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BtB2014 - The Princess and the Foreigner by Jose

Christian 8 7 8 7
DJ Full 8 8 7 7
Drakan 8 8 8 8
EssGee 6 7 7 7
janachorider 7 7 7 7
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 9 9 7 7
Josey 10 9 10 9
m.julien 7 8 7 6
manarch2 8 8 6 6
MichaelP 7 7 7 7
Mman 9 8 7 7
Mytly 8 9 8 7
OverRaider 7 8 6 6
Phil 9 9 9 10
Relic Hunter 8 7 6 6
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Treeble 9 9 9 9
release date: 02-Aug-2014
# of downloads: 117

average rating: 7.69
review count: 18
review this level

file size: 87.90 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cambodia

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"The structure of this level is pretty straightforward: Lara starts on the outside of a temple with a moat and collects a key for each bridge to gain access to the interior, which throws her through a series of challenge rooms, until she collects the four wooden switches needed to escape. The layout of the world is pretty square, but the engaging content rests in the gameplay. There are a few puzzle rooms to crack, traps to dodge, alternating invisible (mostly) platforms, a tricky quadbike run, and some target practice on bells. My main complaint lies with one of the challenge rooms, a spike wall that closes in on you as you race to pull the correct switches. The issue is that you can get locked in before the torches indicating the correct switch combination (and you could also get locked in before you have the required crowbar). Overall its simplistic structure may not bring about as much immersion as other entries, but it is quite enjoyable to play. 59 minutes." - JesseG (08-Mar-2021)
"One of those levels which concentrate a lot on tasking rather than on storyline but in this rare case it's satisfying with creative puzzles and patterns used. Also the map is very open, quite unique for this competition. I wish it wasn't so square and underlit though." - DJ Full (07-Jul-2019)
"Quite an enjoyable entry here. It is set in two hub areas: the exterior of a palace and the inner courtyard. You complete many tasks along the way including a torch puzzle, spiked walls, a quad bike ride and lowering some bridges. Nice entry, thank you." - Ryan (02-Feb-2016)
"This is set around a central temple, with the inside and outside tasks essentially splitting the level in two. The visuals are pretty basic but spiced up decently with objects, and the central part of the level looks nice in particular, it mostly doesn't go beyond functional though, although the openness is nice. The gameplay is luckily stronger than the visuals, and there are several creative puzzle and trap ideas, although the Knifeman puzzle was bit much (even after knowing what to do, I was only able to do it by exploiting the Quadbike to get the AI where I needed it). Outside of that it's enjoyable and throws a nice string of tasks at you to keep you occupied without getting too obscure (the sword might trip some up though). Overall a strong entry, although it's virtues are slightly lopsided." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)
"I started this level soon after it was released, but after encountering a bug in which Lara fell off the map, I put it aside to play later. I came back to it only today, after downloading a more recent version of it.
The level map and architecture are very simple: there's a large square castle-like building surrounded by a moat in the centre of a large square garden-like area; the interior of the building consists of a square central courtyard surrounded by two floors' worth of rooms ... it's all very square, and visually a bit dull. The overall lighting is bland, and the bright pink colour of the deadly water in the moat is rather odd. The central courtyard with the pool and waterfalls is quite pretty, though.
The first half of the level consists of trying to open up a way into the building, and the second half of tasks in a series of puzzle rooms inside the building. There are several enjoyable tasks: driving a quadbike down a fire-trapped ramp; a puzzle in which you have to activate certain tiles that play music (!); another puzzle in which you have to move in one direction only or you get transported back to the entrance; and so on. The multiple trap rooms inside the building are a lot of fun too. Unfortunately, some of the tasks can be very obscure - for instance, I would have never figured out that the machete-wielding guy can break the tent! The placement of the pushables for opening the door to the quadbikes is also something I needed the walkthrough for. The task where you have to jump on certain floor tiles is another such obscure one - who would imagine that the wrongly rotated tiles have some significance beyond sloppy texturing by the builder?! Running around in the large outdoor area can be tedious, and even driving all around it dozens of times over on the quadbike can get boring.
Some of the objects are used very innovatively, such as the jungle sword (crowbar) floating in the pool, or the boulders hanging from pillars, and the broken architectural objects that point the way in the direction puzzle.
Overall: A nice level with some really great ideas, but not very player-friendly or pretty. Recommended." - Mytly (02-Oct-2014)
"Chacun a son gout, as the French say. Unlike many of the previous reviewers, I found this level to present the most engaging gameplay of the BtB levels I've thus far played (and I'm well over halfway through). You start off with a challenging disappearing ledge jump, then after some miscellaneous exercises you're confronted with a phantom- covered pit and have to navigate your way down and back up. You get not one but two quad bikes (although the first one is of service only on a limited basis). Finally there's a nifty run using swingpoles and breaktiles (over spikes, to make it more interesting) on the way to a jumpswitch. In between are some rather obscure puzzles that pose no difficulty if you're not averse to using walkthroughs. The game map is quite immense, so it's nice to have that quad bike handy to shave precious minutes off your playing time. Even at that, I logged nearly an hour and a half before opening the exit door. Best of all, there's plenty of light throughout so that the player can see everything around him, so yes, other builders, it definitely can be done. Highly recommended." - Phil (27-Sep-2014)
"This level had some interesting ideas, but it just did not gel with me. Sadly, I wish I'd had time to beta-test this level, as many of the things I'm about to point out would have been raised then. But for a competition level these things need to be addressed. First I'll highlight what I did like - the quadbike challenge - that was tricky but interesting, combining with the timed flames; the teleport puzzle - at first a bit disorienting but cleverly designed; The look of the palace from within the courtyard - this area looked really good. Ok here's the troubling things - apologies to the author, but I just can't ignore this stuff. The invisible alternating flame pads- just drove me crazy - if one had been able to use the flare trick to illuminate the bounds of the tile it would have been fairer; the awkwardly hidden climbing areas under the bouncepad/mudpit, the extensive running around aimlessly in the outer parks, the trial and error sound puzzle. There is a safe zone in the firey moat in front of the giant statue. I assume this is an error as I did not locate a secret here. The closed corridor with the spiked wall could be fluked if you happened to guess the right lever combination, but seemed odd and a tad unfair if you hadn't solved the flame clues in the other areas prior to attempting this challenge. The outer wall can be climbed, but then you burn to death to prevent end of world view. That's ok, but it would have made sense to put a few skull spears to at least warn the player that it might not be a good idea to venture up there. I applaud creative use of wad objects beyond their intended function if they show some ingenuity, but it seemed like the author did not have a good understanding of some of the objects (note that each object and texture has a description in the builder's pack so it would be hard to misinterpret an object). Prime examples - seaweed and coral objects intended for underwater setting used on dry land locations - just looked silly. In fact the whole palace is surrounded by a burning hot moat that kills Lara, yet starfish, echinoderms and coral happily live in it, just isn't logical. It would have made much more sense to have skeleton objects in this pool rather than living objects that require very specific water temperatures to survive - not realistic at all for me. Spiderwebs are randomly situated out in open parkland with no supporting structure - just does not look realistic. There is a padlock object that is obviously used for protecting a locked door - these were randomly placed high up in some rooms like architectural objects - that makes no sense at all. Arches that were intended to be placed against walls to frame doorways were placed free standing atop the palace, as were inscription stones that should be on the ground but were used to decorate the rooftops of the palace. Yet the objects that were intended as roof line decor (little rows of turrets) were used to frame windows around lower buildings. It was somewhat obscure what the knife-wielding mercenary needed to do (who is also a contortionist as he manages to conceal himself in a barrel). I'm sure there could have been a better way to introduce this character. And then most annoying of all - he hangs around for the whole level slowly stalking Lara through the park grounds whilst she's trying to figure out what next to do in this vast space. Textures - again some strange choices - the roof tile texture is used as a floor texture for the entire upper balcony. The blanket green-plant/grass texture used throughout the parklands may have been made to look more interesting by breaking it up more with other textures and transitions. This was done most effectively with the palace grounds. The park's outer wall textures were intended as path textures - a strange choice given how many other wall textures were available in the tga. In summary, some nice ideas but too many visual distractions for me to be able to get drawn into it." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)
"This one I find a bit hard to score. On the hand a lot of credit is due to the builder for using a vast variety of the components of the provided building materials, including the quad bike and minefield objects for example, and for coming up with many small puzzles ideas that then get designed into their respective own room to be solved. On the other hind, the whole square area is just a bit too square, large and empty and the player could easily get lost for a long time if she or he is not lucky enough to stumble into the right next thing to do. For me this happened on two occasions - not finding the sword right away and not figuring out how to get that crucial mine detonator data thing. At the same time, many of the other puzzles have very clever hints that you can really figure out, so it is a bit the balance that seems to be missing here. In terms of looks it is solid but comparably basic. I found only 2 of the 5 secrets though, so may have to go back for the remaining ones one of these days." - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)
"Map structure is horizontal and blocky. All of the map could be included in only one big room. As many others levels, the level far view is ugly (reduced during the building competition ?) Gameplay is quite good with nice ideas (4 pushables and the quad, trapped floor..) though somewhat to vicious (hidden detonator, texture where Lara must push the pushable is almost the same like the ceiling textures...) Anyway I had a good time. 7/8/7/6" - m.julien (06-Sep-2014)
"A flyby introducing this Level Shows a large area with a citadel in the middle. It promises long ways to go to and fro and this promise is kept. The outside area is a bit uninspired, there's not much creativity to be seen in the large Environment. More interesting are the particular tasks that have to be performed in a level with quite a simple concept: Four bridges have ro be activated, four items have to be found to enter the citadel and finally four wheels have to be collected (not found!) to exit the game. Unvisible platforms change their position,a nice quad bike ride spices the game up. Having reached the citadel we'll find different, sometimes demanding tasks in every room. I like games keeping a challenge in every room. Moving blades and popping spikes were the most interesting of them. There's not much searching to be done, every room keeps the key to the one next to it - so it's performing almost obvious tasks in a row to finally Exit a game that Shows ideas that are finally not realised in a greater concept." - Christian (04-Sep-2014)
"the gameplay feels a little boring and the areas surruonding the temple are uninspired.overall, its a okay level." - janachorider (03-Sep-2014)
"Now this was a gem to play. Sure, it had a few moments that really had me going (mostly involving pushblock puzzles, I hope these are bound to extinction), but when the game flows here it's pretty much poetry in motion. Maybe I'm exaggerating, but the way the level has been designed is ingenious. Ok, so the outer walls do look bland and give a somewhat boxy look, but that's a mere limitation of the engine. You first go around the outside of the temple doing various tasks until you eventually find your way into the temple, where each room is a different sort of trial. Then you go around the inner chambers, completing these trap rooms, to later return to the outside (empty handed though, I should add) for the grand finale against four shivas. It's all very basic to be honest but it works so well. The only thing that really dragged this down, to me, were the two obscure pushblock puzzles in the outer area. One could argue the camera trigger was there to show you the statues, but to me, it was just a way of saying "who cares the way those statues are places across the room, just look at that beautiful quadbike waiting for you!"... Anyway, moving onto the next level. 70 minutes, 2 secrets. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)
"I love games where we have a sequence of contiguous rooms, each with its own challenge... and I loved the kind of challenges that I found in this level. Granted that the outward spaces are too big, but at least we have not one, but two quad bikes to help. The lighting is good, there are several very creative instances, the action flows smoothly, some secrets are sneakily, but not impossibly, hidden. There are no boringly difficult challenges - with the exception of a difficult jump to grab a crack in the wall; even the quad bike's adventure underground can be shortened by a smart jump from above. There are also plenty of camera hints; and if the puzzles are easy, they are also cute and can be intriguing, requiring a lot of attention to small details (I liked specially the golden Buddha's one, and appreciated very much the obvious clue for the positioning of the quad bike's blocks). The only unfathomable thing in the game seems to be the expected behavior of the madman. In resume, a very enjoyable and recommended level. Thanks!" - Josey (01-Sep-2014)
"On the surface, The Princess and the Foreigner doesn't try to mask that its environment is basically a giant box with smaller boxes within. While this level doesn't have much in terms of appearances, the level instead showcases some creative gameplay that helps make up for the setting. At the start there are some quite interesting challenges in the search for the Mine Detonator parts and opening up the central temple, such as shifting platforms over a large pit, a quadbike drive over a precarious course lined with flame emitters, and figuring out how the crazy man fits into the level. More standard raiding tasks are interspersed like pushing puzzles, gathering objects and finding switches to round out the first part which has a rather slow pace. When the central temple is opened up the gameplay shifts into a faster pace and the author shows some unique approaches to gameplay in the various side rooms. I enjoyed the tiles puzzle, the barriers puzzle with the differently oriented stone floors, and the room with small vases(?) pointing the right way. At the end is another item hunt complete with a few Shivas to kill with the satisfying assistance of the bazooka, as Lara unlocks the final door and drives off into the distance on the quadbike. Definitely not a bad level; it excels in providing some unique spins on the gameplay, but the level's appearances suffer a lot. The giant box nature of the setting spoils the atmosphere as this doesn't look very much like a real place, and while there are no obvious faults I could notice with the textures the lighting everywhere is quite flat and it results in a dull looking level. Overall the author has a good handle on gameplay, and can make an even better level by spending more time creating a believable, atmospheric setting." - Relic Hunter (24-Aug-2014)
"Ah rain, something Lara, as an Englishwoman, should be well used to. Just about the first thing I did in this level was a disappearing/reappearing tile run, which boded well as I absolutely love those. This is a most inventive level, full of ingenious (if occasionally somewhat obscure) puzzles. I did encounter a strange glitch whereby I was able to get some wooden cogs that should not have been available until the end of the game, which confused me rather more than somewhat. However I believe this has subsequently been sorted out and overall this is a most enjoyable level, with some clever ideas." - Jay (20-Aug-2014)
"Well I don`t even know where to start. So firstly this level will definitely keep you busy with its original ideas but also you will be bored here due to running around the place lot of kilometers. Nonlinear level located in a one huge outside area where there is a temple in the middle and rocky wall all around the place. In other words one big cube and so are the cunstruction/design of areas and rooms so that atmosphere here is rather poor as are textures, which by the way are correctly applied but same as in Cemetery Gates texturizing such a simple design isn`t demanding and also variety of textures are low so that mostly making wallpapered feeling to the atmosphere and so are lighting mostly flat and colourless. Despite these aspects are music well chosen and let`s say objects and enemies are well placed too. And now back to the terms of gameplay and puzzles. There are some really creative tasks to acomplish before you get the access to the temple and then inside the temple there are lot of rooms containing a surprise for you each one by one has creative and absolutely different puzzles to solve and believe me they are quite original so why 7 in gameplay&puzzles terms? Well as I said at the beginning you will be running here from one place to another and also there are some places which you must do many times and exactly the same thing (picking up the same type puzzle items in every corner of the location or shooting the 4 bells from every side of the location, pulling levers in every corner to reveal a bridge...). Well this level would be a lot more enjoyable if the design of gameplay would have been better thought out so that there wouldn`t be so much running around and atmosphere definitely could have been improved and that in all visual aspects:lighting, textures, cunstruction design, bigger and more complex rooms... Playtime 1:05 and have found 4/5 secrets which by the way are very tricky and I have no idea where is the last one I missed :D 7/8/6/6" - OverRaider (19-Aug-2014)
"Shortly said - the reasons for the low marks in the last categories are that the setting feels quite flat and two dimensional in any regard - may it be simplistic and functional architecture, only one (too) large area in the whole game, flat lighting or wallpapered textures. While the latters are at least quite cleanly applied, they don't show a large deal of creativity either and the texturing largely feels uninspired. But the good thing is - this actually isn't the most important of this game. The more important is that the gameplay is most prominent and the builder certainly focused on this, which is a rather smart choice if you ask me. The sheer amount of puzzles of which each and every one is quite a challenge and very interesting to solve is astounding, and the density of those even makes crossing the large distances easier to bear. I won't go much into detail in the puzzles, but there's certainly a creative mind standing behind those. Sometimes, in the "inner circle", some areas are just too easy, just picking up an item and leaving, and doing the same task with the bell four times at the end is also not very fun, it seems the buidler ran out of ideas? What a shame actually, since I could've gone on with this kind of gameplay for quite some time, and the 40 minutes it took me to finish are actually not enough in here because, as said, much time is spent getting from point A to B. The objects do their job well, with some highlights being their innovative use in the puzzles or the breaking of an object with Walter (he's probably not called Walter in this gmae, but the name really fits to him, so I'll continue with this name). The five secrets are really well hidden and I found only two by myself, it says a lot so I'd like to say this a really fun extra challenge. Overall a quite fun game, but it seems the builder didn't have enough time for detail in the looks, and also adding more tasks to this level." - manarch2 (17-Aug-2014)
"The goal is to enter in to the citadel in the middle of the map, so it will go around several times to find the keys necessary to enter. Inside, follow the directions to be able to go upstairs and get all the puzzles. I did not kill the 4 shivas at the end, simply avoid them and take the wheels to go to the final door." - Drakan (11-Aug-2014)