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BtB2020 - Dolma's Fortress by Adngel

Adrian 6 5 7 7
BlackWolfTR 8 8 8 8
Dick 9 9 10 9
DJ Full 9 9 9 10
eRIC 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 6 7 8 7
Josey 10 9 10 9
Lizard Queen 10 10 10 10
Magnus 5 5 5 6
manarch2 5 8 8 7
MichaelP 7 8 9 9
MigMarado 6 5 8 7
Mman 7 8 9 9
Mytly 8 7 7 8
nad 8 8 9 8
Phil 9 8 10 9
Relic Hunter 7 8 8 9
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Samu 8 8 8 8
Topixtor 8 8 8 8
Treeble 10 10 10 10
 
release date: 14-Jun-2020
# of downloads: 130

average rating: 8.13
review count: 23
 
review this level

file size: 124.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Oriental
 


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

Reviewer's comments
"The only thing I disliked was looped action track in the room with rotating switches. Everything else was good - organic locations, nice combat, good secret rewards, satisfying trap sequence, and even cinematography used in storytelling make me think it's another underrated level, a frequent thing with this package. Recommended." - DJ Full (01-Apr-2023)
"Another shorter entry and a level that is very accessible to everyone as it plays along a clear path and you likely never wonder about what to do next, nor are the tasks you need to do particularly hard to accomplish. Still, I very much enjoyed this raid for a couple of reasons: It made me realize how little all the other entries used audio to enhance and support the atmosphere. Very well done in this one. I liked how the 3 secrets each have their own room, even if they were maybe a little easy to find. And I thought that the main areas were really designed with some thinking about the respective place and come across in a very authentic way. The large cave with the traps and the area with all the crocs especially. Add to that a few cleverly done cinematic scenes that carry the story along and you have a really well rounded adventure that maybe lacks the occasional notch up on the gameplay challenges but sometimes a more relaxing raid is what you need and then this is just your level. [55 min]" - MichaelP (29-Aug-2020)
"I chose this as the 5th BTB level to download and play as it had the least downloads at the time. What I liked about the level: 1) The beginning mountain cavern with natural light from above is such a pleasure to move around in and makes exploration so enjoyable. 2) There are cutscenes in every place needed to tell you what effect those actions have. 3) The obstacle traps high in the mountains is exactly my kind of gameplay. It was very manageable and I love being way high up when doing stuff like this so double points in my books! The area looked like ancient steampunk… just perfect. 4) The secret room in the fortress was beautifully decorated and lit. 5) If there must be enemies, then these creepy prehistoric slithering dino lizards that you can dispatch at a save distance is okay by me. 6) I really liked how the flames on the wall lit up during the pushable stupa puzzle to let you know you’ve done the correct moves. 7) Running over all those Yetis with the snowmobile was SO much fun and felt like the ultimate payback. In fact, if you just wait patiently in the snowmobile for them to foolishly run to you then poof! No more Yeti. 8) I have to mention the storyline with the guy just steps ahead of Lara and the all too funny tablet near the end! I’m so glad the builder resisted the temptation to make it a fight scene with this guy. So much better he find his own demise. What I didn’t like: Nothing! I liked everything about this level, well built with no bugs that I could find except for getting stuck with the snowmobile in a long crevice (but this always happens to me in levels with vehicles). And if I were to have a wish list, I would say this level is screaming for a torch puzzle with all those unlit fire bowls all over the place. In conclusion, I simply LOVED this level. It offers a really nice balance of exploring with lots of climbing, traps and enemies (for those who like them) in well lit and decorated environments. I never got bored and was only sad that it ended so soon. Appropriate for average players." - Lizard Queen (27-Aug-2020)
"Dolma’s Fortress sees Lara go on a quest to find Dolma’s Dagger, and if nothing else, I learned a new word: “millenary”. But don’t ask me to use it in a sentence (unless that sentence is “Lara is searching for a millenary artifact”). To find the dagger, you might expect Lara to visit yet another monastery, but she’s actually off to a fortress this time (although unless you clicked on this level at random without looking, you probably suspected that already). The monasteries that I have visited so far in this year’s competition have been a mixed bag, with a couple of them being a mishmash of colors and objects. The fortress in this level goes in the opposite direction, so, um, I hope you like brown, gray and mostly dull lighting. It’s not helped by the simple architecture, and visually, there’s just nothing here that’s very memorable. The gameplay, meanwhile, borrows a page from the Tutorial Level, with a series of small room with mostly self-contained challenges. There are two instances that break this up a bit: one large room with a bunch of traps and some switches you need to reach, and another even larger area where you have to make your way around to reach three switches. Neither area is overly complex when it comes down to it, but they do mix things up a bit. They do, however, just feel like larger versions of the smaller rooms - that is to say, utterly unconnected from anything else. I guess that’s my main complaint with this level - that it just feels like a series of rooms. Like the Tutorial Level, the gameplay is very simple, with some easy puzzles and platforming, but it does have a nice flow, and it took a quick forty minutes to finish. The highlight for me was Lara’s rival. The level doesn’t go overboard with telling a story, but early on, we find a journal left by someone else who’s looking for the dagger, and later - in what was my favorite moment in the level - we see him set off some traps, freak out and hoof it out of there. Finally, there’s a brief but fun chase sequence near the end of the level, when he steals Dolma’s Dagger right before Lara reaches it. They’re small moments in the grand scheme of things, but they go a long way toward making the level more memorable." - Magnus (27-Aug-2020)
"I mostly enjoyed this level, but there are certain aspects of it that left me unsatisfied or frustrated. I liked the idea of Lara’s rival going after Dolma’s dagger as well, and even beating her to it. But then Lara doesn’t even get to fight with him – she just finds his dead body among some spikes and calmly picks up the dagger without any effort on her part. The end feels like an anticlimax, as there’s no boss fight or anything more exciting than Lara taking a joyride on a snowmobile and running over some yetis.
The gameplay is challenging enough to keep you on your toes, without being too tough. The hall of traps, in particular, is a lot of fun. The pushable puzzle with the bells seemed a little confusing at first, but once I figured out what was to be done, I liked it a lot. I would have also enjoyed the puzzle where you have to use three turn levers to unlock a chain, but I ran into a bug where the levers would reset every time after I used them. I finally got around it by reloading from a much earlier save and redoing the entire section without saving. Apparently I am the only one who was affected by this bug, as none of the other reviewers mentioned it. The looping action track in this area added to the irritation.
The looks of this level are not bad. While the colours used are mostly somewhat dull – grey, brown and green – the occasional pretty or colourful rooms keep the level from looking drab, such as the area with the dagger, one of the secret rooms, or even the area with the three turn levers (which is mostly grey and green, but is nicely built). A lot of the areas seem unnecessarily empty – not just lacking objects, I mean, but lacking anything much to do in them.
Overall: This is a pretty good level, but the story could be better executed; and the annoying bug in the three-lever puzzle kept me from enjoying it to the fullest." - Mytly (24-Aug-2020)
"This is set around a fortress built into a mountain. The visuals vary between relatively simple interior areas and huge caves that actually look quite impressive and give the map an identity of it's own. The lighting and textures also support that well, and objects are used quite creatively at points, especially in a large cave area where they comprise a lot of the geometry. The gameplay is relatively simple, although a couple of moments like the previously mentioned cave provide some original platforming design. The centrepiece is a massive cave with a LOT of Crocodiles; it looks good but with so much space it feels like there could have been some more tasks beyond just exploration and platforming, and the looping action music used there is a bit much when you clear out most of it near the start. A couple of other parts also feel a little empty for how large they are, and I feel the linearity harms it a little here; there were a couple of hints at parts that could link up later, but then they don't and you never get a full sense of space as the main sections are all discrete areas you never return to or see again before or after. There is some nice story integration though as a "rival" is included who provides some twists on things as you go, with a conclusion to their plot given as well. One of the shorter and more straightforward entries, but the larger scale areas and story aspects show the designer is capable of much more, and I assume this level is somewhat of a learning experience for them." - Mman (16-Aug-2020)
"A very enjoyable and satisfactory level, with good puzzles, no backtracks, and a lovely snowmobile ride at the end, mercifully without big bosses to combat. There are plenty of enemies, most of which (Dracos) Lara can evade, instead of killing and wasting a lot of ammo. I liked very much the moving bells' puzzle and the cylinders' one; but what I loved most was that fantastic hall full of traps: I'd seldom had such a fun with traps! The only flaws of the game, for me, were the lighting (sometimes scarce) and a swinging rope jump that could be a little more player friendly. I also liked the music, and the creative idea of Lara in pursue of a thief and enemy, without even having to kill him at the end. Congratulations!" - Josey (11-Aug-2020)
"A very straightforward level, not requiring a lot of thinking or a lot of skill, with way too many goodies and way to many shootable vases that hold no goodies at all. The author shows a lot of promise, I must say. Her/his creativity is clear, yet the level seems a bit rushed. Some times you have to track back because what you should have done before is not quite clear, while in other moments the puzzle or the way to go is way too evident. I do not like enemies at all, but certainly I hate those easy to kill without getting any injuries. There should be less of those easy enemies and maybe some bosses. During the level you see an enemy who always seems to get away, and then you never get to deal with him... This was still a joy to go through, since I enjoyed the little challenges and the change of pace from some other very complicated BtB2020 levels. Congrats and thank you! Learn and live to build another day, more and better." - MigMarado (11-Aug-2020)
"It’s a very solidly built level that has several cool moments and nice looking surroundings. The beginning is maybe a little slow in terms of gameplay but once I got into the wide open area with plenty of traps, I had really good time. I liked also very much the push block puzzle with marks in the ceiling and the chasing scene in the end. In contrast to these, the huge area with three prayer wheels, contained a bit too much basic jumping that could have been enhanced with more inventive gameplay. This area was also loaded with tons of giant salamanders, some of which could been removed to make it less shooter-heavy (I guess they are salamanders, since they don’t look like crocodiles either). Anyways, I enjoyed the level very much and can recommend it to everybody." - Samu (09-Aug-2020)
"The raiding ‘community’ seems to have been a bit harsh on this fine level, imo. I found it to be well constructed and fun to play. Lighting and texturing was excellent - above average for this BtB series, and that is saying a lot because the standard in this department has been extremely high this year. Also, at 1hr15mins of net gaming I’d hardly call this short." - Dick (06-Aug-2020)
"Other reviewers have called this a short level, but I didn't find it to be that way at all, as it took me nearly an hour and three quarters to complete. For some reason the builder has provided his own walkthrough, and it's obvious that English is not his first language, making it a bit difficult to follow at times. Still, I managed to get through with only a few false starts, and I found the raid to be remarkably well rounded. That valley where you have the turnstile exercise is probably the most breathtakingly majestic area I've seen in any custom level, which in my book earns it top marks in at least one category. The puzzles and traps were fun to negotiate as well, although I had to take a peek at the video walk to figure out what was going on with those pushable bells. The scenery seemed to get better as the level progressed, but I was fully entertained from start to finish. Highly recommended." - Phil (06-Aug-2020)
"Gameplay was straightforward. The many-trap area and the croc-infested area however were aesthetically very pleasing, although the crocs could be killed with the pistols from various vantage points without getting anywhere near them and in the trap-area there were shortcuts so that many of the traps could be bypassed completely. Secrets were not well hidden and I felt the the snowmobile ride was pointless except for running over a few yetis. The narrative of your 'opponent' was well done." - Adrian (25-Jul-2020)
"This was a fun one! Starting calmly in some caves, soon Lara reaches the fortress and it indeed looks like one, with loads of traps protecting it (even some unfair ones); the highlight of the level was surely when you enter the big windy cave with the trap gauntlets - astonishing. I was speechless arriving there, and how ironic when you just saw the rival go throught probably the easier trap room ever! Very nice, although due to set limitations some traps get glitchy, and due to the author forgetting many traps (and later in the level, objects) are flying in the air as their wooden supports aren't arriving on the ground below... also, sometimes there are a lot of different ways to do things here and there but I figured out it was probably the author's intention from the start. When you get to the big naga-infested fortress cave, Tomb Raider Legend/Underworld style action takes place and it would be really fun and all if it wasn't for the forever looping music... felt necessair but at the same time not, I AT LEAST would have made it stop after having killed most of the nagas. So, gameplay is neat and nicely balanced, only things that I really didn't like were the really easy secrets and the ending section where all the ammo is completely useless since there are just a couple of (nerfed) yetis and you also get the option to just ride the snowmobile to the end, fun section but not so inspired without even a jump. For the visuals, lighting tries to keep realistic enough and I actually liked the idea, and most textures are fine; still some areas feel unpolished, flat-lighted and rushed, with some little glitchy things, so there isn't really anything perfect here I guess, but damn it was fun (not as much for Lara's rival, tho...). Solid 8s, keep it up." - Topixtor (19-Jul-2020)
"Nicely done level. Gameplay was quite good. There were some really big and nice locations. I really like the big location with crocodiles. It was very beautiful done. Some nice puzzles. I liked this with two bells, it was quite original. Chasing the thug and ride with snowmobile on the end was cool. Secrets was little to easy to find. I found all secrets 3/3 but I died and I forgot pick again one secret so on the end screen was 2/3 :/ Athmosphere was quite nice. Sounds was also ok but music in the big location with crodociles was playing too long in my opinion. Lighting and texturization were not awesome but they were good. I recommend it, it's good level :)" - BlackWolfTR (16-Jul-2020)
"This is another shorter entry in the competition and is a very pleasant experience. Ostensibly, the traps etc., look daunting, but in actuality this isn’t ultra challenging and shouldn’t put off less experienced players. The large hall full of fiendish looking traps is a good case in point; they are all quite doable even if they don’t at first look that way! The ending made me smile as, after picking up a ridiculous amount of weaponry and expecting a mega boss ending, you get a nice relaxing snowmobile ride, running over yetis. Good fun." - Jay (11-Jul-2020)
"I confess I wasn't expecting much from this fortress... Even though I'd just taken a really quick look at the ratings and reviews, well, very short, pretty easy, dull, not properly betatested, a bit dark, only meets her enemy in the end, not a proper snow bike ride etc. - the kind of impression one may get from only taking a glance, I just thought I'd play it because it was probably ok and short enough not to bore me. And can't it be great to embark on a journey, packed up with low expectations? Oh yes, it can. From then on, it was basically a joy ride across and along wonderful landscapes. True, it's much shorter than most entries, but haven't I actually felt that some levels seemed to take too long? True, it's comparatively on the easy side, but what about it? It's about the looks, the lighting, the atmosphere, music included, the fitting colours and the whole sense of adventure and some humourous notion in Lara's competitor's behaviour. I was amazed at that huge room filled with uncommonly used traps and I even loved the short snow bike ride with its snow boulders there just for the fun of it and the dying Yetis crying out something I didn't quite grasp. Did I think the bell puzzle was a little cryptic? I guess. Did I find there were too many giant lizards and zip lines around? Yes, even though I understand it's in the spirit. My point is I thought it was near perfect and I wouldn't feel good if I didn't rate it accordingly. Very well done." - Jorge22 (10-Jul-2020)
"The storyline in this level is certainly quite different, and the humour within is carried through rather nicely via the various cutscenes showing Lara's rival either activating various traps to make her life harder or sneaking out of sight just as she catches a glimpse of him. The plot twist near the end was also a neat touch and rather unexpected. In terms of gameplay, I have mixed feelings, though. I thoroughly enjoyed the centerpiece temple area with its various traps of every shape, size and form, but I thought that the majority of gameplay was a bit plodding as it felt like I was just dashing through all of the areas without it being clear whether I had triggered an important event. The pushable bell puzzle was also a bit on the obscure side, as it wasn't immediately apparent that you had to follow the direction of the flowers and I initially assumed that the trick was just to move the bells under the flower tiles in random order, so I had to turn to the walkthrough at that point. Nonetheless, the brooding, imposing cave atmosphere is well captured, and it's still a commendable entry into BtB2020." - Ryan (07-Jul-2020)
"One of the shorter entries this year, Dolma's Fortress manages to successfully pack several different types of locations and moods in its adventure along with an active storyline that plays out in game. In pursuit of the Phurba Dagger against her nameless competitor, Lara crosses through caves, Tibetan catacombs, an impressive large cavern with moving traps and turnstiles, as well as a fort surrounded by water and an escape on the snowmobile through an icy cave. Each area was lovely to look at and conveyed a good atmosphere. The gameplay mostly consists of platforming to reach switches, solving the occasional light puzzle, and evading traps. It borders a little simple at times and doesn't effectively utilize its space to do more with its environments. The ending was kind of lacking too. While climactic in its handling of Lara's competitor, the final snowmobile sequence felt like the author attempting to wrap things up under a time crunch. I thought the lake fort could have done with less crocs spawning out of nowhere to shoot and perhaps more divergent paths, or platforming that utilized the sides and upper portions of the cave. The atmosphere felt cheapened at times due to constant musical themes playing throughout them. I feel that it's best to have ambient atmosphere and let the area speak for itself to convey mood appropriately, and that would have enhanced my impressions of the level's excellent locations. My criticisms aside, this still is a very fun level to play in between the longer epics within this year's Back to Basics." - Relic Hunter (07-Jul-2020)
"This level has all the right ingredients to become a timeless masterpiece. Amazing and expansive envinroments (the caves at the beginning were amazing, but the main area with the turnstiles puzzle was simply breathtaking), great selection of audio tracks, enthralling gameplay and throughout the whole adventure Lara's always chasing a rival who's always one step ahead of her through nicely engineered in-game scenes. I do have one minor complain though, I can appreciate why the area with the turnstiles puzzle was overrun with nagas, but I think there were one too many. Other than that, this was incredible from beginning to end and definitely one of the top contenders this year. 60 minutes, 2 secrets. 06/20" - Treeble (06-Jul-2020)
"What? A snowmobile is included in the wad? *goes downrating the other levels* Joke aside, this level's strength is the inclusion of the main enemy, which you'll get to "face" only at the end, which involves several nice texts and cutscenes and also a chase. Gameplaywise, it is heavily based on avoiding several (easy) traps and this is generally enjoyable, but I think this level was released a bit prematurely, with a whole lot of potential shortcuts and a general lack of variety and real challenge in the gameplay - especially the progression in the hall with the three wheel puzzle is fairly dull and there should be some more work to be done to reach these three. The pushable puzzle afterwards was at least a nice task. The looks are quite solid and I rather liked the sterile greyish atmosphere, decent usage of sounds and cameras. The texturing is not always very clean and lighting could have had some more contrast in the larger areas, but in some areas both are handled better. The three secrets are fairly easy to find, and I finished this level in 30 minutes with somewhat mixed feelings, as the gameplay didn't really catch me this time but the storyline is still creative." - manarch2 (05-Jul-2020)
"This level has a very simple structure. Basically, there are mainly two large areas, one with many traps and one with many crocodiles. Both are very well designed and textured. The lighting is good, except for some places where it is too dark and the music is very well used, especially in the area with the many crocodiles. Here the player is constantly kept on tension, which I liked very much. Very easy to play without any difficult actions worth mentioning. In the area with the traps you could take different ways to cross the area. I don't know if that was intended that way. A pretty easy level for everyone to play." - nad (03-Jul-2020)
"Here we have something a bit different first with the humor in the storyline (i am unstopab...) and the original use of some of the objects. It is a bit dark at times and with more time i guess the builder could have improved the lighing and texturing , it's still looks good with an appropriate architecture for the gameplay at hand. I don't really mind there was a shortcut to bypass the range of spikes. The great room with the many traps and various platforming was very fun to raid, a great highlight ! The level ends with a pleasant ride where you drive over yetis. The thing i was not very fond of was the music although appropriate for the action portions of the game , it was a bit tiresome. Excellent flybys with the use of the enemy." - eRIC (25-Jun-2020)
"It seems that this level is not properly beta tested, because sometimes you can avoid certain paths, avoid pick up and use an important item or even climb out of a pole, etc. All the entire game is based only about dealing with all kind of traps, and the puzzle with the movable bells is not very clear at all. Fortunately, the tasks are not very hard, you'll find enough pickups to fight with the enemies and the secrets are easy to find. The best was the good atmosphere and the clever use of the cameras and flybys to create cool views to fit into the history. No much care with the texturization, specially in the caves and big areas, sometimes too dark, but usually the environments have a good look. The effort is appreciated, but the next time (?) try testing the level a little better. Good work." - Jose (17-Jun-2020)