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Ex Oblivione (Demo) by Neltharion

billie2001 7 7 9 8
BlackWolfTR 7 7 9 8
DJ Full 7 8 9 8
Jorge22 8 8 9 8
manarch2 7 6 7 7
nerdfury 8 7 7 8
Petaludas 6 7 8 6
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 8 7 8 8
tuxraider 7 6 7 7
 
release date: 21-Aug-2022
# of downloads: 174

average rating: 7.53
review count: 10
 
review this level

file size: 69.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Castle
 


author profile(s):
email(s):
guevaraimre189@protonmail.ch

Reviewer's comments
"Easier than usual from this author indeed. Possibly built a bit too fast as it's dotted with little errors here and there, so if this level returns in full version, it needs a major retouch. A thing I wouldn't design is a secret which deliberately locks if you don't notice it soon enough, what a player might mistake for a secret challenge to unlock it instead, while it's in fact too late to act. The spider riddle breaks if you shoot the arthropode, I'd also check what happens if you leave earlier enemies alive. As for aesthetics, the lighting needs more gradient but that's it, I guess... Nonetheless overall the level was fun to play so it's good to try it - if not now, then whenever the package is complete." - DJ Full (12-Jul-2023)
"A small and hard level that I found annoying at times.
  • Some very tricky to figure out acrobatics needed. I rated it "challenging" because of it, especially the part where Lara has to go down a chasm.
  • Some tight time runs, and things like having to get through rotating traps.
  • I found it often hard or annoying to figure out where to go next and having to traverse parts of the level again because of it.
  • Was the house key actually needed? Maybe the gameplay lacked some polish.
  • The starting area looked interesting at first, but also felt weirdly sterile. Gameplay was a bit of a drag.
  • I liked the later parts (like the fire cave) better.
  • Some untextured areas were reachable. (But it's just a demo.)
  • I didn't quite understand the spider puzzle (though I solved it), but at least it was creative.
In conclusion I'm undecided. I think maybe people should wait for the full level when it's released. It shows potential and of course I will play it." - tuxraider (07-Jul-2023)
"For a change, this time we get an easy/medium difficulty adventure from Neltharion. The starting areas are nice, Nordic looking areas but a bit empty of gameplay although there is room for much more. As we progress, there is a really good puzzle with a spider and at the end we reach a lava area where the gameplay becomes more involving, without being very difficult. Only few enemies, secrets not hard to find. Texturing and lighting are ok but there are several end-of-the-world instances which are too easy to reach. All in all, a nice demo. Took me about 1:45 hrs to complete." - billie2001 (18-Sep-2022)
"I tried this builder's "Deathwish" adventure many times before, but kept throwing in the towel due to the many unorthodox manoeuvres required to progress. I don't really have the patience for extended games consisting solely of those kinds of moves, so I think I'll pass that one up for the time being. Luckily this demo level is much more manageable (and in my mind more enjoyable). The numerous ninja attacks were rather arduous (especially since you start with only your pistols and they have that sneaky defence tactic) and a couple of the courtyards were a bit square and empty, but the texturing is decent and the atmosphere holds up well in a chilly sort of manner. The gameplay is also more well balanced this time round, with some action-packed timed runs, jump sequences and enjoyable trap segments (liked the section with the scorpion where quick trigger fingers may not be the answer here). It held my interest adequately to warrant me keeping an eye out for the full version." - Ryan (14-Sep-2022)
"I've always felt that the primary reason for playing any game is to be entertained. Of course, we can get bogged down trying to define exactly what it is that entertains, but in the context of Tomb Raider most of us would probably agree that a level that's fun to play is entertaining. And that's exactly what this level is. It's well-lighted, and it has a few inspirational twists such as the scorpion for which you must first create a path so that it can go where you can't and kill an enemy that drops a key pickup, and most of us would probably have the knee-jerk inclination to blast the scorpion out of existence upon its first appearance, thereby leaving ourselves stuck. You have to be observant as well, such as detecting and shooting a far-off medallion that allows you much later to gain a secret when you reach that area. The level starts with the exploration of a vast courtyard, moves through a series of skull-tile rooms where the slightest misstep will result in a quick death, and culminates in a well-designed lava room that requires some dexterous platforming. If the rest of the game is as satisfying as this demo, the wait for the final product will be well worth it." - Phil (12-Sep-2022)
"(8) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is a medium difficulty adventure that took me 1 hour. It focuses heavily on exploration and platforming, and I had a great time, with my favorite area being the platforming in the lava room near the end of the game. The pacing is engaging, although I do think there is the potential for the player to be running around confused in the starting outdoor castle areas. This is for 2 reasons: a) there's a sneaky shatterable window, but in my opinion it looks too similar to regular windows, unless you look at it real close; b) there are some ledges that you technically should be able to climb onto, but you can't, and this creates some confusion. (7) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The usage of the large spider was interesting and refreshing; that said, the reskinned ninjas were annoying to fight against, due to them twirling their scepters or whatever they're holding. After picking up the passage key, 2 ninjas are triggered. In my opinion their placement needs refinement, as the player can just ignore them and drop down the cavern. The object decor is very attractive and immersive, although I noticed some larger rooms not having any. There are some object setups that are unpolished: there's an invisible block by the house door; mine wooden beams have no collision; the lunar key triggers double-doors that open into the building geometry; there is a gate that rises into nowhere after 2 spinning circular blades. (7) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: A Nordic visual theme, mixed in with South America, plus a tiny sprinkle of Tibet? One may think that is ridiculous, but the builder pulls it off here. In fact, as with the builder's previous levels, I think the builder demonstrates a keen eye for surreal, eerie and unique atmosphere. I loved the background ambient music (spooky, but subtle and not distracting) and camera hints are generally good. However I wanted to mention something about the starting flyby. It is immersive and builds intrigue, but it is not that helpful in terms of objectives. I think it would be better if it ended focusing on the suspicious window I mentioned in the gameplay section. I do think the outdoor battlements architecture is too squeaky clean. Based on the castle wall texturing and all of the overgrown foliage objects, we can assume that this castle is desolate. It's not modern and being taken care of. Given this, I think the atmosphere would be more convincing if the battlements geometry showed more signs of organic decay over the centuries, instead of looking so uniform. Finally with regards to the atmosphere, there were quite a few "end of the world" moments when exploring which detracted from immersion. I know it's a demo but it's still unprofessional to see untextured areas, demo or not. After you use the stairway key, you will be presented with a fixed camera as you ascend some stairs. if you veer off the stairs to explore on either side (to hunt for secrets perhaps), you will get stuck in "end of the world" areas. Gate objects on either side of these stairs would prevent the player from accessing areas they shouldn't be accessing (and it would look much better than Lara bumping into invisible blocks). (8) Lighting & Textures: This level looks very nice. I think that something that the builder did very well is mix up warm and cool color schemes throughout the adventure. The builder's use of color across the adventure is beautiful, however, I did spot "snowflake" wallpapered textures. Something that grinded my gears is that I found no flare pickups. It's not a dark level, but towards the end, there are several large red rooms with high contrast. Over-saturated red rooms are not objectively a bad thing, BUT, they can certainly make some people's eyes uncomfortable. Having more than the 3 starter flares would help ease the eye strain in this area. Overall, I think the gameplay is a solid foundation, and I'm looking forward to the full release. That said, I do think "end of the world" situations need more care prior to full release. I recommend this level, even to players who have previously tried the builder's earlier sadistic levels and ragequit while throwing their keyboard across the room. I think there's a good chance you'll be pleasantly surprised here. 8/7/7/8." - nerdfury (10-Sep-2022)
"It's sort of a long viking demo with a few arabs thrown in, isn't it? I enjoyed even the most complicated parts (the lava lake), but the level is basically accessible. Nothing really to complain about regarding the settings, the lighting and the general atmosphere, as well as the pace of it all. I particularly appreciated the spider puzzle, that one was creative. Didn't find any secret, but I'm not very good at that. The ending is abrupt as heck, but that's to be expected. Looking forward to the full instalment if it doesn't get more complicated. Well done so far." - Jorge22 (05-Sep-2022)
"Half an hour of interesting, this time not very difficult, raiding with a lot of platforming. There is an interesting puzzle involving a spider and an enemy you must not kill yourself, but it's a bit simple in execution. The design is solid with good texturing and lighting, but there are a few untextured spots in easily reached places, blocks in front of doors, the flybys should be unbreakable and the rooms also felt a bit empty. The three secrets are well hidden, though, and I liked what I've seen so far so if a few things are taken care of the full version could be very good." - manarch2 (22-Aug-2022)
"I was so happy when i saw a neltharion new level but then i read it would be a medium level for everyone and i was curious after to play it and yes i got a little dissapointed. i guess its a demo so the full release would be more well treated .. Yes big areas , impressive areas , good atmosphere , vikings-taras vibes but i cant get used the new-engine? lara , i prefer the classic model and gameplay.i agree that huge areas with no pickups or gameplay.Also i didnt clearly got to understand how the spider-puzzle worked but i managed somehow, no rolling while crouching also , nor frontflip from gaps , secrets 1/3 ( didnt manage to shoot the bong , only to raise the tile). I managed to complete it in an hour but didnt find anything innovative or genius gameplay, it was an one way road.only enjoyed the sanctuary-jumping area. Deathwish is my favorite trle-game so my standards were very high but i respect if the author wants to try new things or change his style. keep it up" - Petaludas (22-Aug-2022)
"There we have another Neltharion's surreal and dreamlike level. This is a demo of a really big levelset for which I'm looking forward to. At first; I REALLY love the locations and how impressive they are. Author managed to do a really creative architecture of the level. We mainly explore some sort of lost surreal ruins of a city. The areas are big so there is quite a lot of exploration in some of them. However I think the areas don't use 100% of their gameplay potential. As I said the locations are big but in some of them there isn't really much of a gameplay. The example is the begininng area or the area with spider puzzle (which I liked by the way). We have some platforming rather on difficult side for average player but it's not that difficult as in Neltharion's previous levels. Unfortunately I found a place where you can get out of map and it's very easily accessible. It should be fixed in full version. Usage of textures is rather good. On the one hand we have great locations with really high diversity and good usage of textures but on the other hand we have some places with wallpapered walls. The lighting is as well, rather good. I think some of the areas are unbalanced in terms of it. Sanctuary area for example could have contain some more darkness in the corners. I noticed that the author uses coloured ambient lighting for some rooms. I think it's better to make the ambient lighting very dark and lighten it with colourful light bulbs. There is kinda lack of decoration objects in general so the areas feel quite empty. Would like to see more of stuff scattered here and there. About the atmosphere: well, Neltharion always manages to create such a surreal, hypnagogic and dreamlike atmosphere. I really love it. I've been thinking that maybe he manages to create such an atmosphere with big areas, his lighting style and not so many decorative objects? Not really sure but the atmosphere is really good. I also love the ambient music and the skybox which add their points to the atmosphere as well. All in all it's a worth level to play if you like levels with surreal feeling. I can recommend this one and waiting for the full release :)" - BlackWolfTR (21-Aug-2022)