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TR Forge Advent Calendar 2009 - A Special Tutorial Level by Soul

Ceamonks890 8 6 8 8
dmdibl 9 7 9 8
eTux 8 6 8 7
jawi 7 5 7 6
JesseG 7 6 6 4
Lizard Queen 10 10 8 8
manarch2 10 6 8 8
MichaelP 7 5 9 8
rjb 9 8 9 8
rtrger 9 7 9 8
Ryan 8 6 8 8
totizedger 7 5 8 8
Treeble 7 7 7 7
release date: 16-Dec-2009
# of downloads: 45

average rating: 7.50
review count: 13
review this level

file size: 33.64 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"While the final stats suggest this might be a quick raid, make no mistake, I might have spent closer to 60 or 90 minutes actually while playing this. It's quite genious in design, by forcing the player to use exploits to proceed, some of which we're somewhat already familiar thanks to levels like CIL and Meganebashi, while introducing a couple of others which we (fortunately) don't see. Deep diving into a wall junction took me forever and I'm glad that's not part of the standard repertoire of tricks builders go to. Likewise, having to crawl through a wall corner almost drove me insane, it requires absolute precision. The wild 360 degree rope swing is something I had stumbled upon myself aeons ago (if only the original Eidos forums were still alive I could link back to that post, Driber once actually provided a downloadable version of the original forums when it migrated in 2002 to the second version so maybe I should dig that up to add a bit to my cred? Like anyone cares?), but I never thought of letting go of the rope at the start which grants Lara a wild speed and range — and again, I'm grateful I had never had to perform this in a custom level this far, I wouldn't believe it to be possible (and I still think I might have lucked out, it's quite impredictable and more often than not I was just bumping through the walls. Visually I also quite liked the aesthetic of this level, although rating it as a proper level would be far more detrimental to what it actually is. 20 minutes, 7 secrets (lessons cleared). 03/23" - Treeble (26-Mar-2023)
"Here is a level that every TRLE player AND every level builder should play. Players should play this so they can learn all the "secret" tricks that are sneakily built into some of the more challenging TRLE's out there. All level builders should play this so they can also learn about all the "bugs" and put in measures to prevent savvy players from breaking their levels or finding ways to bypass sections of gameplay. As for me, I simply loved the very existence of this level and want to thank Soul for creating it. The level was built for the pure intent of teaching and what a gift it is. Was the level tough? Yes! Did I learn a lot? Yes! Did I feel a sense of accomplishment after completing it? Yes! Should you play this level? YES!" - Lizard Queen (23-Jan-2022)
"An interesting little level that subverts gaming etiquette by making Lara perform several glitches and unconventional maneuvers. There is not much going on for visuals - it looks like some rocky floating islands currently under construction in the level editor, I suppose that's fitting for this purpose. At least some sun bulbs were used instead of the default 128-128-128 lighting! I imagine this would be a useful reference for builders and beta-testers, especially knowing things like the safety drop trick and problematic trigger placements. The standing rope grab glitch was one I've never done before, and it was pretty fun. I couldn't do some of the corner bugs and had to skip them – yes, the player can choose to skip any of these exercises, a feature I appreciate. The level ends with a nice, tricky timed run. 18 minutes." - JesseG (20-Dec-2021)
"Having a level based entirely on the bugs and quirks of Tomb Raider is a neat idea and it works really well here. The path you have to take through the level is pretty clear if you think outside the box and take all "normal" means of progression out of the equation. I managed to conquer all of the manoeuvres apart from one (the running swan dive to land in front of a pillar), but luckily the builder kindly provides you with the opportunity to transport to the next section without being punished, so you can continue on. The Level Editor textures mixed with a rather sinister atmosphere actually worked rather well in this type of level and the text clues and flybys were nice touches. Definitely worth a go for a completely different experience in raiding." - Ryan (29-Aug-2018)
"This was a refreshingly simple level and the perfect thing to help ease myself back into the proper mindset once again, after taking a break for many months from any review writing. And whilst there aren't any enemies, many distinctive sound effects or much objects to speak of(aside from levers required for progression), what's on offer here doesn't really suffer from their absence(with great lighting, well-placed texturing and a solid atmosphere helping to sell the convincing nature of this strange, other-worldly environment). Gameplay is of course the primary focus and what it does, it handles very well with a deceivingly difficult series of tricky environmental puzzles that requires plenty 'out-of-the-box' caliber thinking, in order to proceed. Some glitches of which I was familiar with, others not so much. And despite not being able to accomplish two of the 'lessons' properly, the builder doesn't punish the player for not being good at performing the glitches exactly, leaving the option of skipping to the next section entirely, if you don't feel up to the current obstacles ahead of you(which was a feature that I was greatly appreciative of). So in spite of the finicky and often trial/error nature to how the level is designed, I had a fun time with this one and came away learning a few new strategies to help myself progress through other custom levels in future. Recommended, especially if you're looking for new ways to spice up how you play classic Tomb Raider." - Ceamonks890 (25-Oct-2016)
"This level was pretty hard to rate as it is something very different from the levels i usually play. This level requires you to perform glitches and other tricks that you have to use to make progress. I have used many of these glitches before so it wasn't as hard for me as it would have been for someone new to this kind of thing. The best glitch is definetly the rope glitch which lets you fly away in the direction you are facing and it's also very funny because sometimes the gravity of Lara gets messed up and she stands with her feet on the walls. If you can't perform one or more of the tasks then you have the option to skip it/them but i really recommend you to try and complete all of the tasks as otherwise you would miss much of the experience. I found one of the tricks being quite annoying because it took so many tries that i had to watch a video of it to be able to get the right angle and this is the only one i really struggled with. Do i recommend it ? Of course if you want to play something different from the usual tomb raiding experience then i suggest you to give this one a go." - totizedger (24-Jul-2015)
"OK, that was something really enjoyable. This level didn't have any enemies or keys or levers but you don't need them for being happy to play it. The puzzles are the glitches and tricks, one dive bug was too hard for me up till I watched the video. The game looked really nice and of course there wasn't a wonderful atmosphere here but I can't lower the points too much because this game didn't need it for being unique and absolutely challenging. The diamonds to go to next puzzle were good if you try 1000 times and don't get it but want to go on, so I can recommend it - even for beginners." - manarch2 (19-Aug-2010)
"A unique presentation of enhanced play possible because of oddities in the Tomb Raider engine. These lessons will be most appreciated by above average players or those who are fanatic fans (but aren't we all?). The first time playing this I made things difficult for myself, not sure what was required of the player. But after watching Soul's relevant videos on all became clear. As usual, Soul's videos make things look a lot easier than they actually are, and watching them a second time to study the technique is invaluable. The tutorial begins with easy bypassing of trigger tiles, including crawling with Lara's shoulder entering a corner (useful for getting by some flame tiles). Next are several corner bugs, the angled jump against the corner of a column, crawling, and swimming into a pillar corner. I found this part tedious as Lara never uses the corner bug. On the forum players discussed using the corner bug for Eva's "Augusta Treverorum," but I ignore such suggestions as the corner bug almost never has a legitimate use. (When I first learned of it, I had Lara get up to the roof of her mansion in TR2, which was interesting. In TR1 "Palace Midas" a large medipack can be gotten using the corner bug, but I've never bothered as at that point Lara has plenty of medipacks.) After rope swings that are trying, the author introduces a new trick: Lara grabbing an overhead rope with Ctrl and Down Arrow key pressed and quickly released, so that Lara is flung as much as eleven squares forward. The videos make this look easy, but it takes many, many trials to get the technique working, especially mastering the maneuver of passing through an overhead ledge. This is all strange and wonderful, though maybe only applying to games in the rarest of circumstance. The next major trick was also entirely new to me. Lara can make a swan dive from a great height and survive if she lands right against the base of a column or wall. I expected it to be difficult to find the exact placement, but by setting Lara up exactly as shown in Soul's video, it is possible to execute this magical maneuver. I suppose that faced with a long backtrack, it might be tempting to make a direct and fast descent as this trick allows. But in actual practice, each attempt to find the right position means breaking Lara's neck with a sickening crunch, so maybe spending a few minutes for a backtrack is preferable. The end of the tutorial has a timed run with an important technique. Typically, Lara will crouch or stumble after making a leap from a height, but if she throws away a flare when landing, this animation supersedes the stumble animation and allows Lara to start running immediately. This situation does arise in games, and can save seconds during a frustrating timed run. It would be a rare player who doesn't learn something here, or who doesn't benefit from studying the author's videos. A special tutorial indeed." - dmdibl (17-Apr-2010)
"Wow, that was fun. I enjoyed performing the glitches. - managed to do all of them, thanks to the video walkthrough of the author - The rope bug was the best. I just found out how to do an "insane speed jump", and it made me laugh, so I had to do it again and again. It's an awesome glitch. They're some easy glitches and some hard ones, where you have to do some pixel-perfect jumps, or crawling through corners in a very precised angle. Or the dive bug, where you must need tons of patience for finding the position for performing the bug. The level is also intresting because of the texturing, the textured part looks very good, while the room editor's textures make you curious. The background music is very good. Absolutely recommended because of the gameplay. An unique experience." - rtrger (28-Mar-2010)
"When I saw this level for the first time, I thought that it’s a little bit strange. If you look at my points you can see that they are also strange. That’s because this is a tutorial level. Although it’s very interesting, it isn’t very beautiful. There are no objects in it, so I had problems with marking the second category. Gameplay is very interesting, but also very hard. It’s splitted into eight lessons – every single one of them is very difficult to pass. I had to turn off the game and have some rest after finishing every lesson, otherwise I would get angry with the next one (because of it’s hardness). The most frustrating one was the “Advanced Rope Swinging”, partly because I hate ropes and partly because you had to jump FOUR ropes with the special techniques. The others were sometimes pixel perfect actions which cost much time. Besides of these disadvantages, I have really learnt a lot of tricks from this level, although I’m not going to use them because it’s a kind of cheating ;-). The opening music was very good, but the others were ‘oldies’ from TR4 so no excitement here. Also texturing wasn’t very good (mainly because it’s a tutorial level) – red rock textures mixed with level editor tiles started to be boring at the end. One small remark: I found a shortcut in the timed run at the end of the level: you could slide on the rocks and fall on the field above the finish tile and jump down to the lower level. You lost some health, but you could easily pass this timed run. Overall, this level should not be played by the people who easily get angry or frustrated. I had some fun with it, but I had also some unpleasant experiences." - jawi (14-Mar-2010)
"Apart from a few especially tricky and/or frustrating parts (see below), I thought this was an excellent, very 'different' kind of TR game. (I like the 'race' games that others are less keen on, too, as imaginative variations on the more usual TR themes.) It seems that a great deal of effort has been put in by Soul to show us a series of TR 'bugs' that could be used 'to our advantage' when playing games; though I prefer to think of them as 'interesting quirks' of the Level Editor/Engine, as otherwise a player might plough a very different path to that intended by the builder of any particular game (unless, as eTux suggests, all builders start to make themselves aware of these bugs, so as to thwart the player who wishes - say it softly - to 'cheat'). I really liked the 'rope-zooming' section, as something I wasn't aware of (despite many strange 'adventures' on ropes in games) and also the fly-bys (although, in common with many fly-bys, you only really appreciate the route shown once you have mastered it). I also liked much of the 'decor' (overall an attractive 'Floating Platforms' kind of design), such as where in one place we shimmied around what seemed to be simply a folded piece of paper high up in the air (rather than a crevice, say); the octahedral(?) shapes of the 'skip this section' islands (an excellent idea if a section proved too tough or frustrating); and the 'targets' for the afore-mentioned rope-zooming. Slight irritations were the colours chosen for the crystal columns in the 'lake', as I could not clearly see the top edges of the columns as a result (the binocs didn't help); the extreme difficulty (as there were so many possible permutations of tiny moves to try to set it up) of the second swan-dive (where the first was delightfully clear, if you were patient and waited a moment); and the slightly 'opaque' advice in a few places in the otherwise excellent 'manual' included with the game (a copy of which I shall be keeping, for future reference). The subtleties of English are a difficult thing to get exactly right for a non-native speaker (and some natives), especially when 'instructing' or advising others. That Soul did so well with this additional potential barrier to understanding for his game speaks volumes for his endeavour in creating this splendid work. (I think the mainly 'non-verbal' aspect of TR is one of the [numerous] reasons for its success; though clues 'on paper' in a game do add another dimension.) All in all a game (if not an 'Advent' level) I found immensely interesting to play, where it was well worth persevering with those tricky and 'troubling' sections." - rjb (04-Jan-2010)
"I can echo Michael's comment that this is not an easy level to rate by conventional means, because the level is anything but conventional - taking place on an interestingly structured, yet surreal rock formation in the sky - you are taken on a journey of Lara's moves that are usually not explored in custom levels. Depending on your strengths and weaknesses you will find some of the tasks easier than others, but the author's choice of arranging them in an order of increasing difficulty will allow everyone to have a chance. Yet even if you feel utterly defeated by a certain task or two - you always have the option to skip ahead. While persistence sometimes helps with the more devilish of them, I very much appreciated the existence of that option. The overall presentation is near flawless - with text messages and fly-by's, not to mention the elaborate readme giving you a clear directions for whatever you should be doing next, though the setup of the game was complex enough for the builder to have a couple of situations where he almost built himself in the corner - thus where it was not entirely clear on what one should be doing (for example the additional ropes seemed a bit misleading and I did not find out what to do with them till much later). But situations like those are rare - and while the confusion might be intensified by the frustration that one or the other task might cause, they are not a big issue overall. Recommended for all players who want something different - but also recommended to builders who want to learn these tricks in order to be informed about any player's weapons that can be used to disrupt the intended flow of their games!" - eTux (02-Jan-2010)
"No review for this level after two weeks? I guess one reason is that it is difficult to rate because it does not fit into the usual categories. But it certainly stands up well for being special. This level will educate you nicely on a series of TR glitches that allow for (typically uninteded) shortcuts and it is very well executed in "teaching" you with a nice leveldesign, good audio choice, excellent readme that explains what to do and an easy way out for those who fail to manage each or any of the 8 sequential task areas - so you can reach the finish trigger in about 4 minutes, but would not have accomplished anything then. I managed to get through 7 of the 8 tasks ok, with only the rope glitch section being impossible for me to master (or at least I lost patience in trying). The most remarkable and fascinating new learning for me was the dive bug. Great effort here and should not be missed by any serious raider out there!" - MichaelP (30-Dec-2009)