Level: Retro AoD - The Dig (Demo) back home search
Author(s): Dhama
total rating:8.52 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Deekman 9 8 10 10
Duncan 8 8 9 9
eTux 7 8 9 9
Gerty 8 8 9 10
Jay 8 8 9 10
Jerry 7 7 8 9
Jose 7 9 9 10
Kristina 6 8 8 8
MichaelP 8 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 8 8 9 9
Phil 9 9 8 9
Ryan 8 8 9 9
Sash 6 7 8 7
Scottie 9 9 9 8
Staticon 9 9 10 10
suzieq51 9 8 10 10
category averages
(16 reviews)
7.88 8.13 8.94 9.13

Reviewer's comments

"This is one humdinger of a demo, clocking in at around 45 minutes for me. The lighting and rocky stone textures look incredibly atmospheric. In terms of gameplay, it's mainly exploration and artefact hunting, along with some SAS guards and sentry guns to annihilate, but I enjoyed the treacherous route I had to take. It's a shame the author wasn't able to expand this into the full version." - Ryan (13-Dec-2016)

"Considering the relative age of this level (pre Hi-Res textures),the looks are absolutely stunning.The lighting is evocative and superbly realized,while the mostly custom textures are placed with precision and exhibit a splendid eye for detail.Gameplay is all about exploring a very large deep pit and working out where to go and what to do;and the only real weakness is the placement of the two machine guns accompanied by the general lack of medi-packs,as Lara's health is continually eroded by the constant machine gun fire.A judicious use of Unlimited Medis took care of that for me,but one machine gun less what have made life a lot easier and avoided the temptation to cheat. The actual challenges on offer are pretty straightforward and simple to accomplish;but the non-linearity of the gameplay,coupled with the constant wondering of where to go next,ensures that nothing is ever straightforward. For those looking for an hour or so of intriguing progression in a stunning subterranean environment,this will be an ideal choice." - Orbit Dream (02-Feb-2013)

"Somebody has carried out excavations and, besides, has exposed a big cave. Curious how Lara is, she wants to have a look at this. Of course the cave is guarded. The guards do nothing to Lara. But even so long not, until she delivers the first shot. And because this automatically comes, she must ward off her skin. There are also two Sentry-Guns, but Lara finds luckily the revolver and the Lasersight, so they stand not long there. Now Lara must find both Canopic Jars, which open the door to the level end. Moreover, she needs the pyramid key and a Vršus, which free the way to the place, where one must put both jars. The cave with the next rooms looked really good. And the textures are processed very well. Here one can't get not simply jump off. One must already consider step for step. The time-run is easy. The lighting conditions could be better, it is a bit too light. There is still a bug. If one uses the Vršus, an explosion is released. Thereby one comes to the place, where one must use the Canopic Jars. Indeed, then one cannot use the ladders any more. Result: This is a very good level apart from the appealed little things." - Scottie (25-Apr-2009)

"This level takes place in a very authentic buried temple area. I do not know what was the reason for Lara to come here as she won't take any artefact with her, but she has to look for a couple of puzzle items in order to make a mine blow, so she can finally find her way out of here. Tasks are not so hard (except for the fire ghosts maybe which were quite pesky while hopping across the spiky gaps), but since it is not easy to find the right way at the first go there is much time consuming climbing to do. Texturing and lighting was good, but it is a pity that there weren't some more audio files used, always the same background sound the whole game through which was a bit annoying after a while." - Jerry (02-Feb-2009)

"While technically a remake, this level really is nothing like anything offered in AOD, with maybe only a faint clue hinting at the author's inspiration, but as far as you ask me - that's really a good thing! And being a level of dhama's this was bound to be pure eye candy from start to finish. The textures and attention to detail is amazing, whether it's the architecture of the main room or the clever use of fog and smoke all over the place (an especially great touch of realism was their application above the spotlights). The gameplay generally isn't too complicated but you might end up climbing the dig site up and down one too many times, and the guardian key receptacle was hidden a bit too well for my liking. Nevertheless, the course is interesting, and the clever moments like outsmarting the sentry guns (though whichever remained, did seem to ignore Lara after she got the Vraeus, but you could write that down on its magical properties, I guess), shooting the barrel, the timed run and the explosion close to the end are well worth the effort. If there's anything else I can mention in addition to the few gripes noted above, then I encountered some sound issues - namely the merceneries and turrets didn't have any, and while it's not a big issue it robs some of the overall professional feel the level otherwise has, and as they say - God lives in details. Despite that - this still is a recommended raid to any players out there that will bring you 30 to 45 minutes of fun in a picturesque environment. Found 1 secret." - eTux (05-Oct-2008)

"A good level but difficult to play. I don't remember how many times I've climb the SW ladder but It was too much; include if you know the solution of the game and make all tasks only one time you have to climb that ladder several times, then imagine how many times have to climb it a player who doesn't know the level and have to explore (uf!); this makes the level more tedious. Enemies and objects are very well, but there was few guns and weapons to help Lara fight. Good architecture and ambience, lights and textures are the best of this good work." - Jose (07-Oct-2005)

"Although this engrossing level is billed as a demo, it didn't have that "feel" to me. It bears all the marks of a full-blown and well thought out release, and I had a great time trying to figure it out for purposes of writing the walkthrough. From the very beginning you find that what looks like the logical way to proceed isn't that at all, so you need to start looking for alternatives. The idea of keeping the action within the parameters of one huge room, with many nooks and crannies to explore, is quite refreshing. I did encounter a couple of bugs also reported by others, but they didn't drastically affect gameplay. After being told that the huge object on the walkway was not a boulder I somehow needed to cause to drop but a shootable barrel, I found that the rope didn't appear on a consistent basis after the object was shattered (requiring three or four of your precious revolver rounds, and I found only one ammo pickup), so I had to use a variety of different savegames before I found one that worked. Also, the long ladder leading from the floor of the pit becomes inoperable at some point (after the explosion, I believe, by which time it's no longer needed). Some of the tasks are cleverly hidden, so it's necessary to search in every conceivable place. The lighting is very effective, too. If you like high places, you'll love this one. Recommended." - Phil (21-Sep-2005)

"I have to admit that I got way more than I expected in this hour long adventure that largely plays in and around one single huge room - the dig site itself. Yes, the textures are amazing and feel very real and the flyby of the dig site is impressive, but what intrigued me most was really the clever way of how you actually get to visit every corner of this huge area as you progress in order to collect the necessary items. At the same time, this is also a problem, as I really went up and down some of the (rather long) ladders many times before I found my way and that became a bit tedious. The two sentry guns and the SAS that shoot at you from a distance are quite a challenge, the timed fire run is fun and some of the trigger tiles seem a bit enigmatic, but nothing too obscure. The Amulet comes as a secret and once you manage to trigger the explosion you get out quickly. Good fun indeed and we can only hope Terry gets the time to do more Retro AoD work some time." - Michael (17-Jun-2005)

"Although mainly set in one large excavated underground site this level really portrays the feel of an archaeological dig perfectly with the use of almost palpable ladders and the unearthed faÁade of a temple showing through. There are also a couple of deviously placed automatic guns to deal with as well as some irate gun-toting miners. The gaming itself relied mostly on hunting down items, as well as a timed fire pillar jump thrown in, and on the whole this fit the setting, I do have two niggles though and they are that there seemed to be too much ladder climbing, though maybe I did things a bit ass up and thus had to climb them more than necessary, still it felt a bit overused, the other was that you have to shoot an object to progress but the object can be a bit temperamental and not shatter until you have shot it a few times, this can make the player think it isn't a shatterable object if they shoot it once or twice. In the end this is a great demo and I look forward to the entire game, just make sure you add secrets Terry." - Sash (26-May-2005)

"This was a great romp. It's quite challenging, and I had to ask for help a couple times, but I had fun none the less. Wholly new looking (I'm guessing custom made) textures lend an extremely realistic air about this recently uncovered ruin. Lara has to find a few items in 'The Dig' that will help her on her way to the next stage of 'Retro AoD', this being a demo for a larger adventure to come. Loved the 3D Green Man relief sculptures. Awaiting the full version with eager anticipation. If the rest is anything like this, it's bound to be a classic." - Deekman (24-May-2005)

"Well if this is the demo, bring on the full version say I. This was most enjoyable, with a great atmosphere and some fun exploring to be done in the massive excavation site, with guards and sentry guns to make life interesting and plenty of swimming, climbing and jumping (plus a fun fire tile run) in search of various artefacts. The AOD textures are beautiful and very well used and I sincerely hope Terry finds the time to expand this into a great big game." - Jay (01-May-2005)

"Although called a demo, this level is really more of an introduction to a larger piece. After some prelims, Lara discovers a huge excavation with baddies and machine guns. I found that annoying, with all these heavy weapons shooting at Lara with only her pistols. The excavation is an unknown culture that has only one icon - a furry, pointed face that reminded me of a stylized shrew. Most of the level takes place in this large and rather complicated room. It took me a fair amount of climbing and back and forth to figure it out. It is essential to get the pistol and laser sight - and they are well separated. Lara has to do this while dodging machine gun fire - which is one my least favorite aspects of TR. Aside from my gripes, this is a very well done level that certainly does not look or play like a demo (although the ending does seem quite sudden). I do hope the author goes on to finish the series, as it shows great promise." - Duncan (01-May-2005)

"This is my first review of a custom level (so be gentle with me!). I loved the overall 'feel' of the demo, that first cut scene almost took my breath away - the room was huge and I could see so many places that needed exploring. The lighting was just right - not too bright, not too dim (I'm not a fan of 'dark' levels, my eyesight's not what it used to be). The foggy/misty treatment was very cool, too. The music was lovely and most appropriate in helping to enhance the atmosphere. I had great fun playing this level and am very much looking forward to playing the entire game." - suzieq51 (29-Apr-2005)

"If that is just the demo then I can't wait to play the actual game. Don't be fooled by the rating I gave in the gameplay category, it's just that it does feel unfinished and you can't understand what this is all about from pieces of a full game. Maybe it's me because I like the sort of gameplay that has you explore hidden areas/rooms like in this level which has been created with textures and elements from AOD. It's a nice feeling discovering a whole new area inside a structure that looks like it has just a couple of levels to visit. The boulder traps were great and I noticed that Lara's feet were exactly on the ladder's steps, which was a pleasant surprise. One thing I noticed was that a medipack was floating above a rock and I believe the animation for Lara to open the chest was wrong. I found two secrets and I hope Terry will soon give us the full game." - Kristina (25-Apr-2005)

"I have to say that when the level started it oozed excavation big time. Great looking textures throughout this dig you'll see. Only thing for me of course is the height as this is a huge archaeological site. Terry is for sure teasing us as you can see the laser sight laying somewhere on the left, but now to find a way of retrieving it. You also need to find the revolver as there is practice shooting to do. So up and down you climb and hindered by some sentry guns. Some swimming and a lot of jumping. Getting a Guardian Key, a Vraeus and two Canopic Jars are your goal. The only secret I found was the Amulet. I for one can't wait for the finishing product though. 19-04-2005" - Gerty (23-Apr-2005)

"I am so glad that Terry has chosen to release this level. It is part of a larger project to create a retro-AOD game but time and other commitments could delay (or even bring an end to) this set of levels. This level alone is far too good to be lost to the community, hence my delight at its release. The lighting, as we have come to expect of dhama levels, is superb and the texturing is the most realistic I have ever seen. There are a variety of ways of getting around to the various parts of the level that makes it very non-linear. As one of the world's worst players with hand/eye co-ordination akin to a potato with its eyes gouged out, I got lost and disoriented several times. This, despite having play tested the level several times for the author. :-) Many jumps from high places to other high places ensure that the adrenaline is pumping for most of the duration and none of it is made any easier by the SAS guards and sentry guns strategically placed to slow your progress. The huge main room is one gigantic puzzle with other puzzles and tests of endurance and stamina branching out in several side rooms. I got about an hour of game time out of this level so I would expect the hardened players to complete it in half to three quarters of an hour. But don't let the shortness of the level put you off. The solutions to some of the problems are not overly obvious and should tax the brain just enough. And, if and when the rest of the game becomes available, we could be in for a real treat." - Staticon (18-Apr-2005)
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