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Level: Black in, Black out back home search
Author(s): nada
total rating:5.30 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 8 7 7 7
eTux 3 4 8 5
Gerty 2 2 4 3
Jay 5 5 7 6
Jose 2 3 5 4
manarch2 3 3 5 4
MichaelP 5 5 9 6
Minox 6 5 5 6
MpGrill 8 10 10 10
Mulf 4 4 5 6
Orbit Dream 4 3 4 5
Phys 8 7 10 10
Relic Hunter 3 5 8 7
Ryan 4 5 6 5
Spike 3 4 4 3
TrueRaider 4 3 4 4
category averages
(16 reviews)
4.50 4.69 6.31 5.69

Reviewer's comments

"Sorry but this is not the kind of levels I like. There are some new textures, new cd tracks and the movable blocks puzzle is not bad, but that's all. The architecture is rude and crude, and the rooms are too empty (except that room with the grass and plants) without objects; the tasks are limited to pull switches; no guns, no flares even when there are many dark areas and that bats always chasing Lara during all level were not so nice. There are many camera targets pointing the important locations, but the musics were not very nice even for a gloomy level. The textures are not bad applied, but the general aspect of the rooms is not nice too. Definitely, a level not nice to play for me. Sorry." - Jose (17-Aug-2017)

"Novel? Yes. Unique? I suppose. Fun to play? Not really for me, I'm afraid. This is a level that you'll either love or hate and while I can see what the builder was aiming for, I didn't have an enjoyable time here. The bats are irritating as hell (due to no weaponry), the overbearing gloom with no flares provided meant that I virtually had to squint my way through (or use the binoculars) and the gameplay isn't that involving, with one block puzzle being a bit too tedious (although I did enjoy using the torch for a brief time). Sorry, it wasn't my cup of tea." - Ryan (26-Apr-2017)

"In an earlier review of mine,I wrote that "the best part of this level was the End";a turn of phrase which received considerable opprobrium from one particular quarter - which just goes to show how easy it is to misunderstand these things,as what I meant was that the End sequence of the level was the best part.That is also the exact same instance with this particular adventure,as the builder sticks resolutely to their own highly distinctive building style throughout - a style which,it has to be said,was not to my liking at all.Basically:impenetrable darkness;no flares;no weapons(despite constant bat attacks);thirty minute pushable block puzzle;constant atonal high-pitched background music throughout. If this is the sort of style and ambience which appeals to you,then your boat has just come in! Myself,I couldn't really take much away from this except for the aformentioned End sequence - which was imaginative,creative and fun. Maybe this builders next release will be along those 'End' lines ALL the way through?" - Orbit Dream (19-Jul-2014)

"I'm writing this while listening to a recording of Orlando di Lasso's Penitential Psalms. Penitence and indeed contrition is what I'd expect from the perpetrator of this disappointment. I loaded it up with the firm intention of being positively surprised, induced by three alluring screenshots posted at TRF, one of which showcased a custom texture that looked like Francis Bacon's portrait of his pet jellyfish while the others were of a rather abstract, vaguely sinisterish nature. Now, this appeared to promise something altogether different from all those run-of-the-mill first-timers' levels whose flaws are too well known for me to care to enumerate them yet again. Well: Turns out you get most of these, plus pervasive darkness (and let it be known that I don't complain about darkness as lightheartedly as some others do, but I found I have a tendency to get rather pissed off when forced to stop and use the binoculars at about every third step I take), and the added advantage of having bats pestering you all through the better part of the level and no means to get rid of them. Also, I am familiar with music that in untuned ears would qualify as 'weird' or 'crap' or simply 'odd', and yet I can't bring myself to consider some random notes that occasionally culminate in the sound of an electric guitar falling down the stairs as a suggestive background audio track. There may once have been a grand idea lurking behind all this, but alas, it failed to materialze." - Mulf (21-Oct-2011)

"I compare this level to the recent Black Light. Both of these levels have very atmospheric effects, but 1) they fall very short in terms of gameplay and 2) the atmosphere gets completely killed by overwhealming darkness. I don't know why, but even if this was used to make the atmosphere better, it gets destroyed from me, as I only want these levels to be finished soon and don't care about anything else. In this case it maybe worked a little better than in Black Light, as I knew from the story there won't be any enemies in this level. Really, I don't like so scary levels much. They often hide - like in this case slow gameplay (push a lever to find a lever at another place of the level - with the exception of a quite interesting block puzzle) and not so good textures - the inability to build a "proper" level. Sorry, didn't like this one." - manarch2 (07-Jul-2011)

"All I can do is echo what pretty much everyone has said before me. The concept was interesting - the atmosphere created by the room geometry (three central pillars in the first area, or the huge areas with the bridge and the blocks), textures, lighting, objects (loved the overgrown basements and underground passages!) and the chosen audio tracks was unique and I loved it, even if for that alone. Though the overall darkness was not pleasant, you can sort of accept the fact that you might need to focus on the lights instead and forget about searching every corner for hints to progression, considering you were not given any means to illuminate your way with the exception of the torch. What did irk me more than everything else were the endless crashes closer to the end, and the lack of any means to battle the bats, as harmless as they may seem. If all of that was meant to be part of the level's concept - that just proved to me that there is still room for some convention in the level even if you try to defy it. All of my savegames crashed after placing the Ba Cartouche, so I could not legitimately finish it, but I took it from the comments and walkthrough that I was not that far away from the finish line. The saddest thing is that avoiding issues like these is not even an issue of having other players test it before the release, but playing through the game your self, so the negligence from the author's side had me truly puzzled, as with some polish this could've actually been a rather enjoyable little surreal gem of a level, so it's a shame it didn't end up that way. The whole surreal feel of the game is definitely worth a look, so you can give the first half of it a chance. Whether you persist beyond that is a matter of your own desire to do so, I suppose." - eTux (05-Jan-2010)

"I could have easily binned this level and I almost did, because I couldn't seem to get back towards the start (got crash after crash), but doing that then I couldn't write a review. Dark, dark and I must repeat that again, dark. The only pick-ups I found was a big and small medipack, apart from a Book and a Cartouche, oh yes, I almost forgot a Torch. I did schlep that thing as far as I could with me so at least I could have some light. Although the dozy is enabled I dare not to use it, but I shouldn't have worried, as without using the dozy, I got crash after crash. TRsgEditor is also a handy tool so for now I had enough flares to last me a lifetime. There are no guns (bloody bats) but thank heaven, there are binoculars. All in all you run around like a headless chicken through dark huge rooms and dark, pitch-dark tunnels. Be aware of the pushing one has to do or else you still are there, running around in circles. The only place that had light was the underwater bit, and in contrast to the rest of the level, that was way too bright. Cracks are showing in a major way there and although you hardly could see them, some textures in the other parts of the level could use attention. There are two rooms, chocablock full with plants; my graphic card went almost into overload. After placing the Cartouche I almost gave up, I had crash after crash, this hasn't been tested I would say. Tsk. What a waste, a pity though as this is a different sort of level and could have been quite good but for now I got the feeling that it didn't pan out as intended by the builder." - Gerty (20-Feb-2009)

"I liked this strange little level but a look at the ratings will show its not everyone's 'cup of tea'. Yes, it's dark but once a player realises that there are no pistols to be found or flares, searching in every dark corner(and there are many) can be dispensed with and once the moving blocks puzzle is done the pesky bats that had Lara gulping down a few medis are gone and no longer a bother. The real problem that arises is the numerous crashes that will, no doubt, have many Raiders discarding the game and that's a shame because there's a lot here to enjoy as it's unique and has more than a bit of real talent waiting to mature. The author has hints to the player so no one should be stuck for long. The credits at the exit are done well but the sounds had me wondering (along with others) if something was wrong with my speakers. I reached the end of the level without encountering the water that other reviewers mention. There was that one wall torch that I could not get Lara to light so it seems I missed some(and maybe a lot of) gameplay. This is Part I and I am looking forward to the continuation. Don't let negative ratings dissuade you from downloading and playing this - it's an experience that you might really enjoy ....or not... but give it a try and make up your own mind. I'm glad I did." - Bene (18-Feb-2009)

"Interesting, but also annoying... yuo could almost call this a 'concept level' and I did actually think the concept works quite well. The atmosphere created through the darkness, the choice of textures, the eerie music/sounds and some of the short flybys worked really well for me. What did not work well though was the gameplay which consists largely of running around a lot, flipping the occasional lever or jump switch and solving a very tedious push block puzzle that took almost 15 minutes of game time all by itself (if you do not use the shortcut of jumping up to the bridge directly. I did not mind the bats much, but the are really unnecessary. As reported by others I did run into crashes towards the very end of the game, but eventually made it to the finish trigger. So, all in all, a level with a good conceptual idea but falling short of putting it into practice in a truly enjoyable fashion - so the legend at the very beginning is rather spot on - unfortunately..." - MichaelP (16-Feb-2009)

"Spike has pretty much summed up how I feel about this level already. I downloaded it after having heard of the concept which is meant to be something dark, ambient and original. It's certainly dark with no flares provided whatsoever. You don't even get any pistols to provide even a chink of light. Ambient it is not. I couldn't work out where it was meant to be set, at the beginning there is what looks like a building, but when you get inside it's a mixture of Egyptian and random bland texturing. I really commend the author for trying something new, but I just didn't really get it. Sound plays one of the biggest roles in creating atmosphere, but the audio provided didn't suit a spooky atmosphere. It's probably the most random and strange music I've heard in a custom level because it's not music, it sounds like a load of noise making you think your speakers are broken. I tried really hard to enjoy it, but I just couldn't in the end. I am a big fan of non-combat levels but yet there are still bats here which will rarely go away and annoy you enormously since you have no weaponry. The music, textures and game-killing elements of gameplay are what let this level down. But again, kudos for trying something different, if somewhat strange." - TrueRaider (15-Feb-2009)

"level very dark, silent hill style. a few thin walls and large dark pièces, no flares, no ammunition and guns and bats which harass us non-stop. The music is boring, and I cut the sound if not I will not finish! the only part I liked was the underwater part, finally the light! It is not very difficult, even easy. The author knows the basics and I advised him in his next level more light ." - Minox (13-Feb-2009)

"I'd describe this as more of a conversation piece than a thing of beauty. It's certainly different and 'experimental', which sounds like (and probably is) a euphemism for 'doesn't always work'. The sound files are very distinctive and the textures a strange mixture of fascinating and extremely bland - at least insofar as I could tell in the low light levels. It is atmospheric, especially if your idea of good ambience is 'gloomy', but I personally find it very hard to grade the look of a level I can barely see. The gameplay is fairly simple and, as you will note from the readme, this is a non-combat level, so you can at least concentrate on the exploration (sometimes by Braille) without worrying about things lurking in the shadows, even if being nibbled on by bats does become irritating. Whilst I may not have found it entirely to my taste, I do applaud the builder for trying something so unusual for a debut level. There's obviously a good imagination at work here." - Jay (13-Feb-2009)

"I must say that this game is pretty underrated.It has an amazing spooky-creepy atmosphere and some great music effects. I think that I never played such a good mystery level..its really original.The design of the areas in the Level are also really well done.There are no enemies to kill..only a few bats that follow Lara trough the whole level.The best part for me was the long dark tunnel on which end Lara falls into the pool. Everyone should play this level because it has somethng really special that no other level has....try it,you wont be disappointed." - MpGrill (13-Feb-2009)

"I would have to say that for Tomb Raider this level probably won't suit the tastes of the majority of players and what they're familiar with and expect from good levels. While not exactly a bad level, there are a lot of glaring flaws that do make it a bittersweet experience to play through. First though, there is a big positive to the level - it really is quite original. It's more like an experience than a game really, the atmosphere is very strange but in a good way and kept me interested throughout the level, yet the choice of audio wasn't really to my tastes at all and felt at some points a bit overbearing and annoying. The lighting and texturing is also interesting. It may be just me, or my LCD monitor settings, but the level was reasonably bright enough to see the surroundings where it needed to be, and while there are some good textures, some areas looked like the texturing was somewhat scrambled and not aligned too well. The areas that need the most work are in the gameplay and object departments. In a non-weapons adventure there are less options for making good gameplay, but in this level I felt that these options weren't utilized to its full potential. There is a lot of running around to do and swimming through long, empty corridors, and while there is a bit of jumping and a small torch puzzle, along with some pushie blocks, nothing really stands out as exciting. If the author needs suggestions for gameplay for a level with no weapons, there could be more platforming involved, timed runs, some traps thrown in and a bigger variety of puzzles to solve. The objects used in the few rooms through the level are placed nicely and give the area a slight feel, many other rooms of the level are quite large and empty. Also, the bats that pester the player through the level aren't suitable for a non-combat adventure as there is no way to get rid of them, thus they become aggravating. While they don't do much damage, there could be better alternatives for enemies. Skeletons perhaps, or mummies, something that doesn't get annoying very quickly and can be dodged. The push blocks bit could also have been done better, it was buggy in aligning the blocks correctly since I had to deal with blocks that Lara wouldn't push easily, and some that float in midair that I had to fix. The pestering bats don't help either. On another note, this could have used better testing as towards the end of the level, I've gone through no less than two dozen (that's 24) crashes trying to finish up the three to five minutes I had left in the level. Perhaps this could have benefited from more testing, a different approach to designing the area, something that would eliminate the bug. I'm not sure if that's a TRNG issue and if whether or not it can be fixed, but it's really detrimental to the experience. In closing, it is an interesting debut with some good ideas, but it unfortunately struggles to reach being good." - Relic Hunter (12-Feb-2009)

"Oh dear. After reading the positively glowing review that this level had received, naturally I wanted to try it out. Sadly, my opinions couldn't be further removed from what I was expecting. For a start, let me warn possible players that if you're the type that gets easily frustrated, then this level is probably something you want to avoid like the plague. While "non-combat, dark-ambience" might sound perfectly fine on paper, in reality it appears to mean "I'll give you enemies but no weapons to shoot them with" and "I'll make the level as dark as I possibly can, and not even bother to give you flares". While the enemies are only bats and are therefore not too much of a threat, the darkness is simply downright unbearable, with the binoculars and the occasional torch being your only sources of light ("Black in" indeed). When I did use the binoculars however, it at least gave me a chance to see how plain and boring the texturing was, and coupled with the terrible lighting issues the category receives a low mark from me overall. While I believe the lighting may have been the author's attempt at creating atmosphere (and occasionally it did work...somewhat), the "Sound & Cameras" part of the category wasn't particularly strong. The cameras were not too bad, though a little odd at times (stretching the screen and all) but audio was a massive low point for me. While a couple of the audio tracks sounded somewhat fitting for the whole "weird and dreamlike" feeling of the level, others were incredibly bad and sounded more like my speakers needed fixing. Anyway, onto the other aspects of the level, and gameplay is far from interesting either. Much of the time we spend seems to be doing incredibly mundane tasks such as running or swimming down some very, VERY long corridors, and while there is some variety in the tasks now and then (a torch puzzle, a few jumps here and there) the gameplay as a whole is rather underwhelming. The constant crashes I had on my return to the beginning area of the level were also getting on my nerves after a while. I also wasn't so keen on the somewhat random layout of many of the rooms, which felt like the author had thrown down a few blocks here and there and attempted to build gameplay around them. The odd room layout also continues into the Credits and Documentary levels, of which the latter wasn't particularly easy to navigate considering that the entire level was mostly painted in white (perhaps this would have been better with a flyby, but it seems that the author gave up on those about 5 seconds into the Credits level). Finally, the enemies were few yet generally frustrating due to the lack of weapons, the objects were mostly lighted and placed well, yet the mish-mash of cultures throughout seemed somewhat odd, and as for secrets...I didn't find any at least. Overall, a weird and not-so-wonderful adventure, littered with a lot of beginner problems and extremely bad gameplay decisions, but occasionally with a glimmer of hope buried somewhere in the darkness." - Spike (11-Feb-2009)

"The atmosphere this level gives is amazing. When loading the level up for the first time I was greeted by expert use of lighting and textures. This level certainly gives off an eerie appeal which is helped along with very strange but extremely effective audio choices. You can tell much work has been put into the level with texturing and lighting. I was very impressed so this scored a massive 10. Atmosphere, sound & cameras. This scored a 10 as well. At first I was a bit lost as what I was supposed to be doing but this is gradually helped by the use of fixed cameras and flyby sequences. Object choices are good too but could maybe be a little better so I scored a fair 7. Gameplay & puzzles scored an 8 simply because it is easy to get lost. After checking out the level I suggest you all check out the superb credits which is followed by the documentry. This is an excellent idea for displaying credits. You have to guide lara through long hallways meaning you get to control how fast the credits so by. I must say I love the sound that accompanies the overall whiteness of the credits area. Very mysterious. I definately recommend everyone to try this level!" - Phys (10-Feb-2009)
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