Level: The Ruins of a Castle back home search
Author(s): Ego
total rating:7.35 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
alan 6 6 7 5
CC 7 6 6 6
Dimpfelmoser 9 8 6 7
Engelchen Lara 9 8 9 8
eRIC 10 8 8 8
eTux 6 6 6 4
Gerty 6 7 6 6
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jose 6 7 7 7
Kristina 8 7 7 7
Magnus 7 7 7 6
MichaelP 8 6 7 6
Monika 8 8 7 7
Phil 8 8 8 8
Qwendo 9 9 9 9
RaiderGirl 9 7 8 7
Sakusha 9 7 5 5
Sash 10 9 8 8
Scottie 9 7 9 8
Torry 9 8 9 8
Treeble 6 5 4 5
Whistle 9 8 9 8
category averages
(22 reviews)
8.00 7.27 7.27 6.86

Reviewer's comments

"An improvement over the author's previous level 'Dark City (Demo)'. Well, I must say I enjoyed that one the most. This one is very dark and long. You can get stuck several times around the level. Some rooms are empty of objects and texturing is a bit bland. At least in a part of the game you get to an outdoor area where there's light. Keep the walkthrough at hand in case you get stuck." - alan (05-Mar-2018)

"Despite the somewhat misleading title, this is an Egyptian level and it's not a bad one either. Don't be put off by the initial darkness - it gets a lot lighter fairly quickly. Given its age, it's quite a long level and there's a lot to do. Exploration is a key component of the adventure, but there's also a challenge or two along the way and inexperienced raiders might well find some of the jumps and traps quite tricky. Perhaps a few too many crawlspaces and the underwater maze areas are a little irritating, but overall I'd rate this as definitely entertaining." - Jay (05-Feb-2016)

"A very long level with a lot of tasks to do. I was playing several hours to finish it. The gameplay is not very good, 'cause the level is too no-lineal and you can easily find dead ends and have to retrace your steps or reload. There is an error in the design in the room with several floor levers; if you use the levers in the left side first, the rolling ball will plug the entrance and you'll never can get the item you need. I think there's an abuse of crawlspaces and boulder traps too. At the end it's not easy to figure out the kind of jump you must do to safety fall between the blue rays. Better play it following the walkthrough." - Jose (29-Jun-2015)

""How hard could his earlier, lower-rated, 1-level release be, now that I've mastered 'In London: Big Church/Underground'?" was what I thought to myself when contemplating whether to strike the last level of Ego's I had not yet reviewed off my 'to-play' list. Hard enough, as I've learned - I must've spent the same amount of net gaming here as in the aforementioned level, and possibly even longer real-time due to the non-linear aspects of it. I won't keep it much of a secret, that I enjoyed In London much more than this one here - but it has its charm while it lasts. You can already see some creative uses of the spikeballs here, some fun jumps and action sequences, the enemies are also put to good use with jumping out in your face unexpectedly - and the hunt for the shootable vases was nicely involved, though some additional camera hints for them would not have gone amiss. I also liked the surreal touch near the ending that transports you to a different area - already giving a bit of a taste of what can be expected in later levels of the author's. On the flipside - one spends a bit too much time in crawlspaces, it is not always clear what the next thing to do is (not much aided by the nano-second camera bug that pops up later in the game) and I did not like the (seemingly, maybe there was some logic to them?) trial-and-error lever puzzle a great deal. The looks are rather Spartan, with lighting generally being pretty uninspired, and enough dark corners at the beginning for them to get annoying, but as with other Ego levels - this one is more worth playing for the tasks rather than the looks. I managed to find one secret (Shotgun), but since a boulder was blocking my way to it in the first place, getting back from the secret area to the main level turned out to be impossible, so I'm not sure if it counts. All looks and tasks considered, the level works as a sort of intermediary stage between the author's Dark City (demo) and his later levels now that we have the benefit of hindsight on our side. It wouldn't end up on top of many recommendation lists I would compile (I would indeed rather recommend you to play the same author's In London or maybe even Ghost Ship if I still remembered what it was about), but you could certainly do much worse." - eTux (10-Oct-2011)

"Levels, which have thus a low download size, offer no big play pleasure. Levels, which have thus a low download size, are over too fast. Do you also think thus? Or the like? Then you are wrong here. One may hardly believe it, but this level offers a bulging-full bag with about 2 hours of play fun. Actually, one must find only the hand of Sirius and Osiris, the eye of Horus and a cartouche. But these things are really well hidden. And the player must be on the ball quite a lot. Here are many very nice riddles. And many Spikeballs. And underwater mazes. Though there are also texture mistakes and the lighting could be also better, but this does not clulls the play fun, because there are enough Flares for dark places. The level builder has it a bit exaggerated with the Baddies. There would have been less more. But at least there were enough weapons, ammunition and Medipacks. Result: Here you are exactly right, if you want to play a really good and long level" - Scottie (12-May-2009)

"If I had played this level back when it was released, probably I'd have rated it higher... now I think about it, I'm sure I played it back then. And countless times after that, soon dumping it for the sheer darkness of the initial rooms and the overall unlinearity of the level. Thankfully there's a walkthrough today, because as any other Japanese level, this ain't nothing for casual play. Navigation through the level is rather difficult either because of the darkness or just because some areas are so bland it's hard to spot anything. There was a mysterious trigger for crossing the doors on the chasm that activated things inside -- this is where I'd dumped it before, simply because I couldn't find anything else in the logical progression -- so make sure you return to see the open doors to eventually locate a underwater maze, because no level is complete without one! There are, however, some nice acrobatics with the columns in the main temple to get the second eye piece. After using the Eye of Horus, you get through a series of weird effects, as we're used to, and after diving into a spark of light, we get to surface on the area we see many times on the loading screen... 90 minutes, 1 secret. 07/07" - Treeble (04-Aug-2007)

"During the beginning stages of this level, I said to myself in dismay, ‘Oh, no, not another dark cave.’ But you soon work yourself into more scenic and well-lit environs, and from that point the level becomes very entertaining. eRIC has provided a very helpful walkthrough, as he did for another of this author's levels. The gameplay is challenging without ever becoming frustrating, and I spent close to two hours making my way to the blue skies of the exit portal. Nothing to bring it into the top tier, but a worthwhile download. Recommended." - Phil (14-Mar-2005)

“This level was quite difficult which is always a good thing to me. I found the boulder traps (underwater and on dry land) quite enjoyable the objects were well-placed there is enough ammunition in this level the timed spikes the jumps the enemies and the puzzles were challenging (eg. the puzzle where three hidden vases allow Lara to enter a room containing the Hand of Orion) and the flipmaps were very well done. Concerning one of the switches puzzles you need to find two textures that aren't doubled in order to find the two switches that aren't booby-trapped. Enemies mainly consist of baddies mummies and scorpions. Sometimes the baddies came in groups of three or four which made a few skirmishes quite challenging. The beginning is fascinating because the player can be fooled very easily. Instead of taking a long winding path to the temple he or she would want to attempt to make a running jump towards it (but the temple is too far from the ledge. So it won't work). The gameplay is excellent but the lighting and the textures need some work. Some areas seem to be either too dark or too bright I have detected an untextured area (it's very small so it can passed unnoticed if the player is not very observant) and some textures are stretched. I can't really see the link between the title of the level and the level itself because Ancient Egyptians weren't really known for building castles (in any case castles are not a characteristic of ancient Egyptian civilization). This level somehow looked more like a temple than the ruins of a castle. By the way I don't know what the ‘21’ represents (I found that number in the room with the black block which triggers a camera when you climb on it). The ending is really impressive. As you are walking on the stairs you try to imagine where you will arrive. Just when you think that you have reached a dead end you will see that there is a hidden underwater pool at the bottom of the 'pit' which leads Lara to the outside world.” – Sakusha (14-Nov-2004)

“I'm back to this again after nearly a year because back then I got totally stuck in the corridor with crawlspaces. The fact that I held on to it to play later is testimony to the attraction of the level especially gameplay which is good old fashioned raiding. What I missed back then was the crawlspace on the floor that I came in through. Stupid me. So now I can continue. Looking at this again the crawlspaces are very hard to spot in yellow walls and the red dark settomb caves. I did like all the climbing and backflipping stuff. Finding Orion's hands half eyepieces and half cartouches. There's a lot of seemingly simply puzzles to solve (could be the very plain huge rooms that give that impression) but some of them had me scratching my head for a while and of course as per usual I got to places ahead of time and got confused. A lot of the rooms are like different versions of mazes you run around lots of corners. Lots of spikey boulders and switches to work through. I wouldn't exactly call this a castle and it's not really in ruins. It's a desert temple type building with huge rooms and half built into caves. The main tip is shoot all vases. The ending really surprised me a jump into nothingness or is it? Landing in water eventually and a run out of the temple to the desert.” – CC (24-Aug-2003)

“I have started this level a couple of times but never got very far and today although it took me a while I could finish it. Although it isn't that dark it is rather difficult to spot the places you have to crawl through or corridors that blend in so well that most of them I missed the first time around (due to the red textures that are used). The boulders are a pest but once you knew what to expect it wasn't that hard. With all the levers you had to pull I missed some camera work. The tricky jumping was great to do and the traps will have you reloading quite a few times. In the end I was bushed (with a huge headache to prove it). The underwater place was very frustrating don't know how many times I drowned even with the air holes the author provided. And do shoot everything in sight as that may be a trigger to open up a gate. 22-04-2004” – Gerty (28-Apr-2003)

“This was my second try to play this level the first attempt wasn't successful because of the darkness and lack of experience. I have found it very difficult to get through some very dark areas when others were well lit. Now it just seemed like a challenging level. Underwater tunnels and difficult jumps are what you will be facing. Watch out for the spike balls they are well placed and I have to admit I was caught by surprise a few times even underwater. Shoot all the vases as they are mostly triggers for doors along with some levers and there are a lot of those in the level doors and vases one was tough though you had to shoot it after climbing a ladder. Hands a cartouche and the Eye of hours are the items needed also cracks and crawlspaces are essential for the game play. Do try it but be prepared to face some darkness and ninjas scorpions during your exploration.” – Kristina (31-Mar-2003)

“From the looks of it this castle has been through a major earthquake. There are few actual rooms left - the majority of the areas are dark cave type areas with hidden crevices and crawlspaces. It takes extensive exploring and searching in this large level to find the necessary hands eye pieces and cartouche and only later does the level open up and the areas become more accessible to each other. It's important to have a good sense of direction and to save often - the ninjas and mummies aren't too fatal but the spikes fire traps and tricky jumps can be. There's also a fun room to find where the author thanks you for playing his level.” – RaiderGirl (18-Jan-2003)

“I must say that Lara must overcome here a lot of hindrances and you do not need to worry that there is too little tension here ;-) If that is a debut then it is a really large effort :-) The puzzles are well thought out and built. Lara’s task is to find stars and 2 Cartouches and at the same time she must overcome spike boulders water mazes jumping. Occasionally a couple of baddys ;-) A quantity of levers to activate everything is thought about therefore tension until the end - it pleased me very well. Lara thought she can insert it the Cartouches but instead she falls into the deep and must overcome yet more numerous traps around there to get there :-) Therefore honestly said it made fun to play this level no boredom here ;-)” – Engelchen Lara (27-Dec-2002)

“Finally got around to play this and it is truly impressive especially given its age. I guess I was lucky to spot the right crack or crawlspace at the appropriate times as I actually rarely got stuck and could finish after a little over 90 minutes of net gaming time. It starts rather dark in a settomb textures setting but does end up to be much brighter as you move further along. In fact I found the ‘lights on’ flipmaps rather smartly done. Maybe a few too many levers (almost 20) and vases to shoot. Several boulders typically required at least one reload. Enemies are only scorpions and ninjas but you are busy exploring anyway so the lack of battle does not matter. Three hands two cartouche pieces and two halves of the eye get you out of there. With a little rework to make environment a little more diverse adding a few cameras and especially a bit of sound which was almost completely missing this would be a great if challenging level.” – Michael (08-Dec-2002)

“Based on the tutorial wad this level with a great gameplay has the textures and the atmosphere of The Tomb of Seth with dark red caves and bright yellow temples. The rooms inside the castle seem empty but this sobriety in the texturing serves very well the gameplay. Lara must find the not so obvious way to enter in the castle so look carefully and explore everywhere to find a well-hidden lever or a small opening and enjoy a series of not so easy jumps on pillars in a cave with lava. There is an intense feeling of accomplishment in the progression. Once inside the castle many doors to open and objects to find (3 hands a cartouche and the eye of Horus). I think that some of the doors open when you shoot at vases placed high in alcoves. Crawlspaces fissures in the walls or a hole in the ceiling to spot. Acrobatic moves are required sometimes and there are a lot of spiked balls to avoid very enjoyable. The player can find the uzis the crossbow and the revolver to get rid of some little scorpions and many white ninjas. I think the laser sight can also be found in this gigantic level to shoot at one more vase to open one of the two doors that remained closed when I left the castle. Everything is alright for Lara at the end: after using the eye of Horus she can dive in water and then return to the light. After 2 hours of net gaming and more than 4 hours of excellent raiding with a lot of various tasks I had a great moment. I will certainly play again this level one of these days. A level for patient explorers who like a bit of challenge.” – eRIC (24-Nov-2002)

“Phew I can’t believe I made it through this level with my sanity still intact! This 100 minutes level is just bursting with murderous traps easy to tricky puzzles and one hell of a seemingly non linear and majorly confusing game environment which at first might make you feel like giving up but if you stick with it you eventually acclimatise to it and actually have a really great time. What I found really fantastically done here was the need to use most of Lara’s acrobatic moves in nearly every step of this level giving a great sense of achievement as you progress. I can only really pick one thing that I didn’t like too much and that was the first sections in the cave areas were overly dark and although that is how you would expect a cave it really detracted from the game play but when the lights eventually came on literally in the underground castle then that’s when the fun really begins.” - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

“Let me say that this is one tough mother of a level. It is dark (too dark in some places) and Lara must use all her wits and acrobatics to get through this one. The start alone took me ages to get through. Not that the puzzles were impossible you can see where you must go but getting there is a whole new ball game. Also this is one of the very few levels I have played that turned and twisted me around so much that I lost my reference points. THIS IS A TOUGH ONE.” – Torry (21-Jun-2002)

“What an enormous level. It provided me with almost three hours of net gaming time. Ego concentrates in his design on the basic key items and builds rooms without too much fancy detail. But you are up for a set of complex moves which sometimes seem impossible at first glance. Traps and Puzzles are well thought out and very difficult. There are also lots of enemies and you need to conserve health. Every once in a while it is quite dark but there are lots of flares provided.” - Qwendo (21-Jun-2002)

“Phew I never thought that I would finish this level! It's more of a maze than a level. I got lost all the time and for some stupid reason made a pause from it for several weeks before continuing playing it. That wasn't very clever I can say that. Alright despite the fact that the level is one big labyrinth it's actually not that bad. You have to survive a lot of traps and use all your wits to get past them. There are also a lot of enemies. The lighting could have used some more work and the texturing wasn't very good. Only play this level if you've got a lot of patience!” – Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

“What a level lots to do-searching high and low plenty of areas in which to get lost and confused. Good camera angles and textures with some good atmospheric lighting. Only improvement could have been the odd enemy in the water but plenty to shoot at mainly ninja. Watch out for the numerous spiked balls which get the unwary. Ending a little disappointing my Lara just died in this black void up the funny staircase beyond the eye triggered rolling door.” – Whistle (21-Jun-2002)

“I often was on the brink of giving up but after searching I found a way to go on. The underwater part was like being in a maze. It was not challenging just frustrating. I couldn’t really see a thread in this level. Lara was going here and there and with luck she found something or a door was now open. What was a challenge were some almost impossible jumps. For example Lara should shoot a vase while she was hanging on a ladder with her back to it. Vases often were like door openers. Plenty of spiky boulders were to avoid and enough ninjas to kill. Lara died quiet a few times during the game. In parts it was difficult to see. Even so I imagine that it will be dark when Tomb Raiding but playing in dark reddish rooms is no fun. The supply of flares was sufficient. I found the texture not overly good. Most rooms were rather bare. No fancy stuff in them. After about 3 hours (statistic) I had finished the game and that’s that.” – Monika (21-Jun-2002)

“Not in the same league as Ghost Ship (and not as aptly named) but it has it's moments. First of all it's fairly big; you have a lot of running climbing swimming jumping to do and inevitably there comes the time when you think Why Bother? Especially when you come to the last door and discover that you must have missed an item along the way. Thing is the rooms are rather plain and boring; we have seen better and yes I confess there were times when I thought I'm never gonna make it. However the ingenious aspect of this quest is that amongst the many options you somehow manage to find a way to go on a new door that has opened some traps and parts of the gameplay are highly inventive. If the textures lightning general design and subsequently the whole atmosphere had been a bit better this would truly have been a great level. Final Note: I took a lot of trouble to shoot vessels that were inaccessible and don't know if that had any effect. It was fun all the same.” – Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)
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