Level: Catacombs of the Serpent back home search
Author(s): Schmittt
total rating:8.32 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
DatoDavid 8 8 9 9
dmdibl 9 8 9 9
eRIC 8 8 9 8
eTux 8 9 9 9
Gerty 8 8 8 9
JesseG 8 9 8 8
Jose 7 8 7 8
manarch2 7 8 9 8
MichaelP 8 8 8 8
Mman 8 9 10 9
Orbit Dream 8 7 8 9
Phil 9 8 9 8
Ryan 8 9 9 8
Samu 8 8 9 9
vienna 8 7 9 8
category averages
(15 reviews)
8.00 8.13 8.67 8.47

Reviewer's comments

"Excelent debut. Great architecture for a novice builder and good texturization too. The first level was the best for me, even when you only need to pull two switches and find a key to finish, most of the gameplay is dedicated to find secrets. The second level was not so good 'cause the repetitive tasks with a lot of backtracking in a labyrinthine environment going always up to the roofs and down; also the tasks to move the block four times repeating always the same only to press four buttons was not very funny; this level is very dark too. I found enough guns, ammo and medipacks; the secrets are not very hidden; but I missed a lot more musics and cameras here and there. Anyway take a try 'cause it's worth to play if you like TR3 levels." - Jose (14-Jul-2017)

"Great level from year 2006, so 10 years ago. Gameplay and puzzles are good but I didnt like enemies (animals with poison gas). Athmosphere is excellent and textures also. There could be more lighting in some spaces. There are a few bugs, e.g. you jump and use Ctrl but Lara didnt get up for edge. But if you stand and use Ctrl Lara manage to get up for edge. The level is still recommendable." - vienna (28-Dec-2016)

"This two-level set is a TR3 adventure set in a standard Catacomb WAD environment. Sound underwhelming? Think again. I enjoyed the flow that these two levels had, although some of the playing areas are rather vast and expansive. The first part is a run through a Catacomb underground area, doing a few nifty timed runs and finding the key to enter the next level which takes up the main bulk of the game. The tower which forms the hub for most of the gameplay, looks like the Serpent Tower from the respective BTB level. Certainly among the better TR3 levels out there." - Ryan (15-Jul-2016)

"This is certainly one of the most polished and worked on TR 3 games out there, and especially the first level is a little jewel. The atmosphere throughout the two levels is often plainly stunning especially because of the great architecture with good room connections and its sheer complicatedness. The catacomb setting, not quite usual for the engine, is really nicely designed with good texturing and lighting. In the first level, I couldn't quite fault anything but the slightly odd way of marking the ladders via squeezed textures and a bit sameness throughout. This level has some areas resembling on levels from BtB 2005, I'm not sure but I think the starting area reminds on Desert Ruins and the Serpent Tower, but it's clear that the main underground room is an hommage to Through the Shadow of Death, though the level stands out nicely on its own. The gameplay is good with a few nice puzzles and especially good use of pushblocks and nice timed runs, though it relies too much on the secrets in the later half and if you don't go for them you're done rather quickly. I had problems getting out of a certain crawlspace after finding a secret, Lara got out after 20 or so attempts (try to get out far left if you have the same problem), and the long timed run for pushing a block on another is not needed, since you can get the secret without doing all that, but those two things are nothing too bad. I have to say I loved the idea of "blocking" a gate at the end to not let it fall down though. The second level starts impressive too, with a great tower in the start you have to work around, but it's not as good as the first level, with a bit carelessly placed textures at the walls of the tower area and the gameplay being a bit repetative, since you have to go up and down to the roof of that sloped buildings way too often; beside of that the tasks aren't overly original. I liked how you can see daylight already as the floor collapses and you have to raid on for a bit, but disliked the block puzzle just as well where you had to push a block under four entrances to open a trapdoor, which is a really tedious task. But nonetheless, this is a mostly fun and atmospheric addition and certainly a good choice if you decide to play it. 90 minutes, 10 secrets." - manarch2 (10-Aug-2013)

"A simple but interesting TR3 adventure. What I think is the best part of the level, is the lighting. The author used it very succesful, but there are parts where it isn't well placed. It may suddenly stop, because of the room connections and other times it is not so natural to see a pink or blue coloured room. I mean how it is possible for a light to exist in a small, dark corridor. Even though, it looks beautiful. The puzzles are easy and I think that sometimes I found ways to avoid some of them by making tricky curved jumps. Also, there were parts which are not very functional. There is a jump on a ledge with triangular surface and Lara falls down when she tries to grap it. I tried to make that jump over ten times till Lara managed to hang from it. In addition, the levels are a bit tricky, because there are too many paths to take and you may choose a wrong path and you'll have to go back and start from the begining. Let's go to the nice parts now. Texturing was beautiful, a bit simile sometimes though. What I like a lot, is that you may have to mostly explore rooms than avoiding traps or shooting enemies, but it is never boring. it is a very nice TR3 level." - DatoDavid (06-Feb-2012)

"Here's another highly-rated release that I had somehow missed. It's a TR3 two-parter, and you get plenty of gameplay for your download. The first part took me about an hour, the second part nearly an hour and a half. Harry Laudie, whom we haven't seen around here for quite a while, has provided a comprehensive walkthrough. There's a tedious pushblock puzzle near the very end, made more exciting by the random (and frequent) appearances of those green poison-breathing lizards. For the most part, everything else moved cleanly and crisply. We're seeing more TR2 and TR3 levels these days, so go back and try this one for the sake of comparison if you haven't already played it." - Phil (04-Jul-2011)

"What you get here is a TR3 level that very much looks like a TR4 Catacomb level, or rather two of those, each about 40 minutes long. Sounds a bit boring? Well, think again! I really enjoyed the very clever and intelligent construction of both levels - never too obvious in terms of where to go next, but still very logical and not hard to eventually find out. And even though I missed 3 of the 10 secrets (6 in the first, 4 in the second level), I have to mention that many of these are especially engaging little sidequests that really add to the overall adventure. Maybe there are a few too many crawl and climb sequences in the first level and maybe I found the second level a bit too maze like and confusing, but there is plenty of fun to be had that makes up for that - although the final push block exercise was a bit tedious and I could have done without that and the lizard slaughtering that goes along with it. At the end of the day though, this is clearly one of the top TR3 levels out there and not to be missed." - MichaelP (06-Nov-2010)

"Contrary to other reviewers,I actually found the second level to be the more enjoyable of the two.The first was rather too sprawling for me,and spoilt by a little too much vague non-linearity;which made me wonder (as I entered level 2)if I'd missed a few important areas somehow. The second level was a pseudo-labyrinth,involving a hunt for four stones and then finding where to place them.The stones were pleasingly well hidden,although none were too difficult to locate;and the labyrinth was actually nothing of the sort,and quite easy to negotiate with a little common-sense.Things then became even better with a great fire gauntlest and a wondefully fake 'almost there' ending,before plunging Lara back into even greater mortal danger! What ultimately spoilt the gameplay was the interminably dull block-pushing Finale,which killed the excitement stone dead. Construction-wise,this was hugely accomplished and there was evidence throughout of a highly skilled builder at work.All the textures were well placed;lighting was entirely appropriate and atmospheric;enemies were placed well (although there could have been a little more variety);while sounds and cameras were generally helpful but never over-used. In terms of the difficulty level,a Walkthrough might be advisable for this adventure;although I managed without.Those who choose to go it alone can be assured of an absorbing and rather challenging 2 1/2 hours.Highly recommendable." - Orbit Dream (02-Apr-2010)

"An enjoyable run, though I did think these two TR3 levels were a bit short for their size; combined they take about 45 minutes to complete. The first level is like a mini TR4 catacombs level, which is well designed with a few switches, keys, and secrets to find. After getting past the main doors you enter the second level in which you must use 4 serpent gems in order to escape - I suppose the place rubbed off on Lara the wrong way. This level is a bit more odd in its structure and there can be a bit of backtracking involved, even if you figure out which route goes where. I thought it was a nice touch when you see the nice, sunny exit ahead of time, but the floor drops underneath and you have to wait until later to get to that goal. Unfortunately the level somehow produced many "slippery edges" that Lara has a very hard time grabbing (most of the time she drops straight down after contact). At least you can find a way around them sometimes. Some ladders are formed by squished textures, which is a little strange, but at least it distinguishes them from the surrounding surfaces. The levels leave you wanting for more as they are not very elaborate, but as it is the raid is pretty entertaining." - SSJ6Wolf (26-Nov-2009)

"The first of these two levels is more to my taste than the second. The first level could easily have been entered into a catacombs Back-to-Basics contest, and had a chance of winning. [Edit: Before posting this review, read some other reviews which indicated that parts of the first level were intended as a homage.] It is well thought out, with a mastery of the level editor, and good texturing. All players can enjoy this, and expect to find all six secrets. This takes real skill on the part of the author to find the right balance of play. The initial corridors are rather well lit for a catacombs, then Lara comes to slopes that have a play of light and deep shadow on them, so clearly the author can create any desired lighting effect. The fifth secret can be gotten without bothering with the second push block, which is the way I did it the first time playing this. This time around, I was a good sport and did the timed run to the upper level gate and pretended to use the second push block. After such a good start, the second level bogs down with a muddled hunt for four Serpent Gemstones. It wasn't worth trudging through jumbled pathways again, so I just referred to the walkthrough to refresh my memory. The end isn't bad, and has interesting ideas, but I'm afraid the second level dragged down the score for me. Over all, recommended, and a must play for those interested in TR3." - dmdibl (25-Oct-2009)

"I really enjoyed this TR3 level which has similar kind of atmosphere as TR4 catacomb levels since it is textured mostly with the textures from those levels. Gameplay is most of the time linear and focuses largely on finding items and switches but there are some nice uses of pushable blokcs and some jumping sessions as well. I don’t have either much bad to say about surroundings which are textured, lit and designed very well. One thing which I however didn’t like much is the end which felt a bit rushed and is the most boring part of the game including a very long and tedious block pushing session and shooting some lizards in between. Dogs and vultures also don’t fit particularly well to catacomb setting in my opinion but that’s really just a minor complaint. Overall it’s a well made game which has diverse action to offer in unique setting and is suitable for all kinds of players." - Samu (22-Oct-2009)

"This two level game kept me busy for quite a while though. I have to admit that I like the first better than the second. I was glad there was a walkthrough available, as I couldn’t have finished it without it. In the first level it is all about finding some keys and of course pick-ups. Nice ending with that pushable crate and a gate. The second level is a different story altogether and at first I thought that I had to climb and jump in this huge cave, and my fear of heights kicked in, big time. Luckily that is not so the case. Your goal here is to find four Stones and that isn’t so easy. Different enemies and I was glad I found a lot of medipacks as those nasty lizards got too close and poisoned Lara almost every time. Overall it is a good adventure that’ll keep you at the computer for a while though." - Gerty (25-Sep-2009)

"eTux and Mman have well described this double-level Catacombesque adventure which is quite recommended to play , and which gives a good time to the player , despite a couple of things that could have been ironed out gameplay wise. The looks are good, I particularly appreciated the good shaping of the blocks here, and the progression is quite pleasant. Found only 4 of the 6 secrets. Give it a go, you won’t regret it." - eRIC (20-Sep-2009)

"Just like for Mman, the author's elaborate making of article series was what made me curious enough to play the level in the first place. But the level's overall quality speaks for itself and it by no means should require much advertising to get attention. While another Catacombs inspired adventure might hardly seem of interest for anyone but the die-hard fans of the setting, its interpretation through the TR3 engine's specifics makes it an exotic enough mix to give it a second glance. The adventure is masterfully scripted - the progression from the not overly suspicious ruins in the beginning, through the various gate type buildings guarding the tower (the first area being a homage to the first BTB winner "Through the Shadow of Death") until you plunge into the Catacombs themselves adds believability most levels lack, when the builders just decide to throw Lara in the middle of it all. And while it's hard to come up with much novelties as far as the looks go for a traditional setting like this one, the author's skillful handling of the room geometry offers a number of memorable areas worth visiting. Despite some difficulty escaping the switch-door-movable block pattern being noticeable, the author manages to squeeze in a clever moment or two, especially in the first part of the adventure. The few things that I didn't care for as much include a rather questionable choice for climbable walls, the German shepherd's looking a bit out of place in the setting, one secret that was not really worth the effort (namely, the one in one of those swamp buildings required more resources than it gave back, but having found all 10 secrets this was merely an exception, and I liked the placement of the remaining secrets) and I have to agree with Mman that it felt like the adventure ran out of air a bit in the second part - with the main emphasis being on running around collecting the gems, plus I didn't care for the obscure move you had to do in order to perform a running jump and grab in the beginning, and the final movable block puzzle dragged too much. And while these issues are substantial enough to rob the level of a higher score, what they shouldn't do is scare you away from playing this, as the overall quality is still very high resulting in one of the most memorable TR3 raids I've had to date. All I hope for is that we'll see more from the author someday, in TR3 environments or otherwise!" - eTux (05-Sep-2009)

"I had played this pack a bit ago (prompted by checking out the author's “making of” posts on the now-lost Lara's Home forum), but decided to replay it now it's on TRLE.
Catacombs of the Serpent 1: You start outside in the desert with some ruins around, and then move through some caves to find a way into the lost temple, you gradually find more signs of the temple as you continue, creating a convincing progression. Gameplay starts with some navigation puzzles through the cave, and becomes more puzzle-based once you get to the actual temple. The main room is a homage to “Through the Shadow of Death” from the first Back to Basics contest, but from what I recall of that level the overall gameplay and layout is much different, so it's more than just a homage. There's a use of symmetrical design in this part, with you exploring a stairway area that is broken down on one side and intact on the other, symmetrical gameplay can easily get repetitive *Cough* Underworld *Cough* but it works well here and each side plays very differently. After this you move on to a large chamber with great visuals for some final tasks, including a creative secret. The difficulty is pretty low outside of a few tricky jumps. I didn't think the Dogs fit the level too well, but that's pretty much the only complaint I have. The lighting is good (including some interesting use of highlights) and the texturing is very convincing. A great level.
Catacombs of the Serpent 2: This starts with a very original take on the catacombs theme; a large tower in a cave going down into an abyss, with fog down the bottom. You soon move onto a sort of underground swamp full of buildings at the bottom of the tower (there are some nice touches to support this, like the snakelike slopes going down the tower and that are present in this place) that form a kind of maze where you need to find four Serpent Stones and then there's a sort of boss encounter right at the end. The gameplay is a bit weaker here; it's mostly just navigating your way around the maze with few puzzles, and the “boss” has a very laborious block pushing puzzle. The maze actually has some sort of structure unlike most (including a run across the rooftops of the buildings), but it can get a bit repetitive if you're stuck there too long, and the lighting is a little flat occasionally. The Lizard men enemies fit the theme very well here. A little disappointing after the first level and first impression, but it's still pretty good.
It's shame the quality drops a bit later on, but it's still a must-play TR3 custom level, with some very original twists on the catacombs theme and good lighting and design." - Mman (29-Aug-2009)
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