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Level: Recon Labs 1/2 - Recon Lab/Empty Office of Recon back home search
Author(s): Emoo
total rating:8.69 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 9 10 10 10
Bikeman 9 9 8 10
CC 8 9 10 9
Dimpfelmoser 8 8 9 9
Dougsan 5 9 10 9
Engelchen Lara 9 9 10 10
eTux 7 7 8 7
G.Croft 7 8 9 8
Gerty 7 8 9 9
janachorider 8 8 8 8
Jay 7 8 9 8
Jose 6 7 8 8
Kristina 7 7 8 8
Lady Lara 9 9 10 10
Loupar 8 9 10 9
Magnus 7 8 8 8
MegaGamer 9 9 10 10
MichaelP 8 9 10 10
Phil 9 9 9 9
Qwendo 9 9 9 10
RaiderGirl 9 9 10 9
rjb 7 8 7 7
Ruediger 7 8 9 10
Ryan 7 8 9 9
Sash 8 9 9 10
SilentViper 8 8 10 9
Torry 9 9 10 8
Treeble 9 9 10 10
Usmsci 10 10 10 9
WebKnight 9 9 10 10
Yonatan 8 10 9 9
category averages
(31 reviews)
7.97 8.58 9.19 9.00

Reviewer's comments

"These two base levels are actually quite nicely crafted, the textures are superb to look at, the layout is often ingenious, the camera angles were nifty and I thought the different lighting effects were... well, effective. In terms of gameplay, it's not that complicated with little to tax the old grey cells, and there's mainly some exploration of the various offices and lots of levers to pull, but it passes the time in a sufficiently entertaining fashion, and Lara has a bit of hired help to deal with the various creepy crawlies roaming these labs. In my opinion, the pitch-black basement with the scorpions and ahmets was a bit of a double-edged sword though: both atmospheric and tedious. Overall though, quite nicely done." - Ryan (25-Nov-2018)

"This is a rather nicely created VCI level, with a good atmosphere and some rather luxurious offices. Lara has allies to help her with some of the other enemies, although she will have to deal with quite a lot of ahmets, giant scorpions and flying bugs on her own (just what is being experimented with in his lab one wonders). The gameplay is straightforward, lots of office searching and lever throwing in between fighting, with the obligatory duct crawling etc. No puzzles or timed elements, but it manages to move along briskly and the dark, labyrinthine basement full of the aforementioned ahmets and scorpions is quite unnerving. The mad dash past a roomful of sentry guns is also particularly effective with its camera angles. Not at all bad for a level of its age." - Jay (09-Jun-2016)

"Good environments created by this fine builder. Even when the architecture is simple, the areas are nice textured and lightened. No puzzles to solve (what those four switches were for?), the levels are based about move Lara to dangerous situations and look for alternative ways to advance. I think the second level left over, 'cause only look for two switches in very dark (black) corridors meanwhile monsters attak is a poor gameplay. I liked the atmosphere with a lot of fixed cameras, but sometimes there are not cameras when pulling buttons to show distant triggered objects. I found enough pickups to survive and a couple of secrets too. Interesting but not very entertaining." - Jose (01-Dec-2015)

"I didn't enjoyed this level as much as the others manly because i found it boring.i know this was during the early years of the community but some builders did creative things with their limited resources.im not saying this level is bad though." - janachorider (09-Mar-2015)

"Another level that was quite well done. Lara is now is a nice looking building with some good textures. Gameplay is nice and also a bit ominous at times as well. The atmosphere added to the nice looking offices as well. Good game, recommended." - MegaGamer (12-Apr-2014)

"The nice intro movie sets great atmosphere from the very start. Good idea that we have allies, like the monks in TR2, on the first level Lara leads an infiltration team into the facilty, on the second, scorpions are at the help. What I particularly liked, and was very authentic, that we don't have to enter every room and pull every lever in order to finish the level, it gave such a plus to the great anyways atmosphere; it's worth it though you can find some goodies. The place is beautifully designed and set, with many, though repetitive objects, superb textures. The sentry guns are the main difficulty, at one place we should run past three of them, but with some skill and precise jumps they could be blasted to pieces, one by one. Also the one guarding the button in the next room. That way although Lara's health was already down in the flashing zone, I was able to make through the level without using medis. It's rare that there are so many memorable moments in a single level; when a whole swarm of bugs attack, the long climb in the elevator shaft, watching through a window or security camera that the guys battleing with giant scorpions, remarkable scenes. The second level is quite short, and different, but equally good. Dark labyrinth; usually that's not my cup of tea, but in this case the author managed to create such a fantastic atmosphere, that in fact this was the highlight of the level. Shivering music, dimly flashing neon lights, monsters jumping out of the darkness, creepy. I dropped the keyboard when one of theese cuties jumped onto Lara's lap. Last time one of Justin's levels scared me that much. The final areas seemed a bit unfinished, a large empty room with a pool, it begged for some todos, there was even a crawling space under it but inaccessible, also a closed door in the scanner control room. Is it possible that these were there only for realism? That the guard shouldn't have to go to his duty through the went, and a sink hole for the pool? Whatever, the offices and the dungeon were great. Long story short, it's a must play." - Akcy (06-Apr-2007)

"I'm looking at this again after playing it over a year ago even then it was an old level but it still looks good and I've never forgotten how it looked and what happened - now that's saying something. We get a great flyby of the town area around the garden of the huge Recon Labs building at night. Lara has made it into the garden so we don't get the opportunity to explore the streets outside which is a shame. It looks very real and impressive. She's in a grey catsuit it's nice but I prefer the black one. To say it's the usual brown wall VCI office building would be an insult as this is very carefully put together and textured and very spooky. Almost straight away we know that something is wrong here mutilated dead soldiers on the floor but arab soldiers are our friends and we see them tackling giant scorpions and wasps (the culprits and the result of the experiments in the labs no doubt). Just don't accidentally shoot these soldiers or they'll change their minds and shoot you just like the SAS do. Actually one SAS guard at the start of Empty Office didn't bother me at all. Seeing the scorpions coming into an office after you is really scary. Something has happened down below and the way there has broken walls and floors with fires and electricity. We can't have a VCI type building without the eponymous elevators and long elevator shaft climbs with vent crawling and that's exactly what we get here. And down there are the escaped ahmets in dark corridors. Like everyone else they made me jump. I'm not sure why Lara is in this building. At one time we see an iris that can't be taken because it's in electricity and when a switch is pulled the electricity disappears unfortunately the iris disappears as well so what gives? In Empty Office of Recon is a beautifully designed office area with glass walls that is like a maze to get a key in the centre office and a switch in a side one. Some unusual bookshelf switches here too. I made the mistake of killing the scorpions in the second level a natural reaction I didn't realise they were there to kill the ahmets as I read in the other reviews. What a good start now for the next level in the series." - CC (02-Feb-2004)

"What lingers with me is the run past the sentry guns as the camera went all wacky and the only way to restore that is to reload. It did make me feel quite sick to my stomach though. The first level you have some friends who will kill whatever is threatening Lara and the enemies are giant scorpions soldiers and wasps. The second level is rather spooky as you have to roam through some very dark corridors and you get spooked by ahmets and also giant scorpions. I still don't know what that empty pool was all about 27-01-2004" - Gerty (01-Feb-2004)

"Lara asks some Arabian terro- eh freedom fighters to join her on a mission to enter labs infested with huge scorpions. The labs are magnificently lit and textured and full of objects which make them appear very real. The atmosphere is really scary the teamwork (instead Lara being on her own) a great idea however the tension is going down a bit when the gameplay turns into the usual looking for keys or switches." - Rüdiger (04-Nov-2003)

"This is the first of Szymon's many levels that I've looked at and as other reviewers have said clearly he's someone with that talent for the 'interesting'. I'm afraid I found the initial flyby a little 'ordinary' though with its 'blocky' buildings and I thought that it would be another of those 'O.K' levels w/o a lot of 'spark'. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover the helpful Arabic gentlemen therefore whom I haven't seen since TR2's 'Barkhang Monastery' (the concept of allies that is) with the very attractive offices and the giant scorpions that were roaming about - always an interesting sight provided you can avoid them! It was pleasant that some of them ignored our young adventuress and indeed that in level 2 they seemed more interested in the 'mutated ones' in the darker depths of the complex. As someone interested in intriguing puzzles I found that side of things 'moderately' catered for (including such questions as: 'Now how can I pass this battery of m/c guns and pick up the grenade gun secret and survive w/o having to use up all my medipacks?'). There were as others have said the areas that didn't seem to be utilised but perhaps they are for future exploration." - rjb (24-Oct-2003)

"I started to play this two-parter a number of months ago got bogged down fairly early on and went on to something else. Dutchy's recently posted walkthrough revived my interest so I went back and tried again. (By the way has anyone else thanked Dutchy for the wonderful contributions he's making writing thorough and easy-to-follow walkthroughs for the newer popular levels as well as the old classics?) It seemed to me that the action ended a little earlier than I would have expected for a linked product such as this but I had a grand experience for the brief time it lasted. It was fun to watch the friendly SAS duke it out with the giant scorpions. The puzzles weren't that difficult (once you were pointed in the right direction and knew what you were doing) but there was one horrendous run past some sentry machine guns that couldn't be avoided by stealth or expert gameplay. Emoo's levels bear a consistent stamp of excellence and this one is no exception. I'm looking forward to playing the third installment although I'm somewhat intimidated by Dutchy's warning that it's perhaps the hardest level he's ever played. (But I can't imagine anything topping CIL in that department!)" - Phil (22-Sep-2003)

"The first Recon Labs but not as good as the follow ups. Lara in her cat suit will have to fight SAS big scorpions and with the support of her Arab friends explore the labs. There are keys to find and buttons to push with a nice explosion effect if you dared get into a crawlspace in the upper level. The setting as you can imagine is VCI like with many offices. Of course we can't have recon labs without a maze so there is one at the second part which is pitch black and on top of that it has many mutants inside the ones I hate. The starting flyby though was great; I wish I could have visited the outside areas. It is a fun level but the ones that have mazes aren't my favourite." - Kristina (09-Sep-2003)

"I enjoyed those first two parts a lot. Especially the atmosphere. In part 1 Lara has a lot to do and thankfully the guards mostly take care of the giant scorpions :-) My Lara only had to take care of what they left over to deal with. It was tough to get past the sentry gun but despite massively being shot at my Lara managed to get the grenade gun ;-) There are a few keys to find for progression and a few levers to pull. Part 2 is a kind of maze very dark and devious enemies so I did not like it as much. But I had saved my flares so the path was a little easier to find ;-) Yes many flares and ammo pickups overall and much needed for all the enemies." - Engelchen Lara (23-Jan-2003)

"From the first flyby outside the Recon building this level has a continuous action gameplay. First of all we must explore the nearby cavern with some jumps over lava and some darkness (only a bit of the darkness to come...). Once in the building we'll explore the offices searching some keys and activate few switches. It's not original at this point but all is different when we arrive to the lower level of the Recon Labs. The dark maze is one of the spookiest places I've seen in custom levels. I commit an error: I killed the scorpions because they scared me every time they appear and I shot them without thinking what they were for. After this I had to kill the monsters. It was very hard but I found two switches in two different offices. Only two faults I see in this level. Two places: one of them in the dark maze. In this place Lara looks directly at the elevator with some water in the floor. The other one the empty pool near the end of the level I didn't know what to do there. These are two levels very well done and very entertaining with a special touch I hope will continue in RL3." - Loupar (13-Jan-2003)

"Emoo's Recon Lab's is more than a year old now. I looked at when it was first offered but got caught up with other challenges presented to Lara and this fell through the cracks until this afternoon. While truly lacking in puzzles -- at least any that I bumped into -- the atmosphere of Recon Labs 1 & 2 is great and the last section is worth the rather trying effort to get to it. Thinking can save you fire power but you have more than enough to spare if Lara's agility doesn't let her down." - Dougsan (13-Jan-2003)

"This 90 minute commencement in the Recon Labs saga is nowhere near as difficult as the levels that follow and it is therefore a much more pleasurable level. Lara sports a sexy catsuit and she has help in the form of some friendly soldiers who will turn nasty if you fire upon them. There is a fair amount of exploring to do and also some thinking in one or two areas. The second level was very very dark and although you had sufficient flares it made the level very spooky with ahmets and giant scorpions suddenly appearing as if from nowhere. All in all good fun but really does not prepare you for the nightmares to come LOL." - Torry (09-Nov-2002)

"Having already played Recon Labs 3 I just had to play this set of levels and see how it compared. It's hard to compare the two though as RL3 is such a classic and such an amazing set of levels. Thinking about it eight months later I can still remember the feelings I had while playing it. These two levels are a great start to the series though. They're set in an Office/Lab building where apparently some 'experiments' have gotten loose and you and some soldiers have been sent in to take care of them. The men with you will kill the giant scorpions but it was fun to try to kill the scorpions first with the revolver and the laser sight. There are some areas that will have you reloading once or twice - the key you have to pick up while the electricity is off the room with the giant scorpions and the machine guns the electricity in the elevator running past the machine guns (I didn't even try to get the grenade gun). I'll remember the basement area near the end forever though with the dark hallways filled with ahmets and giant scorpions that kill the ahmets for you. It almost took me back to the dark maze level from RL3 and that was pretty scary. The great camera angles the well done rooms and the music all together make a great environment to raid in and the level itself was great - as we expect from Emoo. Time 1:16 Secrets 2" - RaiderGirl (21-Sep-2002)

"One of the spookiest Tomb Raider levels I've ever played. I don't think they're that good cause the textures and lights were not always applied pleasantly don't know why on earth did the toilet key open the toilets from one of the offices? Was one of the office workers selfish or was he a sadist? I could finish the 2 levels in a bit more than an hour without getting stuck even if I had to have a break for a day or two cause at some places I thought my heart's gonna stop. The gauntlet with the machine guns and the room with the machine guns and scorpions were the hardest in the first level and I had to kill two of the scorpions cause one blocked my way to the switch and I shot another one by accident. When the door opened in the first level and all those beetles suddenly followed Lara I thought there was a nest there! The dark offices with 3 ahmets and 4 scorpions was the highlight in the second level and also the spookiest thing I've ever seen in Tomb Raider. When 3 scorpions went for that poor ahmet and when he was finally dead they made a circle around his corpse like in a dark cult LOL. I was so relieved when I finally went for the exit that was made in a TRC - Red Alert style but also a bit disappointed since there was still a closed door near the keyhole that deactivated the laser an empty swimming pool which's purpose in this double-level I still don't know. Well I think I have to go for Recon Labs 3 now." - eTux (21-Jul-2002)

"This is a brilliantly textured and wonderfully fun and spooky especially the dark hall maze which you will understand when you play 100 minutes level. Set inside a laboratory building although looking more like an office building this level holds a few firsts that I haven't come across before allied men that help take out enemies huge scorpions that also help kill other enemies in certain places but leave you alone giant wasps and large freakish monsters which scared me half to death that burst into flames when they are killed. There are actually two levels combined in this game and it is possible to not find the entrance to the second if you don't realize that there are two like myself so just a little hint when you think you have done everything in the first go find an elevator and step inside!" - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

"What a level (or rather 2 of them)! From the starting fly-by and the look of Lara's brand-new catsuit you know this is something special and when you realise that you have guards that help you and start watching them through the glass walls of the offices as they kill those mutant scorpions and wasps you see the storyline unfold and it really makes you freeze. The atmosphere is absolutely intense and grips you and you don't even realise that the gameplay as such is quite straight forward finding the occasional button to press and looking for some keys for locks. And just when you enter that elevator and reach the second level after a little over an hour and quite a fight with those wasps and think that it may be time to relax it gets worse and your nightmares come true when you walk down into those dark hallways. This nightmare kept me busy for another half hour and I kept thinking about this level long after that." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)

"Amazing! These two levels took me around 1:30 hours to get done and I really enjoyed every single minute. In the first level Lara enters the office having help of some troopers. She will have to kill lots of wasps get her way safely through lots of machine guns and enter a lot of offices. When she steps on the lift she is taken to the empty office of recon. This one was the scariest TR custom level I ever played! There is a heart song in the background that made me feel afraid of what was coming in and in the following pitch black darkness rooms there they were! Giant scorpions and ahmets! I found no other way than run away and trying to escape from the ahmets since the scorpions were not bad at all. If you didn't play this level yet you don't know what you are losing! Download and play it now!" - Treeble (21-Jun-2002)

"This level really gave me the shivers! Emoo knows how to scare the player especially in part 2. You really need to get your nerves together with all these giant scorpions wasps and other beasts which appear by the dozen and in the most unexpected places. Part 1 is about 75 minutes of gaming part 2 unfortunately only 25 minutes but it has an underground floor that makes your blood freeze. The author pays a lot of attention to detail when designing his rooms (carpets aquarium and a brilliant open office space). So if you always wanted to scare yourself then do not miss out on this level!" - Qwendo (21-Jun-2002)

"What happens when you add TR4 with TR5 in one level? A great stunning challenging level is born! Recon Labs is the creepiest lab I have visited ever! The scorpions which come out of nowhere were tough to deal with and I also kept thinking 'what the heck are scorpions to in a lab?' but they created an atmosphere of 'an experiment gone wrong' and SAS enemies who try to destroy the evidence (deja vu Half Life as someone said). It was great to play the level but I thought it was a bit long especially climbing up the ladder above the elevator which was an annoying part... But this is another triumph for Emoo which is in my opinion the greatest level maker out there!" - Yonatan (21-Jun-2002)

"You enter a really spooky lab building where genetics have breeded huge lethal scorpions. Why I don't know but it really gives you the creeps when running around in the empty dark corridors and suddenly you're being attacked by these monsters. The gameplay is mostly finding keys or buttons to open the next door pretty much straight forward." - G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

"Unbelievable. Half-Life meets TombRaider. Visit the Recon Labs for a trip to the hells of genetic manipulation and look out what kind of monsters these experiments will bring out. Play it late at night and play it in the dark. Sends shivers to your bones. You'll love it!" - Webknight (21-Jun-2002)

"It has been a while since I played these levels the first time but since I liked them I decided to play them again. This time my total time was 35 minutes (which I don't understand how I managed to get) but the first time the levels probably lasted for almost two hours (I was much slower back then). It's beginning to show that it has been more than a year since these levels were released but it's still hard to find any real faults in them. Sure there are some small bugs but nothing serious and there are worse bugs in much newer levels. Apparently these levels are quite timeless (at least to this date). The texturing is good and so is the lighting the enemies are well placed and the levels are fun. If you like jumping and puzzle-solving you should download another level though. There are a lot of gigantic scorpions but they are easy to survive since you get a lot of Medipacks. The turrets are much more dangerous. Lara's outfit would probably have looked better if the levels would have been released today but it looks okay and it looks much better than the one she wears in the third level. Overall two very good levels that are worth playing especially if you like scorpions." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

"I liked everything! Especially the dark rooms! I am impressed with everything and nice cameras and cut scenes! The reason for the 9 on textures is because some textures seemed to not belong or they looked stretched but a perfect 10 everywhere else. Nice job Emoo and for those of you who haven't played it yet this is a sure download and oh yeah be sure to play it in the dark. LOL" - Usmsci (21-Jun-2002)

"I would recommend the download as there is a horror-like atmosphere in the second level. The story is a little fuzzy and outside there are a few dead soldiers who have not seen any scorpion and inside they just walk next to them. Texturing had a few errors e.g. the elevator in the first level but still I say: download it!" - Silent Viper (21-Jun-2002)

"This is the best Tomb Raider I have ever played the level with the darkened corridors is especially good .On one occasion I shouted out in fright. The enemies are used cleverly and some of the new textures are used most extravagantly. If my nerves can stand it I am now off to play Emoo's other levels." - Bikeman (21-Jun-2002)

"A high tech base level with more giant scorpions than SAS guards but don't worry you get to open a lot of doors and there isn't a shortage of weapons; plus you get the compulsory crawlspaces complete with shootable grates. I'm not absolutely sure how to rate this. The atmosphere is rather gripping the rooms beautifully textured and furnished and the gameplay is fluent and satisfying however as there are not many jumps or puzzles it gets a bit boring after a while and the end was somewhat of an anti climax. I started to wonder what I came here for. Basically it's just about making progress with the help of three keys and some levers. There are some neat ideas (the faithful backflip after the long climb) the mutants gave me a shock on various occasions and getting past the sentry guns is a great thrill but still I had the feeling that something is missing to make this a truly great adventure. What I liked best were the camera angles that corresponded so well with the setting and the course and the huge area in the second half that gave you all the space you needed to fight those mean foes. I suppose it's a classic and must play for this kind of adventure but it's simply not my favorite approach to level building." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)

"For me I felt about this level the way I think men must feel when they drool over a new sports car. I actually wanted to drool. The atmosphere was absolutely gripping with enemies that actually caused me to jump in fright. Normally I don't like dark areas but the one used here was so well done that it did not detract from the enjoyment (and I kept wondering what all those flares I kept finding were for - LOL!). Especially good use of sound here too - didn't overuse the heartbeat for example so it remained creepy rather than becoming monotonous. I thought some of the neon lighting was absolutely gorgeous - very well done. Also some good game play elements - I particularly liked swinging over that dark chasm while being machine gunned to bits. This level _must_ be played!" - Lady Lara (21-Jun-2002)
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