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Level: BtB2006 - Gardens of Japan back home search
Author(s): dantheraider
total rating:5.91 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Anurag 7 8 7 9
Bojrkraider 7 7 6 6
CC 6 6 5 6
Ceamonks890 5 5 4 4
Dutchy 6 7 8 8
Engelchen Lara 6 7 7 7
eRIC 5 6 5 5
eTux 5 4 5 5
Gerty 5 5 6 5
Jay 6 8 6 6
Jorge22 7 7 6 6
Jose 6 7 6 7
Kristina 5 5 5 6
manarch2 4 4 4 4
MichaelP 6 6 6 6
Mman 4 5 3 3
Moonpooka 6 5 5 5
Neso 5 5 4 7
Obig 6 7 7 7
Orbit Dream 3 5 4 5
Oxy 7 6 7 6
Phil 7 7 8 8
QRS 7 7 7 7
rjb 7 7 7 7
rtrger 5 7 6 6
Ryan 5 5 5 5
Sash 5 4 6 5
Selene 8 7 7 6
Staticon 6 7 7 7
Sutekh 5 5 6 6
Thorir 6 5 5 6
Treeble 6 7 6 6
Whistle 5 6 7 7
category averages
(33 reviews)
5.73 6.03 5.85 6.03

Reviewer's comments

"This is quite a basic level that also seemed unfinished and had a duration of only 25 minutes. There's nothing really extraordinary in terms of gameplay, the surroundings are bland and basic and there were quite a few oddities elsewhere (continuously flashing waterfall textures, the rather odd appearance of wraiths - usually water was only a couple of feet away, you apparently had to take damage to shoot a vital target even with the LaserSight and the level ends in a very abrupt manner after pushing a switch, leaving a few areas unexplored and apparently inaccessible). The linear flow has a sort of charm and the traps spiced things up somewhat, but otherwise it's quite underdone." - Ryan (08-Apr-2018)

"As far as Back to Basics levels go, this isn't too bad with entertaining albeit basic(pardon the unintended pun!) gameplay and decent use of assets provided for the contest, alongside a generally passable atmosphere as a whole, with the level ultimately concluding rather abruptly after only 19 minutes. And while there was only one frustrating gameplay sequence worth mentioning amongst this fairly comfortable experience(involving the infamous wall blade traps from TR2), I'd highly recommend approaching with caution, if you have a risk of seizures(as the builder nonsensically placed non-animated waterfall textures on numerous portions of walls that will continually flash for no real logical reason, throughout your general playthrough.) But if you aren't among those who have a risk of having a seizure upon witnessing continuous flashing images on screen, then I'd give this one a go at the very least." - Ceamonks890 (11-Jul-2015)

"Considerably shorter than The Quest, but at least slightly better and at least with a certain bit of passion. The looks are at least a bit varied, although many walls aren't properly divided and thus the textures are squeezed. Architecturewise it's very basic with only few occasions where the boxy nature of the map is broken, the use of sounds and cameras is minimalistic too. The object design is done as an afterthought mostly and doesn't create much variety, only a few enemy attacks are more interesting - yet still there aren't any secrets in here. The gameplay is very fast paced (which I appreciated even more considering the tedium of the previous one) and doesn't offer any great things, yet is not totally boring and enjoyable for the 15 minutes it lasts." - manarch2 (19-Mar-2015)

"This level is obviously by a somewhat new author, and quite rushed as well. Each area is cubic, and the lighting is flat and white outside of one or two parts, texturing is also off, with some distracting flashing water textures in random places, and lots of stretched or otherwise unfitting placement.
Gameplay is almost completely linear and very basic, there's some simple block-moving challenges and various hidden levers along with some other tasks, but it lacks any sort of unifying theme (not helped by the linearity) and feels like the author was just testing out a bunch of disparate ideas for the first time. It also ends incredibly abruptly and makes it obvious the level wasn't finished. This entry needed a lot more work." - Mman (24-Dec-2011)

"This was way too easy and short. Texturing is repetitive. Small challenges to face but nothing really serious. Some lighting changes to hide switches but I found it for the first time. I didn't get why the builder put a flyby to help with the puzzle, since it's quite obvious. Ambient music doesn't fit to this level. It started to be nice, but after that they're too many beginner things, and the level seems to be unfinished otherewise." - rtrger (13-Jun-2010)

"22 minutes. No secret. Well... Beyond the fact that the Oriental kit looks more as a Chinese one than a Japanese one, I found the gameplay a little boring. Push the switches, avoid some traps (spikes, flames and wraiths)... what's more ? The end is meaningless to me." - Neso (05-Aug-2007)

"Daniel only gets better and better and this level is surely the best he has produced. Maybe tads too short but there are some nice areas with cool puzzles. The only thing I think the author should think about is not making the switches and doors so close to each other. Sometimes they produce no challenge at all. Just taking time so to speak. Other than that, I have nothing to complain about. 30 minutes of nice game play!" - QRS (10-Feb-2007)

"A fairly simple level. Levers and enemies and one loses an important piece. Textures are a bit repetitive and some walls flicker. Also rather short, so not much to say and atmosphere did not work so well for me and could have used a bit more work. Simple level, so on to the next...." - Engelchen Lara (14-Jul-2006)

"The gameplay is pretty basic in this level with some switches, target balls to shoot and monkeys, snakes and guys although the monkeys are harmless so don't bother killing them. The blinking textures on the waterfalls were weird and I didn't see any reason to that, also at the end the spikes didn't retract and the underwater gate didn't open but when I used the wall switch the level ended so I am confused about that. Anyway it's just a short and easy level." - Kristina (10-Mar-2006)

"An easy level in spite of some tougher difficulties such as the horizontal blades part. The architecture may be considered a little too simple. It all flows, anyway, and that's good. Now, I found the ending a bit strange and abrupt... one could probably expect a little more." - Jorge22 (26-Feb-2006)

"The textures are beautiful also on this level. We are adventuring in a Japanese environment; we have to collect the Yin-Yang amulets here as well. The challenges are a little bit easy, and the ending is like it would be uncomplete. At least the other lever could have been one that has to be pulled and then we could have left the level through the opened grating in the pool. The only dificulty was tha passing through the blades, but this task can be also completed without using medipacks. There are no secrets on the level, and the challenges are also simple; it was a light adventure. Though I suggest to play it for a little recreation. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/16/btb2006_2_gardens_of_japan.htm" - Obig (25-Feb-2006)

"Quite short at just over 20 minutes and quite easy too as you will hardly ever wonder what to do next. Some of the quick back and forth is entertaining though and the fast pace rather charming. The pushing of the objects was unnecessarily far and thus unnecessarily tedious. The setting is relatively basic with a sequence of fairly square rooms and you get to battle a few of those white guys along the way." - MichaelP (19-Feb-2006)

"A short level with a really fast gameplay; you'll not have to think so much to advance through the rooms. I only find a tricky task: going through the blades with the thug disturbing you (you can't kill him there 'cause the Ying-Yang falls under the blades and you can't pick it up). Simply architecture, a few small bugs, I didn't find the grenade launcher and no secrets too. A well playable level but with nothing interesting in it." - Jose (10-Feb-2006)

"Actually I didn't find this level all that bad, rather short and sweet. Extremely short in fact, even though I spent as much as 40 minutes on it. Luckily I only encountered one of the mentioned bugs; the gate in the room with the wraith closed at first so that Lara got stuck, but after I reloaded a savegame it opened by itself after climbing some blocks. Enemies were ninjas, a few wraiths and one snake....not very challenging in other words. The puzzles were extremely easy and straightforward and it didn't take a lot to be able to figure them out. The traps weren't that hard either, a few blades, three boulders and some spikes that didn't pose as a threat as long as you avoid them. The sound was sparse, or rather not present at all and that I wasn't too happy about. The textures were a bit stretched and blinking in many places and the atmosphere was ok, but a tad flat. There were no secrets to find in this level and it's for most parts suitable for beginners rather than more experienced raiders." - Selene (07-Feb-2006)

"Well, this was a short level. Lara in search of a tunnel of water to escape from the gardens that she has become inadvertently trapped in. I was enjoying myself immensely in this fast paced adventure when, all of a sudden, it was over. Perhaps a tad too fast paced? You could at least have let Lara dive into the pool and swim a little way along the tunnel. :-D Apart from a couple of dodgy textures, this wasn't a bad little level. Nice and easy to get yourself into the swing of things and perfect for eternal beginners like myself. The only real problem was the shortness of the game. Still, an enjoyable little escapade." - Staticon (06-Feb-2006)

"This short and simple level (most likely coming from a new-comer) won't really take the players by storm with offering little new in every aspect, but with lasting a little below 20 minutes, there's no time for boredom to kick in either. A camera clue wouldn't have gone amiss here and there (like seeing what turned off the spikes at the beginning of the level), but on the whole this actually is fairly enjoyable in its simplicity, with some nasty, yet manageable traps, and a few of what I call the "step-by-step" puzzles (do one task at the time to be able to complete the next one in the same room and so on) were quite fun. The looks were nice, save for a few beginnerish characteristics (like overly large rooms, simple room geometry - though they don't really subtract much from the overall appeal, their lack just shows that the level has not used it's resources to the fullest), but I do wonder how many seizures the flashing rooms have caused so far - the author could've been more gentle on the eyes of the players with those rather nasty effects ;-). The abrupt ending, and useless grenades add to the feeling that the level isn't entirely completed, but with the given deadline, maybe the author was in rush to get it done? Well, it doesn't matter much now - most likely this won't be the winner of the competition (not that that's what counts), but it is playable and most importantly can be enjoyed anyway, so worthy a try at least." - eTux (05-Feb-2006)

"It is a pretty easy level, & dont know why but it looks like the authors first level, as the game could have been much more tougher. I liked the Blade passage where you have to jump over the boulders & kill a guy to get the 2nd Yingyang peice. Objects used do seem to fit in the place. I couldn't find any secrets in this level though . All the items are easily available shoot some balls & get the crowbar for eg. Anyways I m happy with the author's decision to not to traumatize the players with very difficult jumps & ending up with Lara dying all throughout the level. In other wirds the level was pretty EASY; & not to mention about the medpacks & pickups that u get are ample in amount." - Anurag (05-Feb-2006)

"There's nothing terribly sophisticated here, and yes, you do get somewhat shortchanged on playing time (about 30 minutes for me, with a walkthrough which I didn't really need), but I'm at a loss to account for the low scores I've seen in the reviews thus far posted. If it's someone's first effort, it's rather admirably put together in my opinion. Enemies are well spaced, and some of them carry crucial items. I was tempted to shoot the monkeys to see if my computer would explode or something, but I refrained. The lighting was effective, and the surroundings were suitably pleasing to the eye. I'd recommend this level primarily for beginning raiders, and even the seasoned veterans among us should lighten up and find something to enjoy here. (I'm in such a charitable mood this evening that it's a shame I didn't pick Cloud of Sparrows to play at a time when I was comparably disposed.)" - Phil (04-Feb-2006)

"What can I say? It ended before it even started. The gameplay was really fast, which I liked, everything was in the motion. I wouldn't mind if a level would be a little longer. This is like a strawberry on the top of the cream, but without the cream. I couldn't find any gardens. :P Time: 25/37. Difficulty: easy. Lighting: bright. Gameplay type: quicky. Tech skills: basic." - Bojrkraider (30-Jan-2006)

"A small, walled garden to begin. We are attacked almost immediately, when we find our assailant - as virtually every attacker in the game - drops a goodie or essential item. A nice little 'to-and-fro' at the start of our adventure. (Cameras and/or sounds to confirm doors opening, spikes lowering, etc, every now and again would have 'added' to the effect, though.) Then a bit more 'to-and-froing' in the next section, where the action is perhaps a little more involved. (Again, cameras and/or sounds would have been good.) Interesting 'development', escalating of the difficulty. Ah. Seems to me that an essential item dropped by a guard COULD end up directly beneath a (low) cutting blade such that we could not then reach it. (The blade being stopped wouldn't help [unless it could be guaranteed to stop next to the wall] as it might stop OVER the item). Pity, as being attacked while 'between' blades made for a good, definitely 'risky' encounter! Our need for increased wariness continues. Not entirely convinced about the flashing blue walls but the trap that follows upon trap is interesting. And suddenly we finish. (And some ammo collected that we didn't use, as the relevant guns didn't materialise.) My 'thorough exploring' time was 37 mins and my 'fast as possible, pick up everything' time was 13 mins. With patience, despite many tricky bits, it is possible to go through the game and suffer no health loss." - rjb (30-Jan-2006)

"This wasn't so much my liking. The gameplay is pretty straight forward but as it wasn't linear there was a tad too much back and fro for my taste. Had two nasty "bugs" I think, One was a wraith that popped up every time I left the room where I got the Dragon Key (Shaft Key), also the door slammed shut after Lara tried to go back to the water there to get rid of the pesky thing. Another was that in the room where I had to place the Yin-Yang and died, I got thrown back to my desktop. Those flashy walls are NOT pleasing to my eyes at all, in fact I even got a headache from it. 22-01-2006" - Gerty (28-Jan-2006)

"Taken from the storyline: "Lara must find a tunnel of water to escape from the Gardens of Japan." Mmmm... sorry, but she was literally beamed out by simply flipping a switch leaving a couple of undone tasks behind her. This and a couple of other details (grenade ammo without a single grenade launcher, for instance) screams incompletion. Maybe the builder didn't have time enough to put all s/he wanted to put in this level. Added to that, the gameplay is waaaaay too easy. What's the point of electrical wraiths if you're just standing on the edge of a deep water pool? And the rest of the gameplay mainly consists of flipping levers, switches and jump-switches to open some door or deactivate some trap located just nearby. There is one exception, though, with a blade sequence and a very well placed enemy that tells me the builder is capable of much much better. Plan your moves carefully and you can do it without using a single medipack. Loved it. Enemies are generally placed in a very conventional way (with the aforementioned exception) and sometimes get "stuck in a circle" which makes them fair game. There was a very unnecessary fly-by at one point (we really didn't need it to understand the tasks at hand, and it was a waste of time more than anything). No music that I remember of and the atmosphere is not really overwhelming. The settings is well-done, with nicely applied texture except for those psychedelic ones that I absolutely hated. First it didn't fit and second it hurt the eyes. All this being said, this is a very short level, so no time for boredom. I completed it in 31' and I really took my time. Considering this, it's worth a short detour." - Sutekh (19-Jan-2006)

"As this was the first of the Back to Basics I played I was slightly disappointed as it was very short, 25 minutes, and had a repetitive nature to the gaming, de-trap a lever that will de-trap another lever that will then allow you to move an item. I did like some of the blade traps as they held a bit of a challenge, especially the blade hallway at the top of a ladder as halfway through you are set on by a bully boy ninja who wants to push you back into the blades. I was hoping to end this at a beautiful Japanese garden but instead you end in a small courtyard with pool, with only a little greenery so not what I would call a garden, where you pull a lever that ends the level but there is still a gate in the pool that is unopened, and if you run into the spike trap where another lever is and use it, taking health when needed, this also ends the game there and then, so it gave a very the level an unfinished feel. I found no secrets and think this is more suited to a raiding beginner." - Sash (17-Jan-2006)

"What a curiously botched affair this was. The sky was blood red;the water appeared to be scudding along without any discernable current;wraiths sometimes attacked,sometimes didn't (but as they always appeared directly above water they didn't really serve a point anyway); animation ranges were used to create a waterfall effect;one Heavy dropped a vital puzzle piece directly beneath swinging blades;there were several areas that were apparently impossible to access;and the game finished after pulling a lever amidst spikes. It was all rather endearing,though (and I loved the rolling ball intentionally wobbling off course due to a small slope) but no more than a very slight diversion." - Orbit Dream (16-Jan-2006)

"A good little level, not very long, that can be completed in less than 30 minutes. Every room has at least one puzzle to solve, either for deactivating a trap, or to open the next door, or both. There are some shooting puzzles as well. For a couple of traps, you can use a leap of faith by using a small medipack to continue. Some of the enemies are well used, for example a baddie appears when you are negotiating a stargate trap and the baboons often show up when you are aiming at a baddie, which adds to the challenge. But this level is an easy one, suitable for beginners." - eRIC (16-Jan-2006)

"Game play rather on the easy side with items easily found and the level generally is repetitive and rather naive, although generally well put together. I would guess built by a relative novice to level building. The graphics is standard and the sound unobtrusive. But the camera angles need some work and a flyby masks puzzle switches some of them are unnecessary as the scenes they illuminate are obvious. The textures also tend to be over repeated in quite a few rooms." - Whistle (14-Jan-2006)

"Not too bad a level, bit too easy here and there, but certainly nice to play. Didn't understand the line"don't shoot the Monkeys". Did you have any use of them?, mine never showed the way or anything, they were only sitting in front of a door when I tried to open it so I had to clear the way :0) The end was a riddle, the gate didn't open and the spikes didn't go down so just try to run in the Spikes and the level ends by pulling the switch there." - Dutchy (14-Jan-2006)

"There's a nice kind of naivety about this level. It seems very simple, and yet there are some nasty traps to pass, like those horizontal blades (appropriate if not so nice touch of the pools of blood where we assume previous explorers were caught). There are a few monkeys in this level. Shooting them will make them turn on Lara, or cause other problems in the level. Ok, no problem, so we won't shoot them. But what about the guys running around among them that we have to shoot? Not so easy. We're looking for a yin/yang combo here, switches, levers, objects to move, gems, stars, and balls to shoot. There's one of those cool snakes in the water. Lara looks great, and I love the Back to Basic t-shirt she's wearing. As this is the first of these levels I've played I'm interested to know if she wears this t-shirt in all the others. Cool! I really don't know what's happening at the end - two switches that end the level, yet there is a closed gate underwater!" - CC (14-Jan-2006)

"Woowee, I had a devil of a job getting through the corridor with slicing blades and added thug. No wonder the medipacks were generously supplied. Apart from that the game was short and easy, but the ending was distinctly odd - I threw a lever and the game immediately crashed, despite my not having gone through a door in the pool. I don't know whether that was intentional, but I just couldn't get any further so I have to assume that was the end. Hmm." - Jay (12-Jan-2006)

"Ok I will keep this short and sweet, because that's the way the level progressed and there is really that much I can say about it. It wasn't that good looking; the rooms were dull and quite empty. Game play is straight forward and you won't get stuck, you simply go into a room, move a few objects, use a lever or shoot a ball and there's what you need to progress. Items you will need are a gem, two stars, Ying Yang x 2 plus crowbar, revolver and sight. Enemies are some wraiths; who attack when you are right next to the water, so not much of a threat there; and ninjas who show up at every possible moment. There are a few hideous wall blade traps ad in one area it will drive you nuts as a blade swipes at Lara as soon as she climbs the ladder. Health it is supplied in large amounts throughout the level, and you will virtually be given your weapons as they are right there under your nose. I guess I didn't enjoy this too much, maybe it's more suited to a beginner and if so then I would say will done, but for more advanced Raiders this might be a tad boring. Not my sort of level, but a nice effort anyway." - Moonpooka (07-Jan-2006)

"A pretty straightforward and really simple level. Most of the time you'll see two or three levers in a same room, but first you must push one to make the area safe (ie retract the spikes) to push the second to grant access to the third that will open the nearby door. There are a few flashing rooms that weren't nice to the eyes, the lighting of the level could have used some work. All in all it's just an average level, my bet is that this was from one of the newcomers. The ending is also abrupt at pulling one lever, with the other protected by some spikes and an underwater gate. Curiously, I rushed thorugh the spikes and pushed that lever to see if the underwater gate would open, but that one gate ALSO triggered the end of the level. 20 minutes. 01/06" - Treeble (07-Jan-2006)

"A short Japanese level. Lara starts out in an area with a big tree. The level is quite linear and you should only have to follow one path to get to the end of the level. The gameplay consisted mostly of getting through dangerous traps and blades, there were very little puzzles. There are a few men with wooden swords that attack you once in a while. One time was when I was in the middle of getting through a corridor with blades. NOT EASY!! It was impossible to kill the guy quick enough. He pushed me back onto the blades and I was dead in a second. After maybe twenty tries, I finally managed to jump sideways over him and the blades in the corridor. Challenging, but I not exactly my idea of fun! The atmosphere is oriental, but I don't think the builder manages to make the fullest of the potential... The level ends very abruptly with Lara pulling a switch. Huh?? The lighting is fine, the textures are fine, but in all it is a bit too simple to be a enjoyable level. An OK way to spend half an hour, if you have played the other oriental levels." - Thorir (04-Jan-2006)

"Level, suitable for beginners with simple architecture, only half hour of game play. In game are some traps which needs medipacks to proceed :-)))) (sitting near computer and playing I also told them what they deserve when I passed by) :-)), but there is plenty of medi so no worries. I'm glad I had sixshooter. :-) Game play is very linear, some pushable blocks and some switches to reveal from spikes. Also Ying-Yang is to be found and the star. Everything is waiting on the way. I didn't find any secrets. Enemies are some men with stick with no big fret - they run fast :-))) so they give you some jumping and shooting (placed are well), snake is waiting in the water and baboons (which doesn't do any harm - unless you shoot them, so I left them alone). Rooms with blinking water on walls made me feel strange and also red sky - never seen it before - and blood on floor made me wonder. I found the tunnel in water in the end, but I wasn't able to open door to swim through. Game ended with last switch so I guess there is more to it. :-) I would like to see the garden. :-) I also turned the last switch in the spikes using medipack. I wanted to know what will happen. Game ended, nothing else happened. I recommend this level as a training level for wall blades and water blades. From textures I liked the small corridor with dark wood textures, where you pick up the gem." - Oxy (02-Jan-2006)
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