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Level: BtB2009 - The Killing Zone back home search
Author(s): Marksdad
total rating:6.84 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 8 9 8
Cory 7 7 7 7
Czar 6 6 6 6
dmdibl 8 8 8 7
EssGee 8 8 7 8
eTux 8 7 6 5
Eva 7 7 6 7
Gerty 7 6 6 6
jawi 6 6 5 5
Jay 7 9 8 8
JesseG 7 8 7 7
Jose 5 7 6 7
manarch2 6 6 5 5
MichaelP 7 6 6 6
Mman 6 6 5 5
Moonpooka 9 9 8 8
Phil 8 8 8 7
Relic Hunter 8 7 6 6
Ryan 7 6 7 6
Samu 7 6 6 5
Shady Croft 7 8 8 7
Treeble 6 7 7 7
category averages
(22 reviews)
7.09 7.09 6.68 6.50

Reviewer's comments

"It all begins with a fairly intriguing starting sequence and a nice climb-down task, but what did the builder think with those dark passages that follow? Even with the easily missed flares found I had a hard time navigating around. Thankfully the rest of the game is rather bright (even too bright from an aesthetic viewpoint) and the gameplay definately has good moments from time to time. Much fun is guaranteed with pad puzzles, a double timed run (and many others, e.g. the one in the glass maze) and for some extent also with shooting of dozens of SAS, but for me those got too many towards the end and were rather annoying, especially the ones shooting at you while you climb down a monkeyswing (health loss is unavoidable here). There's also a puzzle including jumping on four transparent pillars that was very buggy for me as the door only opened after jumping several times on each pillar. The looks are rather secondary, mainly consisting of plain and base areas with only a few areas that have received more attention. This level succeeds in telling a story with the cutscenes presented here, and has some nifty ideas especially gameplaywise, but still it's not quite in the same league as most of the other entrys of BtB 2009. Found one okay secret in a net playtime of 20 minutes." - manarch2 (22-Jul-2016)

"I love Marksdad dearly but that doesn't mean I have to like his levels. He has a mean streak this one. Taking a mickey out of some stuff he dislikes in other levels and put it into his own. And there is always the elusive medipack you cannot get. But if he puts his mind to it, there is an adventure to be had, no doubt about that. He doesn't go for beautiful areas; it is more the action he seeks and there is plenty of that." - Gerty (27-Apr-2016)

"Mmm, I'm sorry, but this one didn't really appeal to me due to its shooter nature and darkness. I couldn't destroy the sentry gun as early as the walkthrough said, so I had to wait until I found the revolver first. It did provide an adrenaline rush though." - Ryan (09-Apr-2016)

"There's a nice bit of story implementation as things begin with a helicopter explosion and you have to work your way down to the ground from a rock. Unfortunately this start area is too dark to the point it's unbelievable that it's outside, and there's quite a lot of stretched texturing. The later parts are brighter but the other visual flaws remain, and outside of the machine at the centre of the base the areas are cramped and don't have much sense of place. There was one use of a drag corpse object that I really liked though. After a somewhat bizarrely placed switch at the start the gameplay is based around fast-paced timed runs and similar beyond one too-hidden jump-switch (that was tricky to see even after checking the walkthrough), and there's a nice ending sequence that supports the story. This is actually a level where it feels like the non-linear aspects harm it a little; with the storyline implementation and nature of the gameplay it feels like a should be a Run Lara Run style non-stop action-fest, and it's at its strongest when it's like that and not slowing down. There's some nice ideas here but they don't really come together." - Mman (13-Nov-2012)

"The opening fly-by that sets the scene for Lara's arrival in the killing zone was quite promising, but the start itself a bit of a head scratcher. Being promised a level that won't take too long to finish by the other reviews, every now and then I thought I'd use this one as a starting point to finally cover the 2009 back to basics levels I had managed to neglect over time, but never quite made it off the peak of that rock. For whatever reason, it was not as troublesome this time and I managed to see the rest of what the 30 minute level has to offer. While the level is not all that long, it is quite involved, and you get to master a plethora of more or less tight timed sequences, a simple pad puzzle or two, outsmart a sentry gun and of course put a plethora of SAS guards to rest, though they manage to make Lara's life harder a number of times, with the monkey swing over the burners being one example. The looks on the other hand, have that carefree feeling of 2001 and apart from the initial and final area don't offer too much eye-candy. Most of the areas are unspectacular texture wise and a bit inconsistent in the lighting department - with some rooms having flat room lighting, while others are nicely lit. Overall it's a nicely rounded, yet brief adventure and while it might not blow you away with its looks, it's fun enough to play all the same." - eTux (04-Feb-2010)

"In my opinion, the 'weakest' of the levels in this competition. It starts off rather nicely, with the gameplay emphasising the storyline. However, having to get down from the rock can be quite annoying as it is too dark. There is also a 'cheat' way of getting down, letting you land straight in the water. You have to be very thorough in this area as if you miss a switch then you cannot proceed into the base (why they'd hide the switch to the base on a rock I still can't understand). After a nice little puzzles using textures you can proceed to the big area. Here are many little corridors leading off in different directions. The colours of these are crucial for another puzzle. Unfortunately, all of the corridors seem to contain a timed run in one form or another. We then got to the best room in the level (in my opinion of course) with coloured columbs going to the ceiling. This puzzle can unfortunately be solved by randomly jumping around. After yet another timed run, we arrive in an area with a sentry gun and a guard. After the relief of passing this, we then find we are being shot at while monkey swinging. After a while, we arrive back in the big hub room (or is it?). We then use a motorbike, having deactivated the machine, to escape while killing lots and lots and lots of guards. The texturing was good at times, but generally only ok, the atmosphere created was good but could possibly have been better. As said at the beggining, the weakest of a very strong bunch of levels. 20 minutes, still recommended." - Cory (15-Mar-2009)

"You can’t imagine how happy I was after finishing this level. I really don’t like it. Firstly complex of rocks is too dark and I had problems to find the way even with flares. I saw also a lot of stretched textures. The base doesn’t look better. The lighting isn’t realistic and in some places there aren’t any shadows or lights. Gameplay is boring. There is one hard timed run in the maze labyrinth . I enjoyed the ending when you ride through the passage and kill enemies but this was the only enjoyable moment. I think playing this level is the waste of time. There aren’t any special places which could stay in my mind. I think author should pay more attention to his/her next level." - jawi (28-Feb-2009)

"There isn't bad this level, but there is a couple of timed runs which ruins the gameplay; the one in the glass maze is almost impossible. There are another bad details like the hidden jumpswitch near the beginning you can miss and have to retrace your steps looking for something to open the first door. Correct lights and textures, I missed some more cameras in certain places. The last ride with the bike gives you a hint to know who is the builder of this level." - Jose (26-Feb-2009)

"I'm not so sure I like this one that much. The beginning camera sequence was very good, different from the other levels and intriguing for that matter. But from this moment, the level goes down the road of the type am not so fond of. The setting was really dark, with patches of dark shadows here and patches of light (red) there. Luckily enough, this part is sort of short, and the level takes us to a base with a lot of SAS guards and a straightforward gameplay of finding levers to open doors and move on. There was one memorable and tight timed run which takes place in a glass maze...those we haven't encountered in a long time and I praise the author for it. The level ends with a short motorbike ride with around 30 minutes net gaming time. A good level, though for those who hate dark levels and shooter levels, this wont be a pleasure." - Shady Croft (07-Feb-2009)

"Going through the so-far lesser entries of the contest I stumble upon this level, which is a bit more unique in setting as opposed to its other competitors. However, that doesn't make it a fabulous level by any means, it's still quite a fun romp through a base in the desert. Atmospherically, it's rather weak since the level starts out quite dark and nicely moody, but in later areas it appears that it's as light as day. The texture job is also somewhat weak, stretched textures abound in certain places, but in smaller areas they look good, although wallpapered sometimes. Though, there are sufficient cameras to guide the player along, and I have no complaints about the sound. While aesthetically it's quite weak, it has some engaging gameplay to back it up. I enjoyed the timed runs in this one, and liked getting down the canyon at the beginning. There's also a fair amount of soldiers to shoot while looking around the base, so going through it doesn't get boring. Overall, it's a small and fun level, though its looks could use some work." - Relic Hunter (05-Feb-2009)

"The first city-WAD level I come across in my BtB09 run and probably the only one. This is probably the one level so far that made me think we were back in 2001. Gameplay is, despite linear, a bit too obscure in certain points. The two timed runs are rather tight but manageable. Other than the opening scene and the way down into the base, there isn't anything extraordinary about this level. 35 minutes, 1 secret. 01/09" - Treeble (31-Jan-2009)

"The title speaks for itself with this level. Lots of shooting, followed by some more shooting, and then a little bit extra shooting just in case you didn't get enough. This one isn't rocket science and doesn't require much to figure out. Sure enough the start could be a bit bewildering, being atop rocks and surrounded by darkness. Just trying to get down can be a multi-reload affair. Once that is completed and the small part of the Nevada type area is traversed, we end up in area 51 type corridors filled with pleasant guards just waiting to make your stay a welcome and relaxing experience ... with their guns. There are a number of timed runs which were generally enjoyable. Two are tight and the third of all of them (which involves glass walls) is the better one. I couldn't make up my mind if the monkey swing below the sentry gun was purposely made to prevent a straight forward swing after the jump, just to cause more frustration to the player, but it was definitely an irritant. Aside from that and despite some of the demands of this level it's all a pretty straight forward business. The secret wasn't much of a secret here, being in plain view and obvious how to crack. Ultimately we end the level with, yes, you guessed it, more shooting before a very short bike ride to run over several more guards. Half an hour then to play this level and I am left wondering what the point was. Whilst much of the main play was reasonable enough in a 'doesn't require many brain cells' kind of way, everything was pretty much standard fare with little inspiration. Lighting was awful at the start. Thereafter, nothing much. Texturing couldn't be adequately judged at the start, for the bad lighting. Thereafter, nothing much. All I can really encapsulate this level with is what came out of my mouth when it was over. Is that it?" - Czar (23-Jan-2009)

"Not sure why this received, IMHO, lower ratings than it deserved. It may be that it's a bit too short but the beginning is well done and original. Yes, down on the solid ground, the area is too dark but once into the base that is no longer a problem. It is more of a shooter than not but this is, after all, a base level. Good puzzles and gameplay with a great deal of satisfaction when the glass caged timed run is finally completed overrides any nitpicking about initial lighting. The transparent columns are a beautiful touch in what is, overall, a masculine environment. The monkey swing doesn't quite work properly but this is nothing new.....it's a good thing it wasn't timed. The dead enemies can be moved but there is nothing there to find. An abrupt ending as Lara mows down the last line of defense comes way too soon but is, of course, memorable." - Bene (23-Jan-2009)

"This level surely has many nice ideas but lack of attention paid to details in the surrounding detracts from quality. Way of shaping areas is somewhat simple and the whole environment just didn't look a realistic base environment in my opinion. I'm not trying to say that this level is visually poorly constructed because it's not but a lot of improvements could have been done. Gameplay made a much stronger impression on me and didn't include only boring jumping but also some thinking. The way you have to pass a sentry gun and solve the tile puzzle in beginning were especially nice and timed runs added some agility to the level. The time needed for shooting enemies could have nevertheless been reduced to create less tedious gameplay but that's only my opinion. All in all this is a nice level and offers fun gaming time for a while." - Samu (21-Jan-2009)

"Exciting introduction, but the rest of the level is a simple base level lasting 30 minutes, though there are a few moments of interest. There are four time runs if I recall correctly, a pad-jumping puzzle, a turret to try and avoid, and many SAS baddies, some of which you get to mow down on your bike at the end. A few things for the author to watch out for: one of the timed runs may be useless if the player misses a jumpswitch, thus you have to do it again. Also the monkeyswing over the fire is too steep; it is difficult to get Lara to swing forward on it, and I had to make her shimmy sideways to get across. Make the ceiling only slope down by one click, not two. The looks are okay, mostly stretched textures are the issue, and the first area is way too dark. A little base level that players should get a good amount of fun out of if they can withstand the tight runs." - SSJ6Wolf (14-Jan-2009)

"Military Base levels are not among my favourites, so this one was a bit difficult on me. There is a prevailing unfriendly and sinister atmosphere, plenty of enemies and sentry guns. But Lara still manages to reach her bike at the end of this short massacre." - Eva (13-Jan-2009)

"I thought from the first few minutes of gameplay that the Killing Zone meant that somebody killed all the lights. Ok it's night time and Lara is conducting a covert mission, but there are better ways of creating night feel than sheer darkness. Thankfully we move into a well-lit base soon after which provides a nice change of scenery. It's a base housing some sort of big ray machine, which has an army of guards to protect it, so that's where the Killing Zone comes into play. Enough ammo and medipacs are supplied to deal with all this shootin'. Enjoy a knuckle-crunching timed run through a tight glassed off area, and work out some good strategies to deal with a sentry gun. Otherwise the gameplay is straight forward. Textures are done well, architecture is suitably base-like with complementary objects. All this capped off with a light-hearted splat-a-thon with the motorbike at the end to flee from the facility. Fun!" - EssGee (11-Jan-2009)

"It's not often that I'm obliged to bump up the gamma on my monitor as high as it will go, and then have to use flares so I can see my way around, but that's how this level starts off after that great helicopter-exploding introduction. I would have binned the level had the lighting situation not improved promptly, and it did once you get to the base section. After that the action comes fairly fast and furious, and gameplay becomes quite enjoyable. I thought that the timed run involving the rising blocks was quite challenging enough, because it took me a number of tries to position myself correctly to make the required jumps in order to beat the clock, and I gave myself a mental pat on the back when I finally conquered it. However, I have to agree with an earlier reviewer that the timed run in the glass maze would have been a game-stopper for me had I not been able to enable the flycheat so I could zip my way faster along the corridors. In my opinion at least one full second should have been added to this sequence to make it reasonably fair for the player. When I reached what I assume is the Killing Zone at the end, where ten SAS obligingly line up like bowling pins, after only 45 minutes of net gaming time, I felt somewhat short-changed, but for the most part this is a fun level. Recommended, but with less enthusiasm than for the other BtB levels played to date." - Phil (11-Jan-2009)

"Pretty cool opener indeed, but it does go downhill from there...literally, as you need to find your way to the ground first. Once that is accomplished you are in for an aptly named 40 minute run in a simplistically designed, textured and lit city WAD setting - with 20 guards to kill along the way (not counting the 10 you run over with the bike at the end), some trigger tile puzzles and a series of increasingly difficult timed runs, where especially the one around many corners will take a few attempts to master. As always, I had some trouble finding the occasional jump switch that was hidden in plain sight, but other than that the progression is obvious and the one secret rather hard to miss. Fun while it lasts, especially if you enjoy city type settings in general." - MichaelP (08-Jan-2009)

"Nice dramatic start to the level, with Lara's helicopter exploding. Being a base level, this is inevitably a bit of a shooter, although there are small puzzles to solve and some timed elements to achieve, including a really tight run through a glass maze that I needed help with (thank goodness someone in the family is good at timed runs is all I can say). Not my favourite genre this, so you may like it more than I did, but I will say I enjoyed running over all those guards on the motorbike at the end of the level." - Jay (07-Jan-2009)

"A short Base level with some a good shoot 'em up feel. Lara begins outside after jumping out of a helicopter, which promptly explodes. Then you will have to find your way down to ground and find your way to the Base. You will need to find the revolver and sight, the crowbar, and the bike to escape. Along the way, Lara will tackle a tight timed run, plenty of guards and some trigger tiles to open doors and raise blocks. I just wish this had been a tad longer as I was just getting into the scene when it ended. However, you do at least get one secret, which you have to be sneaky about retrieving from behind a sentry gun. The rooms were tidy and uncluttered, and the cut scene was fab. A nice 30-minute Raid with some hot action." - Moonpooka (04-Jan-2009)

"More like a DOOM level than Tomb Raider, and I don't mean that in a good way. Has the best start of any of these contest levels: Lara leaps from a burning helicopter, falls to a mountain peak, and behind her we see the helicopter explode. A very narrow escape, but nothing else in the level is as good. Lara enters what looks like a base, and I had hoped to report that this is a fast-paced shooter level. We get a couple of timed runs, jumping up crates to doors, and these aren't bad. But for me the low point was soon after this when Lara has to make a timed run between glass walls and cubicles. First, guards get in Lara's way and need to be shot, but even with them out of the way the door always closes in Lara's face. The one thing this level doesn't need is growing player frustration. After that it was shooting more guards, getting the revolver, shooting more guards, blowing up some gizmo in the center of the base, shooting more guards, moving a bunch of dead SS guys (none of whom had anything underneath them), getting on the motorcycle and--no joke--mowing down ten guards who are lined up single file for the express purpose of being run over by a motorcycle. The mindless violence probably sounds better than it plays. But the tight timed run between the glass cubicles really killed the game for me, and I suspect it will for most players." - dmdibl (03-Jan-2009)
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