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LB Advent Calendar 2003 - Lara's House in the Mountains by Dark Death

Aims 8 7 10 9
Akcy 8 7 9 8
alan 8 8 8 8
Bene 8 8 10 9
bERT 8 9 9 9
CC 7 4 8 7
Cory 9 4 5 9
drguycrain 7 7 9 9
Duncan 8 8 9 8
Gerty 8 7 10 9
janachorider 7 7 8 7
Jay 8 7 10 9
John 8 6 8 6
Jose 7 7 8 8
Josi 8 5 8 8
Kristina 8 8 9 9
lilutong 6 5 5 5
manarch2 7 8 9 8
Mert 7 8 9 8
MichaelP 8 7 10 9
misho98 6 7 8 7
Mulf 8 6 5 6
Obig 8 7 9 9
Orbit Dream 8 7 10 9
Phil 7 8 8 8
QRS 8 9 10 9
Ryan 7 8 9 9
Sash 5 6 8 8
The Aussie Adventurer 8 7 9 8
Treeble 8 8 9 8
Yoav 8 7 9 8
release date: 13-Dec-2003
# of downloads: 124

average rating: 7.80
review count: 31
review this level

file size: 16.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Short but very sweet again this level, we start off in a snowy cabin that is literally on the side of a cliff when you open the door! talk about living life on the edge! anyway we have a very enjoyable escapade in the icy wilderness here making you way through ice caves, cliffs and caverns in order to get down to that second cabin to reunite with von croy. youve got some great platforming tasks and puzzles particularly with that boulder/slope puzzle very good there. theres some blocks to push and levers to find but more interestingly there is swinging bags and rolling boulders as traps to contend with as well as death defying leaps over boulders on ropes ladders hundreds of metres in the air, as well a scary slopes and falls into water from above, there is certainly never a dull moment! and it was completely unpredictable which i love. when you finally get down below to that cabin your reward is a brief cutscene with von croy, larson and pierre which finishes off this level nicely" - John (21-Aug-2021)
"During my research into the origins of the ‘Christmas level’ genre ten years ago, I undertook the arduous task of reviewing all eleven levels of the first ‘Advent Calendar’ issued by the Levelbase but came up short with three levels still to go. This is one of them, and I didn’t mind at all having to replay it for the purpose of eventually submitting the missing review. Structured along the same lines as the builder’s subsequent collaboration with illyaine (December 19th), it uses two cutscenes bookending the game to tell a little story. The animations are still rather rickety here, but the builder’s knack for conveying emotions through the characters’ gestures and poses already shows; and the actual gameplay framed by these cutscenes is much more inventive and assured than in the later level. In terms of design, the outside area is reasonably impressive (as it needs to be in order for the level to work), while the interiors lean more towards the functional and feel rather cramped on occasion; some sounds are missing, and lighting leaves a lot to be desired. That doesn’t matter though, as the level offers far and away the best gameplay of the 2003 batch.
The setup is this: sometime around Christmas, Werner von Croy is pining for Lara’s company and sends her an invitation. As it happens, both are spending their vacation in the same spot on the globe, in close proximity actually, but separated by a considerable difference in height: Lara at the top of a sheer cliff, Werner at the bottom. How the postman managed to get his delivery van up there and down again is not a question that the level addresses; suffice it to say that for Lara, there’s obviously no easy route to take. She has to find her way around a cave system, doing a fair bit of platforming, avoiding boulders (or use them as means of progression), and cutting off a waterfall in the process. The quest ends with an effective mise-en-scène of a Very Long Fall. So, if the ‘house’ of the title has hitherto scared you off, there’s no reason for you not to play this level; indeed it should be regarded as a classic of the Christmas genre if it isn’t already." - Mulf (28-Nov-2019)
"This level is interesting because it gives me the motivation to finish it, although I don't now why there is an enemy in the cave. The last scene ( Lara reunited with Von croy) is very touching." - lilutong (11-Sep-2019)
"Very nicely done level. The cutscenes at the beginning and the end are a nice touch. Gameplay is about making your way through some mountains to get to Von Croy's cabin, which is a high distance below Lara's. There are some puzzles to solve in the caves, and traps to avoid, like boulders. The swinging bags didn't damage Lara, though, but they could push her and make her fall. I loved the camera angle showing how Lara fell to the waterhole. It was fun to watch. And in the end, Lara joins Von Croy, Pierre and Larson for Christmas. It's funny to think everything Lara had to go through to pay him a visit. There's a shortcut so Lara can get there faster, and that is, slide the icy ramps below Lara's house, causing a bit of damage, but eventually she will be right outside the cabin to join them. Anyway, it's really worth playing. The visuals and gameplay are nice. I found 1 secret. Recommended." - alan (17-Dec-2018)
"Poor Von Croy's feeling rather depressed at Christmas, so he writes to Lara asking if she can pay him a visit, and so this little Christmas adventure begins. It's quite short at around 20-25 minutes, but very nicely done, with some nicely crafted environments, moderately challenging gameplay (there are boulders and swinging bags, so be wary) and some well done cutscenes showing Lara receiving the letter and visiting her friends and foes from TR games gone by. An older Christmas level well worth checking out." - Ryan (20-Jun-2017)
"The Cutscene at the beginning was very well made, loved it. It's not a long level and i even found a way to finish it in less than 5 minutes but i don't recommend skipping it. Architecture was perfect and no Texturing errors but the Lighting could have been better. The Highlight here was the beautiful final cutscene for sure." - Mert (21-Jan-2017)
"Good level, the gameplay didn't really impress me, but I liked the architecture of the level and the final room with the beach and the house was very beautiful. Also the bridge with the rolling ball - you could see the starting arena from a very high point - it was cool. Lighting and textures were okay, I guess they were more than okay in 2003 though." - misho98 (12-Dec-2014)
"i just played this level on december and i like it.the cutscenes are specially beautiful with good work although the gameplay felt a little weak but decent.for the rest of the level i liked too except for the red jacket guy who only attacks you if you shot him,i think he is unnecessary but overall good level recommended." - janachorider (13-Jan-2014)
"This is undoubtedly my favourite level from the 2003 Advent Calendar levels I've played so far. Unfortunately, it is also the shortest with about 12 minutes of net playtime, but the time spent here is so intense and the setting is so atmospheric that you'll get enough for your troubles. First of all, I simply loved the two cutscenes at the start and at the end, they were really fantastic and creating a wonderful story, very much fitting to the Christmas mood. And after the real game starts, you'll get to climb the mountains, the course is really fun and while set in rather claustrophobic caves the gameplay ideas are interesting. There are very good usages of boulders (the puzzle with the slopes is just superb) and swinging bags, and the platforming parts are also rather fun. The visuals are quite good too, with solid texturing and lighting, and the architecture is near-perfect. I could imagine more usage of sound and cameras apart of the cutscenes though. A level I enjoyed much more than I expected - strongly recommended!" - manarch2 (15-Dec-2013)
"In this small level there are no marvellous and modern features, but I enjoyed it. The gameplay is easy and lineal, with no much backtracking, but I missed some cameras when pulling certain switches too. As a Christmas level, there are not enemies, but some dangers await Lara like rolling snowy balls or falls from high ledges. There are good animations at the beginning and at the end, good musics and the environment is well worked. Worth to play." - Jose (05-Jun-2012)
"For some reason the download link for this level doesn't work here, so I got the level from Obig's Hungarian site (and had to build it myself before I could play, something I haven't had to do for a long time). It's short, about 20 minutes or so, but it's fun enough while it lasts. There are a couple of nice cut scenes at the beginning and at the end, where Lara has a peaceful Christmas gathering with her most prominent enemies of the early TR years. There are no enemies (unless you count the guy who remains meek and docile unless you shoot at him, and there's no need to). Nothing to write home about, but definitely a worthwhile play if you're looking for a few pleasant minutes to kill." - Phil (13-Dec-2011)
"Lara just wants to get down from the mountain top, but it's not that easy, no wonder the guys sent a letter instead of coming up themselves. Altough I found a way to complete the level in less than a minute, wouldn't miss the fun of playing through it. Very enjoyable level." - Akcy (27-Dec-2006)
"Lara get's a letter from the postman: "Lara, will you come to my house today for a visit?" The setting and scenery are wonderful--there really are some breathtaking mountain views. The opening and closing animations are wonderful. (Watching Pierre and Larson so casually wave their guns around at a Christmas get-together was pretty funny, i thought.) With the possible exception of the push-block/waterfall puzzle, there's no place to really get lost or stuck; the path is rather straightforward. And the last long fall does make you gasp at first, but don't worry--Lara will be fine. Who would've thought that getting to your next door neighbor's house could be such an ordeal? And more importantly, who would've thought that Lara would live right next door to, what are at any other time of the year, her sworn enemies? Definitely a level worth playing!" - drguycrain (25-Jan-2006)
"What a neat little gem this is! A really different x-mas level :) Maybe a bit short and easy but hey, this is not a Luis Martins level and it should focus on the xmas theme, which it does perfectly! A wonderful job by Alex. I really loved the beginning and the end cutscenes heeh. 2005-05-12" - QRS (13-May-2005)
"Wow! This is one huge level, although the actual gameplay time is short. You start off in this house atop a mountain and a cutscene shows Lara receiving a letter from VonCroy. It was in German, but I suppose he was asking her to get down to his house to the Christmas meet and greet. To do so she goes through this mountain, having to block a waterfall, flipping sloped rooms into rocky stairs (brilliantly done) and eventually diving off a vertiginous height to get down there. Pierre and Larson are also there, on their own corner. I dare say this level is aimed to an average player, but just the setting on its own makes it worth checking out! 25 minutes, 1 secret. 03/05" - Treeble (13-Mar-2005)
"What a nice little level this is. It's consists of great camera work and some of the best camera scenes of all the games I have played so far which is not many. It's a cute Christmas level where Lara is in a Santa suit. The level is nice looking and provides some good wholesome fun. It's totally devoid of enemies which doesn't seem to hamper this one. The secrets are easy to find and you get cute presents for finding them too. Textures seem to be well played and there is ample lighting as well. Gameplay is quite good except for any real challenge for veterans. If I had to give this level a grade I would give it a A- a lower high distinction." - The Aussie Adventurer (28-Dec-2004)
"What a great little level. Not very long but still fun. There are two cut scenes in it that makes it even more fun. The beginning with Lara in her little mountain home and the postman delivers a letter through her postbox (isn't he great coming all the way out here to deliver a letter lol). The letter is from Von Croy asking her to visit him in his little house for Xmas. So there starts your journey through the mountains to his little hut. The end cutscene is cool too but I won't spoil it you have to see it for yourself! ;) There's a lot of climbing to do as you make your way there there's a man by the waterfall not sure if he's a goodie he doesn't shoot but when I shot the wall he starting firing at me! The level wasn't too hard there's one fairly tough bit a boulder comes down the rope bridge it's cool as it goes back and forth until it stops. I had trouble jumping over as she kept moving to the side and falling but I did it eventually. The drop to von Croy's house is very big! It had better be worth it for poor Lara lol. So it is a fun level definitely recommended if only to see he cut scenes." - Aims (04-Jun-2004)
"This is a nice Christmas level again. The story takes place on snowy areas in caves and wooden houses. Lara had received a letter from one of her friends who invited her. The friend's house is not far but it's difficult to get there. You must jump skilled push blocks and pass swinging crates. Reaching the house I couldn't get ahead unless I jumped first. There's only one enemy on the level an old contact in a cave. But if you don't shoot at him he won't hurt Lara either. They will celebrate together in the end. The textures are great as well as the added sounds which give high spirits to this great level. Thanks the author for this great entertainment and fun. It was a real pleasure seeing this superb Christmas project containing so much great festive levels.:) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version) savegames and pictures here: " - Obig (01-Mar-2004)
"Lovely level in the Mountains snow nice little movie brings Lara to get out to the adventure. Good Puzzles rolling snow ball traps and another movie in the end make this a fine level." - Yoav (24-Jan-2004)
"Set on and in a bright and lovely snowy mountain Lara begins by receiving an invitation in the post sent by a postman in a brilliant cut scene and ends 20 minutes later meeting up with some friends and foes all in an amicable manner around a xmas tree again with a fab cut scene. The game in between is fairly standard and shouldn't give too many problems to the average player I also found only one secret wrapped presents under another xmas tree and ended wondering what lay behind the gate found in a tunnel gotten to by a ladder halfway through the level possibly just for atmosphere but still I feel I may have missed something." - Sash (24-Jan-2004)
"Now this is a very nice Christmas-level with a great beginning traps nice jumping and a GREAT ending. True Christmas spirit I loved it. Not sure what that one guy was doing by the water but since he was just standing there I let him. Have fun!" - Josi (13-Jan-2004)
"There's rather a good opening to this Christmas level with the postman delivering a letter to Lara. In fact this level is very well done altogether. Lots of good jumping climbing swimming in best raiding tradition. There is one spectacular camera shot of Lara sliding down and dropping into water and the end cinematic scene is marvelous (and rather touching)." - Jay (03-Jan-2004)
"This is a 'must see' for the beginning and end scenes alone. The animation is an unexpected delight and Lara entering the cabin and comforting Werner is funny and well done. The gameplay is also good - much dodging of snowballs and a heart stopping fall. Unique and definitely worth the download." - Bene (03-Jan-2004)
"A very tricky level in some places. The design was very clever. The slope at the end was extremely fun! When you get to Werner Von Croy he is waiting for you and he is very sad." - Cory (03-Jan-2004)
"You really should have a go at this one. After a nice opening flyby you are on your way and after a minute or two I thought this was a weird level but afterwards it all makes sense I love that. There are some levers you have to locate and also some boulders to avoid. You can't get stuck but be sure to go back every now and then as Alex uses some flipmaps. The view from the bridge is indeed breathtaking and don't forget to get the secret. Best part was the fall Lara had to make it took me by surprise and I had to do that part over again just to really see what happened great! The end flyby puts everything together. Have fun as I for sure did. 29-12-2003" - Gerty (01-Jan-2004)
"Have yourself a Merry Raider Christmas. The cut scenes at the start and end have character animation which I have rarely seen in custom levels and which add a great deal. The Alpine setting is well done and the game progress is a lot of fun dodging snowballs in labyrinthine mountain caverns. There is only one enemy that I encountered and he almost seemed out of place. A warm-spirited piece that is well executed." - Duncan (30-Dec-2003)
"If one were to be harsh one could define 'seasonal treats' such as these: 'joke levels'. This seems a rather severe title and I would rather look upon them as 'fun simple entertainments'; they are no masterpieces but in the tradition of all the best little levels of this type provide genuine good-humoured entertainment. This is one of the best of its kind. In no way easy it nevertheless provides a well-modulated challenge over its 30 minute duration and is assembled with a confident skill and no small amount of panache. The opening and closing sequences bring a smile to the face and that huge high-fall at the end (combined with the effective camera angle) were elements close to my heart! (see Bert's comments). A little gem." - Orbit Dream (30-Dec-2003)
"This is my favourite level so far of the Levelbase Advent Calendar project. Similar to the others it is about 30 minutes of gameplay but it's built into a great mountain setting has a very cleverly thought out course two really cool cut scenes (one at the start and one at the end to link up the storyline) and good use of some traps (snowballs and swinging bags) to keep you on your toes. The switch/slope puzzle is quite uniquely done as is the fixed camera on the plunge near the end. Found one secret. Definitely give this one a try - very special level." - Michael (26-Dec-2003)
"Indeed we have a level with a house high in the mountains which also starts with a great cut scene showing a mailman deliver a letter to Lara. Our heroine reads it and puts on her Santa Claus clothes ready to begin her search. There are a few switches to use some icy bags as obstacles and a man that won't attack her unless provoked. She has to avoid snow balls and reach the cabin which you see Pierre Larson and Von Cory gathered next to a Christmas tree and presents. It was a wonderful cut scene as well and I liked the part which Von Croy puts his hand on Lara's waste creating a friendly atmosphere suitable for the holiday's spirit. I liked it a lot and would definitely recommend it." - Kristina (26-Dec-2003)
"Poor Werner has gone into a depressive state feeling all alone way down the mountains and asks Lara via German Post to get him out of there. Well well well Dark Death has a lot of imagination and it surely shows in this little Christmas level. The settings in the mountains are very well done in fact I could live there rightaway. The cosy inside settings of Lara's hut Werner's hut and the secret hut are so inviting you just want to take a comfortable seat and just sit there doing nothing. The start and end cut scenes are cute and funny especially the last one with Lara patting poor Werner (hilarious!). The builder did not forget the gameplay either which is entertaining and up to standard for the little kids what with all those sequences with balls rolling down. Makes it look a bit like those play ramps for marbles. Breathtaking view also when you reach the bridge with a rolling ball and one spectacular sequence with Lara dropping down a very long way reminded me of the first Hollow Mountain level by Ian Smith though in that one you yourself had to make a precise jump. Anyway loved this level very very much. A must play." - bERT (26-Dec-2003)
"What a great little level. We get a flyby at the start of a postman delivering a letter to Lara in her hut perched on the side of a snowy mountain (how did he get that postvan up there!). So Lara goes off on a climbing crawling adventure down the mountain through caves past traps and falling snowballs underwater swims and finally a terrific slide and fall off the side of the mountain down to a hut on ground level to see another flyby inside a hut where Voy Croy is kept captive by Larson and the other guy that I can't remember his name right now and Lara goes over to Von Croy to comfort him. I loved the look of this level very scary at times looking down. Don't forget about the secret of Christmas presents at the end of the wooden bridge. Excellent." - CC (26-Dec-2003)