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The Secret of the Tower by Mikki

Avmaster 7 8 7 8
Bogey 8 6 7 6
Duncan 7 7 6 6
eRIC 7 6 5 4
Gerty 7 7 6 6
Jay 8 7 7 6
Jose 6 5 7 5
Kristina 8 7 7 7
MichaelP 9 6 7 6
Mulf 6 5 4 3
Navi 8 7 8 7
Orbit Dream 9 5 6 6
Phil 8 7 7 7
Ryan 8 6 6 7
Treeble 8 7 6 6
Yoav 8 7 8 8
release date: 03-Jan-2004
# of downloads: 89

average rating: 6.67
review count: 16
review this level

file size: 20.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Egypt

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Not much of a looker, this one, as it tries to mix and match so many different texture sets into one. It didn't quite work out for me, I'm afraid. Gameplay however does try to keep you on your toes with a number of different tasks and deadly trap setups that had me reloading now and then. There was an overlapping room which I thought was funny (you jump towards it, so you can see both rooms by simply hanging off the edge), but there were a few dull moments (underwater maze, anyone?). Not a bad level though. 40 minutes. 03/21" - Treeble (07-Mar-2021)
"This is an aptitude test. If you pass, you can consider yourself qualified to take the graduate course (Eye of Eve). Myself, I still haven’t graduated after twenty-something years of tombraidering, because I like to think of TR as a fun activity rather than a chore, but I made it through the aptitude test alright. It is not a piece of cake. It announces its intentions immediately, as you die the instant the level has loaded. If you manage to survive, you’ll notice that not only is it not a piece of cake, there’s also no eye candy to be had in this level. Indeed, it looks atrocious. It’s clear that few thoughts have been spent on making the level look appealing; in terms of design, it’s purely functional. Only towards the end does the builder allow a bit of aesthetics to seep in: there is even one room near the end where specks of dust float through the air (the well-known effect of overlapping dry rooms and water rooms), and the builder was so enamoured with it that—in diametrical opposition to the approach in evidence elsewhere—, he left that room entirely without function, purely as something for you to gaze at in wonder.
There is a bit of platforming to do, but the level is not characterised by it, or by the few enemies you encounter. In one egregious case, a hostile native pops into existence right next to you as you complete a pushable puzzle, but usually enemies are placed well; although the Hulking Mutants tend to be rather too effective to provide an enjoyable challenge when accosting you in narrow corridors or poisoning you, unseen, while a camera view is active; and pickups are sparse.
Most of the level is a linear sequence of traps, interspersed with the occasional pushblock- or step-on-the-right-tiles puzzle, which offer welcome respite (the pushblock puzzles are thankfully short). The roll call includes the usual suspects (fire, spikes, boulders in various permutations) as well as less common hazards such as the ‘Seth blades’ and the ‘slicer-dicer’ from Settomb. The traps are usually set up in such a way that they are manageable if your reaction is swift and your fingers are nimble. (I should mention, though, that in this level, any tile can set you on fire. These are not the unmarked death tiles of an incompetent beginner’s or troll’s level, as they come with indications as to which tile is safe and which is not, but these and the look of the tiles themselves vary from room to room, so you have to die anyway in order to find out which is which. A death’s-head texture is used not specifically for dangerous tiles, but as a general marker that can mean anything.)
However, there comes a point in this level where this approach is abandoned in favour of mere trial-and-error; which is disappointing, as gameplay was doing quite well under the circumstances. This point is marked by the room in which several boulders come at you in front, and several more come at you, unannounced, in your back, while a slicer-dicer circles overhead. Surviving this situation requires a certain amount of dumb luck, as after several failed attempts you sort of stumble through the chaos, surprised to find yourself still breathing. It can be an exhilarating experience (it was in my case), but it leans heavily into trial-and-error territory; and I was prepared for the level to finish shortly after, but it turned out there was still a quarter of the way to slog through. I say ‘slog’ because this last quarter was the weakest part of the game, for several reasons. One, trial-and-error procedure definitely took over with the Seth blades: the room seemed to have indications for how to survive them, but they turned out to be an act of misdrection, and the only thing for you to do was simply jump into the thick of it and hope for the best. This was followed by a swamp full of spikes; again, sheer trial-and-error, this time without indications of any kind. Thus the trap sequence concludes on a jarring note. Two, tempo is taken out of the game; and three, gameplay becomes repetitive. When you arrive at the eponymous ‘tower’ (really, three stacked platforms in a large boxy room), the balance tilts in favour of puzzles, and it’s the few remaining traps that offer welcome respite now. Not necessarily a bad switch; however, you begin this section with three consecutive variations of the same puzzle, one of which (involving a monkeyswing) is unnecessarily prolonged and contrived; and indeed all of the puzzles turn out to be merely variations of stuff you’ve done before in the level—pushables and step-on-the-right-tile puzzles, with only the timed target shooting breaking up the monotony at the very end of the level, which thus ends on an unexpectedly dull note." - Mulf (24-Oct-2019)
"Well, this was a positive surprise, at least in terms of gameplay. I loved the variety of entertaining tasks and puzzles here. Avoiding spiked wall traps, lava and boulders, solving pushable puzzles that weren't too tedious for once, inventive uses of trigger tiles and symbols and a timed run/target shooting combination. Great stuff. As already mentioned and elaborated upon by other reviewers, the environment is rather plain and unimpressive with a few rather empty rooms and repetitively textured areas. Also, the mutants were incredibly irritating, often accosting Lara in narrow hallways, requiring mandatory uses of medipacks. None of these detracted from the experience, though." - Ryan (05-May-2017)
"Even when the environments have not a good appearance, the game is entertaining, full of dangerous traps and some tricky puzzles. Few enemies to shoot, huge rooms empty of objects and no care with the lighting and the texturization, simple architecture, the best was the atmosphere with the appropriate combination of flybys, cameras and musics. At the end Lara approaches to the "secret" in the small table, but the level ends before she can read it. Enjoyable." - Jose (14-Nov-2016)
"As other reviewers have noted, the builder devoted more attention to gameplay than to appearance in this early level of his. As both are important to me, I've marked the level down a bit for the latter failing. I played in stages, with a weekend in between, so the early details have grown fuzzy in my mind. However, I spent a total of nearly an hour and a half, and my recollection of the early going was that it was somewhat challenging but not distressingly so, with a good mix of timed runs, platforming exercises and mental tasks. The major difficulty was those poisonous critters that had a habit of popping out at you without warning, injecting you with that dizzying brew before you had a chance even to draw a weapon. Harry Laudie has provided his usual well-crafted and readable walkthrough. It was very helpful, especially with some of the puzzles. Not bad a raid at all." - Phil (19-Apr-2016)
"The secret of the Tower is a small book, apparently; which you don't even get the pleasure of reading, as the level ends just before you reach it. Not that it matters, because the sense of satisfaction upon reaching the Tower's roof is quite pronounced, this being one tough and devious level. For room after room you experience a wide and wonderful variety of cunning traps and well thought out puzzles, and the Gameplay (not to mention the ingenuity of the Builder) really is quite spectacular. From the very first moments of the Level you need to be alert and ready for anything, and the tension (and the surprises) never let up. In fact, so concerned is the Builder with creating superb Gameplay that he/she really rather lets themselves down with texturing and lighting, which is never more than adequate and which never succeeds in creating Atmosphere to match the exacting standards of the Gameplay. There are a few well-placed Enemies to spice things up but it's really all about the cunning traps and puzzles; and when they are of such a high standard, how can you genuinely complain?" - Orbit Dream (24-May-2005)
"This is quite a challenging little level with a succession of traps and puzzles in a straightforward way. Although some of the actions are not very fun and satisfying some others are entertaining one of the puzzles with symbols is quite clever the first trap was good fun and the moving spiked walls are always welcome. In spite of some good ideas I did not enjoy this level. There is no atmosphere due to the poor lighting and texturing. Also the mixture of textures do not work at all." - eRIC (01-Jan-2005)
"This level is full of clever traps and it has a few rather nice puzzles too. The main setting looks like some kind of quarry and is not very exciting. There is not much of atmosphere either. There are some enemies in the level notably tigers which are more beautiful than dangerous and poisonous monsters which on the other hand are a real pain. A few other enemies also appear. The level starts head on with a very nasty trap but most of the level is not so difficult. Still the level is tricky at times and the builder sometimes tries to lead player astray. The level is well worth playing but there is not much to enjoy except the traps and some puzzles." - Bogey (20-Jun-2004)
"At least the beginning does not look like a tower more similar to a good adventure when the area changes textures every time there are some difficult places with spikes and rolling boulders timed moving spikewalls if you do it right it's not so hard. A few rooms with tile puzzles to solve a few objects and keys to find and I think after using the two keys you get inside the tower a flyby showing this and the level is ending on the roof. Well it's only my opinion I leave it for you to decide." - Yoav (07-Jun-2004)
"I liked this level but some places were a little bit difficult. Some riddles were easy for me and some were hard for me and I needed more time to figure out what to do to solve the riddle. Spikes and rolling balls are easy to avoid. I found it annoying to take a medipack at the room with the burning floor because I found no way to extinguish the fire. So I switched to Lara's running mode and jumped into the small pool where Lara cooled herself down. The tiger on the bridge was getting on my nerves; he pushed Lara off the bridge. You need to find keys push objects and open doors (some are timed doors). Opponents are tigers mutants and native people. Weapons are shotgun revolver lasersight. I found no secrets in this level. I found it sad that the level ends before Lara gets the chance to pick up the book." - Avmaster (23-May-2004)
"If you like traps this is a level you should play. I had a rather shaky start as yes indeed this starts with a boulder trap so be warned. And even at a certain point in this level I thought to encounter a trap every corner Lara took. There is some block pulling and tile hopping timed shooting and the levels does end a bit abrupt in my opinion. There are just a few enemies like tigers and some alien looking mutants that have poisonous fangs and they do show up when you don't expect them. Artifact to gather are Keys and Hands. All in all I can say not bad at all a bit too many traps -and there are solutions in every room to find whether it contains a burning floor or spikes popping up or even to open a door- so look and look again. 02-05-2004" - Gerty (03-May-2004)
"You don't get much chance to rest at the start of this level. I was congratulating myself on avoiding the boulders and spikes when I found myself being mauled by a tiger! It's all good stuff. After a couple of south sea island natives and a mutant there was a breathing space to look around and have a nice refreshing swim. This is a fast paced level with fun puzzles plenty of quite challenging traps to avoid and some really good misdirection. " - Jay (01-May-2004)
"This level was quite a surprise in the positive sense. Yes alright the author did not put a lot of care into the texturing which is rather bland a bit of a strange mix and it uses an overall rather boring Egyptian setting and the cameras could use some fine tuning. Also not so sure about the enemies (tigers natives and those poison beasts) and did not find any secrets. But the gameplay though a little linear is full of very clever and very fresh ideas that make this a joy to play. You get great traps with boulders spikes fires blades and even moving spikewalls and really nice use of texture symbols to solve puzzles. Several hands and keys help your progression which for about 25 minutes is your path to the tower and then the other 25 minutes is making your way up the tower where the level ends. Give this one a try - it's quite special." - Michael (17-Apr-2004)
"The Tower is not really so much a tower as a big block inside a room and you get to it after many pitfalls. Some of the bits are fun others are a little tedious. For me this level needs a sense of momentum as it keeps blocking Lara with one problem after another. A good level has fun challenges and also straight-ahead passages. I enjoyed playing it and hope the author continues to develop." - Duncan (05-Apr-2004)
"I liked this level because although it was somehow plain no stunning textures or great puzzles it made a difference. I almost did not play it as the author intended us to but I finally got shown the way and completed it successfully. The idea with a boulder blocking a crawlspace fooled me at first making me think it was a bug but it turned out that it was part of the gameplay. The traps are boulders and fire in the entire level and poisonous creatures with claws and tigers as enemies. In the area with the four Hands something strange happened one time I encountered a creature but when I reloaded and picked up a hand again a tiger showed up. Also in the hut with the fire a second hand appeared after checking again. The last puzzles were easy with moving bocks and jumps on marked tiles but nicely done. It was longer than I had expected about forty five minutes. Give a try - it deserves your attention." - Kristina (26-Mar-2004)
"This was yet another level that was not easy. Lara needs to find a few stars and two keys. I basically liked how the puzzles were designed. Spikes and boulders to avoid which requires a bit of patience. Also a few timed sequences are included and some jumping on the right symbols and a plant puzzle which is fairly obvious. You can finish the game early if you find all the stars right away so keep your eyes open. I had one spare star at the end. Enemies were tigers and poison dwarfs but nicely placed. Lara also finds enough medipacks and sure needs them in places. Graphics were not so beautiful and textures not that cleanly applied. Sound and cameras were added in all the important moments. At the end Lara finds a book. If you like spikes and boulders give it a try. ;))" - Navi (24-Mar-2004)