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BtB2020 - The Forgotten Sealed Masks by LoreRaider

Adrian 9 8 7 8
Allicya 9 9 10 10
BlackWolfTR 9 10 10 10
Dick 8 9 8 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
eRIC 8 9 9 9
Jay 9 9 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 10 10 10 10
Josey 10 10 10 10
Lizard Queen 9 8 9 9
Magnus 8 9 9 9
manarch2 8 9 9 9
MichaelP 8 8 10 8
MigMarado 10 9 9 9
Mman 9 10 10 10
Mytly 9 9 10 10
nad 9 9 9 8
Phil 8 9 9 8
Relic Hunter 9 9 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Saki Croft 10 10 10 10
Samu 10 9 9 10
Talos 9 10 10 10
Topixtor 9 8 9 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
 
release date: 14-Jun-2020
# of downloads: 201

average rating: 9.30
review count: 26
 
review this level

file size: 151.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Oriental
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
lorethegamer@gmail.com

Reviewer's comments
"My biggest issue here is the pacing - I know it's meant as 4 different locations, but somehow it feels like an hour of cave prologue followed by the main course. Fortunately, the overall impression is immersive, and sometimes even cinematographic. I mean, the cameras take their time so the brain can process the storyline and inhale the mood without rush. Good level." - DJ Full (05-Mar-2023)
"I saw Lore grow as a level designer, from the beginning, when he tested my levels, in his first steps in the world of TRLE. And what great steps! When the student gas become the masters! In the last levels he has refined his style, as a trademark. A skillful use of cameras (cinematics effect) and graphic effects. Adrenaline-pumping gameplay just enough, not very difficult but not even trivial (although Puna's Revenge I consider it very difficult!). But let's talk about the level in question: a start very similar to Rise of the Tomb Raider, and then get closer to the atmosphere of Tomb Raider II, perfected and far improved. I caught a glimpse of some affinities with the very first level he released (the ice quarry in the second level). Great use of cutscenes and subtitles, which make the level pleasant and less anonymous. And what cutscenes! Fantastic! The mini levels were created using the same trick found in greywolf's Persian BtB level (and as LDs, I will experience it sooner or later). I use the excellent textures, without mess that I find in too many levels (and I am not talking about textures not turned or put wrong, but just textures totally distant from each other as an architectural genre / motif) and my heart, which loves ancient history, suffers a lot from seeing non-sense combinations. I really enjoyed the RGP part of the village level (and finally someone changes a 20-year-old gameplay! It was time, I no longer feel the only one doing these things,) with a final epilogue. :)" - Talos (09-Apr-2021)
"This is a bit tricky for me to review. On the one hand it is an amazing piece of work. Very competently built and with great attention to detail in shaping a storyline which is split up into 5 cohesive parts and even connects them with narrative and cinematics - great stuff! On the other hand, the whole flow of the gameplay did not click with me very well and I often found the rooms and areas to narrow, cramped and even a bit too much on the dark side, so that going through many of the areas felt more like an ordeal than a fun and inspiring adventure. I mean yes, there are great moments, like the bouncepads and the bells, the moment where you get the pickaxe, the ghost monks and many more - but what remained with me at the end was more the constant feeling of being a bit lost in the village despite the many hints given and the kind of underwhelming final battle. So all in all, I can totally get how others may totally love this adventure, but for me it did just not work out so well. [110 min]" - MichaelP (29-Aug-2020)
"This is the 4th level in the BTB Tibet series I downloaded and played. What I liked about this level: 1) The torch puzzle was very well designed with a clever storyline and windy blowout effect, which I’ve not seen before. 2) Shooting some boulders releasing another boulder to open a closed gate was a nice touch. 3) The village level 4 is very well done like an RPG. 4) The underwater room with the turning statues and light streaming from above down into the water is beautiful. I would say this entire underwater part of level 4 is my favourite area for gameplay as well as visual beauty. What I didn’t like: 1) The lighting in the first three levels is rather dim which is a shame because the icy environment could have been lit to look like a shimmering underground glacier instead of dark and dim caves. It feels like a missed opportunity and low lighting is not my favourite way to play. 2) In the second level pushing the snowballs didn’t work for me until I looked at a video streaming of the game. Shattering snowballs, for example would be more reliable without changing any of the gameplay. 3) Losing all weapons and Lara’s health while trying to pull levers with two Yetis attacking in level 3 is beyond frustrating and pretty much killed my enthusiasm for the level. I found this part even harder than the final boss sequence. In conclusion, this is a very well constructed and innovative game. Many will enjoy playing it. But I would have preferred more of the gameplay and visuals of the underwater part of level 4. And given the frustrating Yeti attack with no weapons would probably make this not suitable for beginners or average players." - Lizard Queen (27-Aug-2020)
"What a great way to end Back to Basics 2020! The story is about Lara searching for four lost masks that were once used to imprison a demigod. Lara’s ready to “discover more about all of this” - note that she’s not in Tibet to find the masks and imprison the demigod again. This is purely an academic venture. It’s a fun ride, though. The level is split into four acts, with each part culminating in Lara finding one of the masks. The first three quarters of the level are very linear, focusing mostly on traps and platforming. At times it can feel a bit too constrained, but for the most part the gameplay is fun enough to make up for how quickly you’re moving through these locations. There’s also a small amount of backtracking between rooms, so it doesn’t feel like you’re just moving from one room to the next. Things take a bit of a turn in the final act, when Lara finds herself in a village. Suddenly she has to hunt for keys and help out the populace. It makes for a nice change of pace after the linearity of the earlier acts, but the village is small enough that it doesn’t feel overwhelming. The setting is also a nice change of pace. While the whole level looks great overall, I was beginning to get a bit tired of the caves and tombs. And then you get to what is probably the nicest-looking village in this year’s competition. It’s a bit labyrinthine, but it’s filled with neat details and is really fun to explore. The game kept crashing when I tried to save towards the end of the level (after the final timed run). Fortunately, there was really no risk of dying anymore at that point, but of course I didn’t know that until after I’d finished the level. That’s a minor blemish, though, and overall I really enjoyed the eighty minutes or so I spent searching for the four masks and maybe saving the world? I’m not sure. At least Lara got a neat prayer wheel out of all this. I know I say this so often it’s lost all meaning, but this was a good level!" - Magnus (27-Aug-2020)
"This is set over multiple mini-levels that gives the feeling of an adventure through multiple places, as you go from a mountain peak through lost ruins to a town in the mountains. The level of detail is excellent throughout, and there's one impressive sight after the other; the treacherous peak to start things off is an nice take on the theme, and then the ruins themselves have multiple impressive sights. There's even a homage to Catacombs of the Talion at one point, that's just enough to evoke nostalgia from recognition while having enough changes to not just be an empty copy. Lighting and textures are both excellent and varied throughout, and there's a lot of creative object use and original sequences too.

The segmented design is used to give each segment distinct styles, and it varies between exploration, trap sequences and semi-horror elements. The new objects and features are used to make all kinds of unique ideas, and there's some nice integration of a story too, including revisiting certain parts with major changes. It even plays with things like a weaponless sequence. Despite the variety and general enjoyment I do feel it's lacking a certain something to feel perfect, and the segmented style does make it a little linear (although the individual parts do a good job linking up). I also felt the story climax was lacking something to tie it all together, and while the ending was technically satisfying I felt the overarching plot was lacking a certain final touch. Though that's only an issue because of how close it is to handling it perfectly. An excellent level that almost makes you feel like you've played a mini-set by the end, and now my favourite and the one to beat for the few levels left." - Mman (17-Aug-2020)
"This is a long level, divided into 5 sub-levels that flow quite logically into each other. I especially love the transition between the second and third sub-levels, featuring Lara getting pushed into an icy pit by a zombie monk! There’s a large number and variety of tasks to be done throughout this huge level. Some of my favourites are the timed-run with the torch in the first sub-level (with a unique twist: the wind ‘blows out’ the torch if you don’t reach the campfire on time); the bells and bouncepads timed task in the second sub-level; and the trap gauntlets in the underwater temples in the fourth sub-level. Most of the tasks in the village are, unfortunately, rather boring fetch quests or unintuitive puzzles, such as having to run ‘the way the clock ticks’ in a temple.
The use of enemies is quite clever in the third sub-level: since Lara has temporarily lost her guns, she has to find an alternative method to get rid of pesky yetis. The spooky zombie monks floating around also make for a great atmosphere. The final battle – in the sub-level called The Final Battle – is rather underwhelming, though.
There’s a large variety of settings as well: a snowy and windy mountaintop, underground caves and tunnels, a gorgeous and atmospheric village, and underwater temples. The locations are mostly beautiful and atmospheric, though at times, some of the underground sections are way too dark. The beauty of the village makes up for most of the shortcomings, though – it looks gorgeous in both the daytime (the fourth sub-level) as well as night (the last sub-level).
Overall: A complex, gorgeous and extremely enjoyable level – one of my favourites in BtB2020. Highly recommended." - Mytly (17-Aug-2020)
"An extraordinary level, full of talent, creativity, and unusual elements. The atmosphere of the first part, at the freezing mountain, is very realistic, with all the mists and cold wind. I considered very difficult the task of arriving back at the camp with the torch still lighted, and I was a little disappointed when the part ended after the lighting of the campfire, for I wanted to rejoice a little in the lighted camp. The variety of tasks, here, is very satisfying, and I appreciated all of them, even the final battle and the difficult time with the uncaged Yetis. I was also amazed with the idea of having a zombie monk disappear and appear at another part, to push Lara down. The gong part is also very good, with the sound of the gong expelling the evil monk spirits and making the sinister panorama change with the appearance of flowering trees. At the lovely village, there is a little difficulty in talking to the people, because the text appears only when Lara is positioned at a very particular place, but nothing that Escape, Move a Little and Try Again could not mend. Well, I am a little late with my review, and other reviewers have already talked about the other good features of this very nice level. Excellent work!" - Josey (13-Aug-2020)
"Another excellent BtB2020 entry that is a game in its own right! Very interesting storyline with ever-varying settings and gameplay that is just a joy to get through. Minor caviats include: The use of enemies and objects could be better; sometimes the lighting is too dark; and some rooms seem rather pointless. Very minor, indeed! Congratulations on this great mini-game! Thank you!" - MigMarado (13-Aug-2020)
"As much as I'd like to, I can't join in the chorus being sung by earlier reviewers. Although I can appreciate and even admire the builder's technical prowess, little effort has been made to take advantage of the gorgeous textures provided by the Tibet package until we get to the fourth segment, and it's too damn dark throughout. Nothing memorable about the first three segments stands out in my mind other than the bouncepad bell-shooting exercise, which was creative and fun. The builder may have been better advised to release only the fourth and fifth segments, as in this case the whole is definitely not greater than the sum of the parts; in fact, quite the opposite. The best gameplay and the most appealing surroundings come during the fourth segment, which for me lasted more than an hour and would itself have earned higher scores than for the level as a whole despite the continuing darkness that lasts from start to finish. An accomplished effort, but not really my cup of tea." - Phil (09-Aug-2020)
"Some inventive gameplay/puzzles, but overall I felt a little fragmented with the sub-levels within the levels. Reasonable but not majestic or awesome atmosphere. Secrets not too difficult to find. Good effort." - Adrian (07-Aug-2020)
"This is one of those levels that is pure joy from beginning to the end. The game starts in a masterfully crafted mountain top and from there you will traverse through some caves util you come to a Tibetan village. The environment is beautiful and highly atmospheric throughout the game and I spent several moments here and there simply admiring the level design. Gameplay is also very nicely balance between action-oriented tasks, exploration and puzzle solving. All in all, it’s a great level in every aspect." - Samu (01-Aug-2020)
"This level is literally full of feelings. Some areas reminded me TR2 Tibetan's level! It was such a pleasure to play this level because it's easy, fluent, you'll never get stuck in this one! It's really intuitive! Gameplay&Puzzles are easy but not so much and funny! This makes the game pleasant to play. I've also liked the underwater section! It was the more challenging area! Full of colors, areas to explore and be amazed about the story of the sunken temple! Sounds are perfect. Lightning & Textures are blue tones,in the first levels, which I really like because it suits for icy levels! And what about the city!? Well that one is stunning! This ambient and the quests with the npc reminded me Shadow of The Tomb Raider! It was really funny helping the villagers to fix their issues. Keep up the work!" - Saki Croft (25-Jul-2020)
"To me, another winner, I have no doubts about it. Unfortunately in ways, I was out for a short while and so I stopped playing at the start of the village for about a week - that means I can't really remember most of what happened in between the first memorable level and getting there. But I know it was really good because that was my clear impression. The first level, at the top of the Everest, well, it's really something I don't think we've seen before - majestic, and the run with the torch against the wind is an amazing idea. The village is really quite interesting and the ending, after the night falls and Lara gets back and enters the Buddhist temple and all leading to exploding the baddies quickly and pleasurably, thanks to the explosives I'd kept, is a blast. There's really nothing I can fault here... The design, the atmosphere, the player-friendly (thus, pretty much flowing) adventure which presents rather interesting exploration and puzzles along the way, I just can't fault it. Congratulations to the builder, whoever he or she may be." - Jorge22 (24-Jul-2020)
"After the first three levels I was set to significantly mark this one down. Despite the occasional innovation, like the mountaintop scene and the timed torch, it was all a bit, well, dreary. But then I arrived at the village and everything changed: gameplay became truly engaging and the setting, at last, was something of genuine beauty." - Dick (21-Jul-2020)
"Really good custom game with 5 levels. 3 first levels was setted in caves and undergrounds and two last in village. Gameplay was good, many beautiful places and interesting tasks. As always in custom levels I loved the village. It was really nicely and bautiful done. Caves levels was very athmospheric and dark. Whole adventure was beautiful decorated with different things. Texturization was very good. I found 2/5 secrets that were quite good hidden. I completed this adventure in 2 hours and 6 minutes. Definetly reccomending this levelset, it's worth playing." - BlackWolfTR (17-Jul-2020)
"Five parts, but each of modest duration, part one involves Lara going to great lengths to light her camp fire, which I thought an excellent notion. In fact I really liked the progression through the caves with plenty of interesting tasks along the way before reaching the village. I found most of the settings/scenarios very realistic and thus completely absorbing. The flooded village section has some fun, inventive traps and the boss ending entitled ‘the Final Battle’ is actually positively restful compared to some. Highly entertaining." - Jay (11-Jul-2020)
"There are times in this level where the gameplay is somewhat slow, with yet another long platforming path and overusage of new moves or crawlspaces, which, together with the omnipresent gloomy atmosphere in most of the game, can get a little distracting. Nevertheless, it is worth going through all this, because in its good moments the level really excels, mostly with the clever puzzles and timed tasks (I really enjoyed the run against the wind in the first part), but also the elevator and yeti scenes are highlights of this game. The fetch quests in the village sections were not so much my cup of tea but still these parts were enjoyable with some nice traps and puzzles once you move underwater. The looks are a very strong point to this level, the mountain views at the start are spectacular and the gloomy atmosphere at least was quite effective, even with some (mild) horror elements. The five secrets are nicely hidden, but not too hard to find. Very well done overall and another proof that this competition is a really strong one." - manarch2 (10-Jul-2020)
"This is absolutely magnificent! From the very first cutscene with Lara needing to light her campfire by exploring the mountains and caves below, you know that this is going to be something rather different and believe me, you won't be disappointed. It's truly astounding how much gameplay can be packed into a single TR4 file, but this builder manages to accomplish that task brilliantly. I'm no builder, but even I know that's no mean feat. It certainly makes a change having a level's storyline told in five different parts, but the execution is remarkable. Although the gameplay is complicated throughout, it always remains player friendly and enjoyable along the way, and you are presented with subtle hints and tips at intervals when you pick up a necessary artefact or interact with the locals. It would be difficult to choose a gameplay highlight as there are many, but the time puzzle in the village was creative, the trap passages challenging but doable and the way the torch is utilised brilliantly executed. The architecture, texturing and atmosphere is absolutely stunning and awe-inspiring and once you enter the monks building to seek shelter from the storm and see them meditating without a care in the world, you'll appreciate the true magnitude of this offering. This has been an excellent competition so far, and it's a bit disheartening to see that I only have three levels remaining. It's going to be difficult to pick a definite winner with so many great contenders, but this is undoubtedly up there with the best." - Ryan (08-Jul-2020)
"Astonishing. Quite honestly I find myself at a loss for words with this level. The very first room had me sucked in, with Lara needing to light up her basecamp at night on top of a mountain as cold wind blows, and from then on it gets more and more magical. At times it felt a bit contrived and somewhat claustrophobic, but when I remind myself that all that we see here is contained within a single .tr4 file, I can't help but feel dumbfounded. The storyline also plays out nicely with each of the five segments having amazing intros and outros, plenty of fun sidequests and lots of challenges to overcome. You really get the most you possibly could here, and on top of all that there were two rooms which come straight from Catacombs of the Talion and I loved them. When it starts to pour and you walk into a temple where all monks are singing a prayer you can tell just how much care went into crafting this, and as a result I'm sure we're looking at a timeless masterpiece, and with good reason. Hats off to the builder and as soon as I discover who built this one, I'll definitely set up a new raidlist to make sure I play all of their offerings. 120 minutes, 3 secrets. 06/20" - Treeble (06-Jul-2020)
"This adventure is one level divided into five chapters, each presenting a new scenario that plays off every previous scenario played. It's rare in custom levels to have a story portrayed within the gameplay itself and not rely on separate cutscenes or a text file, so the fact that each chapter here is one part of a larger tale had me hooked from the beginning. Part one has Lara searching for fire through ice caves and the catacombs of a buried monastery so she and her yak can survive the night and Tibet's fierce icy winds. Exploration, light puzzle solving, trap evading and taking out the local fauna comprise the gameplay, and it finishes things off with a unique timed component to the lit torch, as the torch can only stay lit so long before the winds blow it out. Part two deviates from part one with a new path opened up on the mountain, and her descent through the mountain catacombs have her contend with platforming through ice pillars in large rooms, evading boulders, and evading spikes. Things cap off here with the ringing of a gong, releasing another mask spirit, shattering an ice floor and even getting pushed into it! This bridges into part three, where Lara loses her guns from the fall and survival elements come into play. A walk through a yeti prison and a creative way of disposing them opens things up, and further light platforming and puzzle solving leads to a ghostly ritual that releases another mask spirit and shatters an ice floor providing passage into the next part. Part four ends Lara's journey through the mountain caverns as she emerges in a Tibetan village. This part was more exploration and puzzle focused. The village itself was visually inviting with its residential areas, a lake temple, and a second temple up the hills. The gameplay in this part has the village inhabitants offering Lara side-quests to do for them in order to open up the village further. The "time" puzzle for one of the puzzle items was a neat idea, and the sequence and placement of puzzle items logically flowed together. Doing these quests takes Lara to the final mask spirit, hidden in a flooded cavern with submerged Tibetan temples, one with traps and another with a statue rotation puzzle. Thankfully the builder was merciful in providing well spaced areas to breathe despite all the water. With the final spirit released and escaping the collapsing temple cavern, the final part takes place in the village at night. Lara plunders a congregation of monks to open the lake temple, where it seems the spirits task Lara with defeating the angry demigod that imprisoned them and his cronies. The battle was short for me as I was armed to the teeth from managing to locate the secrets, but I still thought it is a climactic conclusion to the adventure. In an epilogue sequence, Lara gets a prayer wheel as thanks from the spirits for her trouble, she gets to take a nap in the village, and prepares to leave the next day. The presentation of the story was top-notch along with the graphics and area design, making each chapter feel unique. The misses for me were with the pressure plate puzzle in part one as it wasn't very clear that there were pressure plates to begin with, and the beginning of part four with a scripted event that overall had little impact in the grander scheme of things. Despite that, this entry was a fantastic adventure that gripped me from start to finish. A must play!" - Relic Hunter (28-Jun-2020)
"This story is told in five chapters. And that's how the game is structured. There are five parts which are more or less long. After a camping night, where Lara first has to light the campfire, she sets out to find the path to a hidden Tibetan village, where after an unspectacular boss fight, the game ends with a very nicely done ending sequence. The tasks Lara has to master are partly quite exhausting, but very well done, like the action with the jump plates, or the swimming actions in the flooded village. I did not expect this but I was pleasantly surprised that LB comes up with this idea to flood a village. In the first parts the game is very dark, but this changes in the village. All in all a successful Tibet level with innovative ideas and not too easy tasks. Very recommendable." - nad (26-Jun-2020)
"This level really has a very impressful atmosphere. In the beggining i was already quite impressed that the mountain looked like a real mountain for the level editor standards. The challenges and how the objects were handled felt very next gen and the builder shows attention for detail in the building ( i liked very much the effect in Laras feet when she runs over snow or gravel). The gameplay feels kind of linear and it is very good extructured in this way. Cutscenes and legends are well placed and i felt like i was really in a expedition throughout tibet in this one.I just expected the "final battle" to be more epic after the great adventure (perhaps more magic in the final arena would have been good, or simply more contrast to the rest of the level. Loved it and recommend it to everyone!" - Allicya (26-Jun-2020)
"A long level presenting as a level set , sectionned in 5 chapters more or less short. This concept is rather a good thing here as the sections are different. The first chapter is the one i liked the most , the beginning with Lara standing on the top of a high mountain is quite original and well done. The level is beautiful all along with well made lighting. When progressing through the chapters , i noticed the varied gameplay , and i also noticed that some of the new possibilities of scripting were a bit gratuitous, i mean they are sometimes used for the effect and show only and not for the storyline or gameplay fun (a good example of that is the rocks knocking out Lara and then she stands up again). Also the stalactites used to climb or monkey swing look very unrealistic and Lara could set a rope on fire without having torch or fire, maybe it was a glitch here. These are small details , for the level is well built , play well , is beautiful and has some very good ideas." - eRIC (25-Jun-2020)
"Really a very good adventure builded by a professional author, full of cool features and animations. Very very long, but not complex, the gameplay is very good and addictive, usually with enough hints so the player always have where to go or something to do. Only a couple of "buts": many rooms are too dark, and I was forced to increase the bright and the gamma of my graphics card; and the heavy guns appeared too late (I got only 3 secrets), and I was forced to fight with many enemies only with the pistols. Anyway an excellent adventure you can't miss; it will be on the podium of this contest. Highly recommended." - Jose (18-Jun-2020)
"I want to try to actually play and review all of BtB levels this year, guessing the authors when I can, and I already know I will not make it (at least in time) but whatever; that's the first one I picked and I'm really happy about that, it was a perfect introduction to the whole set and ambience of the competition: first off, textures and the bump mapping effects throught all the level(s) did leave me astonished - of course, that may be 'cause it was the first level and everything was new, but it really was top quality in my opinion. Settings were diverse: horizons, lighting and general ambience changed completely with the level jumps (my favourite was the village under the sunrise) and all of them looked so natural and well-applied. Storytelling and hints for players were top notch too, guiding the player but also leaving the usual Tomb Raider-like mistery around everything that happened, activating the player's imagination. While I did not find all secrets, I had enough ammo for the final battle so that was ok, even too much for my taste; speaking about combat, surely enemies were not many but very well used, like the yetis when Lara loses her weapons. I also liked how it basically changed from classic TR to a more AoD-styled city quest in the latter parts, giving the game a fresh feeling since it was pretty long. As I said, basically evrything about atmosphere, from music to cameras, was top tier, and all of that did enhance the inventive gameplay ofter revolving around bells, unusual ways to untrigger traps, and long underwater sections (I LOVED how, for once, the traps in a flooded place looked NERFED instead of BUFFED from the water, a lot more realistic). The beginning on the mountain was really well constructed and I liked the "Catacombs of the Talion" reference area. The village looks overwhelming at first but after a bit it becomes interconnected and a nice break from the dangerous adventure. So, why not full score? Aside from minor mistakes, well, areas where very nice and big, but sometimes that made them feel too empty with just one or two things to do and little to no pickups hidden around; other rooms looked just a bit off, or "random", expecially some underwater ones in order to give Lara some space to breathe, and sometimes I felt everything was too guided and easy. I would have liked some more enemies here and there, and I found one wrong texture in the raining village but it's not a matter of losing points compared to the brillance and gameplay originality of everything else. Very Good job, keep it up." - Topixtor (18-Jun-2020)