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Create a Classic 2019 - Hostile Waters by SrDanielPonces

Baratheon 10 10 10 9
Bashar 10 10 10 10
Cbl 10 9 10 10
Ceamonks890 8 9 9 9
Chel 10 10 9 9
dinne 9 9 10 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Drakan 9 10 10 9
HaniHeger 10 10 10 10
Hedteur 10 10 10 10
Jason L 10 8 8 7
Jay 9 10 10 9
JesseG 9 10 10 8
JimmyBeon 8 9 10 9
Jorge22 9 9 10 9
Jose 7 10 10 8
Klona 10 10 10 10
Kubsy 10 10 10 10
Lara_Fox_Croft 10 10 10 10
manarch2 8 9 9 8
MarlenaCrystal 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 8 9 10 8
Michal 9 10 10 10
Mister-B 10 10 10 10
Mman 9 10 10 9
Phil 10 9 10 9
Raider99 9 10 10 10
Raina Audron 10 10 10 10
Ryan 9 9 10 9
Sabatu 10 10 10 10
Samu 9 10 10 9
Sethian 10 10 10 10
Talos 10 9 10 9
TheWorldlyGamer 9 9 9 10
TombExplorer 10 10 10 10
Torry 6 7 9 8
Troye 10 10 10 10
xManuelCroft 10 10 10 10
 
release date: 05-Nov-2019
# of downloads: 342

average rating: 9.49
review count: 38
 
review this level

file size: 60.10 MB
file type: TR4
class: Ship
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
daniel_ponces@hotmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"Author has captured the Maria Doria-style atmosphere from TR2 excellently in this two-level adventure, which took me 1 h and 33 min to complete. Use of textures and lighting is great and the environments is visually very interesting, consisting of both familiar areas from TR2 and several completely new areas. The first level is relatively non-linear and contains plenty of exploration, smart use of various items, platforming that was on an easy side, and frequent encounters with frogmen both in water and on ground. The end of first level features also a wheel puzzle that I found initially very confusing and had to check the solution from walkthrough. Nevertheless, after learning the solution, the idea behind the puzzle was quite brilliant. The second level contains a typical water skin puzzle and my favorite part, in which you have to escape the ship within a time limit while fighting against a boss enemy and swimming though a lengthy path. Although I managed to complete the escape on my first try, I had only three seconds left in the timer in the end, which gave a great adrenaline rush. All in all, this was one of the best entries across all CaC competition that I have played so far, and therefore, I highly recommend this to all players." - Samu (23-Apr-2022)
"So, I am finally getting around to playing this adventure, which at the time was the winner of the 2019 CaC competition and since then has slipped only a little bit due to some subsequent reviews not being quite as raving as the initial ones. And I can understand those reviews because the level can be a tough one if you are not very observant or do not happen to spot a few crucial things or you get lost in one or the other required backtracking in an environment that looks often very same same in the blueish ship wreck textures. As expected, this is all a lot about finding your way and exploration. Initially much by yourself, later on you get some 20 or so frogmen bothering you which are however easily dispatched. Now, what makes this stand out though, is some great care taken with very innovative animations and little cutscenes that greatly improve the atmosphere and the flow of the game. It starts right with the introduction scene, the use of the hammer, the broken elevator moment and more. As you dive in deeper (literally), you get to visit a nice theatre and a few machine rooms. Great moement when you free the key from its rock there and a nice little puzzle with 3 valves that is easily solved thanks to a note with hints. There are also 6 secrets added and especially the last one is very clever and I would never have found it without the help of the walkthrough. To round it all up you are treated to a 20 minute encore, where you get to solve a scales puzzle before making your timed 40 Fathoms style escape, which was a nice thrill to top things off - including the rush of having to kill Mr. Boss Frog as quickly as possible. Really a great adventure for its cutscene and animation supported story telling and progression. Definitely a must play." - MichaelP (27-Jul-2021)
"I really liked this level, very fun, and brought up an element of fear i had when i was a kid when exploring the dark areas of the water. This is how Tomb Raider should feel, fear and intrigue is very important here. I very much enjoyed the levels in this custom, how the builder was able to expand and also enhance the original Moria Doria with a twist was wonderfully crafted, and the story was fun to enjoy. I didn't find many secrets on my first playthrough, but this is a level i may revisit in future as it was very good indeed. The only problems i really had was some floor tiles next to glass had a very large hit box and i found myself dieing from some broken glass on a tile that had no broken glass, and on the other side of the was where the glass was. I especially liked the death animations, seeing that large black eel under the water scared my pants off, and how it destroys lara is very scary, and impressive at the same time. Not felt fear like that in tomb raider since i was a kid in the 90s. Conclusion - very fun, I hope to see more revisits of classic levels in future by this builder as what this level demonstrated was very good indeed." - JimmyBeon (01-Jul-2021)
"Fifth of the Create a Classic 2019 competition that I actually played, this level was breathtaking. After many bad levels, finally I played something that could be considered iconic.
First thing to notice, once you open the game, is how cinematic it is. There is a big amount of cutscenes and animations that are really wonderful: the author is one of the best animators we have in the community, and we can totally prove this with this level.
The most iconic cutscenes are the ones in which lara can literally die, and I swear I ended up laughing so much after each one of them after an initial shock(I hope Lara can forgive me, it is a guilty pleasure of mine afterall).
So we can totally confirm that graphically, this level is amazing, and the Maria Doria really feels alive. Don't really have much to complain about here.
Talking about gameplay, there is not much to say either: Daniel managed to introduce so many custom puzzles and a lot of great exploration elements, that really made the game fun from beginning to end.

In short, I will surely admit that this level was the best one out of the Create a Classic Competition 2019: there is close to no flaw, and for sure this is a raid that can't be forgotten. Chapeau!

Recommended? Must-Play, especially if you want the best experience from the Create a Classic 2019 and/or love the Maria Doria as a location.

Difficulty? Medium.

Duration? Approx. 1h30m-2h30m." - TombExplorer (19-May-2021)
"This is an absolutely amazing level! Everything is expertly crafted, starting from the satisfying footstep sounds, using the old TR2 sfx for water and pixelated textures, custom animations in cutscenes, Lara blinking, so much detail done right! Progression is great too, I did not get stuck once, though, I had to think how to get rid of the moray eel at first (when it grabbed me it made me jump a few times, haha). I love levels based on the original TR1-3 and this level captures the atmosphere and tension so well, I had to give 10/10, it is a masterpiece in its category. Playing the previous level (Maria Dorias Lost Treasure) before this is also recommended. Definitely hoping to see more new levels from this author!" - Raina Audron (01-Jan-2021)
"This level was designed in the style of the wreck of Maria Doria in Tomb Raider II. Textures, locations, atmosphere and sounds are analogous to those from that section in the classic. The design of places is beautiful and the use and arrangements of textures are excellent. Moreover, you visit many parts of the ship previously seen in Tomb Raider II. You look at them with interest and when you examine them closer, you discover that they changed a bit after Lara left the ship previously. While the design of locations is similar to Tomb Raider II, the gameplay and puzzles are different. The puzzles are closer in style to those in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. Some of them are entirely new. The custom is a bit challenging, but its difficulty level is not overwhelming. To sum up, Hostile Waters is an entertaining level of high quality. Its biggest advantage is the design of locations. I rate puzzles and gameplay slightly lower, but nevertheless they are very good. This level is a must for all who loved the wreck of Maria Doria in Tomb Raider II." - Michal (04-Nov-2020)
"This total classic gave me exactly the nostalgia I want. It's absolutely beautiful, from the cutscenes, to the atmosphere and gameplay, up to that insane death animation. It just feels like a lost TR2 level mutated into the TR4 world. It was a total joy to play, surely a wonderful addition to the hall of fame!" - Bashar (27-Oct-2020)
"I really don't have much to say about this level that wasn't said before, it simply became one of my favorite levels of all time, love the feel of it, it's classic but unique at the same time. Certainly I'll play it again in the future, witch is a rare thing for me to do. The animations had so much charm too, so did the flyby scenes, use of sound was impeccable and really wrapped everything together well, with that classic felling! This author is highly talented and I'll be anxiously waiting for more works of his in the future!" - HaniHeger (14-Sep-2020)
"I did not expect this to happen, but ‘Hostile Waters’ ended up becoming one of my all-time favorite custom levels ever – and it all began with that opening main-menu-flyby, and then getting my head bitten off by an adorable giant eel. But more on that in a moment. First off, I played this level before I played any of the author’s other levels – some of which I enjoyed, but none of which came as close to how good this one is. After playing and reviewing the other levels, I then went back to replay ‘Hostile Waters’ and to write this review. The TR2-remake-demo stuff was good in the end, but this Create a Classic experience, plus the One Room Challenge, both show the author’s Olympic leap to being one of the best builders out there.

I loved the flyby for the main menu. Not only is it nice to see someone doing this again, and putting the effort into this sort of thing (since most major releases these days simply like to copy LAU and have Lara standing there fidgeting and scratching her bum) but it also tells a story, if you watch it, and gives a great re-cap of the author’s ORC level. This was beautifully done. On the note of builders these past years (including the author’s TR2- remake demos) trying everything in their power to make the tomb4 engine and TRLE look and feel like a Crystal Dynamics game, this CAC level was an amazing experience because it does the exact opposite. It’s seems we have come full circle and now we are really going back to basics. However, this isn’t actually an easy thing to accomplish. The author has managed to re-create so many features from TR2 through engine patching and scripting, all masking the fact that this is still the TR4 engine. This is also the first custom level I’ve played that utilizes the new ring inventory, and boy is that something awesome to finally see in the TRLE world. The amount of effort, hard-work, and care, put into re-creating some of these details allowed me to enjoy this game even more.

Gameplay & Puzzles: The only downside here is that sometimes there is a lot of backtracking, and sometimes you will be given an item (such as the key wedged into a rock or the examine item for the valve wheel puzzle) that you wont use until much later when you’ll almost forget having found that initial item. I think perhaps a little bit of better structuring and pacing could be implemented here, but the pros outweigh these minor cons so I couldn’t fault the level for that. My favorite new addition to the gameplay was the Hammer which acts like a different sort of Crowbar. I enjoyed this mechanic so much, especially backtracking through some areas and racking my brain to remember where else I had seen that specific wood texture one could use it on, in order to find extra pickup items and Secrets. I only wish we had been able to use this mechanic more often because it really was such a cool concept. The only time the game ever truly stumped me was at the valve wheel puzzle and stupid-me didn’t remember that THE SHIP IS UPSIDE DOWN. This was such a brilliant thing to be stumped about, my frustration dissipated instantly once I figured it out and loved the simple ingenuity of it all.

Enemies/Objects/Secrets: The enemies look great, and it was a clever idea to dress up those standard TR4 SAS guys as the frog men divers from TR2. The secrets are very clever and well hidden, and one was definitely a tightly timed challenge. The real shining attraction to this entire experience though are all the new animations and objects they are tied with. Climbing up that first pipe; sliding open the doors in the cabins; and crashing that elevator and seeing the keys bounce, were all great ways to draw us into this level and keeping us around for more. Through scripting the author has created something really special here, primarily the two diabolical but breathtaking ways in which he kills Lara via two different trap/puzzles. First, the giant eel that bites your head off. This is not only a real jump-scare, but also a really creative way to block off an area until we figure out how to kill it. While the player hates that eel, once you push that boulder onto it, your heart will break and laugh when you hear the sad sound it makes when it dies (powerful and funny in its subtlety). Second, when Lara is munched up by the conveyor belt, and she screeches in agony before she is no more. This was one of the most horrifying and hysterical moments I’ve ever encountered in a TR game, let alone a custom level. The author’s creativity with this made me want to find more ways to kill Lara just so I could see stuff like this happen again. I hope in future games he makes even more epic-but-funny deaths for our favorite girl. (I want to see her reach into a hole-in-wall-switch and get her arm munched off by something).

Atmosphere/Sound/Cameras: The music is great across the board, mixing the most fitting tracks from TR1 and 2, but also finding stuff from 4 and 5 that works for an underwater-ship setting, and giving us some new tracks. Some of the best atmosphere I’ve experienced in a long time, and the second level doubles this from the excellence of the first. A really atmospheric and scary moment is when we are jumping across a cave, and at one point through the draw distance fog we can look back to the deck area we came from and we see some divers just standing there, watching and waiting silently. The cutscene earlier when the divers approach the wreck is also great, and something powerful to all of that is how well the story is told. In all these cutscenes and with all the new animations, Lara never speaks. No character speaks. But we know exactly what is going on, what is happening, and what we are meant to think. This is great storytelling and again, it’s interesting how we have come full circle from levels in the community where Lara doesn’t stop talking, with cutscenes and voice actors all trying to mimic a LAU game, to a Lara who is perpetually silent and an enigma once again. Plus, the way she keeps blinking is also great. I couldn’t help but think she was annoyed with me at how long it took me to sometimes solve a puzzle or find my way around. This is the Lara I’ve missed, an annoyed blinking sour-puss who doesn’t spoil the puzzle’s solution the minute I enter the room while crying about Sam and making quips with Zip and Alister. ‘Hostile Waters’ is a simple story, but told powerfully, and with a good dose of humor and nostalgia.

Lighting & Texturing: This is also done very well of course. I personally don’t think the author needed to go the route of the overtly pixelated PS1 textures from TR2, especially since the textures in the PC version don’t have to look like this when you switch on the highest settings, but it was his own stylistic choice. He does a great job with using them and creating a seamless and realistic environment. Some of the caves felt a bit big and wallpaper-y but there’s enough green foliage and seaweed to break up the monotony. I was a really big fan of the first area and exploring the tiny and simple little cabins, and I also liked his re-creation of the theatre area from Living Quarters, funnily enough keeping the giant square-wide seats, but enhancing them with a decorative back-mesh.

My last words go to the final level, because this needs an extra commentary: This was a true challenge, and a little frustrating, but it was all crafted so well and was such an intense heart-pumping experience, that in the end one can only enjoy it. Not only is it a cool dose of nostalgia to retrace Lara’s steps out of the wreck/40 Fathoms, but with the added boss fight, whose oxygen tank you then take, plus the tense music that increases in urgency as the timer counts down, it really becomes one of the most memorable moments from this entire game. That to me is the most important thing for a good game or level to have: it stuck with me and haunted me for days to come, and it made me want to replay it and write this review. I think it’s safe to say that SrDanielPonces needs to be knighted and become SIR Daniel Ponces, and ‘Hostile Waters’ needs to enter the Hall of Fame… yesterday. Thank you for making such an enjoyable level-set for us to experience, and also for inspiring me to get back into playing custom levels again. I look forward to whatever you have in store for us next." - Sethian (18-Aug-2020)
"This is the example of how the level should look like :) I love the fact you are basically thrown in the big area, and you need to find your way... This is the gameplay I love the most. About Atmosphere, lighting and textures. Brilliant :) I just love this level." - Sabatu (07-Aug-2020)
"Fantastic and surprising Maria Doria style level. Creative and innovative animations for Lara, on a level with an incredible atmosphere with TR2 sounds. The author must have made a great effort to make every detail of this rewarding level. A highly recommended adventure for fans of TR2 and Maria Doria levels. I consider it the best level in the "ship" class that I played." - Mister-B (25-Jul-2020)
"One of my favorite Cac 2019 levels that I have played. "Hostile waters" is an underwater/ship level that it is a sequel to the author's other level made for OCR2018. In this level, Lara has to escape the ship after she acquired her beloved artifact in the last level. One thing that I loved here is that the gameplay was not just "pull switches and get keys to reach the next area" but awesome puzzles (pressure valves puzzle), a new object to destroy walls and rooms from Tomb Raider 2. Textures and lighting are perfect, and there were not a lot of enemies but that's ok because they were not hard to deal with, also I liked the new animations that Lara did for example: the pipe at the beginning of the level, and the one between the room and water. I also loved the timed run at the end swimming through rooms from "40 Fathoms". Overall this is an excellent level that feels as if you were playing Tomb Raider 2 underwater levels. Thank you, SrDanielPonces." - Kubsy (07-Jul-2020)
"Wow... That level was probably one of the most innovative piece of work I have ever played. Throughout the entirety of the game, you're really feeling like you're playing an actual level from Core Design because of how the puzzles and environment remind you of the second TR's gameplay style. May I add that technically simple, the unfolding of the game is great nonetheless. Not only that, but as I said, the builder brang a set of new/innovative interactions and in-game animations that I have never seen before, may that be from Lara opening a sliding door, Lara actually blinking (yep, that impressed me) or even (small spoiler alert) some of Lara's death animations. Besides, the rotary inventory feels really nice! What's really exciting about this level is how you never get bored: the ambiance, textures and folding of the game immerge the player into the game. Also, I should mention how exploring the level made me feel nostalgic, which, in my opinion, really is a huge plus for a "Create a Classic" contest. I don't think any other words could make this level justice, only that I suggest absolutely anyone willing to get a nice throwback at TR2 with innovative gameplay and a perfect amount of combat/exploration/puzzles to play this level as soon as possible! Congratulations to you, Daniel, this custom level truly won my respect!" - Hedteur (06-Mar-2020)
"This level is simply AWESOME! The atmosphere, the music (from old Tomb raiders and from Resident evil), scenes, new moves and weapons... EVERYTHING.Also details that makes this game even more awesome, such as Lara blinking. This level has the classic tomb raider's essence, it reminds me a lot when I was playing Tomb raider 2 with my brother. I think this is one of the best Tomb Raider level editor that I`ve ever played before. Daniel Poncess, you're great!! Keep doing games like this ;D" - xManuelCroft (15-Feb-2020)
"Extraordinary work! I take my hat. Impressive architecture, perfect texturization, great animations and cutscenes, innovative features, no hard tasks, enough pickups, well balanced enemies... On the other hand, the gameplay is not very friendly, forcing you to go back to the same places running very very long distances after you've got the necessary items; and the low resolution textures weren't a good touch too, bringing poor views when you are near the walls/floors/ceilings, even when they are very well applied. The best, the fantastic atmosphere with a clever use of musics and cameras/flybys; excellent. All in all a very long and laborious level (at least, the first one) worth to play and still enjoyable. Recommended." - Jose (12-Feb-2020)
"This level borders on genius or insanity and should be sub titled "Don't try this at home without a walk through". I found this totally confusing with the myriad of paths to follow with insufficient clues on how to proceed so it ended up being a frustrating slog instead of an enjoyable experience. There was just too much to do and the level was just "too busy". It could and should have been simplified immensely to give the player a chance. Some aspects were inspired, such as crawling up the pipe, or breaking the rock to retrieve the key not to mention that enormous killer eel. Other aspects were just boring. I mean nothing happened in the first 20 to 30 minutes until the scuba divers showed up and by that time I was just about ready to trash the thing. I found exactly ZERO secrets but am told there are six? Some aspects were strange whilst some scenarios such as the theater came straight from the Opera House level. Graphics are decent with the ambience feeling just like the original Maria Doria level but it was dark in places. The final timed exit run (swim) was a masochistic exercise that will have you reloading time and time again as you wind your way through the depths of the ship, hopelessly trying to remember the path and the ONLY way I managed it was by finding a video walk through of the level. Without that I would be paying for my room at the insane asylum mumbling "Lara don't do it" for the rest of my days. Sorry but I did not enjoy this one at all. Tomb Raider levels do not need to be this complex." - Torry (17-Dec-2019)
"Excellent Maria Doria level, needless to say a lot more complex than the original. The atmosphere is near perfect and there's a really good balance between exploration (tough, tough), enemies (mean but doable), traps (I'm guessing there must have been a few but I can't recall, perhaps not that many) and puzzles. But the toughest part is actually exploring and I'm certain most of us have ended up doing a lot of backtracking... The run in the second part requires several tries before finally being able to escape the explosion but it's thrilling and perfectly alright once you've died a few times and finally grasped it. Complicated, yes. Rather well done, obviously. I only found one measly secret out of the 6 available." - Jorge22 (13-Dec-2019)
"This is a direct follow-up to the author semi-recent one-room challenge map, and is essentially a more ambitious take on the Maria Dora theme that level had; it's done great with a good mix between ship sections and organic underground caves, and the level (there's two, but this is another where the second is a short climax) also brings back various areas from the original Maria Dora levels, and mixes them together in a way that works. There's also many new interactions and set-pieces like moving through pipes and a crushing machine (which, along with some other things, provides a couple of new deaths too), along with new objects that add to the theme. I did feel the lighting was a bit flat occasionally; it fits the TR2 atmosphere, but I feel there could be a few more light/dark contrast, especially in the larger areas. The gameplay also makes a lot of use of unique objects and interactions, along with nicely modified enemies. There's good exploration and various puzzles mixed in, from dealing with an Eel to one that exploits the fact the ship is the wrong way up. The ending even relies somewhat of your knowledge on the original maps to finish it. The only weakpoint is that there's quite a lot of backtracking at one or two points, especially if you miss something in an area that's semi-detached from the rest of the map. An excellent set, and maybe the most classic feeling despite having some of the most radical gameplay changes." - Mman (12-Dec-2019)
"Such a masterpiece! I loved every second of it! Gameplay contains platforming, innovative puzzles and an interesting story. Also backtracking was so well made, cause you were lead by the game with music and new appearing enemies and perfect camera usage, which made it atmospheric and not boring a single second. The gameplay was indeed classic, but mixed with a lot of new stuff.. Not to mention the fantastic new animations within the cutscenes. It was so thrilling, because some deaths were so jumpscare like - the game really showed what it is able to, which raised the thrilling level and I was so tense all the time. The game itself felt really like a "game". Entertaining, classic and good gameplay, and an easy to follow storyline, which was so well told with all the cutscenes and logical puzzles. I wish there were more games like this. It took me over 2 hours to finish it and I found 3 of 6 secrets. Absolutely recommended!" - MarlenaCrystal (09-Dec-2019)
"Another quite long level, but the gameplay this time is not that complex and relying on backtracking and the like. Instead, the builder focuses on novel usages of objects and puzzles with a twist (that wheel puzzle at the end of the first level was awesome), which works much better at least for the most part. At times progression feels a bit too easy and the new ideas could've been used to create something more challenging and immersive. Anyway fluent and enjoyable throughout so quite well done. There are really dozens of new objects and also interactions with them, most of which are a nice addition. The enemies are well introduced and nicely placed (the very first encounter was a little shock), if there is something to critisize it is that there is a slight lack of variety, there are only frogmen to shoot and one moray killed in a very special way. Very cinematic flybys and great usage of sounds and cameras add a lot to the atmosphere, as well as several allusions to the original TR 2 game, but this level is not a visual masterpiece with always decent and varied but never highly impressive architecture, texturing and lighting. All in all a highly novel and creative hour long game that delivers in all aspects, resulting in it being my personal favourite of the CaC levels I've played until now. Found all six nicely hidden secrets, especially the last one was excellent." - manarch2 (09-Dec-2019)
"Gameplay&puzzles: The game was quite innovative, with some well thought puzzles, nothing impossible, even if some part are quite hards for players like me (noobs). I enjoyed the gameplay, for instance the valve puzzle was very nice. Enemies,Objets&Secrets: The enemies are quite classics, I guess they are SAS from TR4, with frogman meshes, it was nice anyway to see them on the ground. The boss was quite disappointing, because you just have to run around him and shoot like crazy, but its ok, no time for a scripted battle here, because the timer is here to remind you to hurry. Objects were very well used. Secrets were obviously well placed, and some requires a bit of searching, very cool. Atmosphere, sounds&cameras: certainly the best part of the level, it feels like TR2, but quite upgraded, with a lot of new animations, well used, the cutscenes/anims were very professional, way better than what I can do. Maybe I will contact Daniel for him to teach me how to do such good animations. Sounds and cameras were well used, they did add to the drama. Lighting&textures: Well I saw nothing bad there. To sumup, a level very well thought and executed, I'm happy to see that some builders make very good levels even with TR2 textures/objects.I recommand you to give it a try, and enjoy it. Thanks for this nice piece of work you offered us." - Lara_Fox_Croft (02-Dec-2019)
"A new adventure in the maria doria with many new interactions. There is a lot of research to do and remember all the places as it will come back. I must say that I did it twice (it's very rare) to get all the secrets. The last underwater race is quite complicated when you do not know the way, it will be necessary to remember all the places to lose no second. The first time I had to redo the fight against the boss to gain a few extra seconds. Excellent!" - Drakan (28-Nov-2019)
"This was certainly an interesting set of underwater levels. It has it all: exploration, traps, enemies, an elaborate timed run, and unique puzzles to boot. My one gameplay critique is against the large amount of backtracking required at the end of the first level, which could have been prevented with a more player-friendly layout. Decorative objects and audio are used well, and the cutscenes are quite engaging. Texturing and lighting are good. A job well done. 1 hour 53 minutes" - JesseG (23-Nov-2019)
"I love Tomb Raider 2 so I was really excited to see a boat level. The builder has created an absolutely incredible TRLE. The atmosphere was beautiful and I enjoyed swimming around exploring and finding things. I also ran into a giant eel that was a huge jumpscare haha. A very clever jumpscare that caused me terror. There's so much about this level that I have to praise and I think this builder has done a magnificent job. I absolutely loved the revamped theatre section in Living Quarters. These two levels have got brilliant added animations and clever new ways of using items. I loved how at the end of the second level I had to swim back through a flooded 40 Fathoms. Also I should add the conveyor death was just brutal haha. I was full of nostalgia all the way through the game. This level is a must play and this is among one of my favourite games in the CaC competition." - TheWorldlyGamer (20-Nov-2019)
"This was a very creative and challenging two-parter that successfully captures the atmospheric feel of TR2's Maria Doria levels whilst still being very much its own thing (with impressive in-game cutscenes which manage to tell a story without words and serve as effective transitions between sections, puzzles that can be a little too ingeniously devious for their own good and some surprisingly graphic custom death animations if Lara finds herself in a unique perilous situation that you aren't too careful avoiding among other neat little details.) General aesthetics are also very well-handled, with the lighting, texturing and object use managing to tell its own story within the level map itself (such as an opera stage you can explore or coming across schools of harmless fish swimming through the remnants of this mostly abandoned shipwreck, that Lara has to stop and kill random diving mercenaries from further desecrating along the way). Overall, a levelset well-worth playing in spite of some dull backtracking here and there. Keep up the quality work Daniel!" - Ceamonks890 (19-Nov-2019)
"I’m a big fan of ship levels and this is definitely one of the best. The atmosphere is excellent and there are some wonderful animations, especially Lara climbing a pipe early on in the game. That had me stuck for a while as it was not something she normally manages to achieve. Gameplay is varied and enjoyable, if somewhat complex in places, but luckily by the time I played it the walkthrough was available so I was glad to dip in at times. There are plenty of divers out to get Lara, but the weapon pickups are more than sufficient to deal with them. If you like ship levels, you really mustn’t miss this." - Jay (12-Nov-2019)
"This competition kind of snuck up on me, although I'm sure that many TR fans who visit other like-minded sites were eagerly awaiting the event. When I saw that influx of 18 levels I expected something like bite-sized morsels that would occupy 15 or 20 minutes of playing time, but this initial (for me) CaC download took me a whopping two and a half hours to complete, even with the assistance of Dutchy's typically complete and reliable walkthrough. We're given a heavy dose of nostalgia with a return to TR2's Underwater Ship levels. The two parts fit together seamlessly, although I spent four times as long in Part 1 as in Part 2. I was unable even to invoke the game at first, but the builder suggested that I try deleting one of the plug-ins (SAS_fix.dll). I did that, and I found that I could now play normally on my XP machine. You get a generous six secrets, all in the first part, and to complete the game you need to conquer a timed swim (which I did with about a second to spare) so you can enjoy the end credits. I see from the present ratings that this is one of the top offerings in the competition, but I'm looking forward to playing the remaining 17. High recommendations." - Phil (12-Nov-2019)
"This double-level set really succeeds admirably at recreating the atmosphere and nostalgia of the original TR2 underwater sections while presenting us with a sufficient variety of brand new scenarios to keep things fresh, as well as being a worthy sequel to this builder's One Room Challenge entry. Apart from the textures being slightly pixelated, everything surroundings- and atmosphere-wise is pretty much on point, and the addition of the customised cutscenes and animations are a definite plus point. I also nearly jumped out my skin when I saw that the scuba divers had seemingly grown to twice their normal size and were now land enemies as well as underwater enemies. On the gameplay side of things, the entertainment factor remains high throughout thanks to some nifty puzzle sequences which do demand some thought from the player, but are never unfair or frustrating to absolve. The secrets also provide some nice little side quests, although the only thing you really get is those cute dragon statuettes. The only gripe I have (and it is extremely minor) is that one of the timed runs from the main turning wheel might be a bit too difficult for some players, although it was only for a secret, so I'm not complaining too much. A truly enchanting underwater adventure." - Ryan (11-Nov-2019)
"This has to be one of the most creative levels I have played. It nails the classic look. The gameplay is only a taste of what I hope is the future of TRLE." - Klona (11-Nov-2019)
"Simply put: the perfect classic experience, mixed with NG elements: the perfect level. Everything is amazing, from the title screen, up to the last second, is perfect. never a dull moment in this game. The eel jumpscare was so amazing it had me in tears haha! I really loved it. the perfect level." - Troye (09-Nov-2019)
"Two and a half hours of awesome. This sequel level surpasses part one of the adventure and is an absolute blast to play. Those of you who loved the underwater segment of Tomb Raider II will have a great time with this level. Daniel weaves the old into the new seamlessly with just enough familiarity to evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. The new elements are an action-packed, innovative joy. The title screen flyby is worth watching to the end, and the cutscenes are nice. Excellent job on atmosphere and the further deterioration and decline of the once-proud luxury vessel as it is slowly claimed by the ocean. The metal and wood is rotting away and the local aquatic life have moved into each new flooded compartment and made it their home. Some of the new animations and custom sound effects were great, and there was a lot about this level that impressed me. Tomb Raider II textures are what they are, however! Daniel's innovation on staircases (you'll know it when you climb one) is well done. Combat was well-balanced and there are plenty of pickups available. The frogmen are some of my most-hated/most-loved adversaries. There isn't anything quite like a harpoon-laden dogfight in the water with those guys. The puzzles and exploration fall into the sweet spot of pleasantly challenging and thought-provoking without being overly taxing. I hunted out all 6 secrets, 2 of which were just evil. Won't spoil the fun for the rest of you! Happy dragon hunting! The timed swim of the second level was pretty tight, and luckily I remember the layout of those hull compartments very well, so I was able to zip through with 7 seconds on the countdown. There really isn't any time to waste when the clock starts. This open water diver really hope that Lara did her decompression stops on the way back up; that would be a serious case of the bends! I didn't encounter any of the bugs that Daniel mentioned in the Readme. Okay, that being said... when do I get to play part 3?!" - Chel (09-Nov-2019)
"An amazing adventure, with strong Maria Doria's vibes, nostalgic views and great reinterpretations, with many surprises. This level brings a lot of great custom animations and cinematic scenes. The level design is well structured, even though the game progression is pretty linear, but the explorable area is so big and various that the linearity brings literally no boredom and there are chances you don't even notice it. From the start to the end there is a smooth climax of tension, and the ending part is a whole backtracking of the original TR2 40 Fathoms, timed and risky. Enemies/traps are harmonious and progressive, even though I missed some dangerous fishes (except the moray eel). Puzzles are nice and the ones of the water pressure and of the waterskin are interesting to solve. Secrets are relatively easy to find and enjoyable. A beautiful level that is open to a wide audience, from more relaxed gamers to more advanced ones, that miss TR2. Totally recommended." - dinne (06-Nov-2019)
"This level set features a beautiful atmosphere, engaging and dynamic puzzles, surprisingly varied environments within the sunken ship, and extra polish with classic sound effects, ring inventory, and health / breath bars. SrDanielPonces expertly conjures nostalgia through the setting and textures while building entirely new environments and puzzles that make the levels feel fresh. Beginning where Maria Dorias Lost Treasure left off, “Under Siege,” is instantly engaging, with a door-by-door exploration of the ship’s cabins. I am fond of levels which include windows or viewpoints into places further along, a design style used here and reminiscent of Unfinished Business and The Lost Artifact. The caverns visible through portholes or chambers blocked by debris make the gradual opening up of the level feel like an accomplishment. This meant backtracking, but it was genuinely exciting to realize a new object could open something seen earlier. Puzzles often relied on wits and attention to context and detail, a sign of truly intelligent level design. One example is the pressure gauge puzzle, which requires consideration of exactly where Lara is. Enemies appear halfway through the first level, except for the demonic gulping eel lurking in an inconvenient alcove. While combat is never my favorite part of Tomb Raider, I was surprised to never encounter sharks or other threatening sea life while swimming around, especially because of the abundant harpoos. Pickups appeared often, although adding the automatic pistols and uzis to Lara’s arsenal took some extra exploration. Later, it was fun to blast through the frogmen, but I also missed the earlier peace and solitude. Well-placed musical cues, primarily from TR1 and TR2, aided the atmosphere. The music that plays as Lara emerges from a crawlspace into a gigantic cavern with three decks of the ship to explore was especially memorable. Music played an even larger role in the short second level, “Under Pressure,” which consisted of a few puzzles followed by a timed combat and swim to escape the collapsing ship. Here, the background track included new themes that perfectly ramped up the “pressure” of Lara’s escape, and sped up as the timer ticked down. While I enjoyed the level immensely, I think it was at its best when showing off its large environments, careful exploration, and puzzle-solving. In addition to a few more underwater enemies, I would have liked to see other parts of the ship not present in the original TR2. I loved the sections that were upside-down, but what if some of the ship were perpendicular? The various instruction papers could also have been more legible. The only bugs I encountered had to do with the new stair objects and the ascent/descent in a pipe between a dry room and a water room. I occasionally sank into the stair objects, which caused Lara to slide across the floor before being released. In the case of the pipe, Lara got stuck swimming in the wall above it and I had to reload. Apart from these, the new animations and cutscenes were great: I loved Lara’s initial ascent up a pipe to enter the ship. My final critique is of the timed-swim escape. While the music made it exciting, the swim’s environment itself was not especially interesting, consisting of large rusty hallways and many shattered wooden crates. I think it would have been fun to see more variety here, perhaps catching glimpses of the level’s previous locations. A memorable, beautiful level that I’m looking forward to revisiting in order to find all the secrets. The wonderful traversal of the undersea environments and solving the smart puzzles provided a great sense of achievement. 3 hours to complete both levels, found 3/6 secrets." - Cbl (06-Nov-2019)
"A very talented TRLE author here. In this game we explore in more detail the old sunken Maria Doria ship with some interesting gameplay stuff like the fact that you need to break a rock which has incrusted inside a key that later we're going to need, or some cool puzzles like waterskin one. We should also mention some really well done animations with cutscenes like the one at the very beginning when Lara goes inside a rusty pipe! This was a really good level, with great ideas and an actual decent length (I beated it in almost 2h) so... Congrats to SrDanielPoncess for this Create a Classic TRLE, I really enjoyed it and probably going to replay it soon :D" - Jason L (06-Nov-2019)
"I haven't played the prequel to this level, however the builder did show us nicely what it was through the title level as well with intro cutscene. Set directly after the events of Maria Doria's lost treasure, you have to find a way to escape the wreck and return to the surface. The gameplay is filled with some nice innovative ideas, immersive cutscenes and creative puzzles. However, even with all of that, the gameplay did feel a bit straightforward and not engaging enough through the whole playthrough. It lacked some more platforming or a few timed runs thrown here and there to force players to be a bit more responsive and faster and get even more immersed thorough some action. In every other department the level excels, it has nicely implemented enemies (without sound or AI issues, plus a cutscene announcing their appearance!), nicely hidden secrets, nicely put and lit objects. The level as a whole was really immersive and the builder captured the isolation & claustrophobic feel of the level fantastically. I highly recommend this level to any fan of TR2 and as I've heard, there might a continuation within these series of levels and I'm very much looking forward to them as with each release this builder shows more and more promise and keeps getting better!" - Raider99 (06-Nov-2019)
"Since I was a child I wanted to explore the cabins of the Maria Doria (the original Living Quarters are no cabins, the only visible "living" area is the old theater), and finally we can explore other areas and decks of the ship (including some reserved crew only areas), complete with exquisitely new objects in lowpoly and beyond! Lara can interact with different objects collected to make her way, returning to areas of the ship already visited in TR2 (the Ballroom, the Tea Room and the indoor pool Dressing room present in the Wreck of the Maria Doria; the Theatre, part of the decks present in the Living Areas)and visiting new areas looks like the cabins. Unlike the remake levels, this time we really return aboard the mysterious wreck, which is starting to collapse on itself, sinking into the depths. The gameplay is to say the least original, complete with heart-throb racing and some amazing actions. I would have preferred the face of Tomb Raider II's Lara instead of the TRIV face, but it's irrelevant. If you love the Maria Doria' set levels, playing it is a duty." - Talos (06-Nov-2019)
"Hostile Waters is the epitome of classic Tomb Raider. Aesthetically, absolute perfection. THIS is classic through and through. Starting with the fantastic title screen (great logo), to the interactive game-play (advanced and new, but still classic), the stunning cut-scenes (incredible animations and camera work) and attention to the detail (the elevator shaft, the huge chasm) and sound (that eel death noise) make this one of the best levels I have ever played. A gripe? Not enough effort put into the lighting & a few areas through-out. But still, highly HIGHLY recommend." - Baratheon (06-Nov-2019)
"It's a work of art to tweak with everything but still maintain the classic (f)eel, and the ending just blew my mind. Also it's refreshing to not stumble upon secrets without extra attention (not saying easy secrets are bad though). My only gripe is the inaccessible deck cameo, I got so disappointed I will actually include it in my own level (hopefully released in 20 years or so). Possibly the best classic Doria so far - dive in and don't do Daniel a denial..." - DJ Full (05-Nov-2019)