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TR Advent Calendar 2021 - The Hunt for Esmeralda by AgentXP

billie2001 9 10 10 10
CalrOsario 8 9 9 8
carolinux 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 10
eRIC 7 10 10 10
g12STL 8 8 10 8
Jason L 10 9 9 8
JesseG 8 10 10 10
JimmyBeon 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 9 9 10 9
Lady_Wise 10 10 10 10
Lima 8 9 9 10
Lioness_86 10 10 10 10
manarch2 7 9 10 10
Obig 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
Potkanka 9 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 9 10 9 10
StormChaser 10 10 10 10
Sylwia 9 10 10 10
vandit 9 10 10 10
release date: 31-Dec-2021
# of downloads: 459

average rating: 9.57
review count: 22
review this level

file size: 303.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"This level is a perfect choice for anyone who is looking for a large non-linear level with plenty of exploration. During the game, you help several people, who are other level builders from the TR community, to complete various tasks that involve finding all kinds of items and using them in different ways in a beautifully crafted snowy countryside. Besides exploration, I liked a lot the hunt for 20 secret Santa items, the music puzzle in the catacombs, and the way you have to carry Esmeralda (a chicken) to safety. This was inventively achieved by replacing the torch pick up item with a chicken mesh. I found a one bug in the barn where you have to grab a beam to drop a bag on the floor. For some reason the bag didn’t drop when I first arrived to the barn, so I reloaded an earlier save game, and made my way back to the barn, and then I was able to drop the bag. Excluding this, my playing experience was smooth and super enjoyable." - Samu (01-Sep-2023)
"This was a fun raid with RPG elements. The tasks were varied and interesting. I found the hints, the map provided and the "quest log" really helpful. Highlights: Carrying a chicken and doing a timed run, riding a somewhat buggy horse with Xmas music playing maniacally in the background and playing the harp in a cavernous celtic tomb. The secrets were placed in hard to reach or hard to notice locations. I found about half of them. I really enjoyed the variety in this level, there was snowy forests, festive interiors, wooden barns, a quaint village and underground locations with some light filtering in." - carolinux (19-Mar-2023)
"This game is a simple and fluid story without any kind of difficulty. It's more of a tribute to Christmas, friendship and custom level builders. Too many hints for my taste. Less than an hour, all 20 secrets." - CalrOsario (12-Jan-2023)
"Gameplay wise a perfect Christmas level and yet unique in its own way. It's so fun to visit every corner of the huge map and get a task from each level builder to progress. If you're using an older PC like me then the lags are quite often noticeable, the game crashed once. In the water at diagonal walls Lara also has problems to dive in the water, she could only swim at these places. If you need another challenge, you can also search for 20 secrets to unlock a secret room in the attic. Including the search for secrets it took me 2 hours 42 minutes. An unforgettable Christmas adventure!" - vandit (26-Nov-2022)
"We get many Xmas levels made in the same sandbox fashion, but this one is quite unique, you can feel it has its own soul, or a part of Agent's to be precise. Come on, don't be a chicken and play it. BAAAAAAWK!" - DJ Full (16-Jul-2022)
"Peacefull, nice and chilling level, no enemies, just small puzzles , jumps, little conversations... Thank you, I recommend." - Lioness_86 (25-May-2022)
"AgentXP took us this Christmas in a village and a farm house, where Lara spent her holidays with many of our most loved level builders. What a nice idea! The gameplay is festive but also creative, especially in the old mill and finding Esmeralda, the runaway chicken. The decoration inside is exquisite and the outside areas stunning. The final scene is so heart warming that brought tears to my eyes. A fine example of a contemporary Christmas level which I highly recommend to everyone." - billie2001 (18-Feb-2022)
"Christmas 2021 surprised us with great tracks. It is also a masterpiece. We are adventuring in a village and a farm next to it, where a couple of great track builders have gathered to fill Christmas with Lara. Great tasks and nice textures characterize this winter course. We can even ride. 20 secret places must be collected to unlock a hidden door. The end, of course, is a happy ending. The secret is revealed, and the runaway chicken is gone. there are no enemies, the pistol should only be used to shoot down crates and boxes. There are no too difficult tasks in it, maybe just running for a while, jumping. Don’t miss this great, festive adventure. Hungaian walkthrough, and savegames, pictures:" - Obig (15-Feb-2022)
"I like the idea of adding level-builders in the gameplay. The tasks are well thought of and interesting, although too much explanation is given as how to solve them, which makes things extremely easy to solve. The map is huge, and the builder could have added more tasks and make the gameplay even more complex. The buildings are well designed. The tasks inside the old mill is amazing, there's a lot of things to do inside that little space, without having to run from one end of the map to the other. I particularly enjoyed the task with Esmeralda, it was extremely funny and the only downside to this task is that it wasn't longer. I even managed to ignite Esmeralda and carry it as it burned like a torch. Textures and objects are excellent, as well as the ambiance and lighting. A huge downside to this level are disappearing objects and geometry in the distance, which could have been avoided with slight corrections in the WorldFarView option in the Script. The Editor now has more capacity than ever, and the builder could have added more static objects to the level and make it look even richer. I am not particularly amazed with the choice of the sounds for Lara's footsteps, because they are not well balanced and not too pleasing for the ears. All in all, a relaxing level without irritating and hard sections and obscurity." - Lima (21-Jan-2022)
"Really nice and creative gift by AgentXP, with many tasks to accomplish (even some soft raiding) and a perfect Christmassy feel. Heavily puzzle/discovery based, its characters are some of the builders involved in the Advent Calendar (who lend their own voices and a celtic harp tune), plus the chicken, Esmeralda, that Lara must take with her during a timed run with jumps between columns (notwithstanding Titak's kitten, of course). This was all quite good in the animation department. It seems to be a large map, but everything flows so perfectly it never feels that way at all. Thank you." - Jorge22 (16-Jan-2022)
"This belated addition to the 2021 Advent Calendar is quite the treat indeed. Once again, AgentXP has created the most stunning environments to explore in around, with every single detail masterfully taken care of. The main gameplay is centered around a farmhouse, a nearby village and some ice caves, the farmhouse being the location of a Christmas gathering between various TR level builders. Lara needs to accomplish various chores set by each of the builders to eventually locate the chicken who has somehow gotten herself lost in the treacherous ice caves some distance away. AgentXP does an admirable job of keeping the gameplay involving and never overly obscure or padded, and she excels at voicing Lara herself. The secret quest was an enjoyable side mission too. Highly recommended." - Ryan (16-Jan-2022)
"Another memorable release from the fertile imagination of AgentXP. This Christmas level takes place within a farmer's estate and its nearby village, and for the occasion the place has been rented out to a collection of level builders who provide their own voices for the cut scenes. AgentXP herself plays the role of Lara, and I followed her video walk while preparing a written walkthrough, primarily because of the additional insights she gives during gameplay, and not to mention her delightful accent. She also has a remarkable singing voice with range and versatility, as the readme reveals that she does the vocals for Silent Night at the end. DJ Full has composed much of the background music, and the two-hour adventure is a sheer joy to play. Unlike her recent CaC release, I found the lighting here to be nigh-on perfect, and it highlights the skillfully crafted interior and exterior textures. There's a story line of sorts involving the combined mystery of a legendary harpist and a wayward chicken, but there are many additional touches to spice up the action. I was especially impressed with the sequence in the windmill where you need to gather some required ingredients for later use. There are no enemies, and only one occasion to use the pistols that I can recall, but a couple of timed runs and platforming exercises are thrown in to keep the fingers from becoming rusty. An almost certain Hall of Fame entry, and deservedly so." - Phil (15-Jan-2022)
"A really cute Christmas levels with the participation of some TR fans, including their voices! I loved that, it felt so lovely. The main hub of this level is huge and very homely somehow. In this game you need to talk with all Lara friends inside the house and help them with their issues. Gameplay and puzzles were very original and fun. I didn't find all secrets, but I love the fact that they weren't really hard to find tho. Objects and everything else were so fitting. The part in that cave rescuing the chicken was pretty fun! Also, the use of the chicken as a torch pickup was so clever haha. Very festive TRLE, can't wait for next year Christmas' levels! :D" - Jason L (08-Jan-2022)
"A very sweet, easy level, perfect for Christmas time. Unfortunately, the warning about lagging on older systems was relevant to my poor laptop, so I couldn't always enjoy smooth gameplay - it's also the reason I didn't feel like searching for the last two missing secrets, luckily AgentXP made a lovely author playthrough that I could watch to see the secret room :) To get the complaints out of the way, for some reason bringing only the flour to Tombraiderxii was enough to fulfil his quest, so I ended the game with eggs in my inventory (I've picked up those much later due to a rather random way I finished some tasks - I forgot I should grab the key from the window, so I was without a crowbar for most of the level). Another thing was that for whatever reason (maybe my weird order of doing quests?) Lara refused to interact with the button at the "back" of the village, so I had to always exit the village by the gate I've unlocked with a key. Luckily that was only a shortcut, not necessary to finish the level. With complaints out of the way... The level is so beautiful! Several really pretty areas, the farm is a nice beginning, but the old mill affords something a little creepier, yet still more nostalgic than scary somehow, probably because it's not at night, and also thanks to the general atmosphere of the level. The village itself is like from a Christmas postcard, the short visit to the mines gives us an absolutely gorgeous area with a frozen river, one of my favourite parts of the level. The mine itself is unexpectedly warm and green in colour, which is a refreshing change of scenery. The Celtic ruins give us some good old TR mysterious atmosphere, still combined with the serenity of a Christmas level. But my most favourite area of all was the one behind the village, a long meadow of sorts with some trees around. It held nothing but a secret, but I loved how it looked, so pretty! The choice to leave some areas in the level with only a thin cover of snow, letting the grass peek through, was a great one, it gives the place something that more than just white, and while areas with heavy snow are beautiful too... well, why not have both, right? And of course I can't forget the inside of the farmhouse, so cosy and colourful, just like one expects in a Xmas TRLE, really a joy to visit. The gameplay itself is fairly straightforward, nothing difficult - Lara even performs some actions by herself and gives hints often - making the game a relaxing stroll for the most part. The timed runs are not mean and the few puzzles are varied enough. The music puzzle was quite sweet :) And I need to mention the humour too: Having a level where Lara spends Christmas with several other people - level builders no less - means dialogues and these were quite a lot of fun sometimes. And Lara's own commentary, of course. Rescuing Esmeralda from her little tomb raiding adventure was a highlight for sure, and a funny shoutout to a certain RoTR mechanic. But overall Lara interacts with animals: rescuing a cat, riding a horse... the sheep are bleating... well, it IS a farm :) All in all, a holiday level worth playing if you want something beautiful, peaceful and festive." - Potkanka (08-Jan-2022)
"Wow! What an astoundingly great looking level. Rather easy and all the hints make sure you always know where to go and what to do. The architecture and texturing is quite simply divine and the NPC’s added a real sense of realism to the proceedings. Add to this some great dialog and custom composed music and you have a real winner of a level." - StormChaser (04-Jan-2022)
"This review is going to be a bit redundant after having just played Another Winter City, as there are a lot of commonalities. That means great usage of objects, lighting, and textures to form an immersive setting. This time it's a more rural area, with a small village, a farmland and catacombs. The gameplay is also similar, with mostly climbing about as Lara collects and completes quests to progress toward rescuing a trapped bird. To spice things up there is a timed run across pillars, a couple of simple pushable block puzzles, as well as a "musical floor tile" puzzle which was also pretty simple but I really liked that idea. 1 hour 38 minutes." - JesseG (04-Jan-2022)
"True , there is a lot of ground to cover by foot here and the things to do were not that exciting at first. But wait there were more different places to discover with short visits in a church , a mine , a mill , a Celtic cavern , all these places containing interesting gameplay with some good innovation, eventually this became a captivating level i could not quit as it was more and more immersive. The game is very user-friendly , maybe a bit too much , as often there is not only a helping text but also a camera. Setting and atmosphere are fautless. Some musics are great. A very relaxing time spent here where you can admire things technically greatly made , and enjoy some quite funny, all that without having to go to a walkthrough or a video once. A big map but my stats indicating a net gaming time of 1h45 only." - eRIC (03-Jan-2022)
"A very charming and atmospheric late addition to the Advent Calendar and certainly one to remember for the great inclusion of NPCs and a very nice storyline. There are a lot of fetch quests in here but progression keeps being fluent and there is seldom a moment with nothing left to do. As Eric I think the guidance is a bit of too much at times as there are a lot of visual and directional hints and you don't have to explore too much by yourself, and the puzzles are also quite easy, even with a few mild timed runs. Also, you can skip some parts of the level by some easy jumps (e.g. up the surrounding wall so you can reach the village without the key); for some reason the door in the harp room also opened up for me the first time around but after a reload it remained closed. A large part of the playtime is devoted to finding all 20 mostly very easy secrets, which three or four exceptions, which provide access to a secret room. Surroundings are very realistic and the usage of sounds, dialogues and flybys is once more outstanding. Visually it's also very well done,texturing and lighting are excellent as well as the object design. It's really one of the best choices for the season and despite not exactly outstanding gameplay highly recommended. Finished in 50 minutes." - manarch2 (03-Jan-2022)
"At first, this level appears to be overwhelming but the author does an excellent job at pointing you in the correct direction for your objectives, as well as providing a log on what looks to be an iPhone 6 with iOS 14. Granted, some of the triggers for the next events are fairly specific, it is good that the items are delivered or acquired automatically. Also, the ending was very interesting. I was not expecting something as a tomb to that degree of detail and puzzle-heavy at that. Very nice work from the author and I'd recommend this level for all skill levels to try! Cheers!!" - g12STL (02-Jan-2022)
"What a nice end to this holiday. Level is beautiful with a lot of space to explore, lots of secrets and interesting puzzles. It was very fun to see and hear real characters from the world of TRLE, nice to meet you :) PS DJ Full has already appeared in so many levels as a side character that he probably deserves his own custom soon ;D" - Sylwia (02-Jan-2022)
"This level was wonderful. The puzzles were fun and engaging, really well placed and the pacing was perfect. Textures were all suited for the environment and really made me feel we were in Britain in Christmas, specifically Wales with all the Celtic ruins and grey stone. The house in particular was a very cosy place and wish it was real. So yeh this new year of TRLEs have set off to a good start. Thanks Agent for a great level again :D" - JimmyBeon (02-Jan-2022)
"Another beautiful level by Agent, had the pleasure of beta testing for her with this one. A truly colourful and sweet compact level, with alot of great humour and our famous Dj! Lighting as always spot on, great wintery atmosphere with a variety of real life characters made into TR people. Lovely wee Santa secrets to find and plenty of simple but tasks to complete. Brilliant." - Lady_Wise (01-Jan-2022)