"This is an extensive, involving and very
well constructed seven-level adventure.
The builder's talent for architecture,
texturing and general settings is even
more prominent in this release than his
previous levels, and the atmosphere is
incredibly top-notch, the third category
only marred by the general lack of camera
hints. The Ireland levels are quite
gloomy, but lighting gets progressively
brighter upon reaching the Egyptian
levels, and the icing on the cake is the
final level, The Beyond, where the
gameplay is the most challenging and
surroundings impressive. There's a little
too much lever pushing in some places, but
the puzzles nicely balance this factor
out. Highly recommended." - Ryan (21-Dec-2017)
"A really interesting and well designed level, although it would be a perfect 10/10 (IMO) if it had the following:
1- more enemies AND a boss fight (I felt kinda disapponting that Lara didn't fight with Brijet in the end).
2- a better variety of music tracks (it was a little annoying hearing the same song in each level on loop).
Overall, one of the best things was that it didn't have many timed runs (I hate them :P ), but it did have a little bit of unecessary back-tracking (especially in Poseidon's Temple). The story though is really enticing, especially when there is a part 2, so I would definitely recommend this level.
Thanks Max for designing it, and Harry Laudie for the awesome walkthrough!!" - mary-jane (23-Nov-2015)
"I shall review only couple of first levels. I lost my
saves during disc formatting - so I haven't finished the
First thing I must mention is atmosphere. Atmosphere. We
dive deep into it. Ruins. Medieval-like cottage. Levels
by Max always are full of ambience and he knows how to
play with it. Lara's clothes and collectibles suit the
mood. That's what makes his levels so enjoyable for me.
Another thing is - textures. Have you ever played a level
with poorly chosen textures, where some things seemed out
of place? Well, this never happens with his levels.
Textures are perfect and creatively placed. And you will
never find two rooms/places that look the same. There are
lots of small details which I really liked. Like - celtic
windows, symbols and these candles. The level has dark
aura. At some point it feels even... scary. On some level
it reminds me of Blair Witch from Lara at the Movies
series mixed with young Lara levels from original TR
Chronicles. But it's just a feeling helping me to
describe it - the level itself is very original! The
music - almost melanholic - suits well. Expect some
tricky jumps - but not too annoying. Everything took me
more than an hour and a half, because I got a bit stuck.
And I am stubborn NOT to use walkthrough to enjoy the
level more. 8/10 for me.
Submarine At first we're greeted with cutscene.
Well done, I really like how London looks there. And then
- there ya go. You instantly can tell where you are. All
these pipes and monitors leave no questions. Lara slips
into something more suiting for this occasion. Crates
with Lara's surname tell you that ship is hers. There's
lots to explore. Crawling through metal vents and engine
rooms. The level is short, but detailed. Each room has
additional elements, like telephones and engine boxes.
Nicely placed cameras make the gameplay feel more
complete and polished. The light is good. Colder than
usual, playing with aqua-like colours. Very good taste.
The level ends a bit suddenly and switches to another
one. 25-30 minutes max. 8-/10.
Delicate music of Night Elves welcomes Lara as she is
arriving. We go into beautiful ruins, but we have to
watch out on each step. Because such ruins is not a
friendly place. One mistake and Lara meets the spikes
punching through her body. Or she might drown. Because
what would be Poseidon without water? Everything you meet
in this level is the very reason I like Tomb Raider.
Dirty, archeological and ancient. Here Max plays with
light and textures in such way that sometimes I would
just stand for a while and look at the sights. Puzzles
and timed events focus your brain to exercise. They're
pretty decent and feel rewarding. Not easy, but not too
hard at the same time.
Another lovely watery level. There are cool details and
animated textures, like watter dripping from the ceiling.
I have plenty of reasons why I like Max levels. One of
them is that they have certain... flow. Everything seems
logical and there's no need for walkthrough. It makes
them really fun for me. But they're not easy. No, no. The
very definition of fun - ideal balance of hard parts and
relaxing reward parts. I was never annoyed - and I
usually get annoyed at timed events!
Other is, that everything is very detailed and pretty.
From stuff hanging off the walls to plethora of textures.
Cracks in the walls, mirrored floors - everything to make
sure the stuff is more pretty and detailed. Nothing seems
weird or out of place. Same goes for music choice, which
happens to be amazing." - Alien Autopsy (25-Oct-2015)
"There's a large variety of themes here, as you go from Ireland to
Egypt and some sort of afterlife. Visually they are all well-
realised, although the modern levels in particular feel a bit more
cubic than the rest, beyond that though I found no major issues,
and overall the last levels are the best looking, which leaves a
good lasting impression. There's also some good use of smaller
details, like the dripping water in the Greek levels and the rain in
Paris. Some things feel like an odd lack of polish though, like
how the set has a story and cutscenes yet the big transitions just
dump you into the next country without any explanation. That
also extends to the gameplay somewhat, with things like a few
pits you can get stuck in with no way out (with one even being
intentional, if pretty obvious), and multiple points where there
was a sense of confusion as to whether I was doing things the
right way or unintentionally exploiting things (like pulling up at
the edges of fire tiles); since it worked out in the end I guess I
was? It's generally on the challenging side, but, as a result of the
last thing I'm not sure if I might have accidentally made things
harder for myself at times. It's mostly very enjoyable, and, like
with the visuals, the last couple of levels are the best, but at
times there's a feeling of confused intentions that the very top
levels very rarely have, so perhaps there was a slight lack of
testing or something. Beyond that though this is a highly
recommended set." - Mman (12-Jun-2015)
"I already scribbled a report from this game in the builder's official wip thread so I'll focus on what I haven't said. One tip for the players must go first: be observant and trust in memory, for atmosphere is intense and cameras are lacking here, what may draw You away from the goal. Save flares for they're not many, and more likely something is covered with an obstacle than hidden in a dark corner. Storylinewise, I had a major problem with Lara's Brijett antagonist. The lack of direct confrontation between these two and no single line of reply from Lara makes the protagonist feel helpless and the antagonist very strong even though the latter has no character defined - and that creates a mismatch while these two should feel equal to become believable rivals. I like the unusual episode conclusions being about Lara chasing Brijett throughout the game, but this causes another major error: none of the four episodes end with an important pickup, and while the title says "artifact", the game is anything but this - the most ancient artwork we ever obtain is the Poseidon's Pearl, which is an intermediate temple key in fact receiving more attention and feeling more important than the Grail itself. To maintain both the chase element and the classic artifact hunt, there should be at least a sidequest to get some themed artwork in each episode. And regardless from anything else, the final item should be picked up by Lara. Otherwise the accomplishment is not that great as it should be. From minor issues I noted some shortcuts but they neither kill impression (except from few spots You won't notice) nor make you stuck (and here paste the previous brackets). And since I left the submarine, I couldn't help the feeling there are as many epic locations as the boxy, underdone and only gameplay-focused ones. Nonetheless I gave extra points for atmosphere and graphics because the impressive places are many, the sound is mostly great and the occasional cutscenes are well done. SUMMARY: Like Mahler's 1st Symphony, this level has mysterious, thrilling beginning yet somehow dragging middle so You can't wait for the powerful finale. Nonetheless as I said this is the first symphony and if a similar case, the 2nd should be incomparably greater and more integral. I won't say this prologue is a must-play, but it certainly has numerous places worth running through, so in my opinion one should be patient and NOT EVEN THINK to touch the AAII without playing this AAI before. Recommended - but be patient with this one!" - DJ Full (22-Apr-2015)
"Ireland: The dark and slightly spooky atmosphere of this level is perhaps inspired by the Ireland levels of TR: Chronicles, but otherwise the looks and style of this level are unique. The overall lighting is a bit too dark (the same could be said about a number of levels in this set), but apart from that, the level is lovely. I particularly liked the ruined church (?) interior. The outdoor areas look good too. There are several pretty candlelit altar-like places scattered all through the level. The gameplay is a little less interesting, with a lot of backtracking and running back and forth. Fixed camera angles make certain simple jumps pointlessly harder.
Submarine: A cutscene at the beginning introduces the villain of the game, Brijett, talking about Lara with another woman, in her home in Paris. Then we return to Lara, who has somehow wound up on a submarine. This is just a short interlude level. Lara hunts some switches, and does a bit of jumping and some ultra-boring duct crawling. The interior of the submarine is surprisingly roomy, but it's well lit and textured, and on the whole, looks nice.
Poseidon Hall: This level and the next one were perhaps meant to be a single one originally, considering that they have such similar names and looks. The 'Poseidon' in the name presumably suggests that they take place in Greece; but otherwise, there is not much clue as to what the location is. The looks are great - I love the customized textures especially. While I don't mind the greenish lighting throughout these two levels, by the end of them, it feels slightly overused. The lack of any glimpse of the outdoors also gives a claustrophobic feel to these levels. In keeping with the Poseidon theme, there is a considerable amount of swimming in this level, including some timed swims. There are some enjoyable jumps later in the level as well, and an interesting switch-plus-pushable puzzle. There is one sequence in which Lara has to jump around with wraiths chasing her which seems unnecessary, and can be skipped completely.
Temple of Poseidon: This level is centred around a huge underground cavern with a temple built into it. Though this level has the same visual style as the previous one, I liked the looks of this one even more. I particularly loved the water-filled tunnels where you have to jump over flaming blocks, and the final room where you meet Brijett (a gorgeous multilevel room that is sadly underutilized). There is a possible game-stopping moment if you drop down to get the Poseidon Pearl before raising the blocks to get out. The various tasks in the buildings surrounding the Pearl pit are a lot of fun, especially a puzzle in which you have to raise a pushable several floors.
Paris Street: I was initially thrilled at the thought of exploring Paris, but this feeling soon ebbed as I realized that I would be mainly exploring the dark and dreary backstreets of Paris on a rainy night, as well as some warehouses. You do get to break into Brijett's lovely home at the end, but there's nothing much to do there except open up the exit. Visually, this level reminds me very much of the first level of the 'Revenge of Osiris' levelset.
Temple of Osiris: Finally, a bright and sunny level! A really lovely one, that too. The visual style of this level is that of the Egypt levels of TR: Anniversary. The golden-brown colour of the architecture looks great in contrast with the bright blue sky. The gameplay is slightly less impressive, though fun nonetheless. I particularly liked jumping over tiles with delayed spike traps. The lack of camera clues can be frustrating at times, particularly in one case where I had to repeat a long jumping and shimmying sequence, because I had no idea whether the door at the end was open or not. This level feels like it wasn't tested correctly, as there are a few shortcuts that were certainly not intended by the builder (one is even detailed in the walkthrough). The multiple demigods near the end can be a bit annoying, though the encounter with Brijett at the end is cool.
The Beyond: I remembered the opening area of this level from the 'Hall of Fame' level of QRS's 'Egypt and Beyond - the Complete Adventure' (though the gameplay in the latter seems to have been completely different). It's definitely spooky, with the ground falling away into a dark void and the Grim Reaper waiting for you. However, apart from this, and some slightly creepy enemies, there's not much in the rest of the level that makes it seem like a supernatural place. Most of the locations could have easily fitted into the Ireland level, for instance. Still, it's an enjoyable level, with lots of great jumps and traps. I particularly liked the multilevel room with the fire and steam traps (though I would have liked it more if I hadn't had to do it all over again after realizing that I had to get the secret before turning on the traps). I had expected a showdown with Brijett at the end, but apparently she preferred to take a nap while letting her minions take care of Lara. I guess I'll be catching up with her in Ancient Artifact II.
Overall: The gameplay is mostly fun, though occasionally marred by fixed camera angles, lack of camera clues and enforced health losses. The looks are pretty great, even if they are sometimes a tad too dark for my taste. A great game on the whole. Recommended." - Mytly (19-Apr-2015)
"I only stumbled across this game when I saw the trailers for
Ancient Artifact 2, and I immediately knew I must play the
first. It is a beautiful game, the environments are very
diverse, and the level design is very cleverly put together,
and looks like it was carefully planned. Specifically, there
was some really really interesting and creative gameplay
related mechanics in order to dodge spikes, or grab walls
There isn't a specific area I like the most, but I must say
that the Egypt level did stand out for its resemblance to
TRA. The Poseidon levels were also very memorable. The
submarine level was short but fun. The only level I wasn't
to keen on was the Paris level, I felt like it didn't seem
to have the finesse that the other levels did. None the
less, I don't think it was too much of a problem (wasn't too
There were some excellently designed puzzles, some moments
of utter confusion, and moments of convincing myself that
the game had bugged itself because pulling levels at first
appear to do nothing. A suggestion would be to add more
cameras so you know where to go, or it could become quite
frustrating at parts.
Another small point, which to be fair, I don't know if it
was my computers way of handling it, or if it was part of
the game itself... but the audio... sounded great, but
having the dramatic music on a repeat loop for a whole level
gets a bit dull. E.g, the chanting/ singing audio track in
the Poseidon level (the from St Fracis Folly in TRA), it's a
very cool audio, but in my opinion, should only be heard
once or twice in a level for dramatic effect (opening doors,
or encountering a new area for the first time), not
constantly in a loop. Also, when you die, the music starts
from the beginning, and since the audio is well defined
music, this restart is quite noticeable. My suggestion is
that the ambience music should be just that... ambience, or
else it just gets repetitive.
So overall, this is most definately one of my favourite
games I have played so far, and am really looking forwards
to the sequel." - Cosmos (11-May-2014)
"I must say that the builder has grown much after his previous level and this is by far his best offering, although he has kept elements of his peculiar style. I liked exploring the various settings and the gameplay is challenging enough, though not overly, to keep me on my toes, but in my opinion this game was a little monotonous in that regard. Most of the time platforming is the main task in this level and I missed puzzles in this game. The push puzzle in Poseidon Hall, which is one of the few exceptions, is the gameplaywise highlight for me, and with a few more tasks like this the level would be even more enjoyable, but since the builder left it like it is, the progression feels a bit dull at some points. But apart of that, the game is really cleverly put together. I liked how the builder implemented several moments where you can see the object of your desire, but you have to do much more work to finally get it, like the cottage in Ireland, the pearl in Temple of Poseidon or several occasions in The Beyond. Enemies are sparsely, though effectively used in the game, though I think sometimes there could be more diversity, the three subsequent demigod fights in Temple of Osiris being probably the best example. I loved the flying lights in the last level though and the various encounters (no fight though) with Brijett are very smartly put into scene. The secrets are easy to moderately challenging to find, and the object design is generally great, especially because the rooms don't look that empty as in the builder's Symbol of the World series. Overall, the visual quality of the game is undeniable, and each level has a few really stunning areas that are chock-full of atmosphere. From an objective viewpoint, I maybe should have rated the third category down by one point, because of quite a few missing sounds and missing camera clues for some actions, but I simply wasn't able to. Each room is created with a care that really shows off in the final product, and one can enjoy so many minor details, e.g. the animated floor textures where you can see the rain falling down. And apart from the missing sounds, the great background music is earily fitting to the settings. Textures and lights are greatly used to construct the atmosphere, but I couldn't give full marks to them because especially the first few levels had a few rather obvious mistakes in the texturing and the lighting would've benefited from more contrast, but especially the Poseidon levels and the Beyond are brilliantly lighted. Put it all together, this level is a masterpiece of exhilarating atmosphere and is good fun to play but the gaming experience could be more intense. Spent 3:15 hours in this levelset and found 15 secrets." - manarch2 (27-Jul-2013)
"After having played the builder's earlier levels I kept this one for last as I had quite high expectations after looking at some of the ratings. Well, it is a massive 7-level game where Lara visits different places from the familiar looking Ireland, to Greek and Egyptian temples and even the back streets of Paris. There is a lot of variety in the game play from the usual lever pulling, key finding, sometimes challenging ledge jumping, several puzzles, underwater mazes, timed runs/swims, rope swings and of course there were plenty of spike traps. At times, the game play became a little tedious as there were plenty of climbing that had to be done two or sometimes even three times. A rather complex block puzzle on a game board was also on the challenging side and I resorted to following the walkthrough to solve it. In general I checked with the well-written walkthrough quite a few times and found it very helpful. Combat and fighting sequences were not a big part of this game, as there are not many enemies, mainly pesky bats, dogs and a couple of crocs during the majority of the raid, but in the last level there was quite a bit of action with spooky looking hellhounds, light spirits and harpies. Lara found plenty of pickups and had all the classic TR weapons with plenty of ammo. Medipack were never in short supply and I like the placement of them as if the builder wanted to give the player a hint on what ledge to climb next. There were a lot of secrets in this game and according to the walkthrough I did find them all. The sounds and atmosphere is this level was great and the builder chose some good ambient tracks and also quite a few action tracks and they were used at the correct times. I did like the camera work for the most part, although at times the cameras were fixed and one could not break it by using the look key. This did look actually really nice, but it made it a lot harder to find something or to judge a jump correctly. The level has some really well made cut scenes without speech but nevertheless they connected the different level and helped to get the player more involved in the story line. The texturing and lighting was perfect and I think it is amazing, as it seemed to me that they were all low resolution. The room architecture was something I had admired in the builders earlier level and this level is even a step above. Conclusion: This is an amazing set of level with a professional look and feel and it is definitely one of my favorite custom level sets I have played so far. No wonder this in the hall of fame. If you haven't played this one yet, I highly recommend doing so as this one is a real gem." - Blue43 (20-Dec-2010)
"Another one of those levels I started when it was just up and threw in the bin as I had some nasty crashes. Trying it again and this time, no more crashes, so I could enjoy this game. I was in dire need of more camera work as half the time I had no clue what I just did with using a lever or switch. Especially as this is a non-linear level and one has to go back and fro quite a lot. The fixed camera here and there was rather annoying. The levels (yes plural) are great, good atmosphere, nice use of textures, good lighting, good-looking objects. The game play is fixed around exploring and finding quite a lot of levers, and a few puzzles, one of them might be buggy so do safe before you start pushing objects. Glad there is a walkthrough as I got stuck a tad too much for my liking. But it still is a great game to play." - Gerty (17-Jun-2010)
"One of the most solidly built level sets I've played in ages. Every level is textured pretty much perfectly with adequate and accurate lighting. This contributes to its main strength - the atmosphere. Ireland was my favourite section even though it lasts only 30 minutes. The atmosphere was just what I like, eerie, dark, foreboding but not too oppressive. The soundtrack really made it. Going against the norm in custom levels, this set uses 'music' (if you can call it that) as its background track, a bit like the official Tomb Raider games since Crystal Dynamics took over. It's a matter of taste but to me it worked exceptionally. I was also very glad that no level lasts more than one hour and each one is quite different to the last in both location and style. The Temple of Poseidon was the level which encompasses most of the positive aspects of this game as it has puzzles, atmosphere and a great sense of accomplishment once you reach the end. This game would have been a sure-fire favourite if it were not for two things. Firstly, where were the camera hints? It was a massive pain in the backside to figure out which door a switch opens, usually being one of many possible spread over a large area. In the end I just used the walkthrough to tell me as I became so frustrated. It seems as though the author didn't know how to use camera targets with fixed cameras, since the cameras that do exist are only of the flyby variety. The second unfortunate aspect was the repetitive nature of much of the gameplay. Max sure likes shimmies and cracks in the walls as almost everything revolves around that. It's not a bad thing to have in a level, far from it, but so much of it got a bit boring, especially when Lara shimmies so slowly. I liked the plot line and the cutscenes, although I wasn't too sure what was happening. A great game though, and one which deserves a Hall of Fame place sometime soon." - TrueRaider (04-Apr-2009)
"Well, it's one of better customs. Atmosphere is great and you can feel almost like in level. Ireland is beatiful and mysterious with music and perfectly choosen textures. Next levels are better and better. Very good ending. But there are some things not so good as the other. There aren't any new animations or samples. There aren't a lot of enemies but there are a lot of medipacks and ammo. Why?
Despite of those thigs you should play this level anyway. All is very realistic. Congratulations to the author!" - jawi (12-Dec-2008)
"I had asked for 'more please' in my review for the author's previous level and boy, we get a lot 'more' with this level series indeed...
Ireland (8/8/10/10, 30 min, 4 secrets): Great setting and very eerie atmosphere right from the start, a bit reminiscent of eTux' Blair Witch. There are dogs and bats to kill and levers to find and it requires quite a bit of exploration and a long backtrack for the golden key. I really liked the look of the church.
Submarine / Poseidon Hall (8/8/9/10, 15+45 min, 1+4 secrets): Very nice cutscene intro here as Lara enters what looks more like a Base setting than the inside of a submarine. The first part here is quite short with a bit of duct crawling and some levers to pull, but Poseidon Hall offers plenty of gameplay with a decent amount of swimming involved as the title would suggest. There are spikes and breaktiles to maneuvre, a fairly tight timed swim and many underwater levers to find and use. There is also one unusually tricky jump, which did not really fit with the overall flow, a rather fun fire wraith chase and a complex push object puzzle.
Temple of Poseidon (8/8/9/10, 60 min, 3 secrets): The levels keep gettting better and better along the way. From the beautiful flyby at the start, this is an immersive section in and around a cave area. There is a dead end situation of you drop down to the pearl too early, but that is a minor gripe. Push and raising blocks, lava rooms, jumps (occasionaly rather tricky ones) and generally a clever course with jumps and climbs throughout make this a fun adventure. There are maybe too many switches and too few camera hints though.
Paris Street (8/8/9/9, 40 min, 1 secret): Great audio and intense atmosphere here, even though it is rather dark. Gameplay revolves mainly around finding the right cracks in the walls to jump around high above the streets and then inside a huge warehouse with boxes. Eventually you find the crowbar to get into Brijett's house/library.
Temple of Osiris (9/8/10/10, 45 min, 1 secret): Max has certainly saved the best for last. This and the next parts are the best of the set. This one starting with wonderful texturing and lighting and then has you explore two paths with diverse elements of work to do, again largely revolving around the right jump at the right time, finding many jump switches, often cleverly hidden, mastering a few timed sequences and puzzles involving push objects. Enemies are only a few dogs and near the end a sequence of demigods to battle.
The Beyond (9/9/10/10, 40 min, 1 secret): Very eerie atmosphere here as we follow Brijett into the realms of death, whom you also meet in his boat. Plenty of small spirits roam this place and also a few hell hounds and harpies. Gameplay is again set around clever jumps/climbs and includes a timed run and burners and spikes to spice things up. At the end you get your trusty torch to open the way and find the grail.
Overall, a long and never boring level series which you will enjoy most if you like jumps and finding the right course around a room. It has a great storyline that it follows through, supported with intermittent cut scenes and really is a wonderfully rounded experience that you should not miss to play!" - MichaelP (12-Dec-2008)
"I wanted to try this level, because the level get high scores. To be honest, I very liked this levelset. The first 4 levels are short, but very enjoyable. The puzzles are easy, not too hard. The gameplay is a little linear. The 5-7 levels are harder, much tr feeling. My personal fav is the Temple Of Osiris. The Paris streets is a little dark, and the flares are isn't enough (for me...) :-( Nice intros, cutscenes. The objects and textures are really great, the lighting is georgous! :-D The musics are great too, maybe too much Anniversary track, but the background musics new from me. :-) I really liked this levelset, recommend for all TR fans! ;-)" - Roli (12-Aug-2008)
"Another fatastic set of levels from this arthor. Everything was done great. The moveable block did not make a lot of sense, and some sounds were missing. But it is still worth it to play it. Can't wait for more levels from this person. And the lack of cameras was annoying as well. I recommand it to everyone." - dantheraider (21-Dec-2007)
"Here is an epic release that will probably find its way into the Hall of Fame before long. Harry Laudie has provided a truly masterful walkthrough that enabled me to keep my net gaming time down to a mere seven and a half hours. I cannot begin to imagine how long it must have taken him to ferret out the myriad nuances of gameplay presented here, eliminating the inevitable false starts and distilling everything into a matter-of-fact textual blueprint that tells the player exactly where to go and what to do. During the early stages I kept mentally preparing for this review a scathing denunciation of the consistent darkness that kept me from enjoying this adventure to the fullest. It's no secret that I thoroughly detest having constantly to light flares so I can see to perform the most basic tasks, but that's exactly what I experienced for five full levels here. Boosting the gamma on my monitor isn't a viable solution, because it gives the screen a washed-out look that is most unappealing. And I totally reject the suggestion that a better graphics card may be in order. Other builders seem to be able to get it right, so why should I have to go out and spend good money to compensate for those builders who insist upon making their levels too dark? Anyway, these complaints about darkness evaporated when I got to the sixth level, Temple of Osiris. It's perfectly lighted, and the gameplay here was crisp and most enjoyable. And even though the finale, The Beyond, was one of the spookiest levels I've ever played, not to mention being also among the most complicated, I was able to see everything that was going on around me. Much like UB4, Ancient Artifact starts off on the wrong foot, but it finishes about as well as anything I've played in recent months. Highest recommendations." - Phil (28-Nov-2007)
"It's difficult to describe a set of levels like this, but generally it's a good work. Lara has to travel through different countries to finally find a golden calyx. The game has very interesting features, good puzzles, excellent texturing, a fantastic ambience with very good musics well applied to the different situations, nice animations, new objects and some fantastic characteristics as the rotating lights in the Poseidon level. In the other side there are some things I didn't like as some very difficult tasks (banana jump in the first level), the very dark areas in some levels bind you to use the binoculars often or take always a flare in hand (at the end the flare bug appears) but the worst for me was the absence of cameras in many important places of the levels; sometimes the object triggered was not very far, but another times you pull a switch and you have to look around through very extensive areas, even around a full level. This makes the gameplay very tedious and for this I had to low the points in gameplay and camera sections; but the use of the othe cameras was good. Even so, this level is worth to play. Good work." - Jose (21-Nov-2007)
"This is a fantastic level series, and is playable on the mac. The design is magnificent with excellent texturing and lighting, breathtaking scenery, good camera work, and great attention to the smallest detail. One example is the beautiful plant growing out of the Egyptian temple walls. It all goes above and beyond anything seen before. It's so realistic you really feel as if you are there. There is nothing too difficult to accomplish and each level is mostly about exploring. But this exploring is a joy in such awesome surroundings. And just because a level hasn't got a miriad of death defying traps and enemies doesn't mean it's a loser in the gameplay department.
Ireland: A spooky, ghostly, dark and damp place. But Max has elevated that dreariness to enchantment. Lara is her most recent, good-looking self, and she has weapons to deal with the almost friendly looking dogs. It's a kind of mountain village with run down buildings and a mill. Loved the fire flies floating among the trees, the lonely little church and cemetery, the groups of candles that light up dark places and the high wooden building where we climb the broken stairway to the top. The idea of Lara being able to run off into the distance with a fixed camera was great. She can't go anywhere, but this was a nice 'finished' effect throughout the levels. There are spike traps and some good jumping to be done here, the kind that forces you to think. Lara finds some gold and this part ends with a flyby that shows us another wealthy, French female entrepreneur, who is always one step ahead of Lara.
Submarine: A quick diversion as Lara makes her way through this very realistic looking submarine. Then, with a brilliant fixed camera Lara swims into...
Poseidon Hall: As expected... water. But apart from the tight timed swim, and some underwater levers, there is more exciting stuff going on in the huge halls above ground. That clever multi-task object pushing puzzle is one example. Many switches, and many routes to them. I never found out how to stop the spikes at one switch, but it didn't stop me finishing the level. Great jumping and climbing to be done. One time avoiding falling masonry; another time shimmying to fall onto a breakable tile and dash to safety to find yet another run-through greenery wall. Our goal here is to deactivate a row of spikes so we can do a timed run through them, into...
Temple of Poseidon: A beautiful imposing semi-sunken temple in a huge cave. This part is quite complex, as we have to push huge columns onto trigger tiles to open doors, then negotiate each area with it's many tasks and traps before we can open another route. And these take us to various underwater areas as well as high above looking down at the temple architecture below. A word of warning: where the single column is pushed around four holes in the ground; do not attempt to drop down to get the pearl until you have raised two blocks in that pit, otherwise you are stuck there forever. There are long intriguing block pushing puzzles. One is to get a block up three floors onto it's final trigger tile. Finding the block is a puzzle in itself. More swim-through and fall-through greenery here, so watch your step. And even more puzzles and backflip/grabs to columns later will show us that female is still one step ahead of us.
Paris Street: Lara starts her Parisean adventure high above the streets, jumping to buildings and onto window cills. We see our rival through one window, talking on the phone, and getting the latest news. Having made her way through a warehouse, Lara breaks into this woman's house and steals her information disc. Back down at street level for a lovely sight of the raindrops falling on the cobblestones, and where we must search for a hidden key.
Temple of Osiris: One of the most realistic and authentic looking Egyptian levels. Lara slides into a brilliant looking sandfilled tomb and we really do feel as if we are there when we look back up the slope to see the bright blue sky through the opening. As we venture among the ruins the details are stunning. Lots of shimmies, switches, chains, spikes, monkeyswings, poles, and symbols to jump to over burning floors. Pharoah dogs and bats attack here. Lara is looking for golden scarabs, and when she places them they activate light beams that open a way to a series of doors guarded by demigods. All the way to the top, where we see Madam has been transformed and we must, yet again, keep following her, into..
The Beyond: aka The Dark Side, by the look of it. And the Grim Reaper standing in a boat floating in black nothingness doesn't help relieve the spooky atmosphere. The eerie church type structure looks great. There is a kind of font beside the only source of light, which attracks little bright ghost-like creatures. Once inside the church, we go below ground to find a choice of routes to different areas. All of them caves with structures over lava and many great jumping sequences, cleverely hidden switches, many ladders, spike traps, fire emitters, climbs, shimmies (one impossible to see). Well placed enemies are emaciated dogs and harpies. All this to light a torch and open our route to the Holy Grail, and a very intriguing finale that leaves more questions than answers!
This was a great level series. The star of the show is definitely the design, layout, and look of the levels. However, there are some problems, not least are the places where Lara will become stuck. So saving often, in different slots is recommended, or follow the walkthrough. All told this is a highly recommended and enjoyable adventure for all players, newbies and experienced alike." - CC (12-Nov-2007)
"This is truly amazing game offering couple of hours great gaming time. During the game you have to explore many varied and beutiful locations such as the gloomy areas in Ireland, temples of Poseidon, city areas, egyptian places and also some weird areas in different world than our world. I tought that environment was perfect in previous game of Max but this game looks even better. Architecture is very detailed and it is spiced up with well chosen objects. Atmosphere is meant to be rather gloomy and I think that Max has done it very well with the audios, lighting and textures among the other things. Gameplay is tought out well too and you have to solve almost every kind of tasks. Make sure you don't forget to play this piece of art." - Samu (13-Oct-2007)
"There's some tricky jumps that an experienced player will enjoy and varied settings and puzzles along with beautiful textures and architecture. This is an astounding level set marred only by a lack of cameras where needed and an unfortunate ability to, at times, get stuck with no way out if doing things out of proper sequence. Atmosphere would have rated a 10 from me if it were not bundled with Cameras.Lighting is done expertly: dark where the settings dictate a subdued atmosphere and nicely lit where needed. A must play for experienced Raiders.I thoroughly enjoyed it and congratulate the builder. Well done, Max." - Bene (30-Sep-2007)
"A wonderful adventure put togheter by Max wich takes place in different settings, so you won't get bored. The most enjoyable were the Poseidon hall and temple. The last level was also the hardest, with many moments in wich I was stuck (pulling levers and didn't know what they did) but the screenplay compensated the few flaws. I also liked the fixed camera angles, wich offered a panoramic view of what Lara was doing. A major plus for the puzzles and textures of the objects and congratulations to the author who really stands out of the crowd with this game" - dya1403 (28-Sep-2007)
"This game is huge and consists of many levels some of which are named after European countries/cities such as Ireland and Paris. Each one of the levels has a different story to tell, sort of speak, but an interesting one and almost all of them have many jumps to perform and difficult tasks to go through. The traps are fire, spikes and lava areas with blue lights attacking Lara but when she kills them she realizes the corpses are bats. The enemies aren't many but we can forgive that since gameplay wins here and I prefer that to the boring and long battles that many games have. Of course there is some killing involved with a lot of demigods near the end to balance things out. The puzzles have to do with new items such as pearls and others which aren't that easy to acquire. I liked the cave like areas, the underwater tunnels with the levers even though I had a high level of anxiety due to Lara's low breath bar and the streets of Paris with all the buildings to jump around until we could get inside the house. The main enemy which will not attack Lara is quite interesting and the end will leave the player with a clue that maybe that enemy is still alive. Unfortunately there is some serious wrong placement of textures around in some levels, and I wonder how the others that gave tens in that category didn't see them, and there are at least two situations that that the player can get permanently stuck. One of them is in the level with the pear, just don't slide down until you have both blocks up and the other one is in another level with a slide and a jump switch to reach on the other side. Do not slide and drop down because you can't get out of the pit again. Nevertheless, you can have almost six hours f gameplay with this game and I found twelve secrets. It's highly recommended." - Kristina (27-Sep-2007)
"Ancient Artifact was really a fantastic set of levels excelling in almost every way. Gameplay was very challenging and engaging, the soundtrack was topnotch, and the textures were so well done and authentic-looking, they looked professionally done. The textures were especially exceptional in the Temple of Osiris, where the faded hieroglyphics looked real. My only problems were with the cameras and at times being confused what to do next. It would have been better if Max would have had cutscenes after some of the switches, since what they did was not always evident. Overall though, these levels are a must-play for more experienced raiders. Less experienced raiders might find the levels a bit too challenging at times." - Shandroid (21-Sep-2007)
"While I have always been a fan of Max's levels in terms of visual quality, the gameplay hasn't always been of such a high standard. However, this all changes with his newest levelset, as the gameplay is as fantastic as it looks. It is both challenging and fun, and while there were one or two tasks that I was really stuck on, I mostly managed to get through the game without too many troubles. In terms of visuals, it is also stunning. The atmosphere is amazing, and the wonderful audio and texturing compliment this extremely well. The objects within this levelset were also well designed, and pretty much faultless, and the spinning symbols surrounding the artefact near to the end of the game looked great. While this levelset is almost faultless, there is one complaint that I have...the lack of camerawork. Too often was I left pulling a lever and having no idea what to do next, and a few more pointers may have been needed. That said, when cameras were actually used, they were done professionally, and there were no fly-bys going through walls or the like. Max has done an astounding job here, and I am greatly looking forward to his next level." - Spike (16-Sep-2007)
"I'm glad it was finally over. This set of levels , brilliantly textured (the Egyptian level is sooo beautiful), with excellent architecture , Lara's new enemy well put in scene, custom objects , and also some fine puzzles and enjoyable bits in the gameplay, has also some flaws that did made of this adventure an unforgettable experience for me.
There is a couple of places where the game crashes to the desktop with no reason , fortunately not in critical areas so I could continue the adventure. I also met areas where Lara burnt or was screwed by spikes when she was in a safe place. There are also missing sounds. All those small disagreements were quite bearable, when compared to the frustration of the gameplay at times. Some of the deadly floors are not discernable as deadly, a puzzle did not made a lot of sense (the movable block puzzle in Egypt) , in a couple of places you will have to reload a savegame if you have adventured yourself in a place where you shouldn't or if you have overlooked a switch, without speaking of the things that are very hard to spot. The lack of cameras is also really annoying , but I think what I disliked the most in this adventure was all this monotonous and non realist music that did not suited at all the different places, except for the last level as the setting is from another world ,but for the other settings the atmosphere was just completely artificial in my view, and in the Poseidon levels you have to endure this same background audio track for hours ! Not very atmospheric then , and as the gameplay was often very slow due to the lack of guidance and the things hard to spot, I bored myself quite a few times in these magnificent places. A mix of likes and dislikes actually as I reckon I quite enjoyed many of the sequences , especially the enjoyable jumps and moves (the author has really excellent ideas in this department), the timed doors which were not very difficult, and a few brilliantly executed puzzles." - eRIC (08-Sep-2007)
"What an mavelous level set! It's so atmospheric and texturing and lighting is just perfect. It's also nicely staged with an interesting story. This game really draws you in. The gameplay is mainly about good exploring (especially for well hidden cravices) and some nice jumping around. Couldn't decide for a long time to give it a 8 or 9, because there had been also some not the interesting parts gameplaywise (with a lot of lever pushing only), but finally decided to give a 9, because the game was altogether such a fantastic expierence. Another little fault is the lack of cameras here and there, but you hadn't to search too much. So this levelset has to played and seen. It isn't very difficult, but in some place you `ll find also some nice challenges. A strong recommandation from me!" - Raymond (04-Sep-2007)
"Ireland: This is a very atmospheric level and there's a lot of interesting exploring and 'find the route' style of raiding to achieve and other than a few dogs and the occasional bat there's nothing much getting in the way.
Submarine: This sub must be the love child of the TARDIS and the Marie Celeste - tiny on the outside, huge and multi layered on the inside and eerily deserted. It's quite a short section and consists mainly of finding and throwing switches.
Poseidon Hall: You'll probably guess from the title that there's quite a lot of swimming in this section. There are some rather agreeable timed runs and good puzzles too.
Temple of Poseidon: Yup, more water, plus some really impressive architecture and good agility tests and puzzles - quite complex, but very satisfying. My favourite part of the game.
Paris Street: Initially the action takes place far above the streets, exploring the rooftops and window ledges - I kept expecting to run into Quasimodo, but regrettably not. You have to do a great deal of clambering about over storage crates in this section to finally find the crowbar and, boy, does this builder love shimmy cracks.
Temple of Osiris: I got a real shock when a jackal attacked me; there have been so few enemies in this game that I'd quite let my guard down. The textures in this section are especially lovely and somehow very 'real'. I could almost feel the sand in my boots.
The Beyond: Fabulous eerie atmosphere in this section. It's certainly a vision of hell, complete with hellhounds, harpies and strange lights that I assume were re-textured bats. Plenty of good agility tests and lava, lots and lots of lava.
I found this game a strange blend of the inspired and the prosaic. It has a lot of truly inventive and highly enjoyable gameplay, but there are definite longeurs, with 'find a lever to open a door to find a lever to open a door etc' style raiding. Overall though it's an excellent, superbly well made level that should keep you extremely entertained for quite a long time." - Jay (03-Sep-2007)
"Incredible ! This game is an epic adventure and has so much variety it's hard to know where to begin. The scores will tell you immediately that this is a "must play". It has a high degree of difficulty in some areas, but I wouldn't let this deter you - there's enough help available to get you through the rough spots. It's worth seeing what this game has to offer. The venues have been built with sheer perfection. And the accompanying music is wonderful.
There is much to be said about the lack of light and scarcity of flares, but I couldn't bring myself to mark down for this. Ambiance is so important in a game and the majority of this venue demands that it be dark. BUT ! The builder better be prepared to provide a sufficient amount of flares for those of us who find it difficult to navigate dark places. This is not the case in this game and it should have been. In addition to that, Max is very cheap with his use of cameras in aiding the player with subsequent moves. For some reason, it is not until the end of this game that cameras come into play more regularly. The frustration must have been showing on my face by then and the author took pity. All that aside, you are going to love this one - that's a promise ! Come on Max - don't keep us waiting too long ! We're ready to go again !" - Mugs (02-Sep-2007)
"The hardest TRLE custom adventure I have played so far ( lets not include those silly japanese ones any more ) and definetely one of the very finest in every respect! The author has provided us with a fully worked out stunningly good game which is very hard to describe . Take it up and do your first steps in Ireland and carry on to find your way through the temples , Paris Streets until you finally encounter The Beyond . One the very few TRLE games that match up in gameplay and athmosphere with Richard Lawther or Horus quality levels , so its a must-play for all ! If in doubt , you can always refer to Raymonds help , because you will definetely need it ! A wonder of a game ! Thumbs up !!!" - Ruben (02-Sep-2007)
"A short notice to Mac players before I start - even though it says "patched exe provided" this should still be perfectly playable to you, as the exe changes are only cosmetic (meaning - it's not required for the game to work). It's been a while since we had anything of Max, but I can see it was well worth the wait, as this set of levels without a doubt is his best work to date, and will give him some much needed appreciation! Not that there was any doubt this would be any different from his already impressive previous levels, but practically every level here took the atmosphere of each offered setting to new heights and was a joy to explore, especially since Max has improved in providing the players with gameplay too, but I'll try and explain more in detail, as far as I can remember. The game starts out in Ireland - and I'm sometimes wondering what our Irish players think of the impression Core's Black Isle levels have imprinted in the minds of the players, and especially builders out there! Because, when a level is released and associated with Ireland in any way - you can be pretty sure that you won't be raiding the streets of Dublin, but be out there in the land of gloom and horror! But then again - if the land of gloom and horror is as attractive as it is here, I'm not sure I'd mind that much! Some creative moments like the fire pillars aside, gameplay-wise there's nothing too taxing while the game warms up, besides running around and activating switches along the way. But while I'm at this point now - I'll voice some complaints that pretty much apply for every other level in the game - namely too many switches, too few cameras. The switches I only minded because they were a bit repetitive and seemed like a lazy solution to gameplay along the way - but it got better with later levels, while the cameras would've been welcome on more than one occasion, especially later on, when the levels at least seemed to be non-linear! If there're any comments on the things I was not keen on - then I found that sometimes the puzzles just seemed to be more of the same, and were chosen to drag the gameplay on as much as possible with mainly consisting of pushing around blocks, lots of backtracking and redoing some sectors, but that just might be me, and there's really nothing I can fault here, I just probably would have liked it to be more diverse, and I suppose if I return to that - more camera hints would've improved the flow massively. But even if you, just like me, would like to see builders reach new horizons with their puzzles, I can guarantee you'll still enjoy the 4+ hour game because of it's looks. There's so much attention to detail, that at times you just want to stand around and register all of them, like the neat puddle & rain effect in Paris, the grim reaper watching you from a boat in "The Beyond" or the spooky sprites coming out of lights in the same level, plus so many more! And the storyline, though pretty standard, adds purpose to the whole thing as you compete with the new female archaeologist who always seems to be a step ahead of Lara (which at the end seemed like a good thing, seeing what happened to her!). But on the whole - while I see that there's still some room for improvement, Max has created a wonderful multi-level set that can be enjoyed by any player out there! Highly recommended!" - eTux (01-Sep-2007)
"An absolutely awesome level series, I've never played any of Max's levels except this one and I've got to say I've never seen a more beautifully detailed level! the story was great and the game play was astounding. please max release some more great levels for me to play and enjoy, this has been my most favorite level series I've ever played! it even rivals Coyote Creek!" - christayc (01-Sep-2007)
"I was a fan of Max's symbols levels especially the texture, lighting, architecture, atmosphere part. Gameplay and objects did not seem to be his strong side...until now! After 5h30 min of constant superb well balanced raiding I must say that even the gameplay is top class here! So are the custom objects and the cutscenes. Everything is extremly well build with no sign of any misstakes. Granted there are a few things that might irritate players...the lack of cameras is the main thing. When he use the cameras he does it to perfection. Maybe a few more next time? :)Also, a few more hints when it comes to crevices and climbable spots. Other than that, there is nothing to complain about IMHO. Only to praise. What amazes me is that the author seems to have no limits when it comes to areas..a sub, a city level, egypt, caves, you name it! All is textures to perfection with the realistic lighting. I think that's a rare gift. Max has quickly become one of the best builders in my book and deserves nothing else than a full score for this fantastic adventure. I can only begin to imagine what he can do when using HQ textures in the future!! One of the best (If not THE best) adventures I have ever played. Thanks!!" - QRS (30-Aug-2007)