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Level: The Torch back home search
Author(s): Ernie
total rating:7.57 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Duncan 5 5 8 8
eTux 8 6 7 6
G.Croft 8 7 8 8
Gerty 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 7 8 8
Jose 6 7 8 8
Kristina 8 8 8 8
MichaelP 9 7 7 8
Orbit Dream 3 5 7 7
Phil 9 9 9 8
Ryan 8 8 8 8
Sash 8 7 9 8
Tombaholic 8 7 9 8
Whistle 8 8 8 8
category averages
(14 reviews)
7.43 7.07 8.00 7.79

Reviewer's comments

"Providing you allow the gameplay of this level to lead you by the hand, you should enjoy yourself a lot here. The title is also a big giveaway and indeed you'll be making an awful lot of use of that torch so make a note of where you dropped it last. It's an undoubtedly ingenious level, this one, and the concept of bringing the torch to the finish trigger is pulled off brilliantly. You're required to first swim your way through a complicated tunnel system to open your route further, then drain it and finally bring your torch along on foot. I thought that the part where you threw it down a small chute and watch it bounce was absolutely wonderful. It's all brilliant stuff, and if not for a bit too much backtracking I might have scored gameplay higher. Enemies are few (but hardly missed), but the gameplay doesn't disappoint in the slightest. For its execution this is a definitely recommended play." - Ryan (01-Mar-2019)

"Very few defects like bad placed doors or missing sounds in this solid and very well made level with certain backtracking. Not good that you need to find secrets to finish it so be sure to find at least both eye pieces; the tricky jumps to get the second one were very hard for me. Also you can get totally stucked if you throw the torch to blast the skeleton in the room with shallow waters. I found enough guns and ammo to deal with few enemies; there's a good use of cameras and sounds, but the inner rooms and corridors were too dark for my taste. Anyway a level worth to play but not for beginners." - Jose (14-Nov-2016)

"I'm rather amazed that this level has not received more reviews (and higher scores). In fact, mine is only the second review in nearly 10 years (eTux played and reviewed it at the 5-year mark, and here I am at the 10-year mark). Anyway, it's a marvelously complex level with a unique concept. As its name may imply, you progress by using a torch to light things along the way. While doing so you navigate a subterranean area, only to drain it later and navigate it all over again on foot. A walkthrough has been provided by someone who calls himself NeoMatrix, and while it covers everything it doesn't lead you by the hand by documenting all the required backtracking. Since I play a bit here and a bit there, and since my memory isn't as good as it once was, I found myself hopelessly confused on several occasions as I tried to retrace my steps. Going from wet to dry conditions didn't help my orientation, either. Anyway, for sheer novelty this two-hour Egyptian adventure richly deserves Hall of Fame honors, so if you haven't already played it don't waste any more time. Recommended." - Phil (09-May-2014)

"I've heard lots of good stuff about this particular little debut over the years, but, at least for me, it's rarely as simple to immediately start it up to see what all the fuss is about, and so I'm playing it 5 years after its original release. Some advantages for that include a fully written walkthrough present and the other reviewers having pointed out all the things I should keep an eye out for. Naturally it didn't help me much, because I only considered those options after having gotten into all the possible trouble this level has to offer myself. I easily walked past the Hand of Orion and the Golden star, and whilst backtracking for them (couldn't get the Star without using Dozy after refilling the pool, though) grumbled to myself that there really should've been a foolproof way to get them so that players like me wouldn't have to suffer as a result. To get all my frustrations out of the way - I also thought the looks seldom offered anything nice to look at and were more on the functional and simplistic side. But even with all that, there's no denying how clever the entire course through the level is, how ingenious all the little moments where the torch is involved are, and how you gain a little more respect for the builder with every one of them - be it the narrow slope where you have to drop it down, or the water room where you have to light a sconce, drop it in the water to take care of the enemies and then use the same sconce to relight it again. If gameplay is what ultimately draws you into Tomb Raiding, this is the level for you, beware, however, that it has its problems and that you should be attentive at all times if you wan't to avoid them completely." - eTux (11-Jul-2009)

"Quite a reasonable level with lots to think about. Start either by dropping straight into a swim or via the dry route down the first of many underground tunnels. You then meet the first of many puzzles-to find a route up a chimney to get the sights so you can shoot a ball to proceed. After further pumping of legs finding and using the TORCH you reach the flooded section and get your exercise swimming. Ingeniously you keep having to lose the torch and picking it up later Ernie must have used some grey cells to put in this unique feature. Enemies are rather innocuous consisting of bats dogs scorpions (if you shoot too many jars) zombies and skeletons. There are other puzzles than 'find the route' type with moving 'blocks' and series of jumps to overcome. The gameplay near the end starts to get a little on the hard side. The graphics are what you would expect for a mines level with the out doors taken from Egypt. However floors are made uneven to give a variety of surfaces. The lighting is good with a mixture of light and dark and if you pick up flares there is no problem. A level well worth playing." - Whistle (01-Jul-2004)

"This really must take the prize as the most ingenious use of a torch ever devised. The level is most aptly named - the entire thing consists of making your way from start to finish with your trusty torch in hand and if you think that sounds boring please be assured it's anything but. I must admit that running around with a torch isn't my favourite past-time nor are Egypt levels my all time delight but I'll own up to enjoying this one a lot. There's also some classic raiding with mummies boulders jackals scorpions hiding in pots hands cartouche star eye of Horus etc plus quite a lot of swimming involved and I hope you don't suffer from claustrophobia because some of the nooks and crannies are very small. The way the gameplay meshes together is very clever and I really can recommend this one. First time level too. Well done Ernie. More please." - Jay (26-Feb-2004)

"I see I'm not the only one who recognized that jump room from 'The Lost Valley.' It starts with a VERY difficult jump which I was ever so happy to finally make in TLV only to find myself faced with it again months later here. Bloody hell! Well I might have rated the gameplay even a point higher but for copying someone else's room (albeit acknowledged in the readme I believe) and a nasty flip room bug which I too encountered (refer to Ian's review). There's plenty of other good stuff here though and nice ideas like the timed run with the flaming floor and the whole system of tunnels explored first underwater and later on foot. I never did figure out the point of raising the wooden platform with the switches near the gold star receptacle but it didn't hinder finishing the game. The other nice thing about this level is that it gives us an Egyptian tomb level with a different flavor mainly due to the textures used and it comes off very nicely. Perhaps the author's greatest achievement is creating a dark level and not receiving a lecture from Kristina. ;-) Nice work Ernie - I hope you'll give us an encore." - Tombaholic (06-Feb-2004)

"The challenge here is to get the torch from the beginning of the level to the end. Of course there are many obstacles in the way and it is done with a lot of imagination and ingeniousness. Not many enemies here but the atmosphere is good and the gameplay fun!" - G.Croft (04-Feb-2004)

"Ian and Bill - shame on you. How can one possibly rate this marvelous and clever gameplay as low as 3 or 5? If it were not for the few occasions where you can get stuck with no return if you forget your torch and for the flipmap bug which hit me as well I would have given this a straight 10 for Gameplay simply because it is so brilliantly designed. The way it brings you back to places has you jump swim and of course the really smart use of the torch through most parts of the level is nothing but ingenious. Two hands cartouche and eye pieces and the occasional bat dog scorpion mummy and skeleton along the way and a few boulder and spike traps are added as well. The overall setting as such is a bit basic and sometimes too dark and the flybys could do with a bit of refining but if you let the gameplay work for you this doesn't matter much. I just hope Ernie is not discouraged by some of the scores here and working on his sequel. I thought the homage to another custom level (by copying a jump sequence from Lost Valley) was an interesting novelty (and indeed Ian - if that is the impossible sequence you refer to there is no need to do it with torch in hand if you light the one on the wall.)" - Michael (28-Jan-2004)

"I really liked playing this level and I also got burned by the flip room bug (good thing I always make lots of save games). There are well-made rooms and clever bits of gameplay. It is quite ambitious but it left me feeling that the author had over-reached his skills. Which means he owes us an even better one next time. Good job!" - Duncan (27-Jan-2004)

"Just like for Krissy I enjoyed this level immensely and for a debut level it was so well put together with routes throughout the tomb environment intersecting on themselves so that you actually get to use the spaces fully and get to feel comfortable in them. The title to the level itself is not just some inane moniker but actually informs on the game itself you have to find and then take with you through the level using some really good and smart moves the torch lighting things as you go to open up your path. There was however a weird moment for me as I entered a room near the end with lots of slopes and a tricky set of jump sequences (where Ian thought it impossible to do with the torch in hand and is but you don't do it with the torch) only to realise it was taken straight from another level The Lost Valley so I had a look in the readme to see if there was any mention of this and think I could but as it isn't in English I can't be sure I did also happen to spot the re-modelled replica of a tutorial room but as this is there to be ripped off it didn't raise an eyebrow. Anyway besides those trivial things this is just a really great 70 minute level with 3 secrets to find and you could do much worse than to go about downloading it." - Sash (24-Jan-2004)

"Well what can I say this was a nice surprise. Although not my favorite sort of gameplay I got through it without too many difficulties. Getting the two Hands the Cartouche a Star and the Eye of Horus is your main goal here. And in order to get through the level you need that torch. I was glad that I had a firm grip on that burning stick of wood or placed it rather handy so I didn't need to backtrack too much. The puzzles are mainly burning things like torches on the wall or lamps and even a tile. Very inventive I may add. What I liked best is the way you got to the place you needed to be so although you do walk back and fro there wasn't that much searching for a door or a gate you saw opening in a fly by. Very well done There are some traps and apart from the shotgun and revolver you also will find a crossbow very handy for the skeletons you will encounter. 11-01-2004 " - Gerty (14-Jan-2004)

"I really liked this level and its kind of game play. I wouldn't know if this is a first attempt to create a level and I have to say if it was it didn't show at all except for the outside area which had the 'end of the world' bug. It started rather boring and at that time I thought it was going to be a darkish Egyptian level similar with the tutorial one but was I wrong or what. Lara needs hands a star and the crowbar to proceed in what looks like a pyramid and navigate through an underwater maze. Sometimes the level gets rather confusing but considering a few others I have played this was the mildest one in that department. We are not facing many enemies a couple mummies dogs and skeletons and I think I spotted a bat or two but the entire level seemed like a walk through as far as enemies are concerned. The ladders used here although marked are not very visible but quite clever with one of them made me go crazy because I couldn't find a way to proceed. The torch is used in many areas as one can imagine due to the title. I liked the way it was transferred from one room to another. This level is atmospheric has a good use of cameras and requires you to use your mind something that is always a plus on my book. If there were a couple of more different puzzles and a better placement of enemies I was willing to give a nine in the first two categories. I am expecting a level which will be able to compete with the very best out there taken into account everything I saw in this one. I found two secrets and took me more than an hour and half to get through. Make sure you give this a try." - Kristina (13-Jan-2004)

"This could have been a classic level! It could have been but it isn't. The gameplay has moments of brilliance (particularly the sliding torch slope) but the level has far too many bugs which can prevent a successful completion. For instance if you miss the star in the small room the first time drain the pool then fill it up later in order to retrieve it (the room can only be entered by swimming) you discover that once the flip rooms have been activated the room containing the star has ceased to exist thus making the level impossible to complete. The 'carrying the torch wherever you go' concept was absolutely brilliant but it renders much of the game either infuriatingly difficult or (as I believe is the case in the final jump sequence) actually impossible without the help of a savegame. There is a very fine line between gameplay which has you absorbed in a tough challenge and gameplay which does nothing more than infuriate; in this case in my opinion the builder has crossed that line. He has incredible potential but it seems to me has reached out too far and created a game for masochists only. Here's hoping that his next level will reach the perfect compromise!" - Orbit Dream (11-Jan-2004)
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