Level: Necro's Domain 8 - Return to the Oasis back home search
Author(s): Necro
total rating:6.65 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
eTux 7 6 8 6
Gerty 5 6 6 6
guss18 5 6 6 10
Jay 7 7 8 8
Jorge22 6 6 6 7
Jose 7 6 7 6
Kristina 6 6 6 6
MichaelP 6 7 7 6
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 6 7 7 6
category averages
(10 reviews)
6.30 6.50 6.90 6.90

Reviewer's comments

"I have mixed feelings about this level overall, but it has to be said that I enjoyed the previous level in this series more than this one. The timed run at the beginning, in almost complete darkness was for sure a novelty although I did find it irritating being attacked by flying beetles wasn't that fun. The surroundings are still quite repetitive, but I found the enemy attacks quite effective and you do find enough ammo. The element puzzle was well thought of, although there was no jerrycan needed and that block puzzle was definitely too long winded. I'm rather undecided on this one, so you may try it out for yourself." - Ryan (23-Jun-2017)

"It's a very long and complex level. I didn't like the first part 'cause there was too much dark and some details takes you very confused and disoriented as the timed door with the keyhole (it's easy you miss the switch in the complete darkness and there's not a camera to show you what it does so, you think that you must look for a hidden key) or the invisible wall opening in the lake. Second part is a bit better, at least you can advance with no much problems, but I didn't like the not marked climbable walls too; near the end I was looking for the oil a long time when I didn't need it and in the timed run to the room filling itself with sand you'll have to reload if you don't get the opening in time. The flares were not sufficient for all the dark areas I had to explore, and the weapons and ammo were poor too; it could be good an explosive gun to deal with all those skeletons from the beginning 'cause I found very few ammo for the shotgun, but at the end I found that ammo when I didn't need it; also I found the revolver at the very end but it was useless for me. Many rooms seemed too much huge and there were stretched textures in some places. Many tasks are well known as the monkeyswing with the fires or the ramps with boulders, but there are some original tasks too. I don't want to say that it's a bad level, but there are many aspects to get better in my opinion." - Josť (11-Dec-2007)

"On the one hand I would have liked to rate this adventure higher, as it provides a decent amount of gameplay in the 80 minutes I spent in it and is not too hard and quite linear, yet with quite some diversity in the activities, but then there are a number of issues that drove the lower scores, like the easy way to reach the 'end of the world' right in the starting area, the darkness that makes it very hard to find that first switch for the timed run in a fairly large area, several mistakes in object placement, like flame emitters shifted off their rightful place, occasional missing texture triangles, several unmarked climbable walls (yes, there were other hints, but still, why can Lara climb a certain wall and the one next to it that looks the same she cannot go up?) and then also a few walkthrough walls and last but not least the massively tedious five block push puzzle, which is not difficult to figure out but then takes you ages to complete. But - like I said, it is actually solid fun if you can neglect the above downsides, there are plenty of enemies in a nice mix if you fancy that and the four secrets are interesting as well. I also liked the whole area of the elements puzzle which was rather fun to complete despite a certain level of tedium here as well. All in all, maybe a bit a matter of taste, so try it out for yourself." - MichaelP (07-Dec-2007)

"I really canít say that I thoroughly enjoyed this level, it isnít the worst level I have played. I found the start way too dark for my taste. Some flaws that I did not expect from someone that is considered an established builder. As for the puzzles I found them rather boring & tedious. No jerry can, glad I didnít waste any time searching for it, just took a chance with the torch. Just want to put this one behind me and hope for something more innovative from this builder next time." - guss18 (01-Dec-2007)

"Having recently marathoned through all of Lee Dunning's levels to play his latest release, I found it to be one of his best work yet, though my usual complaints still stand, but since I've named all of them in my reviews for the previous parts of the series, and other reviewers have done so too - I'll cut straight to the level. The story doesn't progress a whole lot here - it's more of a catching up thing for Lara with the flashback level and her imprisonment in the icy settings having disrupted the rather linear flow of the plot that took place until the unpleasant twist at Lara's first visit at the Hidden Oasis. The revisit starts out a bit gloomy and dark, but lightens up as you visit familiar scenarios and a couple of areas you didn't find here on your last visit. Your stay here will be more memorable for the tasks rather than the appearance though. There are a number of particularly inspired moments here - for example I liked the elemental quests for water and earth - especially the timed run where you have to run towards a door before sand fills the pit and puts it out of your reach. I don't remember that being done before in a level I've played. That said, the level is far from flawless. The already mentioned timed run among other things are kind of a one-shot tasks - so if you don't complete them, you could potentially be stuck for good. But if you are - there's hope in the form of an unintended shortcut that allows you to bypass all of the elemental puzzles as well as the subsequent extremely tedious pushable block puzzle. Namely, if you find and remove the 2 movable blocks that are meant to be the exit from the area which you should be able to reach after the 5 movable blocks find their resting place - then you can just flick the vital switch that allows you to exit the level without going through all the trouble of the elemental puzzles, among which there also is a particularly tedious monkey swing, and the already mentioned infamous block puzzle. There're still issues with lacking sounds and questionable gun placement (a door bug traps you for good, if you don't get the grenade launcher in time, the revolver is placed close to the end, when you can't really use it anymore). I found the switch for the first timed run a bit unfairly hidden as well in a pretty random place in the darkness of the initial area, and the unmarked climbable tiles are a big no-no. All that said - it's still an ok level to play, and I found the better parts made up for the less than good moments, and I'm definitely looking forward to the next part now, though am hoping the author takes all the criticism into account, as I strongly believe he can make a very, very good level if he does." - eTux (19-Nov-2007)

"For somebody who's already built several levels, this game is full of flaws, very sorry to say. The atmosphere and the settings are uninteresting. The game is totally starightforward. The block puzzle near the end is totally long and dull and the colors may not be seen correctly and in the same way in different computers. There is no gasoline can to be found anywhere and I wonder why. The beggining is so dark it hurts your eyes and there's a timed run (easy, in my opinion even though I've read different opinions)that only gets hard because it starts with a lever that's almost invisible in the darkness, especially in large rooms such as those. And what for do we get all that ammo near the end and mostly the revolver that can't be used against the sentry guns because there is no laser sight to be found anywhere? Ok. Maybe all this is making me forget the good points. I did play it to the end. But I don't reccomend it highly." - Jorge22 (15-Nov-2007)

"Not playable on the Mac and for whatÖ. I ask, for just more objects? As that is the only thing I could find that could excuse the use of a patched exe. If there was any other reason then I stand corrected, but then please tell me. As mentioned already there are too many beginners mistakes, what is a pity as Lee is a builder for quite a while now. First thing I found were some stretched textures and illegal slopes in the outside area, then I jumped in my chair with the next cut scene. Nice to find the Uzi as a secret but I could with more flares. That timed run in the dark is a bit the pits. Once thing I hate, is jumping to every surface to find finally something climbable. Also that Lara climbs out of the water in a crawlspace and suddenly she is standing? Found indeed a nasty bug with the secret and the Grenade gun and a fly by that showed me a puzzle I already did. Block puzzle is the pits, didnít see the blocks on the lowest floor as that room is so well lit, didnít think to light a flare to look for them. So Lee, the ideas you have are very nice, but please pay attention to the look of the game as that sometimes can make or break a level, this is for sure not your best one." - Gerty (14-Nov-2007)

"Unfortunately I didnít find this level very good. To start with, the setting has much amateurism something I didnít except to see after so many levels weíve played from the builder and to explain myself, I mean that we encounter the Ďend of the worldí bug constantly in the outside areas not to mention the stuck points between the sandy edges. The textures are often stretched and the pitch black areas near the start and before the timed run are another downside. The tasks to complete are rather easy and you either have to swim around or jump through a maze, lava rooms etc. only to find switches and find the appropriate items to solve the elements puzzle. One more problem with the level is that there is no jerry can and you have to light an empty scale with the torch, what kind of idea was that anyway! To top all that there is a very tedious puzzle with many moveable blocks just before the end of the level. I found two secrets and didnít bother searching how to open the door to the grenade gun because I had no motive to do so as I lost interest very early in the game. I am sorry to say but Iíve played better levels recently from people who have just started building and considering the experience Lee has he shouldnít have created such a simplistic and full of beginnerís errors game. I hope to put this one behind us and play soon something that is up his standards." - Kristina (12-Nov-2007)

"Initially I found this latest part of the adventure somewhat gloomy and rather over full of enemies. However, as soon as the action began to centre around an elements puzzle, the gameplay became much more absorbing and I settled down to enjoy myself. There was room flooding for the water skin (and Iíve come to the conclusion that Lara must be part fish to be able to swim to such depths and back up again without getting the bends) a nice timed run to get the bag of sand and a fire puzzle I havenít seen for ages to obtain the torch. Itís not difficult gameplay and itís pretty linear but I think youíll find enough to keep you entertained. I am just going to have a mini whinge about unmarked climbing textures though Ė naughty, naughty." - Jay (12-Nov-2007)

"Since I've already written a walkthrough for this level, I may as well be the first one to review it. Lee Dunning has long since joined the ranks of our estabished builders, but I feel that his latest offering is his best yet. The surroundings are consistently pleasing to the eye, the tasks are more varied and challenging than in earlier levels, and the lighting is quite sufficient. It's all a bit linear, and in fact things are arranged so that the player is often moved along in the right direction by doors that close behind you after you've completed a certain area satisfactorily. There are several timed runs (including one for a secret) that are taxing but fair. The middle section involves exploring three element rooms in order to earn the right to solve an extended (and frankly tedious) block puzzle that's not very hard to figure out. The arrangement and placement of the weapons seems a bit contrived at times, especially the revolver and its ammo that appear in abundance at the very end when you have absolutely no use for it. These are minor criticisms, however. If you're looking for a fun gaming experience, as most of us are, you can't do wrong by choosing this one. Recommended." - Phil (10-Nov-2007)
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