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Level: The Experiment 2 - Alpian Caves back home search
Author(s): Bojrkraider
total rating:9.55 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 9 10 10 10
Aims 10 10 10 10
Akcy 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
eRIC 10 10 9 9
eTux 10 10 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
Jose 7 9 9 9
Juan Carlos 10 10 10 7
Kristina 10 10 10 10
Loupar 10 10 9 10
Magnus 8 8 7 6
manarch2 9 10 9 9
Markus 9 10 9 9
MichaelP 9 10 9 9
Mman 9 10 10 9
Moonliteshadow 10 10 10 10
Obig 10 10 10 10
okuhtfesq 9 9 10 9
Phil 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Samu 10 10 10 10
Scottie 8 9 10 10
Torry 10 10 10 10
Yoav 10 9 9 10
category averages
(25 reviews)
9.44 9.76 9.60 9.40

Reviewer's comments

"This is where the meat of the series begins. The setting is a huge cave complex with some settlements, ruins and larger structures. You can see a degree of progression here, as the visuals of the later levels are more consistent than the first, but even the start is mostly decent, especially the large cocoon cave that makes up the main part of the first level. The actual overall thematic execution of the caves is among my favourite executions of the style ever (in any game); it has issues like stretched textures, but it combines multiple cave textures, uneven geometry and unorthodox skies to create the feel of discovering an underground world. There are moments like large caves you pass through on the way to things that are pretty empty, but work because they feel they're there to sell the feeling of being a small part of another world; the most memorable being a climb up a giant stalagmite-type structure followed by leaping over a volcanic chasm, which is a small, simple, segment gameplay-wise but feels entirely unique visually. There's even a call-back to Tomb Raider 1 that grounds it in the overall world of the series. Despite the main story not taking itself too seriously, the music and visuals of certain parts creates a very melancholic atmosphere too, and does a great job communicating that this is the dying remnants of a once-great society purely through playing through it.
The gameplay is on the challenging side with a lot of traps, non-standard puzzles and the requirement for thorough exploration. Like the previous levels though the hints in the readme are enough to work most of the more obscure things out, although you still need to explore a lot. There's a bunch of unique interactions and original ideas like getting Flippers to fight a current. The storyline is also integrated well with certain sequences. The scale of some puzzles is still impressive, like the first setpiece of destroying a giant cocoon, which involves exploring the whole cave around it (and the Spider subplot actually has it's climax a little bit later). The one main issue is backtracking, which can get pretty extreme in a few parts if you do things in the "wrong" order (although I admit there were a couple of times I missed shortcuts back). This is where Bojrkraider starts consistently delivering masterpieces, and, even now, this is an impressively creative set, despite still having a few hints of inexperience to it (compared to later releases anyway)." - Mman (07-Jun-2019)

"WONDERFUL, wonderful level set that just keeps on giving in this seven glorious hours of true raiding. I cannot praise this highly enough. Every thing you want from a Tomb Raiding experience is encapsulated in this level set. New enemies, new animations and homage to the great scenes of the original game that started it all. Puzzles, jumping sequences, timed runs and traps all difficult but not so much as to make the venture nigh impossible. Bjork garnered just the right difficulty setting. Secrets are well rewarded and if you find the four lizard thingies, the Golden Proteus you get a greater reward. I simply never wanted to turn this off and kept raiding until either hunger or sleep overtook me. Most aspects are fairly intuitive with one thing leading onto the next but nearer the end the puzzles and indeed the way forward becomes more difficult to discern so I had to resort to the walk through especially for the long back track after converting the key to gold, as I got turned around somewhat and lost my spatial orientation. I cannot imagine the amount of work that went into this and cannot thank the author enough for the joy he delivered this tired old raider." - Torry (16-Aug-2018)

"I wasn't that enthused about the first sections of the Experiment series, but this one manages to be of the same high quantity that 'Under the Moonlight' and 'Budapest' were. The texturing takes a bit of getting used to, but it really does fit well in this surreal, almost otherworldly setting. The gameplay definitely requires a lot of lateral thinking on the player's part and there are a few neat custom objects to figure out how to use, plus some truly wonderful cutscenes and animations to keep you surprised. There is inevitably quite a bit of backtracking in this intertwining game, but I couldn't take off any points for that seeing as the entirety is so well put together. This is too good to miss, so don't waste another minute and download now." - Ryan (26-Jul-2018)

"Extraordinary work for that age. I can't explain here all what I found in this huge levels, but as general comments, I liked a lot the new objects and enemies, the new textures and animations and a lot of fresh ideas for the tasks. The lighting is very well worked too, and the musics are well placed in strategic points. On the other hand, the gameplay is obscure in many places, and I spent a lot of hours exploring to find the necessary items, with considerable backtracking, even between levels. Anyway it's an adventure worth to play if you have enough patience. Take a try." - Jose (08-Jun-2017)

"

Even for its age, Alpian Caves is a remarkable and unique custom adventure that is quite a joy to play.

The gameplay is wonderful, with innovative challenges and puzzles, even compared to more modern levels. This one was certainly ahead of its time! It is extremely complex and requires lots of exploration and patience, but it is satisfying when you finally complete each task. I take off a point from the gameplay because of an extreme lack of direction in several parts. Puzzles as intricate and complex as this need to give the player a very strong sense of guidance in order to prevent him from running around aimlessly and getting confused, as I found myself doing (especially during the sequence in which you lower a drawbridge to get to the dwarf village in Crystal Caverns) . Definitely keep the walkthrough at hand when attempting to play this! I also grew quite tired of sneakily hidden crawlspaces and items.

There are quite a few custom objects throughout these levels, and despite causing some confusion since the player may not know how to use/interact with them, they serve to enhance the gameplay experience. Cutscenes deliver the story fairly well (especially for 2004 standards) and are fun to watch with great voice acting. The enemies, on the other hand, drove me nuts! It seems that every time Lara turns a corner there is another worm or firefly or wasp to kill - WAY too many enemies. The bosses are fun to fight, however.

The texturing, like everything else in this game, is wholly unique. I can mostly forgive the many textures that just don't quite seem to fit, since I can tell the author is going for a rather surreal atmosphere. Some of them, however, are just too weird, like the translucent textures with nothing underneath them in the mushroom puzzle area (which makes the ground seem hollow) or the walls in the maze which cause an extreme "end of the world" effect throughout the entire maze. The geometry is bizarre and jagged in a few parts and basic and blocky in a few others, although it is mostly natural and fitting.

Though it will test any player's patience and wits, there is much fun and satisfaction to be gotten from the Alpian Caves, which took me about 4 hours to complete. 9/9/10/9

" - okuhtfesq (09-Jun-2015)

"Forgotten Cave (9-10-9-8): This level feels a bit strange at first as you have to get used to the builder's very unique atmosphere but when that is done I think this level is pretty enjoyable. The best thing about it are the various new objects and animations - just to name a few, the flippers, the axe usage which results in dropping off the large ball down the hall and the scene where Lara loses her flippers again are very fantastic. I found the gameplay to be great fun, the builder has cared to never create a feeling of tedium and there's always something to do in this level. At times one can loose the orientation a bit because the areas look rather simile at times, and some tasks aren't quite obvious (the ladder/monkeyswing textures also could've been better marked). As said before - the looks are not quite matching the quality of the gameplay and new animations, there are several textures which could be better placed, the lighting is partially okay, partially a bit bland and sometimes the architecture felt a bit odd with some rocks having a strange shape. The whole fantasy-like appearance is well done though and the looks have a certain charm that lets me forget some of the shortcomings. 1:10 hours.
Crystal Caverns (8-10-10-9): This one starts with a great puzzle reminiscent of the one in Labyrinth from TR 5, but with many difficult side quests, and ends with a fairly enjoyable quest for four crystals in the Dwarvian village. This level is rather huge so you might get lost a bit on the way (and there are many sneakily hidden passages along the way) but the puzzles more than make up for it, and there are lots of magical moments along the way such as Lara throwing a rope, the cooking sequence or the unfolding of the bridges leading into the village. Towards the end it does get a little bit tedious and it wasn't as inspired anymore. The looks are slightly more sophisticated in here and spreading a very classic yet novel charm that is hard to describe. Though, I think at parts the architecture felt a bit random to say the least. 60 minutes.
The Temple (10-9-9-9): This unluckily was the shortest level of them all, because it was also the most intense. It was just what I needed after the last level getting a bit tame close to the end. The main puzzle is to open three doors with the classic button puzzle and behind each of them there's a great puzzle each, from a very fun sliding sequence over a difficult water patio with a funny shark to a very unique puzzle containing jumpswitches. I never imagined that you could place several switches on one square! After Premonition you return here for a great boss fight which was really unique and challenging (and reminded me on several projects Bojrkraider took part in later...), before all culminates in the pre-final cutscene. 20 minutes.
Premonition (8-10-9-8): Starting with a very clever fight against a giant snake and some challenging timed runs/gauntlets I was a bit disappointed with the later parts of this level, as they didn't feel quite as inspired. The giant garden area isn't very well executed with too low walls (resulting in seeing the black darkness nearly everywhere) and an overall fairly boring to and fro type gameplay which gets even heavier when you missed something (in my case I lowered the block for the silver key but only after arriving at the end I noticed that I first had to return there). That said the object design is once again wonderful and the visuals are again solid. I think that this level had a few too many mosquitoes/worms and (otherwise a lovely idea and execution) the way to find the rose as the "super secret" could have been more clear - each time I opened up a new path to it, I found out that I still was missing one more lever and thus had to get the long way up to the top of the bridge room. It's all fairly entertaining nonetheless and I liked how the whole level was built around the cogwheel puzzle very much. 50 minutes.
Summary: It's true that there were a few less interesting parts in some levels but most of the time this is a close to perfect adventure which has all ingredients of a masterpiece, I can understand not each and every part can have the same quality of the rest. I must say that I got used to the architectural and visual design of this level (which sometimes could be called "crude") but in my opinion it just fits the level's atmosphere perfectly. I really liked this one very, very much. Finished with all 11 secrets in 3:20 hours." - manarch2 (11-Feb-2014)

"A lot of good instants in this game, nevertheless nothing is easy, the exploration is laborious and the puzzles gave me some headaches (thank the walkthru, I'd missed the last cogwheel despite the flyby). Amazing work with the reskinned creatures (they are ugly ^^). Everything is not perfect, but I really enjoyed this second part (secrets 8/11)." - Markus (10-Apr-2013)

"What a strange set of levels! I loved it! Bojrkraider definitely has a big imagination when making levels. Each level was entertaining in their own way. I have to admit the game did start a bit bad for me but I still liked it and after you really get into it and you have a lot of fun visiting different areas like caves, mushroom gardens and a village. The lighting in this game was really strange and fantasy like but I really liked it and I thought it went well together with the strange textures. The texturing wasn't great but there was something about it that reminded me of the first 2 TR games and I liked it. The gameplay was good but you do have to go back quite a lot and also there are a lot of different routes to go to sometimes and it gets confusing. The animations were great though and the enemies were also strange like... everything else I guess! This may be a weird level set but I loved it and now I'll go to Under The Moonlight. Recommended." - afzalmiah (14-Feb-2012)

"Forgotten Cave Part 1: I do not like this first level at all. With a playing time of about 10 minutes he is too short. And the monkey swing route was not worked out by the level builder clearly enough. Hence, one works the way along over and over again in any direction and falls often down. Such a thing is really annoying. And the little critters pursue Lara also if she stands on a high block. OK, the level looks good, but good appearance still does not mean that it makes also fun to play a level.
The Temple Part 1: This level was substantially more interesting than the first part of Forgotten Cave. The place with the Rollingballs was quite nasty, but was built very well. The cave with the small spiders looked a little bit in such a way as if a hippie had swallowed too many coloured pills and then would have built an as coloured cave.
Forgotten Cave Part 2: This second part is one the strangest level which I have played up to now. And at the same time he is one of the best whom I have played till present. These are not only the very well built rooms. Or the amusing mushrooms pushing. No, these are above all the animations which one must have seen. How Lara severed something with the axe. Or as she dresses the swimming fins. Or as you are pinched the swimfins and she must dress again her shoes. Merely the fight against both big spiders on the gigantic mushroom was a little bit unfair.
Crystal Caverns: This level is really a bedlam madness! He is so brilliant that one could play him several times one after the other without which would become dull to one. The camera work is once more excellent and the caves are built very well.
The Temple Part 2: This damned lousy fish! Whenever I wanted to pull one of the four levers, he swam above the special field and Lara was speared. Then I wanted to shoot, actually, the fish, but, unfortunately, this did not go. Indeed, my attempts had the interesting side effect that he moved from now on only on the special field. Thereby the stings were not activated any more and I could pull calmly the four levers. The other tasks were a little more difficult. Jump sometimes over crumbling tiles when at the same time a fire mind pursues you. And the slide tiles were also not easy because of the constant change of directions. But it has given a lot of fun, because everything looks very good.
Premonition: This level was partly good and partly very annoying. The gigantic worm who spitted out constantly fireballs and locusts was very annoying. And as annoyingly was the place where one had to fight on narrow space at the same time against 4 winged Demigods.
Summary: Well, most of the time is Experiment 2 incredible good. However, there are also some places which are absolutely annoying. It is worthwhile of course to play this level, but he would be even better if the level builder had made some cuts." - Scottie (14-Jun-2011)

"Note: This is a review started 5 months ago, then left alone and updated now. sdrawkcab nettirw era sreliopS.
A LONG TIME AGO
It was the first time I launched this game. After several tries to get familiar with the gloom of the prologue, it made me feel so unsafe and helpless I threw the game out.
ABOUT 2009
Now, when over a year has passed since that moment, after playing other Bojrkraider's levels and learning his style, I felt brave enough and ready to explore Alpian Caves, the level I had once considered to be the most difficult of what Bojrk has made so far. At first glance I had the same strange feeling of being unsafe, and quitted the game one or two times. After that year I waited, the prologue still repulses me. But this time I decided to be strong, and when I launched the game next day, my patience was rewarded with finding another cleverly applied chainsaw. Bojrkraider definitely likes chainsaws, and I liked this motif made me feel better, as it reminded me of all the great works Bojrk included a chainsaw in. I just knew this thing is gonna keep the will to play inside me, even if everything else that can be good in a level fades away. So I took the attempt and below is what I saw ("saw" has two meanings). From spider trap to flame emitting trapdoor, from beautifully crafted environment to perfectly accompanying soundtrack, from simple textures allowing outstanding lighting to do what it wants to with them, to challenging and interesting gameplay, from one custom animation to another, this level is absolutely remarkable.
NOW
Five months after accidentally overwriting all Alpian Caves , or, more precisely, Alpian Saves, with those from one of 5-minute bottom-of-the-list levels, I noticed some new things, and some of the older have changed - e.g. the prologue doesn't repulse me anymore (I can use binoculars now xDxD). When I think how underrated by me this level could be if I finished it in 2009, I think it was a really good idea to leave it till the day I am ready for it. Now I can fully appreciate it. Of course, I have some new remarks. But some of them remain the same:
- the underwater maze switch puzzle hint is still not understanable for me
- for the second time in my life, I was shocked by fishes inhabitating deep waters
- the dwarf taking Lara's flippers off her feet still rocks.
All mentioned things fill the first level of the game - Forgotten Cave. One has to be very observant here. Dark crawlspaces and twisted corridors leading to huge caverns make 90% of this part. This is just like the water does - it flows through rocks containing large amounts of Ca2+, and wipes it out, creating passages. When such streams join or cross, they create whirlpools and sinks casting water energy in every direction, what results in drilling huge empty spaces. And there are such underground rivers here, inhabitated by mentioned fishes and another creatures, both mystical and real - Dwarfs, spiders and blind amphibians, some of the last mentioned living their secret lives Lara can discover. Not much plants here, and it's also right - no plant can survive in such environment. But there are mushrooms... Edible, poisonous, fragile, growing so fast we can witness it. And, of course, we can pick up some of them. (I love mushrooms - also in real life, when we're out of the city and everyone sit in the camp, I just go to the forest and bring them some mushrooms.) The location they grow in seems a little bit too cartoon, compared to the rest of the cave, which looks really, really realistic - but when we realize it's a fantasy world, we can accept that. Especially when the soundtrack, differing from anything we can hear in custom levels (filled with harps, church organ and choirs - baroque???) accompanies such scenery. Mushrooms have their own puzzle - very complex and advanced one, made with a devotion to every square. After the boss spider fight (also baroque music surrounds) on the top of the final mushroom (!) I was lifted into the next part.
Crystal caverns
A flyby that is so fast and still very smooth deserves mentioning. The residential district resembles the construction of TR5 level The Labyrinth, and it rotates the same way. Bojrk joined several animatings together and they are all synchronized perfectly. Another Golden Proteus can be found here. Also, lots of various environments, most of which remind of the TR1 atmosphere: the mine with collapsed bridge looks like Vilcabamba reloaded, the impression remains in comfy Dwarfen village, and surrounding caves look like... err... well... Caves. Lots of lava, water and height are immersive and isolating. Unfortunately, backtracking in this level is awful. Even if one finds that Golden Proteus, that doesn't make things easier, and even makes it worse, throwing Lara into the middle of completely different location, with three different paths to choose, one of them splitting in two more. Showing a player such wide variety of possibilities when one didn't even manage to explore most of the previous part isn't a well-thought design. Fortunately, after one explores all these new corridors, he/she can feel some relief after discovering all of them are connected with the familiar part, and it all can be remembered without a problem. Still, a bad beginning of an exploration may repulse some people. What remains to say about... Aha! These worm opponents are mega awesome. Feels like fighting real ones, and the bite sound is... urrgh, creepy! Great work with them.
I got stuck and went back to game the next day. I found out I lost time unnecessarily for secret hunt in The Temple, and I wasn't supposed to search for it yet - because I missed something in the previous level. I think most of players gets stuck in this moment. Today, I thought about the right solution: ".yrotnevni eht morf yllaunam smeti eseht esoohc ot yrT .elzzup tnemele na eb nac tI" But for some players, especially those who don't know how TR works, it may be too difficult to figure it out. After I solved it, and when I saw that thief dwarf again, with Lara's flippers on his feet, I couldn't find words to describe how wonderful it felt. True genious... and the rest of the cutscene, polished till the very end, was only a formal thing - it just HAD to look like that, I tell You: Bojrk is either a Dwarf himself, or he has some Dwarfen cousin in his family. When the cousin disappeared, I found the hint that was supposed to help me solve the puzzle I've just finished xDxD. No matter from this inversion, it felt good things unknown yesterday were found today with no problem. I liked the thing everything was figureable out, if only one searched carefully... I liked the thing... till one crucial moment, when I got stuck again - for good. And I think most players were or will be stuck in the same place as well. If You miss one stone, You need to search through the all caverns once again. That takes the motivation away from You, wipes it out just like that water wipes out Ca2+ from rocks containing it... I know I wouldn't find it. This was too difficult for me, even today. But I don't regret. I'd rather congratulate Bojrk for making .nees reve ev'I rood rabworc deksam-llew tsom eht I've ever seen. I wouldn't find it today, nor tomorrow, I know that. I added it to my Things I didn't manage to find list. And I will treat it like another important raiding lesson. Thank You.
To analyse everything I've seen and learnt so far, and to accept me checking the WT, I've fallen asleep just after finishing Crystal Caverns, listening to the AOD soundtrack playing in the background of the next level. So well fitting! Next day I woke up at five p.m. and decided to finish my... experiment... once for all. It was to be ended with searching through The Temple. The AOD soundtrack, guiding me into my dreams yesterday, now said "Finish it" to me. After putting those three gems in locks to access the last level (meanwhile, the room with a hammerhead contained one of the smartest underwater riddles I can remember), I took on the quest for Golden Proteus #4, which appeared to be just perfect - anyone can figure out those textures are hints, but the beauty lies in what it refers to. After making a screenshot of electricity jump sequence map, marking all those arrows and rotating the picture in various directions only to find nothing, I realized I needn't have done all of this, because Bojrk has made use of one of the most common and well-known shapes of TR4, familiar to any player, but somehow ignored by all of us (except Bojrk). Isn't it a genious way to make a secret ANYONE can find and NO-ONE can be bored with? Show me any other builder who can mix those two things in such way. I'm sure You can mention some, but I think there is less of them than fingers of Your hands.
Premonition
Still having no net, I don't have an opportunity to check what the word "premonition" means, but I think it could be a quite well-matching name for the Worm Guardian Boss, like "abomination" or something sounding equally terryfing. I've seen him before (Bojrk left a possibility to take a look on any level from the start menu) and made a load screen with him. Just to keep in mind what awaits me in the end of the game, to keep me going towards my destination - because I really wanted to fight him. This is, truly, one of the few NOT frustrating modified crocgod bosses I can remember. The others are:
- Midgardsormr from Vikings - because of short confrontation time and stucking out of the sea surface
- Plants from Iron Wolf and Golden Eagle - because of their detail level and stunning beauty making one stand still and admire (and so get heavily burned)
- Undead Totem from Coyote Creek - because of its fire arrows
Any other snake boss annoys me. In the beginning, Bojrk's worm did it as well, but it was my fault - I didn't notice I am supposed to kill it. It's very nice of Bojrk to apply those flying medusas, which appear friendly, even if still hostile. Standard locusts are what I simply hate. Fighting the boss, I realized in this very heart of the mountain, the author has hidden three secrets. "I hope I he doesn't want me to pick them up during the fight" - I thought, and I was right. After the Premonition was gone... is it really his name, or am I just unwise? Naaah, forget it... So, after he was gone, the whole new part of the caves opened to me and around me. Why did I think the boss is the last thing ingame? The following garden was truly a-maze-ing. I noticed some Greece resemblances, but visiting the old king truly surprised me. I tried to use that Rose for Dworfina on his hand... and that's how I accidentally solved something else. All in all, I made it, not getting stuck anywhere else, and finding all secrets. Who is that Dworfina? I have no idea, but if it's like I suppose, then Smurfs have their Smurfette, and dwarfs had their Dworfina. If I am right, it means the only female in the community is dead, what will lead the whole Dwarfen race to inevitable extinction. Maybe this is supposed to happen in the fourth part of the game. Unless Lara kills those midgets by herself. Anyway, this story really needs some shocking ending. Especially there is still no experiment in any part of the game that has been released so far. The one I've just played ends - as always in Bojrk's case - with a nearly PROGRAMMED animation sequence... and at last, I know where Lara got that rose from in the 3.1. episode - Under the moonlight. So, it was a literal tomb raiding. Poor Dworfina... Not only she's dead, they also steal her flowers from her grave! How mean can you be, Lara? How dare You?
A SUMMARY (for Dworfina)
What a great example of evolution we can witness if we play all The Experiment parts from the oldest to the newest? We can see how a talent was first discovered, then encouraged, then estabilished and - finally - pushed to the limits of both TRLE and DXTRE3D. Speaking about Bojrk's objects, I don't mean pretty, finessed or hi-res ones - but objects that create the whole different world. If Bojrks gives up programming one day, maybe he will launch his own mine. If that happens, let me work there. Where is Bojrk? Does he still think about finishing his saga? You people tell he's after something "professional", and I wonder what "professional" means to him, if all he's made so far is one of the most professional work available. Now, after completing the whole series of The Experiment, I wanna play his "professional" game whatever it is, even if it appears some guys hired our best animator only to produce Uncharted 3 or some kind of a mindless shooter, without any puzzles included, nor mushrooms... not to mention Dworfina... or... Premonition (?????).
CONDENSED SUMMARY (written always when I jabber too much)
A difficult one. Needs lots of exploration, observation and patience. Requires getting used to dark crawlspaces. A whole new world to explore and immerse in. Well rewarding for cave/cat lovers. Can't be recommended only for people suffering from claustrophobia. A technical masterpiece, especially in custom animation field." - DJ Full (22-Feb-2011)

"We have seen Forgotten Cave in the demo, but there are a few improvements in the finished version, like the anim where the dwarf steals the flippers now explains what really happened there. The following levels are just as great, many inventive solutions, new movements, and cut-scenes, they really made the experience like any of the offical games. Lara makes a meal for the dwarf, and the hilarious escape at the end, the list goes on. Very nice puzzles, I really enjoyed them, even a part of one of my favorite places, Palace Midas is revisited to make a gold key. Lot of backtracking between levels, till we explore the whole place, TR experince at it's best. Textures were great in the first levels, but toward the final levels they reached perfection, the dwarf village, the caves, gardens, all made just right, and with the nicely selected musics, they created thrilling atmosphere. One of the best set of levels I have ever played, absolutely fantastic." - Akcy (08-Mar-2007)

"The Experiment 2 is the third episode in Borjkraider's series, including Intro that takes place in Lara's castle. These three levels are featured by wonderful locations, great challenges, good ideas and sometimes very hard fights, and to some of them we return during the adventure. The first part of the Forgotten Cave and The Temple levels are for warming up a bit, but the second parts are serious challenges, not to mention the others. We could already play the second part of the Forgotten Cave in a demo version, but the garden with the giant mushrooms worth mentioning, as well as the fight against the spider family for getting on at the end. On the Crystal Caverns level we are adventuring in the village of the dwarf (well, it looks lot like a viking) guiding us on our way seeking for crystals. You will face classic challenges, like the fight against the elements; my personal favorite was the hall of the air element - it was an extraordinary experience to slide on the floor to where the wind blows and combining the jumps meanwhile, trying to find out that where is there. On the Premonition level we have to defeat the guardian of the next cave first, but this is only seemingly difficult, because if you don't just catch flies, then he won't be able to do much harm in you. From here we will return to The Temple level, where there is a very hard last fight waiting for us. You better spare ammo and medipacks, because you may need them - though with more or less luck you can complete without using medis. The game was improved with small movies, events and dialogues. Lara has some specila moves, she smashes things with an axe, swims with flippers, throws a lasso. The enemies are mostly spiders, various bugs, snakes - from the latter there are quite many. You don't need to bother about the secrets, because you can only gather the two secrets of the last level if you collected the four Golden Proteus previously. Getting these two secrets is a separate little adventure in the big adventure and we can access lots of ammo that can do. It was a great game that I suggest to everybody, and mostly for those who like harder challenges. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/16/the_experiment2.htm" - Obig (20-Dec-2006)

"I'll gladly admit that I didn't care much for the author's first level. It simply wasn't fun. This, on the other hand, I liked. There are some really interesting ideas here. Even though I didn't like the texturing too much, it serves its purpose and really helps the level get a surreal feel to it. The new objects and enemies are nice, but the new animations are... disappointing. Lara moves like a robot. Still, it's nice to see new things. Some of the puzzles are nice, even though I never did see the logic with the underwater levers. I really liked the big... thing near the end. No, I'm not going to spoil it for you, but I'm sure someone else will. All in all, I spent two and a half hours playing 'Forgotten Cave' and 'Alpian Caves' and I had a lot of fun. Even though pushing those mushrooms was tedious." - Magnus (02-Jul-2006)

"This is not a level, it is an excellent complete game, even, if I could give an 11 in gameplay it would be the rate. The game has a lot of new ideas, puzzles, enemies, smart solution for problems, etc. I really enjoyed this game and of course I recommend to play it. It is very hard. About the locations I must say that at the beginning I though I choose a wrong level, the rooms were absolutly square, like cubes, too simple, terrible bad textures (longer that they should be, bad rotated in triangle seccions, very bad worked. But as the game goes on, the rooms become terrible complex!! The caverns are a great work, a real arthistic and dedicated work (texture were almost all time bad worked) but the work of creating all this rooms and conections is something to thank a lot. Well, in favor of textures, I liked the grass sensation at the mushrooms room. The video scenes were something very special and a great work also. There are very few lights, so Lara and objects dont look in 3 dimensions in all the rooms. I think the autor began the construction of this game when he was learning how to use the level editor so the first part looks simple, but belive me, all the time the game is sucesfull and the last levels are very complicated." - Juan Carlos (07-Apr-2006)

"I love this game. It's great and very well done. It's really like an official one and sometimes it's better. I've loved the settings (coloured caves, gardens, temples...) and the atmosphere. The cutscenes are really impressive and the objects nicely done. The remake of the Palace of Midas in the middle of the game and the puzzles are one of the best things in this game that I recommend to all raiders." - Loupar (20-Mar-2006)

"This level is certainly different and extremely entertaining. There are lots of new things to do so you really need to think about"what goes with what". The worms are as creepy as I'm sure they are meant to be. The mushroom garden is a different kind of challenge and very colorful. There are plenty of great puzzles, great scenery and original enemies. I thoroughly enjoyed the moves and jumps that were needed to kill the dragon. The mermaids were not easy to dispose of - very aggressive creatures! Loved the ending. The whole level kept me totally enthralled." - Moonliteshadow (29-Dec-2005)

"This is one of the best level series I have ever played. The levels are very imaginative and created very well. Atmosphere is also very good all the time. There are also some new moves in the game. Lara can put the flippers on her feet or she can throw the rope. Nice cut scenes makes the gameplay feel better than it would be without them. The game contains many different kind of enemies like huge spiders, big worms, insects and mermaids. There are also many good places and puzzles in the game. The big spider cocoon which you have to destroy with the torch and axes is one of my favorites. I like also very much the mushroom forest and especially the fight against two spiders on the big mushroom. The underground village and the garden area are wonderful too. The final battle against mermaids is also good but somehow I don't lose any health when they shoot their bolts to Lara. This is absolutely the level series you shouldn't miss." - Samu (15-Aug-2005)

"When I'm asked why I still enjoy playing Tomb Raider while most other people my age are more interested in spoiling their grandchildren I simply point to levels such as these. Most of the 'sense of wonder' moments are spent in the first level which was previously released as a demo and already reviewed by me. However there are plenty of innovative touches in the full game including a rope-tossing animation reminiscent of Annie Oakley at her best. There are also enchanting mushroom gardens and retextured enemies: crocodiles turned into giant slimy worms and Tinnos wasps turned into bloated insects with long stingers for example. There's a neat trick near the end where Lara turns a silver key into gold for use elsewhere. (If you haven't played yet be sure to save here and step into the giant hand for a major surprise.) There's an extended talking cut scene at the end that's every bit as good as what we've seen in the commercial games. If I add it all up there's no way I can avoid top scores and still do justice to this great set of levels. One of the very best." - Phil (22-Dec-2004)

"In official tomb raider games made by Core Design we already had the opportunity to follow Lara Croft in strange and surrealistic places such as Atlantis or in the Furnace of gods in TR2gold. With this new game we have here new strange places to explore its atmosphere oscillates between a classic caves/temples underground raid and 'Lara Croft in Wonderland' with some of the textures I never saw before in other levels (there is also well known textures palace of Midas comes to mind). New puzzles new objects new animations give the feel of a very original game and speak of the author's great imagination and ability. It is so innovative that I sometimes feel like a hen finding a screwdriver: 'what the heck am I supposed to do with that?' :) The game balance is very good there are not only puzzles to solve but also plenty of exploration with jumps to perform and a few traps the global difficulty of the game is not very hard except for some well thought out puzzles. Some parts are unforgettable and very impressive and I don't have a clue to know how the author has made them: the big cocoon that falls down into the pit after burning some branches or the room where Lara has to slide on flat (!) tiles in the quest of the Wind gem (great fun here). On the downside maybe too much backtracking in one of the levels not enough ammos provided and some rooms especially in the 1st level could have been textured more nicely (by being mirrored) but on the whole this game is very beautiful and entertaining and of course innovative." - eRIC (08-Dec-2004)

"Forgotten Cave (10/10/8/8 90 min. 5 secrets): I am including the little detour into 'The Temple' (with one of the secrets) for this first part and my review for this section basically is the same as for the originally released Demo. Importantly though the author has taken in some feedback and made slight but useful adjustments to improve the level like the 'death scene' is now managed in a much smarter way. Crystal Caverns (8/9/9/8 90 min. 2 secrets): Maybe it's all about high expectations but I was really kind of glad when this one ended as the search for yet another crawlspace somewhere did become slightly tedious for me after a while. Make no mistake though this is still a fabulous level with its intriguing caves nice lava rooms spikes and boulder traps a (rather enigmatic) 9 switch puzzle and a few definite highlights like the 'lasso moment' the cooking session and subsequent cut scene (hilarious) and another little detour to 'The Temple' to get one of the four Crystals you need to find. The remodeled bats and crocodiles are great although maybe there are a few too many and I thought some of the flybys were a little hectic and did not quite match with the otherwise well rounded impression the level had. Most importantly though the overall storyline is carried along very nicely and so on we go to the Temple. The Temple (9/9/9/9 20 min. 1 secret): A very welcome change of pace. You get three element puzzles built around the 3 button puzzle a great secret and lots of clever action on the conveyor belts breakable tiles and outwitting a shark under water. Excellent little level to bring the adrenalin back up. Premonition (9/10/9/9 70 min. 3 secrets): The final level of the series is sort of a mix of the previous two. Quite some action but also shades of 'searching for the next switch or crawlspace' gameplay from Crystal Caverns. The giant snake and the way you get to kill it at the start is well done. From there you hunt for your missing cog wheels master a timed run among swinging blades a room with burners and breakable tiles and you definitely want to make sure you collected all the previous secrets to get you to the mushroom garden - beautiful and fits so well with the storyline. You then make your way outside into kind of garden maze although you won't get lost here thankfully. Quite a bit of backtracking is required here which gets slightly tedious but the unique moments make well up for it. Marvel at the wishing well meet an old friend (well his feet anyway) and prepare for one of the most unique 'boss endings' in a custom level ever. Another one of those cool cutscenes rounds it all up although the actual ending is a bit anticlimactic... Bottomline it is rather amazing that by December 2004 still so few people have played/reviewed this masterpiece. You don't know what you're missing. So download and play this epic now..." - Michael (20-Nov-2004)

"Well what a brilliant game! This has to be undoubtedly one of the best mini games I have played! This is the sequel to the 1st experiment (if you have played it) which continues from the end of the 1st game (she goes to explore the strange goings on in an excavation site which has been reported to her by an archaeologist). During the search she discovers and falls into a strange cave which has been forgotten it is all just about exploring and escaping. But she is unable to escape (without revealing too much as the author wants you to find out for yourself) she will do whatever it takes to escape but on her journey she discovers more and more strange things about this cave...Everything about it is great the textures and lighting the puzzles new animations for the cut-scenes or new moves such as throwing a rope and chopping a vine with an axe the customised enemies a giant worm mini worms nice little bugs (re-textured bats) even the wraiths were done! The custom music I especially liked the tune in the Midas garden and the one playing in the final showdown battle against mermaids yes you read me right mermaids! which you fought in very spacey/sci-fi style surroundings. And of course the items too such as honey and mushrooms which you use to prepare a meal! The levels were very fantasy type which made me enjoy it even more as I like all that kind of stuff fairies unicorns etc (although there are none of them in it) there is a part with lot's of mushrooms for you to move about and shoot to get you to the next level very colourful! And a dwarf village. Some of the puzzles were very clever too burning or chopping the vines/web's to make a giant cocoon fall pulling a block into a room so that it filled with water using remains of spiders as keys! and I liked the clever idea of equipping Lara with flippers so she could battle a strong current and of course the cut-scene of them being snatched right off her feet! lol I could go on forever about all the great things in this level but all I will say is you just have to play it to see it! Definitely recommended to everyone download it now!" - Aims (28-Jul-2004)

"Well here we have something rather different. If you've played the first Experiment level you'll know exactly what I mean. Forgotten Cave: This is a short level with a spectacular waterfall/rolling ball area and some jumping about/monkey swinging to do before reaching - The Temple: After a bit more bouncing about and a bit of a beast of a spike/boulder run you find yourself in a brightly coloured cave full of spiders which you have to shoot to the accompaniment of some really engaging music. Not only that but you have to pick up and use some of the dead bodies. This is inventive stuff. Forgotten Cave 2: More exciting and innovative stuff going on - chopping things with axes and doing things with mushrooms other than eating them. You really will enjoy the imaginative gameplay and the sight of Lara wearing flippers is just priceless. The ending to this section is pretty memorable also. Gulp. Crystal Caverns. There must be some excellent soil in these parts because the earthworms grow to gigantic proportions. Move bridges about to access various areas and find objects to assist you in your quest. The dwarf village (with excellent cut scene) is an absolute joy and the textures in the caves are marvellous; they really do look exactly like huge limestone caverns. The Temple: Back to the temple section and some truly excellent puzzles/tasks. The conveyer belt room is just brilliant; I can't recall having seen anything quite like it before. The collapsing tile room also kept me entertained for a while especially once the fire wraith appeared. Great fun. Premonition: I don't care how beautifully re-textured they are - I HATE LOCUSTS. Oh the wonderful peace and quiet when they are disposed of. There are some more highly enjoyable manoeuvres in this part something to satisfy just about everyone I should think including a tight little timed run that quite defeated me. We also get to revisit Midas and a very faithful re-creation of the original it is too. After a brief weird and highly charged revisit to the temple to fight four mermaids there is another excellent cut scene before Lara makes her escape. This is a real original you must not miss it. " - Jay (20-Jun-2004)

"This is one of the best games I have ever played. It has everything great music unbelievably well made cut scenes excellent animations such as Lara throwing a rope using axes use flippers and then put on her shoes again and much more plus good puzzles. You might have guessed by now that I really loved it. The areas which Lara wanders about are many from caves with a huge cocoon and spiders to beautiful gardens with worms and flying insects. My favourite areas were the ones with the mushrooms as well as the one with the secret that rose was amazingly beautiful. The dwarf looks great and we even get to see Dwarfina's grave if you can access that secret area. The bridges before the dwarf's village were helpful but also tedious at some point since I had to pass that place quite a few times. The first time to start exploring the surrounding areas then for a secret then to go back up through them and continue with the zip line in my opinion that could have been avoided with the use of a shortcut after the secret in that area. The one provided doesn't help the player it just spares us a few seconds. The caves in the area with the waterfall could have been better designed to avoid the invisible corners especially in the water. The retextured enemies and items made the game even more exciting but what I liked most were the puzzles. The details in every level give a feeling of pleasure while walking in the areas you need to explore. The beauty of this game captured me from the start and in the end I was sad that it ended abruptly I might add but knowing there will be a sequel that sort of balanced all. The secrets were well made with individual areas for them but one was quite hard with a really hard hint too. I found ten secrets but I needed help from the author for the secret with the ten jump switches. Be sure to find the four golden Proteuses to enter the secret mushroom area with the mushroom elevators and see Dwarfina's grave it's a beautiful area. The game gave me three hours of pleasure and I am looking forward for the sequel. As presumed it's highly recommended." - Kristina (11-Jun-2004)

"Forgotten Cave - this level was also released as a demo but just when I wanted to start playing the demo the full version was released and as the author said the forgotten cave demo should be forgotten (lol) I started this instead and comparing my experiences to the other reviews and walkthrough I guess I wouldn't miss much as they're pretty similar. Anyway - great stuff in here those who played the demo will know - chopping and burning supports for a big cocoon so you can climb down its bole swimming with flippers to resist the strong currents avoiding big blue fishes and eventually placing a green gem when a dwarf comes and steals Lara's flippers (others described this as Lara dying and coming to life in another dimension for some reason?). After that comes a magical experience in mushroom land where eventually you have to fight spider bosses and reach deeper parts of this cave. The cocoon bit was a bit too confusing for my liking but when it became a tad more linear it was ok and I started to truly enjoy the spirit/essence of this particular adventure. Crystal Caverns - and the quest goes on - presumably there still was some non-linearity at the start (and also later on on the crystal hunt) but due to my chosen path it seemed to flow better than the previous level and after the dead clever 9 switch puzzle snake killing and other more or less fun tasks I reached the dwarf village where the real fun begins - though confusing at first especially the white caves where you find various things with enough help from the author and other players I found everything soon enough and the area to explore is compact enough anyway. After making a meal for a dwarf and a hilarious cut scene which unwraps the storyline a bit the level soon ends after finding all 4 crystals and moving on to the temple... The Temple - this level is actually revisited for quite a few times - at first near the start of the Forgotten cave where you kill some spiders and smash their corpses into the holes of the rocks (LOL) then a short visit for one of the much needed crystals and afterwards when getting the key the main part starts - including the 3 combo switches. Maybe it was just my lack of observance but I didn't notice any helpful hints of what the combinations are and always had to guess them (if you go wrong at start you can find out in a room what the signs in level 1 meant in the room after finding the 2 golden roses) what I was not particularly fond of but managed so no big deal about that. The 3 elemental quests in here are quite fun - there are some collapsing platforms over lava nasty currents and slippery floor tiles with the latter being my favourite. The reward for finishing any of them is a gem - after getting the 3 gems the level ends soon enough again and you find yourself in the next one... Premonition - the slide down in the cave where a big beastie awaits you makes you think that the end is near but after killing it and getting one of the last puzzle items the quest still goes on. You soon find out that you need a golden key to activate the nearby cog mechanism so you soon find 3 more adjacent quests with the prize in the middle. Even though the blades and fires are quite challenge too the garden with some very atmospheric memorable moments was where I for the first time was convinced this level would get a perfect score from me. I reloaded a couple of times just to hear that music again and now that we're talking of music - it is very well chosen for the whole series and gives it a unique feel what I liked very much. Anyway you soon get your prize but find out it's made of silver. Darn you might need a helping hand there ;-). For the final battle you return to the temple level again - hope you saved enough ammo and medipacks for this one... After that follows yet another well crafted cut scene which sort of closes this chapter but fear no more I hear experiment 3 will be coming sometime too... Bottomline - I know I more described how the things flow happen here what I usually try not to do but if I'd depict the fantastic atmosphere the clever (yet maybe just maybe a bit predictable) storyline and tasks what I all find exactly for my liking (thus the perfect score) I think the whole game would be a bit spoilt for the readers so I hope you'll forgive me for slipping this time :-) A memorable adventure worth playing I can assure!" - eTux (11-Jun-2004)

"Those set of four levels is simply excellent with so many things to do. Nice textures; looking good in the caves actually in all the levels; new ideas to solve puzzles. I liked the projector and the machine to cut mushroom there more but can't describe it now - play and see lol it's very resourceful many new objects to find some of them hidden very well and there are new enemies like worms. Combining Palace Midas in the last level was wonderful. Playing those levels gave me a good time and a lot of fun. Don't miss them." - Yoav (11-Jun-2004)
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