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TR Forge Advent Calendar 2009 - Christmas Level Remake by Piper

Andzia9 9 9 9 9
DJ Full 7 9 9 8
dmdibl 8 8 9 9
eRIC 8 8 7 7
Gerty 6 7 8 7
jawi 5 6 7 6
Jay 8 8 9 9
Jose 8 8 8 8
manarch2 8 8 8 7
MichaelP 7 7 9 8
Phil 8 8 8 7
rtrger 8 9 7 7
Ryan 8 8 8 7
Scottie 8 7 8 7
Shandroid 7 7 6 6
sharnilal 8 8 9 9
TheStig 7 7 9 7
Treeble 5 6 7 6
release date: 01-Dec-2009
# of downloads: 110

average rating: 7.64
review count: 18
review this level

file size: 20.53 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"_SITE 2_ remains my favourite of Piper but this one has good vibes too. In short: more flares, please. In long: m o r e f l a r e s p l e a s e . For the darkness is not the enemy - the light is. Also light in form of fog, which could be less dense (I guess here strikes the fog intensity control disguised as Red intensity button - many builders still don't know fog strength can be adjusted, so they leave players for a literal blind playthrough). Also, shatter crystals could be more visible. Also. in the end of the level we didn't really find anything (unless you go for secrets). Also, you softlock if you miss the staff item. I wish back then I was a tester, for I would drag and pester... But in the end, all those factors sum up to a rather positive impression, just be wary it can be difficult at times. Recommended." - DJ Full (09-May-2024)
"I wish I had enjoyed this. I have no memory of the original, but this infuriated me to no end. I loved the outdoor areas with the snow, but soon I realized there were two major factors in the gameplay here. First were the translucent walls and shatterables and what have you, Anna's walkthrough gives you precarious directions, just barely enough to get by, and most of the time I was still guessing (also while not invisible in particular, but for some reason the medipack near the tree, which triggers a raising block, was nowhere to be seen in my game until I reloaded when I eventually found myself against the wall). And secondly, the darkness. Hiding stuff in the dark in massive rooms isn't what I'd call fun. These sort of things are usually easy to get by when you follow the walkthrough, but the one provided for this level barely gives you directions to get by, no references or landmarks, and when you add the backtracking to the mix it's always a simple "it's nearby", "you remember where you saw it before". This is a me problem and it's all on me for not trusting myself to do blind playthroughs anymore, but still. The one timed run had you running across an uneven floor (full of small slopes to make you miserable) and after the ladder you even had to crawl a bit — the timing was more than fair, but the room layout not so much. Later on you get a quadbike ride which was a massive nope as well, the engine handles these horribly (at some point I missed a jump, gunning up the ramp at full speed only to see the quad fall like a sack of potatos because why not) and you can't for your life slow down while doing diagonal jumps here otherwise you won't make it to the end, but make sure you bump intentionally against the wall there because the speed will kill you on the downward ramp that comes immediately after. Finally, I could not get out of the hole with the third secret coin, for some reason Lara refused to grab the edge above the half triangular tile and after 10 minutes trying I simply reloaded an earlier save and ran straight to the finish line. Life decisions definitely in question. 50 minutes, 2 secrets. 03/23" - Treeble (19-Mar-2023)
"Remake, well yes, I suppose. The majority of the areas will seem familiar to those who played the earlier version of this level, but it's easy to see that Piper has made progress from her first effort onwards and this one in particular is quite enjoyable. My main gripes are to do with the persistent gloom that seems to dog the player throughout their exploration in the cave areas. Since flares are very limited and binoculars are absent, surely the addition of these features or a little more ambient light would have made it less of an irritation, but each to their own. Aside from that and some quite extraneous backtracking for a pickup and the third secret, I quite enjoyed this snowy exploration level. The timed run was actually enjoyable, but the quad bike ride was a little too tricky for an Advent level. The quaint little houses were fun to explore and the atmosphere was placid and calming though, so it's worth a go." - Ryan (18-Feb-2018)
"The title says: remake, but to be honest I have no idea. On the other hand I still have to play a few of her games so I probably will get the"aha" moment. This was a level I couldn't have done without a walkthrough and even then I sometimes couldn't find the items I needed. But I got there in the end. I don't mind the back and fro bit most of the time, but here you have to go long distances and that is for me a game killer. Also on my screen it was pretty dark and the flares I found were not enough. A big NO in my book was that there were no binoculars and with levers hidden in very dark places it was sometimes very hard to spot them. Oh well, the architecture looked pretty good, textures could use some TLC and I just disliked that bike ride (so what is new LOL)." - Gerty (14-Dec-2015)
"This was a decent little Christmas level lasting about an hour. The beginning was set in some icy mountains, with many different tasks, nothing too hard. After some time you arrive in some large pitch black caves where you can see nothing being more than few metres away from you, which I didn't find good, just because it slows down gameplay to light a torch, run around until you find the next task, reloading, solving the task after few tries or not and light a flare... The quad ride was really nice, also the search for the secrets where you had to find the three first secrets to get the fourth, a cross. Afterwards the level ends, it was a good level, in my opinion, if you don't count the black caves..." - manarch2 (05-Feb-2011)
"I have played two of the Piper’s levels before this one and I can say that they were much better than this is. After 15 minutes I got bored with the music, atmosphere and everything else. Gameplay was awful! Mainly you had to run around big locations searching for invisible objects to shoot, find invisible passages and perform nearly impossible acrobatic jumps. Also, there was one very long backtracking for one key and return back of course. At the end was a very hard ride with the quad which was nearly impossible (you had to make side jumps with the machine). Besides this bad gameplay was a decent architecture and worse texturing – stretched or squished textures (I’m getting use to it) and cracks. Lighting wasn’t good either. The rooms were too dark and sometimes too foggy. If you really wanted, you could feel a little bit of Christmas atmosphere, but this level is far away from calling it a good one. I don’t recommend it. Sorry." - jawi (07-Mar-2010)
"Unfortunately, I have not played the original, hence, I can also not judge whether the remake is better or worse. Anyway the remake is a good level. However, I ask myself, why Lara had no binoculars. Though I play with brighter settings, but, nevertheless, there were richly dark places in this level. Besides, I have found only very much few Flares. And then the revolver with the gunsight also does not help a lot. But apart from the fact the level has given pleasure. The scenery is nicely formed and the riddles are well moved. One might put back even a small distance with the Quadbike and it would have been better, however, if the Quadbike had had a reverse gear. It gave on the distance because one or two places at which such a reverse gear would have been helpful. A little bit strangely was the trapdoor in the cottage. It opes only if I had pushed a glass cabinet to a certain place. Otherwise nothing happened if I had pressed the button. A few stretched textures were to be seen, but as a rule they were applied cleanly. Now and again the sound was absent by some actions. In spite of the addressed smaller problems was that an good level." - Scottie (07-Jan-2010)
"Apart from the basic storyline this is much more than a remake of Piper's debut level from 5 years ago and as such it shows how much of an accomplished builder she has become, as this is a nicely crafted snowy setting with spooky inside areas and caves. And it also has good gameplay ideas, but for me, some of them were a bit too clever for their own good, ie it felt more like the builder wants to be smart and not have the player figure out the next step without help of a forum or a walkthrough. There are a few very sneaky (and some downright unobvious targets to shoot), you need to pick up a health potion to lower a block and you need to light a hook on a wall and stones on an icy surface - not the most intuitive things to figure out all by yourself. Lighting and textures are good but too much on the dark side in places (and hiding crucial switches in pitch black darkness has never been a good thing to do). There is also a few fairly long backtracks that spoil the fun a little and the timed run and quad bike drive will take even seasoned raiders a few tries to master. All those gripes aside, you still get a somehwat challenging hour long Christmas raid here and four not so easy to find secrets on top." - MichaelP (31-Dec-2009)
"This level's atmosphere and texturing remind me the tales from the television that I've seen ages ago. But I must admit the texturing has been botched up, and the level is too dark at some places. (The textures from World of Warcraft, aren't they?) Well, the gameplay was enjoyable enough for me, but it was a bit boring though, and you can easily stuck in this level due to some pointless things, like collect a potion to raise down a block to a small tunnel, but thankfully to the walkthrough I didn't have to run so much around to find this out. Musics aren't fit to my taste, but whatever, somebody maybe like these songs. Secrets are challenging to find, although maybe it's easy to give up searching for them, because of the bald gameplay. Otherwise, this level is a pure awesomeness to the Christmas days." - rtrger (30-Dec-2009)
"If I had to sum this level up in two words it would simply by 'Too Dark'. It's to dark both in tone, and in terms of lighting for a relaxing Christmas level. That said there's nothing nasty to creep out of the corners to come and get you either, so there's no need to be jumping at the shadows. It's based across a few main areas with a fair bit of back-tracking involved. There's also a rather strange mix of modern and TR3 textures throughout and I must say some sections are better textured than others. One room in particular (the largest of the spaces), it's just needlessly dark especially when you consider the wonderful abient ice spaces that the author created else-where. Still once you get into the swing of it (have the walk through handy because I did get frustratingly and hopelessly stuck in a couple of places), the pace does pick up and it's actually very enjoyable. Completed in an hour and 20 minutes." - TheStig (29-Dec-2009)
"I found this level rather confusing and definitely frustrating. I did finish it, but I don't think I found any of the Yup'ik panels during the game and by the time I finished the level by placing the two Christmas Stars I wasn't really interested in replaying any of it to go back and look for the things I had missed. Although the gameplay was rather non-linear, the environment was well built and well-textured. I haven't played the original game, but now that there's a walkthrough published, I may well play this again so that I can get through without missing anything at all. Hopefully, being a familiar with the level already will make the more enjoyable the second time through." - sharnilal (26-Dec-2009)
"I didn't play the original level, so I have no idea of improvements. Honestly, this was a mixed bag for me. For a Christmas level, it wasn't very festive, it was frustratingly dark in areas and there were painfully few flares and no binoculars, and it was many times confusing. There was some backtracking which I always hate, but it wasn't that bad. Some of the puzzles were pretty good, if you were lucky enough to have kept a few of the few flares. I thought the carpet was good, but way too difficult to figure out for the average player. Oh, and don't get me started on that ATV jump...ugh. I guess I am in the camp who believes Christmas levels should be pleasant, well-lighted to avoid frustration, festive and fun. I think this would have been better suited to a winter level instead of a Christmas level." - Shandroid (08-Dec-2009)
"This is a complicated but engaging level, taking me an hour and a half to complete even with Anna27's concise walkthrough. Many of you will note that I've made few complaints about dark levels since I upgraded my computer, but I found this one to be annoyingly dark with an insufficient number of provided flares. I don't really mind it when a builder shrouds key progress items in darkness, provided the builder also plays fair with the gamer by allowing adequate resources. (I was down to my last flare at the end, but I guess that allows for the argument that what I had was adequate. My point is that I had to consciously hoard them, and I never like having to do that.) Other than that, and the infamous backtracking for the key near the end, I found this to be a good, relaxing level that's perfect for the season. The timed run to the crawl space took me a few tries, but it was not a hair-puller. And the sound for the secrets did not register for me. Recommended." - Phil (07-Dec-2009)
"Quite a challenging Icy level. The beginning did not augured too well with the darkness in that first wooden house and the illegal slope in the next outside area. But that was globally a wrong impression as quickly the tasks at hand were quite untriguing and interesting to solve, and even the impending darkness in some areas (no binoculars, not enough flares) were not much of a problem with the gamma boasted (a lot). There are some pretty good ideas here , there is also a few that were not so good, the shooting puzzle through the crawslpace was annoying , and so was the climbable walls in the room with the crowbar , the obvious one which I'm still not sure if it was supposed to be a hint or a red herring , while the useful one which is transparent was hard to spot. I don't think that this level deserved these added tricky twists that can put the players in frustation as there is enough things to do in the level already, and does not make the level very fluent. Okay, there are many other good moments , challenging but fair. The timed door was quite exciting to beat , the rope swings a bit tricky , and the gameplay in the room with the two ropes was great, with that curved jump to the opening from the triangular ledge and the puzzle with the two sets of doors. I just love the two transparent lampstands that are shootable. You also have near the end a challenging ride to make with the quad over chasms that require agility at the keyboard and many (many) tries. I collected only 1 secret , they are hard to find , this is a good thing even if I think know where two others are. The setting is good , the atmosphere a bit monotonous. Anyway a well made level that will be surely interesting to replay." - eRIC (06-Dec-2009)
"It seems that this author is getting better with the time. Really good this level, but it seems that the builder thought about really tricky things so players can get stucked. I'm talking about the invisible crystal you can see only lighting a flare, the top of the ladder you can't climb near the beginning, the very tiny object (even now, I don't know what object was) you must shoot only from a precise position, the thick fog, the well hidden opening where the sight was, the very tight timed run to the high crawlspace, the very high jumpswitch hidden in the darkness, the unmarked ladder in the high icy block... The very long backtracking to pick up the key and return to the same place to use it was not a good idea, I think. Even so the level was good for me, secrets are not very difficult to find (I've found all, strange), good architecture, nice Christmas environment and new features. I liked the background music and textures too. Next time (I hope she doesn't stop building), please place more flares or the binoculars for the very dark areas. Not a level for beginners but playable anyway; at least there are not impossible tasks." - Jose (05-Dec-2009)
"I did play Piper's first attempt at this level, but as it is some years ago I really can't remember it well enough to say how much has changed, but it is safe to say that she obviously has had a lot more experience with level building since then and this is a well built and entertaining Advent level, with appropriate amounts of snow, ice and Christmas objects dotted about. My only slight grumble would be the lack of binoculars, given that the level was pretty dark in places, but it didn't detract from the fun to a great extent." - Jay (04-Dec-2009)
"Competently done by someone who thoroughly knows the editor. There is much to appreciate here: a nice winter landscape, the snow is falling, there is good hide-and-seek with puzzle items, everything works as it should. The timed run is reasonable: simply by using efficient moves, Lara completed it on the second attempt. Yet why do I sense that the author felt an adversarial relationship to players? Flares and the binoculars are missing. There is a slit in rocks near the beginning that Lara shoots through. I never saw the target: Lara did jumping and blind shooting and finally I heard a crack of crystal breaking. Then there are invisible climbing textures on transparent ice blocks. Much action takes place in a mammoth dark room. Without binoculars, this means a lot of unnecessary stumbling around. On the third circuit of the room with a torch for light, Lara spotted a bent wire in the wall to light. Yes, bent wire. No wall torches or sconces here, but there is a jump switch hidden in the dark. After that things went quickly. The "quad bike" is a retextured motorcycle, cumbersome and underpowered. I expected to get all secrets, but on retracing steps found that that area was now frozen over, so there was no satisfaction there. The cabin at the end is well done, with a real throw rug and the notorious toaster switch again. Lara finds two Christmas stars for the Santa statues, and continues her journey. Some of the difficult parts of this adventure are fun, but what I objected to was the artificial difficulty, made by depriving players of binoculars and light. This difficulty vanishes once there is a walkthrough. In any case, a recommended level." - dmdibl (03-Dec-2009)
"Remake from 2004 years, but it's more beautiful and there are more things too do. Scenery is amazing, rooms and caves are very nice. There is no traps or difficult puzzles. Everywhere is calm. Another good thing is Lara's model from Underworld." - Andzia9 (03-Dec-2009)