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The Ordeal in the Shadow of Death by Raymond

CC 9 9 8 8
Gerty 8 9 9 9
Jay 9 9 9 9
Jose 5 7 8 9
Kamil 10 9 9 9
Kristina 9 9 9 9
Lizard Queen 10 10 8 9
Magnus 6 7 7 8
manarch2 10 9 9 8
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
Neltharion 8 9 8 9
Ruben 10 10 10 10
Treeble 5 8 8 8
release date: 12-Dec-2005
# of downloads: 117

average rating: 8.60
review count: 13
review this level

file size: 81.45 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Disclaimer: I have not finished this level, have no intent of ever coming back to it, and will understand if this 'review' doesn't get approved or even removed further down the line. I've been postponing this for way too long, this was the last 2005 release I'd yet to review and other reviewers had done a good job at scaring me away. When I started playing I realized they were not wrong (tl;dr Magnus's review tells you all you need to know). I put about an hour worth of playing time into this before I started questioning my own sanity. I'm sorry, but real life already poses enough challenges as it is and I use TR/TRLE as a way to forget all of that, and while I've made a lot more effort to go through levels like CIL and Autumn recently, this one just takes the cake. It's simply bothersome by design. Sure, looks fine and all, but I soon realized I should just skip every task Lizard Queen marked as optional on the walkthrough (the sole fact I play by walkthroughs should tell you all you need to know about me, right?) because after about two dozen failed attempts I was not getting anywhere close to getting past that second boulder. Challenging, perhaps, but fun? Not by a long shot. I'm sure someone out there has done NLNMAS runs for this and kudos to them. Other players might find enjoyment here (and the ratings speak for themselves here, I'm sure people who struggled their way to the finish trigger consider this a masterpiece, and maybe it just might be), but I certainly longed for something braindead while I was simply trying to get the bike around to the other side. Sorry. 06/23" - Treeble (04-Jun-2023)
"If there's a level I can say I fear, it's this one. I remember trying to play this level some time ago and that didn 't left many good memories to me. About the gameplay, I have mixed feelings. the first half of the set is very tedious, involving puzzles with the motorbike, water rooms, a spider and the torch (The most important item in this adventure). Also to say that the level itself is a huge puzzle but the way everything is structured is impressive. There are also some platforming sections which were a joy to complete. The second half of the level is more fun to progress on as it starts to involve more platforming and shooting objects. I noticed there's a timed run for a green skull where you get to a softlock as there's no way to open the door again. This level lacks on camera hints at certain times which makes it very difficult to progress as the way isn't really clear from the beginning. The objects are used wonderfully, I have only seen a few classic levels out there that use enemies in such a smart way. The atmosphere is pretty good but sometimes it's too dark (especially on the first level). Texturing is pretty good, I only noticed a few stretched textures in the later areas of the set. So at the end, this level is VERY difficult to get through, I recommend this level to those out there who enjoy challenges but still, I recommend you to have the written or the video walkthrough close as there are some parts that are way too confusing." - Neltharion (15-Jan-2022)
"As usual, I'm not agree with the other reviews (except Magnus' review). The levels have a good design, with a good architecture, no bugs and taking much care with the texturization, but even with the helping cameras, the gameplay is often confusing and there are a lot of tricky tasks to accomplish, sometimes "curling the curl" like the obscure drive with the first bike to get the key. Clever builder, but even following the walkthrough instructions, sometimes it's very difficult to advance and another times I was forced to repeat and repeat the same tasks and/or movements a lot of times. Recommended only for expert players." - Jose (10-Jul-2017)
"With this level and the also excellent Copacahuana Idol Raymond has now established as one of my most favourite builders. The amount of creativity being put into the gameplay here is unattained by most other levels, especially seen in the way how the builder uses 'classical' elements like the torch, the bike or even weapons like the shotgun or the Uzi in unique and spectacular ways you'd probably never have guessed. There are other levels where you had to take the torch from start to finish - but how it is done here is just incredible, and that for full three hours (that is the length of this game)! And - best of all - as an 'addition' you are treated to find 27 skulls that require more than expert skills to find them all. I'm proud to have done that (some with the help of the walkthrough), but even then doing the various jumps is nothing but insanely hard - just as I like it. It's a good choice to make finding those optional so that even less skilled players can finish this game, although it's still not a game for beginners. Unfortunately, finding one of the skulls leads to a dead end so you can't regular pick it up (I used Fexinspect to remove the door), but apart of that everything works just as it should and it's an incredibly detailed and enjoyable adventure for those who dare the challenge. Also remarkable is the use of enemies you must not shoot and have to use to your advantage or kill differently (like the giant spider that you have to guide into an elevator). The sometimes even fancy object design is also very solid with perfect room design so that even large areas never feel empty and - for gameplay values - there is highly creative object and trap use too. It wouldn't actually have been a wonder if the atmosphere would be rather secondary to such a detailed gameplay, but it seldom feels so and the looks work quite nicely on their own. Things like cameras, music choices, architecture are all professionally handled and the texturing and lighting is strong throughout. Maybe the visuals tend to be a little monotonous with the same textures being used a bit too often and there are also a few smaller texture issues that could be avoided. There are admittedly a few too obscure parts that I couldn't solve without the two walkthroughs, but even the 'largest' issues can't really downgrade the very positive feeling I had in this fantastic game. Very well done and thank you, Raymond, very much for it." - manarch2 (01-Jun-2015)
"Karstens levels have never been easy; they are full of clever tricks and traps. I always keep saves at strategic points, as I never know if I took the right or the wrong way. This is no exception and I was glad that Titak was here so we both at a go at it (she is great with the bike and I hate vehicles), taking turns and also that there was a walkthrough, although that had us puzzled quite a bit as well. The idea not to kill enemies is a great one, as you need one still alive till almost at the end. Having played all his levels I knew a bit what to expect but I am still of the idea that Karsten is too clever for his own good. My first attempt was going for all the secrets but I gave up after a bit. Even then is still was no walk in the park though. You need plenty of time on your hands as with all the level of this builder, so give it a go." - Gerty (20-Feb-2009)
"Karsten Mittag, 'grand master of the enigmatic', and the 'thinking persons' level builder. Actually, that might be going a bit too far. There are plenty of those 'only the author knows' situations happening here, and without the walkthrough the player could spend days, weeks, months, trying to figure out what on earth is going on. This level certainly is tough. But it can be done, even by the newest newbie, if they are brave enough to take up the challenge. Yes, there are extremely tight timed runs, even tighter boulder runs, enigmatic routes that can turn you around and in some cases leave you completely stuck unless you know exactly where you're going, what you are doing/did, and what to bring with you. Every task, even the simplest (i.e. block pushing) is now extended to include even more intriguing goings-on to attain the simplest of goals (i.e. placing a gem in a receptacle). So be prepared for the longest torch, block, boulder, trigger, timed, dodging, maneuvering and motorbike exercises you've ever encountered. In hindsight, this whole experience seemed like one gigantic puzzle with only the merest respite every now and then if you happen to find a safe block to stand on for a moment. One especially important hint is to bring the torch (or the bike in some cases) with you through every room that you can. There are enough hardships along the way without having to go back to a previous room to retrieve your torch only to discover that it has vanished (which happened to me, resulting in my having to re-do an entire room). There are three levels here that we visit many times as we level hop to different areas we've seen through gates and windows, to find objects we were looking for ages ago. It all takes place inside a great pyramid of endurance and learning to finally conquer 'death'. Although dark, we can see the texturing is gorgeous in places, especially that mosaic tile effect. Enemies can't be killed... well, Lara can't kill them (she is not allowed to). So she must use their natural instincts to help her. This is the kind of level that sorts out the brave and stubborn among us. Although everything is in plain view, nothing is immediately obvious, and anything can happen. There is a particularly nasty lava room where Lara must aim to shoot certain vases while hopping about on slopes. She must outrun many boulders, flood and drain areas that can't always be called 'pools', and actually turn off 'lava' in a corridor! Because she has to use the bike on a lot of floor triggers Lara can't just assume her weight is enough to set things in motion and must take that vehicle into some very awkward places. Any player who can complete this, and manage to get almost, if not all, skull secrets, can class themselves among the elite TR players of the world. Yes, of course, it is not everyone's cup of tea, but every now and then it's great to tackle a level built by someone who has put time and effort into creating a challenging level. And the sense of accomplishment, when you finally hit the end trigger, at the top of a very sedate looking flight of steps, is euphoric." - CC (12-Nov-2007)
"Feel like a challenge? Yes. Well come on in then, because this is a good one. Lara can't kill her enemies and has to find other ways of dealing with them, which can be quite ingenious. Let's just say I never thought I would be feeling fond of a spider. The gameplay really is exceptionally creative, with excellent use made of torch and motorbike. There are secret skulls to collect if you feel like really difficult gameplay, or you can simply complete the core game without them - and believe me you'll probably find that difficult enough at times; it really is a very complex game. I freely admit that I had to make quite a lot of use of the walkthrough to avoid getting utterly confused as to where to go and what to do next as it seemed sometimes that a task was only partially completed before another had to be achieved." - Jay (02-Jul-2007)
"Three levels only should never value a 10 rating but I do this time for the following reasons : the difficulty of this game gets sometimes beyond even the experienced raider`s skills and is only recommended for hard core raiders ! But why not ? All TRLE lovers have a choice to download and play the game they want to play ! If one decides the game is too tough for me to master ,just bin it and try another . There`s so many of them and they are all for free !!! Maybe games like this should be put into a sepearate thread in the TRLE forum . I am far from finishing this game yet and I don`t think I ever will ! Thank You Raymond !" - Ruben (11-Jan-2007)
"If there ever was a level where I struggled with the scoring then this is it. It really fits into its own category and matches with no other level I have played. It is truly a masterfully engineered adventure with hours and hours of raiding packed into three interconnected level and it is indeed absolutely NOT for the humble beginner. It has some of the classic elements we all know and love like good flybysm, excellent use of audio, solid texturing, a few nice and suitably added objects, a fair share of enemies, but then it has things no other adventure has, like a fabulous variety of original puzzles with the torch and the bike (or both) and a total of 27 'secrets' in the form of skull pickups that are a reward for tasks that are even more tricky to accomplish than the anyway not very easy level itself. All great stuff - but unless you have plenty of time and are ok with playing a single level for weeks or months without getting tired of it, I would suggest you take my advice and a) only play this following the walkthrough and b) set yourself a limit of how often you attempt the tricky moves and actions to get to the skulls. My limit was 50 tries and thus I ended up NOT getting 2/8 Emerald, 8/11 Silver and 5/8 Gold Skulls, but you know what - I am still proud owner of the 12 Skulls I got in total and in fact proud of making it through the adventure in the first place with a net game time of around 3:20 hours, because not too many players will actually see the end of this one. Some of the unique highlights were the introduction of the spider and the way how you got it to the higher floor using an elevator, a wide variety of timed runs, a great room where you have to shoot vases while performing tricky jumps (here is a sample key combination: ctrl - up - alt - space - right - ctrl - space - ctrl ), great use of flooding and draining big areas and countless unusual jumps to master and so on. When I retire and have more time on my hands I might go back to this one to test whether my raiding skills still work and target to get all 27 skulls. Try this one if you dare but only at your own risk." - MichaelP (16-Sep-2006)
"Being a level builder isn't easy: not only do you have to make sure the level looks great and has good gameplay, you also have to make sure the difficulty is just right. Too easy, and the level quickly becomes boring. Too hard, and the players will spend most of their time tearing their hair out. And while I wouldn't say this level is quite as difficult as some of the Japanese ones, I still think the author went too far this time. The level is extremely cleverly built, but, ironically enough, that's the problem - it's TOO clever for its own good. Doors open up all over the place, difficult jumps need to be made, pressure pads need to be reached and it ends up being a confusing mess of... well, confusingness, I guess. While most puzzles made perfect sense looking back, I often found myself wishing I could read the author's mind, since that seems to be the only way to make it through this level without resorting to the walkthrough and/or the help threads. For example, right after I got the motorbike, I had to make my way across a room to get through a door. The problem was that if I took the short route, the door closed, and if I took the long route, fire blocked the hallway. The solution? Take the long route, take the short route back (difficult bike jump included), then take the long route again. That was the point I started resorting to the walkthrough when I wasn't sure what to do, as it was the only way to know where to go in these three levels at any given time. The level looks good, though it's very... brown. There are also not a lot of objects; the few there are seem to only have been placed to block the player from getting to places before he or she is supposed to. There were also green dotted lines everywhere, but I'm going to give the author the benefit of the doubt and assume something went wrong when I installed the level. Cameras are used to show some of the doors you open, but unfortunately it rarely helps much, as one lever can often open one door and close off three paths at the same time. The level is also rather quiet for the most part, probably because there aren't a lot of flybys to use music with. I guess it helps in building up the atmosphere. For some reason, the author has gone back to the pre-Last Revelation gunshot sounds, which bugged me a little, but whatever floats his boat. More irritating is Lara's voice when she says 'no'. For some reason, the author strictly forbids you to kill any enemies. I'm guessing that's just to make the level even more difficult. The only one I didn't kill was the huge spider, but I'm not sure if it was actually good for anything other than killing dogs. If the author had toned down the difficulty, this could have been a great level. Getting to places which were previously closed off after making your way through a series of challenges is very satisfying, but when you're stuck for hours and then, when you finally figure out where to go, have to attempt a difficult jump combination thirty times, the frustration outweighs the good parts. The author clearly set out to build a difficult level, and he deserves credit for not being afraid of what the players will think. Unfortunately, the players are not amused (I'm not, anyway), and I'm afraid only the most masochistic of them will make it through this adventure. My net gaming time? One hour and forty minutes. My actual playing time? Much, much, MUCH longer. I'm just glad it's finally over." - Magnus (01-Aug-2006)
"This game is for expert players ONLY. Most of the things you have to do, if not all, are difficult or require much patience and precision. The secrets are even harder to get and I am afraid their big flaw, although I liked that kind of secret hunting, is the lack of cameras. I can't go on forever searching how to get a secret and when I finally open the door to it or the way, I have no idea which one it is or if I am missing a switch. There are those that you see if the way has been cleared like in the small room with the slopes and three skulls under them, mostly though you have no idea and that's my complaint. There are three levels to visit all of which are linked and have to be visited more than once, either because you will need a new item to get or because you missed a secret and want to go search for it. The idea where you have to find a different way to kill the enemies and not your guns was nice but you can actually kill them and finish the level without a problem. I have no idea why the builder wrote that in the readme. I killed them all except from the spider but as soon as it served its purpose by accompanying Lara on the second floor, I exterminated it too with the guns. The correct way is to let the spider deal with them, something that I tried too but it was taking too long. The entire game reminds something of the Japanese levels due to its difficulty but the Japanese ones are much harder to master than this one. I admit I gave up on some of the secrets here because I got a bit tired searching everywhere without cameras helping me to identify a secret when I was getting it right. I got thirteen skulls altogether, five emerald ones, six silver and two gold ones. The challenge is great and you can't be bored, also expect some tight timed runs and tasks with boulders that need patience to master. That slide with the boulder and then the second one I had to avoid, after using the torch, from the other side was quite difficult. I had fun with this one and liked the last secret with the collapsing tiles that's near the finishing trigger. Be careful and save often because some of the tasks cannot be repeated and of course most of the levels are difficult so make sure you don't save over a trap by accident and cannot reload to start over. It's highly recommended for tough, experienced players that like challenges." - Kristina (23-Apr-2006)
"Even though i'd have to say this is a difficult level reminiscent of some Japanese levels i've played, it really has all the things that i like to see... jump sequences, not too many enemies and lots of puzzles. The author also gives us the choice of returning to any level at any time, which something i like to do, particularly when there are things left undone. And there are a LOT of things to do in these three levels. Many skulls to obtain along the way if you choose to do so, but not necessary to proceed in the game (something i also like to see). And we also have a unique way of handling the enemies... luring them into the arms of another enemy! How brilliant is that! The only gripes i have are getting stuck too many times with the bike (having to reload a savegame) and the lack of clues (in the form of camera shots), which i think would have made the gameplay a lot smoother. But despite this, I still enjoyed playing it. It takes a lot of thought to make this kind of level and I think the author did a brilliant job of it. A big thank you to the author for creating what i would call "my kind of level". (lq, 12/27/05)" - Lizard Queen (27-Dec-2005)
"This is a quite difficult level recommended mostly for experienced raiders. Almost whole gameplay is based on constant thinking as these three connected levels make one big puzzle with extreme use of torch and bike. They will assist you from the beginning to the end, helping in solving the riddles - many of them are new or rarly seen in customs, so completing them can make you feel satisfied. It is important to read the author's readme as there are some hints how to behave in some situations, ex. that it is forbidden to shoot at enemies (you have to find other brilliant ways of eliminating them - I liked that!) and some Lara's tricks you'd better know about if you want to finish this adventure. Moreover, there are many secret skulls to find, but as the whole level is hard, you don't expect this will an easy task to get them, do you. It can take large amont of time to find the solution or practise your timing - some help from others may be welcome. Patience, stubborness and passion is needed here. The quality of building is very good, I didn't see any wrong placed textures or bugs. Gameplay & Puzzles -> I give 10 here, because puzzles are excellent and there are many of them. There are places where you can think much what to do or where was that lever that did something, but this is such type of level. Save all your saves - when you don't know what to do, you can do sth wrong. Anyway, a builder must be very skillful to provide such complex, varied and still working set of levels, so max note. Enemies, Objects & Secrets -> As for secrets, it is undoubtedly the highest standard. Enemies - there are not many and usually known, but the way they are placed and work is absolutely sufficient. Objects are usually keys, so normal note here. All in all - 9. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras -> Atmosphere is ok with the highlight when the spider comes into action - nice introducing! Soundtracks are nice and placed well. Maybe some more camera work would be better for gameplay, but it's ok. For me it's 9. Lighting & Textures -> At first it looked not natural but turned out to be a clever idea to mark tiles which are necessary for the main gameplay - at least you know you are on track or what is crucial and what is secret stuff. Placing good. I would like the lighting was generally brighter, but is present in the level and technically good as well. My note - 9." - Kamil (20-Dec-2005)