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The Sanctuary of Water, Ice and Fire by Piega

afzalmiah 10 10 10 10
Andi Croft 9 10 10 10
Avalon 10 9 9 10
bERT 9 10 10 10
Bex 10 10 10 10
Brat352 10 10 10 10
Catherin 10 10 10 10
CC 9 10 10 10
Chronicles5 10 10 10 10
Cuqui 10 10 10 10
dantheraider 9 10 10 10
Dimpfelmoser 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 10
Doug E 10 10 10 10
Dougsan 10 10 10 10
eRIC 10 10 10 10
EssGee 9 9 10 10
eTux 10 10 10 10
G.Croft 10 10 10 10
Gerty 10 10 10 10
gfd 10 10 10 10
Ivan 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
JesseG 8 10 10 10
Jon Black 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 9 10 10 10
Josi 9 10 10 10
JRaider66 9 9 10 10
Juno Jim 10 10 10 10
Kristina 10 10 10 10
LePerk 10 10 10 10
Litepulsar 10 10 10 10
Loren 10 9 10 10
Loupar 10 10 10 10
Luc 10 9 10 10
MacRaider 8 9 10 10
Magnus 10 10 10 10
Micael 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 9 9 10 10
Mman 10 10 10 10
Momster 10 10 10 10
Nicky 10 10 10 10
Obig 10 9 10 10
OverRaider 9 10 10 10
Pam 10 10 10 10
Patson 10 10 10 10
Pedros 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
QRS 10 10 10 10
Raider 10 10 10 10
RaiderGirl 10 10 10 10
Relic Hunter 10 10 10 10
Ruben 9 10 9 9
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 10 10 9 10
Sash 10 10 10 10
Sherry 9 10 10 10
Skender 9 9 10 10
TombRaiderFan 10 10 10 10
Tombraidergirl 10 10 10 10
Torry 8 8 9 10
TRaider1996 10 10 10 10
TRDigger 9 10 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
Vinci 10 10 10 10
Xenutia 10 10 10 10
young Lara Croft 9 9 10 10
release date: 19-Oct-2002
# of downloads: 586

average rating: 9.86
review count: 68
review this level

file size: 103.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"An elaborate set of 5 or so levels (I truly lost count) that are mostly intertwined with each other, TR4 style. Of course we have the three elemental sanctuaries, along with the Holy Fountain level acting as the hub, and some additional levels at the beginning and end of the adventure. Intertwined levels have a propensity to be a bit overwhelming, but thankfully here it's usually clear when you have accomplished your goal and are ready to head back. I'll start by saying that this levelset's age is no barrier to its visuals, which are architecturally stunning and textured very well. The lighting works to distinguish the different elemental areas from each other. As far as gameplay goes, I'll get the critiques out of the way first, most of which are minor in the grand scheme of things. I ran into two bugs: A monkeyswing over a coffin stops working after that coffin opens; and the waterskin scales didn't do anything after they were solved. No, this was not because I didn't follow the provided hint, but rolling back a few saves and doing it all in one go without saving and loading seemed to do the trick. Sometimes the way wraiths were used can be a bit irritating. One case was a secret that Lara exposes with a switch in Holy Fountain. This triggers a wraith, but without any prior knowledge of how to reach the secret (which has the cross to dispel said wraith) this leads to a save/load fest as the player struggles to explore the level and slowly carve out the route to take. There is also a particular pair of Ice and Fire wraiths sitting in boxes for Lara to break free in the Sanctuary of Ice. If the player has the misfortune of releasing the ice wraith toward the beginning of the level, Lara will suffer its presence for the whole level until the Fire wraith box is found (this is further complicated by another Ice/Fire wraith pair that exists in between). The only other complaint I have is with some areas involving backtracking, one of which is a tall waterfall chamber to ascend several times, and another with respect to Angel Tridents that need to be brought back a ways. There are definitely some creative ideas shown that I haven't seen before, such as a clock that reverses the flow of water in the aforementioned waterfall chamber, as well as mirror rooms that focus on the mirrored Lara, making it feel like the directions are swapped (okay, I actually have mixed feelings about messing with the player's camera like that, but it's certainly interesting). Add to that the nice variety of enemies that are adapted to their respective environments, as well as a modest but effective use of traps, and you have quite an entertaining adventure. 3 hours 20 minutes." - JesseG (31-Oct-2022)
"Brilliant! One of my favourites out of all the levels I've played." - TRaider1996 (23-Oct-2020)
"Time is never, ever going to diminish this wonderful level. Playing it again was a pleasure. Piega is an absolute master at wringing every last drop of goodness out of classic TR textures etc., and it still impresses after all these years. If, for some reason, you’ve never played it, please do so right away – you won’t regret it." - Jay (12-Oct-2019)
"Definitely all tens for this veritable masterpiece. So supremely crafted and so fun to play through. Beautiful surrounding and music and great puzzles. I can't think of anything negative to say about so just play it." - Ryan (28-Apr-2016)
"The level set was one of the best thought out and beautifully build that I ever encountered on I cannot praise this enough , it's that good! There are certainly no cons because I feel I've been rewarded through my hours spent on gaming. What stuck with me was deffinitely the game design, the textures the lights the beautiful scenery left a grand impression on me. The author shows a high level of professionalism and skill. One word: outstanding!" - young Lara Croft (25-Jan-2015)
"I played this adventure really a very long time ago and now I replayed it and I must say that I enjoyed it so much even on second playthrough. How Piega created this in the years when trng didn`t even exist and how he designed the gameplay and how he built the atmosphere is breathtaking. It`s one of the best in a classic style and I can say that it was like as if I was playing the next Core Design adventure. I can even forgive the few texture mistakes, because the whole impression about how all is created, textured and lit is eyecandy. And just to mention that I love cathedral atmosphere and this is one of the best if not the best of this location created and that this game belongs in my top collection where there are only the best of the best of TR custom games. I also would like to mention that at first playthrough (which was long time ago as said before) I expected something different, you know, fire ice and water, I thought that well that perhaps it will be one level where there will be fire timed runs, jumps above lava and such things or in water level that I will be underwater swimming all the time looking for spaces to take a breath and such boring things, but!!! Nothing like that here! This is absolutely different (I mean it in a good way) what I was expecting, and that I was even wondering how can be this rated so highly, but after first playthrough I understood after second playthrough I can finally review this amazing game as at that time I wasn`t a reviewer. There also must be mentioned that I was a little bit disappointed in terms of gameplay at the end of this adventure. I mean for example the whole level The Bridge isn`t as creative neither long as other earlier levels or for finding all 3 silver roses secrets you will have a chance to choose different route in final level The Monk`s Grave but also it wasn`t so creative like for example you must accomplish various areas where there are very similar/same tasks to do four/many times in each area, and even after finishing this secret route I reloaded earlier save and went on normal route and this route is even much shorter and also not as creative as previous levels. But these last comments in my review are rather things which weren`t bad rather could have been done better and don`t even bother by that as this is absolutely breathtaking adventure by one of the most talented builder Piega which you just can`t miss! If you really haven`t played this game yet then definitely make sure you download and play as it`s the one of the most precious classics of trle world! Playtime 3:20 secrets 15/15 which by the way are very impressively hidden. 9/10/10/10" - OverRaider (01-Oct-2014)
"I've replayed this masterpiece multiple times, and it has barely aged at all. The visuals aren't quite up to the best of modern sets, but it pushes the non-modified TR4 engine about as far as it could and is full of stunning views. It has many new textures and objects to create a theme that's constantly varied yet always feels coherent; the only flaw I noticed is a badly placed object in the secret level and some small inventory bugs in the last couple of levels. The gameplay is also full of interesting ideas (that were incredibly original at it's release) and many of them are still quite different today. The Bull section has a bit of odd design with some weirdly placed doors making it easy to believe you have encountered an AI bug, when all you have to do is open them once, and the secret level has pretty basic gameplay (I'll let it off as it's only a small optional extra anyway), but those are the only real flaws I found outside of the somewhat anti-climatic ending (you just get kicked back to the menu with no final cutscene or anything). The gameplay is more challenging than the main games, but still fair, and it always gives clues to things even if those clues are easy to miss. This set was ridiculously ahead of it's time at release and very few have even come close to surpassing it since. The few flaws I mentioned aren't enough to take away from the overall impression it gives, and it's one of the absolute must-plays of TRLE history, so all tens is the only thing that feels appropriate." - Mman (01-Jun-2013)
"(This review doesn't include the bonus level because I didn't play it). This level is probably one of the best games I have ever played. This adventure was absolutly amazing. I will talk about all the levels: The Snowy Mountains: This level was a very good start to the adventure. It isn't a very long level and there isn't much to explore. Texturing and lighting was really good and the only enemies were polar bears. The only sanctuary you find here is the water one and it looks amazing outside. The Holy Fountain: This level is even better than the previous one and I loved every second of playing it. The level starts in a sort of graveyard but after you find the holy fountain and the whole area looks breathtaking. You find the other two sanctuaries here. The fire and ice ones. You come back to this level a lot. It is like a hub level. The enemies were skeletons, bats and wraiths. Sanc of Fire: This level is very impressive and one of my favourites. The level kept me entertained until the end. The puzzles were really good and not too hard. The textures fit the level perfectly and the lighting was perfect. Enemies were tinmen, big bugs and bats. There were a lot of traps in this level and most of them were flame emitters. Sanc of Ice: Another impressive level and the puzzles are a bit harder now. Most of the level is to pass puzzles with the help of an ice ox (named Babe in the walkthrough). The gameplay was good but trying to make the ox hit the buttons in the main hall was hard. Enemies were wraiths, undead knights and Babe. I don't really remember any others. Sanc of Water: Definately the best looking sanctuary and level. The whole level looks absolutly brilliant. The stairs with water looked really good. Most of the puzzles include scales and waterskins. In this level the scales puzzle is different than the original one and I thought it was a great idea. Enemies were Ahmets and a demigod that you can't kill. I don't think there was anything else. The Bridge: This is a really short but nice looking level. You visit this level more than once because there is still more you need to do in the previous level. Not much to say about this level but it was a very nice looking bridge. The Monk's Grave: This level is another short one. There isn't much to say about this one either but it is the last level and also there is a bonus level here that I didn't play. In conclusion this was a brilliant game to play and kept me entertained in Bangladesh. It is really hard to believe that this game was released in 2003 and Piega had already made a game that is one of the best games in Highly recommended" - afzalmiah (15-Jan-2012)
"Really a pleasure play this pack from this good builder. In first level you can get disoriented 'cause when you begin to play you can do nothing, and you're running around a lot of time finding only dead ends, but when you discover the way to jump to the next level things are more clear, and gameplay is more fluid. The environment is very nice, with a good architecture and all those beautiful and well placed objects which give a magnificent impression. There are good puzzles too, huge areas to explore, all tasks are feasible and enemies are well balanced; guns, ammo and medipacks are enough too. Lights and textures are touching the perfection; reviewing all corners you can realize all the hard work behind this task. Really a masterpiece." - Jose (16-Nov-2010)
"This must have been the last pearl I ever picked up in the deep TRLE ocean, and I enjoyed every minute of this perfectly worked out adventure. Since it has found its well deserved home in the hall of fame I feel free to comment on a few minor issues in this game. The ever-present situation of going to and fro and back and forth never makes my day.Considering how much time and effort Piega has spent in creating a TRLE game of such epic dimensions I can only bow my hat to say : Thank You So Much !" - Ruben (16-Aug-2010)
"First custom I ever played - a long time ago. One of the FOUR I have replayed so far. Completely different than any other. There's no level I can compare it to. There's no words I can describe this masterpiece with. Not because it's the best level ever. No. Just because a fantasy world of mountain monks, located in none of known places, where one doesn't have a feeling of playing TR custom, but some kind of a different game, still very entertaining - is impossible to describe. So my rank doesn't depend on any criterions like lighting, texturing or puzzles, because it's NOT what makes this level. If I could find a categories to rate this level for, my rank would be: Uniquity 10/10, Immersion 10/10, llusion of a dream 10/10. SUMMARY: The level incomparable even to other Piega's works. Recommended for everyone - especially for beginner players, and for all of those who think they can describe everything, for them to learn they can't." - DJ Full (12-Aug-2010)
"I just replayed this wonderful game. I've played many since the first time, just after it's release, and few have matched and fewer have bettered this game in all around entertainment. It was fairly linear, not to stretch my memory too badly. Lots of everything I like, without being impossible to play without checking the walkthrough. The three pursuits wrapped into one big game, kept me going for quite a while. I know it's an "older" game, but well worth playing now." - Juno Jim (05-Dec-2009)
"Simply a masterpiece! I liked everything in this game, the textures, the puzzles, beautiful colours... and the story of course. And now I'm waiting for the next adventures "The sanctuary of souls!!" Thank you, Piega, your levels are wanderful presents for us!" - Micael (04-Mar-2009)
"My first review and the first level set I completed...WOW!! This was simply amazing! First off the puzzles are not THAT hard but still can offer quite a challenge. The gameplay is perfection as everything looks beautiful and plays just right. There were times when i had to look at the guide for help on certain parts but really that just makes it a better challenge for those who don't use guides. All the enemies objects and secrets are placed in just the right spots. Probably my favorite part of these levels is there great atmosphere. It really makes you feel like you are in the environment. Like in the snowy mountains it really sounds like you are in snowy mountains and it looks like it too. The sound is superb and so are the camera's,for instance on "The Bridge" You get a fantastic view...but i won't spoil it. Last are the lighting and textures which are again as good as it gets. The textures look perfect for the area you are in and are also varied while the lighting is in just the right spots. Owe it to yourself and play this masterpiece. It will be one unforgettable raiding experience to be replayed again and again..." - Raider (05-Oct-2008)
"Tens all around for this fantastic, perfect adventure that will keep even the most attentive raider on their toes. I have never played the game through until now - what had I been waiting for? It took me several hours a day for three or four days to complete the series, which was incredibly fulfilling at the end. Each sanctuary has incredibly beautiful vistas and some really unique puzzles. I will try to go over my thoughts without spoiling anything. The mirror rooms in the sanctuary of Ice were brilliant - a mirror room that actually reverses Lara's directional control (or fools you into thinking so, anyway). The fountain room where you reverse the water's flow and let it take you upward to the top of the room. The mappers that light up the tomb below. Just phenomenal stuff! There were many puzzles that are just unparalleled in other levels, all in beautifully designed areas that fit so perfectly into their surroundings. The game never gets boring and always keeps you guessing. As far as enemies, Rene keeps you on your toes with a variety of baddies, but rewards you with seldom seen guns such as the grenade gun and crossbow if you do some homework. Many objects have been custom made which really adds to the atmosphere. Secrets - I found many secrets but I think I missed only one of the gold roses due to a game bug (I will get to that). I found the Silver roses with the help of a walkthrough (if you are going to play this game, ensure that you find the Silver roses, using a walkthrough if you need it - it's so worth it) and really enjoyed the secret area at the end of the game, as well as the secret areas where you find the roses themselves. I doubt I would have found them on my own. The atmosphere is simply beautiful throughout, and the sound works well, even though most of the tracks are familiar. Cameras are often helpful and there are some nice flybys. There are some secrets that would have gone by had a helpful camera not shown a new perspective. Textures are of course beautiful and well crafted, and the lighting was perfect throughout. I noticed very few mistakes in the game, though one was an oddly placed staircase in the last secret area. One big problem that I had was probably a bug in the version of the game I downloaded. I don't know if it was in the game or if the files went bad somehow, but in the Sanctuary of Water I was unable to open some of the grates with the scales, they just stayed closed. So I missed a secret and from what I hear a particularly scenic vista. However thanks to a patched tomb4 with physics turned off I was able to jump off the bridge and open the door to the Monk's Grave anyway, and continue from there. Call me a cheater, but I wanted to finish the game. I would have taken a point off for this serious bug, but I have a feeling I did something wrong in downloading or converting the files. Anyway, this was the only real problem I encountered. The game is nearly flawless and it was incredibly enjoyable to play, without being too difficult. I will now eagerly await the sequel which will hopefully be released soon. If you haven't played this masterpiece, start it today!" - Chronicles5 (08-Jun-2008)
"At its time of release this level set became the bench mark in architectural excellence for custom levels. And it still holds its ground today. It is simply one of the all time classics. Whilst the architecture, texturing and lighting are brilliant, vibrant and dynamic, the gameplay sometimes gets a little too clever for its own good. I doubt whether I could have completed this game without the assistance of a walkthrough, and I'm sure I would never have accessed the bonus level without this help. But the sheer beauty of these levels will keep you captivated throughout. So set yourself a good week of raiding and thoroughly immerse yourself in the wonderful settings - it's a truly memorable experience." - EssGee (10-Mar-2007)
"I've heard it said that this set of levels is close to perfect, and I'd have to agree. It is easily as good as, and in some places possibly better, than the official games, and because it is more than a single level it will develop as a story and drag you further and further in as you play. The only gripe I would have is that there was more than enough ammo for three times as many enemies, but very few medipacks in some parts - but hey, too much ammo/weapons is far better than not enough! The graphic complexity, scope and overall challenging (but not impossible) nature of the game more than made up for it. I would recommend any Raider worth their salt try this level set. You won't be disappointed!" - Xenutia (08-Mar-2007)
"Well, this is one of the level sets every TR fans should play. There are various puzzles and other tasks in this set of levels and this really succeeds to keep player interested in every moment. Only few levels include so good looking environment that sometimes you just have to admire it without doing anything else and in this level the environment really looks so good. I had many unforgettable moments in many places and the best of them were in high water chatedral and big hall where's a lot of lava and jumping tasks to complete. I loved also the huge bridge and I've never seen anything like that. Added to this all there's very unique and magical atmosphere all the time in this game and it's not a usual feature. Only minus side is that ending wasn't as interesting as I expedted but it was still quite good and if someone hasn't played this yet I suggest to play it." - Samu (19-Aug-2006)
"Everything was great, I loved the lighting and the sounds came in at the right moment. It's wonderful, great waterfalls. Everything was well done and I really enjoyed this set of levels. The author has done a great job on it. Everything was great." - dantheraider (25-Dec-2005)
"This offering from Piega is one of those rare gems that overwhelms the senses - he has the ability to not only imagine environments as wonderful as these, but to translate them into a game that very effectively conveys his imaginary world to the player! (For that reason I'm glad I'm writing this review 2 1/2 years after playing this set of levels as it enables me to bring a sense of perspective :) The first thing that hits you, and which stays to the end (and long after), is the wonderfully complex and beautiful architecture - this is Piega's biggest strength (as demonstrated in all his levels) and is shown to full advantage here. From the snowy ravines to the rocky riverbed and the lofty cathedral, this is eye candy at its very best! However, the wonderful complexity of the architecture may also be its Achilles heel, in as much as the gameplay was allowed to become extremely complicated as a result - I strongly suspect that very few players could have completed this game (including the bonus level) without some form of assistance, and that can be quite disheartening for some. I certainly found that I was spending far too much time wandering around trying to figure out what I was supposed to do next, and as a result I was occasionally forced to get guidance from the forum. The enemies are varied, but don't really impede your progress or stop you enjoying the eye candy, and for that I was grateful. However in some cases (for example the sharks in a cold mountain river?!) they were quite inappropriate and detracted from the game. There were plenty of well placed secrets, but missing some denies you access to the small bonus level. I particularly liked the concept of the 'time' puzzle to reverse the flow of a water column, but generally the puzzles weren't anything we haven't seen many times before. I wouldn't have found all the secrets (and may not have been able to complete the game) without help, but it was worth persevering if only to experience all that wonderful architecture! For that reason, if no other, this is a must for everyone to play!" - MacRaider (03-Nov-2005)
"Actually not much to say as all the other reviewers have already pointed out what kind of masterpiece this one is. And this perfect set of levels speaks for itself. The best I ever played! I am impressed by the stunning atmosphere, amazing custom objects, gameplay and music. I guess it took me way longer than normal as I just had to admire the beauty of the environment for ages - several times! This is a must-play-level. Do yourself a favour and go for it." - Tinka (25-Oct-2005)
I thought I had seen it all... until I played this massive adventure. It is just perfect.. in all aspects. Amazing environments, cool puzzles and custom objects. The atmosphere is out of this world.. The music.. cameras.. my god this IS the perfect custom adventure. I have never seen anything like it before! If Piega can top this, well he can do anything :) There is nothing bad about this adventure. This is how tr4 should have been like! Amazing work Piega! All tens from me and it should be blasphemy to give it less ;) 2005-07-21 - QRS (22-Jul-2005)
"This is such a perfect adventure and there is almost nothing that could outrank this classic. In here Lara visits some mountains where she finds a complex of Sanctuaries that protect artifacts and Lara has set her sights on a Golden Feather which is hidden in the sanctuary of water. What can I say? This adventure is outstanding! I love cathedral style levels and this is what I got! The rooms are so brilliantly constructed the atmosphere is simply superb and the puzzles are very unique! The tasks here aren't easy at all but they certainly aren't hard either. I played this adventure some time ago so I don't remember it that well but it sure was excellent! If you haven't played this yet you simply don't know what you're missing! Download this now! You'll be really surprised at Piega's amazing level building skills. I look forward to playing Sanctuary of Souls which I think that should be released sometime in the year 2005." - Relic Hunter (11-Aug-2004)
"This is the most excited I've been about a custom level for months. And I haven't even started playing yet. I don't have to tell you that I have really high expectations about these levels and I was thrilled to see that they were released three days earlier than expected - right now on the weekend. I've played a beta-demo of one of the levels before since the author was kind enough to forget to delete it when he had uploaded it for the beta-testers. So I know that these levels have to be great. At least I hope so. Well we'll see. Just be warned that this review contains quite a few spoilers. The Snowy Mountains (5 minutes): The level starts with Lara sliding down from a helicopter. The first thing I noticed was that Lara was wearing the same outfit as on the screenshots the author has shown. I don't like that outfit. Anyway the small part I saw of the level before getting to the next one looked good and there was even a snowmobile. Now I just have to find the crowbar to open the crates at the start... Oh and I found one secret. The Holy Fountain (27 minutes): Once again I don't get to spend much time in a level. I got the Monk's Scroll and am on my way to the Sanctuary of Ice. I could have gone to the Sanctuary of Fire but since the beta-demo was of the Sanctuary of Ice I know that at least the start of the level is good. And I found two secrets which means that I now have three. Sanctuary of Ice (29 minutes): I love this level (even though I wish it had been longer). I loved the way the author had used the bull when I played the beta-demo and I still love it. The level looks great and the ice is very convincing. And I finally found the crowbar (or 'prybar' as it's called in this level). I really can't write much more about this level without giving away too much so I'd better stop. I now have six secrets. The Holy Fountain (30 seconds): Actually just a short run to the Sanctuary of Fire but I thought I would put it here anyway. Sanctuary of Fire (38 minutes): A little dark but still a great level. There are some really nice areas but also a lot of caves and lava (I like lava). This is this far the level with the most enemies which doesn't say much of course... I found all three secrets and now have nine. The Holy Fountain (3 minutes): I placed the two gems got the last secret and continued. Not much more to do this time. The Snowy Mountains (21 minutes): Not a very long stay this time either but the level is still very fun (even though there is a lot of swimming to be done in the first half). I finally got to use the 'prybar' (I had been waiting for so long). After that I did a jump with the snowmobile and am now on my way to the next level. I found the two remaining secrets but for some reason the last one didn't register so I'm only at a total of eleven (but of course we know it's really twelve). Sanctuary of Water (19 minutes): I loved the music in the beginning of this level. It was very fitting and atmospheric. Otherwise yet another excellent level - I'm not done here yet though I'm just trying to get the second Trident in another level right now. One strange thing was that when I got to this level I automatically got a Trident. And I found two secrets. The Bridge (4 minutes): Actually a part of the Sanctuary of Water. I got the last Trident and got to see the beautiful view from the bridge... I'm now on my way to place the two Tridents I have. Sanctuary of Water (2 minutes): I placed my two Tridents and got back to The Bridge... The Bridge (1 minute): It's really getting quite annoying to write something after every level-jump... Anyway this time I was under the bridge. I made a few jumps pulled a lever and jumped back. The door at the end of the bridge is now open. Sanctuary of Water (1 minute): I exited The Bridge ran through the Sanctuary of Water and am going to The Bridge again... The Bridge (3 minutes): I finally acquired the golden feather and found the last secret (there are actually just fifteen secrets). In the end I could choose which way to take and of course I had to try both. The Monk's Grave (4 or 13 minutes): Four minutes if you take the way you have to take if you didn't find the three silver roses and thirteen minutes if you take the other way. Even though this last level was surprisingly short it was a great ending. Overall (2 hours and 44 minutes): What can I say? This is to date the best levels I've ever played and I haven't liked a level this much since I played 'The Last Crusade'. The texturing is excellent the gameplay is excellent and the atmosphere is of course excellent. The areas look so good that these levels could easily be mistaken for a new game. The detour you can take in the end if you manage to find all three silver roses is a good idea and it's really worth getting all secrets just to see everything there is to see. There are a few bugs which don't lower the score anything because these levels are so great that small bugs like the ones in them don't detract to the overall enjoyment at all. I should stop now; this review is getting much longer than I thought it would become. Anyway these levels have my highest recommendations and I'm giving them my first full score." - Magnus (29-Jan-2004)
"The most amazing set of levels I have yet played. Simply put the textures special effects music and general all round gloss are astounding. Even more so when you consider the release date of the level and perhaps even more importantly the limitations of the aging editor itself. There are so many jaw-dropping moments here that I wouldn't know where to begin. So I'll just quickly mention the moment that actually managed to leave me moved: the secret area where you have to take a 'leap of faith'! The best secret ever no question. Also the cathedral within the Water level looks stunning as though it were released yesterday! Hold on though the graphics maybe the best ever but what about the gameplay? Is it another confused mess like the equally highly rated The Last Crusade? No it is not. It is much much better and very rarely dull. It is right up there with Legacy of the Gods as far as I'm concerned and that is no mean feat what so ever. Not a level for beginners though mark my words. Best to get a few other levels under your belt before you tackle these beauties. Also I defy almost anyone to complete it without the walkthrough - you have been warned! It will help you though if you look everywhere in your travels and try everything then you may not get stuck every 15 minutes ;) I completed this true masterpiece in 9 hours and managed to locate 11 secrets :)" - gfd (29-Dec-2003)
"This is a true masterpiece and really has all the features of a perfect TR game. Some truly classic misdirection. Puzzles that almost border on the unsolvable while not being entirely unsolvable. Very technically demanding jumps and timed sequences. Well hidden secrets. Great adversaries cinematic sequences in a world all wrapped up in a neat package that finds you back at the beginning when in the middle. No bugs at all no hidden 'don't save here or else's no desktop crashes. Nothing but flawless play. The closest to a perfect game I have played to date. You can't help but love it." - Jon Black (07-Oct-2003)
"What can one say about this custom level? It is just about perfect. The atmosphere is almost real as well as the lighting and textures such as water cascading down stairs. The gameplay is wonderful with quite a few moments of almost jumping out of your chair. There are hammergods (soooo irritating) wraiths (both fire and water) ahmets fire traps spikes undead knights harpies etc even a blue bull. Of course the bull does help open doors. The waterskin puzzles were great! And quite a few secrets to get. This level deserves all the accolades it has received. I am so glad I played it and highly recommend it." - Patson (05-Aug-2003)
"A spellbound trilogy and some. The best trle levels I have ever played (so far). Brilliant atmosphere and graphics magnificent layouts and wonderful sceneries throughout. Great use of sounds lighting camera angles and scenic flybys used provide many picturesque settings and blissful moments; mine the Sanctuary of Water and the Bridge. The architectural design skills in these levels are very impressive ie. buildings landscapes sculptures and artworks are proportional in their environment and well put together and appear relative to the mystical place and time the author was trying to capture. The quest a Golden Feather and for the persistent - 3 Silver Roses for a bonus level linked each memorable journey and passage between levels superbly. Even the helicopter at the beginning returns to conclude an end to a great adventure. There are some extremely clever puzzles and secrets and most are fun to explore with time to enjoy the majestic surroundings. Duel with green harpies tin men with sapphire hearts (some mounted on horseback) invincible hammergods and even semi retired knights just to mention a few each enemy selected appropriately for this adventure. Life itself is not perfect hence a few items to mention for what their worth although absolutely insignificant overall (mostly technical but no big deal): At times the scroll and the crystals in the inventory would temporarily turn invisible while in transition from one level to another. After completing the bonus level there is a spare angel trident in the inventory and the golden feather turns to amour? The strange slippery sliding steps? I mistakenly spent excessive time looking for a wretched crowbar to open the crates at the very beginning and a means to access visible tunnels near the untextured step (which were inaccessible I think?). It took me 8:54min (reality a week and a bit) to find 14 secrets and the 3 silvers roses. I originally missed 2 gold roses and the 2nd silver rose; however I doubt I would have found them without the excellent walkthrough obtained. I think it can be a little too hard in some places for the average Raider. Nonetheless a sense of fulfillment after having played a TRLE Masterpiece by Piega. - A must for all raiders - Sensational Rene. 21/07/03." - TRDigger (25-Jul-2003)
"There is a reason this is the number level. The other reviews go on about the beautiful environments and they are. Piega went a little over board with the shiny objects and waterfalls but it all fits together perfectly. The great part for me about this level is the gameplay always challenging but never frustrating that's a fine line to walk. Even the sound was good the music in the room where you reverse time was spot on. There is just too much in this game to give a run down of thing you have to do best thing to do is just play yourself. This set of levels was so innovative beautiful and fun I know I will play it again. This time I try to get all the secrets." - LePerk (26-Jun-2003)
"Probably one of the best levels ever terrific atmosphere and graphics superb layout and wonderful scenery. I enjoyed it immensely." - Avalon (04-Jun-2003)
"Wow this is a great level. The graphic is the best I have ever seen. Better than the original tomb raider games. There are wonderful waterfalls and very nice churches. A picture for harmony. The enemies were crocodiles hammergods bats and more. The right enemies for here. The sound were nice and the atmosphere is great. The puzzles were not so hard and tricky jumps I missed. I found some bugs in the game. The bull was not follow me and I must have a savegame from another player to go the next way. And what I do not find good: When you do the water-puzzles you must do it wrong before you do it right. You can not find the next way when you do it right before. But all in all this is a masterpiece. I was playing six hours in this good level. All players can play this level. They must play it. It is for beginners too." - Andi Croft (20-May-2003)
"For no other reason get this level just to SEE it. It's absolutely beautiful. It took me forever to finish not only because of gameplay but I spent a long time just looking around. One spectacular view is when you come out very high up onto cliffs and you are in front of a temple you have to jump to. Also the area with numerous little waterfalls. I spent a long time there looking even though there was not much to do gamewise. In fact every single area is a masterpiece. I needed the walkthrough a lot and Phil has done a brilliant job writing it. The all-time MUST-have custom level." - CC (02-May-2003)
"Who needs AoD if there are level like these to play? To me this was not only a complete game in itself- it is a piece of art. I really enjoyed taking my time with it and the fun lasted for a whole week. I already loved the story in the read-me and was absorbed by the atmosphere right away. It starts out in an arctic environment where you just have to leave some unopened doors behind and proceed to the most beautiful places inside and outside I have ever seen in a level. A whole gallery of very creative and never before seen textures had me just in awe whenever I stepped into a new room. And there I stood trying to figure out what to do or where to go next. The puzzles were so complex at times that it took a while to even find out where to begin but after exploring thoroughly it all just fell into place so perfectly. Always challenging never frustrating - brilliant! I just loved the torch puzzles the invincible enemies (bull hammergod knight) and I had a lot of fun with the waterbag puzzles. There were numerous new tricks that kept the game exciting the whole time because it always ends with a surprise always better than I could ever imagine for example the mirror room or one of the torch-puzzles with a great effect when used on ice. There are 15 secrets to collect (I think I had 14 at the end) and three silver roses (found them all) to enter the bonus level. A superb quality game!" - Pam (07-Apr-2003)
"This level is the latest work of Pigea and his progress is tremendous since his first level. Everything is in its right place and you don't have to run to the beginning of the level 'cause there's a switch somewhere in the hell. The atmosphere is so much impressing that I even forgot that it's not a formal level. The difficulty of some of the puzzles contents with those in the original levels. It's long time ago since I last had to think over some moving along but my brain was running really during playing this level. The difficulty of the secrets are acceptable too. You don't have to jump with neck breaking accuracy but it's enough to leave the main direction and you can collect all of them. Plus if you have all secrets you are able to reach a separate bonus level. The passaging of the levels effects acceptably on the using of energy. If those people in the CORE were looking for a level designer Piega would be the perfect choice for them. I've been waiting for his next level as I'm sure I will test a quality work." - Obig (12-Mar-2003)
"On the rating I put everywhere "10" because this level is the best of every levels which have already been built. Well I am writing it after 5 months I finished this level so I do not say almost anything new. I was fascinated about this level already in July when Rene published some screens from Sanctuary. I knew after playing The Last Crusade that it will be better. And I was not wrong. While I was playing I thought that it was of dazzling beauty. The views were so electrifying that sometimes I stopped playing and I have been enjoying it for some minutes. And to the end of this package I was addicted to playing it. Who played Sanctuary knows how good it is and who has not played yet has to understand that it is ordered to play it. I know it so true because I know I was feeling by walking inside the Sanctuary of Water and Ice - these are levels which I cannot describe. Only silence can express how these levels are great. I put "10" for Gameplay Puzzles Enemies Objects Atmosphere Sound etc. because for me this level deserves that mark. Although there was for me too few enemies I think it was the best work of every TRLevels-builder. I am very grateful to Rene because he gave me a lot of satisfaction during enjoying Sanctuary of Water Ice and Fire. Thanks!" - Pedros (10-Mar-2003)
"This is a masterpiece amongst custom levels and I therefore have to give it 10 in all aspects. I didn't follow the walkthrough and in result I didn't get the 3rd silver rose and although I made it to the end I couldn't get into the extra level - fortunately I had one savegame from the end of The Sanctuary of Ice! So I played it all again from there and got to that extra level... Fairly easy but let's face it better than the professional All Hallows and it was very nice of Piega to add it to the game. By the way I'm not one of those who criticized Chronicles in fact I enjoyed it but shouldn't Core be ashamed of having released it after seeing this amazing custom level? Well the fact that I did not follow the walkthrough got me seriously stuck in that room with the pool where you have to climb all the way up to the top and down and up again - I was trying to make that horrid jump to the ledge with the closed gate and I made it in fact the first time (when I forgot the last silver rose) I was there. In my second try after doing it for about a million times frustrated and exhausted I went for a swim and found a rock from which one can make an easy jump to another ledge in front of an entrance with carvings. From then on it was easy especially cause I had already been there and even with those terrible hammergods. I also found out that it's quite simple to pass the room with the chains just by crouching and several other things I can't remember anymore. Anyway that goes to say that this very complete beautiful game is also well conceived in that it allows the player to make it by himself not necessarily having to use a walkthrough. That from my point of view as well as the beautiful and varied locations makes it better than The Last Crusade which was already very good. It's also very original starting from the pool room I mentioned when you press the carving on the wall and the water starts flowing upwards (by the way that music and the situation really reminded me of Alice that was an Alice moment in TR). I sincerely hope Piega will release more such games in the future..." - Jorge22 (08-Mar-2003)
"**** review comments unfortunately lost ****" - Dougsan (16-Feb-2003)
"This is a really excellent custom level and without exaggeration the best I have ever played. This little game consists of beautiful snow covered landscapes giant lava chambers and a lot of water. Waterfalls are amazing all the textures are used well. The used objects are also very good. You get a snowmobile a polar bear... You will spend most of the level running or jumping at least that was my impression. There are a number of enemies to avoid use for your purposes or kill. You will meet spirits a bull some skeletons knights (both sizes) the above mentioned polar bears guys with hammer and several others. If you search the area very thoroughly you can find a lot of weapons to help you against most opponents. The puzzles are challenging but logical. If you get stuck most of the time you need to look more closely use the crowbar shoot everything or try a daring jump. I liked the idea of golden and silver roses as secrets where the silver roses where special secrets. The level looks really good the sound is good and you will have a lot of fun with it. It took me several days to get through this is not a level for an evening." - Tombraidergirl (11-Feb-2003)
"This is an absolute masterpiece of a series. Having done quite a bit of my own work with the level editor myself I can really appreciate the complexity of these levels. Sometimes people have a hard time balancing gameplay with such a massive construction but I was very satisfied. (I was even stumped a couple times and I hate asking for help!). It's really too bad if this is piega's last creation because it surpasses quite a bit of original level editing especially in creativity. Play it first!" - JRaider66 (27-Jan-2003)
"Much has been said of this level so I will not expound on its virtues but to say this is the best made non-professional level I have played. It is very beautiful and I really lost myself in the feel of the game. However I found this level very difficult and doubt I would have finished without the excellent walkthrough provided. I gave a '9' in gameplay due to this reason - it is a little too hard in places for the average Tombie. My hat is off to all you raiders that completed it without the walkthrough. Thanks to Bex in giving me a helping hand. Piega seems to have a superior understanding of the level editor therefore it is sad that he does not plan to build any more." - Sherry (27-Dec-2002)
"While downloading this I had a few reservations the thing is I loved 'The Last Crusades' and also gave it perfect scores but I didn't think my poor fragile mind could take another epic brain buster like that one. I'm still in therapy over it! Thankfully Sanctuary is either more linearly based without seeming so or I luckily had just stumbled through it by sheer good fortune without any real hassles and only resorted to searching for help with 2 of the 3 silver roses and those movable statues that I think not many people would have clued in on without a little nudge that way. Without having to go into details of what you'll find in this multi leveled game as all the other reviews will have described them I would really just like to say that this is a wondrous feast for all the senses that can be stimulated through the computer screen and I can not imagine there being a possibility of disappointment from any player out there so if anyone is a little put off by the size of the download just get a download manager and take your time getting it because what a joy you will experience. By the way Mikey have you ever thought of taking up writing the great German novel because after reading your review (stopping halfway through for a glass of water some pre-workout stretching and a short rejuvenating nap) I gave myself a perfect score of 10 ;*)" - Sash (02-Dec-2002)
"This (sadly he says 'final') multi-level from Piega is just astonishing and I believe it should go into the 'Hall of Fame'. The gameplay for each of these connected levels is great with smooth transitions with just the right amount of running back to the previous level to obtain an object or finish a goal. The enemies in the earlier levels are fairly easy to beat but they get tougher further in (specifically the Hammer Gods!). I just loved the fact that you got to play on the snowmobile (though I did have a hard time at one point and Momster came to my rescue!). Sanctuary of Fire was a great test of precise jumping skills and puzzle solving ability. Also a test of my ambidexterity in the mirror rooms (am I turning right or left here?). Great fun! Sanctuary of Ice really tested my skills to get out of the way at the absolute last split second and my jumping skills to avoid pop up spike pits (ouch!). The Snowy Mountains was my personal nemesis here is where I had the most trouble with the snowmobile and needed assistance (thanks again Momster!) Sanctuary of Water was my personal favorite with the water scale puzzles and the Hammer Gods (boy those guys are nasty!). Throughout these levels the texturing lighting sounds camera angles were just superb! Piega I hope this isn't your last level - cause I'm sure going to miss them." - Brat352 (01-Dec-2002)
"Make sure you do read the readme file as it makes this huge adventure even a little more extra special when the story unfolds as you play along. All in all this is definitely Rene's masterpiece and surely a worthy holder of the top spot in the ranking. One you have to play for the looks and atmosphere alone. But let's get a little into the details as is my habit with series of levels: The Snowy Mountains (8/8/9/10 15+45 min. 3 secrets (golden roses)): Dropped of by the helicopter you spend only a few minutes here initially riding a snowmobile and killing a few cute polar bears. When you come back later there is a series of breathtaking swims among sharks to master which I found a little annoying (although the small fish are nice) a Sanctuary Key to get and the cave with the waterfalls is beautiful beyond words (one of my favourite rooms in this adventure). Still a bit of snowmobile riding and jumping and here one of the Golden rose secrets did not register as one. The Holy Fountain (8/10/10/9 45+5+5 min. 3 secrets (2 golden 1 silver rose)): This is sort of a central level as you get to two of the sanctuaries from here for which you need to find the 'Stone of Ice' and the 'Stone of Fire'. Enemies are rather cool semi-transparent skeletons bats green (!) harpies and ice wraiths. All the various chapels look just amazing and render the gameplay almost completely irrelevant as you just want to stand and look. Still there is a torch puzzle some swinging blades to maneuver some urn to push and I still wonder why some of those stairs are actually slopes. You bring back here for use the 'Evil Thoughts Crystal' and the 'Frozen Will Crystal'. Sanctuary of Ice (10/9/10/10 45 min. 3 secrets (2 golden 1 silver rose)): Probably my favourite level of the series - just love the way the icy environment has been created. Very good use of the bull (a nice icy blue one) to shatter tiles to open doors. Some undead knights fire and ice wraiths to avoid and progression is helped via two Cathedral Keys. Again some traps along the way (spikes swinging blades) and two torch puzzles. The 'dancing lights' were a cool effect and the mirror room with the knight nicely done. Found the ambience sound a little annoying over time. Sanctuary of Fire (9/10/10/10 60 min. 3 secrets (2 golden 1 silver rose)): This one was the most difficult level for me certainly in terms of navigating Lara around in the lava rooms jumping from one triangular tile to the next. Best ever use of mist I have seen - looks very real. Enemies are skeletons wasps and red tinmen (one on a horse) and a fire wraith. Some rope swings and squishing blocks to master sometimes combined with flame-throwers. As valid for most of the secrets these really turn out to be adventures of their own here and you miss a lot of the fun if you miss out on them. Again a torch puzzle and even a short timed sequence here. Sanctuary of Water/The Bridge/The Monk's Grave (10/8/10/10 50+20 min. 3 secrets (golden roses)): The initial flyby of the huge Sanctuary of Water is again a stunning moment. I loved the water flowing down the stairs. Here you get a revival of the good old waterskins puzzle in combination with ahmets. Strangely once when 4 candles should be lit I got only two so needed the walkthrough to sort that one out. The hammergods (and getting rid of them) are fun the locusts seemed a little out of place. There are three Angel tridents to be found and used. For some strange reason I started the level with already one in my inventory - don't know why? The Bridge is another sight for sore eyes with nice camera work as you jump and run along it. And yes the Golden Feather - your big prize - becomes a butt in inventory in The Monk's Grave but that is really no big deal. If you managed to find the three silver roses you are rewarded with another 20 minutes of extra gameplay with tinmen more tridents fire wraiths a hammergod crocodiles and another four silver roses before you actually find the poor old dead Monk (with a sword?). What remains to say is that I found this adventure to be absolutely professional quality and getting it for free rather than buying it in a store is such a treat you don't want to miss out on that!" - Michael (25-Nov-2002)
"Awesome graphics hours of excellent raiding well thought puzzles and a great variety of tasks make this adventure a must play and a must see. Piega has made a brilliant work and a very CLEVER choice and selection of textures. Below are quick opinions on the different levels I give higher marks for the global rating as all levels are parts of a whole excellent and artistic adventure. The Snowy Mountains (9/7/10/10): The player has to come twice here. The first time finding his/her way is a bit confusing. Not many enemies only 3 bears killed only one of them. The second time there is an enjoyable climbing of an impressive central rocky structure in the midst of water and the puzzle to change the course of the falling water is well done. A hard trial with the motorbike. Great and realistic atmosphere. The Holy Fountain (10/10/10/10): The central level of the game from where you go to the sanctuaries. The puzzles and graphics are great variety of enemies: skeletons bats wraiths harpies a shark. Exciting raiding and exploration. Sanctuary of Fire (10/10/10/9): Maybe not as beautiful as the others levels but really interesting progression puzzles and opponents: tinmen a horseman fire wraiths and giant flying beetles. Straightforward and excellent raiding. Sanctuary of Ice (10/10/10/10): Beautiful and stunning architecture and texturing. Good use of the bull and of the ice wraith to annihilate the fire wraith. Really good and original puzzles. Sanctuary of Water/The Bridge (8/8/10/10): Awesome setting. Unfortunately the puzzles are not so great as in the previous ones. They are good but predictable and I had a feeling of deja vu. And those two levels are a bit short. Not so much to do here in those beautiful places. Bonus level: Not played yet... but it won't be long before I played the whole adventure again and find all the roses:) I want to thank Piega for all his great work." - eRIC (24-Nov-2002)
"A brilliant work. This is the most beautiful set of levels I ever played. I have no words to describe this exciting experience. The gameplay is exceptional funny and pleasant. The atmosphere is perfect and the sound excellent. Cameras show you several views very impressive. Some flybys are amazing. There are rooms so magnificent that I stood gaping. Puzzles are witty and clever. Playing this level you enjoy a great adventure sometimes challenging. Phew! The timed door in Sanctuary of Fire was hard. I finished the game with 15 secrets having access to the bonus. It's a fascinating level worthy of admiration and to make the most of it!" - Cuqui (24-Nov-2002)
"First off I want to say that this is a very very good set of levels but I must admit to being disappointed. After reading the glowing reviews and the praise about Piega being the new Messiah I'm afraid I expected more. Sadly whilst there are some brilliant aspects to these levels they are only mutton dressed as lamb. One reviewer even went as far as to say 'This is one of the best ever built and is actually even better than most of the original Tomb Raider games'. Hardly. What this series did is to take everything out of the current Tomb Raider games and offer it to us once again in the same old tired and worn scenarios. There was simply nothing new here. On a brighter note some of the panoramic vistas were simply amazing and the author has a gift of conceptualising a scene and bringing it to life. I spent over fourteen hours wandering around this make believe world (mostly wondering what I should do next) and whilst I enjoyed the views that was not what I was there for and I felt at times I simply wished it would end. Still. Let us look at some of the highs and lows. I disliked the snowmobile as it could and would get stuck time and time again. The invisible walkways are one of my pet hates but this one was at least obvious. Shooting blindly at a wall in the hope of shattering an unviewable lattice (due to the camera angle) over a crawl space was inexcusable. Also throwing the torch onto an ice pond and having it burn was a tad too surreal for me. (Ice never burns for me not in this world). A better way would be having Lara locate a can of oil empty the oil onto the ice and then throw the torch igniting the oil. Makes more sense and does not alter the laws of physics. However paddling through water with a lighted torch was a masterstroke. I also thought that the method of shooting submerged objects without the telescopic sight was clever and something I had not seen before. About midway through the series you are required to return to your starting point to retrieve some essential items and I felt this was simply padding out the game. Those items would have been better served en-route in a difficult area to access whilst being in plain sight. The secret areas for the gold roses afforded no rewards. The silver roses at least gained you access to the bonus level at the end and they were (and should be) difficult to acquire. Speaking of the bonus level where was the bonus? If you leave without doing the level you leave with 3 silver roses. Completing the bonus level gives you ten minutes of repetitive game play and you only leave with one silver rose. As for the puzzles well I did not find them very puzzling but this may well be due to the fact that I have simply played too many of these things and am anticipating the author. I located 14 secrets as well as the three silver roses to access the bonus level and my in-game time ended up at 5 hours 25 minutes. Overall this is a very nice diversion from the real world and is a level that all raiders can enjoy." - Torry (22-Nov-2002)
"Brilliant. This is a real masterpiece of Piega. He did it. Again. He still can amaze me while I was not expecting this at all - Thought that I knew all of his fine art his perfectionist work and his fantasy. NOT though. This mini-game is the crown of his work overall his games. It is the last one he told us and from a rumour (which I really can trust) I heard that he really has stopped building. But because this is a reviewing-place and not the place to create sad emotions I will make a review just right away! ;o) This level begins in 'Snowy mountains'. It was the piece I did like less. But from there on it only became bigger more exciting and more beautiful. I was IN this game more than ever. I did play the 'demo' before. (And I did it in a LEGAL way!!!) But never the less it was great to play it again. (And that is not only because I really have a short-time memory). The atmosphere gave me shivers over and over again and it only got worse when I got further in the game. Never had this cold fingers when I played an exciting game not speaking of those 'Hammergods' at all. The gameplay was astonishing. You could see that Piega learned from his 'Last Crusade' that he had to make it more easy to find your way through. Not only the objects but also the way you had to pass was more obvious to find. The puzzles were built in with a lot of thinking and every time he gets new puzzles with the same editor over and over again. What I did miss in the game were a few more enemies but the secrets were this beautiful (real Piega-like) that they compare at that point. The sounds where not the sounds Piega wanted to use at the first beginning. (While he was building the discussion began of copyrights on other music than the TRmusic) so the music is TRmusic but it couldn't be better than this sounds because they are placed exactly where they belong. (And makes you shiver where you have to). The cameras were placed just where they did make situations more clear not too many not too few. And the lighting was doing the atmosphere again. Then the textures. This is a special thing. Did someone - in a far past - complain that Piega only did 'copy and paste' in his levels? Well take a better look in THIS level and you will find textures made by himself and then I mean drawn coloured and scanned INTO the leveleditor. Thank you Rene for this beautiful adventure it did me good to see that you did it again. Even if you won't again... It is no wonder that he stopped building. What's the fun of keeping yourself from the number one position over and over again?" - Nicky (19-Nov-2002)
"This is the best of all custom levels I've played and even better than some of the originals. It's perfect beautiful challenging funny and the only fault I've seen in this level is that it ends.... I'm going to play it again this time with the walkthrough. I finished with 14 secrets and entered in the bonus rooms." - Loupar (18-Nov-2002)
"Well this HAS to be the best I've played so far-and I've played a few! This is a huge game and has something for every one. It took me a while to actually get started in the correct place but when I did I was certainly in for a treat. This deserves all the tens for a score and even more. A masterpiece and shows this author is up at the top of the skills tree. Brilliant - well done." - Doug E (16-Nov-2002)
"A helicopter a polar bear and a snowscooter that's the start of another wonderful level. First you have to find a way to the big fountain from there you have to solve puzzles to get to the fire- and ice sanctuary to obtain some crystals. If you also find three silver roses you can do a bonus level. The waterskin puzzles in the sanctuary of water were very well done I liked the way you could find out how much water you needed. The levels are very beautiful specially the stained glass windows where you can see through. There's a variety of enemies bats skeletons bull hammergods crocs knights and so on. I did not find all the secrets but that is just a reason to play it again. A really great level the only thing now is to get Rene to build again." - Josi (07-Nov-2002)
"This level is the best level I have ever played! Lara starts of at the Snowy Mountain areas and gradually makes her way up to the Holy fountain. Then the three main aspects come into place with the three sanctuaries the water ice and fire. Some new textured objects made the level look really unique and a new Bear was also on the scene in the Snowy Mountains. The Gameplay is tremendous as it took me over 4 hours to complete. There are some brilliant puzzles and they were very hard to figure out as well. There are also some hidden secrets which you might want to find during the game as well. If you like levels which take you weeks to finish then download this one! It is a cracker ;)" - TombRaiderFan (05-Nov-2002)
"Great work and excellent game. I like these levels of Tomb Raider. Very good synhonizade with all moments in game and very good connect of player and all in game. Only what I not like it is too short for playing hmmm I would like to be bigger but this for now is best ever made Tomb Raider level. Will 'Angel of darkness' be as good as The Sanctuary of Water Ice and Fire?" - Ivan (05-Nov-2002)
"Wow one more (I hope not the last) set of levels from Piega. I must admit it wasn't what I expected. Somehow I found previous set better but hey GREAT set of Levels. Things like clock button that changes flow of the water mirror room in Sanctuary of Ice or nice combination of fire- and ice-wraith are just some of great parts of this trilogy. Starting from rather simple first level (not my favorite) to a second with great atmosphere lightning puzzles; continuing in one of Sanctuaries and I mean to real start of the game - no words - just PIEGA!" - Skender (03-Nov-2002)
"Just when you thought that Rene Brooymans couldn't surpass his previous works he surprises you. Sanctuary of Water Ice and Fire is an excellent mini-game. The lighting gameplay atmosphere ... just about everything ... this is what Tomb Raider was meant to be. The use of the snowmobile makes perfect sense where it is used and for the reasons for which it is used. The use of the waterfalls especially in The Holy Fountain is spectacular. The Sanctuaries of Ice and Fire are fascinating studies in contrasts. Upon returning to The Snowy Mountains there is a rather clever use of textures to give the appearance of time moving in reverse -- quite interesting. The last three levels while quite expansive and impressive are nevertheless rather short which is about the only minus in gameplay. There is one place in Sanctuary of Fire when Lara enters a large room and because the wav file is missing the sound blanks out. However copying the 086.wav file and renaming it 077.wav resolves this problem while keeping the sound consistent with the designer's intent. The most noticeable problems are with a few of the objects. In The Holy Fountain there are some 3-click-high steps that Lara has to leap over as the slope beneath is one that she slides on. In The Monk's Grave the Golden Feather (the one Quest Item in this mini-game) is absent from the wad set. Also in the same level the designer clicked one of the stair objects one or two clicks too many. Also the designer claimed that there were a total of 21 secrets - three in each level. However while there were three in each of the first four levels there were only two in Sanctuary of Water one in The Bridge and none in The Monk's Grave for a total of fifteen. Nevertheless Sanctuary of Water Ice and Fire is excellent. If you download no other levels this year I strongly encourage you to download this one. Kudos to Rene." - Loren (01-Nov-2002)
"If I tried to list all the reasons I thought these were the most brilliant levels ever made my list would be ten pages long and probably no one would want to read through it. So let me just say that this series is one of the best ever built and is actually even better than most of the original Tomb Raider games (except TR 2 of course). Who cares if Angel of Darkness is ever released - it could never be as good as this. The atmosphere lighting cameras textures puzzles enemies secrets pickups music etc. - everything is perfect! All without the usual boring mazes long pushable block puzzles obvious boulder traps spike traps and fire pits and pitch black rooms that other authors try to use to make their levels more interesting. Almost every room was breathtakingly beautiful and ten minutes into the series I knew that this was a set of levels that I will gladly play over and over again. I found 14 secrets including three silver roses and my time at the end said 5:02 though in reality it took me almost a week to get through all levels including the great bonus level. There's no way to even begin to describe how great this is you just have to see it for yourself." - RaiderGirl (28-Oct-2002)
"What can I say that hasn't been said - MAGNIFICENT!! (My dictionary translated magnificent as; excellent grand splendid impressive generous wonderful glorious lovely delightful and exceptional!)" - G.Croft (27-Oct-2002)
"I knew that there is a level out there that would one day deserve a perfect score in my eyes. And this was the one. I started this together you may say with all the others and got caught up in a sort of frenzy. Everything went too fast so I started it all over and this time I took my time took me all week but boy did I have fun. Rene has in my book an uncanny eye for details. His gameplay is fluent and you will cover many many miles as you progress through this mini game. My notebook has many scribbles as to where there is a door still closed and where to place an artifact. Like in Last Crusade (boy was I glad I still remembered a lot about that one) there are some small similarities and if you can 'dive' into Rene's mind you know a bit what to expect. To get the silver roses was a reward on its own and visiting the bonus level was for me double the prize. Some minor flaws as my scroll disappearing from Lara's backpack and appearing again in another level is one of them. At the time it gave me quite a fright though. I felt really bad shooting the bears as they lay down and even twisted their legs a bit letting out a groan. Enemies are well spaced in this level and you meet not your averages ones. More than enough firepower so they will not pose a threat and even the ones you can't kill there is always a place you can stand and look quietly at all the marvel this level has. Thank you Rene for such a tremendous time you have given me. Haven't found all the secrets yet but I will next time around. 26-10-2002" - Gerty (27-Oct-2002)
"This magnificent series of levels has been announced alas as Piega's swan song. The enormous amount of creative energy required to produce the high quality we've come to expect from him has unfortunately burned him out. So unless some of you raider faithful can convince him to change his mind we'll have Sanctuaries to ponder as his parting shot. And what a joy it has been to play these levels. I had the privilege of partnering with Piega by writing the walkthrough (which was polished up and submitted for review and release on 10/26/02) and I can still remember the sense of wonder I felt when I finally began to understand with his patient assistance how all the gameplay was planned to fit together. I went down some understandable but totally erroneous blind alleys in the beginning (and had to do some major rewrites as a result) but once it all clicks in your mind you appreciate the artistry all the more. I was able to do some shenanigans with the snowmobile that Rene fixed and thwarted in the final version. I also had the 'crowbar problem' that one of you has addressed and I even argued with Rene and tried to convince him to make it available early on. But he explained to me why the flow of the game required its placement where it is and upon reflection I have to agree with him. The game consists of exploring three beautiful sanctuaries as the name suggests but there's also plenty of action in the opening Artic environment and the area of the Holy Fountains (some before exploring the sanctuaries and some after). The fifteen secrets (12 golden roses and 3 silver roses that provide access to a bonus level) are well spaced and in some cases ingeniously hidden. The 'eye candy' (as Piega calls it) the enemies the gameplay and the sheer fun of the gaming experience are indescribable. You'll just have to find out for yourself by playing it. And I've learned something else about the raider community. Some of you are so adept that at least one of you completed the entire game (without benefit of walkthrough) the first weekend it was released. I'm awestruck by that. Anyway this is the 9th review of the game thus far and everyone before me (save one and that only by a 9 in one category instead of a 10) has given it top marks. I can do no less accusations of level review inflation notwithstanding. Thank you Rene for your wonderful contributions and thank you raider community for giving him the incentive to produce these labors of love." - Phil (27-Oct-2002)
"Once again Rene completed a splendid work with this enthralling adventure. The decorations are splendid and particularly realistic one will note the use of the effects of fog and the volumetric effects. The first level starts with Lara leaving the helicopter you will meet the perfectly functional bear of tr1 there; very well! Then you will have to explore the snow-covered mountains in order to find the passage towards the second level. Certain objects are not there for the decoration they are used for Lara to reach certain things remember that! Liked the level of the fountain or it there does not have badly things to make and is used as connection between the beginning and the other levels: the sanctuary of fire and the ice which will bring back each one to you a crystal to continue you must try to collect the 3 silver roses which give access to the bonus level which is not quite very easy. The levels are not particularly difficult but request much for observation because the author modified much the properties of the objects of the decoration make attention with the statues muds etc... After that you will have to turn over to the beginning with the crowbar to open certain doors and remember that Winston left material for you close to the helicopter! It will be necessary for you to make the great jump in order to reach the sanctuary of water and the last 2 levels. At this stage check to have the 3 silver roses because you will not be able to return any more behind! Do not forget either to play the bonus level before turning over to the helicopter! A fantastic work and I did not have a major bug in my test. Thus I give a very good rating to Rene!" - Luc (27-Oct-2002)
"For once I am going to be succinct I know hard to believe. But what can I possibly add to what the other reviewers have so glowingly said? This is the first time a Tomb Raider adventure - custom or otherwise - has inspired me to play and turn right around and play again. This is indeed the most satisfying (sorry Willi) and at times frustrating level I've ever played. Rene has taken it to the limit this time and deserves kudos. First time played was 9 and hours with 10 secrets. Second time 5 and hours and 13 secrets. The only downside for me is there will be no more and I sincerely hope Rene changes his mind." - Momster (27-Oct-2002)
"This is it. The ultimate TR game! Who needs AOD having this? This is where I am very proud to have bought Tomb Raider Chronicles! Rene finishes his TRLE life (unfortunately) with a golden key! The whole game is around a quest for the Golden Feather making Lara search for gems in Ice and Fire sanctuaries which are simply AWESOME. The Fire sanctuary resembles a bit the third level in The Last Crusade another epic adventure from this author but the Ice one is something you can't miss. Incredible awesome. After getting the two gems Lara must go back to the incredible Holy Fountain where she will finally have access to the Water Sanctuary which was superb in all aspects - texturing illumination and challenges (yes the scales are here). After five hours I was done in this game and indeed I wished there were more. I didn't find all secrets (I got only eight) so I guess I will soon be playing it again not only for the secrets but as well for the pleasure it was exploring these settings. Even though I didn't get all the secrets I've found the three important ones - the silver roses. Having those in my backpack I could explore the secret level which was very short though but with a few more puzzles and in the end you could see the monk who used the gold feather that Lara is searching. I am afraid 'perfect' is not a word powerful enough to give this level so I will simply say PLAY it (because you better have already downloaded it!). Live this experience!" - Treeble (24-Oct-2002)
"This level by Piega is a real masterpiece copacetic! Starting from a snowy mountain my Lara traveled a lava cave a frozen church and a sanctuary filled with water. In traveling there I saw ingenious maps with various fine movables and static meshes originally made by the author. The 1st level has two entrances to other levels (one to the 2nd level another to the 5th level) and so I was flustered first. I didn't know the purpose of the snowmobile till I had returned after traveling all first 4 levels. The 2nd level also two entrances to other levels (one to the 3rd level and another to the 4th level). In this level I found a new action 'treading water with having a torch on fire'. The lava lake in the 3rd level 'Sanctuary of Fire' is a little alike to one in the 3rd level of 'The Last Crusade'. The 4th level 'Sanctuary of Ice' includes a nice combination of fire- and ice-wraith. The mirror room complicates not only appearance but also controlling Lara. Both the 5th and the 6th levels construct the sanctuary area. The important rule of scale puzzles there is to make an error once advisedly and put water correctly in the 2nd try. The difficulty as a whole level is easier than 'The Last Crusade' but somewhat hard to enter the bonus area in the last (7th) level (used in the title screen) that needs three silver secret roses in the first 4 levels. This level entertained me very much and gave me a sense of satisfaction. Great!!" - Vinci (23-Oct-2002)
"Just as recognizable as a real Magritte Picasso or Van Gogh we have grown accustomed to recognize a 'piega' when we play TR. Our famous Dutchman has delivered the goods once again. From his first Catacomb Towers till this one his architectural building skills are impeccable (The bridge for instance is a real 'looker': what a monument). He succeeds also to make all the levels bind into one big story with the helicopter bringing us to and lifting us from an imaginary place where we can live out our silly gaming pleasure. Like in his previous outings again we are treated for a real roller coaster of secret seeking (special mentioning for the 'torch' secret in the Ice level): what an imagination (and what a torture for our little brains to work it all out ouch!). However being the nasty reviewer that I am I do have one big and one small complaint. At the beginning the game clearly makes you look for the crowbar (I have searched every square inch the first 2 hours for the nasty piece of stinkin' metal bar) only to give up from frustration and to read that you're not supposed to do so: I was not amused... The smaller complaint is the fact that you can get stuck at several moments (don't save the moment you use the Church key or the door won't open + you can get stuck with an ahmet in the cage where you find a yellow rose). But these complaints disappear into thin air when you finally reach your helicopter and fly off to a well deserved rest just as Rene whom we should thank for making so much time creating these pearls for us lazy buggers! Congratulated on a job extremely well done!" - bERT (23-Oct-2002)
"I don't know where to begin. Let's see after all the fabulous levels that were released lately and after a week with nothing new I thought that's it now back to boredom and maybe Egypt levels or oldies. Was I wrong or what! You will find that out for yourself because don't let me hear that you didn't play it it will be your loss anyway. The environment the puzzles the textures the secrets those were perfect not so hidden that only the author knows where they are and not easy as to just find them laying on your feet in the next corner - everything is absolutely brilliant fantastic I think you got the idea. The gold and silver roses are the secrets with three of the silver ones collected from the sanctuaries leading you to a bonus level too short though I believe. The enemies are skeletons wraiths mutants the 'nice' guy with the hammer bats and lets not forget the bears. The player will visit many of the levels two or maybe three times in order to complete every task there is the snowmobile is available at the start although you can proceed without it as I did at first. Graveyards coffins opening keys to be found waterfalls ice all of these perfectly combined. Although some backtracking is needed it's not confusing or boring just right. I am not going to reveal anything more how could I anyway I would have to write many pages and this is only an overall to let you know that you CAN'T miss it. Are you still here click on the level index NOW." - Kristina (22-Oct-2002)
"Summing up all the small flaws and things that maybe were not my favorite tasks to do I still can't give it a lower score than I gave how could anyone? So what if some of the angels have missing backs the crystal of Evil thoughts becomes invincible in the Ice sanctuary and the Golden feather becomes a Lara's bum in the bonus level? (Probably could be fixed in further versions). You can see clearly how the author has made the level design perfect to every detail especially in the Holy fountain level that is probably my favorite from this level set (the 'probably' is because all the levels are excellent!) cause it lasted longer than the others did and there are so many places to explore. The secrets are very fun to get and the bonus level though short and not extremely difficult is well worth to get to even if only to see the remains of the monk. The author has used everything the Level editor has given us to date and is a living proof that you don't need the fancy stuff so much to create a masterpiece! How could you make the wonderful clock button part that changes the flow of the water better with new objects? How could the way to the Ice sanctuary up the waterfalls the huuuuuuge cathedral - Sanctuary of water or the bridge have been made more spectacular than they are? I only wanted it to last a bit longer cause even the 5 hours I spent in this adventure were not really enough for me cause I wanted to see more of the beautiful levels. This mystic adventure of the elemental sanctuaries should be in every tomb raider fans' custom level collection so get it now you definitely wont regret it!" - eTux (22-Oct-2002)
"Some things in life were made for each other. Strawberries and cream is one example. Piega and the TR Level Editor is another. So although it's heartbreaking and almost incomprehensible to hear that this is going to be his last creation one thing is certain: He saved the best till last. Finally we have a series of levels which would make any member of staff at Core Design turn green with envy. The 'Sanctuary' levels are a work of art the settings are so vast realistic beautiful and even magical at times that you'll find it hard to believe that Piega hasn't been offered a job supervising the Angel of Darkness team. They are quite simply the most gorgeous levels I've ever played. From the Snowy Mountains where you can literally feel the bitter cold to the magnificence of the Sanctuary of Water you'll be captivated at every turn. Some moments are so awesome and picturesque that they take your breath away for a while. Secrets are brilliant - there are several gold roses to be found and three silver roses which give access to a bonus area. Enemies vary; you'll meet polar bears harpies skeletons bats wasps bulls crocodiles sharks tin men (even one on a horse) a hammer god and knights here. But they never attack you in any great quantity and for much of the time you're able to explore these wonderful worlds to your heart's content. The puzzles are all quite logical and great fun and at times extremely clever. Sound and cameras are used to good effect too and many of the flybys sent tingles of anticipation down my spine because they were so well done. The difficulty level is just right with a good mixture of easy and difficult segments and there's lots of help on the forum if you get stuck (special thanks to Kristina and Dimpf for helping me so often). There were a few minor niggles - firstly some of the small staircases didn't act like stairs in as much as you couldn't walk up them - they were more like slopes which you had to jump up. The torch in the 'Holy Fountain' level disappeared if you happened to wander into the next level and then decided to come back for it. Some secret areas which I had opened were closed when I came back to them later on. And as Dimpf already mentioned in the bonus area there is one step which isn't textured. However I can't find it in my heart to take any points away for these minor flaws because that would just be being ridiculously petty and everything else is superb. If you only download one thing in your life make sure that it's this absolute masterpiece." - Bex (22-Oct-2002)
"What a lovely wonderful set of levels you might not get everything in the first go since there's so much to explore and see. But this game is definitely worth a replay and not just to do things you might have missed - you'll be captivated by the scenery alone. There are three sanctuaries of the elements fire water and ice with fantastic textures custom objects a beautiful atmosphere and the lighting sounds and effects are impressive. Rene has really outdone himself with this one. The first three levels are interlinked so if you feel you've missed something you can go back. Once you reach the Sanctuary of Water there's no going back though! If you get all secrets there's even a bonus level for you to explore. The gameplay though not linear is marvelous there are always hints and clues as to what to do next my word of advice is to explore every nook and cranny and try to push things which might not seem pushable at first glance. An outstanding effort by Rene I recommend to this to everyone you'll regret not playing it. Don't give up if you get stuck there are three threads at MPrager's forum with tips and help I almost gave up a few times myself but I'm glad I persevered. Now I'm going to play it again and do it even better second time around. Big thanks to Cheryl (Momster) Bex Dimpfelmoser and Kristina for all their help through this level (and their encouragement). Top marks all the way without a doubt!" - Litepulsar (22-Oct-2002)
"I know it's kind of boring that after the Last Crusade has been at the top of the charts for nearly a year and will retire to the Hall of Fame soon the follow up shall take it's place but how can anyone not love this? This gets a perfect score no question about it. I would even give a perfect score if the game had been rather boring cause the atmosphere the lighting and the architecture are so brilliant. But the gameplay is excellent as well and highly entertaining the hole way through. I got stuck a few times but that was basically because I didn't pay attention to my surroundings and because some pushable objects are retextured. Where to start? Oh well since you are going to play this anyway -if you haven't already- I might as well spare me the trouble of jotting down the numerous highlights and many extraordinary settings. Be assure that you will visit places of exceptional beauty hitherto unseen in a Tomb Raider level. The Sanctuary of Ice the big Cathedral and the Bridge are all breathtakingly spectacular. The secrets are perfect in their variety the storyline is very inventive in how it brings you back to the starting point with the crowbar before you enter the Sanctuary of Water for the Grande finale. Everything is done with so much love and care be it the three ingenious variations of the torch puzzle the impressive flybys and helpful cut scenes the impeccable texturing (actually there is one stair missing near the end but I reckon this will be fixed soon) or the clever camerawork. Like with Rene's other levels everything just fits together perfectly and amounts to something that is bigger than the mere total of its parts. You get hours upon hours of exciting raiding without any boring bits such as crawls mazes or endless object pushing. Actually I wish there had been a tedious and time consuming task in the Sanctuary of Water cause the environment is so magnificent it's a pity that you don't spend more time there. In a way I can understand that Rene wants to stop level building cause indeed he seems to have incorporated everything that is possible with the Level Editor in its present state and brought it to perfection. Where can you go from here? I'm not saying that there is no room for innovation but the rather traditional approach that Rene has chosen restricts him to some degree. But let's not get into that. Instead load up and enjoy this action packed foray into the mysterious Sanctuary of the elements and prepare for a weekend of top quality raiding. And don't you leave before you collected all 21 secrets." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Oct-2002)