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Costa Rica - Episode Three (Refreshed) by Dnf Productions

CC 9 10 10 9
DJ Full 8 10 10 8
Dutchy 9 10 10 10
Gerty 9 10 10 10
Jay 9 10 10 10
JoeTheCrazyGamer 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 9 9 10 9
Juan Carlos 10 9 10 8
Kristina 9 10 10 10
Loupar 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 8 9 10 9
mugs 10 10 10 10
Navi 8 9 10 10
Obig 9 10 10 10
Petaludas 9 10 10 9
Phil 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 10 10 10 10
Scottie 10 10 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
release date: 04-Apr-2005
# of downloads: 175

average rating: 9.69
review count: 21
review this level

file size: 275.47 MB
file type: TR4
class: South America

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Upon unpacking this level, I felt rather overwhelmed at the sight of over 20 tr4 files in the data folder. And make no mistake, this mammoth release took me five days to get through (and that's with the guided experience, so as usual a massive thanks to our resident walkthrough writers, in this case none other than G&D). As for the levels themselves, I have to say it's a bit hard to sit down and knot together random thoughts from the daily sessions as these past few days have been rather hectic, so at times I admit I was playing on 'full on auto' and not quite paying attention. You get plenty of cutscenes throughout the series and they're very ingeniously put together, even the voice acting is well synched with the action. Transitions from one level to the next happen seamlessly so the levels probably ended up too big and the author had to split them up, which is why you end up with 14 playable levels. They're not all in a singular setting, in fact you go through quite a range of different environments. The opening levels are quite reminiscing of TR5 Rome, then the haunted manor levels were quite creepy, and the zombie cries for help were quite fitting (and they came in no small amount either, meaning you were always listening to the house, as it were). The sewer levels sort of outstayed their welcome to me, with lots of swimming back and forth through a series of labyrinthine underwater tunnels, and shortly after that, beginning with the train courtyard it sort of delved into shooter territory. One of the base levels had those insta-kill creeping robots, which added quite a bit to the tension. Towards the end you have a level with a timer on screen which revolves around quite a fair share of activities to get through, you're given four minutes and I thought I was making quite good time, up until the bike part at least. From that point onward it became all too random to keep track so I eventually reached the end about 20 seconds too late, at which point I figured I might as well take the loss and was grateful the author offered me an alternative way forward. I locked myself out of three secrets, but still managed to see the adventure to the end, and what an adventure it was. Gameplay may fall into similar patterns now and then (like, do you ever wonder how many millions of buttons or switches we've activated in these 20+ years of custom levels?), but given the scale and scope of this project you will need to play it over several days so that should give you enough time to cooldown between sessions. For the record, I've played the 'refreshed' version dated 2007. 6h40min, 37 secrets. 01/23" - Treeble (08-Jan-2023)
"Well 3 years after last review..Hello fellow corona raiders!Well i decided to play another trle from Donald since my first was the training..I wasnt dissapointed..Training is still engraved in my mind form this builder so i couldnt expect less from this game.. I dont care about story and connection levels..Here we have classic tomb raiding at its finest..many levels to explore , many different places to be, many secrets to find and many items to progress.. My only problem here is flares, not enough, and some weird places u should shoot so u can proceed further.. He is top 5 builders for sure, so im moving to other trles" - Petaludas (30-Jun-2021)
"I have to say this is an excellent sequel to 2 games that I didn't think could be topped, but it turns out this game is the most insane level I have ever played, I spent a good few hours raging at 2 key parts (We all know which 2 I mean). Great level design. The only thing I would have liked to see is more flares cos there were so many dark spots where I had no flares (Either that or they were hidden.) It was also nice to see this tie into the training with the ultimate power being referenced in there." - JoeTheCrazyGamer (26-Dec-2018)
"This is brilliant, brilliant stuff and I have only positive vibes about this release. Granted, there were times where I was frustrated (the huge robots in Military Base, the overusage of guards in the later levels and a few overly tricky jumps) or puzzled (a couple of the timed runs took some attempting until I happened across the most reliable solution i.e. be fast!) but I really enjoyed myself nonetheless. Lara travels through a conventional base location, through a haunted house and accompanying garden, then Kurtis lends a hand by returning to Saudi Arabia to finish what Lara started, and she continues through a jungle and military compound inhabited by fearsome robots. Texturing is well done, but lighting is a bit dark in places, although not annoyingly so. After a hectic bike ride against time, Lara defeats the Beast, alongside the Ultimate Power. I was saddened whwn it ended after 7+ hours of net gaming time." - Ryan (22-Sep-2017)
"Let's say it straight: any game using painted slots should be banned until the author makes them 3D. This and the shatter wall can make you stuck for very long, but the rest of trouble is like before: 1) flat lighting everywhere, 2) off-topic content - again we get a sudden underwater level but this time the author pushes it further by giving us a haunted house, fitting any halloween but not here. The prologue is a corridor maze of key-switch-door puzzles lasting for three levels (longer not better), and a bit more pleasant though still flat garden... wait weren't we supposed to save someone? Why do we waste time on storages, houses and gardens if the first level had info we needed? Then... without any warning... KABOOM the gameplay undergoes a sudden quality leap like in Kuwait part of Episode 1, you know something is wrong if the sewers are the most interesting level of the five played so far, but from that moment the game gets consistently better and even aims for rare setups like minefield jumping, Kurtis control or robot attack survival. The temple is one of the best Egyptian settings I can remember, feeling like a father of Aqua Sanctuary, and when we reach the underground base the immersion makes it hard to stop playing. Cutscene work gets significantly improved, any cinematic is pure joy and voice acting is very professional. I can wonder how could so different qualities exist next to each other in one release. SUMMARY: It would be great if the author finally decided what direction the story takes, as this time even the readme expresses two different scenarios before we play through parts of both, interleaved with random stuff. Great skills showcased in making of this game make it enjoyable, save for few unforgivable setups which should never appear." - DJ Full (28-Apr-2016)
"This level is now the last of the three major projects of Donald Forgues. Although I recognize that I have played this level, at least 5 years before, but most I've forgotten. So the best conditions to play this level again. And right at the beginning, I am blown away. The cutscene is sensational. When I see something, I get immediately want to play this level.
Three Kings Convention: An absolutely brilliant level. There are two level kinds that I find especially good. This are Base/Lab-Level and VCI-Level. I find it much more pleasant to walk around in such buildings, than to wander around somewhere in the desert. Hence, this level is exactly my Cup of Tea. However, the downtimes of the laser traps are a little bit too short. Here to get through resembled more an gambling game and was partly very harmful for the health of Lara. But otherwise it has properly given fun to scurry through the building.
Finding a Way out: The way out is found quickly, even the opponents cannot stop Lara from fleeing outward into the sunlight. On the way outward Lara must solve many riddles and find some key. A time run was also present, but he was rather harmless, because one had enough time. Then outdoors I had to kill only a few dudes and already I had a free road into the next level. If this goes on in such a way, Costa Rica becomes one of my favorite level. Until now it has given damn a lot of fun.
The haunted House: Good gracious, this makes me fear and anxious. Uncanny music, gigantic rats and zombies who want to be released. And that quite immediately at the level beginning. What will probably still expect to me? Many keys, even more doors, a lot to and fro, even more zombies and gigantic rats and a few hardly to be recognised pushblocks. Partly it was a little bit a lot to and fro, but anyway this level is built very good. And the background sound fits perfectly to the ambience.
The Garden: The level in itself is great, but is a little bit too wet for my taste. I do not like to wade forever and three days through waist-high water, there I always have the feeling as if I went in slow motion. However, the other parts of this level were really good.
Sewers: Still thus a wet level. But I have liked this level substantially more than The Garden: No question, The Garden was good, but had his weaknesses. Here, however, I could hardly put out some weaknesses. The steel bridge in the deep hole which one could drive up and down was very good. The riddles were always understandable and there were enough camera hints. However, Donald was a little bit stingy what the torches regards. Though there are only a little dark places and Lara has at least about 30 torches in the luggage, but I rather have at disposal 20 or 30 more than I have the feeling, I would have not enough. But it is ok as long as there are only so little dark places.
Sewers Courtyard: The cut scene at the level beginning was really brilliant. Now I know that some opponents wait for me. Let them have it! It is only bad that the Dudes have built up Sentry-Guns. However, this becomes a running the gauntlet. Well, one cannot have just everything in the life. And really, the inclined player gets exactly what the cut scene at the level beginning promises: Some Sentry-Guns, even more dogs, a lot of opponents and a few riddles. In other words, a Shooter and nothing as a Shooter. Because this level is built, however, very good, as for example the area by the train, it gives damn a lot of fun.
Riding the Night: A train level! Really a train level! I love train level! Pity is only that I had to shoot the sweet little animals. Or wanted the lions only play a little bit? No notion, but before they do something silly, I have shot them prophylactically. You never know.
Arabic Desert: The level starts good with a really entertaining cut scene. And afterwards? Then I play not with Lara, but with Kurtis! It happens too seldom that we player play with another figure than Lara. However, a problem is the level beginning. Donald would have had to build the dunes higher, because one can jump upwards and is then at the "End of the World". However, this is already the only criticism point, because otherwise this was a very good level.
Back to Saudi Arabia: I was already in this level, indeed, it was in Saudi Arabia Episode 1. The only strange and some illogical ones was the way to get the Amulet of Horus. The stings all around the sarcophagus were unnecessary. From above I could not jump down, so I had to go through the stings and climb onto the coffin. This cost me 2 big Medipacks. Such a thing must not be.
Costa Rica Jungle: I have no problem with the fact that the local inhabitants were put into the knight's slot and stand something, however, it is very strange that they make the noises of the knight when they fall down. This takes away the illusion that one fights here really against the local inhabitants.
Military Base: The robot at the level beginning is quite clingy and annoying, but in the WT there was for this robot a tip of Gerty how one can get rid of this robot. And it has really functioned. Hence, the other both robots were also no problem. However, I have not understood the switch riddle at the level beginning. There 6 switches were in a row and, as far as I could recognise it, no hint which switch one had to press. It looked very much afterwards, as if one had to act here after the Try and Error principle. Such a thing is always bad and irritates only. However, this is only a matter of minor importance, because the level looked really first-class and played itself also in such a way. Above all the tampers were brilliant.
Caves of Altamira: Till present I thought that a time run in the first level of Russia Episode 2 of Donald Forgues is the longest time run in the Level building history, but there I have really been mistaken. Since here Donald offers to us a 4 minutes Timerun. And the distance is built something like that from first-class which I could not get at all enough of it. Of course I have made this run quicker and was at 3:36 minutes through (and have left, besides, still time), but this was only to test whether I make it or not. I have played the next level in the longer and heavier version.
Dark Dongeon III: However, this longer version was not hard. A Wraith has irritated for a short time, however, this was also the only difficulty. The other opponents were easy to defeat. However, the level had a great sound and looked very good.
The ultimate power: And in the end still a good level with a boss opponent who is to be defeated easier than my first thought. A little bit has merely disturbed me which one had to balance a few times one after the other on ropes. The cut scene at the end was really worth seeing.
Now where I am at the end, I am sure that I have played this level only partly. It is probably in such a way that I had broken off about 5 years ago sometime because the level was too difficult at that time. It is good that now I have completely played through Costa Rica, because one may miss such a level by no means. I have seen many very good built places and could marvel at some very good formed cut scenes. Thank you to Donald for many hours which I might spend in this level." - Scottie (22-Apr-2011)
"A really impressive set of 14 levels. Each one would make a great stand alone. Donald is still in tune with good old fashioned TR fun. His levels have become more refined, mature and sophisticated with each release. Overall texturing is excellent. Locations and scenarios great (brilliant flybys). But lighting is a bit off in places, and those 'only the author knows' situations are too obscure for even the most experienced players. Some items are hard to see because they blend so well with their surroundings. And being able to get into one level too soon could cause serious frustration. None of these will take away from the great effort involved and fun of playing this long series. It's good to see authors experimenting, and with the walkthrough to hand it will be a great TR experience. A quick overview of the levels:
Three Kings Convention. Brilliant opening flyby before we find ourselves in an office/lab type building where Lara explores many many rooms, from darker storage areas to the brightly lit offices and lab rooms. It all becomes a tad confusing at times in the labyrinthine corridors, running back and forth to find what we hope is another newly open door. And we could lose a lot of health trying to get through savage lasers in our search for items suitably placed on desks or in cabinets. Enemies carry useful items, like discs and keys. It's not so easy to find well hidden blocks in walls, but the torch helps. Lara seems to have a different torch throwing action. Love the way doors open throughout these levels. Loved the flybys. But wasn't amused as I tried for ages to find where to put my hard won disc.
Finding a Way Out. We hear a voice saying he wants Lara alive, but the security must have faulty earphones. She is ambushed at every turn. Luckily these guys can be dealt with from a distance if we take our time. Some nice object manoeuvres here, like the box falling off the conveyor, the moveable barrels, and the rope that rises out of a basket ala snake charmer trick. This takes place in a lovely, almost Roman town scene where we climb high above, as well as run around the ancient streets. Again, the final receptacle is an obscure texture on the wall. If the player doesn't know what or where it is they will be totally stumped. Great lasersight tease here, well placed, and well used.
The Haunted House. Excellent way into this level, through a broken window from the Roman street outside. Ultra spooky in a dark and dank atmosphere. Great creaking door sounds, plenty of zombies crying 'help me', eerie music, excellent texturing, what more would you want? Well, in this case less would have been more. Think doors doors doors keys keys keys zombies zombies zombies. Throw in a couple of wraiths, some rats and bats, discover a magnificent staircase, push some things around, smash statues with giant hammers, a chapel, and it's as good as any House of Horrors movie. Freezing the water in one impressive room was a surprising addition.
The garden. The 'garden' is more of a pool courtyard, with the rest of this level being the almost tedious wading through the vast flooded basement of the haunted house. Burning the floor to get down there was a brilliant idea. And once down there it's beetle heaven, with many trips to the pit to dispose of the stragglers. This serious flooding means a lot of swimming. But as that includes some clever routes and underwater doors to open, this is much more interesting. And also more challenging as we negotiate another level with umpteen routes that take us up and down many stairways, tackling emaciated dogs and overgrown crows, a timed switch run, another timed fire emitter run, target shooting sessions, good use of the torch, and finally open the trapdoor into...
Sewers. Considering the length of time Lara spends swimming in this labyrinthine sewer system it's just as well the water is crystal clear. Otherwise it doesn't bear thinking about. We have to negotiate many twists and turns and clever swim routes to avoid scalding Lara to death. But there are also huge areas away from water, not least being the excellently designed deep pit with scaffolding and caged walkways; another area where we need to rotate a monkeyswing so we can get into different entrances; a useful elevator that needs a batterie; another deep pit where we must raise and lower the metal walkways; a timed run, and flooding and draining more pits. All huge and all extremely well put together. Great fun, but yet again can be frustrating if you don't know where you need to go next. Walkthrough time here.
Sewers Courtyard. Starts with a great flyby of a helicopter shooting a hole in a wall, lots of gunmen and soldiers opening doors and running around. We are now above ground in an enormous crate storage courtyard inside a multi storie warehouse complex. Apart from dealing with the first batch of guards, dogs and soldiers we must tackle the well placed sentry guns. This, to me, was the most satisfying task in this level. I love sneaking around to find a clear shot at them. We have to climb a tall crane, jump into a small caged area to a trapdoor, smash a few windows, and climb around and open containers. A very odd situation in this very real environment was picking up a medpack that moves a climbable forklift! The place is swarming with gunmen, but the level didn't seem that much like a shooter with everything else that's going on here. We finally find a station with a most impressive looking train...
Riding the Night. Train levels are more or less the same, running from one carriage to the next, from the engine to the last and back again. Occasionally an author will throw in something extra like better looking seating for decor, or in this case a carriage with caged lions. Nice idea of them escaping. It would have been an exciting shocker if they could jump out onto the other carriages and chase Lara, or the baddies, or.... In any case, it's a well made level with a flyby of another helicopter. A good inbetweenie to...
Arabic Desert. Another brilliant flyby of two characters locked in prison talking about what happened. Now this is a great idea. Of using another character, in another location, helping to achieve our goal. In this case the usually useless Kurtis is actually about to do some work for a change, searching Lara's previously raided locations in Africa to retake the artefact, and then fly it to where she is waiting in Costa Rica. But wouldn't you know it, he gets the easy job, as this turned out to be a relatively easy romp in a good looking sprawling Karnak temple. The interiors are gorgeous with lovely glass floors. He only has a few ninjas and demigods to deal with, but Kurtis gets to turn off ceiling blades with the mechanical beetle and use switches inside coffins. Again, confusion reigns with so many routes to take, and the jump to the broken column was simple but very effective.
Back to Saudi Arabia. Still playing as Kurtis, and a rude awakening... disc blades in a pitch black corridor. Then a slide through spikes, collapsible tiles and rolling balls has our boy cursing his luck as he negotiates some tough traps and gauntlets. He finds the Book of Revelations and needs help (from the walkthrough) to work out what should be an easy statue pushing puzzle. A slide into the familiar streetscene and a dash to the waiting helicopter. Possibly the same one that was waiting for Lara last time round! That statue puzzle did not work first time for me, I had to reposition the statues a couple of times before the spikes went down to claim the Amulet. And who on earth would have guessed about the target shooting?!?
Costa Rica Jungle. This is where we see the flyby of Kurtis dropping a crate into the jungle. It contains the Amulet for Lara. But he makes a bit of a mess of it and flies off under fire. Leaving it to Lara to make her way through the jungle to claim it. She has to thread carefully throughout this level or trip over instant death... spikes shooting out of walls, or negotiating a mine field. That, and dealing with the natives, spiders and lots of gunmen, plus running through a labyrinth, torch in hand, until she finally finds a way into the base compound with, *yay*, more machine guns to target. A piece of advice: follow the walkthrough at the end of this level, as it's very easy to jump into the Caves level from here and that is not where you want to go just yet. We'll be back here later on for a short run-through and to grab the amulet in the crate.
Military Base. This is not what you might expect. But a brilliantly designed and textured level guarded by great looking robots that can't be killed. But you can trap them, or simply outrun them. There's a particularly difficult to know about, never mind find, crowbar door. The same goes for the breakable wall parts. Great attention to detail, i.e. the pipes, great atmosphere, and some very clever manoeuvres.
Caves of Altamira. The whole level is about making it to a gate before a thug closes it. You have four minutes. Sounds enough time, but it's very tight, and involves constant running and jumping and finding a bike to get up the steep slopes and zoom along tricky corridors; to enter the penultimate room and try to stand on trigger tiles to open the way to that gate. If you don't make it you can still finish the level, but you'll miss all the secrets and the tasks are much harder in the next level...
Dark Dungeon III. The enemies here depend on how you did the timed run in the last level. But the toughest one is a fire wraith that chases Lara until she finds water. The other annoyance was the looping background sounds. Good to begin with, and lending itself to the atmosphere, but it grates on the nerves after a while. You will progress anyway, through a graveyard, spiky boulders, fire emitters, swinging battering rams, spikes, leaps across chasms, lava pits and find your way to a room of lovely gothic architecture where we place the artefacts we've found along the way. New enemies here are green man-lizards and giant snakes.
The Ultimate Power. Further into the gothic interior to face a large enemy, a giant black gladiator. This fellow, and his retinue, can be dealt with fairly quickly with some advance target shooting. And even if we do lock ourselves in there (the doors close if we cross the threshold) it's just a case of keeping on the move until we can get rid of him in a spectacular fashion. Take a look at Lara in this final level. She's been through a lot. Her clothes are in tatters and she is cut and bruised. But her labours are not over yet. The fun part is crossing this huge room high above on three tightropes, good timed trapdoors run over lava, a mystery chain pulling session and coming face to face with the Ultimate Power and a slide into darkness. Well, not for long, as the brilliant closing flyby kicks in. What has happened. Has Kurtis gone mad?" - CC (12-May-2008)
"This is a complete game, with many levels, some too similar to official games. But anyway the game is very good and a big effort from the author. Some chapters are excellent, but others are a little boring. The enemies normally are in many areas, sometimes a lot of them and you need to kill and kill and kill. I would like more thinking puzzles. It is a game with history, and the emotion grows untill you arrive face to face with big enemies, that is good. The camera work and videos are excellent. The room construction is a big work with too much care, I really thank this kind of work. But a bad thing in my point of view is that there are no lights in the game, due to this Lara and objects always looks plane!!! Textures are well worked, but most of them are the traditional and repeated textures. The best thing of this levels are the history, the videos, the camera work, some secrets has been very good, the motorcycle route has been exciting and very hard to get it. Obviously I recommend to play this game, but unfortunally you will need the solution to finish the game, because in many areas you will be stuck like when there are some lines in the wall where Lara can hold herself, but this lines are impossible to be seen. And some moves like when Lara opens things you have to put Lara in a special position, in other way she wont open anything and you can think that there is nothing inside, be careful. In other way thank a lot to the author because of this big and very good work." - Juan Carlos (06-Jun-2006)
"Three Kings Convention (7/8/10/8, 45 min., 3 secrets): First a really brilliant title flyby to watch for a while and then a 2 minute cinematic introduction cut scene. What a start to let you into this huge adventure! Gameplay then starts a bit slowly though, with a hunt for buttons and a few dics in a VCI and Warehouse type environment. A dozen badies to kill, lasers to avoid and many cupboards to open for goodies. Finding a way out (8/9/9/9, 45 min., 3 secrets): Trying to get out of that hotel, initially through a small (very dark) duct maze, then more of the warehouse type rooms, more buttons and plenty of guards and workers to kill. A little gameplay variety here with the use of torch and sprinklers, a timed run involving a burner, a small jump room and a great scene with the box falling out of the wall. Then you get outside and it feels more like you are thrown into piega's Last Cruasade level and not L.A. as the storyline makes you believe. More exploring in the streets for coins until you find the entrance to... The Haunted House (7/8/8/8, 60 min., 3 secrets): Initially nice and spooky audio and darkish lighting, this haunted house turns more into a bit of a nuisance quickly with these mummies crying for help and rather confusing progression. You get all the enemies you would expect in a haunted house: big rats, mummies, bats and a few wraiths. Gameplay is basically a hunt for (too) many keys and I preferred playing in the Cathedral area and the push puzzle and the freezing of the pool were the highlights. The Garden (9/8/9/9, 60 min., 3 secrets): Despite the beetles (always tough) and the tedious wading in water, I enjoyed this part as it is cleverly designed. More looking for keys, smart use of a torch, spooky dogs and crows to kill and two tough timed sequences: one target shooting and one run through burners make this Castle / Garden level challenging and fun. Sewers (8/9/10/9, 60 min., 3 secrets): I have mixed feelings about this part. The sewers are basically an underwater maze that even though it's small was tedious for me to navigate and there is also some crawling through pitch black ducts. But this aside the excavation site looks great, there are two fun switch puzzles, a nice elevator sequence, a timed run and a smartly designed deep shaft with moving floor. Enemies are plenty of guards. Sewers Courtyard (8/8/10/9, 40 min., 4 secrets): Great cutscene intro with the helicopter and then this part is basically a shooter. I lost count how many baddies and guards had to be shot here, not to mention the sentry guns that are not easy to take out. Still, yet another nice setting as you explore around the containers and then inside an office building until you reach the impressive train. Riding the Night (7/7/9/9, 20 min., 1 secret): A train level and these are on the one hand always fun, on the other hand always the same. Make your way one way then the others, shoot everything that moves and collect all the needed keys. The lions were fun though, as was the helicopter cutscene. Arabic Desert (9/8/9/9, 45 min., 3 secrets): Talk about a nice way of shifting the storyline. Fabulous cut scene introducing this interlude where you now play as Kurtis back in Saudi Arabia. Several black ninjas and demigods are in your way in these Karnak style surroundings, some nice waterfalls and nice transparent floors spice up the scene and gameplay is fun and fluent as you look for a star, a portal guardian and a scarab talisman. Nice use of the familiar puzzles with the mechanical beetle and the mirror beams. Back to Saudi Arabia (8/7/7/7, 30 min., 3 secrets): This starts as a bit of a trap fest with blades and spikes and burners of various types, but nothing too hard and then turns into a trip down memory lane as some of the original rooms of the first Saudi Arabia levels get re-used here. This also means though that the texturing is very classic and not overly inspired and enemies are the standard ninjas and scorpions only. A few buttons, a few underwater levers and a fairly obscure puzzle near the end with the two pushables get you to the Amulet of Horus and in a nice cutscene the storyline finally turns back to Lara and she find herself in the... Costa Rica Jungle (8/8/9/9, 35+5 min., 4 secrets): Jungle indeed and a small maze to navigate with a torch to get a key. Enemies are natives, spiders and plenty of bad guys. Nice use of the minefield and not too hard to get through that. You get two Amulets here, one after the quick return from the next level. Military Base (8/9/10/10, 30 min., 3 secrets): In terms of looks probably my favourite level of the series. Great textures and a great atmosphere created. The big robots are tough to avoid (and cannot be eliminated), so make for a great challenge and the stomper passage with steam is also a bit of challenge if you want to conserve health. A few more underwater levers to deal with and you get your third artifact before you return to the Jungle. Caves of Altamira (10/8/9/9, 10 min., 1 secret): Just fabulous! Donald got the timer to work and offers here a 4 minute timed run, including a zip line and fun action with a bike, burners, spikes and more. It is challenging, but never frustrating and really not too hard to beat. Although you may indeed want to fail it at least once in order to also play the other half of the next level. Dark Dongeon III (9/9/10/9, 20 min., 3 secrets): Depending on whether you make the timed sequence in the previous level or not you can play two versions of this part and both are worth it. If you miss the timed run you get the rather a bit tougher part with a wraith following you for a long time, a switch puzzle, more rams to avoid, more keys to find and a bunch of tough green ogres to battle. If you make the timed run the enemies are flying and walking skeletons and the snake pit is a little easier to maneuvre, plus you get three extra secrets. The Ultimate Power (8/8/10/9, 30 min., 3 secrets): The grand finale and grand it is indeed, startig with a boss fight against the bog black guy accompanied by skeletons, some target shooting, a big explosion revealing a lava pool and (unfortunately) quite a bit of tightrope walking. The timed platforms were not very hard and the travel in time nicely set in scene and the final cutscene at the end is just brilliantly done. All in all, against my usual habit I have to score this series higher than the average of the individual level scores because indeed the result is better than simply the sum of its parts. Donald manages to capture a wonderful storyline here that always keeps you interested and wanting to go on, which is quite an achievement with such a huge project. Well done and an all time classic!" - MichaelP (25-Mar-2006)
"I don't know exactly where to start because there are so many things to mention about this levelserie. At first this game contains many levels and it takes time to complete that but the levels are created so well that you won't feel bored anytime which is my opinion. Story is good too and nice cutscenes makes that feel even better. Most of the levels are played with Lara but there are also two levels which you play with Curtis. Variety of levels is also a good thing. The game contains a couple of levels in Los Angeles and haunted house and also a train level. Levels which you play with Curtis are located in Egypt. There are also a jungle level and final levels in caves of Altamira. Despite that I was sometimes frustrated to complete some puzzles because they were quite hard to me I have to give full point to this great levelserie. This is absolutely one of the best TR games I have ever played and I really recommend this." - Samu (16-Feb-2006)
This multi-level tour de force meets my two primary criteria for a 4-10 review: (1) Would I play it again, and (2) would I pay for it if that's what were required to have the privilege of playing it. What appeals to me most about the three releases from DNF Productions is the diverse variety of the level components. While most of the highly-rated series seem to stick to a single theme, the DNF releases give the gamer a little bit of everything. (Another recent example that comes to mind is Fragments of the Core.) I've derived more hours of engrossed entertainment from these free offerings than I have from the code-bloated commercial releases that retail for $29.95 and up. I'm aware that the 'sophisticated' gaming magazines long ago turned up their collective noses at Tomb Raider because it refused to change to meet what they considered its 'full potential' by taking advantage of advancing technology. Well, I've been quite happy lying in this rut, thank you very much, while enjoying the imaginative work product of a stable of talented builders over the past several years. While other gamers are constantly having to upgrade and expand their systems to meet the ever-increasing demands of memory and space-hogging console games, we in the TR community are blessed with perfectly serviceable creations that continue to run on the same engine released years ago, yet unfailingly offer us challenging and exciting gameplay. Episode 3 is said to be the last in this series, but I certainly hope that's not true. Collectively, I would rank Saudi Arabia, Russia and Costa Rica up there with any of the commercial TR releases, and I wouldn't hesitate to pay the same amount I paid for those. If you haven't played it yet, keep Dutchy's excellent walkthrough close by for those tough moments and reserve the better part of a weekend for some top-notch raiding. - Phil (05-Jul-2005)
"A really well done and intriguing cinematic opening nicely sets the scene for this huge set of levels. Three Kings Convention: There's a huge building to explore, with plenty of henchmen to shoot. There are nice puzzles and plenty of offices to search for pickups and laser guarded passages to enter, which requires pretty good timing if you don't want to lose a serious amount of health. Finding a Way Out: Down in the basement lots of men with guns are shooting and I could have sworn I heard the big boss say he wanted Lara brought in alive. Honestly, you just can't get the henchmen these days can you? On finally emerging from the basement, there's a lovely Rome style setting to explore. There are some great special effects in this section - a box emerging from a chute, a rope coming out of a basket etc. The Haunted House: Ooooooh, spooky indeed. This really is one seriously creepy house, with the wonderfully re-done mummies (that you can actually kill, whoopee) wandering about and the doors that open and close with really sinister creaking sounds. What an amazing atmosphere. I particularly liked the outside area with the chapel. The Garden: Oh great, beetles (sigh). Actually, there is a suitable hole to dangle over whilst they fall in so they're not an irritation for too long. You get a lot of zombie dogs jumping on you in passageways, just when you're trying to admire the scenery and there's a memorable timed target shoot to achieve. Sewers: As might be expected, there's a fair bit of swimming to be done, but at least the place is rat-free. In fact, as sewers go they're pretty clean and industrial looking. Room flooding and lots of lever action here, with really nice use of moveable bridges and monkey swings. Sewers Courtyard: There are few more satisfying raiding moments than making sentry guns explode. You get to outwit three of them at the beginning of this section (and more later on). Lovely. There's a hell of a lot of gunmen and their dogs about so you may just be glad of all the weaponry you've got by now. Love that HK. Riding the Night: I like train levels so I particularly enjoyed this bit. It's very much in the Desert Railroad tradition only with added lions (which frankly did come as a bit of a surprise). Lots of running up and down the train, shooting baddies and leaping about on the roof. Fun. Arabic Desert: Well, we may be raiding in really traditional (and beautiful) Egypt style settings, but we're raiding with Kurtis Trent so that does make a change, doesn't it? Rather well done actually. There are a few ninjas about the place, but overall it's quite a peaceful section. What I really want to know though is why is his ammo bigger than Lara's? I mean, what is it with men? Back to Saudi Arabia: A spike slide followed by a collapsing tile run and getting squashed by rolling balls. Hmm, nice start. Those who have already played the Saudi Arabia levels will have a nostalgic time here. I found the moving statue puzzle somewhat obscure, or was that just me? Maybe. Costa Rica Jungle: Oh good, back to Lara, I don't like being a man. This jungle is full of dangerous sharp things and poisonous spiders. I particularly liked this section, but then I'm a big fan of jungle levels if they're well done and this is. Military Base: Wow, nice robots. Well, perhaps nice isn't quite the appropriate word, but you know what I mean. They're absolutely deadly - you can't kill them and they set you on fire really easily. There's a sequence where you have to avoid two of them for 60 seconds before a door opens that I found utterly nerve wracking. Caves of Altamira: This is a fascinating idea - one long timed assault course, mainly by motorbike and it's really challenging. Dark Dongeon III: Eerie setting and wonderful creepy sound files, skeletons (flying and otherwise) and snakes in the winding passages. The Ultimate Power: Still spooky, only with larger enemies and tightrope walking, which I heartily dislike but never mind. I do like collapsing platform runs however and there's a really good one later on so I stopped sulking about the tightropes. This is superb raiding and should keep you amused for days. Don't miss it." - Jay (14-Jun-2005)
"What a great work! We all know suppose the hard work and all the time this author spent to give us a fabulous set of levels. Thank you very much Donald. This time I've noticed something very strange: most of the secrets were easy and gameplay (to continue playing) sometimes was hard with very difficult tasks (you have to observe carefully all the details, textures, objects to discover how to continue). Why? This must be the other way round. I'm a Spanish player and I know that the Caves of Altamira are in the North of Spain, and not in America (???). The timed run with only 4 minutes was very hard. Entire level is quite good, with no bugs, intelligent puzzles, great scenarios,... All what a player can desire, but I think this set of levels was built only for professional players and this didn't have to be so. Most of the players probably need help to finish the game." - Jose (07-Jun-2005)
"This is a fantastic game; another great work of DNF. Is much better than the second episode: Russia that I found a bit boring. From the first levels in San Francisco (?), through the desert sands and the Egyptian temples (with an androgynous Kurtis Trent), the Costa Rica jungle and the military Base (the caves of Altamira are in Spain....) and finally the Dark Dungeon III that I enjoyed very much. I totally recommend this complete game; made with all the details and the cutscenes to make up the story. I found 30 secrets in 13 hours of net game." - Loupar (13-May-2005)
"A fantastic adventure this game was, that consists of 15 levels. 15, because we return to the Costa Rica Jungle level once again. There's an editor failure too - we can skip the Military Base level, because you can climb the rocks to the camp, and you realize only two levels later that you can't go on: the Mystical Artifact is missing. This is what happened to me, so I had to re-play it from there. :) Though it is seen on the rocks that the textures are incomplete. But at other places they are perfect and various. The added sounds are also fantastic. I can only suggest these levels. I managed to complete them without using medipacks, though this was an extra difficulty at some places. 1. Three Kings Convention: This level reminds me on the office building of TR5. We are adventuring on different floors, crawling under lesers till we find the Disc and the 3 secrets. There nothing extra with the textures, they are all of TR5, but this is why I liked them. The puzzles are not difficult either, but sometimes we have to look round carefully; taking a look behind movable blocks, bookshelves. The enemies are hobos and strange gunmen. The discs have to be used not only at computers, but sometimes we have to put them into the yellow machines on the wall. We'll get the Uzi on this level too. And the bubbles in the liquid are also important. :) 2. Finding Book A Way Out: We are adventuring on a base and in a district on this level. The enemies are workers and gunmen here as well. We get the crowbar, the revolver, the LaserSight too. But for this we have to notice a trapdoor in the water. Well, for the first time I passed it... :) There are no hard puzzles on the level, but we have some run-arounds until we can pick up the keys and the Token. The shatter-crates and the torch have an important role, because we have to make a fire-alarm in order to complete the level. :) This is a fantastic adventure in a fantastic environment. 3. The Haunted House: Well, this level has a little bit of Silent Hill feeling. As much as I know the first part of that game. The opening of the doors, the jarring, the zombies. It is interesting that these zombies (conjured of mummies) can be killed. Instead of them, rats, bats, fiery wraths disturb us. Impotant, that if you want to collect all 3 secrets, you have to push the statues onto the signs in the corner first, then pull the lever, and only then break them. It is also important, that you SHOULDN'T stop while pushing them, only if you have to. We are adventuring in a house; first in the dark, then in a wonderful staircase, and in the sorroundings of a church. We have to collect keys, diskettes and symbols, by pushing bookshelves and statues. I wonder why one of the doors remained closed for me. The textures are fantastic on this level too, and there are no extremely hard puzzles either. 4. The Garden: probably this was the hardest level so far. Especially because I wanted to complete it without using medipacks, and there are also inevitable injuries. At the beginning of the level caused by bugs, and at the underwater lever caused by spikes. Set the floor on fire in the house was a good idea, I was wondering what to do there for a while. I set the whole house on fire until I figured it out. Bugs, demonish dogs, crows try to hold us up, and there are some timed puzzles on the level too. They are not easy. We have to time our run also at the burners carefully, because the flames burn not at the same time. many times I could only run through the passage at the 8th one. We have to find keys and gemstones on this amazingly textured level in order to complete to the next level, down into the sewers. 5. Sewers: On this level we are adventuring on a base. We need some skills with swimming here, because we have to get through sewers, then down into a deep ravine. We need the two Batteries on the level, and we can collect three secrets here as well. We have to watch for the last door, going back to it in time, because after it is closed we will finish the level without it. We have to go back into the deep for the HK Gun too, after raising the water- level at the beginning of the level. The enemies are gunmen, but they are onyl a few, and the task is rather to get on. The elavator was a good idea, and I also liked the movable iron bridge at the end of the level. This part was a good adventure too. 6. Sewers Courtyard: I liked this level. We are adventuring in a well-guarded railway station, among containers. It was hard to complete without using medipacks, because there are a lot of gunmen, dogs and shantry guns protecting the station. Breaking windows, opening one of the containers, moving the cart have also an inportant role. On this level we have to find 4 secrets, but only after shooting out the shantry guns can we pick up all of them. Here I had to bring out more effective weapons. We get the Uzi, and once again the HK Gun. But we need them here. I liked the environment, the train we take at the end. 7. Riding The Night: This is the shortest level so far. But it looks totally like Desert Railroad. We are adventuring on a train on this level too. We have to collect 4 keys, and find a secret. We also find the crossbow, but it didn't appeare in my inventory. Many gunmen, hobos disturb us, and we have to kill lions to get the keys. 8. Arabic Desert: An easy egyptian adventure this level is, where we are controlling Kurtis Trent. We have to find the Golden Star, the Mechanical Scarab, and the Winding Key, in order to finally pick up the Scarab Talisman and leave the level with a jump from the broken pillar. There are 3 secrets on this level. The enemies are few, only some ninjas, and we meet 2 demigods as well. Sometimes we have to run helter- skelter in the temple to find the proper sequence. The textures are good, but nothing extra; the textures of Temple of Karnak and Cleopatra's Palaces mixed. But they suit the level, anyway. 9. Back to Sazudi Arabia: Finally I managed to complete this level without using medis, but it was not easy because of the many inevitable scratches. I lost most of my health in the water at the spinning blade. But luckily, at the second secret, there's another way to the room with the sarcophagus, so I suffered less injuries. It is interesting, that I could only get the first secret when pushing the button climbing on the grating before raising the water-level. There's a key at the second secret, without this we can't access the third one. The sarcophagus room was also interesting. I only hardly realized that we have to shoot the socket so that the wall would move on the storey. And on the ground floor, I had to push the left statue on the patterned tile on the other side once again, after pushing both of them to their original place so that the spikes retract. I don't know whether this is a bug, but for me this worked so many times. But finally I picked up the Amulet of Horus and the Book of Revelation. There's two of this latter one, each on both routes. The enemies are gunmen and scorpions, but we have to cross many spikes and moving blades on this egyptian-like level. 10. Costa Rica Jungle: This level is not bad either. But gave me many unanswered questions though. At the end of the level, when getting to the tents, I could pick up the Amulet of Horus. I guess this should be only some kind of a bug. There are two possible endings: we either go down into the shaft or slide down the slope at the last secret. Each of the solutions bring us to a different level: we continue on the Military Base or in the Caves of Altamira. Ok, but this is not all the same! So DON'T go over the rocks to the tents, rather go to the Base in the building. There are 4 secrets on the level, but we only get the last when coming back here again. We are adventuring in the jungle, and at the beginning of the level, in a small labyrinth. The torch has the main role here, what we take from a hobo, and we can light many burners with it. Then we continue in the forrest, on a mine-field. Enemies: savages, spiders, hobos, gunmen and shantry guns. But we don't need a medipack on this level either. 11. Military Base: I liked this level very much. We are adventuring in a base, where the Mystical Artifact is guarded. It was fun fighting the robots, but this only means to run away from them. We meet many gunmen, and we have to find 3 secrets too. It is important to find the shatter-walls, and it's not all the same when we flood the shaft with water either. The water-robot was interesting too. At the hammers and steam-blowers I nearly gave up playing without medipacks, but if you crouch, they won't reach you. So I managed to complete this level too. :) 12. Costa Rica Jungle ( second time): The only task on this level is to get the Amulet of Horus from a crate, and the Key of Raw from a savage. And of course we find a secret at the end of the level. 13. Caves of Altamira: Well, it was not easy to complete the timed run, jump and bike-ride within 4 minutes. I had to leave the ammo in the graveyard, but after completing this task, I got back for the Uzi clip to the room with the stairs, meanwhile taking vengeance on the hobo, who wanted to close the door. :) There a secret at the beginning of the level, after that there's no time to stop, not even to look round. It is important to complete the level in time, because we can collect all the secrets only this way. If you fail, you can still complete to the next level, but another way. 14: Dark Dongeon III: This level is a little bit short, but has a fantastic feeling. Here we contact the underworld. Harpies, mummies, snakes in the cellar, some wraiths disturb us while we try to find the key and the three secrets. We have to find the breaktiles too. At the end we have to put the three amulets in their place, and we can go on to the next level. This is why you mustn't skip the Base level. :) 15. The Ultimate Power: A fantastic finale for this level-set. At first I became scared when I couldn't kill the black god, but there's an easy solution. The lava engulfs everything. :) Except of him, we have to deal with skeletons, and gladiators at the end. Tight-rope walking, wall climbing, then we go down to the basement too. We have to find three Golden Skulls at the final secrets of the game. Watch out at one of them, because if you pry off the door at the basement earlier, the you won't be able to access it. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have an English version), savegames and pictures here:" - Obig (03-May-2005)
"If you have played Saudi Arabia and Russia Episode 2, you have an idea about what kind of games/adventures Donald creates. They are huge and have a hell of a gameplay. This game is no different, it has many levels to explore, fourteen if I remember right and you transfer from sewers to a spooky with an amazing atmosphere haunted mansion, then to Saudi Arabia just for old times sake, to a desert, a garden and a military base. I can go on and list the levels with their various locations but you get the picture. There are some problems though in some of the levels. The 'Military Base' level can be skipped and you can end up in 'Altamira' early without a significant artifact which is a big problem. I had a bug in one of the levels that we play as Kurtis and a coffin wouldn't open for me, I found out that saving in that area or in the place with the movable blocks caused a bug so be careful when in that level. The underground areas are as beautiful, the buildings and gardens are wonderful and I liked those small lion fountains. There is a jungle in all that of course but we can get trapped behind rocks in one area and there is the 'end of the world' bug. The timed course with the bike was very challenging and a thrill, you drive up and down trying to avoid, blocks, spike pits, fires and all sorts of obstacles and all that is to get the three secrets in the next level. If you don't make it on time you get another version of Dark Dungeons III which I played as well and I found it better than the one with the secrets. The cut scenes were great, so was the music from AOD so what's not to like. I found forty secrets and I am waiting to play the bonus level. The entire game is one absolutely amazing adventure you mustn't miss." - Kristina (25-Apr-2005)
"This epic, I can't call it anything else, is great. So much better than his Russia level, which I found rather confusing. The bonus level that one can get when one finds all the 40 secrets AND (if I understood the readme) in a certain time, will put me for sure NOT on his list as my time was over 27 hours. Don't get me wrong I made extensive notes and in doing so hit the escape key, forgetting that the time kept running. The timed bike run was nerve wracking and the tight rope walking (more than one rope) is the pits, I plainly hate that move. It slows the game down and I am very bad in doing that move. But the overall was great. Good story, good looking levels, great enemies (just enough of them) and of course the exploring to find all the secrets. The added sounds were great as well and the last levels were spooky indeed because of that. 13-04-2005" - Gerty (23-Apr-2005)
"Since my reviewer status is still in its infancy I have not had the opportunity to review one of DNF's games. Until now. First, I have to admit that I am a huge fan of his! This colossus made me feel like I had died and gone to heaven. There is something in this game for everyone! His levels are each beautifully thought out and his attention to detail is simply the best. As you eavesdrop on the opening scubamen's conversation you know immediately that this is going to be a great raid. Lara is put to the test as she vaults through the office complex, evading the goons who have come for her. Watch out for those wicked lasers and find those disks! An escape via the garage lands Lara in a nearby haunted house. The mummies 'hellllpppp mmmmeeee' was too much and reminded me of what the 'Stuck' forum would be like with sound. You'll be scrambling for keys to unlock the rooms in this bloody asylum and next-door cloisters. Eventually, your progress will lead you into the sewers. This happens to be one of my favorite levels in this game. The inherent danger of sewers, mazes, and water-works all exist here. The puzzles are fun and challenging. Lara exits the sewer in the midst of a freight yard, the goons still hot on her heels. Spying railroad tracks off in the distance she needs to find her way onboard the next outbound train. Success and finally a rest for our girl. Meet Kurtis. Kurtis turns up in an Arabian desert dig which has him searching for the Portal Guardian, a star, and the scarab talisman. His raid leads him to some familiar digs of Lara's. I must say, I was really caught off guard by this. Nice touch, Donald. Stay on your toes as this area contains some of the more wicked traps. I also thought the use of one of the objects as a shootable target (I don't want to give too much away)was clever, but it's clue was far too vague. With all the slicing and dicing, you can understand why Kurtis cries 'uncle' pretty fast and Lara returns to the job. Lara's train ride has landed her in Costa Rica, finally. Here, she must infiltrate the enemy's camp - step carefully here - and steal the Amulets of Anubis and Horus. You are now in for a terrific time: sneaking down into the secret bunkers - battling magnificent robots, taking a timed motorcycle-obstacle-course run, exploring the scary dark dungeons and the ultimate challenge - destroying the power that lies within. Fantastic game! You will love it. Thanks Mr. Forgues." - Mugs (22-Apr-2005)
"As an admirer of huge multilevels I was again hooked by this one. Donald provided us with a sequence to the Saudi and Russia series as the story went on to Costa Rica for a third episode. First hotel and I don't like hotel levels, but it was over soon and then the fun part started with Sentry-guns that had to be taken care of and lots and lots of keys that had to be collected to proceed, the heavier weaponry was provided bit by bit, so the first level were challenging. You go through water sections and Jungle, military bases and collecting 40 secrets in total you really had to have good look around. The most challenging part was the timed run that involved a Cross Bike and a Zip line all to be done in 4 minutes so you could enter a level with more secrets you would miss out on if you didn't manage that timed run. The only part where I thought something was wrong, was in Costa Rica Jungle where you could go to a level you weren't supposed to go yet. And the tightrope walks were way too long and one or two would have been enough, Lara went off the rope halfway down it and that looked a bit strange too. An old friend of Lara helped her out too. Like in AoD, Kurtis lend a hand to go back to Saudi Arabia for Lara and he visited places that were already visited by her earlier, took me a while to remember that room with the statues puzzle, but when Kurtis went outside it all came back to me. Great levels and I really enjoyed writing a walk for them." - Dutchy (19-Apr-2005)
"All in all this is a well done masterpiece for the ingenious cut scenes alone, which I liked a lot. Also the puzzles were nice and made you think quite a bit. Enemies were at times just too many at the same time - this I did not like so much. Graphics and sound are well designed throughout the game but the gameplay fun was somewhat limited, as you had to watch your health because medipacks are scarce. Overall I can recommend this series though." - Navi (18-Apr-2005)
"If you really want to know to what extent I liked this game (I would never dare call it 'level'): a) I haven't had the patience lately to play most customs to the end, somehow they seem boring; b) I was in the middle of the very professional Return to Castle Wolfenstein and I simply stopped it because I just had to play Costa Rica. It's not a novelty for me, I'd already felt the same way with Russia - Episode Two: in my opinion and despite the immense originality and perfection of some other custom level builders, yes, despite that lack of a certain surrealism that seems to be lacking here and that pleases so much so many (me included), Donald Forgues is probably the builder that manages to come closer to making a professional Tomb Raider game. And that's no small talent nor a little achievement. This game was generally darker than the preceding two chapters of this grand adventure. It was also immensely varied. Lara starts off in Los Angeles and then visits a haunted house, the jungle, dark dungeons, you name it. In the meantime, we also get to play as Kurtis in the Arabian Desert and in Back to Saudi Arabia, where we revisit the author's first released adventure. Some interesting cut scenes are also in order throughout the game. I must say I enjoyed playing as Kurtis, a very well recreated Kurtis from Lara's figure, and if all Egyptian levels were as perfect as these two, I certainly wouldn't mind so much playing them. The levels I enjoyed the most were the Haunted House with those funny annoying zombies going on and on 'heeelp meeee!', the Caves of Altamira (great, great timed ride, and finally doable!), the Military Base (despite its exaggerated degree of difficulty) and the last two levels, plus, naturally, the Arabian levels. There are some tough parts in the game and I felt that they were a little overdone at times... The room with two robots in the Military Base, for example, is very frustrating and even made me think of rating the gameplay 9. And I also found it strange to see Rome in LA, because that was Rome, right? But that would have been terribly unfair when the game is globally so captivating and must have taken such a long time (and inspiration) to build... So, here go my well deserved four tens for a very perfect work. I even liked the usually annoying tight rope walking in the next to last level! I hope we'll get to play more games from this author... The only thing I was sorry for was that Costa Rica finally had to come to an end. (April, 14 2005)" - Jorge22 (15-Apr-2005)