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Night of Shadows by uranos1

Andzia9 8 8 8 8
Casual Raider 9 10 8 10
Catherin 9 9 9 9
CC 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 9 10 8
dya1403 10 10 10 10
eTux 9 9 9 9
Gerty 9 10 9 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
JesseG 6 9 9 8
John 7 10 9 9
Jose 5 9 8 10
Kristina 8 8 8 8
Loupar 7 7 9 9
MacRaider 9 9 10 10
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
Phil 9 9 10 10
Ryan 9 9 9 10
Sash 10 10 10 10
Selene 9 9 10 10
Sethian 8 9 9 9
Sutekh 10 9 10 9
Treeble 8 10 9 9
young Lara Croft 8 9 10 10
release date: 07-Dec-2005
# of downloads: 163

average rating: 9.07
review count: 24
review this level

file size: 40.90 MB
file type: TR4
class: Young Lara

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"What a unique adventure this was. It subverts all of your expectations by throwing you a young Lara level combined with a Croft Manor setting, and yet, it's filled with so many tasks to be done it ended up split into three segments, adding up to about two hours of gameplay (if following the walkthrough, otherwise it might as well be twice as long). At times I felt there was a bit of padding, such as the underwater maze or the several pushblock puzzles (the crates, especially, the tables were a nice setup), however, where this truly shines is the masterful and creative use of objects, in ways you wouldn't normally see, combined with a lot of new objects you don't see much around (at least not as far as I remember, anyway). There are a few cutscenes which interweave the storyline into the gameplay, all in all it's really well done and worth checking out, even if the type and setting usually state otherwise. 2 hours, 9 secrets. 04/23" - Treeble (09-Apr-2023)
"Wow what a epic home level, this one took me several hours to complete actually and I must admit I was put off by the unpleasant underground area at the beginning but from then on it gets so much better with a tremendous amount of varied both gameplay (despite the limitations of young Lara) and also the areas and locations in and around the mansion and its grounds. The puzzles, traps, platforming and tasks are a mixture of refreshingly original and clever, fun and yet both boring and tedious in other aspects unfortunately with very long pushable object tasks or torch tasks. I feel this is a real mixed bag when it comes to gameplay. Some tasks are very clever but very obscure so a walkthrough is definitely recommended. The variety and use of Objects and enemies I really do have to take my hat off though because young lara can’t shoot enemies therefore you have to use objects or platforming to outsmart them and progress and it’s just a lot of fun! (the rats and giant spider come to mind) when it comes to visuals and the night time atmosphere it’s all very polished and looks really good with great use of textures and lighting so it’s very easy to immerse yourself into the spooky story and setting." - John (23-Aug-2022)
"I'm sorry to say I didn't hold this adventure in as high regard as others seem to have (judging by the overall rating - I tend not to read the actual reviews before writing my own). I will say I do highly appreciate the amount and variety of puzzles in this game, alongside some engaging trap sequences. Unfortunately there are quite a few "gotcha" moments that make this game not very player friendly. A few examples: Many doors that look the same, but only some of them open with the crowbar. A terrarium where the player can break through the glass, but only by jumping through one exact glass pane (the others don't respond). A piece of meat used to make a dog move, but it must be placed on a statue for some reason instead of used by interacting with the dog. An ice pond that can be burned through, but only by burning a chair instead of simply using the torch. A tiger rug that only sometimes reacts to the action button. The lowest point of the adventure is the garden maze. A maze is a pretty rough design choice on its own, but this one comes with your dog chewing away at your health while you can do nothing to stop it. On top of that it is also a flipmap maze, meaning that it randomly changes layout when the player crosses certain intersections. No warning is given for this so I can imagine that a player might not even realize what is happening for quite some time, causing frustration. I don't enjoy being this critical of the game since there are other parts that are genuinely fun to solve, and this adventure is quite creative in general. The cutscenes are fun and immersive. Texturing is good. Lighting is good as well, but a little bit too dark in some areas (no flares or binoculars are available). A nice variety of enemies are present (a shame you can't do combat with them). I would recommend this adventure for raiders who enjoy puzzles, but also recommend they keep the walkthrough handy. 1 hour 56 minutes." - JesseG (11-Nov-2019)
"If you're firmly of the opinion that Young Lara inside a Mansion level is a recipe for disaster, then you're in for a surprise with this game. I really admired the creativity and imagination that went into this as well as the fact that it put a new twist on two genres that probably wouldn't be fan favourites. The environments are gorgeously crafted and I also appreciated the fact that everything wasn't shrouded in darkness, enabling me to see them in their full potential. The cutscenes and dialogues (albeit in German) and the custom objects were also a really nice touch. Gameplay definitely requires the player to think out the box, and some puzzles can seem obscure, but once you figure out the "how", everything comes together. I particularly liked the chain puzzle and the button puzzle that required you to get a certain number of volts. The only real glitches I had was when I reloaded a savegame while the mechanical scarab was still running, the screen went dodgy and Lara kept spontaneously catching on fire, until I reloaded an even earlier save, and the knight that would have fought the spider was nowhere to be seen, so I took Phil's advice and ran it down with the quad bike. Apart from those, and the unnecessary maze additions, I had a wonderful experience here. Not to be missed." - Ryan (22-May-2018)
"Undoubtedly, uranos1 is a genious of the level edition. Not only the new objects and environments, but the new animations, smart puzzles, new features and all kind of surprises. Unfortunately there aren't enough hints to properly guide the players so it's very easy to get stuck, and sure you'll be often consulting the walkthrough; I mean, the gameplay is not fluid. Examples: how to know where to use the torch outside the mansion? How to know where to use the clocks? How to know the glass Lara can break? And this is the same in all the adventure and continuosly. All this could be easily fixed by placing some cameras here and there, or giving some hints somehow, but for some reason the author didn't do it. Anyway an spectacular adventure you can't miss. Recommended." - Jose (08-Jul-2017)
"I searched this one for something light to play, assuming it's a Christmas level but getting kidnapped and locked in the basement seemed a weird gift to me. Apparently an apparition appeared and must have been disappeared. The more I did in order to achieve this goal, the more what seemed to be a quite large yet usual manor level ensured me I'm dealing with a kind of masterpiece. In fact many years before Cowboy made his Ghosts of Croft Manor, Uranos attempted to do exactly the same thing what I had no idea about until now. Usually when I discover such level I call it a "little bro" in relation to the known one, but this adventure is fully grown up and stuffed with loads of inventive things to do. This is great but I was getting stuck because of misleading things (for instance triple candles/paintings/chandeliers surrounding the triple statue pushable, none of them being the real solution), multiple zones of unplanned access efficiently drawing the attention away from the intended path and a pile of totally useless items add to the confusion a game so different and original should have totally wiped out. Also the author seems to be a fan of overdone logical puzzles and everytime I was close to give a 10 for gameplay, another maze (submerged and dry), another set of pushables or another set of regals to look through stood on the way, and that greenhouse puzzle topped all unnecessity - I would stand three-four switches but not seven (!!!), and I needed two breaks from that riddle even with the walkthru in hand (I knew what will happen so I decided to shorten the pain). I can almost hear the furious wraiths whispering "this is for secret, why do you bother", but be honest, do you really think I wouldn't? It doesn't make sense to me when a game is more enjoyable when caring about completion than when doing it. And if we are speaking about enemies, I really liked the clever ways of getting rid of them. The bathroom tub could have been 1 click deeper to easily get rid of the local wraith (there's a bit too much running to the very same pool again and again), but letting the majority to deal with each other, locking the small demons in the garden, evading the mummies, feeding the dog, getting it trapped in the flipping maze (not sure if this was intended though), later on fooling the scarabs into the hole, running over a spider and killing the fish with electricity (well maybe it WAS a Christmas level after all), eventually solving a whole level to unsummon the major wight and clear the house from any and all unholy apparitions - and doing it all without using any weapons but only the wit of mind was in bulk pure brilliance. I'm clapping my hands at the moment, echoing with the bodyguard's rifle shots aimed at the crows circling above my head. SUMMARY: Many flaws and confusion, too many time wasted on unnecessary things, yet the riddles are so smart and unique they make it all worth a struggle. A walk in Uranos's park isn't an usual relax in Lara's garden, but you should take it sooner or later, and when this happens take time, for heaven or hell's sake. Recommended for all and highly recommended for the patient." - DJ Full (22-Jul-2015)
"I really enjoyed creativity in this level - puzzles with horse statue, chair, dog and pipes. Needed to look into walkthrough few times just because I wouldn't think of some things to do! But there are lots of amazing ideas in this custom. Textures are familiar and yet some unique and making great atmosphere. Gameplay really interesing and enjoyable. Recommended!" - Casual Raider (27-Sep-2013)
"I remember playing this level way back. One of the most original here on trle . Enjoyed playing as young Lara, I wish there we're more levels like this one especially being settled aroung Christmas. The puzzles were challenging and hard to complete, liked the snowmen enemies as well. Trully memorable and unique level, I cannot recommend it enough!" - young Lara Croft (14-Jun-2013)
"For a Young Lara level set, this is indeed quite spectacular. The story is great, the way the author tells the story is wonderful, and some of the gameplay ideas are truly creative and the most original I've seen in a long time. Some of my favorite moments include the pushy puzzle with the knight sticking his spear in the horse's rear-end, electrocuting the sharks in the fish tank, and rearranging the pipes so the scarab can pass through into the next room. What a clever builder! The only major drawback in this level gameplay-wise is that early on there are some rather tricky jumps in some dark caves and Young Lara doesn't have flares. Also, there is a bit of backtracking at first across some rolling balls, and it is hard to find the crowbar and then also know what must be done with all the new custom objects everywhere. The worst part by far is in the Mansion's basement where I encountered the most confusing and irritating pushable box puzzle ever, and I'm still not sure how I completed it. However, the game makes up in so many areas with its ingenuity; I can only remember it fondly. Enemies are great and really creative, and it's also a great idea how the Troops guy is there to shoot some nasty crows for us since we ourselves can't. The puzzle involving the barking dog that keeps us from accessing the Maze is something I've never seen before, and even though when we place the meat, it's sadly not fully distracted, it was a really great idea and something I'd like to see again someday from this author! Also, the opening of the level where we get to blow up the pipe with the burning trail of oil is a wonderful realistic puzzle, as opposed to the usual mystical torch lighting a mystical fire that opens a mystical door we see so often in levels. Atmosphere, sounds and audio are very good, especially for the cutscenes and how the author managed to create a new story by piecing together the audio from the TR5 cutscenes. The room geometry and use of space and environments is good too - I especially love the reflective pool in the Mansion. Also, early on we are kept from accessing the end of the world by a slippery frozen lake that Lara cannot cross - what a lovely idea! Well done on all accounts, this is an instant classic!" - Sethian (02-Sep-2011)
"Quite nice game. Puzzles aren't difficult, there are only few enemies, and Lara's dog is not so harmless. I liked beautiful snowy area in first level." - Andzia9 (07-Mar-2009)
"There's absolutely no denying the brilliance of this 3 level set, and if you're not a great fan of Young Lara or Lara's Home levels playing this game will show those 2 scenarios in a completely new light to you. It's absolutely imaginative from step one and will have you thinking till the final tasks around the house, and various touches like the snowballs you pick up in level 1 that have melted in your inventory in level 3, the dog guarding the hedge maze and the clever way you distract him, the pipe puzzles, the creepy snowmen, the glass you can jump through (not entirely obvious this one though), driving through the spiderwebs and so much more will have you entertained until that final cutscene. Speaking of cutscenes - they're technically masterfully done, and the storyline is interesting enough and ultimately makes sense (might be harder for folks who don't understand German as that's the only language in which you get information here). The looks are solid, but I probably would've appreciated lighting to be more varied and richer in colour. That said I didn't love every moment here and think the builder made a number of bad calls along the way. I suppose it might be a matter of taste - but why, oh why did every level have to have a maze? Levels 1 and 3 even fairly complex underwater mazes. They just seemed like such an incredibly lazy excuse for gameplay when everything else had been brilliant that far. I dare say the game would've lost absolutely nothing with neither of the mazes in it - maybe a bit in duration, but with the level overall taking me about 2 hours to get through - that would've been a sacrifice I could have lived with. On the same note - I was not entirely pleased with the pushable box puzzle in level 3 - it was generally ok for most part, but I was surprised why one box that didn't look any different from the rest suddenly turned out to be climbable? Not even a "climb on me" sticker! But I could've forgiven all of that if it had not been for the absolutely frustrating final 10 minutes or so, where I was really tempted to downrate it in the gameplay category. Maybe I was just unfortunate to stumble into the worst possible situation, but I had to push around the tables while the Shadow was kicking the hell out of Lara and I quickly ran out of all the medipacks I had accumulated up to that point (and there were plenty!) even finding 5 of the 9 or so secrets that are there, and had to resolve to using the savegame editor so I could finish the game alive. I can understand wanting to make the end a bit of a challenge, but that was already pushing it quite a bit. But because the rest of the game had been so wonderful, I thought it might not be appropriate to downrate because of a few bad calls from the authors side. Recommended nonetheless!" - eTux (21-Oct-2007)
"Anyone who's read my recent reviews (3/07) that consistently complain of the dark levels I've been choosing to play will probably think that I've gone completely off the deep end by selecting a Young Lara series (no flares, no binoculars) entitled "Night of Shadows." But to my amazement I had more fun here than in any level since Neon God and Budapest. The main reason for this is that, although the outdoor settings take place at night, there's plenty of available light and I never once felt the temptation to increase the gamma setting on my monitor. It's a perfect demonstration of the fact that a builder can achieve a spooky ambiance without making it impossible for the player to see what's going on around him. I know next to nothing about the level editor and how it works, but this shouldn't be rocket science, and I shouldn't have to go on a lonely crusade to warn the community about unreasonably dark raiding experiences. Climbing off my soap box, there are three levels here (the first two outside and the last one inside), and the third one is by far the most complex and (to me, anyway) the most satisfying. I did hit one glitch in the last level, however, when the first door upstairs wasn't open when the walkthrough said it should be, and I understand from Harry Laudie that this is because you first need to find all three secrets in this level. So if you're not a completist by nature, it doesn't really matter, because all you miss are a few medipacks. Also, my guardian knight had mysteriously disappeared by the time it became necessary to do battle with that huge spider, so I managed without him and killed the spider with the motor bike. I spent well over three hours here, and had a good time from start to finish. Highly recommended." - Phil (16-Mar-2007)
"Woow what an original level this is!This proves the amount of things you can do without any use of violence and fireguns.Lara has the help of a grownman armed with a gun wich disables her enemies. All you need is brains, wich the authour has plenty.Young Lara has to solve a lot of puzzles many too difficult for her age, but as we all know her she manages to do it. The artistic impression takes a 10 mark and so the technical. Brillian puzzles and confortable atmosphere keept me glued to my computer and left me a very good impression.The worst problem I had was with the mecanical beattle. I liked the idea of feeding the dog to distract him from the maze entrance,the greenhouse and the torch puzzles. This level makes it in my top 5 favorite level." - dya1403 (14-Jan-2007)
"Creativity, originality. Super! Anything eles to add? Actually no. Normally I do avoid Young Lara levels as I can not stand them but this one was done so brilliantly that it's a must play level. It's funny, great, very well designed and some of the 'weird' - or rather said 'not so usual' - ideas of the author are just superb and not as unusual as they seem to be at first glance. Concerning the ideas, I had to think of the game 'Monkey Island'. If you like this, you'll love the logic and puzzles of this level." - Catherin (02-Aug-2006)
"Oh wow - a young Lara level set in and around Lara's Home sound about as boring as it gets, but don't be fooled - this level series is anything but. Right from watching the long title flyby and then a fabulous intro scene that sets the original storyline this adventure will grip you and not let you go until you finish it. Vor den Toren / Outside the Gates (9/9/10/9, 45 min., 3 secrets): Poor Lara has to find her way out of the room she was locked into by the evil spirit. This involves some very original actions, as she pushes boxes, avoids rolling snowballs, explores stables and the woods and the bell tower. Nice effect with the icy lake you cannot cross and make sure you use your personal guard to have the pesky crows killed. The underwater maze was a bit unnecessary but not too bad and the only reason I am not rating gameplay a 10 is that some of the actions are (while logical) a bit obscure and may well need you to check the forums or the walkthrough for help, like the well hidden crowbar and the way how you get the keys in the bell tower. Der Garten / The Garden (9/10/9/9, 35 min., 3 secrets): The big (mummy) snowmen that welcome you are truly hilarious. The fire wraiths are a bit of a pain though, despite the ice wraiths helping you out there. Just like in part one, you get to do a number of very original tasks, like the pushing, breaking and setting on fire of a chair to melt a hole into the ice. I thought the greenhouse push button puzzle was fun, but then getting the secret there was rather tedious. The dog guarding the maze was nicely done, but the luring it away by feeding it with some meat did not work very well in my game. Again, the maze seemed a bit unnecessary, but manageable. Quite clever again how you encounter several enemies here but there are always ways to get rid of them without weapons. Im Haus / Inside the House (9/9/9/9, 75 min., 3 secrets): A tough start indeed with the evil spirit throwing fire bolts at young Lara, but throughout the level he is actually fairly easy to avoid. Even more enemies to deal with here (rats (beetles), wraiths, knights) and more and more original puzzle follow, like avoiding rolling barrels, sealing a leak with a cork, electrocuting those poor sharks, treating a horse pretty badly, connecting a sequence of pipes and more. Yet again the author could not resist and put a maze in and this one is underwater and in 3d, so I truly hated it. Even worse - for some reason the mechanical beetle did not work in my game as it kept exploding instead of walking into the mouseholes, so I actually needed to complete the game by using a savegame from somebody else - really a pity. At the end to storyline comes to a nice conclusion as you catch the spirit and put it back to where it was before the level started. Overall, I am really in awe about the creativity and originality of the ideas the author had in the first place and then how he put it into action in this outstanding level. This is one you absolutely have to play!" - MichaelP (05-Jul-2006)
"First of all I liked this game most of the time but some times I also hated it very much. One of those bad moments that made me swear a lot was the area with the many moveable blocks. It is very tricky and boring plus one of the blocks that's also a solid one has a problem so I got stuck there for a while. It becomes solid only if Lara jumps onto it and obviously she can't grab and pull up. I thought that whole area was too much and wasn't one of the best moments in the level, so many blocks to pass just to access a room in the back isn't worth all the trouble. There were also moves to make without a hint given to the player, like the meat that has to be placed on the fish or the crowbar that's been hidden inside a fence. Well excuse me but how on earth am I supposed to figure that out in such a big area without a hint! Not to mention all the inventory items and dialogues in the cut scenes that were in German and the builder didn't bother to provide us a text with the conversations in the readme. The game is divided in three parts with the last one being a house but not what we're used to even though the main area is the same. There's much to do and enemies like rats, wraiths and also lizards that do not harm Lara though. There was the greenhouse with the many doors and buttons that annoyed me and the underwater maze with the current. Some of the ideas were great I have to admit but without hints and some kind of help, even the brightest idea isn't worth anything in a level except some kind of recognition. The frustration doesn't let the player enjoy the game as much as possible. Another thing I absolutely hated was having no binoculars or flares especially when the builder inserts very dark parts in his levels. The game has good elements and ideas as mentioned above but the way they were used wasn't appropriate. I found five secrets and god knows how in such a dark environment (most of the time) so I am sure it was pure luck." - Kristina (15-Apr-2006)
"It's not every day I play a level featuring young Lara that I actually enjoy. And usually I'm not keen on running around exploring her mansion either, which is something you get to do more than enough of in this one. However I am just baffled by the imagination of this builder. Lara's home has been turned into a treasure chamber with plenty to do and lots of challenges(though some so tricky that it almost stopped being fun). I loved the cutscene at the beginning with Lara finding a golden canopy and being captured by the Ghost. There are so many brilliant touches in this three-level adventure: the hook combined with the stick to use for grabbing a bunch of keys, the clocks that need to be found, using tables to trap the Ghost inside a pentagram, the cables in the aquarium, the greenhouse puzzle, pushing the chair off the balcony, the gazebo puzzle, the knight and horse "puzzle", the pipe with the mechanical scarab, feeding the ham to the dog to gain access to the maze, locking up the little demons....I could go on forever. It all shines with creativity. The objects needed to find include snowballs that later melt, books, clocks, orange juice(although I don't know what the purpose of those was), a wine bottle to fill with water, various keys and a torch for solving some tasks. As Lara is a teenager she does not have any weapons and this gets especially daunting in the last level where she has to dodge the Ghost, knights, wraiths and some really annoying rats and bats plus a huge poisonous spider. The enemies in the two levels before aren't that bad; a few crows that are taken care of by a man with a gun(again a brilliant touch), some wraiths, a dog that can be lured away with a ham and even snowmen!!!! Unfortunately there are quite a few dark areas, something that got quite annoying as Lara has no flares or even the binoculars. The secrets consisted of golden skulls and I found a total of nine of them. There are however a few things that draw this adventure down gameplay-wise. The maze in the garden is one of them. I was running around aimlessly for ages before I found the key and it also took a lot of time and many saves and reloads before the dog would eventually get attracted to the ham and leave the maze for Lara to explore. And also the underwater maze....I can't express my hostility towards those creations, especially not those of this kind with a cazillion dead ends and openings both in the ceiling and floor. The block puzzle that took me ages to figure out also took its toll on my patience. Another thing is that I encountered a bug near the end. The knight was supposed to stay around and keep the spider busy long enough for Lara to get the final Canopic Jar, but unfortunately that knight was long gone even before that part, so I had to deal with the spider on my own losing a lot of health and thus wasting medipacks on that. Speaking of medipacks, there were plenty of these and I had no less than 21 small ones at the end. A final comment I would like to make though; why couldn't the author take the time to translate the levels from German into English???? That would have enhanced the experience by far for my part. And as for the conversations with the it just me or did it sound like a German dubbing of the conversation between Lara and that demon in TRC's Ireland levels??? Despite of these glitches it was still an amazing experience of about 3 hours playtime and well worth trying out!!!" - Selene (25-Feb-2006)
"Long time I haven't seen some much creativity and originality in a game. Since you play a Young Lara, don't wait for much fight here, which doesn't mean there won't be any action. But each enemy you meet has its own "solution", be it being faster or getting help or luring it to the right place... Or even use a vehicle to get rid of it. The puzzles are incredibly clever - and I mean each of them - with a particular mention to the pipes one toward the end which is simply great. Added to that some well-placed traps and a couple of tricky jumps. The sum of which gives a 10/10 gameplay. In the artistic department, it's beautiful and very well done, with a good choice of sound and music. My only problems are with the lighting which - while generally very well done - is too dark in some places (and since you don't have flares or binocs that indeed can become a problem) and with the way some objects would have collision glitches which can sometimes be a bit irritating. Added to that a couple of illegal slopes of the "stuck-and-have-to-reload" type and that's why I couldn't honestly give the four tens to this one. But those little flaws are nothing really compared of the sheer enjoyment and great time that this level provides... absolutely recommended!" - Sutekh (12-Feb-2006)
"I've loved this game all of the time just until I reached the third level. When young Lara enters the house all the gameplay is completely an overdose of all the resources that TRLE offers. The ghost attacks Lara all the time, the rats follow her everywhere she goes bitting her legs. I've found this part very difficult because she has to do too much things: pulling/pushing blocks and avoid enemies that she can't kill. Despite of this, this level is visually great and full of details and new objects but IMO this would have been a better level without young Lara." - Loupar (05-Feb-2006)
"This is a fascinating level right from the opening, brilliantly well done cut scene (I only wish I'd been able to understand the dialogue but I don't speak German). I don't usually care much for young Lara levels, mainly because I miss my flares and binoculars, but this is pure gold and not to be missed. It's a level of quite astonishing beauty in places, particularly the wooded, snow covered area just outside the mansion - it made me think of Narnia, perhaps because of the lampposts. The grounds are fabulous - full of snowmen lurching about, little imps, which you can shut in a small walled garden and a dog guarding the entrance to the maze. This builder makes really intricate mazes (the underwater one is a bit of a beast) and the clever puzzles and animations left me almost stunned with admiration. It's really hard to describe the ingenious and original details of this level - you really must see it for yourself." - Jay (04-Feb-2006)
"'Young Lara' levels are quite thin on the ground, and for good reason. There have been a handful of good ones though, and Night of Shadows has raised the bar almost as far as it can go! If it weren't for a few issues I'd have scored this level even better, but I can't ignore them. Firstly, there are a few glitches and bugs - I had one crash in each of the first two levels, but neither were repeated which means they're not serious and should be fixed with a reload (but for this you need to save often, and in new slots!) Then there are some collision issues and difficulties positioning Lara correctly which sometimes makes it awkward to manoeuvre or complete puzzles, and when combined with a few illegal slopes and invisible blocks Lara can get thoroughly trapped outdoors. Again, save often! The other main issue for me was perversely to do with the game's best features, the custom objects and unique puzzles. Brilliant as they are, you miss vital clues if you don't speak German as all the voices and texts are only in that language (for example I didn't know that bottle was empty, so didn't realise what it could be used for, and I have no idea what those two books said). I managed to get through with just a few tips from the forum, but whether understanding German will help a lot I've no idea. But despite these, this is one of the most fascinating sets of levels I've ever played - there are few more engrossing games around and despite being brought to a full stop on several occasions by not making the right assumptions about some puzzles due to language difficulties or confusion with the new objects, I enjoyed (almost) every moment! The horse, burning chair, mechanical beetle, and leaky pipe puzzles were inspired, the settings were entirely appropriate and looked great, the enemies were tough but not too tough, the architecture was fantastic, and I could hardly tear myself away from it for a couple of days. I loved the greenhouse puzzle and even enjoyed the basement box pushing, and for me that is very unusual! ;-) I only found 4 secrets, and my time was about 4 hrs 30 min, but there were so many jaw-dropping moments that on more than one occasion I lost complete track of time and that doesn't often happen to me. Be patient with the glitches, don't make any assumptions based on previous experience, use the forums, and prepare to be surprised - I was!" - MacRaider (19-Jan-2006)
"There really are too many innovative touches in this 3 levelled game that I couldn't mention them all, and even if I tried I wouldn't be able to do them justice. Each of the levels is so smartly set, and may I say temptingly set, as you play teasingly each level with a view of what is to come in the next level but not being able to reach it. You start the first adventure in some very dark caves, though thankfully you reach the snowy grounds outside the gates of Lara's mansion...the second level is inside the grounds of the mansion...and finally the last level is inside the mansion. What sets this apart from so many other games is the fantastic puzzling aspects, the pipe rearranging/mechanical beetle puzzle was just smile inducing, in fact I think every aspect of this game was a couple of notch's above what you could expect. Now don't let this next piece of info put you off what is such a wonderful adventure as you ain't gonna like play as young Lara with of course no weapons, binoculars or flares...yes I know this is one of those deal breaker moments, like looking for a car to buy, finding one you love and finding out it doesn't have air con, and I even found it a bit of a daunting prospect as you are thrown into the game with no light sources and an initial dark environment, but if you just get through that section you won't regret it one bit. With just over 3 hours of total fun and 6 skull secrets to find this was an absolute corker of a game, just thank your lucky stars there is a 'Stuck in a Level' forum as you are gonna need it!" - Sash (07-Jan-2006)
"How does this sound? - "Young Lara in the Croft Mansion". No! Come back, you haven't heard it all yet. In my humble opinion this is the best 'mansion' level out there. There is so much to see and do. It must have taken ages to work out the puzzles, the layout, the storyline, and put it all together to produce this visual treat. It would be impossible to list all the player will experience. The level is split into three parts. Starting outside in the forest and caves that surround the mansion. Then into the grounds of the mansion as we know it, with excellent additions, including a lovely greenhouse with good door and torch puzzles. And finally inside the Croft mansion itself. Even people who are bored with mansion levels will be amazed at this. There's a nice little story too. I did not understand what was written in the readme, but it seems the family pet dog, while chasing a rat across the diningroom, overturns a table and smashes a suit of armour. Young Lara peeps around the corner to see what the noise is about, and spots a canopic jar in the shattered remains of the armour. As she picks it up a black ghost appears and magically imprisoners her in a dark chamber. This amiable character appears and disappears in a lot of rooms. Right from the very start it all looks impressive. We see a hook on the wall, we need to move crates, and escape this dark place. Lara negotiates rolling snowballs, tries not to break her neck on slippery ice, climbs the spiral staircase of an impressive looking bell tower, finds the most ingenious hiding place of the crowbar. Great jumping, running, shimmying, monkeyswinging, swimming, etc., to be done throughout the level. The enemies are easy enough to get around with a little thinking. Remember this is Young Lara with no weapons. These enemies are, a crow (shot by the gamekeeper if you stay near him), dead knights (one useful one), demon babies, dog, sharks (which we don't have to go near), and rats (run around and there are enough holes to hang from as the rats dive in after Lara and leave her to climb back up in safety). Some very notable moments to record are, the clocks hands madly spinning in the main hall, the possessed horse heads watching Lara's movements, the use of the mechanical beetle in the mouseholes, the pipe turning puzzle to allow this beetle through, the electrical switch puzzle, taking meat from the freezer and using it to lure the guard dog away from the maze, and one block that can be pushed and stood on ala TRI-III, and much much more. Too numerous to mention. There are lots of shelves and cupboards to rummage in for items and medpacks. Even so, I'd recommend the player conserve as many medpacks as possible. I reached the dark cellar near the end, where the quadbike is, with none left. And believe me you need it in there, for the final dash past danger. Secrets are golden skulls. Lara's ultimate goal in the house is to find four clocks and place them. And to find the canopic jar and return it to the ghost. My only complaint was trying to get through the trees of the forest and a few illegal slopes in the snow. There were plenty of flybys and camera shots to show the way. At the same time there were a lot of tasks to do that are unique and might take a while to figure out. I don't want to ruin the fun for the player by mentioning everything. A fantastic level. Highly recommended." - CC (23-Dec-2005)
"Three levels and what an adventure. All placed in a snowy environment apart from the last one as that is placed in Lara's mansion. There are so many artifact one need to find and some of them Lara takes home with her and some you need to use. The downside was that there were some bugs, I got thrown to my desktop when I wandered out in the snowy woods in search of that Crowbar, another was Lara became a Torch when she stood in the cellar for some blocks, and using the cork you have to finish the underwater sequence or else the water is back to that small water feature with the trapdoor, so there is no way you can proceed there. The block puzzle in the cellar I couldn't finish but jumping over a push block solved that. Problems of turning that table in the gazebo is also a nasty one. But luckily I could open the trapdoor without using the table. Never found that key to the quad-bike but you can finish the game without using it. I also could jump over the sleeping dog (and gave him the meat afterwards) so he couldn't pester Lara when she searched the maze. The gameplay in retrospect was great, after you figured out what and how to do certain things. There are also new puzzles and they were great as well. If you are patient you can solve everything, but I would like to have more hints as that greenhouse puzzle was the pits. 20-12-2005" - Gerty (23-Dec-2005)