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Level: BtB2005 - Mourning Palace back home search
Author(s): Horus
total rating:8.71 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 8 10 10
Bigfoot 9 9 10 10
Bogey 8 8 9 9
CC 9 9 9 9
Dimpfelmoser 9 8 9 8
DJ Full 8 7 9 9
droogie 8 7 10 9
Duncan 7 7 8 8
Dutchy 9 9 10 10
eRIC 9 9 10 9
EssGee 10 8 9 8
eTux 8 8 9 9
G.Croft 8 8 8 9
Gerty 8 8 9 8
Gill 9 9 10 10
Jay 9 8 10 10
Jenni 9 9 8 8
Jerrod 9 8 9 9
Jorge22 7 8 8 9
Jose 10 9 10 9
Kristina 8 8 9 8
manarch2 7 7 9 9
MichaelP 8 7 10 9
Minox 10 9 10 10
Mman 9 10 10 10
Moonpooka 9 9 9 9
Mrs rjb 8 7 9 8
mugs 8 8 8 9
Obig 9 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 9 8 10 10
Phil 9 9 10 10
QRS 10 9 10 10
rjb 9 8 9 9
Ruediger 8 7 8 7
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Sash 9 7 9 9
Staticon 7 7 9 9
Sutekh 7 8 9 9
Whistle 6 8 8 9
Xela 9 8 8 9
category averages
(40 reviews)
8.50 8.13 9.18 9.05

Reviewer's comments

"Here is an excellent level combining all the ingredients of the first tr, very well. Excellent gameplay and nice lighting." - Minox (25-Mar-2017)

"It's really easy to end up aimlessly running around in the beginning, but if you get the lever at the beginning then a bit of exploration and learn the the layout of the large room then the exploration flows fine and is nice. The gameplay was fun with a few challenging time puzzles. At the very end there's a large spike of challenge which was surprising, but the level was overall very entertaining. I was really impressed with some of the music and cutscenes used" - droogie (23-Dec-2016)

"You can't go wrong with a Nadine level. Using the Catacomb textures and objects, she has constructed a beautiful level containing gameplay just to my liking. A few fun jumping sequences, shooting skeletons off ledges and a few timed runs and items to find. Lighting and textures done brilliantly as were cameras. Brilliant level." - Ryan (29-Jun-2016)

"An ancient leaflet says: "Good mourning. Enjoy the evening in our palace. Our staff equipped with professional swords, chitin and ectoplasm will do their best to keep you entertained. The place seems huge so mind the binoculars - using them to recognize places not supposed to visit yet will save You a lot of running. Just in case of getting tired, we planted lots of medikits around. Take whatever You want, it's all inclusive. We apologize a lot for a bit distracting beetles - the bait inscription used to drag Lara in here also included a warning: >>Whoever dares to enter, he must take flipeffect 31 with himself<< - but that was at the back of the storyline page so wasn't noticed on time. To compensate this little inconvenience, we decided to brighten the place up, so it's not that gloomy as one would think." And a letter from a traveler who found that leaflet and decided to answer to the crew follows: "Dear crew of the Mourning Palace, I enjoyed my stay, for even though there weren't many puzzles to pick up, getting each one required some effort of a different kind. You need to glue the pipes, for I think You have a leak somewhere - but it looked pretty cool and even helped me get one piece I wanted so I don't mind it at all. You have some really good lighting technicians, though I think they sometimes waste too much electricity when the sun could handle it on its own and more naturally. I would also add some more shelves for particular segments of the palace seem isolated from each other - all in all, its dwellers, dead or not, should have no problems in exploration as well. The paint is great but I think sometimes too much of it and I would keep it simplier instead, because various segments of the same wall often seem - like my fellow adventurer who visited You last year would say - "eclectic". But these are all minor things which will take maybe a day or two to get fixed. What I need to ask about before anything else instead, is what was the point of this holiday, because I don't get neither the absolute lack of any hidden surprises, nor the purpose of that burning gem in the end, and I somehow can't have a real holiday rest until I get an answer for these. Yours faithfully, DJF."" - DJ Full (27-Apr-2015)

"Very nice level VERY VERY well building with a nice use of the catacombs textures and lighting. Not a very hard game even if in the begininng it's maybe a bit hard to found where we need to start because this palace is so giant. Not maybe totally a fan of the attacks of the squeletons without the shotgun. Also for the mummy and the pushbloc. There are also a very beautiful game of flipmaps with dry aeras and sunken aeras after. I can just congratulate the author for this. The level is also not really dark and that is a good thingsbecause I just love how is use the various colours during the adventure. So to conclude a very good entry for this btb 2005. Very recommended." - Bigfoot (06-Sep-2014)

"This level stands out most for its beauty, which is out of question - the grand scale main hall is very well designed and the visuals are absolutely stunning, without much to fault. The fixed and flyby cameras do their job extremely well, I especially liked the half-flooding of the hall which is excellently done. The gameplay, though, stands a little behind the great looks. It's fairly simplistic in the beginning, with too much exploration and only a few nice tasks like the smaller timed run over the ledges, but thankfully gets better towards the end with more timed runs to solve, a very clever pushable puzzle and a few nice jumps. Maybe the hole that opens after placing the knot should be better hinted, the camera didn't really help here neither the walkthrough which states it's N in the great hall, but it's actually S. Enemies and objects are decently used, but they're nothing special, and it's probably the first BtB level I've played that doesn't even have a single secret. So all in all a game more recommended for the looks than for the gameplay, but at least the looks are really strong here and it's not a disappointment in any regard. Spent 30 minutes in here before it ended in a strange and abrupt finale." - manarch2 (06-May-2014)

"While I'm not much for catacomb levels, I have to admit that this one is both beautiful and well done. Not only is the primary room interesting to look it, there is also the vast functionality of every piece of the set. And as you progress the room changes, revealing new ways to go and new items to get. Not necessarily a new concept, but still a fun one. I think that one of the level's greatest achievements is how it creates a massive room that remains manageable. After a few runarounds, any player should have a decent feel for where things are, and, once they actually start making progress, the level is smooth as silk to traverse through. And with it being such a pretty level, I don't see much reason to miss this one. My only real gripe is the platforming timer, which seemed to be a tad too short. Or maybe I'm just not skilled enough to perform it properly. Also, be careful about which pots you break...unless you really love being followed around by scarabs for an hour or so." - Xela (01-Dec-2013)

"There are comparatively few Nadine levels available,so it's therefore very important that we relish the ones we can still play - and this is undoubtedly one of the best.The gamplay is almost absolutely spot on.Indeed,if it weren't for the fact that you could get stuck in one or two places you that weren't supposed to reach;and that the sheer size and complexity of the central chamber inevitably means that progression is somewhat obscure to begin with,it would be absolutely perfect.The variety of tasks is hugely entertaining;enemies have been deviously placed;the atmosphere is superb;and the lighting and texturing is always stunning - making the tried-and-tested Catacomb environments appear surprisingly fresh and quite spectacular.In fact,the sequence where the water floods in is probably the most awe-inspiring use of a flip map I have ever encountered. This adventure is nothing less than a gem - as you would expect from this builder." - Orbit Dream (01-Dec-2013)

"This level quickly opens onto one of the most breathtaking and inspiring areas I've ever seen in a TRLE level; a colossal temple full of details, with side areas that are hinted at cleverly from the central part. Lighting and texture use is near-perfect and has a style of its own. One or two of the side-areas aren't quite up to the same standard, but there's consistent enough for it to not take away from the vast majority of the level. It possibly my favourite Catacomb themed area ever.
You initially start with some general exploration in the vast room, and after some work you flood the central area and suddenly give it a whole new dimension. There are various tasks but the level is actually relatively linear and smooth-going despite the massive size once you get started on the first couple of important things. I love this level enough that I'd really like to give it straight tens but unfortunately there's a few too many nitpicks for me to do that, like a couple of irksome illegal slopes, a block puzzle that's okay if you quickly work out what to do but very padded if you don't and a slight loss of steam towards the end. The nine on gameplay is perhaps bordering on generous but it's testament to the impact this level had on me that I can do that. I can safely say this is my favourite BTB Catacombs level, and one of my favourite TRLE levels in general." - Mman (25-Oct-2012)

"Except the short (very short) timer for the timed run, I really enjoyed this adventure. The gameplay is well balanced between search/jump/action, good use of light, some majestic flybys and a bloody final to end. This area seems peaceful, but only in appearance." - Jerrod (18-Mar-2010)

"Another gem in the btb 2005 series. I had high expectations on this level due to the fantastic stuff that Nadine produces all of the time :) I was not dissapointed, as this level has extremly good gameplay, perfect atmosphere, sound and lighting. I have no idea how this author comes up with all the ideas for her levels and still makes them feel so new and fresh so to speak. The overall difficulty in this level is hard and count on a lot of reloads to get pass some of the parts in the game. One thing I really liked in this level was when the main room flipped and you got access to the later parts in the level (and some hard timed runs!). Sounds like an ordinary thing and happens in many levels but it is done in a special way that is the trademark of this author. In other words it was made in a damn good way :) I can't wait to play her new "Neon God" adventure! 2005-10-08" - QRS (08-Oct-2005)

"This ruined palace is excellent. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring this large area with its hair-raising jumps and that very high monkey swing. That really got the adrenaline pumping. And when I found that a huge area had become flooded, I was in heaven. I love swimming sections in TR. Having a sense of direction slightly worse than a box of bathroom tiles meant that I had to resort to the walkthrough on a number of occasions and this helped me to enjoy the opening section of this level rather more than the frustration I would have, undoubtedly, suffered without it. Thanks Nadine. I was a little wary when I encountered my first batch of beetles - these are my most hated adversaries - but they were not too vicious. Presumably, they must have been fed quite recently. :-) The lighting was excellent throughout, the rooms and puzzles well designed and the camera work was thoughtful and well placed. The only downer I experienced in this level was, as is usual for me; an extremely tight timed run. As I have stated on many previous occasions, I am an eternal beginner when it comes to games playing. If anything, I get worse with practice. I have seen blocks of wood with better manual dexterity than I possess and that timed run/jump/monkey swing nearly made me give up. Fortunately, at my very last attempt, I just made it. I am glad - I made it to the finish without resorting to getting a gamesave from someone else so at least, in the end, I got there with my pride intact. Overall though, a superb offering. It never ceases to amaze just what has been achieved with a basic wad." - Staticon (17-Sep-2005)

The level has large very busy areas, where you can be over faced with the amount of jumble/ruins and bits of buildings. The route needs thought and the jumps are at times almost impossible even after some brain strain working out just how to do them, (which for me really spoilt the game play) although I did like the one after getting the star. The jump one over the sloping ledge to the climb up to the two corridors especially. Enemies consisted of wraiths, skeletons, mummies(rather insignificant though) and those darn beetles. The colours and textures did rather over face me and I found them at time garish although they were in keeping with this type of level. However the misty areas did set a good ambiance. If you fancy yourself as a Jumper then this is the level for you. - Whistle (01-Jul-2005)

"I found the start to the game a bit bewildering ... there was so much to see and do, everything based on a huge room with many interesting areas in it. With my lack of spatial awareness and visual memory I needed to 'fix' the room around 'the pink platform'. Without that I would have been totally and completely lost! When I got to the panic stage ... (I'm a world renowned expert at panic!) ... to get back to home base and the pink platform had a calming effect'. The timed runs and jumps I found quite hard and frustrating (what's new the people who know me say!) but felt inordinately proud when I completed a particularly difficult jump over some masonry ... just below the comfort of the pink platform ... needing a curving leap to the right, round a corner, over the apex of the rocks to land on an unseen platform ... an excellent jump, if somewhat aaarrhhh at first! A major highlight of the game was when the pink platform room, along with some others, was flooded ... really interesting and attractive. The fact that I managed to negotiate the underwater maze, find all the goodies and find the way out was as much a surprise tome as it was to others! Also towards the end there was a monkey swing, and when you land on it and set off to explore you simply get back, nearly, to your starting point. The fact that it is necessary to simply turn 180 degrees before starting to explore is a neat puzzle. Overall I found the level a bit overpowering at the beginning but quite exciting by the end." - Mrs rjb (18-Mar-2005)

"One of my favourites from the competition - due to the colourful lighting (always a plus in my book) that made the atmosphere quite cheerful, I never felt the need to mourn here, though some jumps were quite devious - with the one after finding the golden star being in mind now. At first this huge, though beautiful palace might seem confusing, but if you move one, you'll find out the path is actually quite clear, and though you might be stumbled along the way - be it because of the rather tight timed runs (me likes!), the non-too-obvious jumps or other of Nadine's evil puzzles - it actually flows quite fast and you wont notice how time flies past in this fast paced adventure when you reach a gem (one more for the collection!) at the end. Highly recommended if you like vast areas, timed runs and colourful settings! Don't go looking for any secrets though, as there aren't any!" - eTux (06-Mar-2005)

"I thoroughly enjoyed this one hour Catacomb level from beginning to end, a great classic I should say. You know it won't be a ballad in the park when you are chased right at the start by a skeleton and beetles, at the top of a huge cavern with great architecture and many levels of ledges and bridges, without having the shotgun. It was a great pleasure to explore this area with plenty to do. After a rather easy timed door for the crowbar, the course really begins when you spot the alcove leading to a star. I really loved some of the challenges you're facing after. Exciting! How on Earth is it possible to go down again without dying? How to go to the place showed by a camera where you will use the star? (This tricky jump around the corner is a possible gameplay stopper for inexperienced raiders?). After placing the star and the pharos pillar, the cavern is half flooded, and it was a stunning view with a beautiful flyby showing the way to an area that was unreachable before, leading to a great timed door that I finally managed at my second try. So it was not that hard but great fun. The end of the level is more straightforward, with a few more puzzles and traps. One flyby with a great distortion effect is amazing! I reloaded twice just to watch it again. No secret found, but there was exactly the suitable number of enemies. I really loved raiding here. The kind of level that one will enjoy to play again." - eRIC (01-Mar-2005)

"As always, Nadine presents us a carefully textured and lighted environment - this time round a huge underground palace, which initially is a bit confusing as you are trying to find your way around, but once you get into the flow (and certainly after finding and placing the pillar, things proceed rather quickly and smoothly. There are plenty of skeletons around but always a ledge nearby to shoot them off from. The water flipmap is nicely executed, the timed runs are fun, as is the push object puzzle. The underwater maze isn't too bad and the occasional illegal slope easily avoided. All in all a great adventure, which will keep you entertained for 45 minutes. Did not find any secrets though." - Michael (01-Mar-2005)

"On this level, essentially there's only a main room, or rather I'd call it a hall. It's not hard to get stuck, because you have to perform tricky jumps many times. There are also inevitable scratches, mostly at the beginning. The final part of the level is really a hard nut, very technical. When I had to swing on a rope above a pool, and mustn't fall into the water, and after getting over scarabs came, and besides this I had to push a switch and switch over a lever, plus pick up an item, well, then I was sweating a little bit. :) There are some timed runs too, and one of them is quite hard. During my first play I was suffering at least half an hour until I finally made it. After that I could already see my dark future, knowing that I'll have to make it once again because of the walkthrough. There are also skellies and mummies on the level, our only weapon against them is the Shotgun, but this doesn't worth much in some cases; and, because there are no secrets on the level, you better spare medis. Otherwise, it's a phenomenally good level, it's easily up to the main TR-episodes. But, to be honest, it can be told about almost all the levels of this project.:) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://www.treditor.hu/15/back_to_basics8_mourning_palace.htm " - Obig (27-Feb-2005)

"There is definitely nothing lamentable about this atmospheric and architecturally interesting level. I love an author that builds their rooms so that the player can get maximum fun out of traversing it by all means and from all angles. I also love the fact that some diverse timed elements were given added thrills such as being chased or having to run face first into a pack of skeletons, or having to monkey swing slowly while you sweat hoping this dawdling will stop so you can continue at a faster pace before the gate will shut. You know what, I just don't love those things, I loved the whole experience when I played this beautifully executed 50 minute level, that is except for the exclusion of any secrets, and there was so many wonderful places to have stuck some too, oh well you can't have it all. This is a definite play." - Sash (18-Feb-2005)

"First time around I threw it in the bin as I thought that I was doing some illegal jumping, and even had a bug that only hindered me. Second time around I sailed through it (had the same bug though as instead of sliding Lara kept standing after an unhealthy jump, near the crack in the wall). I also completely forgot that I could place the Pillar I found and I didn't have to wait for the other artifacts, so that made it much easier. I have to admit that although I found the shotgun, at a certain point I added the crossbow as those skeletons were a pest. It was NOT funny (or thrilling) anymore. Apart from that it is a real nice game, some timed runs were great others a pain in the neck. I liked the look of this level and the fog added a certain something to it. As for pick up I got too many flares and I rather had medipacks. 09-01-2005" - Gerty (11-Feb-2005)

"This is a beautiful level. From the very start of Lara falling into the first room it's obvious that a lot has gone into the lighting, texturing and atmosphere. There's a pile of bones in the corner and you are aware that that is one of the tasks to do here. Run out of this small first room and you are met with a skeleton, but also an awesome sight of an enormous room. Even if you find the shotgun early and get rid of the next few skellies, it's a guessing game which way to go. There are some very clever jumps, crawls, and shimmys among the massive structures here. You're looking for the Hathor head and stand, the pillar and knot, and a star you get after a brilliant monkeyswing high up in this huge room. There are some boulders to dodge, one after a rising floor, jumps over fires to grab poles, a nice object pushing puzzle that involves a monkeyswing and a timed door, vases and bones to shoot, enough skeletons to cause a nuisance but not too annoying, a timed run over pillars, and wraiths and beetles attacking at awkward places. There are places at ground level in this enormous main room that had me wondering for a while how to get up there, but when I realised this lower area had to be flooded it made perfect sense. And it all finishes in a very decent ending sequence. I've played eleven of the 18 BtoB levels now and this is one of the three I rank as the most visually stunning. Excellent level all round." - CC (04-Feb-2005)

"Quite a lot of exploration is advisable, early on, in order to establish our bearings in a great, main hall, of considerable 'scale'. It is useful to be able to decide what can be done (almost) immediately and what needs to be left until later. The numerous smaller rooms 'off' - several of them with architecture as decorative as the attractive main room; I remember some nice, arched vaulting, eg - are all connected to the main hall, and so it seems that in all that we are doing, we are never far away from the 'centre of things'. We have a short excursion into one room, or a set of rooms, and then come back to this 'centre', so all is inter-related. There is a memorable monkey swing over the great chasm (bringing to mind the BtB level 'The Origins'), and some very helpful camera work, showing us where, eg, to place the star we have just picked up. (I also thought it was an interesting concept to have several of the camera shots, you suddenly realise, being directed from spots that Lara cannot actually reach.) A great deal seems to change abruptly when the great hall is partially flooded, so certain areas that were unreachable before can now be accessed. (I spent ages trying to make a jump in one place - not successfully - only to find that when the hall became flooded, I could easily swim there!) At this point, we do leave the main room, to find a series of other rooms, some moderately straightforward and others requiring some thought to solve. Several sets of scarab beetles, plus a pursuing sprite, plus vases, plus bones, plus flames, with a pressure pad on a timer, and uncertainty as to whether we want to shoot everything - or will that make matters worse? - made one room in particular sufficiently difficult that I was pleased to leave it behind. It was a pleasant change to be able to play an open, 'bright', attractive level (that had a clear direction), after having seen several that had many dark areas or that had some less-well constructed sections (dare this player-only say such a thing). I thought almost everything 'hung together' well, and I even have to concede (grudgingly) that the beetles (which I generally detest) weren't out of place - although I can only say that last, *after* having mastered the room where they appeared! I was never sure if the bones had a purpose (I did shoot the 3 sets I found), as with those beetles around, it was mighty tempting to leave them be! (Incidentally, I like to take one or more screenshots for posterity from each game I play, and both that I'm taking away from this game are remote camera shots that the author him/herself provided for us during the game at two points. A testimony, I would say, as to the level of artistic appreciation shown by this designer.) This has now climbed to being my 3rd favourite level, of the 12 I have played, ousting 'Pseudo Tomb' (sorry, Pseudo Tomb author). I understand there were no secrets to be found. Footnote: I completed this game the day before the walkthrough was published. I was surprised to see in it no mention of the beetles in the 'main room' where they appeared - surely a significant problem - nor of most of the 'non-essential' pickups, and especially how to deal with the medipack that was 'aflame'. Guidance by the author on these things (there is a commendable suggestion as to how to tackle the main timed run, which, perversely, I found straightforward) would have been most helpful. An appendix?" - rjb (04-Feb-2005)

"This level starts off in a huge room that takes some exploring and thought. But the big room does have internal logic and isn't hard to get through. Once the big room is flooded Lara proceeds on to a series of rooms that are more dangerous but not as interesting (beetles and a wraith then beetles and skeletons). This level didn't click for me but I'm sure many will enjoy it." - Duncan (29-Jan-2005)

"Wow what a level never got bored for a moment as you rarely visit the same spot twice. A great quest for the Star. Both Pillar and Knot to get the Portal Guardian. Plenty of Beetles and Skellies and some nice Boulder traps to spice things up a bit more. A hard timed run to get to the Knot and a nasty jump series in the end to get to the final room gave things just the right level of difficulty. Had a great time playing this and have a pretty good idea who made it (but then again I could be wrong too)." - Dutchy (26-Jan-2005)

"Lara comes to a big underground palace. A palace filled with undead spirits wraiths and scarabs. It's a huge palace in several levels and of course Lara has to climb up and down everywhere. Finally she finds an artefact to fill the palace up with water so she can get access to yet another part of the haunted place. I'm not sure about Lara's mission here since the level ends with Lara still in the palace looking at a burning crystal... Anyway beautiful surroundings lots of climbing and jumping many timed runs that escalates towards the end." - G.Croft (25-Jan-2005)

"Mourning Palace eh! Well there was no mourning done by this 'lil wood duck during this level. On the contrary this is a celebration of what can be done with TRLE level editor. To call the huge main environment impressive just doesn't do it justice it's beautiful. On my first peek into this area I couldn't find a way to get started I was somewhat overwhelmed by it's size. But once you find your way things will begin to pan out. I really couldn't fault the gameplay and the puzzles were good and resettable if you made an error. There's a great timed run that takes a bit of practice but is certainly achievable once you get your rhythm. There's also some effective use of smoky fog in this area. The use of a skelly at the beginning was a bit unfair but Lara can move on fairly quickly in order to lose him. The flooding flyby is nicely done and clue cameras are helpful if studied carefully. Sound cues are suitably used to enhance the gameplay experience. Complex architecture effective lighting and good use of the standard textures create an awesome atmosphere. There's about an hour of net gaming here. I didn't get any secrets so if there were any then the builder had them well concealed. This was a thoroughly enjoyable raid." - EssGee (25-Jan-2005)

"A 'Back to Basics' level using the catacomb wad so I won't go into detail about enemies and objects - you know the score. You'll be glad to hear that the shotgun turns up in nice time to allow you to have fun shooting skeletons in mid air whilst they're jumping over platforms - I love that. The main area is huge complex and imposing takes quite a bit of exploring and looks absolutely stunning by the time you've flooded it. Amongst other things there's a really good timed run to accomplish and I know that doesn't sound like me but honestly it's a fun run. I found this a very interesting entry in the series. I didn't find any secrets." - Jay (23-Jan-2005)

"This level is centered around a huge cavern with remnants of a palace inside. It is impeccably built and quite beautiful. The level is somewhat too long for being a Back to Basics level though and the gameplay however flawless it may be didn't really catch me. There are a few timed runs which need concentration without being too hard. Occasionally it wasn't very obvious what to do next and I wasted some time trying impossible jumps. One or two jumps can be a bit tricky but there are no really hard ones. A nice twist is that there is a dramatic event in the middle of the game. You might have guessed it but I was quite surprised and some confusing things suddenly made sense. The skeletons are mostly manageable except towards the end where they can be rather disturbing. The many vases rarely contain anything useful but sometimes beetles. There is at least one pack of shotgun ammo though." - Bogey (23-Jan-2005)

"Even though I thought this was a very difficult level I also found it very challenging and a lot of fun to play. Some of the jumps I thought that were not possible to make but after many tries and with some perseverance and some guidance from the help threads were actually quite achievable. But saying this I was running around a lot in this huge temple area and I was quite confused in the beginning wondering what to do and where to go to next but this did make this level more interesting and extremely challenging for me in game-play. Of course I managed to get all the way to the star via that very long and high up monkey-swing and completely forgot I hadn't even picked up my crowbar so I had to start again from a different save-game and do all that sequence all over again but this did not hinder my enjoyment during this wonderful adventure. Along your journey you need to find a pharos knot pharos pillar star and finding the long lost crowbar. And just to make this adventure more interesting and even more challenging there are a few timed-runs thrown in as well some of which I just could not do and I had to resort to the help thread and d/load a save-game to help me get passed them. You will be coming across enemies like skeletons mummies lot's of beetles wraiths and a few puzzles that you need to solve to help you to progress further into this wonderful adventure. But I must admit it was a lovely sight to see all that water appear after placing the pharos pillar it made things a lot easier to get around and I spent a lot of time just swimming down below exploring ever nook and cranny just in case I had missed any pick-ups that I may have missed on foot. On the whole this level is very well laid out textures were brilliantly done it's a nice and bright level to play objects were perfectly placed and I enjoyed the game-play very much which made this level a real pleasure to get into and very challenging. I just wished I could have found a grenade gun though was there one hidden in there somewhere I wonder." - Gill (23-Jan-2005)

"My first thought upon looking down over the wide open area in the beginning is 'where do I start?' But gameplay was simple to pick up and it's not difficult to get between levels of the large open temple area. The way down from getting the star was well thought out and how to get the small medipack from the pedestal had me completely stumped until the area was flooded.... it was a clue as to what was coming that I didn't register at the time - nice touch! The timed run was fab (running and ledge jumping is my favourite). The level starts off at a fairly even pace then starts to accelerate as enemies and traps become more numerous to finally end with a bang when Lara can calmly retrieve the gem after running the gauntlet of skellies scarabs boulders and tricky jumps - difficult but climatic and a superb level." - Jenni (22-Jan-2005)

"I've played some very good levels lately along with this one which I really enjoyed. It looks like the builders have raised not only the standards for levels made with custom objects/animations but I think they just raised the level for those that are built with the original wads as well. The gameplay is fast paced and interesting. There are quite a few areas to visit; dangerous waters with a timed run and to top that you'd have skeletons on your tail climb to the highest levels of the main area and avoid fires perform jumps without looking down though if you're afraid of heights and others tasks Lara has to complete. At some point the main room will flood but don't think that the level ends there I was pleased to see that I still had a few things to do like another timed run with a mummy annoying Lara. The players should try this catacomb level it's worth it." - Kristina (17-Jan-2005)

"The construction of the building is breathtaking as you start at the top and see your way spiraling downwards. How do you safely get there and what will you have to do?; your thoughts start spinning. Gameplay is interesting not too hard yet involving a long timed run. A few remarkable cameras for example when you put in the Golden Star and its showing you the view from outside. I didn't like the purplish lights on the brownish textures they somehow didn't match." - Rüdiger (17-Jan-2005)

"Very confusing beginning as you have access to almost all areas and can wander around for awhile on the bottom level without finding anything to help you proceed. I started this one a few times before I found the pole taking me to a timed run and then all was well. There's a memorable sequence leading to a Gold Star involving jumps a monkey swing and a novel way back where at first there seems no way to continue. Very well done. But before this the crowbar must be found. Very tricky jump to place the Star and one that may not be obvious to most raiders. Yes there's an obvious starting jump site but from there it's a bit murky....very devious. After placing a Pillar Knot and Effigy the game does not end as I expected but continues to a new and totally different area with spike balls and jumps. Strange ending not being able to pick up the gem. As for the title my first thought on entering the main area was that this author likes to 'paint on a broad canvas' so the Palace part applies but Mourning? Perhaps the name is a hint to the builder's identity as the beginning is bright with no gloom as the word 'mourning' brings to mind. Very glad I restarted this level. This one stayed with me when it was over and it's very well done." - Bene (17-Jan-2005)

"First off a little hint: in order to enjoy this level (as opposed to wandering aimlessly dumbfounded clueless and slightly exasperated wishing you knew the author's exact location and eating habits so you may flavor his/her favorite drink with a dash of LSD to teach him/her the exact meaning of the word 'confusion') don't do as I first did. Don't flee your way down. Go for the lever at the top first! Yes there is that skelly chasing you but it's worth the effort. Trust me on this. Once you've done that you're in for a bit of exploration in a big beautiful and rather messy room (mind a couple of illegal slopes on your way). But if you keep your eyes open everything should go smoothly from now in a fairly balanced level served with skellies timed runs good puzzles and a nice lot of tricky jumps. The ending is another story with difficulty raising suddenly. So keep running dodging and jumping and above all don't panic. You'll eventually enjoy it. A lot. Not mentioning the beauty of the scenery the perfect finish of the lighting and a couple of nice details." - Sutekh (16-Jan-2005)

"The level is pretty good although I don't like levels so much no-linear like this. Cameras are the best of the level (help you so much). All is very well but I've found few weapons and ammo and the secrets are very difficult to find. In spite of all is one of the best levels of BtB I've played up to now. The final flyby is strange (the level ends before you can retrieve the diamond then all you've suffered through all the level)." - Jose (15-Jan-2005)

"Another gem from the Back to Basics Challenge. It starts out with a bit of exploring in a big palace that I found rather confusing but once you know your way around and have a rough idea what to do and where to go it all falls into place. Well to tell the truth although everything falls into place I still found the area mightily confusing. Yes there is a rather long monkey swing and you shouldn't even think about it if you haven't got the crowbar but after you found the first crucial item the pace quickens and then it's a fairly thrilling run towards the abrupt end. The textures in the main hall were a bit too eclectic for my taste but all the little errands you run bring you to beautiful designed rooms with heaps of atmosphere and excellent lighting. There is one dramatic camera move that I particularly liked (when the wraith attacks) the two timed runs are dead good and the underwater maze isn't all that bad in that it is almost impossible to drown there. I'm not a big fan of vessels that release some beetles when you shoot them cause what inevitably happens is that you reload an earlier savegame and simply walk past them but I'll let it pass this time. All in all a very entertaining hour of top quality raiding with a nice variety of tasks well placed enemies and there is even a bit of tricky jumping thrown in for good measure. Can you ask for more?!" - Dimpfelmoser (14-Jan-2005)

"This is a level which may be well divided in two parts. The first part strong on the searching side until the main room is flooded. The second much more fluent and action packed after the main room is flooded. The first part is very confusing and frustrating and you may spend hours wandering around helplessly and maybe thinking of giving up the game for a better one. In this part you have to find a star place it and get away from it as fast as you can. After you flood the room though everything starts finally making sense - perhaps a bit too late - and you'll have a bit of everything: a nice timed run beetles that chase you everywhere even underwater skeletons a mummy fire traps spike balls some jumps and an interesting pushable puzzle. That's where you'll get all the fun just like in those books where you spend the first fifty pages yawning so that you may then enjoy the rest. I believe that's the main flaw in this game. Beautywise Mourning Palace can't be really considered fabulous but it has its moments. I advise you to play this game but be warned: you must endure pain before you have fun. (January 14 2005)" - Jorge22 (14-Jan-2005)

"This level is a thing of uncommon beauty but it also offers challenging gameplay. There's a timed sequence about halfway through that'll have you banging on your keyboard in frustration until you finally get past that timed door but from that point on it's fairly clear sailing. The first part of the level consists of jumps and grabs which changes to a swimming motif in the same surroundings (a neat touch) after you've partially flooded the area. I still haven't played a few of the BTB levels but if there were a category for Most Beautiful Level it would be a toss-up between Mourning Palace Dwellers of the Abyss and Desert Ruins/Serpent Tower. I may be making an unforgivably sexist comment here but I would be very surprised if at least two of these levels and maybe all three don't turn out to be the work product of our female contestants. And please don't get me wrong; these are my favorite BTB levels so far so I definitely like what I see here. Mourning Palace is recommended without reservation." - Phil (10-Jan-2005)

"You know me. It's hard to find fault with any game. The only thing that seemed mismatched in this one is the name. I didn't get the feeling of gloom or death that the name implies. In fact 'a room with a view' sprang to my mind. This is a very vast setting. I liked it. The fact that a skellie would not allow me time to choose a leisurely embarkation was most annoying. Searching for the prized 'anti-skellie weapon' while moving through this game was fun and challenging. There's nothing like the feeling of blowing away those bony bothers. There are also some timed runs which are just hard enough. All in all a very enjoyable game! Who's she betting on this time? Horus of course." - Mugs (10-Jan-2005)

"This has to be one of my favourite levels from the back to basic challenge. The temple area is stunning and gameplay is fun. You'll arrive high above a temple room and then make your way down to the adventure below. On the way you'll meet skeletons and beetles do a high monkey swing that will make you dizzy and get to sprint over high ledges to a timed door. Full use has been made of textures ornaments and items in this basic challenge which all added to its beauty. You'll have to find the star knot and pillar to proceed and then finally you'll get to flood the temple room and make your escape from this wonderful level which I was quite sad to leave. Top class level." - Moonpooka (04-Jan-2005)
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