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Recon Labs 3 by Emoo

Akcy 8 8 8 7
Bex 9 10 10 9
CC 7 8 8 8
Dimpfelmoser 9 9 10 9
eTux 6 8 9 7
G.Croft 9 8 10 9
Gerty 6 9 9 8
Grayboy 10 8 9 9
Jose 5 8 7 9
Juan Carlos 7 9 9 8
Kristina 8 10 10 10
Loupar 8 9 10 10
Magnus 7 7 8 5
MegaGamer 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 7 8 8 8
Monika 10 9 9 9
Nomad 8 9 9 9
Obig 9 8 8 8
Phil 9 9 10 10
RaiderGirl 9 9 10 10
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Sash 10 10 10 10
SilentViper 9 8 8 9
Tammta 9 10 10 9
Tombaholic 8 10 9 9
TombRaiderFan 10 10 10 10
Torry 8 9 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
Wolf7 7 9 10 9
release date: 19-Jan-2002
# of downloads: 127

average rating: 8.81
review count: 29
review this level

file size: 65.50 MB
file type: TR4
class: Base/Lab

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I have always had kind of a soft spot for this specific custom level, probably because it was the first real challenging game I tried back in 2015 or so, I replayed it recently and decided it to give a review, so let us start :3
This game is subdivided into different levels which have 3 main themes, Lara's home, Lab/Office like and Egyptian looking place, I will review each level individually as they do have a lot of differences in terms of PROs and CONs.
Lara's Home (5 8 9 9): Why am I forced to play this level in the first place? Well back in the day it was impossible to separate main game form a Lara's home entry, thus I cannot be really harsh on this, I only kind of found it boring to include and fairly anti-climatic, while still retaining excellent atmosphere, which is indeed the strongest point, objects are faithful to an old style rendition of the mansion, plus some TR4/Custom tweaks which were nice to see, I do not exactly like Lara's outfit if I have to be honest, for how lazily textured it looks, but I am not here to judge this hehe. Luckily it is a short one and does not drag for too long, despite I still find it fairly boring task wise and paling in front of what really comes next. The combatting does not help it either if I have to be completely honest.
Recon Labs (9 9 10 9): We start getting where the game promised us we would go, taking the very slow intro aside inside a terribly and unnecessary dark tunnels filled with lava, which does stop be from giving a 10 in texturing and lighting, we finally put foot into these famous labs. There are many tasks to be completed and the gameplay is fun enough to keep you entertained! What does not shine at all about this is the terrible tasks sometimes the game requires you to do, 3 squishy block at a time? Seriously? But that is not the worse, you have to do it while you are on a timer. Look, it is actually fun for somebody who enjoys challenge pulling this off, but I can see how this could rage up also people who are experts themselves, it works and all, but can really unfairly go horribly, sill the rest is excellent and the gameplay remains 9. The way this level looks ... the atmosphere, lighting, music and also object usage is very unique, I still wonder about that questionable outfit, but everything else truly looks very special, a style that I never saw replicated in a quite same way and feel, apart from those flying underwater switches which I have no idea why were there.
Deep Darkness (6 7 9 8): Likely the most ambitious level of the early era of Tomb Raider Level Editor, a map showing you your objectives and where to go in a totally dark area. Sadly this idea was conveyed in an AWFUL way, truly, truly terrible way. There is not enough hints to differentiate where you are heading yourself into, enemies are transparent which is cool but annoying as killing them can mean you have to drop a flare and this flare might run out and you find yourself in darkness while you very likely get poisoned. The solidly creepy and unearthly vibe the level gives plus the solid texturing are the two only things saving this level from being completely awful and forgettable. Luckily this is as low as we get.
Hard Core (7 10 10 9): We start off really good actually, some more action styled after the much better Recon labs level we previously played, well this ... FALLS very very hard, terribly hard after we get inside of an elevator, we get sent to a VCI like office building filled with rooms to explore, the look of it is overall excellent and the object usage is still very solid, maybe even more than in the first lab level, same goes with the atmosphere, which has not dropped an inch since the earlier level, but why ... oh why the gameplay is so awful here, two sentences, "enigma which has no solution to be deducted ANYWHERE" and "TOO MANY ROPES", and this affects the second act of this level only, the first was still excellent, but these are not the only problems as now we also need to worry about where in the world we exactly have to go in the office. Thankfully after the terrible second act, the third remaining is a little bit better and we have one of the most fun squishy block sequence I have seen, EASIER while looking HARDER than the one before and one of the coolest effect also original Tomb Raiders pulled, the "ENTER A PORTAL TO A BIGGER ROOM!" which brings us to Egypt and this game finale.
Ceremony (8 9 10 8): Run, Lara Run 2 - The revenge, I would call this level, which to be was a lot of fun actually, I mean this is harsh as hell and the music is terribly loud, DO YOU WANTED US DEAF EMOO? But overall the level has a special atmosphere and vibe to it which is undeniably unforgettable. Forgettable are some section of the gameplay, MOST OF ALL the THREE ROPES in the end and those damn wraths which can be a terrible pain, PLUS the enemies shooting us when we cannot shoot back, apart from this, this is solid fun! The texturing is not the best seen so far in the game feeling repetitive, the object usage was great to create such inventive traps, that I had fun running through, okay? I know some people might be baffled by my statement hehe.
Conlcusions (7 9 10 9): EXPERT ONLY CUSTOM for sure, a wonderful adventure with some big flaws here and there but surely worth playing through, shame is Emoo stopped building a year after or so, I would have been happy to try more, I might give a try in the future to other custom level of him, I will see. Truly excellent in its flaws too, Wolfy Regards :3" - Wolf7 (17-Jun-2021)
"Bloody hell, I'm feeling quite wrung out after that (pardon my French... but the language I'd like to use would be unsuitable for a family friendly website such as this)! This game is definitely not one I'd advise you to play unless you are an extremely experienced raider or are up for the challenge of your life. It's undoubtedly well constructed, and the texturing and lighting show an eye for detail, plus the custom objects and enemies deserve a round of applause (loved the Recon Blaster Gun), but the gameplay will without a doubt separate the men from the boys. It starts out deceptively simple in Lara's Home (with the addition of quite a lot of guards), but don't let that lull you into a false sense of security. The second level (Entering Recon Labs) is where the challenges kick in, but everything here is quite doable and enjoyable, taking place around a lab environment. In Deep Darkness, it becomes very devilish. There's a huge, dark labyrinth filled with invisible scorpions and housing various buttons you need to push. The map and walkthrough actually didn't help me in this case as it became hard to follow, and I got through with an awful lot of running around, but it was a nightmare to negotiate and I could have well done without. The next level is more reasonable, albeit still very challenging, containing timed runs in conjunction with traps that will test the mettle of the best of us. Ceremony, the final level, has to be seen to be believed. It's not my kind of level, consisting of many successive timed and trapped sequences (plus fierce enemies) that require you to stay alert at all times, but it's executed nonetheless ingeniously that I quite admired it in a way. In the end, some negativities throughout this game, but it's still very rewarding when you make it through." - Ryan (29-Dec-2018)
"Wow, lots of things to say about this one. First of all, what the heck is with the fishnet outfit? It doesn't make sense for Lara to wear that on an adventure and the levels are pretty dead serious for it to be just added for fun, yeah it is sexy but really brings the levels down. That aside, the levels are insanely difficult, atmospheric and mostly awesome. The high tech weapons and areas look quite nice and techy without being excessive or absurd. The lab design makes sense with elevators, offices, laser traps and research areas, although it is fairly repetitive after a while and becomes boring. Then comes the last level which is a sharp but fitting turn to the levels as the scenery suddenly changes to a hellish egyptian setting. Fights are tough especially in the lab maze and in the end. Couldn't figure out if the giant scorpions and harpies are invisible or something else is going on. Now about the gameplay and the difficulty (with the level order), first the lab areas are very tedious at points and there is too much backtracking going on. You pull levers and wonder which of the same looking gazillion doors are open now then wander around hoping to stumble upon it. The tunnel areas were my favorite part of the levels. It very much added to difficulty to make it dark AND put blocks that is not shown on the map AND put west where north should be in the map (to call it confusing as hell would be an understatement) but I loved the atmosphere and the experience of the challenge. On the other hand those sliding blocks were not the least bit nice, especially the ones blocking the timed door. I must have died a hundred times and managed by saving my game with every step of Lara thus seeing where I should move next. Also annoying was the button puzzles towards the end - really the nadir of the levels. The last level, Ceremony, is VERY difficult but not in a frustrating or impossible way. It has this Temple of Xian bring it on vibe to it and I enjoyed the atmospheric music and the runs with spikes and blades. This game is hard to rate with its bad decisions and awesome moments, but I do recommend it very much." - Nomad (25-Apr-2017)
"Absolutely a very ambicious project. Very good design with convincent environments full of details and nice touches. The best for me was the new gun and the enough ammo to deal with the numerous enemies. The gameplay was too challenging for me to like; where is the hint in the room with nine buttons? The tasks with the moving pillars were too hard for me, ex: after sprint through the room with numerous moving pillars, I slide down a ramp with two more moving pillars and, in that case there's not a posibility to time or wait for this danger so you're going to a sure death (I had to reload a lot of times here). Sometimes there's not a camera shot so you can see the distant triggered door, forcing me to re-explore huge areas. The dark and huge maze level with the blinking lights and invisible scorpions was a real torture, all the work only to press a couple of buttons? Even with the excellent Dutchy's map, was very hard for me. Yes, there's an impressive final, but not worth if you were suffering and suffering nasty situations along all levels. I recommend to play it following the walkthrough." - Jose (07-Jun-2016)
"The best part of the recon labs series. The gameplay was great and challenging. Every level was beautiful. One of the best base levels on here. Recommended." - MegaGamer (12-Apr-2014)
"I put this one off for a long time, perhaps for too long. When someone as renowned as Dutchy writes that it's the hardest level he's ever played, one is reminded of the old saying that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. But after I finally downloaded and started playing RL3, I realized that Dutchy was referring to the last of five bundled levels. More about that one later. You begin in a fairly routine house setting, and I got my way through this one without looking at the walkthrough in about ten minutes (I missed the lone secret, however). The fun really begins in the second level, Entering Recon Labs, which takes you through a classic base environment with a number of challenging tasks along the way. The third level, Deep Darkness, merits but a single paragraph in Dutchy's excellent walkthrough, but it consists of an horrific maze that took me at least an hour to navigate. I never would have made it at all without the detailed map furnished by Dutchy. Suffice it to say that this will bring a deep satisfaction to the most confirmed maze-o-chist. After this ordeal you get back to familiar lab raiding in Hard Core, and although the title sounds intimidating it has much the same look and feel as Entering Recon Labs. It's for levels such as the finale, Ceremony, that DOZY has been given to us. I can't even begin to describe all the nightmares that confront the player here, although much of the trauma can be summed up in a single word: spikes. Not to mention the maddening, ominous theme that looped endlessly (and which can be remedied by renaming or deleting 99.wav). But since I'd come this far, I just flew past the spikes (I don't have the skill or the patience to pretend that I could have conquered Ceremony legally, even with the walkthrough close by) and I completed the entire saga in a little more than four hours. For me, the two traditional lab levels alone made this one well worth playing. Highly recommended." - Phil (11-Sep-2007)
"Let's start at the end, with the Ceremony level, it offers some nasty timed runs, dashes through spikes and other obstacles, no time to rest, quite difficult, absolutely enjoyed it. A bunch of wraiths chasing through rope swingings and slicers, what an experience. As a standalone level it would recieved almost perfect score from me, only the fixed cameras disturbed gameplay at some places. Fantastic choice of music for it. One of the best levels ever, definitely one of the hardest. One tip; upon reaching the final room, switch to manual targeting, you will be able to blast the demigods from the safety of the corridor. The other four levels are completely different, or rather three, because the first Lara's Home level is just a warm-up. I nowhere near liked the complex as much as in the first installment of Recon Labs with its warm colors. This time it wasn't as atmospheric, too repetitive textures, Lara's hideous outfit, underwater levers that remain unused, if the author changed his mind about gameplay during the making of the level, those levers should have been removed, as it is, they raised expectation, like: what a fun will be flooding the whole place, and when it didn't happen, the player left disappointed. Gameplay was tedious sometimes, pushing endless buttons, didn't make sense, the dark maze was overdone too. The Blaser gun was great, also the retextured, and later untextured scorpions. Just a few, but nicely done secrets, counted five. But no sign of any bonus level. Nice moving wall sequences. All in all, the ups outweigh the downs, making it a rather good set of levels, especially by Ceremony." - Akcy (21-Apr-2007)
I'm reviewing this almost after a year after I have played it. I still remember every single detail. In many of my reviews I've stated 'This is the best custom level of all time'. I would consider these set of levels to be the best gameplay I have ever seen. The action slowly comes into place when guards break into Lara's home. Lara must then travel through caves and the recon labs itself to complete her mission. Her last mission is to escape out of the hell's of the temple. It was really, really difficult I must say. One of the hardest custom levels I've played. I was constantly asking for help. I thought these set of levels were underrated. You don't really get any levels better gameplay than this. I loved everything about it, which included the recon labs' new weapons and puzzles and traps.10/10 from me. Excellent! - TombRaiderFan (27-Jun-2005)
"I got all the files in the download working except the lab3.tr4. And after waiting for over a year to get it I decided to just rename the files and use the original dats. This resulted in my playing most of each level not all but at least I got to play it even if it's the stupidest way. Well we all know Lara is always on the alert for new adventures even now she has on her Rocky Horror Picture Show costume to rush to work. Obviously a lot of work has gone into making this outfit but it's very ugly and I suppose some little boys here will love it. Lara gets a laser 'crossbow' with great sound. Enjoy the first level in Lara's home because this is the easiest level with a unique exit and it's there mainly to pick up as many medpack as you can find because you'll definitely need them later on. The labs themselves I really liked even though there's a lot of backtracking going on in each area. The blue fuse is very cleverly hidden. Odd looking retextured harpies and I had no problem seeing the transparent scorpions in advance. The sliding blocks although looking good struck me as out of place in this type of level. Ceremony was a nightmare all the way through with spike traps boulders fire swinging chains etc. A lot of saving required at each and every step because even when I managed to get past the traps I had to deal with the giant scorpions. Methinks Szymon has a sadistic streak (somehow that outfit seems to fit in now). I did the timed run through the chains about 50 times. There's nothing new as such in these levels but it's all put together very well and designed to cause as many heart attacks as possible in a seemingly straight forward level. A great challenge but I won't be going back to try it again." - CC (12-Feb-2004)
"Most of the time when playing a level I hardly remember what Lara is wearing yeah right like you would forget that after seeing her in this mini game. Must be another one of 'those guy things' and totally inappropriate for raiding unless it was in a sex club. Having said that this mini game is not to my taste. It starts with a dizzy flyby as title and Lara is in her house. Find as many medipacks as you can as I for one sure could use them. In the next level there are many buttons to push and the 'go and have a look what they did' was getting very tedious to say the least. The dark maze was the pits although the invisible giant scorpions made it more exciting Then there is another sort of base/office area you have to explore. There is an annoying alarm going off so be warned. There is also a puzzle in this part that even reading the walkthrough had me scratching my head. Although it took me quite some time I did it finally. Then you come to the more exciting part jumping through those squishy blocks wow. The last level is the hardest - I hated it and would have ditched the lever right there if it wasn't for the walkthrough that could give some pointers what to expect. Throughout this mini game there are a multitude of all sorts of enemies and although you will find a new weapon I was sort of saving it for the last and I am glad I did as the grenade gun I found was no good. 30-01-2004" - Gerty (01-Feb-2004)
"As there are plenty of reviews for this one already I will just give you a few highlights and lowlights. Scariest moment: without doubt this level has the scariest area I have played and have quiet reassurance that it won't ever be surpassed and that is the extensive pitch black base maze you have to blindly make your way through when out of nowhere you are set upon by invisible giant scorpions this means dropping your flare and having to fight them in the dark shudder. Worst moment: that would definitely have to be starting the second level only to find Lara standing before me dressed like a two dollar whore in bra panties and fishnets I don't know about you but I don't want to be raiding in my unmentionables unless I'm involved in a panty raid. Favourite moment: this is hard to say but probably the magical transporter portal in level four it just has to be seen to be believed. This for me was the first real major set of levels I played which gives it a special place in my heart but what should make this set of levels something special to everyone else is that it is laid out so that every level has it's own diversity you get some really great action as I've said before the scariest maze you'll ever find lots of labs to raid a mansion to start in a tomb thrown in at the end some nice puzzling and the most heart pounding non let up thrilling trapfest that encompasses the whole of the last level. I loved it and thought it was fan-bloody-tastic I hope you do to!" - Sash (05-Aug-2003)
"Well I recommend this level only for calm pros having huge patience. It made me nervous scores of times. I like the first two levels very much the solutions in the labs and the textures are ingenious. But I don't like the third level. I hate dark places and many times a chill came over me when I didn't dare picking up an object as an invisible giant scorpion attacked behind immediately. The fourth level was great again but the fifth one the 'Ceremony' is a sadist level. I hadn't known the 'Run Lara Run' level at that time so it was the hardest level I've ever seen. You have to run jump swing ropes without stop while you are chasing by demigods Seth and wraiths. The whole level is a nightmare. Lara has to find 3 password cards so she can discover a bonus level too an older level of Emoo. I also found an annoying savebug: in the first level the rope disappeared in the gym when I reload my game there. Although the author may have corrected this bug since then. The added sounds are frightening they are excellent! :-)" - Obig (31-Mar-2003)
"Recon Labs is a very complete and excellent game. There are a bit of all: exploration lots of action puzzles and a good storyline. The rooms are beautifully built and the offices/labs are quite real. Only the last level is not of my taste. Some traps are ok but when there are no place to take a breath it becomes annoying. Graphically perfect with an atmosphere superb. Very original objects: the dress of Lara and her new weapon Great! I have a savegame in the 'Entering Recon Labs' level to keep searching the first secret code so if someone has found it please email me. Good work with great moments of action. Play it!" - Loupar (21-Jan-2003)
"This epic adventures features many things that I usually hate in a custom level like the big dark maze the old push-a-combination-of-buttons-here-and-then-set-out-to-see-if some-door-has opened-there game many many instant deaths by spikes and an elemental that sucks away your health while you try to perform a diagonal double rope swing. The great achievement of Emoo is in my view that not only are you willing to put up with all those nasty tricks you actually enjoy them because the atmosphere is really brilliant and the storyline so believable. You are so engrossed in the plot you never question all those trials. It starts out rather harmless in Lara's mansion but don't worry you won't spend much time there as it's basically a prelude that serves as a warm up for things to come. Collect all the medipacks you can find solve the simple puzzle in the gym and on you go to the real thing. You will notice that Lara has changed her attire when you arrive in the second part and though it might be a rather inappropriate dress to sneak around in a lab I thought it was quite funny (would have preferred black or scarlet though). The next three levels are set in a complex base that comes with many invisible scorpions a lot of deadly squishing blocks the aforementioned maze a great many buttons to push and a handful of fuses to find. The area is so huge that a good sense of orientation is definitely an advantage but it never becomes too frustrating and there are a few very neat puzzles to solve along the way. You eventually arrive at the fantastic timegate and this brings you to the final more linear part. It's another version of hell with lava spikes boulders swinging chains and scorpions in a fairly mystical environment that all climaxes in the magnificent hall of Seth where you have to gradually climb to the top and open the gate to freedom. You get so much excitement there that you will be extremely grateful for the occasional uneventful climb and though it is very challenging at times you know where you have to go you how to get there and you know you will succeed in the end. The camera work is excellent some very spectacular views and awesome flybys; the enemies are placed well throughout the whole quest and the new weapon is nice to look at and very effective at that. I think this highly inventive level is a real classic and it provides more than four hours of fun for the experienced raider but it might be a bit frustrating for the TR rookie." - Dimpfelmoser (30-Oct-2002)
"I liked the originality of Recon Labs so much better than this massive installment of five interconnected levels plus a nice (if a little dizzy) title flyby and ending titles even though this is a great work - all in all it did not quite click with me. But let's take it step by step: Home Attack (4/6/8/8 30 min. 1 secret): Lara in tight tiger(?) pants in her home sweet home. Well I usually do not enjoy home levels and this one is no exception. Spent half an hour running around essentially picking up lots of medipacks in the small and larger hedge maze making my way through the exercise course and battling a few SAS. A big medipack comes as the secret after an easy timed run. I did like the use of Lara's sound samples and some of the light and fog effects. Entering Recon Labs (8/9/9/8 60 min. no secret): Now THAT is a kinky outfit - well done even though not to my taste really. That aside the adventure picks up some speed here as you explore a typical base environment. First though there is a nice obstacle course to acquire a silver key (that lava looks really great) and the sounds and ambience music works really well. Also I have to mention the 'Recon's pump action blaster' - as of now officially my favourite weapon! There are a few movable crates jump sequences laser floors to avoid buttons to push and very tricky squishing blocks to maneuver. Enemies are SAS and a dozen giant green scorpions (great!). A yellow and a blue fuse and a disc help you to move on. Deep Darkness (6/8/9/8 35 min. 1 secret): A pitch black maze. And yet it works well and turned out not to be as tedious as I had feared it would be. The flashing lights and the invisible giant scorpions make this a really spooky experience. The map did not really help me - I just kept my right hand on the wall and that did the trick. Found the password secret here but missed the other two elsewhere. Lots of pick ups along the way two buttons to push and finally you get your disc and make your way back and out of this level. Hard-Core (8/8/7/8 65 min. 2 secrets): This starts rather harmless in a warehouse style room and then turns out to be more of the same base environment with an annoying alarm sound going on a bit of monkey swinging some lasers levers again those green giant scorpions and now support from yellow harpies (also great!). It is actually fairly linear and straightforward as you find and use a blue fuse and then the elevator card again. There is a series of 5 ropes to swing across and back and finally you end up in the good old Recon Labs office we still remember from the first parts. I liked the camera effect with the security cams but I hated the button puzzle. If there was any hint it totally eluded me and the trying out of combinations was a painful process. It is after that when the level comes true to its name with a squishing blocks gauntlet that is thrilling and tough to master. You get and use your reaction activator and find another disc after a little swim and make your way back through levels 2 3 and 4 to place it and enter the grande finale. Ceremony (8/8/9/8 30 min. (net gaming!) no secrets): Right I love a challenge and I am sure willing to try my luck a few times to master a sequence but this level has a few passages which are just over the top. When it comes down to luck rather than skill that's when for me the fun gets lost along the way. Spikes slides and jumps swinging chains slicer dicers ropes boulders darts seth blades fires timed runs and various combinations of all these - you name it it's in here. Emoo chose an Egyptian setting for this pure adrenalin gauntlet in which a few giant scorpions and demigods as well as Seth himself and two wraiths make your life just another tad bit more difficult as you need to get three hands and make your escape. The ambience music is great though and if you are up for it this can surely give you a thrill it was a few too many reloads for my taste." - Michael (28-Oct-2002)
"You could call these levels 'The Best of Emoo' instead of Recon Labs 3 because basically that's what they are! Not that they are his best levels but because all the best elements from his previous levels are combined into these levels. I did like these levels but they almost have no originality at all! The dark maze was taken from Recon Labs 1 & 2 where I remember how thrilling it was to maneuver around the maze avoiding ahmets and leading them to the scorpions but now here you spend a lot of time in a pitch black maze if you lose orientation there's no hope to find the right way back also the invincible scorpions that you can only tell that they are near if you see their shadow in time or feel that someone has poisoned our dear Lara were very unfair the green ones would at least give hint to watch out! The laser floors and squishy block 'puzzles' were lovely in Antarctica Base B9 (my favourite level from Emoo so far) but here they seemed so cold and emotionless (just like everything else copied from his previous levels if I may add). In Ceremony the spike elements from All Hallows 2 appear which I liked a lot better in the first level they appeared. There are also no proper puzzles in here you can't expect too much from a base level anyway (well except from Base Near the Ruins (note - this is not a level from this game!)) just a zillion switches and buttons. The last level was somehow better than the previous ones as it always keeps you moving almost never lets you to stand still and you die a lot more than in an average level. The background music in the last level fits nicely to its name was at least a nice change. The Lara new outfit is HIDEOUS (only in my opinion since some people like it) I don't mind if it's sexy (think - the little dress from 'Temple of Dragon') but Lara wearing a fishnet??? OK I understand how much work has been put into this setting the whole thing up and I should name a few good things so here I go. The texturing and lighting in the base and office parts was very nice I loved the new and very effective 'Recons Pump action blaster' which I first used against the scorpions and later against the demigods (highly recommended to kill them as soon as possible cause later the 3 freakin' ice spirits will be more than enough for you believe me!). The last flyby with the 4 demigods and Seth was very impressive even if I still don't understand how Lara killed Seth. The last fly-by level that 'somehow' tells you how the story ends shows you how Seth is destroyed was a very nice touch too. I either recommend not to play Emoo's other levels before this one or play his others and ignore this one at all if you want to fully enjoy it cause as you see I didn't find these levels so good after playing some of his levels before this one. These are very good levels and if your in for some hard core action (mostly in the last level though) you should not miss these levels out." - eTux (18-Sep-2002)
"There are two types of 'base' levels - those that are brilliant fun to play and those that are absolutely terrible in all respects. I'm pleased to report that Recon Labs 3 most definitely falls into the former category. Now normally I am not a great fan of base levels because they're usually very much alike in terms of look and feel and most of them have very little gameplay to speak of. Recon Labs 3 which is a series of several unique levels is completely different. It brings you new weapons (great!) new enemies (great!) and a very raunchy new outfit for Lara (erm... whether that's great or not is open to debate - S&M fetishists will no doubt adore it). But how does it play? Well it's not for beginners. Oh no. The frustration level will be far too much to bear for a lot of people. There are some very nasty timed runs one of which almost drove me to head-butt my monitor in desperation. There is a fair amount of backtracking which can get a tad confusing but which all makes sense in the end. There are enemies that are semi-invisible and enemies which are completely invisible most of which jump out at you from nowhere so if you suffer from a heart condition this isn't perhaps the ideal level for you. There's a huge maze which will have you hyperventilating because it's so unnerving - the author has truly mastered the art of creating eerie spooky and downright creepy environments. And let's not forget the 'Ceremony' level which is one of the most difficult levels I've ever played. At one point I actually gasped out loud in shock as I saw what was expected of me. This level is a must for every raider who wants a challenge and who wants to experience something a little different from the norm. Incidentally Recon Labs 1 and 2 are also great and I'd recommend playing the Recon series in order just for the pure experience. Excellent." - Bex (29-Jul-2002)
"What a marathon. What an adventure. What a bastard of a set of levels LOL. This amazing production will have you tearing your hair out in no time but it really is a game for experienced players only. Any casual raider will soon give up with the complexity of moves that you will require to get through this. As is my method of reviewing I have slightly downgraded the score to reflect this difficulty level. The level starts out rather quietly in Lara's home but over the next five levels develops into a nightmare as each progressive level gets harder and harder to complete. In level 2 you are controversially introduced to the new Mistress Lara (the only thing missing was the whip) and Emoo will cop some flak about this but I quite liked it *grin*. Seeing Lara running around in fishnets without the accompanying high heels was a bit off though LOL. Here you negotiate a lava cavern before even entering the Reconlab and it just gets worse from there folks. The traps are many and devious. My advice is to save and save often. There is even a bonus level included but as far as I know no-one has deciphered the password for the .exe file yet although 3 password cards have been located in game. So play it if you must. Play it if you dare. It is a GREAT excursion into Lara's world." - Torry (21-Jun-2002)
"Yikes! There has been some time since I did play such entertaining levels! It starts in Lara's home, with an invasion... and then, later, Lara is raiding the Recon Labs. Corporation once again! This time, the Recon Labs has recreated the evil leader, Seth. The laboratories levels were the scariest levels I ever played, specially the 'Deep Darkness' with the invisible enemies, and if you thought the 3 laboratory levels scary, wait until you see the 'Ceremony' level! Man, that was even scarier and the hardest level ever built! Well, if you still think that a game with more than 3:30 hours is not worth the download, then I can't tell you what to play!" - Treeble (21-Jun-2002)
"Playing this game is a real undertaking as it's really 5 levels. After leaving Lara's mansion most of the action takes place in a laboratory complex which also includes offices and a giant DARK maze. The whole bit is populated by nearly invisible giant scorpions and when they sneak up on you in that dark maze it will keep your heart pounding! Fortunately Lara finds a new and powerful weapon to deal with them and it's a neat bit of work on Emoo's part. The game ends with a nerve racking and very difficult trip through Seth's domain (not for beginners or the faint of heart). Now while there's a lot of great gameplay here I really didn't care for the maze (flares and map notwithstanding) and was very happy to be done with it. The button-pushing and door-opening in the labs also went on a little too long in my opinion. Finally there are those mysterious 'underwater' levers and the unopened door which were quite frustrating and cost a lot of wasted time with ultimately no result. Nevertheless this is remarkable bit of work and firmly establishes Emoo as the master of the 'tech' raider genre." - Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)
"What an adventure!! Here you have it all - you start in Lara's home (like in all tomb raider games ;-) and do your training course before you take off to the Recon labs. Here you run through the building with laboratories and offices to finally get to a portal which takes you to Egypt and a breath-taking run through Seth's palace full of traps and boulders and spikes and ropes and.....phew! Not a beginners level but a lot of fun for the little more experienced raider!" - G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)
"Not for beginners this series of five levels is just right for the adrenaline junkies out there. The first level is the easiest and starts out in a new version of Lara's mansion. Some of the rooms and the outside area have been completely redone and beautifully so. Just make sure you complete the new obstacle course and don't forget to pick up any ammo or medipack you can get your hands on or you'll regret it later. Now you're off to the labs but first you have to find your way in by traveling some dark lava-filled caves opening the door then finding your way back. Stage three has you running around the lab dodging giant scorpions as you search for the elevator access card that will take you down to the maze which is level four (and the scariest level for me). You'll find a large maze that is almost completely dark in which you'll be attacked without warning by giant invisible scorpions that make horrible screeching noises as they go after you. Though you will find a map to the maze some of the tunnels are actually blocked off so you have to go the long way quite often and it's easy to get lost. You'll need to find a way to open the door at the beginning of this level and make your way to the offices upstairs. There you'll find quite a few doors to open and buttons to push as you make your way to the magical portal leading to the final level Ceremonies. In what must be the hardest level in Tomb Raider history this one starts out tough and only gets worse. I had to reload 4 times just in the first 15 seconds of the level. Remember to save a lot here as the entire level is made up of spikes lava timed doors chains ropes boulders and a whole lot of running. Soon after you find and place two hands you'll end the game breathe a huge sigh of relief and pat yourself on the back as you watch the final movie and closing screens. The series contains a blend of easy puzzles (pushing buttons collecting objects opening doors) and puzzles which are very difficult and will require a lot of patience reloading and possibly even some foul language (sliding blocks rope swings spikes timed doors). Except in a few areas the enemies don't pose a huge threat but do tend to show up when you least expect them. I only found three secrets in the game (not sure how many there are) and no password cards but for the most part had no trouble locating the objects required to progress further. I can't say enough about how great the levels look - it's obvious that great care has been taken in creating and placing textures camera work is brilliant and only enhances the level the mutants in the lab had me staring for quite some time lighting is perfect and the music especially in the final level could not have been better. All this plus an original opening fly-by that's as good as the one in Chronicles. Truly a masterpiece - I only mark it down slightly because I thought some puzzles were just a little too difficult. Also there are some obvious underwater switches in the lab but I never figured out how to flood the area so that I could use them." - RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)
"These levels are very well put together. Lara starts in her home before starting the real adventuring. Her pants look very 'unique' though. The beginning of the second level (the first 'real' level) is kind of boring just jumping in some dark caves. After that the level gets much better and Lara has to run around in some very good-looking places. The labyrinth in the second level should be taken really seriously. If you don't watch the map already from the beginning you will probably be running around for a long time looking for the way out and wondering why the scorpions are invisible. That gets very annoying and I wasted a long time in that labyrinth. I didn't understand the meaning of the last level. It's just an ordinary Egyptian level just with a higher speed and a higher risk of having to reload. The texturing is standard and it's just not as good as the other levels. There are also parts of a password scattered around the levels but no matter how much I looked I just couldn't find the first part. When found the passwords can be used to open a password-protected file. It seems as I overall liked these levels so why only five for lightning and textures? Well that is because of the incredibly bad texturing of Lara. If you play these levels you'll see how horrible she looks. I just can't understand why the author has used that outfit in these good levels... I also think that the texturing in the last level is pretty boring too. Also some areas of the levels (especially the labyrinth) are very gray even though I can understand why that is I still think that it made the level look boring in some places. Don't misunderstand me I loved these levels and obviously other people did too and this is just my opinion. I really recommend you to play these levels they're very fun but I can't rate it any higher." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)
"I haven't liked the 'S&M' Lara that much but boys this level is great! Actually it is an entire GAME. It starts as usually with the home level which is short but it has a really nice timed puzzle. The following levels are exactly wonderful even if the laboratory is a little bit too monotone but I liked the 'white themed' textures some of them custom. I would like to tell you some of the surprises of this game like something I completely loved. It's really hard to keep it to myself: I will tell here that the atmosphere is great and at a certain moment I had maybe my best moment in any TR-game: in the laboratory you will see something completely frightening which caught all your attention... that was something completely wonderful something I will forever remember. Don't think it is that huge thing it is only for the atmosphere but you'll hear it from very far... I cannot tell you more! You must play it!" - Tammta (21-Jun-2002)
"Sorry! I didn't like this game very much! I remember All Hallows 2 a level that I loved because it was original and very exciting. Unfortunately I see this level as a copy of that level and some others) but without emotions a lot of switches just find the next one. A very dark level where you need a lot of flares (there is a map that helps you a little bit). In other part a lot of switches that you have to find the combination (really boring) many ways where you have to go in one and the other direction (boring). Just a couple of traps with very little fun. The last part the ceremony was a kind of run Lara run I must admit this part was hard to solve but without new ideas. There aren't thinking puzzles in this game! Anyway there were very good things such as Lara that was the most sexy Lara I have played with. The variation of the enemies was a good work. The textures in many areas were really beautiful with good lights but there are also areas without lights so you cannot enjoy the beautiful Lara. There are many tiles with wrong size of textures and triangles not rotated correctly. The music of the last part was new and very good for the chapter. The first camera was very fast The game needs more cameras because there are a lot of switches and sometimes you don't remember where you have to go back. In the last part the cameras worked very good. Anyway I recommend to play this level but not for beginners. Sorry for my opinion because I know there were a lot of work creating this game." - Juan Carlos (21-Jun-2002)
"Wow what a series of levels you start off in the house and one may wonder 'this is not up to Emoo's usual standard. But you will be very wrong! As the levels develop they get more challenging and the maze is huge with near invisible scorpions to get Lara. Liked the weapons the scorpions and Lara's outfit was superb - a must for any fishnet fetishes! The final level was one of the most difficult and enjoyable that I have played - download and play this game if you like a challenge. Super level." - Grayboy (21-Jun-2002)
"Well this level worked out pretty well but I think the maze was way too big and then invisible giant scorpions are not what I consider fair enemies. SAS soldiers still standard as in TR4. Also the office did not look as nice as in Recon Labs 1 and 2. What I admired was the animation for the switch the (almost)-nude dress and the new weapon is well done. All in all worth playing." - Silent Viper (21-Jun-2002)
"A very professionally made level this is. It is a rather difficult one too. Without the help of the forum I would never have made it. I got the hints what to do but doing it is another thing. Lara got killed more than ever before in any other game I played. You start in Lara's Home and if you don't solve the puzzle there you can't leave. The next part is Entering Recon Lab. Getting the Recon Lab Key was too much jumping in the dark over lava for my taste. After you made your way through the Lab you have to enter a dark maze. This is almost like a horror trip with giant scorpions snapping at Lara and not really any fixed point where you can get some orientation and you have to hurry because a flare doesn't last that long. Then you can continue with the Hard Core part. Here you really have to show that you know how to handle jumps with ropes. That really is a challenge among other things of course. And then you come to the Ceremony. Now you can forget everything about difficulties you have met before because now the most impossible things are to master. For example: dashing before upcoming spikes and getting through the round slicing knifes just to land on a slope with a spiky boulder falling on you if you don't hurry on to grab a rope over lava. There was a tip from Sash to catch your breath in between but even so it was pretty hard to manage and that wasn't the end of it. In the end you have to have 2 Hands of Sirius to be able to finish. The music in the Ceremony just fits the whole situation and in between I would have been grateful for a small interruption but so it just pushes you on and on. I found 3 secrets and Password Part 2. Lara gets an interesting weapon the Recon's Pump Action Blaser. Very lethal but you don't get to much ammunition for it so use it with care. I just want to mention Lara's fishnet like outfit. I suppose it pleases some male fantasies but as a combat outfit it is not suitable at all. I didn't like it in a game like that at all. If you start the level you are having an adventurous time in front of you and so just go ahead and play it." - Monika (21-Jun-2002)
"For what I have been hearing about this level I have to admit I am disappointed. My impression before I played it was excellent but now it's a lot lower than that. What frustrating levels especially 'HARD-CORE' I guess the name says it all. All I had to do though was open endless doors and pushing a lot of buttons not to mention switches. It was boring and very frustrating. I can understand a hard puzzle or even complicated many levels have that kind of difficulty but this one is not like those. Where is the excitement in beating yourself up to find a way to enter a room. Although if you want to talk about difficult more like traps and enemies shooting at you all over the place that's 'Ceremony' for you. Again I don't see why should I fear this level yes it was a tough one but come on I heard something like horrible the hardest ever etc. Nothing in there frightened me I got trouble all right with those spikes coming out in most of it and combined with the stargates oh yes it pretty hard. Anyway did I say about that dark maze that was a challenge indeed usually I hate mazes as everybody I think but I enjoyed this one. A lot of flares for sure finally someone understands the use of them in the dark coming out from there with the second password as well I felt really good I made it. Code keys and a card are also used. The elevators are another way to proceed and the ropes the ropes and especially the last one near the switch was terrible. Lara keeps hitting her head at the ceiling you need to maneuver pressing some keys at the same time to avoid that. The last rope is as far as it gets I was stuck there for a day. The graphics are very good the textures and lighting also. The enemies were interesting apart from some guards there are green big scorpions I mean a lot of them but with the new gun it is almost fun to battle with them. Speaking of battles those demigods really hated Lara they kept shooting at her the whole time she tried to get hold of those two last hands and reach the end of the nightmare poor thing. Never stopped to fight them not wise. The way the player gets the second disc through water ventilators and levers then access another room was quite interesting as well. The most frustrating moment I had was in the big area with the blue doors and the nine buttons I wouldn't go through that again even if you paid me on second thought I have to hear the price first. In conclusion and despite all of the above I did enjoy this level and I am glad I played it be sure not to miss it it's a must." - Kristina (21-Jun-2002)