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LB Advent Calendar 2004 - December 19th by illyaine

Aims 8 7 8 8
Akcy 5 4 7 6
Bene 8 8 9 9
CC 7 6 8 8
DJ Full 6 6 9 8
EssGee 8 10 10 10
Gerty 7 7 9 8
Jay 7 8 9 8
Jose 6 7 7 8
Kristina 8 8 8 9
manarch2 4 7 8 7
MichaelP 5 7 9 7
Mulf 6 6 7 5
Obig 8 8 10 9
Relic Hunter 8 9 9 8
Ryan 7 7 8 8
Sash 5 4 10 8
Sutekh 5 7 9 8
Treeble 7 10 9 9
release date: 19-Dec-2004
# of downloads: 118

average rating: 7.57
review count: 19
review this level

file size: 12.30 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"As this is an original version of a level that was later remade for the 2006 Advent Calendar, proceedings are more dumbed down and this version also has a surprisingly short length, ending at around 17 minutes for me. Earlier seasonal levels tend to have a simple gameplay and this is no exception, but it does fit the Advent Calendar ethos of peace and mercy mild as there are no enemies (actually nothing at all to shoot) or dangerous manoeuvres to perform, but also no secrets that I could find. I did admire the cutscenes that were also present in the newer version though, and found this an undemanding but pleasant experience." - Ryan (18-Feb-2018)
"The official download lacks an executable (wat?) so no matter of combination I couldn't enable saving (wat wat?) but I saw this as one less worry - nothing bad can happen if you take care in a home level, right? The beginning is brilliant - what people normally do with few lines of storyline here consists of full hilarious cutscene, and how the authors used single objects as focal points for camera movement is purely artistic. I was afraid it will be a downhill since that moment, it's difficult for gameplay to match such intro. But at least I was spared another run through the manor corridors, what a relief I could just cross the gate and march the snowscape straight into the nearby village - a great idea opposed to usually sole mansion structured in the middle of nowhere, as we know nothing about Lara's neighbours. Here we can visit their houses at last, introducing ourselves with nothing else than - that's right - robbing them from ornaments so we get more for our tree, and I simply love levels which invert the essence of Christmas, be it on purpose or not. We need one with Lara as the Grinch, stealing presents and additionally destroying people's property (I think burning a PC with a torch would be neat). Unfortunately in the end it appeared I was quite right in the beginning - the whole hunt lasts just for few globes and we're done. The closing cutscene is another one hard not to smile at, and the authors definitely know how to build atmosphere which makes fun and sense but I wish the game was more creative in other aspects. Possibly that's why its remake exists, which I will play straight in the next order." - DJ Full (16-Feb-2016)
"Of course the two cutscenes at the start and at the end will stand out most in this level and, just as in Steve's offering, it benefits in terms of creating a great and humorous storyline. But why the heck do all those levels rest on their laurels and don't put at least a bit of this imagination into the gameplay? I don't understand that. The exploration of the village was somewhat enjoyable and atmosphere was quite high on the list, but you'll just use a dozen of levers and keys and return without a single creative puzzle or task to be solved. After only 9 minutes it already was over. Those levels are good examples that if you don't put enough creativity in all of a level's aspects, especially not in the gameplay you won't create a memorable experience. Recommended for the cutscenes alone." - manarch2 (19-Dec-2014)
"A small level very nice to play with a beautiful Christmas environment; Lara go out of the house to look for some ornaments in a small village to decorate the Christmas tree. No much to do in the house, all the gameplay is in the village, based about pull switches and place keys to open doors and pick up the globes for the tree. You can do it in very few time. Worth to play, but I found a big defect: the players can't know where to return to the house and waste the time looking for something more in the village, so the author could place a camera when Lara pick up the last globe." - Jose (22-Nov-2013)
"This level is currently listed as having the artist formerly known as [christoph] for sole author, but as the readme states, it was actually 'co-produced' with Dark Death. I presume the procedure leading up to the current state of affairs was similar to the case of the expanded (but still, and probably forever, unfinished) version of 'The Indra Artefact', where the latter relinquished his authorial claims to the former after exuberantly exercising his technical expertise, thereby leaving a construction site behind that was vast, impressive, and inventive, but still...a construction site. The level under scrutiny here is of course minuscule by comparison, so let's draw on Dark Death's 'Lara in the Mountains' instead, a level that suggests itself for a number of reasons. Here as there the game is framed by two cutscenes; in this case the story they tell is delightfully unconcerned with moral issues: As Jeeves (I prefer to stick with the butler's traditional pre-'Chronicles' name, thank you) keeps breaking the christmas baubles, Lara pokes fun at him, then goes down to the nearby village in order to unlawfully appropriate other people's baubles. Having returned with the swag, she breaks them herself—and looks quite vexed; the end. Thus the plot is simple enough, but it is rendered in a charming and quite funny way indeed, not least because of the spot-on sound effects, and the author's ability to convey emotions or states of mind—despite the fact that using facial expressions is not an option—by means of certain poses that Lara strikes during conversation. The author also has a keen eye for camera perspectives; and the animations are much more fluent here than they were in the earlier level's cutscenes. The landscape encompassing the scene has a wide scope, much work has gone into crafting areas that Lara will never enter, but which can be seen all around. The builders clearly didn't think that plonking forest or mountain textures onto some walls, or raising a row or two of token walls would do the trick. Distance fog has been put to good use here. Now in terms of design, the village itself is just so-so, and most of the individual houses' interiors are even basic, blocky, improbable and merely functional. This wouldn't matter that much if the less-than-impressive design of the area where the actual gameplay takes place didn't mirror the lack of imagination which characterizes the gameplay itself. As it is, you just pull switches, open doors, collect keys, open more doors, and...that's about it. I should mention that it struck me as decidedly odd that some people's houses had switches in them that would open other people's houses. I'm adding two points for the cutscenes to the 'gameplay' score (because according to the guidelines this is the category that includes the storyline), which would otherwise be sub-par. All things considered, the level stands and falls with these cutscenes; it would barely be able to walk on its own." - Mulf (18-Dec-2009)
"I cannot fault this level. Perfect - entertaining with a humorous touch. From the initial cutscene through to the final one this is a professionally built level. Lara's house as such is nothing new, but the snowfields and small village are presented beautifully. Architecture is well balanced. Texturing, lighting is faultless and creates a wonderful winter atmosphere. There's new objects to provide nice eye candy (didn't understand why a couple of the bookshelves were around the otherway) and there's a couple of appropriately used Xmas tunes to maintain the festive atmosphere. Gameplay is fun and relatively simple but camera clues are very fair. You should not get lost, even though faced with many keys and doors to unlock in the village, as you search for four coloured decorative globes for the Xmas tree. These are to replace the ones that clumsy ol' Winston has accidentally dropped and smashed. So Lara slips in to something more appropriate for the winter conditions and embarks on her hunt for the globes in a nearby village. Well this mission is a walk in the park for our heroine and it won't take her too long to obtain the necessary equipment. Return to the house to awaken Winston from his afternoon nap and you're done. Well nearly... even Lara makes mistakes LOL. A shortish level but all the same - Great stuff lads." - EssGee (10-Mar-2007)
"Collecting decorations is a great idea for a Christmas level, the whole plot, and the cut scenes are very funny and imaginitve. Lara visits the nearby village to find some, to steal some to be precise, and that I didn't like. Outdoors, the level looks great, the houses look nice, lots of trees, wood piles, the fog effect worked nicely, and raised the atmosphere. But inside, the rooms are poorly made, empty or almost empty rooms, barely a few furnitures, and even those are the same in every house, the tiles too. Plus, if an author puts Lara's Home into the level, I expect to be amazed by the details, in this case that didn't happen. All in all, a nice little Christmas level, with festive atmosphere, except from the thievery, but more care should have been taken about the indoor details." - Akcy (24-Dec-2006)
"Bloody Winston, wouldn't ya know it, his doddering old feeble hands, though I suspect it has more to do with a bit of the old midnight eggnog binges than age, have let slip some of the ornaments whilst putting them on the tree, and the racket this has made has woken that lazy never-do-well Lara from her sleep. Really what is she still doing in bed when that poor man is working his butt off trying to make HER home festive. Anyway, as a tree wouldn't be very xmasy without being fully festooned with baubles Lara decides to save some of her money, the tightarse, and instead goes to the nearest beautiful little town and pilfers their ornaments while they are all out probably feeding the homeless or xmas carolling for the kids at the orphanage. And to make matters worse I think this isn't the first time she has gone on a thieving rampage as she got her hands on 4 baubles and got home where she merrily smashed some of them herself, the evil wench, in only 20 minutes, so she ain't no amateur! Truly I would call the cops myself, hmmm actually I think I did see her picture on Crimestoppers, well anyway, but I won't do it this time because this was such a cute level, if not a bit short, with lovely scenery that elevated my serotonin levels making me feel blissfully happy." - Sash (26-May-2005)
"Hah, this gotta be the funniest levels from the Advent Calendar. To start the game you watch a cutscene, Lara is awoken up by the noise of something crashing. Probably thinking someone is breaking into her house, she rushes to the main hall to see that Winston, aka the Master Of Disaster, just broke up one of their Christmas tree balls. Lara doesn't like the way the tree looks, with so little decoration and she goes to village to get some more balls. The village is deserted and Lara raids all of the little houses looking for more balls. After collecting keys, operating switches and maneuvring through trapdoors, Lara goes home with four new balls. And surprise... well, won't spoil the fun for you. Make sure you don't miss this one, you'll have a good time with it. I know March ain't Christmas time, but I really needed to play something and I decided to have a go at these levels, heard wonders of them and now I know why. 30 minutes. 03/05" - Treeble (13-Mar-2005)
"Very nice and pretty, and easy enough to be suitable for kids. As Christmas has it, there are no enemies here, nor anything lethal whatsoever, so we can quietly enjoy our stroll through the cute little village. It is a pure research level, and a very easy one in that domain, and though it lacks a bit in the gameplay department, the very well designed Christmas atmosphere is here to save the day." - Sutekh (24-Feb-2005)
"Here is a fun little xmas level. It starts off with a very amusing cut-scene of Lara being woken by clumsy Winston. He is decorating the Christmas tree, but drops and smashes some baubles. So the level begins, you have to take Lara to town (which is not far from her house) to claim some more baubles to replace the broken ones. You don't actually buy new baubles, instead when you reach the town you break into a few little houses and nab their baubles lol. I like the look of the level, after the cut-scene Winston is sweeping the mess up with a broom lol and when you leave the house it is snowing and on the way to town you pass through snow covered hills, the town is a nice little village with houses. There are no enemies in the level, and noone home in the houses which is handy for the thief Lara lol. Once you have claimed all the baubles, and returned home you get to watch another funny cut-scene, as Lara does exactly what Winston did, it shows she is just as clumsy! lol. The level is good fun, and the cut-scenes add the humour, I recommend it to everyone, play it now!" - Aims (12-Feb-2005)
"I can't say anything else for this level, than it is wonderful. The textures are beautiful and festive. We have to find 4 Globes in a small village, so that we can finally decorate the tree and the fest can have a beginning. In the meantime we have to find Keys and pull levers or jump-switches. Into some of the houses we can only get across the roof. There are no secrets on the level, and of course no enemies either. I liked the added sounds, they raised the festive feeling. And we can see that Lara is also clumsy sometimes, things can also fall out of Her hand. :) *Note from the translator: And I liked the story so much, that I was laughing to death :D - Lacek* You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: " - Obig (18-Jan-2005)
"In the flyby you can see that the butler is getting on in life as he breaks a couple of ornaments while decorating the Xmas tree. His hands aren't that steady anymore to handle such delicate stuff, so Lara goes out to find some more ornaments for the tree. Luckily the town is nearby and Lara has to find some levers and keys to get her hands on some nice decorations so she can put them into the tree. A great addition to the other Advent levels, so play it. 21-12-2004" - Gerty (04-Jan-2005)
"What a fun idea - Winston has broken some tree ornaments and Lara has to replace them. It's unique for a house level, in that you get to visit the local village and explore that instead of the house and grounds. It's a short and simple level but it's good fun and it looks wonderful. The opening and closing cut scenes are also very funny and extremely well done." - Jay (01-Jan-2005)
"What a treat - the introductory movie at the start is positively brilliant! Winston looks cool with broom in hand and then Lara goes out and leaves the Mansion in order to explore the grounds for some Christmas ornaments. This in itself as a game is rather tedious and uninspired though, with a few switches and keys to find and use and lasts for about 20 minutes, but the environment is nicely constructed overall, although the disappearing horizon problem shows here and there. Still, the storyline carries this offering and definitely makes it a great addition to the Advent Calendar of 2004." - Michael (28-Dec-2004)
"This is a funny Advent level with Lara awakening to a crash of Christmas bulbs (globes) falling to the floor. After a talk with Winston (in German but with a dialogue provided on the forum) Lara has a quick change of clothing and is off on a hunt for replacements. With nothing much to do in the mansion, she is soon off to the nearby village. After exploring the town and a climb to the rooftops, Lara returns to the mansion with a final cut scene showing her putting the globes on the tree with another one crashing to the floor. Lara ends the level crossing her arms and looking into the camera as if to say 'Not Again'. Very well done cut scenes and a nice bit of exploring. Definitely worth the download and I think children would enjoy this as much as adults." - Bene (28-Dec-2004)
"Immediately we are into a cut scene of Lara waking up from a nap, probably by the noise of Winston trying to get the decorations onto a tree in the main hall of the Croft Mansion. Not many decorations left as a lot of them are broken, so after a conversation with Lara she changes into her winter clothes to go to the local village and see if she can get some more. I really liked how we leave the main gates and travel along the wintry road to the lovely little village. It's not immediately obvious how you are supposed to get into the houses but if you keep a sharp lookout you'll see things, even to climbing onto the roofs. I really liked this searching through the town. Everyone has gone off somewhere else leaving Lara to take their decoration balls. Well, she couldn't find the shop! When she has four she returns to the mansion and another cut scene of placing them on the tree while Winston sweeps up the mess. Another lovely little Christmas level." - CC (23-Dec-2004)
"Lara's mansion in Christmas is decorated with trees, gifts as we would expect of course. The level has a few cut scenes which are quite good with Winston inside them and Lara, they are in German unfortunately but the author was kind enough to include a text with the download with the dialogues translated in English. We have to find four balls for the tree since some of them broke; I won't reveal who did it. I liked the snowy setting and it was actually snowing, the nice town with the small houses. It's an easy level but fun to play, suitable for kids." - Kristina (22-Dec-2004)
"Another nice Christmas level. The level starts with a cutscene. Lara tries to nap in her bedroom, but the sound of Winston struggling to set up the Christmas ornaments awakes her. Lara asks Winston what the problem is, and he says that he accidentally shattered a few ornaments and he wants Lara to go to town and pick up a few more ornaments. Then Lara changes into her winter coat and pants and sets off to town. There isn't much to explore in Lara's house, but the snowy setting outside is very nice. The town is a short distance from Lara's home, and there are some tasks to do there to get the ornaments. She has to go look for some switches and a few keys to find the ornaments. The tasks are short, but sweet. The places in the village are nicely decorated, and there is a nice flyby with 'Jingle Bells' playing, and the distance-fog effect was used very nicely. When all four ornaments are collected, you head back home, and Lara puts on the ornaments, but smashes one on purpose. This level is easy and there are no enemies or traps, making the level suitable for children. Despite how short this level is, it shouldn't be missed." - Relic Hunter (22-Dec-2004)