Level: Temple of Vaalbara back home search
Author(s): m.julien
total rating:8.16 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Christian 9 8 9 7
dmdibl 9 8 8 7
Gerty 8 8 9 7
herothing 8 8 8 10
Jack& 8 10 10 7
Jay 9 8 9 8
JesseG 8 9 8 8
Jose 6 8 8 7
MichaelP 9 8 9 7
Ryan 8 8 9 7
Samu 8 8 8 8
category averages
(11 reviews)
8.18 8.27 8.64 7.55

Reviewer's comments

"This is a rather lengthy (two hours long) adventure in the good old classic style and has a lot of things going for it: brooding, impressive architecture, great texturing, atmospheric and elegant flybys with great audio (a bit disappointed that the ambience throughout remained silent though), well hidden secret areas and enjoyable, challenging tasks. If you don't let the negatives get in the way (which I will now mention), you should find this to be an ultimately worthwhile game. A couple of downsides do ruin the experience a bit though: it really is too dark overall (I gave myself extra flares simply because it proved too much of a hindrance), a couple of the tasks were a bit too difficult for my liking and I could have well done without the two earthquakes near the end, although thankfully they were rather brief. But as I said, if you can overlook these, this is a very decent adventure for the more experienced raiders out there." - Ryan (20-Aug-2018)

"Make no mistake this is quite a long raid. I have to admit that I cheated by using the TRsgEditor to add flares as I found it way too dark and the flare pick-ups are non-existing. The flare bug also kicks in and then you better have a lot of flares as throwing them on the floor is the only way to see something, the binoculars will throw you to your desktop, so no help there. For the rest (in my book) it is a classic raid. In the walky luckily Jose found another way to overcome some traps and I am glad, as I got quite frustrated there. A pity that this is the only level this builder made as it shows quite a lot of potential." - Gerty (30-Mar-2012)

"A decent pair of temple levels that will give the player many traps to avoid, enemies to gun down, and puzzles to discover the solution to for 2 hours or so. The environments are impressively large, though perhaps a bit empty for their size, which also becomes a hindrance if you're trying from, say, the bottom to the top of a chamber. The ornamentation is done well and so are the textures except where there are missing water surface textures and unmarked ladders in some rocky pits. The lighting helps add to the mood but can get in the way of gameplay because it is so dark. This is the first time I only had one flare left in my pack, and it is unfortunate that the flare bug kicks in a few times on top of that. The ambiance and secret audio files seem to be missing. I liked the touch of the puzzles brought by the changing water level in the first level, as well as being taunted by the unreachable escape route near the end. Good level series overall." - SSJ6Wolf (29-Nov-2009)

"If you look at this long (almost 2.5 hours) and very classic (Catacomb style) TR adventure with a positive attitude you will find traces of our truly great custom level builder's trademarks - the wonderfully connected rooms, the great scale of the architecture, the occasionally challenging traps and the 'old school' secrets all turn this into a great and entertaining raid for the TR connaisseurs among us. For me it was spoiled only be two things: I felt it could have ended a bit sooner as it seemed to drag on and on for the last half hour and most importantly and as said by everybody else, it is simply a bit too dark in places and towards the end the flare bug rears its ugly head as well. But even though I am not a big fan of the exploratory type of gameplay, I did not mind that much hear as the pieces of the puzzle fall into place quickly and if you play smartly you can avoid a few of the repeat trips up and down in the second part. Adding the tough poisonous mutants later on provided for a few good battles as well, so indeed, this is a well rounded advanture that should not be missed if you bring along a bit of patience and persistence." - MichaelP (07-Jun-2009)

"You really need to be a Tomb Raider fanatic to enjoy these levels. I liked them, and found myself involved in the game play, despite my aversion to truly dark levels. There was a room with several trigger tiles: a central one starts flame emitters, and two side ones raise timed trapdoors. Or at least that was what I read. Even throwing flares and having Lara hold a flare, I couldn't see anything. I had to follow the walk-through, which has a working solution for this room, and I continued to follow the walk-through in the many places where the darkness was a solid cloak. When Lara uses the binoculars in a central flooded room the scene looks interesting with various doorways and timed trapdoors and a jump switch, but without the binoculars none of that is visible. There are TR3 mutants, and good challenging play sequences, such as a run through closing spike walls that experienced players will enjoy mastering. Apparently Mac users have no problem with dark levels, as one Mac user commented on the forum about how extremely dark Tomb Raider becomes on a PC. Your appreciation of these levels will depend on your equipment. For TR1 there is an exe program to improve lighting in TR1 levels by a user-specified percentage. After playing "Temple of Vaalbara" I wanted to write such a program for TR4--I've written plenty of assembly language conversion utilities--but I could find no information on modifying lighting data in a .tr4 file." - dmdibl (04-Jun-2009)

"I was very pleased to play this debut game which clearly shows that author has much potential to create enjoyable levels. Both levels in this game have varied gameplay involving some tough jumping and timed runs, well used enemies such as mutants from TR3 to fight against and also a lot of exploring and running around places which tests a bit the memory of player. I wouldn't have minded if few jumping tasks, including many traps to avoid, had been eased a little since they may require many tries even from experienced players but everything is however doable. Atmosphere and texturing follow the rather standard pattern of temple and catacomb style levels which was good to my liking. Lighting didn't look bad either but was maybe at times slightly too dark and due to flare bug, flares weren't particularly useful. Anyway this game is very entertaining and author has avoided all the usual beginner mistakes so give a try for it if you are experienced player and have patience to complete challenging jumping tasks. It is good work in all aspects." - Samu (22-May-2009)

"This could be good levels: good architecture, clever puzzles, well textured, not impossible timed runs, well implemented cameras... But I'd like to know how many players around the world have finished the game and how many players have abandoned it. The ambience is too much dark, and it's not good to go always with flare in hand or use the binoculars too many times (evenmore I only found two packs of flares in all the entire game). Also, there are some tasks that seems to be impossible to do as the timed run in the room with the fire emmiters or the run between the spiked bags and spiked walls in the lava room. Fortunately I've found an alternative way to solve this problems (I'll explain it in the walkthrough), but perhaps another players are not so lucky. I think players don't like to try a task hundreds of times; finally they get bored and think to play levels from another authors. I think the author is going to build more levels so, I expect he doesn't think that a level with very hard tasks is a good level." - Jose (15-May-2009)

"It's a beginner's work. And it's a great one. Well known mistakes are avoided, it is an adventure at all, not only an addition of rooms to be explored. I don't mind the concept of having a central complex you return to each time you have solved a part of a puzzle. As this is the basic concept of both parts of the adventure, it's realized better in the first one. The puzzles are creatively elaborated and show new and interesting ideas. Highlight of the first part is a funny timed run that has to be done twice..... Concerning the 2nd part: The sequence down the ramp , over the breakables, the run between the spiked walls over to the delayed spiked tiles and finally to the ladder is fantastic. But highlights shouldn't be wasted at the beginning. Or you're gonna lose your readers....I'm missing the climax after that. I didn't count how often I had to go up and down again. I don't want to talk about never ending earthquakes, about the ending, that takes a bit too long and about the fact, that the flare-bug can be annoying in such a dark level. It' s a fantastic debut!" - Christian (08-May-2009)

"How good to see a debut level from a builder who has clearly spent a lot of time with the level editor before releasing anything. This is an accomplished offering, both in terms of aesthetics and entertainment value. There are some really inventive and enjoyable agility tests, encompassing fun timed runs and some real assault courses, with the enemies (crocodiles and mutants) thrown in at just the right times to cause maximum trouble. I found it nicely challenging without ever tipping me over into 'screaming at the monitor' mode and I only have two small negative comments to make - 1. I could very easily have done without the nausea inducing earthquakes at the end and 2. after you've adjusted your monitor for maximum brightness, shut out as much trace of daylight as possible and given yourself maximum flares and you STILL can't see what you're doing half the time, you really have to conclude that the game is too dark. Nor are many flares provided so if I hadn't been able to give myself more I would have been one grumpy reviewer. However, overall I must say I thoroughly enjoyed myself with this one and very much look forward to future offerings from this obviously talented builder." - Jay (07-May-2009)

"Well, to start with this review I must say that this game could be one of the best games ever made - and toughest - if it was more polished... Ok, I start with the good part: This game is incredibly well crafted and thought out with a lot of care for details and very, very clever puzzles. This game has two parts, both are filled with traps, burners, timed runs, short-timed spike traps, tricky jumps and very clever puzzles. Enemies are crocs, dogs and some alien creatures, which take a lot of bullets until they die and are poisonous too! The second part of the game is even more tough with more enemies - mostly alien creatures - and with an earthquake which makes your life a misery. I think it is one of the hardest games I ever played. I can recommend it only at the top skilled raiders. At the end I remained with a green gem and a key which I did not use - I don't know why. The last stage of the game is very adrenaline packed with earthquake and run up at a slope with stone blocks falling from the ceiling and boulders rolling down to crush you ... very, very tough. At the end you approach a grated window and the game goes to the loading screen. Ok now the bad part: This game is very dark. Excessively dark - I can say that you need to go with flare in hand almost all the time. And the flares provided are by far not enough. I used 200 flares until I finished. Besides at the last stages of the game there is the flare bug too. You can see something around only if you throw the flare to the ground. There are also not enough medipacks because at times the alien creatures come 3 / 4 at once and take a lot of bullets. Also the binoculars you cannot use at the last stages cause the game crashes if you do it. At the end I can say: A very good game but thrown back because the setting is too dark, the flare bug and not enough flares. Recommended only for players which know how to add flares and medipacks in the game. I would give 10 for gameplay but the dark setting makes it a very frustrating time for me. Lighting is bad also, but the rest is 10 for me." - Jack& (05-May-2009)

"Nice work ;). I thought this level was demonstrated with care and was made very well. I liked the big temple at the start and it reminded sincerely of Tomb Raider Unfinished Business. It's about time that someone changed away from one of the classic costumes and started moving on to the Next Gen. I thought the lighting and textures were place perfectly making them the best thing available Overall - 8.5/10" - herothing (03-May-2009)
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