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Level: BtB2010 - Venice, Vino, Vendetta back home search
Author(s): Codo
total rating:8.83 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 9 10 9
Bogey 8 8 9 8
Cory 7 8 9 9
DJ Full 7 8 9 10
dmdibl 9 9 10 9
Dutchy 9 8 9 9
eTux 8 9 9 9
Gerty 8 9 9 9
jawi 8 8 9 9
Jay 9 9 9 10
Jorge22 8 8 8 9
Jose 5 8 8 8
Magnus 8 8 7 8
manarch2 8 8 9 8
masha 8 10 10 9
MichaelP 8 9 10 8
Mman 9 10 9 9
Mytly 8 9 8 8
Phil 10 9 9 10
Raymond 10 10 10 10
Relic Hunter 9 8 9 9
repley 9 9 9 9
Ruben 10 9 9 9
Ryan 9 9 9 8
Scottie 10 9 10 9
TheStig 10 9 9 10
Treeble 9 10 10 10
category averages
(27 reviews)
8.52 8.78 9.07 8.96

Reviewer's comments

"Complex is what I would call this level. I must admit I ran around a lot as I came to a screeching halt almost at every corner. This is level where you have to save at different slots and venture from there to have a look if you are doing things the way you should do them. Not that there were difficulties in matters of timed runs, or almost impossible jumps, far from it. It is more to figure out where to go and what to do. In the end you find out that you are making the way clear to use the Vespa in an unusual way. That was fun though. Although this adventure took place at night, I for one found it a tad to dark to enjoy. But overall I tip my hat in how the whole lay-out is constructed." - Gerty (29-May-2017)

"What a complex level! I recommend that you play with the walkthrough close by, as I did, to avoid the potential stress of trying to make it through yourself. It can start quite confusingly with many routes too go, but it joins up neatly eventually. Nicely done." - Ryan (19-Mar-2016)

"This is my last BtB level, and I can gladly say it all ends on a high note. The very non-linear gameplay can be a bit confusing and leads to some backtracking, but once the right path is found everything makes sense and flows much better. The gameplay ideas aren't overly inventive, and much is based around finding the next lever, but they make up for an enjoyable time. It's not without its moments though - more like in the way of clever progression (the bike ride, the way how to infiltrate the mansion etc.) and not much with many puzzles and/or platforming parts, but it feels clever and it's still rather demanding. The enemies are nicely put into scene, especially the subsequently triggered ones in the finale (in which I finished off the master mafioso with my last available ammo save for the pistols, and no health left but without any medipacks used ...), saving ammo is important in this game but it's never unfair. The sunset/night atmosphere is well set into scene with masterfully lit outdoor areas, good cameras and sounds, yet I feel that in some of the interiors the lighting could've been a little brighter mainly for gameplay values. The textures are well used, yet there are so many misplaced textures and bad effects, often caused by different resolution textures, that the good feeling is somewhat disturbed, and for a builder like Codo the multiple misrotated and squashed textures seem pretty strange - maybe there wasn't enough time left to polish them? Anyway, this level is rather beautiful and pleasing and thus gets my recommendations as one of the better levels in this Back to Basics. Spent 45 minutes in here and found all five excellently hidden secrets." - manarch2 (29-Apr-2014)

"Other reviews left me a bit aprehensive about this particular entry (never been a fan of non-linear open ended levels), so this was another raid completely sponsored by D&G. Even then, I still felt overwhelmed by the level as a whole. It sure looks beautiful, however, so in that aspect Codo doesn't disappoint (ever). Gameplay was very varied but not excatly rewarding. I did like the explosive TNT boxes. Don't really have much else to say: it's definitely a good level, the way the entire level is connected reveals it's been carefully planed and crafted, but in the end it might not be enjoyable for everyone. If it weren't for D&G, I honestly don't think I'd ever have reached the finish line. This level also marks the end of my BtB-Venice journey. 60 minutes, 5 secrets. 02/14" - Treeble (01-Mar-2014)

"This level looks significantly sharper and more ominous compared to the other competing ones. The effect isn't done with usual dark lighting, but with heavy bump mapping and light fogging, while the colors are still warm and the brightness is mostly medium with mildly contrasting shadows - just like they should be in sunset-lit open space. There are still some distinct mistakes, but I had to work my eyes out to see any, and I surely didn't spot any crack or texture misrotation. Some arches have wrong tinting, it seems Codo forgot to adjust tinting of that single passage, but other than that the graphic layer would be really hard to be done better. Still, this quite mysterious setting wears a mark of confusion: there are items pickable for health price only, some other are harder than secrets and two independent paths lead to the same switch. On one hand, this introduces non-linearity, on the other one I still don't know if I found everything the level had to offer. But the major mistake is the plot having several minor climaxes instead of proper tension graduation we should experience during a gangster mansion takeover. As in: the demigod in the beginning, the bike jump in the middle and too easy one- by-one baddy appearance in the very end didn't convince I've actually just taken down a serious mafia boss. It rather felt like robbing a house of defenseless, innocent people whose family affairs are of no particular concern. But there were some moments I particularly appreciated as well: the crowbar hunt requiring some tweaking on the contrary with usual putting it anywhere, the (already mentioned) bike jump and the TNT trap. But my especially liked spot was the fight through glass, bringing sweet memories of original TR2 event. SUMMARY: Unusually pretty and with several remarkable moments, however the most important thing - the revenge feeling it was designed for - is not executed properly for me." - DJ Full (05-Nov-2013)

"The level opens with a beautiful flyby and impresses within the first look. But then it gets a little bit worse, than you could have expected. Graphics are excellent at every point, but it isn’t enough to cover the poor quality of the gameplay. In general: There are too many ways to go and too much exploration. It may be taken as an advantage, but not from my point of view. Maybe this is the most realistic custom in this contest, but definitely not the most enjoyable. Many puzzles are hard to figure out, like for example the flooding area. It is very likely that you take the wrong path and get stuck without a necessary object which is placed somewhere else. In my opinion there should be more pickups, because the present ammo is only enough. Finally the gameplay in villa could be more complex, as it is quite short. As I said, the level is realistic, all areas are well built, although (commonly) there are some stretched/squished textures. Lighting is really good too – the sunset totally blows my mind. A simple game of shadows and I’m impressed. But no fireworks, just ok. Atmosphere has two sides – the first sunny, beautiful Venice – and the second, dark, gloomy canals and sewers. Both add quite much to the gameplay, but I prefer city to canals. I could even summarize that without the atmosphere the level would be much, much worse. Despite this fact the level is enjoyable and thus the scores look as they look." - jawi (15-Aug-2011)

"Intricate is a word I, perhaps, have used too liberally when reviewing the BTB Venice levels, but if there's one level from the competition where it fits like a glove on a hand, then Venice, Vino, Vendetta is that level. The whole world of Lara's pursuit for her stolen bottle of wine (who knew she took such an issue with her alcoholic beverages?) is open for exploration as the initial fly-by concludes, and unless you have high patience levels, enough spare time to immerse yourself in the settings and an undying love for no holds barred exploration, this can be pretty overwhelming to take on your own. At least my attempts ended up with me feeling lost and as if I'm making no progress. The problem, IMHO, with non-linear settings is that they're a tough beast to tame, and according to my entirely subjective experience, the gameplay ran wild and unconstrained here. When I look at the individual tasks, I actually enjoyed them fairly much and could appreciate how clever they were (well, ok, maybe the timed run for draining an area was a bit of a head-scratcher), but the appreciation could've added up cumulatively if the tasks had unfolded in a gradual way too. The looks are masterfully done as you'd expect from the author, and I could only locate a handful of places where there was some odd segmenting, squashed textures or something along those lines. The level is a bit on the dark side - both literally and figuratively - maybe as an effort to metaphorically portray Lara's exasperation over the items stolen from her and her vindictive determination to get them back. The secret placement was good (managed to find all 5), but they didn't feel that rewarding, usually containing one pickup and not showing any interesting parts of the level you might have otherwise missed out on. All that shortly put - it's an extremely good level, albeit also an extremely confusing one, so approach it, but approach it with caution." - eTux (28-Jan-2011)

"Well we come now to my last review for Back to Basics 2010 (though I do have some reviews to submit after this one!), this is my last level played of the series. I'm pleased to say that the last level Venice Vino Vendetta did not dissapoint. Initially you may be struck with the scale and size of the map, but I found the progression throughout suprisingly logical. Only on one ocassion did I find myself arriving at a location where I hadnt picked up the necessary key to proceed, and the realisation of what the correct path to take the Nitrous Oxide boosted Scooter quickly put me back on the right path. Careful merticulous exploration is definately the key here. It's tempting to go running all over the map all at once, but you'll find if you always keep focus on the doors and areas close at hand from the start you'll quickly make good smooth progress. I also liked the fact that the author steered clear of using either the strange etheral entity or the elements puzzles in this realse; which having had to play through it it so many times in so many other levels in this series)I felt was a wise omission. Lighting, texturing and excellent use of fog blubs all come into mention here too. The level took me approximately 1 hour 55 minutes to complete. It was a pleasure to sign off back top basics 2010 with such a superb level. Highly recommended! Stiggy" - TheStig (09-Aug-2010)

"When I began to play this level I thought: "this one has a good look", but after an hour and a half running around and find nothing I decided to wait for the walkthrough (thanks Dutchy) 'cause it's the most no-lineal level I've played in all my life. Architecture is excelent, and I liked the textures and enemies too, but there's not enough flares for the many dark areas. There's a funny ride with the vespa and some interesting tasks, but without the walkthrough I reach numerous dead ends and a lot of backtracking. This author knows how to build a good level, and it notices an excelent domain of the editor, but it seems he lost the page 70 of the manual (a few general tips section, second paragraph). Good work, but only for players who do not have more to do and dispose a lot of time." - Jose (01-Mar-2010)

"Without a doubt another perfectly crafted adventure by this author, but for some reason it did not fully click with me this time. Maybe the gloomy atmosphere got on my nerves or this almost constant impression that I am lost or at least going in the wrong direction at the wrong time, which lead to more a feeling of frustration than entertainment and excitement? This subjective emotions aside though, the level is quite unique in its non-linearity and with many tasks to accomplish that are not immediately and intuitively obvious. The whole quest around the torch was rather fun and I was lucky enough to find the mask receptacle not long after getting the mask pieces. The theatre was also a nice area to work through and the library, but then frustration hit again, as I never figured out what to do with the scooter until I eventually had to ask for help. In hindsight it is obvious, but I had not figured out the right direction because I followed that particular direction for another reason (a secret). Once found, it is truly brilliant though and one of the smartest uses of the scooters in this years competition. The end is quick and implies a shoot out to get your hands on the vital items - a level not to be missed and with forum help or a walkthrough close by, I am sure it will also be fun to play and not only feel like working your way through it eventually. (95 mins, 4/5 secrets found)." - MichaelP (01-Mar-2010)

"When I set out to decide which Back to Basics level to start with, I based it entirely on how puntastic the name was. Which is how I decide everything, really. Venice Vino Vendetta both makes me excited about the promise of more levels like it and makes me worried about how much time playing all of the Back to Basics level is going to take. This is one of those newfangled 'non-linear' levels that the kids are always talking about. Back in my day, we used to call levels like this 'confusing'. You can make it halfway through the level without being sure what you're actually doing, and you'd better pray that you don't miss a lever or a key somewhere (for me, it was a key dropped by a bad guy), because then you can run in circles for hours wondering what you've missed. Non-linearity isn't necessarily a bad thing, but making sure the player has at least some idea of what he or she should be doing or where he or she needs to go is a must. It may sound like I disliked the level, but while there were times when I was frustrated (oh, how frustrated I was at times), the builder has clearly given a lot of thought to the layout of the level. This is a pretty nice-looking rendition of Venice and you'll enter almost every building, swim below quite a few of them and even run around on the roofs. The use of the scooter is brilliant, and I loved the way you had to make a path for it so you could reach the final area. My net gaming time was forty minutes, but that's not counting all the time I spent running around like a headless chicken. As you can probably tell, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with this level. The builder clearly knows what he or she is doing, though, and for next time, just needs to work a bit on making sure the player does too." - Magnus (28-Feb-2010)

"This level is not very difficult, but it is large and apparently quite non linear, as a substantial part of the level is accessible right from the start. Thus, one can spend rather long time wandering about, if one doesn't know what to do. Also, one jump was a bit tricky and there is a somewhat risky motor bike ride over the roofs. There are a lot of underground areas and many places are very dark. Enemies appear mostly towards the end of the game, but there are a few nasties early on too. There are a few bugs. For example, one can drive right into the villa without opening the doors. It is a quite nice level and I liked the special trap for mischief-makers." - Bogey (26-Feb-2010)

"I was intruiged by this level when this competition started, as its initials spelled out a level I had built earlier. This is possible the most complex level of the competition, which needs the walkthrough if you dont want to spend ages running around. Gameplay is, as already said, complex, however, on my first try, I parked the bike in a place where I couldn't get back on, so this stopped me progressing and I had to start again. This caused my gameplay score to suffer. Secrets were easy to find, enemies were frequent towards the end, and objects were used well. Atmosphere was nice, however, the level needed more sounds and cameras, to show you where rooms are, rather than images of doors. Lighting and texturing were both nice, however, some were stretched, even though most of the textures were placed well. Overall, a very good level, which makes a fitting end to the competition. It is not the best (In my opinion, Black Lodge is), nor is it the longest (Knights of Cydonia), however, it is yet another example of how good the levels were, and how high the standard this year is. Well done to all of the builders! 55 mins, 4 secrets." - Cory (23-Feb-2010)

"The good thing about this level is that it is a very complex and non-linear one. The bad thing about this level is that it is a very complex and non-linear one. I like complex levels in general, but this level goes to the extremes. The darkness and lack of camera cues meant that I would run around cluelessly from room to room, not spotting the necessary switches or not understanding what they did if I did spot them. Finally, about 20 minutes into the game (in-game time - real time was closer to 2 hours), I just gave up, looked up the walkthrough, and started following it word for word. And turned the gamma settings on my PC way up. After that the level didn't seem so bad, and I even enjoyed the last part, from jumping over the canal on the Vespa onwards. I liked how about half the level revolved around opening up a path for the Vespa ride - but I do wish that the goal could have been a little clearer.
The atmosphere and sounds are on the whole good, but it seems that the builder was a little undecided whether the level is set at night or day. Some of the outdoor areas (and some tunnels) have the 'ringing bells' ambient sound, which implies a daytime setting, whereas in other spots, crickets are chirping, implying night-time. The texturing and lighting category is a mixed bag: along with a lot of wallpapered textures and the aforementioned darkness, there are also a lot of lovely spots, especially the villa at the end, which is gorgeous.
Overall: This level has many good points, but, in my opinion at least, they are overshadowed by its bad points. Maybe this level is other people's cup of tea, but I'm sorry to say, it isn't mine." - Mytly (16-Feb-2010)

"Very complex level before you get the idea of what is expected of you. But as soon as you find the route for the bike all begins to make sense, very well put together. Nice challenges, like the place where you have to light the Torch and bring it to the library (but again...it takes a while before you understand what is expected of you). A camera/flyby hint may have helped me here, now I had to resort to the forum. One of the secrets, on the balcony over the canal had a crack in the wall, couldn't use that or was it just a hint? Found a missing texture on the front of the villa, in the right hand corner on a slanted block (a rotated one too). But for the rest it was all very well textured and lit. I would have liked some more flares near the start of the level, most were found near the end. Loved the way you went up in the air when you used the guns in the room full of TNT, makes sense... Great complex level." - Dutchy (13-Feb-2010)

"Another level with a perfectly elaborate and non-linear gameplay. And so we just have to explore the large level at the beginning. There is to do something in many places, but can't finish the tasks at time, so there's a possible way back. The level is designed for a fun ride on the vespa, to jump over to the villa. Nitro and pipe are required and the search goes through the entire level. There is a great torch puzzle, but no more intelligent riddles. The difficulty is to keep overview to know what to do where. Unfortunately, the level ends rather quickly, once you have access to villa. More tasks and gameplay would be appreciated. The entire level takes place in the dusk, some places were too dark, from the roofs yo get great views and the villa is beautiful built. Overall a good level of medium difficulty." - repley (13-Feb-2010)

"I have 3 time tried and 3 time stopped this game - it was too dark and too confusing for me. This time I have played this level and this here is my result to it. Positiv: Torch/Timerun/Riddle was excellent dont too much enemies fast perfect textures and excellent lighting, no cracks successful eve ambiente super vespa stant over the river Negativ: too dark and too confusing too little of clever riddles It is a good level for everybody with good eyes and memory :)" - masha (05-Feb-2010)

"This level opens with a lot of ways to go at the start, however, it's testament to the design that I only had issues finding the way at one point and beyond that it flowed well (although others have mentioned a certain potential stuck- point at the start I avoided) and provides a large variety of puzzles and challenges, including a good bike ride. The biggest problem I had at the start was the lack of a goal, while something did develop as I explored (finding the nitro for the bike) and the second half was fine in terms of objectives, at the start it kind of throws you in without much idea of what you are supposed to be doing, although I'm not sure how that could be averted.
This level has some of the best visuals in the contest at its best, with the manor at the end being a highlight, on the other hand, it's occasionally inconsistent and suddenly has an area with very basic lighting, although the texturing is good throughout. A great way to end BTB2010 for me." - Mman (02-Feb-2010)

"The easy one can be sometimes so difficult. I had done in this level almost everything what one can do without motorbike. I needed only the Nitrocan. Only is good. I have looked and looked and could not simply find the canister. Only after I perused the help thread, I had to ascertain that I had already run past several times at this point. Such a thing similar has happened to me at another place. I was at this point right at the beginning, but I needed of course a key. And when I had much later the key, I could not find this place any more. As usual Blind and Deaf on both ears. But the level has given of course a lot of pleasure. Above all the stunt with the motorbike about the canal was worth seeing. There were many interesting riddles. For example, the torch riddle was very good. The level has a nice atmosphere. The theatre looked, for example, good. The same one is valid for the ruin. All together a good level which is also suitable for people who play only from time to time a level." - Scottie (01-Feb-2010)

"Nice thinking but with a bad glitch at the start: I, for example, started off in the wrong direction, so nothing seemed to make sense. And then, at the place where Lara lands on a breakable tile with water and spikes below (where one should go right at the start and I didn't, now you're warned), I sidejumped to the right instead of to the left, thus making it impossible to get to the library, hence impossible to proceed. Besides that, Lara must prepare the way across the rooftops, so that she can finally reach the mafiosi headquarters with her Vespa. Then - only then - it all becomes easier. The design looks ok and the idea is good. In the end, I liked it, even though it can't compete with a few other top notch entries." - Jorge22 (27-Jan-2010)

"This is for me the most atmospheric and best lighted BtB-level of this year. It has a very beautiful late dusk-setting. Everything about he colour scheme and lights is just pefect. Because it's relatively dark you should play it in a dark environement to fully appreciate it. So I also like the initial longer phase of exploration very much, because it gave the chance to really immerse myself in this place with it very believable architecture. The next longer main phase of the level is about getting the vespa over the canal to the villa of the mafiosi boss. For this you have to discover the very clever, breathtaking track for the bike and getting the necessary stuff like the nitro, the crowbar and keys etc. to be able to ride the bike on this track. This is quite complex and involves a lot of diverse tasks. I especially like the combined timed run-draining pool-torch puzzle. The final phase of the level takes place around and in the villa and features especially some nice gun fights with well placed enemies. So this is really a fun level with everything in it's right, perfect place. I can only say, a top entry for the contest and alltogether TR at it's best!" - Raymond (20-Jan-2010)

"Because I inadvertently started close to the ending of this level I was able to know the route of the motorbike and where to place the Mask. That made up for any time lost looking for the correct start. Grab any and all flares as the level is quite dark in places. I had an abundance of flares left because I tend to use the binoculars a lot. Getting a lot of ammo and more weapons helps when Lara finally reaches the villa so load up for this adventure as the mafia enemies are waiting there. There's a possible 'game-stopper' of a torch puzzle, at least for me because I had worked out a way I thought it would work but it actually involved another turning of a shut off/on valve that I had not thought to use again. The puzzle works well when one knows what to do. The rest of the game flows smoothly and the ride on the rooftops was perfect. Highly recommended but with, perhaps, a walkie showing the way, at least in the beginning." - Bene (19-Jan-2010)

"Another great title. This is an extremely complex level and your main challenge will be just finding your way around and trying to remember where you've been, what you've done, where it was and how to get back there. It's very good, but be prepared to be playing it for some time - this is not one of the shorter levels in the competition, in fact I think it may have taken me the longest time to finish. Apart from the exploring aspect, the challenges are readily achievable and great fun. In particular, the bike ride over the rooftops is highly entertaining. The benefit of all the exploring was that I did at least find all the secrets." - Jay (17-Jan-2010)

"Has wonderful, realistic construction plus devious game play, and could rank among the best levels of the contest, except that it is almost unplayable because it purports to be open-ended by giving Lara a choice of dozens of tasks and areas at the beginning. In fact, it is very nearly linear. Choose anything but the correct start and Lara will waste her time. On the first attempt playing this, Lara ended up in a flame blower room after having been stuck in a moat without an exit. Her situation was hopeless because these tasks can only be done after Lara sails the Vespa over the moat late in the game. On the second attempt playing this, Lara tried to move the Vespa fairly soon, and this was hopeless because there needs to be extensive preparation. There was a comment on the forum about going into a ruined building and going down. On the third attempt playing this, Lara followed the suggested route, to encounter trickery with a lit torch and a repeated chain pull. Lara perseveres and gets the crowbar and mask. The mask leads to the theater. Eventually another door opens and Lara gets parts for the nitrous oxide feeder. Now, finally, Lara can move the bike. Except for the nitrous oxide container, almost everything follows linear game play. After Lara reaches gangsters headquarters, I could relax, look around and notice how well-designed and atmospheric everything is. There is no element puzzle. Lara retrieves her bottle of wine, and a bag of stolen money, which she will no doubt donate to a local orphanage. This level would be much better with a walkthrough, as there are so many ways to go wrong initially. For the truly adventurous, this level is strongly recommended." - dmdibl (15-Jan-2010)

"I tried this one on my own for a while and made a certain amount of progress before inevitably getting bogged down. Part of my problem was the multiple available options just for getting started, including use of the Vespa if one were so foolishly inclined. I decided to wait until Dutchy's walkthrough became available, and when I replayed the level with his guidance I realized how wrong I had been in my approach. In fact, I somehow encountered fairly early the timed burners that Dutchy doesn't document until near the end. Anyway, even with his help it took me an hour and a half to make my way through this sprawling map, and I believe that this level may turn out to be a contender for top honors. None of the tasks are particularly difficult, it's just a matter of knowing what to do and when to do it. As is typical of these Venice levels, the environs are stunning. And I was most impressed with the prep work required for a productive jaunt on the Vespa. Well thought out and highly entertaining. A top notch effort." - Phil (10-Jan-2010)

"Fans of complex levels, this one is for you! This entry of BtB 2010 has a very interesting layout - you must make your way from a demolished house, through the Venetian streets and eventually into the main mansion square. Easier said than done right? This level is quite an adventure despite the complexity which sets in early as it's unclear what must be done first. Some careful exploration then leads you around sewers, underground chambers, a library, the rooftops, and a luxurious mansion at the end. A good number of tasks can be a little daunting with some tricky jumps and one particularly ill-placed slicer blade, and there was also a timed run for an apparently functionless door, complete with non-functioning ladders. Luckily that isn't any kind of game-breaking bug, but a seemingly odd design decision. The game continues on in mostly a smooth manner and there are some nice surprises along the way: a slight scare, driving across rooftops on a bike, and a small showdown is also present. While finding your way around can be sometimes daunting, this is pretty good fun." - Relic Hunter (08-Jan-2010)

"Fascinating gameplay here , working around in beautifully decorated locations (what else would you expect with a TGA designed by Nadine ?) I enjoyed my third BtB adventure no less than the other two I completed before. Great stuff all around BtB 2010 , although this one was driving me nuts sometimes.The author has managed to wrap it up in a less than 30 MB download . Much care has been taken to develop a storyline or "script" as the professionals would call it . There`s a lot to do for our Lara these days in Venice , I truly believe if she`d known about all this before she would have avoided another trip to the beautiful city , especially at BtB season ! Now she`s here and she`s in for good ! Highly recommened level to play , not quite the easy way and if the builder had only supplied more than just a handful of flares leaving some of the scenery in a very annoying darkness I could have easily raised my review points for lighting and textures to the limit ." - Ruben (08-Jan-2010)
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