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Level: BtB2008 - The Mask of Ettal Otaihccam back home search
Author(s): Die Basis
total rating:8.06 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 8 8 9 9
diamond 7 8 7 6
dmdibl 8 9 8 8
eTux 8 7 8 8
Eva 10 9 9 9
Gerty 6 7 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 9
Jorge22 9 9 10 9
Jose 4 8 7 7
manarch2 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 9 8 9 9
Minox 9 8 8 9
Mman 6 8 8 8
Phil 7 9 8 8
Ravenwen 10 9 9 8
Ryan 8 8 9 8
Sethian 5 7 8 9
Treeble 8 8 10 9
category averages
(18 reviews)
7.61 8.06 8.33 8.22

Reviewer's comments

"Funny how opinions differ isn't it? It's also weird how much more enjoyable a level can be once you work out exactly where you need to go. This is an incredibly extensive level, mostly taking place in quite dark close-knit cave areas and there's plenty of intertwining passageways and rooms to explore. But despite my usual aversion to quite dark levels, I actually really enjoyed this one. But I must let you know that I did glance at the walkthrough a couple of times along the way and ended up pretty much matching Michael's overall time. If I was left to my own devices, I can assure you I would have have ran around like a headless chicken for all eternity until my sanity forced me to pack it all in. This really isn't for beginners as there are some pretty difficult (but thankfully not impossible) manoeuvres to overcome and it may not be for those whose tolerance level is low as there are a few rather too tedious elements (an overlong cage push and a quite iffy T-Rex sequence involving a Shotgun, both in the same area, and maybe the switch maze near the end). But as I said, this eventually won me over due to the way it all connects without allowing the player to get terminally stuck and the wonderful design of the cave areas. Not for the fainthearted or impatient, but a rewarding experience nonetheless." - Ryan (12-Apr-2018)

"Most of the level takes place in atmospheric cave sections, with some manmade architecture seamlessly included. Texturing in here is good while not bar of mistakes, the lighting is ambient; perhaps everything is a bit monotonous but rather believable. Though those waterwalls add to the spectacle, they aren't very realistic IMO. Exploring is high on the list, as you have to search every nook and cranny to progress, as there are some very well hidden items and levers in here. None of them is unfairly hidden, and thus the exploration only adds to a decent level with a nice diversity of tasks and seldom a dull moment. I liked the plethora of puzzles, timed runs (believe me the one with the wheel some other reviewers pointed out is really not among the hardest out there) and actually pretty nice enemy fights and a rather professionally designed progression throughout the level. That pushing act at the end was just pointless and on-dragging though as well as the "maze" at the end, in which the only task is to open a door at the farmost point to use a lever which opens a door at the even further away point... why oh why did these feel like fun tasks for the builder? I also had some problems with the waterwheel, but pressing the Right button did the job for me. The three secrets are very easy to find, but despite of some shortcomings this is another rather achieved level in this BtB competition. Spent 25 minutes of net playtime in here." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"You mostly explore natural caves and similar areas here, and they are well done and atmospheric. The lighting is frequently a bit simplistic and some of the design feels a bit un- detailed though, but it's generally good. There's a nicely action packed start as you are near-instantly surrounded by Wolves, but after that it calms down and relies (at bit too much) on hidden switches and objects. One invisible crawlspace technically has a clue, but there's no hint that you have to crawl. There's also a very overly long block puzzle at the T- Rex (the reason why is pretty obvious, but it's still far longer than it needed to be). These issues result in the level verging on a slog at times, but there are enough decent and challenging sections to make it enjoyable overall." - Mman (06-Nov-2012)

"This level starts very slow, and I must say that the author of this level has a really own style, and this I think is a good thing. Sometimes you just wander in the big structure of the level and I would have appreciated a better use of the camera especially when I use a switch or a key. The enemies in this level are well collocated and the traps sometimes are too much. Ah just to say, it has been a long time that I didn´t play a TR and I must say that the AI of the enemies is horrible, the men and the animals - there is no difference, but this is not a problem due to the level design. ;) Back to the level, the atmosphere is not so good as the level before but it´s still good. I suggest this game to all the people who have a lot of patience. In the end another good job." - diamond (29-Feb-2008)

"This was a good and fun level that brought me memories of the past games, not due to gameplay which I found to be a little on the unfair side, but rather by level design which, in my opinion, was very clever and felt very natural. It feels somewhat nonlinear but there is in fact an order to follow. I did the trapdoor timed run at least three times at different times, never realizing that there was a wall I was meant to crawl through. I think that was the sole spot where you couldn't tell what to do, but still, the fact that single wall set me out running everywhere looking for anything else to do made me think less of the entire level. The level is very good, don't get me wrong, but I just thought the author didn't need to appeal to that old fashioned "trick". Another bit which was a little tricky was the T-Rex cave, maybe too small, but manageable to pick the shotgun within a few tries. 50 minutes, 3 secrets. 02/08" - Treeble (14-Feb-2008)

"It's a well builded level but there are many things I didn't like which difficulted a lot the gameplay: the very dark rooms, the very tight timed run from the wheel-switch, the very tight task to get the shotgun in the T-Rex room and the too much hidden items which make you run around and around through many rooms wasting a lot of time. I always thought that when the players need to visit the forum asking for help so another players do the tasks for them, that can't be a good level. The worst of all BtB levels I've played this year. Sorry." - José (14-Feb-2008)

"Afterwards I am of two mind of this level. There is so much to do in this level so it does keep you occupied throughout. On the other hand my frustrations ran pretty high, as I sometimes had no clue what to do or where to go, gameplay came to a halt almost in every room. Good thing about that is that I found the three secrets; bad thing is that I almost binned this one. I was running around like an idiot for a key that was hidden in a bush and I could have sworn that I looked there before. Also had problems with the waterwheel, probably the same as Elvis (reading that in the stuck thread) but even after 2 days, I couldn’t get up that platform. So, I cheated here. In the last part of this level I ran around trying flipping levers and there still was one door I couldn’t open. How was I to know that that was a crowbar door, tsk… I was never so glad to hit the finishing trigger" - Gerty (25-Jan-2008)

"Many things here reminded me of early Tomb Raider custom levels, which isn't necessarily bad. Many people seem to have enjoyed it. There is a lot of trying to trick the player for no reason except to trick the player, and an excessive use of darkness. Some of those areas were supposed to be open to the sky--look up and see--but the lighting was just as dismal as when Lara was in a crawlspace. One trick was to hide an essential crawlspace behind an odd leaf texture with no other clue given for its existence: no transparency, and no way to find it, even with a flare. Both a switch and a key were separately completely covered by bushes. There was having to pull a skeleton onto a trigger tile, a touch that I admit I actually liked, though it could be easily missed by a player. Then there was trying to reach a jump switch when a swinging pendulum kept throwing Lara aside. The wheel-pull timed run was so tight that it really fit into the difficulty level usually reserved for secrets. Well, I did find three secrets and make it to the end, to do all that make work running about with the switches. But then the first time Lara sees a refreshing outdoor area--a bright outdoor area, a real outdoor area--she doesn't get to set a single foot on it, since moving toward it triggers an abrupt end. The author knows how to make a level; technically highly proficient." - dmdibl (19-Jan-2008)

"That was fun. This is one of the shorter levels in the competition, taking me a bit over half an hour to get through, but don't let that fool you - there's enough trickery involved to keep you trapped here for more than that, till you figure what the author had in [his devilish] mind. And if anything then some of the tasks presented here are something you won't see in other levels at least in this competition if not entirely in all other levels too. It kind of works in favor of the level because it manages to stand out because of them, but on the other hand, if you don't pick up on the designer's chain of thought it can get extremely frustrating easily. I thought the moments like pulling a skeleton on a trigger tile, jumping over fences to look for elusive switches in your quest for the torch, the few timed runs and the T-Rex room were all wonderfully inspired if not initially obvious, but then again tasks like finding a crawl-through wall, carefully jumping near a jump-switch attached to a swinging timber trap (while the trap itself pushes you away, rendering your efforts useless), running away from the wraith with no obvious clue what it is you need exactly to dispose of it, or the water-wheel room where for some obscure reason Lara almost always jumped off of it in an entirely different direction than necessary (as opposed to working correctly, as it had in all the other competition's levels) or spiking Lara if she pushed a movable statue on the wrong tile (with no indication what the right tile is either) were not very well thought through moments, and the final run for the switches in the maze like environment uninspired, if nothing else. That doesn't make it a bad game on its own, but I wasn't sure if the author had the actual players in mind when building this too. The looks on the other hand are well done, conveying a convincing damp cave atmosphere with the rare outside moment here and there, and if I had any critique here - then on closer inspection I concluded that the waterfalls here kind of come out of nowhere and essentially go nowhere too, which robs the setting of some realism and makes it seem like the waterfalls were added only for the sake of it, with no real design in mind. All that put behind me - the level has its ups and downs, but it can't be that bad if the God overlooking this particular virtual realm is 'Latte Macchiato' backwards, right?" - eTux (18-Jan-2008)

"I loved this level! A rich, inventive and perfectly structured game, solidly created with detail and mastery. The gameplay is complex, challenging and creative; the puzzles are varied and so well organized. You can't remain idle nor feel bored while playing this level; you have to be constantly on guard, moreover keeping an eye on every single dark corner or plant because it may be hiding something. There are several items to find, lots of areas to explore, a few nice timed runs and nicely set-up jumping sequences. The only drawback is the sometimes very dim lighting that, on occasion, makes the exploration a tad frustrating, especially if you consider that there are switches hidden behind plants or items buried below greenery spots. Other than that, everything works greatly. With equal doses of trap sequences, exploration, puzzle-solving and action, this level should be among the best of the BtB08 project." - Ravenwen (17-Jan-2008)

"Really very nice level, difficult enough in the enigmas but easy in the game play, a true tomb raider that I like, trex difficult to kill, it is necessary to find a rock to hide. I really liked that level, too bad it's a bit obscure. Must be a lot of exploration to find all the items, and what I love there are always kits, matches, and a shotgun for the trex. Some switch hidden behind a bush, it's tomb raider. I really liked" - Minox (07-Jan-2008)

"There are a number of things I didn't like about this level. It's too dark, with much of the action taking place within cramped corridors. I would have quit with the timed run involving the wheel pull, as I couldn't get past the closing door after dozens of tries, had it not been for Dutchy's posted savegame. That cage-pulling routine to raise a block was made unnecessarily tedious. And the final switch-pulling maze was negotiated only with the help of Yoav's advance walkthrough. Having said all this, there's much to commend the level, too, which I found to be skillfully laid out. The extended exercise of getting the torch lighted was a nice touch, as was the water wheel room. This was one of those levels where you're just elated to get it behind you so you can move on to the next one. I don't think I'll be replaying it any time soon. Recommended, but grudgingly." - Phil (04-Jan-2008)

"Lara is searching the death mask of an Inca God in a cave in the Peruvian jungle. Gameplay: The puzzles and missions are designed very interestingly and well thought out. Lara has to search many kinds of objects and a tricky timed run tops this very well made gamplay of. In my opinion the levelbuilder designed the location very realistically. The cave, many kinds of plants and rest of Inca ruins are providing a very fine atmosphere. My main criticism is the preponderant darkness. My conclusion: a relatively challenging level in wonderful locations with interesting gamplay!" - Eva (03-Jan-2008)

"Having sustained a bit of damage in the initial fall into this level, you barely have time to draw breath before being set upon by a pack of wolves. This can be occasionally quite challenging and just a touch confusing with some very well hidden objects, but it’s very satisfying gameplay. Running the gauntlet of a couple of skellies whilst trying to throw a series of switches without getting too sliced up was particularly adrenalin inducing. Good fun." - Jay (03-Jan-2008)

"Despite the fact that this level can be quite confusing, at least on a first play, it's still one of the best so far. I thought it was a bit greyish when I first started playing it (as in the Legend demo, for example) but the game gets so interesting and so challenging that I had to recognize its value, including its value in terms of the graphics and the settings. Solid as a rock, it's perfectly balanced regarding puzzles and enemy fighting (namely the T-Rex with a well hidden shotgun) and has a grand finale. Highly recommended." - Jorge22 (03-Jan-2008)

"It is amazing at times how much more fun a level can be when you have a bit of an idea where to go. I had to replay this level for the review after having played it before and while I can sort of relate to Sethian's frustrations from my first time round of playing it, this second time round I found it to be a very logical, very creative and very much fun level that I managed to finish within 45 minutes. Mind you, it is not a level for beginners, as you are welcomed by a few enemies into the initial Hub room and soon after getting oriented have to master two rather tight timed sequences. But if you persist it will all be worth your while, as you get cleverly designed rooms which require Lara to have her wits about to master them, including getting and then lighting the torch, which I thought was very well done. The T-Rex room is a bit of a pain, as I finally managed to get and use the shotgun after many, many tries, but using the waterwheel makes up for it. The adventure actually ends with a bit of a lowlight as the back and forth for switches is rather uninspired compared to the rest of the level but I can only repeat myself: Do not miss playing this and if you are stuck use the forums or a soon to be released walkthrough to nudge you in the right direction. And make sure you look VERY closely into and behind each of the bushes around." - MichaelP (02-Jan-2008)

"It has been a long time since a level has driven me up the wall like this one... since the onset I was constantly clawing at the cave walls (almost literally) trying to figure out what on earth the task at hand was. This is why I gave the gameplay such a low mark. All in all it is a good level in all other aspects, but the gameplay is of such an annoying and frustrating standard that it seems to drag down everything else. The jump over the platforms was quite a tightly timed run, however I did not mind it so much. It was everything that followed after that bothered me. I spent about 4 hours on this level, not because it was a worthy and lengthy 4 hours, but that nothing was made clear or properly shown to the viewer. Getting the torch was the most tedious part, as the switch that led there was hidden behind a bush. Same goes for a key that was hidden under a bush later on. This is fine and clever, but save this for secrets and switches that will lead us to secrets. Having to reach a new room constantly and then stay stuck at a dead end for ages is not something that gives your level a nice fluid feeling. The T-Rex battle is also quite terrible, in that you spend most of your time being pushed by the massive buggy beast's collision, and have to try and move a skeleton in order to get at the shotgun to kill it. This is followed by a stretched out pushable puzzle, where we get to move a box from one end of the room to the other in a rather round about way... not necessary, especially after hours of being stuck elsewhere. When you finally think you made it and have got the mask, you are welcomed by a tedious maze of doors that requires tonnes of backtracking and switch pulling. The objects in this wad are at least used nicely and to their best possible measure, and we get a nice sense of reality from the object placement. I would have liked some cameras to show me some doors opening, and I would have preferred it if the secrets had not been hidden so openly, and instead have necessary objects like keys and switches not be almost invisible under bushes. Audio tracks are good in setting a nice mood, and there certainly is an atmosphere here... it feels cold and damp in these caves. The texturing is also quite nice, even though I didn't like that random ivy texture that was placed to hide the crawlspace. Lighting is very simple, but nice and subtle, giving everything a realistic feeling. It is a good level visually, but it is a shame that the annoyance about the gameplay is what causes this level to drop in the eyes of the beholder. I would like it if the author of this level would use their skill in hiding things more for the secrets (which are all very easy to find) and instead give the player more of a sense of what each area represents and the tasks that need to be accomplished in this area. For now, all I can do is recommend the level to any raider who likes examining every bush object in a level with a lit flare... and now please excuse me, as I go get myself a real Latte Macchiato in order to calm my nerves." - Sethian (01-Jan-2008)

"Well, it looks like I'll have to add Sethian's reviews to my list of 'must read' - he's as entertaining as the BtB entries and that's saying a lot. This entry, for instance, has everything I like about TR - the exploration, the challenge of deviously placed items and a builder who gives you the right weapon when and where you need it(and medpacks). There's an added bonus of it continuing when I thought it had ended and the always great pleasure of the engine bug with the T-Rex fighting with a wall - not what the builder planned but still, very nice *wink*. It all adds up to a great deal of fun and if I hadn't been so sure I needed two cogwheels instead of one I would have shaved an hour off my time but that's my fault. Nicely put together with enough twists and turns to keep a jaded Raider's attention and that too, is saying a lot." - Bene (01-Jan-2008)
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