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Bartoli's Return by alan

BlackWolfTR 6 5 4 3
Chel 5 5 5 5
DJ Full 7 5 6 4
Jose 5 5 6 5
manarch2 6 4 2 2
Mehrbod 6 4 5 3
Nomad 6 5 6 4
Nuri 6 3 4 4
Phil 7 6 7 6
Ryan 6 5 4 4
Sylwia 7 6 6 3
The Snarky Lesbian 4 4 2 2
Torry 7 7 8 5
Treeble 5 5 5 5
Wolf7 7 5 3 2
release date: 07-Feb-2020
# of downloads: 129

average rating: 4.90
review count: 15
review this level

file size: 36.90 MB
file type: TR2
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Plays much better than it looks and was enjoyable despite of countless gameplay issues, that's why I decided to not include the standard penalty point for them. But hoooly crap it's crude, so if you're not ready, don't try it... when you are, then of course do." - DJ Full (14-Nov-2020)
"As someone, who has experienced all the previous TR2- levels already, especially in regard to the latest releases of this engine that we had since 2017, I can tell with no doubt that this release is technically a huge step backwards. Most importantly because of the bare level design, which looks like 2001 to me. Gameplay has it's flaws here and there as well, but that is not a big problem in this one if you ask me. I actually really enjoyed most of the tricky jumping sequences, connected with some deadly traps, because I like challenges. However, it should be possible to solve them without additional help like medipacks (referring to that barrel/slide-trap from level 2). Speaking of Medipacks, there is tons of inventory stuff you'll receive during all 5 levels that you don't really need. And the fact that this has an interesting and utterly hilarious thriller- background story (info page) seems to just cover the fact up, that there isn't any connection between the levels and it's like random levels you play through until Lara finally ends up where Bartoli is. Some of the secrets were hidden good. Found 'em all though!" - Nuri (19-Jul-2020)
"An interesting game, not gonna lie, that I played because I was challenging against a friend in a competition called "can you actually survive through this level without breaking into madness?" The answer is: yup but this level is hard and interestingly hard! While this level fails to give the player amazing atmosphere, lighting, texturing, the game does not fail at giving a great gameplay and some surprisingly good secrets. Challenges are plenty in this level and really fun too! (With the exception of those two timed runs in the second level and that painful jump sequence in the fourth level). If you are an expert player and wanna go through something that is an entertaining version of Theft of the Dagger Xian with better maps and loads of fun, really try it out. If you are looking for perfect atmosphere then ... I am sorry but this might not be the game for you. Wolfy Regards" - Wolf7 (06-Jul-2020)
"Not a very special TR2 level. You start in a very large and boxy room, with loads of ammo and medipacks, and numerous sharks and frogmans to shoot. Secrets were rather easy to be found, but I liked the general setup of a few of them. Texturing could have been done in a way better way (like other TR2 levels which nailed this). Still, looking forward to more TR2 levels from this author. Thank you!" - Mehrbod (12-Apr-2020)
"Visually absolutely uninspired with boxy areas with wallpaper (or simply missing) textures everywhere, bad lighting, wrong sounds, invisible blocks in front of all doors and also the floor architecture is just... wrong. The builder really got away too easily with some of the marks in the third category. Anyway, the gameplay is an entirely different story. There are some extremely challenging moments in this game from time to time, such as excellent usage of traps, just about right timed runs and varied platforming tasks. Not all tasks were exactly fair to the player (the snowmobile is horribly buggy and some of the tasks require extensive usage of medipacks) but I still highly enjoyed the unorthodox tasks in this game, as well as a few more classic but still not boring pushable puzzles. The enemy placement is fairly predictable and in some parts this game resembles a shooter, but there is a huge overdose of ammo (at the end I had more than 3000 unused Uzi clips and 2000 automatic pistol ammo) that you will never face any problem. What could definately be avoided is enemies appearing out of thin air. But I have the feeling the builder's aim was not realism anyway, more like giving space for the ideas in the gameplay, which worked rather well for me. Found the 12 secrets in 1:25 hours." - manarch2 (06-Apr-2020)
"Game with 5 levels. Gameplay is quite good, a lot of puzzles with shifting blocks, a few time trials. But when it comes to appearance, it is not so good. Large square rooms, textures were repetitive which was a bit monotonous to the eyes. A lot of textures could be penetrated, which was a bit annoying. Opponents were quite diverse, we even met an old friend of T-Rex. To sum up, if someone likes TR2 levels, it's worth playing despite the bugs. In my opinion, the creator has potential. Thanks." - BlackWolfTR (11-Mar-2020)
"Really a good effort from this author to offer us a 5 levels adventure, but I think Alan was in a hurry and he didn't work enough time to create nice environments to explore. The arquitecture is very rude and crude, only interconnected boxes, and Lara can often trespass the grass and the solid rocks when walking through; even when there are enough guns, ammo and medipacks (perhaps excessive) the enemies are not well balanced, it's not funny fight with dozens of enemies in a room and no enemies in all the level. Many traps are too dangerous, almost impossible to pass, and in that sense I had to reload dozens of times. The background musics in the first levels are not really background musics too. In the last level, I got a lot of problems to get the dagger from the dragon. On the other hand, I found some interesting puzzles with pushblocks, and the gameplay is usually fluid (except for the traps), but no much more to say about good features. I hope the author spents more time to build better environments in the future." - Jose (05-Mar-2020)
"This five-parter TR2 set has a surprisingly high difficulty level throughout, not to mention a real sting in the tail. It has its moments, but equally as many frustrating sections and a few glitches to boot. While the various pushblock puzzles were nicely laid out, the trap sequences on the other hand do tend to overstep the mark and end up becoming a miasma of frustration and numerous reloads (particularly in Pyramids of Teotihuacan) and I'm sure they could have been made more enjoyable if they were more forgiving. The snowmobile ride was also a bit too fiddly to execute correctly, and the enemy attacks were a bit on the uninspired side. That said, I did appreciate the hefty amount of supplies that were scattered around (possibly too much) as I did need them by the time I reached the final level. On the subject of sound, something seemed seriously wrong with the audio as it kept repeating the previous music track ad nauseam, with the only solution being to save and reload, and the textures really needed more work as the repetitive environments were fairly tiring on the eyes after a while and weren't exactly visually pleasing. My overall opinion is that of a previous reviewer's closing comment: it was both aggravating and entertaining in equal measure." - Ryan (28-Feb-2020)
"I'm not much for TR2 levels, for a couple of reasons. First, for some reason the graphics don't display optimally on my computer's screen. Second, the TR2 engine has been outdated for more than 20 years, and these levels just aren't as much fun to play as are the much more sophisticated productions made possible by the current building tools. That being said, aside from a game-stopping glitch I found myself enjoying this five-level release. The first level is something of a teaser, fairly easy to play and figure out without having to tax your brain or your reflexes to any great extent. In my case the game then crashed with a LoadLevel error message, but I was able to proceed to the second level with a savegame provided by Treeble. That's when the fun really started. The second and third levels are fraught with maddening traps and jumping exercises where the slightest misstep will send you to your doom. But while the execution is difficult, knowing where to go and what to do next isn't, so these two parts were terribly addictive. You're cussing like a sailor, but your unwavering goal is to get past the current trap so you can move on to the next one. The fourth level in icy surroundings didn't offer much in the way of enemies, but there's a climbing exercise that has to be experienced to be believed. And then the game crashed again as I was eagerly awaiting the finale. Not to be daunted, I renamed the last level as the first level, started a new game and promptly gave myself unlimited weaponry and ammo. Level five is short, only five minutes or so, but it's a slugfest where you need to make use of everything you accumulated during the first four levels. Since I was starting from scratch, the only possible way of getting through alive was by cheating. So I did, but I'm wondering now if the effort was worth it. Anyway, the main reason for playing this one is for the second and third levels, which will test your playing skills to the max." - Phil (25-Feb-2020)
"Save often. This is a series of five levels that range from very different environments (all loosely based on the original TR2 levels), which despite the simple introductory level will test your resolve and your patience. There are quite a few timed sequences that will require many tries until you get it right (and one of them is even worse as an open door blocks your view for far too long), the most unfair rolling barrel sequence I've ever seen, which required so many reloads it just became downright annoying, and then some insane trap gauntlets. At one point, a medipack pickup gives you about 10 or so medipacks at once, take that as a warning: you'll be doding rolling boulders, spinning and wall mounted blades in a spike field while a spiked wall is creeping towards you. It's not as enthralling as it sounds, but a pat in the author's back for the creativity of combining everything and the kitchen sink in a single trap. There is something very wrong with level geometry, as the collision is all wrong, plus the end of the world is pretty much left there as part of the design I guess. Texture work is also uninspired (especially the outdoors in Threatening Icy Cliffs, sometimes odd by mixing different sets, and you get a few untextured spots along the way. On the gameplay department, other than the many traps, expect a few multi-tiered pushblock puzzles, key hunts and brown levers hidden in plain sight by brown walls. Ah, yes, the door bug is present in most of the cases and sometimes you get so many enemies at once they flicker in and out of existence. Audio also gets a bit bogus as revealers get stuck on a loop, but this is quickly fixed by reloading. Anyway, the best hint I can give you is: save often. 110 minutes, 6 secrets. 02/20" - Treeble (23-Feb-2020)
"I think this will be one of the longest reviews that I wrote so here we go. The levels come with a story and I love that. Always adds meaning and color to the game. Though I must confess some parts do not fit, for example nowhere in Hydrogen Creatures have I found any clue that it was a facility to create mutants or unnatural monsters, there were only fish and henchmen to be found unless I missed something. Anyway not that important, when I started the game it became immediately apparent that the visuals would not be the strong point of the level, so I focused on the gameplay. It was actually going along well and there were some solid tasks and action events like box puzzles and timed runs, until that barrel slide sequence in the second level appeared..which was pretty horrible. A very real criticism here, making the traps tight and difficult should not be just to design it tight and difficult. It is obvious that there is a sweet spot or exact timing to survive the trap all know that while playing, but players should not see what the solution is by randomly jumping around and guessing frantically or by sheer luck and when they make it they say, oh this was how it is done. Players should be able to foresee what to do before finishing the sequence with all that. If we can plan and figure out the logic of the trap beforehand or at least it is just not guesswork and has some logic to it, only then tight traps are okay. I mean even if you have to die to find the solution and the only way is metagaming, make it a couple of deaths at least. I have died 50 times and still could not understand what I should do. I know there are a lot of builders making this fault (heck even Core Design did that :)) and maybe some enjoy those chaotic traps who knows but I am guessing they are a minority. The unnecessarily brutal traps ensue in the next level. This time we can most of the time see where we're going and what to do, but it is extremely tight and any miliseconds of mistiming or misstepping will send Lara to death, and the trap sequence durations are long. You have to save loads of time during the sequence to make it. It is better, but still not good. After that level comes the fourth, where I had more fun, mostly because of the icy tower platforming. That was a good one. The last level is just like the Dragon's Lair, short with full time action. You kill the dragon by yelling for Winston! and get out. So all in all, I had fun in spite of the hair pulling moments of 2nd and 3rd levels. If the ideas would be combined with good visuals it would be a lot better level." - Nomad (22-Feb-2020)
"I quite enjoyed this five level set even with the angled floors that you could walk through and the huge rooms complete with the enemies spawning in mid air so to speak. Sure, the execution could stand some polishing but the level set in and of itself is not bad. There are some extremely tough platforming sections over collapsible tiles, some equally tough timed runs and the barrels, boulder traps will have you reloading time and time again but all can be conquered with a little skill and fore thought. Pick ups are plentiful and generally there are a whole heap of goodies in the one pick up so there is no lack of fire power or health and you will need them both for the final battle. There is one glitch in level three but the author has now rectified that in the new download. All in all a fairly decent raid that will have you occupied for a good three hours." - Torry (11-Feb-2020)
"A set of five TRII levels. This offering is a bit of a mixed bag, though better than Alan's previous levels, so he's getting better! Gameplay is fairly straightforward, linear and not heavy on the puzzles or challenges with the exception of some very brutal timed runs that will likely have you pulling your hair out. These are in level 2 and you will know them when they kill you repeatedly. There are also some rooms filled with enemies that are just pure frustration. Due to the many enemy objects onscreen, they tend to flicker in and out, with many randomly spawning if you take another ten steps into the room. For the underwater areas this was extremely frustrating. Level 3 has some crazy trap sequences a la Great Wall on steroids. We got a boss to kill and plenty of spiders to shoot. Some of the trap areas are a bit glitchy, which caused me issues. In particular the room with the flying metal discs, collapsible magic floating tiles and the burners under the shimmy-crack in the wall. Lara had some major issues grabbing that crack and touching the square with the flames results in instant death. Would have preferred if that was not the case, as it just doesn't make any sense. Lara has always been able to zip through between flames with minimal scorches on her boots. My major critiques of the set would be the enormous rooms and the texture issues. Some spots have a flickering texture that mirrors and multiplies whatever is directly in front of it. It's almost seizure inducing and I hope that Alan doesn't let these sorts of errors make it through the cleanup phase of future projects. The large rooms also cause rendering issues, problems with the enemies disappearing and randomly spawning and just generally not looking very good at times. Some of the architecture is a bit odd, but I believe that this is part of growing as a builder and figuring out what is possible with the engine and tools. The combat is definitely on the heavy side, but Alan's given us plenty of munitions and supplies so Lara can dish out the punishment when necessary. Facing off with the dragon once more was pretty cool, and this fight was both a bit more difficult due to the restricted space of the 'arena' as well as easier since Lara could run back out of the dragon's chamber. Some fiddling was needed in order to drop the beast on level ground so Lara could reach that dagger and put an end to the fight. I think I was frustrated as much as I was entertained, but I was indeed entertained by much of the madness in these levels." - Chel (09-Feb-2020)
"So originally I wanted to give this level set a pretty small score, tell everyone to skip this trainwreck and move on with their lives. But here is the thing, I love TR1-3 levels, and there are not a lot of builders for these types of levels, so I dearly dearly hope the creator will keep practicing, and so it is only fair that I talk about all the things that should be changed in these levels so the creator can get an idea of what to change, and which order. For everyone else, just skip these levels. Okay so let’s start:
1) Flatten then ground. It’s the first thing I noticed in your previous level, and it’s the first thing I noticed here as well. For some reason 90% of all floor tiles in these levels are a chaotic array of different slants that still retain a flat collision, so you keep clipping through them at every time. It looks horrible, it plays horrible and it all around wrecks the experience. 2) Unflatten pretty much everything else. As slanted as the grounds are, as flat all the walls are. I know this is probably just the easiest way to build levels, but keep in mind that it looks incredibly unnatural while playing. A cave doesn’t only consist of 90° angles, so you shouldn’t build them that way either. I know the game isn’t super realistic to begin with, but any bit of realism you CAN add can and will enhance the atmosphere. I know this will drastically decrease the speed at which you can build and finish a level, but let me tell you, in Tomb Raider it usually goes Quality over Quantity. 3) Your environments make no sense no matter how they look. While I understood that somehow the third level was supposed to Crypts of some kind, and the fourth level was a glacier of sorts, I cannot for the life of me tell what the first two levels were supposed to be. Again, try to make it somewhat realistic, TR2 can be gamey and arbitrary, but you can still try to make it seem like a place that exists, and then use the attributes of that place to help you structure, for instance the flipped corridors in Ship-Type levels, having Amphitheater like places in these ruins etc. It’s not enough to just stick to the textures and enemies the original game used, I need to feel like “Ah, this is a submarine, oil rig, ship, mastabas, tomb, etc. 5) Thematic cohesion. Your set went “I am in a tomb maybe? To a ship, to green crypts to a snowy glacier to the Dragon’s Lair. You don’t need cutscenes, just make multiple levels of one theme and try to give some sense to why Lara is suddenly somewhere else completely. 6) Stop stacking pickups like crazy, 1-2 pickups per graphic should be enough, I don’t want to pick up what looks like one Uzi pickup, only to result in me receiving 20 at once. It does not feel rewarding that way. 7) Your enemy encounters are kinda horrible. Space them out more and give out Ammo more sparringly. Your pickup to Action ratio is completely skewed. The Spearman Encounter in the last level was absolutely horrific and resulted in me just spamming med kits and grenades. 8) Fix the textural cohesion, the actual textures themselves work, but they repeat ad nauseum with no pattern to them. Check out either the original game or Feder’s Hidden Dagger level set to get an idea on how to combine textures into sensible patterns. Again, Quality over Quantity. 9) Some of the action puzzles really sucked, like the timed shimming and the barrel slides in the second level, please make them a slight bit less tight. I know I am called theSnarkyLesbian, but I don’t actually like it THAT tight.
The Good. There is actually some stuff I really liked here. For instance that it was generally quite bug- free, or that you seemingly tried to combine different textures of any given level theme. Some puzzles were really good, like the block pushing puzzle in the big hall in the second level. And I liked how well hidden the brown switches were in the glacier level. In general, while I cannot score this level set that favorably, PLEASE keep building. Check out Feder’s Tomb Raider 2 levels and learn from them. I would gladly beta test your levels too. Pelase keep building and improving, cause we definitely need more TR1-3 builders!" - The Snarky Lesbian (09-Feb-2020)
"Honestly, after the first level I thought that this game would suck but - the further the better ;) Surprisingly, gameplay turned out to be quite good, some puzzles were cool and the idea for passing the levels correctly laid out. Unfortunately the visual side is not the best. Lack of decent lighting, errors in texturing, ugly surroundings, spoil the perception of the whole game, which is a pity. If the surroundings were as good as the gameplay, that would be great. Much to improve but there is potential." - Sylwia (09-Feb-2020)