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Catacomb Towers by Piega

alan 8 8 9 9
bERT 10 9 10 10
CC 9 9 9 8
ColeMoles 9 10 9 10
Croft Storm 9 8 9 10
Cuqui 8 9 8 9
David 8 5 8 8
DeathMelody 8 10 9 8
Dhama 9 7 10 10
Dimpfelmoser 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 8 9 9 9
Dougsan 9 9 10 8
Drakan 10 10 10 10
eRIC 8 9 10 9
eTux 9 8 9 10
Fabio Ribeiro 10 10 9 10
Feder 9 9 10 10
Gerty 10 10 10 9
gfd 10 10 10 10
Gorty 9 9 9 9
Hendrik 8 7 9 10
Inchdix 9 9 10 10
Ivan 10 9 10 10
Jay 8 8 10 10
JoeTheCrazyGamer 8 8 7 8
John 9 9 10 10
Jose 7 8 9 10
Josi 8 8 9 8
jtrim 10 10 10 10
Juan Carlos 8 7 9 9
Kristina 10 10 10 10
Lara 10 9 10 9
LePerk 6 8 10 10
Loren 10 10 10 10
Loupar 9 9 10 10
Magnus 9 10 9 10
manarch2 7 7 9 9
Mehrbod 9 9 10 10
MichaelP 8 8 9 9
Miguel 8 7 9 9
Mman 8 9 9 9
Momster 10 9 10 10
Mulf 7 8 9 9
nerdfury 7 8 10 9
Nicky 10 10 10 10
Obig 9 9 9 9
Orbit Dream 10 10 10 10
Passalaqua 8 8 9 10
Percys 9 9 10 9
Phil 10 9 10 10
Qball 9 9 10 10
QRS 10 10 10 10
RaiderGirl 10 9 9 8
Revenge 9 9 10 10
rtrger 9 10 10 9
Ryan 9 9 9 9
Samu 7 9 9 9
Sash 10 9 9 9
Scottie 9 9 10 9
Treeble 10 10 10 10
Vinci 10 9 9 10
WebKnight 9 9 10 10
release date: 06-Feb-2001
# of downloads: 244

average rating: 9.15
review count: 62
review this level

file size: 24.70 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cave/Cat

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Well this is a level I played around 15 years ago when I was a wee teen and I remember I could never get past the first area and that was because it was daunting seeing the scale and grandeur of the level itself at the time. Today I have concurred the fear and played it and I must say it is simply divine. Not a texture out of place, atmosphere perfect for the type of level it is. Secrets themselves were grand too. I wish this could have been a main level in the TR4 game, replacing the catacombs level at the time. A must play for all tomb raider fans!" - ColeMoles (03-Mar-2022)
"(7) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is an easy-to-medium adventure that is a marvel architecturally (especially considering its release date), however, I think the gameplay is overrated. It's not that the gameplay is unpleasant in any way; it's just that it's nothing special. It basically involves moving from one beautiful room to another, pulling levers and pressing buttons, with the occasional monkey swing, ladder or pushblock thrown in. (What's up with that excessively long monkeyswing at the beginning of the game, by the way?) I recall one puzzle, one involving 2 pushblocks in one room, and I think it's a pretty dull one. It's one of those pushblock puzzles where your mind sees the solution far before the arduous pushing and pushing is completed. Later on, I do think there is an issue with gameplay flow after inserting 2 pharos items, as I then proceeded through various windy passages, pulling a bunch of levers, unclear of what I achieved. (8) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemies are nothing bad, but nothing special either. I do think the skeleton engagements could have been made much more interesting, as I've played other Catacombs levels in which you're on a ledge, they're coming at you from all directions, and you're just going to town with the shotgun. The object decor is attractive and convincing, however I felt like the trap usage overall was lackluster, especially during the final "escape" stage where you dodge a few dart traps while on a rope and then end the game. I know that there wasn't much the builder could do in terms of a final boss and the Catacombs wad, however I think the traps could have been made much more interesting and thrilling during the final escape. (10) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The builder masterfully created architecture and ruined environments that feel authentic. You really feel centuries of decay as you're exploring, and rooms never come across as boxy. Classic music cues are utilized well and there are generally adequate camera hints and immersive flybys. I do think there should have been a camera indicating that the large tower area was successfully flooded, but despite that I still think this category deserves top marks. (9) Lighting & Textures: This category is for the most part extremely beautiful and polished. There are however a couple of instances where the builder utilizes extremely over-saturated colored lighting which looks bad and excessively cartoonish in my opinion. There are also some statics that are the wrong color compared to their surroundings. Overall, I think the gameplay of this level is overrated, but I would still recommend it if you're a Catacombs/classic level fan. Actually, if you are a Catacombs fan, consider "Trident of the Invictus", a recent release which utilizes the BTB2005 Catacombs wad and has much more interesting gameplay. 7/8/10/9." - nerdfury (08-Aug-2021)
"I finally got to play this classic gem, I thought it would be nice to play some old trle levels for the 25th anniversary of our lovely franchise :) This is actually a rather easy and chill level, which got me kinda shocked if you ask me. Idk why, maybe because of the title of the level, but I expected some gigantic and endless maze of catacombs towers. However, it was actually a level of regular length and duration, to my relief. I'm not that keen on super lengthy and over-complicated levels, so I actually enjoyed this one a lot. The gameplay was simple but really good, overall chill but in a good way, like it didn't have traps and enemies every 2 seconds, but it incorporated them reasonably and at well thought out moments. Although, I would have liked a bit more difficulty, but considering how old the level is and the fact that builders didn't have as much resources back then as today, the gameplay was very good. The level wasn't long but the areas were themselves really big, and I got to say, even for today absolutely beautiful, especially the texturing and lighting were top notch. The music and the few cameras added perfectly to the atmosphere. All in all, simple but effective and very tombraider-ish gameplay in addition to a grand and stunning tomb setting. A level to play for all TR lovers :) 1h45, 1 secret found." - Revenge (26-Jun-2021)
"Decided to go back and play a classic from the hall of fame, and was not disappointed. The level design, lighting and general polish is immaculate here. One room in particular, looks very impressive, and the path through the level is very satisfying. Enemies are sparse and the gameplay is fairly straightforward but that doesn't matter as the level design is the star of the show here. Definitely recommended. One tiny gripe with this is I seemed to encounter a lot of glitches with the skeletons getting stuck in one place. One such glitch essentially broke the game for me as the skeleton got stuck blocking the push block at the top of the large final room, I couldn't do anything as I never found the shotgun I assume is in the level somewhere. Luckily I had a save from just 5 mins prior to this happening so no major annoyance was caused. Apart from this, the level runs pretty flawlessly. Well worth a play." - Passalaqua (18-Jan-2021)
"This is one of the first classics of TRLE, and it still holds up pretty well. This was one of the first visual showcases, as it takes the Catacombs theme and adds scale beyond pretty much anything in the original game; as the name hints there's giant vertical structures, and just when you think you've seen the main sections you enter an even larger chamber. There might be nothing new, but there's good use of objects and textures and music throughout. The gameplay is decent but shows it's age a bit more than the visuals; there's some nice platforming around the larger towers, but it peters out at times with a slightly pointless maze and an area where you basically do the same thing to throw a switch three times in a row (although it does have one of the best payoffs in the level). There also seemed to be a bug with grates being invisible and possible to walk through from one side, which doesn't seem intentional given it just leads to backtracking if you do it (though I'm not 100% sure if this was in earlier versions). Despite being a few years before, this would be a good mid-upper tier BTB Catacombs level, although it's so influential this is a bit of a flawed comparison as it likely inspired many of the entries there. It might be surpassed but this is a must play that was one of the first map to really show what the editor could do, and influenced many other earlier releases." - Mman (17-Jul-2019)
"It is such a great pleasure for me to play a game after all these months, which had the greatest architecture, the best lighting, the best use of traps and generally, the best of everything. Indeed all of the reviewers were in need to see such compelling game out there! Top recommended game! Thank you so much!" - Mehrbod (07-Jul-2019)
"The first 9+ scored level on the site, and well deserved. With amazing architecture and excellent texturing, the author created a nice classic catacombs scenario. I missed a few guns (maybe they were part of the secrets I never found either) although their use in this level is still a mistery, as all you need is the shotgun to get rid of the skeletons. One good thing is that it doesn't get too large to make you tired of the usual catacombs tasks, in fact it has just the right lengh." - Feder (12-Dec-2018)
"1st level of Piega and already a master stroke. It is incredibly well textured and illuminated, the gameplay is very good. Built with the wad catacomb, Piega has well placed the objects and made the puzzles very interesting. Highly recommended." - Drakan (18-Nov-2018)
"Despite being a very old level, it aged very well and is still a remarkable creation by Piega. The design, texturing and light is done with so much care. Object use and placement flawless. Gameplay was extremely enjoyable. I must say that I miss this old style TRLE levels. I'm glad I picked this one from the hall of fame. The talent of piega is timeless. Recommended !" - Gorty (13-May-2018)
"Awesome game! The rooms were intricately decorated and the gameplay was enjoyable. I really liked the many hidden passages and the lighting." - jtrim (15-Feb-2018)
"When I first played this level back in 2001, it blew me away a few seconds in. These are not words I use lightly. I remember muttering to myself, Na also! Geht doch. (Roughly: - Finally! It's possible after all.' It's how I react to being blown away.) The ravages of time manifested in a crumbling structure are excellently rendered in the initial area, and this was the first time that a custom level had convinced me aesthetically, thoroughly and instantaneously. However, in a rare instance of me agreeing 100% with DJFull, who seems to have had exactly the same impressions, I have to echo his disappointment with the fact that the level design subsequently reverts to the more conventional approach of - ancient structures mysteriously kept in pristine condition for thousands of years'. After the initial area, its more - organic' design is reprised only once (in a room with stairs submerged in water, where broken tiles are partially above and partially below the surface); otherwise, decay is relegated to subtle indications in the textures: plaster peeling off some walls; some tiles missing on tiled floors; ceilings occasionally look porous, as if ground water has been seeping in. Still, the quality of construction, texturing and lighting remains at an unprecedented level throughout: most of the gameplay takes place in stacked rooms (none the common roomâ€"corridorâ€"room scheme here), the texturing is pretty much unimpeachable, and the only gripes I have with the lightingâ€"which is mostly excellent; good use of fog in the bottomless pits as wellâ€"is that the strong coloured lighting in the rooms where you pick up the Pharos items seems to intrude from an entirely different aesthetic conception, and that some of the static objects are too bright and/or have a tint (mostly yellowish) which is oddly mismatched with their surroundings. The camera work is fine as well, as you would expect (I especially liked the two dramatic flybys showing skeletons rising out of the ground), though I think the two fixed-camera views in the central area shouldn't repeat, and it should be possible to break out of them. The large waterfall objects in the central area occasionally disappear from view; other than that, there's only one technical issue I encountered, it concerns the flipmap used to raise the water level (the grates that disappear from a number of openings when you've completed the task are back in place, possibly only from one side, if you go back through these openings at some later point).
Now, gameplay. People can be aesthetically overwhelmed and may be taken by the visuals to such a degree that they fail to realise that the game they're playing may not, in fact, be quite as extraordinary as the form in which it is presented. Such seems to be the case here, as some reviewers have previously concluded. The gameplay in this level is solid and for the most part entertaining enough, although it doesn't go beyond that; on the other hand, it is marred by an unnecessarily tedious pushblock puzzle, in which you have to drag two pushables across clearly demarcated paths to their obvious destinations, and then drag one of them all the way back and farther down a corridor; by the presence of an underwater maze; and by a pet peeve of mine, namely the crawlspace placed at a height of 2 clicks from the floorâ€"here hosting the crowbarâ€", which Lara should totally be able to enter, except she can't, simply because the procedure isn't implemented in the engine. She should realistically be able to just grab the damned thing, but of course she can't do that either. Few things are quite as effective in taking me right out of a game. Having another uninteresting pushblock exercise for what should have been the grand finale may not have been the best choice either; and the musical cue that plays when a block rises to level the floor and thus enables you to complete that exercise appeared to me almost comically overwrought. (Otherwise the musical choices are sound, though.) There's hardly any platforming; traps are represented only be a pair of easily evaded boulders; except for the two wraiths which appear near the end, your only opponents are skeletons. However, these are placed well, often introduced by camera views, and can become quite bothersome if you miss the shotgun early on; which is not entirely unlikely, although it's not marked as a secret (of which there are apparently five to be found in the level. I found none: so, good job with those, I guess). All things considered, a solid, if unexceptional catacomb level, which nevertheless stands head and shoulders above its peers due to its excellent construction and visual brilliance." - Mulf (22-Jan-2018)
"Good catacombs level. It's complex, so it's not very clear where to go first. There are various items to collect. A not so hard puzzle with moveable structures. Cameras are well placed. Textures look good with the lighting added, and they make it look like real catacombs. I found 3 secrets." - alan (10-Oct-2017)
"Going back to review some of the older levels, I came across this one, Piega's debut level. Even in this one, glimpses of his talent are visible, with the wide open spaces in this level. His talent would come to fruition in masterpieces like The Last Crusade and The Sanctuaries. If you like the traditional Catacombs setting, then this is worth a look." - Ryan (18-Jul-2016)
"Somehow I liked the very first room the most, for its very different yet organic approach, with subtle light dispersion over naturally bent floor. After that it was back to classic bilaterality and central symmetry - though both in a good form here: the architecture is brilliant and the light is well done. The subquests for Pharos items are interleaved with crowbar stars and lead to a discreet wraith evasion before the final artifact - all varied and graduated like it should be. Since we are in a skeletal realm just the hidden explosives are handy, but all secrets offer a challenge rewarded with visiting a separately crafted room instead of an ordinary crack or crevice, and you can check through the grates to know in advance something more is supposed to be found nearby. Reaching the light in the end was very relieving but I agree the finish was unexpected. SUMMARY: A very good level though still far from peak capability of classic resources and I could think the same back then. Invited for more, I got the beetle and moved straight to the next part." - DJ Full (17-Jan-2016)
"This TRLE is a trip down memory lane and I had to say the secrets are really well hidden. One of the best TRLEs yet" - JoeTheCrazyGamer (04-Oct-2015)
"Actually I only wanted to compare this one with the bonus level in Russia but it appeared to be much shorter than I thought and thus I finished this level on the same day. Few minutes into the game you notice why it's the first level rated above 9 - for a level released back in early 2001, the texturing and lighting are incredibly achieved and the architecture can compete with any modern game. It's not only how the various rooms are designed alone, but also how well they are connected to each other and how the whole map works together nicely on its own. There are a couple of areas with slightly weird lighting and a few monotonous rooms but nonetheless the clearness of the texturing and the mainly realistic lighting is something that many builders nowadays don't manage. It's all guided by a few well chosen sound tracks and nicely placed cameras (often showing enemy appearance). The gameplay is entertaining and never quite tedious (even with a few longer climbing parts), but also doesn't quite excel in the quality of the tasks which are all rather simple as well as the few puzzles. The five secrets are actually quite hard to find and it was a fun sidequest. Only few but as said nicely introduced enemies that will keep you on your toes and the objects, while nothing outstanding, do their decorative job well enough. A warmly recommended game for those who love a classic raid and also those who think that old means less attractive - I hope this proves wrong for them here. 35 minutes." - manarch2 (30-May-2015)
"Having embarked upon a quest to review all the earlier levels that came out before I became a reviewer, it has to be said that most of them are a bit of a chore ... and then there's the occasional gem like this. Even in this, his debut level, it was obvious what a master builder Piega would prove to be and just what glorious effects could be wrung out of the basic level editor package. This really does still look superb and the gameplay has held up well too, although there's nothing to prevent inexperienced players from joining in the fun. If you like catacomb levels, you really shouldn't neglect this one." - Jay (11-May-2015)
"Really a very good debut, but I can't understand the very high ratings in the gameplay section. Of course, the author has an incredible imagination to build huge and complex stuctures very well lightened and textured, but the gameplay is not so good 'cause you only go here and there with sometimes backtracking pulling switches or looking for artifacts; there are a couple of easy puzzles to place moveables onto marked tiles but nothing more. If you like the exploration and the searching for secrets it can be a good level for you, otherwise don't expect too much." - Jose (27-Apr-2015)
"Back in 2001 , I had already played dozens and dozens of levels before Catacomb Towers , and the difference of quality was showing. I remember I could not stopped playing it before I had come to the end. Replaying again now , I appreciate the work and talent of Piega , already there were professionally made flybys , use of audios, and sometimes even inventive use of the textures. Not many puzzles nor enemies , but very pleasant progression. The atmospheric setting is superbly designed, and getting all the secrets a really satisfying experience. A level that was built with a lot of care and still a pleasure to replay." - eRIC (15-Jun-2013)
"The level 'Catacombs' is my soft spot in TR4. I found that part of the game really fascinating, the ambience is mysterious and eerie a little bit, and the textures are stunning. Piega successfully caught that atmosphere in this level, with his very own unique architectural style of course, and it's marvellous. As I reached the end, the buildings got more complicated and thus, the scenery was eye-candy too. The original musics of TR4 do the job fine and add a lot to the atmosphere. I was glad that the level doesn't contain too much enemies, made me feel lonely, which is absolutely great because of the Catacomb scene. The gameplay isn't that hard, but I took my time finding the way forward. I would've loved some action still, a timed run, or a trap room which is difficult to pass, but that's my cup of tea. The lighting is well done, the only thing I didn't like is the over-exaggarated colours of the lightbulbs at a few places. All in all I was satisfied when I finished this level, Piega just couldn't let me down even with his first level. Recommended." - rtrger (22-Oct-2011)
"It is absolutely no miracle that every level by Piega has so high valuations. And it is the proof, that capable level builders with skill and talent also an excellent level can build if they have at disposal only the LE and the enclosed Wads. The lighting for example is really good. There are only few places where Piega could have improved the lighting. One could see many nice rooms. Particularly has liked to me the big room with the multistoried tower in the water basin. The few opponents are well placed and no problem, because Lara has at disposal the Shotgun and with that one can send the skeletons back to the hell (or alternatively into a hole). Just as well was the camera work. What is it now, is there nothing here what has displeased me? Nothing what I would have to grumble at? Absolutely nothing? Unfortunately, no, there I must disappoint you. This level properly gives a lot of fun and has with a little bit more than one hour exactly the right length. If you want to play once more a very good Catacomb- Level, than you are exactly right here. It's worth it." - Scottie (24-May-2011)
"What an absolutely brilliant level! I have played Piega's later outings such as The Last Crusade and Sanctuary of Water, Ice and Fire, and thus have turned my back on these earlier masterpieces as they were based on the catacomb wad which is one of those I don't really enjoy that much, but when that wad is put to good use, you're in for a blast - as it happens on this level. The design, the look and the feel of this level is perfectly done, it's really breath taking, and there are numberous huge layered rooms and you'll be working through them all. Your main quest revolves around a mechanical scarab - that will be used in the next level, according to the readme - but to get to it you'll have lots of climbing and exploring to do. I thought the crowbar placement was just brilliant, so close yet completely out of reach, and the enemies placement was very good. You don't have many of them here (a couple of mummies and a handful of skeletons), but you're not given anything to dispatch them, so you have to be quick when beating feet. The bottomline is - don't leave this one for later if you can play it now! 60 minutes. 08/06." - Treeble (06-Aug-2006)
"This level is made by using the standard catacomb wad. Most of the levels which are made with some of the standard wads and I have played aren't very good but this is. The level is well constructed and many areas look very good including good lighting and textures. Still there is a lack of puzzles in the level. I knew always what to do and I didn't have to think at all. This level was still pleasure to play and it was really nice to see that good levels can also be made by using standard wad." - Samu (11-May-2006)
"The author's style is beginning to fascinate me. The level is beautiful, not too hard, so it's light, but still amusing. And it's not just an accident; I regard him as one of the greatest level-creators. Although this is an older level of him, but it did not dissapoint me either. There are no extremely hard challenges, and the stronger weapons were hidden at the 5th secret here as well. Getting to these is an extra challenge of course. The textures are beautiful; I can only suggest this level for everyone. :)" - Obig (25-Jan-2006)
"WOW! The only catacomb based level in the hall of fame and it really deserves it! Besides being the authors first level (which is an amazing thing itself) it deserves credit for being a stunning adventure both for how it looks, how hard it is and for the gameplay. Nothing more to add that has not already been said. Except that the first slopedown towards the skeleton.. It made me go 'man.. this is a great level!' Do NOT miss it! All tens from me. 2005-05-29" - QRS (31-May-2005)
"At heart this is a standard catacomb level with common objects textures puzzles etc. But it's been executed so incredibly well that it's a pleasure to play. The way the author places textures lights objects and cameras is stunning. It's almost as if this was made to be put in Last Revelation but left out for plot errors or something. Almost pure Tomb Raider perfection (and a satisfyingly small download)." - Croft Storm (10-Oct-2004)
"This game which uses the materials (objects textures sounds) from the built-in Catacomb.WAD looks nice. The gameplay is very good. Difficulty level is medium. Just be patient. However I found only 1 secret and don't think that I'll play again to find them. I like this and must stop the review here to play the next one: Black Palace lol" - DeathMelody (26-Jan-2004)
"A joy to play and a visual feast to boot. Everything fits together well and it all just flows so smoothly. In fact after having played Twilight City and Tarragona 9 this level actually got me feeling quite relaxed! Lovely then a map all players should try. What's more any potential level builders should examine it too it will show you just how to use cameras properly when to use incidental music and how to construct secrets so that they really do feel like something special. It took me an hour and I found 2 secrets." - gfd (23-Dec-2003)
"Catacomb Towers is my favorite level built using the original Catacomb wad and texture set surpassing in my humble estimation the original Catacombs/Temple of Poseidon levels in TLR. The gameplay though linear is excellent with puzzles enemies and objects well-placed and secrets well-hidden. The atmosphere lighting and textures are superb sound is well-used and the camera work is excellent. I found five secrets and completed the level in forty minutes." - Loren (28-Jun-2003)
"Rene is the absolute master of lighting and textures this is another spectacular looking level. But but the gameplay is illogical and confusing. You make your way to one place push a lever that opens a door in another place pick an artifact that goes in a third place that opens a door in a forth place that has an artifact you need for the first place. Then you layer two or three of these puzzle in the same area and you have a Rene level. I guess what I'm saying is needed a walkthru." - LePerk (01-Jun-2003)
"Considering the age of this level and the time now that I'm playing it April 2003 it is remarkable. Rene obviously showed great talent and skill from the beginning. I've seen all the reviews for this level and there's not much more I can add except if you haven't played it do so it would put an awful lot of later levels to shame. Excellent." - CC (18-Apr-2003)
"I played this level again to review it having played it when it was first offered. I do remember not liking it for some reason. Quickly into the game it came back to me -- another game that uses darkness for no apparent reason. The sets are beautiful why are they hidden? Two big points off for darkness that adds nothing to the game (and where are the flares -- there are flares but not enough for me). I took points off of Gameplay because of surfaces which were climbable in one area and not in another. If a specified surface is climbable then it should be climbable not at the whim of the designer (this is a major design flaw in TRLE levels). Catacomb Towers is a must play in my opinion. The four points I took off are meant to push the designer to the quad 10s I know he will be designing (he may have done so already)." - Dougsan (12-Feb-2003)
"Yes yes a perfect score for some of Rene's previous work. I don't care what some say but I find him an absolutely great level builder. The theme is catacombs as the title says and what made me feel great was the search for the secrets I don't know how but I managed to get them all after many many walks and runs around in total desperation. It was the first time that I learned a trick about Tomb Raiding it was that movable pillar high up. I did drown though down under more than once before I got what I wanted. The jumps were a little difficult for me near the big faces as I wasn't experienced at all when I played this for the first time. I really look back and remember the excitement I got while I was moving deeper in the level. I must say that although Rene is 'threatening' to leave level building I do not dare to think that he will do it if so we must hunt him down and force him to keep showing his talent to the world." - Kristina (02-Dec-2002)
"I'm not a big fan of catacomb adventures and the first 20 to 30 minutes felt like an ordinary catacomb adventure to me with the same atmosphere and familiar textures. But the rest of the time I spent here proved to me that this level does deserve the high scores as the look became somewhat more interesting and the lighting improved. The puzzles are nothing ingenious - pulling a lot of levers some tedious block pushing but I didn't expect much more from a catacomb level and despite of that I had fun through this 1 hour adventure. Amazing how an old level could keep high places in he top 50 for so long but after playing it I see that it deserves it and there's not much to wonder about." - eTux (09-Nov-2002)
"There's a camera move in the first big Tower chamber that's a little ragged (an additional camera should really have been inserted). That's it. My one complaint! Is it worth deducting a point because of it? You must be joking! This is absolute Level Editing perfection and all the more commendable because it uses only the original textures and Wad objects (thus putting paid to those who say you can only create great adventures using customised items). After playing so many 'average' levels this really was good for my soul. I will say it one more time...perfection. (Four 10's. I never thought I'd succumb!)" - Orbit Dream (22-Sep-2002)
"Still have to finish The Last Crusade (quit the game due to a bug in the last level but have the revised version now) and I was in awe so to play another level by Rene was something not to be taken lightly. Glad I did though. He has an eye for detail that is uncanny. Gameplay was very fluent although very dark at some places and I found no flares. Found some other goodies though like grenades but never found the gun. Would like to as I still have no love whatsoever for those skeletons. Only found 1 secret so this means I have to play this one again to look for the others and some doors that are still closed (I think). Great work Rene. 04-09-2002" - Gerty (16-Sep-2002)
"I have now played this for the second time in order to review it and am as in awe of the ingeniousness that Piega displays as the 1st time. This is an over 2 hour adventure through the 'Catacomb Towers' with everything you would expect from a catacomb wad and then some. The atmosphere textures are outstanding and though fairly linear gameplay fast-paced and rewarding. Most excellent use of camera shots but not overdone. A few mummies and the ever-present skeletons hounding you throughout. I found 4 secrets and thoroughly enjoyed myself both times." - Momster (06-Sep-2002)
"A dark level but very good. Not too many enemies good puzzles (not very hard) and good looking surroundings if you take time to use the binoculars or flares you can see beautiful rooms. A bit lighter would have been nice but I had a good time anyway. Worth to play have fun." - Josi (05-Sep-2002)
"Catacomb Towers - has no new object enemies or textures - but it shows how good can one work with that what we got. Very well placed rooms with many possibilities to reach other places a good view lights shadows and ambience. Not so bad challenging but a lot of fun - you see the crowbar and you really wait until you can reach it - that makes a good gameplay-feeling. Good cameras make sense and you feel really the old TombRaider Gaming. Well done!" - Miguel (01-Sep-2002)
"Third time I played this level (now just to do the review) and still not bored with it. If it wasn't for this level 1.5 years ago and Mirai's Tokyo level I would never have restarted playing TR. This is what TR is all about: he's not a show off (no psycho stuff in other words - hint hint!) but shows just pure gameplay. One of my personal reasons to give high points for those levels that you do want to go back through completely just to find those secrets (even now still only found 4/5). The way he builds his rooms the right moments he puts the dramatic music on the fly by that's kept short and simple: it's perfect. And I see no reason why for what is after all a rather short level not to give perfect 10's. That is almost (here and there weird things happen like with the block that rises in the room with the moveable structures and where Lara seems to climb on an invisible ledge instead of on the block and the crawling Lara when she takes the stars)." - bERT (28-Aug-2002)
"This is a very excellent level! The maps atmosphere textures lighting looks so professional. And secrets are set well. (I've collected all.) In particular I like the movable pillar puzzle high-up. This is a classical masterpiece of work and worthwhile to enter the Hall of Fame." - Vinci (15-Aug-2002)
"Very good level and atmosphere with nice lights and playing for fun. Excellent Tomb level!" - Ivan (11-Aug-2002)
"This so far has been the stand out level and I can not fault the game play the secret areas the look of it the atmosphere just everything I look for in an entertaining level and I can only judge other levels using this as a so called yard stick." - Sash (21-Jun-2002)
"Absolutely brilliant level with a very professional atmosphere to it marvelous lighting and texturing and a gameplay and puzzles that while being in fact relatively linear keeps you exploring all the time although the Level basically consists of two major areas only. A lot of thought given to the Secret areas!" - Michael (21-Jun-2002)
"This is a fine level with lots to explore and do. I liked the way it really opened up as you go and the end sequence in the main hall is very nicely put together. I did get a little confused at first and could not work out what to do in the main hall - the underwater lever did not seem to work first time but then it worked the second ... no idea. Also the two times the room shook after pulling a lever? I don't know what that signified as I couldn't see anything different after this. There are not nearly enough pickups along the way. I don't know why but I like finding things ammo etc. and when you enter an area in which there are none it feels a little like being cheated. I think I found some of the secrets along the way but I'm sure there were some doors which didn't open. In particular I didn't find the Horseman's Gem which opens the door on top of and behind the main entrance. The playing was good except I would have liked something to kill the skeletons with (I had the shotgun but trying to get them into position was impossible) maybe the grenade launcher is elsewhere in the level? However with the skeletons/zombies that are there they are easy enough to avoid so it's not too much of an issue. As with pickups I enjoy killing things and like to allow Lara to blast away from time to time. Another great level. Not quite as good as Black Palace but I expect the author learned and developed from his experiences of Catacomb Towers." - David (21-Jun-2002)
"This level is so good you could add it to 'The Last Revelation' and nobody would even notice it didn't belong in the game. Actually I didn't enjoy the catacomb levels in the game as much as I did this level. I got stuck once and had to ask for help - missed an obvious opening in the water. At one area I also forgot that I could monkey swing. But otherwise this was a pretty straight forward level with plenty of places to explore but usually easy to find what to do next. There are very few enemies in the level and they were very well spread out (skeletons though - I hate those nasty things). The creator of this level really put a lot of time and effort into it. I can't wait to play 'Black Palace'." - Raider Girl (21-Jun-2002)
"This has been the reference for me a long long time. I like the catacomb style levels and this has been the best so far. Very large rooms with an excellently built structure and a perfect texturing made me enjoying this level. Absolutely worth a download." - WebKnight (21-Jun-2002)
"All I can say is that Rene could well have been part of Core Design's official staff for the creation of The Last Revelation. This level is close to perfection and is highly professional in all aspects. Brilliant texturing and lightning great puzzles and secret areas and excellent atmosphere. In my opinion this is the best custom level in this list. Well I did not play the sequel Black Palace yet so this may change." - Fabio Ribeiro (21-Jun-2002)
"This is so good that I almost did not like it because it could well have been added on to the original catacomb level in Revelations. Don't get me wrong though it is one of the top levels that I have played. The reason I almost did not like it is because it felt like I had already played it. It is beautifully put together though and I am sure it will provide at least an hour of entertainment for anybody." - dhama (21-Jun-2002)
"A great level with great texturing lighting and gameplay. There weren't many enemies in this level just a few skeletons and mummies. The grenade gun can be found as a secret if you find the 'horseman's gem' and you could get to the crossbow from the first room. I didn't find the shotgun however..." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)
"I love this level. I can't pick out anything that is wrong with it! It's all good! It took me about 3 hours to play because there are so many little passages and areas. The puzzles are difficult the atmosphere is amazing; you almost feel like you are there! This is my fave custom level without a doubt. :)" - Lara (21-Jun-2002)
"Though it's been a while since I actually played this level this is probably the most graphically accomplished of all the custom levels that I have played. Rene's use of textures and lighting is simply superb. Most important actions performed are followed by a camera to let you know what's happened. I have heard the phrase 'as good as a real TR level' used a lot well this is one level that actually deserves that sort of comment. Though the gameplay is fairly linear this serves to make everything that happens logical and actually shows that a plot is unfolding. The only downer for me was though there are supposedly 5 secrets I never managed to get 1! Though this is definite replay material. An excellent level. Play it now and if you have already played it play it again!" - Inchdix (21-Jun-2002)
"Wow! Amazing level beautifully structured and made the puzzles were great the texturing was superb there is a lot to do in this level and it is really fun to play it's one of the best levels I've played there are no bugs it's nearly perfect. The enemies and traps made me jump and were well placed the flybys around the towers were fantastic. And the atmosphere and music were good too. You gotta download now!" - John (21-Jun-2002)
"This level is a good work but was easy to solve. The room map is a beautiful work. Secrets are easy to get. I think this level needs a little more cameras. Textures are worked correctly but there aren't new textures. This level has many lights (good for it) but there are still many areas without lights." - Juan Carlos (21-Jun-2002)
"The level has fascinated me as the creator demonstrates with this beautiful piece of work how much ambience you can create with the plain editor (without any additional tools to work objects and textures). What this level shows is that with cleverly designed lighting you can create a breathtaking atmosphere where you feel the tension at every corner. Whoever thinks those Egyptian textures are boring should take a trip into these Catacombs to marvel at the perfect play of colours. The five secrets were well hidden and the player has to search hard for them. Enemies (skeletons mummies and wraiths) are rare but well placed. Flyby cameras are fun and the creator has used all variations of cameras. All in all a well above average debut of a professional level designer. More of that!" - Hendrik (21-Jun-2002)
"Great level in the tradition of 'The Cistern'. Means it's an adventure in first place the only baddies bugging Lara are some skeletons here and there. Lara has to explore a limited location in search of a 'mechanical beetle' which she needs to ... well is really anyone interested in such stories? Nope. Not as long as we get such prime puzzles and such a cool and well structured architecture. The puzzles are quite difficult sometimes and I wonder what makes the author think one could get thru in 45 minutes. We needed more than 3 hours with 3 secrets found (out of 5) and we are no newbies. What I liked most: The very authentic atmosphere I even smelled the mould. What I didn't like: Hm ... maybe the lack of some highlight (such as a 'Pierre' or 'Lars'). There's a follow-up 'The Black Palace' but we haven't played it yet. You'll hear from me as soon as we did. :) Thanx to Rene for a very fine time." - Percys (21-Jun-2002)
"Is it too late to submit a review for this wonderful level? I'm getting my first exposure to it in July of 2002 but I've found it so overwhelming that I just have to add my two cents' worth to what many have already said. I had to resort to asking for help but once and that was because I wrongly assumed that the second Pharos device (the green-tinged one atop a high tower) was a window to the exit rather than a necessary step along the way. The gameplay is challenging without being frustratingly difficult and the overall atmosphere is top-notch. I especially appreciated being allowed the opportunity to return to the first area to collect that crucial Pharos device. (The door connecting the two major areas didn't shut until AFTER all essential pickups were safely in inventory.) I even found at least four of the secrets. This is an example of those high-quality levels that make Tomb Raider such a fun game to play and I'm pleased to note that we're being treated to more and more of these nearly two years after the last commercial TR release. With all those enthusiastic and talented amateurs out there who needs another Eidos extravaganza? Now that my appetite has been wet I can't wait to get at Black Palace and Last Crusade." - Phil (21-Jun-2002)
"Catacomb Towers is one of the best levels I have ever played including The Last Revelation. The atmosphere is absolutely great! You'll never get stuck (just like the 'real' levels from Eidos) and you will find a mission to complete. Maybe there are no real endings at the levels made by the editor but this one gives you the possibility to enjoy and continue in the sequel 'Black palace'! I did enjoy the part when the water began to flow mostly. It's a beautiful piece composed by someone who is very perfectionist. You can see that at the lighting the textures and the puzzles but also hear it when you are listening when Lara moves. Perfect. Hopefully Rene keeps entertaining us I'd be a very happy (and TR-addicted) girl then." - Nicky (21-Jun-2002)
"The Last Crusade was my second Custom Level and after I finished it I was so in awe of Piega that I didn't dare to touch his other stuff. Unjustified as it turns out since CT is not as intimidating as his epic masterpiece. This must be my 50s review and it's the first time I give full marks in all categories cause this is as perfect as it gets. I'm not going to lay out the details of this quest as I assume that it has been done by the other reviews. Instead let me get a bit of praise off my chest. As I was playing this I couldn't help but thinking: "This Piega fellow is a genius:" Sentiments I usually reserve for the likes of Tom Carlos Jobim. And then I wondered why such an imaginative guy is wasting his time constructing Custom Levels. Oh well I'm glad he does and hope he continues this outstanding work for years to come. There are two things that I'm not completely happy about. First the cloying use of ornaments and different textures but then again maybe this was what made me feel slightly uneasy the whole time. A feeling that served to emphasize the tense atmosphere of this quest. Second I really hate it when Lara is unable to reach something just because of her limited body movements. Actions that would be really easy in real life but are impossible in the TR world cause Lara can't - for example- get into a crawlspace at waist-high. This destroys the illusion of reality cause it makes you aware that this is just a Computer Game. But again in this case with the crowbar near and yet so far away it's so over the top I found it really funny. Maybe you shouldn't play this game too early in you TR CL lifetime as most other levels are bound to look kinda bleak in comparison. I'm a fan. Can you tell?!" - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)
"This level is excellent. There wasn't anything I disliked about Catacomb Towers. I found the layout of the level logical so I knew exactly where I needed to go. I also thought the level was quite beautiful. Nice use of light and shadow. The flow was good. For me this level was medium difficulty. I look forward to more levels from Rene." - Qball (21-Jun-2002)
"This level has a very logic gameplay; almost without possibility of get stuck in it. Is not confusing as the beginning of TLC (of the same author). It hasn't bugs and it's easy to play. There are only few enemies but they are well placed. The 5 secrets are sometimes difficult to find but always can be seen from other places so this makes them more challenging. Very good atmosphere and use of textures. The sounds and music go with the action perfectly and the fixed cameras always help in the play instead of difficult it. Lighting is perfect specially the light effects to remark some places. This is an enjoyable level to play it; and very well done." - Loupar (21-Jun-2002)
"An excellent level very well done and not too difficult to play. I've absolutely enjoyed this level." - Cuqui (21-Jun-2002)