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Level: Madhouse back home search
Author(s): ansi
total rating:8.41 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Aims 9 8 9 9
Akcy 8 8 10 10
CC 9 8 9 8
Dick 9 8 9 8
eTux 8 8 9 7
Gerty 9 8 9 7
Jay 8 8 9 8
Jorge22 5 5 7 8
Jose 8 8 9 9
Kristina 8 8 8 8
MichaelP 9 8 10 7
mugs 9 8 9 9
Necro 10 9 9 9
Phil 9 9 9 9
Ray Croft 8 8 10 7
Ryan 9 8 9 9
Watck 9 8 10 7
category averages
(17 reviews)
8.47 7.94 9.06 8.18

Reviewer's comments

"This is an absolutely brilliant level, especially in terms of creating an atmospheric setting and plotting the gameplay around that setting. Lara is initially weaponless, but she obtains her pistols soon enough and begins her escape from this madhouse. There are a few fun puzzles to solve, plus a few timed runs and tight traps. I found the block puzzles and the route up the hanging box room to be well thought out. Texturing... A matter of taste I suppose, but it works well if you're fond of eclecticism in this case. The music choices and flybys are also well executed, particularly the one from the point of view of a guard, and also the one showing scorpions on Lara's tail. Pity this is a one-shot from this builder, as it showed such potential." - Ryan (24-Sep-2017)

"A very confusing level at first in a "Madhouse" like the title indicates. Lots of closed doors and you have no idea how to start but everything makes sense later. I think Gameplay was okay but for me it was too much crawling especially at the beginning. Atmosphere was perfect with very good use of cameras to create cutscenes. The one with the Ahmet and SAS was the highlight as well as the "parkour" with the Mission Impossible Track so 10 Points. Lighting and Texturing could have been better for sure but it works. Overall i loved this level because of the very well thought out story and how it was executed. Recommended." - Ray Croft (11-Jan-2017)

"A better title for this gem of a level might have been "Big House," as Lara's 90-minute quest, while she dashes about in prison garb, is essentially an elaborate jail break. The gameplay is enormously complex, and I'm glad I had the excellent walkthrough provided by the Dutchy-Gerty team. Most of the level is played with a minimum of armament, and during the process it's necessary to negotiate your way past sentry guns, lasers and the occasional guard. It's all uncannily reminiscent of Mugs' much more recent "Alcatraz," and those of you who haven't yet played either level might find it instructive to compare the two. There's a vast difference in sophistication, to be sure, but in terms of gameplay I would be hard pressed to state a preference between them. Madhouse is one of those undiscovered classics that has somehow managed to fly under the radar for nearly six years. Don't wait any longer if you're one of those who missed it when it was first released." - Phil (19-Jul-2011)

"At first, I wasn't too impressed with this level with all the crawlspaces but it turned out to be a very good level indeed. The scenery was beautifully designed and there was plenty to do. It was quite hard and a had to revisit areas before I could progress. Unfortunatly for me I cant read german so I was unclear about the story surrounding this level and it was probably what prevented me from completing the level because I shot 'Peter' thinking he was a baddie and didn't realise until later that he opens a door near the end of the the level nd I porbably messed with his AI by shooting him. i wasn't prepared to restart the level from the point where he was rescued as it took a long time to get from there to the end. However, I did enjoy playing this level and there is a ceratin flyby which has been cleverly choriographed and remenisent of many horror films out there. very well done and a welcome refreshing level." - Necro (20-Nov-2007)

"Unfortunately the story was written in german only, so I had to ran it through a translator, and then figure out the result, but eventually I managed. It's been interesting, and if the author has came out with a so good and long storyline for the level, I started to play with high expectations for a quality level, and I wasn't dissapointed. It turned out even better, the looks of the level is really remarkable, perfect lighting, good use of textures. The noises and musics were great as well, and helped to create really good atmosphere. Cameras can also be described only as perfect, this is how fixed cameras should be used. Examplary! They never hinder the controls, or the ability to look around properly, just add to the scenery, raising gameing experience even higher, fantastic job. There was a great fly-by when we could se things from the point of view of a guard. The other guard, we catch while using the copy machine, nice touches. Imaginitive layout and varied gameplay, too bad it's too easy, you can get about the timed runs as if they weren't timed at all, one of the best rooms, where we should climb through many lasers can be shortcuted entirely. Still, if that is the only error worth mentioning in a debut level, that means it's from a really talented builder. Thanks, and more please." - Akcy (13-Nov-2007)

"First and foremost, this game is unfinishable. I admit it, perhaps a lot of people have, but in my case "Peter" (see walkthrough) had an AI below the level of poverty. Thus, Lara couldn't follow him because it was him who followed Lara. And, most of all, I did try every possible door at every possible place and he simply wouldn't open any. Now, despite having found some other bugs that were solved by reloading to an earlier savegame, this I have to consider a very major one and there go the ratings for gameplay & puzzles and for enemies, objects, secrets. But there's more: what was the crowbar for? Or the rules to the game of Senet? Or some other book Lara found, which spoke of serpents? Too much nonsense, sorry. Not that the game was boring or anything. It was indeed very confusing at times but not really boring. I wouldn't have played it almost to the end if that had been the case, even though it's all really about finding keys and that sort of thing. But there's just a little too much nonsense too many times. Oh, and a little too much crawling as well (I thought every builder would have given up on that by now)... The thing I liked the most was a couple of well done cut scenes, namely the one where the monsters (and then, there's only one) get off the cage and kill the guards (yes, there's only one again even though there were more). But the scene was great, anyway." - Jorge22 (19-Nov-2005)

"It's a pain that the readme file is only in german language; it seems to be a good story but I couldn't read it, and the notes in the game too. A level well builded, with some interesting puzzles, but too many switches and doors for me to like; you are almost all the game going from place to place pulling switches to open doors or trapdoors. Near the end, when you pull the switch near the cog weels, you return to the beginning of the level, and you don't know what to do (who can imagine that a sentry gun had disappeared somewhere?), it could be a camera to show you where to go. There are hard enemies, but very few weapons, ammo and medipacks to play with tranquility. Sounds and cameras are very well, as lights and textures. A very large level with much work which you can play without boring." - José (04-Nov-2005)

"This is a very different level, I don't think there has even been one where Lara is in a mental home! lol. Lara has been put in madhouse, falsely charged with a murder she didn't commit (funny that all the other people she has killed in the past is irrelevant lol) she must do all she can to escape, and of course on the way she will start to discover the true meaning as to why she is captive... You start off in your own private room, which is in a high security area. We're talking lasers, sentry guns, and of course guards. Despite these, they're very easy to overcome. There aren't that many guards about, but they do pack a punch if you get spotted. The sentry guns are very easily avoided too, as there is always a way to pass them from behind ;) Also the lasers aren't a problem whatsoever. If you did happen to get caught by one when passing through, you only lose a small amount of life. You then have to go through doors or the air ducts to access new areas, where you will find a lever or a key. It's mainly levers which need pulling/pressing. The areas aren't too big, so you don't get confused, or have trouble finding a newly opened door. Once you have access to reach the next part of the prison you have to go through an area which is plagued with lasers and traps, but it really isn't all that difficult, which was a relief! lol Then you reach the place where the other prisoners are being kept, you don't get to see them. But you do get help from 1 fellow prisoner later on, who helps you get the item you need to escape. The game is of course a lot easier having access to your pistols right at the beginning of the game. They are conveniently placed in a little box in Lara's cell lol. It would have been more challenging if you had to make your way through in stealth, then find your weapons eventually, but due to the amount of grates that need shooting, and lack of health pick-ups, it would have been impossible. I think there was only 1 small medi pack to be picked up. It did come in handy, as I completed the game with 0 medis left, so without that one, I would have died. Enemies, were few, they were all guards and a few of the monsters in tr4 which are in the level before the final one (where you use the waterskin on the scales). The guards were retexured into tr3 and tr5 ones. Also there aren't many pick-ups, nothing new. They were mainly keys, and uzi ammo. The camera work was good, there wasn't any shots of newly opened doors etc. which didn't prove a problem at all, I just liked the use of it to make cool scenes. One was when Lara was crawling through the air duct, and was going over a see-through grating. He placed the camera as though she was being watched from below. But my favourite camera shot, which I thought was brill, was when it did a 1st person perspective of a soldier, who walks around the block scared before being killed off. it had cool sound effects of his footsteps and his heart pounding in his chest during it. The sound is also really good, it really adds to the atmosphere, some really creepy tunes, and you also get clips of a woman screaming and someone being whipped when you get into the part of the madhouse where everyone else is kept. When you come across an area filled with traps which you must avoid to get into the next area, the mission impossible theme plays, which goes really well. The lighting and textures were also convincing, it had the dull rusty effect on the walls, with low lighting, to make it feel like a really horrible place to be kept in. It wasn't too dark or bright, and I didn't need to use any flares really, which was good. The game took me just over an hour, and there was only one secret. I really enjoyed the level, it was something different, and I highly recommend it to everyone. It isn't too hard or too easy, and there are only 2 timed runs in it, which aren't too difficult. Very good for a 1st time builder, and I look forward to future levels from ansi. Two thumbs up!" - Aims (13-Oct-2005)

"Well, what can I say. I tremendously enjoyed this game. The atmosphere was great, the added music was a plus specially the moment when the tune of Mission Impossible kicked in. That and the fly by that went with it was really spooky. The camera work was also very well done and if you pay attention you shouldn't get stuck (as I found out the hard way LOL). Overall a great game. The only thing that was a bit of a drag are the long ladders and the crawling. The story line is very well played out in here as Lara is in a prison and has to free the detective Peter Rowlands before they will kill him. The ending however was rather abrupt but for a debut I thought it was one of the best and I surely hope we will see more of this author. 04-10-2005" - Gerty (10-Oct-2005)

"This is a fabulous level because it is so cleverly connected and wonderfully carries along the storyline, the highlights being the Misson Impossible moment and the 1st person view camera flyby. I spent 90 minutes in here and it was never boring, as there was always a next thing to do, cameras are placed in a very helpful way and diversity of the actions ensures you will have an enjoyable experience here. I personally do not like the choice of textures all that much and a little more work could have gone into the lighting, but if not for a bit of an overdose of crawling and climbing I would have rated gameplay a straight 10 because it really deserves it. Found one secret and although suitable for the occasion I am not sure I liked the outfit too much. Anyway, a fabulous debut level and we can only hope to see more from ansi." - MichaelP (06-Sep-2005)

"Oh, nice stripy prison garb – like it. The prison is vast and ideally I needed a map and less crawling through tunnels, but I still managed to enjoy myself quite a lot in a ‘where the hell am I supposed to be going next’ sort of way. I particularly liked the ‘Mission Impossible’ sequence even if all those sentry guns had me just itching for a revolver and laser sight. This is certainly an extremely good first time build – complex and atmospheric with some nice inventive gameplay. Ansi is definitely a builder to watch out for in future." - Jay (01-Sep-2005)

"This is great fun, good old-fashioned raiding that harks back to the original games. The sort of gameplay, surroundings, design, and all the elements that got us all hooked in the first place. What we have here is excellent non-linear gameplay that includes almost everything our girl is capable of doing, climbing, swimming, rope swinging, wading through water, timed run, pole climbing, block pushing, monkeyswinging, crawling, etc. And there's a fair amount of each. The crawling is not so tedious, and it is interesting here, especially as we see (with a fixed camera) Lara crawling in a vent on the ceiling of an office, and later on another fixed camera while we watch nervously as two scorpions follow Lara in the crawlspace so she must move fast. The setup in this part of the vents was very well done. This is a huge prison building, and Lara is a prisoner. We see her first in her cell, dressed in striped prison garb. Someone has sneaked in a suitcase containing her pistols etc., to help her escape. A word to the wise, do not go towards the exit door as Lara's hands will freeze on her pistols. Look for another way to get out of this first room . . . I mean cell. You do see live guards who shoot at you, but also dead ones that are worth a search. And when you release the only other prisoner, do not shoot him because you need him to help you. Other enemies are a single wraith, and a couple of monsters. Fixed cameras are excellent, and flybys are very professional. I was fascinated watching through the eyes of a guard as he opens a door and walked outside to check the corridors when the alarm goes off, only to come face to face with a monster. I've never seen this before, and it was very well done. Also loved the flipmap in the hanging crate room. Excellent! Another room had lasers flying around. I'm not sure if ansi is aware of this, but it's very easy to avoid all the climbing and monkeyswinging in this room. A simple run jump from the block beside the hole she climbs up and backflips out of, will get you over to the burners. Although the Mission Impossible music was great to hear in the next room, crawling past the gun was a simple task. Nice ideas about lighting the torch and getting the crowbar. And a very nice setup of switches to open and close doors to access two different routes, as well as a decent timed run with a ropeswing along the way. The level is not difficult. But the player will need a good memory, or at least make a note of how many doors they've passed that need a key. What a great debut level for this builder. And if this is a beginning, then we are in for some great raiding experiences in future. Well done Ansi." - CC (30-Aug-2005)

"The most interesting in this level is the solider's eyesight. though it take only a few seconds, you can feel the nervous of the soldier and be sorry for him. I believe authors can make more interesting puzzle with this skill." - Watck (30-Aug-2005)

"I can’t say that I didn’t get confused in this level because of all the different routes you have to follow and almost all of them remain unfinished until later. I am thankful for my good memory though which got me through this. It’s a good level with a bit of crawling through air ducts, a cog wheel and a fuse to find. Lara is in a prison and needs to escape but unfortunately she’d have to find too many keys. Generally you can classify it as a base type level and I particularly liked the area with the crane and the timed run. The flooded area was nicely done too and the creepy beasts as enemies were just right for the darkish corridors. There’s also a helper that isn’t much help when it comes to enemies, it was taking him too long to kill the guard with his knife so I decided to kill him myself; the enemy not the helper. I found one secret. It’s an interesting game with nice flybys, give it a try." - Kristina (25-Aug-2005)

"Lara is accused of murdering a woman she met in a park and sent to a prison, from where as she has heard from the other prisoners - no one has yet returned alive. So Lara's task is to break out of this madhouse and find out who has framed her. That would be the captivating storyline in a nutshell, which I decided to add for the non-german speaking part of the community, as it is seldom people put so much effort into storylines, and it'd be a shame if the majority wouldn't even know what this is about. As for the level itself - it's quite interesting on many levels. The whole structure is very mazelike, and you have to remember locations of keyholes and the like along the way, so this is one of those levels you have to do in one go, and can't leave to play months later. While the labyrinth setup might not sound so good for some, and the overdose of keys and switches might ruin it for some, there are a handful of pretty clever tasks like the multi-button operated double doors, timed run, fun jump sequences and a really neat and challenging trap-athlon, crawlspace race to name some of the tasks which I enjoyed here. Also, though the maze setup could've been pretty confusing, and at times was, generally you had enough cameras to show you where's the next place to go, and while talking of cameras - I have to say that there's some pretty clever use of them here mostly - especially the one fly-by which shows you the level from a guards perspective was well made and pretty clever - pity the switch that activated it could be operated multiple times as that kind of spoiled it. The looks are very eclectic, mixing nearly every texture and object set in existence, which surprisingly doesn't look as bad as you'd expect it to, but in my book hardly will win the award for the best looking level out there. Strangely attractive would be a good description. An unusual but well done level all in all, especially for a debut of the author! If anything else - I didn't like the abrupt ending, and the thing that the story didn't clear up all that much when finishing the level, so maybe we can hope for a sequel to make this all up? I certainly hope so!" - eTux (11-Aug-2005)

"If you like non-linear and complex level designs, and you’ve got a good cognitive map then the Madhouse is your kind of place. Set in a complex prison your goal is to escape. It’s one of those levels where you will feel on the verge of being overwhelmed on a few occasions as more and more areas open up for you to explore and you know you’ve left tasks undone in the earlier areas - you will reach points where you pick up keys and you think - I should know where this goes… but I can’t remember! Chances are you will resolve everything. Despite seeming hard I managed to complete the game without recourse to forum help or walkthrough so overall the gameplay seemed pitched just about right for me. That is a great achievement for a first-time builder, as it is so easy to make the gameplay either too hard or too easy. Texturing was generally well applied, and the lighting was functional if a tad uninspired. The camerawork was good and featured a very impressive flyby that gave you a first-person view of what a guard sees as he investigates an alarm going off. Overall, the only real complaint I have was that you needed to use German scripts despite all the prison signs being in English. IMPORTANT NOTE: When you release the prisoner be sure not to shoot him because that will break his AI - and you need this guy to help you escape at the end." - Dick (08-Aug-2005)

"Wow! Move over boys and girls - there's a new kid in town and this person has just bowled me over with their first game! The gameplay is very clever in this one and you'll have to pay close attention to what activating certain levers and doors does - therein lies the puzzle. Lara is trying to escape from the local Madhouse and she's ‘over’ her tired prison garb (find this woman an evening gown). She has to work her way through the place, past a host of obstacles including machine guns, guards, laser traps, and wild beasties. You will love the scene when the hallways grow dark and the yellow beacon that is flashing raises the goosebumps on your arms. Terrific atmosphere! I thought this game was unique and great fun! I hope you are busy working on your next adventure, ansi, because I can guarantee we will be waiting! Thanks for a great raid!" - Mugs (01-Aug-2005)
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