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Level: Underworld UB3 - The Plain of Jars back home search
Author(s): Richard Lawther Titak
total rating:9.85 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adrian 10 10 10 10
Anurag 10 10 10 10
Blue43 10 10 10 10
Bogey 10 10 10 10
Callidice 10 9 10 10
Celli 10 9 10 10
dantheraider 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 10 10 10 10
Engelchen Lara 10 10 10 10
eTux 9 10 10 10
Gerty 10 10 10 10
gfd 9 9 10 10
Jay 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Jose 9 10 10 10
Kristina 9 10 10 10
Larry B 10 10 10 10
Lizard Queen 10 10 10 10
Loupar 9 10 10 10
manarch2 9 10 10 9
MichaelP 9 10 10 9
Miya 8 7 8 7
Moonliteshadow 10 10 10 10
MrJavi94 10 10 10 10
mugs 10 10 10 10
Mytly 10 10 10 10
Navi 10 10 10 10
Nuri 10 10 10 10
OverRaider 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
QRS 10 10 10 10
requiemsoul 10 10 10 10
rtrger 10 10 10 10
Ruben 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 10 10 10
Scottie 9 10 10 10
Selene 10 10 10 10
Sutekh 10 10 10 10
TombRaiderFan 10 10 10 10
totizedger 9 10 10 9
Ward Dragon 10 10 10 10
young Lara Croft 10 10 10 10
category averages
(42 reviews)
9.71 9.86 9.95 9.86

Reviewer's comments

"So, Team Anubis have arrived in the Plain of Jars, an authentically designed environment. The hub area gives access to different levels. The Tower of Babel boasts an impressive structure that makes for some great jumping challenges. The highlight of Hell's Arboretum is the surreal, life-like plants that have been used. I managed to nab my Expert's Certificate. Brilliant. At the end, we depart for Lower Hell..." - Ryan (14-Jun-2016)

"It all starts with a cutscene of the train arriving at "The Plain Of Jars which really gives the feeling that this will be a great adventure, and to be honest it sure was. The Plain Of Jars serves as the main area as you will come back here several times to do some fun tasks including a timed run, saving the trapped souls and of course using the machine to open the path to the end of the level and a great final cutscene. The best levels to me are Hell's Arboretum and Custodians Of Hades, the first one because of all it's fun objects, nicely made environment and fun gameplay. The second one is very good because you solve some creative puzzles which i really enjoyed, the boluder run where you have to hurry and stand on a couple of tiles to raise a tile which then prevents the boulder from falling into the water. I enjoyed all of the levels and it was pretty easy to know who made a certain level as they have their own styles. Perhaps the worst level was "The Realm Of The Water Pagans" were i ran around in circles not finding a certain lever and had to resort to the walkthrough. It is a good level don't get me wrong but when comparing it to a lot of Dick's other levels it falls short and there is a lack of puzzles except maybe the moment with the minotaur where you contact Demon Smalls for some assistance with killing the creature, i also liked placing the Demon pee on the back of the statue followed by a hilarious cutscene. The adventure ends with an awesome cutscene of Lara and Demon Smalls sliding down the steep slope. If you want to know what happens next then you have to play the next part in this series but i guess i don't even have to mention that. Highly Recommended !!!!" - totizedger (29-Aug-2015)

"WOW!!! WOW!!! WOW!!!!!! Also the third part of the series is just GREAT! The levels are very detailed and decorated and we have those "teleporting-platforms" from the first part again. Once again, I have nothing to say, because I'm so impressed (again)..." - Nuri (20-Aug-2015)

"Somehow I really have a feeling the builders were capable of much more when the editor was capable of much less. Having accepted the impassability of old winroomedit limits, without being distracted by increased resolution of textures, extended polygon limit and endless draw distance, they could easily focus on filling little space with as much creativity as possible. I guess this is why these classic levels were less cinematic but more theatrical and poetic - every squate was a stage for an actor. Here's a hell of example I'm still in love with, many years after I played it for the first time. What could be easily changed? Of course textures, capable of crafting a whole new realm of decoration. And wads, responsible for props and inner life of built realm - hence the massive amount of custom traps and enemies, including unique sidekick actor characters for our dear Lara, which at the time Demon Smalls was a definite leader of. Under such conditions, it was only a matter of time until a story like UUB has found its competent and persisting builders. On one hand it's a very rare coincidence. On the other one, everything implies it so it's almost impossible not to occur - according to the global laws of physics, way preceding global triggers, "a thing is more likely to exist than not to exist". And for that it does exist, I'm bound to say the same "thank you" as I heard from the condemned souls flying to the surface after Lara shattered their cages, what was at the time the single best thing I experienced in a custom level. I could say I have no words, but if I don't then what is the stuff above. SUMMARY: If you don't know this game already, then I don't know what the hell you've been doing with your life, and therefore you deserve getting your soul trapped in one of these cages until you guide Lara to set you free, proving anything on Earth and below is possible." - DJ Full (19-Aug-2015)

"All i have to say, it's great, never played something that was designed so nice." - young Lara Croft (19-Jul-2013)

"Absolutely perfect!!. Eternal Masterpiece!.Nothing more to say!" - requiemsoul (09-Apr-2013)

"What a fantastic game!! I really enjoyed it. There are truly amazing levels which are different from each other with superb atmosphere excelent puzzles and gameplay perfect textures lighting enemies and ideas. And what i liked most was special secrets as medals (for experts). I haven`t found all the secrets (i think i missed 2 of them) but i recieved all 3 medals (expert`s certificate). The path to get them was superbly amazing!!! I really loved every moment in this adventure and all i can say is thumbs up for team builders. Thanks for this great adventure. Highly recommended 10/10/10/10" - OverRaider (07-Jan-2013)

"Time for a replay of another game in the UUB series!
The Plain of Jars: Though this is just the hub level (split into two separate levels), it contains a considerable amount of gameplay during the interludes between the main levels. There are some very enjoyable jumps and traps in the first interlude especially. Setting free the souls trapped in jars is a great idea – I love their little ‘thank yous’. The final puzzle to open the door to the deeper hell is extremely cool.
The looks are superb – the eerie plain with the brooding castle-like buildings rising out of the orange fog and the otherworldly plants are simply gorgeous. I could easily spend hours in this level, just wandering around and taking literally hundreds of screenshots.
The Tower of Babel: The majority of this level takes place in one huge room with a tower at the centre. After a short prelude involving flooding the pool at the base of the tower, you spend most of your time climbing it, with lots of great platforming. You may be in for some backtracking if you don’t keep your eyes open for the four artefacts. The task for the bronze medal is great fun.
Hell’s Arboretum: I had played Himalayan Mysteries before I first played this, so I was already familiar with Titak’s talent for building plants, but I didn’t expect anything on this scale! This level has a huge variety of beautiful plants ... and unlike earthly or even alien plants, they’re not just decorative. Be prepared to fight plants, jump on plants, climb plants, move plants, avoid plant-based traps, and even seduce plants (with plant pheromones – get your mind out of the gutter! ;) ) There are some great puzzles, including a sound based puzzle, and a really cool moment involving growing a giant beanstalk. Suffice to say, I love this amazing level, with maybe one minor exception: the mushroom-jumping sequence goes on a little too long. The task for the silver medal is good, but not as enjoyable as the other two medal tasks.
Realm of the Water Pagan: After the colourful extravaganza of the previous level, this one looks far too grey. Still, it does have some impressive architecture, like the huge hall at the beginning, the beautiful fan-vaulted ceiling in the fountains corridor and the fountains themselves. The monochrome and mono-textured three-dimensional maze is the visual lowlight of the game, and an invisible platform around a blind corner is the gameplay lowlight. Things pick up when you confront a hammergod (with a little help from Demon Smalls and Team Anubis). There’s also a great spike-trap run. And finally, the explosive end, which makes up for any shortcomings this level might have.
The Custodians of Hades: The main task in this levels is getting four scrying glasses, which involves several enjoyable tasks, such as a moveable maze, a cute way to identify the correct puzzle holes, and a rather cryptic ‘art gallery’ of sorts. But the best task – also the gameplay highlight of the game – is the rollingball and ramp one. The platforming challenges for the gold medal are also great.
End cutscene: The final cutscene shows Lara and Demon Smalls sliding their way into deeper hell, with the latter pontificating as always, and the former coolly indifferent as always.
Overall: In comparison to the previous two levels in the UUB series, this one is much better visually (probably Titak’s artistic influence), though the trademark humour is a bit toned down. Gameplay is as great as ever, of course. Probably my only mild criticism is the lack of enemies in the game. No, I don’t really want more enemies, but I would have liked more opportunities to use the cool PEU!
In my first playthrough of the UUB series, UUB3 was my undoubted favourite. This time around, my opinions of the first two parts improved (significantly in case of UUB1), but UUB3 seems to have suffered in comparison, since on replaying it wasn’t quite as perfect as I remembered it being. That’s only relatively speaking, of course – in absolute terms, this game is still excellent in most ways, and highly recommended for everyone." - Mytly (06-May-2012)

"The adventure continues, and this time Lara travelled by train to a desert in which she wants to reach the Asylum with the appreciated help of Demon Smalls, her right hand. The Plain of Jars (10/10/10/10) A very entertaining hub level in which she accesses to the "worlds" where the necessary items are to activate the machinery to be able to enter the Asylum. Air - The Tower of Babel ( 10/10/10/10) Lara accesses to a very high tower, known as the Tower of Babel ( for me this level is connected somehow to a part of the Bible). In this level the main objective is to collect the four Horns Symbol to place them onto their four receptacles to come back to the Plain of Jars to get the Air element. Earth - Hell's Arboretum (10/10/10/10) This is my favourite level of the game. You have to stop the power of plant to reach an area in which are three necessary items that are for breeding a hige plant off the ground. She'll climb up it to come back again to the Plain to get the Earth element. Fire - The Custodians of Hades (9/10/10/10) Another great level whose gameplay has decreased a little bit for me, but very enjoyable too, of course! In this level, she has to collect four Scrying glasses to stop the current of the water and come back to the desert to get the Fire element. The Realm of the Water Pagan ( 10/10/9/10) This is my second favourite one, though I've given it a 9 to the atmosphere. In this one, she must collect the four Pagan's gem distribuited throughout it to open her way and throw the giant statue away and sim up to the surface to the desert for the last time. Conclussion/Overall rating ( 10/10/10/10). This has rather been a magical adventure for me, and it's possibly my favourite game. Let's don't forget other masterpieces like Himalayan Mysteries of The Hidden Garden NG, among others. Extremely recommended!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" - MrJavi94 (03-Apr-2012)

"The series continues - Lara and Demon Smalls get to Lower Hell... This time we don't get a single level as in the two first parts, but a whole levelset that lasted nearly three hours for me.
The Plain of Jars (9-10-10-10) was the hub level for this pack. The impressive start cutscene with the Ghost Train from UB2 arriving makes hope for another good level, and this certainly was. I found the environment to be very convincing, the many objects used in this level (spikes, bugs, soul cages and of course the incredible machine at the end to open the doors to hell) were perfect. Gameplay was mostly finding the way to the next level, but there were plenty of tasks to do in the different areas of the main castle and the outside area. I exspecially liked the hunt for the medals, you had to find the Bronze, Silver and Gold Medal in three of the levels and always have to perform a few unorthodox moves to get them. Brilliant. The Tower of Babel (9-9-9-9) I found this level to be not that convincing as the previous levels of the series, mostly because there weren't many puzzles, well of course flooding the room, but mostly gameplay was jumping and climbing up the big tower and a bit exploring the side passages. The atmopshere was quite good but also not that impressive as usual. Texturing and lighting was good, I liked the skeletal harpies as enemies and the construction of the water flow, but the second category also was not perfect in my opinion. Nonetheless, it was a very good level, but in comparison to earlier efforts of Richard I was a bit disappointed.
Hell's Arboretum (9-10-10-9) was visually better, with very nicely designed flowers, enemies were hilarious, and I found the first bigger puzzles in this level (still a little bit uninspired gameplay), with the changing mushroom slopes, and the puzzle where Demon Smalls helps you to find the right tile collection. In general gameplay was better than the Tower level and I loved the transformation of the plants, first to get pushables, second to get a ladder. One can say I found this level by Titak to be more Richard- Lawther-like than Richards first full level, namely
Realm of the Water Pagans (8-10-10-9) Come on Richard, what's up? Nearly no real puzzles in the whole room and the first half of this level was pretty running around a enourmous big area that still had a great architecture and at last good objects to fill the ceiling and the rooms, but I missed the usual fun in this level much. At the end more had to be done, spike runs, climbing up another of these towers, the way of killing a minotaur and the statue that raises the water level, that was his unique style again, with a bit too grey textures as always, but fun. Three secrets here that were a bit on the easy side, except one maybe.
The Custodians of Hades (10-10-10-9) Just at the end we get to play this last level of the series, which was surely the highlight. From start to finish, we get to play an action-packed and puzzle-based level that never gets as tedious as any part before. There were three very logic puzzles to be solved, the boulder timed run was very challenging but still doable, I loved the gem puzzle with the hint in the mirror afterwards, the painting puzzle was a bit confusing but at the end you are very proud you have had success. Also, you have to absolve a very tricky room to get the Gold Medal, where you had to do a trick I once used in "The Thing in a Cellar" (jumping on the edge of a ramp and dropping behind it). Pretty enemies yet again: Harpies and a (I think I quote mugs here) "cheeky devil". This level was the best of the series and it was pure raiding fun again.
To sum it up, this third part didn't fully catch up with the two previous ones, but I found that the start of each level was mostly a bit tedious, but after you get used to the levels they are so ingenious again that I would't say this part is a let-down versus the two before. Textures in general were good but not the top ones, but, I have said that, they are not the most important thing for creating a good level. Thanks, Richard and Titak. I look forward with high expectations to the final part. Starting the download..." - manarch2 (26-Jun-2011)

"Just when you think the series can’t get any better comes this level that tops the previous ones. I almost wish I could rate this higher than 10. Not just is the game play incredibly intuitive and exciting, but the environment and textures are also a step up from the rather simplistic (yet perfectly made) previous installments. The big tower room with the beautiful textures, the arboretum with all those crazy plants and of course the fire areas at the Custodian of Hades were simply amazing. There are situations where Lara just wanted to run around in awe looking at all the interesting rooms and object completely forgetting about progression and game play. Yeah, the game play was not an easy one and I admit that I did read in the walkthrough multiple times. I got the big trophy “The Gold Medal” but I think it took me at least an hour worth of failed attempts to finally get to it. It sure felt like a big accomplishment afterward. What else is there to say about this masterpiece that has been reviewed so many times already. Just download and play it if you haven’t already done so. I’m off to play UUB4 Taking Care of Business now! (3h 30min, 10 secrets found)" - Blue43 (21-Apr-2011)

"I wanted to play UUB 3 before about 4 years already once, indeed, I have surrendered quite fast. This was due because I was tele-ported constantly again to the same place. And, nevertheless, besides, I wanted to explore, actually, only the scenery. At that time I did not know that this was the level border and which one automatically landed at a certain place if one crossed this border. At that time I had not read any Readme, so UUB 3 has landed so fast in the wastepaper basket.
The Plain of Jars: The whole scenery with the isolated buildings is formed wonderfully. To me likes above all which one has the impression of infinite width. This is of course only an optical deception, but this opical desception looks absolutely great.
The Tower of Babel: This tower does his name giver all credit. I have already played a lot of levels, but I have not seen such a building yet. This tower looks not necessarily after the highest level architecture, but rather after good-quality level building trade, but it was not easy to reach completely upwards. However, the whole rest looked really good. And the Bronze-Secret was easy to get.
Hells Aboretum: Immediately with the first sight on the plants and the whole construction method it occurred to me immediately Himalayan Mysteries by Titak. One could be almost of the opinion which is the level Hydroponics the big sister of Hells Aboretum. This association absolutely has his authorisation, because, finally, Titak had built Hells Aboretum . The only negative point in this level is the missing hint what one should make with the Seapod.
Custodians of Hades: Many great riddles make this level a pleasure. Sometimes I have asked myself how I should solve this or that riddle generally, nevertheless, this does not go at all. But, however, mostly it was intended much lighter than thought. And the Gold Medal was also no big problem.
Realm of the Water Pagans: The only thing in this level what I have to find fault with is a too well hidden lever. This lever opens a door behind which a precious stone lies. Otherwise this was a very good level which has properly given pleasure.
My net playing time amounts to nearly 6 hours and I have enjoyed every single minute. Well, I must draw off a few minutes because of the too well hidden lever and the missing hint for the Seapod. But otherwise it has given a lot of pleasure to play the third part of this excellent series." - Scottie (19-Jun-2010)

"With Titak, Richard Lawther brought again a charming game. It's much more intresting and much more creative than the previous UUBs. The desert has set up very nicely, it's really like a desert. I've never seen similar thing in TRLE, it's amazing! Tower of Babel is the least good in this levelset in my opinion. Gameplay is a bit boring there, I missed the puzzles in this part of the game, jumping and jumping around isn't so good. And it is very easy. Next, Hell's Arboretum. Mesmerizing. Intresting plants, wonderful gameplay. Liked the big tree at the end. Realm of the Water Pagan is my favourite. Most of the reviewers don't like it, but somehow, I do. Texturing is simple, but this level has some kind of unique feeling which is really fascinating. Custodians of Hades contains an intresting puzzle with the boulder. Lovely idea. The ending is exciting. What will come after all? Well, in the next part. Secrets are hard to get, but that's good. So, UUB3 refreshed the series a bit imo. It's much more colorful than the previous UUBs. Recommended for everyone." - rtrger (15-Nov-2009)

"I really enjoyed the puzzles and exploration of this level. Releasing the trapped souls in the main area was a very interesting replacement for switches and it worked very well, adding even more to the atmosphere of the place. The arboretum in particular had wonderfully memorable puzzles and atmosphere. The mushroom bouncing part was a bit more difficult than I'd like (it felt like luck rather than skill when I finally got past it). Other than that, this was one amazing level." - Ward Dragon (31-Dec-2007)

"Another Underworld unfinished Buisness level set that was amazing. Challegeing at some points for me, but fun none the less. This is another muct play for the players." - dantheraider (01-Sep-2007)

"I have no words. Giving this set of levels full score is a matter of course. The most striking quality is the amazing setting accompanied by excellently chosen sounds and astonishing cut sequences. The gameplay is quite original with a focus on movement related tasks, i.e. finding the proper way, mastering tricky jumps and timed runs, and avoiding traps. Unavoidably, there is some routine labour to be done, but in general, is it is not obvious how to proceed, and the imaginative appearance ensures that it is never dull to play anyway. There are some enemies, but they play a very minor part and don't really pose any challenge. A few objects and passages are well hidden, but most things are clearly visible, including most secrets, but that does not mean that they are easy to get. Three of the "secrets" contains medals: bronze, silver and gold. Actually, I found the silver medal to be the easiest one to get. The bronze medal is rather tricky and the gold medal is quite hard, but even in that case, the biggest hurdle is to find the right approach. After getting all medals, one can collect an "Expert's Certificate"." - Bogey (01-Jul-2007)

"Nothing compares to Richards skills in creating an atmosphere which takes you right away into a movie that keeps you entertained for a long time , being part of Team Anubis helping out Lady Lara to achieve her goal in a way of supporting Richard Lawthters fascinating gameplay and level building which is well worth an OSCAR . Starting up from the train further on to the other beautiful envvironmemts , I can only say : this is TRLE at its TOP !!!" - Ruben (29-May-2007)

"I'm really having trouble deciding where to begin with this review. If I was to sum it up in one word it would be PERFECT. So far I can say that this is the best custom level adventure I've ever played. It contains all the sheer brilliance of the two previous levels, only more of it and better. Lara and her trusty companion Demon Smalls have now reached the outskirts of Hell: the Plain of Jars and the game begins with the infamous ghost train reaching the station. There are lots of things to do up at the Plains and this functions as a hub level, meaning that Lara is bound to return there after each new adventure. Here the main objective is to retrieve four element stones and use them to open the entrance to the lower parts of the underworld. In order to do this Lara must go through four levels, each of them related to an element. The first one is the Tower Of Babel, where Lara must find three valve wheels to fill the moat and make her way to the top of the tower while searching for four artifacts. The next stop is Hell's Arboretum and in this little garden you'll find all sorts of strange and fascinating species, both of plants and live creatures. Quite a few challenges awaits Lara here(such as jump sequences across mushrooms growing in a toxic pool) and the main part of the level goes into the search for a seedpod and two crystals to grow a huge beanstalk. After this you can choose yourself whether to dive into the Realm of the Water Pagan in search of four gemstones or the fiery Custodians of Hades where Lara must find four scrying glasses. The traps and enemies are as varied as the locations where you find them and each one fits perfectly into its environment. I can mention lava, boulders, spikes/spears/swords/cacti, toxic pools and fire as the most frequent ones and these are found alongside everything from little gardeners and minotaurs to demons and skeleton harpies. There are also quite a few tricky timed runs and challenges along the way and these will keep you on your tip-toes from beginning to end. It's never too difficult though and between the really tough tasks you can wander around for long periods while admiring the gorgeous locations. There are 10 secrets to find and among these three medals: bronze, silver and gold. In order to reach these medals you'll need to find your way around sequences of jumping and running, one more difficult than the other. The reward is the final secret: an Expert's Certificate. I got all of them and it was thoroughly enjoyable(although frustrating at times, especially the task of reaching the gold medal). Lookwise this game could not possibly be better. Everything is a masterpiece in itself...from the orange fog surrounding the plains to the dizzying heights of Babel's tower and Hell's answer to the Garden Of Eden and from stunning fountains in enormous pools to dark hallways riddled with fire. The atmosphere is there, simply unbeatable, in every nook and cranny. Everything from a gorgeous soundtrack and voice casting to a perfect use of cameras and a brilliantly beautiful use of textures and lighting is a splendid work of art. I'm only surprised it took so long for it to gain an entry in the Hall Of Fame. This is the perfect custom level adventure and I'd give it a 15 out of 10. If you haven't played it already, go and do it now....this is top class game you just can't afford to miss." - Selene (13-Nov-2006)

"I have played all of the highest rated levels here but I must say this one is head and shoulders above the others and fully deserves to occupy the top slot. If I'm going to be completely objective I would have to say that this is the only custom level I have played which is on a par with one of the official games like TR Last Revelation. The beginning of the game is an inspiration, the feel and the wide open design are extraordinary. The levels themselves take the breath away, especially the arboretum. I am an intermediate player and I don't think these games should be too hard otherwise they alienate a good size audience who simply give up - this game strikes the right balance, especially with its medal system. A triumph for these two designers, they must surely hold the crown and I eagerly await their next installment." - Callidice (09-Jan-2006)

"This is quality stuff, no doubt about it. In terms of sheer creativity, the only thing I can think of that comes close is Psiko's TRA. The visual amenities in places are nothing short of astounding, especially in the garden area (loved those curious giant sunflowers). The gameplay is challenging in spots, but doable for me with the exception of a backflip from a pole to a floating platform near the end of the first level. Of course, the collaborative walkthrough by three capable ladies helped me get through. In fact, I rather enjoyed the luxury of being led by the hand, because I wanted to be able to pause along the way to smell the roses, so to speak, without having to worry about what to do next. There are more innovations here than I have space to mention, so you'll just have to play it for yourself if you haven't already done so. A sure Hall of Fame entry, sooner and not later." - Phil (09-Dec-2005)

"What should I say here anymore?? Everything is already mentioned. This level is the BEST level on earth!!! It is just incredible what level designer could make out of an 10-year-old Tomb Raider Engine!!! But let's come to the levels itself. The plain of jars was very impressive, a beautiful textured desert with colossal buildings which just looked amazing. The Hell`s Arboretum was the most beautiful and detailed place I have ever seen!! So many different and inventive objects in addition to the puzzles that challenged me so much (for example the mushroom jumping puzzle). Or one more example for the ingenious puzzles is the jumping puzzle at the very beginning of the Tower of Babel. I have spent days to solve this incredibly hard puzzle. The Realm of the Water pagan had this soft and aquatic touch. The music was more softly and everywhere were these wonderful fountains. Sometimes you could really feel that you are swimming in this palace. It is just ridiculous to give a 10 to a level which earns to get a 30 or 40!! This level has to get an oscar!!!!!" - Adrian (22-Oct-2005)

"If you ask me "Is this a good level?" I answer "Yes, it is". But if you ask me "Is this the best level ever seen?" I say "No, it isn't". The first sequence is simply awesome, the railroad and the locomotive are fantastic and generally the atmosphere is involving. The sounds are perfect, the textures and the lights are wonderful too. After ten minutes you have seen a big world with strange organic plants and a lot of strange blue insects. Very very very good (10-10-10-10 including the fantastic end sequence). The first level -The Tower of Babel- is interesting but the lights aren't very good and the gameplay is a bit repetitive. The only goal is to find the four artifacts. The sounds are nice and the skeleton-harpy is original. Not bad (8-8-9-8). The second level -Hell's Arboretum- is a jewel. A lot of new objects, trees shoting seeds, original puzzles, perfect lighting. The best level of this saga! (10-10-9-10) But... what happens?!?! The third and fourth level -Realm of the Water Pagan and The Custodians of Hades - are terrible! Bad and repetitive textures and lights, boring and frustrating puzzles, a hopeless use of light. (7-5-4-5 and 5-4-6-6). The story is quite similar to psiko's Technoegyptians Portal (a level from Tomb Raider A); we are in the hell / we must find the four artifact of elements to open a portal etc... The outfit is really nice but the head with "chignon" is a bit overused. I remember a lot of other levels with it. At the end, some little bugs and the semi-absence of cameras make my rating complete." - Miya (06-Oct-2005)

"I'm surprised by the amount of imagination that "The Plain of Jars" contains. All the settings are out of the real world because Lara is in the Lower Hell. She's committed to find the four elements to gain access to the Asylum, and she's always helped by Demon Smalls. There are no much enemies because the game is exploration and tight jumps that makes the experience only for Expert Raiders. There are a lot of new objects, enemies and textures and I love specially the Hell's Arboretum. The race against the boulder in Custodian of Hades wasn't as difficult as it appeared. The Realm of the Water Pagan was a bit confusing for me until I red the walkthrough and the Plain of Jars was a perfect and oniric introduction. I finished the game with all the secrets (including the Experts Certificate) and I played 5hrs and 18min. This is not a game for beginners but it's worth to play." - Loupar (27-Sep-2005)

"The most beautiful rooms I've ever played in. The new objects and effects are unrivaled. Game play just to my skill level, so I didn't have to use the walkthrough very much, but it drove me stark raving mad! It is absolutly number 1 in my book. Thank you both so much for your efforts, Richard and Titia." - Larry B (29-Aug-2005)

"Excellent. One of the very best levels I've played. Good puzzles, new sounds, new music, new objects, new enemies, new textures, great sceneries,... I only found a problem: the very difficult curved jump to the transparent ledge under the zip line in the Water level, and sometimes you haven't a camera shot to show you where you have to go. It could have more weapons and ammo from the beginning too. There are difficult tasks, but not impossible. A set of levels for expert players." - José (28-Jul-2005)

"A fabulous multiple adventure, with great puzzles and some new objects. I liked the harpy and some secret puzzles. The game is a little hard but the ultimate goal is to achieve the Experts certificate (which I did). This is an adventure I'll never forget." - Anurag (24-Jul-2005)

‘Plain of Jars’ is one of the most refreshing and creative levels to come along in awhile. You begin in the Plain of Jars, an expansive desert area occupied by towers structures and poisonous pools of waters. The Plain serves mainly as an intermission area between levels as Lara searches for 4 elements. The game play starts out slowly, with the Tower of Babylon. You must flood the main pit of the room, but be careful as your empty the tanks because you may find your pleasant swim down will turn into a long climb back up. Your jumping skills will be put to the test as you scale the tower and the upper reaches of the room. The level ends with a journey up an elevator where you find yourself back in the Plain, stranded on the top of one of the tall structures. The intensity of the level is kicked up a notch with a run over floating fire burners and collapsible tiles. Hell’s Arboretum is the most enjoyable level of the series. The Arboretum seems like something out of a Stephen King novel, as your enemies are killer plants. Your green thumb is tested out as you have to find ingredients do to a little gardening. To find the ingredients you need to enlist the help of Demon Smalls, do some mushroom hopping, and finally dodging swinging thorn plants while avoiding poisonous water. Next, it does off to the Realm of the Water Pagan; be prepared to do a lot of swimming. The goal of this level is to find 4 Pagan Gems, but the task is not going to be easily accomplished. Underwater mazes, more timed runs, and a run-in with a devil will give any experienced raider a slight headache. There is an entertaining cut-scene near the end of the Realm, as well as a swim up a vertical shaft of water. So far, there has been air, earth, and water. That leaves….fire! What would the Underworld be without avoiding flames? Custodian of Hades has flames, boulders, and much more to test your limits. 4 is again the magic number, as you have to seek out 4 Scrying Glasses to find the final element. The quality of game play from the Realm of the Water Pagan continues in the Custodian with shifting mazes, a race against a boulder, knowing your art, and discovering what lies behind the mirror. After finding all 4 elements, you are returned to the Plain for one last chore before catching up with Demon Smalls one last time. ‘Plain of Jars’ is a must-play level, and there are side adventures to search for medals to test the most experienced raiders. - Celli (17-Jul-2005)

The Plain of Jars (8/9/10/9) is a somewhat apocalyptic scene, what with vast ancient structures in the middle of a poisoned desert. One can get lost here and may even end up running around in circles for a while, which may put off a few players. Bear with it though and it will all start to make sense. There are a few nasty jumps here, high up in the air across fiery, collapsible tiles and these are not for the feint-hearted. It must be said that it’s rather satisfying to rescue the ‘lost soul’s and watch them fly off up into the sky, it really does make you feel kinda good! Tower of Babel (9/8/10/10). Richard has always had an eye for atmosphere and an ear for music and this level is no different. Well, except to say that it feels rather different! That’s because of the strangeness of its setting (vast buildings in the middle of an endless, empty desert). This just makes the level seem so weird. It plays very well too and, apart from a certain swim, wasn’t too taxing like some of his levels can be. Quickly play this level because I guarantee that you’ll like it. Well done to Richard and Titia Hell’s Arboretum (8/9/9/9). The only thing that bugged me here was the placement of the seed because it seems you have to not only stand in a very exact area but also face in a very exact direction! Anyway, this level features walking plants, unusual graphics, good humour, strange objects and it all plays very well. It’s worth mentioning here all the brilliant re-texturing, especially on the massive beanstalk! Realm of the Water Pagan (9/8/9/10). Quite a bit of backtracking on this level and a couple of semi-invisible platforms to boot, not mention a pretty well hidden switch! Suffice to say, all this adds up to a tough level that may see you on the way to the forums (something which I never like doing). Lots of good fun to be had here, despite the flaws. The graphics and sound are excellent, as are the cut-scenes and humour. There are even some things I have never seen before (a statue that falls and a way to ‘kill’ a Hammer God, for example). The Custodian of Hades (10/9/9/9). I loved the rolling boulder puzzle because it’s not something you’ll come across often and so helped make the game feel fresh. The Horny fire blowers were a nice surprise, especially for Dungeon Keeper fans. A very playable level indeed, even if there was a distinct lack of things to fight. These levels took me 4 hours and 45 minutes and I found a healthy 5 secrets (including one of the elusive medals – bronze). Richard and Titia have once again proven their skill for originality, playability and weirdness. Although one suspects that that last element is more Richards than Titias! - gfd (01-Jul-2005)

"This level is just brilliant. In many places the scenery is so different to what we’ve seen before, and in many places breathtaking. There are lots of puzzles to solve. I found that in the timer with the boulder I was actually going to fast for awhile. The idea of having to win the three medals in order to win the experts certificate added to the excitement. I think it would be nice to print the experts certificate out and frame it! Can't wait for the next level." - Moonliteshadow (18-Jun-2005)

"After almost 5 hours of gameplay I did finish UB3 with all the secrets. It took time but it was worth every minute! I can't even find the words for describing this gem. First of all, I love Dick's puzzles and his castle type layout on his stages. The puzzles were not that hard as the previous UB's but just enough to give a real challenge. I actually found the bronze medal to be the hardest btw :) I can't understand how he comes up with all these puzzles? They are just amazing.. all of them! The gem puzzle etc.. simply amazing. Dick has showed us that the sequels are just getting better and better. I really like that! What did surprise me though was the stunning and superb layout of Titak's levels! I have only played her two first levels before UB3 and I saw her art.. but geesh.. this is probably the best I have ever seen! I spent a long time just wandering around the ‘Plain of jars’ just looking at the sky.. the buildings and the poison ponds! The huge room in the ‘tower of babel’.. the whole ‘Hell's Arboretum’ level which was really something new! I have no idea how she does it but the layout and the environment makes you feel like you are in hell :) Titak and Dick has just proved that working together can produce amazing results. I hope for a sequel and I hope you are doing it together again. TOP STUFF! All tens from me. 2005-06-07" - QRS (09-Jun-2005)

"I had the pleasure to play through the third part of the Underworld series at the 4th TR Meeting in Hamburg last weekend and so contrary to my usual fashion of taking a few notes along the way and reviewing each level individually have to now do it from memory. Not that this is particularly difficult, as it is such a memorable set of levels indeed - which I guess is what I should expect when two of my favourite builders get to co-operate. Just as the first two parts of the series, this third one nicely carries the story along, which makes it such an entertaining adventure to dive into. This time round you basically get a quest for the four elements that help you open the gates to the next part that we can all look forward to. In order to get those elements you venture into a variety of rather intriguing environments, full of fun puzzles and action. If there is any gripe then it is the one that a few times, I was really running around a lot only to eventually spot the crucial crawlspace or lever or door in a fairly vast environment - in the Realm of the Water Pagan I even resorted to the walkthrough, because I had run past this one lever so many times without noticing it. Sometimes the texturing feels a bit plain, repetitive and uninspired. Also, there are very few enemies here, but they are actually not being missed - it only occurred to me at the end when I wondered about what I had encountered that there were very few. What did I like most? Probably Hell's Arboretum. Fun gameplay, brilliant use of objects, all remodeled into various sorts of Plants and climbing the beanstalk - great stuff. Also very much enjoyed the Quest for the Medal secrets. Those were a nice little challenge and fun to master (thanks to Nadine for some much needed hints with that Gold Medal). The boulder chase in Custodians of Hades is fun, too and the climbing in the Tower of Babel nicely designed. So - overall, this is to be highly recommended, as is the overall series. Once all parts are released, this is definitely a series I will want to play through again from start to finish." - Michael (24-May-2005)

"What can I say, I was blown away by the looks the level provided. I just loved the way Richard and Titia came up with the idea how to restrict the play area with those totems. Apart from some jumping way up in The Tower of Babel, still a pain stacking progress on my part, the level isn't that hard to do luckily. Having said that, I still have to get the third medal, but I for sure will replay this on a later date. Don't get me wrong there is still the jumping through the mushroom area and don't forget the chase after the rolling ball, these for sure will have you reloading quite a bit though. But well worth it. I still love the little demon and I, for sure am looking forward to what this couple has to offer on more Underworld adventures. 22-04-2005" - Gerty (16-May-2005)

"Thank you Richard and Titia for this wonderfull masterpiece. Another nice adventure with Lara. Puzzles are ingeniously designed and you need to think a little. I loved the graphics and I am always impressed with Richard’s ideas. Very cute are the little helpers that show Lara the way to continue :-). The hammerman was perfectly used and I also liked cameras and sound a lot. I did not find all the secrets, but I didn’t mind. I had lots of fun and I am looking forward to a continuation. Recommended for everybody – you have to play this :-))" - Navi (08-May-2005)

"Now I have a serious problem to write this review: I'm speechless. Really. I feel like words just can't describe the absolute excellence of this game. There are so many great moments, so much creativity, so much intelligence that I'm right now regretting we aren't allowed to rate higher than 10, for this game deserve 20s in all four categories. And I mean it. Here we have four levels and a hub, each with a unique atmosphere, its own gameplay and own challenges. You'll experience heights fright in the Tower of Babel, will meet dangerous and oh so amazing plant specimens in Hell's Arboretum, will live aquatic adventures in the Realm of the Water Pagan and go through a serious trial by fire in the Custodians of Hades. On your way you can, if you so wish, try the expert challenge by collecting three medals giving you access to the Expert's Certificate. The challenge here consisting not in to-the-pixel moves but finding the right ones to do, making it a mix of agility trials and puzzles. And will you feel rewarded once you put your hands on the Certificate! Enough babbling now. This game's one of the best ever created and I urge you to go play it right now!" - Sutekh (05-May-2005)

"The third part of the Underworld series takes the players in many different levels with challenging tasks to complete. The atmosphere with that somewhat, orange distant fog is great, so is the design of every level. There are some brilliant ideas, like the signs and the way the level jumping is done but I also enjoyed gathering the Bronze, Silver and Gold Medals so in the end, I could get the Expert’s Certificate. The secrets are not necessary to complete this adventure and I found ten but who can resist to at least try getting that Certificate; it is an open invitation the way the secrets are designed and not too difficult. They require some thinking though and the Gold Medal needs skills as well. I don’t want to describe what players will see because usually when we get such big adventures I like to leave them to discover the nice surprises themselves. I do want to say that the best areas or puzzles for me were, the room with the paintings, the bio type level which was brilliant and not only an amazingly beautiful area but puzzle-wise as well, the puzzle with the ball and raising blocks just to name a few of them. There is a small ‘hole’ that allows you to go around those limits the builder has set outside and get behind the skull like objects and at first I got a little confused with those signs because no matter what direction I chose I ended back where I started. As you can imagine those are just details and not real annoyances so all in all this game is absolutely stunning and well worth its time. Highly recommended and don’t forget to go for that Certificate." - Kristina (05-May-2005)

"Wow – the third part was simply…overwhelming…not sure how to actually put it in words. Is simply has to be said that a lot of care went into the design of the individual levels. The beautiful objects were ingenious, especially the plants were nicely built. I simply liked everything there was to see. The puzzles: Lara needs to find four elements und it is not a simple task for her. There are plenty jump combinations to master, climbing, pushable object puzzles and more. And she always has her little helpers to make things a little easier. There are also many items to find, like keys, blue balls, crystals and more. Sound was ingenious and in harmony with everything, the atmosphere was spooky and mysterious. Textures have been very cleanly applied – perfect. The overall graphics are truly convincing. And the ending sequence….. ? I am anxiously awaiting the next part. Thanks you Richard and Titak – I had a lot of fun playing this level." - Engelchen Lara (01-May-2005)

"Very, very good as always and on top of it great team work! The Underworld saga continues and it's as good as always. This time Lara must collect four elements in order to finally be able to reach a lower level of hell. Demon Smalls helps her, of course. Some quite complicated moments which take practice (the run with the rolling boulder in Custodians of the Hades, for instance) and some great puzzles, fantastic environment. On the minus side, things like a door that you literally can't see or, more globally, getting lost too easily at times. But that's alright. I am indeed very much looking forward to the continuation of this wonderful saga. (May, 1 2005)" - Jorge22 (01-May-2005)

"Well… I’m speechless. Words cannot describe how much I enjoyed this level. And what an awesome adventure it was. It had everything. Unbelievable structures and environments, plants wilder and more exotic than the imagination can conceive and the gameplay was perfect. I never got bored, nor did I get impossibly stuck which, more times than not, really ruins a game for me. But this was a complete joy to play. The collaboration by Dick and Titak was a brilliant move and turned out a magnificent work of art. Nicely done. 4/30/05" - Lizard Queen (01-May-2005)

"Richard and Titia have produced the best custom levels there will ever be. I was blown away with the first 2 underworld levels, but in my opinion, this is by far the best. The design and textures are brilliantly placed, and the scenery of the main area of the plain of jars is just breath-taking. There are various levels that you must complete to gain access to the asylum. My favourite part of this series was not the cut scenes, although they were very well done, but my blood pumped harder when I came face to face with Hell's Arboretum. There are so many custom objects and different things I have seen that make this series worth while playing. The plants were just amazingly done and it reminded me of he level from AOD, can't remember the name of it. Overall you have to give this series a play. It matches up with series 1 and 2, but in my opinion is much better. Play it now and witness the best custom level of all time!" - TombRaiderFan (27-Apr-2005)

"What a perfect collaboration this is, Dick and Titia! Congratulations. I'm not sure which level I loved more and perhaps it's not necessary to choose. I thought the challenges in each one were superb, beginning with the Tower of Babel. A series of water pipes has to be activated and then it's a climber’s delight in finding the four horn symbols. Determining the proper approach was great fun! From there, it's on to Hell's Arboretum. This was spectacular and so unique. Once again, the tweaking of ordinary slanted blocks becomes a very hard series of jumps through a field of mushrooms. Best of all was the use of pheromones to pass unscathed past the fire breathing flowers. What an imagination! And then nourishing the seed to produce nothing less than the proverbial beanstalk...too much. Next, the Realm of the Water Pagan. This level includes one of Dick's harder maneuvers, in my opinion...jumping from a cylinder-shaped object that is suspended in air. My groan must have been audible to the forum when I got to this part. The search for four pagan gems is the objective and I'm so glad we were able to see Mr. Smalls' pee put to good use here. The Custodian of Hades was a tour de force! This is where you will finally see the fruits of your labor put to task. The four elements that you have collected will set the machinery in motion and open the gates to the belly of the beast. BUT. Before you can do this, get ready for some of the hardest gameplay there is. If old mugs can make it, so can you. You will have the best time playing this game and you will marvel at the scenery of this incredible world. Thank you so much Dick and Titia." - Mugs (25-Apr-2005)

"The Underworld's Unfinished Business series has proven it's something worth looking forward to a long time ago, and part 3 of the adventure is no disappointment! Visually ‘Plain of Jars’ is the most stunning effort the series yet had to offer - the first desert area using the distance fog and totems to mark the playable zone are cleverly set up, and the other sub-areas don't fall behind much either - such places as Hell's Arboretum and the Custodians of Hades are stunners in many aspects as well. There really is no point for me to go and describe everything - this is an experience you just have to go through yourself. And because it's kept fairly simple, I think it will appeal to players of varying levels of experience as well - the actual levels are fairly challenging, yet never too difficult - though the difficulty does build up gradually with Tower of Babel and Hell's Arboretum being relatively simple and the remaining levels building up difficulty, especially the Custodians of Hades, where you might have quite some thrills chasing down a rolling ball while trying to keep it within the track. But even the more expert raiders are not left out as there's a side quest of 3 expert's medals - which, besides the Expert's certificate you get for finding them all, were the only secrets I found in the game, yet felt like I've earned them as with nearly no other secrets before. Excellent idea. The tasks as always are pretty inventive. I especially loved the whole Custodians of Hades level, which was hot on gameplay. It would've been a 10 there too, but I thought it relied too much on button pushing, plainly gathering your pickups and running around too much. It's not really bad - and maybe keeps a good balance with the puzzles here. Nevermind that, I can hardly complain as I never was bored, and the pace is quite fast so there's a great feeling of progress as you move along. Great stuff from start to end - if you like the previous levels of the 2 authors, you'll love what you'll see here, but it's another must-play nonetheless." - eTux (22-Apr-2005)

"This time Richard has collaborated with Titia to continue this wonderful series and what a successful partnership it’s proved to be. The Plain of Jars: The beautiful train has deposited Lara and Demon Smalls in a vast, eerie desert whose parameters are strictly controlled by skull totems. You’re really only paying a short visit to this section, for a few pickups but you’ll be back as this is the pivotal segment from which you access the other areas. The Tower of Babel: The flying skeletons here really take a toll on your health so get rid of them as quickly as you can. You need to raise/lower water levels and achieve a very well devised series of manoeuvres to make your way up a very tall structure indeed, finding four artefacts along the way to place right at the top. The route is sometimes far from obvious and I found it a lot of fun. The bronze medal is the secret challenge in this part. The Plain of Jars (again): I hope you’ve got a good head for heights as you get to run around battlements and do timed runs across platforms in the sky. Demon Smalls turns up just in time to bring a torch. How kind. Hell’s Arboretum: It certainly is - there are some truly deadly specimens here and you need to keep on your toes. The tiny green gardeners are a bit bolshy as well - they hit you with their little wooden trugs. The toadstool room is ingenious and challenging and the whole sequence with the seed is just fabulous. The silver medal is in this section and it’s quite challenging, but not quite as hard as it first appears. Realm of the Water Pagan: And what a beautiful realm it is with its glorious fountains. You need to find four pagan gems and it involves a lot of highly entertaining agility tests - not too hard, just a lot of fun. You get a fair old bit of assistance from Demon Smalls and Team Anubis in this section, so expect some wonderful cut scenes. The Custodian of Hades: Nice puzzles to solve here and an excellent rising blocks/boulder run that took me a few goes to perfect. The gold medal secret is quite ingenious - the moves themselves aren’t too hard to master; the real challenge comes from determining just what moves you need to make to get where you want to go. Very good indeed and what a sense of achievement when I finally got there. The Plain of Jars (one last time): Back to the beginning to place the four elements and gain access to the Asylum. One last treasurable cut scene with Demon Smalls and Lara descending the long ramp leaves us with the happy feeling that this brilliant series is set to continue. I was sorry to leave such a super game, but at least I had the (unusual for me) satisfaction of knowing that I’d found all the secrets and gained my Expert’s Certificate. Wow." - Jay (20-Apr-2005)
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