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Level: BtB2009 - Tut's Golden Armour back home search
Author(s): mugs
total rating:7.99 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 8 9 9 8
Czar 10 10 9 9
dmdibl 8 8 10 9
EssGee 9 9 9 8
eTux 9 9 8 7
Eva 6 7 7 7
Gerty 7 7 8 7
jawi 9 9 9 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 8 6 8 7
Jose 7 9 8 8
manarch2 8 8 7 7
MichaelP 8 9 9 8
Mman 8 8 7 6
Moonpooka 8 9 9 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
Relic Hunter 8 8 7 9
Ryan 8 7 8 8
Samu 8 7 7 6
Shady Croft 7 8 7 8
Treeble 7 8 9 8
category averages
(21 reviews)
7.95 8.14 8.14 7.71

Reviewer's comments

"Starting in rather cramped areas and with a flyby going through walls the level was off to a rather mediocre start, but things improve quickly here with a fun timed run, a nice way to deal with an enemy, great use of the motorbike... at the end I could really say it's my favourite BtB level of Mugs. Perhaps there are a few too many sentry guns to take out here (bit repetitive, yet always a different strategy is required) and it's not so nice that one of the secrets has to be found to be able to progress, but else this is a fast paced yet always intriguing mix of everything that I really enjoyed. Object design is good, especially enemies are well placed and the three remaining secrets are decently hidden as well. On more places than at the start the architecture feels rather small scale and not too impressive, but there are a few areas where it stands out like in the giant cave or the canyon area. The texturing is clean, yet a bit repetitive as all areas look somewhat alike this way - still everything looks quite nice despite of the limited texture set. And the lighting also might've needed a bit more attention from time to time (the level has a certain underlit feeling), although it has its good moments too. The game ended rather abruptly after 30 minutes, I found four secrets here." - manarch2 (22-Jul-2016)

"I am of two minds about this level. On one hand it is very clever put together but on the other it is quite tedious to get through. Too much for my taste anyway. There are some great ideas in here and I have to admit that I did curse quite a lot, as I just hate vehicles. So that was not to my enjoyment so to speak. I also got stuck with no way to get out apart from a reload. Textures could use quite some TLC and there were a tad too many illegal slopes. I always love to find a way to take out sentry guns and here you could." - Gerty (22-Apr-2016)

"I played this as my last BtB2009 level and it certainly stands out as being in a more confined environment. You need to have a keen eye for sneakily hidden crawlspaces and items. I found the enemies and bit overdone in my opinion. The temple carved into the rocks was nice." - Ryan (13-Apr-2016)

"There's a somewhat original theme here, with a mix of caves and Egyptian areas. Despite using a completely different texture set it kind of reminds me of Natla's Mines. Unfortunately the execution is a bit ropey, with some stretched/squashed (and very repetitive) texturing and not especially great lighting. It's functional enough though. To some degree this level does what I thought would have made The Killing Zone stronger, with a relatively linear series of action tasks, including a lot of turret shooting and bike rides. Certain parts can be quite tough but it's not too tough as long as you keep an eye out (the repetitive texturing can make this tough sometimes). There is an odd use of a secret needed for progression, but it's done in such a way I didn't mind it too much. A decently fun level, although it's a shame about the somewhat dodgy visuals." - Mman (14-Nov-2012)

"First of all, I have to congratulate the authoress on a most original wad (object set) and tga (texture set) combination. While most of the competing builders went for the obviously matching pairs or at least those that went together intuitively, this seemed to be a track off the beaten path, and I think she did well matching the two. As a result of - the level has a rather unique feel about it, and you start off in an area that resembles mines, but eventually reach outside areas only to go underground again to find a treasury with the items that started your quest here. The looks certainly work just fine overall, but the textures could've been applied to look a bit cleaner and the lighting could've been more consistent (i.e. a sun bulb in every room; lighting should be more even and match in rooms that build up one huge area, and nuances like that). There also was one fly-by that went straight through a wall at the beginning of the level, but other than that there were no faults in this department. The gameplay seems to be where the reviewers had the most polarized opinions, but I found it to be quite right for my liking. The motorcycle was put to good use and for once - for more than merely one jump, as it tends to be used in other levels. Outsmarting the sentry guns is always fun, but I was positively surprised again and again how it was accomplished here, and additionally to that there is a timed run or two to spice things up. I managed to find all 4 secrets, but was a bit perplexed why the last one contained 3 of the armour pieces you were supposed to be looking for? In any case, that didn't spoil my experience here a lot, and the level still gets my highest recommendations, especially to players who, like me, enjoy the gameplay usually attributed to the city levels." - eTux (05-Feb-2010)

"It's the last of the BtB levels I played and it's definitely the most difficult one. I had lots of moments when I didn't know what to do and I had to check it in the walkthrough. Author used an unusual combination of 'Title' textures and 'City of the Dead' wad and compared them very well. Atmosphere is very specific. Game contains dark caves with old temples inside. All architecture is brilliant but if I were a builder of this level I would make rocks less sharpen. I was confused with amount of sentry guns. I had lots of troubles to destroy them. I love the canyon, which is an example of realistic built outside area. Gameplay, despite of high level of difficulty, is very enjoyable. All traps and enemies are in good places. I was suprised with first area. I was sure that we would stay longer there. Level is a classic Tomb Raider and I added to my list of the most difficult. I especially liked the treasure room. There are some stretched textures and bad put textures so I took off one point for that. All in all this level is very good. Congratulations to the author!" - jawi (28-Feb-2009)

"City wad level in a natural environment, caves, canyons, water... Tasks are not very difficult, but it's not easy to find the way through the caves looking for a lot of small crawlspaces, hidden jumpswitches and paths to shoot the dozens of sentry guns you must explode. A lot of guards to shoot too, some tricky jumps, timed runs, dangerous areas, riding the motor bike through narrow passages... Things wont be easy for the players. I think this is the BtB level in which I used more time, but it's a good work anyway." - Jose (26-Feb-2009)

"I have to say I enjoyed getting that first secret right at the start and the revolver along with the LaserSight and this is one of the few levels that I actually enjoyed the vehicle - even that rather nasty right hand turn onto the fixed bridge. Intricate cave settings concealing ledges will, perhaps, give many a headache and it helps to have a walkthrough for a quick read as it isn't anyone's idea of fun to roam around, accomplishing nothing. A few tricky jumps and a wraith add to some difficult sequences but generally, the timed runs are doable. SAS Guards are well placed and blowing up sentry guns was a highlight. Recommended, especially using a walkie for those really difficult parts." - Bene (25-Feb-2009)

"It's hard to offer variety with city-wad based levels, and while the settings in this level are different from anything you might expect, gameplay relies on the same old tricks (including the ever annoying catwalks you have to drive your bike on). The level design, while commendable for its intricate organic caveish feel, feels awkward at times when it's not exactly clear where you have to go to, and a couple of times you might have been close to it, but not spotted the crevice up above. There were a few mistakes, such as a flyby going through walls and a couple of untextured spots, but generally the level was rather solid and action packed. 55 minutes, 2 secrets. 02/09" - Treeble (20-Feb-2009)

"This was quite some run-around, or should I say ride-around? Lara begins underground in some rather dimly lit caves and needs to make her way past some guards and sentry guns; which was all very cleverly done, as you need to find the various gaps in the walls to pick off the sentry guns. Of course, finding the revolver and sight is a must. There's also a timed block here to negotiate. Eventually Lara will arrive at a larger cave and find the bike, and here's the dodgy part. This area really got on my nerves and I much prefer to travel by foot rather than take tedious drives around narrow ledges. In the first cave you can travel by foot, but in the second cave you have to take the bike, so that was that and off I went. Shot a few more guards and sentry guns and headed out into a nice little watery area with a temple above. This was far more challenging and I liked this final area more than the first. You need to make your way through the underwater caverns to a large cave; which is also patrolled by guards and sentry guns, and then find the various ways to the armour pieces. Again, you will be picking off sentry guns from the gaps in the walls, and guards will hinder the way. A wraith will also show its face. When you have all your pieces, you make your way back to the watery cavern and can leave. I liked the layout of the rooms, and the textures were nice too. The atmosphere was great and sentry guns are always fun. Game play was a tad dull at the start with that bike ride, but later on was far more exciting. I spent just over one hour on this level and still managed to miss a secret. Anyway, a very nice level if you can get over the bike issue without tearing your hair out, and then I'm sure you will have a lot of fun." - Moonpooka (19-Feb-2009)

"I have to admit, eventhough most reviewers liked this level, I wouldn't consider it my cup of tea. It had many city-themed elements that am not so fond of, meaning the many SAS guards and the sentry guns you have to evade while on a bike or dodge and sneak around to be able to destroy them. All of this quite made me frustrated at some parts, albeit the level looked original and different than any classic TR4 level out there, so that's a definite plus to the author. The texturing was ok and kind of reminded me of Natla's mines level, although I thought at some parts it could have been better applied, same goes for some of the lighting, which I found non-existent in areas and a few random shadow spots in others. Nevertheless, this level is definitely worth checking out, despite being more of an action-packed with a rush of sentry and SAS bullets drilling you here and there. And so ends this years fabulous Btb09 for me. Well done !" - Shady Croft (18-Feb-2009)

"I certainly liked this level and challenging jumping tasks it has to offer. The ways you have to pass and destroy various sentry guns were tought out very well and required a little thinking as well. I liked also a lot the way you have to use motorcycle to access new areas and all in all the gameplay is created with care. A thing which has bugged me a little in some BtB-09 levels and also in this level, is the environment and how it's designed. I found areas to be a bit uninspired and very similar looking textured largely with the same grey rock textures. Lighting was maybe sligtly bland and sometimes it was hard to notice details in the shapes of the rooms. I also think that it was not so obvious to realize that you can go under the golden treasure heap and find there a switch which is nesessary for finishing the level. I you miss this, continue playing and get stuck, you have to do a lot of tedious backtracking to find out what you have missed. Even if I found some minus sides from this level it is on the whole an enjoyable level including good gameplay and I definitely recommend it." - Samu (05-Feb-2009)

"Sneaky secrets, claustrophobia and attention to detail are the order of the day here. With every step it seems there is something to look closely at, for the player is induced into the mindset that every crack and every gap holds something to be found. Of course, not all do, but such is the sneaky level of concealment that exists here, that one can't help but feel that if adequate care isn't taken then something will be missed, and so every crack and gap becomes supremely tantalising. Everything about this level demands attention, and this is compounded by a number of tight areas to navigate which can seem quite claustrophobic, especially with some of the low lighting levels that exist. Very little about this level is obvious then, and this setup makes for some real rewarding gameplay, despite the stress placed upon the player. There is some use of one of a number of bikes in this level, but none of it can really be described as free motorised rampaging. This is a strictly 'tight manoeuvring' affair with some very deft riding of the bike over various jumps and passageways that leave very little room for error. This is not to say that it's not enjoyable. It may be great to go on a free run with a vehicle, but sometimes careful manoeuvring can be more rewarding when the obstacles before us are safely traversed. The main enemy in this level, aside from gunmen are gun sentries. Of course we all know what a nightmare these can be and one could be forgiven for being annoyed by how many there are in this level. But the quest to safely blow each one up is such an integral part of the demands of this level, that I couldn't imagine it being as enjoyable were they not there. Texturing is quite good in places, unremarkable in others, but over all seems to be just right for what it is. Lighting is very well done here with dark areas not being so dark as to require multiple flare use and brighter areas not being glaring in their starkness. This level may seem unrelenting in some regards but I think that it strikes a good balance between the limits of excessive demand and being interesting, well made and ultimately rewarding." - Czar (04-Feb-2009)

"This is a fun, action-packed level that takes place for the most part in a subterranean setting, and I got a little tired of all the cramped close quarters with only occasional relief (or what seemed to me to be occasional, because when I stop to think about it I can recall that there were many sequences out in the wide open spaces). My game clock showed a little more than an hour and a half upon conclusion, so this is by far the level in the BtB competition that gives you (thus far) the most bang for your buck. The only real problem I had gameplay-wise was getting across that canyon. Part of the problem was the pit that prevented a straight jump across the gap (why do builders insist on placing such obstacles?), so I finally used the flycheat to get over there. The motorbike is no longer needed at that point, so what the heck. Life's too short. On a later occasion Lara refused to back out of a crawl space, so I used the flycheat there as well. (Once you've succumbed, it's so much easier to resort to it when things again get frustrating.) There's a lot to do here, and it's all quite entertaining, so I can recommend this level to players whose tolerance for frustration is high." - Phil (19-Jan-2009)

"A good 50 minutes of blowing up sentry guns, dealing with SAS baddies, difficult jumps and some crazy bike riding (with added nitro power). I don't understand the purpose of the mine detonator (endearingly termed "load") or why it was placed in a crawlspace that is very hard to exit once you manage to enter it. Same with the carjack which I could not pick up at all. There are other places players can get stuck too, especially during the bike ride, if you missed the crowbar or chose to leave the bike to take out one of those pesky guns. At least you can usually track back and get another bike from the "garage". The cave settings are nice and elaborate, but suffer somewhat from stretched and squished textures. Some solid textures are "fake" to conceal a path or two, kind of a cheap ploy in my opinion. At least the author concealed most things better than that. Do give it a try when you're ready for some engaging spelunking." - SSJ6Wolf (15-Jan-2009)

"Lara can enjoy a bike ride inside extensive and rather dark caves here. I will admit that personally I do not have the greatest talent to do this. This lack of talent, the darkness and the many sentry guns really spoiled the fun in this game a little for me. I twice had the issue of not being able to get back to the bike, thus had to re-play a few passages again. The dark caves looked very similar, using the same type of textures throughout, which often made it difficult to spot some of the cracks in the walls. I found the design a bit monotonous and boring. Enemies: Too many included for my taste, which is why the rather shooter-like gameplay did not work so well for me." - Eva (13-Jan-2009)

"A level that features very good cave exploration requiring keen attention to the environment. You must seek out lots of ledges on cliffs, and crawl in to alcoves to find your way through the level. The early part of the level centres on some good gameplay featuring the motorbike. You must constantly be on alert as the place is heavily guarded with sentry guns and grenade-toting guards. The use of these enemies and the strategies to disarm them were well carried out. In line with this, you need to keep an eye on your health as there are a few draining and heart-stopping moments to negotiate. A bit of unnecessary carelessness in the very last area with big gates opening through protruding large rocks. This one definitely had my adrenalin pumping, and after a bit of frustration being stumped in the first room, I really enjoyed the raid." - EssGee (11-Jan-2009)

"Given the storyline, I was expecting a Tut1 style level, so all the motorbike riding and trying to outwit sentry guns (always good fun) came as a bit of a surprise. This is a well devised, complex and occasionally confusing level although at least all five pieces of the armour you need to collect are in the same area. Often the most challenging aspect is finding the right route to achieve your goals, especially without taking too much damage from the aforementioned sentry guns and lots of guards. I found there were more than sufficient medipacks provided, though I would recommend being quick on your feet. Also, I hope you're not at all claustrophobic since there's quite a bit of crawling through very tight gaps involved in your search of the caves. A good ending to the Back to Basics levels for this year and well done to all involved." - Jay (08-Jan-2009)

"Motorcycle and cave level, automatic machine guns galore. Three tries, and two days to play this. After Lara gets the first piece of armor, there is complex jump sequence: slide, curve jump to alcove, then deliberately hit Lara's head on exit so she doesn't overshoot jump to slope, bounce to next ledge, and last a near impossible jump from cramped quarters where Lara barely has room to stand upright. I thought this was impossible, but on the forum Dutchy said he did it. Kept trying and trying to get to that upper ledge. Here I'd been stupidly thinking of myself as an above-average player [95% of Tomb Raider fans consider themselves to be above-average players]. Gave up. One last try, a sharply curved running jump, and hit Ctrl--and Lara didn't bang her head, but jumped and grabbed the ledge! Lara gets her second piece of armor, has to find a small pool to get rid of a wraith, and up to the top of cave. Drop down through a hole into the hallway. And Lara is totally stuck. The machine gun on the left makes it impossible to use the jump switch. So Lara has to start again from scratch...repeat everything in this whole cave...oh, yes. This reminds me of classic levels from the very early days of custom design. A major effort, taking a terrific amount of time by the author for the intricate cave system. Some of those early efforts also tried to make game play next to impossible. In order to review this, I played the entire level, but most players will be happier with a walk-through. Maybe players will really appreciate this with a walk-through." - dmdibl (08-Jan-2009)

"I am really in two minds about this level. On the one hand, I have very high regards for how clever it has been desgined and put together by the builder. It has many very smart little moments throughout, uses the motorbike very well and gives the whole 'blow those sentry guns up' action a great diversity as you progress deeper and deeper into the caves. I also really like how the sparse Egyptian textures merge with the cave walls and how you reach this treasure room and already know that this is not yet the end as you still have to go back and reach the exit doors. On the other hand though, when I did play through this, I also found it to not be particularly fun to play during the 75 minutes it lasted for me. It felt more like tedious and hard work, having to glance into each nook and cranny to see what a possible next step may be. Always wondering whether I had forgotten something or missed a crucial step or jump. There also seem to be a deadend, at least I did not find any way back up the path when you slide down without the bike to where it is blocked, so had to reload a savegame and replay that section. And in all the exploring of the nooks and crannies, I ended up in illegal slopes several times as well - rather annoying. As mentioned by others, I never quite got how you get a secret for the 'must-find' area in the treasure room, but then can easily miss out in picking up two of the armour pieces and still seeminfly finish the level. That felt a bit odd. So, bottomline, a clever and ambitious level for which the author has all my respect, but also an easily aggravating level, which I am sure many players will curse about big time." - MichaelP (08-Jan-2009)

"Where to start... I guess I'd say that I very much look forward to the yearly Back to Basics releases from the Tomb Raider community, as towards the end of a year I tend to lose interest in custom levels, so the BtB levels do just the trick in rekindling my interest. On to the level, it's quite a fun adventure with a motorbike, running over bad guys, a timed run or two, dismantling sentry guns, and some clever platforming bits thrown in for measure. I liked that the cave areas were designed with care and thought, same with the water-filled ravine area, and the use of lighting was varied well enough that the raid didn't feel monotonous. The placement of enemies, sentry guns, and other difficulties was consistent along with items, so there weren't any moments I became frustrated with the level's pacing. Particularly, I liked the one collapsed ramp following the green tunnel, while being an obstruction, it is believable since not everything remains perfectly intact underground in reality. The only oddity I found is that a couple of the secrets in the level are found through the actual route of gameplay to accomplish the level, so while nice as it may be, it kind of detracts the challenge and feeling of accomplishment to finding a secret, though that doesn't detract anything from my score. What could be improved though is the level's atmospheric design. The level is well designed and cameras are placed with care, yet a lack of music cues detraced a bit of enjoyment and made some areas feel kind of empty. There are some well used sound cues in the level, however I felt the level would benefit more had there been more of those. Lastly, lighting and texturing was pretty good throughout, and every area did feel unique in that regard, though I did see a wafer-thin wall or two that could be improved upon. Overall though, this is an enjoyable level, and it gave me a positive start to the BtB '09 series of levels." - Relic Hunter (03-Jan-2009)
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