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Dark Skies 2 - City Ruins by justin

Akcy 8 8 8 9
alan 8 7 9 8
Bex 7 9 9 9
CC 9 8 8 8
Cuqui 9 9 9 9
Dick 8 8 8 8
Dimpfelmoser 8 7 9 8
DJ Full 10 10 10 8
Dougsan 9 7 8 9
eRIC 8 9 9 8
eTux 9 9 9 8
G.Croft 8 7 8 8
Gerty 5 7 9 7
Jason 9 9 8 10
Jay 8 8 9 8
JesseG 8 9 9 8
Jose 7 8 8 7
Kristina 8 8 8 8
Leandro 7 9 9 9
Leeth 7 6 5 6
LePerk 7 7 8 10
MichaelP 9 7 9 8
Mman 7 8 9 8
Monika 8 9 9 9
Phil 9 9 9 10
RaiderGirl 8 9 9 9
Ryan 8 8 8 8
Samu 8 7 7 6
Sash 8 8 8 8
Treeble 9 9 8 8
Tune Razor 9 8 8 7
Zhyttya 7 7 5 7
release date: 06-Jan-2002
# of downloads: 141

average rating: 8.14
review count: 32
review this level

file size: 126.30 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cave/Cat

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"The next level takes an interesting turn, as you enter what seems to be Peru and there are many dinosaurs to kill (luckily they're very slow xD). But there are also lots of traps and many challenging jumps that make the gameplay stand out from the previous one." - alan (08-Apr-2023)
"More tedious vehicle usage here, in fact I began the level without the vehicle and eventually had to start again when I realised I needed it. Justin, in common with most builders, uses the vehicle in precisely the wrong way: for starters, it's on off, on off all the time ... and then you're never really sure if you're finally rid of the thing. Much better, in my opinion, to create a dedicated vehicle obstacle course and keep Lara's ass on said vehicle for the duration. And then end this driver section unambiguously.
The quests for the two eyes were the highlights of this level and they were challenging and great fun. Then we're back on the vehicle AGAIN to finish. I read the reviews of the next level and didn't like the sound of the timed runs so I quit here. Sorry, but overall this series was just too grungy to hold my interest." - Dick (26-Feb-2023)
"The second full level starts in a modern city and leads Lara into a more ancient one. The lighting shows improvement and has some good uses of color, although it's still a bit dark. Texturing is about the same, with a fair amount of wallpapering, and climbable textures are also not used consistently. The architecture has some great moments toward the end. The gameplay is more ambitious than in the last level, but unfortunately that leads to a few issues. The flare bug kicks in toward the end. There is a boulder trap that a reasonable person would dodge by jumping back instead of running forward, but if you jump back the boulder blocks the hallway and thus the game is stuck. There is a very difficult jump to perform in the Porsche, the terrain should have been widened because TR4 vehicles just aren't suited for narrow spaces. Also a few less pervasive issues like rope swinging through walls and illegal slopes. On the plus side you get some pushblock puzzles, lots of combat against raptors and goons, plenty of flames and blades to dodge as well as a few challenging timed sequences and slope jumps. Despite the rough edges it's definitely more engaging than the previous level, and I look forward to seeing where the series goes from here. 52 minutes." - JesseG (24-Nov-2020)
"After the relatively primative London themes of the first couple of maps with a few hints at something more interesting, this level is a sudden realisation of that potential. There's a thematic mix of london and ancient ruins and caves, and it's done in a way that mostly works. The setting turns to total surreality and it comes across as a foreign reality somehow merging with ours and resulting in parts of London being buried under or merged with alien ruins. It doesn't entirely work (with some of the theme shifts feeling a bit sudden), but it mostly does, and it's a massive execution leap over the first map of the set. It even manages to develop the theme a bit as it goes, with it culminating in a collapsed cathedral full of waterfalls.
The gameplay is much more involved than the first map, and is actually quite challenging despite the age, with various trap sequences and precise platforming. While the strangeness can make the layout hard to work out, it's more linear than it seems with a nice semi-hub in the middle section that minimises backtracking. The weaknesses mainly come from polish issues as part of it's age, with "death" pits you can survive, a couple of traps you get stuck on if you play them the "wrong" way, and an annoying earthquake effect in a couple of area (thankfully relatively small ones); these things unfortunately let down otherwise interesting design that holds up well. This is where this series finally starts to get it's indentity, and this is a very unique map on it's won." - Mman (27-Jan-2020)
"I played the entire series in one go in release order and as I do for any other multilevel game with a single plot, I will rate all parts identically. The definite highlight throughout is atmosphere - despite of frequent visual minimalism the author often nails it with simple touches and focal points, so there's never too much, never too little - and yes, the graphics are the weakest link but they look much better than the levelinfo screeshots, what the heck... Gameplay is diverse and gets you through multiple locations, topics, sceneries and mechanics, enemies and props also feel like they belong, and the further you go the better it gets thought the ending could be a bit stronger. I don't think I was bored a single time here so it's all highly, highly recommended." - DJ Full (18-Oct-2018)
"The second level in this series (third if you've also played Tutorial City), has a much more intricate layout than the previous. The challenging aspects are also much more prominent here, with a rather difficult couple of jeep rides that had me reloading quite a few times, plus some jumps and climbs around numerous lava rooms, plenty of fire and blade traps and some exploration. All of these are very doable though and otherwise it's a nicely constructed, enjoyable level that hopefully should be accessible to everyone. The earthquakes weren't that endearing to me though." - Ryan (17-Nov-2017)
"Gosh, I'd forgotten how challenging this game is in parts - even now. I'd also (mercifully) forgotten the earthquakes, which as far as I'm concerned is something no level needs. Other than that gripe, this remains a very playable level and one that I remembered well, despite not having played it for fifteen years. Perhaps that says something about the quality of it, considering I can forget the details of a level pretty much overnight! Well worth playing." - Jay (12-Aug-2017)
"Even when in the first part of the level you can drop to the bottom of the street (losing a lot of health, of course) and get totally stucked, this level has a very good design, with an excellent architecture and taking care with the texturization, even in the caves area. I found several fresh ideas here, sometimes using flipmaps another times combining objects and architecture. As usual, the ambience was too dark for me, and the flares were not enough, but I was grateful to find the MP5 gun soon. In the line from this author, another good and entertaining level worth to play." - Jose (28-May-2016)
"OK second level is way better than the first one! Way more interactive and way more fun to solve the puzzles. I loved how justin really portrayed a city in ruins, like the underground buildings in ruins with lava on the ground, the destroyed city with "walless" doors and much more details on the level design. However to RUIN things (see what i did there?) the earthquake areas where completely annoying. Making the earthquake last "forever" until you leave the room is such an awful add up. Not to mention the part where the flame bug starts to happen and you have this area with slopes+flames+earthquake...not a good combination at all. To finish off that nightmare part you'll end up in a situation where the camera angle doesn't help at all. But this was just the only thing that i can really point out negatively. Really enjoyed City Ruins!" - Zhyttya (15-Jan-2016)
"A nice improvement from the previews level! I was just annoyed by the earthquake, the camera work that just make things harder or impossible to see, the flame bug that makes the level impossible to see unless you turn your monitor brighter at some point and the amazing jump that the author loves so much that you have to do in the last moment possible. Besides that it's a level with lovely puzzles (even if logic is still non-existent in this one), nice area's and good use of mechanics! It was a improvement on level design it self and the atmosphere was way better. Lets see how the following levels are since this one actually motivated me to progress forward" - Leeth (15-Jan-2016)
"This was truly an interesting and well made adventure despite the environment doesn't look very good to me. For some reason the mixture of London city areas and underground cave areas is just too weird combination for me. Anyway this level has many good things as well. A room where you have to drive a porche on the specific tile on the floor to open a door is really nice little puzzle. I liked also very much the area where you have to open a door by jumping on three tiles by using a rope. In the end of the level there's also a block you have to move on a right square to jump on it. I have seen this kind of flip map puzzles only once before and maybe author of this level is the first one who invented it." - Samu (21-Mar-2007)
As we go deeper in the story, difficulty getting higher, with the traps and tricky jump sequences. Sometimes the seemingly obvious solution isn't work, just keep in mind that Lara jumps a bit farer if she won't turn around midair. Very nice lava rooms, with earthquake effects in most of them; they are good for the atmosphere, I admit, but bad for concentration ;-) specially when every step has to be considered carefully. The last hall with those waterfalls was beautiful, too bad we couldn't adventure some more in there, just that lone secret, and driving through. It's been a great level. - Akcy (20-Jun-2005)
"Anarchy in the UK? Or did something worse happen to London? Chaos everywhere velociraptors have invaded the underground of the City there is even lava rooms and some earthquakes to make the walls tremble (and to increase the difficulty to maneuver Lara). This the continuous level of City streets but more challenging because of some jumps and platforming actions. Good puzzles and a difficult ride with the car. I have noticed that some of the rooms are nicely patterned with TR1 textures it is a pity that the flare bug occurs" - eRIC (22-Sep-2003)
"This level looks good but not quite equal to City Streets. You start in a Street look place but quickly proceed to a series of lava rooms. Many tricky even impossible jumps under annoying earthquake conditions. Lucky DOZY was active or I would never have finished. There is one leap spin grab puzzle that I could not do I checked the walkthru and I was doing it correctly but just couldn't manage it. Finally you enter the last room which is far larger then it needs to be with just one little push block puzzle. Fun but frustrating." - LePerk (06-Jun-2003)
"This is a good level except for two things - too dark and too many earthquakes both gives me a headache. Anyway the rest of it was so good that I finished. You have the Porsche with you from level 1 and get to drive it a bit here too. The City is now in ruins and you have to find your way through. There are high chasms broken buildings and a lot of lava. Hard puzzles and tricky jumping. Enemies are SAS guards and dinosaurs." - G.Croft (12-May-2003)
"There's no point in starting this level if you didn't bring the Porsche with you from City Streets because you'll definitely need it for some serious jumping. This whole level is a very serious business altogether. You start in a continuation of the City Streets level then find yourself in caves and lava rooms. Where is this place? Notwithstanding the raptors that make you jump out of your existence you have to do one dangerous task after another. You'll be really scared and frustrated but never bored. One trap is the rolling blades in two corridors that killed Lara so often I nearly screamed with frustration. Then I started thinking. What I did was walked just to the point with the camera changed and the blade starts to fall then hoped back and let the stupid thing continue on down by itself. That room where you have to shoot two swinging blue balls and jump into the entrance before it closes or Lara gets killed by the rising floor was excellent. I've done levels before with earthquakes in them and I have to say that the constant screen shaking is very hard to look at never mind trying to see your way round. In reality (and I've never experienced one) an earthquake doesn't go on and on like that. There are calms between the quakes and if these calms had been put in the level it would have been an amazing experience instead of an annoying one. Gameplay would have been 10 in that case. You finally come to a gigantic room with ledges waterfalls and lake area below and open sky above where you put that Porsche through it's paces and cry as you say goodbye to it on a lonely ledge because there's just a few more jumps and you are out. Impressive looking in the huge areas. If this series continues at this rate the next levels are going to be remarkable. Well done Justin." - CC (27-Apr-2003)
"I have always wondered why Lara couldn't push a block here or there to help her reach those hard to get to places. Well Justin must have asked the same question because he has added this 'trick' to City Ruins, level 2 in a series that now stretches to 7 levels. Of the levels I have played to date (all but 3-4 - a bit on that later) I must say level 2, City Ruins is my favorite. Pay attention and the game will tell you where to go next and, for the most part, what to do. You will double back a lot and you'll treat the Porsche in ways that will get you kicked out of most Porsche owners clubs. You will also have to make a lot of challenging jumps and some difficult jumps. I think, all in all, this level will test your TR skills and I highly recommend it. A note on level 3-4. This next set begins with a very challenging timed run. I see no skill in accomplishing such a run and have absolutely no patience with games that include all but impossible opening or closing timed sequences so I quit 3-4 after making the timed run and will forego the pleasure of the challenges and fun it offers. (The forum chatter indicates a lot of players use DOZY to get passed timed runs. What the hexx is DOZY?)" - Dougsan (23-Apr-2003)
"City Ruins isn't much different in the atmosphere and textures from city streets but of course instead of streets we have caves to wander around. The puzzle items you need is red gems there also some moving blocks with one of them turning in a climbable one levers and switches. I had a problem with the rope at the area with lava and the two red gems Lara was passing through the rope like it didn't exist so I had to use DOZY to get up there and I hate that. The Porsche will be very helpful as there are some slopes you need to pass with it but it's also apart of a puzzle close to the start. SAS guards raptors and crocodiles are the enemies you will be facing. Many traps await you in this adventure with a lot of lava rooms fire blowers blades retextured rolling balls when you least expect it. I didn't like the idea of stepping to a tile with a fire blower after swinging with a rope because although it seemed there was enough time to step on it and get out of the way sometimes Lara was getting burned after the fire has stopped. The last part is about jumps with the Porsche again and from a time after without it. One last lever and one last moving block and the level ends after close to two hours and with one secret found. These levels have to be played together because of the Porsche that you need from City Streets." - Kristina (12-Mar-2003)
"I am sorely put off this level and although I kept a saved game form City Streets I couldn't get this level started. So I started the normal way and of course at a certain point I couldn't continue. By that time my saved game was gone. I was so peeved that I didn't touch the computer for a day as I had to play City Streets all over again. Way to go Justin. So for all those who still want to play: you need the car and you only can get the car if you turn the car around and drive it down the alley. The beginning of this level was pleasant enough. Some tricky jumping as you have to figure out how to get from point A to point B. So far so good then the earthquakes (yes two of them) set in and that just spoiled everything for me again. I got really nauseated this time so that I had to leave the game for a while. And to top everything off the flare bug kicked in. So it is quite obvious why this game scored so low on gameplay. 03-01-2003" - Gerty (05-Jan-2003)
"Fantastic and challenging level! The atmosphere is superb and the look very nice. There are clever puzzles spinning traps and trick jumps: jumping from the rope to three platforms in fire was very hard. The final huge room with waterfalls is impressive. I had a great time driving the Porsche and the path often wasn't easy. It was an exciting adventure fun to play." - Cuqui (30-Dec-2002)
"On my first attempt I was getting nowhere as I had forgotten to bring the Porsche. No such foolishness this time. I liked the storyline the odd mix of settings the puzzles the tricky jumps and the course that always brought you back to places already visited. The gameplay will have you thinking every now and then but there is nothing too tricky that can't be figured out with a bit of careful observation and exploration. My main complaint concerns the two rather long earthquakes. I do get a headache from this and it's highly irritating when you have to abandon the game four a couple of hours just to wait for the pain to subside. My favourite part was probably the lift that would bring you in painful contact with the barbwire if you weren't quick enough in shooting the two blue spheres but the pushable block that becomes solid was great as well. I reckon that had I played this at the time it was released I would have found the atmosphere outstanding. However almost a year later we've been treated to so many great settings this here doesn't seem that extraordinary. Don't get me wrong it's still great it's just not as awesome as more recent offerings. Enemies don't play a major part but that's okay as there are other things (like some devious traps) that will keep you on your toes. All in all a great adventure that kept me entertained for 70 minutes." - Dimpfelmoser (15-Dec-2002)
"This was a great level and is an improvement from the previous two levels in this series but I guess you need to start out a bit easier. It is challenging and maybe could've been a bit easier in some places but once you've done with the hard part (IMO all the lava + earthquake places) you will enjoy this level. I really loved the last area with the waterfalls platforms and things like that especially when Lara was very very high above this area (I always love such places where you can see most things from above). And that teleporter near the end that moves Lara to the Incantations was brilliant too. What I didn't like was that some places were left unexplored but maybe that's because I didn't find all the secrets (I found one) and also the flare bug occurs in the final area of the level so I can't rate the textures category higher but all in all a great level you shouldn't miss." - eTux (09-Sep-2002)
"Without the Porsche from the previous level (City Streets) you can't play this one. You need it to get to certain places. I really enjoyed the tricky drives around corners and so. What I didn't like so much was the earthquake room. I found that continuous earthquake rather annoying and I just wanted to leave that area a fast as possible. Being in that room almost made me sick. The 'London' part was more to my taste. There are some 'interesting' jumps to manage e.g. using a rope to get onto ledges where there is a fire going on and off. There are not to many enemies. There were just a few SAS guards scorpions raptors. In between I looked into the walkthrough by Phil Lambeth just to make sure I hadn't missed anything. (08/2002)" - Monika (23-Aug-2002)
"I like this level a lot because you need to think a lot about certain puzzles and because there are some truly devious traps not to mention countless hair-raising jumps. The one thing I really couldn't stand though was the earthquake during the second stage of this level. I don't know about anyone else but if I'm subjected to earthquakes for too long I feel physically sick after a while and have to have a break to let my guts calm down. Also the flare bug appeared. So I've had to mark this level down a little bit in the gameplay department as a result of these two things. Apart from those things though this level is a very worthy follow-up to 'City Streets' and I'm really looking forward to playing the next installment." - Bex (22-Aug-2002)
"After the somewhat compact Tutorial City and City Streets levels City Ruins is something of a surprise being an absolutely enormous and sprawling level more similar to Justin's earlier Atlantis Levels than the aforementioned offerings. Better still quality has not been sacrificed in the name of quantity and this levels has all the little touches that make Justin's levels so visually interesting and satisfying to play. The level starts in a city environment so fans of London levels like myself will be happy but soon moves into some subterranean environment where raptors lurk around every corner and lava pits demand careful progress. There are several of Justin's tricky jump puzzles which are simultaneously frustrating and satisfying and a couple of his backflip-twist-grab manoeuvres that require split-second timing to perform and may have some giving up in the belief they're impossible. I entered this level from the City Streets level bringing the Porsche with me which seemed essential for completion. However there didn't appear to be a Porsche available elsewhere so potential player would be recommended to play City Streets first. This is quite a dark level so the appearance of the flare bug later on in the proceedings was an unwelcome addition and is one of the few things that let this level down. In all it took me nearly three hours to finish and then with only one secret in my back-pack and whilst I'd certainly recommend this level it's really one for the more experienced player." - Tune Razor (15-Jul-2002)
"The second in the Dark Skies series it is paramount you have played the first and have started this one with the Porsche otherwise you cannot finish it because it is necessary in triggering something and accessing another. This is a very different level from the first as you don't spend any real time above ground let alone in buildings but rather in subterranean areas many filled with lava and dilapidated ruins of what once may have been a city. I had a real fun time with this because it has a lot of tricky moves usually to do with sloping blocks or rope jumps to fire trapped platforms and the placement of raptors in confined and tight spaces was perfect making for very deadly confrontations. The look throughout was nice too but I was especially blown away by the architecture of the huge cavernous room where one large building once stood and now only parts of its skeleton remain. There is however an annoying aspect in this hour long level and that is the earthquake effect that was found in some rooms it just got on my last good nerve on more than one occasion because it wouldn't let up until you left the room but to even that bad aspect there was a never before seen great effect right near the end you come across a movable block and once you move it to its destination it becomes climbable....good one Justin!" - Sash (21-Jun-2002)
"Now that's more like it! I was a little disappointed (given justin's high standards) about the first levels of this series but this one brings it all back. Nice little touches like the stop sign and the phone on the wall the triggered alarm and the use of the sinking woodpad that needs support from below at the beginning as well as devious traps involving steam darts blades in an atmosphere that suddenly turns into lava caves where you have to complete a few rather tricky sequences involving jumps climbs ropes fires etc etc. What a ride! Smart use of some movable blocks especially the one that becomes climbable near the end and really dangerous spinning wheels that come at you like rolling balls from high up. Admittedly I did find the continuous earthquake rather annoying and could have done without it. The enemies and their placement I found also not too convincing just a few SAS and raptors and scorpions. But when you make your way back to the Porsche to drive over to the final area this is all forgotten: the architecture of the final stage with all the waterfalls is brilliant even though the placement of the doors seems a bit odd. Found three secrets (although the third only after checking Phil's walkthrough) and after 60 minutes of fast paced action a transmitter beams you out of the level and I can't wait for the next installment of the series now." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)
"Justin again makes a great level. I missed the sense of location here: we start in London streets right? And so the level follows in some kind of lost world that reminds Vilcabamba (TR1)! But anyway the one hour needed to complete this adventure is not wasted and you enjoy. I got a small headache with all those earthquakes but that didn't make me stop playing - and killing dinosaurs. There are ingenious puzzles around and you will even climb on a moveable block. Surely worth a download." - Treeble (21-Jun-2002)
"This level is very similar to the London from TR3 levels (specially Thames Warf). And it's as good as then! It has some simple puzzles and good traps and the atmosphere is superb: good use of textures and excellent lighting created a very dark city. And I can't forget the new outfit that's very original. Lara doesn't have her normal hair and her clothing is very cool. I really recommend this level: it is 'very unique' 'very Core Design' and also VERY GOOD!" - Leandro (21-Jun-2002)
"I've learned by now that every time I load up one of Justin's levels I can expect something interesting and unique - new objects clever puzzles and a great story in a realistic environment. Though this level starts out in the city streets you soon end up in the ruins of a city ravaged by lava and earthquakes. You'll need to make your way through each room and find the necessary switches to open the doors that lead to more switches and doors all to open a passageway near the beginning drive the Porsche through and make your way through an amazingly large room and to the transporter though I'm not sure where this takes you yet. This was a well-built level - each area looks wonderful and very realistic there are some great puzzles including pressure pads that raise and lower and I loved the new objects - especially the telephones and the Tomb Raider box set on a table. However some of the puzzles were just too hard and were more frustrating than fun. Some of the jumps were near impossible especially swinging on a rope over a pool of lava to a pedestal with flames that turn on and off then rolling and jumping back to the rope before the fire comes back on! Plus the many earthquakes just made me anxious to finish the level and move on to something easier. The many difficult jumps in this level made the enemies - soldiers raptors and scorpions - look positively tame and the traps poison darts and tricky car jumps look easy. Although in the few levels I have played of Justin's I enjoyed the atmosphere objects and textures I personally find that most of his levels are made for the more experienced Tomb Raider and people that really like a challenge." - RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)
"This level is the follow on from 'City streets'. Again that nice diesel sounding Porsche is used a lot but only to get you to areas you would otherwise not be able to get to. This is a big improvement on the previous two levels of this series. There are a couple of jump puzzles that were very good one of these included swinging from a central rope to various flame ridden platforms. The earthquake was very annoying but I guess that adds to the effect. The lighting and textures were absolutely spot on. Now I'm not a huge fan of the London streets theme I prefer sandstone temples and caves but saying that I enjoyed this level and I think that it was a well put together package. I believe there will be a forth level in this Dark skies series and will definitely play it." - Jason (21-Jun-2002)
"This is the second (third if you count Tutorial City) in the Dark skies series by Justin and it's much vaster in scope than the previous level. There are tricky jumps through lava-laden rooms that are even more diabolic because of the constant earthquakes the Porsche that is vital at strategic parts of the level (and is involved in a devilishly difficult jump) and the awesomely huge cavern at the very end. Most of the action takes place underground and the atmosphere and lighting effects are superb. The level of difficulty is also considerably higher and thank goodness the DOZY cheat isn't disabled in this series! All in all another great level that we're becoming used to seeing from Justin." - Phil (21-Jun-2002)