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BtB2015 - Sanctuary of Chaos by Joel

Adrian 10 9 8 7
DJ Full 8 8 8 8
Drakan 10 9 9 8
eRIC 7 8 8 8
janachorider 8 8 9 9
Jay 9 8 9 8
Jose 8 8 8 8
Josey 10 9 9 7
Magnus 4 5 4 5
manarch2 9 8 8 8
MichaelP 9 8 9 8
Mman 8 9 8 8
Mytly 9 8 8 8
Phil 5 8 4 4
Relic Hunter 9 9 9 9
requiemsoul 9 8 8 7
Ryan 7 9 9 8
Tolle87 8 8 8 7
Treeble 9 10 10 10
release date: 11-Oct-2015
# of downloads: 157

average rating: 8.04
review count: 19
review this level

file size: 92.10 MB
file type: TR4
class: Rome/Greece

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Some parts of this long level are really too dark (especially in the end) and the section with the hammers and ropes a bit difficult, but i did enjoyed some other parts, like all the beginning and the whole section with the lake and the 3 symbols. The builder has some good ideas and the level is well made, but often you are never too sure of what you are doing , as things can be hidden and ways to proceed can be obscure." - eRIC (04-Dec-2023)
"Even if it's only for the very big effort the author did to build this large level, the ratings should never be very low. I was one of the betatesters, in that age, and I recognize all the hard work the author suffered to release a level very very higher than its debut. Congratulations for that enormous effort. I take my hat. Another thing could be that some players were stunned with all that numerous tasks and, sometimes, not very clear the way to advance. I recognize that there are some "obscure" points, like the extreme darkness in many rooms or the very tricky tasks in the "hell" room with all those hammers; for me was very annoying the atmosphere there. But there are also some interesting puzzles, the textures are well worked and the timed runs were not so tight for me. Certainly a level which will take you several hours, but take a try 'cause perhaps could be interesting for you. Good work, Joel." - Jose (16-Oct-2017)
"The visuals here are a little inconsistent as there's some great looking parts and also some cubic and overly dark and flatly lit segments; it feels like there was a bit of a learning process going on throughout the design of this, given the later parts are generally more consistent. There's also some really clever object uses (it actually manages to incorporate how still the humans look into the plot) too. The texturing stays consistently decent (with a couple of pretty creative uses) but the lighting gets better as it goes and the later parts have some nice use of lights.
This is a very long level and the difficulty level is pretty high. It starts off linear but the second half is mostly open. Most of the tasks aren't too vague but it's the kind of level where there's so much going on it's easy to miss something. There are some great individual sequences like a lava room with a bunch of hammers to activate, and, at it's best, it has some of my favourite gameplay in the set. While there's nothing too tedious the length does mean there's some lesser parts though, along with the complexity that means a look at the walkthrough is probably inevitable at some point. This one is let down by it's weaker parts (and some more focus could have probably been put on the better and more interesting sections with the weaker parts cut down a little), but it also has some of my favourite moments so far so it ends up being one of the upper-tier BTB 2016 maps of what I've played so far." - Mman (30-Mar-2016)
"Phew, I am wiped out after that. This adventure takes no prisoners. Starting out rather placidly in a beach, then into a hell place. The reason I downrated gameplay was because some tasks were a little too tricky occasionally. Definitely for experienced raiders." - Ryan (04-Mar-2016)
"A level that is actually better and more complex than I thought after first few minutes.It starts in a not very convincing area with small lake, surrounded by rocks and waterfalls.First nearby puzzle includes symbols and movable objects, with nice touch of collapsed rocks covering part of the clue - A promising start when it comes to that segment of gameplay and fortunately it's kept throughout the level.After completing that area, which required mostly physical tasks with jumping and climbing, you continue through some very dark caves filled with pits and climbable walls.Darkness is not a big deal by default, but the problem is that it occurs in already disorienting rooms.Navigation through this area can be very painful due to limited visibility and awkward geometry in certain spots.Finally, you reach the hub area containing four areas in search for snake goddesses.The areas themselves are shining with good gameplay ideas.There is a lake area containing some acrobatics with torch (with a big's really about time that world finds out about Dutchy's "dirty" torch- throwing trick), some more rock-climbing and some levers that manipulate the area.Next, we have huge lava room that is very complex but also very satisfactory.It's design is brilliant just like the usage of items, especially hammers, in there.If it was one-room challenge level, it would be a masterpiece!It's hard to describe it, you just have to see it.Two remaining areas are mostly puzzle based, one being big half-flooded room with mirrors and scales while the other is a wine cellar with some advanced engineering.So, it all sounds great but there is one major flaw in whole story - the items placement.I haven't read other interviews but I'm sure I'm not the first one who says that it's really as the title says - a chaos.The biggest issue is that the four separate areas are not actually fully separated.You need items from one area in order to complete the other.Fortunately, the order you enter them is predetermined so at least there is no randomness about where you have to go first, but it's very likely that you will miss some crucial item in one area and you will find yourself stuck in the other while having whole map to explore and revisiting placed that were supposed to be done with long ago.Additionally, there are many traps and (very tight) timed runes that you have to repeat every time in order to reach certain places again.Golden rule - never make players repeat tedious tasks and timed runs, especially when it's expected they will wander back and forth across the map.Basically, that's how I ended up with an 8 for gameplay - I really enjoy all the great tasks themselves, but constant aimless backtracking and re-doing things between them is really frustrating.After you finally place all those numerous items in their spots, everything changes around you and turns into some kind of a limbo with floating platforms, monsters and some poor people trapped inside.Great conclusion to the whole chaos-storyline, although I have to admit that I was expecting some more concrete boss.Sure, there is a medusa but it doesn't attack you at all, it's just sitting and spectating from the side and you kill it by simple lever pulling.Overall looks of the level could have been better with more texture&lighting variety and some more objects.Many rooms look monotonous with one or two textures and a lot of empty space.I can't say it looks bad, but there are no places that will make you take a break and enjoy the view.Enemies are well balanced.There are many of them but you are provided with more than enough weapons, ammo and medipacks.For the end, if you really want to enjoy this level, my advise is to use the walkthrough just for navigation between rooms, so you can avoid trying to solve something unsolvable at the moment because you still don't have everything you need.Do I recommend this level?Absolutely!But it can be frustrating as hell." - Tolle87 (29-Jan-2016)
"A game very solid in terms of structure and plot, however a bit chaotic in pickup placement, for instance you have a lyre in the cave, a hades eye in a totally skippable location and the length of yarn on the opposite ledge while you are focused on everything but these places. Instead I would locate these items so they would allow visiting the elemental chamber in totally free order, while the temple only offers semi-linearity instead. Secrets feel out of place as well, only one of them would have a chance to be hidden in real world like it is in this game, but a hunt for them is still rewarding. The fire element room is both badass and uncomfortable because after activating one hammer the camera shakes until activating them all, and the path through is unclear - in the end I'm not that sure if I was really supposed to climb the same route to different switches multiple times, and to lose so much life when falling down from their ledges. Fortunately the hammers get deactivated as soon as the chamber is left and the rest of the game goes smoothly, compensating with relaxing climate of the water element room, and rewarding a lot with the final medusa fight. I wished the roof in the yarn temple was accessible. I particularly liked the beehive. SUMMARY: Could be more polished in each aspect but it's a very nice try, and worth a try." - DJ Full (09-Jan-2016)
"The gameplay in this level is on the tougher side, with quite a few timed runs and tricky jumps. A number of reviewers have negatively mentioned the six-hammer room; while I get why people would dislike it, I didn't find it all that bad myself. Apart from the continuously shaking screen once the first hammer is activated (though that is quite headache-inducing in itself), the overall task isn't all that difficult. Admittedly, I did glance at the walkthrough, which warned players not to use a particular temptingly-placed crowbar lever until the end - any player who used it first would have a much harder time getting through this room. Apart from the hammer room, the remaining three sanctuary areas are quite good: the tasks in and around the underground temple are particularly enjoyable; the water sanctuary is pleasant, though wading through the water gets a little tiring after a while; the switch puzzle and explosive finale in the cellar area are not bad.
The lighting in this level swings wildly from nearly pitch dark in several areas to bright and beautiful in several others. The darkness is particularly annoying and counterproductive to gameplay in a number of places, such as the caves at the entrance to the sanctuary, where you have to perform a number of jumps over breaking tiles in complete darkness, or in the final area, where it's nearly impossible to see what's shooting at you and from where in the impenetrable gloom. On the other hand, there are several beautiful and well-lit areas, such as the underground temple and the water-scales room. Even the orange lighting in the hammer room is not bad. Some of the outdoor areas look a little blocky, such as the waterfall area in the beginning. The floating islands sections at the end are a little weird - I assume they're supposed to depict the state of chaos, 'the primeval void'. Music, when it plays, is well used, but often there's just silence or very faint ambient sounds.
At nearly 3 hours in length, this level does outstay its welcome a bit. Perhaps this was partially because this was my last BtB 2015 level, and I was feeling slightly saturated with the wad/textures (only slightly, though, which is quite a miracle considering that there are 25 levels!). But I really do wish BtB builders wouldn't build such unnecessarily huge levels. Sometimes less is indeed more.
Overall: A challenging level, with some odd extremes in terms of looks. Recommended if you like timed runs and jumps." - Mytly (31-Dec-2015)
"I guess 'chaos' is one word for it. It starts out simple enough, when you're outside and there's a shore and a waterfall and it all seems very welcoming. Then you make your way underground and it turns into one of *those* levels. You soon find your way into a room with hallways that stretch in four directions, and you're instructed to find four keys. And it's just so hard to know what you're supposed to do. Like, you're stuck and you're wandering around for ages, and then finally you find a ledge you missed, which leads you to a key. And then you use the key, only to discover that your progress is barred by something else, and it's back to trying to find That One Thing You Missed. Which eventually turns out to be another three or four things, because everything's hidden. Because playing custom levels should be like pulling teeth - painful and something you'd rather just get over with. Complicating matters is the fact that some key items you find aren't even used in the area you find them in - to be fair, I think they're only used to open up more areas in the main hub room, but because of this I was never sure if what I was missing was in the area I was in or somewhere else. Since so many things are so hard to find, it's easy to think you've done everything you can even when you haven't. The whole thing's a bit of a mess. When you do figure out what to do, the gameplay is usually rather simple, but at least it's varied enough. There are a couple of puzzles and a decent amount of platforming, but too much of the level relies on stumping the player. My net gaming time was ninety minutes, but it took me all evening to inch my way through this level, one hard-to-spot thing at a time. Architecturally, it's pretty blocky, but it makes pretty good use of some of the larger rooms, and the platforming is usually well thought out. Once you make it underground, there are some really dark rooms - there are a few where it actually becomes hard to see the platforms you're supposed to jump to. The author was apparently aware of this and left a note in the readme saying that if it's an issue, you should adjust the brightness of your screen. Which I refuse to do, because really - it's not my screen that's the problem. But in most areas the lighting is fine, and so is the texturing. As for the gameplay - I think 'chaos' sums it up pretty well." - Magnus (30-Dec-2015)
"Oh my, after the comparably calm first 20 minutes or so, this level surely takes no prisoners. It is filled with quite an overwhelming amount of tasks to be completed and has all the typical TR elements in spades - plenty of agility needed to navigate complex areas, including quite a few jumps that make this an adventure for the more seasoned raiders out there, A few nice symbol puzzles and if I had my count right there are six timed tasks, a mirror room, the torch gets used, the scales puzzle shows up and oh yes, there are also enemies to battle along the way. There is a nice water temple area and an interesting wine cellar area, but of course the lava room with no less than six hammers to activate has to be seen to be believed. And then it all ends in a spooky floating island area, or two actually. Overall, I found this a breathtaking adventure and at times maybe just a bit too much to consume as a player. But if you want to really get your teeth into a challenging raid, then this one here is probably just your thing. [118 min, 4 secrets]" - MichaelP (18-Nov-2015)
"I expected a horribly dark level after reading some of the reviews, but for me at least 95 percent of the level simply aren't very dark and only a handful of areas are indeed too gloomy, but still that didn't pose much of an obstacle and most of the time this was a very enjoyable and creative game. The gameplay in this plainly immersive game is filled with great challenges, a mass of timed tasks, difficult jumps and puzzles that take some time to finish. I especially liked the almost insane hammer room, the use of the torch and some of the darker rooms present a (perhaps mildly annoying) challenging task that would, in a lighter area, be classified as dull gameplay. Perhaps the wading in one of the areas is a bit annoying and one or two of the tasks are not utterly inspired (the trip to the hell area is quite easy in fact), but this is still one of my favourite levels of this contest gameplaywise. Enemies are decently used, objects do their job well for design and traps and the secrets are very well hidden. I liked the unfolding of the story and overall the atmosphere of this level is quite convincing, despite not always as polished as it could've been. The dark ambience helps a lot in this regard, and the texturing is quite cleanly applied too. Maybe some of the rooms look a bit simplistic (wine cellar, outside area), the music could be varied some more and the choice of textures is not always quite successful. On the other hand the overall effect of the visuals is often stunning and I also liked the use of flybys. Overall a warmly recommended game for more experienced raiders and in my personal upper tier of the contest. Spent 75 minutes in here." - manarch2 (18-Nov-2015)
"Sanctuary of Chaos starts off rather gently in a seaside waterfall cove with sneakily hidden, but fairly easy to reach cave openings that entertain with solid platforming and even a timed run with the initial quest for the Minotaur Head tool that opens up the actual sanctuary. From then on the difficulty spikes up a good several notches from dodging the initial boulder, and begins to challenge the player more successively. The main design of the level is a quest for four Snake Goddess artifacts that take Lara into four distinctly themed areas of the sanctuary: A large fire room with great hammers that need to be activated, a water-themed area with platforming and water scale puzzles, an underground cellar featuring a nice push puzzle, and a cove temple featuring a mix of timed runs, platforming, lever manipulation and dodging fire. The different areas are crafted very nicely with good architecture and object use delivering great scenery, and the gameplay of each main area has overall good execution. However, I felt that the platforming got a tad ridiculous at times. The biggest culprit being the massive fire room and some of the jumps needed to get around requiring near pixel-perfect precision. They are doable for the most part, but the frustration of having to reload many times to make some of the jumps started to affect me. After getting the Snake Goddesses the level has a cool atmospheric change with entering the void world, taking on a bizarre ambiance with floating island style settings and an interesting assortment of things that the void swallowed up, including an innocent fellow whose day was just unlucky. The interesting use of texture pop-in in that part really fit the area as a final battle with a gorgon and her underlings closes off the level, and Lara re-emerges back at the beginning from the chaos, saving the world yet again. Overall it's a challenging yet highly entertaining level that for me, was missing a little oomph in the atmospheric department. While each area was distinctly themed, the same background track for every area began to make the ambiance a little stale. In some parts the lighting was also a tad too dark or otherwise a little monotone through most of the level. That aside, still a great play through a world created by an experienced builder that was great entertainment for the evening." - Relic Hunter (09-Nov-2015)
"As you can tell from my scores, I didn't enjoy this level at all. It has its moments, and it shows the hand of a skilled craftsman, so I'll stop short of calling it terrible. However, from start to finish it's an ordeal, and the only reasons I stuck with it for the nearly three hours it took me were (1) the walkthrough was available, (2) I was playing in god mode and (3) I was able to activate the flycheat. It starts off on the wrong foot with its oppressive darkness and the profusion of cramped triangular openings. On top of that, I got stuck in the collision trying to obtain the second secret. I quickly lost all interest in playing as the builder intended, so wherever possible the timed runs and tricky jumps were achieved by flying to the indicated spot. There are scenic and relatively tranquil sections here, but they are few and far between. That hellish area with the pounding hammers was nothing short of insane, and it was an achievement getting through it even by using all the unauthorized aids. I nearly binned the level near the end in that pitch-black area with the serpent woman, but since I was so close to the finish trigger I flew enveloped in flames to the mercurial shoes and got the hell out of there. I realize that levels like this one are the cat's meow for some players, but they're not at all to my taste." - Phil (07-Nov-2015)
"Man, this level was hard and dark!." - janachorider (06-Nov-2015)
"Another very good entry. Gameplay was very nicely done. I liked the way each of the 4 snake goddess corridors had some connection (task or object) required for a different corridor. The associated areas that led off each corridor were interesting and different. Also the now infamous Hammer room was challenging as there wasn't an obvious route through it. Hence I suspect many players had to perform health-draining or advanced jumping tricks to get through it in different ways - perhaps that was what the designer had in mind... The lighting was a little dark until I upped the gamma on my monitor. Secrets were well hidden." - Adrian (04-Nov-2015)
"Chaos is a very, very fitting theme for this level. It begins like your usual BtB romp, setting you off on a quest for the minotaur items, but when you get inside the main temple things get a tad more complicated. It's taken me a whole afternoon to get through this level, so make of that what you will. Out of the four challenge rooms, the only truly unfair one was the hammers one. There were far too many tricky/expert jumps to be made there and I was losing my mind with the sound of the several hammers going nonstop - you wouldn't believe the amount of saves/reloads I did to get through, and I believe that will also be true for the vast majority of players as any miscalculated jump will certainly lead to death. When all four quest items are collected, you gain access to the chamber of chaos which was somewhat disturbing (one poor lost soul in there, too) but very different to what we've been offered this far. All in all, this could have easily taken top spot for me, if it weren't for the several tricky jumps. Still, beautiful to look at, even in its intentionally dark places. 150 minutes, 2 secrets. 10/15" - Treeble (04-Nov-2015)
"An amazing game, masterfully done. Prepare your heart for diabolically difficult sequences coupled with many, many extremely dark areas full of traps. But there are also clear, beautiful places and a lot of everything that pleases raiders: timed runs, tough enemies (even gorillas, an enemy that I supposed I would not find in old Greece), clever puzzles, imaginative tasks, athletic climbing sequences, and traps intended to maximize the adrenaline level. I didn't like the dark, though. There were sufficient flares, but in the areas traversed by Lara before the arrival at the Sanctuary their light was not enough by far, and Lara cannot see in the dark. I missed very much some camera hints. As a counterpart, I liked the music. Nevertheless, and despite the darkness in many areas, all the Sanctuary part is very good, with objects cleverly hidden and much appeal to reasoning, sense of observation and imagination. One of the rooms, the lava and thumpers one, is hellish; there's no other word for it. When Lara came out after this task, she was trembling strongly, I swear, and needed a powerful soothing medicine. But when she could reason again, she congratulated the author and forgave him/her." - Josey (31-Oct-2015)
"I finish the 25 levels with this one and I have to say this one is long. Despite a light a little sad and too dark areas, I liked the gameplay. With a memorable passage in the big room with six hammers, I think the author has shown great imagination, this area is quite hard before taking the snake godess. Congratulations." - Drakan (29-Oct-2015)
"Be warned, this is not one for inexperienced players. After a deceptively gentle start, with Lara exploring the lovely beachside area, things get steadily more challenging. The quest to find four goddesses in separate areas of a huge temple provides an interesting mix of gameplay, the highlight (or nightmare depending on your viewpoint) has to be the six hammer room. It's brilliantly well devised, but involves some complex route finding and tricky jumps, plus trying to activate the hammers in the correct order so as not to block your route. The game culminates in a somewhat dreamlike floating islands scenario. It's quite a roller coaster of an adventure." - Jay (24-Oct-2015)
"One the m ost complex and longest levels of this BtB. The lighting is horrible, too much obscure, but the gameplay is fantastic with a lot of varied and not easy tasks. The section with hammer was tight and deadly. I think I got some illegal maneuver with expert banana jumps Difficulty: Medium/Hard 150 minutes." - requiemsoul (13-Oct-2015)