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Level: The Howling Mansion back home search
Author(s): L.Croft
total rating:6.90 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 4 8 5 5
Avmaster 8 10 6 5
Bene 7 7 8 8
CC 6 7 7 7
Duncan 6 10 8 8
G.Croft 6 9 6 7
Gerty 7 8 7 7
Jay 7 7 8 8
Jorge22 7 8 8 8
Jose 5 7 6 5
Kristina 6 7 7 8
MichaelP 5 9 6 5
misho98 6 7 7 6
Obig 7 8 8 8
Orbit Dream 3 6 4 7
Phil 6 6 7 8
Ryan 5 8 6 6
Sash 4 7 6 8
The Aussie Adventurer 8 9 7 8
Torry 6 9 8 7
Yoav 7 7 8 8
category averages
(21 reviews)
6.00 7.81 6.81 7.00

Reviewer's comments

"Not really a mansion, but a huge graveyard with a couple of buildings to explore. Not very difficult to play, but also not very entertaining for me: look for some artifacts to use (the crowbar lying anywhere), pull some switches and drag some tombs. I don't know how the author didn't place some powerful weapons and more ammo to deal with all those hard enemies. The textures are not bad, but in the underwater caves are not well applied. The best, the objects and the easy secrets; the packs of flares for the dark areas too. Playable, but not very enjoyable." - Jose (23-May-2017)

"This is very simple stuff that doesn't really offer a whole lot to immerse the player and while the idea was good, the execution wasn't up to scratch. Gameplay mainly involves searching around for items and using a few switches, plus being caught out by an invisible pole which I consider a cheap trick. The custom enemies are incorporated nicely, although supplies are a little lacking. The architecture and texturing is also lacklustre and lighting is erratic in places, with too bright areas contrasting with too dark areas. Strictly a time filler, but not one I'll replay." - Ryan (24-Apr-2017)

"Quick atmospheric level in which you explore a few cemeteries. My favorite part was jumping from a roof to roof in order to reach the outside of the fence. The shooting part was also fun but maybe a shotgun could've come in handy against those wolves. The zombies are a good addition cause they keep the tension up although they are pretty slow. I missed a star and had to backtrack a long way back and that was kinda boring, so were the two identical water rooms. Texturing could've been better, lots of textures aren't rotated properly and lighting is a bit bland but the overall look is fine. Some music and scary sounds should've been added, instead we have the well known tomb ambient sounds from TR4. Not a bad choice to waste some spare time." - misho98 (25-Dec-2015)

"I didn't hear any howling, and you spend much more time in a surrounding graveyard than in any mansion, but this little 30-minute tidbit has its share of spooky charm. It also has more light than one would expect in a graveyard raid, but I'm not complaining. The level appears crude visually, and there's nothing inspired about the gameplay, so I'm a bit surprised by the relatively high average scores. It's certainly not as fun or as engaging as the much more recent Forgotten Scepter, which has received significantly lower overall scores. Go figure. Yoav has provided his typically compact walkthrough that documents but one rather obvious secret, and I didn't find any more secrets on my own. This is one to play while you're killing time waiting for the next major release." - Phil (25-Aug-2015)

"A short and easy raid in a cemetery, a few stars to find and levers to pull. The only hardish part was the invisible pole, which I found just by accident. We can get on top of the walls and reach the end of the world all around. Good use of objects, although they are too repetitive, all the gravestones are the same, or is it a cemetery of clones? Enemies were nicely done, they are very fitting. But otherwise failed to create creepy atmosphere, some added audio and much better lighting would have been needed for that. So it reminded me some 'B' horror movies which desperately trying to be scary, but they just aren't. A good idea turned into a missed opportunity, probably because of the builder's lack of experience. Hopefully he'll get better in time." - Akcy (20-Nov-2007)

"Here we have the second effort from the author, which is much better than his first. It's placed in a cemetery and Lara must find a blue gem. She fights some new creatures that look fantastic, such as zombies, rotted dogs, flying skeletons and so on. The scenery looks great and for the most part, textures look good too. There is nothing new for objects other than the usual and the secret that I found was quite easy to find. The mood in this game, which I think is supposed to be a bit scary, is nice however, some lighting improvement would have done wonders. The only thing I could complain about is the level design. It seemed to me to be a bit unorganised and could have done with some more thought into the layout. Otherwise, it's a great game. If I had to give this level a grade I would give it a B+, a high end distinction." - The Aussie Adventurer (12-Apr-2005)

"Nice mini-level set in cemeteries cemeteries and more cemeteries... plus one church and a place which could remotely be a mansion. The enemies are zombies (if they can be called enemies - in fact I never understood how come peoplke in horror movies are always unable to escape them when they move so slowly) Baskerville hounds (that unfortunately produce no sounds) skeleton birds monsters as in scales puzzles and a skeleton ghost that won't attack Lara unless she comes close. To go to the 'mansion' Lara has to find a crowbar that isn't very visible (especially if you push or pull a grave to the top of it as I did) to get two stars out of the wall. But the truth is she doesn't need the crowbar she can easily climb the walls and arrive at the 'mansion' without opening the gates that lead there. So skip the crowbar skip the stars. Although somewaht repetitive the game is very enjoyable until it suddenly ends when Lara picks up a gem. One of the most interesting ideas in the game is a totally unsuspected invisible pole. Play it if you're in the mood for zombies it's easy and it's fun. (October 26 2004)" - Jorge22 (26-Oct-2004)

"Others have stated the sad lack of real gaming here and that was really a disappointment as the level itself looked really great with churches and graveyards seemingly everywhere. You also get a fun array of weird and wonderful ghoulish creatures werewolves zombies skeleton harpies undead dogs and a floating half skeleton. The environment and enemies though weren't enough to make up for the game aspect and added to that an invisible pole that I couldn't locate and a crowbar that I had a harder time finding this was because unbeknownst to me I pushed a movable object over it I found myself a little frustrated by the end of it after 40 minutes and was glad it was over." - Sash (25-Jul-2004)

"The story takes place in a cemetery. The enemies are zombies harpies dogs bats and monsters what's more an unbeatable skeleton god. You will get the Shotgun and UZI. Your objective is getting the Spirit Stone. Meanwhile continue your way in crypts and temples. Don't forget to pick up the Crowbar next to the Golden Crypt otherwise you can't continue the game. You have to collect 2 Golden Stars and 2 Hands of Sirius. The textures fit well to the level but unfortunately there are no added sounds. I found only one Secret: a Medi Pack beneath the moveable crypt. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version) savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/12/the_howling_mansion.htm " - Obig (18-Jun-2004)

"At night in a large graveyard with crypts. I like the layout with fenced off areas of graves dedicated to an entire family who all died on the same day! The enemies are what make this level ahmets rotten hounds bats mummys and the very impressive flying skeletons. I let these guys come up close to Lara to see them clearly possibly one of the best re-textured enemies I've seen. You can climb onto most of the little crypts and if you trigger enemies it's possible to get up on one and shoot them from there. The gameplay is all about finding the crowbar switches hands and stars around the graveyard that open gates to each area and a large crypt where Lara pushes graves(!). On to a church-like building with signs outside saying 'Howling Mansion'. Good idea for a level and a lot of work has gone into building it but it falls short of that certain something that makes scary levels scary. It needs a little more gameplay and the walls could be slightly higher around each enclosure as it's possible to get to the Howling Mansion over them without opening the gates. On the other hand it's a blessed relief from yet another ahmet. Meeting the final skellie/boss was impressive but I got through that quickly. I found 1 secret. Having said all that it's definitely worth a look." - CC (09-Jun-2004)

"Ah - too bad really - what a wasted opportunity. This level offers a nice outfit for Lara a whole set of very suitable objects and a variety of nicely spooky enemies like ahmets flying skeletons (great) mummies and the scary dogs. But then you get very bad lighting (ie basically none as it is either too bright or too dark) very listless texturing and architecture and rather buggy gameplay which in theory is about two stars and two hands and a few jump switches and levers and you finish after about 30 minutes. The invisible pole is rather unfair and the fact that you get on the cemetery walls and hit the end of the world is also not helping the overall impression. This level has great potential to end up as a spooky and very eerie level but needs a lot more work to get there." - Michael (05-Jun-2004)

"OMG! What a bunch of scary enemies! (My ten year old daughter forbid me to play! :-D ) Gameplay is easy the hardest thing was to find the crowbar...You begin at a cemetery and from there you have to find the way into the mansion. You meet dead guys covered with blood half eaten dogs and flying skeleton thingies. Inside the mansion you have to find the Spirit stone." - G.Croft (29-May-2004)

"An interesting diversion from Lara's usual haunts but apart from the skeletonised birds half eaten dogs and mummies turned zombies the level itself is somewhat bland in gameplay and after the initial oooh aaah's are over becomes quite tedious. The invisible slide pole like unmarked climbables are a pet hate and I managed to end the level without accessing some areas. I also got over into the third courtyard without bothering to use the stars so the whole crowbar and star scenario could be just as well left out. Sorry just poor design." - Torry (27-May-2004)

"This level is set in and around small graveyards with crypts scary looking bloody dogs and of course the Walking Dead. There's good use of light/dark contrast but the graveyards are surprisingly very well lit. The crowbar is not easy to find although in more or less plain sight. Got to the last area not through the gate but over the wall - not as the author intended (I think) but I could not open the gate as I had only one piece of the 'key'. The 'Howling' Mansion did not howl - at least for me and mansion may be a bit of a misnomer but I did enjoy this level and look forward to more. This was interesting and different." - Bene (24-May-2004)

"This title spells disaster and looking at the enemies it sure looks like you ended up in a very spooky cemetery. Your end goal is getting that blue gem and before you do get the crowbar two Stars and two Hands. The enemies are nicely re-textured and there are quite a few of them. Gameplay however involves around finding levers and some block pushing. Not the block pushing we are used to but you'll see what I mean when you are playing. The boss in this game didn't bother me at all as I kept on the sides. The minute I stepped into his space he started to fire bolts at Lara. There is a sneaky invisible pole I found by accident and by picking up that blue gem the game is over. With a some extra sounds and some better lightning this could be a great game. 18-05-2004" - Gerty (23-May-2004)

"The level starts with a nice Lara-animation. It shows the graveyard and some objects that Lara has to find. What I found strange was that I could move Lara in this animation and shoot the dogs which attacked me. Opponents look scary there are dead dogs bats flying skeletons zombies and lycans. The final enemy Mr. Skell can't be killed. The level is played in a graveyard with crypts graves and a church. Some crypts are climbable and between the graves there are useful things to find. Some objects can be pulled in the graveyard and in the church. Lara finds underwater lever in the vaults under the church. In the graveyard there are some switches to find. She finds two stars to open one of the big gates and twice the Hand of Sirius. The atmosphere is scary but the lighting is too bright for a graveyard. The sound is not bad but a scary music would be more suitable for this level. Pull four jump switches in the room with Mr.Skell to open the way out of the room. Don't forget to pick up the uzi. I found no secrets. The invisible pole in the room with Mr. Skell is not easy to spot doc told me about it. The level ends when Lara picks up the blue gem." - Avmaster (23-May-2004)

"Despite incorporating a collection of clever and unusual enemies this was a pretty underwhelming adventure. The chief reason for this being the ability to go to many places unenvisaged by the designer and in so doing implanting that maddening impression in the mind of the player that they are unavoidably cheating the level. But on the other hand when the crowbar is hidden in such a large area with no hint given as to its whereabouts you are indeed tempted to shortcut (as I did). Added to this a completely stupid and infuriatingly unfair hidden pole lackluster texturing and (as a result of the 'end of the world' problem) a lack of atmosphere in such a potentially potent location and this was (despite a real potential on the part of the builder) a missed opportunity. If you want sinister cemeteries try 'Selaachi's Secret' by Matt Emery. (Plug)" - Orbit Dream (20-May-2004)

"Don't be misled by the title; this is not a normal boring mansion level. It's a rather spooky graveyard setting with some really well re-textured enemies. I particularly liked the flying skeletons and the zombie dogs. Two golden hands enable you to access another part of the graveyard that actually you can get to without them but never mind. You also require two hands and when you find the final blue gem the game ends. Now I'm not going to pretend that this is the most exciting level you'll ever play but it has the advantage of looking rather different and for the short playing time (about 40 minutes) it will keep you entertained enough." - Jay (20-May-2004)

"A straight-forward and action-filled level set in a cemetery next to a 'Mansion' that doesn't look like any human ever lived in it. The baddies were re-textured in a creative way which adds interest to the level. There are a lot of baddies and additional firepower is provided but I mostly used the pistols as there is lots of room to dodge and jump. You need two hands and two stars but you can climb the gate wall at a low spot so you can finish without the stars. The author includes a guide to the level - not a walkthrough - that is a nice touch. Not much thinking required but a fun romp. Recommended." - Duncan (20-May-2004)

"I was rather surprised to see that the level wasn't gloomy or dark. There is one big graveyard all around with some buildings and strange looking dogs zombies and other creatures. Your goal is to find two Hands and two stars that will help you access the area which holds the gem. It's not a bad level but it doesn't have any puzzles just a few levers to use and the items mentioned above. I believe with such a setting more could have been done. There is an invisible pole which I found by accident when I jumped to see if the wall was climbable I don't know if it's deliberate or not. There is also a climbable tree which was a nice trick. I found one secret in half an hour." - Kristina (18-May-2004)

"What a good idea for level Mysterious Cemetery dogs look scary skeletons fly and zombies attack Lara. First she needs the crowbar and then four objects - not hard to find them. Pull many levers deal with the master skeleton in a room with four jump switches and open the trap door to the end level. Nice level and good atmosphere even if it's in a cemetery and I think that is first level of this kind I have played until now. Excellent." - Yoav (18-May-2004)
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