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Level: Return to the Catacombs back home search
Author(s): Bedazzled
total rating:7.60 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Cory 6 5 7 6
Daffy 9 8 9 9
EssGee 7 8 8 8
Gerty 7 8 9 8
herothing 7 9 9 10
Jay 7 8 8 8
Jerry 6 7 8 8
Jonson 7 8 9 9
Jose 8 8 8 8
Kapitaen 7 6 7 8
Magnus 5 5 7 7
MichaelP 6 8 9 9
Minox 8 9 9 9
misho98 8 7 9 9
Mman 7 7 8 9
Orbit Dream 5 6 7 8
Phil 7 8 8 7
QRS 8 8 10 9
Ravenwen 6 7 8 8
Roli 8 7 7 8
Ryan 6 7 8 8
Scottie 8 8 8 9
Sethian 5 5 6 7
Shandroid 8 8 8 8
Spike 5 7 8 8
category averages
(25 reviews)
6.84 7.28 8.08 8.20

Reviewer's comments

"A standard 20-minute run through a classic Catacombs environment. The looks are solid and quite pleasing, but the gameplay stands behind and isn't really anything to rave about with the standard catacomb elements we've seen before: plenty of skeletons, a pillar/raising floor puzzle and a little flipmap at the end. Pleasant enough but not particularly memorable." - Ryan (10-Feb-2018)

"Testing this level ages ago I decided to play it again and finally review it. It is a nice, clean cut classic catacomb level but way too short. Still sad that Peter is not among us anymore, as he has a certain way how he builds, one I very much like. I found all secrets and if you go a bit the “extra mile” you can find them too. Good lighting and textures also looked good. So if you want something short and sweet, have a go at it." - Gerty (21-May-2016)

"Great level, givving you the classic Tomb Raider feeling. It's build with the official TR4 Catacomb wad, the music is also mostly from TR4. I was stuck in the level only because I overlooked the blue gem. Gameplay is well balanced with some nice and easy puzzles. Enemies are skeletons and some mummies in the maze. I've found all 3 secrets. They werent' very well hidden, especially the first one. It took me about 20-30 minutes. Recommended if you like short and classic-type levels." - misho98 (01-Jul-2012)

"This is a short but excellent level, well textured and very good lighting. It is easy and accessible to all. The music is very nice and I liked the lighting of the guardian relic before the final climb towards the light and end credits." - Minox (04-Mar-2011)

"A short raid in a Catacombs type environment. I support quality over quantity, but in this case the playtime is short such that it directly impacts the gameplay of the level (it's tough to fit anything particularly exploration based or brain busting in a twenty minute level). I did like all the small NG engine touches like the menus and poison water though (even if there didn't seem much point to that). I also liked the lighting and general style, which was both faithful and enhanced the general catacombs style, including a nice homage to the main chamber in TR4's Catacombs; the only weakness in that regard was an uninspired feeling maze (with slightly ill-fitting Mummies) and a couple of very basic corridors (with slightly dodgy texturing). I was in the mood for a short, unintensive level, but it lacks anything particularily memorable. It's worth checking out if you want to play a decent Catacombs level though." - Mman (11-Sep-2009)

"The builder clearly demonstrates his skill at a few certain points in the level, the water/damage room, the portal guardian and the circular lever. However, he seems to try to make an, on the whole, average level seem better than it is. The flybys are used to create a quite effective atmosphere but the same effect was not able to be followed through the level. It was textured quite well in certain areas but for the smaller areas, it was very plain and simple. The secrets needed to be slightly more hidden as one was hiding among items that were crucial in the level, and the other was right in front of you. I think that the next step for this builder (should he continue building) would be to possibly create a more spectacular (visually and architectually) level, and try to demonstrate his skill through-out the whole of the level, rather than moments of flair dotted around. Overall, a nice effort, recommended for those who want a short and not too difficult raid. 20 mins." - Cory (18-Jul-2009)

"This is quite a decent little level, however it really doesn't give us anything exceptional or outstanding that I’m sure the builder would normally be capable of. I gave 4 for Gameplay & Puzzles because there really is barely anything to do in this level. Not only is it over before you've even gotten into it, but there really is just nothing to do but place the same old puzzle items in the same old puzzle holes. Was this level meant to be part of this past BtB? It certainly feels like it. There is also a maze in this level mazes being something I personally never like, and certain pickups are placed far too obviously in plain sight like the crowbar and secrets... hence, the 3 for Objects & Secrets. Enemies are also nothing special... and the way they are setup is really not riveting: the Skeletons will only awaken once Lara has picked up the shotgun (what a challenge) and the Wraith is triggered almost right next to the cross that will subdue it. Your only excitement in this level will come from the Mummies in the small labyrinth. I did not find any explosives to deal with them, so running away as they try to nibble at you appears to be the only challenge. The level has very little atmosphere... For me, there was absolutely no ambient track throughout the level, which really was a shame. The flyby camera sequences are far too slow and move at a snail's pace, as they are accompanied by passionate and over-the-top music (mainly the opening of the level)... this does not match in my opinion. Texturing is good in this level, but really nothing special. It is the same old Catacomb textures that at this point can make one nauseous, however they are applied well in most cases. Lighting could have been a bit more atmospheric, and I was not a fan of the pinkish light surrounding most of the torches and fire-lit rooms. All in all it is definitely not a bad level, but it is really undemanding and does not stand out in any way from the other countless Catacombs out there." - Sethian (11-Jul-2009)

"Say what you want about all the internet drama surrounding this level - at least the author got one extra review because of it. I guess it's true what they say about all publicity being good publicity! If it hadn't been for said internet drama, I probably wouldn't even have given the level a second glance, since it's your standard catacombs fare. That's really the level's biggest problem - it feels a bit too... pedestrian. There's really nothing that stands out, nothing really new and exciting. The gameplay is almost painfully linear (linearity in itself isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it's nice when it feels like you're exploring an actual structure, rather than a series of unrelated rooms), and all of the tasks Lara is faced with are a bit on the dull side. There's a rope swing that doesn't seem to lead anywhere in particular, an unmarked spike tile that confused me for a bit and even a small maze. The highlight of the level is emptying then refilling a water room, but even that isn't really used to its full potential. On the plus side, the builder clearly knows that he's doing. Everything seems to work the way he intended, and the texturing and lighting are both solid. But even if the level is well-built, it still lacks the feeling of awe that the builder seems to be going for with the epic music that plays during the opening flyby. When you get to the final room after just twenty minutes, it doesn't stand out in any way, and the level ends the way it started: not on a high note, not on a low note - but on a sort of middle note, that's just kind of... average. This is by no means a bad level and I think the author probably achieved what he set out to do, but by setting the bar so low, he failed to make something truly memorable." - Magnus (07-Jul-2009)

"I enjoy playing the catacombs levels, and this one was no different. However, it was a bit short, clocking it at just about a half hour, and it provided few real challenges. Everything was fairly straightforward, and the only enemies I recall were some skeletons and mummies. There was a nice dual pushpiece puzzle, and a wheel that spiked you if you pulled instead of pushed it. You flood and then drain an area near the end, and it's all over. It was a pleasant enough diversion but not one that I'll likely remember for long." - Phil (06-Jul-2009)

"A catacomb style raid with good atmosphere and lighting, but a little lack in gameplay. There is not so much to do, only shooting (or avoiding) some skeletons, getting rid of a wraith, some pillar pushing and collecting 2 items on your way. I needed 25 minutes to get through, only found 1 secret though." - Jerry (04-Jul-2009)

"Return to the Catacombs is a good old-fashioned raid in a familiar environment. The gameplay is on the easy end of the scale, but that doesn't make it bad, it just makes it a 'not-too demanding' raid. If you've been up to your teeth in custom levels then I can imagine this not providing much of a challenge. However, for me this was just the tonic I needed to ease me back into raiding, as I hadn't played in a while. Gameplay wise, you'll have no problems finding what's required, but you must be careful where you step in the maze section. There is about 20 minutes net gameplay involved and that's the only pity, as you just start warming to the tasks at hand only to be cut short. At twenty minutes it's longer than your average demo, but shorter than a typical level that might give you anything between 45 mins to two hours net gameplay. As a result it's a bit hard to rate the gameplay really high. A couple of classic gameplay no-nos should have been addressed - an unmarked spike trap, and then another spike pit which had spike trap textures that were safe, which really didn't make sense as the textures should be there to give the player a clue as to what is safe and what is a trap. One could also shortcut back up through the two-block platform. Textures are done cleanly and lighting is applied well to create a good atmosphere and there's a smooth flyby created to introduce the level, all supported by some nice audio choices. Atmosphere could be improved by some more attention to the lighting applied to static objects in order to make them blend more harmoniously with their environment. The highlight in this level for me is that Bedazzled showcases his technical knowledge of the latest editor features - which include a new Turn Switch, a glowing, rotating artefact that is the object of Lara's quest and a bunch of nifty features in the menus and load and finish aspects. The unfortunate by-product of a shortish level like this one is that review scores don't always tell the full story. The quality of the level production is very good, but the shortage of overall gameplay is what is missing, compared to what one gets in many levels today. Play and enjoy with no stress." - EssGee (03-Jul-2009)

"I always liked the Catacombs level from the Last Revelation, and now we have another Catacombs level :-) Now its the present, and time to back to the catacombs. Lara have to find the "Portal Guardian", in an easy adventure. The level is linear, nothing hard moments, maybe just the skeletons, but we have shotgun and a lot of ammo. The enviroment is dark, and no too many pickable flares, unfornately. Traps are spikes, nothing special :) We have an labirinth too, here we can find the star. Musics or tracks are very empty, just the TR4 feeling, texures too. I very liked the new savegame system with picture, and more detailed infos. :-D If you like the nostalgic levels, try this one too!" - Roli (03-Jul-2009)

"I really like this level: It's a classic raid with all the elements from the catacomb theme of Tomb Raider 4. The author employs several puzzles with pushables and a labyrinth to create a comfortable gameplay. Peter also remaked the big hall from the TR4 catacomb level. The only thing: It's a little bit too short! I just need 30 minutes, so I think a few more areas or a second level would have been expedient. Enemies (Skellies and Mummies) and objects are placed good and I also like the lighting Peter uses. The atmosphere is great, no question. I love TR4 styled catacomb levels, but I just wondered there is no background sound: I heard some audio traks, but nothing more. So In the end I can say Peter is a good levelbuilder and I hope to see more levels by him in future." - Jonson (03-Jul-2009)

"This is a classic TR4-style level, and naturally so as Lara returns to the Catacombs in search of an artifact. The atmosphere is very fitting to the theme, you do get the 'catacomb feeling' as you go along. Lighting is lovely, and the music that is used as a score adds a tone of mystery to the adventure. Nice objects, including the colourful secret dragons. The gameplay is too easy though; straightforward gameplay is welocme anytime, but a few more complicated tasks would have definitely spiced up this level. Enjoying nonetheless, albeit too brief. Would have loved a potential more extended version of this." - Ravenwen (25-Jun-2009)

"Lara returns after some time to Alexandrian catacombs to find another interesting artefact. In dark corridors she meets some skeletons, mumies and another enemies well known from original level Catacombs. I think this was the main problem of this level. It was just too similar. But not only WAD and Textures, some puzzles too and that is shame. From another sides was level technically and visually very good. It seems very professionally. Another good thing was idea with a little bit poisoned watter. It helps to make good picture of old catacombs. Next puzzles for example regulation of watter were excellent. Music is good choiced but game-timte is too short, only 2O - 30 minutes. But what is the most important thing, this level makes fun. There are two negatives and much more positives. Enjoy it!" - Kapitaen (25-Jun-2009)

"The first twenty minutes of this adventure are a simple and straightforward run through a familiar...ah, yes, I can see where this is going now. While the visual appeal of the level is mostly of a high standard (textures, lighting and objects all fit together well to create a believable environment and atmosphere), the gameplay never really takes off. Much time is spent jogging around performing a series of humdrum tasks, and there's little in the way of excitement for the most part - save for the particularly (and inexplicably) dangerous pool of water nearer to the end of the level, which does increase the pace a little. Being caught in an unmarked spike trap for daring to use a turn-switch from the wrong side was also something of an annoyance. Aside from the main objective of finding the Portal Guardian, the secrets that I found weren't particularly secret in the least, falling more into the "right in front of you" or "to be stumbled across" categories. In the end, it's just a shame that the gameplay wasn't beefed up a bit, since the other aspects of the level are generally well accomplished as a whole." - Spike (25-Jun-2009)

"Well, this game is very short. It took me 30 minutes to finish it with 2/3 secrets. But I don't mind! Quality over quantity and this level is a real gem! First of all I think that the atmosphere and lighting is fantastic. Granted that I'm a bit biased as I love the catacombs but still. Peter, you have improved alot since you started! A very atmospheric level with monsters at the right place, some puzzles here and there, enough pickups to go along etc. Nothing difficult, just a soft and nice raid and very fun to play! I love that! As a builder and TRNG user, I can see the signs of TRNG at work here and there! The glowing at the last relic, the ladders which can't be climbed more than it should be, the save menu, the poisoned water etc. Oh and of course the font and the fade out and the credits! Great stuff! The only thing I was a bit confused about was that you could finish the level without the relic at the end. Nothing that bothers me though :) Keep up the good job, Peter and keep them levels coming! :)" - QRS (25-Jun-2009)

"This is a very nice, well done catacombs level that was fun and almost relaxing to play. The enemies are few and easily dispatched, and gameplay is not challenging. Lara's surroundings are typical for a catacombs level, but nicely done. I didn't understand why the water was poisonous, but it did add a bit of interest while swimming. Music was lovely and well-placed. Don't forget to grab the Portal Guardian before you leave!" - Shandroid (24-Jun-2009)

"This very short and very classic Catacomb level has only one major issue - it is way too short and leaves you wanting so much more when you finish after just over 20 minutes or so. I really enjoyed the easy raid and the looks are great and have a very professional air to them, the flow is smooth with the classic Catacomb tasks thrown in (shoot bones, push a pillar to support a sinking floor, shoot a few skeletons into holes, run from a wraith), but it all has this feeling of 'been there, done that', so gameplay is not really the reason to spend your time here. I did only find one of the cute dragons near the start though, so guess I will have to revisit this place again some time." - MichaelP (24-Jun-2009)

"This is just what I needed after the brilliant but undeniably gruelling ‘Vikings’. It’s a classic raid, with nothing hard to achieve, just the usual catacomb elements and enemies, but entertaining enough for the short while it lasts. If you feel in need of a change from the epic, challenging levels and just want an uncomplicated little game you can relax into, then this is perfect." - Jay (23-Jun-2009)

"This level is a very nice return in catacombs. The enemies repeat customers are found there to grind in these places, skeletons and mummies. The ambience of game is rather achieved and decoration treats. The gameplay is not very complicated and introduces some originalities even with some water which leaves you shortly before drowning. It is a game to cross a right time of relaxation, a regret nevertheless, the length of game is a bit short. Good work anyway." - Daffy (22-Jun-2009)

"Another good level from this author. Although I don't like catacombs levels, this is a short level very nice to play. There are not impressive features but it's a well builded level. A bit dark, easy puzzles, well-known textures, few pickups, not difficult tasks. I like the levels from this author. I've got problems when saving and loading savegames (the menu didn't appear... My graphics card?). An entertaining level. :-D" - Jose (22-Jun-2009)

"This is a very straight forward game which is easily for players of any age. The thing that let it down was mainly the puzzles; i found that they were a bit too easy and it didnt exactly take me a great amount of time to get things done. I did on the other hand think that the lighting was perfect and to go with that, the textures, this set an almost perfect atmosphere for me. I dont have much more to say. Overall - 8.75/10" - herothing (22-Jun-2009)

"Lara is once again in Egypt and searches for an artefact, the Portal Guardian. In the catacombs she finds a star, a Horsemen Gem and revolver and shotgun. Moreover, she must adjust several times the water level. And because the water is not well for the health, Lara must bring the dives fast behind herself. And where there are catacombs, there are of course also skeletons, mummies and a ghost. After about 25 minutes Lara has found the Portal Guardian and is at the level end. It is a pity, that the level not longer was, I had warmed up just so nicely. A good idea was the dangerous water. However, the riddles were a little bit too easy. The level is nicely formed and attractively textured. The opponents were no problem, because one had shotgun and revolver. Hence, the degree of difficulty was not very high. All together a nice level which is well suitable for beginners." - Scottie (21-Jun-2009)

"The first twenty minutes of this adventure are a simple and straightforward run through a familiar Catacomb environment,with standard puzzles (wraith;sinking floor;push an object onto the marked square) and standard enemies.I assumed this to be the 'warming up' section,and settled myself in for the challenging and spectacular 'main body' of the adventure.Unfortunately,it never happened;the twenty minutes are all you get.A deadly water swim was the only mildly challenging aspect of this ultra-fast run through completely standard environments,and the Object of Lara's search was subsequently collected with disapointing ease. Textures and lighting are applied well,and the construction is fine as far as it goes(albeit somewhat lacking in spectacularity);but there's simply not enough here in terms of creativity or longevity to allow it to be rated highly;even the secrets are sitting around in front of you. It all feels very much like a level from early 2001;entertaining while it lasts,but way too short and lacking the creative puzzles that have become a trademark of this builder." - Orbit Dream (21-Jun-2009)
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