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Stronghold of the four Elements by Crespo

Dimpfelmoser 6 5 5 5
Doug E 6 6 6 6
eRIC 5 5 6 4
Fairy Godfather 6 5 5 5
Gerty 5 6 6 5
Jason 5 4 5 5
Jay 6 6 6 6
Jose 5 6 7 5
Kristina 6 6 7 6
Leandro 7 6 7 7
Magnus 4 4 4 3
MichaelP 6 5 6 5
Momster 6 5 6 6
Mulf 4 3 3 2
Orbit Dream 8 4 5 4
RaiderGirl 7 6 7 6
Ryan 6 6 6 5
Sash 5 6 6 5
Sheevah 6 7 7 5
Staticon 5 5 6 5
Torry 6 5 6 6
Treeble 3 3 3 3
release date: 23-Mar-2002
# of downloads: 67

average rating: 5.35
review count: 22
review this level

file size: 16.71 MB
file type: TR4
class: Egypt

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Four keys named after the four elements and distributed across four areas, each ostensibly characterised by one of the elements; four elemental challenges to overcome! Having received early warning of an incoming flare bug, I went right to left, starting with Water. Inasmuch as the tiresomely predictable underwater maze does not feature any air (!) pockets, it is the area in which the elemental theme is best sustained, even though the builder repeatedly also tries to set you on fire here. You encounter boulders in Earth, but they are also absolutely everywhere. As in the builder’s previous efforts, the boulders are what works best, but this time too many of them are used as mere booby traps, and there are also too many full stop.
Also back with a vengeance are the builder’s trademark redundant flybys. At the end of the Water area, you enter a room with a Star pickup mounted on the opposite wall. A flyby takes over from Lara cam and approaches the wall with slow and deliberate movements; it focuses on the Star; it zooms in on it; and it lingers until it is satisfied to have brought the point home. Each of the ‘element keys’ is introduced in this way. Why, thank you, Captain Obvious!
On two occasions, Lara gets to perform the ‘multiple-ammo pickup on the same square’ move pioneered by Edward Orhue’s Section 13; and indeed, many enemies are thrown your way (most with tenuous connections to any particular element), yet all are evaded with laughable ease, and without you having fired so much as a single shot. Most of the elemental challenges confront the player with a similar level of difficulty (you can determine easily enough which of the tiles are deadly, but you can also simply jump over all of them and thus literally skip the entire puzzle).
As in the builder’s previous level, textures stretch beyond belief whenever the builder aims high or goes deep; liberal use is made of the Texture-All button; on several occasions walls are covered in imagery of rippling beach sand, which briefly led me to consider the possibility that this might take place in a nightmare version of the builder’s dentist’s office; but I don’t think this interpretation can be sustained any more than the builder is able to sustain his ‘element’ themes." - Mulf (24-Jan-2021)
"Better and longer level by Crespo, although not exceeding 25 minutes. The flybys , rather useless , are better executed , and the gameplay is entertaining while remaining easy. You don't really need a walkthrough as what has to be done is evident and logical. The 4 quests are really related to the 4 elements although the fire challenge has more boulder traps than fire traps. The water challenge was not very exciting with an UW maze, the air challenge is more fun even if the jumps are easy. Enemies are often not well used , you can easily kill 'em all (crocs , boars) from safe distance or flee from them (skeletons). In some of the tallest rooms , textures can be very stretched and lighting while varied is not very appealing. I like the small puzzle with the 4 textures in one of the quest and the 4 pad tiles related to the elements at the end. Some objects are retextured. Overall easy and entertaining level." - eRIC (14-Sep-2019)
"I quite like the concept of the four elements being used in custom levels, but I have to say this one was a bit of a tedious effort. I think this was mostly due to the uninspired texturing and the flare bug which cropped up at the most inopportune moment, leaving a bland visual impression. The tasks in each area were admittedly varied but they weren't anything to get excited about either and boulders were far too plentiful. There was a nice touch where Lara gets to wander a treacherous path in the fire area while taking out skeletons along the way, but overall I felt this needed a bit more excitement to it." - Ryan (06-Jan-2019)
"Although quite a good concept (four 'keys' to find in four areas off the hub and various tasks to achieve in each area) the game managed to feel really rather pedestrian. I think the fact that the enemies came in hordes (skeletons, pigs, crocodiles) became a bit tedious, although the sequence where Lara got to shotgun three skellies off ledges was rather fun. Traps were quite nicely conceived even if there was rather an over-abundance of boulders, but somehow everything just failed to spark." - Jay (05-Feb-2018)
"Although the concept has been explored to exhaustion by, well, pretty much every other builder, this is possibly the most linear of those efforts. You get to choose whichever order of elements you like, I went from left to right and as such the fire element came up first. It proved to be a bad decision because obviously it triggered the flare bug (there were no flare pickups, by the way) and this aggravated my time in the Air room, as there were some pitch black rooms in there, but fortunately it wasn't hard to navigate without seeing a thing. All "big" rooms seemed to have been generated with the randomize feature of the editor, so they hardly look natural, and on top of that most of the texturing work seems to be automated too, so stretched textures and the wallpaper effect are pretty much a given throughout the level. Ultimately all you do here is sprint through big areas to retrieve an elemental collectile in each room which will grant you access to a Trident which marks the end. I did like the outfit plus the subtle texture changes on the weapons, but that's about it. 25 minutes, 1 secret. 12/2017" - Treeble (31-Dec-2017)
"Again the four elements: water, earth, air, fire. Easy to play this level, no difficult tasks; four poles, four areas to explore. Not great features, no puzzles, all the entire level is based only about avoid a lot of traps, shoota lot of enemies which usually can be avoided and climb a lot of ladders in the air area (very elongated textures in this zone). In the earth area you can get stucked forever if you jump to the mound where the artifact is and jump quickly letting the boulder falls onto it. Anyway worth to play but don't expect a great fun." - Jose (26-Jun-2016)
"I quite enjoyed this 40-minute adventure. Sure the lighting is either flat and bright or non-existent (especially when the flare bug strikes) the textures are stretched and the gameplay fairly simple but as I have stated many times in the past I am the eternal beginner and this is a level that I can finish without tearing my hair out - except for that Earth Key puzzle. To my shame the only way I could pick that key up was by using the DOZY cheat. The rest was pacey and several of the rooms were quite interestingly shaped. As it isn't too large a download it's worth a go. Quite therapeutic for my ego. :-)" - Staticon (11-Feb-2004)
"Lara needs to explore 4 areas representing the 4 elements earth fire wind and water. Enemies not too many and manageable. Some rather tricky boulder traps. The water maze swim took me about 10 tries to find the exit but still uneventful. Not a bad level predictable." - Momster (01-Dec-2002)
"We have seen this theme before but this one turned out to be quite good. In a mere 30 minutes you will traverse the four elemental areas. WATER. Sports a particularly nasty underwater maze. AIR. Provides high columns with long drops to a nasty death. Tricky jumps are required. EARTH. Deep into the bowels of the underground which is apparently infested by pigs. FIRE. Lava caverns with lava that looked more like pink water. Be prepared for many many falling boulder traps." - Torry (09-Nov-2002)
"There are four objects to collect here - each one representing one of the four elements. The earth key is definitely the hardest and you have to be quick but each route has its difficulties and I found myself reloading quite a bit. Most of the traps were pretty obvious but even those got me a few times and some of them were a little unfair to me mainly the tiles that looked normal but were really death traps. I wasn't really expecting those fire tiles in the water route. You collect a key along each of four routes and you get to keep them in the end which is good because you've earned them. The obstacles include a water maze deadly water fire tiles lots of ladders and jump/slide puzzles lots of boulders slides over flaming tiles and other deadly traps. Rather than being spaced out I found a few areas with lots of pickups to use against the crocs wild boars and skeletons. There are some nice lighting effects the floating fires are way cool and though some rooms were a little bland for the most part they were well done. If you're up for a challenge you'll really enjoy this one." - RaiderGirl (21-Jul-2002)
"The name pretty much says it you have to complete four fairly small elemental adventures to collect four retextured key pick ups and not long after end. Each little adventure consists of a handful of enemies boulder traps and something that represents the element such as block jumps for air water maze for water and so on. There is no chance of getting stuck in this level although the flare bug in one spot makes it annoying to have to find an exit and texturally it may not be anything special but still if you want a non strenuous 30 minute level to pass the time away then this would be perfect." - Sash (21-Jun-2002)
"Well I would say it is a step forward compared to the other levels of the author. What you get here is a fast paced 30 minutes adventure in a coastal WAD setting with a few nice but useless flybys and four quests for 'elemental' keys. A lot of climbing and many dropping boulders and you will hardly ever hesitate about what to do next. I liked the outfit and the renamed and retextured pick-ups and picking up the earth key without dying was a close call. Enemies come in packs (crocs warthogs and a few skeletons) but are no threat. You should do the fire path (on the left) last as this will make the flare bug appear." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)
"It's a level with some simple (sometimes boring like the very long water maze) puzzles but some nice placed traps. Sometimes the lighting is very beautiful; sometimes it's just average. We have also some nice level design here and good use of the Coastal Ruins textures. May not be the best level ever but it's quite fun!" - Leandro (21-Jun-2002)
"The main goal is to collect the four keys earth water air and fire key that will open a door towards the end of the game. In every corridor you will find another door you use as an exit door. I started with exploring the fire room boy oh boy does Crespo love boulders. Also the flare bug appears very annoying as you do need it later on in the earth room to find your way out again. I am still surprised that Lara survives that fall in that tiny bit of water in the earth room. There were some nice pillar jumps but also a lot of ladders. The maze was not funny as there are no air holes so it was all trial and error and reloading a lot. Save some medpacks anyway for that part. Enemies come in droves counted 7 crocs running towards you also the same amount of boars. Skeletons easily to outrun or blast away. Very easy level idea is nice could have used a bit more zing. 19 april 2002" - Gerty (21-Jun-2002)
"A lot of work has gone into this level but the end result is a little disappointing. It was all too predictable. Go up 4 poles and get a few items etc. The author could have made a lot more of this by introducing some more gameplay and puzzles." - Doug E (21-Jun-2002)
"Four items to find and not one of them present any challenge. The textures are stretched and the author should use several small rooms instead of one big room. That would make the texturing better (I think). It may be a good idea to complete the fire-puzzle last (the hole on the far left) because I chose that way first and the flare-bug haunted me for the rest of the level. I can't see anything really good about this level and I can't understand why the author has used 'death-squares' in the most stupid places." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)
"Useful as a practice game limbering up for greater things. Battle the four elements find something in each area and return to start. Finish off in the next room run over some blocks and that's it." - Fairy Godfather (21-Jun-2002)
"The concept and layout of this level was rather original with some nifty little puzzles and challenges that added up to an entertaining 40 minutes or so of gameplay. Indeed this could have been a minor classic if it weren't for the dreadful texturing which quite let the whole thing down. An hour or so of extra work was what was needed. Not much to ask for really was it?" - Orbit Dream (21-Jun-2002)
"This four element thing was a rather good idea but I think it could have been worked out better. Graphical the level has some weak points e.g. the stretched textures. The rooms could have been designed nicer too. And I had the flare bug which was annoying concerning those dark corners throughout. Gameplay-wise it's not that much challenging although there are some traps but some of them are not obvious. I don't like Lara dying without any clue that there is a trap to beware of. The four collected objects could have been used for the finish of the level but instead Lara has only to run over those four squares to open the last door. All in all 'upper average'." - Sheevah (21-Jun-2002)
"The only theme I noticed in this level was the fact that you had to obtain the earth air star and fire keys from four areas. There were a couple of boulder traps a few crocodiles and some skeletons. The game play was totally linear; in fact I don't think you can fail in this quest. There were a couple of flyby camera shots but I didn't find them of any help. I couldn't see any missing textures but I did notice that a lot were overstretched and the return of the flare bug is back. Out of all the pick-ups I can't recall using one oh sorry I used the crowbar to obtain the water star." - Jason (21-Jun-2002)
"Another half an hour level and with puzzles so easy it gets boring. One secret found. The player has to climb four poles leading to colored rooms and collect the water key the earth key the fire key and the air key. The earth key needs a little more effort. The obstacles are fire and a lot of boulders as for enemies we have skeletons easy to avoid and a lot of crocodiles all together in one room. The same stands for the wild boars they will come eight at a time. Very big empty rooms with no objects at all. At an area I thought I would have a challenge to face but the sloping blocks were too easy. After you have collected the four elements translating the keys mentioned above a door opens and when you are about to get hold of a trident the level ends. It's supposed to be the first of a sequel(?) or just a poor ending!" - Kristina (21-Jun-2002)
"If a level is called the stronghold of the four elements you know that the dreaded underwater maze is somewhere down the line. Actually at first I thought this was a really good concept. Right at the start you come to a room with four options how to proceed and I expected four tasks that where loosely connected with earth air fire and water plus the appropriate reward. Sadly enough you get pretty much the same wherever you go. Boulder traps (nice variations nevertheless) easy and not quite so easy jumps and uneventful climbs. The enemies of the animal variety are easily killed from a safe distance and the few skeletons pose no great threat either. The textures are sloppily applied and not too much thought has gone into the overall design so that at no point you have the feeling of really being there. There simply is no atmosphere to speak of. The gameplay is very fluent though and since this only takes you 35 minutes to complete you might as well give it a try." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)