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The Trap 01 - Follow Von Croy by Big Ben

CC 7 7 9 7
Duncan 6 5 6 6
G.Croft 7 6 7 7
Gerty 7 6 9 7
Jay 7 6 8 7
JesseG 6 8 7 7
Jez 8 9 9 9
Jose 5 5 8 7
Kristina 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 7 6 8 7
Mulf 5 4 5 5
Necro 8 6 7 8
Obig 7 7 8 7
Orbit Dream 6 7 9 7
Petunia 7 5 4 4
Phil 7 7 8 7
Ryan 7 7 8 8
Sash 6 7 8 7
Steven Svorticher 7 8 8 7
Treeble 7 8 8 8
 
release date: 06-Oct-2002
# of downloads: 56

average rating: 6.94
review count: 20
 
review this level

file size: 16.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Base/Lab
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
benny@tiscalinet.it

Reviewer's comments
"The description is truth in advertising, and the level makes an effective use of cameras to show Von Croy's progress as Lara follows in his wake. This is a fairly straightforward VCI-themed level, however there will be guards, fish, and some turrets to sprint past for some engaging action. I'm never a fan of switches embedded into natural surfaces, which happens in the beginning here, not only does it hurt immersion but it is usually too hard to see. The crowbar is also quite difficult to spot. The experience is further marred by unmarked death tiles and sudden explosions that kill Lara instantly if she happens to be in the wrong place (I think invisible mines are being used?). Although the lighting enjoys a good amount of color + variety, the visuals still take a hit from wallpapered and stretched textures, as well as mostly basic architecture. Overall a middle-of-the-road adventure, but for those who have an itch for VCI action, this level is not a bad choice. 44 minutes." - JesseG (10-Aug-2021)
"Rather ambitious in scope (though at 45 minutes not that long), the plot of this early VCI level incorporates not just one, but two stalwart tropes of the ‘base’ genre, namely Forbidden Experiments on Aliens and the inexplicably popular Stargate. This is part of the level’s strategy of throwing everything at the wall to see what sticks (it also features ahmets, here in the guise of Dimetrodons, and a shark tank). Nothing really does, since this random free-for-all makes the level lose focus and turns it into a hodge-podge of clichés. Unsurprisingly, the base also begins to fall apart at some point, though not for any particular reason other than that it obviously has to. For all that the level is reasonably entertaining, though it begins to drag in its second half, and the builder actively works against any developing sense of urgency by making the corridors and ladders longer and longer as the level progresses, and even forcing a backtrack at one point just so you can place a puzzle item.
Even before the builder allows himself to become bogged down in this morass, there are minor hiccups, major irritants, and one or two likely gameplay-killing moments. In ascending order: There’s a trapdoor without a handle to indicate where you’re supposed to stand, or indeed that it is a trapdoor in the first place. An obscure camera clue intended to show that the sentry guns are now securely walled off would have been more helpful if it showed the actual walling-off instead of idly lingering in some nondescript corridor and eventually focusing on a wall that you may or may not have seen before (presumably the builder did it the way he did because he used a flipmap rather than Raising Blocks). There is an unmarked climbable wall and one unmarked instant-death square in a random spot off the main path (which makes its existence that much more inexplicable). The likely gameplay killers are the usual suspects, the crowbar and a piece-of-wall pushable. The former lies all too well camouflaged in a dark corner underwater—inside a shark tank, of all places. As for the latter, you’re supposed to spot a pushable block of cubic vegetation in a wall made up of plant life, which is possible only because the builder’s inept lighting inadvertently provides a subtle clue. It’s also very easy to overlook key items dropped by soldiers.
The builder’s attempts to inject some realism into the plainly preposterous proceedings often result in moments of mild hilarity: a soldier keeps typing into his computer while his buddy is busy being killed by Lara (getting that spreadsheet done obviously overrides any secondary considerations); two other soldiers remain engaged in lively (if inaudible) conversation, oblivious of any havoc that’s in the process of being wreaked on the floor below; with the first SAS you come across, the builder uses AI objects in such a way that a pair of them display a grave lack of concern for the fate of their squad mate, or for their own for that matter, since you can then go on and kill them from a safe distance without either of them batting so much as an eye. Another such moment is the first time you see von Croy. He was told by the director to just walk across the room, and don’t look at the camera. He almost makes it but flubs it in the end, his hat remaining in frame like an awkward boom mic.
There are other indications of a rushed job. You collect unhelpfully named ‘Hypostyle Keys’, i. e. keycards, and later you combine a Load with Load in order to form a ‘Canopic Jar 2’; most switches (including the valve switch, here added as a pointless novelty) have the wrong animations; the flyby showing von Croy killing two oddly unresponsive soldiers is meant to be a view from beyond the Stargate, but it looks just like another amateurishly wonky flyby that passes through walls. Apparently an activated Stargate is just plain black. It does, however, bring in from the Great Beyond two demigods 2, the falcon-headed kind, which work properly only in confined spaces because they are denied a secondary attack (hence the possibility of two of them being active at the same time) and merely display a weird floating animation in its stead as long as Lara isn’t in their direct line of fire. Finally, just before the level ends you may become stuck in an illegal slope caused by the awkward collision of a rocket object, carried over unchanged from TR3.
Carried over unchanged are also jungle textures from TR3 India, used here for interior decoration. Contrasting the techno-clinical VCI set with lush vegetation is a splendid idea that would have been even more effective if the textures had been appropriately modified to accommodate the new environment thus created (there are absolutely no transitions between the two sets). The builder also undercuts his own idea when he employs the silly pushable cube of plant life mentioned above; and halfway through the level, green begins to fade from the colour palette until the common drabness of all-grey monotone takes over after all.
Despite all of the above, this is one of the better early specimens of the genre. It never pretends to be anything more than a shooter, but there’s some imagination at work, which allows one not to forget, but to forgive some of its many sins." - Mulf (16-Jan-2021)
"With these types of levels normally not being amongst favourites of mine, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this one. There are more than enough guards and dogs to take out which does get a little wearying, but I didn't find it as tedious or overwhelming as some others I've played. The base setting is atmospheric and vivid, while the texturing is very nicely done and the audio dialogues between Lara and Zip were neat touches and moved the story along smoothly (although I do wish I could have understood them as my Italian is a little lacking, maybe English would have been better). Presumably the title relates to the fact that Lara doesn't catch a glimpse of Von Croy until the stargate at the very end. A very decent raid." - Ryan (27-Jan-2019)
"What a nice surprise! I understand Base/Lab levels aren't exactly fan favorites, especially those which rely heavily on gunning down enemies, but I thought the neat little touches spread throughout this level more than made up for all the shooting (plus you get enough shotgun ammo and medikits to speed things up). For starters, I quite liked hearing a different SFX for Lara's standard pistols. Then you have a lot of audio exchanges between Lara and Zip, however these are in Italian and I guess not many people would understand them -- though judging by its excellent quality, I'd suspect they're repurposed audio from TR5 itself. Idling soldiers are also busy typing in commands and it's nice to hear all the beeps before you draw their attention, and lastly it was neat that towards the end Lara opens up a doorway for a bunch of FBI agents to storm in the building. There are a few minor issues, such as Lara's catsuit broken at the joints (quite noticeable at times) and the unforgettable wafer-thin shotgun. If you don't hold a grudge against Base/Lab levels, you just found yourself a new level to play. 40 minutes. 02/18" - Treeble (11-Feb-2018)
"Another base/lab level with no much interest and hundreds of enemies to shoot. You can imagine all what you'll find here: many ladders to climb, many ducts and crawlspaces, many grates to shoot, many buttons and switches to open doors... Even with all the shotgun ammo I found, I had to waste a lot of time shooting a lot of soldiers, ahmets and dogs only with the pistols; even once I had to reload 'cause I killed an ahmet in a narrow corridor and I was not able to cross to the other side. At least there's a big effort to create atmosphere: blue rays, some flybys showing dialogues with Zip, some earthquakes, some explosions and flipmaps... A good level for pure shooters, but boring for me." - Jose (10-Aug-2016)
"This is a one-shot from the early years, and although it's rather linear and straightforward, I feel it was a bit ahead of its time and it provides a decent raid of about 45 minutes. Things turn remarkably alien near the end, and you make your escape through an activated stargate (although at first I went through at an angle and swam about aimlessly in space in vain search for a finish trigger - to hit it you need to swim directly forward). Jose mentioned a bug in his walkthrough that I didn't encounter. But something he didn't mention gets you in an impossibly stuck situation. In that underwater maze near the end of the level you come to a deep shaft and a screened grate beyond it. You need to swim down the shaft to continue; if you swim against the grate you're flipped to the other side of it where you're trapped. Maybe that's how the builder came up with the title. Anyway, you could do worse than to select this one for your next raid." - Phil (29-Sep-2015)
"A quite good level where Lara finds herself in a base and must follow her old mentor Von Croy, but that won't be easy because the place is surrounded by several enemies who attempt to obstruct. The gameplay is pretty simple, there are no branches or particular jumps or time trials, so it's hard to lose; the only things to be careful are a trapdoor in the ceiling and a cube to move to reveal a new area. Ah, it's also important to check what dead enemies release (one of them had in fact issued an object and I realized I had not because the area was a bit dark and then at some point I did not know how to go forward), because they give some important items to continue the adventure. There are no particular soundtrack; it is constant for the duration of the classic game the one from the Catacombs of the Tomb Raider Last Revelation; then some dialogues with Zip were added in an effective way (not many) in Italian, even if they are the same as Tomb Raider Chronicles. Let's speak about the enemies: the strongest aspect definitely utilized; there are always lots of guards and there aren't big problems to kill them, having a good number of ammo. The enemies consist of soldiers, dogs and beasts (these last ones are the hardest to kill with 5 shots of shotgun), and at the end there are 2 demigod, even if the game can be completed simply by running away from them. The enemies are the strong point of the short game. I found no secrets and I do not think there are any. The lights are used appropriately enough, on average, some parts a little dark, but it's all very understandable, because when you have to try to move a block, you notice it's more enlightened than the other ones. The ending is not well understood (in a movie Von Croy kills 2 guards and escapes, Lara goes behind him and .. who knows!?), But leads to think of a continuation, although I think it has not been developed yet (has it?). In conclusion, an easy difficulty level affordable for everyone, quite fun to play, maybe a little more annoying for experienced users that will surely expect a lot more, but I think it's worth playing it at least once." - Steven Svorticher (05-Jul-2011)
"I haven't played many of these types of levels since tr5. This was a welcome break and very nicely designed. The puzzles were pretty much standard as you might expect from an environment like this - crawl ducts, closed doors with keys, etc. The only thing it was lacking were the laser traps! Still, I like the idea of chasing Von Croy, although you never actually meet him - probably part of the story in later levels will allow this. We'll see." - Necro (22-Dec-2008)
"VCI level shoot plenty of guards duct climbing pretty much the usual. Yet I enjoyed it. There are a couple of odd enemies thrown in to the mix sharks dorsal finned ahmets and a couple of bird headed demigods the environment even had a slightly fresher feel than the usual VCI look with aquariums indoor waterfalls a couple of alien rooms and near the end some demolished rooms. The gameplay though was pretty much per usual with cards and such items to open doors but even this didn't bother me so much in this level maybe I was just in the mood for a fun no brainer to have a fairly easy cruise through. I was surprised that I only caught a glimpse of Von Croy twice through the level and then a third time at the end where he had found his way through a giant stargate as the name of the level made me think I would follow in his footsteps and the places I saw him I actually never got to go. Oh well the last time I saw him he was viciously hacking away at some guards so it was probably for the best I never met up with him. This level took me 50 minutes to finish and I didn't find any secrets though a thick metal trapdoor near some toilets and a drink machine never opened for me and this could have possibly held all kinds of weird and wonderful secrets." - Sash (02-Sep-2004)
"I thought the idea here was excellent. Lara is trying to keep up with Von Croy and it was great to see him just getting away each time as you move through the rooms of this VCI type building. It seems to me that VC is blowing up the building as he goes because having passed through certain rooms when we go back they are blown up. One time I was too fast and got caught in the explosion and died so when each earthquake starts hold back a bit and let the explosion happen itself. There are a lot of soldiers here to deal with also sharks(!) dogs and a couple of ahmets. So what's going on? When I finally found the well hidden block in the wall it revealed a new area where a stargate is used to send rockets through it. We finally get a glimpse of VC who has gone through the stargate back to Egypt and as we go through after him the level ends. That is after dealing with two demigods who've managed to come through the stargate perhaps on VC instructions to stop you getting in. Soooooo is this the start of something big! Are we to chase VC through ancient Egypt? I really liked this level despite the well-loved (cough!) crawling through vents etc. I was frustrated not being able to understand the dialogue. I'd love to know what they were saying." - CC (25-Jul-2004)
"I like that the puzzles of the level are quite witty I got jammed for a long time sometimes. The Italian dialogs between Lara and Zip are very cool (although I hardly understood a word from these :-). I also loved the added sounds especially the sound of the pistols. The author added ideal quantity of the enemies - there aren't too much nor too few of them sometimes you can take part in nice action scenes. I am not fully satisfied with the textures and graphics. I have seen more spectacular levels than this one so far (although I haven't played too much yet and they are older ones). The environment is boring the textures do not fit to each other sometimes. The surfaces of the water can't be seen from above and the waterfall seems an invisible wall from behind. At some places the walls and floors are too dark - I don't understand why this darkness is needed here. Altogether this level is a good adventure but it was not a good fun for me." - Petunia (15-Apr-2004)
"What a splendid debut I have to say. A base sort of level. Lots of soldiers and some dogs even an Ahmet and two demigods but they weren't out of place at all as at the end you do see Von Croy and a Stargate. Finding keys and later some cards will let you open doors. Be careful as some guard will drop handy items. Found plenty of medipacks and shotgun ammo what is rather handy with all those guards. There is also an earth quake and I tried to get back to the room with the blue light to see if I could pick up something there the fallen walls prevented me to enter. 24-02-2004 " - Gerty (28-Mar-2004)
"The story takes place on a base when experiments are being done. The enemies are soldiers armed men dogs strange monsters finally opening the Stargate in the end a few demigods also appear. At the beginning you will get a bunch of keys and a code card. There are quite enough Health Packs on the level - you will need them. The Shotgun will make things easier. The textures fit well to the level as well as the added sounds but unfortunately they are Italian. I didn't find Secrets on the level. The level is quite linear I got stuck only one place: I didn't find out that I should place the combined Key into the small table next to the closed door. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version) savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/12/the_trap01_follow_von_croy.htm " - Obig (24-Mar-2004)
"If you like VCI levels you could do a lot worse than this one. Admittedly there are the occasional odd justapositions of textures but it has a certain charm. The gameplay is the usual shoot guards and dogs and crawl through a lot of ducts but there are some good touches. I particularly liked some of the flipmap effects when rooms blew up. I only wish I could have understood the Italian dialogue. Given that this is not my favourite type of level the fact that I rather enjoyed myself must be meaningful. I don't quite understand what the demigods were doing there at the end and as for following Von Croy he was conspicuously absent up until the final part. Nevertheless definitely worth playing." - Jay (17-Mar-2004)
"A classic VCI Base level but with a few nice extras. I spent just below an hour in this adventure and enjoyed the rather straightforward and linear course which is spiced up by a rather wide variety of actions Lara needs to perform. I particularly liked the skyline textures and the waterfalls and fish tanks. Too bad the various Italian dialogues are meaningless to me as I do not speak the language but still you do get a sense of story progression through the solid camera work. A key a VCI Key and three cards are the crucial pickups (not correctly maintained in the script) and there are plenty of enemies around (30+ soldiers ahmets dogs and sharks) which becomes rather annoying and boring after a while. The ending is neat in a rocket room with a Stargate. Good solid fun especially if you enjoy playing a VCI style level." - Michael (04-Mar-2004)
"How bereft my education has been! I regretfully know barely a word of Italian and that puts me at an immediate disadvantage with his Level as there are numerous scenes involving lengthy dialogue expositions which I couldn't begin to follow. However the storyline develops well enough on its own to be followable (something about Von Croy entering a Stargate in his Labs and finding himself in Ancient Egypt) and the Level tends to transcend others of a similar type by throwing in the occasional innovative surprise (the caged beasts one of which inevitably escapes; the beautiful atriums complete with water-features) while coming to a fun finale in a truly impressive Stargate chamber. I spent 40 enjoyable (although undemanding) minutes here and thought the attempt at storytelling (with or without a language barrier) was very commendable." - Orbit Dream (02-Mar-2004)
"I have not played many base levels lately so this one came as a pleasant surprise. Although the level is not very difficult I found it enjoyable. The mixture of textures go well together to create a colourful and good looking environment. The enemies are the type you would expect in a base with some surprises thrown in along the way. There is plenty of shooting involved so overall this level is a great fun romp." - Jez (02-Mar-2004)
"What corporate headquarters contains sharks and demons? Microsoft? Good answer but here its VCI. I found this level to basically be a shooter - you run around in a building and are constantly killing things - which I don't really care for. The gameplay is straightforward except for the out of place enemies and the peculiar ending. It should be fun for those who like the type." - Duncan (02-Mar-2004)
"One hour of shooting guards running through a lab area with strange creatures and alien bodies. Fast easy and straight forward gameplay. Follow Von Croy to the stargate where you encounter ancient Egyptian demigods before throwing yourself into the gate......to be continued I suppose since this is called nr 01." - G.Croft (26-Feb-2004)
"If you like VCI levels then this one is for you. Lara in the appropriate base setting is searching for cards keys to be able to escape and meet Von Croy. The enemies are mutants SAS and guards that will reduce Lara's health in no time so you better use your medi packs wisely. It's a nice level with moving blocks trapdoors and quite a few explosions. The cameras used are helpful but mostly are there just as a nice break. The end is surprising; you see demigods and a scene with Von Croy waiting for you at the other side of a stargate. You can infer that the base is in the middle of a desert probably in Egypt. It will be interesting to see the second part of this game. I found only one secret." - Kristina (24-Feb-2004)