Level: Back to Basics 2008 - Journey through the Andes back home search
Author(s): Mikki
total rating:7.41 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Bene 8 8 7 8
diamond 9 8 8 7
dmdibl 9 8 8 8
eTux 7 6 6 6
Eva 8 7 7 6
Gerty 7 8 6 7
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 8 8 7 8
Jose 8 7 8 7
manarch2 7 6 6 5
MichaelP 8 7 8 7
Mman 8 7 6 5
Orbit Dream 8 8 8 9
Phil 9 8 8 8
Ravenwen 8 7 7 7
rjb 8 8 8 8
Ryan 8 8 8 7
Sethian 7 9 5 6
Treeble 7 7 7 7
category averages
(19 reviews)
7.89 7.53 7.16 7.05

Reviewer's comments

"Initially, this seems pretty simple - finding a couple of items to gain access to the first section of the main temple. The more puzzling aspects don't appear until you get inside, and from there it's more enjoyable, with the highlights being a nice target shooting puzzle, a pushable puzzle and a mirror room. Audio is used well, but ambience could have been spruced up slightly with more of it and lighting is a bit too bright in places. Not up to the best of the BtB08 levels, but fun nonetheless." - Ryan (09-Oct-2017)

"This level could've been quite a good one with some refinements, but as it is, it just doesn't come up to most other BtB levels. For once it's a mystery that any builder doesn't include a halfway decent background audio (the question if the builder wanted to have no audio or the alarm sound will probably be a mystery). Then there is the lighting... or better: isn't, because there is mostly no lighting at all in the whole level, not even a change of colours. That said the texturing does at least a bit to compensate this lack, it's sometimes expressive enough and there are almost no obvious mistakes in it, though it feels pretty drab in later places of the level. Still the atmosphere is agreeable, mainly thanks to good architecture and room connections. The gameplay is actually the best thing in this level (as often in games of this builder), there is a nice progression inside the temple and the quest for the four masks is spot on, with nice puzzles and a good trapdoor jump sequence - perhaps everything feels a bit too quickly finished in here and there's nothing very memorable but the time spent here was at least diverting. Another okay entry, though the two major lacks are still distracting a bit. Found four nice secrets in 25 minutes." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"A major flaw immediately presents itself here with the level having pretty much no lighting beyond the occasional shadow, all other parts of the visuals are decently accomplished, with nice architecture and texturing, but the lack of lighting makes it all look very homogeneous despite it actually being pretty varied. One other major atmospheric flaw is that the ambient music is messed up so it annoyingly loops the "danger" sound when you reload a save, you could fix this by removing that track, but that still means there's no ambience. There's also an issue where scarabs are visible in their receptacles before you've actually used them. I've mentioned Mikki as a beginner author in my other reviews, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore, so at this point I can only assume having no-lighting is some sort of stylistic thing (although looking at his newer levels he thankfully seems to have moved on from it).
After the start the gameplay is quite non-linear and has Mikki's usual quite creative puzzles (although I didn't get the logic behind one fire tiles puzzle), and there's some nice sequences like a timed trapdoor run with objects to shoot. There's no camera hint that one door opens after a certain point, and one aspect of the trapdoor sequence seems like it would fit better as a secret. Overall a good level, but the visual flaws really let it down and make it feel more repetitive than it actually is." - Mman (07-Nov-2012)

"Journey through the andes is another great level of this btb. The level is located in two big parts, the first is a temple and the second is divided into two parts, a little temple and a little village, what surprised me was the duration of the game, after having collected four masks I thought the level was finished, but it was not and I was very surprised about it. The atmosphere of the level is not the best, probably because the level designer did not use any light effects and everything looks so monotonous. The level has, however, some good ambience, very big and coloured, especially the first part in the temple and a place with a big waterfall. The puzzles are ok, and you can play this game passing almost a funny hour. Very good use of the camera in some parts but sometimes you switch the level and you don´t know what happened... In the end I suggest also this level to everyone, not for its atmosphere but for the good gameplay." - diamond (29-Feb-2008)

"If you're in the mood for a 'thinking' level,this is a good one to tackle.Although the initial Temple area is rather confusing,it all makes sense if you explore thoroughly and work out how the various areas interconnect and what it is you're supposed to do in them.Each of the tasks is fun and challenging in diferent ways,aided to a considerable degree by the rather skilled construction of the environment. The second half of the adventure is a little more straightforward,but enlivened by a fun jumping challenge and a smart timed-run.Added to this some good camera work,well-placed enemy attacks and a generally immersive atmosphere (I especially loved the spectacular final room)and you have one very decent adventure.The only disapointment was the somewhat innapropriate title,which hints at an 'outdoor exploration' level;something which may disapoint initially.By the end,however,you really won't mind,as the entertainment factor is undeniable." - Orbit Dream (27-Feb-2008)

"The title had me thinking about snow, but sadly there's none of that in here. The temple layout takes a while to get used to, because it's a very repetitive design with lots of turns, but eventually you'll know what and were to go. The mask in the sun beams puzzle had me going for a while, and I had to resort to the walkthrough. There's also a corridor with lots of blades, but fortunately the author has placed enough medikits along the way. Visually there's nothing special about this level, areas are very bland and in the end you have a mirror floor which isn't textured, which felt a little odd. The beetle receptacles were wrong. I didn't experience the audio problem reported by some of the reviewers. 40 minutes, 4 secrets. 02/08" - Treeble (22-Feb-2008)

"What got on my nerves right away was that I had the “danger sound” in a loop in the beginning and also every time I reloaded. I had to get my bearings, as there seems to be so many things to do. And by figuring out “when what” to do I also found all the secrets. That always pleases me, not the time it took me to play this level though as it took me way too long. But for the rest it is a pleasant raid, once you know in what order to do things. What confused me big time was the placing of the gems (beetles) on top of the already existing ones. Lighting in this level could use some work, it was way to bright all the time and some of the textures could have been placed a bit more careful as a for instance, the water surface at the waterwheel and outside rock area." - Gerty (15-Feb-2008)

"I found this well done, though it isn't rated very highly. I had no trouble with a repeating sound track that some reviewers mention. The good puzzles keep Lara constantly busy: move a block to an upper level, get distracted with the jump-block room, grab mask, then flip from collapsing trapdoor to trapdoor, shooting gongs, and leap into an opening door. One solves everything quickly...until the sly deception at the fourth mask (remember those gongs?). The rooms are well lit, which I greatly prefer to the murky dankness of some Peru levels. I found myself thinking of the TR3 South Pacific gorge level while playing this: the lighting and the bright colors are similar. I mean this comparison as a compliment. I was really pleased with this level, right up until the ending with the pull-wheel timed run. That led to an awful lot of muttering on my part. And then the final room. All I can say is: If that was a mirror room, then how come we can't see Lara's reflection? An annoying conclusion, making this player feel stupid, and throwing away all the goodwill that the level had previously generated. It's a good thing that most human beings respond to frustration with a Buddha-like calm; otherwise this is the sort of ending that would negatively impact the ratings. Good play, fast, short, and fun." - dmdibl (02-Feb-2008)

"Memorable for its search for Masks, especially the timed trapdoor room and its beautifully colored vases; flawed, for me, with the jarring sound loop that almost made me give up on it. I enjoyed the gameplay, helped along by a seven year old(!) who really spotted a few things before I did. The waterfall area was done well and fun to explore. Not exactly what one would expect, given its title, but a 'Journey' that makes a good addition to this years entries. If you haven't played it yet, try it - I think you'll like it. I'm looking forward to what else this builder has in store for us." - Bene (31-Jan-2008)

"An interesting contrast. I particularly liked the look of the first large indoor area we reached (the lovely 'vase' room especially), with its sometimes tricky puzzles. Some rooms I found very attractive indeed and seemed to have been constructed with a lot of careful thought. On the other hand, some areas (to this non-builder's eye) seemed to be constructed in a more 'rough-and-ready' way, including parts of the opening area (this conveyed, therefore, a not-so-good first impression, unfortunately) but even these areas had some lovely plants, doors and wall panels, and I liked the 'giant fencing' in one courtyard. The tasks also seemed to vary considerably, from the delightful raising platforms and "shoot the bronze medallions" run (that same excellent 'vase' room) to the straightforward "find a couple of gems" and use them. I was also one who found the "platforms in the light" room confusing and confess I succeeded by trial and error, after a careful mapping of the orientation of the several different floor tiles proved to be disappointingly entirely unhelpful! I feel there is a considerable imagination at work here, but only partially at work, such that many parts of the game did not have the same 'dedication' applied to them as in the very best parts. Not being a builder, I'm not sure I understand the comments about lighting that others have made as I found it very pleasant in many areas. I also thought the secret placement was good in all 4 cases: simple but you had to think to look every time (and I didn't for arguably the simplest: the 'vase' one). (I could finish - after much initial exploration - in 21 mins at 'fast' pace with no health loss.)" - rjb (23-Jan-2008)

"One of the easy and fast-paced BtB08 levels, which however doesn't lack interest and adventure feel. In fact, it's very enjoying and pleasant. The puzzles, although not exactly original, are nicely set with much care and skill, and as far as the exploration part is concerned, the builder did a good job, as there are several things to look for and in various different rooms and areas. The textures are tastefully placed, but the general atmosphere didn't give me much the impression of a peruvian setting. The exterior areas are rich and quite realistic though. The action is split in two main sessions; in the first you have to get four masks by solving the respective puzzles which include, among others, pushblocks, a torch, spikes, gongs and moving platforms, and in the second, which is much shorter, you have to find two scarab gems. After you've done this, you are pretty much close to the end where your final task awaits. This level was pretty good overall, a nice change after two tough levels that I played in a row." - Ravenwen (21-Jan-2008)

"Well, this isn’t a journey through the Andes at all even though, let’s admit it, it may take place somewhere in the Andes. Correct in every sense, it takes us mostly to a palace where the ancient Incas have left a series of challenging puzzles, probably already aware that we’d be here to solve them. Unfortunately, there's a sound that keeps repeating itself at times... All in all, a very nice, not too difficult but sometimes intriguing, play." - Jorge22 (10-Jan-2008)

"When you begin to play, get the two keys and open the temple doors you think that this will be a piece of cake, but while playing to get the masks you realize that you were mistaked. Although there aren't hard tasks, there are some interesting puzzles and situations where you can get stucked. Few enemies and the crossbow as extra weapon one of the secrets was hard to find. It seems to be a problem with the background music, sometimes was active and another times wasn't. Well textured but lights are not worked with almost all the rooms with the same high illumination; one thing is sure: you'll not need flares. Definitively I liked it." - José (09-Jan-2008)

"Isn’t it odd how first impressions can be totally erroneous at times? For some reason, I initially thought this level was going to be a bit something and nothing. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Perhaps the fact that one of the sound files was repeating put me off, but once I had removed the file in question I was able to settle down to a really good raid. Once inside the temple, the gameplay became most interesting, with some excellent puzzles (and one swine of a timed run) set in some very lovely surroundings. Definitely well worth playing." - Jay (05-Jan-2008)

"Lara is searching 4 Inca masks, 4 beetles and at last a valuable Incan golden object. This takes place inside of a big complex of temples. The areas are built very well, first I was lost sometimes in the different corridors :) The textures and objects were a bit too colorful for my taste. Unfortunately the levelbuider did not use lighting effects, so all rooms where similar and that looked very monotonous. But puzzles are made very well, I especially liked the run over the collapsible ledges in combination with shooting :) Altogether a not too hard playable level." - Eva (04-Jan-2008)

"When this level began, the textures and the lighting led me to believe that this was someone's first effort. However, as things started getting complicated, I had to revise my initial impression. This is a solidly crafted level that will leave you scratching your head at times, yet it's all completely logical and fairly linear. I've selected three of these BtB08 levels so far, entirely at random, and to this point I haven't experienced one bit of disappointment. The competing builders are to be commended for giving the community a surfeit of raiding pleasure during the holiday season. I'm not used to having to pick my way through levels without that security blanket called a walkthrough, so this one took me well over an hour to complete. It was time well spent, however. Recommended." - Phil (02-Jan-2008)

"This is quite a nice level, however it doesn't look like it is finished to me. There is no lighting at all except for some shadow bulbs plopped over a crawlspace or slightly blue or green water... otherwise every room is your average 128 lighting it seems. This is a shame because the gameplay isn't even that bad. The level has some really inventive puzzles: jumping over the platforms and shooting the gong targets was lots of fun, and I also liked the simple torch puzzle with the pedestals. One puzzle I really did not like was the one where one had to jump over these fire platforms to get to a mask... the reason for this being that I did not understand the mechanics behind it, and even though I solved it (with luck) I still don’t quite get what exactly I was meant to be doing in that room. There was also this very tightly timed run that kept me stuck in one area for the longest time. Object placement really is great I think when it comes to architecture. Lots of nice skeletons hanging around or lying around, and great use of the wooden stake objects for creating areas like stables or prisons. The temples also had some nice object arrangements. Pickups were good too: I liked the hidden torch in the shatterable vase, and the hidden disk to a secret in another shatter object. Atmosphere was sadly lacking due to the already mentioned lack of lighting, and there was also a sound problem for me... no ambient music, so I had the same problem like eTux with audio track 000 being replayed constantly... this one always makes me think of a little scorpion attacking in TR4. It got to the point where I switched off my audio completely, so I guess I must have missed some other audio tracks being used later on in the level. Cameras were at least used quite alright... some interesting flybys always preparing us for the next big area we were about to enter... also made the discovery of the golden idol a little bit more exciting in the end. Texturing was quite good I thought... at least inside the temples. A lot of the chess floor textures reminded me of TR1 Tomb of Qualopec, which was a nice bit of nostalgia. With natural texturing however, such as rocks, the author still needs to improve a bit. And as I said, without lighting, this level truly lost a lot that it could have had." - Sethian (02-Jan-2008)

"Another fun little raid that contrary to what you may expect from the title largely takes place inside and not outside and lasted about 45 minutes for me. In the small outside areas it is usually a hidden crawlspace that keeps you going and the main puzzle action takes place inside and is rather entertaining to work through, especially the trapdoor jumps. You first need to collect and use four masks and then get your hands on two beetles. Enemies are a bit of a non-event here and I found only one Secret object but did not have a secret count in my inventory. Like others I had the annoying ambient sound loop, but that is of course easy to fix by renaming a more suitable audio file as 000.wav. While the author spend a lot of energy in colouring the various vases, virtually no work has gone into any other lighting that could have enhanced the atmosphere. At the end you get to master a timed door and need to look for a sneakily hidden switch in a floor mirror room before escaping with the Golden Statue." - MichaelP (02-Jan-2008)

"This is a very nice 40 minute adventure in an Incan temple that mainly stands out for some clever and some sneaky gameplay moments through the time it takes you to get through all the areas. Essentially it's just a hunt for items (2 temple keys, 4 masks, a crowbar, 2 gems (aka retextured black beetles) a gear and finally the gold idol you allegedly came for) but the tasks for these items, especially in the temple part are what makes the raid memorable. The pushable object puzzle is simple, doesn't overstay it's welcome and has a rather thrilling conclusion to it, the timed trapdoor target shooting practice is just plain fun, and the sneaky passage you can reach during it eluded me for ages. As nice as the overall experience is, I can't say I liked all of it equally well. The nice gameplay touches like the above could've been more frequent, as pretty much the only place where you encounter them is within the temple, and everything before and after that is just a mater of finding the elusive switch or item. While it's not a bad strategy to lead the player into the game before the more complex stuff kicks in, I kind of was expecting more through the last 10 to 15 minutes when I had already left the temple part behind me. The mirror puzzle in the idol room seemed like a good attempt of ending the level on a high note, but it had its own problems - mainly the thing that it didn't look like a mirror puzzle to me at all initially thus seemed like a design flaw (it basically looks like Lara can walk on thin air). The looks are generally fine, but a lot of issues with lighting, missing or squashed textures ruin the whole appeal. Lack of proper lighting harmed the level's atmosphere, as did the problems with audio tracks I had. It might have been just an issue on my side, so I didn't let this affect my overall opinion on the game, but bar the few effect tracks, which are used appropriately, the level was lacking a decent background tune. I wouldn't have minded to play the level in silence (which was the case after any of those effect tracks played), but whenever I had to reload a game the 000.wav track was playing over and over (and over) again, until I hit a trigger of another audio track. This was fairly annoying. I only found 2 of the 4 secrets, but the ones I found were well hidden. Overall this by no means is a bad game - you'll definitely have your fun as you make your way through it, but it has some issues as well. None that couldn't be ironed out with some decent beta-testing (or paying attention to the reflections of your testers), and some extra hours spent on working on the level in the future." - eTux (01-Jan-2008)
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