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Shalebridge Murder Mystery by Richard Lawther

Adngel 8 8 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 10
Drakan 8 10 10 10
eTux 8 9 9 8
Feats 10 10 10 10
Gorty 10 10 10 10
izzynoodles 9 10 9 8
jackraider 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
John 8 10 9 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Jose 8 10 10 10
Josey 10 10 10 10
manarch2 10 10 10 10
Mezcal 10 10 10 10
MigMarado 10 10 10 10
Mman 8 10 10 10
Mytly 9 9 9 10
okuhtfesq 8 10 10 10
OverRaider 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
Rambo 10 10 10 9
requiemsoul 9 10 9 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 9 10 10 10
tuxraider 8 8 10 10
young Lara Croft 9 9 10 10
release date: 08-Jul-2015
# of downloads: 310

average rating: 9.65
review count: 28
review this level

file size: 152.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Mystery/Horror

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Amazing level, with a strong focus on hunting items, and surprisingly difficult.
  • I think this is the best and prettiest looking TRLE level set in a building ever. If you like the initial impression, you will like the rest.
  • The building is very large. It's split into multiple sub-levels stitched together at arbitrary points, probably for technical reasons.
  • Most of the gameplay is about finding items and accessing new areas in the building.
  • The items you need to find are often extremely well hidden. You will often wander around the building, asking yourself how to make progress. Some of the switches used are tiny, almost invisible buttons, sometimes placed in odd locations. There is no shame in checking the walkthrough if you're stuck.
  • There are two very difficult physical challenges: the attic (near the beginning) and the platforms in the crypt (far into the game). When I played this the first time, I almost gave up here. It's very tough on beginners. But most time, Lara just needs to run around. You don't have to worry that the rest of the game is like the attic. (Or the reverse: you might find the rest of the game uninteresting.)
  • There is some story: it's a murder mystery, and Lara has to find the culprit. The story is told bit by bit. You learn more about the characters as the game progresses. But it's not very expansive. Don't expect any long cut scenes or writings. It's not very serious either. In fact, there is a lot of British humor in this. It was more funny than dark.
  • Freedom of movement is severely restricted by policemen keeping watch. If they see Lara or if you kill them, the game just ends. You need to hide from them and find other ways to get around them. It was annoying, but maybe it makes making progress more rewarding.
  • Most of the story-related items you find are all used at once in a central place to receive an item (a crime investigation report) that can be used to end the game. This is significantly less elaborate than the somewhat similar "The Witch's Tea Party" by another builder.
  • There are some creative puzzles that are fun to play, which bring some variation into the gameplay.
  • Some custom objects are tricky to interact with. It took me a while to move that carpet for the first time. The "vehicle" may be tricky to control for beginners, but it's not too bad.
  • Trying to pick up the yellow secret may kill you in a delayed way. Don't save until you safely left the room.
Conclusion: definitely recommended, even if only to see the building. Set your expectations for an item hunt." - tuxraider (14-Jul-2023)
"I absolutely loved this unique adventure - full of quirks, humour and intriguing puzzles. It takes a moment to get the feel for the style of gameplay with it being a little outside the box in terms of Tomb Raider, but be patient and stick with it, it will be worth it. I must admit that I disliked the jumping sequence in the attic as I found it tricky, but then came the jumping sequence in the crypt! I appreciate jumping sequences, but the style of these suddenly ramped up the difficulty. I recommend this fun murder mystery, try it with an open mind as it can be mind boggling for those who are expecting classic Tomb Raider gameplay. Took me 4 and a half hours to play." - izzynoodles (01-Nov-2022)
"A real fun adventure to be had with this level! Its cleverly put together and beautiful to the eyes and ears. A little cryptic at times but its a murder mystery, what should I expect! Some pretty challenging sections at times but it doesn't detract from the enjoyment. Would highly recommend this to anyone who hasn't played it yet!" - Feats (20-Aug-2022)
"Exploring a gigantic mansion estate on a mission to solve a murder mystery inspired and featuring a lot of rooms and objects from one of my favorite board games growing up as a kid "cludeo" i thought i was onto a winner here and in a lot of ways i was because of the gorgeous visuals and lighting you to get to immerse yourself in and then the challenging, surprising and fun gameplay that is on offer here. The downsides for me was the constant running and backtracking through enormously long but stunning looking halls and corridors getting constantly lost and not knowing where to go next but part of that is my own fault after not noticing and reading the "hints guide" accompanied with the level files. I loved the comedy and cutscenes with the guards that block your path until you find a way to get past them and the experience with the magic carpet vehicle on the ceiling beams and rooms was just so original and so much fun as was a lot of the puzzles where you have to use both your brain and your quick fingers and reflexes, not to mention the great timed trap platforming challenges the level has to offer. The search and use of switches and objects are a big part of the level and are hidden and used very well like for example: finding the dart and then using it on a dart board in the billiard room! haha loved that! With so much effort and care put into all aspects here id say that despite the long running around sections that can get tiresome that this level is still just a must for anyone to try out" - John (28-Jul-2022)
"I love this level. It is, however, an awkward love. I feel like I love it because I must. It is an inevitability, despite there being something amiss.

The new "Hints" file is a very appropriate companion, to read after visiting somewhere new where you may (or certainly have) missed something. When you first visit a new area, you'll be drawn to the incredible visuals so much that you won't notice a small, maybe too realistically sized, new object or button on the corner.

There are layers of humor that are very Lawther-like. Silly, maybe absurd, but laugh out loud funny. Most characters you see, even the ever-present police officers, have something fresh and original to them. I think the awkwardness starts with the other characters, the ones that feel too flat. You're looking for the murderer, but the board-game Clue becomes more than the theme. It is inserted in the level as a foreign entity. You have the characters splashed on beautiful paintings on the wall, but you barely find anything about them (the cousins are much more interesting, I almost expected Mr. Small to be the killer). The Clue characters are of little importance to the level. Finding their game markers is optional (and sometimes very hard). They are hollow, so the mystery wanes, you're going through the motions. The fun is in the exploration! And then you backtrack painfully, repeatedly, for the chore of actually getting the murderer.

This is a marvelous level. Architecturally, it is probably the best level ever! The gameplay has novel mechanics and is fun, eerie and even funny sometimes. There are hard platforming bits and very clever puzzles. You are kept on your toes throughout. Did I start out with immensely high and unreasonable expectations? You bet! Most of them were met, because this is a level you must love. Hence the 10 average rating. Yet, my subjective, personal rating is 9/10.

Most people won't miss what I was missing: storyline depth; character development. Richard had given me so much of that before, that I expected those Clue characters to jump at Lara from the beautiful setting, yet I could barely remember them by the end. Even the motive fell flat for me.

This has been a hard review to write, because I feel it is somewhat negative in spite of this amazing level. It is a break-up. I love this level, it is just not the love of my life. And even for this I have to thank the amazing talent of Mr. Lawther, to whom I did no favors here. Congratulations for giving me a level that I'll surely have a fling with again, and maybe even change my mind about :)" - MigMarado (05-Oct-2021)
"As I expected from the author, this level set features tons of highly unique gameplay that you cannot find in any other custom level. The game offers you numerous puzzles that involve usually custom objects and unseen ways of interacting with the environment. The mansion looks also visually marvelous and I liked very much how author used custom objects to create lots of details to the level. The only thing that I didn’t like that much, was the amount of backtracking that you may need to do if you miss an item that you are supposed to collect. Because the mansion is quite huge, you might spend plenty of time running around and trying to figure out what you have missed. Excluding this, I think that this level set is one of the most creative and technically remarkable custom levels that has been built during the history of custom TR levels. I guess it’s quite obvious, but I recommend this game very highly for everyone who hasn’t played it yet." - Samu (15-Sep-2020)
"Difficult level, it took me several hours to complete it. It was curious and it has its pros, but also many frustrations that made me pull from guides because there were not other way. Atmosphere was outstanding, a lot of modeled meshes, make beautiful and stylish rooms, also there are many cameras for the police actions and voices. Not a lot of musics (just the changing background) but it's a slow pace level so they are not missed. This level hasn't got proper enemies (it's a level of puzzles and stealth) so theres not point in review enemies. The puzzles object were interesting and suitable, there are also a lot of cunning puzzles in the level. However some objects are extremely hidden or hard to stand out, about secrets, some were fine, others were unfair, (type of hidden invisible under a texture or inside of a random level prop). About Gameplay, understanding this is a puzzle level, I think it made its purpose quite well, what I lamented was the huge area (a hub made of several levels) and the extremes backtracking that it causes), as well as some unavoidable sneak failures (you only see some cops after activate the wrong trigger, so I had to go saving and moving by try and error :( ) But generally, the level was interesting and its goals were clear and provided me enough motivation to complete it." - Adngel (10-Jul-2020)
"This is set in a huge mansion type-structure, and, while only interiors, is one the strongest takes on the theme I've seen. While the overall design is a little corridor heavy the vast majority have lavish amounts of detail and creative effects, there's also Richard Lawther's trademark great object use, which continues to be as good as usual here. While the mansion theme is the basis, there's quite a bit of variety, with the central rooms, the more sparse kitchen areas, and a large church and linked crypt. There's little details everywhere to create an entire structure with a history and people who lived in it, and very few have done this theme on-par or better.
Given the release before this one was a bit of a breather this is not a set to be taken lightly; it's length is up with the later UUB sections, and, while the gameplay is nontraditional, it's different style is quite challenging. There's almost no combat (and what there is is more of a puzzle) and the main idea underpinning everything is that this is a stealth mission; unfortunately the execution is heavily trial and error with multiple things you can't really see coming until you lose and try again, so, with a few exceptions, it ends up just coming down to working out which tiles are an insta-lose. Once you know where guards are they're not too disruptive to the other tasks though. The layout is semi-linear to start with, but as you unravel the design it becomes very complex to work out where things are, however, there's a lot of alternative routes and shortcuts that make it not take too long to get to specific parts, as long as you remember them in the first place. There's also a lot of the atypical puzzles Lawther's levels tend to have (along with a nice secret hunt concept), and this carries through with them despite being a more grounded setting than earlier releases. While designed in a way that leads to occasional frustration, this is epic in structure and execution, and no-one else would really make anything like this." - Mman (09-Jul-2019)
"Really hard sometimes but very good." - jackraider (27-Mar-2019)
"I finished that level by helping me with the walkthrough because I do not think it is possible to find all the secrets without this one(Or else spend hours and hours). There are microscopic buttons (sometimes placed on the floor or ceiling) and you can spend dozens of times before without seeing them. There are so many small objects on tables that I had forgotten to take the candlestick, and got to the printer I had to go back to find him. It is a huge level that the 1st time is very labyrinthine. It could have been called "run Lara, run .." because Lara is sparing no efforts to find the murderer. She has traveled 13600 meters. Without the solution I think Lara would do a marathon. That said, it is a magnificent level with beautiful textures and lighting is perfect. There are some humorous notes, but unfortunately my reception of English is too elementary to understand. The puzzles are quite simple to find, even without the walkthrough. Very nice and beautiful adventure that hunting to the murderer. Congratulations." - Drakan (19-Nov-2018)
"Once in a while I pick up a hall of fame level enjoy the masterpieces. This game is no exception. I really liked every aspect of this level. The gameplay is very good and very non-classic, which is a great point. It’s so refreshing to play something that jumps out of the crowd. The gameplay involves exploring, puzzles and jump tasks in a very good balance. It’s necessary to play the game with eyes wide open or many things can get easily unnoticed. Some minor negativities around the gameplay could be the backtracking, occasionally difficulty and the cryptic parts, but it’s a murder mystery, so it has to be that way. There were also some very nice triggered events, like the bear cutscenes and guard scenes, what really adds something special about the whole game. The best part of the game is definitely the overall design and architecture. One word, just incredible. The object use and placement must be the best in history of TRLE. That could be a new level for comparison in my future reviews. The light could be on some parts maybe just a little bit better, but I’m not sure, it did fit in really well. Some rooms did look a bit blank ( mostly the wooden roof parts ). Texturing was, in one word, flawless. Nothing more to say. Overall, an incredibly piece of art. Great combination of gameplay, design, story and architecture. A must play. Highly recommended !" - Gorty (08-Nov-2017)
"I came to this level so late that I see that the usual astute reviewers, in their accolades, have already addressed all the majestic wonder of yet another masterpiece from Dick. So my review here, besides my top marks, will only point out one or two items I think encompass both the macro and micro genius of this work. (One is such an all-revealing small hidden gem that it can define the creative power of this level builder.) First and foremost, once again, Dick has given us a world in what at first appears to be a claustrophobic space in Shalebridge Manor. But in fact, this world eventually becomes a massive environment in which I found so much interesting detail. It just continues to opens up around me with such interesting detail that it made the idea of transforming the Clue board game elements into one lively and gloriously exciting adventure. I believe there is reason why the accompanying map of the manor is so vague. And that, to me, is what makes this murder mystery so compelling. In addition to this massive world he has us wandering there are scattered all around smaller wonders that just rock my experience in getting to enjoy this madcap level builder’s unique gifts. By paying close attention to these small details, I enjoy Dick’s ability to subtly hide genius clues to define his world. My favorite example is when Lara encounters that closeted soldier boy, and she then discovers the major key to all that is truly rotten, empty, corrupt and syphilitic inside the heart of Shalebridge Manor. While this pretend little soldier boy has no name, (let’s call him Batman Dundreary), I noted how he struts and blusters his play-act routine in Lara’s company which reveals who he really is. Exactly that nose- picking type of jolly boy who has neither the courage nor the integrity to have lived an authentic life, never having served in combat, never having lived and loved amongst diverse cultures, never outgrown his provincial delusions, he stays existentially locked-into a dead-end imperial past, still enthralled with prissy class distinctions. And Richard accurately depicts this fellow infecting Shalebridge with his virus, compensating for his emptiness, by having him bleating and braying almost unintelligible and disparaging grunts at her to make her think he is truly a superior being as if Lara was nothing more than a one- trick pony. All the while, Batman Dundreary plays dress up and make up. Sadly, his act reveals his own particularly weak-kneed reality. A poseur, who spends his life holed up in closets, putting on the borrowed uniforms he is only able to fashion on top of the core creations he has taken from the more inventive minds he imagines himself to be. So Dundreary dresses up the work of others with his own sweetly designed and pretty decoration medals, engaging in misanthropically pathetic put-downs, juvenilia fart gags, etc, which, in his deluded childishness, he pretends to himself that he actually has the right stuff. Egad Man! Harruummp! Rather! I say old chap, Batman Dundreary is not top drawer! No, no, not even middle drawer! Watch closely when Lara bumps into him deep in the bowels of Shalebridge, as she encounters a lost soul who can only lash out with childish fits of pique, catty snarls and crabby nastiness! And for a short time, she does have to pay price for having dabbled in his presence. However, recognizing Batman for the punk he really is, with a charming backwards flip of her hand, she leaves him with an appropriate, Adios Pendejo! Onto all the wonderfully entertaining twisting, ingeniously crafted, hallways she goes, searching, searching, searching for the clues ever careful not to alert the coppers. This had the incredible effect on me to reprise that wonderful old feeling I had had many years ago with the original Wolfenstein of pushing limitless walls. What incredible joy! And, I know it’s not fair for me to wish to invest Goldilocks with Demon Smalls’ persona, but I actually came to see her for the helpful guiding paws she leaves by watching you, and kind of enjoyed her all the same. I believe that the amazing way Richard was able to tie-in those small hidden buttons that are required to progress in the adventure perfectly replicated the mechanics of the Clue board game itself. While our clues are not exactly derivative as letting one actually deduce the murder mystery, we nevertheless get the same enjoyment of the original game by discovering these exciting moments of continual confusion. Wow! What a joy to find all the elements to the push puzzle, and to search all those coffins! Sure,Lara has to work at this, but the manor is so majestically designed, that I never wanted it to end. We can’t get this high level of creative genius very often, but when Dick does his magic, it just sweeps us off our feet. Thanks for everything, you are indeed the King!" - Mezcal (03-Oct-2017)
"I knew practically nothing about the boardgame that this level is based on before I started playing it, so I approached it like any other level. It's a very unique level even without the boardgame aspect, but then again, 'unique' is a word that's always applicable to all of Richard Lawther's games!
The entire level is set in Ambrose Black's palatial house. The gameplay in the main areas of the house is mostly a very extended fetch quest, though there are some good puzzles as well, such as the three very enjoyable (though optional) puzzles for the data stick, a cute puzzle involving three planets, and a nice pushable puzzle where you can stop pushing only on certain safe tiles. The most creative gameplay is in the crypt area, which features a cool rolling-skull-and-ramp sequence, jumping on moving platforms, a timed run involving killing a wraith with holy water, and many other interesting puzzles. The only thing I disliked about the crypt is its maze-like layout with numerous identical corridors. There is a nice jumping challenge in the attic; but otherwise that area is rather underused.
I like when levels are a challenge for my brains and my fingers; I don't like when levels are a challenge for my vision (which is poor enough already!). The enormous number of minuscule switches and items that blend into the background in this level is enough drive anyone batty. I kept referring to the walkthrough regularly, and even then I missed a number of items and switches, and had to backtrack for them. I was irretrievably stuck in the library, because I did things in a sequence that the builder apparently did not anticipate and because I failed to notice a tiny switch near the ground that would open up a shortcut; so I had to reload an earlier savegame and redo a large chunk of the level.
The best part about this level is when the builder allows his own unique sense of humour to shine through the rather rigid formula that he has imposed on himself. For example, Goldie the bear really steals the show - among other things. (IMO, the IQ chart near her cage really sells her short - she's much smarter than the average human, considering that she's the one who figures out the motive behind the murder and leaves clues for Lara to learn the same.) The cousins' portraits are hilarious. The flying carpet is both funny and awesome - I wish Lara could have used it to get all around the vast house. The lab, where you can perform a forensic analysis on the murder weapons, is very cool, as is the 'Psychic Traumacmeter' that identifies the item that 'witnessed' the murder.
The interior of the house is stunning. I especially like the number of different paintings that are used as decoration (Ambrose was clearly an art lover, as well as an artist himself). There are several simply gorgeous rooms, such as the main hall, the ballroom, the church, the main corridor leading off the hall with its lovely painted ceiling, and many more. But after a while, even the beauty of the house feels a little boring, as everything looks nearly the same. The lack of any glimpse of the outside world makes the place feel claustrophobic, despite its huge size. The vast distances and the almost inhuman scale of the whole house also get really tiring after a while. At one point, I began to wonder whether Ambrose had really been murdered at all, or whether he had simply dropped dead of exhaustion trying to get around in his humongous home!
Overall: A very unique level in a spectacularly beautiful setting, but make sure to have the walkthrough handy, or else you'll be constantly confused and frustrated. Highly recommended." - Mytly (07-Apr-2016)
"This adventure was intriguing. The mansion looks beautiful with great puzzles to boot. You have to be extra careful to avoid the policemen on patrol. Play it now and unravel the mystery." - Ryan (21-Feb-2016)
"The master strikes again by bringing this masterpiece to us to have a pleasure to play, or rather a pleasure to experience. It`s definitely different by the comparison to other custom levels and that in most aspects and while it is rather risky implementing different stuff, because 'new' doesn`t always mean 'good', but if it is well thought out then new ideas are always welcome. I am not talking about new puzzles or new tasks as those HAVE TO be always fresh and different in every new custom level released, but I am talking about the concept, the whole level design, and to be honest I didn`t even know what was the cluedo game about before. Speaking about concept this is also a good example where the background ambience sounds perfectly fitted even if they are mostly the kind I don`t prefer, the kind of instrumental sounds instead of real-sound effects. It just suited perfectly. Even if I imagined The Crypt level differently but again why should all crypt levels look alike?... This game is also a great inspiration for other builders and I only hope that there will be more levels of this kind in future... Now don`t waste your time reading reviews, download this game and go solve the murder mystery in Shalebridge manor... My statistics: playtime 2:40, secrets 10/10, medipacks used 0. 10/10/10/10" - OverRaider (24-Nov-2015)
"Praises by reviewers that have propelled the level to the number 1 spot, an unusual concept, and an author whose inspiration has been a reliable source of enjoyment in the past seemed like they should've been just right combination to lure me out from my withdrawal to lurker status, as induced by the dull duties of everyday adult life, and the pickier approach to what levels I will even consider to play resulting from it. It seems to have worked, and the game delivers what it promises, the 3 hours of play time managing to astound, entertain, and induce a chuckle or two at the author's trademark jokes and amusing gameplay approaches. Yet despite this, I would call it a success with some caveats. Visually, it is the most conventional, yet most polished work I recall Richard ever making. The various settings are pleasing to the eye throughout its vast, intricate, labyrinthine passages, and the beauty of the settings is subtle and almost understated, departing for a more functional approach only when descending into the crypts. I would've liked the lighting to be just slightly more interesting and daring in colour (the tonality, as mentioned, is subtle and doesn't draw attention to any elements in particular, but the lighting overall feels a bit like 'fifty shades of grey' if you'll pardon the horrible pun), and the vast manor setting, while wonderfully executed, felt needlessly big with its vast expanses of open space, making you wonder what possibly for could the unfortunate deceased have needed so much space-time to call his own? This would've been half as bad if the settings sometimes would not have gotten in the way of your gameplay progress - where you explore the vast rooms and hallways to the best of your skill and conscience, only to learn that what you should've been looking for is a switch or an item concealed a little too successfully in an obscure nook or cranny of the city-state sized premises. Considering this, the flow of the game is not nearly as confusing as it could've been, but given the gameplay content to utilized space ratio (is that even a thing?), it still felt like a lot to ask from the player. As for the tasks overall - already from the get-go you learn that it is not necessarily very conventional raiding - the concept being based on a murder-mystery- solving board game. The untouchable and un-killable police work more as obstacles rather than enemies in the more common sense, and the overall gameplay is essentially a fetch quest placed in an interesting context. However, for all my skepticism, it works surprisingly well and, if anything, is spoiled only by the vast expanses of territory you have inevitably back- track if you happen to miss out on a crucial item or two of the plethora you have to gather (even if excluding the 10 secrets). Despite the successful implementation of the concept, gameplay-wise I found the more 'traditional' (as in 'Richard Lawther'-traditional) sections in the crypts and the data-stick quests to be the intellectually more stimulating ones - and, while it would've been interesting to somehow involve the actual suspects in the story, if only as passive characters minding their own business, let alone the more interesting possibilities of them trying to thwart Lara's investigation, nothing quite compares to the humorous touches as you unleash the pet bear on the police and the subsequent shenanigans she gets into, and clues she leaves behind on Lara's quest to clear her name and find the true villain, murder weapon and location, or be accused of being the culprit herself. Not entirely unproblematic for the extra picky like yours truly, but an excellent game all the same, well worth to persevere in." - eTux (15-Nov-2015)
"I'm sorry but I can't give a top score in the gameplay section. I loved the ingenious and very original puzzles, and I've enjoyed them very much, but the excessive backtracking was not very funny for me 'cause it's easy you miss an item you don't know you can pick it up, it's easy to miss a receptacle you don't know you can use, it's easy to miss one of those tiny buttons dissembled between the furniture...The remaining features are simply extraordinary: amazing objets and decoration with all kind of details, marvellous environments, impressive lighting and texturization... something I've never seen in a custom level. Only for this evrybody should take a try playing this impressive adventure. For all those who haven't much patiente, there's always the option to follow the walkthrough." - Jose (27-Oct-2015)
"Gameplay & Puzzles: This is an absolutely great level with everything the heart of a player needs. Puzzles, exploration and enough other things in abundance and a great storyline on top. Perfect. I didn't mind a bit confusion and I thought that only added to the experience. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The next perfect category. Enemies are not killable mostly but the police officers are a different challenge. The objects are outstanding with so many novelties and there's nothing more to say about the secrets, very good. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: My words are boring but this is also perfect with wonderful areas, uncritisizable sounds and cameras and a great atmosphere as a result. Lighting & Textures: Perhaps close to a perfect rating but this is the only category where I didn't like everything, the textures in some rooms and the lighting could be sometimes better. Still they are very, very good in almost every case. Total: 9,75/10, a game that nearly reaches perfection." - Rambo (22-Aug-2015)
"Shalebridge Murder Mystery is a truly marvelous level that is a shoe-in for the Hall of Fame. This level's highlights are definitely the immaculate visuals and the sheer originality of the concept. Other reviewers have already covered the last three categories quite well, so I will simply say that they are nearly perfect and focus on the gameplay.
The gameplay is completely unique, being based on the board game Clue. This theme, surprisingly, works quite well as a Tomb Raider level and Richard Lawther has incorporated it brilliantly with more traditional Tomb Raider elements. This level is great fun and I just couldn't stop playing it once I started! Sneaking past the guards is extremely satisfying, and of course, getting caught isn't so bad either due to the many funny lines they say. The mansion as a whole is brilliantly laid out, and it is fascinating to see how it unfolds little by little as more areas open up. Many times I found myself marveling at how new areas connected to previous areas I had seen earlier but could not access at the time. That being said, there are some aspects of the gameplay that I feel are lacking. The biggest issue is that the level suffers from a moderate case of "needle in a haystack" syndrome, where Lara must explore every nook and cranny to find well hidden items and tiny buttons. If Lara misses an item, and chances are that she will at least once since they are so fiendishly hidden, there is not any way to know and it is easy to end up at dead ends down the line. When this happens, the mansion is so huge that backtracking becomes a nightmare, especially due to the many maze-like diverging paths. At the very least, the builder is generous in opening up shortcuts to previous areas to reduce the backtracking a little bit. It also can feel rather directionless at times, particularly at the beginning (I found it quite difficult to get started). Be sure to keep the walkthrough handy! Although the crypt has some wonderful puzzles in it as well, I found it to basically be a maze where every hallway looks the same and it is extremely difficult to keep a sense of direction.
Despite any gameplay flaws, Shalebridge Murder Mystery is sure to entertain and amaze any raider. 3 hours, 10/10 secrets. 8/10/10/10" - okuhtfesq (15-Aug-2015)
"A work of genius- possibly! This massive level is a monster, be warned! I was utterly impressed by the shear scale of this grandous building, from the immensity of the rooms all the way to the programming ( placement of items and enemies). Heavely inspired by the Cluedo game, this level is a beautiful rendition of the murder mystery game. I would split my review into two categories . The Cons- 1 I was bothered by the scale of the rooms at times - it felt a bit exagerated despite the action taking place into an estate. 2 The map provided in the folder didn't help that much, and I felt explotation became hectic. 3 Some of the secrets were very well hidden ( game guide became very useful!) Pros - 1 The characters- Goldie was the highlight. The beautiful furnishings and well designed rooms like the ballroom or the church. 3 The sense of mystery- despite it being prolongued by the gameplay , the anticipation was there ! Hall of Fame material for sure- Highly recommend!" - young Lara Croft (13-Aug-2015)
"Despite my known proclivity for doling out high scores, it's not often these days that I award 10s across the board to two levels in the same week. I feel compelled, however, to follow up my review for Aqua Sanctuary with similar superlatives for Richard's latest release. He has been at or near the top of our builder ranks ever since CPU Crash, and there's nothing about Shalebridge to tarnish his stellar reputation. The surroundings here have been crafted with even greater care than was the case with Aqua, and with the more modern tools to give them additional clarity the visual effect is nothing less than stunning. Your task is to negotiate an immense, sprawling residence with attached worship area in search of clues that enable you to solve a classic whodunit, while avoiding the law enforcement officers that are posted in some very inconvenient spots throughout the place. The tasks are far more cerebral than they were in Aqua, and because of my limited cognitive powers I relied on Dutchy's walkthrough to tell me what it was I needed to do along the way so I could spend more of my time soaking in the gorgeous surroundings. Some of the highlights I can recall are the jumping exercises required to reach the attic, the various ruses to distract the gendarmes, that spectacular church sanctuary, the magic carpet ride, the platform room with the fire traps, and the mad dash to the holy water to douse a fire wraith. Even with the walkthrough doing all my thinking for me I required just a little less than three hours to complete the level. My only complaint would be the obscure placement of those barely visible buttons, which I felt was a bit unfair, but that's a minor quibble. In sum, another triumph from a master builder, destined for an early spot in the Hall of Fame." - Phil (12-Aug-2015)
"Here is where talent meets creativity, originality, technical ability, good taste and sense of humour. Of course! It's a Lawther game, wow! Gameplay and puzzles are mightily creative, original and entertaining, the same goes for objects, and I liked in special the magic carpet and one of the secrets, the data stick one. I found the cathedral's labyrinth, and the jumps in the room of the scalding floor, a bit irritating; but the cathedral itself is of a breathtaking beauty (those lights!). I also became lost in those spacious and numerous places, needed many times the walkthrough to orient Lara, but I loved the mystery storyline. The very small and well hidden buttons were also nasty, and I missed some camera hints to show what was accomplished by certain actions, but all of these was superated by the extreme beauty and novelty of the game. As to sense of humour... that crazy bear being chased by policemen was a real laugh, how cute, and I loved the cousins' portaits - specially the Cousin Smalls' one. These displays of humour were expected, of course; do you remember the final movies of Heath Robinson Solutions?? All that trouble to cook an egg! I'll never forget this. And what about that game where Lara, at the end, is in a train with Demon Smalls and he makes a long, long speach full of woe, at the end of which she only says "whatever"? Yes, Lawther's sense of humour is seldom matched... if we exclude Lara dancing with vampires... a Clara's accomplishment. Sincere congratulations and many thanks!" - Josey (24-Jul-2015)
"Richard Lawther is a genius. The puzzles are amazing and my favorite section is the Crypt . Exploration is intricate and I missed some "hint-camera". The police officers sometimes were a bit annoying. Visually , really great . Big Thumbs up!!. I cannot wait to play his next project, please :)" - requiemsoul (22-Jul-2015)
"The author gives us, early on, a picture of Shalebridge in the picture/puzzle room that begins to give Raiders an idea of the vastness of the mansion and the intricacies of what we are about to explore and it does not disappoint. I needed not only crumbs but different colored crumbs to lead me back to where I needed to go. This is not a negative but only an indication of spaces/areas that needed to be explored and a need for a good, very good's that vast. Dick's skill is seen everywhere: the beauty of light coming through Stained Glass windows; shinning reflective floors; atmosphere; music that does not intrude but complements and the artistry and proficiency of cut scenes. All that and special touches: the Agatha Christie book, wonderful, helpful Goldie, the note on Wraiths and how to dispose of them and, of course, a flying carpet because we know there has to be a special vehicle especially designed. The only negative (no deterrent to play) was the persistent "knocking" sounds heard throughout almost all areas and the inability to search estate grounds and if we have expansion packs, we may be able to do so in the future......"Please Sir, may I (we) have more??? To say this level is brilliant is not an over-statement, it is simply true. Almost forgot to mention: the "Perp" walk with Lara's crossed arms and is Goldie waving 'bye 'bye? Perfect! As is the last painting of Shalebridge as seen in the Staff Office reminding us of all we have seen and may see again." - Bene (19-Jul-2015)
"A Richard Lawther game. Is there more to say? Utter brilliance from start to finish and a feast for every taste. From the creativity of the puzzles where the builder has really outsmarted himself once more over the (almost expectable) hilarious cutscenes, novel object design to a perfect exploration in beautiful and highly atmospheric surroundings, there is really barely anything that can't be admired in this game. A truly wonderful game and since even only two reviews before mine have said it all, I'll only add that I fully agree to them and cannot give this level less than top marks. Admittedly I had some slight reservations towards it, since maybe a bit too much of the game is based around the secrets and a puzzle or so more could've been nicer than the search for another of those small switches, also the texturing in the attic parts is a bit monotonous, but in the greater context those were too small details for me to reduce any points in this fantastic work. Details of it would spoil your experience, so just believe me that it's a game you simply have to play directly if you haven't already. 1:50 hours, 10 secrets." - manarch2 (18-Jul-2015)
"The mansion's scenery is not only huge but beautifully grandiose, the idea is quite original, there's humour and there's a plot, plus a couple of very well done action scenes, one of which includes an army of much dreaded hornets that make it basically impossible to think for a while. It's also rather complicated and I don't see how it may take two hours to complete unless one has the walkthrough in hand. Otherwise, the game soon becomes a succession of getting caught by police officers on almost every corner and perhaps not finding all the evidence and missing unequivocally important small buttons along the way. Still, this game does take the level editor to new heights in more than one way... Having said that, the reason why I'm giving the game a 9 in gameplay is because as much as I may be inclined to giving it a 10, I fear it may be nearly impossible to do all things needed in the right order without a few tips. It's precisely the same reason why I would have given the latest instalment of Broken Sword (professional) much less in gameplay and why I paid for that game and never played it till the end. All in all, this is a moral perfect 10 and I can only hope Richard will be able and willing to surprise us all again in the future with masterpieces not every builder knows how to craft." - Jorge22 (18-Jul-2015)
"Yes I couldn't resist and I finally played this game, and you should as well. But do it in a single session so you don't lose track on anything, for it's very complicated - huge, detailed hallways (which barely lag!), themed rooms linked with twisted corridors filled with artifacts giving the whole thing a museum look, and a lot of discovery make it clear the manor from Mists of Avalon has just found its augmented, expanded, magnified successor. This is even better when we can be absolutely sure the builders were working totally independently yet still matched each other in style and quality. Construction of these two is greatly comparable - both have a research centre, a music room, a swimming pool and a crypt. What lacks here is a garden, but what is added is a whole attic section and an expert puzzle zone. But Richard's story doesn't follow deeper under ground, focusing just on the premises and analyzing their mysteries piece by piece, so we get probably the most consistent manor levelset ever constructed. But Dick wouldn't be Dick if, in all the logic, he didn't wrap some hilarious design. I especially admire the over-the-top serious policemen voice acting (I died many times only to experience all the variants of the game coming to a HALT! or DROP YOUR WEAPON!), and the Expert Puzzler preparation cutscene). With the latter, the whole animal element is worth mentioning: bees on the attic, bears in the basement (a beehive picture suggests the meal included honey) and the moths in the crypt all seem derived from a Grimm tale where each creature has its special personality and makes our human selves feel dumber than theirs (here especially related to the cops). Now I don't want to sound like one of them, but let's just murder the illusion of a totally praising review - I'm ready to do so, for I now understood the real motive. It wasn't revege. It was these smalls-sized buttons scattered everywhere around the manor, and the two moveable sarlid among numerous static ones filling the crypt. They are all pretty, they fit, and of course whenever a new room unlocks, one should assume there's something inside - but still, sometimes I couldn't find the thing despite running through the place several times, and since the whole previously explored area is always accessible, too often I fell into doubt and went looking somewhere else. This way not skipping anything is close to impossible and after running for 40 kilometers I wanted to approach a police officer just to ask him for a glass of water (results would be predictable). But whenever I had enough, the only render of Atlantis soundtrack I found relaxing instead of alarming calmed me down and brought to focus again. And really, how could one better design interactivity in a progressively unlocked manor? Some would say "close a door behind Lara" - but it's not an old temple with cog mechanisms and pressure pads, is it? In the end every button can be found, always rewarding even after a relatively long time of being stuck, and the difference between a switch and its non-interactive background is enough for Richard not to ever fall off the tightrope suspended between the fairness above and the unfairness below... though one particular secret really made me grab Mrs White's frying pan. Such things are usually politely referred to as "cleverly hidden", but it matters what follows - a single pickup may turn the gameplay from serious, logical thinking into random Action pressing at every suspected item, and it happened here, to never completely let me go till the very end. Fortunately it's the only instance of such design, but in fact if you don't find it you will be less troubled than if you do. As for me, there were more minor secret items which were harder to find than major ones, and as a result I cleared the whole expert challenge but still missed two intermediate pickups. Either because of this, or because of some never solved mysteries (empty pedestal, always-closed doors, a phantom medikit and few more), I felt some inaccomplishment - I finished still not having enough of crime investigation. This may be good because other mystery custom levels await so the next I play will probably be I Know What You Did..., but also bad because this vast manor, despite of the whole detail, feels like it could hide something more. I dreamt about hearing that piano in the ballroom (I know silence is key to this game, but with magical elements included, some wraith could have pressed the keys only Lara could hear). Same for clarinet, viola and vibraphone - I tried them all but got no sound (like routing a DAW for the first time). I wished that guard next to the door with a polerope nearby is gone, so a major shortcut is unlocked, what never happened. There were chemicals in the lab we could never use. Nothing in the church actually happens except getting a (spoiler-censored BEEP) from a BEEP which don't belong together. We never get to the upper section to walk the surrounding balcony risking certain death from the above, or to see a rosette closeup - what would be a perfect place for another major secret, and I rather looked for these in such places. Still, what we CAN see and do in this place is outstanding and left many great memories, so I don't regret a single minute of this game, maybe except these when my level of intelligence dropped below Goldie's. This might be an additional clue given by the author to warn us losing attention while playing can be unbearable. SUMMARY: Get a totally free night, play the game and enjoy. I need to go, somebody stole my police hat and the pawn traces lead towards the lounge." - DJ Full (17-Jul-2015)
"An excellent idea, perfectly executed. I was privileged to be a beta tester and get an early look at this intriguing set up, all the more interesting to me as I'd never actually played Cluedo. The mansion is huge, but there are some helpful floor plans included. Exploring will certainly take you a long time, but there are such interesting things to accomplish along the way and such beautiful areas to explore that you should find it a pleasure. Frankly, it's worth it for the church area alone - I don't think I've ever seen a better bit of building. The way the light from the stained glass windows plays across the floor and stone columns is lyrical. The gameplay, as you might expect from this builder, is puzzle heavy, which I love, and there are some clever and occasionally quite tricky tasks, plus one of his trademark amazing vehicles to ride. Agility tests are included - great fun, without being too challenging - to provide variety between the more cerebral aspects of the gameplay. Trying to evade or outwit the police contingent in the mansion adds a definite frisson to events and, as ever, there's some quirky humour going on. 'Goldie' in his purloined police cap can hardly fail to raise a smile and don't neglect to have a good look at the family portrait gallery, noting a shout out to earlier games. The secrets are novel and if you find the ones represented by the Cluedo characters you will get a hint for another secret that I personally would never have found unaided. Superb." - Jay (11-Jul-2015)