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Level: Hidden Castle back home search
Author(s): Yoshi
total rating:7.55 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Avmaster 9 8 10 9
bERT 4 10 9 9
Bogey 7 10 7 8
CC 9 7 8 8
dmdibl 7 9 8 9
Gerty 4 8 7 7
Jose 1 5 5 8
Kristina 8 8 8 8
MichaelP 9 7 8 7
Navi 4 7 7 7
Phil 8 8 9 9
category averages
(11 reviews)
6.36 7.91 7.82 8.09

Reviewer's comments

"Not much fun when playing this levels, even when there are a lot of new and innovative ideas, the excessively hard tasks ruined the gameplay. One thing is that you get stucked 'cause you don't know how to solve a puzzle or you don't know where to go, but in that case I always got stucked only trying hundreds of times the same nasty jumps and tasks. At least, the tasks in the second level were not so hard. There are some camera hints, but it seems that the author completely forgot the cd tracks. The best were the lighting and texturization, but the rooms are usually very empty of objects and poor decorated. Not recommended, even for expert players." - Jose (10-Nov-2016)

"This remarkable release has somehow remained under my radar screen since its debut more than nine years ago. It's a vastly complicated three-part adventure that required more than four hours of net gaming time for me to complete. It's difficult in spots, so difficult in fact that I took David's hint and resorted to extracurricular means to conquer those "Japanese jumps." Cher, to her credit, has provided a comprehensive waklthrough (together with links to savegames that unfortunately have been lost due to the demise of Lara's Home). Several reviewers have marked down gameplay substantially, presumably because of the difficulty factor, but I found the game to be invigorating when played in small doses over a period of time (weeks, in my case). Those experts out there will have a good time with this one." - Phil (09-Jan-2013)

"Three levels: Under, Castle, and Cave PRO: Constructed by someone who has mastered the level editor, and who can produce grand or intricate architecture of interest. "Castle" has lovely well-lit areas. Features exciting and clever game play, that TR fans won't want to miss. Has good challenges for those who are bored with routine levels. A nice assortment of enemies: various guards, TR3 mutants with poison claws, demigods, and Seth himself. CON: Difficult traps and challenges. Some of the jumps seem impossible. Lara got through "Under," including a tough rolling-ball-and-spike puzzle, and a jump sequence over collapsing tiles that turned out to be just doable. But the waterfall jump when Lara returns to "Castle" wasn't even close. Lara had to jump over a slope to make the long leap to a waterfall. A millimeter to the right and Lara snagged on the slope. A millimeter to the left and Lara soared toward the waterfall, but never came close to landing on it. (There is a gap in the walk-through. The player is supposed to download bERT's savegame, with Lara standing on waterfall, but the savegames' link is broken. The savegame has completed actions, such as a thrown lever, that aren't covered in the walk-through. The player may have to enable fly cheat.) Then there was another long jump in "Cave." A side view showed Lara was taking off with half her foot over the edge, so best possible extension, the jump was straight for maximum distance, but it always came up short (my patience was a bit thin by this point). I played these levels because I was tired of dark levels, which is ironic because "Under" is a dark and dreary catacomb level, particularly at the start. Usually cameras are missing, leaving one baffled about the results of a switch, though "Castle" has a few helpful traveling camera shots. In "Under" one of the main objectives is to get the crossbow and laser sight, and shoot two vases. So what happens when this momentous event occurs? Apparently nothing. You can either search for an hour or consult the necessary walk-through. SOME QUESTIONS TO ASK: In a dismal catacomb dungeon, lit with a few wall torches, with skeletons roaming, would you really find a modern bar with glass countertop and ceiling fans? Is this a Japanese thing? And when Lara stumbles on a cache of Japanese beer, why doesn't she grab a few bottles?" - dmdibl (07-Jun-2009)

"Like others I had avoided this for a long time thinking it would be a very difficult level to play. Although it was difficult in places it was all doable, albeit reloading several times at certain hard jumps. The player would certainly have to have a few of the harder levels under their belt to recognise, let alone achieve, what needs to be done here. Appearance-wise it is all very much a huge catacomb level, and more Egyptian towards the end. Good atmosphere, texturing, design (obviously) and includes some clever puzzles and traps in between the jumping nightmares and the deviously hidden switches and levers. There are not many enemies, and the ones that do show up are reasonably well placed. The lighting went from bland nothing to excellent with each area and room. And cameras were good, both fixed and flybys, but lacked some important shots to show what exactly you did. Under. the first level, is by no means an easy introduction, in fact some of the most difficult jumps are located here. Lara is looking for the Hathor head and stand, a gem, pharos knot, pharos pillar, and finds the crossbow which comes in handy for some target shooting, also the crowbar which is needed almost from the start. One room has a difficult run over falling grids to a slope with two boulders. After they have rolled past Lara must get down under this slope. If anyone has difficulty with this drop I would suggest a 'mild' cheat, that is, to drop down by falling back and feigning a grab, Lara will land on the ledge below. One particularly nasty room is a drop to a trigger tile below, and if you can't find out how to get out of the way Lara is squashed by four boulders. It's actually simple, but it took a while to figure out. I reached a point where I completely lost my bearings. It might be an idea to make a note of where you've passed a door, or a receptacle, and a rough description of how to get back there. Often, throughout this level of three parts, the player will find themselves wondering exactly what to do next. Should they make a blind jump around the corner, or aim for a slope or ladder and see if they can shimmy, or jump, or anything really. Finding the drinks bars in this catacomb setting was a total surprise, but it looked cool. A brief visit to the Castle level to collect a star and back here again to place it, before returning to the Castle. Castle. There are a few jumps in this level that really are beyond discription ridiculous But when I managed to finally do them I felt a great sense of achievement. Than again, I'm stubborn and kept trying. One is a jump around a corner to get behind a waterfall (even that took ages for me to figure out as it never occurred to me that I was to aim for there in the first place). The second is when you go for the shotgun secret, outside this castle building. Having gotten the shotgun it is possible to get back the way you came by doing a very tight curved jump back down to the crawlspace. It's a pixel perfect jump and took ages, but I did it. The next one was that jump into the corner to get to a switch in the deep pit on the left side as you enter this level. And after dealing with the large mutant in this pit, the ropeswing to grab the ledge above was a tricky business. There are a lot of pulldown switches in this part so keep looking up as you move through this large and sparsely decorated castle. There are a lot of underutilised spaces in this castle, but that may have been the author's intention, to confuse. It certainly was confusing trying to negotiate behind bookshelves with a fixed camera, and that hidden door was one of the sneakiest things I've ever come across in a level. Where we place the star, and see red lasers, there is a monkeyswing above to get past the spikes. Turn to the left after you've monkeyswung past the lasers and drop to grab the block on the left (without triggering the spikes on top) and shimmy around to the right, then place the star. To return stand a tiny bit behind the spike tile and just jump forward to grab the monkeyswing and swing back to safety. There is also a swinging spiked bag run, a very good mirror room with monkeyswing, and a slightly confusing, but well done block pushing/lever puzzle. Cave. starts and looks like a reasonably pleasant jungle room, and then out to a gorge to make our way around the rocks. But that'a about all the easiness you're gonna get here, because pretty soon we're faced with another pixel perfect jump around a corner to a ledge in the rocks. We come across a prison in the caves, the occupants long since passed into zombiehood, and it was such a sight to see their cells open to let them out and crowd around Lara as she tries to make it to the end. There are a couple of moveable blocks here that are almost invisible in the rock walls, so if in doubt use a flare to search the walls. It was great to see those moveable spike walls again. Also here is an interesting block pushing puzzle, a boulder dodging session on a slope trying not to fall into lava, timed run involving jumps and ladder climb, a scary moment underwater with sharks, and a beautiful blue harpy guarding the temple in the mountains. This looked rather nice, with the bridge in front of it. Eventually we open the temple, get inside, and face one tough battle of trying to avoid Seth and his fire bolts, accompanied by demigods. Each time we kill a demigod, another one appears, but we must continue as they leave snake objects for us to pick up and use. Otherwise we'd never get out of here. I think players should at least try this level, and perhaps come back to it from time to time as their skills improve. And of course, with the walkthrough now available, at least they will know where to go and what to do." - CC (14-Oct-2005)

"I knew what I was up against as like most Asian level builders you have to be aware of the difficult jumping they apparently love to put into a level. Well Yoshi is no exception. I did start this level almost when it came up for a download and it took me till now to finish it. I still think that levels should be for everyone to enjoy and this is certainly not one of them. There is one fiendish jump in here, the one involving a waterfall and once I knew what to do I finally made it. Just don't ask how long it took me. All in all, look good in every nook and cranny and get that crossbow for some practice shooting. I also could use more camera work as I sometimes didn't know what the reaction was on my action. The second level (after that difficult jump) is a slightly bit easier. The last level has Seth in it for the final battle, never my favorite to be honest. For the not faint hearted give it a go or do as I did, play it over a long period of time, frustration might not climb as high then. 20-09-2005" - Gerty (28-Sep-2005)

"I had put this aside for a long time (more than a year in fact) before giving it a go, as it was alleged to be as difficult as we have come used to from most of the Japanese origin levels. But then I knew I had a free Sunday to waste and began and have to say I did have a lot of fun making my way through this 3 hour (net time) game. under (9/7/8/8, 80 min., 1/2 secrets): The setting in this part is primarily Catacomb style and right from the start you need to look around well for sneakily hidden switches and doors, master a series of challenging, tricky or sometimes really hard jumps while dodging traps at the same time (boulders, spikes, fire). Enemies are few and place in a bit of strange way at times. You need to find a portal guardian, gem, knot, pillar and a star which you get via a quick excursion into the castle level. There is also a small movable block puzzle and some target shooting to do with the crossbow. All in all, I thought this part was really cleverly connected and I had many of these 'ah - this is where I have come out now' moments, which I always enjoy. On the downside, while texturing is solid, lighting is actually a bit poorly and carelessly applied and the level could really benefit from a few more cameras showing what your last action just did. castle (8/7/8/7, 50 min., 1/2 secrets): Apart from that ridiculously frustrating jump to the waterfall at the beginning, this part is actually a bit easier, as you find two keys, gems, another star and get to do a bit of vase shooting, rope swinging and look out for many jump switches. The mirror room with the lights on effect was very nice and a few of the flybys are quite atmospheric. The castle rooms themselves seemed a little bland and not very beautiful though. As many others I did manage to get the shotgun secret but could not master the jump back from there. cave (9/8/8/7, 50 min., 1/2 secrets): Another change in setting as you explore a cave/jungle area here and while there are again several tricky jumps, I found only one to be rather testing and the rest was quite ok. Maybe I just got used to them so far into the game. This part has more enemies (ninjas, mummies, sharks, a blue harpy, a mutant and then Seth and a few demigods for the big final battle). I liked the use of the moving spike walls and the squishing blocks. You need to find a key and some serpent artifacts and again the author leads you back to the beginning of the level when you have completed your tasks. I had a bug that my last demigod would not appear, but reloading a save and trying again made it work ok. All in all, while this is not for the novice raider, it is a great challenge for the seasoned players who just love a decent jump (ore three). Try it out if you dare!" - Michael (18-Apr-2005)

"This three-part level is a rather mixed bag. It has lots of traps and often requires tricky manoeuvres particularly in the first part. It is not an easy level and I found it very time consuming although not extremely hard. It begins in a catacomb setting continues for a while in a mansion and ends in a system of caves. There are also some enemies but they are not encountered that often. Those are poisonous monsters which are very fast gunmen mummies crocodiles and sharks. In a certain section of the level there are more powerful bosses too. Well in addition there are a couple skeletons but you don't need to stir them up if you don't want to. A few timed runs are included but rolling balls and other temporal traps also tests your timing skills. A few switches are very well hidden and in fact a few doors too so look around carefully. Talking about switches one is not always informed about what effect a switch has and I had sometimes great difficulties in finding out what to do. The challenges are in general very well designed and require a certain degree of tactical reasoning. Using the proper procedure they are usually straightforward to overcome. That does not necessarily means easy though. There are a few quite difficult jumps but the main problem with them is to find good starting positions. This may take some time but I think it can be done reasonably systematically. There are none of those excruciatingly difficult jumps that one can find in CIL. On the negative side the first part is just a reckless pile of traps in a large and complex level in which I got lost several times. I also got pretty tired of Lara bumping her head into some obstacle while trying a jump. The builder seems to love it. I don't. The middle part is markedly softer but it doesn't make much more sense. I liked the last part best. It is fairly balanced with a certain beauty and a good atmosphere although a bit weird. One highlight is a very creepy dungeon. The cave part is quite dark though and flares are very scarce. I had none in this part at least until towards the end. Another utility that is scarce is medipacks. I met the last poisonous monster without any and with great effort I managed to kill it without getting poisoned. Then I entered the next room. What can I say it is just ridiculous. Well if you want to try it out with any degree of seriousness you had better keep every single medipack you find for this ultimate challenge. I had had enough of it and bailed out using the savegame editor. To rate this uneven level is a real headache. It has many very good ingredients but they are poorly served." - Bogey (30-May-2004)

"The level consists of three parts. The graphics are beautiful in all three levels. I liked the sound. Unfortunately I missed cameras at some places. The lighting was well done and textures are great. I found it strange to discover a bar in the world of old ruins. Under: Lara gets into a world below the surface of the earth. There are a lot of traps rooms and many doors. Down here there are not many opponents only a crocodile two mummies one guy with a machine gun and one mutant crossed my way. I first saw this mutant in the original Eidos-Level 'RX-Tech-Mine'. Lara must be careful this guy can poison her and she has no strong weapons at that time. All three levels have a high level of difficulty. First you should look for the crowbar. In all the rooms you find switches so Lara is very busy to look for them. What makes it difficult is that no camera shows you what happened after using a switch. To get to the next level you must find the two parts of the portal guardian combine them and use them. As an example for the traps I mention the place where rolling balls go for Lara (they come from every direction) and it is very tough to avoid them. At the beginning the player realises that this level has some difficult jumps. Spike traps and ramps must be done without being killed. Weapons in level one are the crossbow and the lasersight and the pistols. Medipacks are enough the same for the flares. I believe I pulled a switch which opened a door. The camera showed me the door but I couldn't find it. After the player did some things in level 2 he returns to level 1 to get the secrets and the Pharao's Pillar. The Pharao's Knot is useless; Lara still has it at the end of level three. Castle: At the beginning of level two Lara faces the hardest jump I can think of. Xxenofex did this jump for me; I wasn't able to do it. I did it a hundred times without success. Then look for a star and go back to level one and get the two secrets there. Then return to level two. Find two gems and use them in level two. In the mirror room Lara finds a key which opens the door to the house. In it there are some things to find and switches to pull. To go into level three you must solve a switch-/movable block riddle. Opponents are a skeleton and the guy with the machine gun. There are two secrets to find but I found not even one in this part. As in the first part avoid some traps and solve difficult riddles. Cave: At the beginning Lara is sliding down a ramp and drops into a water pool. The player spots a switch on the other side. To get to this switch Lara must make her way thru the cave and the outside facilities. Again there are difficult jumps which were getting on my nerves. To do the jump from above the ladder to the left side where the platform is I needed 190 attempts till I was there. Again look for switches. Opponents are mummies mutants and guys from the desert. Thank god for the shotgun and the uzi. The golden serpent is the first of four golden serpents; they open the way to the end of the level. The final battle against the demigods and Seth is really hard. I needed all medipacks that I had collected. As conclusion for the three parts of the level I can say: People who love to solve riddles should play this one but they also need a lot of jumping experience and patience. At some places I was able to do difficult jumps except the one I mentioned above. But I was often close to throw my keyboard out of the window when trying and trying to do the jump. I took me seven days to finish all three levels. I recommend this level to experienced players; the level of difficulty is very high." - Avmaster (23-May-2004)

"In those three levels Lara needs to find various artifacts. The puzzles are not so hard. But there is some extreme jumping to do and I am sure many players will be frustrated here. Also in some places I did not like the graphics at all. The Bar did not fit into the game too. Not many enemies but that's ok. Same for the sound. At the end you pull a lever and Seth appears and a demigod who loses an amulet. And then Lara has to do the same three more times to get a total of four amulets while being shot at by Seth. Maybe a few puzzles would have been better here - nothing against enemies but this was not in this way as I really lost the fun in playing." - Navi (06-Mar-2004)

"The ones that played or tried to play CIL know what kind of nearly impossible jumps our Asian friends insert in their levels. Well this level which is actually divided in three parts has a couple of those. In a catacomb like setting at first Lara finds the first jumps over a lava room with a spike trap and as if it wasn't enough a boulder starts rolling down. That's how more or less the whole game goes. There are stars knots pillars and gems to find along with golden serpents in the last level. The second level has a nasty jump with Lara having to jump over a slope and land far away on a waterfall's corner. Well it's frustrating and had me stuck there for a day and a half. One jump earlier wasn't as difficult and one more in the cave level this time over a corner were the 'easier'. The rest is easy enough if you are used to this kind of game play that is. Skeletons demigods sharks crocodiles and a boss are the enemies you will find. Health and ammo are just about enough to get you through so don't waste any of it. I found five secrets and didn't use a knot in the last level but since I was missing a secret there maybe the two are related. Try this level but don't expect a walk in the park." - Kristina (29-Dec-2003)

"If I would have to write an essay on this one the title would be 'How to ruin a perfect level'. During the first level of this three parter I had four tens flashing wildly in front of me for each of the rating categories. This builder has all the skills (1) for presenting enemies with drama (the crocodile in level Under the 4 nutcases suddenly escaping their cells in Cave and the end of level bosses) (2) for entertaining and challenging runs and jumps (3) for great secrets and (4) for architecture (inside and outside some jungle style some semi-oriental castle consists of rooms with some atmosphere straight out of the movie The Shining). But then oh boy there's the gameplay from level 2 (Castle) where you have to do a nearly impossible jump. Now I say impossible but in fact it's not THAT difficult once you know which button to push. The problem is that in Castle there is so much too see and to try to progress that you are not in the least certain that you are trying an impossible jump in the right place (thank you Doc by the way for pointing out I was trying from the wrong side). Do I have anything against a challenge: no! But when you overdo it you as a builder are your own worst enemy. The difference between this down right annoying jump sequence with the one from level 1 is that the latter one you immediately knew you HAD to do it whilst the one from Castle you where immensely unsure because the author includes for instance an underwater door you can open in which there is absolutely nothing else to do then to pick up ammo leaving you with a feeling there should be more to it. Plus the author has a bad tendency not only to make a jump nigh impossible but also makes sure each and every time the start position for a jump is one where the camera does NOT give you a good view of where you are running too: that's just stretching it too much in my opinion. Other than Doc pointing me to the right jump place in level two I managed to find all secrets (6) without any help and finish it thus so can you if you really want to have a REAL go at this level series and not rush through it by cheating. But you have been warned: other than the one friggin' jump I mentioned there's three other rather difficult ones. For people who played the Mother of ludicrous games (CIL): this one is not as silly. All in all DO try this level: it IS worth it but in my ratings I can't give gameplay more than 4 because no matter how good it is in many places my rating system (everyone starts with 7 in each category) does have a subtraction modus..." - bERT (28-Dec-2003)
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