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Lost Palaces by Jeanette Rodda

Dimpfelmoser 9 7 9 8
Doug E 9 10 10 10
Drakan 10 9 9 9
eRIC 9 8 9 9
eTux 7 8 9 8
Fairy Godfather 7 7 7 7
Freeman Porter 8 8 8 7
Gerty 7 8 8 7
Jason 8 9 9 9
Jay 8 8 9 9
Jose 7 8 9 8
Kristina 10 8 9 10
Leandro 7 6 8 9
Loupar 9 8 9 9
MichaelP 8 8 9 9
Mulf 7 7 8 7
Phil 10 9 9 9
RaiderGirl 8 8 9 9
Ryan 9 8 8 9
Sash 9 8 9 8
Shandroid 9 8 8 8
Tombaholic 8 8 9 9
Treeble 8 8 8 8
Whistle 8 8 9 9
release date: 30-Apr-2002
# of downloads: 66

average rating: 8.36
review count: 24
review this level

file size: 25.10 MB
file type: TR4
class: Egypt

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"This is one of Cleopal’s finest, very much in classic TR4 style. Compared to, say, Dutchy’s more original approach in That One Door, this plays rather like Variations on the Theme—too conservative perhaps for brisk young lads like Leandro, and personally I should have liked the level to take itself a little less seriously—, but within these limits it holds its own. The time it takes to complete the game may vary, but it is at any rate quite substantial for a single-level game (somewhere in the region between 1 h and 1 h 30).
Tasks revolve around the four-beetle pyramid; they are varied and never of the frustrating kind (though some may say, and indeed have said, that the level tends to err on the easy side). There’s a good flow to the gameplay, at least until it hits the home straight (on which more anon). The level sports several puzzles and a good deal of platforming, while traps usually feature not so much as hazards in their own right, but as parts of puzzles. As regards enemies, you’ll meet the usual Cleopal crowd, plus a few bats that are employed quite well—triggered at just the right moment, a thing that happens too rarely; but enemies are well-placed in general, if few in number, and thankfully the builder didn’t overdo it with the flesh-eating scarabs. Pickups are correspondingly sparse, which I found refreshing. You acquire the shotgun in the regular course of progression, and can collect sufficient ammo for it to get rid of the skeletons if you don’t waste it on the bigger guys. (Uzis are a secret pickup which I missed, but there’s barely any ammo for it anyway.)
Some concerns were voiced regarding several lengthy shimmies and climbs and monkeyswings (MichaelP, eTux). These are certainly there, but I can’t say I found them too many or excessive when playing the game. I’d rather take issue with the fact that once you’re done with an area, you nearly always have to backtrack the way you came. The way back is sometimes varied (you get to jump pyramid-style across slanted blocks instead of having to use a shimmy crack again) or facilitated (a pit fills with water so you don’t have to do the rope swing again), and that’s good; at other times, however, you have to do the same things all over in reverse, which is much less entertaining. Still, the level doesn’t take this kind of thing to the point of being annoying, so I’m not complaining too loudly.
The level is neatly constructed around a hub room and conscientiously designed; though not flawlessly, as there are cracks caused by misaligned texture segments, and, as noted by Treeble, the wallpaper effect can become quite conspicuous in large areas. The most obvious instance of this is the central cave (the hub), where it is exacerbated by far too much mirroring. The walls should have been shaped more irregularly in order to avoid this—it’s a cave after all. The internal lighting of many, possibly all, static objects hasn’t been adjusted in any way, though this is jarring only in very few cases, such as the quarter-circle stairs in the cave. In other respects, lighting is handled very well, which is unusual in general and in debut levels in particular. It tends to be subdued without becoming murky, and is never pointlessly colourful or otherwise varied unless it’s warranted, and thus consistent throughout the level. This may be perceived as ‘monotony’ (eTux) and thus raises the issue of consistency vs. variety, in which I stand firmly on the side of the former. When it comes to lighting, variety for its own sake is not a good thing. There, I said it.
Passing from the general to the specific, I have to admit that, like MichaelP and RaiderGirl, I failed to notice the hint that comes with the fire pillars. The clues it provides are, however, ambivalent and thus of limited usefulness: the builder used two symbols (safe / unsafe), but pillars marked with either may still be deadly or not; thus, the hint works more as a very general and not particularly reliable guideline. (Phil’s walkthrough says that the slanted blocks which you can’t stand on don’t figure into the equation; this is valid for most of the way, but the penultimate block you need to use is just such a slanted one.) I am also not entirely sure why there have to be symbol tiles underwater as well.
Then there’s the large room with two long shimmy cracks, which I found rather confusing. The main objective is clear enough, but there are also several passages that take you on a lengthy tour all around the room, yet ultimately lead nowhere in particular (not to a secret either, or else I missed it; this is entirely possible, as I found only the first of four secrets). To the builder’s credit though, whenever you stray off course, it’s always possible to return where you need to be within a reasonable amount of time. This applies in particular to the room in which you are required to find not one, and not two, but, as it turns out, three Hands.
The game features two mazes, one of which is underwater (nobody was clamouring for it, but fair enough, it doesn’t take long to figure out), and then there’s the other one. It’s not often that you see the words ‘maze’ and ‘enjoyable’ (eRIC) in the same sentence, but this latter is a quite excellent maze (yeah, I never thought I’d write such an absurd sentence either), inasmuch as it was modelled and textured with just as much care as went into any other room—an unusual feat in itself. It is, however, placed in a dramaturgically awkward position near the end of the game, figuring as your penultimate task, which in my case was compounded by confusion because I was under the impression that I needed to find not one, but two Pharos Knots in it. Like Dimpf, I don’t remember where exactly I picked up the first one and subsequently forgot that I had it, which caused a certain amount of anxiety as I was approaching the end of the game thinking I was one Knot short. I do recall, however, that I acquired the first Knot early into the game (before I saw a corresponding puzzle hole), and it was just sitting there somewhere, so what the heck, I might as well take it. This first Knot seems redundant—quite atypical for this level with its low pickup density—, and the fact that it exists at all may merely be a consequence of the eternal lure of symmetry (always place two puzzle holes, one on each side of the door, right?).
As your ultimate task you have to find an unknown number of jumpswitches in a large room. Again, unusually for the game, there’s no hint to tell you when you’ve found all (two) of them, or what they do. This, combined with the maze preceding it (fine though it might be in itself), make the level lose its steam on the home straight; an occurrence not uncommon, and as deplorable as it always is. But to conclude on a positive note: On one occasion, the builder uses a door as a sluice, to make clear where the water went when you triggered a flipmap. The door had no other purpose. This kind of thing never fails to delight me." - Mulf (17-Feb-2022)
"This is a genuine homage to classic Tomb Raider, and I absolutely loved it. Despite its age, it's pretty obvious how much care went into creating a seamless adventure as you quest for a several (and I mean it) puzzle items in order to eventually reach the end with the sun goddess talisman in your backpack. The four-lever area, which opens siderooms filled with traps or platforming sequences was pretty nice, and so was the way the author embedded a flipmap which floods a previous area allowing you to make your return when you are done with the siderooms. The only downside was the maze towards the end as it felt like pure padding when none was necessary at that point, and some of the bigger areas suffer with a small wallpaper effect on the textures, but otherwise this was a fun and engaging raid through very nicely crafted environments. 70 minutes, 1 secret. 04/20" - Treeble (19-Apr-2020)
"Very big, very nice level with huge gameplay. I particularly appreciated this level of the author who has done only this level (what a pity). A lot of knowledge already (I did not understand why the crash on the finish trigger). Texturing and lighting very correct. Large pieces with classic enemies (skeletons, half gods, harpies, etc ...), only problems there are 2 labyrinths lol. Excellent." - Drakan (28-Nov-2019)
"If you like cleopal settings (and I do), you could do a great deal worse than this. Despite its age, it offers an entertaining raid, with all the elements firmly in place - find the four beetles and various 'hands' and Pharos knots, whilst dealing with the usual enemies. A shotgun and a reasonable amount of ammo ensure that the skeletons aren't too much of a problem. The variety of tasks needed to achieve the finding of the artefacts is most enjoyable; even the maze wasn't the complete pain they can so often be. It's also very nicely built, especially for a debut level, and it's just a crying shame that, for whatever reason, this talented builder never made another one." - Jay (25-Jul-2018)
"What a fun older level this was. We may be accustomed to newer Level Editor tools and crisper graphics these days, but this gem still looks good by today's standards. A few dark spots, but luckily they don't pose much of a problem. The gameplay plays good too, with some enjoyable gymnastics to perform, a hub room sequence involving eight switches and different side rooms and an enjoyable slope jump sequence. The only fairly major gripe I would have is that shotgun ammo is at a premium and there are no grenade launcher or crossbow provided and I had to resort to disposing of a couple of the skeletons in this level slightly later than I wanted. Apart from that, I enjoyed it very much." - Ryan (27-Apr-2017)
"This cleopal-style level is very very long. There are huge areas to explore, some puzzles to solve, many artefacts to find and many many stunts. Tasks are not difficult, and no much backtraking too so the gameplay was good. Sometimes you can take shortcuts avoiding some tasks but no generally. The game is well textured, and I liked enemies and objects too. Ambience is a bit dark, and it was tricky for me to find the long climbable wall in the main fountain area; also in the final room you don't know how many switches you must look for. Entertaining enough to give it an attemp." - Jose (09-Jun-2010)
"This level was recommended recently to me and I have to say that I thought it was totally solid and well-built. Nowadays, we are used to TREP and all the fresh new aspects it brings to levels, however, this level proves that tight gameplay and the old textures can equal a just as satisfying playing experience. Jeanette does a fine job creating a realistic Egyptian setting where you rarely get lost. I did get a bit lost however, in the maze, but I finally found what I was looking for without having to look at the walkthrough. I also loved the room with the switches and the codes above the doors reminiscent of Tomb Raider Palace Midas level. I was, perplexed at how few medi-paks were made available. That would be only peeve with the level. Too bad Jeanette no longer builds levels." - Shandroid (02-Aug-2008)
"Wow, this truly is a professionally made level, especially for a first timer. The atmosphere is very down to earth, yet keeps to the spirit of the original Cleopatra's Palaces, the texturing and lighting masterfully done - also it's never too dark, if there'd be any complaints in this field, then it would be that it seemed quite monotone, and had no real highlights (the room with the 4 fires did look quite gloomy and enhancing, though). The gameplay field is a stick with two ends. On one hand there are some brilliant twists (Lara picking up a broken beetle, but thus flooding the pit for her way back for example) and tasks - like the one with the combinations to turn the four fires off, but on the other hand it includes every pace-breaker and tedious move possible (save for long crawls) - long climbs, shimmy sections, two mazes (well these are not so bad, really, but still quite a pain till you get used to it) and a big ceiling area you have to shimmy on. That makes the level quite boring at times, but by no means is this a bad level. Maybe this won't give you a fresh look at things, if you're tired of Egyptian levels, but otherwise - a recommended raid!" - eTux (15-Feb-2005)
"I was browsing through the reviews this weekend (1/04) and became intrigued by the glowing remarks posted for this level by an author who to this point is a one-shot. So I downloaded and started playing and I almost immediately started getting that kid-in-a-candy-shop feeling. I had so much fun that it seemed a shame to me that there was no available walkthrough for this fine level; so I wrote one. This is a lot tougher than it might appear at first glance although seasoned raiders should be able to handle it without difficulty. I was able to get all the way through without any real-time help although I was forced to resort to the stuck threads in a few spots. Pickups for health and weaponry are almost nonexistent but the enemies are also few and far between. I was most impressed with the author's consideration for the gamer in allowing ways of escape when a missed step would drop Lara into the water. I found only one of four secrets the obvious one near the end after you complete the maze. It's too bad this bundle of fun has stood alone in the author's listing for nearly two years. I'd love to see more from her." - Phil (28-Jan-2004)
"Cleopal oh no! Snoozarama we're all thinking right same ol' same ol' with those textures and the boring enemies please even the name inspires the desire to be thrown into a 20 year coma....but how wrong was I with my preconceived ideas this was a hoot! The environment is great the camera work is great the fun moves are great even the quest for the four scarabs was great and you end all this 75 minutes after you start collecting the golden statue of the sun goddess then leaving the palaces in a lovely cave entrance where unfortunately you don't get to explore and it looked exploralicious. In this age of high tech driven more urban based levels it is really fab to come across a level that can still give you a boost with holding on to a little of the old style gaming. Play it and see if you get all 4 secrets I stumbled across 3." - Sash (18-Sep-2003)
"I must say that the levels based in the Cleo's wads and textures are not my favourite; and the Egypt levels in general are too many that I prefer to play something different. Lost Palaces is a nice level with a very fluent gameplay there are no secrets (I didn't find any) but the enemies and objects are well placed. There are beautiful rooms with enough light flyby cameras and a great puzzle that takes a lot of time to figure out how it works. Lara begins the level in one of the four Lost Palaces and entering in each one of the other three requires different objects. Really Lost Palaces is worth playing very nice and not difficult." - Loupar (31-Mar-2003)
"As I began this level I assumed it was going to be fairly easy and my objective was going to be to collect four beetles to open the exit door - it turned out to be much more than that though and I could tell right away when I got to the huge room where you place all the objects to open the doors. Is is a fairly linear level and there aren't too many enemies but there are a number of objects to collect and place and each one takes you on a long journey that's full of difficult jumps and climbs. The room with the burning pillars was the hardest as there was no clue which one was going to set you on fire. In many rooms you can see where you need to be but the trick is figuring out how to get there. I only found two secrets in this two-hour level but I probably won't play it again to look for them. It's a great level but by the end I was tired as it seemed like the whole two hours were spent making every difficult move possible. I have to wonder how the author came up with all these. I was a little surprised at the end as I thought there was one more large door to open but when I ran into the cave it was suddenly over. A great level and well built - I can tell the author spent a great deal of time on it and I felt a great sense of satisfaction when I finished it." - RaiderGirl (27-Jul-2002)
"This level is quite a treat with a very solid and intricate architecture in Cleopal style providing for almost 1:45 hours of gameplay. The atmosphere is gripping and supported by nice camera work and good use of sounds. There are two knots a portal guardian and four hands to find for progression and of course the four black beetles for the pyramid to claim your prize of the level - the sun goddess. I liked the idea with the 'fire levers' and the sometimes tricky though not too hard jumping/platforming passages. Enemies are not many (harpies skeletons bats two demigods and beetles) but they make sense and especially how the harpies approached in the huge room was well done. Also the exit cave was very well crafted and quite a reward to reach the end of the level. The main reason for downrating a bit were for me the sometimes long climb/shimmy/monkey passages which became a little tedious and I did not find any clue in the fire tile room as to which ignite and which don't so it was a lot of try & error & reload. Found only two of the four secrets so will have to come back another time." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)
"A textbook level if ever there was one. Using a standard WAD the author has created a terrific 1 1/2 hour classic Egyptian TR level. The gameplay just clips along at the right pace through a series of nicely rendered rooms. Textures and lighting are handled with care and skill and several nice flybys add to the experience. Although there were some good puzzles and skill sequences gameplay erred just a little on the side of too easy and there was no one thing that really captivated the imagination - though it came close. Still I really liked playing the level and it made me realize that Egyptian levels still can be enjoyable when they are well done. I hope we see more from this very capable author." - Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)
"This is not a bad level. Actually it's very interesting. The puzzles are good the traps too and the graphics awesome (loved the big cave with the four palaces). But I'm really getting bored with the great number of Egyptian levels. Two years ago I would love to play another fan level with the Cleopatra's Palace WAD. But we are not in 2000 and this is the WAD the author used to build 'Lost Palaces'. I'm bored to kill scorpions using my shotgun to throw skeletons in a hole or using the crowbar to pickup a black scarab in the wall. I want something new to play! So I could say that this is a very good level but if you don't want to play Egyptian levels anymore don't download it. But if that's not your problem go ahead well worth it!" - Leandro (21-Jun-2002)
"As every person has his preference I still like the Egyptian levels. Especially as there are some good puzzles in them and just the right amount of enemies. Although in this level you will encounter some of the fiercer ones. There are some skeletons you easily can outrun or dispose off some beetles (yuck) but also some demigods and last of all the harpies and they never travel alone. You start underground and although the surroundings are pleasing to the eye thrown in some plants for good measure I wondered how they survive as the lightning is gloomy going to dark. My main complaint is the darkness. It hinders my gameplay in a major way using the binoculars most of the time to just have a look at the surroundings and also using flares to see where you are going boring. I ran out off medpacks as well and barely made it with Lara's health bar blinking like madness. You have to figure out how to get down to the fountain without breaking every bone in Lara's body. Then you have to enter the 4 palaces each door need something else to open it. Behind the doors that's were the fun begins. Some intricate jumping sometimes a leap of faith is required monkey swinging and look for the cracks you need them to proceed. There are two mazes one had me baffled but I was lucky found the knot straight away and even the way back saved the game and went exploring and got lost big time. Two thumbs up for the puzzles. This was a hard level for me to give points as I had tremendous fun with the puzzles there were for me the right amount of enemies but not enough medpacks. Atmosphere was ruined because of the darkness the flybys were good and I found two secrets so I will play this level again just to get all the secrets. Textures I thought were very pleasing but then again the lightning. Otherwise my rating would be much higher. 17-05-2002" - Gerty (21-Jun-2002)
"This is the best non Eidos game I have had the pleasure of playing for some time. In my opinion it is as good if not better than an original game. The textures are superb the cameras just enough the lighting although a little dark sometimes is spot on. This one I'm sure will be up with the top 10 levels for a long while. Believe me play this now-it's brilliant-it's what Tombraider is all about!" - Doug E (21-Jun-2002)
"After playing only long and hard levels during the last weeks I wanted to play a typical Egyptian level again. So I chose this nice piece of work and was positively surprised how stunning a typical standard level still can be. The game is well designed the puzzles were standard but good the enemies are dangerous because of the lack of ammo. There were some skeletons I couldn't kill I had no shotgun ammo anymore I had to fight against 2 gods with the normal pistols and the harpies always tried to kill Lara with poison. There should be 4 secrets I only have found one nearly at the end I think that was the reason I ran out of ammo. Also not so much medipacks to find so make sure you run fast when a lot of bugs are running after you. All in all a stunning level recommended for real tomb raiders." - Freeman Porter (21-Jun-2002)
"It's all there somewhere: Hands Portal Guardian Pharos knots beetles (good and bad) demigods and golden birds. Some good puzzles on the way with clever routes round rooms and a fascinating multi-switch combination puzzle with a bit of uncertainty thrown in when one switch won't operate until the other 3 routes have been explored. Enjoyable level to play." - Fairy Godfather (21-Jun-2002)
"A good level with the game play in general not too difficult. Some good jump sequences and lots of big mazes some under water. Beware however to look in ALL places even if you have already got a pickup as you may miss a something vital. Enemies fairly easily dealt with if you know the tricks although they are varied. The atmosphere is good as is the lighting with some darkish places when appropriate but enough flares etc. Definitely one to play" - Whistle (21-Jun-2002)
"You can't go far wrong with this level. The game play is pretty straightforward. The fire switch puzzle was quite good but I could not find any logic to the order of pulling the switches I just used trial and error which to me is not good. There were symbols above the doors that were eventually opened with the right sequence of switch pulling but I could not find the logic. One of the puzzles consists of retrieving 4 beetles all in their own little puzzle area. One of these areas had quite a complex sequence of jumps and shimmy cracks I managed to miss most of the fun in this part due to being able to get to the beetle without doing the intended (I think) route I did do it again just to enjoy the challenge but it was a pity it could be missed. Oh and if you forget the star oh boy you will have to go back so check out every place. The camera work was very direct and to the point you wont get stuck of where to go next. The lighting was pretty much spot on maybe a bit bright in the larger rooms but certainly darker when needed. The textures though very standard for an Egyptian theme were well used. I think even the beginner would like this level as it is pretty obvious what you need to do though not the simplest of levels it is good if you are up to it." - Jason (21-Jun-2002)
"Normally I would say I am fed up with these Egyptian levels and the dark pyramids. Not so not in this case. The lighting is so good along with the necessary textures to fit the theme and all the rooms give the perfect atmosphere. I just loved the flow in it the puzzles are not easy to solve because of the long voyage that you have to endure and get to the items. It's a long way through many slopes fire switches and water. It was a great excitement coming from up above to the bottom main area and begin the adventure continuing among harpies skeletons and demigods. You're called to solve the fire switches puzzle different combinations reveal a different area which gives you a beetle at a time and finally place them all at the pyramid which allows you to take the Sun Goddess. I found the schisms and the jumps perfectly combined and with a ladder in one of those areas they were one of the tests you must pass for one more beetle. Other puzzle items are knots and hands. Again the main theme are the jumps along with a maze at one time that gave me some trouble. Not to worry though it's not dark like most of them are. That's one more thing I liked some areas are dark as necessary but when it comes to difficult tasks the builder has given you the advantage of at least seeing where you're going. The textures being from cleopal weren't boring at all placed so nicely are giving an almost real atmosphere in the game. The end is getting out to the light while running towards the blue sky. All I can say is that you must play this level even if you are not an Egyptian levels fan you will not regret it." - Kristina (21-Jun-2002)
"The best Cleopal level I've ever played after Black Palace. Everything is done professionally it is hard to get stuck even the maze was enjoyable! A very good game of platforming sometimes. I like the puzzle where you have to jump on pillars I saw the solution on the wall only when I finished it! I think that the author could have placed more skeletons on the ledges. Some rooms are impressive and the gameplay is pure fun and Tombraider. I had a very great moment with this level thanks to the author!" - eRIC (21-Jun-2002)
"Great I thought when I started out a Cleo Wad level called the Lost Palace with the shotgun and first black beetle in plain sight. This is going to be utterly boring and predictable. Not quite. I think it's the best and most original Cleo adventure I played since the Black Palace. You know the enemies but you won't get many you know the items (no mechanical beetle but some hands) and you know the atmosphere. But here everything is slightly bigger and more natural; rocky structures and Egypt style masonry come together rather nicely. There are some clever puzzles neat jumps good twists and two mazes (one dry one underwater) with a difference. The area is huge and once you're through with it you have this great feeling of accomplishment thinking you've spent days in the lost palace. But since the gameplay is pretty fluent it doesn't take you as long as you would think. You do so many different things. Too numerous to mention here. Not always that challenging but not so easy either. All in all a good mix over everything I think. Fly by and Cut scenes are well done and will give you a hand shall you need it. So even if you're sick and tired of the old Egypt Quest you should have a look at this. Alarming thought: Am I getting senile? I can't remember try as I might that I picked up the first Pharao's knot. I have the feeling that from one point of the level it was in my inventory. The voices; the voices in my head." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)