trle.net
Level: BtB2006 - The House of Kuan-Yin Lo back home search
Author(s): Isis
total rating:9.31 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Andzia9 9 9 9 10
Anurag 8 8 9 9
Bojrkraider 10 8 10 10
CC 10 9 10 10
DJ Full 8 9 9 8
Dutchy 10 9 10 10
dya1403 8 9 10 10
eRIC 10 9 10 10
eTux 10 9 9 9
Gerty 10 9 10 9
Jay 10 9 10 10
Jerrod 9 8 9 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 8 8 10 10
Kristina 8 7 8 9
Loupar 10 10 10 9
Magnus 8 8 9 9
manarch2 9 8 9 9
MichaelP 10 8 9 9
Mman 10 10 10 10
Moonpooka 10 9 10 10
Mytly 10 9 10 9
Obig 9 9 10 10
Orbit Dream 10 9 9 9
Phil 8 9 10 9
Relic Hunter 10 10 10 10
Ryan 10 9 10 10
Sash 9 8 10 9
Selene 10 9 10 10
Skyld 10 8 10 9
Staticon 8 8 9 10
Sutekh 10 10 10 9
Treeble 10 10 10 9
Veronique 10 8 9 9
Whistle 9 9 9 9
category averages
(35 reviews)
9.37 8.80 9.60 9.46

Reviewer's comments

"Yes, this is indeed the deserved winner of BtB2006. Gameplay here is just what I like: varied, challenging but not frustrating tasks, but enough to entertain you. Enemies don't play a big role but that's minor when you look at the challenges that this level provides. Highly recommended." - Ryan (24-Mar-2016)

"So this is what Kuan-san has at home... Wait no, I wrote this... I'm running out of beginnings. Anyway the level is even more dangerous house than the one I refer to - the whole thing is one big trap challenge. I see the author is the same as of lately played pit level, and this explains why e.g. a trapdoor shaft is here again and why another storyline is ported into the game very well, though sometimes brutally. I say "again" being aware the London competition was issued later. Progressing further and further through this oriental one, I couldn't understand why the graphics are praised that much - paterns are often odd to me. Also from the game it's impossible to guess who Luan-san is - a Tibetan? A Chinese? A Japanese? A Korean? Scraps of all of these civilizations seem to be here. I think the package should have even included Lao, Burmese or Cambodian elements to provide enough variety, because still too much of misperception remains which pictures people of far East as just "Asian". Unless Yuan-san has been travelling a lot so he has all these souvenirs from the whole continent stored. Checking through various parts of his property takes examining various elevations one after another what is good, because it's enough to plunge into the water to get back near the goal slot when the subtask is complete. As for the job itself, I missed some riddle originality, I guess because after the initial gem brilliantly hidden behind the sliding doors the brain cries for something more unexpected than just crowbar prying. Later on, the setting totally changes to cavern scenery and provides another quick backtrack for the stars in case if any is missing. Unfortunately, while I could get used to somehow unfitting ornaments in the first section, these dull rocks and large, unitextured rooftop kept disturbing me. Together with flat vertical walls in the pool and around, suddenly it all felt like a completely different level of some other author. It somewhat resembled TC14 so if I was a guesser competitor back then, I could have easily confused these two - only I think Thibaut's design is much more varied as a whole and doesn't lack a bit of breath. Here we don't have much rest - the following ending is just another trap (though I admit it utilizes a flipmap in remarkable way), and though I liked how the final statue seems to have some AI, showing it is not enough for proper closure considering the complexity of everything else that leads to it. SUMMARY: Definitely well constructed, lit and accompanied, but not my type at all. I enjoyed the London release of this author much more, because of its greater balance between exploration and agility, and that thrilling suspense achieved without much stuff used, as supposed to happen for BtB." - DJ Full (28-Apr-2015)

"The winner of the contest and for me the second best level, with another great storyline that is nicely implemented into the game. Lookwise it's a nearly faultless game with textures being very carefully applied and creating quite strong environments overall, lighting being used wisely - yet just like in some other levels of the builderess, the looks feel slightly functional to the gameplay and could stand a bit more on their own. The lighting feels slightly flat, although not a bit as much as most other levels, and I'm personally not a great fan of the black textures used in several rooms. The gameplay is indeed a large playground and training course and is filled with great riddles from start to finish - nearly every element of BtB is used in this or another way, but never quite like before. There is really more than enough to tax the skills and there's never a dull moment. Maybe everything is a tad too fast-paced already with the level being too linear to be totally immersive, and a few more puzzles like the ones in Killing Fields would've rounded the thing up a bit more, but overall my complaints are on a very high level, meaning that this level is purely fun from start to finish. Object design is very well done; the albeit very few enemies are not a large obstacle, the weapons are really not at all needed. The three secrets are well hidden, one even with a particularly challenging jump sequence. Overall a fully enjoyable and very well rounded up adventure that only didn't manage to maintain the same quality as the hard to beat Killing Fields , but it's well above the majority of the levels for sure. A nothing but highly recommended 25 minute raid." - manarch2 (19-Mar-2015)

"The visual bar in BTB2006 is raised again by this level, but what really sets it apart from what I've played so far is the variety; everything feels like part of the same level (outside of one intentional change towards the end that shakes things up), but it all has it's own mood and isn't just one style all the way through. The mesh use and other details are also near-perfect. The only flaw is one room where the area flickers in and out, but considering it has quite original and interesting geometry it's forgiveable.
The gameplay is quite fast-paced and a gauntlet of jumping sequences and traps, there aren't too many puzzles, but the other aspects are so well executed it doesn't matter, and some exploration and slower platform sequences allow for a cool down between the intense parts. It loses a little steam right at the end, but that part doesn't last long enough for it to become an issue. It's easy to see why this was the winner of BTB2006 and it's going to take something amazing to surpass it, but I guess that quality is expected from an author who has made packs like the Wrath of Thor." - Mman (05-Jan-2012)

"Good game with several challenges. I stuck a long time in front the dragon boulder (It's impossible!) before find the solution; the long timed run scared me the 1st time, but finally it's not too hard; most of the tests are timing and the underground lake is welcome. The 1st fire spirit is.. (reloaded the game 50 times or redo all jumps?) ..terribly annoying, there is also some inevitable collision with the rotating blades, but nothing bad. Fantastic work with light & colors. Congrats for the win of that BTB competition." - Jerrod (27-Apr-2010)

"Another great oriental level. Beautiful rooms and gardens. I liked room with cascade very much. Enemies aren't many and hard, but we have to deal with some difficult traps and timed runs." - Andzia9 (12-Nov-2009)

"Wow! It's not hard to see why this level won the BtB o6 competition. The gameplay is brilliant - fiendish traps, challenging timed runs, interesting puzzles, and plenty of enjoyable platforming. Indeed, the level almost feels like a domestic version of TR2's Temple of Xian, especially with the underground temple. My favourite parts are the timed trapdoor jumping sequence, and the last puzzle, where the ceiling textures provide a hint on how to progress. The lighting and texturing are great; music is used very well throughout; enemies are well placed, except for sharks in the underground cavern, which seemed a little out of place; secrets are sneakily hidden. So basically, there is pretty much nothing negative to say about the level at all, and lots and lots of positive things. However, I won't continue to gush - I'll just recommend this level heartily, and download other levels by this builder, in the hope of experiencing more of her amazing work." - Mytly (16-Aug-2009)

"With having had the honour to beta test this level and it also being one of the first I played from the Back to Basics 2006 set of levels, *and* it also being one of my favourites from all the levels in that set I played I wonder myself why it took me so long to review it. But then again - I can't think of a better level for my personal 600th review than this one too, so maybe it was worth the wait. Already from the start you know this is not going to be your regular adventure - starting with a timed run that isn't one, and taking you high and low in this mansion with magnificent tasks like getting the yin-yang puzzle without getting squashed by the rolling dragons, the timed trapdoor run, trap-a-thlon above a canal, the underground caves and the list goes on. It might be more on the hard side, but difficulty has never been an issue as long as it isn't outright frustrating or so easy it gets boring and what I appreciate here is the creativity which shines thorough the adventure. May it be one of the already mentioned puzzles or visually - a successfully created monkey-swing surface with the green vines, but it's always there! The scale of things at first frightens one here, but the course is rather simple once you get to know it, so getting into it is all there is to really. If you want an action-packed adventure, you can bet the House of Kuan-Yin Lo is one of the best choices you can make, and the creative approach and decent looks don't hurt a bit either!" - eTux (31-Jul-2006)

"The goal of LARA is to obtain a precious artifact offered by her friend Luan Jin Lo. The good grades come from the fact (an atribute very hard to achive) that although the dimensions of the constructions (huge) are very realistic, the whole complex puzzles/rooms/doors/stairs/ladders and so on...is not confusing at all. Once you enter I room is very clear what you have to do, athough it might be very challenging. I loved the monkeyswing with yhe purple, lush flowers. If I could smell them...:) The precious artifact is hidden in a secret construction in a cave in wich you will get access, after finding 4 stones. And another great thing about it is that there aren't no disturbing enemies to bother you...." - dya1403 (25-Jul-2006)

"It might just be because I played a few really bad levels just before this one, but I really liked this level. This is also my first ever Back to Basics level. I like the idea of making good levels that don't have to take seven hours to finish. There are plenty of great levels I can't be bothered to play, simply because I tend to lose interest halfway through these days, even if it's an excellent level. This level (and I'm assuming the other Back to Basics levels) avoids that pitfall by providing excellent gameplay that only lasts thirty minutes - that's about as long as you'd spend watching an episode of Big Brother, and a lot more entertaining. The gameplay is fairly straightforward, and I rarely had to stop and wonder where to go next. It's not overly challenging, but there are some interesting ideas and it feels fresh throughout. Rather than using traps the same way over and over, the author finds ways to make every trap feel slightly different. Funnily enough, after complaining about getting lost in the author's earlier levels, I almost found the gameplay in this level TOO straightforward. I'd enter a large area and immediately know where to go, completely missing out on any exploration and wondering if I had missed something. Still, I do like not getting stuck all the time. The objects and textures are nice, and so is the use of them. There are some nice temples to be seen, and I really liked the area to the left of where Lara starts. Very quaint. The red texture had a habit of making stairs look like slopes, though, but I know the author didn't pick the textures. I also liked the oriental music, so kudos to whoever made it. Another thing I was impressed with was the fact that Lara's footsteps didn't sound the same on different surfaces. Maybe it's just the levels I play, but you don't see that used very often. Sad, since it's so easy. Overall, this level reminded me of the good old days of Tomb Raiding. This is what it's all about." - Magnus (06-Jul-2006)

"The setting is wonderful in this level but the gameplay isn't as good. There are some nicely made traps but nothing innovative, so just a standard level to play. The thing that is brilliant is the monkey swinging in the large cave area with the water down. The idea to make invisible structure and texture it as plants for Lara to proceed was something I liked very much. It was dark at some places with no flares, so I was lucky to spot a crawlspace that held a secret and the enemies were few. I found three secrets and enjoyed this level a lot." - Kristina (10-Mar-2006)

"This level is very beautiful and various, but sometimes not too easy. We are adventuring in a chinese building, then we go under the ground and jump over rocks in order to get to an another building. Our task is to gain the Zhu Deng, but this is nbot so easy. The level is full of timed runs and jumps. There are only a few enemies, some bats and sharks. There are three secrets on the level. Two of them in almost in our way, there we get the revolver and the shotgun, but at the underground part I could only hardly find the crackling in the rock. I really liked the monkeyswing on the plants. For me, the end-trigger didn't always activate. I can only suggest it to everybody, it was a great adventure. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/16/btb2006_9_the_house_of_kuan_yin_lo.htm" - Obig (01-Mar-2006)

"This is my first review. I think this level was the best of the back to basic levels. Great gameplay,never got confused, it had coherence and no boring pushblock puzzles. It was perfectly hard jumps and the atmosphere was believable.I enjoyed it thoroughly." - Veronique (01-Mar-2006)

"Here you have a very loooong level with two big areas: the house and the underground temple. Author said that Kuan-Yin Lo and Lara were friends, but with this kind of friends... who needs enemies? There are a lot of traps and dangerous situations in this house; you'll find a pair of very difficult timed runs and some tricky puzzles, but not impossible although I had to die and reload many times. Best of the level is the excellent architecture, some puzzles are very good too; no much enemies, secrets aren't very hard to find. I've find very few flares for a level with many many dark areas, most specially in the underground area. In the final rooms the flare bug appears. This level was very worked and it seems that the author built it to get the first place in the competition; yes, it's one of the best." - Jose (21-Feb-2006)

"A training course indeed (as per the storyline), this is one of the few levels that get a 10 score from me on gameplay. It is just perfect: always challenging but never frustratingly difficult, a mix of thinking and acrobatics, a timed run that isn't timed, a fun trap course, tricky jumps, and more. It is never all that hard to figure out what the next task at hand is, so instead of annoying searching, you always have a next thing to do and move along nicely. The timed trapdoors were great, as was the jumping/climbing around the cave you reach after having explored the house top to bottom. Very few enemies but the two fire wraiths were quite deviously placed. The jump and run to the shotgun secret was excellent fun too. Beyond that I also enjoyed the decent use of audio and some original ideas about what to do with the provided objects, which gave the setting a fresh feel to it even though this was the 21st BtB Level I played. Wonderful level that should take you just under an hour and will have you wonderfully entertained." - MichaelP (19-Feb-2006)

"It's a tough old thing,Gameplay design.Make it too hard and people moan;make it too easy and people moan.For me,perfect Gameplay should be all about continuous challenge;hard enough to make you try several times to get it right,but not so hard that you get exasperated. This level contains perfect Gameplay,there's no doubt about it.In style it is gently non-linear,but never irritatingly so. The tasks can be carried out in any order,it seems;and they each provide a hearty challenge;but a challenge that is addictive,not frustrating. The timed sequences were tight but perfectly do-able (I succeeded in one of them on my second attempt);the jumps tricky but great fun;the progression occasionally complex but never confusingly so. If I have reservations,there are extremely minor. The enemies were a little sparse;the climable vines (although a bright idea) were not especially convincing;and the courtyard at the start was rather too big and produced draw-distance problems when looking up. What really impresses,though,is not the fact that this is a beautifully (even brilliantly) built level (which it undoubtedly is).It's that the whole thing was put together in only four months!" - Orbit Dream (18-Feb-2006)

"Certainly a difficult level wit hplenty of hard jumps throughout it. Its a pretty lengthy level with many blade traps, rope swings. You have to collect 4 Dragon Stars to find the Red gem artifact & return it to its place to meet Kuan-Yin-Lo. This is a very good level & I guess each TR Fan should try it out" - Anurag (11-Feb-2006)

"This may or may not be a good idea, but I've made it a practice to peek at the existing reviews for a given level before compiling my own. In doing so, I noted that this level is (at this writing) rated far and away higher than all the others in the 2006 BtB competition. I ask myself why this is so. To be sure, this is an extremely polished work with a little bit of everything thrown in. Indeed, if I didn't know that Luis Martins had sworn off further building (at least for the moment) I could have sworn that Kuan-Yin Lo was his work product. It bears every trademark he's known for: tricky timed sequences, hazardous jumps, secrets buried in dark recesses, lush settings dripping with ambiance, etc. But just because a level is difficult to complete, does that mean it rates top marks? Not necessarily. Not in my book, anyway. Anyone who cares to make the comparison will note that I've rated several other BtB levels higher than this one. That's simply because I enjoyed playing those levels more than I enjoyed playing this one, and that's where the subjective part of reviewing comes in. This is perhaps the most technically proficient level of the batch, deserving of four 10s on an objective basis. But my enjoyment of a level goes beyond technical proficiency, and so does my philosophy of reviewing levels. Some players enjoy the adrenaline rush of sweating bullets while painstakingly navigating one trap after another. Me, I prefer the luxury of being able to stop and smell the roses without having to worry about what's around the next corner. In summary, although this is a wonderful level fully deserving of its high ranking, I prefer something a little less challenging." - Phil (06-Feb-2006)

"I found this level to be very tricky at times. There are some not-too-easy jump sequences, two or three tortuous timed runs but, having said that, The House of Kuan-Yin Lo is a very beautiful, if deadly, place. Although some parts are far from easy, they are, at least, conquerable with a little practice. The design of the building complex is excellent, texturing, lighting and camera work all spot on. Even though it took me a while to complete, I am totally enamoured of this level." - Staticon (06-Feb-2006)

"Wow and what a house! This is a very big and varied level with great settings and some very original ideas, such as using the vines to monkeyswing down in the caves. A lot of traps to overcome and a few timed runs too, namely the one with the dragon boulder - very good. There aren't many enemies around but the tough yet doable, therefore fluent gameplay perfectly makes up for it. Quite advisable even though maybe not for rookies." - Jorge22 (31-Jan-2006)

"I didn't like this level at first, probably because everything was so huge and I was lost right at the beginning - yes, because of the doors puzzle, even when I was in the house I wasn't quite sure (sorry, I keep look at the levels with a builder's eye, lol)... but suddenly my heart began pumping and I got all excited, by the time I reached the cave part I already thought: brilliant, just brilliant. I won't say anything more, you have to play it, to see it. At the end there is a little bug, if you press the look button, the ending camera will not kick in, so don't press it. Time: 1/09/02. Difficulty: average. Lighting: balanced, colours. Gameplay type: traps/puzzles. Tech skills: expert. Other: huge but not confusing" - Bojrkraider (30-Jan-2006)

"Set up in two parts, the first above ground in some dark asian temples, and the second part underground in a large watery cavern where another wonderful temple awaits, this 55 minute level just screamed fun. Now this game is all about the moves, there are many timed runs and jumps, one of these involving raising platforms that formed a spiral staircase, and another to one half of the yin/yang symbol that needed precision timing not to be squished by a back and forth rolling snake boulder, there are also some fab jumps that aren't timed as you get around the high reaches of each of the temples and make your way through the cavern. As there are only a sprinkling of enemies, crocs, sharks, and a fire wraith, this made it even more obvious how much a delight this was to play as you don't miss them and find your thrills completely through the gaming, and actually when the few enemies would come along, all well placed I must say, they slightly annoyed me as my mind was diverted for a second from the fun at hand. This is definitely up there with the top Back to Basics levels and I can only recommend this highly. I found 2 of the 3 secrets." - Sash (29-Jan-2006)

"What a nice oriental level! Perfect gameplay not too much difficult but challenging; full of special objects and chinese furnitures; perfect atmosphere and sound and almost perfect in textures. Only few thin walls and disappearing textures lowered my rating. This is the first BtB06 level I play but I think it's so good that it deserves this rating IMO. Really good." - Loupar (29-Jan-2006)

"This is a level where you also have to think before proceeding and I might add, nothing in here that would send me off into a frustration fit LOL. One thing that was odd was the appearing and disappearing of the brown lattice bottom of that passage, but the minute Lara stepped on it, it stayed solid. The end of the level has the flare bug, but you really don't need to use the flares. Don't get me wrong, the traps are challenging and do remember where you saw a receptacle or a door. The camera was very helpful but I completely forgot where that last artifact went, so that taught me a lesson. There are some nice new ideas but if I think this is who I think it is, I am not surprised. 26-01-2006" - Gerty (27-Jan-2006)

"A fine level, starts with a timed run that wasn't, till you found out what triggered those doors to close up again. There were some nice traps in this level. Like swimming down in a pit with blades and pulling UW levers while Blades were cutting your hair, a good jump series through several traps and getting a Star with a Wraith on your tail, thrilling...The Boulder room with several levels was also well invented, was it a little bug or were those floor tiles really disappearing there? Then into the Caves to a temple, hanging on the beautiful Ivy, the Secret was well hidden there. The UW door with the Levers could have been a bit harder, that one was too easy. The Ladder of Death (with all the Blades) was a pretty thing. And then some fast jumping over a pool to get the last and 3rd Secret before you came back into the house. Great level...." - Dutchy (26-Jan-2006)

"After 8 levels using the b TOM it was refreshing to get a change of enemies etc which included wraiths, bats, croc and sharks. But what a level generally the game play was good enough to keep even the ardent raiders going. Lots of big open spaces and heights to find routes up to, and puzzles/timed runs to keep you guessing. The"Bacon Slicer" towards the end was a refreshing change in trap, but where did the timed jump over the slope lead-secret perhaps!! I did however towards the end wonder if I was still on the right track. Pickups were few and far between, which had you searching nooks and crannies in vain. The graphics were very good and a good mixture and use of textures set the scenes well. Sound and lighting added to the effect with good variation in the darkness factor, enough to create the atmosphere, but not to dark you had to play in a darkened room. Definitely the best level so far." - Whistle (24-Jan-2006)

"This is a pure coincidence if that level which is the last I played from the series is also my absolute favorite. Proof if needed that there wasn't any "China fatigue" on this side of the keyboard ;) And I'm happy I have ended the Back to Basics 2006 vintage with a bang, so to speak. Gameplay is tough at times but flawless. All traps, puzzles and research are interesting, fair and enjoyable. And all are different with a twist of their own, be it for timed-runs or trap gauntlets. Long time I haven't seen such inventiveness and intelligence. Enemies are perfectly placed and the three secrets are all challenging - each in a different way. The atmosphere is very immersive, the music is perfectly placed and the camera shots are informative enough. Settings is beautiful and offers variety, with a particular care to lighting. I noticed a couple of glitches though, noticeably on a red catwalk which weirdly "disappeared" from time to time. Blinking, in a way. This is the only reason why I didn't give a neat four tens. An awesome level, high-quality in every departments. A masterpiece! And, Mrs. or Mr. Author, begging on bended knees here... Can we please have a sequel?" - Sutekh (21-Jan-2006)

"There are some lovely original touches in this level - the initial use of the shoji screens in the"timed run", the fabulous monkey swing composed of vines etc. There are a lot of challenging agility tests going on and the builder has made extremely inventive use of the basic objects at his/her disposal. This is indisputably the work of one of our A list builders and a brilliant example of just how good a level can be even without lots of custom textures and new objects. Superb." - Jay (18-Jan-2006)

"Firstly I want to say that I really like the storyline, it could be the beginning of a fan-fiction. Well, reading the story is a good introduction to the level, and the level does not disappoint, as it has a truely inspired course. The game has many subtle moments , and there are plenty of good ideas I never saw before in any level. The storyline also explains why there are not many enemies and none of the human kind, but they are well used, The objects of the wad are put to good use (really liked the different challenges with the turning blades and the great secret with the squishy blocks). The design is very well done and lighting excellent. What is also excellent is the use of cameras, always showing discreetly the way. Mind you this level is challenging at times but none of the tasks are utterly difficult, the 2 great timed runs are manageable with only a few tries, and I really like it when you have to think a bit when playing. The puzzles are brilliant but never sends the fluent gameplay to Frustrationland. It is one of the very few levels in the btb2006 competition where I've not been stuck once. Everything makes sense here, really. I think I spot a mistake with the first squishy block as I'm not sure one can redo the task without reloading a savegame if (s)he falls down into water after the block is triggered, but hey it is rather obvious to not fall down into water after this point. I also saw a thin wall in this pool. But I don't have the heart to rate down because of that, as this is the most exhilarating and entertaining level I've played since a long time. Bravo !" - eRIC (16-Jan-2006)

"What a fantastic level, although somewhat frustrating and challenging, but that's why I loved it! Lara travels to the House of Kuan-Yin Lo, where a friend of Lara's has hidden an artifact for her to find, but that's not going to be an easy task! There's much to do here, such as going through tough tasks to get the Jiao Yao stars, one of which has you making your way through platforms above water that contain quite a few traps, and you would have to start over if you managed to fall into the water. You've also got some adrenaline sequences here too, such as the timed platforms that you have to be quick to jump on, and pull a switch on top to open a nearby door before the platforms collapse, causing you to fall into a spiky doom. You've also got the hightail-it-to-some-water-with-a-fiery-wraith-chasing-you sequences, which I find to be quite fun personally. The rooms are quite stunning and I like the fog effects used in them, such as the watery cavern, and the room where platforms shift if you step on a wrong tile. All in all, I couldn't find anything wrong with this level. Gameplay flows well, enemies have good placement, the atmosphere and cameras are wonderful, lighting is great, I could go on and on about how great this level is, but then this would probably turn into a walkthrough then a review, hehe. In other words, download now and live the adventure for yourself. ;)" - Relic Hunter (15-Jan-2006)

"An incredibly beautiful level to look at, and a great challenging level to play. Even if there was nothing to do here I would recommend players to come have a look at this gorgeous place. The story is that Lara's friend, Kuan Yin Lo, invites her to his house in Huoshan, northern China. He offers her a precious artifact, the Zhu Deng, but challenges her to find it in his other house further north in the mountains. Lara is still wearing the Back to Basics Oriental t-shirt. I thought the challenges here were terrific - a breath short of impossible at times, but all do-able, even if some take a lot of tries, so saving is a must in a lot of areas. Lara has to find a yin-yang combo, gem, and four dragon stars to allow her to venture into an underground water filled cave, with more lovely buildings. The challenges are quite spectacular at times and kept me on the edge of my seat, especially the runs across columns in different water rooms, avoiding blocks slamming down, or fire tiles, disappearing tiles, and more. Some brilliant jumping tricks need to be employed in these rooms too. Great! The tasks that we've done before seem brand new here, like the monkeyswinging (those vines were terrific), the jumping, rope swinging, swimming, timed runs, and trying to pick up a yin/yang piece as a dragon 'boulder' rolls along a track. These timed runs were great, and not necessarily a dash to a door. One involved climbing trapdoors before they fall. There are blades of different kinds to pass; round rotating ones on a climbable column, on columns to run over in a dangerous water room, and giant blades underwater that are not as nasty as they look. There aren't many enemies, but the ones that do show up are very well placed. I noticed some very interesting architectural features, like the way the ceilings are shaped in parts of the house, and beautifully applied textures. This is a great level, I loved every minute of it, even the parts where I was scratching my head for a while wondering what to do. And all accompanied by lovely music. A must play, if ever there was one." - CC (14-Jan-2006)

"Wow! Just wow. Talk about gameplay and perfect use of objects. The author has used the 'A' wad of the BtB'06, whereas the vast majority when with wad 'B', and not only (s)he's managed to create a whole different experience, the placement of objects throughout the level is perfect - the traps in special. There are quite a few great rush moments in this level, like the timed clambering over trapdoors, then a lot of traps in a row to reach one of the four stars (crumbling ceilings, hammers, flame emmiters, tricky jumps...), also one well thought out rolling dragon trap where timing is the key to success, and you won't manage to grab that JiYao piece with less than perfect timing and after getting the fabled stone you are presented with a finishing timed jump sequence to get to a secret. The level ends as Lara meets her fried inside his training house. Most recommended! 60 minutes, 2 secrets. 01/06" - Treeble (12-Jan-2006)

"Warning! This is a seriously hard level and not for the faint hearted. I don't even know where to begin because I have just done this mega hard level and there's so much in it, I will just have to skip the meagre parts and do my best to keep this as short as possible. Ok, well for a start, this is a perfect looking level, be in no doubt that you will be entering a beautiful temple all of which is fully decorated to the highest standards throughout. Lara's first task is to grab a gem, be warned this is the first of many sneaky tricks as Lara has suss out a way to grab the gem without closing the door on it, so mean but what a fab idea! Now she can move on inside the temple. Her quest is to gather four stars, and the two halves of the Ying and Yang puzzle. Now nothing is easy, and when I say the timed runs are tight, I mean they are tight, and there's lot of them too, and all are nicely surrounded by blade and spike traps! There's another area for a star and that involves the rope up on the roofs, which was really superb to be up there. Next comes a rolling ball passage where you have to grab the Ying Yang pieces, it isn't easy and you're in for a lot of re-loads once again. Moving on, Lara goes down into the caverns below and I guess this was my favourite part because it was so lovely down there, with crisp clear water, rock jumping, swinging from vines and fending of sharks. Lara can place the stars here then take a trip through some more hazards to reach the roof tops and grab the artefact. But it isn't over yet, to place the artefact she must make her way back to the temple via a rather gruelling lava pool tile jumping session where the tiles change if she jumps to the wrong one and its instant death. Home and dry, Lara can place her final artefact and leave. Now that's not all that happens but I just can't tell it all, so please load up this awesome level if you dare! Enemies are Ninjas, crocs, bats and sharks, but there are not too many to deal with. Health is vital so save as much as you can. I found two secrets and had a great time." - Moonpooka (10-Jan-2006)

"Wow, I hardly know where to begin with this fantastic level. When hearing the title I got the impression that this was a rebuilt oriental version of Lara's mansion, but how wrong was I there??? I totally loved it!!! Being the first Back To Basics level I've played I can't really compare it for its kind, but it is definetely one of the better levels I've ever played. The oriental atmosphere is just amazing, cameras well placed and a gorgeous matching of lightning and textures. The music was great too: although I'm not really a fan of that creepy music from AOD I was really grabbed by the oriental-themed pieces and those two factors created a perfect blend. The level was a bit on the tricky side, a beginner would probably have some trouble with the hard timed-runs and some of the jump-sequences. However, the level is NEVER boring and always filled to the brim with excitement and a gameplay that would thrill even the most blase raider. There are not many genuine puzzles, mostly challenges like difficult jumps, snatching away items and sprint out to avoid being flattened by boulders and timed runs/jumps. There are four Jiao Yao's to find and two pieces of a Yin and Yang symbol before Lara eventually reaches the prized artefact: the Zhu Deng. Here I was very surprised(and also extremely pleased) to see that just because you found the artefact doesn't mean that the level is over....there are still challenges left unexplored. Unfortunately I must admit that the enemies, mainly consisting of fire wraiths, a few bats, crocs and sharks, were a bit few in this level and very often appeared at the same time. They could have been increased in number and spread out a bit more. I also found lots of ammo and weapons that I because of the lack of potential threats didn't need. Nonetheless: underground watercaves, idyllic house-exploring and a temple riddled with traps.....this is definetely a must-play!!!" - Selene (09-Jan-2006)

"This is one of the best standalone levels I have ever played. It never leaves you out of the action: expect lots of creatively trapped situations (which will force you to be quick of both mind and hand) and some difficult timed challenges. The atmosphere is impeccable; the whole level feels very genuine. I did, however, pick up a lot of ammunition which I never ended up using, and both the secrets I found did seem quite obvious, although the second wasn't easy to reach, which pleased me. If you're a raider of moderate to high skill, you will love this level." - Skyld (08-Jan-2006)
back home search