trle.net
Level: Following the Balloons to Another Party back home search
Author(s): TimJ
total rating:8.16 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Andzia9 9 9 9 9
Bene 9 8 9 9
CC 8 8 8 8
Gerty 6 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 9 9
JesseG 9 8 7 8
Jez 6 7 9 9
Jose 3 8 7 9
Kristina 7 7 7 8
manarch2 9 8 9 9
MichaelP 8 8 9 9
Moonpooka 8 8 9 8
Orbit Dream 5 8 9 10
Phil 5 9 9 9
Ryan 6 8 9 9
Spike 8 8 9 9
TC14 9 9 9 10
category averages
(17 reviews)
7.24 8.06 8.53 8.82

Reviewer's comments

"Be warned, this is an extremely difficult level. It's classified as a joke, but for me, the gameplay was anything but lighthearted and enjoyable. It has to be said though, that the technical side of things has been accomplished really well. The settings are gorgeous to look at, textured beautifully and it captures the TR2 feel very well, thanks in no small part to the familiar sound files. But the gameplay is so criminally difficult at times that it may actually preclude all but the most patient and expert raiders from reaching the end. Too many of the jumps and snowmobile rides took repeated tries until I finally got past them with a huge amount of luck and frustration. I also find that final timed run to be over the top (although I did make it finally). Pity really, as there are many really enjoyable parts: a fun door puzzle near the beginning, fun acrobatic sequences and even an extended torch puzzle. But overall, I do think that the difficulty factor could have been lowered a lot, in order to make it more accessible to a wider range of players. As it is now, this is really only one for self-proclaimed experts or those of extreme tenacity." - Ryan (12-Jul-2018)

"A fantastic game consisting of two different levels that seems a bit underrated for me since there were some quite simplistic yet ingenious puzzles in here and the difficulty was not as high for me than for other reviewers. Taking place in a extremely well crafted snowy setting with TR 2 Tibet objects, textures and sounds, this level convinced me with a great diversity in the tasks like the small lever maze, a complex puzzle concerning three firetraps, a torch and burnable stalagtites (really well used), a few tricky timed runs - especially the one with the snowmobile takes a few more tries but with a good saving strategy it should be doable -, and excellent platforming both with the bike and on foot; all in all this was my kind of gameplay. The only things I didn't like so much were the two jumpswitches that blended to well with the textures behind them and that the start of the second level confused me a bit, but that's basically everything. The level has a nice story even if it's kind of strange to find the bottles along the way but the five secret CDs were really worth looking for and most of them were on par with the most intriguingly hidden secrets I have even found; it's easy to not find a single of them. The visuals do not stand behind the gameplay quality as the old texture set was put to good usage without many faults and lighting was nice too. I had a nice nostalgic feeling when hearing the TR 2 sounds in this level and the builder cared a lot for details in that regard. A few cutscenes or larger spaces to explore would have been better for the atmosphere though. The enemies (guards, snow leopards and yetis) all were well placed (although I wished I were able to drive over more of only one of them with the snowmobile) and the mostly funny objects justified the "joke" classification a bit - otherwise I don't see a reason to put it in there except for the story. All in all I spent 55 minutes of classic TR 2 style raiding enhanced with a few nice enhancements in the technical department. Warmly recommended for more experienced raiders out there." - manarch2 (21-Oct-2012)

"Time attack lovers, knock yourselves out, because there are some very tight runs to be found in this level. One of them involves boarding a snowmobile and swerving around spike traps (marked only by a certain tile in the ceiling) and then using the nitro to blast off a difficult jump across a pool of water to reach the door in time. Besides that there will be many armed baddies and yetis to fight your way through, and some clever puzzles to solve. I was impressed with the torch being able to melt the stalactites. The environment is rather impressive, though it gets a bit dark at times. I particularly liked the segment where you walk in a suspended icicle "catwalk". The custom sounds were messed up, often playing at very low pitches, such as when Lara dies. Highly recommended for more experienced (and patient) players." - SSJ6Wolf (25-Apr-2009)

"I don't understand why it is in the joke class. There's nothing funny there. Anyway, the game was great. Looking for CD's, bottles of diferent drinks, driving in snowmobile. And a lot of balloons. Jumping over the pits by snowmobile were very difficult. But I used only one savegame from walkhtrough. Finally I went to a party house." - Andzia9 (14-Feb-2009)

"Compared to most 'Joke' levels, this was actually very good indeed. The icy rivers and caves were fun to explore, and there were a good amount of enemies to deal with, ranging from Snow Leopards to Yetis. The torch puzzle was well thought out, as was the floating ice-block room. However, frustration soon kicked in with the snowmobile sections, and I had to reload many times after constantly dying on the jumps. One part in particular was borderline sadistic, involving a timed snowmobile ride through spikes, tight corridors and a jump over water. Thankfully, it didn't dampen my spirits too much, and I fully enjoyed everything else. The texturing here is also great, and the way that they were applied made both levels look real, rather than boxy and wallpapered. The lighting was also fantastic, and although there didn't seem to be many blue hues, it still looked great. The TR2 sounds and audio worked nicely, and it brought back a nice sense of nostalgia at times. I can fully recommend this level to other players, but be prepared for some of the more tricky challenges on offer here." - Spike (30-Jul-2007)

"I'm aware that the ground rules of reviewing normally require one to have completed the level being reviewed. However, having "conquered" about 90% of this criminally difficult release I feel qualified at least to render my opinion of it. First of all, I echo what others have said, that it's properly classified as an arctic level and not as a joke level. For about half of the adventure you have an attractive and reasonably challenging raid through a wintry wilderness. However, I first starting getting bad vibes during that fire-trapped tunnel. Since I play in god mode, I finally allowed Lara to continue playing, all wrapped in flames, until I could find a body of water to douse her. And when I reached that deep room with all the sloped icy pillars, I said to hell with it, life's too short, and enabled the flycheat so I could get quickly to the next area. The final straw was that timed ride in the snowmobile. It was not the spike traps, or the near impossible jump across the lake, but the fact that even having accomplished all that (in more tries than I care to count) the door was already swinging shut by the time I was making my way up the ramp. Adding another three or four seconds would have made all the difference in the world. Ian has said it more eloquently than I ever could, but I agree wholeheartedly with his sentiments. If builders paid more attention to making their levels fun to play and less time devising more ingenious ways to impede the player's progress, we'd all be the better because of it. The first half of this level, if it had ended there, would have received near top scores, but the second half ruined the whole experience for me. Stay away from this one unless you have masochistic tendencies." - Phil (15-Jul-2007)

"Don't see why this is called a joke? Unless it's the fact that Lara has to search this inhospitable terrain for bottles of booze to take to TC14's birthday party. And this is pretty powerful stuff! The mere act of picking it up opens doors, lol. Secrets are music CDs. At least the level is bright, lots of snow and colourful balloons to show the way. The journey is fraught with danger though as Lara negotiates slopes with falling snowballs and icicles, deep chasms, and resident leopards, thugs and yetis. There are extremely well disguised jumpswitches to find, so even in this brighly lit environment it's still difficult to spot them. There are also some fairly difficult tasks to perform. You might call them puzzles, as some involve the torch (excellent idea of setting fire to icicles as you jump), but are more stealth, speed and agility based. The first being a timed run from a storeroom and swim around awkward corners through an underwater door. Following by a frustrating trigger tile puzzle that is actually easy if you know what you're doing. We find a snowmobile and drive it into the second level. More hopping and climbing about to find ethanol for the snowmobile, to get it across a river and start the mother of all sadistic timed runs... ahem! drives. The only way through, for me, was to save along the way if I managed to safely pass a gaunlet of spikes, before trying for that leap across the water. So this has turned out to be more challenging and exciting than it might seem... being a birthday pressie (joke) level. The scenery is lovely, the locations appropriate, great TR2 feel to the level, and I particularly liked those icy crystal-like tunnels and blocks." - CC (07-Jul-2007)

"Now here is a level which has received massively controversial scoring and when you play it you can easily find out why. It is simply too clever for its own good and goes beyond being challenging and many times along the way is simply annoying and frustrating. I still don't want to score it lower than I have because it is indeed a very accomplished piece of level building. The Arctic setting looks great, the balloons are kind of fun along the way, you get some suitable bad guys to battle and some good progression and action along the way, especially with the torch. There is a switch puzzle which I found quite confusing, a timed swim, some strange misdirection, some tricky snowmobile action and then of course the absurdly difficult timed run with the snowmobile, which I eventually made with a lot of saving and after about 100 deaths or so. 70 minutes of net gaming spent and not a single secret gift found, but I have no intention to go back for them." - MichaelP (26-Apr-2007)

"This is for sure no joke level, the story that is in the readme might be one, but the gameplay is not. I found it rather confusing and halfway through I was glad that the walkthrough was out. Happy birthday Thibault but next time I would rather have a easier level, so please ask your buddy Tim to easy up a bit as far as gameplay goes. There is also a pet-hate of mine, namely vehicles, so thank you Harry who put some saved games for us (not so nibbled fingered) to use as I couldn't make that timed run. It is a pity though as this could be a great game but for now I found it rather frustrated." - Gerty (20-Apr-2007)

"When you can find a lot of savegames to can finish a level, It means that it's not a good level. I'm not an english talker, so I can't express very well my opinion about this level, but Orbit Dream did it for me, I`m totaly in according with his words. The level has very good features, as architecture, lights, textures, well placed enemies,... But the gameplay is really a shit. If you like to reload and reload hundreds of times to try the same tasks, this is your level. If you want to know more about my opinion, please read the Orbit Dream review for this level. Sorry but it's what I think, only one more opinion." - Jose (17-Apr-2007)

"This level is a bit confusing at times. First of all it's not classified correctly and in no way it is a joke level. I understand the explanation the builder gave us that it was for Thibault and with all the balloons it might be funny for him but it's not for us therefore I believe it should classified differently. The setting is simple with ice everywhere, yetis, gunmen and two tight timed runs with one of them being with the snowmobile. The torch puzzle although it is imaginable, without a hint you can go around searching forever to find a way to proceed. The players can't get into the builder's mind every time and guess what he/she thought of as a solution so a camera at some point focusing on the stalactites would be nice. Anyway it's not a bad level but I didn't enjoy it as much as I expected because of the confusion in some areas but that doesn't mean that you won't either. I found the five secrets and two of them by luck." - Kristina (04-Apr-2007)

"The first thing to be said about this level is don't be put off by the 'joke' classification, which usually means a short raid of varying degrees of awfulness. This is a sophisticated and challenging level with a lovely arctic setting and those wonderful, nostalgic TR2 sound files, PLUS a great deal of fun with a snowmobile (and please do remember that I did use the word 'challenging' in connection with this level - I hope you're a good rider). You do get to follow quite a few balloons on your way, although you might just conclude that you're too early to the party since nobody else is there. Nice big cake to admire though. Good level, but certainly not one for the inexperienced raider." - Jay (28-Mar-2007)

"To start with, I must say that I'm trying to review this level in an unbiased way and that I find this quite difficult knowing TimJ quite well and being the main reason why this level was built... So I will justify carefully every aspects of the score I will give. As far as gameplay/puzzles are concerned, I found them quite good, with creative ideas such as the puzzle involving many doors and a pad trigger, and fun timed runs (especially one underwater), the idea of the torch to make icicles fall... But (you knew this word would come) allthough I love playing (and building) hard levels I sometimes got frustrated. About the timed snowmobile-run, I found the spikes ok and the idea of timed driving great and even fun, but my problem was the jump over the river which was included in the course which caused me many reloadings and reminded me a bit of a recently-released Church level... And allthough they are part of Tim's buolding style, I don't like these hidden jump switches, especially when they match exactly the textures of the walls. They would be ok in a totally closed room when you have nowhere to go, but there, no. But I will still give a 9 because I enjoyed the levels very much and there were masterpieces such as the room with floating ice platforms with great jumping and also the great boulder run at the very end. About ennemies, I really liked the placement of them, and some of them made me jump off my chair, which hasn't happened in many custom levels I've played. The objects were quite well placed and were matching the theme quite well, and I liked the idea of "balloons", so a 9 seems the good solution there, putting 10 only for major innovations. Then, about the sounds and atmosphere, the sample sounds are just great, I love the old TR2 sounds and they are perfectly setup. Musics are also well-placed. The only reason I put a 9 instead of 10 would be because the atmosphere isn't so gripping (I just mean that some other levels had "hooked" me more than this one) and because there's no notable flyby camera, even though this may be considered a TR2-touch to have a level without flybys. And, last but not least, the textures and lightning, and there I fear I may not be able to fault Tim anywhere in the level, the textures were applied very nicely as the lights. The only minor criticism would be not to use TR2 water textures when we have better ones now from the new games, but after all it's a matter of taste. Overall, another good and challenging level by Tim, and thank you again for this level! I appreciate all your presents very much! (By the way, I waited for a long time in the celebration room but it seems I got there too late, there was no one living there, so I left to get my brand new skis after reloading about five times... lol)" - TC14 (20-Mar-2007)

"My first thought was an 8 for gameplay and puzzles but the torch and stalactite puzzle combined with the 3 switch timed fire tunnel deserve a 9. The festive balloons are your path through an icy, snow-filled environment, so you do, indeed, follow them. They make for a bright, fun touch to a level that can sometimes be frustrating. The difficult jumps, here, are all on the snowmobile with, of course, a timed ride in a spike filled area to make it even more....ummm.....memorable. You'll run around collecting gifts for TC14's Birthday such as CD's, one of which is 'Quest of Gold' and most would agree with Tim that yes, he may already have one. There's drinks to pick up and even a bottle of Champagne. Textures and atmosphere are both very good with some interesting jump switches - pull out those binoculars when stuck, you may spot one of them. I especially liked the torches - icy looking torches laid on an icy floor. Easy to run right on by without seeing them but they sure are pretty. Not recommended for everyone; best for more experienced players. As for me, I walked away a few times, only to come back to it later but I think this has put me off snowmobiles, at least for a bit." - Bene (16-Mar-2007)

"I have to say I did not get the joke. Never mind. A very well made and tricky level. Quite a bit of variety here with some very well designed moves and clever tricks (like the stalactites). The atmosphere was fairly standard ice-cave but do not be lulled into a false sense of security - the yetis and guards made me jump more than once and I found myself running very low on medipacks. Some practice is required to complete many elements with very precise moves being the name of the game. If you like your levels challenging then this is for you." - Jez (14-Mar-2007)

"This level was made to celebrate TC14's birthday, and Lara has to search and find some booze to take along to the party. At first it was odd to see the balloons floating about in this snow packed Tallion type level, and I wondered if they had a sort of a hint thing attached to the colours, like how to find the 4 other secrets I missed, but anyway, maybe not and I came away with one secret, a CD. Gate crashers were yetis and snow troopers who showed up in gangs and caused havoc in the tightest of places; where was the bouncer? Lara gets to ride the snow mobile, and there's a naughty timed run through spike trap caverns which took me ages to do, but I love timed runs of any kind so no grumbles from me about that. The ice caves were fabulous, and I really enjoyed the trip around the slope cavern. There's also some clever little moments like the torch to burn some icicles. Some snowball traps lay ahead, and expect to do quite a bit of searching for keys, torch, booster for the mobile, and the drinkies of course. All in all a very enjoyable level, and I hope you all have as much fun playing it as i did." - Moonpooka (09-Mar-2007)

"This is categorised as a 'joke' level.I believe it should come with a health warning instead.I expected to laugh quite a lot;unfortunately I spent most of my time swearing. Despite the occasional moment of party ambience the coloured balloons seemed more like an afterthought and the gameplay was anything but fun and frivolity. TimJ has shown himself to be a builder of great technical expertise,but his gameplay concepts are a matter of taste.As this adventure progresses it becomes very challenging indeed and only the most experienced and technically adept player is likly to get through it unaided.I did indeed manage,but not without countless re-loads and an enormous amount of frustration. A degree of challenge in a TR adventure is essential,but this level enters into 'expert' territory and the average player is likely to call it a day long before the blessed 'finish trigger'. Which is such a shame as this adventure really should be experienced by all,as some of the concepts are nothing less than superb: the jump with the Torch to light the stalegtites;the acrobatics on the icy ramps;the motorbike jumps over beautiful snowy gorges;the clever 'three-lever timed flame' puzzle. If the builder can temper his urge to create ultra-tough adventures and instead aim to entertain and challenge the average player,he will be onto a winner. In this instance,he has built a joke level for experts;which strikes me as rather a contradiction in terms!" - Orbit Dream (07-Mar-2007)
back home search