trle.net
Level: BtB2008 - ???? back home search
Author(s): Leroy
total rating:8.01 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 9 9 8
dmdibl 6 8 9 9
eTux 6 9 9 7
Eva 9 7 8 8
Gerty 4 8 9 8
Jay 8 9 9 8
jclark69 7 9 9 8
Jorge22 5 6 6 7
Juno Jim 10 8 9 9
manarch2 8 8 8 7
MichaelP 6 10 9 8
Mman 7 8 8 6
Phil 8 7 9 9
Ravenwen 8 7 9 9
Ryan 7 7 9 8
Samu 9 9 8 8
Shandroid 9 8 9 9
category averages
(17 reviews)
7.41 8.06 8.59 8.00

Reviewer's comments

"???? pretty much sums up my overall feelings regarding this level. I had countless WTF moments here. This level has good and bad things running all the way through. The gameplay had some nice moments including shooting vases and gongs to pave the way to new areas, a fun push/raise puzzle and some nice torch action. However, these moments were matched by iffy parts too, particularly those devilish banana jumps in the first pit room, the difficult blade trap/boulder hallway and the buggy T-Rex sequence at the end (the native finally materialised for me). Similarly, some of the rooms look nice, like the main room and the secret areas, but the canyon areas seemed quite rough around the edges, settings-wise. I don't quite know what to say, my head is still spinning. It's different, but not always for the better." - Ryan (23-Feb-2017)

"The title pretty much sums up what I thought when I was first confronted with some of the tasks, but unlike in Oxy's level the creativity of them beats the bugs created here, save for the finale where that native appeared only after the x-th time I slid down that slope... all other problems either didn't occur to me (I played in compatibility mode for the whole time and didn't experience crashes) or didn't affect the progression that heavily. But still the amount of bugs has to be taken into account. Putting those things aside, the gameplay contains many pretty fresh and original ideas not seen before, most of all the unorthodox use of poles (both in the multi-stage room and to prevent death), rotating statues, "different" platforming tasks, a quite fiendish quest for five gongs throughout the whole level and a whole lot of other challenges that altogether make this quite an enjoyable experience if you don't encounter those serious bugs. The looks are decent, colourful and the design is also somewhat different from other levels, it provides for quite a few atmospheric areas but sometimes isn't utterly professional (like the slightly messed up geometry in parts of the outside areas, invisible and paperthin walls and sometimes the lighting is just too bright to be believable). But the unorthodox architecture in many parts, the creative texturing and the quirky object design make up for those issues, and the many good and unproblematic tasks in the gameplay outweighed the slight bits of frustration for me, so I left the game after 40 minutes having rather good feelings about it. Found four well hidden secrets." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"Inconsistency is the main issue of the visuals here; the main room looks excellent and if the whole level had come close to that standard it would be one of the better looking levels in this Back to Basics, but unfortunately the side areas have much worse texturing and lighting, and some odd design like a giant invisible wall in one outdoor area. The gameplay is full of unique challenges and twists on the standard objects, as well as a high difficulty level, as is expected of the author of the insane Farplane levels in Revenge of Osiris. However it's very vague at times. The major Achilles heel of the level is bugs; I had to replay the level after not being able to collect the torch due to missing it earlier, and the ending seems completely random as to whether it will work or not (thankfully it seems you can just reload a save before until it works). It's testament to the general enjoyment of the level that having to replay it didn't bother me much, but these bugs have a major impact on the gameplay score. An interesting entry and without the bugs and a little more attention paid to the side-areas this could have been one of the best levels in the contest." - Mman (12-Nov-2012)

"This level will easily earned a ten, if the puzzles, jumps and timed runs were not so difficult. It seems that author search always the limits... and he find often the player's one :-). The gameplay is amazing, there are a lot of rooms to discover and the author's imagination is very rich. There are a lot of bugs, and often the architecture of the tiles is not well build, Lara is sometimes 'blocked' or she can go where it is not foreseen (notably at the beginning where it is easy to go to the boundaries). A very long, beautiful and challenging levels, forgetting the bugs and sometimes too difficult challenges." - jclark69 (29-Feb-2008)

"This was the least of my favourites as I got too many crashes and sometimes the save and reload was just enough for one step forward, reload, save and reload another step forwards. Nasty, to say the least. What is it with those invisible levers, talking about nasty. Then there are the invisible doors and not enough cameras so you don't know what does what and where. Then finally I got to the part of the falling floor and the pole, nice idea though and I didn't possess the item I needed. Then there is also the part of the pushing block bug, grrrrr. That wasn't the only bug in this level. This level should have been tested and then ironed out, as this was pure frustration. So waiting for the walkthrough to come out, I noticed that I missed shooting a gong in the beginning, so another save/reload/save reload session. This time around the level seemed to know that I didn't like it, as the crashes were even worse. So for now I say this is the worse level in this series I have played and that is really a pity, as it looked like it could have been a great adventure but for now I am too peeved." - Gerty (24-Feb-2008)

"This level is anything but classic tomb-raiding, and this one the one hand is a good thing, as originality is always welcome in custom levels, on the other hand there are points in the game where all this inventive flair doesn't come out very well. There is a lot of action but several times it's consumed in shooting vases and gongs (although sometimes getting to actually shoot these objects requires a lot of exploring and puzzle-solving). Some sequences seem to have no logical connection with each other (ie, getting to a backroom where the floor disappears then appears again causes the deactivation of a set of spikes in a room close-by), and there are quite a few bugs left too. The gameplay overall however is quite inventive and challenging, which is something that can't be overlooked. There are several items that I found and didn't use; I am only guessing that they were intended to lead Lara to a secret maybe. The structure of the level is quite impressive and there are some nice complex rooms (both interior and exterior) where you have to be very careful and explore them thoroughly. Although the feel that you get is not exactly what you would expect from a South America level, there is a certain something about its atmosphere that is quite charming and surreal, which I found much to my personal liking." - Ravenwen (11-Feb-2008)

"Like other reviewers, I find it difficult to rate this level. This is not because of the bugs, however, which I found only mildly annoying. Rather, I was most put off by the complexity and unusually high difficulty of this level. I gave up trying to get the second secret that was lying in a bed of active spikes (which seemingly couldn't be disabled), and this prevented me from getting later artifacts which at first led me to believe that I wouldn't be able to complete the level. Even with the walkthrough handy I resorted to the flycheat early and often. This one of those levels where, instead of savoring the gaming experience, I just wanted to get it over with so I could move on to something else. One might wonder, then, why I've assigned such high scores despite my overall negative impression. I do mainly because I recognize a high degree of sophistication here, and players more skilled than I will likely enjoy it immensely. All I can say is, if I ever decide to replay the 2008 BtB levels, I'll probably scratch this one off the list." - Phil (08-Feb-2008)

"Lara is on her way through some abandoned Inka complexes, mostly underground. From a large hall she has to find and reach some nice outside areas with waterfalls. It is not easy to find the ways to the other locations; Lara has to do some very tricky jumps and tight timed runs. I liked this not so easy gameplay and didn't have problems with bugs. But some small errors confused me a bit: some objects disappeared, others reappeared :) Anyhow, an amazing and demanding level :)" - Eva (01-Feb-2008)

"???? suits this game just fine as What the hell is this would too. It's ridiculously confusing almost to the point of driving you insane. Near the end I had to fight two gemini T Rexes without a shotgun (since the shotgun was a secret), so I could have spent the rest of my life fighting them with my faithful pistols to no avail. Instead I chose to end it there - but, really, thre wasn't anything else I could have done. True, the game has several challenging and interesting moments but not enough to say it has good gameplay. Only recommended for masochists." - Jorge22 (26-Jan-2008)

"First off, I wasn't able to finish this level, but got very close to the end, so I feel qualified to review it. I really liked this extremely challenging level. It felt very fresh regarding gameplay. I had to think about how to solve many of the puzzles and there were many. I believe this level could have easily earned a 10 in gameplay but there were too many potentially fatal bugs to give it that score. I couldn't finish the game because I did not realize that returning to the beginning of the level would cause ice to reform on water in other parts of the level. There were so many great aspects to this level, I hope to replay it so I can actually finish it." - Shandroid (22-Jan-2008)

"I have played this level three times and still can't get it to work. Maybe I should stop here with my shortest review ever, as this sums it up. Near the beginning, if Lara pushes a crate into a room with a ceiling hole, it turns into a standable crate. But go into the next room and come back and the crate has disappeared, so one has to reload a previous save. In the room with all the red slanted surfaces, drop a boulder to break ice, then shoot a vase and get the torch. But say you haven't used the torch yet. Go off exploring and come back and that pool will be ice covered again, the pot restored, and both it and the torch inaccessible. Hope you still have a usable save game or you can quit right here. There are a total of five vases to shoot to get access to the fifth gong, the one hidden behind a rising block in the room with the red slanted surfaces. I had trouble shooting two of the other gongs; unless they animate and swing back-and-forth it hasn't worked. When it works you get a screen shot of the rising block barring the T-rex and exit room. I found it impossible to get the fifth gong to animate. I had really thought that after three attempts to play this level I would finally finish the game. As a last resort I patched SCRIPT.DAT, and used the fly cheat to go up to this alcove, armed Lara with uzis, and had her back flip onto the slanted ramp with uzis blazing. Lara hits this gong pointblank, but it refuses to animate. So I went down and got the shotgun (a secret), and with fly cheat implemented used the fly-through-walls trick to bypass the block that should have gone down with the fifth gong. Then dropped down to the Inca and the T-rex, and completed the level. Technically I played 100% of this level, though without any sense of accomplishment. And these examples are hardly the only places I had trouble. In the room with the disappearing floor, Lara has to jump to a block with a crevice. But try to shimmy to the right, and Lara goes inside the block, then pops out at a corner. She will never shimmy to the wall crevice, and she won't properly climb because of the bug with the block. At least that's what always happens with me. Other players seem to have had much better luck. This level needs a good walk-through to guide the player around all the bugs--and some beta testing wouldn't have hurt. Maybe I've reviewed enough Peru levels; time to play something else." - dmdibl (22-Jan-2008)

"When playing the game, I was very tempted to add some #@!$%^??@#RRGH*F*C!!'s to the already existing 4 question marks, just to reflect my level of frustration accurately. Nothing is what it seems, and when you think you've got it figured out it turns out to be something different entirely. There's no denying of the level's originality and at times I was in awe about the various creative approaches to the well known, and how well some seemingly simple architecture elements like zigzags and slopes worked both as visual and gameplay elements. Yet the more creative moments didn't always work so well - it came across that making some setups work was a bit over the builder's head and thus ended up being obscure for the players as well. The waterfall area seemed rushed due to the chaotic texturing, the walk-through bridge and invisible tiles you on the other hand could walk on for some reason - and the invisible wall in the crossbow valley could've been done in a way that would raise less eyebrows. And the list could go on - with every good moment having its shadow side, which ultimately ended to be a fairly confusing and frustrating experience. It's a pity actually - because with some extensive beta-testing this could've been one of the most innovative levels out there. As it is now - I'm not denying the better aspects of the level - because there definitely are many there - but I just can't overlook the bad ones as well." - eTux (21-Jan-2008)

"Very different game, despite a few bugs, this kept my interest, and determination to finish, which I couldn't have done with some help from the Forum. That waterwheel and rope jump was the hardest part for me - but there were also several new applications of old traps, always a surprise around the corner. Definately non-linear, I went back to almost every place I had been more than once. Good and unique puzzles, but not unsolvable. Still unsolved - where was the shotgun, and the idol for that door ??? I think it's worth playing again, because I know I missed even more than those... Very creative ideas, and use of the geometry of that main Temple room. Overall, a very good game !!! Congrats to ??? the author..." - Juno Jim (16-Jan-2008)

"This is surely an interesting level which has nice atmosphere and extremely enjoyable and challenging gameplay. You have to complete some very tough jumping tasks and timed runs and also an interesting push block puzzle in beginning. I liked also very much the room where's some disappearing tiles. Without all the bugs I would certainly give 10 for gameplay and puzzles. However, I liked this game and it's also visually appealing despite I think there's some space for creating more unique and detailed environment. Anyway this is good stuff and I recommend it for every experienced raider." - Samu (16-Jan-2008)

"The opening, water-filled area looks really lovely. I have to say this level is well named as there are quite a few WTF moments - illusory bridges, invisible corners to ledges (I couldn't decide whether those were quirky gameplay or sloppy building) and the wonderful originality of some of the gameplay, i.e. the incredible disappearing/reappearing floor. It's a bit of a schizophrenic level insofar as parts of it look expertly built and other bits seem a bit slapdash, but it's undeniably very inventive and frequently quite challenging, both physically and mentally. Be warned though - there is a bug at the very end. In the room with the two T-Rexes, there should also be a native. If you don't get a native, you don't get the passageway with the finishing trigger so you're stuck in the room wondering what to do. Overall, very enjoyable." - Jay (14-Jan-2008)

"Hard level to know how to rate. Perhaps the application of question marks(????) should be incorporated into the Rating System for just this level? That's not entirely a joke because as I write this I am still vacillating. Let me explain: despite the many bugs, some of which could stop gameplay, there are touches of brilliance coupled with the author playing around with what should be inaccessible areas making this an unforgettable Raid. We've seen many a sense of humor evidenced in a level but never quite like this - it's surprising and just great fun to be in what should have been an inaccessible area but is, in fact, a very important part in gameplay. The problem is that makes it too easy to leave an area without the necessary piece to progress. There's a duality at play here where parts are stunning in it's originality and ability to effectively translate imagination into functionality but then there are missing textures and all those bugs. Unforgettable, imaginative innovative and at times, deliciously tricky, marred by a lack of extensive beta testing. Don't let that put you off; it's a Raid that must be played...as I said repeatedly...unforgettable." - Bene (11-Jan-2008)

"What a ride! I can say that I am truly impressed by the ingenuity of the setup in this level and at some point in time I will play it again and might even have fun with it. Because I think you can really only have fun with it once you roughly know what you need to do here. Nothing is ever simple or easy in this level. There is always some twists to the norm and the tasks are many and they are not always obvious. And you may well run into the occasional 'bug' as well, like the Indian at the end not showing up, the occasional crash which can be fixed by the save/reload trick, the fact that you can get to the top bridge in one valley only to then fall through the wooden planks, the invisble wall in the other valley, the disappearing push/raise block near the start and there are also several flickering textures along the way. Having said all that though, if you manage to control your frustration and slowly but surely begin to think like the author, this level wonderfully unfolds as you have to shoot vases and gongs across the place to open up vital doors, manage a variety of timed sequences, the one with the waterwheel and the rope being quite devious, a hell of a boulder chase, probably every possible variety of how to jump to and from a swingpole in the central room with the nice zig-zag structures and so much more. The drama flyby as the floor crumbles below you is a highlight and I thought the idea to turn the statues was nicely original. I spent many hours with this game and my clock said 90 minutes in the end with only the Uzi secret found at the start. Wonder if there were any beetles to find as I found two receptacles and also one for a golden idol. Maybe next time then..." - MichaelP (06-Jan-2008)
back home search