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Level: BtB2009 - Curse of Empti Wad back home search
Author(s): eRIC
total rating:8.57 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 8 9 8 8
Czar 10 8 8 7
DJ Full 8 7 9 8
dmdibl 9 9 9 9
EssGee 9 8 8 9
eTux 10 9 8 8
Eva 8 7 7 7
Gerty 9 9 8 7
Jack& 7 9 9 7
jawi 10 10 9 8
Jay 9 9 9 9
JesseG 9 9 8 8
Jose 8 8 8 8
manarch2 10 9 9 8
MichaelP 10 9 9 8
Mman 9 10 9 9
Moonpooka 9 8 9 9
Mytly 10 9 9 9
Phil 8 8 9 8
Raymond 10 9 9 8
Relic Hunter 9 9 9 8
Ryan 9 8 9 8
Samu 8 8 9 8
Shady Croft 9 9 8 8
Spike 9 9 9 8
category averages
(25 reviews)
8.96 8.64 8.60 8.08

Reviewer's comments

"I just played the BtB '09 levels in order of the listing this time, and by doing it this way I saved the best one (IMO) for last by pure chance. Yes the lighting is a bit flat and the looks are not totally impressive, but the gameplay is so intense and enjoyable from start to finish that I really could not give it less than full marks. All the tasks are so unique and also challenging also with great help of objects, geometry and other things (like the target shoot on slopes, the boulder party...) - I really don't want to mention them all, just play it for yourself, it really has some of the best of everything. The atmosphere feels quite natural (despite of some rather supernatural parts which perfectly support a great storyline) and believable. Objects are greatly used in this game. All enemies are very well placed. The secrets are most excellent. So the only thing left to say is huge thanks to Eric for this little masterpiece. (30 minutes, 7 secrets)" - manarch2 (22-Jul-2016)

"Having a go again at all the BtB levels I still remembered some parts of this level pretty well. Knowing Eric it isn't a walk in the park. But I do admire the way he puts a level together, tough but some humour thrown into it that will put a smile to your face. There are traps, hard ones and funny ones, and of course... timed runs and you will reload your game more than once." - Gerty (19-May-2016)

"I am beginning my trek through the BtB2009 levels with a really unique level. The author adds original touches to a normal format, resulting in a really unique adventure. Hardly any enemies and usage of textures isn't as good as the gameplay. I didn't rate gameplay a full 10 because it occasionally got a little frustrating. But it is certainly a standout entry." - Ryan (09-Apr-2016)

"This level takes a South Pacific theme and it's well executed, with lots of non-standard geometry and great texturing and lighting, something about it feels abstract to the point of seeming a little "artificial" at times, but that's the closest thing I have to a flaw. There's a nice implementation of the story, with some amusing scripted events and an ending. The gameplay is quite difficult (a lava room towards the end being especially tricky) with full use made of the previously mentioned non-standard geometry. There are also some nice original ideas like a swamp area, walking on doors, and an original torch-lighting idea. The start feels a little lacking in direction, but once you get going it all comes together well. There's unlikely to be many other levels surpassing this one in this Back to Basics." - Mman (12-Nov-2012)

"I have played most of the levels from Back to Basics 2009, but for some reason, I missed this one. I am so glad to have played it now, since it's one of those few levels that are consistently fun from beginning to end.
Not that I don't have a couple of quibbles: for example, at the beginning, it's quite hard to figure out where to go. Then there's one of the cardinal sins of level building, unmarked climbable walls (or rather badly marked - who would think that that woven pattern signified a climbable wall?) Yet, on the whole, the gameplay is so much fun, that I can't help but give it full marks. Some of the tasks are tough, but never too tough, for example the jumping challenge to get the torch or the challenges for the 3 Anti-TGA gems. I did take occasional peeks at the walkthrough, but mostly to get the secrets. The hilarious story with an appropriate ending, as well as the amusingly-named objects are the icing on this great cake.
While the looks are a bit patchy in places, there are several rooms that look really nice (for example, the main cavern or the room with cracks and burners). Besides, building a level using this very limited texture set is such an achievement in itself, that I added an extra point in the textures category just for that!
Overall: Perhaps this level is not everyone's cup of tea, but for me it was great fun. Definitely recommended." - Mytly (20-Dec-2010)

"After a year has already passed since I've played "Empti Wad", I can still remember this ridiculous pagan god playing his flute to cause symptoms of RTS in Lara's organism. I can also remember I really enjoyed the fact there are so many secrets in this game to find. And that I recommended this game to my friend as one of the most original ever made. Nice thing with throwing skellys into the swamp. Good idea with the antidotes. However, after playing this custom I had a strange feeling the .wad wasn't empty at all, so I was a little bit disappointed. I think the whole idea could have been executed a little bit better, as it's eRic's game, so the emptiness could have been much more ePic, and IMO there is something missing in this project. Maybe eRic just built this level too fast, so it suffers from unfinishment. Or maybe it's just me suffering from Babylon Is Fallen Disease, which main symptome is an inability to appreciate anything that is not Sumerian and isn't happening in the morning (if you've played BIF, you know what I mean)... If this is really true I am "oversumerized" - I'm sorry for this review. SUMMARY: In my opinion this is an obligatory raid. No matter if its emptiness is sufficient or not. It will always remain one of those levels I recommend to everybody." - DJ Full (04-Nov-2010)

"This is a very captivating raid and as such a great addition to the 2009 set for the Back to Basics competition. When I first tried to play this, I had some trouble figuring out how to start exactly as the initial area had that feeling of non-linearity about it. Once you find the way, the rest of the approximately 40 minute raid doesn't seem nearly as complicated and offers quite a lot of fairly entertaining challenges. I quite enjoyed the tasks involving the boulder that set the spikes on and off, the slopes with the shooting targets and the trap sequences closer to the end, but there are more equally inventive tasks, and the humorous touches that poke fun at the limitations of the chosen resources remind us not to take things too seriously. While the looks are solid and nicely done for most part, for me they were the weakest link in the chain here, and could've been polished to be somewhat more aesthetically pleasing. As a result, while the level does invite you to be somewhat playful with its idea of the surroundings, it doesn't convince completely in that aspect. I found 3 secrets and was actually feeling somewhat smug about that... till I learnt there were a total of 7 and that crushed my self-esteem just a little bit. But all that put behind, this definitely gets my recommendations if you're looking for a highly inventive and fun raid in a jungle setting." - eTux (02-Feb-2010)

"This is the first BtB09 level I play and it created a good expectation for the rest of the levels (there are very good builders in the list). The level is long and sometimes with hard tasks, but not impossible. Few enemies and enough ammo if you find the secrets. A very dangerous jungle full of traps and a lot of surprises. All kind of jumps and movements, good use of the cameras and a half lineal gameplay with no problems. Good job." - Jose (26-Feb-2009)

"Offering a more unique setting as opposed to most of its competitors, the Curse of Empti Wad is an interesting level with quite a funny storyline to back it up. I had a pretty good time here, as the gameplay is pretty fun and challenging, while also offers a few fresher ideas thrown in to spice things up. I liked the slope room with trapdoors that where the torch is found, the timed run in the nicely built outside area, and I thought the ladders in one of the Anti Red TGA Gem rooms was pretty neat. In terms of the level's flow and object placement, everything is quite exceptionally solid. Though, in some parts of the level the textures were a bit wallpapered on the walls and not very easy on the eyes, and perhaps the lighting was rather too uniform throughout. Other than that, this is a pretty neat level. I really liked the ending, and that a lot of the objects hung from ropes, it looks funny. Good job!" - Relic Hunter (06-Feb-2009)

"This may be a level with an empty WAD (Empti Wad) or a few missing textures, but its definitely not one with an empty gameplay. This is quite a challenging level with all sorts of obstacles such as boulders, timed doors and in so many areas, fires, spikes or spike pits and skeletons or crocs all rolled into one. You have to be really quick with your steps or guns when you're surrounded by deadly traps (and it occurs a lot here), or quick in observing the environments in order to progress. When it comes to texturing, the phrase "Go crazy !" comes to mind here. The level had so many triangular surfaces, and the authors textures, whether red wooden surfaces with green grass or purple stones and brown dirt, wasn't really my favorite aspect, and it wasn't comfortable to look at sometimes. Overall, this is a very good entry in this years Btb09, and it was clearly made by a TR pro, so go a head and check it out." - Shady Croft (01-Feb-2009)

"This is probably one of the most original levels of this year's Back to Basics content utilizing well coastal wad and textures from TR3-Madubu Gorge level. Humor which this level has is also a very nice feature and gameplay involved some really smart ideas for jumping tasks. As a whole this was a truly enjoyable and unique level which I can recommend to everybody." - Samu (21-Jan-2009)

"This is another level that, like "Sunken," I was glad to get behind me. I like a good challenge as well as the next raider, but when I look across a broad expanse and see lava, spikes, sloped pillars and flame burners, my instinctive reaction is to punch in the letters D-O-Z-Y, and that's exactly what I did here. For the most part I liked what I saw during this hour-long raid (that seemed much longer than that), and there are a number of neat touches along with a generous total of seven secrets. But the gameplay got overly "busy" near the end, and I started longing for one of those relaxing Advent levels. Those who like to feel the adrenalin coursing through their veins will really get their kicks out of this one, but it's not really my cup of tea." - Phil (13-Jan-2009)

"Empti Wad eh?? - must be the long lost sister city of Angkor Wat. Oh I see, he's a god - I should fear him. Definitely a sense of humour displayed throughout the level, in what is otherwise a seriously testing raid. Some of the traps and gauntlets Lara must run are quite taxing, so be prepared to raid patiently. I love the logic that a Thin Stick + Effigy = a Thingy. Very good. The premise of a viral red tga gradually infiltrating the level is clever. Thankfully the virus doesn't spread to the object wad, otherwise we really would be left with an Empti Wad. The hardest part in the game for me was just getting going as it took me some time to establish a useful route to take out of the main cavern. After that things moved along nicely. Geometry of the rooms was interesting, lighting was good, texturing good but perhaps an area that could have been generally better. All in all a good challenging raid." - EssGee (11-Jan-2009)

"Lara travels to a seemingly haunted island. Until the very end I was never quite sure what exactly the task was that Lara had to accomplish in this Empti Wad level that was apparently set up with a bit of a joke storyline. Lara looks for a variety of goodies that are hidden in a bizarre and often very colorful environment. Every now and then she runs into the announced "red tga spots" which are caused by the virus of the curse. Near the end she then summons the spirits, represented by a few skeletons, and killing those seems to break the curse that was put on the island. Gameplay & Puzzles: The level wins very much through the well designed jump and skill sequences. The gameplay is interesting, all puzzles, tasks and jump combinations are quite challenging and entertaining. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras, Lighting & Textures: I have to mention a few downsides here. I did not like the architecture of the caves and buildings very much and thought it was partly rather incoherent and wild. Often there were textures linked together that really did not fit together at all. The scenery was also too sinister for me and lighting effects did not stand out much because of that." - Eva (11-Jan-2009)

"The mark of this one is it's brilliant gameplay connected with a nice storyline. Texturing and lighting can't compare with this high standard. I just agree with jawi's review, so I don't want to torture you with more words for this very enjoyable level!" - Raymond (08-Jan-2009)

"Despite the use of the classic WAD (Coastal) and classic texture set, the author manages to give this adventure a wonderfully fresh feel, also supported by the funny storyline, and you are guided through the adventure with a nice flow of events, some skeletons and crocodiles to bother you, a few jumps that are a little more tricky, a moderate timed run, a mirror room, good use of a torch, a swamp and much more. The intermittent Red Tga flybys are well designed and make you chuckle as you eventually find the three gems needed to remedy the problem. I particularly liked the room with the many rolling boulders and the one with the jumping / target shooting. There is also a challenging side quest, as there are 7 secrets to be had of which I only found 5 so far. About 45 minutes spent here and it's a level not to be missed." - MichaelP (08-Jan-2009)

"The most defining part of this adventure is the story behind it and the author's effort to fully integrate it with the level itself. Something about visiting a room or two and being a witness to it get attacked with the evil virus that infects the room with red textures and skellies made the game very engaging to me, although I suppose the various trap rooms should be exciting in themselves as well. The secrets are cleverly constructed and at the same time very useful if you reach them. I was put off a bit by the grab-able textures that you couldn't actually grab, and while making a ladder out of a series of ledges is interesting, the result is unfortunately a bit buggy, and hard for players to stumble upon. There are also death tiles not indicated as such, though usually it's easy to guess that you're not supposed to touch them. This will probably be one of the more unique levels in the contest, so take a look at it - and you'll appreciate the ending." - SSJ6Wolf (08-Jan-2009)

"I had no idea that TR3 textures came with the original editor, but they sure do look very ugly in this level. And what this 'joke' is supposed to be about with the red textures I have no idea, so it's completely lost on me. The flipmaps, as a result, simply looked cheap and nasty. Setting the utterly vile appearance of this level aside, I will concentrate on gameplay here, and what great gameplay it is. The level demands some pretty deft manoeuvring from the player in order to be able to navigate the very well set up areas. I can well imagine less skilled (or patient) players becoming very annoyed and abandoning this level in a blaze of rage. But for me, it's exactly the kind of gameplay I like. To demand that the player thinks about what they're doing instead of just acting I think slows gameplay down in a beneficial way, making the enjoyment greater and the sense of achievement more profound when a particularly problematic section is completed. You are invariably always on your toes with this level, for it is a very sneaky level indeed, with lots of little nooks to investigate, traps to avoid and obstacles to hinder. I really enjoyed the timed sequence with one of the doors in this level, and the room with numerous trapdoors and slopes, the ultimate goal of which was to retrieve a torch, was simply a cracker. Each room for the three gems were a sheer delight to play, and it was nice to see a mixture of old and new ideas set side by side. Enemies in the form of typically irksome skeletons and crocodiles I suppose were relatively few, and very easily dealt with, happily. The lighting in this level didn't strike me as at all noteworthy, but I put that down to the ugly textures being lit, so that I doubt any great lighting could have been achieved. All I could really say is that it was fine, with no excessive darkness requiring repeated use of many flares. Secret setups I thought were great in this level and I enjoyed finding/cracking each one. Ugliness aside, this is a great starting level for this years Back to Basics." - Czar (07-Jan-2009)

"Many people started playing this first, as it was at the top of the level list, but this is my next to last contest entry review, which at least gives me some perspective. I liked everything here, the unique combination of South Sea texturing, the outdoor environment, the game play. The challenges aren't just frantic jumping, but often require some thought and sharp eyes, and these are the sort that I enjoy the most. As an example there is the point where Lara finds the stick for the Thin Gy and then it seems she has no way to exit this area. Nicely done. When Lara has to cross a deadly swamp, there are skeletons standing on the safe tiles to indicate where she has to jump. (Other levels did something similar, but left the safe tiles completely unmarked.) There was a timed run involving ledge jumps, but this one was fun; it was a normal timed run, not the bleeding fingers type of timed run some levels indulged in. The level has a nice assortment of puzzles, and doesn't repeat the same gimmick over and over. So good appearance and game play...and then we get to the end rooms and the search for three blue gems. The comments on the forum show that a few players made things hard for themselves in the room with a burning floor. But the part that did knock down the score for me was the room with the unmarked climbing surface in the corner. I was totally baffled here until consulting the forum. This is annoying. On the other hand, many of the contest levels have similar flaws, some point where the author tried to goose things up when they should have left well enough alone. Over all, very enjoyable play. One of the better contest entries." - dmdibl (07-Jan-2009)

"Fist off all i must say that this one was the 3rd from levels set wich i finished .........i know is the first on the list .... but cause a bugg i get stuck right from beggining and started to playing next ones - well was lucky with kindness of Dutchy wich sent me a saved game (after hut skelie flame scene) well this one is that kind off game wich u can love or hate from the start ..... well i am between ..... off course is a big level for its size of Mb and alot off exploring in it , filled with difficult jumps and timeruns ,areas are well builded but the graphics was not get me off through .......what i can say ...this is the 3rd in the rank from 3 levels wich i played from this BTb series untill now ....and this was cos that bugg + manny unmarked climbable walls and sometimes illogical gameplay ...... good one but far from being a masterpiece ....." - Jack& (05-Jan-2009)

"I had big fun with this level. Firstly it has great storyline, then brilliant gameplay. Author has good idea for RTS and we can see it in the game - it's very original work. There are inventive traps, timed runs and good difficulties. There are wonderful areas with great architecture. But this level has got a lot of textures which don't suit each other. All in all, it's very good level and it has perfectly choosen objects. I found four secrets. Other are well hidden but I think now I know were they are. Congratulations to the author for this great level." - jawi (03-Jan-2009)

"Starting BtB09 off on a high note, Curse of Empti Wad is a fine example of making textures and objects of different origins fit together nicely. This was a little adventure taking us through some nicely built caves and temple rooms, with fun gameplay (often involving jumps over deadly ground or huge pits) that occasionally made me stop and think, but not for long enough to make it frustrating. The level also wasn't short of a little laugh now and again, with the whole "virus" idea being a more interesting story than most. As mentioned before, the rooms were nicely built, with good texturing and lighting to accompany them, and a couple of nooks and crannies here and there to stick in a secret (of which I found two, both requiring a nice little detour). Overall a well recommended adventure that took me around 30 minutes to finish, and hopefully the start of a collection of great BtB levels this year." - Spike (02-Jan-2009)

"Eyes down, look in, the competition begins. It's an intriguing (and amusing) start too, with its red 'virus' storyline. It's a fast paced and enjoyable raid, with some well crafted agility/timed tasks to complete and quite a lot of secrets to find (no I didn't find them all, surprise, surprise). I particularly liked the 'target practise' scenario to retrieve one of the blue gems (my apologies, I meant of course the anti-red tga gems). It's also really good to be reminded how much can be accomplished with just the original wads/texture sets in the hands of a good builder, but then I suppose that's the whole idea of the exercise. An excellent start to the series." - Jay (02-Jan-2009)

"Curse of the empti wad, hmmm? Victims of that Red Tga Syndrome..... Sense of humor???....oh yes, but there always seems to be at least one level in the BtB series that strives to be more difficult than it has to be and this one may be a good candidate. Garish colors; weird angled edges; difficult jumps and walls that look climbable but are not and vice verse combine to make this a memorable and remarkable entry. Not for the faint of heart but if you are looking for a level to challenge and intrigue, this one will more than suffice; it becomes a must-play." - Bene (02-Jan-2009)

"Oops! I missed three secrets, but by the end of this level, I was so knackered I wasn't going back for anything else. The first thing I have to say, is that the humour involved with this level was quite hilarious; especially the finishing text, and the red texture prj thing was very amusing LOL. Next up is Lara's adventure. She starts in a huge cave area, and the first task is to find a gate key. There are croc and skelly enemies to deal with, and some fab traps; such as boulder runs, spikes and deadly floors. You will also be searching for the torch and the portal guardian, and later you will need three gems to finish the level. So, this is a huge exploration level. As far as textures are concerned they were all very nice, and the rooms were well decorated. Game play was fun to a point, and by that, I mean I have two gripes. Firstly, unmarked climbable walls will always tick me off, and secondly too many traps and difficult jumps in one room (the gem room with the spike tiles) was just a tad too much of a headache for me. Aside from the gripes, I had a lot of fun in this level, and with so many other good points, plus that touch of humour, this was a great start to the BTB's 2009." - Moonpooka (01-Jan-2009)
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