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Palace 1 by Richard Ba

Bene 8 6 7 7
bERT 5 6 6 6
Ceamonks890 4 3 5 4
DJ Full 5 6 6 4
eRIC 3 5 6 5
eTux 3 3 5 3
Gerty 5 5 6 5
Jay 5 4 6 7
Jose 2 5 4 6
Kristina 5 6 6 6
MichaelP 6 5 6 5
Moonpooka 6 6 7 7
Mulf 2 3 2 3
Obig 6 6 7 7
Orbit Dream 5 6 5 5
RaiderGirl 6 5 6 6
Ryan 3 4 5 6
Sash 4 4 5 4
Torry 3 4 3 5
Treeble 4 4 5 5
release date: 13-Sep-2003
# of downloads: 38

average rating: 5.00
review count: 20
review this level

file size: 17.10 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"An early and drafty attempt but you can feel this level has a soul. Recommended." - DJ Full (23-Mar-2023)
"The hand of chance put this level in the place on the list where you would expect the builder’s debut, but it’s probably the worst possible introduction to this builder’s work. It’s an incoherent mess that, when I first played it, left me wondering whether Richard Ba might be one of those levelbuilders whose work I simply don’t get. I had no idea what he was trying to achieve here, and so found it impossible to tell whether he succeeded or failed. Having since learned that this is but one of four small levels that were all released simultaneously, I think it’s safe to say that this is the most recent of these. The builder obviously thought that, having worked his way through three standard wads (Tut1, Coastal, Karnak), he had built up enough muscle to play with the big boys. In this he was mistaken.
Whereas he previously only made slight changes to the appearance of puzzle items and the like, he now had his eyes set on a custom wad and textures compiled from various sources. The wad is still essentially Egyptian (once more, several objects have been retextured, now in a simplistic manner that turns them black-and-white), but the textures are a mish-mash of Lara’s mansion, VCI, and a few from the TR5 Title; there are also some simple home-made textures. Room geometry is basic, except for a couple of rooms that sport a smoothly uneven floor (though why they should do so is anybody’s guess). Neither the room design nor the textures nor the standard Egyptian objects are conducive to creating the impression that the setting represents a ‘palace’ (title) or a ‘castle’ (file name), or indeed any kind of location in particular. Design is equally too incoherent for the place to come together as some sort of fantasy location. Oddities like the builder stacking three doors on top of each other rather than using one of appropriate height don’t help.
Gameplay follows the pattern of the padded-out fetch quest: you retrieve a puzzle item, backtrack to the puzzle hole, and a door opens in yet another place. There is a step-on-right-tiles puzzle, and a simple Torch puzzle during which you are bothered by skeletons; but the builder likes to pretend there’s more to the level than meets the eye. Some reviewers have questioned whether shooting the swinging blue balls (which are highlighted by a fixed camera), or making the skeletons destroy the shatter bones achieves anything at all; and indeed, it turns out that no triggers are associated with either of these actions. The often complained-about disappearing keyhole is in a switch slot for whatever reason, while the actual keyhole is the purposely invisible one from Coastal (originally intended to be used on a door that has a keyhole attached to it). These things strongly suggest muddle-headedness rather than intention on the builder’s part. (On my second playthrough, no keyhole disappeared; when they do, this is apparently a consequence of a savegame bug—a problem that would plague all the builder’s levels from now on.)
As usual with this builder, the level comes with a few technically accomplished flybys. The first of these is another case of self-indulgence (the camera slowly and intently circles around the room you start in as if it had anything to show), two others show changes in the environment effected by (of course) flipmaps. These latter barely made an impression on me, since the place is so random anyway that none of the changes seemed to make a difference one way or the other. One incorporates a good idea, though: it suggests that a puzzle item is carried by a current to a spot where Lara can pick it up. However, since you never see the puzzle item in its assumed original location, thus never get a chance to figure out how to get it in the first place, and the solution simply happens as you flip another switch, in the end it’s merely a visual effect rather than an actual puzzle. What a waste." - Mulf (24-Feb-2021)
"Very short but extremely vexing level in that you have odd camera angles and an invisible key hole of all things. Now how on this earth is the player supposed to find that? If this is of design then shame on the author. If by omission then shame on the author." - Torry (10-Dec-2019)
"Another short and crisp level from Ricardo, where once again the settings have been given more attention than the gameplay and overall duration. I actually found the mixture of textures from different themes to be rather unique, and probably its standout point (aside from a flawed jumping sequences. Aside from those, just a couple of Cartouches, invisible keyholes (surely that's just asking for trouble?) and some camera angles." - Ryan (04-Mar-2017)
"Very short level without interest. I think the author planned to build a larger level (room with pickups?) but for some reason released only a part. Low rating in the gameplay section 'cause the invisible keyholes; you can run around and around for ages looking for something you'll never find. A couple (or three) of artifacts to place and a couple of keys to use in nude walls, that's all. No explosive ammo to deal with the skeletons, no background music, no worked lights... Not worth to play." - Jose (25-Oct-2016)
"It frankly confuses me why this game has the highest score of the four released on the exact same day, when in actuality, its a bit of a step back from the prior two levels I reviewed from the builder at time of writing, in several aspects. Perhaps because its not set in Egypt for a change? But whatever the case may be, the gameplay still isn't all that challenging, with the only real bumps in the road being a Tomb of Seth-styled puzzle that cannot be reset(including spikes instead of flame triggers, with Lara missing her impaled on spikes animation), and a practically invisible keyhole towards the end that I wouldn't have known actually existed, if I hadn't consulted the walkthrough out of sheer confusion(which is particularly shameful on the builder's part.) Texturing(despite being decently applied), is fairly inconsistent in terms of level themes, with it being Croft Manor like one moment and suddenly TR5 Rome the next among others, with lighting effects being non-existent outside of a few rooms, alongside the various standard Egyptian objects and enemies feeling particularly out-of-place here. So in conclusion, I didn't end up enjoying this one as much as I'd liked. But hey, if you're looking to kill some time, you could certainly play a lot worse than this one." - Ceamonks890 (18-Jul-2015)
"What a funky looking Palace. Noticeably it took more effort from the builder in comparison to previous outings, but gameplay is still very basic as you move from one room to another figuring things out in the blink of an eye. Well, most of it: the two invisible key locks might cause some aggravation. 15 minutes. 09/14" - Treeble (26-Sep-2014)
"Among Ricardo's first levels , this one was a bit longer with 15 minutes but it is mainly because I spent much of the time searching for the invisible key holes. The best worst idea I've seen in level for a long time ! SAS and skeletons in this eclectic level which is a mix of army base and underground basements with Egyptian objects. The flipmaps are very well made and the long flyby is particularly well executed." - eRIC (03-Feb-2008)
"This is my favorite of this authors levels so far and hopefully only the beginning of many as he learns new tricks with the level editor and branches out into longer levels with more challenging puzzles. Don't expect a fancy palace here as the name implies. The building isn't too fancy but there are some cool effects a neat water room lots of puzzle pieces to find and at least one secret though you have only one chance to get it. Perfect if you're looking for a short easy fifteen minute level." - RaiderGirl (28-Oct-2003)
"Firstly I have no idea why this is called palace anything as it seems to be a mix of base/house textures. Secondly I thought the invisible keyhole at the start was a bit naughty - I only found it by accident. I liked the water effect in the nice tile puzzle room and the flyby for the timeless sands was rather spectacular. Basically you need to find a key a gem two cartouches the timeless sands and another key (blow me another invisible keyhole). For such a short level it managed to pack quite a lot in. A good little coffee break diversion. 21.09.2003" - Jay (22-Sep-2003)
"It maybe would have been a better solution if the author had edited together the 4 self-contained levels. He maybe would have got a far better appreciation. So this is a very short level although I preferred it mostly amongst the 4 levels. You have to collect 2 Palace Keys 2 Holy Scriptions the Blue Gem and The Time Artifact. Meanwhile Soldiers a Dog and 2 Skeletons try to stop Lara but you have weapon if you have found the only secret: the Uzi The ShotgunAK and the Revolver. The textures are nice and there are also some added sounds. It's good for some relaxation." - Obig (18-Sep-2003)
"I may be in the minority here but I liked this short level very much. There is a mix of textures and rooms that don't seem to match very well but interesting game play. I particularly liked the placing of the gem and the animated falling through to a swimming area. Nothing very difficult here (although I did not get the secret) and maybe that's why I enjoyed it - makes a nice change. The disappearing demigod (after a save) was strange and the missing key hole had me running around in circles trying to figure it out..........but I'm sure that was unintentional on the builder's part and a bit funny in retrospect." - Bene (17-Sep-2003)
"Very short level that was better called 'Water the palace' because basically that's what you do flooding the lower part of a building (not much of palace me thinks...). This was not that bad for the level includes a little tile puzzle a good fly-by (the flooding of the lower section) and good static camera views (for example with the Timeless sands statue). Textures are a bit weirdly mixed but in a weird kind a way they work nevertheless. Enemies include one dog soldiers and skeletons. One drop down in the water could have been done better as far as the camera work is concerned. Not boring but over quick." - bERT (15-Sep-2003)
"Well another short level from this author but I must say an enjoyable one. There was a nice mixture with the textures and although the skellies couldn't be killed this time they weren't too much of a problem. There was a nice intro to the level but I was waiting for some music to happen here. You have to find a key to get a gem to open a trap door below you then enter another area there's a small trap puzzle to do and the water effects were nice. Collect the sands of time and two Ba cartouches to get the final key to leave all the pickups were set out nicely. I had a weird carry on with my key holes and Egyptian statues disappearing and two things left me wondering as to what their purpose was one was the swinging balls to shoot after replay and not shooting them it made no difference to the level and also the bones in the skellie area had no purpose other than to add to the decoration but that's not a complaint as they looked well here. Hmmmm wonder what the swinging balls did though? But all in all I did enjoy the level it's clear the author has some great ideas and building skills and sometimes the shorter levels do make a nice break." - Moonpooka (15-Sep-2003)
"Of all four recently released levels by this author this was the longest but at just over 15 minutes that isn't saying a great deal. In this one you find yourself in a bit of a mish mesh of areas there is the starting area that looks a little like a dungeon then you are in an area that is industrial and finally in a church like area with mansion textures. There are a handful of objects to find and place like usual but when you collect two different keys the locks disappear I'm not even sure if there was a second lock to start with so you have to just place the keys where you think they should be. You'll find a couple of skeletons SAS a dog a misleading tile jump puzzle and one secret that is only accessible for a small period of time. Probably my favourite so far but still as you can tell by my scores not a great level by any means." - Sash (14-Sep-2003)
"A totally different level with Lara in her catsuit now and fifteen minutes of game play. At first it looks like a high tech level then something like a house with Egyptian and custom objects. You need a blue gem two cartouches and the Timeless Sands plus two keys. The puzzle with the tiles was nice although too easy and one torch to light is what you have to do. There is a problem though; the lock for the second Palace key is invisible so just use it on the brown texture at the right side of the door. I didn't get the secret with the guns at the beginning. This time we have SAS and a dog to kill." - Kristina (14-Sep-2003)
"Yet another short level - as others from the author - the fly-by that showed how the timeless sands arrived near it's receptacle was nice am wondering why there was a gunshot sound included as the only way you could get any extra firearms was by cheating. The looks are not very pleasant for the eye since this is a mix of Lara's house VCI base and castle and not a very successful one in my opinion. Try this if you're interested." - eTux (14-Sep-2003)
"This is again rather short at about 15 minutes and also a weird mix of rooms and textures with Castle Base and Home influence. As known by now from this author the flybys are a little different to the norm some interesting fixed camera angles are added here as well. Enemies are SAS and a dog and a few skeletons that destroy bones for you but I am not sure if that did anything. Two keys two cartouches timeless sands and a gem to collect and use. Again interesting use of flipmaps although it was strange that suddenly the demigod statues disappeared and with them the lock for the final key - ah well you can unlock the door even without the lock being there." - Michael (13-Sep-2003)
"My download only worked with renaming the castle.tr4 into tut1.tr4 and using the original dat files. But I didn't get the download Michael provided. Starting off in a room with a closed door in need of a key and a gem. I saw the gem but where was the key? Going through this castle I found a key got the gem and after placing that I found myself swimming. Getting up in a room there it started to get a bit strange as the first time around gave me two demigods and two skeletons a reload gave me only two skeletons so I went with those. Find that torch which is rather well hidden that opens a door. There are tiles you have to jump to look in that room for the solution although the last tile you can figure out. Finding 2 Cartouche and the timeless sands will give you another key. In the whole game there is no key hole so go back to the room where those skeletons are/were and place it on the wooden thing. That is the end of this level. 12-09-2003" - Gerty (13-Sep-2003)
"A very strange location; part mansion part VCI part Tomb. I WOULD have been able to solve the puzzle with the torch with or without Gerty's help but do you know what? She'd never believe me! Anyway there were a few bugs with the use of saved games which could hamper a players progress but I've added a point for the secret room which (although possibly only a deception) I was unable to open." - Orbit Dream (13-Sep-2003)