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Level: Tarragona 5 - The Underground Empire back home search
Author(s): Josep Borrut
total rating:8.76 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
CC 10 8 10 10
Cuqui 10 9 9 9
Dimpfelmoser 10 9 10 10
DJ Full 7 7 9 7
eRIC 10 9 10 9
eTux 9 8 9 8
G.Croft 9 9 9 8
Gerty 7 8 9 9
gfd 8 8 9 7
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 7 9 8 9
Josi 9 9 9 9
JRaider66 8 9 7 7
Kristina 9 9 9 9
Leandro 10 9 9 8
Loupar 9 9 10 10
Magnus 8 8 8 9
manarch2 4 7 8 7
MichaelP 8 8 10 10
Miguel 8 9 9 9
Mman 7 7 7 7
Momster 8 8 10 9
Navi 9 10 10 10
Phil 9 8 9 8
Qwendo 9 10 9 10
RaiderGirl 9 9 10 10
Relic Hunter 9 9 9 9
Ryan 8 8 9 8
Sash 8 9 9 10
Scottie 10 9 10 9
Tombaholic 10 9 10 10
Tombraidergirl 8 9 9 9
Treeble 8 8 10 10
Wendee 9 9 10 10
Xxenofex 10 8 9 9
category averages
(35 reviews)
8.54 8.54 9.11 8.86

Reviewer's comments

"We have left the jungle and have now entered the sewer system. This is an easygoing section, mainly involving exploring warehouses and underwater tunnels, but it is entertaining enough and the garden area and jeep ride keep things going." - Ryan (18-Apr-2017)

"Aaaaaagggh... why?? Sewers and basic lighting contradict the immersion of the previous parts but the scope of the following base makes the owners, whoever they are, feel powerful indeed, as well as the ships explored. The waterfall effect and the scaffolding climb are both simple but creative the emerald skull secret is just great and I would leave these good parts but revise or delete the other half because the game becomes too much of a crate pickup hunt." - DJ Full (24-Mar-2017)

"The fifth part of this series has a definite watery theme going on (and some of the cleanest looking sewers you could wish to see). Aside from quite a bit of swimming, Lara gets to explore an underground base area, which involves searching quite a few areas full of crates etc., whilst being ever vigilant for the guards about the place. Submarine bays and a rather lovely garden area keep the surroundings interesting and there's a fun jeep ride towards the end of this section." - Jay (30-Jul-2016)

"The visual quality of this level is all other the place; there are drab featureless rooms followed by giant areas with interesting design. The final room in particular is way beyond to the rest, to the point it feels like an intentional pay-off for reaching the end (though it's likely just an example of the author's growing skill- level), but there are some nice looking sub-bays too. Unfortunately the basic stuff makes up most of the level, especially the start which is full of monotone sewers, and the dull Jeep tunnels. One thing I've forgot to cover is that buttons throughout the set so far have been set up wrong so Lara does the incorrect animation when pressing them. In the end though that final room leaves a good last impression. The gameplay is okay but it's pretty simple throughout, and it feels like a step- back when the bonus level set a certain standard (even if that was intentionally more difficult). However, it flows decently and there are scattered moments of more involved design that holds it up in the end. The up-and-down design of this map makes it feel like a transition for the designer, and from what I recall the pack starts to get consistently stronger from here." - Mman (10-Feb-2016)

"A change from the more natural and organic first levels (bonus level aside) to a rather sterile base type setting. The most positive thing about this level are its structure that nicely moves from the sewers into the submarine base and always lets you progress smoothly until near the very end. But unfortunately the gameplay is bare of substance and there's not much thought put into the tasks which results in a very boring and unexciting raid. Even for sewers the start felt overly grey, monotonous, boxy and maze-like and the gameplay is already fairly pedestrian. Very dull was the key which lies directly in front of the keyhole. After entering the base I hoped for things to get better but the game is almost solely based on exploration with only the occasional, simple task to solve and many long paths that just lead to a health or ammo pickups. Late in this level a jeep ride promised for things to improve, and even if rather easy it indeed was a nice little diversion, but to find out later that I missed a crucial pickup just at the very end of the level and that I had to return all the way through the long corridors by foot (thanks to the camera near the keyhole, which still felt like a bad joke) was just pure annoyance. The architecture, sounds and cameras are used well but the rooms really looked too monotonous for most time and the lack of lighting really did not create a good feeling in here, so that even the texturing felt quite repetitive and the atmosphere lacked variety –there's not a very large difference to the sewer part at the start. The only things that I really liked was the structure of the submarines that were well built as well as the final area. Just as sometimes in previous levels, there are some objects called 'load' and there also were a few badly or even un-marked ladders or monkeyswings, in total I found this game to not be in the same league as most other levels of this series, and certainly not worth to enter the Hall of Fame. Spent 40 minutes in here and found all three secrets (finding them was the only interesting part of the game)." - manarch2 (23-May-2015)

"Yet another level which I have never finished. I know the canalisation partly, but anyhow I had at the first attempt no idea as I can come to the key. I could have looked of course in the WT, but at that time (approx. in 2005/2006) I knew only the Base. The sewer system could have been a littel bit brighter, but otherwise I had nothing to complain about . The big rooms with the submarines looked impressive. Particularly has liked to me the fall from big height into one of the water basins. Above all the camera angle was very good chosen. This middle section with the water basins and the submarines was in my opinion the best in this level. In the end one could admire after the driving with the jeep still a very good formed room. Well what should I still say? Josep Borrut is just one of the greats in the level construction, there is no waste." - Scottie (29-May-2011)

"Josep's levels maintain their fine quality with each new installment, this not being an exception. Beginning where Devil's Bridge ended, Lara explores a neat sewer system, finding some keys and orienting herself around watery passages and some jumps, eventually the player reaches a large base complex, the aptly called Underground Empire. It's a well-designed base, containing a hangar, store rooms, nifty looking watercrafts in the holds below, and much later a nicely constructed garden before the level's end. The gameplay remains to be fun and not too puzzling, with gunfights and sequences, such as push puzzles and a bit of object/switch hunting, and some jumping around used in good amounts at appropriate times to break up the monotony in the level. There's even a pretty nice jeep ride, too. However, I felt that in much of the base the lighting was flat, complete brightness. Perhaps it's supposed to be like that in real life so that workers may be able to see their surroundings without a problem, yet a dimmer environment may have suited the feel of the level a bit better. In all other areas though, the lighting is pretty good and I had no issues with that or the texturing. Overall, a fun level that smoothly transitioned the series to some base/lab environments." - Relic Hunter (26-Mar-2009)

"I've put off playing this series much too long. Actually, I played the last in the series first a couple of years ago for the purpose of writing the walkthrough, and I found it to be one of the most difficult levels (or more accurately, a pair of levels) I'd ever encountered. Still, they were of excellent quality and richly deserve their Hall of Fame status. Somewhat later I went back and tried Levels 1 and 2 (that are also linked), and found them so dark and confusing that I never finished them. Once again inspired, I tried to pick up a few days ago with Levels 3 and 4 and frankly found them both to be terrible. Level 3 is fraught with fixed camera angles, and Level 4 is so dark that it's impossible to enjoy oneself while constantly trying to keep from falling into the deadly lava. I played about 15 minutes into each level and then decided to give them up as a bad investment of my time. And then, when Level 5 started at the bottom of a dark sewer, I came close to tanking it immediately. However, I stuck with it, and once I made my way into the base things started to improve dramatically. Although the enemies (SAS only, as I recall) are few and far between, the environs are sweeping and even breathtaking at times (the docking area with the subs and the final area leading to the exit stand out in my mind). The cerebral tasks are quite intriguing as well, especially the pushblock puzzle. There's a nice excursion with the Jeep, but you have to stop along the way and hunt for a key that you need to complete the level. A very nice level, reminiscent in many ways of Justin's earlier releases." - Phil (29-Oct-2005)

“This level isn't as tricky as the previous ones and that suited me fine. Also much lighter so I could play this in broad daylight. Only really big draw back was that I ended up at the end with no key and a cut scene showing me that I had to get back to the buildings with the crates. Well that proved impossible and lucky me I had a saved game. If I would have know that that was the end I wouldn't have bothered although the jeep ride wasn't that difficult. There is a sewer Lara has to explore and they are unbelievable clean. There is also a sort of warehouse with loads of boxes and a long jeep ride. The last part is a secret garden and by getting onto the bridge the level ends there. 22-05-2004” – Gerty (27-May-2004)

“A big change from the previous levels in that you are somewhere less exotic and much more down to earth (a sub base). Loads more adventuring through impressive gigantic rooms whilst doing insane jumps and fighting guards and crocs! I hope you consider yourself an experienced player though because you'll need to know quite a few 'tricks' to get you through this difficult level. I hope you're a bit patient too because some of the jumps and what have you will need to be attempted many times before success. A very nice level but one that couldn't help (despite its scale) looking slightly bland; but it couldn't help that because of its location (how many colourful sub bases do you know?). One last thing - I absolutely loved the hidden 'surprise' lurking in a certain place. Don't worry though you'll know it when you see it! It took me 2 and a quarter hours to complete and I found 2 secrets.” – gfd (08-Dec-2003)

“This is the first Tarragona level I was able to finish for myself without taking any kind of look into the walkthrough. I was pleased by that. But I was less pleased when I arrived almost at the end only to find out I was missing a very important key - in fact quintessential to finish the level - that you have to pick up as you're driving your jeep to the last part the hidden garden... You do have to find it but there's no hint whatsoever that you do except for when you almost reach the end. That seemed kind of sadistic - or badly built badly thought of badly tested. Allow me to explain: as I saw that I sighed ‘oh well’ went back to the jeep and tried to get back to that place... only to find out the jeep wouldn't make it back to where it needed and Lara always fell to her death. Perhaps I was just a clumsy driver or didn't try enough? Perhaps... But it seemed more like it hadn't been properly tested that way and thus the 7 I had to give to the gameplay. Fortunately I had a not too far apart savegame. Apart from that I found the level very interesting lots to find enough baddies to shoot and run over with the jeep and most of them were generous enough to leave something behind. No lack of medipacks or ammo whatsoever as often happens in more recent games where your main doubt eventually ends up being whether you'll have enough health to finish the game. Sewers submarines some monkey swinging climbing up and getting down three skulls as secrets trying to find out your way and being able to do so... The game is varied and fun. I enjoyed it a lot and had it not been for the above mentioned 4th iron key I would have rated it better.” – Jorge22 (26-Sep-2003)

“Working your way through a well constructed sewer system (the plain textures are forgotten when you hear the water dripping sounds) and dealing with the inevitable crocodiles the not immediately obvious climbing jumping swimming and finding keys you crawl out to an underground lab office and on again to a warehouse with crates that just scream at you to come and explore them. And sure enough it's worth the rummage. A word to the wise if you can do nothing else with a crate - shoot it. This is now looking like some kind of marine base there are two brilliantly made submersibles (Josep calls them moles!). In fact there are three connected warehouses and 4 moles altogether. A very cleverly hidden golden skull after moving some crates around and you now find the jeep. This next warehouse system is not as straight forward as it first appears so get out of the jeep at times to have a look around. Your biggest objective in this level is looking for keys. Possibly the best climbing jumping monkeyswinging and swimming level out there even the crawlspaces are not boring and the guards are well placed but easy to deal with. There's an exciting jeep ride through caves to a beautiful fountain/pool room with bridge. Things are getting more and more space-like now we're getting on in this series. So without delay in we go to Algernon's Lab. I really loved this level. Time here 2:41 hours.” – CC (11-Aug-2003)

“Compared to the previous levels this is very different. The others took place in an outdoor area and this one is a base level. From a very ‘plain’ area with water passages and a couple of doors keys switches you'll come to some hangars with submarine and some storage halls. There is a lot of climbing to do to solve the riddles. You should have a good look around and think about where you want to get and how to get there. Opponents are the SAS and are very ‘nice’. This fits the area but is a bit boring and I hate SAS. At the end you have some jeep driving to do. The area becomes more cavern like with every meter. In a secret garden you have to solve the last riddle to leave the level. A nice atmosphere - for a base level. Use of sound is very good as always. I found it easier than the previous levels but less enjoyable.” – Tombraidergirl (03-Feb-2003)

“This level was another smooth flowing level with a good difficulty for all players. There were a lot more enemies than previous levels which should help get rid of the stockpile of medpacks you probably have and the car added a nice touch in the tunnels. The new alien being character was cool and I’m sure there are more in later levels. The lighting in the large rooms could’ve been darker but I still thoroughly enjoyed this work.” – JRaider66 (29-Jan-2003)

“In the fifth part Lara lands in a base after she has crossed a couple of water caves. Your task is to find the jeep and to concluded the level then. She must run here much in all directions through the level. Much swimming and puzzle solving. Lara found three skulls in different colors as a secret. Opponents were soldiers usually. Graphics were lovingly represented. It was again a beautiful atmosphere. Sound and camera came always suitably. Also a great level that I can recommend to everybody.” – Navi (27-Dec-2002)

“Another great builder with a very hard series though. This level might have been easier but when I began to play Josep's levels I got really frustrated by the darkness and of how complex they are. Anyway this one is bright enough starting in sewers which made me go crazy in many occasions as I was often lost with no idea how to proceed. Once you get the hang of it though you will be fine. It is getting smoother as you go further you are inside a warehouse with a lot of crates but some useful so pay attention. Your trusty crowbar and keys will help you make steps forward. That chain I had to climb though made me repeat the jump to the opening behind several times until I can manage to go in. The secret of course is the right angle and height. I hope you have a driving licence because the jeep will be there too. When you meet the submarine you know that the end is near. The secrets in this level were easy enough something that we are not used to from Josep - not that I am complaining or anything. You know where to click and get the level you won't regret it.” – Kristina (02-Dec-2002)

“This starts out in a boring area and you only wish to get outta here as fast as you can but the more interesting places come. The three huge warehouses and the submarine rooms are excellent and the jeep ride the funniest I've seen for a while. What bothers me the most about this level is the object chaos again and lighting is nothing special compared to the previous levels. A fine level but not my favorite in the series so far.” – eTux (21-Nov-2002)

“I've enjoyed all of Josep's levels so far but I must admit I'm thrilled with this one because it's not as dark as his previous ones and it's a bit easier which made it more enjoyable for me. Not that I didn't get stuck a time or two - Josep has a way of making a level look simple but at the same time it requires some thinking and/or careful exploring. From the underground sewer system to the futuristic looking submarines and finally the 'secret garden' everything is very realistic looking and overall the level is just really fun to play. High points for the great subs the demigod in a crate! the fun jeep ride and the beautiful garden area at the end.” – RaiderGirl (13-Nov-2002)

“As usual Josep has created a wonderful adventure and shown his extreme talent by moving to a different atmosphere. From the realistic sewers with the steady drip drip drip of water to the lovely garden a myriad of puzzles. There are very few enemies to deal with although more than usual for one of Josep's levels. As you gained access to the base area some climbing jumping swimming and monkey swinging to do but none of it overdone. Lots of buttons to find for advancement and I got quite stuck not realizing that the one cross-bar over the crane area was climbable and made things more difficult than they really were. I must confess though that I enjoyed the previous levels more but that is just my particular taste in levels. I too felt the demigod was totally out of place though. I found all 3 (easy to find) secrets in my two hours.” – Momster (10-Nov-2002)

“Another Level from Josep - well planed - nice ambience. The textures are not new and all of objects and enemies the same but he shows us how to use what we know in a good form. I liked so much the water-vehicle (maybe a kind of space-water-ufo). Lara starts in the sewers; then in a lot of halls with boxes and machines; climbing shimmying jumping; kill enemies; all that with good cameras and sounds. Then you get the Jeep and Lara can go up; not so easy but very good. More than 1 5 hours of gameplay with a lot of fun.” – Miguel (02-Oct-2002)

“Another beautiful and good level from Josep. Running climbing and monkey swinging through the sewers find some crocs and baddy's on your way to get in the base. Once you're there you have to work your way through some warehouses which can be very confusing at times. And there is a scary surprise if you shoot a crate (well it scared me). You also get to drive the jeep around but don't be to fast you have to find some things on the way. I had two sets of keys I guess the first set I got from the previous level. If you play the whole series in one go there is plenty of medpacks and ammo and flares which is very useful although there are not that many enemies but I don't mind that at all it's very nice not to be shot at when you enter a new room or turn a corner. Well I'm off to Algernon's Lab!” – Josi (26-Sep-2002)

“This is a very well done level too. Levels made by Josep are all fun clever and perfect. I was confused between the boxes in warehouses but finally I found the way. What a beautiful flyby in the Secret Garden. I saved my game there to see it several times. Great!” – Cuqui (06-Sep-2002)

“OK I admit I'm a bit biased here. This is one of the levels I played before I started reviewing. Oh those innocent days. Replaying this I fondly remember the five occasions where I was stuck for ages the first time around. And I also remember how Michael’s patronizing review about the moderate degree of difficulty really irritated me. There are so many great moments in here but I had completely forgotten that they are all from the same adventure. I think what I like best here is the storyline. How this begins in a very authentic sewer then moves on to the submarine base that has to be explored before you reach the jeep that brings you to an area that looks exactly like Blomfeld’s Headquaters in the Bond movies of the sixties. So many different things to do but they all make sense with the environment and the jeep ride is one of the best I've ever come across in a custom level. There are only three minor flaws here; I thought the demigod was out of place I found too many medipacks and at the end there is a door placed the wrong way round. Otherwise this is so close to perfect. How the crocodiles attack at inconvenient moments the cleverly constructed sewer system how cutscenes give you subtle hints the awe inspiring rooms that hold the futuristic submarines the little crate maze the placement of the Uzis the camerawork. It all comes together beautifully. A true classic.” – Dimpfelmoser (15-Aug-2002)

“It seems as though we are seeing the softer gentler side of Josep recently with less stupefying difficult levels like this one and Algernon’s Lab which opens up his levels to a wider audience and that is of course a good thing. This again is a wonderful looking level that is broken up into 3 different areas an intricate sewer system a huge warehouse and submarine hangar complete with interactive futuristic subs and finally a long jeep ride ending in an organically beautiful watery room. Although there are puzzles emphasis leant more to moves and I also found that I spent half of the 90 minutes game time going in search of loads of non-key pick-ups that were strewn everywhere which was maybe a little overdone but I can forgive it because of the 3 coloured skull secrets I found as well. Once again Josep has done us proud!” – Sash (21-Jun-2002)

“As we have come to get used to another largely entertaining level set into a perfectly crafted environment. I spent the first half hour of the 90 minutes of gaming time exploring the neatly built sewer system (took me while to realize that by now we can shoot grates out again – lol) then the level shifts towards a warehouse and submarine dock environment with a lot of climbing swinging button pushing and a few movable blocks/crates and after a hilarious Jeep ride through caves ends in a calm and quite and very beautiful underground lake area. As said the atmosphere cameras lighting and textures are flawless (one minor note Josep: turn that final level exit door around). However while the stages of the level provide different things to do it is not overly difficult (which apparently was the intention of the author) and thus I am rating it a little lower on that as well as on the 3 easy to find secrets (skulls) and not very threatening enemies (soldiers and crocodiles). Nevertheless another ‘must play’ level.” - Michael (21-Jun-2002)

“The fifth part of the Tarragona series is good as all the others but not so attractive. After a lot of lava in the Devil's Lair Lara now raids a calm secret base. There are some parts in the level mainly the submarine areas that you will get confused because the rooms are so similar! I liked the drive course at the end of the level and as the author says he reserved the challenge to the secrets. Well even the secrets are easy to find in this level.” – Treeble (21-Jun-2002)

“I've played this level twice now and it is just about a textbook example of level-craft. To begin with it's just fun to play. Starting in a nicely conceived and textured waterworks Lara makes her way into a series of huge warehouses with lots to explore. These turn out be hangars housing some suspiciously alien-looking craft (shades of X-Files here). At one point Lara encounters an angry bird-like demigod (or extra-terrestrial?) blasting her with gold energy bolts (yes a new enemy!). Add a thrill ride in the jeep and 3 TR2-inspired secrets to collect and you've got a really fun level. Josep also uses enemies well. For example crocodiles attack in tight spots instead of just being easy targets. Textures cameras and sound are uniformly good. The only small criticism I have is that the secrets were a bit easy to find. Once again Josep proves that he is one of a very select few who are really LE masters.” - Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)

“Yet again simply fantastic what Josep provides us with. Everything fits together and what starts out harmlessly in an underground submarine base finds its climax in a long Jeep ride through gloomy caves and paths until you can complete the level at a beautiful underground lake. In between there are 90 minutes of pure gaming fun and well thought out level design with nice objects (futuristic boats). Enemies are the ever-present and well placed soldiers and a few crocodiles. Near the end I had the problem that I had missed a crucial key and almost wanted to give up but Josep anticipated even that and provided a helpful fly-by. Whatever this creator seems to start building comes out as a masterpiece and I can’t wait for the remaining levels of his series. Three secrets (skulls) are also to be found and the difficulty is in the medium to upper range.” – Qwendo (21-Jun-2002)

“It’s nice to see something else than tombs and mummies. This is a great level lots of fun and you have to look carefully to find your way through.” – G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

“An excellent to play level! I really liked it. The start of the level reminds me of "The Cistern" from TR1. Very well placed crocodiles in this part of the level. Great textures and nice lighting too. But the best part of this level is the atmosphere. The cameras are great too I can't forget. Anyway a nice level that makes me feel like playing a Core Design level. Not the best of all LE levels but you'll really enjoy it!” - Leandro (21-Jun-2002)

“This was fun! I enjoy levels that use different atmosphere and Josep certainly did that (again). After crawling around swimming climbing and killing crocodiles while trying to ignore that dripping faucet I faced several warehouses with a new enemy floating crafts to explore and a variety of things to accomplish. Off to a Jeep ride and then the end. Too soon for me. Great level - get it now. My approximate time: 1 hour 43 minutes.” – Wendee (21-Jun-2002)

“This level is fun and it’s very well textured. The beginning is very dark and boring (not the gameplay just the texturing) but when you finally get out of those sewers (?) the texturing gets much brighter and colorful. The submarines (is that what they are? they look like spaceships) look wonderful and it’s fun to even get to see the inside. I found the three sculls and played for 50 minutes (and this is the second time I’ve played this level).” – Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

“The beginning of the level is monotonous a little bit. Lara is in an irrigation system and must find there various switches. But then it becomes enormously exciting she struggles through warehouse in which mountains of boxes stand to find the way is almost impossible. Then the end surprises again totally with this delightfully blue water. I have liked the trip with the jeep also very well. At last also came the ammunition which Lara has gathered in the previous levels to the application. Lara must prove again her whole abilities. Class jumps good puzzles.” – Xxenofex (21-Jun-2002)

“I am not a great fan of modern environment levels but I must admit that I have been very excited by this one. I could not stop playing until I finish it. The gameplay is so clever better than some Eidos levels. The progression is very good in this what seems to be a marine underground base. Some SAS to kill and only a few crocs but there are very well placed and Lara died once because I was unwary. I like the new sound the author has added in the audio files (a drop of water falling down?) that enhances very well the atmosphere in those rooms half filled with water. The camera work is excellent and gives some hints to the player. At the end a travel with the jeep in dark caves (if only they were lights on the jeeps as on motorcycles) and a very splendid last room with greenery. A perfect game beautiful and interesting with convincing setting. There is also a nice touch of realism with the Egyptian immigrant who has settled down in a crate here in Tarragona perhaps it is because of the increasing of rents in Gizah temples.” – eRIC (21-Jun-2002)

“This level takes action when Lara reach the entrance door to a secret base near the bridge. The first look to this level is not very impressive because there are only sewers and concrete blocks. I really enjoyed this level since I went in the Control Room. The three warehouses and the docks with the subs are sometimes a bit confusing but Josep always helps with the cameras and he shows the next point to reach and the difference between the rooms. The jeep is a very good detail and it makes the difference with the final part of the level: the secret garden (A beautiful flyby). I think this level is a sort of transition between the surface and the earth center where is supposed to be the real Empire. The complete history of the series is well developed.” – Loupar (21-Jun-2002)
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