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Bunker in Flames by Yann Houbas

CC 6 3 6 6
Ceamonks890 2 3 4 3
Dimpfelmoser 3 3 6 6
Gerty 4 4 4 4
Jay 4 4 5 5
Jose 3 3 5 7
Kristina 3 4 5 5
Magnus 5 5 6 7
MichaelP 6 5 5 7
Mulf 4 4 4 4
Nomad 4 3 5 6
Orbit Dream 3 4 6 7
RaiderGirl 5 5 4 5
Ryan 4 3 4 4
Sash 5 5 5 5
Sheevah 3 3 3 2
Tombaholic 5 6 5 6
Torry 5 5 4 6
Treeble 2 3 4 3
Xxenofex 5 4 4 5
release date: 16-Dec-2001
# of downloads: 64

average rating: 4.46
review count: 20
review this level

file size: 17.30 MB
file type: TR4
class: Base/Lab

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"When it popped up as a ‘featured level’, I downloaded this on the strength of the greenness of its accompanying screenshot, thus resuming my Green Period. Much of the level is indeed presented through a greenish-tinted lens, its lighting scheme similar to that of Green Base. Like that level, and unlike many a TRLE level, this one sports a title that matches what we actually see in the game. (Its working title, since claimed by another franchise, was Little Fires Everywhere and fits it even better.) With a title like that the question is of course when, not if, the flare bug does occur. This is one of several things that Bunker in Flames has in common with the similarly-themed Nuclear Threat. The presence of the flare bug isn’t as severe a drawback here as it is in that level, but on all other counts Nuclear Threat wins out.
For one, there is no story. There is a bunker, and it is in flames, that’s all we know; but for all I care it would be quite sufficient if the level followed through with satisfactory gameplay in the environment defined by this premise. In this, however, it falls somewhat short. You will have to dodge, of course, the eponymous flames. This is not particularly difficult. There are a few jumps to perform, and some SAS to kill. Sentry guns are conspicuously absent. It’s all fairly easy going until a sudden spike in difficulty occurs at the end, starting with a well-intentioned but awkwardly executed spike-run, although even then there’s nothing there to confound the seasoned player. What did, however, confound and indeed antagonise many a player (to judge by the reviews, at any rate) was the integration of a step-on-the-right-tiles puzzle. ‘That horrible burning room!’ many exclaimed. It soon became the rallying cry of the detractors of this unassuming little level. Yet there is in fact nothing to get riled up about here. Like any number of other levels, this one uses one texture to indicate the safe, and another one to indicate the unsafe tiles, the only difference being that in this instance, the two textures form a set and thus belong together, so the difference is more subtle than in cases where the builder uses, say, a texture with a death’s-head and another one depicting sheep that safely graze. It seems like reviewers are easily floored whenever a ‘base’ level includes puzzles. It’s almost like they’re dead set on chiding it for being a mindless shooter and then complain that it’s not mindless enough. Nuclear Threat met the same fate.
Be that as it may, I would have recommended the use of textures that could conceivably have indicated the threat of death by fire, since simply using two variations of an innocuous bit of flooring (which is what the builder did here) is a kind of coding that yells ‘You’re in a videogame!’ and so doesn’t do this level’s para-realistic aesthetics any favours. A similar point can be made regarding some of the objects the builder chose to include in his custom wad—an ornamental floor lever (no sound) rather than the plain one from the City wad, the algae-encrusted gate best known from Tut1—and his use of traps other than fire, as the aforementioned spikes and the dart traps are clearly out of place. Not to mention the fact that since Core flubbed their coding during the transition from TR3 to TR4, the latter are more easily ignored than considered worth exercising caution around. Homing Dart Emitters, on the other hand, could have made for a reasonable substitute for deadly laser beams in those pre-patch days, but are used on only one occasion at the very end.
The level’s construction isn’t simplistic, but the texturing is. It takes you back to previously visited areas, but rather than go ‘Aha! Look where I’ve ended up!’, you’re more likely to ponder ‘So was it this corridor or that one that I took earlier?’ Bland and repetitive texturing notwithstanding, the atmosphere never becomes oppressive (which might have been interesting). In interiors, concrete tiles fit the grid easily enough, yet are sometimes stretched regardless; on two brief excursions to the outside the builder makes a mess of the TR3 Nevada set. Honi soit qui mal y pense, but it might just be that the builder chose his bunker setting with an eye towards getting away with lazy texturing. I liked the sole secret (which does not register as such), though if you drop down to the floor from there, you’re permanently stuck; and on exiting the secret area via another route, an audio cue of the ‘Congratulations! You made it!’ type is triggered rather prematurely. All things considered, a lesser variation on a theme handled much better by Luca Torchetti in Nuclear Threat." - Mulf (13-Jan-2021)
"Solid level with a good design, the best was the care with the texturization and lighting, even when there are many dark passages, and the flare bug appears at middle level I think 'cause the numerous triggered fires. Not so good the gameplay, always running from place to place only pulling levers and always without a camera shot showing what you're triggering. Also, in the room with numerous deadly tiles, there's not a hint to know the safe path (trial and error). Never found the uzis, so I had to shoot all the SAS only with pistols; nude rooms without objects to ornate and only the dart traps to avoid. Definitely a boring level without interest, but playable anyway." - Jose (08-Jan-2018)
"Actually, the flames are probably the most exciting thing about this level. Otherwise, sadly, it's rather boring exploring an uninteresting base and shooting guards. It's not my favourite genre at the best of times and this is far from the best of times. If you are looking for a base level, I'd look again." - Jay (20-Mar-2017)
"I was half expecting a boring level from the name and my doubts were unfortunately well placed. Same looking, cold rooms and tight halls with a lot of burning tiles do not offer much to engage players. And by same looking I mean it, there were as I understand two equal sections and I kept not entering the new path because I thought it was where I came from. And the horrible burning room was the worst of the level, it is not fun to keep dying and loading for about 10 minutes to find out which of the tiles are safe and then repeat the whole process on the way back (sorry if there was some clue as to which were safe). There were a couple of good looking rooms towards the end but that was about it really. Sorry but not recommended." - Nomad (29-Dec-2016)
"30 minutes of running round a bland and listless base environment, pushing levers, killing guards and yes, avoiding fire. My boredom was perked up briefly by a safe/unsafe tile room, but there's nothing to rave about. Not really recommended, sorry." - Ryan (01-Oct-2016)
"A fairly standard Base-themed level, as you find yourself backtracking constantly for that one switch you missed before in the hopes that you may start to get somewhere, with far too dark lighting at points, generally lifeless environments with very little to them and texturing that comes off as so incredibly bland, that you'll grow increasingly bored of the experience rather fast. Overall, best to just save yourself the trouble and skip this one altogether." - Ceamonks890 (18-Jul-2015)
"The entire level looks pretty much the same, I think in total there were 10 different textures applied. There are a couple of nice rooms, such as the one with the glass floor, but generally all the ventilation corridors -- where most of the level takes place -- are small claustrophobic corridors and all the player has to do is to look for the next switch and wonder what is the next door to have opened. Along with that, there are a few SAS and more flame emmiters than you can care to count. 20 minutes. 04/08" - Treeble (07-Apr-2008)
"Considering its age it's not a bad little level at all. Although it is a fairly straight forward run through finding levers jumping over fires long crawls high climbs shooting a few guards. One time we are outside in a Nevada type place it's a cave you can see the sky up through it. For the rest it's plain but well applied base textures. I thought the spikes and darts were totally out of place here." - CC (09-Jul-2004)
"An interesting attempt to build a level scenario around minimalist textures but this gets boring very quickly. The amount of backtracking becomes silly after a while and that combustible-floor room annoyed me a great deal. There are enjoyable gameplay elements in here (flare bug nothwithstanding) but this is another one of those 'file and forget' adventures I'm afraid." - Orbit Dream (22-Dec-2003)
"It's what the title says; a kind of base level with fires everywhere. SAS guards of course and levers to push to open gates. There is nothing else to see here you can end it in no time but I wouldn't bother if I were you." - Kristina (16-Sep-2003)
"Well, as the name suggests, this level is full of fire so be careful. There are many, many crawlspaces, passageways that seem identical, SAS guards as well as the occasional glimpse above ground but the fires dominate this level. After the usual switch hunt, locate the newly opened door etc, etc, you come to a dart room which will kill you real quick if not careful which is annoying as the exit is just a few steps away. Overall, not a bad level but there are better 'base' type levels out there." - Torry (21-Sep-2002)
"I was so charmed by the third level this author made that I decided to play them all. Wrong - this was awful compared to number 3 in my opinion. Teach me to play them in order of their release. Ok I know no nice and bright textures as a bunker is gray. Apart from killing SAS men and pulling levers and lots of fires there is nothing to do here. 13-08-2002" - Gerty (18-Aug-2002)
"When a level is called Bunker in Flames you can expect a fair amount of burning tiles but I think it's overdone here especially the ones that are not discernible as such are a real pain in the ass. These concrete structures look quite authentic no matter how repetitive; problem is when you design a lot of dark corridors in this fashion places tend to look the same and it's easy to get lost. Well maybe that was intentional but still I would have liked the occasional diversion in this spirited run from lever to lever (complete with frequent crawls and long climbs). But as soon as the confined tunnels opened up to the bigger room and you could see the blue sky things were quite original. Even the palm trees didn't seem out of place in this base level. A bit like a demo only it's too long for that. Worth to have a look at basically for the unique atmosphere." - Dimpfelmoser (11-Aug-2002)
"The aim in this 30 minutes level seems to be to escape the concrete jungle a series of grey duct like tunnels and rooms with the help of the 'lever pull that opens gate' scenario. There is only one gun pick up an uzi that will make life a whole lot easier if you can find out how to collect it because there are quite a few SAS to deal with. This is not a bad level but it's not exactly what I prefer." - Sash (21-Jun-2002)
"Using a custom outfit in an otherwise rather plain and sterile environment this 30 minutes adventure has you kill about 10 SAS guards handle a few very long climbs and the only highlight are the occasional short outside areas. The flare bug occurs and definitely a bit more cameras would be helpful." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)
"Lots of cement lots of flames lots of SAS to shoot at. Otherwise there's not a whole lot here and when the game ends after 35 minutes you wonder what it was all for." - Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)
"Well the name says it all. This looks like a bunker all grey walls and ducts and there are a lot of fires everywhere. I'm not sure what the objective is here except to open a few doors and kill some guards occasionally running across some spikes and darts for fun. There are a few Nevada looking outdoor areas but you don't spend much time there. Even though it looks like you should be able to explore there's really nowhere to go anyway. The last room was the hardest for me - getting over some spikes and then opening a door by standing on a block that's covered heavily by flying darts. Frankly I was just glad to see the end of the level." - RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)
"This level is very short and only takes about 20 minutes to finish. There's a lot of fire which makes the flare-bug show its ugly face again but there aren't many dark places (there are a few though). The gameplay isn't difficult and most of the times you only have to find out which door you had just opened. The texturing is good but the author could have used another texture for where the spikes shot out." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)
"Not that sensational rather a little game for beginners. There are no puzzles to solve or objects to find just a few levers to pull in order to open the doors. Some SAS guards to shoot and a lot of fires to beware of. You can get through in less than 30 minutes." - Sheevah (21-Jun-2002)
"Quite a bad level. Boring textures sound like zero no atmosphere. Many SAS many flames long walks. I was glad when I was finished with the level." - Xxenofex (21-Jun-2002)