Level: Back to Basics 2008 - La Guardia del Monstruo back home search
Author(s): Cory Smith
total rating:6.67 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
eRIC 7 7 7 6
eTux 7 6 6 6
Eva 7 6 6 7
Gerty 6 7 6 7
Jay 7 8 8 8
JesseG 6 7 6 7
Jorge22 7 7 7 8
Jose 6 7 6 6
Kitkat 8 7 7 7
manarch2 6 6 5 4
MichaelP 6 7 6 6
Minox 7 8 8 8
Mman 4 4 5 5
Orbit Dream 8 7 7 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ravenwen 7 6 6 8
Relic Hunter 8 8 7 7
rjb 8 8 8 8
Ryan 6 6 6 6
Selene 8 7 7 7
Sethian 4 3 3 4
snork 8 8 7 7
category averages
(22 reviews)
6.77 6.73 6.45 6.73

Reviewer's comments

"This level has a somewhat austere and quite monotone appearance to it compared to most of the other BtB2008 levels I've played. It's also quite heavy on trap sequences rather than actual puzzles, although there are a couple of sequences that require a bit of thinking on the player's part. I did find the trap sequences repetitive and quite overwhelming at times, although they were quite well set up. Also, since I wasn't aware of the method used to cut the very long cage pushing sequence down, I ended up using all three of them regardless. Enemies are well enough placed, although I found the ending with the T-Rex quite abrupt and unsatisfying and for once the fixed cameras are used well. All in all, not a very overwhelming level, but at the same time it doesn't do a whole lot wrong, so might be worth a shot." - Ryan (11-Apr-2018)

"The resources in this level are put to a rather functional use, as the design elements are merely basic, but the gameplay definately has its moments, especially in the use of creative traps. Built in a very linear way, there are no confusing moments, just straightforward puzzles and traps, it's not a level that puts your thinking cap on, but the fast flow is nice enough for 30 enjoyable minutes. Only that pushable puzzle should've been cut down considerably, as it's the only halt of the level. The enemies are decently used, I also liked the boss fight with the T-Rex where at least a bit of a challenge is maintained by the search for the shotgun in the same room (otherwise it's just the well known method of taking him down with one shot); the sole secret is not hidden very well (there should've been a second secret that doesn't register). As said before the looks are rather simplistic, with a very basic architecture in most rooms (though there are nice ways to return to the hub room again and again), monotonous and sometimes odd and pretty faulty texturing and not totally bland, but unexciting lighting and not very well lit objects - one can feel a certain charm in the visuals at times, but it's often just very amateurish. Overall an okay first pick in my BtB '08 playthrough." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"This is a pretty basic entry, with the majority of the gameplay being in cramped corridors with wrongly-lit objects and not-great texturing. There's nothing too badly wrong, but there's nothing especially good looking either. The gameplay is quite trap and puzzle based, however it also has one of the most dull and overlong block puzzles I've ever seen, and in general it feels lacking in energy despite the various action sequences; there's little to bring it together and it just feels like a bunch of random ideas. It does link up occasionally which suggests some sophistication but it mostly just ends up resulting in more backtracking. After playing a string of good to great Back To Basics levels this feels kind of disappointing." - Mman (06-Nov-2012)

"I'm starting to wonder whether the builders collaborated to give the players a hard time for this competition. However, this level was more genuinely fun. You must ward off tiny dinos, raptors, and finally a t-rex - which was unfortunately a mandatory kill, and while he kicks the bucket with one shotgun round, you only have 6 chances total to finish the level. You also face sliding spike traps, blade traps, falling boulders, and several pushable block puzzles. More unfortunate obstacles include unmarked death tiles and pressure pads, along with transparent walls with no indication that you can walk through some parts of them. While there is some intelligent design to it - such as you learn to expect the highest columns in one puzzle room to make Lara burn - it's still quite the communication gap between the author and the player. Atmosphere is pretty nice, but Lara's "old man" grunts when she hits walls are a bit uncanny, and some doors are missing sounds. There are hardly any camera cues for the switches. Another flaw is that if you miss a certain switch or pickup before completing a route, you have a long way to backtrack. Texturing is decent, but some tall rooms show their stretch marks. It's a nice raid in the long run, just a bit too torturous for my taste." - SSJ6Wolf (27-Nov-2008)

"This one hour quest Peruvian level offers a lot in terms of puzzles and traps, all in a straightforward progression , with the occasional re-entrance to an area already visited. We can notice some of Cory Ďs trademarks in the puzzles department with pad/trapped/patterned tiles creative variations of puzzles. Although not impressive nor polished, the setting is solidly made. I found the level rather dark and I missed flares. An entertaining level with a fluent flow." - eRIC (21-Sep-2008)

"This level is one long gauntlet of traps interspersed with areas where dinosaurs attack Lara! A walk in the park it isnít. (Unless it is Jurassic Park you are walking through!) But it is a thoroughly enjoyable dino infested gauntlet with no one task being too difficult to do or trap too hard to overcome Ė Just enough to keep you alert and on the look out for danger. The architecture is solid if not especially complex and the texturing is good, the lighting in places is a little on the dark side but that has a nice juxtaposition to the bright outdoors areas. (I like that.) And there are a couple of good uses of fixed cameras to help with puzzles. This is a fun, frill-free raid." - Kitkat (07-May-2008)

"Although it's not a great level, it's playable with simple and easy tasks, except at the end 'cause you had to look for the shotgun with the monster behind you. Very few pickups, only a big medipack in the secret and the shotgun and some small medipacks at the end, where are the flares to light the dark areas?!!!? This was not acceptable for me. Some fixed cameras but not camera shots when you pull some switches can get you disoriented sometimes. Few musics, simple architecture and not very well textured, but as I said the level is playable." - Josť (23-Jan-2008)

"Trap galore although not as bad as I thought it would be. At least it kept me on my toes LOL. There are some minor gripes, as Lara didnít reflect in the mirror room that makes it a bit awkward to move. Between the fast pace of the game the block puzzle slowed it almost down to a stop. I also would have liked flares in this level, as I donít recall finding them. as it was rather dark at my end. The level does end a bit abrupt as shooting the T-rex was the ending and if you found the shotgun, it is over in a second (so to speak)." - Gerty (20-Jan-2008)

"Now this would have been a very enjoyable level, if certain details were organized in a different way. The beginning is very promising and puts you in the mood of a fascinating adventure, but as you move on all you have to deal with is traps, traps, traps and - did I mention the traps? Personally I love trap sequences in games, but in this particular one although they work so well at the beginning, after a while you start having the impression that all these obstacle courses were put there just for the sake of it. It's neither that they are many nor that they are tough (because they aren't), rather than the fact that the way they are arranged they result in being repetitive and even tiring. There are many good ideas put in this level that however are somehow poorly realized, and not elaborated enough. On the other hand, there are some situations that sort of made me feel impatient - like, an unnecessarily long pushblock routine (in a nonetheless beautiful exterior setting) or the T-Rex fight at the end which can only be achieved in a certain way, otherwise you are stuck there pistol-shooting for an eternity (or so it seems, at least)." - Ravenwen (15-Jan-2008)

"Being the lover of trap feasts I am this was quite the level for me. There were some in every room, the whole array from spears, blades and boulders to fires and spiked logs. Most of the level was all about finding a way to get past a trap unharmed. This was, truth be told, the main challenge of the level. There were quite a few puzzles too, but in reality they were rather easily solved. The only thing that really made me frown here was the mirror room with the fires. You canít see Lara in the mirror, so I only got past that room mostly by trial and error. Thereís only one key to find and there were hardly any other pickups (apart from in the final room, but who has the time to stroll around harvesting goodies at that point?). I found one secret, which was rather nicely hidden, yet not very difficult to find. There were few enemies, but the level made up for that by adding a final boss- a good feature indeed and an action-packed end sure was provided for. The level ended a bit abruptly, but it took me a bit over an hour to play and left me feeling most satisfied. Apparently the builder knows the basics and how to successfully create a fully playable and enjoyable level, but there are some lacks in terms of atmosphere here. The textures were rather well applied (a bit stretched in some areas, but never mind that) and the lighting varied from vivid and atmospheric in certain rooms to downright dull and flat in others. I felt that there were a bit too many passages and hallways and the rooms could easily have been elaborated into a bit more than just a simple run-through or one easily solved puzzle/trap gauntlet to navigate through. Inexperienced raiders might become a bit overwhelmed by some of the traps and if youíre not the person to enjoy one trap gauntlet after another, this level may not be your cup of tea. Personally I found it to be quite an enjoyable little venture and it gets my full recommendations." - Selene (07-Jan-2008)

"This Level I didnt like really...There were too many traps (for my taste), sometimes blades, spears and rolling balls in multi combination. This took away my delight in playing this level. Also the Levelbuilder was very stingy with medipacks and flares... at the end I had only one small medipack left. Lara has to search a key to open an area where a monster lurks around, and she has to fight aganist it. The finish was also a bit curious. First, I didnt know at all what I had to do...After runnig around for a long time I read in the forums what I had to do - the Level ends, when the monster ist killed..." - Eva (04-Jan-2008)

"I am mixed on this level, I found that there were too many traps, and too repetitive. These funds were to push too tiring, I did not find this level very difficult although well-built, these miror room were pretty but lara not reflected inside. This is a good level accessible to all." - Minox (02-Jan-2008)

"Good traps and well placed boulders make this an interesting trip to the ruins of Peru. Thereís also good use made of mirror rooms and boulders (yes, sometimes boulders are our friends). My T-Rex (the monster of the title) didnít want to play initially; he just stood still by the wall, grinning at me. If that happens to you, just reload and hopefully heíll be frisky enough for you to kill him because thatís what triggers the end of the level." - Jay (02-Jan-2008)

"After a bright and 'calm' start that might encourage a complacent player to be careless, we move fairly smartly into a set of traps that are not so easy, especially if we wish to preserve full health. I thought the swinging, spiked rollers were good (nice creaking wood-joint sounds) and also those locations where combinations of trap were used together - sudden, warning music adding to the tension. And when a native approached us while within such a trap ... ! There were a few frustrating occasions when we didn't know what a lever or the like had done, where cameras would have helped considerably; couple this with a flare pick-up early on for the darker areas and those frustrating moments would have been diminished almost to zero. I think the word 'exhilarating' would not be too far from the mark at times during this game, as on a number of occasions we would be surprised by what was waiting around the next corner. The many and varied traps seemed (to me) to be very much in keeping with what we might surmise a secretive and suspicious Amazon Forest native might set up, to guard his treasures, and they added greatly to the atmosphere. The long moveable block puzzle (in a nice open-air setting - here not free from sudden attack, either); the not-hugely-varied decor in some rooms and passages; what seemed to be a rather quickly-made final area (in contrast to that bright, open-air jungle clearing), with several SMPs and a shotgun to find; and the suddenness of the ending (the last two of these perhaps to meet the deadline?) have been mentioned as adverse points but I thought the game as a whole was constructed well (speaking with my beta-testing hat on) and followed a nice, logical pattern. (Again, though, I think a few cameras would significantly have aided players' appreciation of this [my 'atmosphere/sound/cameras' score would have been 9 had there been the cameras].) To suggest that this is a 'poor' "3,4" type game is utter nonsense in my view and totally unfair as an assessment of it. The builder has clearly put thought into many of the placements in this game: enemies unexpected; traps so that you could get through them all without harm if you were careful (I could [just!] complete the game with an undamaged health bar); and a solid construction with few flaws, none serious (there were invisible blocks on doors in the multi-door passages and we couldn't hoist out of the water over the tunnel in the first room, eg). To down-mark it so much because of a few disliked aspects seems especially mean. I do hope that review has not discouraged this builder from making further attempts with the level editor. As most other reviewers have suggested, surely this is more of a "7,8" type game. (24 mins at 'fast' pace.)" - rjb (02-Jan-2008)

"Traps, traps and then some more traps. This 40 minute long adventure is quite the ride. But don't worry - if you apply a little caution, all of the traps are not that hard to master and the progression is actually quite fluent. The setting is fairly basic but if my guess about the author is right, this is still quite a step ahead from previous work. Enemies are actually rather few and there are two pushable puzzles which pan out the gameplay time a bit, although the first one is not too bad if you ignore the unnecessary two other boxes and solve it all with the same one. Some good ideas with texture hints and two mirror rooms add to the experience and at the end you reach the expected 'Monstruo' and when you kill it with the shotgun the level abruptly ends." - MichaelP (02-Jan-2008)

"A solid effort is presented by the builder of this level, whom I assumed may either be new to the LE scene or someone who has made improvement from past attempts. This level has most of its gameplay revolving around the use of traps and the ability to avoid them, and some careful observation is needed to be able to overcome them as well. The gameplay is done well and provides a good amount of excitement and adrenaline, and blends in a pinch of puzzle solving as well. Some areas of the level are a bit uninspired and seemed unfinished, by that I mean it had an incredibly linear solution which would consist of simply pulling a switch, but luckily this was a rare case in the level. The pushblock puzzle in the outdoor area was rather uninspired though and kind of tedious, even though it was easy to figure out, the time needed to push all the cages on their right spots was the annoying factor. Enemies were placed quite well and didn't overwhelm me at any point, and the objects were used well too, except in the case of one of the mirror rooms, where Lara's reflection didn't show and I had to guess the correct path a few times because of a bad viewing angle. The weakpoints of the level were mainly the architecture and texturing. Many of the rooms were quite boxy in shape and there was an abundance of narrow corridors which gave a claustrophobic feel, which don't suit my taste personally. Yet the lighting makes up for the category, which gives some interesting shades of color that are rather realistic in most areas, and a touch of surreality here and there. Still, this level is entertaining and solid, with logical progression, fun traps, and some puzzles to solve on the way. Good for a little over half-an-hour of fun raiding." - Relic Hunter (01-Jan-2008)

"This was the first BtB-08 level I played. So, some general words about the wad and tga that don't really apply to this specific level: Great wad, great objects, great tga. Moving on to the level itself: this level sadly does not make good use of the great wad and tga given. I try to always tell myself to be nicer, yet then I also try to remind myself to be honest. So, with levels like this, I find myself going through an internal struggle of my good and evil sides, and even when I try to walk away from the level and come back at a later date, I find myself in painful agony. So here we go: The gameplay for this level was not what it could have been. It isn't non-existent, it isn't bad, but it just isn't good or enjoyable. It is just below average for me. What stands out the most is the tedious block puzzle early on in the level. Lara must get three blocks across an entire room onto certain pressure pads. It is one of those long winded unnecessary and un-enjoyable block puzzles that we all know, and even though these things are infamous as to how much we dislike them, certain builders still find a way of thinking: ďHey, let's create the most annoying block puzzle I can come up with. Why? Not because itís good, not because people like it, not because itís original, but simply because I can! Muhahahaha!Ē It is one of those puzzles where we push for a bit, pull for a bit, roll, run around the block, push, pull, turn to the other side, and again and again. All in all, this long-winded pushable puzzle was not neccesary. Enemies are placed okay, and I didn't mind any of them until the T-Rex at the very end. Since it is a Setha enemy, and since I couldnít find a shotgun in the level (my bad I guess...) I could not kill the damn thing. I also couldnít find anything else to do in that large badly textured and unlit boss-fight room, and so decided to guess and hope that somewhere around here was the end of the level and it was safe for me to stop playing. If someone ever figures out what to do here, I'd be happy to be notified... not that I will ever replay it. Objects arenít placed too great either: in the beginning we have some wooden stakes hovering above the ground, and in that famous pushable puzzle room I already mused about, we have an overdose of green foliage and plants, to the point that at times I couldnít even see what on earth Lara was doing and where she had gone. The only thing I thought was in any way inventive and good with objects were some of the trap gauntlets the player had to run through. I only found one secret, after which a raptor attacked me... which was nice... so a point for that. Cameras could have been used better. Some cameras showing doors opening would have been nice. Instead all I remember was a fixed camera in some room with pressure pads and door sound effects, and that camera only made things more frustrating as opposed to helping or 'setting the scene'. Atmosphere ties into Lighting: could have used a lot of work. Strange blotches of red, purple, and blue here and there... did not look realistic or pleasant in most cases, and in some rooms lighting even seemed non-existent or just too flat. Texturing also had a lot of wallpapering, and an extensive repetition of the same stone brick texture. I really think a lot could have been done with this level, and could still be done with this level, if the builder so chooses. If this was the builder's first level, then he/she shows a nice start with experimenting with trap ideas and tutorial type set-ups, and should definitely continue building... if it was not the builders very first level then I am at a loss of words." - Sethian (01-Jan-2008)

"Why didn't I particularly liked this level even though I found it cleverly designed? First of all, it's a trap festival from the beginning to the end, a little too many traps for my liking... I mean fantasy's fantasy and I enjoy it. Realism is realism and I enjoy it. But this is just way over the edge. Then, there is a cage puzzle that's quite tedious and could've been done in half the time. Then, there's a mirror room with fires but Lara's image isn't reflected - I dislike mirror rooms anyway but where the hell did the author get this idea? Then, there's a total lack of camera work throughout the level. Finally, I could have spent my entire day fighting that T-Rex in the end (or given up) if I hadn't read that there was a skeleton with a shotgun. All that and the music that sounds a bit too dramatic are minuses in my book. Remains the fact that the level is cleverly designed, yes... Which gives me mixed feelings on how to rate the level. I guess I'll (subjectively) rate it as an interesting albeit somewhat irritating level, which it was for me." - Jorge22 (01-Jan-2008)

"So I already started praying in hope that this is not a first timer, to see above sentence come true. As I feel this is somewhat neither the place to lengthy brag about one's own nicety and sincerity nor to publish an essay about pushing block puzzles and one's general dislike for them, I'll skip that bit. Don't be fooled : there is a three-minute pushing puzzle I did not see the need for, but it is just one tiny bit of this level. And for those of us who really don't like that (as me :D ), You can shorten it by staying with the first pushable - no need to move the other two. It is just one of the incredibly many and very diverted tasks to be enjoyed by in this level, that actually uses about every bit of the Wad there is (I think). So everyone go ahead and play it, it should be fun to most of us.
Architecture was good in some parts and not so great in others. I liked the twist that brought me back through the door that so annoyingly stayed shut before and one of my favourites is the room with the fixed camera and the four doors to open by stepping here but not there. Another favourite of mine was when I tried to overcome this combined trap of horizontal swinging blade and retracting spears by the most courageous and perfectly timed jump, only to ...(no_spoiler) - that made me laugh out loud. Enemy placement is good, secrets could have been more - I feel this builder should be able to have perfectly balanced ones in their level, not too easy, not far too difficult. Alas, there is just the one. Objects - Having played and peeked into only few BtB-Peru levels so far I nonetheless think there is not much in the Wad that was not used here. Next thing to go for could be object lighting.Very few pickups, good! Cameras there are only few , but ever since I played Ego's levels I no longer think that this has to be a bad thing. The lack of cameras showing each and every next step to take, at least for me it has me better memorize the level. So as long as the size of the area to search is reasonable that's OK with me. Athmosphere - I am not sure, I guess it mostly rose from the gameplay. I was so busy playing that I did not watch out for athmosphere; the same goes for sound - should be a good thing. Lighting / colouring is indeed very strong here, a bit as in 'surreal' levels, but as the level soon requires all of the player's attention on the traps and what have You this goes rather unnoticed and later on it grew on me and I liked it. Though with parts being very dark I could have done with a pack of flares. That is the one complaint I have. The other one is the ending. The T-Rex room is really not well textured or lighted and the abrupt end once el monstruo is taken care of left no time to enjoy Victory.
So, as rating is free - some even rate a 10 on 'titanic' ;-) - what to do now? Follow the example of famous reviewers and rate all 10 to compensate for someone else's ridiculously low rating? Or stay with my own understanding of honesty ? Hm, as I expect the BtBs to get many reviews, one outlier should not matter too much." - snork (01-Jan-2008)

"This level is shaping up to be the 'Mallorys Trail' of BtoB2008,in that you either love its particular style of gameplay or you hate it;there's probably no in-between. In my case,it's just my sort of thing as you get a wide variety of tasks and challenges to accomplish,most of which are quite inventive and ingenious - a few,less so (the long pushable 3-block sequence is a fairly blatant means of prolonguing the level's duration).Nonetheless it's a diverting and fun raid and builds to an exciting Finale with a proper honest-to-goodness 'End of level Boss fight',which we really don't get to see very often. Indeed,the style of the Finale (as soon as the creature dies the level ends)rather sums up that of the level as a whole - there are very few frills and fanciful details here;no ornate architecture nor realistic depiction of outdoor locations.Instead it's full-on quick-fire adventuring of the "avoid nasty trap,solve smart puzzle and then avoid another nasty trap immediately after" variety,all of it compentantly if unspectacularly put together. If this is what appeals to you in a custom level(as it certainly does me)then you'll certainly enjoy it. Those who prefer subtle puzzling and non-linearity will be best catered for elsewhere." - Orbit Dream (01-Jan-2008)

"Quite a competent and fast paced game in this years competition's set with a fairly linear course and gameplay that puts emphasis on traps. The looks are unspectacular and will offer no memorable vistas as such, but overall are done well enough to keep you interested till the end of it. I enjoyed the fast pace thoroughly and all of the puzzles are pleasantly simple, so that I dare say every player out there could figure out what to do in them in a matter of minutes. What I enjoyed less were some inconsistent moments made up of some questionable choices from the author's parts. The lowlight being the 3 movable block puzzle that seems was put in the level for the sole purpose of dragging your play time as much as possible. Other than that there were also odd contrasts in the difficulty of the game - namely the fairly simple puzzles and linear flow and then suddenly you're thrown into a trap-a-thlon that would take expert players several tries to get through safely. I don't mind difficult tasks as such, but I think it would've left a better impression in my view if the level had somehow logically built up to them, and not just thrown you into the middle of it. For example I think the trap hallways would've made a good ending of the level after Lara kills the T-Rex, as the approach taken here seemed too abrupt for me. There's no cliffhanger suggesting a sequel (the beast drops dead, Lara is victorious) and there's really no time to digest the events or the aftermath as well. But that may as well be me, and all the quirks, despite ruining the experience a bit for me, kind of fit into the concept of the level, so I just suggest to play and see it for yourself." - eTux (01-Jan-2008)

"I rang in the new year with this level and review, and a fine experience it was indeed. I would classify this more as trap-oriented than task-oriented, fraught with spikes, phantom tiles and very real dinosaurs, but it's a rip-snortin' raid that will occupy you for the better part of an hour. Others have derided the tedious three-block puzzle, but what kept it from being unforgivable for me were (a) the effective use of foliage in this area and (b) the fact that it took place in the wide outdoors. The overall ambiance is darker than I normally would like, but in this case the darkness fit the mood of the level remarkably well. Although I don't recall finding many if any flares along the way, I have no problem or qualms about providing my own, so I was able to get along splendidly. The builder has given us a competent, challenging raid, and we need to encourage his or her continued output. Recommended." - Phil (01-Jan-2008)
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