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Level: Ice Heart: The Big Cavern back home search
Author(s): DaroRaider
total rating:7.67 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
dmdibl 8 7 8 8
eTux 9 8 8 7
Jay 8 7 8 8
Jerry 8 7 8 6
JesseG 9 8 7 6
Jose 9 9 7 8
manarch2 8 7 7 7
MichaelP 9 7 8 6
Orbit Dream 7 7 7 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 8 8 7 7
Torry 8 8 9 7
category averages
(12 reviews)
8.25 7.58 7.67 7.17

Reviewer's comments

"This icy TR3 adventure is quite long and quite tricky in one or two places and the underwater sequences are very tight indeed. You need to execute these perfectly to get out the other end without freezing to death as the time quotas provided are extremely slim. ( A trick here is to save the game mid way through the swim and then reload the save and the freeze meter will be at full again). I found one rolling boulder trap to be very difficult as trying to crouch behind the ledge whilst coming out of a sprint (the only way you can get there in time) was one of those pixel perfect maneuvers. Other than that and enjoyable raid." - Torry (21-May-2018)

"One of the best TR3 custom levels I've played. Not easy to play, full of tricky traps and dangerous swims with low temperature, well balanced enemies, some entertaining pushblock puzzles and all kind of movements to do. I was stucked in some ilegal slopes, and some swims are very tight so I had to use large medipacks but fortunately I found enough in all level. Odd all that bloody snow, the author could place an antitrigger to stop the blades near the final building 'cause the sound was pretty annoying. Anyway a highly recommended level for all TR3 fans." - Jose (02-Nov-2016)

"A gem of a level. This was fun, for me anyway. This TR3 level is set in an icy environment. Gameplay involves avoiding boulders, shooting surprisingly tough bats and wolves, swimming through dangerous temperature draining icy waters and lots and lots of fun jumping around.The environment is quite sterile here, but I suppose the gameplay counts here and that us fun. Good for a TR3 level." - Ryan (14-Jul-2016)

"After having played and written walkthroughs for 22 TR2 levels in a row, I groaned inwardly when I saw that this next level on my playing list was a TR3 level. However, I really enjoyed that playform back in its heyday, and I found this to be an unusually challenging adventure. Treeble has given us a compact one-page walkthrough, but my game clock registered nearly two hours by the time it was all over. There are some particularly tricky jumping exercises, with an elaborate block puzzle or two thrown in to keep your brain in gear. And for some reason, TR3 bats are bigger and a lot harder to kill than TR4 bats. Much of the gameplay requires you to swim in icy water, and if I hadn't been playing in god mode (rendering icy water irrelevant), I would have done a lot more reloading and cussing than I did while making my way through the level. Definitely a worthwhile download for the more accomplished raider." - Phil (01-Mar-2014)

"This generally linear level,although featuring occasionally inventive gameplay,is a bit of a plod.TR3 levels look rather dated today,especially the general lack of lighting and rather limited texture set;and the looks of this adventure were never particularly appealing(although the textures were well enough placed).It's essentially a very large platformer,where you need to work out where (and how)to jump.The various boulder traps became a little tedious after a while,and there were far too many repetetive freezing-water gauntlets.The enemies were fairly sparse (and the rattle snakes appeared out of thin air);and,perhaps because of the bland and rather sterile snowy environment,the entire level never properly clicked with me.Certainly worth a go for those who enjoy plenty of fairly tricky running and jumping;but it may well irritate more than it entertains." - Orbit Dream (22-Sep-2013)

"While the first level of this series was mostly recommendable because of its atmosphere, this one's strength is definately the gameplay. The difficulty is not that high but there is constant action in this level, affected by lots of boulders, blades, breaktiles and rather tough to fight enemies, which is most fun, and the deeper you get into the level, the better it gets. Some of the block puzzles appear a bit boring but several of them are rather clever, and I would call the last multi-stage puzzle in and around a building nothing but ingenious and would've rated the gameplay even higher than an 8, but there are a few let-downs for me, namely the amount of possible shortcuts in this level (for example, it's not needed to use the zipline since you can jump over the ice) and a nasty where the game crashed for me when running over a certain tile and which I only could solve by crawling. The looks of this level are solid yet somewhat functional, I did not really like the bloody snow textures and there were a few areas with missing or savegame book textures. Maybe some more secrets and more varied enemy choice would have been helpful - there was one easy secret placed near the start which made me think there would be more but it's actually the only one. Overall a good TR 3 level and if you search for an action and puzzle based game this could be a fitting choice. 50 minutes." - manarch2 (16-May-2013)

"Climbing around icy caverns, dodging boulders, trying not to die in the deadly cold water and being attacked by the most aggressive bats in the history of tomb raiding - what fun! This is rather more challenging than the average TR3 level - I found the swimming particularly difficult and remain convinced that the length of time given before Lara perishes in the icy water was much more generous in the official TR3 levels. Perhaps I've simply forgotten. Some of the textures used in the outdoor areas were unfamiliar to me and made a nice change. It's certainly a well thought out and put together level and I definitely recommend it." - Jay (17-Feb-2012)

"This was pretty fun to play. You can look forward to plenty of tricky jumps, spikes, and boulders flying at you, in addition to the hypothermia meter to provide a nice challenge. Objects are decent although I once found uzi ammo floating on top of water - impossible to pick up. I also don't know why bats are used as hawks. The atmosphere gets pretty broken in places, including triangular water surfaces in which Lara gets stuck, one-way walls (the wall exists on one side but not the other), and the complete crashes that occur randomly (although the solution is usually to just try playing it again). At the start you immediately notice how textures get stretched, and later on they also get squashed in many places. The open area with the bloodied snow is extremely wallpapered. There is inconsistency with whether a certain ice-crack texture is grabable or not, and there are even some missing textures (especially behind pushable blocks). Overall the level doesn't look as great as it could have, but it is fun enough to compensate." - SSJ6Wolf (31-Jan-2012)

"This is really a rather clever adventure! You will spend about an hour in a fairly authentic snowy area among rocks, lakes and caves. And while you could say that the path through is actually quite linear in hindsight, it certainly does not feel that way as you explore the areas and make your way deeper into the mountains. Some of the needed jumps are quite sneaky to spot (although not tricky to execute) and the breaktiles add some fun as well. I felt the swimming in the very health draining water was a bit overused, even though I did manage ok with the medipacks provided along the way without having to repeat sequences too many times. The push block puzzle near the end is also very smartly designed and interesting to solve. All in all, quite a gem, especially considering its age - try it!" - MichaelP (10-Aug-2010)

"Maybe this isn't exactly (nowhere) near the lofty heights of the Falls of Naga difficulty level, but the constant presence of the freezing Arctic waters, numerous trap gauntlets and dogs, which seem to be more ferocious than their usual kin, do set the bar rather high right from the start. Neither of the tasks should be an insurmountable challenge for any hardened player, but, with some planning and tactical reloading, still manageable for everyone else too. And as the jumps, traps and other gameplay devices were, I actually found them to be rather clever and not just put in to induce nervous breakdowns in potential players. The swimming sequences might seem pitiless, but most if not all can actually be done with no or minimal health loss if you really look for a way - though the plethora of health packs supplied should not make such a strategy a necessity anyway. Apart from the aforementioned dogs, the enemies seem to be a bit of an oddity in this level in general - with giant bats that mostly preferred to be stuck in walls rather than attack Lara, a non-hostile guy that appears twice during the game but doesn't really do anything to either harm or aid Lara with. My least favourites, however, were the snakes - not so much for the challenge they posed, which wasn't that great, with them basically being stuck on one tile, but because they seemed to materialize out of thin air, which was both unsightly and illogical. The weakest link in the entire experience were the looks. While many of the bigger areas, especially the outside ones, looked quite nice, lighting wasn't touched upon as much as it should have, resulting in the atmosphere not living up to its full potential. The bloody snow tiles seemed like an odd choice as well and I'm not sure if the storyline was supposed to justify their existence somehow and I just missed the plot? That said - this still is a very strong effort from author, and an excellent choice for a slightly more challenging TR3 level, that will give you about an hour's length of entertainment. Found only 1 secret." - eTux (04-Jul-2010)

"This doesn't seem like a Dario Romero level, perhaps since the story is based upon a novel, as the read-me files indicate. This is an outdoor arctic level, and the game play and construction are solid. But there is too much reloading and restoring for every short swim through frigid waters, with Lara quickly taking damage. The presence of bats and snakes seems silly, but even the wolves are annoying--they are all over Lara before she even fully exits a crawlspace. There are rolling boulders, spikes, lava pits, and collapsing tiles so every part of the environment is treacherous, and Lara's reflexes and gymnastic skills get a workout. I enjoyed this a lot the first time playing it years ago. But we have seen similar concept levels many times in TR4, so in TR3 I would have preferred Lara zipping around in the arctic Zodiac boat. And I am so impressed by the author's space trilogy, particularly "Lunar Apocalypse," that it is hard not to be dissatisfied by lesser efforts. Taken by itself, this is pretty good." - dmdibl (10-Nov-2009)

"It seems the builder of this level prefers to see Lara dead rather than alive. As soon as you made it through the icy and deadly water at the beginning, some big snowballs are awaiting you next. Rather tough as a start. And there is a lot more diving through icy and deadly waters to do, more snowballs to avoid and jumps and breakable tiles to master. Besides it is not easy to find your way through this snowy and rocky area in order to find needed items or switches. Sometimes you don't even get camera hints and you wonder what to do or where to go next. Also there are technical flaws like illegal slopes and a walk through pushable block. I still don't know what this block was good for. Enemies are wolves, big bats and the one or other snake. Strange thing, never heard about snakes living in icy fields. Level design is well done, but texturing could have been improved, there are numerous missing textures, and the snow textures look a bit strange as if they were all bloodstained. Altogether I found this level not bad, as it kept me very busy all the time, but the need of saving every single step ruins the fluency. I needed 2'30'' to finish." - Jerry (13-Sep-2009)
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