward in the game while appreciating the fruit of your genius. All of this being said Hidden Garden is a visually stunning level with great effects and a winsome ambiance. Enemies are few and far between but that doesn't detract from the enjoyment of the gaming experience during those all-too-few periods of steady progress through the level. Highly recommended notwithstanding the foregoing wet blanket commentary and I'm looking forward to playing the remaining levels in the series.” – Phil (24-Nov-2002)

“So finally I made my way into the series and after watching the rather nice title flyby this is a slide into a coastal ruins style garden/jungle setting where monkeys peacefully roam and this first level offers you a variety of choices as to where to explore to make your way through – read: non-linear. There are quite a few levers to find two tridents and two gems there is lava as well as water involved a good jump/climb sequence and the hopping around the trees was fun. The water flipmap is very impressive and I liked the cobwebs (much more real than they usually look – nice touch). So overall a great architecture but relatively little to do here and only the occasional bat and ahmet as an enemy. Found two secrets (crossbow and lasersight) both after solving a little torch puzzle and took me just over an hour to get through.” – Michael (22-Oct-2002)

“I have just re-played this for the purpose of reviewing and I still had to look at the help threads a couple of times. I’ve played a lot of action-packed levels since the first time I played Hidden Garden (as a novice) but this level still has its old magic. Jon just makes a level flow ever so nicely. There are not a lot of enemies in the level no hard puzzles but steadily flowing gameplay getting you ever-so-much closer to moving to the second in the series. A couple of ways you can be caught out if you flood the area too soon. And the same darn jump switch had me stumped as the first time I played. It took me just a little under an hour and one-half and I found 2 secrets.” – Momster (05-Oct-2002)

“This level begins in a jungle in which there are also ruins. It is developed more on mysteries. Lara has to do much in order to find the whole artifacts. From the graphic it is very affectionately designed. Textures were processed nearly always cleanly. For my Lara it was a warm atmosphere because the designer succeeded providing for alternation. With me no boredom arose. I found three Secrets. Opponents were not all too many but was not so bad had enough to do also in such a way. Camera guidance and sound did not come much however suitably. In the other four levels she finds the golden Vraeus' what leads her back then into this level.” – Navi (28-Sep-2002)

“The master has done it again with a completely beautiful level. This level is a lot of fun to play - keeps the ‘little grey cells’ working. I gave up on it twice but it kept calling me back and I am glad I returned. I guess I got a little smarter each time. Highly recommend.” – Sherry (11-Sep-2002)

“Tough but enjoyable all the same. The opening fly-by shows some monkeys but when I killed one of these when you take control of Lara I could not re-load my game once I had saved it. Despite that annoyance however if you love hard challenging levels play this. If not you will become frustrated for the amount of times you get stuck (or at least I did!). But it looks fantastic and everything else is practically perfect.” – TrueRaider (05-Sep-2002)

“A brilliant fly by showing this level makes you want to dive into it straight away. There are many places to explore from climbing trees/cliffs to underground lava areas. And what's great is you can get to some areas by more than one path. I was only able to find one other weapon and this is combined nicely with only a few enemies. There are quite a few ammo pickups but no doubt these are for other baddies with four other levels connected to the Hidden Garden. With two hard earned tridents a nice flood occurs which leads you to a couple of more objects and opens the way to the other levels. I will be reviewing each level as I finish it but I can see already that this will be a great series and will deserve an overall review at the end.” – Nutman (12-Aug-2002)

“Very original level which contains the doors to other four levels. The challenge is to find four golden vraeus in them. By itself it is very beautiful and full of puzzles and places that will be discovered at the end of the other levels. Really the rate would be applicable to the complete game but in this case we must rate every level. All of them are of the best I've played.” – Loupar (11-Aug-2002)

“Because this is the ‘start level’ and the first which I ever saw like this I gave all four 10 for score and one of the levels who are best. I like it. It’s big and all is visible everything is there (monkeys too). I was thinking do I need to kill monkeys or not hahahahha. Nice and beautifully made level. Excellent!” – Ivan (11-Aug-2002)

“This is a supremely beautiful level. In fact I'd go so far as to say that it's a work of art. I could have wandered around that wonderfully crafted landscape all day. And therein lies its weakness. Yes I know this isn't really a stand-alone level and yet it was released as such originally before the other inter-connecting levels were added. Therefore it should be playable as a complete level in its own right. But it isn't. When you begin you have no idea what you're supposed to do or where you're supposed to go; indeed there are no clues given anywhere until the lovely fly-by revealing the valley flooding...and that's right at the end! An ending incidentally which occurs before you've had the chance to explore all the rooms. Oh well that's what this is all about after all. I also spent some time leaping gracefully around a lava room in order to successfully acquire a Trident only to find that all I needed to do was pull a couple of switches instead. Never mind when all is said and done it's a very lovely and enjoyable shortish (once you know what it is you're supposed to do) level. There's an awful lot of aimless wandering around but this is just the right sort of place to aimlessly wander around in.” – Orbit Dream (22-Jul-2002)

“The series runs 1. Hidden Garden - 2. Emerald Lakes - 3. Firewalk - 4. Obsidian Heights - 5. Serpentine Gorge with Hidden Garden being the central hub as you return here often to gain access to the other levels. The order in which these go and the approximate times taken are as follows. You start in Hidden Garden for 75 minutes move on to Emerald Lakes for 90 minutes back to Hidden Garden for 20 minutes then onto Firewalk for 65 minutes back to Hidden Garden again for a quick 5 minutes and onto Obsidian Gorge for 130 minutes. Then a quick backtrack to Hidden Garden for a minute or so and onto Serpentine Gorge the last level for 155 minutes with a final visit to Hidden Garden for 5 minutes to place the 4 Vraeus objects. This ended up for a total game time of 9 hours. Hidden Garden: This level was pretty confusing (which I have come to recognise as one of the authors trademarks) but you simply must persevere as the rest of the levels hinge around this central hub and you must get it right here first. The mutant beasts (which you will encounter throughout the series) are nicely done and working out how to flood the canyon gave me a few headaches. There are things to do here that you will need to leave for later as certain objects you will find in later levels are required and as you return here often it will all sort itself out. LOL.” – Torry (10-Jul-2002)

“A level that does from a portal to other future level the first has just been released and is called Emerald Lakes. You have to find 2 tridents and two gems to open various gates that are the exit way to the neighbor levels. The environment is mixed there is an area with great tree with monkeys and rocks around rooms with beautiful fountains caves with lava and various traps. The graphic detail and the structure of the level is notable and in particular I liked very much the flyby of the flood with the waterfall that opens new passages otherwise inaccessible and besides the secrets introduced in the level is easily visible but deceptive! I have found two (thanks to Tombaholic for the help). Another good level of Inchdix and naturally good work for the future levels of this series.” – Boris (21-Jun-2002)

“Very well designed beautiful level with monkeys playing around. Not many enemies but the difficulty here is to find the right way to the many levers. Finding two tridents floods a part of the area and gives you access to more rooms. Some doors lead nowhere yet but will when the mini-game is complete.” – G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

“Another masterpiece from one of my favorite level creators and so beautiful it could be called 'The Hidden Garden of Eden'. The scenic opening fly-by showed just enough to make me eager to start exploring the rest of the area and it just got better from there. There are many areas filled with fun challenging puzzles and half the fun is exploring and finding those areas as they can be well hidden or hard to get to. You'll encounter some interesting wildlife in your travels - monkeys that roam freely around the garden of paradise and some more sinister creatures as well. As in Celtic Folly the magic number here is two - you'll first need to procure two tridents in order to acquire the two gems necessary to get to the next levels as this is the first level in a series of five. There are three secrets to be found - one is hidden in plain sight all you have to do is figure out how to get there and all three are very cleverly done. Camera work was used very well with some smooth fly-bys that showed off the level builders fine attention to detail creativity and his great skill at creating a truly wonderful Tomb Raider level. The textures and lighting used are impeccable - you'll find bright open gardens and fountains dark cobweb filled passageways rooms filled with fiery hot lava and rooms that look to be straight out of a palace. I enjoyed this level so much I've already played it four times and highly recommend it to everyone.” – RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)

“This beautiful level opens with a flyby showing just how much work you have to do. The outside garden has many entrances that lead to underground fire pits which appear very difficult to maneuver. With some patience and attention to flybys you will have no problem with each. I explored climbed jumped ran swam pulled levers explored more killed what I had to (left alone what I didn't) and made my way through in about 45 minutes. The gameplay was constant but received an 8 because the puzzles were not terribly difficult IMHO. Other than that I thought it was a good job and very fun to play.” – Wendee (21-Jun-2002)

“This is the main level from which you can access three or four other levels and one of them is already released (Emerald lakes). Fantastic big area in the beginning you explore everything; there is a lot to do. You have to find 2 tridents to flood a part of the level. Once you flooded you get access to more parts of the level until you come to a room with 5 levers which open the entrances to "Emerald lakes" and the other forthcoming levels. Recommended!” – Freeman Porter (21-Jun-2002)

“Well what can I say (maybe I should write something instead?)? It's a beautiful level from which you'll able to get to several other levels (there's only one released right now but in time...). It was fun jumping in the trees and the flooding of the valley was very well done. I adored the monkeys that explode (or is it implode?) when you shoot them they made the whole outside area feel more ‘real’. There were some nice puzzles too. The only downside is that it's very hard to find some of the things you need (it took me several hours to find one of the horseman's gems!). A beautiful level and I can't wait to play the next.” – Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

“Rather a lot of back tracking to get all the articles especially if you missed one or two it means resorting to a restore- this I found became rather iffy as some restores would not happen - game started again - three times. Some of the switches well hidden but careful searching will find them. Only three large enemies - leave the baboons alone and some bats and a boulder to avoid. Good changes of textures and lighting although most of it is standard.” – Whistle (21-Jun-2002)

“EXCELLENT! - Egregiously superlative amongst over 50 custom levels I played - and knocks spots off even some professional levels. The monkeys chilling out on the grass and following you around the branches are a charming touch.... All my favorite elements of raiding; multi-level rooms to explore rocks and trees to climb (the trees are really dazzling); traps; the water fill-up etc etc. Puzzles are just challenging enough for me and the camera hints lead you through what is quite an organic sequence. Beasts are scary and nasty. I hate having to shoot something every 2 seconds and the creepy build up to the beastly challenge allows you to explore some instinctively well-designed environments - nothing looks incongruent elevating TRLE into it's own ART form. People should not waste time on downloading mediocrity they need to know this level is top - Well done! Can't wait for the completion of anticipated satellite levels. Congratulations and appreciation for the standard of your work and effort.” – FridgeRaider (21-Jun-2002)

“Wow so what shall I say. I really liked this level. What I liked most was the texturing and the atmosphere. Just a very cool level. It's a Must-Play!” – René (21-Jun-2002)

“As soon as you start this level you can see the amount of work that has gone in to the textures. Make sure you explore every area thoroughly as there were many a times when I was running around in circles until I spotted something I missed earlier. Not many baddies to keep you on your toes. I wasn’t expecting too much from this level as it is the central hub of a much larger level (yet to be finished) and you will notice a few exits that lead nowhere yet. The camera work is superb and helpful. You can expect quality levels to come from this one as the author ‘Inchdix’ is a top level builder.” – Jason (21-Jun-2002)

“It is important to realize that this is the first level of a series to follow because there are doors that don’t open yet ore there are opened doors that don’t take you anywhere just now. There are things to collect like two tridents and two horseman’s gems. The run of the game is in parts not so obvious and I had to do a lot of wandering around. The puzzles aren’t too difficult. The most difficult part I met was the jump towards the column. There are enemies you better get rid of but there are also creatures you can leave alone. I quite enjoyed the game even so I lost my orientation every now and then. Well done rooms and the atmosphere there. Looking forward for the next level/s.” – Monika (21-Jun-2002)

“This level is what the title says a garden. As you begin the level monkeys are welcoming you not to worry though they are friendly. Always nice to see some well made trees in a level and of course climbable ones. A nice connection of underground corridors and lava pits one of those you will encounter by returning from another level and the above areas. Not many enemies but the textures give you the right atmosphere although this level can’t be really appreciated if it’s played on its own. The secrets are a nice surprise to acquire them you need ‘something’ from the next ones. Areas that seem unexplored by a certain time are exits and entries again from a level to come later. As everyone can imagine this is part of a series of levels not completed yet but worth the time consumed for them.” – Kristina (21-Jun-2002)

“The starting level is also the temporary end of the series of Inchdix. The level is big and the ways are partly difficult to think and to master. Beautifully textured with good sounds and meaningful camera trips care for a good game. Many apes running around here however they are totally peaceful in a different way the ahmets which care also for the very successful opponent's picture in this level. One must pay careful attention that one presses the switches in the correct order otherwise some parts of the level are not accessible any more.” – Xxenofex (21-Jun-2002)

“This is a fine level with smart but not impossible to master puzzles great architecture nicely applied textures and lightning. What I liked about this level is the range of textures used in it so you can't tell where the hidden garden is. It just exists somewhere out there and you have no idea where it could be. Also liked that there were not so many enemies just 3 mean ahmets and a bunch of bats. Of course there were monkeys too but they weren't much of a threat and didn't attack you (of course I sometimes get mad and blasted them down so I'm a pretty exceptional player). What I didn't like so much was that the fountains that supplied the small pools with water at the start of the level were still visible when a part of the level was flooded even if the fountains could've been easily disabled with a simple code. But then again many level designers probably didn't know that code at the time this level was released. I also didn't like a few places that you can access the wrong way like the trident's altar in one of the first fly-bys but of course this is accessible if you like doing this the hard way lol. But another thing I liked in this level was the very end so far. Of course you can leave the level sooner when the bottom level of the garden is flooded and even sooner if you get the crossbow. You can aim the swinging balls with the crossbow manually and shoot them so if there was a level behind the very first double-doors now when I'm reviewing this I could've exited this level even sooner. But in end while flipping the 5 switches seeing how all the doors open I had a great feeling that the best is still coming. So as an intro to all the other levels yet to come this is a really great level but less enjoyable if you want to play it separately from the other ones.” – eTux (21-Jun-2002)

“It's about time to review this although as my understanding of it we haven't seen the complete level so far. This serves as the base to all those other excellent adventures and you don't have to complete this in order to get to Emerald Lakes so it's hard to remember where one level stops and the other starts. However it doesn't really matter cause they are all brilliant. The whole concept is pretty admirable. Like I missed a secret in Obsidian Heights (did that before Firewalk) but it's no big deal to nip back there and finish your business as all the levels aren't that linear and you can visit each place over and over again without having to cover long distances. The textures lightning and the overall atmosphere are up there with the very best well the top quality we've come to expect from Inchdix. I don't recall many enemies but the secrets make up for that. I'm not a big fan of those cubic trees as I'm never sure if the greenery supports you/prevents you from jumping to an upper branch thus making climbing rather frustrating. In fact this is the reason while I gave this game a rest for a couple of month but once you know where you have to go it's actually quite simple (isn't it always). My rating represents my appreciation for the whole concept of these interacting levels and not necessarily for the gameplay of Hidden Gardens; mind you that is great as well.” – Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)

“Jon's Hidden Garden though a transition level can very well stand on its own. The goals here are simple --- flood an area and open the tall black gates. But the way to do it must be in proper order or you'll never get anywhere. For example if you flood the area first you never get the crossbow necessary to access a still to be released level (as of this writing). But unless you flood the area you'll never get the pickups --- laser sight to combine with the crossbow and two gems to open the other exit doors. But then if you didn't open an initial gate to the crossbow and then try to get one of the gems which needed flooding to access then you can't get it at all. Thus you never get to open the doors to proceed to the other levels. And did I say that getting to the Poseidon room for flooding is not so obvious too? Sounds confusing? It is! But the confusion is a splendid one arising from an exacting gameplay that one must follow meticulously. Though I say that this can stand on its own still for one to fully appreciate the rigors of this level one must proceed to the other independent levels connected to it namely Emerald Lakes Firewalk and Obsidian Heights in that order (that's how I played it). Definitely a good mind was behind the creation of this transition level that connects the other three.” – Drew Pizza (21-Jun-2002)

“As soon as you see the opening flyby your first reaction will probably be one of awe - this really is gorgeous work. There aren't many level builders who have inspired this feeling in me but Inchdix is one of them without a doubt. I completed the Hidden Garden in just under an hour but I'm missing a secret (I think). The Hidden Garden is one of those levels where you really feel as if you're "there" the atmosphere lighting and texturing is that good (it's the all-important little finishing touches like the cobwebs and subtle lens-flares that really add depth here). I just wanted to spend hours exploring everywhere and thanks to the lack of enemies I was able to do this almost unhindered. The few enemies that you do meet are all perfect for the level and the puzzles are certainly tricky enough to test the skills of the average raider in particular some of the more physical challenges. And it gets even better - this is level one of a series which has four levels so far. So when you've completed this masterpiece you can look forward to even more of this brilliant experience. :-)” – Bex (21-Jun-2002)

“This level has beautiful scenery colours etc fantastic. Some great jumps to do and the enemies are different! Excellent. The good thing is that if you download all four of Jon's games (Hidden Garden Emerald Lakes Firewalk and Obsidian Heights) and build them one at a time you have four levels joined. I just finished the garden and went straight in to the Lakes.” – Moonliteshadow (21-Jun-2002)

“It's very difficult to split this wonderful series into parts but I'll try. The surroundings are very beautiful you've got a couple of harmless monkeys climbing on the trees and playing in puddles. There is a lava cave lots of passages in the rocks and a couple of trees you can climb. As soon as you get inside a cave the music changes to something a bit more scary. Some traps have special dramatic sounds assigned to them. It's your task to find tridents and flood the valley to make other areas accessible. There you have to find two gems. In my opinion this was a great idea. But you should have a good look around before flooding the area.” – Tombraidergirl (21-Jun-2002)
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