Level: BtB2006 - In Xanadu back home search
Author(s): Tony Tomb
total rating:8.77 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Anurag 9 8 7 8
Bojrkraider 9 8 8 9
CC 9 8 9 9
Dutchy 9 8 9 9
Engelchen Lara 9 9 10 9
eRIC 9 8 9 8
eTux 9 8 8 8
Gerty 9 9 10 9
Jay 9 8 9 9
Jerrod 10 10 9 9
Jorge22 9 9 9 10
Jose 10 10 10 9
Kristina 8 8 8 7
manarch2 7 7 8 8
MichaelP 8 7 9 9
Mman 8 10 9 9
Moonpooka 10 9 10 9
Mytly 8 9 9 9
Obig 9 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 7 8 9 9
Phil 10 9 10 9
QRS 10 10 10 10
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Sash 9 7 9 8
Selene 8 7 9 9
Staticon 9 8 9 9
Sutekh 10 8 9 9
Thorir 8 9 8 9
Treeble 9 9 10 9
Whistle 8 9 8 9
category averages
(30 reviews)
8.80 8.47 8.97 8.83

Reviewer's comments

"This is another top-flight entry into this competition. The scenery is exquisite and detailed and the lighting shows it off to good advantage. There's a lot of switch pulling and exploration elements, but on the whole it's really good stuff,and although the pushable puzzle at the end may have been a bit tedious, I did think it was well thought out. It's also a nice change to revisit previously explored areas from different angles, which allows you to become more familiar with the level design. There's one item that's deviously concealed on the wall of a building in a way that it blends in with the textures too much and I never spotted it at firstly. But overall, this is a brilliant level and definitely recommended." - Ryan (01-Jul-2016)

"With two important items just being easily found right at the start, the first impression of this level was a bit dull, but quickly this changes and actually the game picks up quickly. Until the point where Lara uses the first star everything was to my taste - the tasks are creative (e.g. the timed run in which you have to shoot a ball), the traps are nice, if not particularly hard, to get through and the looks are natural and eye-pleasing. But when I noticed that I was missing said star (should've better read the reviews, I know), I had to drop down into the river and redo most of the tasks until then to return up there - this could have been handled a bit better, especially because the star is really easy to miss. Maybe a block raises after getting on the bridge? Even without this smaller issue the game didn't quite manage to pick up from that point on and the maze underneath the single (which albeit was quite a good fact, considering the last level I played) pushpuzzle was a bit boring to get through and the walkthrough wall is fairly unnecessary. Still, the one backtrack aside, the gameplay still flows rather well and even in some not so fun parts you always find something to do - you often have to solve a timed run here and there which makes it somewhat better, although, with the good ideas in mind, I think the builder could've done much better, especially since this level is essentially a linear hunt without much exploration included. The looks are always quite attractive, yet at times feel a bit too grey and lifeless and the sparks of colour didn't really work too well, the lighting as so often could've needed a bit more contrast. Overall the visuals are still professional enough to convince and I liked how you sometimes return to previous areas, only in different places. The enemies are few yet their placement is effective enough and the objects do their job, even if there's nothing quite special to say about them. The three secrets are nicely enough hidden, although their placement is not very creative. Overall another good 30 minute offering which has only the problem that the first half is better than the second." - manarch2 (19-Mar-2015)

"This level is set in beautiful canyon with various buildings built into it. There's an original use purple-ish lighting too, that fits well and makes it distinct from other levels, and the canyon has a level of detail in it's geometry that surpasses other BTB levels so far. Like Tears of a Lost Dynasty there is also a lot of interesting height variation, with the central canyon visited from multiple angles as you make progress. The only problem I had is that the ending areas feel less inspired than the the rest, with most of it being in a cramped maze-like area.
The gameplay is on the challenging side, with some tricky trap gauntlets and timed runs, as well as quite a bit of exploration. In the first half there can be a lot of backtracking if you miss something, and one puzzle item is far too blended in (as well as being somewhat randomly placed). The maze area towards the end also felt a little lacking, with the solution coming down to a few things and a lot of the area feeling a bit wasted. Those issues don't take much away from how enjoyable the rest is though, and this is another high-ranking level in BTB2006." - Mman (08-Jan-2012)

"This is certainly one of the better levels from BtB 2006. The gameplay mostly involves exploration and lots of enjoyable traps, as well as a few timed runs, and only one major puzzle at the end. Sometimes gameplay does devolve into 'find-a-switch-to-access-another-switch', but on the whole, it's pretty good. My main complaint is that it's quite easy to miss out on certain objects - like the crowbar and the first dragon key, and then have to backtrack a long way to get them. The three-dimensional maze under the puzzle near the end is great in itself, but it would have been less confusing to navigate with more varied texturing.
I love the level design - it's great to revisit areas you have been to earlier, on progressively higher levels. The architecture is beautiful and texturing immaculate. Lighting is a bit dark occasionally, but most of the time, it's really pretty. I love the purplish lighting in the outdoor areas and the soft golden glow of lamps in the indoor ones. The atmosphere is excellent, and the music mostly adds to it, though it can get a bit overdone at times.
Overall: A charming level - definitely recommended." - Mytly (17-Aug-2010)

"Another fantastic level from Tony Tomb with a gameplay well balanced and diversified. I especially like the good use of traps (as always with this author) and the level design. My only complain for this level is about the light, unfortunately sometimes too dark, the level have a great look (as always with...), but it's sometimes uncomfortable for the player." - Jerrod (15-Apr-2010)

"As always Michael makes a level with great atmosphere and perfect lighting and textures. Although there is no room for homemade textures here, the set that Nadine has provided seems to work extremely well if you know where to put them! Michael knows that, that's for sure. The gameplay is as always when ti comes to Michaels levels, easy but estremely fun. A very solid level to enjoy! What I did like best was the huge cave areas with the temples, the deadly trap path (you know what I mean when you get there!) and the block puzzle near the end. Of all the btb levels I have played so far, this is the best one. I have yet to play them all though, so there might be more gems like this! Great job Michael!" - QRS (10-Feb-2007)

"This is one of those levels which I admired rather more than I enjoyed. Everything was going pretty well until I arrived at a locked door and discovered that I needed a pick-up which I had yet to acquire,despite having worked my way patiently through a rather complex and challenging course in order to get that far. After retracing most of my steps without any luck I consulted the Walkthrough and discovered that the item in question was cunningly concealed on a wall of a building in such a way as to almost completely blend into its surroundings.This was unspeakably sneaky and rather unfair on the player,and it rather spoilt what had been an enjoyable experience.I was also somewhat irritated with the final 'pushable object puzzle' which was more of a chore than a challenge. However,in all other respects,this is a very fine work. The area of exploration isn't too big (most of the level can be seen at the start) and ingeniously worked out,with many moments of returning to familiar places from a different angle (always an enjoyable occurance)and an impressively organic outside environment(provided you disregard waterfalls pouring out of nowhere!) The traps and puzzles were well devised (my favourite was the timed shooting sequence) and the enemies,although fairly limited,were placed well. If you keep the Walkthrough close to hand you should have no problems and instead will be able to greater appreciate this for the fine piece of work that it is." - Orbit Dream (27-Jul-2006)

"Beautiful level - somthing different and I liked it it, especially the objects and their use :) Puzzles are not too hard, some timed but easy and some traps. I found three fairly easy secrets. Textures and sound was good. Only a few enemies but that was ok and atmosphere was great. At the end you find a fan to take away and the level stops, but I had not expected all BtB Levels to be connected, as this is explained in the readme." - Engelchen Lara (14-Jul-2006)

"Well, it's no secret I dislike dark levels and this one gave me some hard times. Overall it is a nice game with target shooting which is also timed, stars to find and other items. I liked the area with the movable objects and the gem near the end. The traps are quite good so is the setting in general. In the room with the three switches though you can get the secret and leave the room, without using them. From the block with the chain near the spikes you can do an angled jump to the dragon tile and then to the next, get the secret and return to the other tile to leave the area. Of course that is not the intended way but a gameplay glitch. I found three secrets and had fun playing this." - Kristina (10-Mar-2006)

"Our goal on this level is to gain the Chabui's Fan. The story plays on small area; we start from a small lake sorrounded by rocks, and we get always and always higher, first onto the bridge, then up to the top of the trees to get the prize. Meanwhile we have to solve puzzles, challenge some skilled tasks, and also some enemies try to block our way. There are some timed runs too, but they are not so hard; during the first I even had time to pick up a previously missed ammo. The combination of the crossbow and lasersight is indispensable for getting on. So is the crowbar, and we also have to collect some keys. The first one, the East Dragon Key was well hidden by the author; it can be only perceipted in the wall from very close. We can find three secrets on our way. It was a good adventure, I suggest it to everybody. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here:" - Obig (01-Mar-2006)

"Very nicely flowing Level, beautifully set in scene in a canyon with a river where you slowly but surely make your way to the higher levels. The biggest gripe is probably the very hard to spot East Dragon Key, which could force you to redo quite a big part of the level if you miss it first time round. I really liked the way audio was applied in this 50 minute adventure. Gameplay has a few highlights with the timed run/swim and then a timed target shoot near the beginning and a clever 3-D puzzle room near the end. In between though it felt a bit 'lifeless' with a fairly run of the mill sequence of easy traps to master. Secrets are rather easy to find too and that one walkthrough wall was plain annoying. Overall though a really good Oriental level that you should not miss." - MichaelP (19-Feb-2006)

"I'm actually not even sure what to say about this level. It has skillfully crafted scenery, lovely textures and beautiful music that blends together perfectly. I really enjoyed the push and pull puzzle near the end, it was really neat having to go look for ways to raise the blocks around the puzzle rather than simply push and pull the pieces straight into place immediately. The timed run down here was short, but great fun too. The lighting was also used with care and with a successful outcome and the atmosphere felt lovely and harmonious. The enemies consisted mainly of ninjas, snakes and two wraiths that were located in just the right places. There were also some traps such as spikes, chains, a boulder run and fire emitters/tiles and I really liked the trap room a lot. The remaining puzzles went into pulling levers and switches, finding a few items(once again with imaginative and nice names) and besides that also some timed runs(the most enjoyable one was the first one for me). On the other hand though: I didn't really feel like I hit the right mood with this one. It had glorious moments without doubt, but at times the gameplay was a bit tedious and it felt like Lara was running around over large areas with very little to actually accomplish. I notice that the others have given high ratings for gameplay, but to me it just didn't kick me off as much as I had hoped. Look- and soundwise though it's a gem. I found three secrets and it took me a bit over an hour to play. A good level for beginners as well as more experienced players." - Selene (17-Feb-2006)

"Could be a camera to show us what's the action which makes the trapdoor open in the small room with the four tile dragons; the first time I arrived there the trapdoor was closed, and later when I got the crossbow I hear a distant sound, but it's easy don't hear it 'cause the background music. This is only the "bad" detail I can comment to this fantastic level. Excellent gameplay and original puzzles, enemies well situated in natural places, great atmosphere, secrets are really secrets... Is the best level of BtB 2006 I've played till the moment (14 to go) and I think it will be one of the best levels of the competition. Very good work, I enjoyed it very much." - Jose (10-Feb-2006)

"This delightful offering taking place in and around of a canyon and with its lush, beautiful scenery as well was interesting and captivating gameplay proves to be one of the better levels from the new back to basics set. The setting itself is pretty compact once you get to know it, but that's not necessarily a negative thing as huge areas can intimidate and confuse you at first. Not so here - already at the beginning most areas are accessible, or you can definitely see where you're going - there's the bridge teasing you from distance in the canyon, there's the remote temple part up the hill and an entrance you see down below by the lake, but can't go there yet. And all of this can be seen from the start, thus already giving you a taste from what's to come, but not confusing you too much. The looks overall are nothing special, but done very well, and save for a few waterfalls, that seemed to come out of nowhere, I couldn't really think of any complaints. The gameplay at first resolves pretty much around timed (reasonably timed, mind you) challenges and traps, but in the end becomes a bit more puzzle based, with the brilliant 3d maze structure below the pawn puzzle to name an example. The only real setback, which could be quite off-putting, is that you can easily miss the first star object and crowbar, and when you realise you need them have to backtrack and search for them. Though that takes up some time, the fact that you at least *can* go back and then try again, so to say, works in favour of the level, though. Difficult really to think of any complaint - a well rounded level that uses all of its resources and environments successfully. Maybe lacks a bit of the 'wow' factor to make it a winner (in my view at least), but highly recommended nonetheless." - eTux (09-Feb-2006)

"Oh what a joy this level was to play. It has a beautifully designed environment, it's lit thoughtfully and has cameras where they are needed. The two levels I played before this one were quite difficult to complete so this one, whilst not too easy, came as a welcome interlude. The challenges are just right - not so easy that you shoot past them but not so difficult that you have to practice for hours on end to overcome them. Classic raiding." - Staticon (07-Feb-2006)

"A great level with plenty of gameplay & beautiful enviroment. Great puzzles especially the last one with the 4 pushable dragon pedestals this I could have never thought of in my life if I were a builder. Also the Dragon Stars were very difficult to find. Then there are also some timed runs. In the end when you push pull the 4 pedestals on their places & after placing the emperor's stone u end up in a small area dive into the pool to end the level. Your aim is to find the Chabui's fan & to escape the tomb." - Anurag (01-Feb-2006)

"Nice level, the puzzles are not that difficult even if they seem to be. I liked the most the one with red tiles and spikes, there are actually two puzzles that take place in some sort of a not so big opened maze, so you always can see where to go and there's a lot of useful cameras, I'm not counting the one that was hiding a shootable ball. Time: 1/02/31. Difficulty: easy/average. Lighting: darker. Gameplay type: explore/puzzles. Tech skills: basic." - Bojrkraider (30-Jan-2006)

"Now this is a level that I really liked, but I am a bit biased. Apart from looking for the first Shaft Key as I clearly overlooked that bloody thing over and over again. But on the other hand I found the crowbar pretty easily. Loved the music and the level unfolded rather good. I liked the idea of the outdoor area and I jumped everywhere I could and never got stuck. Also thought that the pushing job in this level was well thought of although one of the enemies way down did give me a nasty fright. The puzzles were not too difficult as were the traps once you figures them out. Don't get me wrong as I was baffled quite a few times before I found the way to proceed, but I wasn't bored one bit. 15-01-2006" - Gerty (28-Jan-2006)

"I'm happy again. The past couple of BtB levels I'd played have been below par, and I sensed that I was becoming known, not only as the Easy Grader Who Loves Every Level, but as the Grumpy Old Fart Who Hates Dark Levels. This level is dark in spots, but the darkness fits in sublimely with the surroundings and never becomes distracting. And whoever built this level has obviously spent some time becoming familiar with Oriental architecture. Having lived in Japan when I was a small boy, I can say with some assurance that what we have here is a thing of beauty that's culturally accurate, and I'll even go out on a limb and venture an educated guess that the builder is one of our female friends. The enemies consist only, if I recall correctly, a few white-robed goons, but the fun of this level is getting past the deadly traps and figuring out ways to keep progressing. The pushpiece puzzle room at the end is ingeniously laid out, and I could never have solved it without Dutchy's marvelous walkthrough. This is my favorite thus far in the 2006 BtB series, even though there are some rated higher that I haven't yet gotten to. Highly recommended." - Phil (27-Jan-2006)

"A good range of scenarios make the game play interesting and varied. The pickups and secrets are at times well hidden, and the enemies can be surprising and multiples-baddies, snakes and wraiths. The use of lighting and textures sets a good atmosphere and makes the graphics seem plausible. The camera work etc is fine with a variety of angles used without causing blind spots etc. All in all a well crafted level." - Whistle (24-Jan-2006)

"The thing I really appreciated about this level was the overall 'neatness' of the design, if that's the right word. Basically, I liked the way the various areas meshed together. Just when I began to think I was going in the wrong direction I turned a corner and found myself thinking ' ah, so that's where I am - excellent'. The gameplay is nicely balanced and the various timed runs and agility tests are great fun without being too difficult and the piece pushing puzzle is really well thought out." - Jay (23-Jan-2006)

"Wait a cotton picking minute, I did not get nary a glimpse of Olivia Newton-John on rollerskates, nor even a sniff of Gene Kelly, what's going on...this may constitute false advertisement, and I may have sought legal advice had this level not been such a delightfully atmospheric game. In a lovely night swept watery canyon Lara must find her way to it's high reaches to collect an Empress' fan in the interwoven temples that are carved into the canyon walls. On her journey there are many well placed traps and some interesting puzzles to keep her on her toes, the movable object puzzle built atop a huge maze like structure the most intriguing and smartly designed. Taking 40 minutes to finish, this actually came across as taking longer, and I left with only 2 of the 3 secrets to be found." - Sash (20-Jan-2006)

"I'd really like to rate this level a bit higher because of the amospheric environments which look real , more realistic than many of the others in the Btb2006 competition. I quite enjoyed the discovery in well designed caves and well textured temples. Unlike some other builders, the author has not abused of too many static objects for the decor, which is a very good things in my view. This sobriety serves well the level. I also liked the tasks to perform in this quest, the timed tasks that you can manage at your second attempt , the riddle with the squishy blocks and fire burners, the jumps in the chains room (fun gameplay here). Also the bigger room at the end where you have to find your way down is good fun. The placement of the 1st star is a bit sneaky , and the lighting could be improved (it seems that the sun bulbs are missing in most of the areas), That aside, a good level that I enjoyed playing." - eRIC (16-Jan-2006)

"Great game, top quality, but I guess that can be said about most of the games included in this Back to Basics challenge and I am impressed. A fair share of mean traps and obstacles, a lot of exploring too, the author managed to build a grand adventure in a not so huge environment - my applause. You must pay a lot of attention here or, as the smilie says, "best viewed with open eyes". I liked the atmosphere, not overly awesome but very agreeable. I enjoyed the puzzles too, namely the one in the room with the four blocks that don't immediately match the tiles - this time the pushing/pulling of blocks didn't become a tedious task: bravo! Very advisable indeed." - Jorge22 (15-Jan-2006)

"A nice level to play, some Timed runs or swims on your quest to get the Emperor's Stone, the first Dragon Key was hard to find, ran past it a couple of times till somebody told me where it was. Nice central canyon you will cross at several levels and a timed target shoot, took me a while to get that in the bag. A stacked labyrinth this time, looking for a way to get the Gem to raise ledges so the Puzzle could be completed. The end was rather abrupt, pity... Found the 3 Secrets." - Dutchy (14-Jan-2006)

"This is the fourth BtoB 2006 level I've played, and I'm so impressed by the standard of the levels, every one of them. You'd imagine, with the same specs, we'd be experiencing a lot of similar stuff. But no, every one of them show the unique imagination and skills of the authors. This level is very beautiful, if a little dark in places. Gameplay is terrific. The only problem I had, after completing many tasks, was reaching the receptacle high up on a bridge and finding, not only did I not have anything to put in there, but I knew I needed a crowbar too. So the only thing to do now was dive off the bridge, go back to the beginning, and start all over again to find the crowbar. The great thing here is actually being able to do this, and having opened up areas along the way, it was much easier to find my way back up to the bridge. The whole level is so well thought out and it's a pleasure to explore with that lovely music playing in the background. Everything is there, despite not being able to see certain things at first, lol (that star on the wall comes immediately to mind). I loved everything here, the atmosphere, decor, puzzles, and the enemies - snakes in the water and those oriental thugs, are very well placed. Lara slides into a rocky mountain canyon type of place, and finds lovely buildings, bridge and gardens built into this canyon at different levels. Picking up the lasersight almost immediately, and the crossbow soon afterwards indicates that we will be targeting and shooting things. And although it's not crucial, it's a good idea to try and find the crowbar early. The player will need to search every corner of every area they enter as there are well hidden routes. We find the first of those dragon trigger tiles early on. This first one is for a great timed run. Loved the subtle gameplay in areas like that room with fires, spikes, swinging chains, trigger tiles, and switches placed in different nooks and crannys. Well into the level we have an object pushing puzzle on tall structures, but have to get way down below to find levers and a gem. This was very well done. Apart from stars, there's the eponymous yin/yang combo, gems and Lara's goal - the ruby fan, given to Chabui, favourite wife of Emperor Kublai Khan, which, according to the readme, had a map carved into it of a secret underground palace. Most players will be able to tackle this level (even without a walkthrough), but saving often along the way is recommended as there are a lot of traps to negotiate." - CC (14-Jan-2006)

"And now, ladies and gentlemen, here we have... perfect gameplay! Everything is there: well-staged enemies, one devious mix of a 3D maze (sort of) and a push blocks puzzle, a couple of thrilling trap gauntlets, perfect balance of research (not too easy but not of the wandering aimlessly type either), nice timed-runs and a couple of jumps which, while not that tricky, require some thinking beforehand. Added to that a great atmosphere served with a very good lighting - albeit a bit dark at places - and a good use of music. Settings is good too with a good mix of rocky areas, clean and colored chinese rooms and some more "dungeon-like" ones. My only regret were the secrets which I found way too easy and a bit simplistic, especially when compared to the rest. At least for the three I found. I had a great time playing this excellent level and all I can say is: I want more!" - Sutekh (09-Jan-2006)

"Probably my favorite of the BtB'06 levels so far (and the 9th I played so far), this one has a smashing scenery. I personally loved the caves and the waterfall area at the beginning (one minor thing was that the waterfalls apparently came out of nowhere). Gameplay is really varied as well, you'll be squeezing behind squash walls to reach levers and proceed, there's a brilliant boulder trap were you just have to rush in front of it to open a trapdoor and be safe, and this is just the first on a series of traps, there's a short sidequest for the stars (one of them sneakily hidden in a corner) and towards the end a twisted pushables puzzle where you have to work your way down to the ground floor - ingeniously done. All in all, one great level and a recommended one! 45 minutes, 3 secrets. 01/06" - Treeble (07-Jan-2006)

"Oh, how lovely was this? Lara begins her adventure in a fabulous rocky cave area with waterfalls and sandy shores. There is some swimming to do and a rather sneaky item to collect; if you miss it you will have to go back through the inner rooms again which was a bit of a pain, but even so, this teaches us to keep our eyes peeled. Once inside the inner chambers there are fire and spike traps to negotiate, and a boulder trap to deal with while you search for an artefact. Tuck it away in your back pack for later then move onto the next serving from this fabulous game; such as the object puzzle that sits on top of a rather nifty tower type structure, with little nooks and crannies to explore until you find a gem. The crossbow and sight will be used to shoot some balls, so keep eyes peeled for those, plus levers and stand tiles are used to activate various other doors. There are also a couple of nice timed runs awaiting the player. I enjoyed clambering round the high rocks outside, and I thought this level had great atmosphere. Enemies are Ninjas and a couple of water snakes, and I found three secrets. I thought this was a fabulous adventure, it looked great and there was never a dull moment." - Moonpooka (06-Jan-2006)

"Lara start out in a open cave-like area with a nice waterfall. The setting sort of reminds me of a Tenchu level. With an equal amount of puzzles and dangerous traps to overcome, Lara has to get further into the buldings in the caves to find a prized fan. I liked the atmosphere of the natural caves and the built enviorments. You will come across a few baddies, two snakes and a friendly monkey. I found four (or five) secrets without really looking for them. There are some difficult traps, so medipacks come in handy. Very nice cave/nature atmosphere and some very nice sceneries to be seen. Lighting and texture is great. Very nice oriental level. It took me about an hour and the difficulty is suitable for anyone." - Thorir (05-Jan-2006)
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