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LB Advent Calendar 2020 - Crossing Paths in India by Sponge

BlackWolfTR 8 9 9 10
DJ Full 8 9 8 9
Jay 6 8 8 9
JesseG 3 8 8 8
John 5 7 8 9
Jorge22 7 8 8 7
Jose 5 7 7 8
Kubsy 4 7 7 7
manarch2 3 6 6 7
MichaelP 5 6 8 8
Mulf 6 7 7 5
nerdfury 5 9 8 9
Obig 7 8 8 8
Orbit Dream 4 6 8 9
Phil 7 7 7 8
Raina Audron 6 6 6 8
Ryan 5 8 8 8
release date: 21-Dec-2020
# of downloads: 155

average rating: 7.15
review count: 17
review this level

file size: 27.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Jungle

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"A nice looking Jungle setting presented here by the builder, but really only as a little glimpse of what it could have been. You will only spend about 15 minutes or so, the enemies behave rather oddly and some of the places you need to go to are sneakily hidden. But those Golden frog secrets are very cute and the small cut scenes that progress the story are fun to see. So, worth a look as a quick showcase of what is possible." - MichaelP (20-Jan-2024)
"Short, sweet and fun, showcasing in a condensed form what custom levels are about. A pity it's underrated for brevity, but it's for example an excellent snack to stream during charity marathons. Give it a try." - DJ Full (14-Nov-2023)
"This short little indian jungle jaunt is great on visuals, lighting and atmosphere but falls short on gameplay only because only the length of the level prevents this. There is some light exploring at first around the area fighting off tigers followed by some climbing, rope swinging, tricky platforming on the temple roof and the clever use of a knife on a rope. Inside the temple its mainly just finding keys or switches to progress to the finale which is to shoot the triangle and escape. It was fun while it lasted but that was only like 10 mins so not much to get your teeth into unfortunately, i would like to see it expanded because the setting was intriguing and everything looks great when it comes to visual quality" - John (28-Apr-2022)
"As other reviewers have remarked, this level gives the impression of an ORC contribution: it’s short, it plays out in a confined (at times cramped) area, and it appears to be an episode from a larger adventure, in that it has no beginning and no ending. It looks in fact rather a lot like an abandoned project dating back to c. 2008 or even earlier, judging by the way the textures and Lara’s animations have been edited—clearly not up to the standard we’ve come to expect from the builder of Runes of Dawn. In the context of the ‘Advent Calendar’, it may be filler material, but for all that I thought it was a reasonably entertaining adventure. I found three out of four secrets, coming up one frog short (all secrets except one are frogs, possibly to chime in with Lara’s altered jumping animation).
The central puzzle constitutes a clever adaptation of the crowbar switch scenario, but it’s set up in an unintuitive manner (a rope under such tension may well take your head off when it snaps, so you’d probably want to cut it in the cover of the tree trunk to which it is fastened). Other shortcomings include a jagged floor that makes it difficult for enemies to find a path and actually attack (but the tigers certainly look like Bengal tigers, unlike the standard, rather more Siberian, version), the irritating collision of some plant objects, and the pointless difficulty of shooting that spinning triangle at the end (it’s possible to achieve this by shooting your pistols while hopping up and down, but it’s a hit-and-miss affair, and it also looks just silly). The fight with the mysterious sword-wielding personage who snatches your prize just as you’re about to claim it was fine, though; true to the game’s overall scope, it plays out in a miniature version of a boss fight arena. The aftermath of that fight seems to imply that the big bad of the game was going to be a Masonic lodge, perhaps because the builder watched The Man Who Would Be King a few times too many (or not often enough)." - Mulf (06-Mar-2021)
"The abbreviated nature of this level,combined with its completely incongruous location within the Advent Calendar series,leads me to believe that it was a somewhat incomplete work intended for more general release;but which never really went the way the author intended. The buggy rope-cutting sequence;the strange changes of scenery toward the end;the gun/crossbow secret which is actually a necessary acquisition (otherwise the final shootable target will be well-nigh impossible to destroy);and the strangely behaving tigers all seem to point to this conclusion. It's not unenjoyable, though;and contains many quirky touches and a high degree of constructional skill. Entertaining enough,for those who miss the spirit of the One Room Challenge levels." - Orbit Dream (03-Feb-2021)
"A short adventure that as usual in this author will not leave anyone indifferent. Again some surprising details like the cutting of the rope or the truck breaking the wall, but what I liked the least was the lava room with the rotating triangle, there you can spend years shooting the triangle without getting anything, for some reason the site where to shoot is not very clear. Anyway take a try; it's entertaining enough." - Jose (07-Jan-2021)
"Quite a short 10-minute level by Sponge. Although I love Sponge's previous levels, then I found this level not really enjoyable. There were moments that I didn't like such as Tigers running into the wall, lack of camera to show where the knife should be used, and the annoying moment where you have to shoot the triangle precisely. Taking into account that Sponge built this in a very short amount of time, I think this level should've been tested properly." - Kubsy (06-Jan-2021)
"This is a tad short level, it reminded me of TR3 Jungle. The adventure takes place in and around a temple in India. Lacks no enemies: tigers, armored men, a spider and a mage cause you problems. A lot of medipacks are lying here or there but none are necessary. There are 5 secrets, one of them rewards you with a big gun, but that is not necessary either. The environment, the jungle is nice, and the level contains an interesting movement for Lara: a big jump from a rope. It must be used to reach one of the secrets. I really hope there will be a next level for this adventure. Hungarian walkthrough, pictures, and savegames:" - Obig (05-Jan-2021)
"This little showcase of a level does possess a certain charm, but you do end up feeling a bit shortchanged by the gameplay nonetheless. The surroundings are perfectly fine for what they are, but all you really accomplish here is some basic climbing exercises and a few possibly unnecessary (due to the guards and tigers not actually posing much of a threat) combat sequences. The triangle shooting exercise did turn out to be rather obscure as well, although using the knife to cut the truck's rope was a nice touch. Not bad overall, but not really a hefty, involving experience." - Ryan (01-Jan-2021)
"Unfortunately, this level feels a bit underdeveloped. I usually like TR3 style levels but this one but I had a few problems playing. I could not figure out where to use the knife, would be nice if when you get the knife, the camera would show you where to use it. I am also not a fan of the new move set as it has a delay on almost everything Lara does, so she feels a bit clumsy. There was a bug with AI where the tigers never attacked me, the soldier model looked cool and it had some mystery to it with the explosion and truck being pulled out of the crater. However, I felt it was too short and there was not much build up. It would be perhaps be better to add extra parts to the level, as I felt the scenery changed way too sudden. I have used all my rifle ammo for the soldiers so by the time I slid down the ramp, I had no way to shoot he artefact, Lara just kept shooting through it. I would advise to add some ammo on the ground in case this happens. Not bad for 20 mins, though, this concept has a potential." - Raina Audron (01-Jan-2021)
"As is the case with all Chistmas levels, this is a nice gift to the community, but quite honestly, this did not click at all with me. Surely the cutting of the rope for the truck is a nice idea, but the rest of the game is just a bit of basic platforming and progression in a decently but not extremely great looking environment. The enemies seem to have little interest of Lara, as they only attack occasionally, and some objects seem to be a little buggy and hindering progression (the collison of the plants or the hardly shootable triangle at the end), and the altered movements of Lara also weren't too helpful. Seems to be more of a showcase rather than a complete level, but not a too badly made one, I admit. Finished in 10 minutes with five too easy secrets found." - manarch2 (30-Dec-2020)
"I had several issues with this one. First of all, I got the expected rejection from Avast upon attempting to initiate the download. No problem, I just disabled Avast long enough to get the download started, but when it finished and I unzipped the files Avast immediately zapped the executable, reporting that it was infected with a named virus. (Sorry, I don't remember the name of the supposed virus). Since that had never happened to me before, I repeated the download, with the same result. I then implemented Plan B, trying about a half dozen different tomb4.exe files I keep on hand until I found one that worked. Even though the game then played, the sound files gave out unfamiliar noises, and the names of the pickups didn't display properly in some instances (which I could tell by following Doggett's progress in his video walk). The game itself, while a bit short, shows that the builder works far better in collaboration than on his own. Three of the four tigers in the game acted like pussycats, refusing to step forward and fight. It seemed almost like animal cruelty to shoot them in their tracks. There's an illegal slope in a cramped area that has to be traversed twice, and if you happen to hop into it you're stuck for the amount of time it takes you to jump out of it, assuming you're lucky enough to do so. And the final secret consists of a firearm misnamed as the crossbow, along with a laser sight that has no practical use. There were a few innovative touches, however, such as using a knife to cut a rope holding a truck so that it rolls back and smashes an opening in the temple. The opening screen bills this as a group effort from some years back, so I assume it's another heretofore unreleased fragment (like Marooned) that was taking up space on someone's hard drive. Certainly playable, but not very recommendable." - Phil (30-Dec-2020)
"Not at all Christmassy... Never mind. This was a quite curious short Indian ride. I believe I should think of it more as an experiment. It's full of weird angles and unexpected paths. I don't really know what to think of its fast moves, the level does have a fast pace. It's also buggy, namely the tigers are there just for the kill, as they never actually attack you. Was all that done on purpose? Pleasing and puzzling, certainly not lacking in a certain originality. Well, thank you." - Jorge22 (29-Dec-2020)
"For some reason, I was expecting a longer level, but this is actually quite short. It’s a somewhat quirky, mainly jungle-set, level that feels more like a demo than anything else. There are some nice touches and I’d definitely recommend having a look, but it can also be a bit puzzling so you might want to search for a walkthrough first." - Jay (29-Dec-2020)
"(5) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is a very straight-forward, easy, short adventure that is quite charming. I enjoyed myself for 15 minutes, however, I did note a few gameplay elements that were unpolished, namely: a) if you happen to find the "special" secret, the crossbow, the spinning triangle near the end of the game is still finicky to shoot with the lasersight. If the player does NOT find the crossbow with lasersight, I can only imagine the frustration. Also, b) the camera showing the truck after you get the pocket knife is not helpful. Where exactly are you supposed to cut the rope? Near the truck? Near the tree? Somewhere in the middle? (The answer is the middle). It is also counter-intuitive that the player can't use the pocket knife when standing near the rope; they have to stand at the edge of the tile, away from the rope. I think a README note or an on-screen text (assuming TRNG) would have helped here. (9) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: I enjoyed the many custom objects that the builder used. Although, it was a little weird that out of the 3 soldiers initially encountered by the truck, 1 was hostile and 2 were neutral. I found all of the secrets and enjoyed them all, and I thought it was particularly cunning that the builder hid 2 secrets in 1 area (one may assume that all of the secrets are found in different areas). (8) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The initial Indian Jungle/Ruins atmosphere is spectacular, but I wasn't keen on the drastic, jarring atmosphere change in the last few minutes of the game. It wasn't good for immersion. As outlined above, I believe that the camera after picking up the pocket knife should have focused on the tile that you're supposed to stand on to cut the rope. (9) Lighting & Textures: This was a high-quality category and the level is quite a visual treat. I especially enjoyed the very subtle change in texturing when leading up to the "special" secret, as well as the textures to show that some trees were burnt. Overall, I don't want to come across as unappreciative to the builder, because I do appreciate his advent offering to make us smile during the holidays. I just think the game design is a little wonky. I would still recommend the level if the player was looking for a very short, easy adventure, provided they have a heads up about a) the awkward shootable triangle and b) the rope. 5/9/8/9." - nerdfury (28-Dec-2020)
"Very short level in India which took me 16 minutes but very pleasant. Not xmas level but cool. Some ideas were very cool like cutting off the line that holds the truck. We had some enemies here like tigers and mercenaries. Secrets were well hidden, I found 2/5. Lighting and texturing are very good. Overally, short and chill raid but very cool and enjoyable. Definetly recommended :)" - BlackWolfTR (23-Dec-2020)
"This short raid is pretty eclectic, it's mostly a jungle level but it also has you suddenly appearing in small subway areas and an underground lava room, which all look pretty good. Aside from some climbing around and a rope swing, gameplay is pure combat against tigers, guards (optional, as they seem to be friendly) and some kind of demon trying to run away with Lara's prize. My main critique is that the player is expected to surmise that a spinning triangle is shootable, which is very difficult to do with the pistols. This level is quite a ways from feeling like a full adventure but shows good potential. 11 minutes." - JesseG (23-Dec-2020)