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Level: Valentianum back home search
Author(s): Katya
total rating:7.78 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Andzia9 9 8 9 9
CC 7 7 7 7
eRIC 8 8 8 6
eTux 7 7 7 7
Gerty 8 8 8 8
Gill 8 8 9 9
Jay 8 8 9 9
Jerry 8 7 7 6
Jose 6 7 7 7
Kristina 7 7 7 8
MichaelP 8 8 8 7
Orbit Dream 7 8 9 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ravenwen 8 9 9 9
Ryan 8 8 8 8
Selene 8 8 7 7
category averages
(16 reviews)
7.69 7.75 7.94 7.75

Reviewer's comments

"What a couple o very loooooong levels. The problem here is that the author doesn't force the players to get the items they need before continue playing. Example: in the second level it's very very easy to miss the first star in the sewers 'cause the unmarked climbable wall (bad, bad) so when I found the receptacle I checked the walkthrough and I was forced to deal with the circular blades adn the monkeyswing with fires again two more times. There are also some places I got stucked forever and I had to reload; example: the very hard to see breakable tiles in the water area, or the hole in the library. Simple architecture, perhaps excessive enemies, few musics/flybys, in the room with the big dragon it was difficult for me to locate the star. Not a level to replay, but playable anyway. The best: the camera hints." - Jose (20-Jul-2017)

"What a well-made and charming adventure. Although over ten years old, this still managed to keep me entertained throughout the duration. The first section has Lara exploring the outer rooms of the Valentianum palace in search of four fire gemstones. You'll be kept busy avoiding boulders, fires, spikes, shooting gunmen and solving some fun puzzles. Once your gems are acquired, it's into the palace you go, where things become rather more challenging. You get a couple of hub rooms to work from, some more challenging traps, more guards and a boss battle. All of these take place in nicely built and attractive settings. I really enjoyed myself." - Ryan (18-May-2017)

"This is a pleasant little two-parter, each of which took me about an hour to complete. We players are also blessed by two excellent walkthroughs, one by Selene and the other by Harry Laudie. I used Selene's, because (1) she likes to insert her thought processes into her prose, and (2)because I miss her. (Harry has recently put in an appearance here after a long absence of his own.) Anyway, there's no problem whatever with the lighting here, as everything is colorful and well illuminated, and there's rarely the need to use a flare. Gameplay revolves mainly around opening doors to approach the next set of tasks, but I never found myself growing bored. There's a variety of things to do, and although there's nothing really new here it's still a fun raid. I'm enjoying playing these second-tier levels that seem to have been forgotten soon after their release. Recommended." - Phil (27-Jul-2012)

"This time we are visiting beautiful Italy. All have to do is explore huge castle, beautiful garden, rooms, and many more. This game is quite simple, just few traps, only one timed run. There isn't many enemies too. We have too bosses, but they are easy too." - Andzia9 (11-May-2009)

"Gameplay-wise this level is a measure of various tasks like switch pulling, finding keys and stars, doing a mirror room, torch and pushing puzzles, and much more. Beware of fire ghosts, bats, skeletons and most of all many shooting guys besides several traps like lava, bolders and moving spike walls. Some things are try and error stuff, which is not so much of my taste. There is some backtracking notably if you miss one bronze star which is so well hidden in a place where you don't expect it to be (rather dark and no climbing textures that lead up into that alcove) that I wouldn't have found it without the help of the walkthrough. In the end I had to do the way past the fire emitters 3 times and that was not of much fun. Architecture and texturing of the level are ok, but illumination could have been somewhat better, lighting outside and inside, underwater and above was indifferent and mostly all the same. But in the end it is a pretty entertaining level, not too easy and not too hard, that keeps you busy for 1,5 hours." - Jerry (15-Jan-2009)

"A good adventure with some very good ideas here and there for the gameplay and the puzzles, like a mirror room , a pushable globe puzzles with symbols and hints, a great timed door where you have to hop on blocks to get it in time and others. Also some good traps thrown in for good measure. Nothing is really difficult. I found the use and the placement of the gunmen very effective but you get plenty of medipacks. As for the graphics, nothing exceptional and the lighting is flat. An entertaining and recommended raid." - eRIC (08-Jun-2008)

"From a visual aspect, this is one of the prettiest levels I have played. The decoration of the interior settings is rich and beautiful and the exterior areas are magnificently textured. There are several nice objects too, tastefully combined with the rest of the decoration. Lara is exploring a real-life museum and the lovely gardens around it, so as to find a precious manuscript. Before locating it, she has to solve a series of enjoying and rather easy puzzles in the rooms outside, so as to enter the palazzo. The first part is centered around opening several doors - the one leading to opening the other via solving a puzzle, and in the second section you open a secret passage that leads to the main area of the museum, and the library where the manuscprit is hidden. There are plenty of guards but they go down fast and most of the times leave something behind for you to collect after they disappear. An ice dragon that I met somewhere in the second part wouldn't die no matter how much I shot him, I guess he is supposed to not go down. The only part where I was a bit confused concerning what to do, was when I arrived behind a timed door and was missing a necessary star. It took me a while to locate the climbable wall that led to it (although the wall wasn't looking as if you could climb it). A beautiful adventure nonetheless." - Ravenwen (18-Feb-2007)

"A very solid and very busy level. Fast progression in two parts of about 45 minutes each. In part one, after finding your way inside you get to explore a courtyard and need to manage a series of tasks behing 11 doors, involving traps, keys, gems, plenty of levers, a mirror room, a torch puzzle and some object pushing. I really liked the piano room and the dragon room. Enemies are mainly those rather tough baddies about two dozen of them, which was a bit much, although medipacks are provided in large amounts. Part two starts in sewers/castle atmosphere on your quest to eventually find seals, five stars and a scroll. Enemies are bats, skeletons, harpies and even more of those baddies. Not to forget Beatrice of course for the final battle. The museum area is well designed, features a timed run and four element areas about air, fire, earth and water, which provide nice gameplay diversity without ever being too challenging. The not always very obvious climbing textures and the rather unobvious backtrack to finsih the level are minor gripes in an otherwise fun adventure. Found three secrets." - MichaelP (29-Aug-2006)

"This is Katya's second adventure and I can clearly see that she has improved greatly. Lara must make her way through a lovely palace to find a Golden Book and two seals and put a stop for the evil plans of a malicious lady known as Beatrice. Mind you, Miss B is not alone in wanting to take Lara down....there are plenty of armed guards(around every corner so to say), skeletons, bats, beasts, harpies and even a massive dragon. The first level takes place in the courtyard of the palace and in a way it reminded me a bit about the TV show where a lucky contestant gets to choose one out of so and so many doors to win a grand prize. Only that here we had to open all the 11 doors in the courtyard AND do everything required behind each door, something which became a tad monotonous in the long run. Level 2, which takes place inside the palace itself, was a lot more to my liking. Here there are a bit more obstacles, more enemies and it's generally fast-paced and with a generous dose of action packed into it. I particularly loved the element rooms, a concept which has become almost stereo-typical but is fun nonetheless. The water room was a tad too easy though and although some challenges appeared to be a bit on the tricky side nothing was ever anywhere near the category "too hard to handle". In the second level, as enjoyable as it was, I found a few glitches. There was an easily missed torch there and you could actually proceed without it for about 45 minutes more until you'd run into a grinding halt and had to backtrack through 2/3 of the level to find it. If there are such pickups in the level it should not be possible to proceed without them, otherwise it just becomes unfair as the player can not possibly read the builder's mind. Same thing goes for unmarked ladders, which of course had to be found here as well(once more in the second level). Some items could easily be picked up without lowering the glass cases(as mentioned in the read-me), but I dutifully followed the long route intended by the builder. The palace looked very pretty and in overall the atmosphere was good. The textures were applied skillfully for most parts, but not all rooms looked as good and I found some textures to be a bit overused. There was a close to zero variation in the lighting department and this unfortunately made the level seem rather flat and functions as an example to emphasize how important it is to get the lighting and ambience right. But despite this I am all in all rather impressed by this thrilling adventure. I found all three secrets and thoroughly enjoyed myself through the approximately 2 hours I spent on it." - Selene (07-Jul-2006)

"A very interesting debut level. I like looking for information about custom levels based on real locations, and after some searching found a little information about this museum, but no photo to compare. So, I wonder, is that picture on the wall inside the main building a painting of the museum? It doesn't really matter anyway as Katya has created a good looking courtyard palace with many doors to open. It is well guarded, and these guys are tough to kill. They show up with monotonous regularity each time we come back to the courtyard. Opening each door, we don't find priceless treasure to view, but numerous tasks to perform, and that brings this real life place very nicely into the TR world. I liked the idea of there being two levels here. Running from one to the other, up a flight of stairs, is very handy if you need to give yourself a quick health boost. This is one of those levels that keeps hold of you because you want to know what's behind each door, and the tasks themselves are interesting, but not too hard. There's an underground area with altar, skeletons, and clever routes to essential pickups, before entering the main part of the building. Here we meet a female challenger (Beatrice I presume, who according to the readme is here to steal a book that will give her immortality). We visit pretty gardens, and on into a good looking library. So our aim here is to find this book, put it where it belongs, open the garden gates, and escape. There are problems in the level like the possibility of getting permanently stuck in places, unmarked climbable walls, but although bugs are mentioned I encountered none, that I remember. I did not like the lighting in this level, I thought it very flat. Nonetheless, this was an enjoyable level to play. So I'm really looking forward to the next level by this author." - CC (05-Jul-2006)

"This is a nice idea – a level based on an actual museum/palace – and it looks very good indeed. The first part is set in a beautiful courtyard area surrounded by doors, which you need to open to accomplish various tasks in pursuit of four gems and there are lots of guards about, trying to make your life difficult. Once you have obtained the gems, you can gain access to the palace itself and have a lot of fun. I especially liked the four ‘element’ rooms with a star to obtain in each area. Whether you like puzzle solving, agility tests or shooters, you’ll find plenty to enjoy in this level – it’s very well rounded and I liked it a lot." - Jay (25-Jun-2006)

"It's always interesting to explore levels that are based on places that actually exist. I'm sure the impact for me would've been greater if I had visited this place, or actually even known of its existence prior to playing, but that's not the point, now is it. Maybe because of that I cannot judge how this compares to or represents the real thing, but as far as this double feature is concerned, I found it to be thoroughly enjoyable. The level shines due to some of its most creative areas or puzzles, like the path finding (for lack of better word) puzzle in the air sector, the boulder part in the earth sector of level 2, the chapel and interesting gardens, and while traps, jumps, puzzles and enemies are paced out well enough to not have you bored for a second (save for the times if you get stuck looking for the well blending stars and boxes) on the whole the level really hardly offered something you wont have seen before. Not that it's a bad thing - it just might be troublesome to pinpoint something specific what would make this level memorable. On the downside though, if you've been spoilt by more sophisticated designs and looks of levels, this one, as mixed as it is trying to be, overall seems a bit bland and amateurish with the minor texture issue here and there and monotone lighting. But that, both in general and in comparison to what other issues the level has is minor. Though the enemies were most likely placed to keep the action going, eventually it started feeling like a shooter, but that was compensated a bit by the numerous pickups you are supplied with rather generously and, for some point of the game - also the level jump between the 2 parts serves as a source of rejuvenation. Another pitfall of the level is also the not very thoroughly tested or thought through structure - for example, if you need to redo some parts due to an important item you missed the first time, the traps (like moving walls) might not work like they did on the first encounter, also you can easily get stuck in places with no return, for example in between the staircase in the library - but then again these are relatively minor too, as you just as well might not encounter them, so not everything of this affected my final opinion on the game, and I doubt it will affect yours. The biggest flaw and fun killer of this game would be the unmarked climbable walls, where the author obviously didn't want it to make it too easy for the player, but I wished it would've been handled differently. While it might seem a bit negative on the whole, and I'm not in denial - this level had issues, the better parts outweigh the bad ones, and thus make this a worthwhile experience if you're in for it. Oh, and I found 2 out of the 3 secrets." - eTux (12-Jun-2006)

"This adventure teeters on the brink of greatness and clearly wants to be a classic. Indeed,for the most part,it's a superbly well put-together adventure.Beatiful textures,atmospheric lighting,brilliant design and imaginative gameplay all vie together to entice the player.Regrettably,a few silly and pointless errors leap up unexpectedly in the path of the player and do their best to spoil the experience;viz: a vital climbable wall which is not textured as such;levers that need to be pulled twice in order to activate something...and,of course,the bugs listed in the read-me.I also had one door remaining closed at the end,but this may have been intentional. There are a good variety of enemies and just enough (but not too much) artillery to despatch them with,which is a good balance to achieve.Altogether it's a fine raid and highly commendable,but contains just a few too many easily avoidable frustrations." - Orbit Dream (10-Jun-2006)

"This is quite a challenging and adventurous two level set that you have here, with lots to do and plenty of exploring. Your main objective is to find and search for some fire keys, some stars, a gift key, a scroll, a book, to finely collect the gate key to end this level set. During your quest you will need to overcome many tasks and conqueror some challenging traps and solving a few puzzles. All sorts of obstacles are blocking your path as you take up this mission, like overcoming lava areas, monkey swinging past fire blowers, getting out of that dragon room before he spits those nasty insects and fire balls at you, while dealing with your task in collecting one of your stars. But the most challenging task for me, out of this whole adventure, was when you had to pull a lever, dash back and collect another star, while avoiding those white harpy looking things and also avoiding that spike trap coming from above, as it was descending rather rapidly, to then try and make a mad dash back to the other side, by jumping onto those invisible ledges, with those white harpy things still on my tail. I am sure if I had killed them, it would have made that task much more easier for me, I did try, but gave up in the end. Your other enemies are bats and there is an abundance of skeletons in places too, but with explosive arrows and your crossbow at hand, you will soon take care of them. Another enemy are those men in black, which show up in nearly every room that you entered, so keep your weapons drawn. In general, each room was nicely done, textures, objects and lighting was very well chosen by the author, which gave this adventure a good atmosphere and a nice feel to it, as you continued on with your tasks at hand. Apart from the bugs that you encountered, which were mentioned in the read-me file, all in all this was a lovely adventure to be in, I enjoyed the game-play and dealing with all those challenging tasks which were ahead of me." - Gill (10-Jun-2006)

"What a great and charming debut. This level kept me going till I reached the end. This a two level game but you have to travel at least once back and forward. In the first level you main task is open all doors and that is a bit easier said than done but don’t despair as the first one you have to push open. From there you go through the next and the next, getting artifacts and the four Gems you need for the second level. In the second level you are hunting for four stars and look good as they do blend in rather well. There is also a devious hidden ladder for a torch, as you can’t take the one in the first level into the second. The enemies as such are mean looking guards, skeletons and bats but you find enough gunpowder to blast them away. Found one secret and Lara left with some treasure in her backpack through the main gate." - Gerty (10-Jun-2006)

"The game has two levels you can visit any time you like and a lot of gems and stars to find. The areas you will explore have lava, fire tiles, water or traps with fire blowers. I can't say that it has something new or innovative but it is an enjoyable game. I liked having to complete a different task in order to get an item I need like a scroll and even though the builder warns us about a bug, the gameplay was so easy that I didn't need to use it and it would spoil all the fun anyway. The enemies are skeletons, bats and guys in black that take a lot of Lara's health. The best moment for me was the area with the two rolling balls that you need to sort of outrun the first one, I always like a challenge. I only found one secret in the second level, not that I was really looking. It's a simple and easy game suitable for all players." - Kristina (07-Jun-2006)
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