trle.net
Level: BtB2006 - Teahouse back home search
Author(s): MichaelP
total rating:9.03 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Anurag 10 10 10 10
Bene 10 10 10 9
Bojrkraider 10 8 8 8
CC 9 8 8 8
DJ Full 10 9 9 7
Dutchy 9 10 9 9
eRIC 9 9 8 8
eTux 9 9 8 7
Gerty 9 9 9 8
Jay 10 9 10 9
Jerrod 9 10 8 7
Jorge22 10 10 9 9
Jose 10 10 9 9
Kristina 8 9 8 9
Loupar 9 8 8 9
manarch2 9 8 8 7
Mman 9 9 9 8
Moonpooka 10 10 10 10
Mytly 10 9 10 8
Obig 9 10 10 9
Phil 10 10 10 10
rjb 9 9 9 8
Ryan 10 9 9 9
Sash 10 10 10 9
Selene 10 10 10 10
Staticon 9 8 8 9
Sutekh 9 10 9 8
Treeble 10 9 8 9
Victoria 9 8 9 9
Whistle 8 9 9 8
category averages
(30 reviews)
9.40 9.20 8.97 8.57

Reviewer's comments

"This level had some of the best gameplay in a while. Right from the start you need to be on your toes to defeat enemies, look for needed items and solve challenging puzzles. The highlight is the boulder room where you need to drop various boulders by accomplishing different tasks. Cream of the crop material." - Ryan (08-Apr-2016)

"Since it's a bit late, I made myself a coffee, but to maintain some relation to this level I added some dried leaves of green tea. The results of this invention may be impredictable so if this review doesn't come out You will know why this happened. To the level: it begins like none ever should, with an instant wraith attack evaded to a pool inhabited by a snake, escaped into the ambush of Chinese (?) henchmen (the latter part of this setup was repeated further ingame). Managing to still notice graphic imperfections while being that busy usually doesn't mean anything good. Usually, and this is an exception, very much like Lara of Persia - basically I had identical feelings all the time: apparently aware of his odd architectural inventions and set of patterns that might not suit every player, Michael succumbed every structure built here to the reign of gameplay and many parts of this effect are totally outstanding. Yes, there is an overdone pushable but involving more thinking than pushing and this is what these things are supposed to be about. There is also some backtracking but competed with a shortcut. The underwater set of traps, once dealt with, does not require going through the full challenge once again. The gloom and flatitude of the central room gets forgotten in the bright water rooms and when that dark and not quite fitting (in fact getting dull in time) loop from AOD soundtrack starts to be tiring, the outside soundtrack turns on to give us a relaxing Oriental break which also fits the outdoor timed runs - or was it the reason for applying these together outside? In general, if some flaw couldn't have been avoided (or was deliberately left be), it's always rewarded with something else. To make things even easier, a whole load of secrets requiring all memory, prediction and agility to be found comes to aid. To end with what I began with, my initial anxiety about the enemies seeming to be unfair as hell got totally dispersed by a simple scientific evidence that I somehow could negotiate them all without a half medi. SUMMARY: In the beginning, You will wonder what the author was thinking about, but the more rollingballs will fall, the more satisfied You will be. Highly recommended." - DJ Full (30-Apr-2015)

"Arriving in the top 3 of the contest, my initial impressions weren't that great - the first room has rather eclectic texturing with a couple of mistakes and the death tiles (at least all marked with the same texture) are a bit of an oddity. Oh well, from then on everything went better very quickly. After a somewhat different monkeyswing task you'll arrive in a very mysterious area with rather unorthodox lighting and a very complex and huge 2D puzzle you'll work around for most of the level. The two-dimensional view is rather nicely applied and the tasks around it are quite interesting, varying from slope jumps to triggering and avoiding boulders - or just getting up. But there are also many other tasks that will keep you on your toes, may it be a rather complex (and this time highly creative) pushable puzzle, jumps along (partly even illegal) slopes or some fairly inspired timed runs with some additional traps in between - in short the entertainment factor in this level is really high and the builder even thought on providing a shortcut from the lower to the upper stage, even if only when you find one of the secrets. The visual design of this level is certainly not quite perfect and can be critizised on many occasions - the texturing stays a bit messy and not quite as clean as it could be, the greenish lighting is a bit too oppressive generally lighting could need further refinements (there are some strange shadow bulbs that don't make much sense) and there are a few simple or not carefully designed rooms (the end of the world is also a problem on top of the teahouse) - but like seldom in the contest it's effectively used to present a quite different kind of atmosphere that I really appreciate, even if it's far from perfect. The work in terms of sounds and cameras is also rather fine and in contrast to many other contest levels the background audio is not looping that much. Enemies aren't a large factor in this game but are used to their potential and the object design is very good, not only in the traps but also in terms of room design. As to be guessed the five secrets are very well hidden and I was quite content with what I've experienced in those 30 minutes I spent here." - manarch2 (19-Mar-2015)

"This level starts in a nice-looking outdoor area and moves onto the Teahouse itself where most of the action takes place. The main room looks quite original, with a large boulder course in a huge room that makes it look like some surreal art exhibit. Some of the side areas look a bit less inspired, such as a platform area with some weird texturing, the other half of the main room is also a little dark, but it's mostly very pleasing.
This level shows it's not going to be easy straight away by immediately setting some Wraiths on you, and requiring you to jump into a Snake-pool to get rid of them, then there's a trapped slope to work your way down. The start is probably the hardest bit (which is a bit uneven), but it still remains challenging throughout. The boulder course is a nice way to make it feel like you are accomplishing something; it's essentially the same as getting an item or just pressing a lever, but seeing a boulder run down the course after doing something adds a lot to the sense of progression (as well as the course itself providing some platforming). There's a nice variety of other tasks to, and some interesting geometry to work around. This definitely one of the best levels in the contest." - Mman (20-Jan-2012)

"What a dreadful start! This level is not easy for sure, but there are nothing very well hidden and the camera make a good job, just take the time. In the same way the secrets are not too hard to find, however some jumps are... AAaaarggh! Good work with light & shadow, but the level design is not always artistic in my view, anyway the strange look (catacomb/nightclub) give a funny ambiance to this game." - Jerrod (16-Apr-2010)

"Wow, BtB06 seems to have been a great competition, seeing that it produced gems like this (ok, the current BtB is pretty damn fantastic as well ;)). I loved the gameplay in this level, especially how the whole level is one huge puzzle involving getting several boulders down and into their respective holes. The platforming elements are great too, as are the timed runs. I did have the occasional issue with the gameplay - for example, the overly complex push-block puzzle, and having to do the first timed run once again later on in the game. I had to resort to the walkthrough on occasion (and I certainly wouldn't have found all the secrets without its help). Still, on the whole, the creativity of the gameplay far outshines any of its shortcomings.
Lighting & texturing are a little unbalanced - some places are nicely lit and textured, while others are bland and dark. The most problematic area in this regard is the Boulder Hall itself, with the wall with the boulder puzzle beautifully lit, whereas the rest of the Hall being textured almost completely in a single dark grey texture and oppressively dark, so that it's hard to even see what needs to be done there. The music in the Hall was a little annoying too (or maybe it's just that I dislike that particular AoD track). But the atmosphere on the whole is fantastic - not in the least the relaxing atmosphere I had expected on reading the title of the level!
Overall: A must-play level. But keep your wits - and the walkthrough - about you." - Mytly (28-Feb-2010)

"Well I want to build an oriental level so I decided to look at the oriental levels here and found one by Michael and decided to try it! =D I liked it, I thought it was really enjoyable! It is quite puzzling and it looks gorgeous. So basically you need to find 4 gems and it looks straightforward but it isn't. There was a time run and I kept messing up but the third time I got it. =) I found 2 secrets and it took me 1 hour and 2 minutes. I gave gameplay a 9 because I thought that it was interesting and there was never a dull moment and it was enjoyable. I gave enemies, objects & secrets an 8 because secrets were well placed (quite challenging imo!) and there were lots of enemies but they sorta got frustrating! Objects were well placed however. The atmosphere was really good as well as the sound and cameras which were utilized well. The lighting and texturing was also great and very good looking. Very nice and enjoyable level! Makes me want to try more of the authors levels :D!!" - Victoria (28-Aug-2009)

"This is one of the best levels in this project. The textures are beautiful and various, and the locations are also good. They are neither too hard, but nor too easy, especially if you want to get all five secrets. I completed the game some times until finding all of them. :) When reaching the big room, I already know who made this level. Michael had a similar level some time ago, where there was such a multi-level, rolling-rock-spiced task. Or at least I hope that my memory serves me well. :) I didn't use medipacks during my last play, it is not even needed, only a little patience. We have to swim and jump through spinning blades, pulling down switches, and sometimes the camera won't help us. A little practise is needed. The enemies are snakes, monks with staffs, and nerve-racking wraiths. At the rope-swing I had to reload several times until figuring out where to jump. I also liked the room with the four switches; I spent some time with finding the proper method. It was a great adventure, noone should skip it. It is a masterpiece. :) You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here: http://treditor.hu/16/btb2006_22_teahouse.htm" - Obig (18-Mar-2006)

"A game that seems to be of a higher 'calibre' than the other BtB06s I have played so far (13/23, 22nd Feb). It appears to be much more 'intricate', involving a lot more than going from A to B. The builder doesn't want us to 'settle' at the start, as we are attacked immediately, by 2, then 3 types of enemy. (I'm not a great fan of the 'disjointed' kind of terrain at the beginning [in the pool, also], as it seems to be made of 'confused' blocks, to make things artificially 'difficult'. The wall textures in this opening area seem v.jumbled, also.) [Challenge to builder: many reloads are needed to do this, but it is possible to pick up both items in the pool, douse the sprites, and avoid both thuggies & snake (w/o any health loss!) and reach the inside of the gateway after the first timed run, after only 77 secs!] Nice fly-bys to draw our attention to 'pertinent points', including a most dramatic one as we reach the 'great room'. I like the leafy bit at the top, & the access to the sky - as well as the question: "What is this all about?" The sheer, vast scale is most impressive. (And appropriate 'wonder' type of music that accompanies our introduction to it.) Cube puzzle area (rims of these manoeuvreable cubes are very nicely designed, being in exactly the right place for Lara to pull or push them): Interesting idea to see baddies before we reach them, so we know they're there. Ah, we can inadvertently leave one of the cubes on a raiseable block square and use a lever that raises it (when the cube presumably rises into the ceiling). If we realise our mistake and reverse the lever, the cube does NOT reappear - and we'll be stuck! Forgot the 'lateral thinking' aspect of this puzzle, that some levers will do more than one thing, so I needed to look at the (superb) diagram Sutekh has drawn in the w/thr for the last bit. Interesting series of jumps on the dark grey pillars. Water levels seem quite at variance with 'physics' in places. (In one area, in rooms almost next to each other, there is a difference in level of 'several blocks'.) As we drop from one jumpswitch we cannot avoid a 1cm health loss - first necessary health loss.) Not sure I'd have found ANY secrets, except the first, w/o the w/thr! Ah, there is a timed run over roofs, where a raiseable block rises up after we have retrieved the fourth secret, and if we are too quick(!), managing to return to the block BEFORE it rises, it will trap Lara INSIDE it! (I liked when I could outrun the 3 thuggies & boulders on the roof here during the timed run. The 3 thugs all descended from the roof to the ground[!], so I still had to contend with them during the repeat of the first timed run!) In the eponymous Teahouse itself we can have 4 thuggies and 4 sprites, if we are not careful, all at once! Makes it more difficult when thuggies can pass through the railings & not Lara, though! These 8 'problems' CAN be escaped w/o losing further health, the grenade gun being very useful at this point! My 'thorough exploring' time was almost 1hr 18 mins and my 'fast as possible, pick up everything' time was a few seconds over 23 mins. We CAN go through the game with just 1cm health loss (the jumpswitch), if v.careful. (A thuggie that is still alive can also pass through the wall of the final 'pick-up' cubicle, though the film "The Last Samurai" did suggest this was possible!) Impressive game in many respects (the new favourite as I write this), and the various quibbles do not really spoil it." - rjb (01-Mar-2006)

"This is great, another challenging level coming out of this year's competition. This time I enjoyed even more the traps, puzzles and setting. Of course the builder's trademark, his balls lol, are present and even the not so easy timed runs with a secret to collect at the end of it. You see from the beginning what you're after, an item is behind a glass in the middle of the area but you will have to go through a lot to get it. Some climbing, swinging, jumping is in order and of course we shouldn't forget the guys that will not make it any easier for you as they come in teams. You need four gems, with two of them scattered and two close to each other. Two things I didn't like were a camera on a roof that made the timed run more difficult and the block that was blocking a secret area and if you didn't make it on time Lara was bound to get trapped inside the block. The rest of the tasks were enjoyable and the secrets were fun to search for. I got all five of them so I must have been on a good day. This is one of the best levels this Back to Basics Challenge has to offer." - Kristina (25-Feb-2006)

"Plenty of enemies, the trouble is they seem to be all at once. Garden scene to teahouse is the first puzzle, but there is only one out and out puzzle and that is quite big, others are of the ilk"how do I get from here to there". There are single enemies, snakes, but to try and deal with 4 baddies and wraiths at the same time is some going, but it was managed (shoot the wraiths!!!). The game play was for me spoiled by two things, the constant back tracking and that long range camera where you have problems controlling Lara with precision. The lighting was used to good effect and created along with the textures and layout some stunning scenes (ball wall in particular). All in all a level worth playing." - Whistle (17-Feb-2006)

"I was skeptical to this level at first(be it the somewhat odd title, the fact that you're surrounded by wraiths, a snake and ninjas from the very first moment or the first, aggravating timed run), but boy was I proven wrong!!! Unless "The Killing Fields"(which is the only level I have left of this year's BtB contributions) is exceptional I think I can safely rate this as my number 1 favourite!!!! Ok....so the level was a bit dark in places, some of the challenges were done through gritting teeth and sheer frustration(mainly the timed runs) and the room design may not qualify this level as the Garden of Eden. But to me it's not just about the looks here; it's about creating rooms and challenges with the brilliant and original touch and actually succeeding. That is what the author here has done in a top notch style. The pinball boulder room was just amazingly brilliant....the things that needed to be done there seemed so immense at first, but they were not stressful or tedious as one might expect, only pure fun. I was a bit baffled though to see a wraith in the mentioned room and surprisingly enough it did not even touch Lara....in fact it evaporized by itself down in the puzzle room with the switches and blocks!!! The challenges that were presented here; traps (such as boulders, spikes, blades, a swinging chain, fires, spiked walls and stargates...the whole package in other words), enemies(ninjas, snakes and wraiths), tricky jump sequences and nastily tight timed runs were so skillfully put together and made it a really difficult level, but delightfully fun at the same time. I found five secrets and even they were pure pleasure to find....cleverly hidden and hard to get to, just like secrets should be. Normally I'm not a fan of the AOD theme, but here it created a perfect suspense. To me this level definetely deserves to win the BtB competition.....it's perfect in every way and highly recommendable to everyone....it has really left me wanting more of it!!!!" - Selene (17-Feb-2006)

"Another great level in the BtB project. It has the most original puzzle I've seen in Tomb Raider: there are few boulders to place in holes and Lara has to pull switches and avoid being squashed by the boulder in its fall. The gameplay is great and full of puzzles, timed runs, monkeyswings and jumps. Some parts are very difficult but the complete game is a good way to pass the time. Very good level." - Loupar (16-Feb-2006)

"What a reception! This moved beginning makes you expect a lot of action along the game, and it's certainly true. In the place with the switches wich lowered and raised blocks I almost get fool! The camera in the switch for the timed run at the roofs don't disappears and you have to move Lara out of the tile. Reception in the room with the receptacles for the gems is very hard, don't you waste medipacks! If you discover the secrets (heavy weapons) they will make your life easyer, you'll need it. There is a door near the entrance of the boulders cave I couldn't open. In general, the level was very good for me, I liked very much the puzzles and gameplay is quite good; perhaps I had to go many times under the monkey swing in the boulders room, but this is a level you must play." - Jose (16-Feb-2006)

"Some sixth sense must have led me to save this piece de resistance of the BtB 2006 series until last. I've rarely played a level that's laid out more ingeniously, with everything wrapped up in a tight little knot that brings you back full circle at the end to claim the prize that was staring you in the face when you began the level. Much of the gameplay centers around a distinctive row of sloped pillars where you're frequently required to do complicated tasks while operating from a remote view with a fixed camera. There's a timed sequence near the end that should prove daunting to the nimblest of players, but there's also a timed secret sadistically tacked on at the end of the run that you'll miss if you pause to wipe your brow after you pass through the open gate and think that it's all over. This is a complex and quite difficult level, but it exudes professionalism throughout. There's no doubt that it's the work product of one of our builder elite, and in my opinion it deserves to win the BtB competition. Highest recommendations." - Phil (13-Feb-2006)

"I have always claimed to be an eternal beginner and, knowing who created this level, I did not expect to finish it without a walkthrough. Imagine my surprise and glee when, after an initial period of feeling stuck, I finally completed it. I suppose that, after the hundred-plus levels that I have now played, I must be improving a little. :-) I now have a great feeling of achievement after playing this gem of a level. It was, by no means, a walk in the park - some of the puzzles and jumps were quite challenging and it is certainly not a beginner's level but, yet again, another worthy addition to the B2B contest levels. And I only had to consult the 'Stuck In A Custom Level' forum a couple of times as well. I think a celebration is in order especially as I had so little health left at the end. I wasn't sure that I would make it. Excellent level." - Staticon (07-Feb-2006)

"What an amazing level full of tricky jumps & puzzles. It consists of Spectacular rooms, like the boulder room. The author ha s really put all his effort (atleast I think so) in making this level. Your quest is to drop 4 boulders from the boulder room to give access to 4 gems. Use these gems to unlock the Mystic Artifact & claim it to end the level. The pinball like boulder room really caught my eye, its a beautiful example of using TRLE, it consists of many slopes, jumpswitches & trapdoors. Plus the Camera angles used in the level do add to the excitement & there are some pretty good flybys too. In my opinion I would like to rate it 15 on a scale of 11, but I just cant :)" - Anurag (06-Feb-2006)

"Teahouse? Sounds sedate, doesn't it? This one isn't - it's anything but. From the beginning gameplay, chased by wraiths, falling into a pool with a hungry snake, closely followed by a timed run, you'll find this a different, very interesting entry in the BtB '06. Releasing boulders in a hunt for four gems is an engineering marvel, well thought out and at times, very tricky. Finding and getting to that second rope, for instance, took me a bit of time to figure and triggering the wraiths before finding the ladder leading to the third gem is NOT the way to go. Finding a timed secret at the end of a timed run seems a sure tip-off to the builder(among a few other things) but then again, maybe not." - Bene (06-Feb-2006)

"Before I start, I must warn you - if you haven't been to a real teahouse before, this virtual one will twist your concept of it and take it to a weird place, so don't let it cloud your judgement when you have to go to one! You won't have to fight off everything that moves, you won't have to drop, and then possibly avoid boulders about as big as your humble self. You won't have to hit your head against the wall till you figure out the devious puzzles or run as fast as your legs can carry you. The aesthetics won't be sacrificed in favour of devious tasks in a place, where you'd usually go to chill and sip a cup of tea. But that goes only for real-life teahouses - this one, as you guessed, is slightly different. The chaotic and inconsistent looks at first might seem anti-climatic, but they improve as you go on, though they pretty much are secondary in the level all the time - the biggest emphasis is on the puzzles, and it pays as they are one of the most creative that have been in the competition so far. No matter whether they are in form of timed runs, pushable objects, or mere switches there always will be something more to it than it seems - that will pull you in and absorb into the atmosphere. This is a good thing because you have to pay attention as you play, because there might be more than one function to the switch you just operated, or the object you just pushed in place or picked up. The secrets are pretty devious too - because I only found one of them, so you must have a keen eye to spot and find them. Though there are quite a lot of opponents - even in places where there's too many of them, it just feels right and fitting for that particular place - the room with the gem receptacles comes in mind for that. Room geometry, like the visuals are subordinate to the gameplay, and generally not very inspired unless it serves a purpose to provide you with the next devious task (the illegal slopes before the block puzzle, for example), but on the whole this isn't that significant in this level, because it works very well out of the regular bounds - and if you're into something like that, then this is a must play." - eTux (05-Feb-2006)

"Wow, there's some good things going on in this level. From the very first timed run onwards, you just know you're in the hands of a first rate level builder. The puzzles are intricate and absorbing, the agility tests highly entertaining (gulp) and the enemies are placed with great precision to cause maximum consternation - it's all clever stuff. Enjoy." - Jay (31-Jan-2006)

"A teahouse? A crazyhouse, if you ask me. The whole level is one big puzzle which you have to acomplish to get the item that is practically in front of your nose at the start. All the tasks are very logically constructed and after each of those you are rewarded with a nice flyby. If you need some brain exercise, here's the level for you. :) There's one thing that really pleased me in this level - the use of strong colours, if the textures wold be a little more diverse maybe everything would look more lively, but ofcourse that's only my opinion. Time: 1/18/32. Difficulty: hard/very hard. Lighting: balanced/colours. Gameplay type: puzzles. Tech skills: expert. Other: A big pinball-like machine." - Bojrkraider (30-Jan-2006)

"The all too sudden start of the level, already loosing health with wraiths, a snake inside a water hole and a couple of japanese thugs, immediately followed by a not too easy timed run, clearly indicates the difficulty degree of the level from the start. You have to use your brain quite a few times in this one and I don't mean solving pushable objects puzzles. Knowing what to do, where to go and, most of all, how to do it, might take a few tries before you achieve it. It's a challenging game, sometimes fast paced, sometimes a lot slower, but always intriguing. The big boulder puzzle in the main room is very well thought of, with all its connections to different places and challenges and the timed run over the rooftops was also a favorite of mine but I did miss maybe some secret on the other side of the race, since there was a closed door I never got back to. That having been said, the boulders puzzle reminds of a well known huge marbles puzzle in another game... but I could be wrong. ;) The lighting and the textures looked good. Quite advisable." - Jorge22 (27-Jan-2006)

"Funny enough this was the first level I downloaded and started to play. Having a guest over for New Years eve, it is always a treat to play together. I came down with the flue, so I cuddles up on the cough and let her play on her own. She never finished it as she was hopelessly stuck. Today I played it again from the beginning and I have to say it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Mind you, this is no walk in the park. First you have to figure out where to go and what to do, then figuring out how to do it. The area with the boulders was pretty dark and I had a "stuck" camera on the roof (much later in the game) as it wouldn't break unless you jumped away from the lever that triggered the camera. There is a bit too much back and fro for my licking but that can by my fault, not finding the right way. Overall I would say, please do play with your eyes wide open, then you even can get all the secrets. This is very puzzle oriented and I found the timed runs a bit too hard to be enjoyable (translate this as frustrating). 23-01-2006" - Gerty (27-Jan-2006)

"Quite a puzzle level to figure out what to do. That first gate you had to get to didn't open in the first game I opened, so I had no idea what to do. Only after starting fresh it opened and I was on my way. Liked that Boulder wall and how it was set up. Was looking how to open that wall for the Grenade gun Secret for quite a while till I looked with the Binocs to what happened after pulling the Timed switch and voíla there it was... Very good level with some nasty set up traps and lovely timed runs." - Dutchy (26-Jan-2006)

"Apart from the beginning which looked a bit strange and was not so enjoyable for me, I really had a lot of fun in Teahouse. The author of this entertaining level has surely scratched his head to provide clever puzzles and challenging actions for the player. Placements of traps and enemies, lighting effects in some areas, originality of the tasks, this is all well thought out. The setting is solidly done, although one place - the top of the outside area where you have to perform a great timed door through squishy blocks (great fun here again) - does not look very lovely. But in general, the author has made a very good work in many aspects. No need to say it is very recommended." - eRIC (26-Jan-2006)

"A-bloody-mazing! What sounds by the title like such a sedate level turns out to be the most wonderfully designed puzzle-fest set in and around a temple where you have to collect a mystic artefact. To collect this artefact you need to find 4 gems to place in the teahouse. When I first entered the temple, after a fairly tight timed run, and came across the main hub room which is very dark I thought I was going to have a brain meltdown as you come face to face with this fantastic huge ball dropping structure that looked very complicated, but once you plot your first moves, a couple of jumplevers to pull on the structure, the level opens up and this structure then helped throughout the rest of the level to help you reach once unattainable areas. And as I said, this is cram packed with really smart puzzles that aren't ever too hard to work out but they aren't ever too easy either, just fabulous. I was though taken most by the placement of the 5 secrets, and I am surprised that I actually found all of them, as you have to backtrack, complete a timed run, look for a sneaky lever, and the like to collect them. I'm about half way through the B2B 2006 levels and so far this is my top play, actually something extremely special will have to come along to beat it as this one is an absolute winner, what a pity it only lasted 50 minutes." - Sash (19-Jan-2006)

"What a great level! And very unusual, with those giant balls that have to be released along different tracks to land in the holes below. It was great looking at Lara, through the fixed camera, working her way through this space. Releasing these balls is not only a matter of pulling switches, but the player has to complete some tasks too. For example, a terrific object pushing exercise that 'could' be confusing, if the player forgets the old re-use the same switch a few times. There may have been a correct pattern of doing this, but I had to pull those switches a few times to figure out how to move all those walls. Brilliant! Almost immediately we find we have to do a timed run to get inside the teahouse. I had to do this again later on as I found no other way to get back inside the teahouse. And speaking of which, other actions have to be done more than once. I think I did that monkeyswing about four times in all, but that may have been me trying to figure out what to do next! When we first enter the teahouse we are faced with a very unusual piece of gameplay - a slide to grab a ceiling block. I had to read about what needs to be done here. Good jumping about in a room we need to flood, rope swinging, swimming, dodging boulders on a rooftop, and an excellent timed run across the roofs that includes a vicious looking gauntlet of moving spike walls and fires. There are snakes in the water, but I found them easy enough to deal with. It was the attacks of groups of weapon wielding thugs in kung fu outfits that were more difficult, but mercifully I had enough ammo in the revolver to deal with some of them. Others can be handled with pistols. And I didn't need the lasersight to shoot those hanging balls, so I saved on revolver ammo. The penultimate tasks are finding the last two gems which I thought was very cleverly done. Again, we have to make our way back through spikes and blades to get one, and then back again, leaving me the last fraction of health blinking as I pushed the final lever and escaped. All told an excellent level. I don't understand the fire tiles on the groud outside, except that maybe they were there to prevent people from getting up on that roof before they were supposed to, and to make that timed run far more challenging. The great enigma of the level is that medpack, up high on the ball track, and the pulldown lever above it that I never got to, and don't know what it did. Perhaps a secret? Definitely worth replaying when the walkthrough is out." - CC (14-Jan-2006)

"I didn't like the very beginning of the level to be honest, but I'm so glad I didn't trash this one because the level improves a lot after the slide down to the monkey swing block. As Lara makes her way to the fabled artifact you see right at the beginning, you'll come across an elaborate pushables puzzle involving quite a few levers to push that rise/lower blocks, each combination making different paths (and you have to go through them all); there's also this HUGE room with a side view that looks pretty much like those old pinball machines which weren't exactly pinball, but you had to drop the many balls into the many holes in the field. Imagine all those balls bigger than you and you'll get the idea of the size of this puzzle. After dropping all the balls you'll have had access to all the four gems then all you got to do is get to the teahouse, use them and collect your reward. Quite a nice level, but it's not really suitable for beginners. 45 minutes, 2 secrets. 01/06" - Treeble (08-Jan-2006)

"A great level which nonetheless suffers from a couple of flaws. Gameplay would be perfect if it weren't for the fact that at some points you have to get through the same traps a couple of times which is the reason why I didn't give it a neat 10. Apart from that, it's difficult indeed but creative and enjoyable, be it for a couple of nice tricky jumps, some very good timed-runs, placement of enemies or the clever move blocks/switches/raising blocks combination puzzle. The secrets are perfect. All requiring a keen eye or some imagination and rewarding as well. What I liked less was the settings which is nice but not extraordinary and suffers from a bit of darkness at some point. All this being said, I had an excellent time playing this. Two thumbs up!" - Sutekh (07-Jan-2006)

"Wow! Where do I start? Well first off this is excellent, and I mean excellent from start to finish!! I loved it and I want more!!!!! The level begins outside in a small garden type area, you'll do a mean battle to start with, and then you will have your first timed run to get to the inner rooms. Inside, you will be dropping balls into pits one by one, then when each ball is dropped a new way opens up until you have eventually collected four teahouse gems. This level is littered with awesome rooms, all beautifully decorated with stunning coloured lighting and textures. There's a small watery maze which was not too difficult to navigate, but with circular blades within, it was no easy task. With levers, raising blocks, spike traps, rope swings, and one of the most enjoyable object/lever puzzles I have ever encountered, you get just about everything you could possibly want by way of adventure in a TR level. You will also be hampered by wraiths, a snake or two, and Ninjas. This level also had the most fabulous timed run through crashing walls and fires, it was simply brilliant stuff! And if you're quick enough you will get an added reward. I got three secrets and have no idea if the large med pack up in the tall pillar was accessible; I think that was the only item I left behind and I'm still baffled as to how it can be obtained. Lara will leave with the final Artefact, but I hope one day we will get to play another adventure in this setting. All in all, no complaints, first class Raiding and well deserves top marks!" - Moonpooka (04-Jan-2006)
back home search