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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2005 - The Snow Queen 2 - North Pole back home search
Author(s): Lumina Artis Coloris
total rating:7.95 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 10 10 10 9
CC 6 8 9 8
Duncan 8 8 9 9
Gerty 5 7 8 8
Jay 6 7 9 9
Jose 9 8 8 8
Kristina 6 7 7 7
manarch2 6 6 8 7
MichaelP 7 8 9 8
Moonpooka 7 8 9 8
Phil 9 8 8 8
rjb 8 8 9 8
Ryan 8 8 8 8
Sash 8 7 9 9
category averages
(14 reviews)
7.36 7.71 8.57 8.14

Reviewer's comments

"This is much more complex and challenging than the first Snow Queen level. Unlike the confined exploration of a snowy village, here we have a more open-ended adventure through snowcapped mountains and icy waters. There's a huge amount of ground to cover, so if you don't want to end up overwhelmed and confused, you might want the excellent walkthrough close by. With it, I was able to finish in 50 minutes net, but it was much more in gross terms. There's also the novel concept of a snowmobile race, where you can collect a key and (if you're extremely zippy) a secretary. I'll own up, I had to forgo this secret after many frustrations and reloads and I still didn't get it. I would also like to commend the builder on using a background loop that was placid to listen to. It's a shame that we couldn't explore the temple in the final area, though." - Ryan (12-Dec-2017)

"After the first part of the series I didn't expect much from this, but I was positively surprised to see this is something much better. The arctic atmosphere is conveyed in a way few levels managed until now - of course there are several shortcomings but those are minor if you ask me. Visually it's pretty decent, with solid texturing and good, if mostly bland lighting, the use of sounds and cameras is quite strong and I really liked the architecture here, although there are unrealistic parts, thin walls and a few possible end-of-the-world moments. The gameplay is quite exploration based but despite of a bit of confusion coming up due to the large open setting there's barely a heavy stuck moment here. The undoubted highlight was of course the snowmobile ride which is quite challenging especially if you go for the secret - a true expert challenge to get it, it took me quite many attempts. The seven secrets are decently hidden, although the plethora of ammunition given is pointless. Of course I have to say that the gameplay is otherwise not so strong with several less inspired passages, but the jump sequences, few traps and small puzzles are all put together competently and I enjoyed the 25 minutes here much more than I thought. Recommended." - manarch2 (01-Jan-2016)

"This is one of the most elaborately complicated levels I've ever played, Christmas or no Christmas, and even though there are no enemies about you can expect to spend at least an hour and a half navigating the myriad ice cliffs and underground rivers, even if you're relying on the walkthrough for assistance. And speaking of the walkthrough, there's no need to tweak the files as Harry suggests. If you also download and install Snow Queen 1, you won't have any problem with the files provided for the sequel. When you reach the end, you're treated to a massive ice temple with a promise from the builder of more to come. Sadly, three years have passed and we still don't have Snow Queen 3, so maybe 2008 will be the year. The game map in Snow Queen 2 is quite immense, unlike the small town coziness of Snow Queen 1. This one definitely ranks with the upper class of the Advent offerings, so download and play it if you haven't already done so. High recommendations." - Phil (29-Sep-2008)

"Lara arrives to the North Pole to find the Snow Queen's castle. In order to get there, she needs to go through a race track with the snowmobile, icy canyons, underwater tunnels, and to find two hands, two cartouche pieces and a key, even the torch comes handy. The level is very nicely made, the race track was fun, at first I didn't find the nitro, so couldn't get better than 70, the last door remained closed, but with a shortcut, I could do 60 without it. Also the jump to the iceberg with the secret can be performed without nitro. Once I found it, it became too easy, but it was great fun, nontheless. I like levels like this one, that forces us to explore, and think about what to do next, imho the very spirit of TR. The author made a good arctic atmosphere with the icy canyons, snowballs, icicles, icebergs, not if I have ever been there though, but I imagine it would be something like this. Very good background music. I liked the dolphin, it was a nice touch. There are awful lot of pickups for a violence free Christmas level, also there are arrows and an uzi clip, but no sign of the guns. That castle looks really amazing, too bad once Lara reaches it, the level ends, but with a promise of the continuation, can't wait for it." - Akcy (08-Jan-2007)

"I sometimes find when I play a custom level that I think has been under-appreciated, that it galvanises me to add my own two-penn'orth towards trying to redress the balance. (See "Losing Your Marbles"!) From the expansive opening fly-by on, showing great vistas, I liked this level a great deal, even though it took me 3 days to get through it! I, too, wish it had been tested much more thoroughly, as there were many places to become stuck in the scenery (eg under water) and many EoW views (some found by that snowmobile!). I also agree with those who comment that it seems far too complex a game for an Advent level. I (also) had great difficulty in deciding what to do first, and had to check with the walkthrough after I had thoroughly explored. Having said that, I didn't find there were many places where, if I did explore thoroughly, I missed something important. I did find almost everything myself - eventually! What I really liked was the game's 'authentic feel'. I truly felt that I was 'virtually' out in the Arctic, aided by the wonderful 'icy' music, the construction of the icy cliffs and plateaux, and the marvellous 'look' of the sea, trying to find out what was possible and what wasn't - and trying to avoid the numerous ways of being deaded. I liked the intricacies of so many of the things we had to do, from the careful ways we needed to travel between ice floes, shooting ice-sections that revealed important 'aids' to our progress, to the involved snowmobile track, and trying to work out the best way to tackle it, to the leap into space to reach the ice floe that remained off-limits by any other means, to the not-straightforward ways to reach various areas lower down inside the main crevasse. I also liked the lovely roses we could collect as secrets, the details of Lara's outfit and her more intricate [Legend-like?] face (and many other things). The secret at the end of the snowmobile ride I could only manage after I had found the nitrous oxide booster, though there was the (presumably deliberate but almost hidden) way that you could reach it if you raced along the last part of the route on foot. (I confess that the one piece of music I didn't like was that for the snowmobile track, which I turned right down.) I like to pick up all objects in a game (46 colt revolver rounds [nice to see the word 'separate' spelled correctly! - and I liked the trouble taken to subtly alter certain other wording], 10 bars of chocolate and 9 presents [and 83 flares!] at the end) but I try also to see just how quickly it is possible to complete a game. (So I needed to do the snowmobile ride twice, to get all the items below in the maze and also the secret at the top - though I actually tried it at least twice more, not counting the numerous saves and reloads because of banging into walls, etc!) My overall 'fast' time - with the 3 days of exploring(!) - was just under 24Ĺ minutes, picking up everything I could find (though I didn't find uzi guns or a crossbow for that ammo, so I may still have missed some). I thought Lumina's Easter 05 level showed a lot of potential and I think this game confirms a real talent." - rjb (25-May-2006)

"A vast arctic landscape, icebergs in the ocean, small wooden huts, deep chasms, a snowmobile storage shed, and a racetrack. There are eight snowmobiles in the shed, so you can take another one if you have to abandon the last one in a precarious place, which does happen. This is a lovely level, but it is also very confusing, as I'm sure a real life landscape of this nature would be. A lot of ground to cover, and it's all covered in snow. I really liked the timed snowmobile runs, the overhead cameras as Lara makes it through the ice maze, the moving snowballs, the ones you shoot to cause an avalanche, burning a way through the ice floor, the climbing and shimmying around ice bergs, the beautiful ice roses, and a strange situation of a trapped killer whale. All this leads us up to a beautiful mountain palace in the clouds that looks really impressive, especially when we see Lara running through the 'clouds'. I played this twice, the second time with the walkthrough. The first time I got totally lost and didn't understand what exactly happened or where I had to go next, running around like the eponymous headless chicken. As one of the Advent levels there are no enemies, but there certainly are many places that Lara will die if she's not careful, or finds herself stuck forever. I'm not sure if this one is for the kiddies. Even so, with the walkthrough at hand, the player will reach the end. It's challenging, and there is certainly a great sense of place. It is hinted that there will be a continuation. I really hope there is, especially if it means we get inside that beautiful palace." - CC (22-Mar-2006)

"Not really a Christmas level, meaning there are no decorations to give you a festive feeling but just snow and a 'cold' atmosphere. I got so confused with this level at times that I thought about dropping it but I kept on and finished it after an hour and thirty minutes. There are places you can get to and you're not suppose to but the worst of them all is getting down where you need to use the torch without having opened the double gates. You cannot climb back up again so the game is ruined and you have to reload. That in my book is a big no, no and a serious gameplay flaw hence the low rating in that category. There are some issues with missing textures in some areas and the 'end of the world' bug. The race was dead easy once I found out the way to do it. Just drive and smash the glass walls with the snowmobile and get the goodies, then get another one to do the race properly. Once you arrive to that semi slope on your right, make a jump on foot and sprint so you get all the gates to open and pick both the key and secret. I got all seven secrets and found the one that needed the snowmobile challenging. The level should have been more linear in order to not confuse the player, having it so 'open' can only lead to trouble. The flyby with the Ice palace at the end was wonderful. Try it out but be careful and save often." - Kristina (05-Mar-2006)

"I've got a problem when trying to execute this level: when loading the load screen the game crashed and went to desktop. I solved this problem installing the "dorf.tr4" from the first part of "Snow Queen" in the data folder because this archive is really the title archive. The race was very good, but it's difficult drive fast so you can get the secret. You can go down where the second cartouche piece is without open the grated door (with a lot of damage) but you'll can go back and have to reload. Near the end you'll find a beautiful ice village. A level quite good, I liked it more than the first part." - Josť (31-Jan-2006)

"A beautiful level, but very frustrating for me as I seemed to get lost at every twist and turn, and that was a shame because this really is a fab looking level which I nearly ended up binning, so, I can only hope the builder takes notes and doesnít leave us so stranded next time. The level is set up in the snowy mountains and is a continuation of the Snow Queen Ė The Village level, so be sure and have the first level installed or this wonít run. Lara arrives somewhere in the North Pole and nearby is the home of the Snow Queen I assume, I sort of lost the drift of the story but there is a beautiful palace up in the hills and this is where I am told we get to visit next. Lara will be making her way through various tricky places with snow balls and icicles dropping, there is some shooting to do with the revolver and sight but finding them is another thing, well the revolver I found quite early on, but the sight I came to much later and sort of stumbled upon it. There are also items to collect to open doors such as the cartouche and hand of Sirius. Moving on to crashing wall ice burgs, well this was great, I havenít seen that before but they crash across the water ways and was a nice touch. There are seven secrets to this level I am told, but I only found two. I think with some testing this would have been great, but the many hindering factors lets it down, I got stuck I donít know how many times in gaps and crevices, I could see ugly breaks in the walls, and the utter confusion left me irritated, so for game play this is not so much fun, but on the other note, it looked wonderful." - Moonpooka (18-Jan-2006)

"This is an amazing arctic landscape of ice fields, ravines and ice floes in the less than friendly water. If you enjoy snowmobile races, youíll want to have a go at this one, although I must confess I did find it rather confusing in parts and had to turn to the forum for help, which isnít normally the case with an Advent Calendar level. So, a little frustrating but so good looking that you just want to persevere and the ending is well worth a look." - Jay (09-Jan-2006)

"The setting to this level was just so delicious that it was a shame to leave. From the opening flyby you are treated to a panoramic view of a massive ice land mass with floating icebergs in the ocean that surround it and I was champing at the bit for the flyby to finish so I could start exploring. When you do get to go on the hunt for fun you are not disappointed as at the North Pole there is a timed skidoo race track to complete, and if you do so in a certain time frame you are rewarded with one of the 7 secrets, you can also use the skidoo in conjunction with another secret to go for one blast of a jump for, you guessed it, another secret perched on a seemingly impossible to get to iceberg. Apart from that you have plenty of little tasks that at times may seem a bit obscure, such as target shooting some ice chunks that will eventually trigger open a gate, but I didnít seem to find any trouble playing through to the end and I had a wonderful time doing so. My only disappointment was that once you reach a huge grand ice castle hidden away you donít actually get to play in it, but as the ending tells you this is to be continued I am hoping for the best that the next level will allow me to do so. I collected 6 of the 7 secrets, just couldnít make the timed skidoo one, and finished in 70 minutes." - Sash (08-Jan-2006)

"Sorry to say so but this level is an example where you can see that knowing how to built doesnít mean that you can make a nice level. The gameplay is as (if not more so) important as knowing where and how to use the textures. This level, in my opinion) hasnít been tested as well. Found numerous invisible blocks to prevent Lara from going places. There are better ways to do that. Also there are a couple of places Lara CAN go and canít get back and you canít proceed, so you have to reload. This only adds to the frustration which I thought was a crying shame as the whole lay out (once you finally figured out where to go) was well designed. 12-12-2005" - Gerty (23-Dec-2005)

"I started this level really liking the huge, open setting that has lots to do. I got a bit turned around down in the crevasse, but that soon passed. I was able to finish the level without any problems. When the gameplay is open and non-linear like this, it can be confusing but it can also be a real challenge. So it would be good for better clues showing what to do - having more clues will certainly result in less complaining from the players. For example, at the end of the snowmobile timed run I got a cut scene showing the race track from above, and I have no idea what that was for. I got the feeling the level was released before it was quite ready. There are some original bits, and I loved the Snow Queen's palace - an excellent ending! This is a good level that is a lot of fun to play." - Duncan (18-Dec-2005)

"This could rate so much higher in gameplay if it were not so utterly confusing and misleading. Because it is a fairly open level you can get to many places prior to actually needing to be there and there are very few hints about what you actually need to accomplish in the first place. Once you begin to get to a few things in the right sequence it begins to fall into place nicely but by then you are likely to be rather frustrated already, unless you turn out to be lucky. Having said that, the overall North Pole setting is truly well designed and very impressive. There are seven nice secrets to find and I only missed the snow mobile race one as I simply did not try hard enough to get to below 50 seconds. You will need two hands, a revolver and lasersight to trigger an avalanche of snowballs (nice), a gold key as your price for the fun snow mobile race and two pieces of a cartouche. The beautiful flyby of the Ice Palace at the end wets your appetite for the sequel, which hopefully will turn out to be a little less confusing. I doubt anybody will be able to complete this level without forum help, but once you know what to do it will have a net game time of less than an hour." - MichaelP (16-Dec-2005)
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