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Create a Classic 2019 - Strange Catacombs by Neltharion

BlackWolfTR 4 6 6 7
Cbl 3 4 6 5
Ceamonks890 3 4 5 4
dinne 6 3 7 4
DJ Full 4 5 7 5
Drakan 7 7 7 6
eRIC 4 4 5 5
Jay 6 6 7 7
JesseG 4 6 6 6
Jose 4 5 6 7
manarch2 3 4 5 4
MarlenaCrystal 5 4 5 5
MichaelP 4 5 5 4
Mman 4 5 4 4
nerdfury 3 4 5 5
Orbit Dream 5 6 6 7
Phil 6 7 7 7
Raider99 4 5 6 5
Ryan 5 6 6 5
TheWorldlyGamer 3 4 4 3
TombExplorer 3 4 4 5
Torry 5 5 6 5
release date: 05-Nov-2019
# of downloads: 130

average rating: 5.05
review count: 22
review this level

file size: 29.50 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cave/Cat

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Classic indeed. Everything about this is classic. There are no puzzles to speak of, very few enemies and a whole heap of back tracking that became tedious. So much so that you had to think exactly where that next door you just opened was situated. The only difficult part was the three underwater switches with the current, as you only had time to get the three switches and therefore had to figure out which ones were first whilst drowning as you experimented. Other than the back tracking it was a reasonable raid." - Torry (09-Nov-2022)
"That's a pretty CaC2019 entry set in TR4 catacombs theme. This one has a pretty weak gameplay but visuals are actually quite neat. Why is the gameplay weak? Well, the level doesn't consist of any puzzles. Most of the tasks is pulling switches to open a door with another switch. There is some unecessary backtracking too. Few rooms are quite big but they don't provide much gameplay. Although we got several nice platforming sequences with traps. There are plenty of easy and straightforward pushable tasks which are pretty satysfying to solve. Now about the design; some rooms look better than the other ones. Lighting is in most of the level pretty immersive and colourful but we also have areas with bleak, not really atmospheric lighting. The usage of the textures is mostly good and pretty diverse but again, there are rooms that look worse in terms of this. Atmosphere works but sometimes the immersion breaks because of numerous uninspired rooms. Some of the objects like doors and raising blocks don't have a sound. All in all, it's a pretty nice, short level and if you want a pleasant raid in a good old TR4's catacombs style then you can give it a try." - BlackWolfTR (29-Sep-2022)
"(3) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is an easy adventure that took me about 50 minutes. There are no puzzles and there's so much going back and forth, from point A, to B, to C, back to A, back to C, pulling levers. I am sorry to say that I did not find any gameplay aspect to be memorable or exciting. (4) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemies are used in a dull manner; I actually never killed a single enemy because they were easy to avoid. I know that the enemies found within the catacombs wad aren't intrinsically exciting, however more could have been done here (for example utilizing wraiths, or placing Lara in a small cramped room with skeletons). Object decor is lacking, with larger rooms having so much empty space. The builder does try to include some spike and flame traps in the 2nd half of the game however they aren't anything memorable, and in many cases you can avoid the trap tile entirely in order to progress. (5) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The atmosphere is not very convincing; the architecture is overly boxy and sterile, lacking in immersion. The catacombs wad/textureset is about desolate ruins, decaying over the years, and there was no representation of natural decay in the geometry here. Sounds and camera hints are adequate, although a lot more could have been done with cameras (for example flybys for immersion building). (5) Lighting & Textures: Lighting is inconsistent in quality as well as in theme. In quality, due to Lara appearing flat/2D in some rooms, but not others. In theme, due to the fact that sometimes the builder uses neutral, realistic lighting, and then in the next room there's some crazy intense green lighting and this difference in theme comes across as quite jarring. There are no flare pickups in the first half of the game; this, combined with some rooms being quite dark, is not good. Texturing needed more care as well, as there are many misshapen textures on skinny tiles. Overall, while I did find the gameplay to be very dull, it's still interesting to see the builder's growth in game design. 3/4/5/5." - nerdfury (08-Nov-2021)
"Indeed this Catacomb level is as classic as it gets, relying fully on the all familiar assets and it probably should have been shortened down to the second half of it fare much better in scoring. The beginning is extremely tedious, as you run through empty rooms and the author sends you backtracking long ways from level to door to lever to door. Texturing is also quite poor on pretty much any texture that is not covering a full tile. In the second half hour it does get a bit better though, more care is taken with lighting the rooms to add some atmosphere and more traps are being added to spice things up, even though the majorty of the spikes and burner is actually more there for show and effect and not even in the way of the path Lara needs to take. Surprisingly then you get one room with sinks, which is oddly a feature you would not expect in such a simplistic level and also a timed run that even took me 2-3 attempts because I kept missing the climbable wall. After collecting the 5 gems to open a door you get do some more of the same tasks until you finally reach the end after about an hour of net gaming time." - MichaelP (01-Jun-2021)
"Second of the Create a Classic 2019 competition that I actually played, after "Abandoned Catacombs", I found this level to be another bad entry to the competition. If Osvaldo's level kinda disappointed me because of the heavy backtracking it had, this level could be considered the best example of the "switch-backtracking" gameplay: you find switches that open doors that are completely far away(even at the beginning of the level), that lead to another switch that open another door back where you was, and so on till the level finishes. This is totally not gameplay and just a way to have a lot of play time. But how much of this was actually considered "play", since most of the level was just running through the same rooms over and over? It is not even like the rooms are pretty or anything: lighting is pretty flat(even if it is better than in Osvaldo's level: it is more colourful in some places, like the "St. Francis Folly" room near the beginning), the rooms are completely boxy and very similiar to each other... Honestly, the only thing that really kept the gameplay slightly more interesting was the occasional trap, but nothing too much. Moreover, this game has many bugged areas(I could manage to stand on lava in some places, I could get stuck inside some objects that were in the way and forced to reload). In short, it was a bit of a bad experience. There are so many things that could be worked on. Most importantly, please, make gameplay. Avoid putting a switch/lever that opens a room 20km away, and even if you do this, please avoid putting another switch inside that opens a door at the beginning and so on. It is just not fun and will lead many people to just throw the level in the bin. With some work on lighting (that is flat but could be improved with a bit more thought), this level could have been way better than it is. Wish you the best of luck for your next release! Recommended? No. Difficulty? Easy. Duration? Approx. 40-60 minutes." - TombExplorer (18-May-2021)
"From a technical point-of-view there's absolutely nothing wrong with this level.Everything has been soundly constructed,competently textured and well lit. Aside from a few minor texturing issues there are no glaring errors that intrude on the overall appearance;or harm its visual aesthetic. Sound could have been more appropriately utilised,as the constant clanging of church bells felt obtrusive and entirely incongruous. Enemies were minimal,and easily dealt with;while object placement was fine. It was the gameplay which turned this from being a harmless and inoffensive jaunt into an overlong trudge: the player is constantly being sent back and forth through the same multi-tiered chambers,on a seemingly never-ending series of switch/door opening quests. It's rarely challenging (bar an underwater lever conundrum;and some spike/fire gauntlets);but it becomes an increasingly wearisome backtracking odyssey,through rooms (admittedly well constructed) that you'd dearly hoped you'd seen the last of. Once it had become clear that I needed to find five gems on five separate and repetitive backtracking quests,I called a temporary halt in order to avoid becoming too jaded. Spread over two days,this adventure ended up taking me a net 85 minutes - which clearly indicates how much I'm slowing down after twenty years of Custom Level playing,as most other reviewers apparently completed this in half that time. Nonetheless,putting aside the backtracking nature of the level (which might,indeed,be an attractive quality to some) there's little else here that's in any way adverse - which means that it can't help but come across as (somewhat unfairly) underrated." - Orbit Dream (11-Aug-2020)
"Here we find a handful of spike traps, flames, pushable blocks, and many switches. There is unfortunately a lot of running back and forth between these switches, which is a majority of the gameplay. The large, empty rooms compound this issue, making it difficult to remember where the door is that you just opened. Some of the rooms had nice, dynamic lighting and I would have liked to see that in more areas. Overall it is a catacombs level that doesn't quite make for a satisfying raiding experience. 56 minutes." - JesseG (13-Mar-2020)
"Going from room to room pulling switches and moving pieces only to go back to previous rooms is not a good gameplay. I found very few enemies, and the revolver and shotgun were totally useless against the skeletons and the lonely mummie. At least there are cameras showing the opening doors in the rooms where you need to backtrack. The best was the effort with the lighting, but only that; running around empty rooms more than an hour was not funny for me. Sorry." - Jose (16-Jan-2020)
"This level gave me some TR1 St. Francis' Folly & Palace Midas vibes, probably because of the structure and separate puzzle/traps rooms... In that way, this is a nice tribute to classics, however the execution of it was really bad, the whole gameplay is much less exciting version of mentioned levels. It felt really tedious and repetitive, you keep opening some doors, pulling switches and backtracking to other ones... It goes like that until the very end. There are few traps thrown in there, however you can skip most of them, there really is no challenge making them quite useless just like enemies (especially swarm of scarabs). This level as well doesn't have English script, has no story, starts and ends randomly, what was the goal of this? I noticed many texture issues and lighting cracks (mostly visible underwater), some textures had wrong selection and most were squished. The design of rooms was very basic and uninteresting, they were huge and empty. There is also one pit you can fall into without dying and having no way up, after that I got the impression the builder doesn't know fundamentals of Lara & environment relation, how deep does pit have to be in order for Lara to die instantly while grabbing or how far she can jump. Because of these you could skip most of the traps, both spikes and flames. I wasn't impressed, I found only 1 secret and I have no idea if there even are more as the builder didn't care enough to write a "readme.txt" file to tell us the total number of them. I wouldn't really recommend this because of its forced length due to uninteresting switch-door setup going on throughout the whole level, though I encourage builder to continue building as all of this improves with experience!" - Raider99 (17-Dec-2019)
"This level was not my cup of tea at all and this has less to do with the overused TR4 assets. It took me about 50 minutes to finish and I didn't find any secret. The gameplay was rather boring and stretching unfortunately, especially cause there were a lot of situations, where a lever has to be pulled to open a door to pull a lever behind it to open another door and so on. Combined with a lot of backtracking and navigating through the halls of the indeed "strange" catacomb sections. But it was not bad entirely since there were no game breaking bugs or dead ends and all the triggers seemed to work fine. The atmosphere of the daytime thunder was also nice. Nevertheless the builder could have put much more effort in the looks of some rooms, especially lighting-wise. The lighting was sometimes a bit heavy and there were, unfortunately, only few rooms, which were easy on the eye. From the technical side I'm certain, that the author of this level can do much better! Keep up levelbuilding and maybe the next level will be even better!" - MarlenaCrystal (09-Dec-2019)
"This is a very standard Catacomb theme, there are a few larger areas and some variety in the theme (like some outdoor gameplay near the end), but it's about as traditional as a small scale Catacomb map can get outside of those. Some of the smaller areas have a decent amount of detail, but a lot of it is also quite flat with repetitive texturing. Gameplay is pretty vanilla too, with relatively few traps and puzzles, and a couple of parts that require you to backtrack to multiple switches with nothing extra added along the way. The level isn't long enough for it's to be a major issue, but the lack of shortcuts is also a bit irritating when you have do certain platforming areas multiple times when backtracking. There's a base level of structure and design here, but not much beyond that." - Mman (06-Dec-2019)
"Probably the most draft level of the competition. I think Scourge tried to mimic Osvaldo since resources, patterns, gameplay and even language all resemble him a lot. However while in Osvaldo's map everything is polished, here not even the room grid is, and the duration is absolutely dreadfully forced. For a plus, Scourge's scenery has more life and TR5 ambience eventually prevails to make his level rather bearable than not. Still, a very mixed level about nothing particular, so please, please care more." - DJ Full (03-Dec-2019)
"A level catacombs that could have been nice to travel, only there are back and forth very constraining to locate the doors that open. There are many platforms, which is not to displease me but it is relatively simple. The author uses a lot of shadows, but I did not need a lot of flares. Texturing is not perfect, many textures are compressed or stretched. For catacomb fans." - Drakan (28-Nov-2019)
"I'm going to be seeing switches in my nightmares. Besides the switches and the doors. I thought this whole level was just one long backtrack. The fire and spike room was pretty cool and there were some rooms that looked really pretty. But with some rooms the lighting looked very strange and it didn't look right. This whole level was just back and fourth. I do think you have promise as a builder because some of your rooms were very well designed. But constantly using the same objects and making a lot of the rooms look similar made me feel very confused. Also another thing that made me feel confused was lack of cameras when pulling levers and switches. I ended up having to guess where to go in the end. I really hope you continue building and I look forward to what you build next." - TheWorldlyGamer (24-Nov-2019)
"This is definitely classic catacombs and pretty solidly built. The aim is to collect gems and this does involve a lot of coming and going, throwing levers, which initially didn’t make for particularly gripping gameplay. About halfway through, however, the builder included some fun spike/trap scenarios and things felt a lot livelier. Enemies are sparse, mainly skeletons, but explosives take care of them with ease. I also seemed to pick up an inordinate amount of medipacks which I never needed. Short, straightforward and ideal for the less experienced player." - Jay (21-Nov-2019)
"No "stranger" than other Catacomb environments we have seen in the custom level world, rather, this ends up feeling like a standard (but nonetheless competent) raid that might have been experienced back in the early stages of the Level Editor. This particular level is nothing too overwhelming, but is a decent enough raid in a clean looking (although fairly plain) Catacombs environment that offers pretty much everything you would expect from this type of level: namely spikes, pushpieces, flames and skeletons by the dozen, although the extended backtracking was more annoying than it should have been. Explosive ammo is plentiful and comes in handy against the skeletons, so you probably won't need to make use of the Revolver you'll probably also acquire along the way. I also quite liked the ambient sounds and thought that the sound of distant thunder outside combined with the TR5 Colosseum sound was a nice eerie touch. A decent, fun raid that could have done with a bit more pizzazz in places." - Ryan (18-Nov-2019)
"This level has been put together in competent if unremarkable fashion, and it will take most players at least an hour to complete. I've always been partial to the catacombs setting and found nothing here to disappoint me. As others have noted, there's an overabundance of backtracking, but the gameplay is solid and I was suitably entertained throughout. All levels have their niche, and to me this one is perfectly suited for beginning raiders trying to hone their skills. It's not too easy or too difficult and will present few challenges to the more seasoned players. Cameras are used well, so there's usually no problem knowing what area you have to backtrack to. Although there's only one secret, I'm at a loss to account for the consistently low scores in the second rating category. I can recall but one flare pickup, but the lighting is adequate throughout and I rarely had to use one. This is what I would call an average level, and logic would therefore dictate scores in the 5 range, but we all know from experience that a 5 level is on the low end of the scale. It provides a fun, reasonably extended raid, and that's all I ask of any level." - Phil (15-Nov-2019)
"A fairly bland level that starts out with some promise. But after having to put with the constant repetition of provided gameplay tasks and tedious backtracking that felt very much like padding, I was about to throw in the towel and give up on this one midway through, having to force myself on just so I'd never have to play it again upon completion of this review. So needless to say, this wasn't a release that I found myself enjoying the experience of, in terms of the actual game aspect. As for everything else, the level design is empty and unremarkable, some ambient tracks felt out-of-place within the environment, lighting & texturing was acceptable and the few enemies used were a presence to be sure if a little thoughtlessly placed. In the end, would not recommend." - Ceamonks890 (12-Nov-2019)
"a bit under one hour to go through this level which has the merit to ressemble to Catacombs ; lookwise there is nothing new and nothing strange either. The setting is more solidly built than in Scourge's previous levels (no thin walls this time), texturing and lighting are still average but nothing that really hurts the eye. Gameplay is mostly based on back and forth , and forth and back , with many doors and levers to spot and remember but it is not difficult to know what to do next or to remember where to return. Things to do are not enough varied , some climbing and just a few easy traps , the pushable puzzles are always pretty obvious. At one point there is use of sinks which are well mastered by the builder , and a timed raising block also offers some diversion. Enemies are the usual Catacombs suspects , they pose no threat as you can't miss the crossbow and explosive arrows. Not a great level , not very exciting either but at least there is nothing irritating , and the final room was the most interesting to raid." - eRIC (11-Nov-2019)
"These catacombs are everything but strange, it's mostly the classic stuff provided here with very little to no creative twist to them. The skills of the builder have improved only slightly here, but at least there are not so many paper thin walls here (only found one). At least there is some work in terms of lighting which still feels a bit random from room to room. The texturing needs more care overall with way too many misplaced or wrongly placed tiles. The addition of TR 5 Rome textures works well though, and some audio tracks are also fitting. Gameplaywise, it has a few very annoying yo-yo backtracks which are just pointless, very obviously the builder wanted to prolong the net gameplay time with these. Not very nice, as well as the over-reliance on levers to open doors. Towards the end there are at least a few more traps and platforming sequences, still most of them are very easily avoided. Some objects are stuck in walls; enemies are decently placed and there is apt weaponry given for the skeletons and mummies. The one secret was also not too badly hidden. All in all a 30 minute adventure that too much relies on the same old things we are used to from Scourge and Osvaldo, but I am sure everybody knew that before..." - manarch2 (09-Nov-2019)
"While the central hub of this level is a quite attractively designed and well-lit multistory chamber with a pool at the base, it is unfortunately surrounded by many far less interesting rooms with bland textures and lighting, making for a level that feels like it started well but then ran out of ideas. The goal of the level, to collect five blue gems from around the catacombs, involves a long string of lever pulling to open doors or raise blocks, with standard platforming and the need to avoid flames or spikes, but unfortunately there is nothing in any of these five quest rooms to give them much character. The central room, on the other hand, was a beautiful blue color with three stories of pillars which was always nice to return to between the other missions. Lighting was inconsistent elsewhere, ranging from bright and bland to pitch black shadow bulbs and, occasionally, strange green light that didn’t appear to illuminate anything. Sometimes it seemed as if light were leaking from one room into another, and one chamber had bubbles and dappled light effects despite being completely dry, leading me to think some of the rooms might be positioned too close together. Objects also had inconsistent colors that made them stand out from the surrounding lighting. Enemies consisted of skeletons and a couple mummies, easily dispatched with the ample ammo (I happily used the explosive crossbow bolts to deal with everything). I really hope that builders cease repeating the timed flames on platforms as a puzzle element in locations where flames make no sense. If there had been some elemental differentiation between rooms, or anything else to give each of the gem quests its own character, this level would have been vastly improved. 1 hour to complete, found 1 secret." - Cbl (08-Nov-2019)
"A level that reminds Catacombs, bringing a nice atmosphere. Gameplay wise it's pretty linear but there is a nice platforming and creative colored lights. A good note is about the atmosphere that is set by background sounds, mixing Colosseum sounds with rainstorm outside, which is pretty interesting. An excessive amount of levers makes the iteractions pretty boring, and the atmosphere is often ruined by imprecisions such as full textures in 1click spaces, doors with empty space over them (that seem trepassable) and too stretched textures on walls. Gameplay-wise, there is an overload of medipacks and no real combat, no keys, no sixshooter tricks, no torch tricks... Only levers and pushables that just go over a simple straight path. It's overall enjoyable and playable, but needs a lot of refinements. I given "4" to the "Lighting and Textures" just because of the stretches textures, but the lights are actually nice and various." - dinne (05-Nov-2019)