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BtB2005 - Laguna by Cuahiano Small

Bene 7 8 7 7
Bigfoot 8 8 8 9
Bogey 6 7 7 7
CC 6 6 8 8
Deekman 8 8 9 9
Dimpfelmoser 6 4 9 8
DJ Full 6 7 8 8
droogie 6 7 7 7
Duncan 6 6 7 7
Dutchy 7 6 7 8
eRIC 9 8 9 8
EssGee 7 7 8 8
eTux 7 7 7 7
G.Croft 6 5 6 8
Gerty 5 5 8 8
Gill 8 7 8 8
Horus 6 7 7 7
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jenni 7 7 8 9
JesseG 8 7 7 8
Jorge22 5 8 9 9
Jose 5 6 6 7
Kristina 6 6 7 8
Lizard Queen 8 8 8 8
manarch2 5 5 7 6
MichaelP 7 7 8 6
Mman 6 7 7 7
Moonpooka 8 7 8 7
mugs 8 7 8 8
Obig 7 7 8 8
Orbit Dream 5 7 8 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
QRS 10 8 8 8
rjb 7 7 7 7
Ruediger 5 6 5 5
Ryan 6 7 7 7
Sash 7 3 8 8
Staticon 7 6 7 7
Sutekh 7 6 10 9
Treeble 6 6 7 7
Whistle 9 8 9 8
release date: 01-Jan-2005
# of downloads: 54

average rating: 7.20
review count: 41
review this level

file size: 28.52 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cave/Cat

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Another one which I can recommend but with a walkthrough - some puzzles lack guidance and at certain spots I even wondered if the level is broken or not. A pity since spatial imagination is good here, and I even learnt some sun lighting from the builder." - DJ Full (28-Sep-2022)
"Well, this one looks like it wasn't quite ready to go (it's still insane how quickly these builders work during BtB events). There are quite a few issues overall, such as pulling out of water into a crawlspace resulting in Lara standing up through the wall (which is funny because you end up doing so about three or so times in a row), a slope ending right in the middle of a flooded room and later on a mummy casually walking around in a room which ended up being flooded as well. The first half of the level is somewhat fun though, with some nice timed runs back and forth two adjacent rooms, but it doesn't hold up very well afterwards, unfortunately. You can also skip the first mechanical beetle trap by shimmying across the bridge, but you still need it to reach the end. 35 minutes, 1 secret. 07/21" - Treeble (25-Jul-2021)
"This level has a bit of everything, from spike traps to timed runs and pushable block puzzles, most of it is pretty straightforward. Lara will have a shotgun to blast the skeletons out of her way, I also found a crossbow but it was on fire, probably a secret I missed. My main complaint is lack of camera cues, especially for the five buttons to push to open that door near the waterfall, a camera cue would have helped let the player know how they were progressing. There's also a little too much backtracking. Overall this adventure sits nicely as a "middle of the road" experience. 45 minutes." - JesseG (12-Jul-2021)
"This level was rather a missed opportunity, if I'm honest. To be fair, it's a valiant effort and has a few things going for it: a darker atmosphere, well placed (but relatively sparse) enemy sequences and a few neat gameplay tricks. I don't know whether there were any 'no way out' situations, but there may have been a couple of instances of doing certain sequences incorrectly and thereby becoming really confused (I spotted a couple of blatant shortcuts). But my problem lies within the gameplay itself. You pretty much have to have the walkthrough nearby for this one as camera clues were rare and the next step isn't always obvious. You will find that instead of going further in the level as such, you may have to backtrack a bit. There's also a couple of animation glitches with buttons, but nothing fatal. With a bit more beta testing, this could have been really good. As it is, it doesn't really fulfil its potential." - Ryan (06-Apr-2018)
"I really like how this level start. We can see more aeras we wisit more later during the stroll. About the gameplay, it's maybe not very clear what we need to do. I have drain a pool a lot of time, the first time to push a switch but the other time I don't know why. There are also a lot of missing cameras who certainly help us for what we need to do further. I like the lighting and how the level is textured, specially in the aera of we need to use the Portal Gardian. Nice level but it's a pity the end looks so strange ... Recommanded." - Bigfoot (29-Aug-2014)
"It appears that this level was released prematurely. Some sections look wonderful and others completely unfinished. There's also some minor issues like the possibility of being completely trapped in a room, water bugs where the pool fills in above a slope or climbing into a crawl space from water. I also noticed some lighting issues where it would show light reflections even though water no longer existed in the area... honestly, most of those issues didn't really bother me but more of the unfinished feel that really took it's toll... there's an entire section with a large pool and some pillars, doorways that don't open, etc... but you can just climb out and you're done, I'm assuming it's an unfinished puzzle. I could go on for quite awhile about minor issues like that, too bad, it could have been a great level with some more tender love and care. The one secret was in a nice spot in my opinion." - droogie (27-Aug-2014)
"The strength of this level are a rather good atmopsphere and decent texturing and lighting (which is sometimes a bit too strong and dark), but it unfortunately suffers from a few strange bugs/design mistakes like invisible squares in front of a door, a crawlspace you can (and probably have to) climb into from the water surface, misacting cameras and a few unnecessary shortcuts. Getting the pharos knot is not really a problem (you can get it at the start or at the end of the level) but you can place it prematurely, and there are other shortcuts which seem like the intended path at first but actually aren't. While there are some nice timed runs at the start, the overall enjoyment isn't so high because towards the end this level turns into a fairly uninspired raid with rather boring tasks. To me it seems a bit of an unfinished level that was released prematurely - but maybe it wouldn't have been finished for the BtB deadline, so I can somewhat understand that. Spent 30 minutes in here and found one secret." - manarch2 (06-May-2014)
"As the name and story suggests this is a water-themed level, and the cool blue lighting of the first main room defines the atmosphere in the way the reds of Catacombs of Tisaria did (although the lighting in this level varies much more later). Visuals are a bit inconsistent; it looks great at times yet in other parts it's much less appealing. It's a little unfortunate as if the quality stayed consistent it could class as one of the better looking levels in this BTB. There's also some visual bugs such as Lara using the wrong animation when pushing in buttons, which suggests some inexperience (and testing) as it's not too hard to fix, and also things like water reflection animations playing in areas where water has been drained.
The gameplay is relatively linear yet feels oddly direction- less; it lacks the feeling that you are working towards something and things seem to just kind of happen as you make progress, this also has the effect of making the ending feel slightly abrupt despite the fact you've scoured most of the map. There's also a stuck moment where you can drop in a drained water pit and have no way out (bugs aside), but it's very obvious at least. The tasks themselves are decent though, with a good variety of puzzles and agility tasks, and even a nice use of the Mechanical Beetle. Enjoyable enough but lacking certain things to make it great." - Mman (25-Oct-2012)
"This is a textbook example of a level where the builder knows the intended path for progression,but the player is pretty much left in the dark and,worst of all,can do things in completely the wrong order(and with the best of intentions)and thence get irretrievably stuck.Even with the Walkthrough to hand I still found it deeply confusing! Nevertheless,credit where it's due:the construction is really rather accomplished;the atmosphere is quite immersive;there are some good (albeit poorly implemented)ideas on display,and enemies and objects are used rather well.It definately needed more comprehensive beta-testing,however;so any player intending to spend some time here needs to heed the warnings and follow the Walkthrough religiously - otherwise they will be spending considerably more time here than they ever intended!" - Orbit Dream (20-Dec-2009)
"This level is set in an interesting location where your main task is to flood and empty pools with water to gain access to various areas. I liked the idea of flooding in general, but it wasn't very well done because one of the flooded rooms was linked to several other rooms that were not filled with water so you could not access them at that time. Not to speak of the fact that it looked rather strange. Speaking of little bugs, I spotted even in the final version quite a lot, and I am not thinking of those small black ones that crawl over the floor and attack Lara. The textures and lighting was ok, but nothing spectacular to speak of - there wasn't too much use of audios and cameras but there was always a camera hint provided if needed. Due to the bugs the gameplay was at times rather frustrating and I found myself looking at the walkthrough rather often because I could never find my way to the right place in that complex catacomb-area. Concerning enemies the game was rather dull but I think the author made nice use of the objects." - Horus (03-Oct-2005)
"I must say that I was not impressed the first 10-15 minutes of this level. After that it changed to the better! What I did like most was the complex gameplay and puzzles. Granted, a few more cameras and better working flybys in the poolroom and I would have been even more impressed. The lightning and textures went from ok in the start to perfect after a while. Especially the colored lighting in some of the rooms. One thing that I did not like though, was when some of the rooms were flipped into water rooms, connecting corridors were not, making it very unrealistic. Overall a great level that shows how fun a 'basic' level still can be!" - QRS (22-Aug-2005)
"I quite enjoyed this level after I'd got into it a bit. Like most reviewers here, I found myself a little baffled at times as to what I was actually doing here and where I was going to go next. Having said that, though, there are some excellent puzzles and some very cunningly hidden objects to pick up. As I have stated many times before, I am an eternal beginner at playing this game, with the hand/eye co-ordination of a grape. Therefore, I always try to play levels with a walkthrough at hand - just for emergencies. :-) This plan of action got me through the level in around three hours of playing (told you I wasn't very good) and helped me to discover one secret. Once again, I found the lighting to be a little flat but I didn't have to use any flares - I must have a brighter screen than most players. I would also have welcomed a few more camera shots giving clues of switch-pressing consequences. There are some very good fly-by camera shots, though. All in all, not a bad evenings entertainment." - Staticon (15-Aug-2005)
"A series of rooms presenting puzzles of how to get where and finding switches that open doors etc. Beware one or two switches are traps. Enemies are few, consisting of mummies and skeletons. Lots of searching and at time you will have to get the brain cells into gear to think your way through. Good use of water switches to flood rooms. The lighting along with the textures, sets a good atmosphere, and gives the rooms mystery and a sense that there may be something lurking round the corner. Sound is just incidental. A level well worth playing as you do get your 'monies worth' for the down load time." - Whistle (22-May-2005)
"Well, this is actually a rather nice level, but what ruins it are the bugs. Knowing that this was one of the levels that came in the last minutes sort of justifies that, as the level probably never got any proper beta-testing, so any bug-talk aside, this actually is a pretty good level on the whole. The main area consists of 2 pool-like rooms, which you flood and drain in order to reach your goals. As with majority of the other levels your main task is collecting a bunch of items you need to get to the end of this level and the author offers quite a variety of tasks including timed runs built upon other timed runs (nifty!) the usual spike avoiding and this is one of the levels which includes the golden beetle as well, so all in all pretty diverse from what you see in other competitor's levels. Of course the bugs spoil it pretty much, if you stumble upon them, for example you can miss out on the knot, which you have a chance to get twice, not speaking about being able to shimmy to the receptacle prematurely in order to place it. Also, where the area with the moving floor and the movable object is - you can pretty easily get the block over without stabilizing the floor below it, if you don't let go of the action button once Lara has started pushing. If the author manages (or has he, maybe I got a raw version?) to fix these, this might be a solid catacomb adventure with some interesting twists! The looks are standard, but especially the first area is well done and has a proffesional feel to it! I don't think Cuahiano Small has had any other releases before, so this is a commendable debut, well done! Worth a try, especially if the author updates the level and makes it more playable." - eTux (01-Mar-2005)
"Why was this level not at a higher place in the BtB challenge ? Oh yes two or three doors seem to be useless, and there is a lack of cameras at times when you push a button, but this level is one of the most enjoyable levels among the 18 in the Back to Basics challenge! Rather not straightforward, I think you can do things in a different order sometimes. Well I've done it my own way, and all things came naturally to achievement eventually. Also there is plenty of good ideas here and there, be it in the traps or in the puzzles, and you get majestic flybys. Good work and good fun!" - eRIC (01-Mar-2005)
"This starts out quite nicely with a slide with spike traps but then quickly becomes rather confusing. There is one long and nicely designed flyby but from then on you get little if any camera guidance, so you are never sure what that button you just pressed does. The whole structure is actually quite clever and enjoyable but there are a number of shortcuts (you can get the knot right at the start and shimmy past the spikes to place it for example) and a few texture/toggle opacity errors with a flipmap that confuse things even more and can get you stuck. So - some patience is required here, but it pays off. Found one secret by swimming around, very few enemies and no clue how to get that crossbow. The timed expanding blocks are fun, the trigger tiles not always obvious though. Plenty of spike and fire traps spice things up and you get to use the mechanical beetle to reach the end after about 40 minutes. A level that needs a bit more work and decent testing, which simply wasn't possible in order to get it into the Back to Basics competition." - Michael (01-Mar-2005)
"What a devious beginning. And I mean that in a good way. Interesting layout - tricky - a bit of backtracking was needed, and one restart from scratch, but then it got better as I figured it out. I loved swimming with the mummies. This was a strange and warped level. I was even confused when reading through some of the help threads, but I still had fun with it." - Deekman (01-Mar-2005)
"This is a rather confusing catacomb level with a number of switches with unannounced effects. You can also be trapped in a cul-de-sac if you enter the side rooms of the room with the key hole for the Pharos Knot, before retrieving the clockwork beetle. In beginning, one can do a rather tricky jump to a protruding platform, but one does not seem to gain anything from doing it. There are several instances like this, when you can do things in a way different from what the builder appears to have planned. The level does contain some good elements, but it is too inconsistent to make a decent game." - Bogey (21-Feb-2005)
"I really enjoyed this level a whole lot and when reading some of the other reviews to see if there was a way to collect the star without getting spiked (this may have been due to using an original or updated WAD) I realised that most everyone else was quite annoyed by aspects of the level, well I thoroughly disagreed at the time but having made it to the end I am sorry to say I agree with their sentiments. There are elements to this atmospheric and architecturally nice looking tomb level that really confused me and when finishing a level if there are confusions I like them to be clarified somewhat but they didn't seem to be here. The questions I have are, what lay behind the two gates in the water room where it seems you must raise and then move some objects, and how do you raise those objects, and are they both secrets behind these gates because you can finish the game without entering them, and why right near the end is there a pole sitting in the middle of the fire floor as there are sections of the floor that are not on fire and this makes having to jump onto the pole for a safe crossing unnecessary, and why did the author not place a gate or something where the scarab room meets the slide near the beginning as I spent about fifteen minutes trying to jump into that area then realised it had an invisible wall when in desperation I used DOZY (I installed the original scripts). But saying all that this was still a really entertaining level and had some of these questions been answered for me and maybe a few more cameras added I would have rated this a whole lot more. I finished in 40 minutes with one secret right at the end and only encountered a handful of enemies." - Sash (18-Feb-2005)
"This level is neither hard, nor long. The enemies are only some skeletons, a couple of mummies, and a wraith. I like levels from this kind, because the key of getting on is thinking, and not only to get through a room full of traps. Though, from another point of view, I didn't like the level, because there are two construction-mistakes on it. The one that we can get to the slot of the Pharos Knot without having the mechanical scarab, and the other is that at the end we don't have to underprop the floortile with the movable pillar, because we can push another movable pillar to its place. This second mistake is not so bad, but the first can have an influence on the completing of the level. On the whole, it is a good level with some easier timed runs and a secret. Too bad of those two mistakes. :) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: " - Obig (16-Feb-2005)
"Quite early on we meet a button-switch that, if we use it and take no action, we fall into a spike pit. I think I counted four buttons (amongst many) where we did not know the effect of their use. There are certain games where the designer has made it such that if you *do* use certain buttons/switches/levers, then something unfortunate happens, or something you wanted to happen (eg access to a secret area) doesn't, *because* you used the switch. So what are we to do here? I had been playing this game for about 24 hours, and sort of progressed, searching out various combinations of buttons (I usually like these buttons, btw: I think they're most elegant), before I suddenly had the thought: 'Ah, perhaps we have to use *all* of these buttons (save the obvious no-no ones) in order for X to work correctly.' (I still didn't know quite what 'X' was, either.) Which meant that I almost had to start again, still not knowing if I was doing the right thing the second time. As others have said (usually I don't read other reviews in advance of my own, so as to try and give an unbiased opinion), I seem to have been playing the 'alpha' version (I didn't know there was another available), as all of the other problems mentioned seemed to occur as well. (Being trapped in rooms, doors not always opening, a couple of illegal slopes near the star, etc, plus the button uncertainty, and the inconsistency re the meaning of certain black grid tiles: 'Are they dangerous spike traps this time or not?') I am most conscious that I am 'merely' a player, & haven't experienced the angst that TR designers go through, so I am hesitant to comment adversely, but I agree with the general tenor of the other reviews, that some nice ideas (I liked the return by lift to the pool area, the *idea* of the timed buttons and extending blocks, and the use of the mechanical scarab) were made difficult to appreciate by other things not seeming to 'work' properly. I would also have liked more flares while exploring, as to have to reload frequently and re-use the 3 with which we begin seemed a trifle irksome, though I was entirely happy with the small number of enemies - especially beetles! - since that doesn't normally add hugely to my TR raiding experience, anyway. I found the one secret, with a little help from the walkthrough. I liked the name of this level, btw. Note to the organiser of this project: you could hold your own 'Oscars', (Trellies?) - a simple poll, just for this project - so as many designers as possible pick up an award: best/coolest/most emotive title, best puzzles, best architecture, most attractive overall, most interesting underwater scene/experience, best readme from an original idea etc." - rjb (08-Feb-2005)
"This level was quite confusing for me in the beginning, but it also gave me a lot fun playing it at the same time and I found it a great challenge in the process. Your aim in this adventure is to find and retrieve a pharos knot, the crowbar, the mechanical scarab and a star, which had me running around in circles many a time and getting lost in the process in search of them. During this adventure there are many doors that need opening, which actually confused me quite a bit as when I actually did do something, I wasn't sure which door had opened and where. But saying this, to help you to succeed in this wonderful adventure, find those buttons that need pushing, arrange some objects, emptying some flooded areas and re-flood them again, and this will help you to succeed into finishing this wonderful level. You will also encounter some timed runs, which were quite tricky and were not that easy for me. Fortunately there aren't that many enemies to deal with, only a few skeletons, mummies, a wraith, which are quite easy to dodge. There are also a few spike and boulder traps to avoid, and keep a look-out for that mechanical scarab as this will help and assist you in some of these traps that you will come across. The texture's, layouts and lighting was brilliantly done, which gave this game an excellent atmosphere and I found the game-play was a lot of fun and a great challenge. But saying this, this is one of these levels that I could easily play again as I think I missed quite a few doors that may have needed opening and also I did not find any secrets in this level, which I am sure they are there somewhere, maybe hidden in some dark corner or behind some door that needed opening that I may have missed, but hopefully when replaying this adventure for the second time, I hope to find them. In general, even though I felt this level was a rather complex and some what confusing in some area's, it was one that I enjoyed very much, and would recommend most raiders to play it." - Gill (06-Feb-2005)
"After playing this level I was left with an uneasy feeling. The question arose whether the builder took us players, seriously. In my opinion the builder started too late and had not enough time to finish it At least that explains the feeling I had when I hit the finishing trigger. There are many doors still closed. Also camera work was nil after pushing numerous buttons and although I did play this level a couple of times (like all the others) the questions I had only rose. This level for sure does have potential but now it doesn't pan out, that really is a shame. I can only hope that there will be a revised version after the competition is over, but for now there are numerous places one can get stuck and one can also place the knot too early, with the same result, stuck. 18-01-2005" - Gerty (05-Feb-2005)
"I believe there is an updated version of this level available now, but this review is based on the first one released, and the one that I played. A brilliant looking level, but very confusing. It's just not obvious what has happened or whether you've reached somewhere too soon, or in my case stuck forever, and not having opened a lot of doors. It somehow doesn't seem to be a fully finished level. Lara starts straight away sliding down a ramp, but it's not just a question of reaching the bottom and then looking around. There are spike traps to jump over, a room on the side to jump into, and an invisible wall on the right that Lara bumped off lots of times before I gave up on it. Actually there are a good few spike traps here so the mechanical beetle is useful, when you find it! There is an unusual situation of pushing an object and you find yourself immediately swimming with two mummys still walking around that you previously avoided. And this is done by moving a pillar under one of those shifting floors. There were numerous places that defied description, but one I can mention that I liked was at the very end where Lara has to jump to a pole over a burning floor, turn and backflip to a safe floor which you can't see because there's a fixed camera looking at her from a distance. This accomplished the next thing is to slide down a long slope, Lara passes us by while we watch a boulder thundering down after her. I'd like to see this brought together better and released again after beta testing." - CC (04-Feb-2005)
"I found this level very confusing. Did some things that I never understood why and finished with a feeling that a lot of things were undone. I liked the blocks/step pads to access certain areas. Lara randomly goes to an old catacomb that used to be a water supply area. She goes there just for the fun of it and to do some exploring." - G.Croft (25-Jan-2005)
"I held back the review for a week and rewrote it three times; 'Laguna' was my problem child among the 18 BtB levels. I'm afraid I didn't fully recognize it. First for the story: I didn't really find one although it's one of the few levels I replayed from the beginning again. I was walking through many rooms doing things here and there but wasn't quite sure what it's all for. Compared to other competitors let's take for example 'Mourning Palace' or 'Desert Ruins and Serpent Tower': these have a clear structure and a central area to hold the action in a flow. In 'Laguna' everything seemed a bit aimless but maybe it's just me? More cameras would have been helpful. Second the look: there were bright rooms dark rooms rooms tainted green etc. - but they somehow didn't join to become a unit it was rather like patchwork in its appearance. Compared to other competitors again let's take for example 'Dwellers of the Abyss' or 'The Red And the Blue'. These have a concept for the use of certain colours and lights for areas and I cannot recognize such an underlying visual theme here. I'm sorry to say that I'd place 'Laguna' among the 3 least favourite levels of mine in the BtB challenge yet I'm aware that this is mostly a matter of my personal idea of fun." - Rüdiger (25-Jan-2005)
"Now in fairness to the builder my review is based on the original release and I understand that an updated release resolves problems encountered in the initial release. But I'm basing my review on the original release as this is the one submitted by the deadline of the competition. Laguna is a good level that promises a lot and has a good feel about it. There is some clever use of the Mechanical beetle and the springy floor. The tomb environments are interesting and enemies are fairly placed. The timed runs combined with expanding blocks provide some good puzzling and you must pay attention to what is happening in rooms around you. Apart from acquiring the normal inventory items the key to progression in this level is locating and activating 5 wall buttons and discovering what they combine to do. Other events should then fall into place. In the alpha release access to the mummy area was given prematurely and one finds oneself in a dead end without an important piece of gadgetry. The lift event also did not appear to link the progression of gameplay as the upper balcony was with a little difficulty accessed via the protruding ledge. Also a little more attention to detail may have been shown such as columns marked with climbable textures that were not climbable which only confuse the player. A spiky greeting that Lara receives at the start seemed a tad unfair. Level architecture is interesting without being spectacular and lighting is mostly well done creating a spooky atmosphere. Suitable audio cues are used. Hopefully the updated release provides the player with a smoother and less confusing ride through this interesting level. It is worth persisting if you do get disoriented or dead-ended as the gameplay is otherwise rather good. Easy to say in hindsight but I'm sure with a little more forward planning the author might have completed this level earlier than the deadline and would have had the shortfalls of the level exposed in testing." - EssGee (25-Jan-2005)
"A 'Back to Basics' level using the catacomb wad so I won't go into detail about enemies and objects - you know the score. This is quite a complex level and if you do things in the wrong order you'll find yourself having to reload a previous savegame which I suppose could be considered a fault. That whinge aside I must say I enjoyed it very much and found the gameplay extremely interesting. I didn't find the one secret of the level and there were a couple of doors I never managed to open so those two facts may not be entirely unrelated." - Jay (23-Jan-2005)
"This is a level that could have been very good but it appears to have needed a lot more testing before its release. The timed runs and button pushing works well except for the fact there is no camera to let you know when the sequence ends and that a door is now open - one that can not be seen until after a rope jump. There's a jump in the pole room that is just difficult enough that a player may think it's impossible and go on to the next room. Once the jump has been made the camera sticks and the player must make a blind jump. The usual fixes did not work here. The Spike walkway and subsequent opportunity to get the cross bow is done very well as are the other puzzles if done in the right order. Something I have rarely seen in any level is a gameplay reason for a wraith - in this case it takes you to a newly opened door. Lots of good ideas. There is great potential here. Having played this in its first release the frustration factor was high as I was able to reach places before I should and the game was unplayable from the point when I reached a room where I needed and didn't have a Mechanical Beetle for the spikes and did not have a way back out of the enclosed area. The ending is a bit strange as Lara is sliding with a spike ball following. Perhaps this is the author's homage to 'Last Revelation'? Or just a joke. Do play it but of course the second version. I intend to play this again armed with a walkthrough. I'd like to see which doors (if any) finally open." - Bene (22-Jan-2005)
"I am sorry to say that I am must agree with the consensus that this is a level that was released before it was ready. It has some good ideas and some well-done areas. But alas it lacks cohesion and logic. With more work and thought it could have been first-rate." - Duncan (22-Jan-2005)
"I generally loved this level and had no problems getting through it. However, some parts were confusing: there were no camera shots to indicate what 4-5 seemingly redundant buttons were for (to open a door at the waterfall - although a flyby did show this, it's very easy to forget). A scarab symbol on the spiked bridge to the knot holder would have saved many attempts at running over it before it was time to use it (I assumed one of the"redundant" buttons turned the spikes off) yet it's unimaginable to think a scarab would be able to shoot along the bridge as there is a block in the middle of it (which amazingly disappeared as the scarab raced along it). However, this could probably have been fixed if the knot was collected at around the same time as the scarab, too early on and you try throughout the whole level to place it when it's not ready to be used. Some rooms seemed unfinished: notably the large pool room with what looked like two movable tiles, when all you had to do was monkey swing and climb up in to a room above (two doors in the room never opened, though I suspect one led back to the first main room), which seemed like a huge waste of space. I loved emptying the pool (while the first room fills) and vice versa though at times it was unnecessary: the guardian portal was not necessary at all as once the star was attained, it was easy to take the long way back to the pool to place the knot rather than using the guardian portal to flood the first main room to get across (and also missing the wraith run). Aside from all of these oversights, the rooms are nicely coloured and lit well to blend in to the background so as not be distracting creating an excellent atmosphere. Gameplay was fun and straightforward with one of the main tasks is obtaining the crowbar which is right in front of you but a rigmarole to get, just brilliant! The spike alley and obtaining the crossbow were also great challenges and swimming over the mummies a big plus! I do hope the builder will fix these problems in a revised version as I would have rated it as one of my favourites of the B2B series if it wasn't for these problems." - Jenni (20-Jan-2005)
"Of the 'Back to Basics' levels I've played and I haven't played them all but this is my favourite so far. There are a lot of things I liked about this level both in atmosphere and gameplay. The lighting is stunning as sunlight streams from the ceilings of several rooms. The use of colour (blue green pink dark brown) give contrast and balance out the more typical beiges associated with a catacomb-type setting. As for gameplay I thought it had just the right combination of difficulty... not so difficult to get frustrated not too easy to get bored. I also liked the fact that there are very few enemies so that gameplay is focused on the figuring out and exploration of what to do next. The openness and complexity of this level make it feel non-linear yet there is a sequential order to follow in order to proceed. I also liked the attention to detail with a dash of cleverness thrown in like the pots concealing the floor lever and the boulder cleverly balanced on the column (never saw that done before). Double timed runs the mystery of the crossbow a well concealed monkey swing all made me want to spend time looking around for more. And speaking of more.... there are clues in this level of mysteries left unsolved. What of those pushable objects in the water cavern? And what are behind all those unopened doors? Which is why I would love to see a sequel to this level. I hope the builder would consider continuing this lovely saga with a companion level to answer these clues of something more. In the meantime :) for those that have not already done so I would definitely recommend playing this level...a refreshing 'take' on the catacomb-type level. (lq Jan.19/05)" - Lizard Queen (20-Jan-2005)
"This level struck me as being quite unfinished. I really missed some cameras at some points in the level certainly when you opened that little door up in the room with the rope there should have been a camera giving some clue. The doors that didn't open and pillars that can't be moved to Tiles? When the pool room where you have to place the Knot is drained the reflections of water are still on the walls. Played nice but too messy for my taste due to the lack of cameras pointing out what opens next. Liked the setup of the timed runs though and the Spike alley was great too. Sounds were nice certainly when you passed over grated floor parts you could hear the sound of footsteps on metal. Pity it looked unfinished to me could have been much better in my eyes if those details I mentioned were dealt with. And why all the explosive Ammo with only 2 Mummies and 2 Skellies." - Dutchy (18-Jan-2005)
"I hate to rate this so low but I have to. It could have been such a great level but unfortunately some areas don't make sense and you can access other areas too early without the necessary items so Lara gets trapped. The setting is very nice but that isn't enough for a level to be fun the confusing areas do not let the player enjoy this. Let's take the room where we flood and drain the pit well what was that all about. I mean the first time I can understand it was just so we push a button but then why do it again! Then there was the area with the two movable objects I got up on the platform in the middle by pulling up the ledge where one object was on and that's not a typical TR move. Not to mention that I never found a way to raise them and place them on the different floor tiles or to open the two doors in that same room. Then there was the scarab we had to use to place the knot. The scarab passed through the middle block which seems weird and not right. I can go on with this but I think you get the picture. Some of it was nice like the area with the spikes and the nicely hidden crossbow; also I liked how we get the crowbar. It gave me the feeling that it wasn't tested at all. I wish the author of this would fix the level so we can enjoy it as it should be and then I can change my rating because I hate to see this go to waste." - Kristina (17-Jan-2005)
"What's the matter if a player slide down the initial ramp and lose the Pharos Knot at the beginning? I think if the player continue ahead through the level he'll be totally stuck in the room with the big pool where the place to put the Pharos Knot is and should have to begin a new game. Once that pool is empty you can grab the edge near the ladder and safety drop to the bottom but you can't go up again have to reload the game." - Jose (15-Jan-2005)
"Some games go right over my head and this was certainly one of them. For example I spent an hour trying to jump onto that little ledge in the first room of this game - finally realizing that it wasn't meant to be done - and yet the ledge I was meant to jump to was given so little of my attention that I ran around aimlessly for days (somewhat like this sentence sorry.). This could be an age-related thing although I'm not that close to the grave. It makes for a hilarious review but the level of frustration was agony. Anyway. Once I finally got going I enjoyed the game and was surprised to find so much waiting beyond the initial 3 rooms. I'm betting $2 to win with dhama for this one." - Mugs (15-Jan-2005)
"I generally liked this level. A bit confusing maybe - as many open levels are - and involving a lot of research and head scratching but all in all designed pretty well. Some glitches here and there but nothing critical and I'm not even sure whether they're the TRLE engine's fault or the author's. I still have to figure out the reason of some of the tasks Lara had to accomplish (the first two room floodings for instance) so I suppose I'll have to play it again differently and see whether that changes anything. Now the point is: did I really enjoy it? And the answer is: yes. Despite the 'what am I wandering for?' feeling I had from time to time the settings saved the day. I don't know whether it's due to lighting sound or design itself but this level has a very tense heavy atmosphere. Dark at times not really creepy not really gloomy but very very immersive. A good use of traps too (which led me to wonder about the author's apparent obsession with spikes and its possible Freudian connotations *G*). Oh and I absolutely loved the ending sequence. Very nice cliffhanger there." - Sutekh (10-Jan-2005)
"All I can say is I was happy when I finally finished this level (leaving many doors unopened some pushables unpushed and other pushables pushed for no apparent reason) since I found its conception rather messy and confusing. I'm speaking of the revised version indeed for I started out by trying the utterly confusing first version and was one of the unlucky players who very obviously placed the knot before time - and that leaves me with a question: apart from reaching the knot receptacle too soon should the knot have been made available right from the very start? But let's leave it at that. Although in the revised version Lara can finally progress the game remains confusing and I should thank my lucky star for the forums or I might still be in the cave pool for example wondering what to do about the closed doors and the pushables. This is in my opinion a game that desperately begs for a walkthrough for the unprotected player and that is a bad thing in my viewpoint. Of course the game also has its merits... Very nice architectural settings an interesting atmosphere and some very neat original ideas. Still I wish the game had been more carefully planned. It had a lot of potential and it would then receive better ratings from me. (January 8 2005)" - Jorge22 (09-Jan-2005)
"This is a neat little level with a number of interesting twists and turns. There are lots of buttons to push the mechanical scarab comes in handy on a couple of occasions an entire area near the end gets flooded (which slows down a couple of mummies not one little bit) so you can access a secret and there are some tricky timed sequences involving blocks that appear for only a short while. My only real complaint is that most of the level was much too dark for my tastes and I grew weary of constantly clicking a new flare (which I had to provide for myself by tweaking a savegame) to see where I was going and what I was doing. A lot of novel ideas are implemented here however so it's definitely worth the hour or so it will take to get all the way through." - Phil (07-Jan-2005)
"With proper beta testing this could have been a great level. Unfortunately there are just too many things that don't add up. You reach places before you are meant to rooms flood without any purpose at all (as far as I can tell) you push buttons without any clue as to their effect doors remain closed. That considered the wrong animation for the wall button seems a rather unimportant detail. The irritating thing is that you can feel that the gameplay would have been excellent if it had worked; that along with the fairly atmospheric setting this would have been a truly marvelous adventure with heaps of challenging tasks and some nice twists down the line. As it is halfway through I became really confused and that feeling stayed with me right to the end. I hope that the author will release a revised version as this level has really great potential." - Dimpfelmoser (04-Jan-2005)
"I got very lost and confused in this level but that's not to say it was bad on the contrary it made the adventure even more exciting as I racked my brains for solutions some of which I must return for later as I'm sure they were secrets I missed. There are timed pads to raise blocks near the start that's when most of the action begins and gets a little confusing but eventually you'll be rewarded with the star which then gets you the beetle to end the level. You'll also need to get the knot and flood an area plus collect secrets along the way if you're lucky enough to find them. Spike traps will hinder your way plus fire hazards mummies and skeletons. The surroundings are lovely and rooms are nicely decorated. Gameplay is slow but enjoyable as nothing is too taxing except for the few timed runs but they weren't too much hassle. A very enjoyable level." - Moonpooka (04-Jan-2005)