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BtB2005 - Through the Shadow of Death by Idealist

Bene 9 8 10 10
Bogey 8 8 9 9
CC 9 8 8 9
Deekman 9 9 9 9
Dimpfelmoser 10 9 10 10
DJ Full 8 6 9 9
Drakan 9 9 9 8
droogie 9 8 9 9
DT 10 10 10 10
Dutchy 9 10 10 10
eRIC 8 9 9 9
EssGee 9 8 9 9
eTux 8 8 9 8
G.Croft 10 9 8 9
Gerty 8 8 9 9
Gill 10 10 10 10
Horus 8 8 8 8
Jay 9 8 10 10
Jenni 9 10 9 8
Jerrod 7 8 8 9
JesseG 8 10 8 8
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 10 10 10 10
Kristina 8 8 9 9
manarch2 7 7 9 8
MichaelP 9 9 8 8
Mman 9 9 9 9
Moonpooka 8 8 8 8
mugs 9 9 9 9
Mytly 8 7 8 8
Obig 8 9 9 9
Phil 9 10 10 10
QRS 10 10 10 10
rjb 9 9 10 9
Ryan 8 7 8 8
Samu 9 8 9 9
Sash 8 9 9 9
Staticon 8 8 9 9
Sutekh 9 8 9 9
Treeble 8 9 9 9
release date: 01-Jan-2005
# of downloads: 215

average rating: 8.84
review count: 40
review this level

file size: 36.32 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cave/Cat

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Arrrrrggh, this is more symmetrical than Lara's face... and more regular than Venice Violins... as blunt as it sounds, sometimes the beauty is in little imperfections and I expected those ruins to be, idk, ruined? The biggest flaw, second only to one I won't spoil, is the risk to repeat a long path if you missed something - happens several times. Also if you pick wrong path order you miss a secret, and when it feels like mid-game is ending and something defined is about to happen, the level ends. Otherwise a solid catacomb map, yet, while it might be a deserved competition winner, I have a feeling the best catacomb level hasn't been made yet. Now, who's gonna do it?" - DJ Full (22-Sep-2022)
"I really enjoyed this level, the atmosphere was great with awesome music queues at the right moments. I felt the timed runs were getting a bit stale, but not enough for it to spoil my overall experience. The builder did a great job with creating a level that slowly revealed itself into an interesting tomb and experience. I got bored of the skeletons, but makes sense that the builder was limited to catacombs wad and enemies that fit the theme." - droogie (07-Sep-2021)
"Finally wrapping up my BtB-Catacomb run, well over a decade later. As with several other entries in this competition (at least from the batch I've only played recently, can't really recall those I played then), this one also houses some impressive massive structures, and for the most part they're also gorgeous. Not only that, but there's a bit of an intricate design here with corridors "crossing" side rooms but requiring the long ways around to get to, which I thought was a nice touch. I ran into a weird issue in which I shot a skeleton into a pit (in the "2nd water room" paragraph of D&G's walkthrough), and it seemed to cause the spikes to retrigger whenever I tried pushing the button, but fortunately I had an earlier save I could rollback to. There were plenty of skeletons but enough shotgun ammo and pits to dispose of all of them, and the timed runs weren't tight, which is also a nice change of pace. A good level all around. 55 minutes, 4 secrets. 08/21" - Treeble (29-Aug-2021)
"A pretty symmetric level where Lara explores two paths to gems, which in turn help her recover two golden stars to unlock the prized scroll. A lot of nice little timed runs here, and players will quickly learn what the tiles look like that trigger them, and I didn't find any of them overly difficult. There will also be plenty of skeletons to gun down into pits as well as some pushable puzzles. My only criticism is the lack of camera cues for when things in the level are changing (doors opening or places flooding), and that includes the sneaky moment where a timed door is shown, but another timed door is opening as well unbeknownst to the player. That may need a few walkthrough glances from players, other than that this adventure plays quite nicely. 59 minutes." - JesseG (16-Jul-2021)
"I do agree with most of the early reviews that this is a competently constructed level. But to be honest I was expecting a lot more than what I actually got here. There's nothing bad about it as such, but there were too many annoyances that really irked me for me to rate it any higher. The gameplay is mostly fine, but there's too much long distance backtracking and climbing sessions for my taste and there was one timed run to a formerly spike trapped pit that wasn't made clear enough (even the walkthrough just mentions to get there) and I also accidentally shot a skeleton into that pit which made things all the more difficult (admittedly my own fault). Talking of this timed run, a weird situation happened to me: I was too slow and was about to try again but the spikes popped up and Lara didn't die. She did, however, lose a lot of health so I had to suck up a load of medipacks and get out of there. Enemies are often annoyingly placed. Not so much the skeletons (explosive ammo takes care of them) but the wraiths and beetles are overdone and as you couldn't defend yourself much, more health loss was on the list. The setting is constructed nicely but not particularly impressively. Overall, not a bad level, but nothing impressive either. It doesn't quite reach my top 3 levels of the contest (I enjoyed Pseudo Tomb, The Red and The Blue and Mourning Palace more)." - Ryan (08-Apr-2018)
"Good level, there are a lot of things to do before finding the end of this game. There is nothing difficult but a lot of gameplay. I do not really like wraiths or skeletons but here I was spoiled. The head is remarkably well done. To do." - Drakan (14-Sep-2014)
"A remarkably atmospheric level, the longest and certainly one of the better levels of the BtB '05 competition - but for me not quite the best. Concerning the looks, I have the least to talk about - the architecture is quite detailed and one can see much efforts have gone into the construction of this level - the rooms are greatly interconnected, with nice glimpses to other areas, and when you think you reach a new area you often find yourself back in a previously explored room, really good. The texturing and lighting are quite good, but the green and red lights placed quite randomly didn't fit in this level at all, and it would've been better if the builder sticked with the colour scheme from the first areas, which felt just about right for me. So in terms of visuals it's quite on part with the top contenders of this contest, but the gameplay and enemies are not quite as perfect for me. Surely, I enjoyed the various timed runs throughout the level, but I felt that those were often the level's only"stunt" - there are a few nice puzzle ideas and the exploration is good, but the variety in the tasks is rather low, so even if I enjoy timed runs, they tended to feel a bit monotonous after some time. There's also way too much backtracking towards the end, I think the course could've been set up a little more smarter here, without having to get through the wraith statue room again. The enemies are rather nicely put into scene, but there are also way too many of them, and the beetle room was definitely annoying - Lara lost way too much health here needlessly. It's a good entry, but not quite among my personal favourites. 50 minutes, 4 secrets." - manarch2 (06-May-2014)
"After a large hall that provides an introduction you enter the main area which include a large cavern and waterlogged temple, along with various side-areas on multiple levels. There's some interesting geometry and mostly great lighting and texturing. Some of the side-areas aren't quite as strong visually, but they are all decent. I thought the amount of Skeletons seemed a little much here, especially as it's not until the second half that you get an easy way to deal with them (and that's a secret, albeit a very obvious one).
This rivals Red and the Blue for the amount of gameplay content, on the other hand, it's a bit more flawed, with irksome amounts of forced damage, a couple of slightly deceptive camera hints, some backtracking that could probably be lowered, and a focus on symmetry that occasionally gets slightly repetitive (although it mostly does a good job mixing things up). Despite that however it's still one of the most task-rich levels in this BTB (maybe even the most), and it has some other strengths that allude most other levels, like various closed doors and gradual unravelling of new areas that hints at mysteries and a larger world you don't get to see. It's probably not in my top 3, but it's a deserving winner of the first BTB nonetheless." - Mman (28-Oct-2012)
"Throughout this level, I kept expecting something amazing to be just around the next corner ... and kept getting disappointed when every next corner revealed exactly what the level had been till then: a good but not great level. Maybe it was the skewed expectations caused by the knowledge that this level won the original Back to Basics contest, or maybe it just hasn't aged well ... but in any case, the other reviewers seem to have enjoyed this level far more than I did.
Not that there is anything particularly wrong with the level (except the enemies - we'll get to that in a moment). Texturing is fairly good, but not particularly impressive. Lighting is ok - maybe a bit too greenish or bluish at times. The architecture is quite impressive, especially in the huge cavern with the head-shaped structure, and in the room with the ropes and one of the stars.
The gameplay mostly involves hunts for various artefacts, with several timed runs and swims. There are some good bits, but they are often marred by the far too much backtracking (there's one long ladder and one pole that you have to climb at least 4-5 times each) and the annoying enemies. There's an overdose of skeletons, but at least they are not too difficult to take care of, especially later in the level if you find two of the secrets. But the regular wraith attacks are just too tiresome, and later on the little beetle swarms add to the frustration. I really hate enemies that drain your health while you cannot fight back, and there are just too many of those here.
Overall: Not a bad level, but not a great one either, IMO. But perhaps you will find it more enjoyable than I did." - Mytly (16-Aug-2011)
"Good level, but I must admit the 1st half of game bored me, too many timed runs, I like them, but the game is without surprise (timed run, ghost at the arrival, go to the crossbird). Fortunately the gameplay is more diversified in the 2nd half, some rooms have a great look and deliver a cold/humid atmosphere, the skeletons are also welcome (if I can say that)." - Jerrod (29-Mar-2010)
"The level starts wonderfully in a big and high chamber and then you move into other good looking areas. Level designing is very professional and everything you have to do is really interesting and this level doesn't offer any boring moments. Of course there are some things in the level that could have been done better but actually I don't know how to tell what could have been done better. However, I can tell that this level doesn't contain many medi packs and thats why I almost ran out of them. On the other hand I might have wasted them a bit too much. I guess that other explanations aren't very needed because my grades for this level are quite good." - Samu (02-Aug-2006)
"Whew! Who'd have thought you could pack so much into a single, quickly built catacomb level? Loren certainly managed it though. Some superbly built rooms, well lit and textured, housed puzzles and baddies galore - enough to keep you busy for more than an hour and a half. Loved the face-like structure that housed two gems in the misty pit room. Didn't like the beetles so much, though. Especially combined with a lengthy timed run. For me, the eternal beginner, there were just a few too many long and awkward timed runs. I prefer these to be reasonably short and not too frustrating but, with so much else that was good in this level, who can complain. This level must rank near the top of the difficulty ratings for B2B but is a fitting finale to the set." - Staticon (28-Dec-2005)
"I was pretty stunned that the author managed to put so much gameplay into that rather small location. You start in a bright big hall and there are some timeruns and wraiths to warm up and soon you get to the main location, a big greenish hall. I was a bit disappointed that this very nicely designed hall wasn't lighted that well, just mostly green and some brighter spots here and there. The textures were fine all through the level, though. I'm not quite sure what the title is supposed to tell me but I wasn't finding this level extraordinarily spooky or too dangerous, the enemies (mostly skeletons and wraiths) were never too much of a burden and the gameplay was always well done, though there wasn't anything mentionable except the usual. There were a bit too many audios in the level for my taste, I don't think that every second pickup item or room has to be commented with an audio. What I missed a bit were some flyby cameras, introducing you to new areas. What I really loved was that big head in the huge green hall, it looked like it was sticking it's tongue to the temple frontage on the opposite side of the hall, forming a bridge for Lara to cross the deep pit." - Horus (03-Oct-2005)
"To quote Dimpfelmoser 'One hour my ****' :) After 1h45 min I finished this marvelous level. I really understand why this level won the BtB2005 as it is probably as good as it can be using the catacomb wad/textures. The flybys, music and atmosphere is so good that you really feel the claustrophobia creeping up on you while searching the tombs. I also like how the enemies are creeping up at you where you least expect it. The lighting and textures are just perfect. Halfway through the game I had to stop and admire the diagonal hallway! I have never seen a thing like that in a tr level before. Top stuff! I have still half of the BtB2005 level to play but I think this one will be hard to top. Amazing job, Loren. You really show us what can be done with the good old catacomb wad/textures. All tens from me. 2005-08-28" - QRS (28-Aug-2005)
"The last level of the Back to Basics project really gave me a sweat. There are lots of timed doors, and countless skeletons. Not to mention the wraiths and the scarabs at the end. It worth to explore the four secrets, because there's a Crossbow at one of them, and exploding ammo for it at another one. The remaining two contains medipacks. The secrets are not very well hidden, but at the end you have to be attentive, because you can easily miss the last one. We can pick up the Shotgun too, but it's difficult to constantly shoot the skeletons into pits. You better spare medipacks, because there are not too much of them on the level, and there are some inevitable scrathes too, together with some wraiths at another place, that cross the river not so easily. Neglecting these, this is a fantastic level in my opinion. It's too bad, that with this we arrived to the end of this high-toned 18-level collection. I can only hope that we will yet see many projects of this sort. :) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here:" - Obig (25-Mar-2005)
"Another one of the competition levels that has a great, classy feel to it. Already early one it is clear to you that this wont be a piece of pie, as wraiths and skeletons start chasing you, and aren't really interested to stop till the end of the game. There is a plethora of timed runs here, what on one hand is great, because I personally like them, but on the other hand it made the gameplay feel monotonous, what in my book is not so good. Atmosphere wise, as said it felt quite classy - especially the room with the huge head was simply awesome, but felt it could've been done more interestingly. Another thing I wasn't particularly keen on in the level was all the backtracking - especially going down to the green pool with the bird cross more than once was tedious (I might be mixing up it with another area though, can't remember too well). Generally though another level well done, especially the intro and outro seqeunces with the flybys that made it differ from most other levels - well worth to play this one!" - eTux (06-Mar-2005)
"Maybe I was not in a good player mood for this Catacomb level, but I ran back and fro too much for my taste. But eventually when the last fly by was triggered, there was a feeling of accomplishment and there are only two things I did not liked after all: Firstly, having to do the timed run again after finding the knot (the one that starts from the cave with the stars-holes). I think that a timed door that has been mastered should remain open. The second thing is the timed spiked trap that was not indicated as timed (maybe an appropriate Audio track could have been added here to give a hint) as one can jump into the hole when the spikes are reactivating without dying but loosing a lot of health, especially with the skeleton hacking at you in this very narrow place when in the meantime you try to push the button. I was highly irritated but it is not a reason to underrate this well made level, it has too many qualities that plead for itself: Good lighting, gripping and convincing atmosphere, solid architecture, great use of enemies, fun and not too difficult timed doors, well interconnected areas, you have it all. Well, maybe one or two more subtle puzzles are missing, but on the other hand you get some 'aaahh' and 'wow' moments here and there. So, respect and congratulations!" - eRIC (01-Mar-2005)
"From a nice introductory flyby which already offers a view of the impressive architecture, you dive into an adventure of just over one hour, which will take you through many very well interconnected rooms. There are two things in abundance in this level: skeletons (countless) and timed runs (seven). Both provide for quite a bit of adrenalin rush along the way. Progression is actually quite logical if you keep your wits and has you collect gems, stars, knot and pillar. The wraiths are always a pain, so remember where the statues are. The face like structure above the dark shadow and the flyby of it is quite awesome. The beetles room seemed a bit 'copied' and some places were really a bit dark and I hated that camera hint that fooled you as another door opened as well - that had me stuck for quite some time. But the four secrets were fun to find and very helpful too and this is definitely a level not to miss." - Michael (01-Mar-2005)
"The textures were nicely selected and used to perfection. Very realistic. Great variety in puzzles and enemy placement. I didn't realize there was a wraith trap in the lower levels, so I disposed of them by making them follow me all the way back to the main building and the pole room. I liked that just when you've thought you've found a big intriguing area - you find a bigger one." - Deekman (01-Mar-2005)
"Out of all the back to basics levels, I found this one to be one of the most hardest ones to complete. But saying this, it was extremely challenging and exciting in the process, giving me at least a good two hours of some excellent game-play, I did take the wrong route first, and was totally in another area where I could not continue further, until I had finished and completed the other area first. Your mission during this level is to find and locate the pillar, the knot, two gems, the crowbar and two stars to finally reach the scroll to complete this exciting adventure. But many challenges lay await you here, and a lot of thinking is involved, in making sure that you're able to achieve your goal in this mission. You will be dealing with lots of timed runs, some being rather difficult to achieve, but after many tries, I finally managed them in the end, you will be flooding some areas, avoiding many skeletons in some very tight spots, avoiding those nasty beetles as best you can in that little room, which certainly kept me on my toes, in trying to avoid them, as my health was practically on empty when I finally achieved what I came there for. The floor puzzle had me stumped for while too, as I did the wrong timed swim first, and I found that I was stuck in that room with no where to go, but thanks to the help thread, I was pointed into the right direction again, which got me back on my way. In general this is an extremely great adventure and I really thoroughly enjoyed playing it, the layouts and design of each room were superbly done, especially the room with the deep pit, objects were very well placed, lighting and textures was very well done, which gave you lovely and sometimes spooky atmosphere as you were travelling through this wonderful journey. This is an excellent level, with some exciting moments and is well worth the d/load. Great fun I loved it." - Gill (22-Feb-2005)
"This catacomb level features many timed runs and Lara will face a lot of enemies. The setting is great, and there is certainly some good gameplay, but there are too many repetitions, too many wraiths and too many skeletons (you do get some explosives towards the end, though). Medipacks are a bit scarce, so try to conserve them. There is a beetle trap that is very similar to the one in Tomb of Semerkhet, but more taxing on Lara's health. I prefer the original, since in that case you can make it with very little loss of health if you do it right. Here, I don't think that one can outsmart the beetles and it cost me one and a half medipack to get through. It seems that one secret can only be found if you visit certain areas in the right order, so go west lad." - Bogey (21-Feb-2005)
"There's a grand feel to some of this level that really makes it a memorable piece, the huge castle like structure that straddles a massive abyss being one of these, and there are some really fun timed moves, a lot of them, but nothing that can't be successfully passed after a couple of times. But what was the author thinking when he, well I think it's a he and have a name in mind, made one tile the triggered two separate timed swims but only giving one camera clue to one door as this had me and I'm sure will have almost every other player wondering how to move on at a certain stage, this really was a bad game element and detracted from what is a really good level otherwise. I have to also say is it just me or did the starting room with two towered rooms look somewhat similar to the towered room in 'Catacomb Towers', not that I'm saying there was any copying as there is still a lot of difference but that beginning room had a delightful familiarity. Anyway, this game took me 75 minutes with 4 easy to medium secrets found, and I had a great time." - Sash (18-Feb-2005)
"The level on its own looks great, textures and lightning are very well done. It is a pleasure to roam around this game. And yes you hear a but coming, I am not overly fond of the back and fro, specially as there is a timed run involved over a great distance. Not that the timed runs in here are horrible, far from it, but the sneaky builder gives the bare minimum for camera work of that door and there are so many doors that look the same. And this isn't the only sneaky cut scene the author used. You'll see what I mean and as a little hint; it is in that watery area. Although you know from the start the kind of enemies that are in a Catacomb level, it still is a pain in the neck, to either outmaneuver those skeletons or get yourself into a position you can shoot them down a ledge or into an opening. The Crossbow and explosive arrows are secrets, well big deal, lot of good that did. There is one place I got stuck for real, that is the jump over the side and you for sure are thinking, Lara will die, so that doesn't make sense so why put the girl in danger. But she will not die, and now I could think, what a cunning person, this builder, but I was more peeved than in admiration for this trick. All in all it took me about 4 hours to complete this level. 12-01-2005" - Gerty (11-Feb-2005)
"This is a monumental level in more ways than one, vast and enormous rooms, long runs, high climbs, not to mention the time spent scratching you head trying to figure out what to do next. Immediately you are aware that you will have to cover a lot of ground. I am indebted to Cheryl for showing me the way a few times when I was totally stuck. Gameplay is excellent when I knew what to do. I loved the architecture and the way I had to figure things out, like the timed run near the start. I don't know about anybody else, but the only way I could do it was to run off one of the high balconys and lose some health being chased by a wraith. Speaking of wraiths, I'd recommend taking a mental note of where the crosses are in each area. One beautiful water room has a great timed swim. There's another little water area where you need to find yet another cross as a wrath is chasing you while swimming. There are two rooms with pits that need to be flooded, one has an unusual situation of returning to a switch to trigger another action. I came across it by accident and thought that just a tad unfair to the player. I got caught in sneaky spike traps, had to outrun beetles to grab a monkeyswing, avoid beetles to get stars in another room (a real medpack drainer), find trigger floor tiles, ride on an elevator floor, rope swings, climbing, jumping, in fact altogether a brilliant level to play. I'd recommend conserving as many medpacks as you can, even if it means redoing certain actions, because it's possible to end up with nothing left to play with. Highly recommended level." - CC (04-Feb-2005)
"And this level wins the Oscar for the most annoying skeletons and to some extent beetles! Looking back when there's only one level left for me to play from Back to Basics I suppose this may probably be the very best in the bunch. Quite varied and challenging (also scarce on medipacks maybe not because there are too few but because of all the aggressions Lara endures from skeletons wraiths and beetles in a place directly inspired on The Last Revelation) this is one intriguing level well balanced too between action and puzzles which although not being amazingly beautiful is still grandiose and has much to offer in every other department with the only problem of being a little dark - but never gratuitously - at times. Several nice timed runs a lot of swimming and a bit of everything else including getting stuck once in a while but I couldn't say it is ever confusing. This is one game I vividly recommend. (January 27 2005)" - Jorge22 (28-Jan-2005)
"This is my last rating of BtB. Beautiful level. Is not 100% perfect but is more near of the 10 than the 9. I only miss some outside area with sky (could it be built with the catacomb wad?). Sometimes the skeletons stay trapped in the sloped walls or in doors. I had a curious situation: It was hard for me the timed run to push the button behind the spikes and later when I found the diamonds I realize that it could be easier with the path filled with water (this time I took first that route). To get one of the stars you don't need the three ropes unless you are interested in the small medpack. For me the best level of BtB. Congratulations to the author." - Jose (28-Jan-2005)
"Great enjoyable gameplay. Not completely straight forward gives you the opportunity to explore and explore...Great puzzling and timed runs that aren't too hard. Good looking surroundings. Enemies are many but well placed. Lara sets out to find an ancient music scroll which can be used for world domination. It is hidden beneath the library of Alexandria and guarded by the undead." - G.Croft (25-Jan-2005)
"Through the Shadow of Death is a very good albeit slightly long contribution to the B-to-B challenge. It is a classic Catacombs temple environment blended with a massive cavern where you face the Shadow of Death (an impressive structure). There are a few vague routes to travel in this area so beware and I hope your Lara is not scared of heights. Timed runs are challenging but fair and can be mastered after a few run throughs. Enemies are incorporated cleverly and provide smart but fair challenges but you might get the odd skelly who seems to lose their sense of purpose. Architecture is well created and texture and lighting are creatively used to provide an interesting atmosphere. Flybys and audio are nicely put together and there is a smart link between beginning and end. In summary a very good level that does require a bit of patience and could keep you busy for a couple of hours." - EssGee (25-Jan-2005)
"What a mammoth level! Huge in size traps timed runs enemies and adventure. The timed runs are very tight: one slip and you won't get to the door before it closes - even harder when you have scarabs nipping at your heels after you've just run through a gauntlet of them. The author keeps you on your toes the whole time and makes sure you don't miss a single thing.... Stuck with what to do next? Better make sure you check those corners there could be more going on there than you first thought.... Some backtracking could be bothersome if you've come a long way and find that because of your choices you may have missed something vital for path 2 so will have to go back to do that other path first after all. Once a timed run is achieved to access an area there should be a back door to re-enter some will find to have to repeat a timed run to re-access an area to be annoying if something vital to continue is missed. However it's not difficult to move between interlinking areas - thankfully! The path slowly unravels for you as you find many areas that were closed become ways of intersecting other paths whereas some areas can be visited only once unless you want to bother with timed doors again which some may find too frustrating to repeat. The layout is excellent although some rooms were very repetitious in design to the point of wondering if you'd been in to this room already - notably there were arches everywhere. Gameplay was great fun and the timed runs and numerous enemies ensured there was never a dull moment - a thoroughly enjoyable level." - Jenni (24-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. Closed doors everywhere and a tight timed run - aaaaargh. Well there are a few timed runs actually but the one I really fell foul of involved a lot of twisting passages - I'm hopeless at sprinting and turning corners. This is definitely not a linear level; there are several large areas to explore and it's easy to become confused. There are more wraiths around than anybody could possibly desire and the skeletons have a serious over population problem - I've never seen so many in one level. Mercifully there are lots of ledges to shoot them off with the plentiful shotgun ammo to be found and towards the end of the level one of the secrets is explosive crossbow ammo - hoorah. Four secrets found." - Jay (23-Jan-2005)
"This level confused me. In a catacomb setting bright in some areas and gloomy in others you have to deal with timed swims/runs and the usual enemies with the beetles eating away a lot of health. The puzzle items are stars gems a pillar and a portal guardian. The design of the game is great but I can't say that the gameplay made much sense to me. I also had three black/white doors that stayed closed at the area with one of the stars so I wonder why they were placed there. The room that had the second star along with a pole and beetles was something most of us have already played and seen in TR4 and in 'Temple of the Guardian' if I am not mistaken. The design is very good I mean all the rooms are well thought of and are nicely connected. I just don't like to get lost in a level and have to revisit all the places again to find out what I missed when there are a lot of areas to cover and a fair amount of backtracking. For example one trigger opens two doors which are timed and only one is shown in the scene. How on earth are we supposed to guess that! It was unfair and I disliked it very much. Don't get me wrong it's a good level but I don't think I am going to replay this one; it just isn't my cup of tea. I found three secrets." - Kristina (17-Jan-2005)
"Well that was a nice change a nice flyby and the door opens for... Lara. No sliding or dropping this time. The quest starts and you'll have to find a Pillar to open a door and that involves some fast running as there are multiple timed sequences in this level do-able if you know the route. At some point I was at a miss as 2 doors opened at the same time and that was not too nice I think. Should have been a clue to that. Lots of objects to collect throughout the whole big level with many great rooms. The flooding of 2 rooms to get on in the level was another nice invention I liked the Skull building at that grim Abyss a lot. There were plenty of Skellies ( great how they jumped in front of you when you didn't expect them) to deal with but when you DID find the first 3 of 4 secrets you could deal with the real pesky ones in a spectacular way. Looked great sounds nice lighting great no real hard puzzles but then again the whole level was enough of a puzzle. The hardest part was Beetle alley for me. Enjoyed it a lot." - Dutchy (15-Jan-2005)
"This is another of the real gems in the BTB series. Laced with timed runs and skeletons it's definitely not for the faint of heart. Even though I had the advantage of the author's walkthrough it still took me more than an hour and a half to get through this marvelous level. The only downside I experienced was about halfway through when I was able to monkey swing across the large cavern to an alcove with a face pushtile but I couldn't get back to the roof after multiple tries. I finally gave up and enabled the fly cheat. This causes a point to come off gameplay but in all other respects I found everything to be sheer perfection. I'll be surprised if the builder turns out to be anyone other than the one I think it is. Very highly recommended not only as a level in the BTB series but in its own right." - Phil (14-Jan-2005)
"Clever puzzles (albeit sometimes devious) beautiful rooms tough-but-manageable enemies fine lighting fine sound and the most amazing incredible stupendiferous fly-by. This level would have been perfect gameplay wise if it weren't for too many timed runs which although perfectly-balanced become repetitive and a bit tedious after a while and the skellies had a tendency to get their head stuck in walls thus becoming impossible to eliminate unless you reload a saved game. Speaking of which one of the three secrets I found came with a very handy reward - which is always appreciated." - Sutekh (13-Jan-2005)
"The author has provided a beautiful setting that continually opens up. The well done opening flyby shows the beautiful area Lara is about to enter. Lots of timed runs but nothing impossible. That is left for the encounter with the beetles if you have not conserved medipacks as I had not. Some trickiness as there is one trigger for two separate doors. You can easily find the trigger and then swim around in vain for a non existent second one. Loved the hidden area near the large doors and the way to the other side. Now that's TR. Explore and you'll find a goodie (or two). With more medipacks (even just one) and explosive arrows sooner I would have enjoyed it even more. You do get the shotgun early on but there's nothing that beats the satisfaction of blowing the skellies away not to mention making gameplay easier. There are wraiths here and most of them are easy to scare away with the pistols again making for better gameplay IMO. Atmosphere lighting textures all done well. Conserve health and this one may end up being one of your favorites." - Bene (12-Jan-2005)
"This is the hardest of the challenge levels I have played so far I really got stuck so many times I thank god for the forums. The adventure really begins at the large and beautiful water pool where you are met with your first timed door and then along the way you will be visiting many timed tiles. Skeletons are abundant and really quite annoying as you don't find the explosive arrows until much later on they are a secret as well so good luck with finding them as I found them by pure fluke! There are some lovely rooms to visit along the way; the huge cavern with its spooky faced building was fabulous. But I can't help feeling I was getting a tad bored towards the end as I had done so much back tracking up and down poles and re-visiting timed doors to find out where I was supposed to be going next. Enemies are skellies surprise surprise! Wraiths and two swarms of beetles near the end which totally wiped my health out so I was lucky to finish this with one small med pack left. You need to collect the pillar knot two gems and two stars to finally get the scroll and leave. Beautiful level nicely built full of excitement with those skellies and a huge challenge for me especially as health was limited." - Moonpooka (10-Jan-2005)
"A lovely fly-by setting the scene right at the beginning of a vast room to explore. A great feeling of 'space'. There are several timed runs where if you find the best route you can have a whole 4 seconds to spare! Then cleverly early on you have to use an artefact to open a door while being chased by a white sprite as there is nowhere else to go. So there are two nice little 'testing' exercises to sharpen the wits (while blunting the fingers) before we really get to explore. And when we see the huge room that the 2 further sprites exit (straight for our heroine!) then we know we're in for a big exploration! In fact the more you see of the game the greater its sheer scale appears to be. It is important to explore as much as you can at all stages in order to try and recognise as much of the scenery detail as possible so that when those timed doors open you know where they can be found. (Much better that way than the frantic headless chicken method of exploration!) Re enemies - (many!) skeletors - I did like the room where several of them decided to chew the scenery in preference to being a nuisance! On the other hand I'm not sure I was too happy with a cut scene that showed a pressure pad opening one particular door on a timer only to discover (much!) later that it also opened a 2nd timed door that had a different design on it. Perhaps that was a bit 'unfair' on the player. That was really my only niggle - but it did completely stop progress for a time so it wasn't trivial - in a game that became more and more intricate in an absorbing way as all the pieces gradually fitted together. I also liked the use of water how several previously empty areas started to flow with it near the end and then became integral to the game. The first of the 18 BtB games I played and still my favourite so far of the 3 that I've finished. 4 secrets found." - rjb (10-Jan-2005)
"This is my first review in over a few hundred levels but I am making it because this level is the best I have played in this competition in my opinion by far. It's just an excellent thought out level that has everything the atmosphere the look the aim of what you have to achieve to finish the level its brilliant. There are lots of skeletons which for a change are not that annoying because there's always some place near by so you can take care of them. Lots of not to difficult timed runs and swims to over come and a handful of items to find. It does take a bit longer than some of the others to finish but you don't mind because it's a real joy to play. With lots of big areas and a great outside area it sets the feeling just right. I don't know who made this level but I am having a guess that it's Loren (idealist)." - DT (09-Jan-2005)
"Ah! Now here's my kind of game! I loved this one. This game used the venue brilliantly - the large-scale rooms were fresh in design. There were lots of challenges and lots of puzzling through the game - but with continuity. The absolutely perfect moment came near the beginning when Lara is investigating some pick-ups that are cornered by what I term 'furniture'. To leave the spot with the pickup you have to jump out - as you do you jump right into the arms of 3 skellies. I can tell you it scared the sh-- out of me. What a blast. This was an excellent game. I told you it would be hard for me to be objective. The only reason I held back score-wise is again because I haven't played all of them yet. Three builders came to mind while I was playing this one this time I'm betting on George!" - Mugs (07-Jan-2005)
"One hour my arse. But hey if I could have my way this would have lasted for ages. Yes it's that good. It's excellent marvelous fantastic. Everything about it. The gameplay the atmosphere the storyline the placement of the enemies the flybys the construction of the area the tasks. My only complaint is probably that right near the end after you have flooded two pools outside if you do the right pool first you have to miss out on a secret. But that's just a small detail it's often that way with secrets isn't it and I'm only guessing here anyway. Right this adventure is as breathtaking as it is thrilling. Lot's of timed runs (but none of them too hard) skeletons and wraiths that attack just when you thought it was safe to wipe and a clever use of beetlemania. I love the way the rooms interact how the whole place opens up during the game and how you get that feeling of being really there. Every room is built with great detail and textures and lighting are used to maximum effect. Yes I said this before but this time it's true actually. If I didn't know it was only the Catacomb Wad I would never have guessed. There is so much diversity and still it all holds together and there is an overall inventiveness that makes it all seem rather fresh and new. I could warble on endlessly about the great things you will encounter here but I'm just going to mention a few more endearing details. I liked the way the initial fly by starts with roughly the same image that the final flyby ends; I was really chuffed to see the return of the put-the-pillar-under-the-sagging-floor puzzle; for once the wraiths weren't that hard to get rid off and the very user friendly camerawork was very appreciated. Gosh I think it's probably better than Catacomb Towers. PS: Hey before I booted up this Level I thought it must be from Rüdiger as it has a very rüdigeresque title but then I realised that Rüdiger doesn't even take part in the competition." - Dimpfelmoser (05-Jan-2005)