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In Search of the Blue Gem by CircusBabysGallerySL

ddaring_dash 4 4 5 6
DJ Full 4 5 5 4
eRIC 3 3 5 3
g12STL 5 3 7 7
Jay 4 4 6 5
manarch2 2 3 3 3
MichaelP 4 5 6 6
Mulf 2 3 3 3
OblivionJaw 3 3 1 3
Orbit Dream 2 3 3 2
Phil 6 6 6 7
Ryan 3 4 4 4
Treeble 5 6 7 7
Wolf7 4 5 6 6
 
release date: 12-Feb-2021
# of downloads: 125

average rating: 4.30
review count: 14
 
review this level

file size: 190.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cold/Snowy
 


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

Reviewer's comments
"The best level from the author to date, with the most competent level design and actually some decently fun stuff to do. I enjoyed this the least however, as the boring grey textures dominated the entire scene and really made it hard to actually focus on the rooms, which made my time miserable here. Can't recommend this one." - OblivionJaw (05-Dec-2023)
"The most complex of the author's initial trilogy. This time the camera work brings some suspense. It feels a bit random though, and I would really like to see more than just one texture for the majority of the time." - DJ Full (25-Feb-2023)
"A more accomplished work than the other levels by this builder to date, which took me almost 40 minutes to get through and that is already a bit of an issue as it kind of outstays its welcome a bit by dragging on with the ever same, lever, door, lever, door scenario with a mild amount of backtracking in between. On a positive note, I think the builder takes a bit of time with adding cameras and lighting and the occasional audio along the ways and that does help the atmosphere. The weak spot is overall room geometry which is very, very basic and textures, which are very repetitive. The final battle can be surprisingly challenging if you fight it out with pistols only in the open space near the helicopter. Apart from that a few tigers along the way, too many switches and 6 secrets that you essentially just collect as pickups while you pass them by. In summary, a solidly playable adventure that just gets a bit tedious about half way through." - MichaelP (25-May-2021)
"Here we have an attempt to build a real level , lasting longer (35 minutes), more atmospheric somehow , than in the previous one from the builder. Still the texturing is repetitive , there is no static objects for the wall levers, and some key objects are named Load. What you have to do is rather obvious , the numerous cameras weren't necessary, mostly we need to look for the next switch or the next key, with the occasional platforming action. That becomes tiresome after a while. A few rooms have a good lighing but most of them have not. The end is a bit of a mess , there are voices in the midst of a big fight and illegal slopes." - eRIC (30-Mar-2021)
"I was pleasantly surprised by this level, which I feel is rated about two points below where it should be. I played it right after Osvaldo's most recent offering, and I found that there's little to choose between the two of them. Indeed, this one may offer a bit more variety than the other, and they both took about the same amount of time to play (right at one hour each in my case). Blue Gem is certainly playable, and it displays none of the typical errors one often sees in maiden or near-maiden efforts (with the exception of the generic names for pickups, such as LOAD and SAVE, as Mulf has already pointed out). I decided to play this one without inserting my ear buds, and I don't feel I missed anything as a result. I hung back at the end to eradicate that second wave of female ninjas, having plenty of shotgun ammo in reserve and an insatiable desire to kill. The secrets here are ridiculously easy to find, and to add insult to injury they provide nothing but a useless shield and no sense of accomplishment. A decent but unmemorable raid." - Phil (28-Mar-2021)
"There's definitely been an improvement from the author's previous level, but sadly there's nothing to write home about just yet. Gameplay vastly revolves around finding levers to open remote gates housing small corridors leading to further levers. All the running to and fro got old rather quickly, and I'll even admit getting lost once or twice because of the triangular architecture -- which I quite like, don't get me wrong. On that note, I really like the high quality textures and assets this builder uses, but you can't help but notice how tall every room is. The one or two ledge hopping bits felt a bit pointless, although it was faster than a ladder climb I'll concede that, and the massive ambush at the end felt a bit overdone, but that's maybe because I didn't find the shotgun so had to rely on pistols only. Left with plenty of medipacks. Scripting still needs more attention, with keys named Load (and even Save, I think I saw one?), but generally speaking I feel this author is on the right path. 55 minutes, 5 secrets. 03/21" - Treeble (07-Mar-2021)
"I concur with another reviewer in that this third offering is decidedly similar in gameplay style to "Search for the Awards". The atmosphere and environments aren't actually too bad to begin with, but after a while the stone corridors and dark, lofty hallways tend to blend into one another and quickly degenerates into one samey-looking area after another. I think more spacious areas here and there would have eliminated the tedium a bit more. The quick detour for pickups was a nice touch, but even that only constitutes a couple of minutes at most and they may not be really needed, even for the soldier battle at the end. I also wasn't too fond of the repetitive background audio which consisted solely of a single wolf howling. Not entirely bad, but it doesn't really incite much excitement overall." - Ryan (06-Mar-2021)
"Firstly, this game was a huge upgrade from the last one by the author. The levels are exponentially improving. However, the levels aren't where they should be yet. The aesthetics of the game is really nice, and the music is fitting. Combat could have been way better. I enjoyed the part with the ambush and found out the hard way that I didn't have to work that hard to get out of that area. Also, there was a lot of backwards-and- forwards intertwined with a switch-to-pull-a-switch-to-get-a-key regimen, which can take away from the potential fun to be had. I can always appreciate comedic attributes as well, the dialogue on some parts were great. Great work on the level thus far, I hope to see more soon." - g12STL (23-Feb-2021)
"Now wait a second, I’m sure I’ve heard that song before—only the other day, too. Yep, it’s an extended remix of the builder’s Search for the Awards, and as is usually the case, the remix is much longer but by no means more interesting. It’s more of the same, regurgitating over and over again what few (and not necessarily good) ideas there were in the original; what was bearable in its short form becomes mind-numbingly boring when it’s dragged out ad nauseam.
So, once more we have simplistic lever–door–lever gameplay in an all-samey environment made up of uniformly drab and empty rooms. The levers in question tend to blend in with the walls, and both they and the doors are silent (as are objects in general). There are no dodgy water rooms this time, but the builder more than makes up for this by liberally sprinkling illegal slopes all over the map, to such a degree that it looks as though they have yet to form a notion of illegal slopes in the first place. Textures are not infrequently stretched and generally wallpapered, some are low-res or simply bad quality. They are plain, and ornamentation is rare; an approach I would usually welcome, as it’s more common to go overboard in the opposite direction, many builders eschewing a plain texture whenever an ornamental version is available. Here, however, this monotonous texturing combines with unvarying, murky lighting, basic geometry (not helped by the indiscriminate use of diagonal walls) and a repetitive background audio loop (which is only 32 seconds in length, so you get tired of that distinctive howling soon enough) to form an atmosphere of all-encompassing dreariness.
There’s a lot of annoying back-and-forth at the beginning, somewhat alleviated by helpful cameras and thankfully abandoned in the second half in favour of a more straightforward approach, although the level continues to play as monotonous as a maze. Rarely are you asked to do anything other than simply run or take a quick dip in a pool, and if you are, the Legend-type moves turn out to be glitchy or are forced in the wrong situations (you can backflip from a crack on one tile, but not on the next, although the conditions are the same; you can’t pull up onto some ledges after a ledge jump, and Lara appears to gain thrust from jumping off empty air). There are two simple jumps across floating platforms to perform, but even these are relegated to an optional area, laughably hyped up as the greatest challenge of them all in a voiceover spoken by the bot with a distinctly American drawl who also warned us to ‘choose wisely’ prior to a trial-and-error procedure in the earlier level. That same thing recurs in this level in the form of four trapdoors, each with a lever to open it and a key underneath. (There is also another, very obvious booby trap involving spikes.)
Also back is the helicopter. It animates now that it doesn’t have to, as it’s on the ground rather than up in the air; it’s also confined to a room that’s too small for it. (The role of the Thing That Hangs Weirdly from the Sky has been passed on to an oddly useless rope.) The helicopter has brought in more of those Black Berets, who (in a scene that’s lifted straight from a bad action comedy) trade insults with Lara in the same robotic voice used previously for the voiceover. Now, I know that voice actors are hard to come by, and as a matter of fact I remember someone mentioning the text-to-voice option on the blue forum once; but that was years ago, and as far as I know nothing ever came of it, thankfully, for good reasons. However useful such software may be for the Stephen Hawkings of this world, it has no place in video games unless it’s used to voice actual robots. So if you’re planning to have entire cutscenes performed in that manner next, I’m sorry, CircusBaby, I’m afraid I can’t let you do that." - Mulf (15-Feb-2021)
"Even if the lighting effects are somewhat better, there are tiny hints of room structure from time to time and gameplaywise there is (if only a little) more to do with some jump sequences, this 25 minute game was too long for its own good and both gameplay and looks are utterly repetitive and thus hardly enjoyable. Missing sounds, paper thin walls, rather bad texturing and odd object placement only add more to this feeling of another amateurish and rushed game the builder should've better cared of a lot more before releasing it to the public. Found five very easy secrets of which one has an looping trigger." - manarch2 (15-Feb-2021)
"The third outing for this increasingly prolific builder is not dissimilar in feel to the second one, insofar as it involves mainly exploration based gameplay and finding secrets, only this time in an icy setting. Initially, it feels quite atmospheric but after a while so many of the areas seem to merge together and it feels a bit maze-like and wearisome. Gameplay is very straightforward and frankly could have benefited from more variety of tasks, but overall I’d have to call it a (small) step in the right direction, which is the main thing I suppose." - Jay (15-Feb-2021)
"An obvious step up for the author from their previous effort for sure, thought I have some mixed feeling about this one, I will describe them as we go, as I know the author reads reviews and that is very good!
Gameplay is fairly simple, run there find lever, use lever, find what you opened, use lever there and so on. Fairly repetitive, and this custom is also a lengthy 40 minutes one! Not to mention backtracking, one of the most double edged sworded things in TRLE, they can work fine, but most of the time revisiting all over again the same old areas to just get from one side to the other can be a chore, so it is better to avoid. Also near the end I found little illegal slopes that are sliding floors that softlock you, not to mention the missing one shot in the secret in the cabin.
Enemies are quite scarce in the level, but that is quite not a bad thing, they will multiply by the end hehe. Moving on the secrets are not really hidden that much, some in actual plain sight, but other ones requite additional attention to be found, so that is something good in my book.
Atmophere was quite okay to be honest, I would find this quality in a level among 6 to 8, it is fairly acceptable for me, I did not really like how though plain it felt towards the end, visually wise and how few difference there was between indoors and outdoors. Cameras were a bliss to have, but I did not enjoy flybys that much, mainly because I do not personal enjoy the getting back to Lara at the end of the sequence or maybe the ending up in the walls sometimes. Can be made better and for sure will.
Lighting and texturing was kind of meh, I am not a fan of the texturing, but I do have to admit there are some areas that do look prettier and other that do not, my 6 is a genuine praise because the author is becoming much better and there was not any same texture walls like in the previous entry!
That is a good job overall! The author is becoming better with every entry and it is nice to have progress ... contrary to a certain other author. I do look forward to see more to be honest! Lengthy but easy raid, quite recommended. Wolfy Regards." - Wolf7 (14-Feb-2021)
"I am very glad that you are making progress! I really enjoyed lighting. The filling of the rooms is still poor. add more textures and objects. Too many switches. Riddles are better, but more variety is needed. Congratulations, you are moving in the right direction!" - ddaring_dash (12-Feb-2021)
""Are we nearly there yet?" Chamber after chamber;room after room;labyrinth after labyrinth. The first 20 minutes or so are as visually dreary as anything;not helped by the uniformly blue-grey colour palette. There's one over-inflated sequence where the builder challenges you to a gauntlet for some extra pick-ups;but this is as standard a sequence of platform jumps as it's possible to encounter.For the rest,it's drab room after drab room;on the hunt for lever after lever. Finally,you arrive at a completely unexpected Surrey Public Library sort of place (to the accompaniment of a perky music theme),and it genuinely seems as if things might pick up. The players optimism is hopelessly dashed,as the level all too soon reverts back to drab grey rooms and labyrinths while on yet more lever quests. Eventually,after around 45 minutes,you find yourself in an outdoor area and under attack by a platoon of female soldiers,who throw unfunny insults at you in synthetic voices.Once this piece of misplaced comedy is over,it's back into a final drab grey room again. The lighting is as uninteresting as the surroundings;while the atmosphere,although reasonable enough to begin with,soon becomes as predictable as everything else;all to the accompaniment of the same repetitive howling of the same (unseen) wolf. Puzzles are entirely absent;it's simply 'search for lever or key to open nearby door' - over and over,for around an hour. The builder has placed objects well enough;some of the upward jumps are kind of fun;and I appreciated the attempt at humour, despite it falling flat;but this really should have been trimmed to around a third of its length in order to have worked better." - Orbit Dream (12-Feb-2021)