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Tomb Raider A - The Techno Egyptians... by Psiko

Andi Croft 10 10 10 10
Andzia9 9 9 9 9
Anurag 10 10 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 10
Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
CC 10 10 10 10
Deekman 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 10
Drew 10 9 10 9
eTux 10 10 10 10
G.Croft 10 10 10 9
Gerty 8 10 9 8
Glow 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
JoeTheCrazyGamer 10 10 10 10
Jose 10 10 10 10
Juno Jim 10 10 10 10
Kristina 10 10 10 10
Leisa 10 10 10 10
Mezcal 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 9 10 10 9
Miya 10 10 10 10
mizuno_suisei 10 10 10 10
Monika 10 10 10 10
Moonliteshadow 8 8 8 7
Moonpooka 10 10 10 10
Navi 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
Ravenwen 10 10 10 10
Ruben 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Suzanne 10 10 10 10
tadziu_PL 10 10 10 10
The Aussie Adventurer 10 10 10 10
Torry 8 10 9 7
Treeble 8 10 9 8
Yoav 10 10 10 10
release date: 24-Mar-2004
# of downloads: 149

average rating: 9.77
review count: 37
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file size: 340.16 MB
file type: TR4
class: Fantasy/Surreal

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"In a previous incarnation (ie. my previous computer) I had played to about the end of the first act of these levels, and when that system died and I lost my progress, I decided to postpone my playthrough. As I'm down to the last handful of pending 2004 levels in my current raidlist, I figured it was about time to give this a proper shot, especially since then we've had not only one, but two massive releases from the author in the form of Hpyersquare (which are absolutely brilliant and you should be playing them right now if you haven't yet). Psiko's is a bit of an acquired taste, even more so in the early TRLE days, as the visuals seem dark and damp, creating a rather unique aesthetic that seems perhaps too industrial for its own good. While his later releases did vistas better, you can't deny the amount of detail put into custom objects and the very crafting of these massive levels, and that brings me to my next point. Even by following the walkthrough, I found myself lost all too often, and there's a bit too much backtracking which ended up taking it's toll on me. "Go back to where you found this item" — if only I could remember where that was! It took me nearly three weeks to reach the end of this adventure, and I fear that playing in short hourly sessions squeezed at the end of laborious days at work didn't really help matters, but eh, I guess that's what our lives have come to. The levels are massive and open and not only horizontally, but also vertically, so expect a lot of climbing up and down and head scratching trying to map out the routes you're supposed to take. And then some more, when vehicles get throw into the mix. Ultimately while I was completely enthralled by the aforemetioned Hypersquare, this release didn't have the same effect on me, I'm afraid, but it's no doubt a landmark in the TRLE scene by the many ways it pushes the envelope in scale and also customization. PS. I loved the nod to Richard Lawther, as Psiko used the same method to translate hyeroglyphs. 11h35min, 2 secrets. 08/21" - Treeble (22-Aug-2021)
"Tomb Raider A the techno egyptians is a massive game with lots to areas to explore. It is very colourful witch is something you never see in TRLE. The "Techno Egyptians Portal" level which was remade looks very different to what it did originally but the Center of the world stuff looks 75% similar. The redesign of the weapons, the new outfit and new title screen make this feel like a proper game, which for its time is incredible. Psiko is the most original and unique, of all the designers out there, and he always seems to make a great game that you get addicted to easily. It's one of them game that you want to complete. I would have liked some more secrets but it has a lot of well hidden objects so that kind up for it. One of the things that makes Psiko's levels extra cool is that fact that most levels are just one huge aera and alot of levels link back. There seems to be tons of Medipacks around but the final level makes it clear why. When i got to the end I was wanting more. Took around 20 Hours to complete this on my first go." - JoeTheCrazyGamer (15-Oct-2016)
"Here is the masterpiece, a culmination of years of work. Each category deserves a 10. The objects, enemies and one hell of a boss ending. The tower level was imposing. Brilliant and awe inspiring." - Ryan (19-Jan-2016)
"I don't think I will review the many levels of this adventure, one word is enough ... prodigious. There no word to describe this terrific adventure, everything is georgous. It's totally a perfect Hard science-fiction adventure with many amazing news technologies and very original nice idea (the line of change of gravity is just exellent ... Psiko, you could write science fiction novels after that). The gameplay is hard and sometimes very hard, but for me it's not a bad things, I like hard level. The news objetcs are wonderful and very well done, I just gess the time to create them. We have a perfect science fiction atmosphere with a mix of cities of future, news technologies, spaceship and amazing others things. This game is not dark and textures are the highlight of the game ... just SUPERB. I think my favorite level of this adventure is the "fire pilon" with the famous pilon in a giant volcano. The moment when Lara active the pilon and use the Scion is for me one of the best memoral event of the game. AMAZING GAME, don't forget it, it was a must of the trle world. Psiko has created a world. One of the most recommended level of the trle community." - BigFoot (27-Jan-2012)
"This adventure is so complex I had to write another live review, noting important things level by level. And they are many - both levels and important things.
Level 1 - Jerusalem 2002
In the beginning, I felt a little bit strange among all the psychedelic textures, seeming to be already TechnoEgyptian, even though the invasion hasn't begun yet. But I didn't allow myself to get disappointed. Then, I noticed I am supposed to follow the medikits - they mark an intended path in original way - and reached the cathedral and the church, both made with extreme care as for places visited by a player for several minutes or seconds only. That made me believe I'm truly into something serious, what was proved a little bit later with usage of another game element - sound. I'm sure the sample is the most appropriate one for the moment Lara discovers the Kernel picture. Next, impression was intensified by enormous statues, and music continued to be the greatest companion of visuals. I felt scared. The immersion was completed with the final camera getting far away from Lara, who seems to realize a myth is true, and to "fall into" the adventure.
Level 2 - Jerusalem: The Subdued
The moment when soundtrack changes its mood from unsure to dramatic gave me an adrenaline shot I haven't felt for months. I knew I'm ingame which won't let me go for very long. When I entered the factory, I realized those textures and lights I considered "weird" in previous level, actually appear "usual" when compared to total abstraction I could see in the second level. Totally abstractive, monumental architecture has been painted with them, including places built only for them to look great, what made me feel small like in no other custom level. I got lost many times, but gameplay was innovative enough to compete this, and wind challenge ruled with its steam emitters and metal bars. Climbing surfaces were not obvious to recognize, but I could learn them. Monkey swings shared the same texture, so that "grabbing" spots were easy to notice when I already knew what is and what is not a ladder. When I stepped into the garden, one thing disturbed my mind: how did those SASes get in places already infested by aliens (btw, resembling those from MDK2)? All moments and places I got lost in were well rewarded in the end, when all those pipes seeming to be static started to move. Also, another camera showing the exit open made me wonder if I should get used to psiko's monumental way of finessing things. The next flyby, getting far away from Lara once more, let me share her feeling of being about to go somewhere deeper... into
Level 3 - Underground passage below Jerusalem
Intro cam was even more stunning than the previous, showing the "elevator" moving. When it ended, I finally understood the SASes were TechnoEgyptians as well as the demigods from the previous level. That "killing descent" was one of the best usage of copying rooms I've seen so far. Also, until the moment I reached the cockpit, I didn't know it's possible to make a descending train level, also a level as such where Lara doesn't die after touching the ground. I was surprised by the water - I didn't notice places where it's about to come from. Great intermezzo, as well as...
Level 4 - Access to the portal
We cannot say at first what is and what isn't burning floor, but - just like in case of ladders and monkey swings - we can learn this. I think this level was designed in this purpose, and it succesfully made me accept psiko's building style. Of course, the destroyed "elevator" looked great.
Level 5 - TechnoEgyptians Portal
Total confusion - I took a first break here. HERE! In the FIFTH level! And I know it wouldn't've happened if I wasn't tired so much - next day I found something in a place I've checked twice before taking a break. Naah... I decided to go, go, go again! Three different intended ways, designed just in case if a player misses the lift, proved Psiko is a really advanced gameplay constructor. Just like Gmac, Psiko followed that "lock players in a small room" rule. Now I understood those SASes are TechnoEgyptians as well (for the first time, I noticed they share a common outfit with demigods). Another ladder tex appeared to learn. At this point of the game, a player already knows to remember things like that. Psiko switched my brain to his way of thinking. This is one of things I appreciate the most in designing gameplay. And another burning floor tile made me die at first, and watch out for it at second. o.O Burning meat o.O. Reminded me of the moon meat mine from "Tales of the Blode" by Joel Veitch of Rathergood, where Blode was captured by a giant moon crab called Mel Gibson (by coincidence) who forced him to mine moon meat for him... oh, and a meat agility test. I liked this Psiko more and more... Ouch! Another moment when a static appeared to be a movable... trap (reloaded a previous save). I didn't like that ladder backtrack. This mentioned trap location could be designed better. But next, I got TR2 feeling by the round windows accompanied by TR1 main theme, and those good memories took over. I felt better. Next, I had another opportunity to admire psiko's way of thinking: I found a place where a texture I learnt not so long ago led to. Earlier, there was no need to notice it. Now, when I were supposed to, I know I should grab it. Next thing was avoiding a SAS shooting me through metal(?) bars and taking a revenge on him by counter-attacking him from the other side. And then, I encountered one (of three noticed in total) bugs of the game: whaam. Hit an invisible wall. I think this was a hint telling me "You'ren't supposed to go here, you know". Meanwhile, I found a secret! At last! For some time, I really wanted to do it. Now I was rewarded and it felt great. What was that thing? "Oh" - I thought - "now I will deal with those skeleton warriors..." Another invisible wall, in a copy of the room it previously was, made me sure it shouldn't be there. I checked another copy of the same room, just to make sure. Same bug. Later on, I understood psiko wanted to make this location as stable as possible, so he could just copy one stable room without applying a bugfix. Maybe, with a such bugfix, this place was getting unstable, as this is exactly the location described in author's readme as "the hugest flipmap ever" - the Egg, about to open. Concerning doors - the opening Eye portal had the best sound so far. I want a door like this in my home. Neighbours will never accept it, but I don't care. After crossing that door, I got stuck, so this was a place of my second break. After the break, I found another accessible place way behind me - the Egg has opened and it seemed Psiko finally broke Gmac's rule. Another secret was found, but no way out of the place. Finally, after visiting many familiar locations and several hours of no clues, I looked into Psiko's walkthru... :( and knew at once what I did wrong - I thought those lines are wires, and they were not. Wrong assumptions are a player's worst nightmare, but this one related to the most challenging puzzle I can remember from all customs I've played so far - so I don't regret I didn't solve it. It requires several different levels of thinking, and I'm not so creative (YET). Really, this game was doing what it wanted to do with my heart - mixing satisfaction with frustration, admiring with running in circles, lots of confusion with total immersion not leaving me for a single second - but the best was yet to happen. I made it to the end, jumped into the Earth crust opening and...
Level 6 - Beehives of the Earth
...gravity has changed. WOW!!! The introducing flyby and sound were stunning again, even more astonishing than any other before, showing beehives and their supporting wires, looking like some kind of cursed gothic castle. Also, I saw the Kernel of Rhatech for the first time. Do I really have to mention it had a perfect ambient sample (TR2)? Got stuck again, but after about an hour I decided to go crazy and finally passed those moving knives without asking anyone for help... but the solution is so ridiculous that only a person as crazy as me is able to figure it out. Also, if one does it, he/she will know to expect MORE traps designed in similar way further ingame. Many people dislike this way of building dangerous places, also me, but I could get over it at last, deciding to leave passing the knives without a scratch to Chuck Norris - he will surely make it. Again, I pressed the levelending switch and another marvellous flyby showed it all working. I finally got used to it and started to treat those cameras, exceeding any other with their execution, as "typical for this builder". Do You understand what it means? Treating something outstanding as "typical" is the greatest kind of inspiration available in both worlds: real and custom! For fun things, I found the bike resembling a dead bee - according to what Psiko tells us in his readme, it might be a symbol of normal bees defeated by TechnoEgyptian ones. However, I may be overinterpretating. Gameplay issues: this level included most backtracking so far. Everytime I wanted to give 10 for gameplay, Psiko treats me with such backtrack through the whole level. But in THIS case, when I saw a pit and thought I'm about to take a shortcut by jumping into it - the author forced me to perform a "reverse backtrack". And the "reverse reverse" one as well. Why? Visuals are stunning in this part, but gameplay is the worst so far. Fortunately, it was not to become even worse further, so if You don't get disappointed by this part, I'm sure You will make it to the very end of the game. Additional info: I once thought "if I was psiko, I would make all those beehives kaboom". And wonder what? Yes. They went.
Level 7 - Rhatech: The Oppressor
When You see the main alley statues You will make certain "Tron" the movie outfits were inspired by them. Nicely designed small drills (of course turning on in the end), and the mighty huge drill (animating all the time) left me no opportunity than leave all words I can describe them with, because I think it's the most appropriate to simply call them TechnoEgyptian. All locations, including those objects, were scaled to fit them well with their size - in any typical case, this would mean oversizement, but not in this level. The only annoying thing was the underwater trap, also with Chuck Norris being the only person able to pass it without health loss. Thank God... or thank psiko... enough medikits were provided. Grabbing a zipline required future planning. Nice. And I've been wondering for several minutes what Lara was looking at when standing on the ammo shelf... What an innovation it appeared to be! Now that's what I call gameplay. No backtracking at all. Hahaha, the first pushable in this game! I thought it will never happen. Also, passing the fire pedestal polerope requires alternative thinking. And negotiating slicer without health loss is ingenious. I wonder if it was intended, or if it was a coincidence that it is possible. And the spiky roller puzzle requiring lots of sacrifice needs to be mentioned as well. The last remarkable things are the mirror room inside the pyramid, and usage of statues' electrofingers proved it's not always a bad idea to make objects appear from thin air, like these spikeballs did.
Level 8 - The New RHA Shining Star
"If previous levels were huge, this one is enormous" (quote from review on "Serious Sam" made by one of our CD-ACTION writers). I was exploring for half an hour just to take a look around before I started to look for jumpswitches. Then it appeared the jumpswitches are the only things I am supposed to look for... and I'll be back here.
Level 9 - Cathedral of the New RHA
Comparing the turning head to "Omikron: The Nomad Soul" is inevitable. I found one camera disturbing, but fortunately, it can be interrupted. The rest of the level, again, is filled with innovations, including a nice 3-ball fight, placing a medi on a spinning trap, and the BuggyCar with its shape and soundtrack bringing back sweet memories from "NFS Porsche 2000". As always, medis mark the intended way - clever. Unfortunately, there was another backtrack.
Shining Star (take 2)
included a secret (or was I able to take it the previous time I was here?), and the most crazy way I could imagine to obtain it was the right one. This was exactly what I wanted to do in my "Benzin" Advent test level, but I failed. So I will need to ask psiko for a tutorial on this kind of setup. The Scion... Everytime I think it can't be weirder, it appears I'm wrong. Also, I wondered: "Is this large platform a lift? Of such enormous size?" This was to be explained soon.
Cathedral again
Got stuck in that place where a static camera gives a hint - of course I searched through everything else before I decided to follow what I was shown. And that hint leads to another ingenious situation... Won't give spoilers here - I want You to challenge Yourselves!
Back to the Star
Nothing special... I mean nothing more special than I was used to. Just a ride.
Cathedral - Take 3
In this point of the game, I wasn't sure if I am supposed to go back and forth through these levels so many times, and soon, I also got confused again, and took another break. Then, it appeared it was one of the most smart timed runs what made me stuck. BTW, psiko's usage of raisingblock is common, and making a heavy... literally heavy switch of one of these blocks is genious.
Star again
"You cannot move anymore" puzzle is pretty misleading - You can forget about the lasers - it's a fake hint and IMO, this puzzle is the worst one of the whole game. I can't agree it should be created like this.
Cathedral - Take 4
And The New RHA Embryo was pretty beautiful... I mean, pretty ugly.
Star for the last time
At last, a demigod battle where ducking couldnt be used to a player's advantage. I found that one challenging and thrilling. Then I realized the thing I considered to be an elevator was actually a hidden Shining Star cover. Now everything has risen from the water, creating a yet even huger architecture change than I could see in TechnoEgyptians Portal. Here, half of a level is moved! Meanwhile, I found another secret... spent several hours looking for another (non-existing) one in The Cathedral, and the only thing I found was a misleading polerope leading to nothing. It's probably something that was once intended to be a WAY OUT of the flame emitter part (another raisingblock made me assume this, being probably a WAY IN), but psiko finally decided not to apply it. Getting stucking in that polerope part was a time of the most intense frustration in the whole game, due to which I stopped to look for the last secret further ingame - and I missed it. Definitely, DEFINITELY the worst, the most misleading place in the whole game. So DON'T MIND THAT POLEROPE - the last secret is somewhere else. I'll find it someday.
Level 10 - The Steel Tower of 4 Elements
Swizzle Firma, "MDK2" memories came to my mind at once - this level is green, hi-tech and more vertical than horizontal. Here, I reached 1000 saves, and I think more than 5000 loads. Have You ever seen a puzzle comprising of 5 levels (and 4 passages)? This is the hub place where it all starts from.
Levels 11, 13, 15 and 17 - Fire, Wind, Water and Earth Passages
Wow. Static horizon and grates moving along it make an impression of Lara teleporting. It happens in all of these 4 identical levels, but it was great everytime I proceeded through them.
Level 12 - Fire
Burning monsters matched burning environment very well. Also a footprint ladder looked nice, and the soundtrack did it best - piano was used for showing fire as a player's friend: something beautiful, not destructive. This calmed me down and made evading fire pits easier than any before. Then, the monster cave ended with retrieving the Scion in its modified fire form, what was unexpected (I could expect something unexpected) and really funny LOL. And a little bit later, in the Fire Pylon location, there was some rock climbing and jumping - just in the moment I thought there will be no classic raiding in this game. Thankfully, I was wrong. Street lanterns surround those rocks, so I kept being aware this fantasy environment is something usual for creatures living there. Just like psiko says in his readme, "classic would be different" if the evolution was different. Then, a guy in a cage surrounded with plants, accompanied with TR3 music reminded me of "It's a Madhouse!" - the most creative level from "TR3 Gold - The Lost Artifact". 10 hrs in stats has already passed away when I discovered another ingenious mixture of object usage, made of rollingball, flame emitter and a shatter put together. From this moment, the level became a happy destruction, but with lots of exploration still necessary. I liked that psiko didn't want to skip searching part. But possibly the greatest puzzle achievement of this part (and, maybe, the whole game) is the circuit puzzle - when I thought there will be nothing more crazy than the TechnoEgyptians Portal puzzle, Psiko showed me the same idea extended into something really beyond thoughts of a standard human brain. Finally, after lots of situations when I compared the whole project to Lawther's creations - I found TechnoEgyptian Translator in use, designed by Dick himself. What a great feeling to see a part of this builder here, being a TechnoEgyptian as well! Pylon flipmap nice... Something with those lever triggers is messed up, but I could figure it out. And, there is another bug (2 of 3), the most serious, but still not harmful compared to those seen in other custom levels - the ladder not working properly after the flipmap is on. I thought: "Good thing Psiko made this pylon the first one. Fire is the hardest element, so the rest will be relaxing." Again, I was wrong.
Level 14 - Wind
Least stunning, but still stunning level. Polerope stucking out of a block resembles a secret, but it's not one of them. No medis can be used in 4 dragons part. If Psiko knew about the load/save locust trick, he wouldn't place so many of them. But still they give climate - blue crystals scattered on the grass... Arrhhh, there's no way up... Need to backtrack again.
Level 16 - Water
The element motive continues in this part of the Inner Surface, filled with underwater vessels and different inhabitants. I can remember no better designed enemy than a fishgod. Avoiding his bolts is simply the most 3D feeling ingame, reminding me of "Aquanox". Have anyone played this game? Or "Deadly Tide"? Also, the place comprises of many areas designed only for decorational reasons, so I got nicely confused and took a break. The final bug (3 of 3) occurs after the final flipon - another non-working ladder - and when I realized psiko cleared a 20-level project of all remaining glitches, I tapped my hat for his betatesting part. But the most shocking moment of this water part was... finding the normal key! Looking like a KEY, not anything else!
Level 18 - Earth
Of all levels, this one reminds me of "Mario" the most. Maybe it's because of the mushroom scorpions. Or killer plants. Golem Horsemen are tough guys. Finding a trapdoor path is also original. After seeing so many stunning places in a single game, stunning environment stopped to stun me, and - just like it was in case of flybys - I accepted is as "standard for this builder". The inspiration was complete. The only thing remaining to do was to finish the game and share my feelings. So it began - the ending.
The Tower again
A ship has taken me into...
Level 19 - The Kernel of Rhatech
. Compared to the rest, it was BOXY. This doesn't mean "bad" at all. After 18 levels of pure abstraction, I'm sure if psiko wanted it not to look like this - rude, massive and solid - he wouldn't've built it of so regular blocks. But the design is as it is to says it loud: "You are at the center of the biggest machine ever built, and something monumental is about to happen".
Level 20 - How TechnoEgyptians are born
After an introduction making me unsure what happens next, I heard a looped sample and saw... No, I leave this with no comment, OK? OK.
Level 21 - Defeat of the Empire
is about Defeat of the Empire - filled with so much accomplishment I think I should use no words to describe it, for not to spoil the impression. Play the game and feel it Yourselves. No, really - PLAY IT. I'll only say even though it was clear from the very beginning that the New Rha will be a modified Seth, a camera moving along the pipe made me can't wait for him to be shown.
Level 22 - Jerusalem must be free
What a stupid ending for a genious game! I don't count this level. I'll leave it unrated. Really, psiko, what were You thinking about?? What the "alternative one ready"? For inner and outer surfaces' sake, HOW can it be possible? It not only appears nonsense compared to the whole flawless rest of the plot, but also feels like all those things Lara did throughout the last 21 levels were wasted. Not to mention backtracking to all prison cells using the already forgotten paths, in a situation when Lara could just give that key to some ex-prisoner and tell him "go free the others". OMG. Skip it, SKIP IT!!! It ruins the climate!
This is not true this game isn't supported by Core Design, as the best Core ever designed supports whole internal life of Planet Earth, with its own civilization, describable only by psiko's sentence "Classic would be different" - words now becoming one of the greatest building advices I've ever received, along with Gmac's "Lock players in a small room" and Titak's "Water isn't blue" phrases. I've never expected any builder, from any world, real or custom, internal or external, to shock me more than Lawther. If Lawther was Beethoven, psiko would be Gustav Mahler. His flipmaps move whole parts of levels, which aren't just big - they are literally the most enormous I've ever seen, overwhelming, allowing a player to feel their weight, and I can't understand how they cause no object or room limit problems. Now treat Your mind like a pushable as well and let this game MOVE IT! Since I have completed it, I perceive our world in a little bit different way than before - during writing this review, power went off 6 times in my town, the whole street became dark, and I assumed our electricians should learn from TechnoEgyptians how to hang and support wires, for power to become impossible to turn off by anyone except Lara.
One of the best levels I've ever played, with its unique kind of creativity. For me, it's definitely underrated - I can't understand why so few people know about it that it wasn't even mentioned in Most memorable place in a custom level thread on until I did it. Was it really caused by all this backtracking I pointed out? If it really was, and some of You people freaked out and skipped the game for this reason, You went terribly wrong, so go now and repair Your mistake!" - DJ Full (05-Feb-2011)
"One thing for sure, Psiko has an unbridled imagination when it comes to level building. Not only are the textures colourful, the objects he uses takes you away from the real world into his fantasy world. I have to warn you, starting this mini game, be sure to have a lot of free time as it took me more than a month to get through it. Also looking at"the when" this level was built you only can top your hat. I had to peek at the walkthrough a couple of times as the rooms he made are vast and the back and fro one had to do is never something I look forward to. I also found it somewhat tedious to visit areas again and again. But all in all it'll keep you busy for quite a while." - Gerty (09-Dec-2010)
"It's difficult to reviewing this game. This was very long, but I spent very good time with it. Not very difficult. Levels were very interesting. Amazing textures, beautiful lightings and very good music. That was great work." - Andzia9 (03-Oct-2009)
"Well, it's all been said before, but I just had to put my two cents in. A masterpiece! The best set of levels I have ever played.......and I've been playing a looooong time. I was absolutely awestruck by the beauty, the story, the puzzles, the HUGENESS of it all. It took me 37 hours to finish......and I still wanted more. I'd score this as a 20+ if I could. BRAVO PSIKO! And thank you for a wonderful adventure!" - beachnutt (21-Jun-2008)
"Psiko's full game in all its glory. After seeing bits and pieces and earlier versions of some of the levels, we then got to play it from start to finish - and what a ride indeed.
Prophecy of New RHA The Mighty (7/10/9/9, 30 min.): A smaller level, kind of a warm-up, introducing the storyline with a bit of a flashback. But it already impresses with the Psiko style colourful texturing, the cute kilt outfit, huge architecture and great custom objects. The church looks really awesome. Thanks to solid camera guidance it is not too hard to find a handful of levers and slide into the next level.
Jerusalem, The Subdued (9/10/10/9, 75 min.): Great drama right from the starting flyby. Lara now in the outfit we know from the previous releases. Not my favourite but suits the setting well. You begin by smashing the wall in and then are on your way for a four elements quest which is quite masterfully designed. Flybys and music are excellent, you begin to meet the enemies of the season: TechnoEgyptian demigods, harpies and wraiths (very cool) and also a few kind of normal bad guys. I liked the cells area a lot, the use of the rotating blades is well done and it also helps your orientation that doors close behind you and only once you completed all the tasks at hand you can get back out again. The 'special effects' cannot be described in a review, you have to see them for yourself. The wraith chase is pure adrenalin and once you have acquired the kernel and the Crust/Pylons you can get out of here and make your way underground. The only little downside of the nicely flowing gameplay here is maybe the fact that you pull something like 20+ levers along the way which became a little repetitive after a while.
The underground passage below Jerusalem (not rated, 5 min.): Awesome flyby and a great huge vehicle in this transition level. It is mainly about collecting a bunch of pickups and killing a few bad guys. Make sure you enjoy the view from the cockpit. Loved the music.
Access to the Portal (not rated, 5 min.): Another transition level, after you have crashed the vehicle. Not much to do here, but an important eye piece to collect.
Techno Egyptians Portal (9/10/10/9, 60 min., 1 secret): It's been a long time since I played the original release of this and it sure felt different here in its reworked version. Still, the overall setting around this single big room with the 'egg'/'spaceship' is as brilliant today as it was more than 6 (!) years ago. Yes, there is a lot of searching of the next lever and climbing long ladders and poles up and down and even though there are many cameras to help, you will still get easily confused on where to go next, but after a while you easily find your way around. Enemies are the very cool custom skeletons, a shark and some guards, but they really don't do much. The follow-the-line puzzle is quite original to solve and eventually you place the four hard earned tablets and the floor opens to drop into the next level.
Beehives of the Earth (8/10/10/9, 50 min.): This part has yet again several very remarkable flybys that carry the storyline along nicely. Gameplay is more on the easy side, but also a bit tedious with lots of climbing and backtracking involved. Still, there are some nice acrobatics to master and a few enemies to deal with. And we get introduced to the very cool bike but actually only for a short ride here.
RHATech, the Oppressor (8/9/10/9, 50 min.): The bike plays a key role here in order to move on in the level, starting from the bridge where it gets you past the two sentry guns you destroy later. What I did not like to much where again the several gameplay elements that force you to lose significant health, even if ample medication is provided throughout. The giant turning wheels look awesome, the eyescanning is cool, there are blade traps in and out of water and only a few crocs as enemies. The mirror room is nicely done and the flybys as all the pieces come together excellent as always.
New RHA Shining Star/Cathedral of New Rha (10/9/10/10, 80 min): This is a complex double level part, which will require all your sense of orientation to get through with your sanity intact, but it is still brilliant in how it has you traverse the whole place up and down and left and right on foot and remarkably a lot of it also with the two buggys, which are truly fun to drive (and with great audio added too). Your task is to open a Catherdral and do the necessary works to trigger energy beams that lift up the egg and eventually open the doors to the next levels. Enemies are few but tough (demigods, harpies, the occasional guard) and there are runs/jumps over breaktiles, a timed run, tricky climbs and jumps and lots more to spice things up. Add to that a few great flybys which carry the story along and we will forget about the minor gripes that at times the climbing and backtracking gets a little much.
Steel Tower of Four Elements (9/9/10/10, 60 min.): As the level title implies here you get to play with the four elements and explore another huge area which in its corners has water (ice), fire (lava), air and earth elements on display. As usual you end up searching and finding the next elusive switch, avoid a few traps and enemies and literally jump and climb around the whole place, including the very cool shuttle pad and the bridge that looks a bit like a hand. With the help of your four collected Scions you can now open up the first entry to the subsequent elemental levels.
Foundation of the First Pylon, Fire (10/10/10/9, 70 min., 1 secret): A short but very cool swim transitions you into this level, which presents you with the next huge area to explore. You need to watch your step for the deadly lava tiles, battle a few ahmets, demigods and guards, but in the end it is all about finding the next switch and a set of eight diamonds. The 'flipping cage' puzzle room was nicely designed and the flybys seemt o just get better and better. I especially enjoyed the dramatic audio with them in this part. Once you get your job done to activate the beams with the help of the Fire Scion, you travel back to the Hub level and open the entrance to the next element part.
Foundation of the Second Pylon, Wind (7/9/9/8, 45 min.): Probably my least favourite level of the whole series. It starts with a pick up frenzy, continues with dragons and you need to simply endure their locusts for a while until you manage to kill them and it has a six lever door puzzle that I finally gave up on and resorted to the provided solution by the author in the readme. The windmills were nice though.
Foundation of the Third Pylon, Water (8/9/9/9, 40 min.): Also one of the weaker parts in comparison and it was beginning to feel like a lot 'more of the same'. Jump switches, trap door, long climbs and a very long annoying backtrack to the Sphinx at the end. The blade wall was quite original though, as were the underwater demigods.
Foundation of the Fourth Pylon, Earth (9/10/9/9, 45 min.): All the fun comes back here starting from the ultra cool techno horsemen, the buggy racetrack that you first need to open up and then the variety of exercises with the buggy which are great fun to do, including the little timed bit. I just loved those cute little walking mushrooms.
The Kernel of Rhatech / Defeat of the Empire / Jerusalem must be free (8/10/10/10, 50 min.): Well, all the work is done and yet so much more to do. The final levels impress with a multitude of long flybys during which the author narrates the storyline again and you do suitably get a boss type ending, although I found the effort of navigating around the room while being chased by five wraiths and gulping medipacks along the way rather tedious and not exciting.
All in all, this is for sure the most ambitious custom level project out there and having completed it now, more than three years after its original release, it still feels as fresh as if it had been given to us greedy players only yesterday. You don't know custom levels if have not played this masterpiece!" - MichaelP (09-Nov-2007)
"I played this a long time ago, but I just had to say something about it. I think psiko broke the mold with this one - showed that a designer could do much more than search tombs. He made square objects appear round, and invented many features I see still being used... I think this was the best TR game of it's time !!!" - Juno Jim (03-Sep-2007)
"Definetely the most wonderful issue I have come across in my short TRLE life. A gigantic adventure such as I have never seen before. The players goal is to prevent the rebirth of the Egyptian Sun God RA , for which The Techno Egyptians have built a huge machinery deep under the foundations of the city Jerusalem. After 2 weeks I took a short glimpse into one of the helpline forums because I thought I was coming close to the end only to find I had only finished 15 % of the complete game ! An unforgettable standalone by Psiko !" - Ruben (05-Apr-2007)
"This is one of the most complete, unique and original levels ever created, although in fact the length, richness and geniality of Psiko's work rather classify it as a full game on its own, rather than a level or even a level series. It's clear that he put lots of inspiration, imagination and talent in making this game, and the result is a hi-tech masterpiece that blends mythology with science fiction in a series of futuristic settings where a particularly imaginative adventure takes place, with several subtle messages concerning the 'real' world. This game sets very high standards in level building in all aspects (texturing, storyline, puzzles, gameplay, atmosphere), and I don't think there will ever be anything equal or similar to it. I would bet that the people behind the level editor would be more than pleasantly surprised to see how far builders can go with the editor and create stuff that exceeds all sorts of expectations and ideas. There is a solid, powerful and exceptionally creative storyline behind this game; the vast environments that Lara is called to explore, although beautifully textured, are not just decoration but in reality are more than functional in the progress of the plot and gameplay. Speaking of which, be prepared for some really serious gameplay where not only action skills but also plenty of wit is required. Everything used in this game is impeccable; moreover there are some brilliant puzzles (one that comes to mind is the mirror room puzzle, where you get to see a twin Lara - one of the most spectacular sequences in the game; also the huge four pylons sections that provide some of the most amazing TR gaming moments). A top-notch masterwork that can proudly stand beside the official games and it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that, in many aspects, it even surpasses some of them." - Ravenwen (21-Dec-2006)
"You are about to enter a world that has never been seen before, and possibly never will be seen again. There is nothing to compare to it. Totally unique. Those attracted to the unusual will not be disappointed. The result of years of hard work, by one man, Psiko. An entire game that comes complete with cd cover (which I printed and used), as well as other files of information. Every tiny little part of this has been carefully thought out. I played this game over weeks, not days, and spent a long time just looking around. Throughout the levels we will encounter familiar objects, traps, and enemies, but in 'action' only. Every single one is a marvel to look at. Take for example the knights on horseback. Well here they are 'rockmen' on armoured beasts that I couldn't describe as a particular animal. Then there are the mushrooms! lol, that were scorpions in a previous reincarnation. One of the most impressive 'elements' of this game is the extraordinarily HUGE rooms, and I don't think I've ever been able to see so far off into the distance, or below from great height as I have here. And believe me, these are monumental heights. These vast distances we have to travel may put some players off, and can be confusing at times, but I'd urge players to at least try, because when you finally hit the end trigger you will get such a sense of achievement that's hard to match. Of course, here is where I'd recommend the excellent walkthrough written by Dutchy, to save a lot of this confusion and pointless searching in the wrong places. The cut scenes were just incredible. Cameras, music, atmosphere, and textures were excellent. Speaking of textures. They are quite striking in places, with strong colours, and can be a bit overpowering. But they are so much a part of this whole experience, the player will soon get used to them. It would be impossible to describe everything I've seen, heard and done in this game. Scoring this masterpiece seems almost an insult, considering the work involved. The time taken to design the rooms alone is scary to think about. To include puzzles and tasks for Lara, no matter how bizarre, then retexturing and creating new enemies and objects, or even to consider the original concept, is just mind boggling. So in all fairness, I couldn't give it any less than top scores. I'm glad in a way that I didn't play the previous releases that are included again in this game, so it was all brand new to me. The levels are divided into three parts called The Father, The Mother, and The Son, or spawn if you like, who Lara has to kill to stop the rot. I had an incredibly long review written and decided to leave it aside as the other reviewers have done an excellent job of describing some of the things that the player will come across. So it's just left for me to say that this is one magnificent game that I will never forget. The download is huge, but worth every single minute." - CC (30-Aug-2005)
"The level is too high tech and very tombraiderish, with plenty of new objects, weapons and cool environments. The file size is too large I wasn't confident before downloading it, so I asked for suggestions. When suggested I downloaded it and after playing I think it is worth it. So 10 for all. Best of the best level." - Anurag (24-Jul-2005)
"The culmination of a masterpiece. The only custom level (I played) that followed an interesting and coherent storyline since the release of the initial levels --- TEP and COTW --- a good 3 and 2 years, respectively, ago. This complete game by Psiko took 3 years in the making and never lost any of its charm and appeal to the TR gaming public. There's so much you can say (and be amazed about) in this game. The hydraulics scene was simply awesome. The destruction of the cathedral was a poignant scene. The train wreck was amazing. The steel tower was daunting. The swim back and forth from one element to the next was a psychedelic experience. COTW was made easier but nonetheless exciting. TEP was completely overhauled but made much better (in my opinion). And even the rehashed Rhatech demo levels was made more difficult in the confrontation-reconciliation routine. The destruction and imprisonment of Jerusalem. The ultimate sacrifice of Lara., etc. I could go on and on, but at the risk of missing out on something or retelling everything here, I'll just leave my awe at that and (leave it) up to you to experience this. It's worth the wait and definitely worth your while playing this. For better appreciation, you may read the documentation that goes with the download. You'd get a glimpse of the hard work and preparation the author put in this endeavor, and from where he drew his inspiration to it all. Perhaps that inspiration rubbed off on not just a few of us who played it. I swear, I had goose bumps and felt so sad when I saw the cathedral (that we had got accustomed to) go to waste. But the flower in the machine gun is a calming juxtaposition to it all. Simply surreal." - Drew Pizza (31-May-2005)
"Where to begin....Here we have a huge set of levels, set in a futuristic era, with futuristic levels, and a futuristic Lara. Only having just finished this level set a few hours ago, I am still left with a huge impression. The world of the Techno Egyptians is enormous. The levels are huge and varied with a many a thing to accomplish. Most levels take about an hour to finish each and each level is just as good as the other. Gameplay mostly consists of lever pulling, lever finding, the occasional puzzle element and the best part, the exploring. Since the levels are vast and varied, you are swept up in the enormity and it is a pleasure to go around and explore every nook and cranny. Let me make this quick.. Camera work and cut scenes...Absolutely brilliant. Enemies...tough and they fight back. assortment of new items. Textures...lots and lots of new textures all done professionally. And in my opinion, the best part of the game... originality! There has been a lot of work go into the background story for this game and I am very much appreciative of this fact. I also like the fact that included with the download are an interesting interview and CD covers. I must insist that everyone play this level. The new textures, enemies, objects should not be missed. I almost forgot, the new clothes for Lara are so cool looking too, nice job. This game is arguably better than some of the other Tombraider games so don't miss out. If you were disappointed with AOD, then get back to some classic tombraiding and give this game a go. Come on.. I dare you! If I had to give this level a grade I would give it an A+, a super high distinction." - The Aussie Adventurer (16-May-2005)
"I have finished it several months ago but just now I decided to write the review. This work is brilliant and the author is an authoritative master of custom level makers. His first level I've played was Center of the World but I was being discouraged by its climate which was not much like Tomb Raider. I thought that such strange levels should not be published, but after this one I've change my mind and I recommend other players who also don't like this type of climate to try it too. The plot which splendidly connects all particular levels is really interesting and highly addictive. In certain moments it is difficult to break off the game because of curiosity about what will happen in the next level. Lara has yet to see such enormous locations. When I have entered one of those large rooms for the first time I thought that I will not be able to proceed. Music is superb and perfectly harmonized with the climate. Everything is perfectly textured. There is a lot of new riddles, cutscenes and animations, eg. spaceships which take off from a hangar. Enemies fit perfectly for each level eg. robots, mushrooms and water creatures. I was also charmed by all the impressing machines, huge bolts, excavations and any kind of equipments. Unfortunately there were certain moments when I was bored eg. monotonous running between the level 'New RHA Shinig Star' and 'Cathedral of New RHA'. Anyway, to my mind this is the best custom level in the world and his author is a genius. An absolute must for everyone." - tadziu_PL (05-May-2005)
"A brilliant level. Very exciting, did find things a bit tedious at times though, and also found the scenery a bit depressing. This is not a level to leave for a couple of weeks and come back to as you need to remember where you've been, why and how to get back! Some great suprises, well worth the huge download." - Moonliteshadow (01-Mar-2005)
"Reviewing an epic compilation such as this is much like trying to write an essay on how it felt when you lost your virginity. The experience was unforgettable mind-numbing and pleasurable beyond description and when the opening credits rolled by you just wanted to lay back in stupefied exhaustion and light a cigarette. I began this adventure more than a month ago and played it in conjunction with Lara at the Movies and Fragments of the Core. This was the one I finished first because something about it compelled me back again and again to click on the TRA icon at the expense of the other two. The other reviewers have given sufficient detail about the levels themselves; since this epic landmark is a shoo-in for Hall of Fame status before long I won't add to the verbiage. Just a couple of random remarks and I'll go away quietly. The majestic sweep of the cut scenes and flybys accompanied by some of the finest heroic music you've ever heard are what will stand out in my mind after the memories of specific gameplay details have faded away. The surrealist surroundings take some getting used to but you soon get so caught up in the sheer immensity of your surroundings that you don't really notice the strange environs. I clocked in at just over 24 net gaming hours in line with what most of the other reviewers have reported. Dutchy's masterful walkthrough was essential to my ability to navigate these wonderful levels successfully and I tip my hat to him. Most hard core raiders have played this already (9/04); but if for some reason you've been putting it off wait no longer. Highest recommendations." - Phil (20-Sep-2004)
"Wow amazing! What an excellent game! You have put a lot of effort into this game 10.10 for me! You should make some other adventure maybe TR-B or something lol!" - Kookee (11-Sep-2004)
"So now I have finished this game too. Took me awhile ;-). Either you like a psiko game or you don't. It can take some getting used to the environment the outfit and the different creatures. It is not so easy to review a long and so special game like this one. Most things have already been well said by others. The beginning part was rather boring but it was nice to see Lara in a kilt. Then with the next part the excitement began and it kept on till the end. I had played COTW and I recognised part of it again (also had forgotten quite a bit). I thought COTW was in parts even more difficult then the newer version. I'm not complaining because it was difficult enough. At the end the 4 wraiths were a bit too much for me. One didn't even have time to look around to see what to do next. I just used what I call 'Kristina's trick' to finish this part. Playing time: 23 hours net time. I only found 1 secret but I came to the end anyway. Generally I liked the game very much. Psiko has done an excellent job and provided a very different and interesting game. (18.06.2004)" - Monika (18-Jun-2004)
"Congratulations to psiko for an unforgettable masterpiece! I've played this epic adventure through twice.......and found the second round just as enjoyable as the first....but in different ways. The first time I was awed by the sheer size and difficulty of the levels. The second time was a more leisurely trip: I began to take in the complexity and design of the rooms and more fully realized was a tremendous effort this was. As of yet I have not experienced a bug or heard of anyone else reporting a bug; this is simply amazing for a project of this magnitude. The new player may be intimidated by the size of this game but fear not! Places where you may get stuck are in the downloaded documents and personal help is only a forum away. The different elements of gameplay have already been commented by those much more able than myself so there's no need to say much more except that I agree that everything was great! I recommend this game to all those who play games made with the Tomb Raider Level Editor. After completing the game for the second time I have found 6 of the 7 secrets. I'm going back for the 7th!" - Jose (18-Jun-2004)
"What can I say about this game that hasn't been said? It was totally awesome in my opinion. This game had me occupied for more than a month and I admit I had 2 areas that I could not do and had to get help. The timed run w/pole defeated me I'm sorry to say. But the cut scenes were breathtaking. Most of the game for me was breathtaking. It's hard to hold your breath for a month. LOL It was a real challenge for me at the collapsing platforms which I gave up on in COTW but managed to complete in TR-A. Every time I turned around there was another impossible action to do and it gave a real sense of accomplishment when I did them...harpies wraiths was almost constant action and hyperventilating for me and I loved every minute of it. Of course the last sequence sticks in my mind the most with the new Rha and his starfires. This must be a record but I used 38 medpacks in that sequence alone. No I'm not proud of it. LOL But I am proud of the fact that I finished this epic masterpiece. Fantastic work Psiko! Excellent! I'm gonna play again when they take this strange jacket off me and release me from solitary confinement. LOL" - Leisa (05-Jun-2004)
"Psiko has given us this epic story in three parts - The Father Mother Son. All wrapped up with two covers; an interview with pictures; documents with gameplay hints (needed); a patch for XP and an executable to facilitate a quick start to gameplay. New animations sounds -great music throughout especially the ending with changes to previous versions given just enough tweak to render them new and exciting and all without bugs! 300+MG translated to more than 24 hour playing time. Took me a bit longer than most other players because although I had 14 medipacks as I entered the Epilouge I found (for me) it wasn't enough. With a savegame from TheBoo I got back to the beginning of the Second Pylon and that cache of much needed health I had missed the first time around. Many times I stopped gameplay and just stared at the surroundings - magnificent and awe inspiring. The sheer size and technological ability - as I said no bugs and all this from one man not a team of professionals. The bugs from commercial Tomb Raider are legendary. A must download from the master and maybe the most anticipated event in TR Custom Level history. In contrast to player reaction to AOD psiko never disappoints or comes up short of expectations. He exceeds them. Truly a masterpiece. Thank you psiko. Bravo!" - Bene (29-May-2004)
"What can I say that hasn't already been said? A thoroughly enjoyable full length adventure to be sure. The newness of it. The aspect of pushing Lara and her game to their utmost limits. The vast explorations. The puzzles. The death traps. All there. All Psiko. Bravo! (Some of the new levels did seem a but easier than the originally released Center of the World levels but I ain't complainin' - it was only a little easier.) Those really hard middle few levels that were intact (except for the texture changes) were still there and just as hard as the first time through. (mostly because it had been so long since I played them.) There was a powerful satisfaction in releasing the prisoners at the end and the flowers in the barrel of the canon right at the very very end was a nice and classic touch. Bravo Psiko - well done! Also of special note were the extra tidbits included in the download - the CD cover the interview and the assorted bits of background inspiration info. Sweet!" - Deekman (24-May-2004)
"Psiko's Opus. What a mammoth adventure this is. A full game of 17 levels complete with cut scenes voiceovers music and mayhem but is it Tomb Raider? The author's vision of what a Tomb Raider game should be has been dealt to us raiders in doses over the years and these pre-existing level sets have been revisited and included within this game. Although both the original 'Centre of the World' and 'Rha-Tech' level sets have been modified slightly for this release anyone who had played the originals will recognise them here. This may be seen as 'padding' but it had always been a given that the author's intention was to work this game around those initial offerings. Psiko's vision is certainly different. From the physcodelic world he has created to the unusual wardrobe our heroine sports one can only wonder how the creative ideas led him in that direction. Personally I found it all far too vivid and at times even nauseating. The plethora of colours and mismatched textures just affected us in this way. Gameplay itself became tedious after re-visiting areas time and time again and for some this may be just fine but I am simply not a fan of this kind of raiding. My favourite levels in this game where the 'Tower of the Four Elements' set but even those became both repetitious and predictable. At the end of the game the final battle with the Horus on steroids in the 'Jerusalem Must be Free' level was set at about a difficulty rating 10 times higher than it needed to be. Not that the wraiths were particularly bad but when coupled with the four tasks you needed to complete to finally exit that chamber of death it was simply over the top. Some of the retextured enemies were quite well thought out such as the 'horsemen' whilst others just looked silly. I wonder if the samples used for enemies can be changed at all because those retextured horsemen still grunted in the same old way? All in all this vision of Tomb Raider is quite well put together and will give you around 24 hours of solid gameplay. It took both Cheryl and I a month in bits and pieces to get through this. An interesting excursion into a totally different world and an unusual vision but it is not my vision." - Torry (11-May-2004)
"The stuff of dreams! How many of us took Lara's last run to 'the end' with deep sadness hating to leave this epic masterpiece? Visually stunning hypnotic and lyrical. Everything rocks here. We are continually blown away by the sheer creative power driving the story the challenges the music the cut scenes the ethereal narratives the humor and the hair-raising suspense. This is a magical Odyssey that weaves our ancestral Homeric quests with our modern galactic aspirations into a truly exciting journey to new worlds beyond our imagination. Lara is literally transformed during her quest as are we by this genius artist Psiko. And which of us isn't glad to become a Techno Egyptian!" - Mezcal (09-May-2004)
"What can I say: I think this is one of the best editor-games a levelbuilder has made. What I see here is a gigantic new cyber-adventure. The levels all are one big machine. I never saw so many new objects (beetle-scorpions electric sceletons cyber-gods and a lot of new textures).'The levels are very large. I must have a look in the most rooms and a long walk to find the first lever. When I find the first lever the gameplay was a red line. I never had more time to play a level. Normally is I look in a thread or walkthrough when I do not find the way. But here I had all time of the world to search. But some places I ask for the way. The sound is brilliant the music is very great and it gives a nice atmosphere. The techno-music when I ride the buggy is very good. I like the new textures and the long and nice sequences. By the most levers and switches I see a sequence and I know what I must do. Only at the end I was very frustrated. The genetic code and the other piece I do not know how to place. I found a lot of health-packs and a lot of ammunition. I found all the weapons and they are futuristic. The end-running with Seth and the ghosts is very interesting. I do not like Seth and the ghosts but this is brilliant. I like this fight. I only found two secrets the other ones are hard to find. I played 23:30 hours in this excellent game. It was the best tomb-raider game I ever played. I am glad to have played this masterpiece from Psiko." - Andi Croft (08-May-2004)
"A truly fascinating whole game with a storyline that is out of this world! ;-) The gameplay has improved much from the demos where I felt like I was running around like a headless chicken but more cutscenes and hints made it a lot better. New objects new sounds new looks and new textures (even though I find the textures a little bit 'too much') - an unbelievable amount of work must have been put into this project. It is a huge download but it gives you 20 hours of gameplay never seen before. I can't even start to describe it - just play it!" - G.Croft (04-May-2004)
"This is the PERFECT Tomb Raider: the really value is 100 100 100 100. There are million of new textures objects enemies sounds. The feeling is perfect the levels are simply wonderful! The levels are full of pathos :) Tomb Raider A is the definitive Tomb Raider!" - Miya (30-Apr-2004)
"It took me almost two weeks to complete these levels...the most amazing game I've ever played! Not only it's a Lara's game but it's filled with fantastic music and the atmosphere is fascinating...sometimes just the flyby gave me the creeps (in a positive way!). Textures are perfect the lighting is superb: Puzzles are quite difficult but in the end everything goes to its place everything is smooth and logical. Enemies are difficult but not impossible to defeat secrets are well hidden....Cameras always give you an helping hand but not too intrusive...A must in your collection a university for beginners and a pleasure for the experienced players!" - Glow (22-Apr-2004)
"Prophecy of New RHA The Mighty: From the very first moment you open this level you know you're in for something very special indeed. This epic adventure starts out in a city, the likes of which we have never seen before. The colours and textures are dazzling and as you spend a lot of time climbing around on the rooftops you get a really good bird's eye view. No enemies in this section, just levers to push and eventually you go underground and get the most amazing flyby of a cavern filled with Anubis statues. Jerusalem, The Subdued: Ah, somebody shooting at us. I didn't think it would take long. There's a fantastic alien industrial area to explore here and some guards, demigods, wraiths and harpies (all beautifully re-textured) to hamper you. There are a lot of blocks to lower and levers to pull and it can be quite tricky keeping track of just where everything is. The room with the rolling blades and two levers to pull took some mastering. Be prepared to use quite a few medipacks in this section. There are four huge machines you have to activate and you get the most spectacular flyby when you finally achieve this goal. The Underground Passage Below Jerusalem/Access to the Portal: These are short, fun linking sections involving a train crash, that basically allow you to have a shoot 'em up and replenish your inventory items. TechnoEygptians Portal: Another huge, alien area with cleverly re-textured skeletons that make the most wonderful creaking noises when they move. There are also a lot of chaps with guns out to get you but luckily ammo and medis are well provided. There's some really heavy duty climbing and jumping to be done and an interesting puzzle to solve before you can obtain the four elements and make a rather spectacular exit. Beehives of the Earth: Expect something of an assault course in this section. It's all here - timed runs, tricky jumps, sentry guns, slicing blades, crushing blocks. Luckily, medipacks are still in generous supply. It's very confusing at times and does involve a lot of running back and forth, but it's really compulsive playing. You get to ride the best looking vehicle I've seen outside a Richard Lawther level and take it through to the next section. Rhatech, the Oppressor: Ouch, blades AND crocodiles in the water. This is yet another awesome area, full of huge, alien machinery and objects. It's a challenging section that takes some working out, but is oh so satisfying when you get it right. There are some truly spectacular flybys and Lara gets to meet her clone. New RHA Shining Star/Cathedral of New RHA: This starts off underwater and don't hang about or you'll drown. You will be coming and going between the two areas in this part so don't worry if you think you've left things undone. There are some good puzzles and a couple of buggy cars to help you access levers and areas and it all becomes more and more challenging as you progress. There are a couple of collapsing tile runs to master and a tight timed run with a difference. Huge, huge confusing areas, lots of running around and at one point I thought I would never find my way to the next level, but eventually I managed. Whew. Steel Tower of Four Elements: This is a fascinating section, with the four elements areas nicely represented. There's a fair old amount of preliminary work to be done before you enter the main element areas and expect some tricky climbing and jumping. Foundation of the First Pylon, Fire: Watch where you put your feet, there's a lot of hot stuff about. Well there would be, wouldn't there? The place is also crawling with ahmets, which I suppose is highly appropriate, given that they burst into flames when they die. Have you ever noticed how often ahmets manage to die in really inconvenient spots so that you have a lot of trouble getting past them? Or is that just me? The local plant life will scare you out of a few years' growth as well. Brilliant. I think this was my favourite of the element areas. Foundation of the Second Pylon, Wind: Picking up five medipacks right at the beginning of this section made me rather apprehensive. Picking up another five two seconds later increased this to strong anxiety. The five portions of ammo in the next corridor really did the trick - full blown panic time! I found out what it was all in aid of only too soon. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaargh. I could cope with the harpies and flying bugs, but locusts? I HATE locusts. It was a truly magic moment placing the detonator to vaporise the little horrors. Foundation of the Third Pylon, Water: I was anticipating some timed swims in this section, but happily that didn't occur. In fact, quite a lot of the water is frozen, which does make for a particularly attractive setting. A shorter part than the other elements, but most enjoyable. I particularly liked the climbing wall with blades - not something I've come across before. The demigods here are wonderfully re-textured as aquatic beings and you should now have plenty of explosive ammo to deal with the robot skeletons. Foundation of the Fourth Pylon, Earth: What a lovely colourful area, but don't go too near the flowers - some of them have very sharp thorns. The re-textured horsemen and their steeds are amazing. You get another buggy car in this section and go for a timed drive - great fun. This ends with an earthquake, which I always dislike intensely, but luckily it's of short duration. The Kernel of Rhatech/How TechnoEgyptians are Born: These are short linking sections of ethereal beauty, but you're only here to accomplish a few small tasks and move on. Defeat of the Empire: A brief return to the Cathedral to destroy the embryonic RHA and the cathedral) and a breathtaking flyby before returning to the surface world. Jerusalem Must be Free: Back to Jerusalem, where we see flowers in the barrel of the gun. A nice touch. There's the boss ending to end all boss endings here. Suddenly you find out just why so many medipacks were provided throughout the game. This is a work of astonishing brilliance, both in concept and design, and something you really must experience for yourself as no words of mine are adequate to describe the amazing atmosphere and the sheer overwhelming scope of the adventure. It left me breathless." - Jay (11-Apr-2004)
"I could never describe all what I saw in this game. It's huge it took me close to eighteen hours to finish but not as difficult as I had expected. The previous two levels of the author are included as well but modified which made it easier for the ones that had played them before to progress. The setting in the entire game is marvelous with Lara changing outfits three in total if I counted right. Lara with the skirt was the one I liked best but the last one after Lara had suffered the consequences of her invasion inside the Techno-Egyptians home was impressive. The textures and everything the player sees around are very colourful thus pleasant to the eye. All the objects are innovative and impressive in huge areas which is the author's trademark. The only thing that bored me in this game was having to cross entire areas some times in order to get to the other side because as said above all of the areas were enormous and back again to go through a door. The vehicles helped at some point to reduce the distances but most of the time Lara has to use her feet. Apart from that the puzzles are quite interesting so are the enemies but I didn't like the dragons. Luckily you get rid of them soon enough so you don't have to go through the entire level hearing that annoying noise when they spit fire and renew your health all the time because of the dreadful locusts. I have a complaint though the puzzle with the bars and six switches was difficult how can one find the right combination when you have to use some switches twice in a row! The levels I enjoyed most were the ones with the elements and pylons. Although after you get through one of them you know what to do more or less in the next one I found them better than the rest. I particularly liked the earth level with the nice flowers but thorny roses and all the green around. One thing I didn't understand in that level was the obstacle with the monkey swing and blades on blocks. It's easier to just jump from the white and black structure that surrounds the building with the big Eye to the area above and proceed than go through the obstacle. I did it both ways of course bit I just wondered. That reminds me; there is a jump you can also make at a previous level way at the beginning and again avoid using the monkey swing but it doesn't take out anything of the game if you choose the 'wrong' way. The cut scenes and music add to the atmosphere making the game even more enjoyable. I was disappointed to see that the music for the buggy car has changed; I liked the previous one more. I found three secrets and couldn't get a gun behind some bars but I am sure I missed other secrets as well. Those aren't important though since the author gives the gun and item which is necessary at the right moment so that player won't get into a frustrating situation. That is one other thing I liked in these levels as well as the special folder placed in the directory to keep our savegames. TR fans around the world must play this game. It's better than some original games and definitely one with such plot and design that makes it unique." - Kristina (10-Apr-2004)
"This going to be the longest levels you played until now. Don't worry about the big the download - 50 minutes if you have adsl cable or 50 hours if you don't lol; but it's worth every minute. This is a new creation of tomb raider levels. Many impressive flyby like in movies amazing textures from another world many puzzles to solve and excellent gameplay will keep you busy for a long time - so clear a week maybe two for this and start to enjoy playing this level." - Yoav (10-Apr-2004)
"I knew this was going to be an absolute masterpiece but I was still overwhelmed by the entire genius of it all. I also knew it would be hard to find the words to give this the full credit it deserves because it is a must to experience this personally as I feel words are feeble here. So what can I say? Well from start to finish it's one perfectly put together and well thought out adventure which even a day later I still can't get out of my mind. I've even been back to replay some of the most spectacular events that took place. Lara looked fantastic in her outfits as she wandered through environments which I have never seen the likes of before well I played one of Psiko's levels before so I knew some of what to expect and was already a huge fan of his work but I never imagined I would be left feeling quite so emotional as room by room came to life in the most spectacular way. I think these levels had such an enormous impact on me not only because of their beautiful designs and special effects but also the storyline the work that went into this project the meaning behind it all and the pure and utter genius of a guy who excels himself with the level editor. One thing which really strikes me is the height of the rooms they are like a mile high huge beautiful buildings that reach up further than the eye can see traveling up there is just brilliant to reach the heights and look down on these wonderful worlds with their beautiful colours and mind boggling settings is awesome. The music throughout was stunning every effort was made to fit each musical piece perfectly into its right setting and after you finished gasping at the astounding rooms in came the audios to treat you some more. With many specially designed pieces of texture some of which were drawn by hand then added in it leaves the dull old original TR behind leaving us with a totally new outlook and this includes enemies all of which were reconstructed along with items and weapons. I could go on forever about every little aspect of this amazing game but I know everyone is going to want to say something about these levels and will add to what's already been said so I will leave it on this note please load this up and enjoy because there will never be anything like this again I'm sure read the documentation to see how much work went into this project understand it's story and sit back and enjoy one of the most spectacular TR events ever to be created. I'd like to thank Psiko for one hell of a game; I have put this to disk and will treasure it forever." - Moonpooka (08-Apr-2004)
"After a few days of raiding I'm finally done with this grand masterpiece, and what shall I say? I loved it - among my favourite games ever now for sure, and in my opinion could even compete with original games in its complexity and level of care that's been put into it! I can't say that I loved every bit of it, as sometimes it simply was too big and confusing for its own good, though thankfully resolved as you went further, and even though there are some clever puzzles, there generally was too much lever pushing, but I don't think it hurt the gaming fun much in here. I've reviewed each level as I finished them, so don't wonder why the review is so long, lolol. Prophecy of New RHA the mighty (27 minutes) A start of this masterpiece - as it all began and I must say honestly that besides a few switches there's not much to do here, and even though the church, the architecture that for some reason reminded me a bit of Hundertwasser's wicked architecture and all the surroundings are great, I actually found the greenery bits too detailed and tabby, also I must admit the blackness spoiled very much for me and the surroundings are actually a bit too big for their own good as there's a lot to explore for so less to do, but liked how the level ended without the actual cutscene we've seen before in COTW - a great suspense moment that supposedly unwraps itself later on. That's the thing I probably like the most about Psiko's levels - even though small parts of it might not seem too special or extraordinary - they still are essential for the whole picture. A nice level, even though admittedly nothing special, what is good so for a start, actually, but let's see how the story goes on now... Jerusalem the Subdued (80 minutes) Lara returns to Jerusalem - now in 2004, in her Techno Egyptian general's outfit, and sees how the once beautiful city has now changed. Prisoners that are shot or locked up in cells by what I can explain as human-betrayals, the ones who've switched to the side of the Techno Egyptians, of whom you meet some along the way while completing various puzzles like shooting the vegetables to lower others in some containers, activate levers while always being threatened by some perpetually working cogs, and ending with a linear element puzzle, where you visit all 4 of them and activate some wicked mechanisms. Actually the first fly-by reminded me a bit of the Matrix - a world not like we know it - all beauty replaced by machines that serve the Techno Egyptian selfish needs. Overall very atmospheric and great - what can be told by how I'm awing about the story and the whole game already on level 2, lol. The Underground Passage below Jerusalem (10 minutes) A short train ride a bit like we've known it before, but not exactly - reminds me actually of the funny wagons that are used at mountain areas that take you up and down the hill. The progression here is very straight forward - take a step shoot the betrayals, take a step shoot the betrayals, pick up the key, get into the cockpit, cause explosion, escape the train like vehicle. Even though gameplaywise actually doesn't offer much, at the end of it I had about 20 of the Techno Egyptian health and lots of ammo, so a good link to the rest and some gathering of resources. Access to the Portal (6 minutes) Another shorty at the end of the train ride - this time out of the train. A few more baddies to come, your first extra weapon, and the slide down to the Techno Egyptian's Portal... Techno Egyptian Portal (80 minutes, 1 secret) - not exactly the Techno Egyptian Portal we've seen before and remember, but there are some similarities, mainly the huge portal egg. And I actually didn't mind the 'remake' as I like this version better than the previous one - actually, I know this still ain't far in the game, but this level so far is the best this game has to offer - loads of exploration, what is rather confusing as life itself, but resolves in the end if you simply go on, actually some clever puzzle (the lines within the portal egg), fun jumps and great music and atmosphere while exploring this huge area. The jump down in the end was thrilling, so let's see where it has taken Lara to. Beehives of the Earth (58 minutes) - this and the following level we've seen before in the official demo, and pretty much plays the same as it, and the rest of the levels so far too - this time Lara has finally entered the actual realm of the Techno Egyptians - crossed the gravity line of the 2 worlds and now is in some huge (bet you wouldn't have guessed, lol) area, where for some reason she has to blow up the tanks (what she succeeds in doing, of course) and so eventually get her new, fancy laser glasses and get into the capital - Rhatech on her new electro-bike and thus end the first chapter of this epic game... Rhatech the Oppressor (60 minutes) As said, also a part of the official demo, and the changes are minimal as far as I've noticed, but since it wasn't possible to review the demo I'll provide some of my thoughts for this one too. Basically this is where the 2nd part of the game starts - where most of the action actually takes place at the centre of the world. A very interesting level, as all the previous ones, yet this could have another title too - the most masochistic level in the game so far, lol. And not without a reason - driving past some fully working sentry guns on your electro-bike, jumps over flaming pads to activate a jump switch, and after that a fall into a crocodile and spinning blade infested waters, also a drive with your electro-bike over flaming pads are the tasks that give this level the title I've given it, lol. There are other huge fantastic structures - like the pyramid within which Lara is cloned, also some huge (and I mean HUGE) spinning cogs are worth gawking at before riding a zip line. New RHA shining star/Cathedral of new Rha (128 minutes) Previously we knew this double-pack as Centre of the World, and now it still more or less is the COTW we know, just altered a lot, less colourful than the original, a bit easier in some places, but definitely the highlight of the game so far - actually every level as you progress seems to be! Also in the middle of it - after getting the 4 scions you get a flashback - cutscene, which finally tells you what happened at the end of level 1 in this game. Cleverly planned out - I guess all players, especially those who haven't played COTW before will appreciate how this is set up and how the story unwraps step by step now. The demigods are looking even creepier here and a lot tougher than their ancestry, the preaching-head by the cathedral gave me the creeps, but was well made nonetheless. Found no secrets in here, missed the techno organic breath behind the bars at the start of new Rha shining star, but found one later on. Overall - fantastic camera guidance and flybys through here - especially at the end, when the huge embryo/whatever rises from the water near the start. Overall - maybe lots of confusion in this bit, but the best this game had to offer yet. Steel Tower of four elements (73 minutes + 20 minutes) A huge area built around a central tower, and as in the other level this means a lot of running around - the puzzles at the start actually are pretty clever, and I liked the pace then, but placing your scions in those glass tunnels was not so obvious. Nevertheless - another great level that eventually leads you to the 4 pylons, which are your destination here, and you revisit this level a couple of times obviously as well. Foundation of the first Pylon, Fire (90 minutes, 1 secret) - I'm probably repeating myself, but this has to be the best level yet - from the creepy red caves with the drawings on them to the huge tower outside and everything in between, with fantastic flybys and effects makes this the highlight of the game so far. Collecting the 8 disks is a bit confusing, as they can be easily missed, but with enough exploration you get where you're supposed to get in the end. This is also one of the levels where there's a clever puzzle involved - this time with flipping a cage - still lots of lever/switches/jump switches involved, but clever nonetheless. Have to mention the looks again - as the atmosphere is so great I simply can't stop awing - the plants that awake when Lara approaches them, the beasts that previously guarded the scions, the clever planning of this place - simply magnificent. Am wondering though why Lara activated instead of destroying or whatever the energy thingies, but never mind that - a great level, wish you were here, lol.... Foundation of the second Pylon, Wind (50 minutes) - what I said about repeating myself I won't really say about this level - it's still fine with some clever tasks and huge environments, but there's nothing too special here - some dragons, the wind attributes and such and a clever puzzle involving 6 switches and bars, was wondering about the use of the rope, but otherwise a fine level, though maybe not my favourite. Foundation of the third Pylon, Water (40 minutes) - shortest of the pylon quest but very clever in the few tasks it has like the climbable wall with the spinning blades - that's what's remained in my memory the best. This is about the time where I was a bit fed up with the mindless running around, but you simply have to get on with it and it'll be ok, as I say. A great place to visit in this sector is the ice sphinx - the homes of the underwater demigods, also the sub rooms are great. Anyway - better than the air pylon level, but 1 favourite is still ahead and one behind me... Foundation of the fourth Pylon, Earth (60 minutes) - together with the fire pylon foundation - together these make my absolute favourites - atmosphere-wise, also gameplay is great in here - for example the return of the buggy once more, the clever jump switch search, absolutely brilliant trapdoor - buggy puzzle. The techno horses and their riders were absolutely hilarious, though creepy and the walking flowers cute. The Kernel of Rhatech/How Techno Egyptians are born/Defeat of the Empire (10 + 2 + 8 minutes) - A surprise I didn't expect is that with a funny shuttle from the tower Lara was taken to the centre of the actual kernel - where in a few minutes you get to the top of it. You also get 2 more cut scenes that continue the flashback scenes that started after getting the 4 scions in the previous levels. How the Techno Egyptians are born is not a sexual education lesson, as it may sound, lol, but I won't reveal the surprise in here, and also defeat of the empire speaks for itself, even though you shouldn't be too sure about it. Jerusalem must be free! (20 minutes) - And the cycle ends with Lara returning where her quest started, and what an unpleasant surprise this is - this Jerusalem should be free, and is almost deserted, but you still have a final battle, as you will find out the Techno Egyptians are not dumb and have taken care of everything - needless to say the final battle took me almost as many Techno Egyptian healths as the whole previous game together, so make your conclusions out of that yourself... Bottomline - my favourite levels from the game probably (probably - because all levels are great!) are the Centre of the World ones and the Fire pylon, and my final statistics said that I've spent 13.5 hours in here, traveled 103 kilometres, used 10 000 bullets/ammo, 55 health-packs and found 2 secrets. Because tastes differ and if you're unsure whether to download this game or not, you should definitely download the official demo as it pretty much represents what the whole game is like, yet I recommend to everyone - if you can somehow get the huge download over to your PC/Mac, get ready for countless enjoyable hours that'll await you with this game! Highly recommended!" - eTux (03-Apr-2004)
"Simply ingenious! Psiko this was an indescribable event with Lara. One simply has to play it. The objects are unique as are the cut scenes and flyby. Various enemies very well placed except near the end where Lara has to fight four or five ghosts while finding levers to deactivate spikes - I thought that was a bit unfair but that is about the only criticism I have J The puzzles were well designed and very diverse. Partly you really had to think a bit here J Lara is being challenged here and that really took me in. Tension right from the start. Cameras and sound were simply superb and all those cut scenes - you very rarely get this and for those alone it is worth playing the game. The end....Psiko an absolute masterpiece. Despite the huge download a must-play game!" - Navi (03-Apr-2004)