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Level: Asphaeings Amulet 1 - City of Blezqi Zatsaz back home search
Author(s): Phabius Phodes
total rating:8.74 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
alan 7 7 8 8
CC 9 8 8 8
Chris 9 10 8 8
Cuqui 9 9 10 10
David 7 7 8 9
Dimpfelmoser 9 8 10 10
Duncan 8 8 10 10
eTux 9 9 10 10
Freeman Porter 9 8 8 8
Gerty 10 8 9 6
Gonxii 9 8 9 10
Heloisa 10 10 9 10
Jay 8 8 8 9
Jorge 9 9 10 10
Jose 6 7 7 6
Josep 9 10 9 10
Josi 7 8 8 6
Kristina 9 8 8 9
LarangL 10 9 10 9
Litepulsar 9 8 9 10
Lyn 8 8 9 10
Magnus 8 9 8 9
MichaelB 10 9 10 10
MichaelP 9 7 9 10
Mman 7 8 8 8
Momster 9 8 9 8
Navi 9 8 8 9
Orbit Dream 8 8 9 10
Phil 10 9 10 9
RaiderGirl 7 8 9 7
Ryan 8 8 9 9
Sash 10 8 10 10
Sheevah 10 8 10 10
Torry 7 7 9 10
Treeble 9 9 10 9
vienna 9 9 10 10
Yasin 10 10 9 10
category averages
(37 reviews)
8.65 8.32 8.97 9.03

Reviewer's comments

"For its age, this is a surprisingly large level and the builder has managed to construct some huge areas to explore, which do get a little confusing at times. There's nothing difficult about the gameplay side of things as such (in terms of dexterity and agility anyway) but the exploration factor will take up most if not all of your time here, and you would do well to remember where the receptacles for various artefacts are. My entertainment was only slightly tainted by the profusion of unmarked spike traps and too many dark inside areas, but the architecture is undeniably impressive and the textures are overall beautifully applied. Even today, for fans of exploratory gameplay this cannot be faulted much, and is still highly recommended." - Ryan (16-Nov-2018)

"This level uses textures from the first level of the original TR4, even some from TR2. It's very long. You have to explore a lot in huge areas in order to reach certain places. It's very dark in some rooms, so you'll have to use many flares. Also there are many unmarked spike traps, that was very irritating for me. If burning tiles are marked then the spike tiles should be too. I used all my medipacks by fighting all those ninjas and scorpions. Textures are well applied and lighting. You could finish it in an hour or so." - alan (25-Feb-2018)

"This level has an excellent lighting. Very long level and has some time limits. Enemies are located good positions. Very nice buildings and architecture." - vienna (20-Aug-2016)

"I played this level years ago before I started reviewing and remembered it as a large imposing piece. On my revisit now I find no reason to change my mind. For its age, it stands up very well and remains an impressive bit of building. Some of the interiors are very gloomy and you will definitely need flares, but that does contrast well with the brightly lit outside areas. There's plenty of exploring to do and ninjas to kill, hands and eye of Horus to find, simple push puzzles and a timed fire run. Mainly though it's fairly easy gameplay so players of all abilities should really give it a try. I look forward to revisiting the rest of the series." - Jay (28-Jan-2016)

"This was a challenging and exciting level. Very long and with lots of things o do and gather. What I liked best was the use of light and dark especially in the cave-like areas. Enemies were ninjas and scorpios well distribuited throughout the level. Took me about an hour tho complete thjis one. I highly recommend it." - Gonxii (29-Nov-2015)

"There's a bit of a clear progression of detail as you go through this that hints at the author learning; the first rooms are somewhat cubic and basic, while the later parts have lots of interesting geometry (one huge underground room full of arches is especially cool). The texture theme is kind of eclectic as it ranges from Ankhor to Lara's Home to France, but it just about manages to work together and create a unique theme. The lighting is decent throughout and has some nice use of highlights and similar, unfortunately it's also way too dark inside a lot of the time (with a lacking amount of flares) and areas are bathed in flat ambience that drags it down despite the highlights. Objects are standard TR4 ones, but the usage hints at some flourish like the Ninjas that you sneak up on from behind after going through underground chambers.

Unfortunately the gameplay doesn't live up to the visuals so well. A lot of areas are pretty empty with just one or two things to do, there's a lot of tedious ladder climbing and similar, along with some questionably marked spike traps later (technically there's a texture hint, but it's applied a little inconsistently) and there's a focus on symmetry at times with little to mix up the different sides of areas. It does have a couple of nice puzzle and trap moments though (although a few more camera hints would be nice), and the exploration is fun in the moments where the tedious parts aren't so prominent. Curiously I found a bunch of ammo but no extra weapons, so I either missed them along the path somehow or they're hidden in secrets, which seems questionable when it's done with every weapon. A nice enough start and debut map, but definitely flawed." - Mman (16-Aug-2014)

"Now that was an impressively large level!It's hard to believe that so much could have been squeezed into a single map,but it has to be said that the sheer amount of places to explore can get a little daunting at times and a thoroughly good memory is needed in order to recall the locations of the various closed doors.I suspect that the fabulous layout (built,textured and lit to perfection) was constructed in its entirety first,and the gameplay subsequently fitted in around the map at a later stage;a suspicion prompted by the wealth of wonderfully crafted areas with comparatively little to do in them.Much of the level almost counted as wasted space,although the surprise interlinking of the various courtyards and chambers kept things entertaining.There was actually little challenge in the gameplay - no tricky jumps nor difficult puzzles to solve (you mostly pushed levers and collected various pick-ups);but the builder kept things interesting with an often brilliant use of ninjas (and a not so brilliant use of unanounced spikes).The atmosphere was always fascinating,and occasionally stunning.I didn't believe I'd find so much to stop and stare at in a level made in the very earliest days of the TR4 Editor,but there were many moments when I just looked around and drank in the impressive architecture.This ancient level is veritable proof that many early adventures can still look as impresive today as they ever did.A must play for all who haven't yet downloaded this." - Orbit Dream (19-Jul-2013)

"Perhaps this was a good level for many players, but for me was tedious and bored. Run, run, run and always run through many huge areas only to find levers to pull and open doors somewhere; evenmore the level is very very long. The only puzzles I found were to move some statues and a copy to the timed run from Midas Palace level from TR1; some traps and nothing more. The inner areas are too much dark and you'll have always explore with a flare in hand or the binoculars a very big part of the level. The best for me were the architecture and textures, but this is not a level for my taste. Sorry." - Jose (05-May-2008)

"I must say that I played this long after its release. It is a very handsome and well-crafted level with consistent use of textures and although it combines artifacts from different cultures it does so with some taste. I felt the level was literally too big for the amount of gameplay as there was too much running about just to find switches (such as the one at the top of a very large arched structure). I also didn't like the random spike traps. It is very definitely worth a look." - Duncan (21-Jun-2004)

"WOW it's almost unbelievable I can give an 'oldie' such a high rating even in 2004. The atmosphere is unbelievably gripping and realistic - if I had to give an award for the most realistic/down to earth atmosphere for a custom level right now after almost 400 custom levels played this one would win right away. The texturing is sort of a mix between Angkor Wat Egypt and some TR3 Gold textures yet masterfully done and a pleasure for the eye. The realism also plays a role into the gameplay thus making this not an overly difficult level with (ore or less) logical puzzles and events (rollingball blocking a crawlspace for a secret if you don't get it first for example) even though I left the level with no medipacks at all - having used up all 8 I had or had found along the way. The only time the realism got into the way was the darkness of the level - sure in real life I guess most of the chambers would be as dark or even darker than here but in my opinion this part of the realism is not something to be remastered as in real life unless there are sufficient flares what this level doesn't have. I also wasn't particularly keen on the death tiles - like the spikes popping out from sand and the burning tiles you can hardly see in the dark but overall - a fantastic timeless level which I have no doubt about it will be enjoyed as much even in the years to come." - eTux (19-Mar-2004)

"Blezqi Zatsaz! Try saying that when you've had a few drinks. I don't drink and I can't even pronounce it. It's a big fort/town with lots of streets courtyards swim pools houses all Angkor Wat textures and lovely lighting. You crawl swim climb jump around the buildings exploring everywhere and for such a small town you cover a lot of ground in this searching my stats showed 11471m in 6:44 hours. The underground rooms look terrific like that huge room with the castle type construction and dozens of bridges on it over the pool and the deadly floor spikes. Another is where you get the eyepiece. I thought they were quite dark and usually I don't have this problem so they must be pitch black in other people's games. Loved the run over fire tiles in the pool room. One thing I couldn't accept was the Egyptian moveable statues in this very Angkor environment. They didn't affect gameplay but it kept niggling at me. I don't know why because getting the two halves of the cartouche and eyepiece didn't bother me at all. And in such a beautifully textured level Fabio made a gigantic mistake on the bridge that crosses the road. Off now to Azzivullas." - CC (19-Aug-2003)

"I must have played this level at least three or four times and every time I find only three secrets. It's a mystery to me. Anyway a great level and although rather old it is capable of giving much pleasure to the player. We have hands the Eye of Horus and Cartouches to find in a great outside area with a courtyard and underground areas. There are ninjas and mummies to face and that maze isn't that bad. I found it a bit dark though but the flares given were enough to go through it. Spike balls and darts some of the well placed traps. The textures although not original are correctly placed and create a solid image. This is a level you MUST play. I advise you to play them all together it will be a great experience." - Kristina (22-Jul-2003)

"This level represents a small city deserted except for a few baddies. Textures are well chosen and very cleanly applied. It is rather dark in this city though. Even when you play it in a dark room you will need flares and there are not so many flares to find. Puzzles are well thought out but not too tricky. I found only two secrets out of five - guess my Lara must have worn sunglasses in the dark. She did find several artifacts though. Not many cameras but it was kind of obvious where you had to go next. Sound was quite ok. All in all a good level." - Navi (14-Feb-2003)

"The overall impression of the level is: it's dark! The puzzles are good and there are not to many enemies (ninja's and scorpions). The textures are very good I especially liked the big room with all the columns it was beautiful. It's just a shame that it's so dark you really need the binoculars or flares to see all that. There could have been (much) more flares around because you need a lot of them. But if you don't mind playing in a dark room you should give this level a try." - Josi (07-Feb-2003)

"Excellent level. Beautifully designed and textured. Great atmosphere. I found some areas too dark but the gameplay is exciting. I enjoyed this level and I'm going on to Temple of Azzivullas." - Cuqui (11-Jan-2003)

"I've come late to this three-level series but I was so impressed I decided to write walkthroughs for the first two (Monika provided the third bless her heart). As other reviewers have noted this first level is forgiving to the gamer in that one simply cannot progress without discovering the next required action. The clues and occasional flybys are sufficiently task-specific that you're never irretrievably stuck. I enjoyed the varied settings from the blue-sky outdoors to some dank and dark inner recesses and there's not much to complain about regarding the gameplay and scenery. This one deserves to go down as one of the classics." - Phil (03-Jan-2003)

"First of all the look of the level really surprised me as I was expecting a city level but it reminds me more of the Angkor Wat levels with an adult Lara. The city though is just huge with many different areas hallways and doors to open by switch and the problem is that there is almost no camera work so basically the entire level is searching for the door that you just opened. Two things make this harder: the fact that the level is so big and it's easy to get lost and the fact that many of the rooms are pitch black - I must have used 5000 flares but I only found 20. Everything looks really good which at times made the city fun to explore but I would prefer a little more variation than finding doors in the dark. Secrets found: 3" - RaiderGirl (29-Nov-2002)

"This is the first part in a superb trilogy by Fabio Ribeiro. It is the easiest and possibly the least interesting but it is after all only the first stage in a massive adventure. Truly you do need to play the three levels in sequence because the story runs on. This one starts in an ancient city of tall stonewalls and strange little rooms. In places there are pools that don't seem any use but as you'll find are clever and time saving later. A thoughtful touch. It's an easy level and hard to get lost and you always know what you need to do next as with all the levels. It also becomes addictive the further you play on. O.k So at the end Lara has found the entrance to the Temple of Azzivullas and the Amulet therein. So on to Part 2." - Lyn (16-Nov-2002)

"I really enjoyed this city level a perfect medium between easy and hard difficulty a few more puzzles and it would have got a perfect ten otherwise no other complaints in that area. The textures lighting and atmosphere were wonderful really reminiscent of The Last Revelation I was really impressed by Fabio's use of original textures and loved that you were rewarded if you explored just that little bit further. The placement of enemies was ideal but a bit more variation would have been nice. A few mazes a warren of streets and dark temples are scattered throughout the level you have to collect the two stars to progress further as well as the Eye of Ra to complete the level. A few spike traps and a timed run over fire platforms was a bit of a challenge but not impossible. I recommend you download this level you'll enjoy it." - Litepulsar (27-Oct-2002)

"I was not warned about the darkness in this level except for this it is a great classic Tomb Raider custom level. You will need a lot of flares to play this level. The gameplay is a bit slow in the beginning but later on it gets better and better the game is cleverly designed. There are always more ways to go the most time you spend your time with searching and exploring for artefacts. A lot of work until you have the both parts of the eye to finish the level. Enemies are scorpions and the blue baddys. I only have found one secret of five it was too dark for me to search for the other four of them. Beside that nice classical TR gameplay well made with the standard tut1-wad an excellent game. Recommended!" - Freeman Porter (22-Sep-2002)

"What a fantastic level this is. Excellent gameplay covering numerous areas but never getting lost for long. A little disappointing along the line of enemies but they are still well-placed and probably the worst situation was the maze with the mummies. I needed to obtain help 1 time in this 2.30 minutes of playing but I must confess to more than a little running around in circles at times. This level could have been improved greatly by some appropriate classical selections sound wise. It just screams for it and would have enhanced the already excellent atmosphere. The big downside of this level is the darkness - it made playing during the day nearly impossible and more flares should have been provided." - Momster (13-Sep-2002)

"A level that comes only with a tut1.TOM but doesn't look tut-like at all. There is no custom wad included so the more fantastic is what the author created by only using the standard devices. Lara has to explore a little city in underground and above that sometimes looks more like a fortress. Level architecture and texturing are made perfectly and very realistic. There are some spike fire and boulder traps jumping along over the fire columns remind to TR1. Shotgun and sixshooter would have been helpful - unfortunately I didn't find them and since there are only a very few medipacks to be found I reached the end of the level with not even one single medipack left in my backpack. Despite the fact that this is an old level created in the early days of the level editor it is nearly perfect and it can easily compete with many newer ones." - Sheevah (24-Aug-2002)

"First of all WOW! An awesome level made only with the good old tut1 wad. The unique thing I am regret is that I am playing this level so late (Jul-18/02) but I can say that I enjoyed it thoroughly. A nice ancient city environment using most of the textures from Angkor Wat gives Lara a lot I mean A LOT of exploration to do and I wasn't sparing medipacks in the end I was with no medipacks and a single attack of a tiny scorpion would kill Lara so my warning is for you to spare them. There were a lot of incredibly designed rooms eg the bridges in the two ropes area. Lara has to find the hands to open doors and then get the Eye Of Horus that will open the door to a dark area that I guess it was kept for the sequel already available. I think that this level will please EVERY fan of Tomb Raider as it has the real objective of the TR game: exploration; and this is the perfect level. It's long (1:30 hours) and it's NON linear. There were a few things that I didn't like such as the spikes popping out from the sandy textures and you wouldn't know about them until you die there and some rooms were simply too dark - hiding all the beautiful textured/designed rooms. In short it's a level that MUST be downloaded. :)" - Treeble (21-Jul-2002)

"All I can say is that I never ever thought I would find a level that would surpass my love for 'Catacomb Towers' but I was wrong this brilliant brilliant brilliant vast level just blew me away I have never found a level that allows the amount of exploration as I have with this the look of the level was so authentically spot on and intricate that it wouldn't surprise me if it had it's origins in a real life city and the maturity and sheer hard work that the creator put into this level is evident each time you turn a corner I will not recommend that you get this level I will demand you do!" - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

"A masterpiece of a level especially as a first creation but it shows that it pays out to take some time to build one (3 months in this case). The texturing is absolutely awesome in its perfection and creates a unique atmosphere. There is so much to explore but you never seem to get stuck as there is always this one next thing you can try out. Thoroughly entertaining all the 1 5 hours of gametime I ended up with - prepare for burning floors mummys in a maze a stunningly huge room with arches hard work for even the simplest pick-up and make sure you conserve some health along the way as you may need it for the hot steam crawling towards the end. The only real downside for my taste were the too many scorpions and Uzi-baddies which annoyed me a little over time the seemingly out of place spikes in the floors that caused just too many reloads and the common issue of rope swings into the walls. I only found 3 of the 5 secrets so I guess I will just start over again now..." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)

"OK not keeping with the trend. Don't get me wrong this is a good level but I did not particularly like it. The textures are great. Gameplay (to me) was bordering on monotonous and gameplay & continuity are all important as far as I am concerned. Also in the rolling spike ball trap the balls blocked off a tunnel. If that was by design I did not much care for it. If it was by accident it is something that should be rectified." - Torry (21-Jun-2002)

"The best level that I have played until now! The rating says everything. I have not given the maximum rate for two reasons: It is not perfect as perfection do not exist and I have some margin if I find a better one. The only improvement area but only because I am trying to find something may be a few more cameras and music will make it perfect." - Josep (21-Jun-2002)

"I'm not a great fan of 'city' type levels but this is a pretty good one. Although the level appears to be quite large and wide ranging after each puzzle is solved there's really only one way to go - the problem is working out where to go next. I found I *just* had enough medipacks and a few more dotted around would be nice - in particular the section where Lara has to crawl through three duct things with two hot gas blowers in each is almost impossible to do without losing life. The city is really nicely designed and textured and there is a lot of exploring to do. Sometimes I wished that an alley etc led somewhere but there are a lot of places you can get to where nothing more seems to happen. Having said that I don't think I found any secrets (if there are any) and there were several doors and gates which never opened. If you can open them I don't know how. The hardest part for me was jumping across the water pit against the timed burners on the pillars. The secret there seemed to be *not* to pull up on the last jump but to shimmy round to safety instead... Excellent fun good textures nice layout. There could have been more variation in the baddies - just scorpions and Uzi Ninjas - and the very end could have been a little more apocalyptic perhaps." - David (21-Jun-2002)

"This level took me by surprise as I am not a fan of city levels. This looks vast an alley here and another door there. Underground city with three floors full off arches. Too much to mention. There is some thinking to do not that the puzzles were hard no; where to go next. You can see that the author put a lot of work on this level. Found 3 secrets and more than enough ammo. Big minus for me is the darkness. Running around with flares or using binoculars all the time to see where you have to go is not my game. And special in this game as the textures couldn't be more admired as so much work must have been put in. It gave me a headache as I had to put all the lights out near the PC. Also spikes popping up out of nowhere are a drag especially at the place the author put them. Although I loved the textures that would get top marks from me but I had to rate it much lower as I do not agree with the lightning." - Gerty (21-Jun-2002)

"Set in a beautifully textured city this is a very good level. Lots of traps (the spikes that came out for no reason were not funny!). Lots of hard jumps too. Also there were a lot of pickups and many were quite hard to get." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

"Two thumbs up and a wow to boot! Gameplay is really good on this one - I find it hard to believe it is a first attempt! The textures are diverse enough to keep it from becoming bland and cohesive enough to keep it consistent. Non-linear is a great way to describe the gameplay. I found myself stuck several times but never so badly that I could not finish the level. A few too many enemies if you ask me but that's just my personal feeling - I prefer more puzzles and fewer badies. Overall an outstanding level!" - MichaelB (21-Jun-2002)

"Maybe I am a little late with this review but I did sure enjoy this one. A fantastic level super great lightning and texturing some places gave you the feeling that this is real some places were creepy and dark like the underground or indoor rooms. Good game play a level needs a logic but also non-linear gameplay and I had to walk maybe 50 times past that arches very clever hiding of puzzles it took me a while to find the other cartouche piece the labyrinth with the mummies gave me the creeps since you can't kill these with pistols or shotguns. Looks of the game was also great it looked real like a city ally although one thing was a little bit hard to deal with: lack of medipacks. But a real tomb raider level like TR3 had that also so it isn't that bad. Enemies were also well triggered an enemy firing from the upper balcony and enemies that jump from corners real good set up. Way to go Fabio I really enjoyed your level. I finished it in 2 hours and 9 min and only found 3 secrets. Worth to download." - Yasin (21-Jun-2002)

"Ok I can tell this is the best Tomb Raider custom level I have played so far so I will talk about this one first. The adventure takes place in an old city authentically designed where the real life action reminds me of the good old days of Tomb Raider II. Conserve your health! The amount of exploration keeps it entertaining from beginning to end and almost every pickup is an adventure by itself. The texturing and lightning is a real masterpiece side by side with the official TR levels. On my first try I only found three of the five secrets. On my second try I got them all. One of them was associated with the blocked tunnel in the boulder trap Torry is talking about on his review- it seems he missed this one. Josep is right a few more cameras would enhance the atmosphere even more. Great level!" - Heloisa (21-Jun-2002)

"Great Level! It reminds me a lot of the commercial Tomb Raider levels. There are many places to explore and the atmosphere is great. The huge room with arches especially stands out in my mind. Although I have found myself stuck from time to time I always found a way out if I looked around a bit -especially looking for those climbable surfaces. I also liked that I had peeks throughout the level of places I would be exploring later. The level kept me interested and coming back for more. I will certainly keep an eye out for whatever Fabio puts together next." - Jorge (21-Jun-2002)

"I really love that level for its gameplay and its non-linear experience. I should only say that some rooms are too dark and there are not enough flare items to pickup. Except that no texture bugs quite good design and great atmosphere." - LarangL (21-Jun-2002)

"A very good level! Cant believe that it's as described in the readme the first level because of such a complexity with mazes and fantastic room-design. You'll find many switches and doors and you often don't know where which door is and which lever does what. But after playing some half hours you'll find the ways. The level uses the Angkor Wat textures. It's a pity that the designer doesn't switch textures. All rooms look similar simply the light varies. Didn't look at the clock but I think you need at least one hour to play. Great level!" - Chris (21-Jun-2002)

"Let me tell you this: Halfway through the game Lara comes across a small medipack in knee deep water. A she was picking it up I caught myself thinking: This is going to be utterly useless as it is completely soaked. Well thoughts like this never crossed my mind before in a TR level and it shows you how very real this adventure feels. The atmosphere is unbelievably gripping; for once we don't have the feeling that we have a cleverly constructed obstacle course but some authentic tomb raiding in an environment that is larger than life. You can climb everything nothing is too cleverly hidden and exploring always rewards you with some extra ammo. This seems so big and yet you don't get lost (at least not for long) and you generally find all the hints and clues you need in the helpful cutscenes. It's just so much fun to simply walk around and look for ways to proceed and it feels pretty fast paced as you aren't constantly held back by mind bending puzzles or impossible jumps. The rooms and areas are so spectacular not cloyed with garish textures but beautifully constructed as if long ago they actually had some purpose. How the course brings you round in circles and let's you climb high above the city is very very impressive indeed and then when your guard is down cause nothing mean has happened for a while you actually run into a trap. Plus there are some tasks to complete like a timed jumping sequence and other standard TR action. Yet everything blends in so perfectly with the surroundings and never seems the least bit contrived. My only complaint is that there is not much variation as far as the enemies are concerned but this level would still be excellent if it had no enemies at all. It has such great and userfriendly gameplay while the setting is like nothing I've ever seen in the CL universe. I wish this place would exist in real life; I might spend my next vacation there." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)
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