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Level: BtB2008 - Incatacombs back home search
Author(s): Neso
total rating:8.31 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 8 8 8
diamond 10 9 9 9
dmdibl 7 9 8 8
eRIC 8 8 8 8
eTux 8 8 8 8
Eva 10 9 10 9
Gerty 7 8 7 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jose 6 7 6 8
manarch2 6 7 7 7
MichaelP 7 8 8 7
Mman 9 9 10 10
Phil 10 8 10 9
Ravenwen 10 9 8 8
Ryan 8 8 8 9
Treeble 9 10 10 10
category averages
(16 reviews)
8.25 8.31 8.31 8.38

Reviewer's comments

"This level has a nice, creative beginning (Pseudo Tomb, anyone) and starts out rather tamely with a straightforward swimming sequence centered around finding a couple of underwater levers, but picks up once you reach the extremely tall main room (vertigo sufferers look away). There's a nice timed run to achieve, crypts to explore and some nice jumping sequences. It doesn't quite make it to the top tier (in my book, anyway), but it's enjoyable nonetheless." - Ryan (23-Feb-2017)

"After a nice starting cutscene reminding on Pseudo Tomb, the 25 minutes net playtime I spent in this level were done in about 35 minutes of real time. This might be an indication for some that the gameplay is clear, bar of obscure tasks or points where you have to refer to the walkthrough (there is one tricky to find opening due to the fixed camera, but I thankfully found it the first time around), but for me a good level needs certain elements, and one is that not everything falls into place so easily. The four lever puzzle could've been designed in a much more demanding way, you can rush through both the puzzle itself and especially the tasks in the four passages are fairly quickly done and generally uninspired, the backtracking towards the end is also very boring and generally there's seldom at least a bit of spice in the tasks; even the potentially adventurous ascending of the main room feels pretty unrewarding. There are a few enjoyable tasks (especially the long timed run) and the progression is sometimes intriguing, but at the end I really wondered what it was all about which is not a good sign. The architecture is a bit cubic - the areas are competently designed nevertheless -, textures are rather solid with the exception of odd ladder textures, but the lighting is somewhat drab and unexciting. The object and enemy placement is solid, except of smaller things like the waterwheel rotating in the wrong direction. Secrets are nicely hidden, but one doesn't count sadly. I just wished there was more up with the gameplay." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"My detailed review of this level was lost so I'll stick to a summary of what I remember. Mostly excellent visuals and a grand scale with great texturing and lighting, along with original ideas like the coffins area. A slightly direction- less start that gets better once you get going. A couple of cheap fixed cameras at times and some backtracking towards the end (including an anti-climatic ending) but those are the only real flaws. Remains challenging and varied for most of it's duration and is one of the better maps in Back to Basics Peru." - Mman (12-Nov-2012)

"For a first level, the author has made an excellent work ! This is quite serious building and enjoyable raiding. The map is pretty good with areas well connected together without much backtracking. I really had a lot of trouble the second time we have to climb the ladder with the fire emitter though ; aside from this , the level gave me a very good time. I particularly appreciated the 4 symbols puzzle , the great timed door at the top of the main room, and the clever placement of some of the switches. Good flybys and good work in all categories , maybe there is room to improve the texturing (disjointed textures underwater for example) and some of the fixed cameras last a bit too long, but these are very minor things. As I did not found the 2 shotguns to disposition , I had to outsmart the skeletons and this was great fun. Good atmosphere , the 'graveyards' area was convincing. A very promising and achieved level despite there is no proper ending. One of the levels in this BtB08 series I enjoyed the most." - eRIC (01-Mar-2008)

"Incatacombs is one of those games that I always love, it's just fascinating. The game starts with an underwater session and you have to look for two UW levers. The first, is so simple, the second, is difficult to find, just because of a fixed camera. This reminds me the use of cameras that I did in my level two years ago and I have really appreciated to see it here again, after two years. The location is just full of atmosphere, with a very good use of the light and good 3D structure. There is a little puzzle with the lever similar to tomb raider one, the level of Midas, and when you are in the catacombs you understand that the level designer is one of the best because with some rooms and good use of the light he's able to recreate a gloomy and dark space. There is a good final lever time switch. And really really good use of the flyby camera, congratulation to the level designer, really. So this and Water of life, are for me the best two." - diamond (29-Feb-2008)

"This year's BtB certainly has generated quite a lot of quality levels, and this one in particular is just great. The attention to detail is just awesome and the entire environment is crafted neatly. I would have rated gameplay with a 10 too, but there was an underwater maze which is a nono, even though I only went through it once (would reload everytime I'd fall back into it). I had a slight problem grabbing the ladders, which turned out to be somewhat of a problem in one of the four-lever rooms, with the flame emmiter right beneath Lara, but I managed to get by eventually. The level design instigates exploration and it's hard to get lost because the level map is relatively simple. I know I've said this for many of the other BtB Peru levels, but I just can't help it -- you MUST play this level! 55 minutes, 3 secrets. 02/08" - Treeble (24-Feb-2008)

"This time Lara goes on a classical old Tomb Raider treasure search... In Inka's catacombs there are some holy relics hidden, called the Waka's, and who would be better been suitable to seek for them but Lara :) At the beginning you need to find the entrance to the catacombs. By several water courses Lara reaches finally the high temple room. At this area one can be astonished first: high columns rise up and you ca see on several floors built bars. A lever riddle makes it possible for Lara to reach these high areas and to investigate them. The Waka is very well hidden and protected by various traps. A nice timed run over the bars and between the columns I liked also very much. The premises and architecture in this game are masterfully put on and arranged... all textures are very beautifully palced. The gameplay pleased me also very much. Result: A very beautiful level, not too hard to play and always interesting gameplay with well converted ideas!" - Eva (21-Feb-2008)

"I join the other recent reviewers in expressing my amazement over the low scores this excellent level received in the early days of 2008's BtB competition. I've played and reviewed 15 of the levels to this point, and I'd place Incatacombs in the top three in every rating category. The gameplay is crisp, inventive and challenging, and there's a timed run near the end that was a delight to conquer. Above all, even though much of the action takes place indoors, including a crypt area that was wonderfully spooky, the lighting is such that I could see what I was doing at all times and could even enjoy the architecture of the wide-open rooms. One of our builders recently complained about some reviewers marking levels down because of pervasive darkness, when the levels really aren't too dark at all. The implication was that the problem is the player's, not the builder's, and that the player should simply adjust his monitor (or perhaps buy a better one) if he finds it too hard to see. If that remark was intended for me, then all I can say is: hogwash. I've played enough levels to know that many builders (this one, for example) provide ample lighting in their productions. Other builders seem to prefer an overall dark ambiance, which to me is self-defeating because, not only is gameplay thereby impeded, the player can't see and enjoy the surroundings that the builder presumably took great pains to create. If a builder suspects that his level may be too dark, it probably is. When in doubt, why not provide additional lighting instead of less? In summary, if a builder wishes to avoid criticism about dark levels, just stop releasing dark levels! Anyway, back to Incatacombs. The enemies are relatively few here, although the invasion of the raptor hold is a heart-stopping experience. There are four secrets, one of which doesn't register when you find it, but it would be uncharitable to deduct points because of this oversight. I never would have figured out the four-room routine with the switches without Dutchy/Gerty's advance walkthrough, and the end sequence in that huge, multi-tiered room is quite complicated with a good bit of required backtracking. Not an easy level, but a most satisfying one, and I expect to see the scores inch steadily upward before the competition is over. Highly recommended." - Phil (30-Jan-2008)

"My feelings about this level gradually changed from frustration to enthusiasm as I moved along. After a mostly awkward beginning, where I was wandering around for ages looking for a deviously hidden (as it turned out) underwater lever, I managed to move on to a majestically huge, multi-levelled room where the tasks you have to accomplish are many and varied and you have to backtrack a few times to visit newly opened areas. Getting familiar with the environment is not so easy in this level; there are many sections and subsections, well-hidden switches to discover, cunning traps, lots of running around to find the correct route. Many times fixed cameras will make you lose your head, and there's an almost hintless four-door/switches puzzle to possibly drive you crazy. However, there is so much skill and brilliance put in organizing all this into a solid whole, that soon after the start I found myself enjoying it immensely, despite the many confusing moments and weird cameras. Action is very solid, well-thought and complicated; you don't just simply enter a room, pull a switch, enter another room, shoot a raptor, find an artifact; on the contrary, everything you have to do requires thinking and effort. Several times you get to a room where there seems to be nothing of interest and you wonder why the builder wasted the space to include a useless room; but later you find out that this room was put there for a reason. Other times you see a closed door and can't seem to find a way to open it; but again later the mystery is revealed and you have to backtrack to that door which is then open. Or you discover an underwater maze and you imagine there is something very important hidden somewhere in its twists and turns, but then you realise it's put there just to save Lara from unlucky high drops, as it extends over a quite wide underground area and its several openings on various spots serve as rescue shield for a falling Lara. Atmosphere wise, it's pretty fine. Not too colourful and not too dim either. However it truly 'felt' like Catacombs (to justify the title) only close to the end, where you enter an actual catacomb complex. The ending is good (although it felt a bit abrupt), with Lara finally making her exit through the higher grounds, after having slowly been moving from the deeper depths to the upper sections of the catacombs all along the adventure." - Ravenwen (29-Jan-2008)

"Within minutes of starting this level one sees good building skills--so why isn't it rated higher? Lara makes her way up to a waterwheel, and everything looks good. After about fifteen minutes of puzzlement my confidence in the level crumbles. The waterwheel rotates downwards, but Lara can ride it upwards, so any illusion of reality is broken. And it turns out that after hunting and hunting (and hunting) underwater there is a second lever just where the fixed camera angle locks on Lara, thus preventing any looking about to locate the lever. At this point I lose confidence in the author. Throughout the level fixed camera angles will be used to harass the player, and since I know they can't be trusted every one of them is an irritant. Why would someone spend months and months of hard work to create a professionally designed level, and then sabotage their own efforts with such tricks? This may not be the most beautiful level, but the classic design elements are here for good play. This is a multi-tiered level, with rooms to enter and switches to pull to aid in raising blocks to reach higher up. I completed it, finding four Wak'a, though only three of them counted as secrets. The Peru elements are here: gold (funeral) medallion, the same ironware pots (bulletproof), yet it didn't feel like a Peru level for some reason. The four room, four switch puzzle is easy if you think about it--one room obviously needed to be revisited, so that was the door I left open at the end. Has a nasty underwater maze that I fell into about six times--good thing I save frequently. The raptors gang up on Lara, which shows they're not total fools. There is a shotgun and some skeletons to shoot. Exit by jumping over fire, but don't stand too close when making a side flip. Some people will enjoy the game play immensely, but my enthusiasm waned at the beginning and never really recovered." - dmdibl (28-Jan-2008)

"I enjoyed this one immensely and I'm a bit surprised it isn't rated higher by the other reviewers. Yes, the static cameras can be irritating but it's a device used by many builders and it functions, more or less, as a commandment to whip out those binoculars. Could have used cameras in a few other places but nothing to stop gameplay. Now, if I had not been able to jump over the fire at the end I'm sure I would not be so unconcerned with the lack of camera work but as I said, it never stopped gameplay. Well constructed rooms, some quite large, and good puzzles that make you stop to think it through but never for too long. The few flickering, disappearing textures are easily forgotten in a level that gives you much to explore and water traps(my advice - save often) instead of death traps and a really well - done timed sequence high up. Lots of fun and recommended for all." - Bene (27-Jan-2008)

"Although the overall picture of this level was great but for some reason or other (for me anyway) it didn't pan out. There is some back and fro travelling and sometimes not really clear where to next course of action is. Personally I could have used more camera shots to guide me in the right direction. The waterwheel was hilarious as it ran the wrong way and I had a serious bug after lowering a ladder, Lara refused to climb the damn thing. I jumped in my chair with the raptors but luckily I found enough medipacks by then. It took me a bit more than two hours to get through, running around like a headless chicken a tad too much. Found 4 secrets but only one of them didn't register." - Gerty (25-Jan-2008)

"I'm over half way through the B2B Peru levels now and I'm still enjoying them, which must surely be a mark of their quality. The raptors gang up on you big time in this level and it's hard to deal with them without loss of health. Good puzzles and not too difficult agility tests - the only thing I didn't like was the underwater maze, but when do I ever? I never did find any point to it and amazingly enough I found all the secrets, so it wasn't anything to do with that; it was probably just an annoying trap. Anyway, that apart, I definitely enjoyed this level." - Jay (11-Jan-2008)

"It's better that you play this level in one shot, 'cause there are many things you must remember if you don't want to run around and go up and down wasting your time. Sometimes the cameras can help you, but another times simply there are not cameras and you have to figure out what the switch triggers. There are some logical tasks, but many times you have to look for hidden switches and return to far places, this was nasty and it's easy that you can get stucked. Secrets were easy for me (it's better that you find the shotgun in one of them to deal with the skeletons) and lights and textures are good, but it was a strange and tedious level for me; I don't know how to qualify it." - Jose (09-Jan-2008)

"From the creative little starting flyby this adventure of just below an hour draws you in and gets you started with quite a bit of swimming action at first before you then reach the main area with the three high stories of a pillar/ledge structure that you end up navigating up and down. There were a few things I did not like so much here, such as the underwater maze that I dropped into more times than I can count, the not always consistently applied climbing textures, the fact that twice in the level a camera angle kind of hides the important opening to get into and the long back and forth running towards the end, when it is quite clear where you need to go, it just takes forever to get there. There also seemed a bit of a graphics bug with the flipmap for the whole in the catacombs and the waterwheel turns the wrong way round at the first secret. Those gripes aside though, this is a fun and not too difficult level to work through with a nice 4 lever/4 doors puzzle, some raptor battles, goof and helpful flyby cameras, a timed run high that is fun but not too tight and shooting skeletons off ledges is always a good thing. Had some occasional crashes near the end of the level and of the four Wak'a idols I found only three decided to register as secrets." - MichaelP (05-Jan-2008)

"Incatacombs? Ooh, I get it - it's one of those words that you form from two other words, right? Like Inca + Catacombs = Incatacombs? Whatever the case may be - this is a damn good raid in an Inca themed catacomb environment (as you've probably guessed by now) that doesn't really stand out for anything in particular, but is a rather well rounded experience with some highlights as well as flaws in all areas of concern. The looks are decent, and the atmosphere convincing bar the odd squashed texture or disappearing/flickering area - but nothing that will really detract from the aesthetic aspect of your experience here - and the main multi-level room is fairly well constructed. The game starts with a neat intro that could or could not be a shout out to a certain BtB 2005 level and has some sneaky camera moments, that will make you feel pretty clever if you pick up on them or extremely frustrated if you don't. The camera hints are mostly not a huge concern, but every now and then I did wonder what a switch or jump switch did as there seemed to be no obvious clues around. As far as gameplay goes - there's been thought put into constructing the game so this won't be merely a run through and shoot the bad guys along the way experience so you get variations of well known puzzles like the switch combinations for doors, avoiding traps or mastering timed runs. If anything - I found that the game forced you to run back and fro a bit too much for my liking - and could've been more focused considering that the area you raid in is fairly expansive. The enemies kind of go into extremes - on one hand - you get bombarded with velociraptor battles at the start but later on only encounter the occasional skeleton or two. I found only 2 of the secrets here, but overall it's been an enjoyable experience I can only recommend further!" - eTux (04-Jan-2008)
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