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Level: The Espana Secret (Full Version) back home search
Author(s): Harrys
total rating:7.02 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
dmdibl 7 8 7 8
eRIC 8 8 7 7
eTux 6 6 6 5
Gerty 7 6 6 7
Jay 6 6 7 8
Jose 6 7 7 8
Kitkat 7 8 7 8
Kristina 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 7 8 7 7
Orbit Dream 6 7 7 8
Phil 8 7 7 8
Ryan 6 7 7 8
category averages
(12 reviews)
6.75 7.08 6.83 7.42

Reviewer's comments

"If I never see another bull again (either in real life or in a Tomb Raider game), it will be too soon. Providing that you can forgive the fact that the gameplay gets a little wearying and repetitive over the course of this four level game, it's actually a pretty decent piece of work, although nothing that impressive. The textures and objects are well used to simulate the City of Pamplona, although the lighting was a bit bland in places and there's more than enough times where you have to play the role of matador in order to continue, plus plenty of levers to pull. The flybys were also a bit hectic in that they tended to travel round corners at a fast speed. The part I enjoyed the most was the finale in the moonlit town, not only because human enemies finally make an appearance, but also because the looks are much more pleasing and the bike ride was a definite highlight. No classic, but an easygoing and entertaining enough play." - Ryan (23-Mar-2019)

"As other reviewers have pointed out, don't use the provided tomb4.exe to play this game. You'll experience unavoidable crashes. I used a patched exe from another level and it worked fine. This is an ambitious and worthwhile release that took me just under two hours to play all four parts. The surroundings are crude by today's standards, but the lighting and gameplay are commendable. The flybys have an annoying habit of returning to Lara each time, and for this reason take about twice as long as they need to in order to convey the necessary information. You meet a plethora of bulls throughout the game, not to mention a number of skeletons and soldiers. Of course, you can do nothing about the bulls but avoid them, but I found out that even use of the available cheats gives the player nothing with which to dispose of the skeletons except for the shotgun (which you find in the first level anyway when playing by the book). I nursed this one for about a week at the office because, quite frankly, I wasn't really motivated to spend long stretches at a time with it. When I was finished, I copied over the original tonb4.exe just to see if it made any difference in the way the game ended. It didn't. Same black hole." - Phil (23-Oct-2015)

"Another run through Pamplona with the bulls. I had to use (as Harry mentioned in his walkthrough) another EXE as mine crashed. For the rest it is a nice adventure and the bulls chasing you add some nervousness (at least that is how I felt) to the game. It is a bit searching sometimes to where the door is that you opened, but they never are far away. Some fly by's will help you. Be aware that medipacks are scares and you have to dance around the bulls to persevere your health. Apart from bulls there are more enemies you encounter. There are also some short trips on the bike. The lighting could use quite some attention as some parts are very brightly lit and some were pretty dark. A pity that Lara couldn't escape with the chopper." - Gerty (17-Sep-2010)

"These four levels show a steady improvement in quality. The first and early level is bright with simple exploration--no need of a walk-through here. A bunch of bulls snort and stamp around, trying to bash Lara, pushing and shoving and generally making a nuisance of themselves. So Lara can't just stand on the street sightseeing without being trampled to death. In the second level a bull is necessary to ram Lara through doors to get a secret, but then it also needs to butt Lara back through the doors to free her, costing health. Lara can't make progress without enticing a bull to smash a wall switch or break through a door. There are long stretches with skeletons in tunnels--I thought some pruning and shortening of this part could have helped game play momentum. The bull god Taurus puts in an appearance, throwing bolts at Lara. The third level shows better use of lighting, traps, and challenges, though overly dramatic music keeps looping, and maybe interiors are too dark in places. Lara collected a lot of pickups earlier on--flares, medipacks, ammo--and now these reserves are needed. A set of jumps through four pairs of blades, with skeletons harassing Lara, drains health packs. Lara can briefly drop the skeletons with a shotgun, but if they catch up to Lara they will push her into the blades, so there is no time for carefully prepared jumps. Lara finally gets to use the Uzis in combat with guards. The fourth level seems the best developed, with Lara entering into a kind of base complex, with a (second) helicopter on its pad, and a motorcycle to drive. Lara can drive over and kill the guards, but sadly the bulls are impervious (I had to try). The story thread is good, but just as the level is headed toward a climax the author lets Lara flip into a black nether room, a TR editor limbo. The ending is a disappointment. Overall, very playable, with good moments and ideas throughout the levels. The bulls give it a unique feeling. The four secrets are well done, requiring extra thought. Worth a look." - dmdibl (13-Jun-2009)

"Be prepared for the mother of all bull-fight levels when starting this up, as that's the main theme here in this 4 level adventure. Bulls, bulls, bulls. And not just the regular type that chase you around and try to smash you into a wall, but also a bull-god enemy that... well... basically still chases you around and tries to do some nasty things to Lara, but you only encounter it once, as opposed to the dozens of the first kind. That said, every once in a while during the hour you spend here, I did wish they would be used with a little more innovation than merely chasing you around the vast city settings, though undoubtedly it fits the premise. If you played the author's first level then you'll recognize the one you start in here too, as bar a few differences like the extra fly-by here or there they're essentially the same level. But the other levels offer sufficient new content taking you through caves and temple-like settings as you master some simple platforming tasks, traverse deadly floors and blade traps in an effort to find a mysterious artefact and then escape in the not so peaceful nightlife of the city. There are a number of neat fly-by's which always show the way further so the path should be more or less straightforward, though for some reason Lara can always move when they play and even skip them. As far as the looks go - very little has improved since the demo version. Namely - the texturing is still pretty much ok - but the lighting is either non-existent or too dark in the underground levels. It improves a bit as you progress but if this level is anything to judge by - then there's still a way to go. Worth a go all the same though, so give it a try if you don't get overly nervous when encountering the bulls." - eTux (31-Oct-2007)

"This game was fun. There was a problem in the first level as the game crashed after a few minutes , so I followed Harry's advice in his excellent walkthrough. I had to restart the game with the patch. Aside from that, this is a well made and fluent game with various settings and texturing, it is a pity that the lighting in the 1st level, and sometimes in the following ones was not that good. There are many enemies you can't kill (packs of bulls, a Seth/bull and some of the skeletons) only in the end you can kill guards. Watch out for your health as the medipacks are few. I enjoyed the corrida in the City levels , the Catacombs and various rooms underground, with a few good puzzles and traps. I notice some nice objects used and some different textures as well. The flybys are very stylised and well executed. I had to change the 097 audio track in one of the levels as I could not stand it anymore, and the ending is a bit strange. Anyway an entertaining game of 1 hour 30 that I enjoyed playing" - eRIC (21-Oct-2007)

"I thought this was quite a clever idea. Lara and bull running. Although it is not quite the stampede I was expecting, more like after something has gone seriously wrong with the main event - empty streets with a few bulls roaming around, though they do increase/decrease in numbers depending on which level you are playing. Lots of levers to pull, guards to shoot, a bike to ride and bulls to outrun or coerce into breaking seals. {I have to admit I hated bulls before this level set - I don't like enemies I can't kill - but there are so many of them here I've now got quite a good technique for dealing with them and am now loathing them considerably less.} Some of the areas were overly dark but everywhere was textured nicely. Also, the secrets were nicely placed. The main downside was the ending. Lara could have escaped on the bike or helicopter but instead she was sucked into a black hole! How odd. Maybe a sequel is planned? Was the 'Espana Secret' an alien artefact? Still, it is an original idea and an enjoyable level set." - Kitkat (23-Jul-2007)

"It's the full version of 'Espana Secret' along with the first level we have already played. I didn't like this all that much, I found it pretty standard with not so many interesting puzzles if any. The bulls again are too any so are the guards and basically you access areas to find a card or to use levers to open more doors. The helicopter was just for show unfortunately and the only interesting/challenging area was the one with the blades. I found four secrets and I'd say this was just something to pass the time." - Kristina (18-Jan-2007)

"Pamplona (6/8/7/7, 20 min, 1 secret): Admittedly a really nice idea to model the city of Pamplona with the bulls roaming around the street. Of course due to limitations of the editor there are only a few bulls and there is no real chase whatsoever and indeed the level plays rather sedate with rather straightforward progression, the occasional unnecessary crawling, a cool bike to get you from one corner of the city to the other and back and the occasional climbing up to the next level with a few not too tricky jumps to get to levers.
Arena (6/8/6/7, 25 min, 1 secret): More bulls here and one needs to hit a target and open a door for you. Other than that it is pretty much a lever hunt, with a small underwater area, ver long and strange camera flybys, skeletons and Seth makes an appearance as well. Again some fun jumping in this part.
Passagio Segreto (7/7/6/6, 20 min, 1 secret): This part felt very square and uses many library WAD elements, but I did enjoy the course and a few jumps here as well. Unfortunately it is quite dark in places. The treasure rooms are nice though and the blade traps make for at least a little challenge.
Pamplona, Festa di San Firmino (7/7/7/7, 15 min, 1 secret): By now the city is set at night and you end up killing a lot of guards, encounter a few more bulls and explore a warehouse like area before you make an escape on your trusty bike. Overall, quite a nice series, not too difficult and entertaining to play through and quite original with the bull theme - so give it a try." - MichaelP (22-Dec-2006)

"The level has a good design and nice scenes, but is based only to pull switches, look for items and avoid the bulls. Many times there's not a camera which give you a hint when you pull a switch, another times the flybies are "strange" and cameras point very near of the walls. In the second level there's a tricky trap to get the secret without open the wooden doors, if you stand in front of the doors and let the bull push you, Lara will trespass the doors. Against the skeletons you can only use the shotgun, 'cause there's not explosive ammo and weapons. The secrets are well hidden, and there's very few extra musics. Good textures, but lights are very few worked. At the end Lara get stucked in a black room hearing the bull sounds (?) and I had to go to the title screen manually. Where the Espaņa secret is? Perhaps the strange artifact I couldn't use?" - Jose (21-Nov-2006)

"Pamplona: Please see my review of the demo for this section, as it appears to be unchanged. Arena: I was so glad to get away from those bulls (and that damn music I've always hated) and then I noticed what sort of arena I was in. Right. And THEN I noticed that I actually needed a bull and despite the fact that I'd recently been surrounded by them, there wasn't the slightest trace of one about (apart from the heads decorating the walls that is). Don't worry, you find one soon enough so you can get back to the business of being gored a lot. Just by way of a change, you can also get slashed by skeletons quite a bit too, not to mention a run in with Seth. Passaggio Segreto: Oh no, that damn music is back. I really hate it. Please, please builders, if you're going to loop audio files, try and pick ones that aren't totally irritating. We're still on 101 ways to kill Lara Croft here, with more skeletons and a whole passageway full of slashing blades. If you can get through them with two skeletons on your tail without giving yourself extra medipacks, I salute you. Pamplona, Festa di San Firmino: Ah, much better. Lovely gentle audio sounds and a beautiful night sky. There are lots of enemies around, but at least they're the type you can actually fight back against, which makes a pleasant change. Well, until the bulls and that detestable music turn up again at any rate. The ending is very strange with Lara suddenly being transported into a black star-filled void. I have no idea if it was supposed to end that way or if it was a glitch. I have to say I'm not a big fan of levels that constantly pit Lara against enemies she has no ability to fight and that happened a lot in this game. Still, if you do like endurance tests, have a go - there are things to enjoy here, it's just that for me it didn't quite live up to the promise of the demo." - Jay (16-Nov-2006)

"Despite the appelation "Full version",I had the distinct feeling (come the fourth level) that I was playing something incomplete.Up until then this had been an enjoyable series of levels,with the first being an exact replica (as far as I could tell) of Harrys previous release (which allowed me to make stonkingly fast progress). Level's two and three were perfectly entertaining from a Gameplay standpoint (although nowhere particularly outstanding),while the texturing was everywhere more than capable and occasionally exhibited fine graphical and artistic flourishes. The biggest weakness were the fly-by's,which really should have been deleted prior to release. Not only were they largely unnecessary,but they also did all the things that fly-by's shouldn't(crash through walls;tear along corridors at dizzying speeds;travel through complete voids)and did a great deal to destroy the atmosphere. The fourth and final level was good fun if you enjoy running from bulls (they were evident in profusion in the first level,but here they positively swarmed!)and even included a fun and satisfying bike ride. Unfortunately,the ending was not only vastly anti-climactic,but highly frustrating into the bargain. Instead of reaching a waiting Helicopter (there had,after all,been two of these prominantly displayed elsewhere in the adventure) the Level simply ended arbitrarily and was replaced with an image of Lara standing locked in a void.It took me quite a while to come to the conclusion that this was the intended end and that I hadn't,after all,missed something elsewhere. To end a four-level series on such a dissapointing note is akin to shooting yourself in the foot;it leaves the player feeling deflated,even though such a huge amount of hard work has quite evidently gone into the construction of this 2 hour series. Dare I say it,but the final level exhibits the distinct feel of a builder becoming tired of his creation and ending it with little thought or care,which is such a pity as otherwise this is a worthy adventure which should happily occupy a player for a whole afternoon (as it did me). It is otherwise fast-moving and enjoyable. If you don't mind spending two hours on an adventure with no conclusion,and can also overlook a few errors of building judgement,this is actually a rather fine piece of work." - Orbit Dream (06-Nov-2006)
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