Level: Back to Basics 2008 - The Mystery of Oiccaprac back home search
Author(s): illyaine
total rating:7.56 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Andzia9 8 8 8 8
Bene 9 9 10 9
dmdibl 9 8 9 9
eRIC 6 7 7 9
eTux 6 7 8 8
Gerty 7 7 7 7
Jay 7 8 8 8
Jorge22 9 9 10 10
Jose 8 7 9 9
Leeth 6 5 5 7
manarch2 4 5 6 7
MichaelP 7 7 8 9
Minox 8 8 9 9
Mman 6 7 7 8
Neso 7 8 7 9
Orbit Dream 7 7 8 9
Phil 8 8 9 9
Ravenwen 8 8 8 9
Relic Hunter 7 8 8 8
Ryan 7 7 8 8
Selene 8 8 9 9
Sethian 4 6 5 6
snork 6 7 6 8
Spike 6 6 6 7
Treeble 7 7 9 9
Zhyttya 6 6 7 8
category averages
(26 reviews)
6.96 7.23 7.73 8.31

Reviewer's comments

"This is possibly the shortest entry in the Peru contest, at only 25 minutes. There's nothing to particularly difficult or memorable gameplay-wise aside from a couple of fairly enjoyable timed runs and a flipmap sequence, but at least you won't get stuck for too long. The environments aren't the most impressive you'll see, but they are attractive and pleasing enough and put together with sufficient skill. The majority of the level takes in indoor areas and quite cramped corridors, but there are a couple of visits to outdoor areas to brake the mold a bit. I found the enemy usage just a bit thrown in, as most of the natives would corner Lara in tight corridors, making movement difficult. Not among the best of the BtB2008 levels (and it does seem that illyaine wasn't trying to compete with the best here) but it's enjoyable enough." - Ryan (12-Apr-2018)

"From a builder like Christoph one might really expect some more than a 15 minute level with pretty simple overall design, but this is what we get here. Most of the level you'll spend in claustrophobic, not very detailed areas, at least with clean texturing and fancy lighting (that tends to be too colourful at times though), solve a few simple tasks here and there in a very linear fashion and get to the finish trigger and you wonder what it was all about. It's at least an experience that is flowing well and thus boredom never comes up and one can see it's competently put together, but that's about it - there's nothing particularly memorable about this level. I finished with three okay secrets." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"It was a pleasant level. It doesn't offer much as a whole, but it was fun and easy to pass at least. There's was this object, where it seemed movable, which it wasn't. It was actually a platform where you needed to step onto so you could reach a lever. It was a bit counter intuitive, has it hitbox kinda worked like a movable object, and Lara was bugging a bit... so i just left that place at first try. The enemy sometimes bugged out (velociraptors where both stuck) and the final transition between the songs was harsh. Anyway as i said previously, it was rather fun level and good final as well, just missing the epic T.Rex battle!" - Zhyttya (16-Feb-2016)

"This was a fast level. A short experience with a lot of up and downs. The puzzles are simple, the soundtrack is good but the way it changes is a bit to harsh. The change on the enemies at the end was great but the buggy raptors didn't help that much. Still, funny level to play with a lot of silly deaths because of some UNSTOPPABLE BALLS. Recommended for a fast experience" - Leeth (16-Feb-2016)

"While the general visuals here are good, it's mostly quite cramped and doesn't have much feeling of actual structure, and not especially atmospheric as a result. The gameplay also feels lacking in inspiration; there's no major flaws, but it's all pretty sedate, has no real stand-out moments and is quite short, although the escape sequence at the end is nice (although a bit backtrack heavy). It's kind of strange to see this is by illyaine, as it exhibits none of their usual greatness at all." - Mman (06-Nov-2012)

"Short and easy level. A little disturbing was all time going further and back. Beautiful textures and views, as like all levels in South America." - Andzia9 (08-Sep-2009)

"This was a nice little romp but I was in dire need of flares, as parts of this level are pretty dark. It isn’t a hard level but the levers are nicely hidden and so were the secrets and I found 3 of them. The timed run for the last artefact was unfair, although if one doesn’t pay too much attention to the lowering block, and just jump up, running jump plus grab to the higher block, one can easily make it." - Gerty (24-Feb-2008)

"Oh bloody "%§%$"* - I have trouble getting all BtB levels played before march 1st and only now I see I chose one that is not even part of it anymore :( most of this review was written without knowing it's [christoph]s level
Finally an easy and short level - thank you. I wish more builders would have kept their levels so that more of us could actually play them all within the two months. This one is a mixture of quite some nice ideas and locations with lots of occasions where things have not been sorted out completely. I always felt : what a pity, because all of these situations IMO would have enhanced the level if just worked over only a little. E.g. the raptor dinos were always stuck in objects or slopes so they were completely harmless (I reloaded several times to check), or the rollingballs in the flooded swinging pole room, they never get to rest and as this is a natural swan dive place this should not result in strangely Lara dying because of touching a still vibrating RB - it feels too odd. The first earthquake would never stop as long as Lara stands in front of the statuette receptacle and for some reason it would go nuts after some seconds. (sound changes and game lags incredibly until Lara is off that tile) The poison darts : as much as I like them, they were placed so that Lara in most cases will be poisoned right away and if that's the case they pose no more threat -> no more gameplay avoiding them, she's poisoned anyway.
Or the show with the spirit : putting a spirit in the level was a really good idea and a nice surprise - I have not encountered one in the other seven or so BtB I played so far. But we get rid of it too easily, there was no real chance for the usual spirit panic to come up (OMG, where is a holy place, run, run, jump, OMG, run ...). Or when Lara picks up the Oiccaprac symbol and we have to fight two natives in slightly trapped surroundings - the rollingball always falls when Lara is not near it and she can crawl under the blade. It is also here that this action music starts and is the track looping ? So even after all action was really over, at the very end of the level it kicks in again after the peaceful track in that watery cave is through. I personally can't stand this overly bombastic soundtracks, I only ever listened once to the TRA soundtrack and then got rid of it. Everywhere else in this level music / sound is adequately applied and fits well. Another plus are the secrets of which I found three. Not really difficult to find or get, but each one of them with a little nice catch (like the shotgun you only get on your way back, nice ;) ) So I think the level provides so many places where a trap or (easy) timed run would have fitted so well, but most of the times there sadly wasn't. So gameplay is quite some switches to lower or raise raising blocks, some diving and following the route. Puzzles were none at all, I think. The one timed sequence with the raising block was not so good because I don't think you can make it without Lara standing in thin air.
Textures and lighting were OK or good for the most part, again some parts were done really nice and others were more rough. I think less strong colours would have been more suitable here, but that's very personal taste, I guess. Good use of thin fog in my opinion (seems to be en vogue).
In conclusion I wonder if Christoph lately has been building too many levels in short time ? As the Dijon level this to me seems to be below what we usually expect from Christoph. Not that I expect everything from Christoph to be as Jade Empire, but still ... I especially think so because the beginning areas of the level seem to have gotten more care or love for detail than everything after placing the second statuette. Oh, almost forgot : and also just as in Dijon : why no flares ? Why ???" - snork (23-Feb-2008)

"Pleasantly short level and the nicely crafted areas are all on the small side. There are a few wide spaces that you fortunately never get to. After locating the two gold idols, you then set off after a mask which will eventually lead you to the amulet of oiccaprac. There's very little, almost none, distractions along the way. With the amulet in hands, you just make your escapade. 30 minutes, 3 secrets. 02/08" - Treeble (12-Feb-2008)

"When I first heard that the theme of Back to Basics 2008 was Peru, this was the sort of level I imagined, with echoes to the first Tomb Raider and to other levels that have revisited Peru; that is a real journey through the Andes: the caves, a glimpse of gorge and snow-capped peaks. The irony is that the level "Journey Through the Andes" isn't, and that most authors went their separate ways, so there is a huge variety in the series. There were far too many dark underground rooms in other levels, so I really appreciated that this level did go outdoors--could have used more such scenery, maybe a nice ending with Lara navigating treacherous mountain passes. As it is the level ends abruptly, leaving one a bit unsatisfied. A believable environment, with attention to detail, and the sort of exploration harking back to the original Tomb Raider. That is, a smooth flow to the action that always keeps us engaged. The raptors did get confused. Overall, very enjoyable and definitely recommended." - dmdibl (01-Feb-2008)

"This is the first level (which is not mine) I played for this Back to Basics. Rather short and easy, in my opinion a good thing, but it depends on you. As mentioned by some reviewers, the use of the waterwheel right at the beginning without any hints is terrific, not intuitive at all. Moreover, the timed run with the raising block is really tricky till we eventually find out the tip. Except those two little things, no problem for the gameplay. Looks of the level are ok, even if the exterior area with the small house looked a bit unrealistic, with cheerful colours. Not many things to mention otherwise, enemies are well placed, good choice of items and sounds (I find it quite interesting that this circled stone was the artifact we had to look for, since it was an under-used object this year). 30 minutes." - Neso (19-Jan-2008)

"A very good, well-set adventure, quite entertaining that keeps you interested from beginning to end. The gameplay is rather easy to deal with, however there are some nice puzzles that get you thinking many times, as well as inventive use of the surroundings that are not always there just for decoration; also the degree of exploration is rather high. You get to look for, find and use several things and almost everything in this level is there for a reason. There's variety of settings, from narrow underground corridors to snowy exteriors, from waterfall lakes to flooded pools and lakes, all of them thoroughly made so as to create a matching atmosphere. A level that I enjoyed a lot, wouldn't have minded if it was longer." - Ravenwen (16-Jan-2008)

"Graphically pleasant and gameplay-wise fairly simple - this is a level that grabs your attention easily and doesn't particularly challenge you along the way through the 25 to 30 minutes it will take you to see everything there is to it. 3 simple secrets, some battles with dinos and natives, some scavenger hunt type tasks as you search for a mask, 2 statuettes and a medallion and you're pretty much home free. The simplistic approach might appeal if you're tired of more complex levels, or generally like your levels as easy to figure out as it goes - and I certainly wasn't complaining here - but every now and then I felt things should've been spiced up some more as even the toughest sequences of the level can be mastered pretty much effortlessly. That of course doesn't make it a bad game - as you can still see it for the wonderful looks if nothing else, but if you want a more challenging and complex game - you can still play this, but better choices could probably be made. Still recommended, though!" - eTux (15-Jan-2008)

"I would have to say that I didn't find this as a bad level at all, but that would probably depend on which order one plays the BtB levels in. The level has fairly good gameplay that keeps the player busy and there really haven't been places where I got stuck for a long time. The gameplay is basic, mainly involving exploring small to medium sized areas and finding a switch or a puzzle item, and a timed run or two thrown in for a little adrenaline, yet I kind of liked this relaxing gameplay as a break from the other BtB levels. The main attraction of the level would probably be the eye candy though. Fog effects are used atmospherically, and while the lighting sometimes is a bit odd, it sets a good tone for the particular area. Thus, it's a good thing that not every area looks the same in terms of lighting. Minor gripes are that using long, winding corridors to transition between areas is not a good thing, and there was a fair number of them in the level. The "climax" of the level was rather unsatisfactory in my opinion as well. A moving blade that's easily avoidable and two Indians don't require excessively dramatic music. Otherwise though, it's a well done, relaxing level that can be completed in under an hour, so it's worth a play for a break from the larger levels of the competition." - Relic Hunter (13-Jan-2008)

"A short 30 minutes Peruvian level with good graphics in an appealing and atmospheric setting as we are used and can except from a level by Christoph. The level is easy and pleasant to play, the first part with the search for two statuettes was interesting, there is also a bit of adrenaline near the end, but the second part in general seemed a bit 'contrived' and the final audio track didn’t really fit all of the ending sequences. Pleasant level nevertheless and well built , I admired the skills of the author for the design, this outside area with the lovely waterfall , (the two raptors were stuck there though, probably because of grey squares missing), interesting cameras views throughout , and the sequence where the boulders fall is well done. Good level but too short !" - eRIC (12-Jan-2008)

"With this my third level of BtB 2008(even though Christoph has backed out of the competition) comes to an end. To begin with I got a bit confused as there turned out to be a shortcut in the area where Lara gets the second statuette, but once I stepped back and had a closer look I got through the entire level in about half an hour(net gaming time). There aren't really many puzzles to talk of, but the level contains a couple of nifty timed runs, some devious traps and Lara is required to locate a mask and two statuettes before she can finally claim the Oiccaprac Talisman. As one can expect from an esteemed builder like Christoph the surroundings look absolutely gorgeous, the texturing is flawless and the lighting vivid and dynamic, although a bit heavy in places. There's something very appealing about the atmosphere, even though the level feels a bit dull at times. The only time I had to ask for help was for finding the final secret and I also got a bit confused by the fact that there were actually two ways of exiting one area(I wasn't aware of the second way until I had pretty much completed the level and thought I had missed out on something that needed to be done). All in all it's a relatively easy level, but I wouldn't be surprised if those sneakily hidden levers have had people wandering aimlessly about for a while. Some of the enemies cause a bit of a headache(such as a wraith appearing when you're about to climb a ladder or tribesmen charging at Lara in a narrow hallway with a considerable lack of options when it comes to moving about and dodging their attacks). Apart from that it's a short and sweet level which is well suited for beginners and more experienced raiders alike. Highly recommended." - Selene (11-Jan-2008)

"This was a short one as these BtB levels go, about 40 minutes of gameplay, but it's a very satisfying raid. It's a little too dark in the interior areas for my taste, but the outdoor areas are well lit and there's plenty to do as you make your way along the required route. The obligatory wheel turn timed run was quite fair, requiring only a couple of tries with the help of the "roll" trick. There's another nifty timed run near the end where you have to jump off a block that has already disappeared beneath your feet. This level doesn't display the burst of creativity you'll find in Water of Life and Lost Treasure of Primal Breathe, but it's a worthy entry in the competition and would probably have placed above the median score had the builder not decided to withdraw. Recommended." - Phil (11-Jan-2008)

"Nice level easy to play with not difficult tasks except the timed run to get the talisman. Secrets are not very hidden but, if you can't find them you'll not have extra weapons, but don't worry for this 'cause there are not ammo for the guns. Few pickups, I missed a lot some flares and ammo for the guns, although there are not much enemies. I liked the cameras, architecture and textures making a good ambience. You'll like this level." - José (09-Jan-2008)

"Excellent level, relatively short but well-built and not too difficult, there are beautiful colors and beautiful lighting, it is pleasant to go, there's no making head, everything goes well, this level may be suitable for all!" - Minox (03-Jan-2008)

"There are some very good looking areas in this level. I particularly liked the lighting - I never know whether such observations are entirely valid as I know nothing about level building, but it looked good to me. This is a fairly linear and straightforward level compared to some (which can be something of a relief at times) with the emphasis on exploration rather than difficult manoeuvres. And if you begin to wonder where all the enemies have got to, you’ll find out they are all waiting for you at the end of the level – bit of a boss ending, with an entire tribe of natives out to get you." - Jay (02-Jan-2008)

"Somehow I had initially picked a few of the longer BtB levels to play at the start, so I was happy to have an easier, more fluent and shorter one to play here at about 40 minutes. This is all rather straightforward and humble raiding, the three secrets easy to find, the tasks quite obvious yet well thought through and professionally put together, like when you get to drain the water in order to move on and then need to get back later to reach the exit. A few interesting camera angles are memorable and on the downside there is a passage where you run along walkways for quite a bit without really doing anything at all and that could maybe have been avoided or spiced up with a few traps, but those are minor gripes with an otherwise enjoyable and relaxing experience." - MichaelP (02-Jan-2008)

"The first room in a level, or first area, should always be something that can draw the player into the level. The bottom line is that one should never be stuck for a long time. Getting stuck is okay, it shows a nice level of difficulty, but not for the first room. If it wasn't for me finding out from someone else that Lara can climb the turning waterwheel, then I would have stayed stuck at this point. What a great effect this is, yet I think the builder could have done something (perhaps make Lara incessantly look at the front of this wheel?) in order to not make one want to quit the level already out of boredom and being clueless. Moving on, we find ourselves in a very simple, short and straightforward level. Gameplay is a little bit too linear and not very inventive I think, and did not keep me interested for very long. A lot of the same setups over and over... jump switches, wall switches, and raising blocks going up and down. The level also seems to follow in the footsteps of Crystal Dynamics by having a number of long winding, empty and useless passageways... which also causes one to have a few long and tedious gameplay moments. All in all, it is a very short played level and is over before one knows it, and it feels like it was rushed somehow or that not enough careful thought to the entire theme of the place and gameplay was put into this. Objects are placed nicely for the most part, even though I really did not understand the two bar doors placed on top of one another... this looked very strange to me. Also, as already mentioned, the repetitive nature of everything with the raising blocks got to me after a while. I also did not like how the final timed run to the Talisman on the high pedestal was so tight that one had to actually be on the raising block, as it was retracting already, yet standing on its invisible collision box. Why deliberately showcase the engine’s bugs like this? I found two secrets: the Uzi and the Shotgun... it's nice to find these guns as secrets, however there seems to be not enough (or even no) ammo lying around for these guys, so one can't really have fun with them. Music choices were quite alright, even though sometimes a little bit over dramatic... at the end I got the TRA Torso-boss theme to join me as I made my way out after finding the talisman, yet it actually got on my nerves because I was in no hurry to get out. The level had no real immersive atmosphere for me, and I cannot fully put my finger on as to why. I think it ties in with the lighting, that there is just nothing truly believable about it. Atmosphere is created via the lighting I think, and in this level we find odd blotches of blue, pink, purple, and green all over the place. Everything seems to be done to the extreme... no natural balancing tonnes anywhere. The water is also of such an intense blue colour that it looks very strange. Texturing is quite okay I think, even though I felt that in some cases the builder just tried to make use of every texture there was in the tga… from grass, to snow, to whatnot. The texturing nevertheless is what got the points in this case, and sadly the neon lighting everywhere took away some of the points. All in all it is not a bad level, but it just doesn't stand out to me as something creative or captivating." - Sethian (01-Jan-2008)

"Now here's an interesting BtoB entry; it's quite clearly made by an experienced builder (if I didn't already know)as the lighting is stunning and there are some great visual flourishes here and there,but the gameplay is all about fast moving action and hearty (well presented) battles with dino's and natives. It's almost as if the builder decided not to be a serious contender but simply wanted to put something together for a bit of fun;and what fun it is for the player! You are presented with 35 minutes of great action (two Waterwheel jumps in the first 3 minutes,aided by amusing camera angles;a fun pole-vaulting room;a really cheeky timed run which incorporates the collision area of a raising block as its solution;a superb climactic battle with multple baddies and rolling boulders,together with well chosen music,as a fun Finale. Throw a large tumbling Glacier and a neat water-draining sequence into the mix and you end up with a thoroughly enjoyable but quite unpretentious little adventure. The author must know that it isn't going to stand a chance against the 'big guns', but that somehow makes it all the more appealing to me. It's fun,and that's what counts in my book." - Orbit Dream (01-Jan-2008)

"Gameplay in this level is a pretty simple affair, but not necessarily brilliant. Most of the time we are given the task of pulling a lever to open a door, then collecting and using a puzzle item in order to reach some more levers and more doors. While there were some swing poles to navigate and a rollingball or two to dodge, the level stays at a pretty low level of excitement until the end. The final section of the level is probably the most exciting, with a few more traps to navigate and a bunch of enemies to fight that came out of nowhere. However, the use of loud and boss-fight style audio here was a bit too much, and it annoyingly looped forever even when I'd passed all of the traps and was just running around a bit. It would have made more sense to re-trigger the background audio used previously in the level. Texturing in the level was quite good, and I didn't notice many problems with it, apart from the odd placement of some textures. For example, lever textures were used as roofs, normal wall textures were used to hold levers, and door textures were randomly placed on certain walls. The lighting was also mostly good, with warm and cooler hues in different areas of the level. That said, there are some rooms where this idea goes out of the window, and is replaced with a number of psychedelic lights that made it look more like some kind of drug-infuelled nightmare than Peru. Objects in the level were lighted well, and mostly used in a believable way, although again there were some instances where they felt out of place. For example, the decision to place two doors on top of each other and have the bottom one raise up while the top one stays still was odd. I also noticed a top-half of a statue floating above the bottom half, and even though it was partially embedded into a wall it still didn't look right. In the same room, we are also required to exploit the invisible collision box on a lowering block in order to reach a higher ledge, when a trapdoor would have been more suitable. I found two secrets in this level, one of which has to be one of the most obviously placed secrets in any custom level, due to the fact that you actually run straight past it at one point. Cameras were used occasionally, although due to bad placement we got more that were for showing off Lara's waterwheel animation, and not enough for showing triggered doors and the like. While there are a lot of complaints I have about this level, if you are the type of person that wants an easy level to breeze through and doesn't mind the odd placement of textures/objects then it could still be quite fun." - Spike (01-Jan-2008)

"Interesting to read the other reviewer's comments as I had a totally different reaction to this one. The beginning room captured me with its creepy atmosphere and puzzling gameplay - I was hooked and was never disappointed throughout and that's with the trouble I had with the parallel bars(I seem to be the only one) and the challenge of the timed raising block which is classic TR and done with, perhaps, a gleam in the builder's eye. I really tried to look at this with a more critical viewpoint but no can do - I loved it. Great placement for secrets but could have used more ammo. Not a big criticism but the best I can do." - Bene (01-Jan-2008)

"I'll have to disagree with a lot of what's been said so far... This level was perfect in lighting and texturewise and there weren't ever any dull moments such as the usual pushing/pulling of boxes in endless puzzles. Everything is balanced and interesting, from puzzles to enemies and the settings, and the final part is truly accomplished with the apparently impossible timed run and all that follows topped with great climactic music. This one I must recommend." - Jorge22 (01-Jan-2008)
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