Level: LB Advent Calendar 2008 - Black Dream - Part 1 back home search
Author(s): Lara Croft
total rating:7.75 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Bene 8 8 8 9
Czar 10 9 7 8
dmdibl 7 8 8 8
Gerty 5 8 8 7
jawi 10 7 9 8
Jay 7 8 8 8
Jerry 6 7 9 8
Jorge22 7 7 7 8
Jose 8 8 8 9
manarch2 8 9 8 8
MichaelP 5 8 8 7
Moonpooka 9 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 5 6 8 9
Phil 8 7 7 7
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Shady Croft 7 7 7 8
Shandroid 8 8 8 7
TrueRaider 7 8 8 8
category averages
(18 reviews)
7.33 7.72 7.94 8.00

Reviewer's comments

"Lara (or Lilly) as a mermaid certainly makes for a quirky little raid, and while it's not the first time it's been done (Tifa Nazah did it in one of her earlier releases, I believe), it's a different little experience nonetheless. The gameplay is made up of only two extended puzzles, one of which is hinted at and the other which isn't that obvious (but in the first puzzle, surely just pulling the correct combination of levers should be enough rather than having to keep resetting them?). Probably best to play it as a prelude to the much larger second part." - Ryan (21-Feb-2018)

"It's short and quirky,but the first of the two puzzles which constitute the entire gameplay really took me some time to work out (I needed a pointer to actually get me started);while the second was very easy.Everything has been extremely well worked out,though;and meticulously and imaginatively assembled.It's fun,innovative and head- scratching (often all at the same time)." - Orbit Dream (21-Dec-2014)

"I must have missed this two-parter in 2008. This is a neat little Xmas level that is quite short but has two very well done puzzles. The atmosphere wasn't super awesome, but that's ok, it was fun being a mermaid in Lara's dream." - Shandroid (13-Dec-2011)

"This game can be compared to "Deep Down Below": Not only because of the unlimited time Lilly can spend underwater, no, It has at least equal good puzzles in it, maybe a little bit better even, the looks are good too, not that impressive as in Codos work however. But - this level was made 3 years earlier, so great work by Nerkan, I think. Both the number puzzle and the boulder one are so fantasticly done. You can find a clear storyline in the dream, even it only lasts 10 minutes, and great start, end and between cutscenes support it well. This level is just perfect for a short break between others, just as I did." - manarch2 (16-Apr-2011)

"Good level but very short. Lara as a mermaid can breathing underwater; original! All the level underwater, only two puzzles but clever puzzles; I've enjoyed them. Nice environment, good animations and an appropriate history for Christmas days. Good (but short) work!" - Jose (23-Jan-2009)

"This little quarter-hour teaser has the look and feel of a demo, and I imagine the scores would have been higher had Parts 1 and 2 been released as part of the same download. Lara appears here as a water-breathing mermaid, and the entire exercise involves a fairly tedious lever-pulling puzzle that's quite obvious once you figure out what's going on, followed by a puzzle where you pull levers to make a snakeball roll down along a carefully defined path (and the solution here is not at all obvious). What we have in this level is a bit off the beaten track, which I suppose should earn the builder extra points for being inventive, and I'm looking forward to even better things as I now move on to Part 2. Recommended, but play the two parts together." - Phil (15-Jan-2009)

"A rather short level of less than 15 minutes with Lara as mermaid Lilly solving number and colour puzzles by using underwater switches in a different order to finally get a devil-like creature caught in a cage. Not so much more to say. The atmosphere and lighting were fantasy-like and colourful with friendly fish swimming around and a background music that for my taste was a bit too heavy for this fairytale-like atmosphere." - Jerry (06-Jan-2009)

"This part of Black Dream has got interesting puzzles. I really enjoyed them. Background music is very good, too. You can feel undewater atmosphere. Lighting and textures are good but nothing special. There aren't any secrets and I think there should be at least one. But there are funny cutscenes so it is nice, short christmas level." - jawi (23-Dec-2008)

"How cute is Lilly the mermaid? A really nice level to start off Lara's Black Dream adventures, and we first have a rather good underwater lever puzzle to solve. This took me quite a while as I didn't know what to do, but once the way is open I swam on in hope of dealing with that naughty demon who is trying to steal the Christmas Star. Lilly doesn't need to come up for air either; being a mermaid and all, so there's no issues taking your time sorting out the underwater lever puzzles. Anyway, the textures were great, and the atmosphere inviting. This is a very short level, however, it gets you in the mood for part 2." - Moonpooka (21-Dec-2008)

"You play this short level (really just a proof of concept) as the intrepid mermaid, Lilly. This involves a few underwater lever puzzles, as mermaids can't do much walking or jumping (although they never have to come up for air). Lilly is charming and attractive in her efforts to stop the demon from grabbing the Christmas star. But frankly, this level should have been distributed with the second part of Black Dream in a single package, as game play resonates when Lara explores this same scene. Rating it alone doesn't have much meaning. So do play this as a prelude to Black Dream, part 2." - dmdibl (18-Dec-2008)

"This is a 10-minutes-short but nice introduction level to the second one. You play as a little mermaid called Lilly who's on a mission to trap the enemy who wants to steal the star that gives the Christmas feeling. The gameplay's straight forward and spans around swimming and solving two inventive puzzles along the way. The texturing and lightning are very good and colorful. Definitely worth checking out." - Shady Croft (16-Dec-2008)

"What a brave little mermaid(loved to watch her swim) to try and stop the evil monster from leaving with the Christmas Bell that brings the Christmas Spirit to everyone. Refreshing to play with a character who can stay underwater virtually forever. I liked the author's use of color, in effect, giving us a blueprint for the correct order in which to open the gates to reach the ceiling switches and then a quick and easy trap door puzzle that allows little Lilly to get out to trap the monster. It's a lovely, charming prelude - very short but it beautifully sets up Part 2 in which we will get to all the areas above water that looked so enticing." - Bene (12-Dec-2008)

"The whole opening sequence of this level seemed a bit clumsy and disjointed. Aside from the difficult to understand voice-overs that we have here, it's not immediately clear what the nature of this level is. Sure, it's supposed to be a seasonal theme, but where are we going here exactly? Before we know it, the cutscene has ended and another one is beginning. OK, it's something else then. So, after one false start it then becomes apparent that Lara is dreaming, so into the dream we go. And what a surprise we have. It's Lara as a mermaid! Well, I couldn't help but have a 'Madison' moment as soon as I realised what the situation was and immediately set about trying to find somewhere for her to climb out, thinking she would magically sprout legs when on dry land! Soon enough I realised this wasn't Splash and our little mermaid had to find something else to do, so on I swam her ... straight up for air. Old habits die hard of course and I finally twigged that mermaids apparently don't need air, so on I swam her, for real this time. Evidently Lara must in some way stop a demon with a maniacal laugh. Stop him from what isn't so clear, for those voice-overs are still tough on the ear. After a little thought I conclude that it must be to stop him from smoking the sixty Woodbine's a day it sounds as if he smokes, so it's a good cause. On I press then, with a new found sense of purpose and urgency. Swimming through the water is quite a tease for being able to see so much above the ice layer that floats over the water, and all I kept thinking about was how to get up there and carry on as a normal Lara. Guns, damn it, I want guns ... after we find her legs of course. The next thing we know is little fishy (or big fishy with swathing hair and an ample bosom) is facing an underwater puzzle, with pull levers, and colours and ... NUMBERS! It's bad enough that Lara has no legs (or guns), but I have to add up too, whilst swimming and holding my breath ... forever? Pausing for a moment, my task becomes clearer to me, so, panic over, I set about the puzzle, opening various doors and pulling various ceiling switches and I'm still dreadfully uncomfortable because I'm still convinced I need to keep an eye on the air situation. As things turn out this puzzle is no trouble at all and I am greatly relieved not to have to pull out my calculator in order to perform some complex mathematics or consult some sagacious, hoary old prophet to tell me the meaning of life so that I can open a door in a custom Tomb Raider level. Swimming on then, through the now open double doors, which are conveniently labelled 'exit' for the extra dumb players amongst us, round a corner we go, to face another puzzle. This one is even more obvious, and I am relieved that this will take no time, because really, I am still uncomfortable that she hasn't taken a breath yet, and after another snippet of 'Red' I'm also convinced he's just smoked another twenty, so I really must hurry. After dropping the correct trapdoors a Chinese dragon 'ball' rolls down and the next set of doors are open. On we swim then, still looking for that place to climb up, and we spot him, the demon, in the distance. We must hurry then. Soon enough, we come to another underwater lever, and I figure we'll shatter the ice, he'll fall in the water and it'll be no more smoking for him. Then we can finally get to dry land and find Lara's legs. Pulling it, a cage is dropped on the demon and the level is over. Well it's a bit of a shock and feels like a waste of time. This is more like a demo of something greater to come, but I am conscious of the fact that this is but part one of a series, and so I immediately go to set up part two. Really, aside from all my mockery, this is a good little level. The novelty of it alone is quite remarkable. Everything seems very well constructed and the puzzle elements work well enough. Lighting is good as is general ambience. Despite it being part of a set, I still think it's too short and would have liked to have seen more done with this idea. Still, don't let that put you off. It may be a little bizarre, but have a go, just to see the novelty of Lara as a mermaid." - Czar (12-Dec-2008)

"More of a prelude to the upcoming Part 2 it seems, but still, this is just sooo charming! You play here not as Lara, but as the little mermaid Lilly and in the 10 minutes it lasts have to solve a nice four lever puzzle with a few simple calculations and then another colour coded trapdoor puzzle to eventually catch the monster in a cage. Looking forward very much to Part 2 now..." - MichaelP (11-Dec-2008)

"Just a small, yet so charming, first part where one gets to play as Lilly, the mermaid, instead of your usual Lara. The feature that allows you to go on swimming without having to get out into the air for breathing is used here, which is only logical, being a mermaid. Her mission is to solve a couple of nice and easy coloured puzzles (and find a secret along the way)and eventually trap the demon who says "The little star will be mine! Muahahahah!" inside a cage. Looking forward to playing the second part." - Jorge22 (11-Dec-2008)

"Fantastic little adventure and prelude to part two. The number puzzle was very inventive and fun to work out, as was the boulder one. Great little cutscenes too, but for 10 minutes there's not a lot else to say really. But of course, it is just part 1 so difficult to rate on its own." - TrueRaider (11-Dec-2008)

"This is an absolute little treat as a taster for part 2. It's very short and very cute, as you're playing as a mermaid. There are a couple of nice little puzzles to solve and a wonderful baddie to trap (I don't know who did the voiceover for that one, but he made a delightfully fruity villain) and I shall now again have to ignore my OCD, which is screaming at me to play levels in the order they get released, and play part 2 straight away. What fun." - Jay (11-Dec-2008)

"I had to get used to the fact that Lara, dressed as a mermaid, doesn't have to breath. This level is a small underwater adventure. There are two puzzles in it, one to open the doors and the other one to get the big ball rolling. Did I hear Bucks voice?" - Gerty (11-Dec-2008)
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