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Level: Christmas in the Trenches (Natale in Trincea) back home search
Author(s): Marzio
total rating:5.87 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Aims 6 6 6 6
Akcy 4 5 6 7
alan 6 6 6 5
Bene 8 8 6 6
CC 6 8 7 6
Ceamonks890 5 7 6 6
Gerty 4 7 6 6
Jay 5 8 6 6
Jose 2 5 5 6
Kristina 5 7 7 7
Lady Lara 7 8 7 8
manarch2 4 7 6 3
MichaelP 4 8 6 6
Mulf 3 7 5 3
Obig 6 8 7 7
Orbit Dream 3 6 6 4
Ryan 4 5 6 6
Sash 4 5 5 5
The Aussie Adventurer 6 8 5 5
Treeble 6 6 7 5
Yoav 6 6 7 7
category averages
(21 reviews)
4.95 6.71 6.10 5.71

Reviewer's comments

"This is a Christmas type level set in Lara's home. Your objective is to locate some keys to open doors of the mansion. There's a snowmobile to ride around for a while (and run down some dogs). There's a bunch of personalized weapons and ammo to fight against some of Lara's old enemies that have invaded her manor. I liked the grey sky with flashing lights and the big Christmas tree in the dining room. Textures could be better as in some places they were quite repetitive and lacked of lighting. Anyway it was a nice short Christmas level in Lara's house." - alan (17-Dec-2017)

"And to end Marzio's level building career on, we have a Xmas-themed version of one of the most overused maps within the TRLE community. So if you've played one unrelated Croft Manor interpretation beforehand, then you've definitely played this one. Hearing the classic Jingle Bells song play(upon witnessing a giant Xmas tree in the ballroom), did bring a smile to my face though." - Ceamonks890 (16-Nov-2017)

"This is only the second Christmas themed level, but (at least in my eyes), it seems primitive by today's next-gen standards. It is just a mansion level, with the typical gameplay of finding keys to open doors to find keys to open more doors...and so on. I suppose that Natla, Pierre, Larson and Sophia were a nice touch, as was the music. The amount of ammunition and weapons found in Lara's gun cupboard seems a bit drastic, but each to their own." - Ryan (01-Sep-2016)

"Again another mansion level without interest. You can use the snowmobile to drive short distances and no more. The remaining tasks are the same: explore, explore and explore finding often dead ends, and explore again the same old mansion areas and rooms until you find something. I was stucked after reaching the balcony (Lara's bedroom) 'cause the shootable window is the same than the other ones (saw the walkthrough). Bad placed doors with the invisible block in the main doors of the mansion. Talking about that main doors, why don't place a button or a switch to open them and take a shortcut to the hedge maze? Why not a camera when pressing the button in the hedge maze? Near the end, I didn't shoot Sophia, and finally she disappeared, so I had to consult the walkthrough again, reload an old savegame and kill her to be able to finish the level. Not worth to play for me. Sorry." - Jose (12-Aug-2016)

"I honestly didn't expect much from this level but even if the early age and the not very confined skills of the builder show this can be actually enjoyed more than I expected. It has some humouristic touches like the cellar scene, and some very nicely introduced fights, unfortunately I couldn't understand one word, and the new weapons are a treat even for today's standards. On the downside, taking Lara's home with some modifications (albeit badly textured mostly) doesn't show a great sense of sophistication and if not for the audio tracks and some better indoor areas the atmosphere would have gone downhill as well. All in all those were 15 minutes in plain, but funny "find and kill your arch enemies" style." - manarch2 (22-Dec-2013)

"I played this out of curiosity,as it's one of the very earliest Christmas themed levels;but alas,it has not aged well at all! The Mansion looks suspiciously similar to all those other prj's we've had to toil our way through over the years,with only the addition of a spectacularly huge Xmas Tree providing any enjoyment.Everything else is a key-finding odyssey,where you're taken from pillar to post in a hugely roundabout sort of way,shooting the occasional enemy with one of the many items of heavy artillary you're helpfully provided with. Actually,there's a surprisingly large amount of bloodshed for a seasonal level - or perhaps we've just been conditioned to too much pacifist raiding in our Advent offerings over the years? Whatever the case,I found the gratuitous slaughtering to be mildy amusing;especially when Kurtis dropped a monumentally large Book from about his person upon dying. Actually,none of the objects collected had cause to be used,and it all crashed to my Desktop at level's end (after 31 minutes). The careless application of quite a few of the textures seemed to imply that this level,for all its good intentions,was probably rushed out in a matter of days in order to exploit the Season.Nonetheless,there's a certain amount of enjoyment to be had from the whole experience;if only to hear a rendition of Jingle Bells as a reward for killing a Mutant." - Orbit Dream (16-Dec-2010)

"This second level of the 'christmas' genre comes accompanied by a story in Italian, which, though fanciful, has nothing to do with christmas (it just happens to be that time of year), and essentially provides a pretext for the return (once again) of some of Lara's ancient enemies—in order of appearance: Pierre, Larson, Natla, Sophia—in what soon turns out to be another of those mansion levels in which nothing ever seems to happen, except someone keeps moving the keylocks. I dare not decide whether the author ripped the PRJ from the original file or (as Treeble suspects) from a better builder's level, but either way he thought it sufficient to simply leave it in its raw ripped state, diligently avoiding any attempt at removing glitches, adjusting textures and other such inconveniences as a ripped PRJs is bound to provide aplenty. However, if the three or four outside rooms that have been tacked on at the beginning are in any way indicative of this author's skills in actual building, he might not even have noticed, or recognized as problematic, these and other issues—seeing how here he was content with random textures appearing on the sides of snowy blocks, with rooms disappearing from view, and with entire walls simply not being there. This is all the more disconcerting for the fact that this level is the author's fourth release; as it happens, it also seems to be his final release, and seeing how the quality of gameplay matches that of design quite well, I can't say I'm sorry about the fact. You enter the mansion by raising a block that gives you access to the balcony (it's a block that Lara shouldn't be able to stand on, as it looks like a fence and has no texture on top...but nevermind), shoot out the one window that is shatterable (but looks exactly like all the others), and get immediately sent back to the opposite side of the estate to pick up a key that just happened to be triggered into existence at that point. After that there is more backtracking to do while you pick up one key after the other from the enemies mentioned above, all of whom are required kills, even though Larson seems perfectly content with just squatting up there on the ledge, and Sophia wouldn't attack anyway because the author ran out of enemy slots and resorted to the 'troops' slot for her (better kill her on sight though, as otherwise you may have to play hide-and-seek with her, and then kill her anyway). All things considered, this is not so much a level properly speaking—it's rather a showcase for these custom enemies, placed in a prefabricated map and with basic gameplay elements added ina very perfunctory manner. That said, the human enemies have been quite capably remeshed (while the numerous dobermans you'll encounter on the outside seem to have serious problems with causing any damage to Lara, and sometimes seem content with just sticking their heads into the wall), the flybys are well done, and I'll even give an extra point for effort because of the 'lightning conductors' placed around the house in order to represent lightning (even though they neither look like lightning, nor do they sound like thunder cracks, and despite the fact that they cause blue flickering on the screen in some parts inside the mansion)—but none of this is quite enough to act as a counterweight to the unoriginal and thoroughly bad design and the boring and utterly uninspired gameplay." - Mulf (11-Dec-2009)

"Lara kills dogs in a Christmas level, let alone her own dogs, that is not right! Besides she had lots of them. The standard mansion setting and textures, but I liked it. The lighting was good. It probably wasn't the author's intension, but I jumped from my seat when entered room with the Christmas tree, and suddenly the fly-by started with the loud Jingle Bells song, lol. Nice big tree, and just a few other Christmas decorations in the house. There were some errors, like the end of the world, wrong pushing button anim, way too much weapons and ammo. The funny thing is that it ends where mansion levels usually begin, at least for those of us who rude enough to like locking Winston in the fridge, but this time we set him free. Don't expect real Christmas mood here, but it was quite nice." - Akcy (04-Dec-2007)

"It's good to come home literally. This level is about xmas well sort of anyway. The only reference to xmas is the hat and the Christmas tree. Anyway back to the review I would have to say I enjoyed this level a bit. It's a compact level based at Lara's home. There's still a lot to do though. Some of the rooms are changed with some surprises in each room. It's good to see some old faces again. This level wasn't hard to design so it should have been easy to make and easy to perfect but that's not the case. Some of the light sources were out of place. Gameplay consisted of finding keys which open door which give access to more keys which give access to more doors well you get the picture. Talk about ammunition guns and health kits. In this level you sure not to run out of any! There is just way too much ammo and only a couple of baddies to contend with. Overall this was an ok level but great but pleasing non the less. If you want to explore Lara's mansion with a twist choose this one. If I had to give this level a grade I would give it a C a pass mark." - The Aussie Adventurer (11-Nov-2004)

"What a lovely fun little level! Short (about 35 min or so) but lots to enjoy here. All the baddies from Lara's past have teleported into her house but she has lots of ammo to get them. The wonderful Christmas trees and sound cues will get you in the Xmas mood. Very nice retextured objects and I admit I had fun running over the dogs with the snowmobile (sorry). Easy level but I like easy levels when they have eye candy. Some missing textures and animations and a bit short - otherwise 2 thumbs up." - Lady Lara (08-Nov-2004)

"Here is a strange xmas level based in Lara's home if it weren't for Lara's Santa outfit the Christmas tree red snowmobile and some decs I wouldn't think it was Christmas at all! The story is strange and not at all in the xmas spirit lol. Lara on her travels to Ireland found a powerful gem called 'the gem of the afterlife'. Claiming it for herself she did not realise it belonged to a witch called swampy (the swamp goblin from tr5's old mill underwater is the witch lol). Swampy realising it had gone searched for it and found it in Lara's basement at home which also has a stargate (?). Using the power of the gem and the stargate it revived enemies from Lara's past for revenge Natla Larson Pierre and Sophia to take care of Lara. Lara was out donating to an orphanage when Winston rang her on her mobile to inform her of what was happening but the phone cut off in worry Lara got on her snowmobile and made her way back to the house to sort the problem. The level is quite simple all you really do is get a key use it kill any enemy and reclaim the artefact they have stolen off you. There are voice-overs but they are in Italian and don't understand what they are saying lol. There is only one custom tune in the level jingle bells which plays when you get to the xmas tree. All in all the level ain't too bad give it a go." - Aims (28-Oct-2004)

"There's not much here in the way of trenches though I assume it was a metaphoric use of the word as Lara finds herself once again under attack in her own home by a whole bunch of dogs and her old arch nemeses Pierre Larson Sophia and Natla. Her intended goal here is to free poor ol' Winston who seems to have gotten himself locked in the cold larder but ever the stoic butler he still holds his tray proudly in his hands as he freezes his poor little goolies off. Puzzling is kept to pretty much a minimum as you go in search of 6 keys each helping to unearth the next and along the way collecting 4 other objects a cog book crystal star and possibly what could be a vulcanised crystal. As a xmas level it is quite nice but in the context of all the other levels it is of just below medium interest." - Sash (23-Jul-2004)

"Ok it's way past Christmas - or way before it if you prefer. I selected this level randomly and I had a deja vu feeling when I reached the Library. I was sure I had not played this level before and that library is not like the official games house levels... when I went downstairs where the trophy room used to be - it all made sense. The map of this level was ripped out from Leandro Dubost's home levels and as far as I could understand the readme no credit has been given to him. Christmas is usually a peaceful time and such but that's not quite what this level shows. You will kill (or run over) more than twenty dogs and you will also meet all of Lara's past enemies - Pierre Larson Natla and Sophia. Each one will leave you a different Xmas gift when you kill them. Sophia was friendly (troops slot) though maybe she didn't want to die yet another time? ;) The level ends when you get the star and reach what you couldn't in Leandro's - the fridge. But what's inside is pretty much the same. The voices were hilarious and so was the first jingle bells bit. 30 minutes." - Treeble (28-Jun-2004)

"OK so this is the mansion 'the' mansion but I like the way it's been treated in this level. We recognise everything inside or do we I like the changes and you're never quite sure what you're going to come across and what was that truck-load of ammo was for in Lara's bedroom. There are a few questions though: why is Lara breaking into her own home? Has she to deal with squatters? Who brought another truck-load of dogs with them? The other question is where are the Trenches? What's Trenches to do with the mansion? It was easy to deal with the dogs all you have to do is drive the snowmobile around as many areas available before entering the house. The squatters are Larson Sophia and another two. They have rewired the house and gardens which makes the lights flicker throughout the house and no doubt use the electricity to turn the basement into a weird haunt of the old hag who has stolen a Christmas star. I like Lara's outfit a finer cut than other so-called Xmas outfits. I like the details like the shower running the first time being able to get into Lara's bedroom from the balcony the additional furniture the new meeting room upstairs. The only thing I didn't get to open was the fridge I had no key this motley crew must have locked poor Jeeves in there. One of these fine days an author is going to surprise me and create a mansion level where I can swing on those chandeliers in the hall and get to visit a secret area. In the meantime this is a very good mansion level." - CC (13-Apr-2004)

"A house level and a fast paced one at that unless like me you have a problem getting into the house. It worked finally by standing right in front of a window on the balcony and shoot. In the house there are a lot of keys to gather and although I reloaded twice I never got the key to the maze so using the fly cheat I noticed a button I had to push still don't know what that button did though probably for the cellar door. You meet Nataly Sophia and Larson and by freeing Winston you hit the finishing trigger. 27-02-2004" - Gerty (28-Mar-2004)

"This is another nice Christmas level. It matters which treasure had gotten from which person. Swampy the witch resented that her treasure had been stolen and release Lara's ancient enemies: Pierre Larson Natla and Sophia through the Stargate for recovering it. You have to collect 6 Keys on this familiar area. Lara's Home has been occupied by Pierre and Sophia. You must kill them twice 'cause they want to kidnap Lara. Meantime you will recover the Pietra Filosofalk the Libro di Magia the Scion and finally the Star. You will get numerous weapons on the level which are unnecessary but might be needed on the next level. At least I hope it will be continued. :) The textures fit well to the level - nothing special but fine. The added sounds are Italian but I love them. This is not a difficult level but I hardly noticed a Key in the corner when I second met Sophia. The enemies are dogs unfortunately you must kill them. In the end of the level you can save your faithful footman who can disturb Lara with his tray again. But I prefer closing him into the refrigerator room. :) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version) savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/12/christmas_in_the_trenches.htm " - Obig (24-Mar-2004)

"Well what a surprise! Christmas in February - a definite treat. Yes there's problems with textures and animation that doesn't work and not enough camera work but for me all that was outweighed by the sheer fun I had with this level. Seeing Pierre Larson and Natla wishing Lara a Merry Christmas - NOT! There's a snowmobile ride at the beginning and more than enough ammo and fire power to blow away enemies from several levels but that was part of the fun. It's a search for keys letting Lara into the different areas of the mansion with Christmas music and a quite well done decorated tree. I had a smile on my face from the beginning to the end. Recommended to those who need a 'pick me up'. Download it for a quick quest that's pure entertainment." - Bene (10-Mar-2004)

"Lara's dressed in a fetching Santa outfit and there's a lovely big Christmas tree in the grounds of her mansion. However this may not necessarily be the season of goodwill judging by the awesome amount of firearms and ammo she's picking up from the cupboard in her bedroom. What can we be in for? Ah Pierre Larson and Natla apparently and not bearing gifts. This is basically a mansion level with a Christmas setting but the addition of such familiar faces gives it a nice twist and makes it definitely worth a look." - Jay (08-Mar-2004)

"The good news is that this is a Christmas level and I like Christmas levels. Nice red Santa outfit for Lara snowmobile fabulous huge Christmas Tree and a great Jingle Bells Moment near the end. The bad news is - it is also a mansion level. The good old mansion we have raided so many times that it really is as boring as it can get. There are also severe 'end of the world' problems tons of unnecessary pickups as you really only have a dozen or so dogs to do battle with and a rather uninspired progression from key to key - six in total. Very good job though on the modified enemies - allowing Lara to meet the old 'friends' again and kill them to retrieve the artifacts they have stolen. Would have been nice to understand the Italian dialogue but alas this language skill is not with me." - Michael (06-Mar-2004)

"Christmas in the old Lara house. Lara drives here on snowmobile to the house. It took me a few minutes to understand how to get into the house. Nothing too different here for a couple of doors need keys that Lara can find in the house. The enemies are dogs men and women from TR1 (forget the names sorry). It looks like the other house levels but it is still nice." - Yoav (02-Mar-2004)

"A Christmas level always welcomed of course with Lara dressed in red. The level starts with a snowmobile ride and soon the player arrives to a familiar place the mansion. As one can imagine we have the same rooms the maze and many keys to collect without the timed run though. It's nice to walk around in a Christmas atmosphere with enemies like Larson and Pierre as well as Sophia. They are easily disposed though given the fact that many guns like the MP5 and others retextured. A nice surprise was the launcher which was quite handy as with only one rocket you could kill any enemy. There were dialogues between the characters in this level but unfortunately I don't speak Italian so I couldn't understand what was being said. It might not have many puzzles or anything mind boggling but it is quite good anyway." - Kristina (24-Feb-2004)
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