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Level: BtB2006 - Forbidden Houses of Ni Leng Hua back home search
Author(s): Hochgiftig
total rating:8.13 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Anurag 9 10 8 8
Bojrkraider 8 8 8 8
CC 9 9 9 9
Dutchy 9 9 10 10
eRIC 8 8 7 8
eTux 8 8 7 7
Gerty 7 8 7 8
Jay 9 8 9 9
Jerrod 7 6 6 8
Jorge22 10 9 9 10
Jose 8 7 9 8
Kristina 8 8 8 9
manarch2 7 6 7 8
MichaelP 9 8 8 8
Mman 8 9 9 9
Moonpooka 9 8 8 8
Mytly 7 7 7 7
Obig 9 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 9 8 8 9
Phil 8 9 10 9
Ryan 8 7 8 8
Sash 8 7 7 8
Selene 7 7 8 7
Spike 7 8 7 8
Staticon 7 8 8 8
Sutekh 8 9 8 8
Treeble 9 9 9 9
Whistle 9 7 9 7
category averages
(28 reviews)
8.18 7.96 8.11 8.29

Reviewer's comments

"I did enjoy this 45 minute level, but not as much as other reviewers, it seems. The level highlight is undoubtedly the multiple lever- cum-timed trapdoor sequence which makes for an entertaining section. The rest of the level is pleasant, although not overwhelming. I was a bit ambivalent about the hiding place of the first secret. Devious yet a bit unfair maybe?. Settings were nicely constructed, though." - Ryan (23-Feb-2017)

"The gameplay in this level is mostly pleasant, though nothing spectacular. There are some good traps, and a couple of interesting tasks, such as the ones in the mirror room. A lot of the tasks involve large health losses that can get quite frustrating. Enemy placement sometimes adds to this frustration, with Lara being forced to battle enemies in extremely close quarters. The first secret is ridiculously unfair - I doubt that anyone found it at first try.
The most memorable area in this level is the pavilion set amidst waterfalls and trees, and with another building perched high up on the rocks above it. Unfortunately, it feels as if the builder concentrated all his efforts into this particular pretty location, and neglected all others parts of the level. Another large set piece, for example, is a huge cave that is nothing more than one big cube with practically no architecture except for ledges along its sides and a bridge at the top.
Overall: A decent level, though occasionally frustrating, and not particularly visually impressive, except for the lovely pavilion." - Mytly (09-Sep-2015)

"This level captivates with rather good texturing and lighting and even with some not as well worked areas (with slightly wallpapered textures and boxy areas) the whole look was rather clean and appealing. It starts with a rather unfairly hidden secret that is almost impossible to get the first time around. The gameplay is fluent and often diverse, yet not quite to the point. There are way too many levers overall that send you up and down all possible locations and with some missing camera clues and annoying greenery in front of your eyes the whole thing sometimes turns into a bit of an orgy. Still some of the puzzles and tasks are out of the ordinary and I liked the timed runs in the large waterfall area very much, as well as the nice use of blades, the mirror room and the fixed camera when Lara escapes from a boulder. The looping background audio can annoy a bit but there's some more work than in other previous levels; there are also a couple of missing sounds. Cameras are rather good save for some missing or misleading ones. The enemies are not so utterly well placed, e.g. on the high branch of a tree - how on earth did they get up there? Anyway the two secrets are nice to find and it's a rather well-rounded, if a bit tedious, 35 minute contribution to the contest." - manarch2 (19-Mar-2015)

"This level has some beautiful areas, such as a large garden type area, and while not so impressive visual, there's also a massive pit-type area that's impressive for it's sheer size. Some areas aren't quite so detailed, but it all looks decent, and makes good use of objects to enhance things.
Gameplay is challenging but manageable. There are some flaws like one jump-switch being far too hidden and too many long ladder climbs. The pit area also has so many switches that their individual uses get a bit lost and it becomes of case of randomly pressing everything and seeing what happens (this thankfully seems to work at least). A great entry, although it has a few flow problems." - Mman (16-Jan-2012)

"Apparently the author have a true affection for the switches, I respect that, but I cannot say I really enjoyed this level for several reasons; the gameplay is too repetitive, moreover there are no camera for all these switches and the player needs run through the level again and again, there are several inevitable collision with spikes, the falls where Lara lose health are also too repetitive, the ennemies appears from anywhere in strange places (like a small room closed), the ultra-very-well hidden jumpswitch... Not a bad level, but sometimes too monotonous for my part." - Jerrod (11-Apr-2010)

"The start of this level was lovely, and had smooth progression and great texturing. There were a few enemies to kill, and a small pushable puzzle to do. The middle section of the level was also quite good, and involved a room that involved the use of a tree in order to move up and down the area. The texturing was also lovely here, and the waterfalls coming down from the roof were a nice touch. Shortly after there was another swimming section back at the start of the level, and a bunch of knife traps to avoid. However, the last part of the level was a major disappointment. The gameplay here was confusing, and I could never work out which lever to pull next, which ladder to climb, or which trapdoor to jump to. While it is technically well designed, I thought that it could have had more hints as to what to do than were available. A mirror room and a fight with some baddies soon follow, and then the level seems to end rather suddenly. While the majority of the level was great, the final 1/3 really didn't please me at all." - Spike (20-Jul-2007)

"This is an adventure with a little bit of everything:some straightforward "how do I get through there?" gameplay;a non-linear sequence in the middle of the level involving outdoor temples and trees;seveal timed challenges;battles with ninjas;and a few fun 'gauntlet' sequences sprinkled here and there to keep you on your toes.It's all fun and enjoyably varied and produces an Ace with the addition of a massive and complicated 'lever-pulling' cavern at just the moment when you think that nothing more could possibly be added to an already eventfull adventure.Even this isn't the end,as you have a final confrontation to deal with,but the addition of a Shotgun rather takes some of the sting out of this encounter. Distribution of medi-packs is well thought out,and some of the secrets are devious and neatly accomplished. Atmosphere is pretty much all you could ask for and the overall result is one of the 'upper echelon' BtoB2006 entries. This is Hochgiftig's best work,IMO,and something to be proud of." - Orbit Dream (13-Apr-2007)

"This is the first level in this project where I had to use a medipack. This was annoying for me, but there were so many inevitable injuries that it was necessary. There were many high falls and also the spikes scratched me walking up the long ladder. In search of The Burang we are adventuring in buildings, on trees and in a cave while we also have to find the Yin-Yang. We have to reach many switches for getting on. The enemies are snakes and some guys with staffs. The textures are very beautiful, and the challenges are not so hard. There is a timed run too, and moreover a timed ladder-climb as well. :) In this case, unfortunately the spikes became active too early for me so almost half of my energy was gone in a second. There are some high falls also in the huge cave, though one of them can be avoided by jumping from the bridge behind the rocks. I could find two secrets on the level; it was good to find the shotgun for the final fight, so I didn't have to use another medipack here. I can only suggest this great adventure for everybody; noone should skip it. :) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/16/btb2006_14_forbidden_kouses_of_ni_leng_hua.htm" - Obig (18-Mar-2006)

"That was a very good level with nicely done traps and challenging timed jumps with switches. The only thing I hated in the big waterfall area with the timed switches I mentioned above is getting back to the other side again. That was frustrated having to do all that, all over again. The setting is beautiful with a lot of ladders though and many levels in each of the large areas. There are the usual enemies, snakes, guys in white to shoot and kill. I found two secrets and liked this level a lot." - Kristina (10-Mar-2006)

"What a ride indeed. This almost hour long adventure takes you through three main stages which are tricky, clever and tough to various degrees. I especially liked the middle part around the tree structure and the building high up on the rocks. It was good looking and had you think about your next move a few times. The final stage in the huge square room did not quite look as good but was still fun with the timed runs, although a little tedious with all the climbs up and down several times. Great swan dive opportunity though. The end then came rather unexpected and abrupt after a bit of a battle with those white guys. Found only one of the three secrets - the shotgun." - MichaelP (19-Feb-2006)

"Since I am writing this review a day or 2 after I actually finished the level, before writing this review, I had to read other reviews and check out the walkthrough, to be absolutely sure I was not confusing some tasks with those from other levels, as it seems all the previous levels have finally blurred into one single joint memory. But the reading did well for my memory and I remembered the tree and the pagoda area, the initial wading part, the huge waterfall with countless ledges and switches, the nasty traps and the pleasant challenge they provided. I also remembered the decent, yet not overly special room geometry and visuals (in my humble opinion, only - I thought they were a bit too blocky where they should've felt more organic) thorough the game. Unfortunately, along with that I also remembered the occasional door bug, the nano-second issue (switch by the yin-yang receptacle), as well as the level relying maybe a bit too much on the switches when looking at the gameplay on the whole - even though (or because of?) it was rather action than puzzle based. But generally it's quite nicely done and is fun the whole way through (save for the 1000 ledge waterfall maybe, which became tedious in a while) and doesn't differ too greatly from the style that the competition has set so far, but that's a good thing in a way too, since the standards are high and this level lives up to them well." - eTux (12-Feb-2006)

"Maybe it's because I've played nearly 20 of these Oriental levels already and I'm subconsciously desperate to move on to something new. Whatever the reason, I experienced some mood swings while playing this level. You begin in pitch blackness and drop down into a partially flooded room. According to the walkthrough there was a secret somewhere up there in that pitch blackness. I didn't bother going back to look. Not my idea of fair gamesmanship. Sorry. But from that bittersweet beginning I enjoyed myself immensely for about the next hour. The architecture was stunning, and I had a great time going up and down that tree looking for things to do next. I was mulling this review over in my mind, certain that this was the best level in the series thus far. Then I got to that large room with all the timed switches and platforms near the end, and it was like all the air went out of the balloon. I made the first timed move to the next switch by sheer luck, but then I got bogged down. I finally gave up and enabled the flycheat so I could finish without yielding to the temptation to throw a heavy object into my monitor screen. This is a great level for those who can manage these kinds of difficult moves, but my greatest enjoyment was in the beginning and middle stages, when the scenery was appealing and the going not so rough." - Phil (08-Feb-2006)

"Well, this level had me running around and scratching my head at times with the cunning placing of jump switches and a couple of well concealed and not-too-easy to find doors. The whole thing is nicely designed and, for the most part, quite compact. I had a few problems in the huge cavern with timed runs, jumps and a lot of climbing. The puzzle here is quite ingenious - so much so that I was totally unable to solve it on my own thus confirming my assertion that I am an incredibly bad game player. :-) Thank heavens for the life saving walkthrough. After the cave section, the pace hots up again and pans out to a very satisfying conclusion. This level is well worth the time spent playing it. You can be sure of some excellent and challenging gameplay." - Staticon (07-Feb-2006)

"A lineal level enough good. I've only have some difficult to find the hidden jumpswitch at the pagoda area, but rest of the level is not very hard. Perhaps there are too much switches to pull; in the big area with the ladders near the end I hadn't to use all the switches to proceed. Sometimes I missed some more camera, but generally the level was good for me. Like another levels of BtB I've play till the moment, I only find an extra gun to help me with the enemies (?)." - Jose (07-Feb-2006)

"Not too far into this level here's some tree climbing to do - don't trust the foliage, it's really good at concealing things. I spent a long time climbing around as I'd missed a jump switch but I must say I did at least get a really good view of the beautiful temple area from the treetops. Quite a few timed runs and nice use of mirror rooms and it's always good to have the opportunity to do a really high dive - it looks so spectacular." - Jay (31-Jan-2006)

"Another nice looking level of Btb2. At the start I had a little problem of finding the way, but finally I was able to investigate this trapdoors orientated level. First you have to climb up a big tree, which was my favourite area. You can find here also an invisible "lift" that transports you right at the top of a pavilion, which saves you some climbning, unintentional bug ;). At the end you reach a place with lots of trapdoors and climbable walls which you have to manoeuvre to open the way to the exit. One door at the end was wrongly turned, producing the invisible block. Time: 1/03/18. Difficulty: average. Lighting: brighter. Gameplay type: traps. Tech skills: basic. Other: Access to the rooftops." - Bojrkraider (30-Jan-2006)

"Right from the start you have to be on the look out for things as you can easily overlook a secret that you cannot go back for, and as this first section is full of ways to loose health just by getting around it is a good idea to find that secret as it holds a small medi. There are a couple of really memorable areas in this 60 minute level, the first of these is the lovely outdoor garden with pagodas and one large tree and the other is the huge underground lever room. Each of these places had me a little perplexed at times, the pagoda garden because of a very sneakily situated hang lever that helped make the wonderfully designed tree more accessible, and the lever room because I really didn't understand what all the levers did and just pulled them all as I climbed higher and then found that some were timed, well I assume they were timed as when I would come across them again in my travels around this room they were back in their initial position but nothing seemed to have changed, there is though an obvious timed run but this was quite easy and I read that there is a hint with 5 of the levers having dragon pictures above them, but again I just pulled them all as I came to them and I got through, as you can see this room still perplexes me! As a whole this level really interested me and it is always a good thing to find yourself stumped for a while, as I did, as this involves you more deeply into a level as you try to find the solution. I think though this could have used a few more cameras. I collected 2 secrets." - Sash (29-Jan-2006)

"The game play in this level was very varied and seemed quite long. It contained a number of features not met in this series before e.g. the mirror walls. Lots of jumps and climbs with back flip etc needed but it could have been achieved without losing health on the spikes. Enemies consisted only snakes and baddies, although some were multiples. Objects were OK with more than enough of the items you needed. My main problems with this level were with the texturing of blocks and trap doors which constantly appeared and disappeared as you moved, and the fact that if you jumped up over the pagoda rail you suddenly were on the roof. The over use of foliage so that the camera angles do not allow you to see where you are going leaves me very none plussed. The lighting was fine and despite the texture problems a good atmosphere was set for the various sections." - Whistle (29-Jan-2006)

"Funny that some levels speak to you and some don't. I've been running around like a headless chicken in this level. There is so much back and fro to prolong the gameplay unnecessary IMO. Also because I would like to have a lot more camera work in here. So this was frustration hell for me. That was a pity as there are nice things in this level. Scenery is great, loved the different room, Traps were nice as well, although some timed runs had me going a bit too much for my liking. 27-01-2006" - Gerty (28-Jan-2006)

"The immediate impression I'm left with is of that last room, being attacked by four thugs, having no medpacks left, and being killed a number of times. That is, until I figured out that they can't climb up to the Burang artifact, but Lara can. For such a large level, there are some very confined spaces to work through, occupied by more thugs, or snakes. But that is not a fair summing up of this huge level. At the start Lara falls into a pool in a nice looking room. It took a while to just get going, finally finding the first of many very well hidden switches. This is a thinking person's level. Right from the start we are climbing, raising and lowering trapdoors and blocks, switches, jumps, and searching. Oh boy! The searching! After this first room we find ourselves outdoors in a beautiful rocky mountain area with lovely buildings and a huge tree to climb. And it ain't just a matter of climbing to a branch. One switch, attached to the tree, is impossible to know about, never mind find. I had to read about it, and even then it took a lot of searching. A devious mind is at work here, and there's one name that comes immediately to mind if I were to guess the builder :p. This lovely area, like a later tall room has an intriguing setup of locating switches, that involves climbing that tree numerous times. At least I did. The last switch is only accessible when we lower the spikes in front of it. This is done when we place the fan that appears out of thin air. We find the first half of the yin/yang early, but finding the second half is more interesting and challenging. As was finding the gem. The boulder and moving spike walls were easy to dodge. Not so the spikes, especially the ones that shoot out of one of the many tall ladders we have to climb. Loved that tall room with switches on ledges and trapdoors that we need to raise and lower; and by this means, enter into a great mirror room. Loved the location of, entrance into, the looks of, and what needs to be done in this mirror room. In fact, this tall cave area was the highlight for me, not to forget the snake that appears on the precarious walkway high above the ground. All this is to open that tiny trapdoor (another one!) in the water below and bring you to the room I mentioned at first with the gang attack. There is certainly an air of always being on the alert in this level. Yes, there are lovely places to explore, but it's not like a stroll through a beautiful garden as in some of the other levels. You do get a sense of 'thank heavens' I'm made it at the end. Having said that, this was an excellent level and one of the best in this year's contest." - CC (20-Jan-2006)

"A pretty good level, with plenty of puzzles. I specially liked the area with a pagoda & a tree(which was designed specially very thoughtfully)& then at the end you have to face another puzzle in an area with plenty of switches & trapdoor to find the yang piece. There are two secrets I heard but couldnt find even 1 :D" - Anurag (20-Jan-2006)

"My, what a trap symphony this is! Ok, not only traps, not only traps, and the traps were well chosen and well applied. I liked the settings, the music was ok, the whole level was very vast and took me much more than one hour (should I downrate it for that, not going with the rules? But, on the other hand, it was prolonged fun...), the puzzles were interesting and the immense room with a lot of levers was, let's face it, very, very puzzling. But I made it, I finally made it with a lot of patience on my side. The pagoda room with the climbable tree was also very interesting. Only one timed run that I can remember, but that was in the aforementioned huge lever room, so it was challenging as the entire level was. I did enjoy the game. Very much. Even though the beggining, now that I come to think of it, was somewhat slow because it was oh so very puzzling as well. Certainly not for those who want it easy... But I'm leaving the forbidden houses with a great sense of reward." - Jorge22 (19-Jan-2006)

"Certainly this one has good puzzles, and I was often stuck as some of them are a bit facetious , like the almost invisible jump switch hidden by greenery or the switch which triggers two events. This quest begins by solving puzzles in small rooms before reaching a garden/jungle area , then a series of interesting traps , to finally arrive in a big and high cave with many ledges and a few timed trapdoors. This area was great fun to raid although I noticed that one timed trapdoor was quite useless for me. If the puzzles are good and the setting solidly done , the atmosphere is a bit weak in my opinion. Enemies are well used. If you like puzzles oriented levels, this one is quite recommanded" - eRIC (16-Jan-2006)

"A real hard level, lots of things to do and find, certainly that hidden jumpswitch, puzzles not too hard but some nice jumping involved, I found an easy way up to that old tree, just grab up through the fence of the Gazebo from the water and you are standing on the roof, saves you a climb up a ladder. The level looks mighty good, the atmosphere was excellent and the traps were not too hard but challenging, only one of the traps didn't work too good as Timed Spikes went back to business before you were through and when you passed them with some health loss you heard the end of Timed sequence sound? That high room for the Yang piece was quite a bit of work for one Item, but it was a very well invented room I think. Loved it..." - Dutchy (14-Jan-2006)

"Mmmm... Where do I start? The first thing that comes to mind is that here you'll have Lara helplessly lose health in all possible ways, be it from the dreadful combination of spikes and ladder (met several times), falling from a high jump-switch or ledges, or jumping to low platforms. The mix of a whole batallion of Chinese Thugs and some weird camera will help too in that regard. And frankly, it took away a lot of the fun for me. There are also an awful lot of switches to flip, not all with a clear hint of what's been accomplished and some tedious back and fro on ladders (up and down, down and up...) at one point. Despite from all that, the level manages to be quite enjoyable at times, with really great sequences and, needless to say, adrenaline is there to save the day. No real puzzle here, but it didn't seem to be the point. Enemies are generally well-staged (with one single sadistic exception... or maybe two) and I found the very first secret to be devilishly sneaky. The settings is good and sometimes even beautiful and impressive, but there are some glitches here and there and the lighting is a bit poor. In short, if you don't mind using a lot of medipacks and are ready for a good, fun and sometimes frantic ride, this is the one for you." - Sutekh (13-Jan-2006)

"Unfortunately I have to say that this level did not hit it home with me. I was thrilled with it in the beginning, despite the occasional disappearing/re-appearing doors, disappearing blocks, blinking textures and other such glitches in texturing. But near the end the whole level hit a re-running loop with climbing, jumping, switches, saving, dying and reloading. The last room had me so frustrated at the end I was on the verge of giving up. In reality there was no actual puzzles, only a lot of climbing, lowering and raising trapdoors, finding a few items and discovering well hidden switches. At the end Lara eventually finds The Burang after having fought of a ninja academy. The enemies, snakes and ninjas, were well suitable but at times too many at the same time and often they caught Lara at the worst moments possible. There were loads of traps, mostly spikes and a few boulders that were often hard to dodge. I also found a bug in timed-climb spike shaft, which cost Lara an unnecessary amount of health.....and inevitable health losses were almost too frequent in this level. The adventure was massive and seemed a lot longer than the time on my statistics, about 1 hour and 20 minutes, would reveal. I could only find 1 out of 2 secrets and barely that. But this level too had its beautiful moments....I really loved the gorgeous mirror room, a really splendid and interesting idea. A fairly ok level, a bit lengthy at times perhaps, but nonetheless worth playing. Could be a bit difficult for beginners, but definetely no moments that were too hard to get past." - Selene (10-Jan-2006)

"In this one you're after the Burang artifact and to get there you'll have to come through a number of traps and puzzles. I think it played really well, with the occasional place to get the player stuck (one hidden jumpswitch for instance had me stuck for some time). A few key moments - a nice room with ladders and spikes, a lovely waterfall area with a tree, the AOD music in a quick underwater section and the HUGE shaft with timed levers and trapdoors. Regarding that last one, it was really frustrating but eventually I realized I was doing a few things wrong. I put it on ice for one day or two and when I got back it all seemed so much simpler. A few things to note however, the provided compiled (tr4) file has the use of a custom font - this could be a dead giveaway. I'm sure I've seen this one font in other levels, can't remember who the author was, but any one folk could for instance wonder through those Trophy threads looking for that font... *whistles* Also, I came across the reported bug in the ladder per accident, eventually realizing I'd have to climb through the spikes. All in all, a nice level, spare your medipacks, even if the final showdown isn't that difficult... 60 minutes, 1 secret. 01/06" - Treeble (07-Jan-2006)

"Wow! This was huge, or so it seemed. One hour and seventeen minutes of game play and what fun it was too. I had to take a break half way through so forgive if I miss anything in the review, this level for me was quite complex at times and its hard to remember everything precisely. I will start with my dislikes and gripes which are minimal. The ladders, I have never had to make Lara do so much climbing, the poor girls legs were near on falling off LOL. But saying this, really it was just a small gripe and the rest of this fab level made up for that small whinge. There are many traps, by way of spikes, lots of enemies who sometimes show up in gangs (thanks for the med packs at the end or I would never have made it through) and a few of those old snakes were lurking about too. Items to collect were of course the yin yang objects, diamond and a fan and the artefact at the end to take home with you. I found no secrets and I am sure I missed the shotgun as I got ammo for it. There's a huge ladder/lever room which I played through by chance, I still don't know which lever did what and some levers are times to hatches, this was a really fun room, but less ladders would have been nice! Fav area, the little gazebo room with the tree, but some game play can be by passed by a bug which springs Lara up onto the gazebo roof, don't cheat it or you will miss a lot of the game play! Textures and lighting etc, all well placed and nothing was amiss. All in all, this was a really interesting and fun level with some beautiful rooms and lots to offer." - Moonpooka (03-Jan-2006)
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