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Level: Castle of Dark Illusions I / II back home search
Author(s): Seifer Zero
total rating:5.35 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 8 8 7 7
Dutchy 8 7 6 4
eRIC 6 7 5 4
Gerty 6 6 7 6
Jay 7 6 7 6
Jerry 3 6 4 3
Jose 1 5 2 2
Kristina 8 7 7 6
MichaelP 5 7 5 5
Orbit Dream 2 5 6 4
Ravenwen 5 6 5 4
Sash 5 5 6 5
Scottie 3 4 6 3
category averages
(13 reviews)
5.15 6.08 5.62 4.54

Reviewer's comments

"Sorry but I can't recommend this levels, even to take a try. A very bad gameplay which consists only in pull switches to open doors and save unmarked traps. There are many defects like the bad placed doors, the paper walls, the very elongated textures in all areas, etc. There is also a nasty backtracking sometimes like in the dungeons area; go slowly through long crawlspaces only to pull a switch and come back through the long crawlspaces. It's not a funny task. The second level is even worst: black rooms and no cameras to show what you're doing when pulling a switch or press a button (wrong animation). Evenmore I couldn't get rid of the ghost so, checked the walkthrough and saw that there wasn't a statue to kill it. At that point, I exit and throw the level directly to the recycle bin." - Jose (14-May-2017)

"I am not sure what I found worst about this level: The incredible darkness (and lack of flares), the bad and careless texturing, the missing camera hints, or all that backtracking. Running into traps like boulders, spikes and fire squares without any hint or warning isn't fun either. So my overall rating is a summing-up of all this resp. my enjoyment of playing this level. Gameplay is confined to running through huge and mostly empty rooms and long passages, back and forth, climbing some very long shafts, and doing some pushing and diving, on the search for switches and buttons. You will encounter a couple of enemies on your way (including sharks – just imagine, sharks in a castle!), but since revolver, shotgun and grenade launcher can be found along with enough ammo and medipacks, they are no real danger. The only thing worth taking a look at is Lara's ripped outfit and her fangs of a vampire. That was a witty idea and gave her a grim look." - Jerry (01-Nov-2009)

"I was enjoying this set of levels reasonably enough until,half-way through the second level,I encountered two infuriating bugs.The first was a re-load of a saved game which waterized all the rooms;quite bizarre!I began the 2nd level again and played without saving until I had progressed significantly beyond the potentially buggy part(not too dificult),but then encountered another bug whereby a wall-button singularly failed to open the appropriate door (as verified by the walkthrough)despite constant re-loads in various different places. At this point I chucked it in.Should I review it nonetheless,even though (according to the walkthrough) I had played only 3/4 of the adventure? I feel it's legitimate to do so,as I want the review to act as a strong warning to anyone else contemplating the download of this particular adventure. For the rest,despite an impressive opening area the atmosphere quickly degenerates into a wealth of massively stretched textures (some,to such an extent,that it's almost impossible to discern what they originally were) and gameplay which involves a lot of hunting around for unmarked pushable blocks.Not too bad for all that (and ambitious for a first try)but,because of the bugs,play only with caution!" - Orbit Dream (28-May-2009)

"It is nice that one can play Lara sometimes as a vampire. And I explore also with pleasure a castle. And I have also nothing against darkness or ghosts. And it is still ok, if one must look constantly for invisible blocks. What is, however, not at all ok, if it is constantly dark. Or so brightly which one needs sunglasses. And even more badly it is, when a ghost nerves one almost the whole second level and it gives no possibility to get rid of him. And then in the last third comes a second ghost. And in addition one must still fight against Demigods. Or push blocks. Or climb ladders up and down. And run of forever long ways. And one has constantly these stupid ghosts in the neck. And just in the first level there are not enough flares, so one must use constantly the guns or the binoculars. With such a thing there sinks the play fun so far down, so deeply can be no hole. Many stretched textures are there almost already a secondary matter. Exactly like the bad sound of the weapons. Result: Personally I hold this level for complete unsuccessful and would play him not again" - Scottie (28-Apr-2009)

"I really enjoyed this until the library where gameflow seemed to falter. This is Vampira Lara, with appropriate black garb and cool looking boots and of course, requisite fangs. Very cool. There's a good puzzle for the first available revolver pick up and if it's missed, it will be picked up later. There are some empty rooms but there are also some good touches like the red light reflecting off a swinging chain - very nice effect. The well designed underground prison was fun to explore. In fact, exploring is key as there are some minor enemies in the first half but the real action such as sharks, dragons and locusts (overdone and tedious) are in part II. Lots of goodies to pick up and while there are too many, I'd rather have more than less. The sound needs some work as the TR timed sequence and other tracks just went on too long. Cameras were needed to show what opened and where to diminish needless running around. This was the author's first level and there are newbie errors but in general, this is a good raid that maybe could have been shortened for better effect." - Bene (04-Nov-2008)

"This double level with a rather gloomy atmosphere and a duration of 1 hour 3/4 is in general relaxing and rather fluent ; although there are many doors that need to be opened and no camera , it is more or less obvious where you have to go next ; when it seems you have come to a dead end, there is generally a well concealed movable block near by , or further on a jump switch in the dark. This was the 1st level from the author and it had some of the marks of a first effort : some thin walls, doors not always placed in portals, stretched textures , also it is rather dark in general. There is no difficult riddles or traps in this adventure, not a lot of jumps either , there are some rooms where you have to spot the right path on the ceiling or on the floor so not to be spiked, the gameplay is largely based on exploration but it's rather linear when you think about it. Some retextured enemies (robots , demigods ,gunmen) and more classic ones (dogs, skeletons, a wraith you have to dispatch with the pistols, and a dragon) to spice up things a bit." - eRIC (22-Dec-2007)

"I was lured by the title of this level and thought I'd play it, but I can't say I was particularly thrilled with the gameplay in it. The idea may be original, and Lara's appearance is very cool, but in the essence all you have to do is wander in empty rooms and locate levers or switches that open gates miles away. Moreover, I don't know what's the deal with those huge rooms, but I don't think it's a good idea to have a series of them in a row and have to spend ages so as to climb endless ladders, swim up endless shafts and go along endless crawlspaces. Not sure if the builder did all this to accentuate the dark and creepy atmosphere of the level, but I'm sorry to say personally I didn't get such a feel. You collect numerous medipacks and ammo for your stronger weapons, but in fact the pistols are more than enough to help you through. Things get slightly better in the second part, yet again you wander in deserted rooms - there is a trap every now and then but can be easily passed through, and the enemies are a bit tougher, but still not particularly threatening (you can even ignore most of them). There are a couple of instances though where you can see some more creative sparkles, and I would guess (not having played his other levels yet) that this is an indication of how the builder developped his skills later on, considering this was his first effort." - Ravenwen (15-Sep-2007)

"Though the gameplay was really good, the textures were a major drawback, if there was a little more time spend on fixing stretched textures and adding a few cameras of what opened at times, this level could have been a topper." - Dutchy (17-Mar-2005)

"This was a surprisingly long level, consisting of two parts with about 45 minutes each. It clearly shows the touch of a beginner with many stretched textures, not very inspired lighting and thus rather poor atmosphere overall. Gameplay is consistently the same: find that next lever to open the next door, sometimes with a bit of backtracking involved and more often in the second part linked with some sneakily hidden jump switch or movable block. I liked the fact that in part two it became a little more difficult also in the enemy department (as you even meet a dragon and a few re-textured demigods), but those two levels were simply a bit too long for their own good and so what will likely stick out most is the rather unique outfit Lara has here - vampire teeth included." - Michael (20-Feb-2005)

"Illusions aren’t the only dark thing in this level - I’d recommend playing this one at night. This castle is very gloomy indeed and despite otherwise incredibly generous pickups you won’t find all that many flares. Lara appears to be a vampire, complete with fangs and bat themed costume, but I have no idea why. If you’ve played Twin Crystals by the same builder, you will probably find this a bit disappointing as it’s obviously an earlier work. The rooms are big and rather under-furnished and there is often not a great deal to do. Not a bad level, but certainly we have seen much better from this builder and I’m sure we will again." - Jay (07-Feb-2005)

“For me this two levelled game set in a dark very plain and empty castle was a bit long and could have been a bit more effective if kept at just one level. Gaming revolves around opening lots of doors and gates sometimes with no reason behind them or just pick ups to collect of which I ended with heaps and finding some switches and levers. This just wasn’t enough to keep me interested. Unfortunately the main item of intrigue I did find was the moment I noticed Lara had fangs like a vampire. So I have to say this wasn’t to my liking very much and to top everything off a really annoying wraith that couldn’t be killed dogged me for about 15 minutes of the last half an hour of the levels which got on my last good nerve. Oh okay I didn’t mind the use of movable blocks but even that got a little predictable near the end. Just go check it out for yourself and make up your own mind.” – Sash (04-Jan-2005)

“This is probably one of the first levels by this author and when you play his latest Twin Crystals you can see that he learned a lot since then. Although this one isn't as straight forward and easy one could expect with a first level it is an adventure nonetheless to take on. The rooms were rather bare and the push blocks in the library were e bit of a drag. Texture wise there could be more done as I saw some missing ones. I still don't know what that was with the wraith as there was no way in hell to get rid of it and it at a certain point I got pretty peeved at the author. 29-11-2004” – Gerty (13-Dec-2004)

“The game consists of two levels in a kind of catacomb setting. Although the gameplay is quite interesting with many rooms to explore traps very well hidden moving blocks that gave me trouble in the library the attention given to the textures and the decoration of the rooms is not satisfying. There are some parts missing and some textures are stretched. I would also like to see the areas with maybe some colourful textures or in a way that doesn’t make them dull. There was a wraith that I couldn’t get rid of and followed me until the end of the game also the dragon near the end wasn’t necessary in my opinion as it was easy to avoid him. Nevertheless I found this kind of gameplay to my liking and I would recommend it. It took me less than an hour and a half to finish it.” – Kristina (09-Dec-2004)
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