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Level: Underground Kingdom back home search
Author(s): Joker
total rating:8.12 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Avmaster 10 10 10 10
Deekman 8 8 10 7
eTux 6 7 7 6
G.Croft 8 7 10 8
Gerbil 7 8 8 8
Gerty 9 8 8 7
Jay 9 8 9 8
Jose 5 8 7 7
Kristina 7 7 8 8
MichaelP 8 7 8 8
Pedros 9 8 9 8
Phil 9 8 9 8
Ryan 8 8 9 8
Sash 8 8 10 9
Yoav 9 8 9 8
category averages
(15 reviews)
8.00 7.87 8.73 7.87

Reviewer's comments

"This was a quite complex and challenging effort for any early level, although it did get quite confusing at parts. It succeeds well at creating an imposing atmosphere (inspired by Lord of the Rings, I did recognise some of the music, but not the locales), which is, you guessed it, quite dark in most places. Lighting is used nicely elsewhere, particularly in the maze in the first level and over the bridge spanning a huge pit in the final level. Gameplay itself is quite entertaining, mostly around trap avoidance that actual puzzles, but I encountered a bug in the final switch puzzle whereby I somehow messed up the triggers, couldn't activate some again and consequently couldn't see the (according to the walkthrough) final part with Seth, so I'd advise caution around that point. Sometimes confusing, but often rewarding overall, and if you like the series, you'll enjoy this raid." - Ryan (21-Nov-2017)

"This is an incredibly complex and sprawling three-part release from the early years. I could never have made my way through without Gerty's compact eight-page (I would have made it at least 20 pages had I written it) walkthrough. Even with it, I had to have her help locating the portal to the third segment. (The relevant cave area is off the room adjacent to the shiva room, not the cave area accessed from the room with the fireplace. Both areas look very much alike) For me the levels were too dark in too many places, but the gameplay is quite invigorating and challenging, so I was able to forgive the builder for the darkness. I spent close to five hours from start to finish, a remarkable amount of gameplay provided by a release that's nearly ten years old. You'll have as much fun playing this one as almost anything else you're likely to see these days. Recommended." - Phil (22-Jun-2012)

"Really a big effort from this author to build this three big levels with all those features. I think levels are not so big, but with very huge rooms and a lot of backtracking give you an impression that the levels are bigger than they really are. I couldn't find fun finding always dead ends and having to run and run very loooooong distances (second level was very nasty in this sense) to find the triggered door (a door you see in a camera shot when pulling a lever, but usually you never were there before); evenmore all is based about pulling switches or finding items to open doors, the few puzzles I found were quite simple. Not bad the texturization, but there are excessive rooms too dark, and not enough flares. Also there are not enough ammo to deal with the enemies; no enough explosive ammo for the skeletons and when I go down the very long stairs near the end of the first level with all that "harpies" disturbing me, I wasted a lot of time and had to reload often fighting only with the pistols. Definitively, it's a hard work from the builder but not my idea of a funny level." - Jose (06-Jun-2012)

"Though consisting only of 3 levels total, this is a game that took me over 3 hours to see the end of it, and as such is very hard to digest in one go. As can be guessed - this did nothing for my dislike of unnecessarily long levels and in the end I left it with a bad aftertaste. I guess the main attraction of the level were the "Lord of the Rings" inspired locations, but that was a bit hard to buy for me, considering the author had chosen a mix of regular TR textures to represent it as such. But I'm not that big a fan of the franchise, so I didn't mind taking this for simply another underground exploration adventure as it is, and while overall the eclectic mix was odd, it was decent enough to keep it relatively believable. The only particularly memorable settings for me were the spiral bridge area at the end of the first level and the huge hall with the tall pillars in the last area, and this also somewhat sums up my general dislike for the gameplay elements of long levels, which this set illustrates rather well. There's simply no fun if the level is just long for the sake of being long, filled with lots of 'filler' tasks like jumps you have to do time and time again, backtracking, wandering aimlessly through the underutilized large areas, doing long monkeys swings and a plethora of other tasks that drag and don't stand out for anything in particular. There are a couple of nice moments, mainly in the last level in form of some semi-interesting tasks (maneuvering over lava and rotating blades to name few) but by the time they come into play, the overall appeal of the level could not be salvaged for me anymore. The ending also had me confused since due to some extra puzzling behind a hidden panel in a hallway before the rope swing you could fill the lake (which softened your fall from the bridge) with mud for no apparent reason, but that might have been me not exploring it enough. But frankly - at this point I couldn't really care anymore - as you can guess this adventure did not click with me all too well - but I'm not saying it couldn't have been good even in my eyes - it just should've been stripped from all the rather redundant gameplay elements that from my point of view seemed to be there only to extend the duration artificially with no gameplay goals in mind. But then again - that might just be my take on the whole issue, and other players have enjoyed this, so you can give it a try and see if it convinces you for yourself." - eTux (26-Apr-2008)

“These three levels really surprised me. In comparison with what I have played so far the Underground Kingdom is very tough and difficult one! The whole custom consists of levels named: the Way of Khazad-dum; Khazad-dum; Bridge of Khazad-dum. Each level is huge and complicated you have to solve several puzzles but most of all Lara has to pass trough plenty of traps like the basic darts teeth spikes and rolling balls. But you will face more unusual ones as well. And believe me till you finish all of them Lara will die many times. Except for interesting (but sometimes quite frustrating) traps you will also meet some noteworthy enemies such as ancient knights flaming demons (or whatever it is) big spiders etc. But the Underground Kingdom doesn’t have a lot of foes - you will face them only seldom. Another thing I have to mention is the deficiency of medi packs. Whilst playing you will feel the adrenaline as you must fight some deadly guardians but you don’t have any medi pack... (well it was my case) but this isn’t a mistake I was only happy when I had to be thrifty using medi packs :-). The last thing I want to tell you: some places were difficult because of illogical gameplay - for example I had to find an artifact (called Angalot) but it was hidden in a vase that cannot be shattered. So I ignored such object thus causing my stuck - I couldn’t find that artifact – it’s not very frequent to duck in front of vase press Ctrl and pick up the artifact. And this is the action you had to do...Lara’s mission is to explore and finish the Underground Kingdom only. She also can find three gems Silmarils but it’s not needy. During playing I found only one Silmaril and three secrets so I didn’t fully finish the Underground Kingdom but anyway I had a fun playing it!” – Gerbil (20-Aug-2004)

“For a debut this is an incredible feat. Each of the three levels has mammoth environments where each new room and area seemed to get bigger than the last the texturing also is very fitting with the mood that the darkness sometimes a little overbearing portrays so you won’t be finding any happy bright vibrant colours but a never ending brooding world based on the Lord of the Rings theme though as I have never seen or read any of the movies or books I have to take the author’s word for this. Now on the other hand the levels for me all ran a little long with a combined time of 4 and a half hours as although the tasks at hand were all nicely introduced there was just too much running around in sometimes maze like areas this was no more evident than in level 2 and my patience was wearing a little thin. This in the end blew the game time out a lot more than it should have been. As for those tasks you get a couple of nice timed runs some innocuous target shoots and a whole mass of jumps there are also at times well placed traps and enemies but they are a very small part of this adventure. In the end I found all four secrets and all three Silmaril gems one collected in each level with the last seemingly impossible to get to but if you find not long before the end a really well hidden movable block puzzle and then large room with dozens of platform jumps the gem will actually come to you. So once again for a debut this showed so much talent but I would have preferred the rooms to have been scaled down a little so that I didn’t spend a third of the time just running around.” – Sash (23-Jul-2004)

“This is a great level. The Lord of the Rings-book and the movie inspired the author. And he did a good job I had the feeling I am part of the Lord of the Rings-Saga. Especially the end of level one reminded me of the scene of the movie at the Mountain of Destiny as Frodo threw the Ring into the flames. The level of difficulty is very high. In all three levels there are a lot of rooms to discover and riddles to solve. The Way to Khazadum: Very nice some rooms are really dark but Lara has enough flares to search in them. The whisper coming from the back and the sound are quite scary. There are columns to move and a bull which must be released. Under water there are useful things to find. Lara needs two ropes to go over to the other side and shoot the object with the crossbow. In this level there are two secrets to find. 2 immortal knights are hunting Lara in the maze and a mummy is jumping out of her coffin which scared me. Find the Askaloth to go on. The spike trap leads nowhere there is another way. Find the way down to the ground and after you’re done there go back up to the hole and dive. In the room where four monster attack Lara there are some things to do (pull switches solve push-riddles). The sound is suitable to the fight. To go to level two run down the stairs. Harpy’s attacks Lara while she is running down the stairs. Before going down to the gate look for a possibility to open the gate it leads to level two. Weapons in this level are shotgun crossbow and lasersight. Khazadum: Many skeletons make it not easy for Lara. Traps are smashing blocks spikes and rolling balls. And a lot of rooms waiting for Lara in them she shoots boxes into pieces and vases too. Also look closely at the holes in the wall. A timed riddle must be done in this level. In the cave of the spiders(big and small spiders) look closely at the walls to find moveable objects and a switch. And don’t forget to pick up ammo and medipacks. Look for the blue item and for the golden dragon. Behind a block is a door which is opened by a switch. In the room with the three knights is the Aina-key; it opens the way to level three. Before going to level three Lara should look for the Silmaril and the two secrets. Opponents are Demigods and Dogs. Lara needs a star (I missed it and had to go back). To level three make your way over the ravine and open the door with the Aina-Key. The Bridge of Khazadum: The level starts with a brilliant animation which shows the complete hall. This room reminded me of the realm of the dwarfs in the first part of the lord of the rings the ‘Caves of Moria’. It starts with a tough time run. After it Lara gets into an underwater room. Take a deep breath and dive to the switch after avoiding the rolling ball. Get the Vraeus and leave this room. In the next room pull the switches and get the stars. The switches open three doors; behind them is a lavaroom a room with rotating blades and a room with smashing blocks and spike traps. Lara needs four stars the last one is easy to get. After using the stars Lara gets to the bridge. But before she can get to the object the bridge breaks away and Lara falls into the water. Sad but I went on and finished the third level without the object on the bridge. I recommend this level to experienced players. You need a lot of patience; you should have fun to solve riddles and search for things.” – Avmaster (23-May-2004)

“The Way Of Khazad-dum (7/8/8/7 90 min. 2 secrets): A drop into darkness...that's how it starts. And the environment is a series of huge rooms with a few objects to push occasional tricky jumps rope swinging target shooting many levers a bit of swimming and a challenging timed fire gauntlet. Quite a variety of enemies that keep you on your toes (skeletons dogs knights beetles bats ahmets demigods crocodiles and very cool black 'harpies'). The textures are initially a bit patchy and the flybys could use some tuning but the huge cave with the stairs near the end is truly impressive. Pillars timeless sands vraeus and a gem are your crucial pickups along the way and some of the audio tracks add greatly to the atmosphere. Khazad-dum (8/7/9/8 90 min. 2 secrets): This part seemed a little more solidly built with better application of textures and better flybys. However it can also be very confusing as there are sneakily hidden levers and quite a bit of backtracking at times without any camera hints. So this very much is a matter of patience. Enemies are bats spiders skeletons demigods and dogs. The caves are very well built but the maze like feeling or the sense of loneliness in the often empty rooms can be quite overwhelming. There are lots of vases to shoot but only rarely they yield a pickup. Two guardian keys and a Star help you forward and the gameplay highlight is a tight timed run. The Bridge Of Khazad-dum (9/7/8/8 45 min.): Starting from a nice initial flyby this third part is pretty much an action packed gauntlet from beginning to end which makes it a lot of fun to play. In your quest to collect four golden stars you make your way past slicer dicers timed runs boulders tricky jumps over lava swinging axes spikes squishing blocks and more. Then there is a great moment when you drop off that bridge near the end before after a little more action you finally reach daylight. All in all it the set requires a bit of patience with its spacious design and a lot of running around but the atmosphere is really quite good the gameplay ideas here and there very entertaining and if you are a Lord of the Rings fan you will enjoy the references made and certainly the audio so give it a try.” – Michael (02-May-2004)

“The Way of Khazad Dum. For some reason I wasn't expecting to enjoy this level all that much but I was completely wrong - I had a really good time. Initially I was thinking how quiet things were and was wondering where all the enemies had got to and then I came across that damn bull. I should have kept my mouth shut. Other enemies are crumbly crusaders in the maze jackals and AAAAAAAAAARGH morgue beetles. Lots of interesting manoeuvres to perform and artefacts to find. The room you enter just after placing two sands of time is magnificent and dramatic. Trying to find a safe way down whilst being attacked by harpies is fraught indeed although given that it represents the Mines of Moria I was just glad not to encounter a balrog. Khazad Dum. Spiders. Shudder. This place is an absolute warren with skeletons lurking in the corridors. There's a tight timed run in this section that takes a good few attempts. The cave area is most confusing and I only found a vital crawlspace by falling into the hole it was hiding in. Sometimes the headless chicken strategy works like a charm. The Bridge of Khazad Dum. I was so glad to get out of that cave even if was into a load of water before too long. Lots more impressive architecture to explore and a truly awesome fall from the bridge into the water far below - quite a moment. You also get the mother of all boulder runs at the end of this part. Great fun.” – Jay (08-Feb-2004)

“Being a huge Lord of the Rings fan (both books and movies) I pretty much loved these levels. I had a few rough spots where I really needed to seek help but sometimes that can be part of the fun. I spent six plus hours making my way through the Mines of Moria and found it genuinely creepy (as it should be). There was one bit of texture on a wall somewhere (a shadowy looking blotch) that was especially spooky and it reminded me of some NYC graffiti circa 1984. (I'll post a screen cap of it later) Most of the textures were pretty good in my opinion but the sand needed work. It looked a bit ‘tiger stripey’. The darkness didn't bother me. It just lended itself to the feeling one should get while traveling through Moria. (And I've always been a believer in using the binoculars and popping of pistol rounds to conserve flares.) The enemies. Not too many but well placed. Thus increasing the element of suprise when you encounter them. The LOTR music was great and some of the ambient sounds were keeping me creeped out and on my toes even though I knew I'd already dispatched any enemies. Traps were also well placed. They popped up where I least expected them. And that fall from the bridge - nice touch!” – Deekman (06-Feb-2004)

“A level inspired by ‘Lord of the Rings’. Much atmosphere good music fun gameplay. Not many enemies though. Dogs birds demigods and knights. The obstacles here are rather the traps and timed runs and simply finding your way through. The stairway down into the underground is amazing and the scene when trying to reach the third ‘Silmaril’ is one of the best I’ve ever seen!” – G.Croft (16-Jan-2004)

“Here we have a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings as this adventure speaks of the great mines of Moria. I have to say that the sight of the stairs were awesome and the huge chambers with pillars that come with it looked like the great hall of Moria. Having said that and having seen the movies for a game.... the levels were too dark. I had to add a lot of flares through the TRSGEDITOR and even then it was rather hard. What springs out is the jumping one has to do. This is a rather sneaky game as there is some practice shooting to do and apart from being hidden very well the darkness got in the way a bit. Find artifacts nicely renamed into object that the dwarves from Lord of the Rings might have used. The music came how could it not from LOTR great touch. There is a lot of running back and fro as the rooms are huge and again the darkness made it almost impossible to admire the vastness of some rooms. I liked the way the grave of Balin was lit. Also the last part where you run over the bridge seeing Seth and falling well done. There are some nice puzzles in here and I found the enemy well placed. There are some fiendish timed runs and the one with the swan dive was the best. Had some problems here and there with some bugs as a for instance in the last level one squishy block stopped dead in its tracks and I couldn't pass. Don't know what did that but after reloading a couple of times it did what it should do and I could get my hands on that star. Found 4 secrets. 03-01-2004.” – Gerty (14-Jan-2004)

“This is an excellent debut of this author. Three levels with great mysterious atmosphere give you fun for many hours. Each level has new things to do new puzzles and new sound especially from The Lord of The Rings. First level is rather simply built but Joker used nice textures and like in TR1 they create positive feeling. Almost every room is dark and some of them too dark but it is also conspicuous thing in the all three levels. Building huge locations is a very hard work but Joker did it perfectly. When you see many levels of some big constructions you are amazed. Some hard-core puzzles also diversify the journey. In every level there are some texture and technical bugs but fortunately they are small. And finally the whole workmanship is very good game is interesting and this package is very much recommended by me.” – Pedros (28-Dec-2003)

“Being this one of the darkest levels I have ever played immediately spoils my mood not to mention the fun. As the title says Lara will find herself in dark caves and lava areas with very few flares. The game play is rather simple just find levers switches and often break vases or gems in lions’ mouths to open a door. It has some nice jumps but that alone can’t overcome the downsides. There are no real puzzles and the enemies are rats condors behaving like harpies and demigods. The textures simple but nicely applied give a nice feeling while exploring the rooms. You have to find vraeus and guardian keys to proceed plus two gems which are not necessary to finish the game. I found three secrets one of which was a gem and although I could see the second I didn’t bother searching for it due to the unpleasant feeling I had for the dark atmosphere; I just wanted to end this quickly. I didn’t like this game but it’s a nice effort from the author and you should give it a try.” – Kristina (26-Dec-2003)

“Three excellent levels with big rooms and caves Objects from catacom.tr4 and some new. Also new puzzles and one tricky jump in level....good atmosphere and gameplay – I enjoyed to play.” – Yoav (23-Dec-2003)
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