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Level: Beneath Vilcabamba back home search
Author(s): justin
total rating:7.13 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 6 6 7 7
Andi Croft 8 7 8 9
Daniel 7 6 8 8
Dimpfelmoser 6 6 8 6
eTux 5 6 6 6
Gerty 7 7 8 6
Jay 7 7 8 7
Jose 5 5 5 6
Kristina 7 7 8 8
MichaelP 7 7 8 6
Obig 7 7 8 7
Orbit Dream 6 7 8 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
RaiderGirl 7 7 8 7
Ryan 7 7 8 7
Sash 8 8 9 8
Sheevah 6 6 7 6
Tombaholic 8 7 9 9
Treeble 7 7 8 9
category averages
(19 reviews)
6.79 6.74 7.74 7.26

Reviewer's comments

"This is a solid enough debut by a prolific builder, but I did find some parts of it rather wearying: namely the dark corridors, too dark spots, mazelike corridors and overusage of floor levers. There are some nice touches, though - the fire pillar room, boulder traps and skeleton encounters were fairly enjoyable and the textures were nice. Also, the revolver CAN be acquired, despite it sitting on a spike trap - just follow the walkthrough for details, I also discovered the sixth secret, hidden near there." - Ryan (24-Aug-2017)

"Interesting to see the debut level from such a familiar builder. Whilst certainly not as innovative or entertaining as some of his later levels, it's an assured debut and certainly hints at what was to come. Solidly built, albeit too dark in parts, the gameplay moves along apace, with perhaps an over emphasis on floor levers. Apart from the odd wraith, the only enemies are skeletons, but explosive ammo is plentifully supplied to deal with them." - Jay (22-Jul-2016)

"About the gameplay, there are too many floor levers to pull and too many doors to open, even when some doors open automatically; I never saw a hint in the room with 2 rolling spiked balls to know the tile where to place the moveable; also all the spiked traps are not marked. I didn't like the dark mazes area, only to pull levers too. All rooms are very empty, only with some vases to shoot and no other objects or furniture. Textures are well applied, but many rooms and corridors are too dark (black). I missed more camera hints and more CD tracks too. The enemies are only skeletons you can blast, and some wraiths. Solid design, but not entertaining." - Jose (08-Jan-2016)

"I remember having played (and helped write a walkthrough for) this level years ago, but for some reason never reviewed it. And wouldn't you know it, it's Justin's debut level, and a good one at that. I played it again, using the walkthrough (and found a place near the end where the description isn't quite accurate, but you can figure out where to go without too much trouble). Acki has provided an addendum to the walkthrough, but since I didn't know which crossbow ammo pickup he was talking about, I made no effort to check out his remarks or try to locate the secret we had missed. Anyway, I don't believe we have a builder any more prolific than Justin was in his early years. Most of his well-respected output was produced during his early teen years. He has since gone on since then to more productive and worthwhile endeavors, such as raising a family, but every once in a while he'll bless us with a new release. Which reminds me, it's about time for another one." - Phil (23-Mar-2015)

"Although an impressive début from a visual point of view (vivid and colourful underground temple areas;ominous deep water tunnels),the gameplay showed a few classic instances where the maxim 'less is more' ought to have been heeded - especially the final huge corridor maze area,which seemed to go on for ever.It's to the builders credit that it never got particularly confusing,but nonetheless became something of a trudge and (despite lasting a comparatively short 45 minutes) seemed to outstay its welcome. The frequent skeleton attacks held the attention,though;while the cameras were helpful and the atmosphere was effortlessly captured.An extremely decent first level,if slightly long-winded." - Orbit Dream (24-Mar-2013)

"Imagine Vilcabamba with Egyptian textures and for most part that's all the imagination required to build a perception of this level. And while remakes have never really done anything for me as far as I remember, precisely because of the use of Egyptian textures even the obviously remade parts of the game were hard to pick up, and along with a few more (the giant bridge) or less (maze like tunnels) imaginative original areas this sums up to be a very nice game suited for a wide range of the audience out there. I liked the intense lighting, but the dark parts were bothersome more from an atmosphere than brightness point of view, and I could not finish this in one go, though it doesn't take that long to see all there is to it as well. The secrets were fun to collect, the enemies what you usually expect from a Catacomb setting, but I did not enjoy some of the sudden and random trap moments and the confusing maze like areas. Overall it's a very nice experience that certainly gives you a number of things to remember it by long after you've played it." - eTux (24-May-2008)

"Knowing the levels Justin created later, no wonder that even in his first attempt already showed some talent. Good atmosphere of a place, deserted for long. The enemies are skeletons, and spirits also fit. It's an easy level, although some secrets are hard to find. I have found 6. It was a nice adventure." - Akcy (12-Jun-2005)

“Weird I know but I liked this level. I say that because Justin’s levels are dark and this one is no exceptions but somehow I had fun playing it. Anyway it’s a brilliant idea actually the author build a level with the original as a guide line but the setting is karnak and has a few changes. There are three gems to find and two pillars. The player will have only skeletons to fight but with the crossbow given that won’t be a problem. Pushing levers and opening doors with a lot of cameras helping you since there are quite a few of those doors you can progress. At some point Justin over did it with the doors and levers but since this was his first level I have to give him credit for the nice atmosphere and the well connected rooms. I found three secrets and finished in forty minutes.” – Kristina (27-Aug-2003)

“This level is great I recommend it to anyone. In spite of there are no difficult jumps and timed runs the level is amusing and somewhere it’s a real mental labour to solve the puzzles. There’s no help in many places. The enemy consists only some skeletons and 2 wraiths which you can kill only crouching behind the statue. There are plenty of the skeletons but Lara has weapon against them. You have to collect 4 Horseman’s Gems the Ornate Handle and the Hathor Effigy. I found 5 secrets but it’s interesting that sometimes the game counted secrets the pushed buttons and collected weapons. I played the level three times but unfortunately I couldn’t get the revolver. However there’s a bug in the level. If you push the button under the bridge first and then get back for anything and save you can’t jump back on the bridge because an invisible wall rises up before Lara. There are no added sounds and the textures are average: a mixture of those from Catacombs and Tomb Raider 1 Vilcabamba. It was a great adventure.” – Obig (18-May-2003)

“Play this and you’ll be surprised what a first level can look like. This level is situated underground and you have to find 4 blue gems 2 pillars and the Hathor Effigi. Also finding loads of levers that will open one of the many doors this was a not that hard to play. Only thing that held me up is the pushing of the column as I had no readme file. Here is for all those who can’t access the readme: push the column near where the spiked boulder fell. There are some traps like burning tiles spikes and even boulders but not that dangerous. The maze well like normally keep to the right and then to the left as you have to find levers and 3 blue gems to make it out of this tomb. Skeletons are the enemies but you’ll find the crossbow. The level is rather dark and I ran out of flares. Found 4 secrets 23-11-2002” – Gerty (25-Nov-2002)

“At the beginning you get that kind of déja-vu-feeling as you find that the rooms are taken from the original TR1 but differently textured. But later you will come to lots of new rooms. Your main task is finding another switch for another door. Besides you have to collect three blue gems and use them near the end. Your enemies are skeletons and crocs but since you find the grenade gun very early they are no problem at all. The darkness in many places was the bigger problem. You must use lots of flares or at least the binoculars. I found 4 secrets and finished after 1 hour. Recommendable in the first place for beginners.” – Sheevah (11-Aug-2002)

“I loved the way this level started out with many of the rooms looking like they were straight out of the original Vilcabamba level. Plus I found a whole series of rooms that seemed to be a large secret all by themselves. Then I got to the second half filled with long dark hallways with the occasional switch or gem. I got so bored with this I almost gave up and quit playing but after a little more running around finally found the end of the level which just seemed to be a flyby of a dark doorway. I had a problem with an elemental not exploding on the bird statue and never would have figured out what to do with that pushable object if I hadn't read the readme file. If you have a lot of patience and time to run around you'll enjoy this though.” – RaiderGirl (25-Jul-2002)

“Starting off in the initial areas of Vilcabamba this soon takes you far and beyond it which I have to say a lot of creators who are planning on remaking original levels could maybe take a leaf out of Justin’s book and expand on instead of just purely replicating which without a doubt is much more interesting. This is a really nicely progressive 50 minutes level seemingly delving the player deeper and deeper underground and moving from watery areas to more maze like areas in search of 3 gems. Enemies the skeletons maybe could have been a little more threatening but because of plenty of firepower they are easily dealt with but what I really liked were the helpful uses of cameras and also the 5 secrets that if you don’t find the button to open the door to the first secret then you cannot reach the others. Very devious!” - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

“An impressive debut level by Justin which will give you at least 45 minutes of exploring. The few skeletons on the way can be easily blasted away with the crossbow and explosives you find early and progression is quite straightforward but there is good use of cameras a few neat effects with textures a bit of diving and I liked the caves a lot. A few minor bugs do not interfere too much with gameplay (the wraiths did not die on the statue how can you know where to push that object without wild guessing or checking the readme? no spike sound etc.). Also I found the level overall a little too dark. Good sense of orientation will come in handy with the many doors and corners and I liked the end with a camera fly by.” – Michael (21-Jun-2002)

“Do you want to play a fun level? Then you must try this one. I really enjoyed it. Although in the initial rooms identical to the TR1 City Of Vilcabamba I was thinking this level would become something boring and with a lack of atmosphere I was completely wrong! This is not a simple remake it has lots of new areas and Lara is here to discover more about the Incan-Egyptian relations. This level lasted 30 minutes but surely it worth the download!” – Treeble (21-Jun-2002)

“For a first level the author has done quite well. The level is beautifully textured and well mapped out. Lighting and sound are well executed and lend to the overall atmosphere. Using the standard catacomb WAD gave the level more of an Egyptian than Incan feeling but beautifully designed nonetheless. Gameplay while enjoyable leaned a bit too heavily toward the "lever-pull/door-open" style but there is lots to explore and some secrets to find.” – Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)

“It's a simple level but very well textured and mapped. The puzzles could be more creative but I liked it anyway. I think using the catacomb WAD and the Tinnos textures didn't helped the atmosphere because you don't feel like in Vilcabamba. But it's a fun level.” - Daniel (21-Jun-2002)

“A great catacomb level. Enemies were only skeletons. The lighting is good and you find the crossbow with explosive ammo. This one hour level is playing in dark catacombs and in water tunnels. The rooms are the same as in TombRaider 1 - The city of Vilcabamba only with other textures. Later this level is different though. I had a lot of fun and it is not so hard to play” – Andi Croft (21-Jun-2002)

“I reckon the most interesting thing about this level is that it's the debut from Justin and you can see what a long way he has come from here to Dark Skies 3&4. Don't get me wrong this is still a very respectable effort with some great rooms fluent gameplay and an overall solid setting. However the second part is spent in a maze like area where the tasks at hand are restricted to pushing levers and finding the doors that have opened which becomes a bit boring after a while. The fly bys are beautifully done and here it is quite strange that they usually depict areas that you yet have to find the entrance to but I liked this a lot. All in all a rather entertaining time to be had in Vilcabamba.” – Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)
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