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BtB2010 - Knights of Cydonia by Horus

afzalmiah 10 10 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 10
Cory 9 9 10 10
Dick 8 9 9 10
DJ Full 8 8 9 9
dmdibl 10 10 10 10
Dutchy 9 9 10 10
eRIC 9 9 10 9
eTux 9 9 9 10
Eva 8 8 9 9
Jack& 9 9 10 10
jawi 10 8 8 9
Jay 9 9 10 10
JesseG 9 9 10 10
John 8 8 9 9
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 8 9 9 10
Josey 10 10 10 10
Magnus 8 8 9 9
manarch2 8 8 9 9
masha 8 8 9 10
MichaelP 9 9 9 9
Minox 9 9 9 10
Mman 10 10 10 10
Mytly 9 9 10 10
nerdfury 10 9 10 9
okuhtfesq 10 10 10 10
Phil 9 9 8 9
Ravenwen 10 9 9 9
Relic Hunter 9 10 10 10
repley 9 9 10 10
Ruben 9 9 9 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Scottie 10 9 10 9
Shandroid 10 9 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
release date: 01-Jan-2010
# of downloads: 226

average rating: 9.36
review count: 36
review this level

file size: 60.32 MB
file type: TR4
class: Venice

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Well where do i start?! lol huge venice level this one with lots of what i expect and hope for in a venice level such as beautiful canals, a variety of indoor and outdoor locations or areas, swimming, jumping and platforming from building to building smashing through windows etc great! But there is so much more as well here with boulder traps, toxic water, pushable object and raise level platform puzzles, shooting tasks, torch tasks, zip-lines, death defying leaps, timed runs, falling debris and challenging platforming i cant think of anything else to include lol except a jaunt or ride on a boat maybe? the layout and visuals are just gorgeous with some great tunes thrown in as well and it was a pleasure to explore around and find things to do for the first half of the level but unfortunately by the 2 hour mark i was beginning to get tired of all the item collecting, and the constant backtracking back and forth to previous areas all the time started to get boring and stale. i would of preferred the level to end sooner but perhaps that just personal choice because there is so much to do and see here, it is a fantastic venice level and there is lots of enjoyment to experience so im very pleased i gave it a download" - John (19-Feb-2022)
"(10) Gameplay & Puzzles: I would divide this adventure into 4 parts; Venice canals, the theater lobby, the boulder side area, and the theater itself. The gameplay is tame in the first canals part; enjoyable, but nothing special, with plenty of lever pulling, pushing buttons, and using keys. The exploration really picks up after you enter the theater lobby, and the highlight of the game for me was definitely the boulder area. This side area is basically one giant magnificent puzzle room, where you have to maneuver raising blocks so that a boulder rolls safely and doesn't cause all the nearby TNT crates to explode. The exploration gets more and more engaging as the adventure progresses deeper into the theater, and it felt so rewarding for me to finally complete the level without a walkthrough. Sure, there weren't many traps, or any tricky platforming sequences, but conquering the challenging exploration was quite the thrill. I tip my hat to the builder for gameplay design that is challenging exploration-wise, yet also has a solid sense of progression, where the player is not running around in circles, utterly confused. (9) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: There are hardly any enemies (a few baddies, dogs, and 1 wraith) and I do feel like the ending was anti-climatic without a final fight and me having all this powerful ammo. The builder's application of static decor as well as interactive objects for puzzles was excellent, although I think the level was a bit lacking in trap usage. The secrets were easy. (10) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The atmosphere is just lovely, with nods to TR2 Opera House at the later stages. While there are certainly some large rooms, no rooms ever felt empty, and I often found myself just standing around marveling at the ruined theater architecture. Music cues were great (I love the TR2 Venice Violins song which plays at the end), as were the camera hints/flybys. I would have liked the timed run on the theater stage to have included a tense sound/music, to indicate that it's timed, but it's not a big deal. (9) Lighting & Textures: The level is beautiful, and well-lit, but if you look closely, there are sometimes misshapen textures, which is a bit surprising given the builder's experience when this level was released. Overall, this is a wonderfully creative, clever adventure that has an OK start, but superb 2nd, 3rd and 4th acts. Highly recommended to anyone who wants an exploration challenge. 10/9/10/9." - nerdfury (23-Feb-2021)
"All that for a bottle of wine! Lara must have been desperate. Seriously though, this is an excellent level, beautifully made. The puzzles were well set up. This was a long level, but worth it. I can't praise it enough." - Ryan (15-Mar-2016)
"It took me some time to enjoy this gem of a level, because the game starts with a clever, yet not really inspired search for levers and items, but the game picks up afterwards, the extensive boulder puzzle being the undoubted highlight. In my opinion, the builderess still doesn't go far enough to divide this game from other levels of the 2010 BtB competition, the ideas in this level are neither unique nor really challenging (apart of the exploration), but certainly set up professionally and with care for the players. Look-wise, it's an almost perfect game. Maybe the rooms' atmosphere stands too much with the most excellent lighting, and slightly less with the texturing, there are a few misplaced ones here and there, but it's still on a very high level. The music choices are great and very neatly placed in moments where you admire the great atmosphere (in particular at the fixed cam in the theatre lobby), but I also have to divide between rooms with great atmosphere and rooms with good gameplay, because it doesn't seem that those two elements are built together. Rooms where gameplay is primary don't look quite as strong as others (e.g. the boulder courtyard, with many flat roofs), and rooms with a great appearance lack more intense gameplay efforts. Nonetheless, this is a very well-rounded and nicely flowing 65 minute level which should please each and every raider out there. Found three secrets." - manarch2 (03-Apr-2014)
""Flabbergasting" is probably a good way to describe this level -- probably my favorite entry thus far of the BtB2010 (although it's just the sixth one I've played). The very first area reminded me somewhat of TR2 Venice, but it soon expands into so much more after that. Gaining entry to the abandoned theater is just a small step in comparison to all the things you do inside as you quest for both mask pieces to eventually lead you to the bottle of wine. Only on one occasion I needed to check the walkthrough, so I can safely say that gameplay flows quite easily here and that's a major plus in my opinion. As far as design is concerned, this level oozes atmosphere and it's crafted with such detail that more than once I found myself just admiring in awe the work put into it. 100 minutes, 3 secrets. 12/13" - Treeble (01-Mar-2014)
"Fancy having some wine, possibly the best ever made? No problem - just break into a half-collapsed theatre, fight lots of ex-mafia thugs guarding it (if there is an EX- mafioso thing in the world), prepare the stage for a play You're both a ballerina and audience of (because no-one else lived to watch it) and grab the bottle. Seems easy... if You have good memory. If You don't, just take some sheets and notes on them: "shootswitch here"... "item hole there"... "forgettable keyhole this way"... "unexplored floor that way"... etc. Otherwise You might get lost and You probably will. I once took a break and went to sleep, next day not to know where to go. But Nadine cured the confusion, following that simple rule it's always better to get lost in a beautiful place than in an ordinary one. A hidden yet true power of graphics is unveiled when they, most of the time discreet, wait for the moment You're stuck, and then efficiently pull You out to pursue the challenge till the very end, just because You don't want to leave a climatic place. Wooden planks bend when an explosion shakes the room. A sight from SW corner balcony of the stage hall is a pinnacle in its depth, where draw distance fadeout blurs it slightly the farther You look and sunbeams fall through the collapsed roof on the stage. What a great idea to exchange man-made spotlights with a natural one! I only missed track 017 on that balcony, for I love watching the sights while walking with shift pressed and listening to it. The sound occured somewhere else and was interrupted by an action theme, what wasn't blended that good - but all other music has been used properly and efficiently. Of the puzzles, getting a crowbar is really remarkable, as well as the secret of the same area. NOTE: I stumbled upon an unlisted bug there: if after releasing the trap rollingball You manage to get to the balcony before Lara burns, the flames are gone after You save/load, what results in inability to continue. But this was probably inevitable, especially with the old engine used. All the rest, apart from a bit too much of backtracking, and one enemy shooting defenseless Lara right after a pickup, flows perfectly and can be classified as pure Venice. SUMMARY: Challenging and relaxing in the same time. Recommended for all except Venice fans, because they don't need any commercial and will play it anyway." - DJ Full (13-Mar-2013)
"With the back to basics 2011 finally arrived I thought I might as well play some of the 2010 back to basics levels. I have played some btb2010 levels before but I thought I might as well try this level because it is by an auther who is really talented. I cannot believe how much I love this level! It was brilliant! One of the best venice levels and one of my favourite stand alone levels ever! Horus makes such wonderful levels! I am completely speechless of how she made breathtaking atmosphere and made everything not too challenging for everyone. You start outside next to a wooden hut which reminded me of the TR2 hut and later on you get to the theatre which was huge and amazing. Gameplay was mostly looking for things like keys and mask pieces. Enemies were only gangsters and wraiths. I will definately play this level again because you can never forget the abandoned theatre and the breathtaking atmosphere horus has made. Highly recommendable." - afzalmiah (29-Aug-2011)
"Huge level, after a little research in the streets of Venice, the main level happens in the demolished theater . Research, beautiful lighting, textures correctly installed, there is always a challenge to find an object , many cameras and a final surprise with the discovery of the bottle of wine.Congratulations" - Minox (05-Mar-2011)
"And so we embark on another one of the Venice levels that ultimately set out to get Lara drunk. With 90 minutes of net gaming spent here, this was by far the longest level for me in this year's BTB, and I almost felt like I might like a sip of that wine along with Lara after all the footwork involved to get to that flippin' bottle and I generally don't indulge in drinks of the alcoholic variety. Although the level was long, nothing ever felt surplus to requirement, and though everything ultimately centers around a commendably sized theatre building, the settings are intricate like lace and you will be revisiting previous areas in a pseudo-non-linear fashion as you hunt for for every object the object set had to offer. Lookswise this is faithful to the game style that was the source of inspiration for this year's competition, and with the impeccable use of textures, lighting and fog, hardly has any competition this year. If there were things I did not care about that much - then the initial invisible crack eluded me for a while, so I'm not entirely sold on whether it should've been that well disguised. Being the lousy secret hunter that I am, I usually don't consider them too much when rating levels, but I was actually a bit underwhelmed by the placement of the three here. I sort of just stumbled on 2 of them, and while the one in the crowbar area was well-hidden, I scratched a hole in my head wondering how I should get to the door behind which I suspected it was, and was still not entirely convinced when I stumbled upon the solution to my predicament. This didn't impact how I felt about the game as a whole a lot, but just resulted in the secret hunt not being my favourite part of this one. That said - this still is a game not to be missed by any fan of the Venice setting." - eTux (28-Jan-2011)
"Level begins in a city area where you have several tasks to complete, before you enter the abandoned theatre which is ruined. Firstly, I’d like to say that I loved this level from the first view and loved it more and more as it proceeded. Gameplay is really challenging at some points, but it’s very enjoyable and reminds of the original Tomb Raider games which are as complex as this level is. I really like all of the parts here: storyline, timed runs, jumping parts, puzzles, traps etc. Gameplay is just super! Texturing is all right (one or two squished textures), but lighting is really great! It’s very atmospheric. I’d like to say here that environment is realistic in this level (lodges, stage, backstage, lobby). Like in actual theatre! I don’t want to write here very much, so I can only tell you: Go and play yourself! It’s really worth." - jawi (31-Aug-2010)
"Excelent work but sometimes a bit "obscure". The invisible crack near the beginning was nasty, and another times you don't know where you're doing when triggering something. Secrets were easyer than the normal gameplay. Architecture is fantastic, and I liked textures and TR2 ambience too. No hard tasks, good puzzles and cameras and no much backtracking. I think it'll be in the first places this year." - Jose (01-Mar-2010)
"Certainly one of the longest and most complex levels of this year's competition, but it nicely grows on you, with initially a smaller set of rooms to make your way through and kind of easier tasks, until you open up the main theatre doors and things become more non-linear and less obvious. This does make it a level more on the challenging side but never unfair - you just need to keep your eyes open. Not too many enemies, but when they appear they often are placed in a way that they cause maximum damage. The two secrets I found where relatively easy to reach, but I missed the third despite seeing the room through a window. Towards the end of the level, the gameplay around the element puzzle is stepping up yet another notch, but the entertainment factor remains high and even though I did get a little frustrated with all the back and forth even on replaying the level, the setting of the desolate theatre is still so brilliantly done that you will not mind running around in it a bit longer than you may actually need to. Another contender for a top spot in the BtB competition for sure. (85 mins, 2/3 secrets found)." - MichaelP (01-Mar-2010)
"I'm starting to feel really bad about enabling Lara in her alcoholism. How about in next year's Back to Basics, instead of finding a bottle of wine in every level, Lara instead finds a nice cup of tea or a glass of milk or something? Of course, if she keeps up drinking like this, she'll probably be dead by next year's Back to Basics anyway, so I guess it doesn't really matter. This level once again sees Lara hunt down a bottle of wine. It's owned by a group called the Knights of Cydonia, but that's not going to stop Lara from having a drink! Man, she really has a problem. Surprisingly enough, they're in Venice (I know, right?!), and this is one of the better-looking renditions of Venice in this year's competition. The outside areas are small but effective, and the highlight is the abandoned theatre, where a big chunk of the gameplay takes place. The level is fairly linear, but the author has done a good job at disguising this fact by making you run back and forth through the level (but in a good way!), rather than just forcing you down a straight path. All of the areas are intricately linked, so you rarely need to do much backtracking, and I was constantly impressed by the ways in which I returned to previously inaccessible areas in rooms that I had already visited. The gameplay is pretty varied. There aren't many enemies, but there are some good puzzles and you'll have to keep your eyes open while you make your way through the level. At one hour (that's net gaming time, let's not talk about the gross), this is one of the longer Back to Basics levels this year, but when it's also this good, who's going to complain?" - Magnus (28-Feb-2010)
"Ooh boy, this one appears to be the longest level of the BTB 2010 batch. It took me a few minutes short of two hours to get through this colossus, but what fun those two hours were. The beginning of the level bares an homage to the TR2 Venice level, but it quickly shows off a nicely crafted city with some good design and interesting gameplay. There is much to gameplay here, including item hunts, timed runs, platforming, some cool elaborate puzzles, and a consistent set of very nice rooms to explore. The room highlights would have to be the initial town section, the boulder puzzle section, and the huge theater as well. Enemies provide a challenge when need be, and ample items are supplied to take care of them. Sound is well used to establish an atmosphere, which is only aided by excellent texturing, use of fog bulbs, and general lighting. The only downside to the level would have to be the sometimes excessive backtracking. Near the beginning, a certain route has to be taken about three times or so, and some alternating paths require you to go one way, then go all the way back to where you were before and take the other path. As the gameplay is overall very pleasing though, this didn't come across as a huge deal-breaker for me. I really enjoyed this level, and it deserves a place in the cream of the crop of this competition." - Relic Hunter (27-Feb-2010)
"Here is a great puzzle level, nicely fitting between a couple shooters for me. There are some very good puzzles here, some of which stumped me for a time, but to those who know me, none would be surprised by that! Honestly, I adored this level. It was beautiful to look at, nicely encompassing the outdoor waterways that is expected in a Venice level as well as a supremely well-done abandoned theatre, complete with hole in the ceiling. My only concerns perhaps were with the easy secrets and popping out of nowhere enemies (perhaps opening of a door?) and the wee bit of backtracking. I had to also suspend my disbelief a bit when Lara felt the need to destroy a library, yes a library (!) just to obtain a bag of sand! Huh? Wasn't there one or fifty leftover bags of sand from when the theatre was still active? The books! Argh! But none of these were of that big of a concern. This level took some serious planning and astute building technique and I was only too happy to play through all the way just for a lovely bottle of wine (personally, I would do all that Lara did for a killer bottle of Cabernet too!)" - Shandroid (21-Feb-2010)
"A level that starts almost like the original Venice, the wooden shack and all. Nice timed trapdoor, only problem was that if you had to go back up to that roof and you had to do that about 3 times if you played it as intended.. you had to do the same thing every time. So while looking around what to do it soon became 8 or more times and then it starts to get annoying. OK that aside, I loved the rest as it was well set up. The big theatre had a lot of gameplay in it, first to open it and then to get backstage where the final puzzle objects had to be found. Perfect Venice level, eventough we didn't see much of town." - Dutchy (13-Feb-2010)
"A long level that proceeds by stages, and reserve some surprises, as more than once I thought I would be near the end and there was more to come. The setting is quite good looking, only spoiled a bit by the fact that trapdoors do not open in the rooms where they are placed, thus they tend to disappear from sight when opened. The only slight problem that the level gave me is that the areas remain wide open as you raid them, thus almost all of them can be visited again and if the player miss an object he can revisit the whole map without knowing where he should look at. Except for that , the progression is quite interesting , and the gameplay in the area with the crowbar comes out from a very inventive mind. Aside from actions that were fun to perform , what I appreciated the most here is that in a few places I really had the feeling to play Tomb Raider in its purest and original sense, for example in that well shaped staircases at the entrance of the theatre where there is good fights with baddies , and at the end in the last stage of the theatre. The two secrets I found were easy , while I also found a few places that can be reached with some extra jump but with nothing in them. An excellent level that remains quite entertaining despite its extended length." - eRIC (13-Feb-2010)
"A very elaborate level with some outdoor Venice and a large theater hall to explore for an hour and a half. There is so much to do and solve in this level, the only drawback really in terms of gameplay is how much backtracking can be asked of the player. The timed runs were fun and the boulder puzzle was especially interesting (and quite deadly). The level is pleasant to look at as well. This is definitely one of the more top-notch entries and I am glad it scored a spot on the top 50. Well done!" - SSJ6Wolf (05-Feb-2010)
"The perfectly disguised shimmy crack at the start (that you can only reach after many goes) very nearly prompted me to abandon this level. Luckily I didn't - and made it to the opera house without getting stuck again. At least that's what I thought. Turned out I had arrived there with a few crucial tasks not completed. Needless to say I got somewhat confused and eventually had to backtrack through the level to find what I was missing. It seems like a design flaw to have the receptor for the wires and the first part of the mask NOT in the actual Opera House; it's a vast level and often not easy to navigate your route so a missed item will probably stay missed. The rest of the gameplay flowed well and was interesting but the sequence leading to the crowbar seemed overly elaborate and contrived. Atmosphere and texturing were excellent throughout and more than compensated for the occasional aggravation with the gameplay." - Dick (04-Feb-2010)
"My oh my, but this has to be one of the BUSIEST levels I've ever played. It has the fingerprints of a seasoned veteran all over it, but I was prepared to dislike it intensely after spending at least an hour navigating that outside canal area, only to find myself in a ravaged theater where an equal amount of gaming time awaited me. Still, the charm of that concluding segment captivated me, and I finished with nothing but positive vibes. This is the kind of level that I can enjoy only with a walkthrough close at hand. Otherwise, the time lost with inevitable starts and restarts serves only to frustrate me and kill the joy of playing. There's much too much here to describe in a brief review, but the tasks can be accomplished without undue exertion once you know what you're doing. I was even able to find a shortcut with that timed run in the theater. After pulling a switch to close a trap door over a deadly pool, I found I could jump directly to the second of three sloped surfaces and complete the monkey swing and drop to the jump switch with perhaps five seconds to spare. Usually I find myself defeated by timed runs, but not this time. The lighting is quite good throughout, and there were only a few occasions where I felt compelled to light a flare. The environs are nice to look at, too. Lots of fun for more experienced players, but not the kind of level that I most enjoy playing." - Phil (27-Jan-2010)
"A work of brilliance; massive and very fleshed out in terms of both gameplay and architecture. It combines almost every aspect of the BTB wad while still feeling like a single coherent experience, and it keeps providing new challenges and puzzles. Almost no space is wasted, and every area offers a lot of gameplay and exploration. It's challenging (especially when combined with its size) yet remains fair. Any issues I had are nitpicks and don't diminish the overall experience at all.
The theatre and the surrounding areas the level takes place in are all extremely well realised and atmospheric. The only issues I saw were a couple of badly aligned textures that mean little when put in the context of a level this size. Near flawless, it's going to take something amazing in the levels to come to stop this being my top vote." - Mman (27-Jan-2010)
"Lara is exploring a deserted and half destroyed theatre in Venice, looking for the last remaining bottle of a famous wine. First you need to find the way into the theatre, as well as the crowbar and a few keys. The canals and the buildings you get to search are nicely designed. The theatre itself then is very impressive. You have a foyer, the theatre itself and an area behind it until you finally manage to raise the big curtain. Gameplay consists mainly of fairly easy sequential tasks, like looking for a key, open a trapdoor, pull a switch and it takes you back and forth between the buildings several times. Enemies are well placed but I did not find the continuous music in the theater very suitable. Bottomline: A slightly tedious level with beautiful architecture and not too challenging overall." - Eva (25-Jan-2010)
"This is now the seventh BtB2010 level and it strikes me that the levels have this year a quite long playing time. Moreover, I have played until now no bad level. If this goes on in such a way, this becomes sometimes a very good year. This level is no exception. More than two-hour playing time, complex built, many riddles, few opponents and a very good level architecture. Here one can find a lot of nice rooms. The theatre ruin is especially impressive. In addition there is a suitable sound and good made Flybys. Here will the inclined player guaranteed get one's money worth." - Scottie (21-Jan-2010)
"That is probably the longest level of BtB2010 and absolute top class. Lara sets out on a journey to find the last bottle of the legendary wines of Cydonia. It begins in the city, outside the theater, trying to find a way into it. The design of the outdoor complex is impressive, but is surpassed by the phenomenal representation of the neglected and crumbling theater. Lara needs to climb on rooftops, to search flooded homes and the sewage system, before later, a ball-ramp puzzle to be solved in order to obtain the crowbar. In the theater there are more numerous puzzles (torch, elements, pushing puzzles), dangerous traps and jumping tasks, so that Lara is constantly in action. There are always camera evidence when something important happens out of sight and thus indicates the next step. Supported by music and the good use of enemies, it's really fun to play this level. I can only criticize, that the puzzles and the secrets where easy to solve/find and in the end you only have to search and find objects and their placement." - repley (20-Jan-2010)
"This level is a great tribute to the classic Venice levels, as it includes several settings and sequences that we have seen in those. However this is just one feature of the level, as the author has used these elements for spice, and has actually created a brand new level with its own character and style. The enchanting Venice atmosphere is still there, and you will come across several reminiscents as you go along, but at the same time you will be discovering new stuff, new puzzles, settings and actions. Speaking of environments, there are many areas to explore, all beautifully decorated and speaking of actions, there are some impressively complex and mastefully set-up puzzles that may seem very tough on first look, but once you get their logic, it's so enjoying putting the pieces together to reach your goal; gameplay-wise, this level is a winner." - Ravenwen (19-Jan-2010)
"very nice level, perfectly textures and lighting, but with the too large ways for me and with too low gameplay. Many biggest rooms with too little riddles and fun. Only the riddle with the rolling balls and the scaffold was very interesting for me - but only for one item - this was too little. Result: very nice, but large and boring" - masha (19-Jan-2010)
"On a search for what is said to be the finest, rarest wine ever produced leads Lara back to Venice and a setting that is like a theater within a theater and puzzlers set within puzzles. Once into the game proper everything only seems too complicated and confusing but gameplay soon unfolds smoothly except for the dreaded unseen crack that one has to take on faith - after all, there has to be someway into that space and so that crack really is there - invisible but there.I almost shaved off a point for that and for the running around necessary for the wire placement but that's not really fair to what is an all-around great adventure. I found an interesting area above the sprinkler that wasn't used for gameplay - perhaps just a discarded idea. The timed sequences here should be in some sort of a study guide to show how not to alienate a player as these were just plain fun and added to the enjoyment and satisfaction of gameplay. I loved that a tricky jump could be avoided by a different jump that led to a MS and an easier route to the same objective - same room, different perspective. It's easy to see that this is one of my favorites and of course, highly recommended." - Bene (18-Jan-2010)
"At least for me, and up to now (I haven't seen all the games), the winner is... tchan, tchan, tchan, tchan... Knights of Cydonia! Wonderful lighting (I didn't find torches, but they were almost unnecessary), a few, well chosen, well placed enemies (no demigods or goddesses, mercifully), some smart time runs, not too difficult, and, better still, not a single button, or jumpswitch, or key, that doesn't show immediately what it was useful for! I only failed to understand why Lara burns when she doesn't follow the correct gameplay sequence at the rolling balls room (a punishment?); and I also admit that the game has its confusing parts, but who cares? It is a superb game, I take my hat to the author!" - Josey (18-Jan-2010)
"This level is clearly built as an homage to the Venetian levels of TR2, with certain settings and gameplay that are strongly reminiscent of those levels. The level starts off in the canals of Venice, but the majority of the action takes place in a theatre/opera house, of which the stage area looks like a HQ remake of TR2's Opera House. But of course, there are plenty of original areas as well, including what looks like a construction site, featuring a long and complex puzzle involving getting a rolling ball down a series of ramps without hitting a box of TNT. Apart from this, there are plenty of smaller-scale puzzles, timed runs, and climbing down sewers and up on chandeliers, and several zip lines to ride down - in short, a wide variety of enjoyable gameplay.
Towards the end, the gameplay flags a bit - perhaps because this level is much longer than an average BtB level (nearly 2 hours of in-game time). But mostly it's because, instead of clever puzzles or challenging timed runs, the last half hour or so consists mainly of collecting a vast number of different puzzle items and tracking down their respective puzzle holes. It feels like the builder was determined to make use of all the items in the wad, whether or not they made sense in the context, like using a 'heart prop' (yikes!) to open a trapdoor.
Looks-wise, this level can't be faulted at all - the textures are used brilliantly, and the lighting and architecture are superb. I particularly love the colourful, changing sky, which at times is overcast, and at other times lit with a rosy sunrise/sunset glow.
Overall, this is a very enjoyable level, and captures the essence of this year's BtB theme very well: it's both Venice as seen in tourism pictures as well as Venice as seen in TR2. Highly recommended." - Mytly (17-Jan-2010)
"The 2010 BtB seems like an El Dorado where the happy player finds pots of gold on almost every step of the way. Inspired by Nadines beautifully worked out TGA the builders took the chance to create their own little Venice and they did well ! This one shows fluent gameplay ,good riddles and challenges , who could ask for more ? Recommended for every raider as the builder has designed a solid good game which is bound for top ranking." - Ruben (15-Jan-2010)
"Well, I haven't yet ceased to be amazed at the (so far) overall quality of this year's Back to Basics contest and I thought this entry was nothing shorter of brilliant. An interesting tribute both to the original Venice, as may be seen at the start, and to its Venitian opera house, Knights of Cydonia can be quite intriguing but it is also quite fulfilling as one progresses and solves the numerous ingenious puzzles featured in several different settings. Quite a professional job in every front, no need to describe it as everyone else tends to do just that. Totally recommendable." - Jorge22 (11-Jan-2010)
"Lara on a quest for a special bottle of wine is a concept I can certainly get behind, but believe me she really has to work for it. In particular, I don't ever remember having to achieve so much to obtain a crowbar - the room in which you eventually get it takes some working out and is very well devised. This is a very complex and thus potentially most confusing level but very rewarding when you do finally get your bottle of top-notch plonk. Cheers." - Jay (10-Jan-2010)
"well i just finished this one ....... all i can say that i was impressed with the overall atmosphere with the marvelous opera house and moustly with the simphonical sound wich fits very good at ambience and i was like it alot ......all in all excelent game filled with some nice timeruns / bulders avoiding / tricky jumps and exploration ........ well done ..." - Jack& (10-Jan-2010)
"What a fantastic level! Besides a REALLY well-hidden crack and some running back and forth, I have no complaints of this level. The puzzles were brilliant, and often had you visiting new parts of old areas, which was really clever. Two of the 3 secrets were easy to find, while one was, well, ingeniously hidden to say the least. The textures, atmosphere, lighting, cameras, music, items, and enemies were top-notch. 1 hour, 45 minutes." - okuhtfesq (10-Jan-2010)
"That wine must be incredibly good, because Lara is risking her life to get hold of it. I think that the story didn't quite match up to the high quality of the level, but that doesn't really matter. The level was incredibly close to perfection, if it were not for the unseeable crack at the beggining of the level, that maybe some of the secrets were too easy to find and that the spiked balls didn't quite fit in the level, especially right at the end, then I would be giving this level all 10s without a moments thought. The sounds were used perfectly, fitting with the enemies and the level. The textures were immaculate along with the architecture, and this could be the best looking level of the bunch (though I will have to play them all). The buildings were crafted really well, with the authentic abandoned opera house that looked fine on the outside but on the inside, was incredible run down and destroyed. This is definately going to be a front runner in this competition and it has set a very high standard. 2 hours 4 mins 2 secrets." - Cory (09-Jan-2010)
"Brilliant. Unsurpassed rich detail. Almost without flaws, though some may find the sheer magnitude of this project staggering. This is Machiavellian Venice, the smile and the dagger, with Lara exploring byways as twisted and nefarious as the intrigue. Clearly the tale of the bottle of wine is only a cover story. This is the equivalent of several other entries in the contest combined. Venice is brought to life, well-lit, radiant, beautiful. There are times when the player's heart grows faint with the complexity that grows and grows, but be assured that the tasks always come together and Lara will prevail. Some tomb raider experience is necessary. One has to know to use the torch underneath a sprinkler head. This opens the way to a room with multiple stacked boulder ramps, levers, jump switches, and jumps to reach high doorways. When Lara succeeds she will have opened a painting to get a crowbar, but this one area alone has as much game play as some shorter levels. It is not just a matter of getting to the first, or second, or third tier of the opera house, but traversing the chandeliers to the rafters. Lara solves the earth and water element puzzles, which opens the way to place the mask. The lower doors open, and Lara reaches the bottle of wine to end the level. This is a tribute to the Opera House done to the nth degree. Awe inspiring." - dmdibl (08-Jan-2010)