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Level: Back to Basics 2008 - The Lost Inca Outpost back home search
Author(s): mugs
total rating:7.83 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 8 8 9 7
Chronicles5 8 9 10 10
dmdibl 8 8 9 9
eTux 6 6 7 6
Eva 8 7 9 8
Gerty 5 7 8 6
Gill 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 5 6 8 7
Jorge22 9 9 9 9
Jose 7 8 7 9
Kitkat 8 8 9 9
manarch2 6 6 6 6
MichaelP 9 7 9 8
Minox 9 8 9 8
Mman 7 8 9 7
Moonpooka 9 9 10 10
Orbit Dream 5 7 9 9
Phil 8 8 9 9
Ravenwen 8 7 8 8
Relic Hunter 8 9 8 8
Ryan 7 7 8 8
Selene 7 7 8 8
Sethian 8 6 7 6
category averages
(24 reviews)
7.46 7.54 8.38 7.96

Reviewer's comments

"Quite an original beginning, with Lara being shoved off an edge by a raptor. Not sure if that was intended but it surely served as a unique beginning to a unique raid. Be on the lookout for deviously (maybe even unfairly) hidden vases that are safely tucked away in small crevices so that they cannot be discerned easily. There is also a difficult rope swing where you should aim to the left of your precise destination, an invisible shotgun secret item and some tight timed runs. All of these add up to a different kind of raid that may not appeal to everyone, although I admired the work put into it." - Ryan (14-May-2017)

"The level is dividable in two parts, one mainly taking part outside and one inside. While the exterior part is the more atmospheric one, with a rather well designed valley setting and nice use of waterfalls, it's a bit low on interesting gameplay (there are also several unused parts or long passages you can pass that leave you just with a large medipack). The latter half contains better gameplay ideas (like two nice timed runs, a cryptic but solvable pushable puzzle, a rather nice platforming sequence with ropes and poles and rather well used vase shatters) but the atmosphere is more cramped and the looks are tending to be monotonous. From the intriguing start on that the level lives from its tiny ideas and not because of the big picture. There are a lot of avoidable beginner type mistakes, as misplaced objects (the ladder at the start, some floating ones), the first native appearing out of thin air, music stopping halfway through a flyby, one or two paper thin walls, odd geometry in some parts, not very refined lighting - all in all I must say it's a typically short Mugs level. She has proven to be able to provide high quality releases but some of her other levels stand behind that a bit. It's also extremely short this time at not even 15 minutes spent here, being the shortest BtB level of the bunch, and the sole secret is a bit odd too. Actually it has something to offer in any regard, but there are downsides in any regard as well - at the end of the day it's short, enjoyable for the good parts and the negative things are not that bad in comparison." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2016)

"I really like the outdoor section that provides the hub of this map; it has a scale that feels impressive while also being tightly designed, and finally getting to the temple at the end is nice. It really feels like some small lost valley in the mountains. Unfortunately the visuals are a bit mixed past that area; the lighting is frequently pretty flat, and there quite a few stretched textures and other issues.
The gameplay is quite heavily based on semi-obscure actions, but it's acceptable because the clues are there, even if they're slightly lateral compared to many levels. There's also some nice timed runs and other challenges, although overall the level could have done with a couple more traps or similar. The major flaw is that an essential key is hidden behind a small crawlspace in one room, and if you miss it you have to do tons of backtracking to get it. The level would have flowed much better if you trapped in the area where the crawlspace is until you find it. It also has an abrupt ending (especially with the temple structure being in view for the whole level). A good level with some nice areas but it could be better." - Mman (06-Nov-2012)

"I saw this level posted as a screenshot in the quess the screenie thread, and was instantly drawn to its beautiful scenery. I was not disappointed and the game brought with it some stunning textures and beautiful temple rooms. I started by being shoved off a hugh ledge by a raptor; very amusing i must say, and as he doesn't manage to cause Lara much harm, his friends will do so later on. There are also some warrior dudes hanging about, and the first one pushes Lara off the top of the waterfall if you don't see him sneaking up behind you. After a trek down to the pool below for a mask and some goodies you can then take a jaunt up to the higher temple area. There's a block puzzle to sort out to open a door, and then lara will visit a water wheel room. I love the water wheel object; it's fun to use and a great addition to any level. Within the temple you will meet the raptors' mates, and a few smaller dinos, some more warriors and a few bats. There's also a couple of fab timed runs. Lara will be searching for the temple key to finish the level, but her journey is not an easy one. There are a few pots to shoot in small garps and i had no idea what to do, so thank goddness there was a walkie to hand. The secret was also a tad weird as you stood outside the area to pick it up. After a nice rope swing/slope/pole jump, Lara is nearly home and dry and eventually she opens the way to the final temple. In all this was a beautiful level, full of fun gameplay and adventurous atmosphere. Lara looked great and so did her surroundings. I'm so glad I didn't let this one get away." - Moonpooka (05-Dec-2008)

"In the race for the most unfair level, this adventure has earned the previously unclaimed bronze medal. It won a large boost during the run by employing a unmarked pressure pad for a pushable crate, which I managed to find by accident, coupled by a remarkably large use of tiny spaces in walls hiding shootable urns that open doors or drop ropes (never understood that connection...must be electromagnetic or something) which are barely discernible in these spaces. You also cannot distinguish them from non-shootable urns so you end up wasting time shooting every single one. On top of that you encounter a secret that contains nothing but a shotgun covered completely in the ground (found that by accident as well) and a crawlspace that you can only get stuck in if you mange to enter it. There are also quite a number of illegal slopes for you to get stuck on too, and the aforementioned rope has Lara flying through the walls as you swing on it. Aside from this, the attempt at atmosphere is certainly well done, with a beautiful, large outdoor setting with waterfalls and such complimented by tomb settings. However I started to notice all the squished and stretched textures, as well as the bad triangle textures, and the lighting isn't very varied, though a contrast of light/dark is at least utilized. During your quest you find a "key for piece" and two other pickups that turn out to be a waste of time at the end. Brace yourself for a few frustrations, but go ahead and check it out at least for the looks." - SSJ6Wolf (25-Nov-2008)

"The beginning is of this level is totally original, I don’t think I have ever been put on the right track at the beginning of a level by a raptor before! (I also thought the medipack that couldn’t be reached – well I couldn’t reach it anyway – was a nice throw back to the original Core levels.) There are some interesting manoeuvres to make: rope and monkey swings and a timed run over the waterwheel, several were pretty difficult. I enjoyed the target practice element of finding the vases to shoot – some of which were well hidden. I have to admit I didn’t find the secret – well, I heard the chime – but as I later found out it was invisible so I don’t feel too bad about it! I enjoyed my time at the Lost Inca Outpost." - Kitkat (08-May-2008)

"This, my first level of the Contest 2008 pleased me very well. Highly above over a valley, Lara reaches a rock landscape, one sees the temple plants over the mountain-slope and already knows, where the way will lead one. However to find the way is not so simple as it seems . It goes over a well camouflaged monkeyswing into further rock columns. In the long run Lara clears the way to the temple and on the inside waits still some mysteries.Finally Lara reaches the pyramid, with which the level is already at the end. Sounds were quite well used, enemys it gave not too many. The level had some very well hidden columns and monkeyswings , exact looking for it and very good looking is here necessarily... fine made!!" - Eva (18-Feb-2008)

"This is a fitting conclusion to an exceptional 2008 BtB competition. The opening section takes place in the scenic outdoors, and the builder has obviously gone to great lengths to give us an eye-pleasing environment. Even when the action goes indoors, there is ample ambient lighting, and the few dark places are strategically placed and are easily remedied with the use of a flare. My first (and ill-advised) review focused on what I felt was an unfair rope swing near the end, coming right on the heels of a time-consuming search for a jug to shoot, which made the rope available in the first place. But then I remembered that such situations are the reason why the flycheat has been made available to incompetents such as myself, so after zooming past the trouble spot I finished the level with a much improved taste in my mouth. There's much to like about this level, despite the occasional rough spots. Even though I felt at times over the past six weeks that Peru was starting to come out of my ears, I'm sorry that there are no more levels left for me to play in this series. I can't imagine how next year's competition can possibly top this one. Recommended." - Phil (13-Feb-2008)

"Very, very obscure push puzzle, lots of places with illegal slopes and even some when Lara gets stuck and you have to reload. Big question marks why have identical vases that one can shoot but others won’t shatter? Textures could really use more attention as there are way too many that are squashed and/or in need of rotating. At the end, climbing that pyramid (that was a great feature at the start though) I saw some un-textured bits, as I was dead curious about that other room behind the fence and as I couldn’t get in there using the binoculars was the next best thing. Funny thing is that with the timed runs in here, the one in the waterwheel was quite frustrating but the other one with the pull wheel I just couldn’t get, so a saved game from a friend was in order. I just plain hate that." - Gerty (13-Feb-2008)

"This was quite a beautiful level, and I agree with some of the other reviews that it got off to a great start. This was my first level I've played in years, and I was excited at the beginning. The first flyby was nice and gave you a nice lay of the land. The areas are beautifully textured and well layed out. Lighting was mostly highlights and shadows, I don't remember much color. The sound in this level was spot on which I think is essential for a good level. Objects were well placed, though I had to backtrack to find the key of peace. You definitely don't get much help in this level. As far as gameplay: Some of the time this level kept me guessing, looking for the next switch or crevice to crawl through. However, the majority of the puzzles were easy - pull this switch to open this door to insert this key to pull another switch, but then suddenly you're hit with a really tough timed run that required many saves and loads to complete. So I guess the gameplay was a bit unbalanced, much of it was too easy and the rest was very hard. The timed run was well thought out though, but another second or so would have been appreciated =D The only way I made it up to the crevice was because of the bug where Lara can stand on the box while it's going down. But I made it! Anyway, it took me a while to do the timed run, and I appreciated how it lasted exactly as long as the music - perfect. In the room with the ruined bridge, I couldn't figure out how to get the secret. I heard the secret sound but couldn't find anything. Lara kept getting stuck in many of the crawlspaces in this level, very claustrophobic! I got stuck again on the rope swing to the sloped ledge - I had to do this probably 50 times before I got it right. I swung over many times but Lara was always on the side of the slope and could not reach the bar. That was tough! Also I would have fixed it so Lara didn't swing through the wall while gaining momentum to jump. Kind of weird to watch. I enjoyed the second waterwheel room and didn't encounter any bugs. The timed run there was easier but still fun to do. I also enjoyed dropping down to the switch I had seen before, in the first waterwheel room. This level often gave me that feeling of going full circle. Anyway at the end you get to check out the pyramid - if you can survive 3 Incan warriors! Overall a fun level, certainly well- designed. Took me about fifty minutes to complete and I found one secret. I would play it again someday." - Chronicles5 (08-Feb-2008)

"After playing about ten minutes, I thought that this level would score highly on my contest list. First a raptor knocks Lara down a hole--an original touch. Then you see a lovely flyby of a valley and temple outpost, a wonderful world with realistic construction. Lara practically trips over the laser sight, so right at the beginning you think the author is on your side. Then Lara pushes the base of an idol aside and there is a mask. Then drop to a lake and monkey swing over vines [not texture, but vines] to a hidden crawlspace and drop down to get the revolver. There is a low crevice in the rock, but it is obvious that Lara has to shoot a vase through this to open a door. The above actions take some exploration, so this looks like a great little adventure. But soon, going down stairs to a waterwheel there is another crevice, this one easily missed, that Lara has to shoot through. And another crevice. And there is a major area with an idol that is easy to miss. Finding the crowbar and beetle turns out to be the "booby prize"--maybe not the best way to endear yourself to players. And things like the invisible secret, or the medipack that could never be reached threw me. If a player falls for only one of the author's gags it brings game play to a halt. Maybe just the author trying to be too clever for the contest. I was very disappointed that the level did not continue as it began because it was so promising. I tended to rate this on the initial open area landscape, as that was so well done." - dmdibl (04-Feb-2008)

"If you haven't played this, be prepared: you will encounter a Monkey Swing with no discernible texture to separate it from surroundings(at least for me) and an invisible shotgun....ok... the shotgun was fun but not so the Monkey Swing. There's an interesting jump swing that you'll have to experiment to get the right trajectory but that doesn't take long. The ending seemed abrupt and since we already have a crowbar we have yet to use, perhaps there's a part two coming up....one can only hope as it will be sure to display the same type of originality with a touch of sneakiness that adds to any fun Raid." - Bene (27-Jan-2008)

"It's necessary you explore very very well each room of this no-lineal level, 'cause it's easy you miss some very well hidden vases or arrive to the places with no items to can use, so you'll have to go back and look around wasting a lot of time. There are some difficult tasks too as the swing with the rope to get the slope and the pole or the tight timed run over the beams after turning the wheel-switch so you can't expect a pleasure tour through the jungle. The best I liked was the architecture, lights and textures; the only secret is easy to find and there are not much enemies, but well placed. Finally, I didn't understand what the crowbar and the beetle was for; could it be the relic Lara was looking for?" - José (23-Jan-2008)

"Ironically this was the very first level I started - and though the whole level is fairly compact I got confused soon, and abandoned it to try other levels, which all ended with me replaying and finishing this as my last level of this year's competition. Unfortunately on the whole I'd say this is another one that just didn't do it for me. I didn't find it to be a bad level, it kind of exists nicely on its own terms - but I had a hard time figuring out what exactly they were. On at least a couple of occasions you can travel pretty far into the level only to find you're missing out on a vital item. Luckily (for the player) in case of the mask - you don't even need to place it, as whatever placing it in its receptacle would've achieved - was achieved by simply stepping on the same tile as well. Not so in the case of the Key of Peace item, which is conveniently placed in a crawlspace you can easily miss. But that, along with the sneaky monkey-swingable vines, hard-to-spot switches and a movable block puzzle that didn't make much sense - wasn't that much of an issue for me, as they seem to be the run of the mill kind of stuff you're exposed to in most levels anyway. The sneaky vases were more of a problem for me. It's not a bad gameplay idea as such - but it would be easier to appreciate the shootable vases, if identical-looking non-shootable vases wouldn't be lying around just as idly. There's nothing wrong with a little misleading here and there, but overall I thought this level could've used more coherence and minor issues like those amounted to big fun killer moments eventually. The texturing is chaotic on the whole as well, but overall it's a nice environment to be lost in. I found 1 secret, but didn't spot any pickups there." - eTux (22-Jan-2008)

"A colourful and rather fast-paced level - despite the couple of times where I got a bit stuck and the two timed runs - although a bit too brief. There are a few pleasantly surprising features, like rooms opening up behind tiny crawlspaces, well-hidden vases to shoot so as to open gates and the inventive use of the water-wheel. The gameplay in general is rather smooth and nicely organized; although there are not always cameras to guide you, you can easily figure out towards where your next step must be, as the rooms are closely connected to each other, and there are no vast areas to get you lost. Overall, a nice, pleasant and quite cleverly-made level, finishes a bit abruptly though and you end up with an item you never used (at least I didn't)." - Ravenwen (15-Jan-2008)

"As this was the first level I played, it was a good beginning and a nice start to the Back to Basics levels for 2008. One just needs to have a keen eye out here, as there are some things to shoot and some very well hidden crawl places to find, that have important item pick-ups, which one can easily miss, if one is not too careful. With push block puzzles to solve and some tricky jumps to overcome and challenging timed runs to master, makes this level adventure quite challenging and entertaining and fun at times, which in turn, gave me some memorable moments of enjoyable game-play. The layouts and textures of each room blended in just nicely and was well balanced out and designed, by this author, which well suited this kind environment and style to enhance the game-play perfectly for a nice little Lara adventure in Peru." - Gill (12-Jan-2008)

"This was my first Back to Basics level to play and I must admit that I was both sceptical and curious as to how it would work out using Peru as a theme. This sure featured a rather mellow start in a large outdoor area with a temple and even a pyramid. Something which struck me while playing this level was that the outdoors seemed so intimidating with a lot of ground to cover, but at the same time the path is always clearly laid out in front of the player. The gameplay is varied, perhaps with exception of the abundance of pots and urns to shoot. Speaking of which, these actually got me a bit frustrated at times. The pots all look more or less the same, but not all of them serve any purpose whatsoever and you’ll have to run around and try shooting them all just in case. However, I did enjoy the fact that some of them were very well hidden and this was the thing that I liked a lot about the level's only secret too. Its location wasn’t difficult to find, but the secret itself……I’ll say no more. The locations varied between a jungle setting and a small temple and apart from shooting all those pots there are timed runs, rope swings and various items to pick up on the menu. The revolver and lasersight could be found twice just in case. Enemies are rather far between, but those that are usually come in groups of two or more. Texturing and lighting is generally rather nice and lush, but the atmosphere was a bit flat and certain parts seemed a bit tedious at times. I did love the rooms with the water wheels though and the timed runs were tricky, but brilliantly thought of. All in all an enjoyable little adventure of about 1- 1 ½ hour gameplay and I’d gladly recommend it, as a part of BtB or a stand-alone level alike." - Selene (07-Jan-2008)

"I simply loved the sneaky originality of the gameplay in this 45 minute adventure (only 20! on replay). It is all about having a keen eye for some elusive vased to shoot which are well and deviously hidden in crawlspaces, it includes a wonderful timed run across the waterwheel and you need to keep your wits about to master to complex and rather authentic looking environment, including some well hidden switches and a tricky rope swing/slide/pole jump combination. I was really sad when the ending happened quite suddenly as you place the Key to Peace at the pyramid. Found the one secret even though the actual shotgun pickup is invisible." - MichaelP (03-Jan-2008)

"Interesting beginning – getting shoved down a hole by a raptor. I shot it anyway, heh. Finding the route can be tricky and there are some good agility tests – timed waterwheel run, fun rope work etc. The raptors and compys are well placed and I found this an entertaining level. My only whinge – one of the few times I actually managed to find the crowbar without too much trouble and then I never got to use the damn thing. I demand to be able to take it with me as a permanent artefact. No? Ah well, it was worth a try." - Jay (02-Jan-2008)

"For me the lost Inca outpost is an excellent level. The atmosphere is quite pleasant.The start pushed by a raptor is original. Quite frankly, I had a hard time out of the first zone, I did not see the rope hanging. The breakable pot was very well hidden and we had to use binoculars to see it! well done ! Then the jump was not easy and here I think I would recommend instead that confirmed players." - Minox (02-Jan-2008)

"The first level of the Back to Basics 2008 series provided me with a refreshing breath of setting to the genre, and some idea of what more there can be to come. I thought the introduction to the level was rather interesting and creative, which helps the raider get into the atmosphere a bit, and the way that the enemies seemed to point you in the right direction is also something rather creative I noticed, though I'm not sure whether this was intended by the builder or not. Moving on, the initial setting is quite vast and beautiful for a jungle, though the vast feeling wore off rather fast. I felt that the big opening area could have served as a larger hub to the gameplay of the level, and perhaps the builder might have realized that as well, but had to shorten the level a little because of the traditional length of the BtB levels. Specifically, the gameplay is mainly exploring the level, looking for switches and going through the occasional timed run, which was fairly straightforward, yet the level lacked in puzzles. There is that cage puzzle, but I felt that there could have been room to insert more into the level. Overall, it's a rather calm adventure for the explorer type. The placement of enemies is rather sparse, which shouldn't be too bad for the player that isn't really into combat. There are two tight spots in the level regarding combat, but it isn't anything that bad. Texture-wise, the builder definitely knows how to use them and the sense of architecture is also quite good, but I found the lighting to be rather flat. Some unique tones of color could have been used to light some of the crawlspace areas, even the outdoors as well. All in all though, I applaud the builder for delivering a good example of what one might expect to see in this package of Back to Basics levels, and I look forward to another release from the builder if he/she decides to continue building. Good job." - Relic Hunter (01-Jan-2008)

"The gameplay in this level is fairly okay. There are some creative ideas with shooting the vases with the revolver, and using a series of legend-style jumps from waterwheel, to swing pole, to platform etc. The timed run in the level was probably the only truly annoying part for me. Also, there is no real sense of direction at first at where one has to go and what one has to do. The pyramid and temple up top are clear, but the slopes and texturing are rather unhelpful and frustrating when it comes to showing you the way. But more on this later when we get to texturing and room geometry. Enemies are placed in an interesting way I think. The opening, where you are knocked down by a raptor is hilarious in my opinion, and as already everyone seems to notice, all the enemies seem to be conspiring together to push you towards the final goal of everlasting peace... how kind. Objects are placed nicely, even though I was quite annoyed with the shatterable pots. Some pots are shatter, some static, and there are those that are static that look just like the shatter ones. I think since the builder made shooting certain pots a necessary part of the game, he should have not placed the identical looking static pots everywhere as well just to confuse one more. I cannot tell you how long I was stuck in that room with the broken bridge trying to do all sorts of things to get out, till I finally saw the pot I actually had to shoot. Atmosphere is okay, but it wasn't really the rooms or lighting that did it for me in this case. It was more the use of audio tracks that enhanced certain areas... every room Lara entered seemed to welcome us with either a sinister or beautiful tune and I liked this very much. But that was basically all to the atmosphere: the audio. Lighting isn't good at all I think. Everything is very flat and could be a lot more atmospheric. It is better in the inside rooms of the temples. For example, the red room where you find the crowbar, key to peace, and beetle is quite atmospheric. On the other hand though, the outside rooms are very flat and do not give the impression of being out in a hot tropical jungle. Now to texturing: the author's skills are better in simple square indoor rooms. The rooms however where we want to see natural organic environments need a lot of fixing. Instead of taking the time to smooth the slopes and apply textures nicely to create a fluid feeling, there are only jagged slopes everywhere, giving us an attempt at wanting to create natural environments. These slopes however (early on already) are annoying to traverse, and one can easily get stuck within an objects collision, or in an illegal slope. All of the floors seem to just be roughed up to give a crude dilapidated feel to the place, yet it becomes very annoying to move around in, and also to look at. Examples are the crawlspaces where Lara often gets stuck in, or the floor in the room with the broken bridge. I did however like the author's effort at the pyramid overlooking the jungle part of the level, and I suggest that if he/she just focuses on taking more time and care with natural outdoor environments, then he/she will be on the right track to creating a better and more pleasing level." - Sethian (01-Jan-2008)

"Here we have an absolutely classic example of a level where the builder knows exactly where you're supposed to go and what you're supposed to do,but gives almost no clues at all for the poor hapless player,who consequently spends almost the whole time wandering aimlessly around performing futile jumps and re-visiting the same places over and over again in an increasingly frustrating attempt to make any progress. At the beginning,the level is apparantly non-linear,only this is actually rather deceptive;it gradually develops a somewhat obscure linearity but the builder seems intent on hiding the clues for progression as thoroughly as possible. Viz: vases that occasionally need to be selectively shot in order to activate something,but mostly not;a pushable block but no obvious destination;a rope swing which is almost impossible without countless re-tries and which involves the hateful 'swinging through solid walls' movement;a monkeyswing which has no texture clue (sticking in a few hanging shrubs is not good enough,when you have non-mokeyswingable hanging shrubs all over the place). It's one of those adventures where the player makes desultory progress before coming to a long halt,stumbles on a little way further,then comes to another halt;and so on (interspersed with the occasional physical challenge of the more 'expert' variety) until eventually the blessed Finish Trigger is activated,at a fairly arbitrary point. It all looks wonderful (the outside area is a thing of beauty and appears completely natural and organic)and has obviously been built with extreme care and attention to detail..but I'm afraid that goes pretty much for nought when it's as unsportingly difficult as this. For experts only (or at least,players with the patience of Job)" - Orbit Dream (01-Jan-2008)

"The Lost Inca Outpost is a rather nice and atmospheric level that starts out rather originally with Lara being pushed by a raptor and just a bit further ahead by a native, all designed to help in taking the right route. That is not always the case, though... I'm sure I mustn't have been the only one to arrive at the end pyramid without the peace key because I had failed to see a too well hidden entrance in a previous room. Well, getting back to that room (because I read the key was to be found there or I'd have been running around like a blind bat for ages) would have been annoying because it included a tough timed run that involved the nice touch of a water wheel plus some rather hard rope swinging and jumping to get out of there... Fortunately, I had a previous save! But apart from that everything was very enjoyable, including the shootable vases that some have criticized but the fact is that there was some good camera work showing where they stood. Personally, I liked it and I recommend it." - Jorge22 (01-Jan-2008)
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