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BtB2016 - The Temple of the Venerables by Greywolf

Adrian 8 9 7 8
DJ Full 9 9 9 8
Drakan 8 9 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 8 7 7 7
Jorge22 8 7 7 8
Jose 8 8 8 8
Josey 9 9 9 9
Magnus 5 5 5 5
manarch2 8 8 7 7
MichaelP 8 8 7 7
Mman 8 7 6 6
MrJavi94 8 7 7 7
Mytly 8 8 8 7
Phil 9 8 8 9
Revenge 7 7 7 7
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Talos 8 10 8 7
Tolle87 8 8 9 7
Treeble 7 9 9 8
release date: 15-Apr-2017
# of downloads: 160

average rating: 7.71
review count: 20
review this level

file size: 91.20 MB
file type: TR4
class: Persia

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Great storytelling but often draft craft. I'm not a fan of switch puzzles, the shootable puzzle shouldn't be trial and error, and if you kill the boss too quickly, the final block won't lower (an error not fixed for 2 years but who am I to judge if I slack as well)... I also hate to find that so late since it's my mistake as a tester but if you hit the phoenix with a horse it never drops the skull - but fortunately that's just a secret and otherwise a very solid one so I'm not downrating that. Probably the middle is the best part, I liked the spider cave, one of more innovative pushblock of the pack and the main market riddle. Good thing." - DJ Full (08-Jul-2019)
"Perhaps not the best level from this author, but an entertaining game worth to play with variety of tasks, some original ideas and an interesting history. There are some nasty details the author could avoid like the critters in the long crawlspace or the difficult jumps in the treetops `cause the dense foliage impeding see the lights, but the change of scenarios and the absence of hard tasks will take the player to an enjoyable journey. Good work." - Jose (28-Oct-2017)
"Better than its overall score would suggest. I quite enjoyed this one. A good idea well executed." - Adrian (09-Aug-2017)
"From the squishy blocks right at the very beginning this turned out to be a surprisingly challenging level in terms of the tasks you have to accomplish. There is quite a variety of things going on to keep you entertained and it seems all the bigger, tougher enemies from the package are put to good use here along the way as well. The whole time travel story works out nicely with the integrated level jumps and I really enjoyed the move from the rather dull atmosphere of the first section to the luscious jungle in the next one. However, the gameplay in that part was more on the tedious side with hard to spot jumps and longer crawls to master. The third section also begins a bit on the low side with many doors to open, but the horse riding part is an excellent intermission and highlight. And then the game also stands out for making the hunt for the secrets an even more challenging aspect, including a tight timed run and a few tough trap and enemy encounters. So, all in all, not the most refined and beautiful environment created here, but a great level for those whoe want to prove that their raiding skills have not gone too rusty yet. [66 min, 4 secrets]" - MichaelP (30-Jul-2017)
"A level that is not easy to rate, as almost every category has good and bad sides. Maybe the best example is the underwater puzzle. It's well imagined, but the problem is that its clues can be read in several ways and only one of them will bring you to the solution. That would be fine if there was a way to tell which levers you've already pulled (and I'm surprised the builder didn't put some mark for them because he/she demonstrated in other places good knowledge of how to do such things). Generally, first part of the level is puzzle based. Having in mind that the notes for this level (at least partially) compensated the obscurity for the mentioned puzzle, I won't take points for that out of respect for its cleverness. Second part of the level offers you time-traveling plot and throws you in the middle of the big valley where I felt some nostalgic TR3 jungle vibes. There is much platforming and one tedious (but with very nice lighting effect) pushing sequence after which you are brought to the final part of the level. It's somehow maze-like but nothing too confusing, with some small palaces and passages between them. The only problem I had with this area is that you might easily overlook some crucial item and progress pretty far before realizing that you missed something. It happened to me with the well-handle, so I had to do a horse ride FOUR times. I accept that some guilt for it is mine thought, but I still think the builder should have done something more about that. Visuals are average. There are many big empty rooms with repetitive textures, especially in the first part. There is not much variety with lighting effects, but the ambience light is nicely adjusted. There are some nice lighting touches with some objects and puzzles, but for the most part of the level it doesn't offer much. There is a decent number of enemies and you are provided with enough ammo and medipacks. I appreciate the builders sense of humor on the examine paper (although the fact that part of the text goes off screen wasn't that funny) and the storyline is interesting to follow, especially with good distinction between different areas. Overall, not perfect but pretty decent and worthy level." - Tolle87 (04-Jul-2017)
"A time travel storyline! I generally always love those, but in this case, I think the builder bit off more than he/she could chew, and didn’t really deliver on the promise of the story. Lara hops back and forth through time thrice, but there’s really not much to distinguish between the first and third time periods, apart from the locations (a temple interior in the former and a town and surrounding desert in the latter).
There are some nice tasks, such as the switch puzzle and jumps over lava near the beginning, and the jumps through the trees in the prehistoric time period. Riding the horse in the desert is fun. The underwater lever puzzle is rather tiresome though and the multiple long crawlspaces (filled with spiders) are annoying, even with the crawlspace roll move. I needed considerable hand-holding from the walkthrough in several parts, as there are a lot of obscure moments, such as a puzzle in which you have to drag a pushable over clumps of multi-coloured grass. The end was rather abrupt – I had to check the walkthrough to find out what happened.
The looks are not particularly great, with rather blocky geometry and somewhat bland lighting (apart from the very bright blue lighting in the mosque). The jungle area is not bad looking, though it’s blocky as well.
Overall: A decent, mostly enjoyable level with a potential for a great storyline, but which doesn’t really come across." - Mytly (28-Jun-2017)
"I particularly enjoyed the gameplay this level offers, and the underwater lever puzzle you must accomplish to keep your journey is no less, with an innovative way of using "mirrors" to lower each of the three blocks and gain access to the switches they hide. The textures were decently applied, as well as the proper lighting in most areas. Secrets were once again well hidden and one of them requires a tight timed run to claim it. Recommended." - MrJavi94 (27-Jun-2017)
"It's a bit worrying when you're about to start a new Back to Basics level, and you click the notes/comments link and find *seven* things that you need to keep in mind while playing the level. It really makes you wonder what you're getting yourself into. The first 45% of this fifty-minute level are actually very straightforward, as you find yourself in a temple of the standard Tomb Raider variety. It's mostly linear and you move through a series of chambers, while solving a few puzzles - including one of those puzzles where you have to find the right combination of levers to pull (I hate those) and the underwater lever puzzle mentioned in the notes/comments section (which turned out to be a lot simpler than I had expected). Eventually you make it to a time portal and end up being thrown back to prehistoric times for the middle 10% of the level. While it's nice to get a change of scenery after all those brown temple chambers, this isn't the most interesting part of the level, since it just consists of a small Turok-looking central room and some crawlspaces. Once you're done in that area, it's back into the time portal for the last 45% of the level, which take place on the streets of an Arabian city. This was my least favorite part of the level, as you find yourself hunting for half a dozen keys, which seem to be hidden completely randomly around the area, and on two occasions I got stuck because I'd missed a pot in a corner somewhere. The author seems intent on using every single item provided in the wad file, and I ended the level with several items I never even got to use. The level has some attempts at humor which fall flat, but I appreciate the effort to give the level some personality. The time travel doesn't really amount to much in the end, but there was a neat moment right at the end of the level which I liked. Overall, this timey wimey level is a bit too wibbly wobbly for me to really recommend, but it's decent enough." - Magnus (26-Jun-2017)
"The start of the map seems quite simple (the first room looks very similar to the playable tutorial intro, to the point I almost wonder if it was built from that), and the early parts are pretty cubic and lacking a sense of place. It improves as it goes though, and even explores some fresh directions, such as a jungle-type area. It's still on the basic side, and there are issues like reaching the end of the world on terrain areas, but it gets a lot more convincing by the end.
The gameplay is somewhat similar; the start isn't bad, and the puzzles have some good ideas behind them, but it feels a little stodgy with a somewhat tedious underwater puzzle followed by another switch puzzle right after (technically you can do this the other way around too). After the main concept of the level reveals itself though it picks up, and I found it consistently enjoyable after that. It's not especially difficult, but the secrets have some tougher actions involved. This seems to be a beginner map, but, after the slightly slow start it's an enjoyable level, and the ending is quite cleverly executed too." - Mman (17-Jun-2017)
"This is another level that primary concentrates on gameplay and actually succeeds in that. There's a good variety of puzzles in here, especially the five-lever one in the lava area, but also some others, and I think that the builder was quite inventive with some of the tasks like the „light jumps“ in the garden area; the horse ride and the final actions were also quite fun. A few parts were a little less interesting (like the exploration of town with a lot of running to and fro for a lot of objects) and I didn't like the obscurely marked ladder in the garden area, but the time travel concept is very nicely executed here. Lookwise it's not among the best of the contest, with some rather bland and simple settings and not as polished visuals as others, but it displays a different kind of atmosphere than most levels (the garden area is quite unique in that regard) and this was something I liked. The secrets are very nice to find, extensive side quests are needed for some of them and a nice timed run as well. I finished with all four of them after 40 minutes and actually brought the horse back into the present ;). A quirky and fun level, not without some downsides, but quite a nie addition I wouldn't want to miss." - manarch2 (29-May-2017)
"This author has some kind feelings, for the Shotgun is given from the very beginning, and the Magnum is not very far… but don’t have illusions: as a counterpart, the author will put critters in a crawlspace! But this is not the point. The point is that the most difficult thing in this game is to pick up all the secrets, and I’m not joking! Play it, and you’ll see. As to puzzles, there are good ones and bad ones. I didn’t understand at all that puzzle of the underwater levers: both S and W walls indicate the same levers, or so I understood; and even after I saw the author’s diagram, showing a different position of cardinal points, the essence of the problem remained untouched, and I wouldn’t solve the puzzle without the walkthrough. On the other side, I found very interesting and pretty that push puzzle from the second part of the game, for the activation of the Time Twister, that involves colored grasses and lights. Returning to difficulties, that part of the horse travelling along irregular ledges around a pit was totally uncalled for, and the jumps from light to light on treetops idem (bad visibility), but as a premium, that giant rooster was certainly a laugh, very good indeed… As for the rest, we have good lighting, very good music, and certainly a very nice game, thanks!" - Josey (29-May-2017)
"This level is in the lower tier of the 2016 BtB competition, but I suspect the scores would be higher if it had been released as a standalone. It exhibits the high quality we've come to see in these Persian levels, and it adheres fairly closely to the time limitation (about an hour and 20 minutes for me). About the only quarrel I have is the critters in crawlspaces phenomenon, which has traditionally been viewed as a no-no. However, having been warned by Dutchy's walkthrough I was able to proceed without incident. The surroundings are especially pleasing to the eye, and the builder has provided ample lighting for us to enjoy them. You get a fairly tricky ride on a horse, followed by a bout with a fireball-spewing chicken monster. I liked the time machine concept, which I haven't seen in the other BtB levels. A fine and satisfying raid." - Phil (17-May-2017)
"Lara travels through time several times as she pursues a powerful artifact. The level took a good length of time, not too long or short. The gameplay is a decent mix of puzzles and combat, with a few traps thrown in too. I enjoyed the spikes puzzle and the underwater puzzle. However the horse riding was a drag. There were large pits with sloped edges that you had to steer the horse on, and the horse (whose collision is unnaturally long) kept getting pulled toward the pit. There was a tricky jump on the horse too, and to top it off you had to backtrack over this route, several times if you missed something. The combat is engaging, the one confusing part was that large bird that seemed optional, I shot at it for several minutes straight and nothing happened so I left it alone. Decorative objects are decently used, the one big downfall were those trees in the jungle area. The player is forced to guess where the "solid" ground is among the trees, a few lights are used to show the way but the foliage still consumes the screen a lot and makes the experience less than ideal. The geometry in this level is kind of unnatural looking. More effort could have been used in places like the stone columns in the underwater lever puzzle, to make things look more natural and less manmade. The audio is used well. A few more camera cues would have been appreciated, especially on that timed jumpswitch near the end that didn't seem to do anything(?) The time travel is fun to watch. Textures in the outdoor areas and natural surfaces are too wallpapered, and should be broken up more. The indoor areas are better, but some courtyard areas also suffer from massive wallpapering. The lighting has a good variety of colors, and is used to effectively differentiate between the different environments Lara jumps through. Overall a creative entry for sure, which may get in the player's way sometimes but in the end is nice to play. 1 hour 5 minutes." - JesseG (14-May-2017)
"After having played a few of the possibly best levels in this year's competition, the start of this game seems to fall short of the same eye candy looks as well as the gameplay. Still as the game evolves it becomes better and better and as one reaches the end it's all been quite satisfying. The time travel idea (not exactly as we've seen so far in custom levels) is a great one and rather well achieved. I enjoyed the tour." - Jorge22 (13-May-2017)
"After doing some very long levels I appreciated this one which is not very long but with some changes of places. You have to collect a lot of items so it's important to look everywhere. Recommended for all." - Drakan (11-May-2017)
"This is another easier entry, this time split into three main "levels": the interior of a temple, a grassy waterfall area, and a Persian village. A unique time travel concept is displayed throughout, and executed well. The only real gripe I had was the needed backtracking, which prolonged playing time unnecessarily. Aside from that, gameplay is simple (mainly fetch quests with a few minor puzzles), but I enjoyed the horse ride, which I hope to encounter in future levels." - Ryan (01-May-2017)
"You may be glad of the break from some of the more challenging and frantic levels to appreciate the relative calm here. Unusually for a B2B level, it's split into three segments (well technically four if you count the brief return to the temple, with amusing Doctor Who reference) and is rather interesting. For the main part, the gameplay is linear and easily achieved, although the middle section can prove tricky to negotiate, given the lush foliage hampering your vision when leaping about in the treetops. Follow the helpful guiding lights as best you can. Enemies are sparsely, but effectively used and I especially enjoyed the giant chicken. There's also a spot of horse riding, but regrettably I couldn't get the trusty steed to trample the chicken to death. There's a good use of music throughout and overall I really liked the gentle quirkiness of the level." - Jay (29-Apr-2017)
"I have mixed feelings for this level. On the one hand, I didn't really enjoy the rather slow beginning, first with the 5-lever sequence to disarm all traps and then shortly after a series of underwater levers which required you to swim back to the surface between every round. There were trapdoors in this underwater room which I never opened, so maybe I was just too thick. On the other hand, however, once you start doing the time travelling stuff it really picks up, although gameplay will mostly still revolve around fetching objects to proceed. As an added note, I'd like to say I discovered the "invisible" platform on the canopy by pure luck, especially considering it was about halfway through the ledge with no indication whatsoever. I enjoyed the way it ends, sort of creating a time paradox as you return and witness an event which happened near the beginning and then as you make your way out, you come across "another Lara" making her way in. Brilliant. 70 minutes, 2 secrets. 04/17" - Treeble (29-Apr-2017)
"We continue this BtB with another level simple and fluent. But unlike previous played, Lara will travel over time. We will start the adventure in an ancient Babylonian-Assyrian Temple, then move us even further back in time, before the advent of Arab civilization, until a medieval town. A shot of novelty monothematic in competition. As I have repeated many times, not always the most beautiful levels are big ones. Great choice of textures (maybe the best, in my opinion) and items available in the package. Gameplay quite long-lived, if you choose to collect every secret. Avoiding, one avoids a piece of gameplay, finishing level with many items in the inventory (I still have a kebab). Recommended :)" - Talos (29-Apr-2017)
"That's a fairly simple level we have here, although not without its surprises. The gameplay is fairly easy, and unfortunately with really few puzzles that were for most of them in the beginning of the level, but they were really enjoyable. For the rest of the level, it was instead lots of key hunting and some good shooting, and with some traps as well. There was some nice horse action , the first I see so far in the contest. However, there was a part which was lots of climbing and jumping that was really hard and obscure in which I got stuck several times, and it wasn't really enjoyable. Visually, the architecture was quite square-ish except the desert areas that were better built. In terms of lighting, it was okay, even really pretty in some areas, and I didn't see any particular texturing mistakes. The music was used well and appropriate with the events. Where the level really shines is in its plot that was really original, I'm a bit disappointed that the gameplay and the architecture couldn't follow the same quality but it was still a good level overall :). Statistics : 1h17, 2 secrets found out of 4." - Revenge (20-Apr-2017)