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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2003 - Arctic Xmas back home search
Author(s): Agnes
total rating:7.14 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Aims 7 7 8 8
Akcy 8 6 8 7
Bene 8 8 8 8
CC 7 5 7 6
Cory 6 6 6 7
Gerty 7 7 8 8
Jay 7 7 9 8
Jose 7 7 8 7
Josey 9 9 10 10
Kristina 8 8 9 9
manarch2 5 5 7 6
MichaelP 7 6 8 7
misho98 4 5 6 6
Mulf 4 5 6 5
Necro 9 5 7 7
Obig 8 7 9 8
Orbit Dream 6 6 7 8
Phil 8 8 8 9
reborn1995 6 7 8 8
Ryan 7 7 7 8
Sash 6 6 7 6
The Aussie Adventurer 6 5 8 8
Treeble 7 8 9 8
category averages
(23 reviews)
6.83 6.52 7.74 7.48

Reviewer's comments

"This earlier level from Agnes doesn't quite match up to her later and more highly acclaimed efforts due to the unmarked climbable walls and the odd method to activate the finish trigger, but it's still a pleasant enough experience for an Advent level as the gameplay is mostly serene, pleasant and simple (aside from an underwater maze and a couple of mild traps), the chilly atmosphere is generally well caught and the environments are pleasant enough to look at. I also liked the warming ending." - Ryan (17-Feb-2018)

"Here we have another well-playable level with variety of tasks. There are not enemies to shoot, but you'll need to shoot another objects, and also find some traps which could kill Lara. The climbable walls and the monkeyswing are not well marked, and I suffered the backtracking to go back for the revolver, but cameras, flybys and well located musics create a good atmosphere so the exploration was never boring. The trigger to finish the level is not very orthodox, but the final outside area with the house is beautiful. Recommended." - Jose (09-Nov-2016)

"Sadly I had some problems with this level. The triggers weren't applied properly and the switches didn't work. Usually stepping again on the block where the switch is fixes things, but I had problems with the swinging spheres too and I didn't find a solution to that. I had to download savegames from another site and I used them several times because I couldn't proceed in any other way. That's a big gameplay killer for me. Also some of the water corridors leading to dead ends were annoying - you can always put some pickups or a secret to spice up things instead. On the positive side I like the architecture of the water room with three pillars, the house in the end and its garden. Textures and lighting are average - not perfect but nowhere near ugly, they are quite repetitive so in the end entering the house is refreshing but that's where the level ends." - misho98 (24-Dec-2015)

"This is a pleasant little level that provides some varied gameplay without being too obscure about the required tasks. Obig has provided a one-page review that was easy to follow. Weapons are needed, not to shoot enemies (there are none, other than some penned-up dogs at the end that bark at you but can't do anything else) but to shoot swinging blue balls and other things. There are hazards along the way as well - burner floors and rolling snowballs to mention a couple. For some reason I missed most of these Advent levels from the 2003 season, so I'm making up for that now. Recommended." - Phil (05-Apr-2015)

"This offering is a little bit longer than the others from the 2003 calendar and more involved. In general, there a few nice tasks and this level has a bit of everything (climbing, puzzles, exploration) though it suffers from a few bugs (at least I encountered them): After using a lever one has to stand on the square to activate the trigger (this might cause some confusion while picking up the first star, which is possible to pick up from the floor even without using the flipmap). Also, the door in front of the flipmap room never opened for me after shooting the ball (the secret worked fine though), so I had to move it away with Fexinspect. I also disliked the long passages especially underwater that felt pretty dull for me. The texturing is solid generally but there's a number of badly marked ladders and I disliked the lighting which again suffers from flatness. I found the atmosphere to be still rather convincing with a number of neat sound tracks used and a rather nice room design. The flybies are all nicely done but a bit pointless and long. It all ends with a nice scene with Lara entering a hut but the finish trigger is a bit obscure to say the least. If not for the bugs, this level would be one of the better Advent levels of the same year, but with those it's still mostly interesting." - manarch2 (18-Dec-2013)

"This level appeared recently as "Featured Level", and I decided to play it. I simply don't know why it was so underrated, when it almost deserved full marks. It is a very beautiful game, the music is great and put to good use (instead of continuous), there is an expert handling of the camera hints, and the light is fine. There are no complicated puzzles, but the author observed that it was a game intended also for children. I enjoyed very much to know it, even a little late!" - Josey (10-Oct-2011)

"Now christmas is of course the time when reviewers tend to dispense lashings of charity more inordinately than at any other time of the year; and yet, even if this contribution to the 2003 Levelbase ‘Advent Calendar’ currently scores a quite solid 7.25, it is the lowest-rated level of the batch, and I’m wondering why this should be case. True, the christmas theme crops up only at the end here, but this is the case with other levels, too; I gather from the reviews that certain parts of this level were carried over from the builder’s earlier releases ‘Arctic Hole’ 1 and 2, but then these same reviews don’t seem to make much of the fact, and at any rate it doesn’t affect my ratings, as I haven’t played these levels. Anyway, I hit upon the first secret before I found the regular way of progression, which is a sure indication that something’s not quite right with gameplay (the secret itself wasn’t bad at all, though). Due to another of those ‘pushable that looks like a part of the wall’ ploys the level has a juddering start and just never seems to really get going after that. There is too much backtracking here, partly because the builder intentionally makes you go back and forth, and partly due to the fact that vital pickups (specifically, the revolver) were placed in some random spot on the map—this and a too great reliance on pushables is something this level shares with a good number of other ‘advent calendar’ levels, and just as in almost all the other levels, the lighting is rather bright and bland throughout, flat, without contrasts, using only ambience lighting and the occasional shadow bulb. Neither the lighting nor the general colour scheme match with the deeply saturated orange-coloured sky. Texturing, on the other hand, is rather solid. Snow and ice were taken from the obvious source (TR3 Antarctica), only a little more care could have been expended on applying them; textures of a technical character were imported from other games and work quite well on the whole, although there’s one particular metal panel that stands out awkwardly from the rest by virtue of being so fuzzy as to suggest it is a blown-up 32-pixel texture; and I’m not at all sure what to think of the abuse the builder thought it fit to make of the ‘Half-Life’ striplights as some kind of floor grating…? I liked the TR3 rock texture with a structure of horizontal layers that serves to mark some of the climbable walls, as it is none too obtrusive yet looks quite rightly climbable; but I can’t say the same thing about the other textures used to mark climbability…or not to mark it. The only monkeyswing in the level is not marked in any way at all and therefore likely to get you stuck quite gratuitously, and that’s annoying, plain and simple. It’s also a little disappointing that for getting up onto that high block in the water, the builder didn’t devise something better than a very glitchy rope. Some other issues (wrong switch animation, for example) could have been ironed out more easily. Oh, and a quick note from the implausibility department: At some point, you raise a concrete block in an ice cave by (have a guess) lighting a campfire. At the other end of the cave, too. The highlight of the level would have to be the ending, which gains an extra point in ‘atmosphere’. It’s only here that snow is falling, the contrast between the icey environment and the warm and cosy interior of the cabin is quite effective, and ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’ is appropriate seasonal (although it sounds to me like performed by some white guys rather than a proper gospel choir; the three other custom tracks are synth pieces I could have done without). There’s also a guy in a camo suit inside the hut, but I’m not sure who he is—he’s started the party without Lara, so now he’s unable to utter so much as a word and needs all his strength to keep himself in an upright position. Ah well, he probably wouldn’t remember his name anyway, so let’s not mind him. Lara, get your gun and open the pressies." - Mulf (17-Dec-2009)

"Well,alright,it's only a Xmas level (although only loosly defined as such) but you can tell that this was an earlier effort from Agnes as there are a few little irritations throughout which prevent this from measuring up to the quality of her later works: a monkey-swing texture that looked not-at-all grippable;a rope swing through walls AND water;and a pushable block that appeared identical in every way to its surroundings. I was also slightly irritated at the somewhat obscure method of activating the Finish Trigger.The texturing and lighting was fine,if a little lackluster;and there was nothing at all to shoot (addmitedly acceptable,given the theme of the level) which regrettably took away some of the excitement. It ended with a charming conclusion,however,and progression throughout was very smooth and playable so I would reccommend this little adventure for any season of the year." - Orbit Dream (31-Mar-2008)

"A rather small christmas level that really doesn't show much of that christmassy theme. At times it could be annoying with hidden pushable blocks and quite a bit of backtracking. The pushable blocks were never hard but i was able to get somewhere i wasn't supposed to and without the right items so i had to go back which was annoying. The secrets were quite easy to find. One of the most annoying things about this level was the monkey swing to the ladder, it may have just been me but i was trying for ages to get to that ladder when we evntually realised there was a very hard to notice monkey swing. I did find one bug with the ropeswing in which she fell underwater as in to the bottom and was still moving with the rope, once this happened it was impossible to let go, but even when done correctly (or semi-correctly seeing as the block is climbable) you go through the wall and block which isn't good. It isn't all bad though because overall i found the 45 minutes to be decently enjoyable, give it a go." - Cory (31-Mar-2008)

"Some areas are from Arctic Hole 2, as Lara revisits the place. The author wanted it to be recognizable, maybe that is the reason for the lack of festive decorations, except in the house at the end, where some friend is waiting for Lara, he looks like one of the ususal bad guys, so I draw guns by instinct and started shooting. On a closer look, he turned out to be really funny with the bottle in his hand, nice touch. Easy gameplay, still, some jumps and things to figure out may require some raiding experience. Like avoiding traps, or one shootable blue ball, which I totally missed at first, then ran around like headless chicken, till found it. We need to find two blue stars, the second one was very simple, compared to all the trouble involved in finding the first, some tasks to accomplish in order to get it would have been better. I liked the added music. All in all, a nice level." - Akcy (13-Jan-2007)

"I haven't played many christmas levels so I'm not always sure what to expect. There really wasn't much to do with christmas here except that it's set in ice and snow and the last few minutes of the hut you come to is nicely decorated. Again, as I have come to expect from Agnes, the music is beautiful and fits in well with the scene. Not much to say about the scenery, you certainly feel you are in the acrtic and I saw no errors with illegal slopes, etc. The puzzles were fairly straightforward except for a few well hidden switches. Silly me had to back track as I thought I had ran into a bug that allows Lara to only hold 1 Blue Star. I know I picked them both up, however, when I loaded a previous saved game, I was up to the place where you collect the 1st star. I thought I had already colected it so I went to the end and realsed I only had 1 in my inventory (after picking up the 2nd). This was an enjoyable level and took me about an hour to complete. This could very well have been an expansion in Agnes' Arctic Hole series. Like I said, the only thing giving this an xmas feel was the hut at the end. However, I thouroghly enjoyed it and i recommend it." - Necro (13-Jul-2006)

"This is an odd mix for a xmas level because some of the rooms look extremely non-xmas themed. However, the basic layout is fun and aside from a few slighty hidden ladders and crawlspaces, it's a very easy level to follow. There's plenty of gameplay despite there being no enemies and very few pickups. This is a decent xmas level worth playing at least once for sure. A few tips--(1) be careful not to set yourself on fire when you light the second pile of wood. (2) you can shoot out a couple of doors; i didn't even try and then wasted a bunch of time looking for a switch or lever that wasn't there. (3) Just for fun, at the end, i was able to use the crossbow to shoot through the bars and kill both dogs. My only gripe is that it seemed like there was a lot of unused space. More pickups or secrets or just special scenery in these areas would've been nice." - reborn1995 (24-May-2006)

"This level had some pieces and bits from Arctic Hole 2, another level from the same author, although they were completely remodeled. Lara must find two Blue Stars to reach a lovely house where a man with a champagne and a gun is waiting for her. I thought it was a brilliant idea to finish the levels by opening the presents. Gameplaywise it will keep you interested, having you swimming through underwater mazes, looking for a torch to light up a bonfire, dodging two snow balls and the usual lever-to-lever progression. The highlight still is the little house, the snow falling, the music... everything was just great. 35 minutes, 2 secrets. 03/05" - Treeble (13-Mar-2005)

“Well this level is the first Christmas one that I have played and I can say that I found it a bit weird and strange. I will stop off by saying that my opinion on this level would have to be of a happy and disappointing attitude at the same time. I liked the whole Christmas theme and everything but the level was semi enjoyable. I found the textures on the medipacks to be good and in the last house to be great as well. I was let down by gameplay and the level design and a couple of the puzzles. For instance it took a great deal of effort to get the first star and then to find the second one so easy was a bit of a let down. Maybe the author could have made us work for the second one as well. Also I found some of the logic of the puzzles to be obscure. I didn't think the secrets were really that hard to find and get. I would recommend playing this level is you have never played a Xmas level before as it's good enough be somewhat enjoyed. If I have to give this a grading I would give it a C a pass mark.” – The Aussie Adventurer (29-Oct-2004)

“Another nice Christmas level looked very much like the final level of Arctic Hole 2 but of course was changed a fair bit. Nice little tune at the beginning of the level which I nodded my head to lol. You need to get access to a crawlspace in the backwall which has a door needing two blue stars to open so you can reach the hut. Nice settings there are Arctic Hole style labs underneath the snow which is where you need to find the stars and level to raise a block by the hole. Not too difficult no enemies to get in the way which was good. Some nice custom music one of which is the title music I have heard it before from one of Will Gell’s levels. The hut at the end was very nice and there was a guard in there I thought he was a baddy gatecrashing but it turned out he was a good guy a little company for Lara aye? hehehe :D It was a very enjoyable level and I recommend it to everyone!” – Aims (01-Jun-2004)

“A placid Christmas level without enemies and traps well so Agnes says but I beg to differ as I was squished once by a couple of rolling snowballs and burnt to a crisp about three times by electrical floors that dang Agnes making me think I was invincible! The game itself is fairly fluid but I was stumped as I stupidly overlooked a swinging ball at one point but otherwise I found my way through the icy caves and base like areas looking for the two blue stars smoothly. Once you place the blue stars you end the level inside a cabin in the snow where a friend awaits and so do some presents to shoot. There are two secrets to find on your journey that took me 35 minutes and the only thing that let this nice little level down was the large download which put me off downloading it till nearly the end of January.” – Sash (27-Jan-2004)

“This is not quite as overtly Christmassy as the other levels from the Advent Calendar but it's still fun. The setting will be familiar to those who have played Arctic Hole 2 but the gameplay is quite different. Pleasant surroundings excellent audio enjoyable gameplay. You really can't go wrong.” – Jay (03-Jan-2004)

“Any level that has falling snow is a bonus for me and this was no exception. Lara has a great outfit with glasses and boots for her trek through the snow in her quest for two Blue Stars. Not really ‘Christmassy’ till the end with a beautiful cabin and ‘Go Tell It On The Mountain’ playing in the background. The music touched my heart. As with all the Advent levels this was a special gift. Thank you Agnes.” – Bene (03-Jan-2004)

“A short remake of Agnes' Arctic Hole but nevertheless a nice one. Also played this a second time and now I just overlooked a lever completely and had me searching for quite a while. I didn't mind at all. Find the two stars and do not forget to get the revolver and sight as there is some shooting at targets to do also when swimming get that crowbar as the first time around I swam over it LOL. Getting into the cabin was a nice surprise and I could use some of that liquor as I was mighty cold. 29-12-2003” – Gerty (01-Jan-2004)

“This is a great level for Xmas it was funny playing with it. First I was just running around until I managed to find the right way. And I didn’t realize the swinging spheres as well for the first time. You have to find the Crowbar and 2 Blue Stars. The revolver and the LaserSight are important for shooting the swinging spheres. In the end Lara is welcomed with champagne although the pistol is a bit doubtful. Maybe she will be shot if the gift Crossbow wouldn’t be appreciated? I found 2 Secrets on the level. The added sounds are superb: they add a perfect Christmas atmosphere to this great level. The textures are fit well to the environments. There are no enemies but I didn’t miss them either. The puzzles aren’t nerve-wrecking hard but you must be quite attentive at some places. I recommend this level to all of You. Find savegames pictures and the walkthrough here: http://treditor.hu/english/arctic_xmas_eng.htm ” – Obig (01-Jan-2004)

“For one more time we find ourselves in the Arctic but now it’s Christmas. Lara will explore the surroundings in an icy setting. There are two stars to find and avoid drowning and snow balls. I liked this level which is courtesy of the L.B. and our German friends for this year’s holidays. All of the levels I have played are great and this one makes no exception. The cameras are helpful so you can’t get lost of course the level is rather easy anyway. Don’t expect to see any enemies therefore it’s suitable for kids. I don’t want to rate the Christmas levels differently because after all they were only made for the peaceful Christmas days so my rating will be the same for all of them. I found two secrets and recommend this for kids but also adults.” – Kristina (28-Dec-2003)

“A nice level even though it's not a Christmas level as such. It starts in a snow cavern the van is there. I was stuck for a while wondering what to do but it becomes obvious very quickly. I liked the gameplay here. Lara gets inside what looks like a base and immediately sees something to shoot but where is the lasersight? In a well hidden in plain sight underwater tunnel that's where. And we also see that blue stars need to be collected so a crowbar is necessary. And that is the aim of the level. But I liked the way you must go about it. It's not a long level and it ends with Lara emerging into a lovely scene a cabin in a clearing with snow falling and a nice sky. Inside the cabin is decorated for Christmas and the guard has partaken of a bit too much Christmas cheer and forgot to do his guarding.” – CC (28-Dec-2003)

“After quite a few enemies in the previous calendar level this one is also not all that 'Christmassy' save for a very nice ending at a snowy hut. I really enjoyed the choice of music along the 40 minutes I spent here - very special. Gameplay is quite sneaky at times with movable blocks to spot target shooting of swinging balls well hidden levers and such things. The setting is one we already know from Agnes' Arctic Hole 2 levels but different things to do this time around in finding crowbar revolver lasersight and two blue stars to reach the end. I did not like the rope swing (as it easily goes into the walls) and some of the climbable textures are not very obvious. Very funny is the scene at the first blue star. As you flip the switch to drain the water the lamp in the hallway magically disappears ;-). A little different from the other Calendar levels but enjoyable nonetheless.” – Michael (27-Dec-2003)
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