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LB Advent Calendar 2020 - Lara's busy Christmas - A Scarf Story by Jesus C.Croft

Adrian 10 10 10 10
Bashar 10 10 10 10
Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
BlackWolfTR 10 10 10 10
Cruzader 9 10 10 10
DJ Full 8 10 10 10
Don007 9 10 10 10
Feats 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
JesseG 8 8 10 10
John 9 9 10 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Jose 9 10 10 10
Kubsy 8 10 10 10
Lara_Shin 10 10 10 10
Lioness_86 10 10 10 10
manarch2 8 9 10 10
Obig 10 10 10 10
Phil 9 10 10 10
requiemsoul 10 10 10 10
Ryan 9 10 10 10
Sabatu 10 10 10 10
ShadowZia 9 10 10 10
TheStig 10 10 10 10
young Lara Croft 8 9 10 10
 
release date: 20-Dec-2020
# of downloads: 360

average rating: 9.77
review count: 25
 
review this level

file size: 349.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas
 


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

Reviewer's comments
"Gameplay wise this is a bit more involved than most Christmas levels but that is not to its detriment, its a nice brisk change of pace! Quite the epic adventure for the titular Scarf! Can be quite challenging at times but with perseverance it can be overcome. Each level looks fantastic especially the manor which is obviously got them Christmassy vibes required of a Christmas level! Loved the cutscenes too, a real nice touch and sets the scene for the story well. Given the score I gave I would obviously recommend this level :D" - Feats (27-Dec-2023)
"Wow what a huge level. id say about a third of the gameplay takes place within laras mansion which is based on the LAU manors and the rest the game is based underneath the manor. The house is gorgeous to explore around and the gameplay in there is very light mainly platforming, finding items and moving/shooting items etc and it was fun but i did miss a pool room, gym and outside area. As for underneath of the manor well what can i say its epic! just full of tricky platforming tasks, puzzles and lots of traps such as boulders, moving blocks, fire, wind, huge pits and death squares the list goes on. As well as new and original areas down here there is also a couple of areas that remind me of TR1 areas such as the cistern and the fire room from palace midas and they are just fantastic. In fact when it comes to visuals, music and atmosphere etc its all fantastic and stunning, the quality is high and you can tell how much care and effort has been put into this to make it as perfect as possible, i was very impressed and will be checking out other levels by this author" - John (02-Jan-2022)
"I didn't think I will find here a scenery as detailed and consistent as this. Literally everything fits together but also in a pleasant way, like a crossover of Shalebridge and Avalon but with flaws of both removed: we get much more focus and much less running. Also it seems to be one of those holiday levels which are seasonproof - I checked it on June 11-12 and it worked great regardless. That's for the first map which, to me, is an absolute, unquestionable 10/10/10/10 . Unfortunately... [big sigh] the following underground level gives you an array of absolutely unnecessary shimmy-based passages we have seen a million times, so I would delete all of them because they only draw attention away from the only good passage of this kind, which is the manor picture puzzle - that one was totally ingenious, so keep that one, delete everything else, instant +1 to the score. Then in the cistern, there's that fish puzzle which bored me before I even started pushing, not to mention you can softlock it in at least two places. That was when I thought "I'd draw another point, but 9.5 would be unfair anyway, so I'll just tell Jesus to fix that part, because even if you don't mess up and reload, the cistern is a drag". But immediately after I thought that, I entered the wind shaft with more corner shimmying, and I had an impression the level feels like TR: Anniversary but with Santa's hat for a disguise. While that was a mild and brief spark of uneasiness, then the sense of reward I could get from this room was completely obliterated when I realized I have to - oh, pure bliss - shimmy back down because the wind current, supposed to work from the balcony, is broken and I need to use it from the floor. That was when I entered that mood when instead of enjoying the game I felt sorry for it and wondered for a millionth time why builders put so much love and effort into games only to break them with broken setups and weird decisions. That was when my rating dropped to 8, but I was still motivated to continue... until five meters later when I entered a replica of the familiar fire room, and my suppositions, not so worrying until now, appeared true: it was indeed an Anniversary remake, and I again felt the struggle without even playing. I took a break and the rating dipped down to 7, with a disclaimer if the ending is very strong, I will raise it again - so you already know the outcome. I took some notes, I gathered motivation and continued. The Greek room, to my relief the least annoying of all remakes I have seen so far, went rather smooth so I had some time to think calmly why exactly it doesn't fit. The question appeared to be the answer - it's like a Maria Doria level with a sudden jungle in the cargo hold, so the tone shift is too dramatic, and the only solution I have is to cut that room together with the shimmies I advised to cut earlier, and move all that content into a separate storyline - which would make both benefit from doing so. The following parts are okay: I grabbed the first artifact, enjoyed the underwater twist, grabbed the second artifact, enjoyed the ending content, and the only gripe was I lost the hidden ending because the manor, while still the same, prohibits to go back for that one secret I missed. But I cheated with a savegame and watched the secret ending which was indeed beautiful. Then I lit a candle for Richard by putting the torch next to his name plate (yes, there was an attempt to prevent it, but not enough to stop me). SUMMARY: Even though both halves feel ducttaped together and would work better in separate games, it's still a minor issue. The major one is - and here I copypaste my standard footnote - play the entire thing and it's an 8, remove the bloated quarter and it's a 10. Almost all builders whose works I analyzed in the recent months make this mistake. So please, don't go sentimental, especially about genious levels like this one, and if there's any subpar fragment, just throw it into a Xmas fireplace. It will only warm up the mood." - DJ Full (12-Jun-2021)
"Graphically this adventure looks amazing. The builder has created a Croft Manor very similar to the one in TR:Legend and Anniversary however this one hides different mysteries as you’ll see over the course of the 3 levels available here. In level 2 I’ve noticed that 2 of the zones are clearly heavily inspired from the TR:Anniversary Greece levels. These zones aren’t carbon copies of the original, instead the builder has put his own spin on them and adapted them to the TR4 gameplay mechanics. Camera shots and the sound design and ques are all very good, except for Lara’s voice sound quality. The actress that played Lara in this did a good job however the sound quality of her recorded lines is absolute garbage, it sounds as if she is speaking in a deep dank cave. I understand that perhaps she did not have a good mic, and this is fine, I will not subtract points for this but I needed to mention this. Gameplay is for the most part enjoyable and the new moves added make platforming engaging and fun. However, there were 3 moments in the game that were a bit frustrating and 1 moment that was ridiculous gameplay-wise. One of the secrets is booby trapped in such a way that there is indication of this and so without prior knowledge of it, most likely you’ll die, and the second irritating moment was with the air flowing room where you need to use the upwards moving air flow to do a very specific and difficult jump. The last frustrating moment was when you get in a room with 2 drop switches and the only way to get to them is by climbing a bookshelf, except that I did not know that the book case was climbable, this is the only moment in the game where a bookshelf can be used in such a way, so I got stuck at this point and had to use a walkthrough to find out what I had to do here. The ridiculous moment I mentioned earlier is when you need to use a laptop but in order to do so you need to push the chair in front of it out of the way, *lol*. Overall the irritating bits I’d say that these are minor points and don’t subtract from my gameplay score however the storyline does and I will explain why. First of all, the premise of this whole adventure is that Lara has knitted (badly) a scarf as a Christmas present for Zip and she tells him the story of the adventure she’s had to make it, this is shown via an FMV cutscene, which is nicely made. The premise is goofy considering that you have to go through a whole ordeal of uncovering the secrets of the manor, the ancient tombs under it which have all sorts of deadly traps, and the fact that Lara has not uncovered these in the past until that point makes this whole story absurd in a funny way (+having to move a chair to use a laptop…I’m sorry I can’t let this one go for how comical this is to me). As this is a Christmas level set, this is all fine and dandy until you get to the end, and here lies my main problem with this story. We go through this entire adventure so that we can get into the crypts of where Lara’s parents are buried so that she can take her mother’s renowned knitting set, from her grave, so that she can make for Zip a scarf present. Now maybe it’s just me, but I find this morbid and inappropriate, if this is dark humour it’s not one that is on my taste. On top of this, after Lara gets her mother’s knitting set she then ponders whether to look into her father’s grave to see if there are any secrets hidden in it, like there’s been throughout the rest of the house and it’s underground caverns. To top this off, the game bugged for me at the end and the camera got stuck on the tomb stone of Lara’s father and the game was no longer producing any other image other than this (even when I quit to the main menu) and the final FMV cutscene did not trigger. I had to watch it outside the game directly from the game’s folder. The conclusion is that I liked this TRLE, it was fun, the levels are beautiful, Lara’s voice acting despite the trash sound quality was still enjoyable, however because of the morbid and questionably inappropriate ending of the story, to me at least, I had to drop a point off of the Gameplay&Puzzles score. I am still recommending that you play this because these are still very good levels." - Cruzader (29-May-2021)
"For some reason this builder has confined his considerable talents to the BtB competitions and the Advent calendars, but no matter. It's always a treat to play one of his levels whenever offered. And to describe this one as a house level would be like calling the Bible a good read. And what a house! The place just goes on and on, and there's even a spot downstairs for the remains of Lara's parents. There are so many innovations introduced here that I can't possibly think of them all. I especially enjoyed the swingpole exercise while fighting those treacherous winds. And I wonder if the Jenni Milward who provided Lara's voice is the same Jenni who's been a big part of this community for so many years. On the other hand, I question some of the builder's gameplay decisions. Why so many fixed cameras? And why so many spider webs with no spiders around? If not for Dutchy's walkthrough I would never have been able to complete the adventure after having spent nearly three net gaming hours here. How could anyone possibly be expected to look for, let alone shoot, an object about the size of a pin prick on the back side of a tomb? Anyway, there's no question in my mind that this year's crop of Advent levels are the best ever. I've now played them all except for Bigfoot's, and he'll have to go some to beat this one." - Phil (14-Jan-2021)
"I highly recommend this level, it's quite long journey, but I like it... Gameplay was smooth, puzzles, jumps somethimes a little bit challenging but you have to think and look around and it will come ... Music awesome! Thank you Jesus. Have fun everyone !" - Lioness_86 (09-Jan-2021)
"Wow! First I thought this is a standard mansion level but I was so wrong ... a magnificent adventure with everything a player can ask for. Beautiful looking and fun! Very recommended!!" - Don007 (08-Jan-2021)
"Not the typical mansion level, once you are playing about half an hour you'll realize that there's much more to do than explore a mansion. The areas are very well ornated with all kind of details, and the underground area is very entertaining with a lot of fresh ideas and some dangerous situations. I was lucky to take the opportunity to test it before the release and sure that it's an adventure you can play more than once without getting bored. Congratulations, Jesús! Un fantástico trabajo! ;)" - Jose (07-Jan-2021)
"A superb level. Professionally crafted with great attention to detail. Lushly decorated manor and vast atmospheric underground locations. Secrets were generally easy to find if you bothered to look (especially behind other objects). Varied tasks and nice platforming. Cut scenes and in-game dialogue were well done and helped the flow of the raid. I did think the Christmas scarf part of the story line was a bit of an afterthought as the rest of the level could work with any final goal, but that didn't detract from a truly impressive effort." - Adrian (05-Jan-2021)
"Superb. Regarding the visuals there is nothing to fault, texturing and lighting are highly impressive and the care for detail is astounding (e.g. the echoing pickup sound). I had some slight issues with the first level with a lot of levers to be used in row, but the second level was really fun and the challenges there were varied and engaging. Here and there there could be less overall backtracking (camera hints were also somewhat lengthy) but parts like the wind area, the rotating fires or the timed fire puzzle at the end are very enjoyable. The secrets could've also been hidden somewhat more carefully as most of them are just lying behind some structures, but overall the whole storyline, audiovisual work and setup of the levels (even if slightly reminiscent on Mists of Avalon) make this a worthy contender for the Hall of Fame. Finished in 1:25 hours." - manarch2 (03-Jan-2021)
"Well, what can I say about this level? It was fantastic. I love the manor level, and I love even more the underground... You should really make TR Aniversary in TRLE :) this is fantastic. Some puzzles were, well hard, but still, I love it. But the last puzzle in the last room was super hard. Sometimes I feel Grinch inspired this level :) but in a good way. By the way, I love it. And one more thing I want to say.ů I love this level :)" - Sabatu (02-Jan-2021)
"This adventure consisting 3 levels is published for Christmas. We are wandering around Lara's home seeking an item. Both the interior and exterior of the Manor are beautifully created. Huge halls and hallways... and what lies beneath them? Would you think... that beneath the Manor spreads a vast cavern system with built structures? It is not an easy level, the Storm Hall particular, where the wind blows you off from anything if you are not careful. A special attention needed for the cracks on the wall or columns as they sign the next step, and the poles sticking out from the wall are important as well. There is a time run, for that you need to be precise and fast. You can gather 19 golden bars in 19 secret places, finding them is a seperate task. No enemies wander around, medipacks can be found but are not necessary, since hard falls are not surviveable :) I highly recommend this awesome adventure, I had so much fun playing with these levels. I give it the maximum score. Hungarian walkthrough, pictures, and savegames: https://treditor.hu/trle/treditor/2021/lara_s_busy_christmas.htm" - Obig (02-Jan-2021)
"This one is really something very special. Visually stunning (actually jaw-dropping in places), impeccably thought out rooms, tombs & caverns. Fantastic use of vertical movement throughout the levels scaling up and down various places. Well balanced game- play difficulty. Perfect ambiance and score. A true gift and one you absolutely need to download & play. Thanks Stiggy :)" - TheStig (30-Dec-2020)
"I'm not one to play much of a manor level. Due to not many caught my interests. As for this manor level it has caught my interests greatly. Its a beautiful level & which I mean by beautiful level meaning I had a fantastic gaming experience. The manor is gorgeous. The room that we had to climb the wall to pull those levers was clever. I really enjoyed that. Under the manor itself was a true Tomb raider game original vibes, amazing. There were moments that I forgotten I was playing a trle level. The vibes were fantastic. This is how levels should be, an adventure of tomb raiding. I can honestly say I feel this is one of the best Manor levels I've encountered yet. Thank you for building it. "Cheers!"" - ShadowZia (30-Dec-2020)
"Now, this was a long night... It started out a bit boring, I must admit, but it soon evolved to a nice, quite varied adventure, especially after Lara entered the manor catacombs. The settings (in spite of the inability to interact with most objects, such as opening drawers and all that) are grandiose and great to look at, and the excellent lighting and sounds (good that the music all came from the author himself) are really good atmosphere-wise. Nothing in the level is actually overly difficult, but it takes a little effort to get into it - in the end, the tasks at hand are enticing, if not always very obvious. The "new" moves are put to very good use, namely taking into account that there's a lot of platforming involved. I only found 13 secret gold bars out of 19, so I didn't get to visit that room that's in the video. The one thing I liked a little less, even though I've seen much, much worse in that style, was Lara's animations. All in all, beautiful and quite professionally designed. Thank you." - Jorge22 (27-Dec-2020)
"This is only the second Advent level I've played from this year's crop, but one thing is for sure: the quality this year is astonishingly high. This is another surprisingly lengthy offering, beginning in the new-build mansion, but then moves onto some spookily atmospheric cave areas and temples. The visuals are absolutely gorgeous and striking, it has to be said and there are a few memorable areas, such as the fire pillar room and the cistern area, both reminiscent of Tomb Raider Anniversary. The cutscenes do their job well in moving the charming storyline along, while the atmosphere is well up to scratch. The secret gold bars are hidden in a mixed manner: some are very sneakily placed while others are pretty easy to locate. The backtracking through the various mansion and cave rooms might become just a little plodding, but overall this is a brilliant Christmas raid." - Ryan (26-Dec-2020)
"Beautiful levels! This starts out as a XMas story in which Lara and Zip open their presents, and so we get to know about how Lara came to knit Zip's scarf. At the beginning we get to explore a lot of Croft manor in search of some items and soon we the adventure 'descends' into far more that what was thought to be a mere XMassy level. The underground areas were an unexpected twist to the said theme and to me - although brilliant in design - subtracted from the adventure... Overall there's plenty to do and to explore and you'll never get bored, I had a wonderful time and really enjoyed every minute of it! A definite recommendation !" - young Lara Croft (25-Dec-2020)
"When I was a child, I remember one of my dreams was to play a Christmas themed LAU manor. The only disappointing feeling I got is from being 25 when this came out! This is definitely one of the best, if not the best mansion levels on this website. The geometry and detail is extraordinary - it feels like a cross between the cancelled core design anniversary edition game, and AOD, with of course TRA with the aesthetics. The atmosphere is just perfect, I can only imagine the time and effort it took to create this. I love that the gameplay is dynamic, with easy riddles and puzzles alongside the fun platforming, and it blended so well with the environment. The only thing I was annoyed at is actually the way we would have to move left or right on the horizontal poles, it looks a bit awkward and does not fit with how perfect everything else is. Other than that, this is clearly a fantastic Christmas gift to us fans, which will surely make its way into the hall of fame, which does not have many home levels! I must also say, I could not help but laugh so loud at all this trouble Lara went through, destroying things and raiding an underground crypt to just get some yarn for a scarf. Gurl, aren't there department stores in Guildford or London or wherever your manor is? guess that's how she stays thin!" - Bashar (23-Dec-2020)
"Certainly on of the best manor level I played with Titak's one. All is absolutely marvelous. Since the beginning to the end it was impossible to me to stop the adventure because I always wanted to know what happened next. The first level in the manor and sometimes in the caves (and kind of caves/undercontruction basement) is very beautiful and very well crafted, like the original manor of TR7 and TRA. The level is not very difficult but the secrets are sometimes very well hidden and because I wanted absolutely all secrets I spent maybe 2 hours before finding the last one lol. But not a bad thing because everything is beautiful and I was so proud to have the 10 secrets before enter in the level 2. The second level is, like level 1, a pure jewel for eyes. The builder also use meta2tr to create a real cave atmosphere and not just blocky rooms like in tr4. This level is more difficult but nothing impossible. Some rooms also remember me some places in Greece of TRA because we have a beautiful cistern and a great fire challenge near the end. Congratulation to Jesus C Croft for this level. The last one is the shortest of the game like a kind of conclusion of the adventure but there are hidden rooms for those (like me) who have found all secrets ;). The crypt is marvelous and give a real new atmposhere to the level. So to conclude I can just congratulate jesus C Croft for this impressive adventure with Lara (I also love the outfit <3 ). It's certainly an adventure I will replay and I hope play other levels of the author in a near future. Congratulations and thank you for this incredible trip in croft manor :-D !!" - Bigfoot (23-Dec-2020)
"Another amazing LBAC entry in this year. Here we exploring croft manor and it undergrounds. Croft manor was stylished on TR Legend style and it was very beautiful with many decorations. We have really nice tasks and puzzles here. Undergrounds also were very beautiful. Espiecially the cistern looking big location. It was my favourite location from undergrounds, when I first watched it my jaw dropped down. While Croft Manor was more calmly, in undergrounds we have more traps. Also I love the music which was playing in Croft Manor. Lighting and textures were very good. Also I found 12/19 secrets and I think that some of them were to easy hidden, like some secret was just in corner of room. Overally, another amazing xmas level this year with Croft Manor and it undergrounds settings, with good atmosphere and puzzles. Recommended!" - BlackWolfTR (23-Dec-2020)
"I really loved the entire storyline in this level and the humorous dialogue between Lara and Zip (both excellent voiceovers). The action starts out in the huge mansion, beautifully decorated for Christmas of course, but soon descends into unexpected underground areas hitherto unknown to our heroine. There’s a good mix of gameplay, but, in the spirit of the season, Lara gets to shoot nothing more than inanimate objects. Ammo is limited, but you should find more than sufficient for your needs. There are 19 gold bar secrets scattered throughout the three levels and, judging by the fact that I found 14 of the things, I can only imagine that they aren’t at all fiendishly well concealed. You may find some of the backtracking a touch onerous if your memory/sense of direction is as bad as mine, but overall this is a most enjoyable game." - Jay (23-Dec-2020)
"Lara explores her mansion as well as some precarious caves underneath it in an effort to get Zip a special gift. The visuals are excellent, no doubt about it. Unfortunately it seems that some of the custom objects used to create the immersive atmosphere have some collision issues. Lara is prevented from grabbing certain ledges with her hands, and yet can still land on them with her feet, not very consistent. The worst issue I had was with an invisible wall in an underground chamber after I activated a rotating flame. I thought perhaps I wasn't meant to jump toward the open door yet, but it turns out I had to angle myself an unusual amount to the left so I could grab where there wasn't an invisible wall. On the plus side you will get several boulders, flames, mist and squishy blocks to dodge, some pushable and numerical puzzles to solve, as well as plenty of acrobatics as you climb up all sorts of objects. Certainly a nice addition to the advent calendar. 2 hours 26 minutes." - JesseG (23-Dec-2020)
"I am actually speechless about the work of this builder, I was expecting a typical Christmas level at the manor but I got the surprise of my life when it turned out to be a whole breathtaking adventure. I felt like I was playing an official Tomb Raider game like Underworld, the more I progressed the more baffled I was about how incredible all was put together, I am a fussy one when it comes to music and where it is placed but man... congratulations you nailed it all. This to me should be the best level of 2020 or manor I have ever played so far, straight to the hall fame :). I am not sure how long it took you to make this adventure however I cannot wait to play whatever you release in the future because you really are an outstanding builder." - Lara_Shin (22-Dec-2020)
"The best level of this author and one of the best in recent years. A masterpiece and something really special. Technically it is superb and overwhelming. the challenges are very varied and original. It is not too difficult so it is suitable for everyone. It doesn't usually give a 10 but this gem really deserved it. I was sad to finish it. Enhorabuena Jesús." - requiemsoul (21-Dec-2020)
"Here we have another beautiful Christmas level that should reach the Hall Of fame immediately. There are so many things that I loved while I played this level but most importantly: The story which was really innovative and also the dialogues where they were not only used to tell what the player has to do but a little bit about Lara's father which I found quite excited to hear, but there was not a lot of it and I wish that there ware more of that. I also liked the music used from Tomb Raider Legend between the manor (My favorite) I also loved the manor as it was well-decorated. However, I did not enjoy the 2nd level as I found it quite lengthy and linear (Do stuff in this room then go to the next room to do that, and then get the crosses at the end of the level) despite the dislikes, I still think that the 2nd level is well-crafted and contains nice puzzles. Overall, I immensely enjoyed this level and it is a nice entry to the LB Advent Calendar." - Kubsy (21-Dec-2020)