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Level: BtB2010 - The Power of the Dragon back home search
Author(s): Matie
total rating:8.53 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 8 9 9
Bogey 8 8 9 9
Cory 8 8 10 10
Dick 8 9 9 9
DJ Full 8 8 8 9
dmdibl 8 8 9 10
Dutchy 8 7 8 7
eRIC 8 8 9 9
eTux 7 8 9 9
Eva 8 8 8 8
Gerty 7 8 9 9
jawi 8 8 9 10
Jay 8 8 9 9
JesseG 7 9 9 8
Jorge22 9 9 9 9
Jose 9 9 9 10
Josey 9 8 8 10
Magnus 7 7 8 8
manarch2 6 8 8 9
masha 8 8 8 8
MichaelP 7 9 8 8
Mman 9 9 9 9
Mytly 9 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 8 8 10 9
Phil 9 9 9 9
Relic Hunter 8 9 10 10
repley 8 8 10 9
Ruben 9 9 9 10
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Scottie 9 9 9 10
TheStig 9 8 8 9
Treeble 7 7 8 8
category averages
(32 reviews)
8.06 8.25 8.81 9.00

Reviewer's comments

"A very nice debut from this builder and also very well executed if I may say so. It starts rather easy and although you don’t have to run around to find what you need and then look for where to use it, the gameplay get a bit harder at the end. In so far the traps you encounter are rather nicely done." - Gerty (24-Mar-2019)

"Ah, this was more like it! After my not so pleasant experience with the last level I played, this was perfect for me. A very beautiful Venice recreation too. Nice gameplay with good atmosphere, lighting and texturing. This would be good for newbies too." - Ryan (18-Mar-2016)

"This is the last level of Matie I hadn't play until now, and having her recent projects in mind I was a bit disappointed that the gameplay is extremely basic which even some rather dull parts, where all you do is using a key to find a key... and so on. I must say that exploring the rather beautiful surroundings with at least very strong visuals (I especially liked the lighting here) is satisfying in a way, but gameplaywise I felt more than a little want. The tasks in between are few with one small pushable puzzle, a few acrobatics before entering the theatre, but everything is extremely easy and there's no real challenge along the way. The secrets are a nice addition, yet three of them somewhat easy to find - the first and last ones have a really nice concept though. There are quite many enemies, but also enough ammo for them, and the finale in the theatre was at least an atmospheric highlight with nice introduction of the phantom and the interesting way to get rid of the wraiths. Overall the atmosphere is rather strong too, but the choice of the background audios is not really convincing with mostly action-packed musics, which doesn't merge well with the rather chilly exploration. It's all over after 25 minutes. If you're searching for a calm and easy level, this might be the right choice for you, and this level doesn't do anything wrong actually - it's just not the most exciting one out there." - manarch2 (26-Apr-2014)

"Despite the somewhat deceptive initial area suggesting you might have a lot of ground to cover before you can make any progress, this turned out to be a rather simple and straight forward raid. What it might lack in gameplay for some (definitely not me), it made up for in looks as there were some rather impressive areas here. In a rather fast pace you gather a few keys, kill a few baddies as you ultimately gain entry to the theater for the final showdown. A rather elusive bag of sand in the beginning had me going for a while, but turns out these pickups represent Secrets in this level - I'm glad that, for once, we don't have to go through the entire element puzzle sequence, although the waterskin alone is present. 35 minutes, 2 secrets. 01/14" - Treeble (01-Mar-2014)

"Fogbulbs are what I rarely (if at all) see used together with this package . Just like revolver bullets we can collect plenty of, so this gun unusually becomes our main weapon right in the very beginning. This seems like fight challenge, but nowhere close to such - as the enemies usually ambush us in the open space and the fights require several rapid shots rather than special tactics. After the deaths, I liked the fact all human enemies dropped something. What I didn't like was fake linearity puzzles - as in: I know we're supposed to find two independent roses and a separate waterskin, but the level structure prompts to follow the channel anyway - so we have one-direction progress where a hub would be better. And when, after getting very positively teased with the arcade patio and torch corridor design, we finally place those roses and fight the (magnificient!!) dancing demigod, the game ends with the heart pickup and it feels not enough with just 30 minutes in stats, while the author possibly had 18-22. The final trap sequence looks like if Matie had a secret cup of tea with Soul, however it's actually a nice illusion - the run is easily passable after few tries, so no-one should have problems while it still gives an adrenaline shot. SUMMARY: A very easy and fast-paced game with several remarkable spots while the true dragonish power might still lurk in the author's head. I had a pure luck to see a never- released Venetian project of Matie that might once become a container for those missing ideas. It's a pity when a builder doesn't have time to execute what she truly loves, and I believe it will all be developed one day, because she can do awesome things to create this kind of mood and it's a pity we only got a small bit of it shared so far. I need more, definitely - so I'm moving to Crystal Skulls instantly." - DJ Full (08-Oct-2013)

"Firstly I’d like to point out that I tested this level and therefore I’m glad it turned out to be so good. The background story is definitely one of the most interesting ones in this year’s competition. The following game elements are kept on the same level. Author cleverly created areas with a little bit of exploration, but also a little bit linear. The game as a whole is very simple, but enjoyable and satisfying. There are usual Venice locations like sewers, canals, villa and theatre. Gameplay is never too hard, but some things aren’t obvious at the first sight. Level seems to be too short, with lack of final fight – there’s “only” a very difficult run through the fire traps. Venice itself is very well crafted, with great texturing (no cracks or wrongly applied textures found!) and magnificent, atmospheric lighting. If you removed the enemies, the level would be a great basis for a romantic film. My favourite location was the greenhouse, unfortunately author had to remove the fog from there. There could have been more objects in the level, but I heard that author had some graphics problem, so I guess it wasn’t possible. Enemies and ammo are equally placed what creates a rarely spotted balance in the level. Author introduced the fight between two wraiths (electrical-fire), so you could enjoy watching this little combat. As I said before gameplay is rather simple. One or two timed runs, easy puzzles, few enemies, enough ammo and medipacks are a smooth pattern. What could be improved is the contrast in the lighting – it could be sometimes more visible, because the effect creates a nice view. But as I can see in author’s current level, he has already fixed that. To sum up, the game is a small, but satisfying experience, a great relax from the difficult customs. I couldn’t give higher scores due to the fact that it’s a single level, though I can see the author’s upcoming game (co-operated with Tombraider95) as a unique, still impressive Hall-of-Famer." - jawi (14-Mar-2011)

"As far as levels go, this is fairly simple and straightforward, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that in my book. As I've mentioned before on numerous occasions - what I look for in a level is creativity and quality content and not finger-twisting jump combinations and levels that go on for hours and hours. True, some sections are suspiciously easy - one sequence basically consisting of picking up a key, using it on the house next door, finding the next key there, using it around the corner and finding a crucial puzzle item conveniently placed on a table. But all that does really is make this a suitable raid for the casual player or someone who considers themselves novices in the custom level world. Some of my favourite moments are evading the explosions and boulders by the entrance of the theatre, the nicely made fly-bys and the end-game trap sequence, but most of all - the great flow of the entire game. What got into the way of this getting higher scores would be, that apart from the aforementioned moments gameplaywise this is a bit pedestrian overall, and I would've liked to see more connection with the story, maybe some foreboding - because, as everyone can observe themselves, this is actually very amicable, sunny and inviting in its appearance. Nothing wrong with that in itself, but it just didn't add up with the danger the game implied was there. In a nutshell - if you want beautiful settings, high quality, yet something that you will get through relatively trouble-free, this is the level for you." - eTux (28-Jan-2011)

"A linear but very well executed level here. Provided you work through areas of this level as you see them you should find this pretty straight forward. Suitable for both experienced and inexperienced playsers, I'd say it gets the gameplay mechanics about right, and I never found myself stuck or unsure where I was heading next. My only critism is in the sequence where you collect the water bag. Unfortunately it's possible to trap yourself in the lower levels of this 3 level room, so remember when you collect it to fill the bag in the canals outside, not the pool at the bottom of this room. Took me 53 minutes to complete. Highly Recommended." - TheStig (18-Jul-2010)

"Sure that this level will not be the winner 'cause players like more complex and convoluted levels with difficult tasks, but for me was one of the best. Really good and nice gameplay with no much backtracking, easy tasks, nice environments and no much to think, but very entertaining. Enemies were very balanced through all level, and secrets were not difficult to find. Correct cameras and an excellent work with the textures. Very recommended." - Jose (01-Mar-2010)

"We are really blessed with very commendable debut levels in this years BtB competition and this one is no exception. It flows nicely and at a good pace, with some vital items provided to you right near the beginning and everything falling nicely into place with every next step. Not very challenging, but still entertaining to play through. You get your keys, waterskin, torch, avoid boulders, and I thought the introduction of the enemy in the theatre was brilliantly done with a remarkable flyby, as was the nice looking combination of the blue and the red wraith, who were then chasing each other. This is a level to simply play as a relaxing one in between some of the tougher ones and for that reason I enjoyed it greatly. (30 mins, 5 secrets)." - MichaelP (01-Mar-2010)

"I really like the idea of connecting the story of Lara's return to Venice to the story in Tomb Raider 2, so kudos to the author on that (and kudos to all the other authors who had the same idea while I'm at it, I guess). Man, I feel like all I do in these Back to Basics reviews is comment on their stories, but five levels in, things are starting to feel a bit familiar. There's a crowbar to find, a torch, a water skin, an evil witch, some rats and mafiosos, and a whole lot of water. This level is a bit too focused on running back and forth collecting items and pulling levers, but the size of the level is small enough that it never gets too frustrating. This is the easiest Back to Basics level I've played so far. Part of this is the reliance on simple exploration, but part of it is also the fact that you're never required to search for well-hidden items or wonder about the author's intentions, which I really appreciated. It's a pretty nice-looking level, with good texturing and lighting. As I mentioned, it's a small level, but its laid out logically and in a way that feels realistic, despite its small size. This thirty-minute level isn't going to challenge you in any way, but it's a nice way to relax between some of the more exhausting Back to Basics levels." - Magnus (28-Feb-2010)

"Another level done in under 40 minutes. But at least it was interesting to go through - set two wraiths upon each other, fix a pushable object or two, and explore a theater, some homes, and a sewer. It had a good variety of things, it just could use a bit more of each." - SSJ6Wolf (28-Feb-2010)

"This is a nice and pretty level, and it is not very demanding. However, there is nothing that stands out, so it is not very memorable." - Bogey (27-Feb-2010)

"The gameplay flows so well, so smoothly, this level almost plays itself. The ending sequences, once the half of the Mask is picked up, is when the real action begins. And what action it is! When the Heart is finally picked up, one wishes there were more surprises in store and more adventure to be had. The lighting and texturing are well done as is the architecture. Hard to find fault here except in the length of play. Recommended." - Bene (19-Feb-2010)

"Another level on the shorter side. The canals and buildings are more accomplished here and graphically everything looks nice. Right at the start you get a run over the roofs which I always like a lot. :) Gameplay is simple and more on the linear side, but it is never boring, as the tasks are very diverse and nicely embedded into the level. Bottomline, a nice level to play and suitable for everybody." - Eva (17-Feb-2010)

"The meaning of the title escaped me till I read the read-me. Nice story. The level was good too, a wide variety of tasks. Some nice trap series like in that dark basement with the breakable tiles... Gave me a scare there." - Dutchy (13-Feb-2010)

"To my regret, this level is very short. This level is very atmospheric, you'll find wonderfully designed areas and a great use of sound. The main task at this level is to find two roses, which open the opera house in Venice, where the dragon's heart is to be hidden. The gameplay is mostly linear, but you can explore everything from the start and do little things here and there already. I enjoyed to run and jump over the rooftops. The tasks ahead are quite obvious and only consist of collecting items. There are two simple pushable puzzles and a small torch puzzle that is only needed for one of the five secrets. The enemies were mostly alone in a closed room and were used to leave objects. Overall, an easy and atmospheric levels with fluent gameplay." - repley (13-Feb-2010)

"The easiest of the levels I have played in this year's BtB. Probably too easy - you find a key hole? Don't worry the key is nearby. It's also a very short level - I felt I was just getting into it when it ended. To sum up: While The texturing and lighting are very good throughout I do feel this could have benefited by an extra half hour of gameplay." - Dick (04-Feb-2010)

"A curt level with easy gameplay, nice ambience, a lot of the enemies and much weaponry. Few interesting riddles, but nice textures and lighting, interesting cameras and flybys. Result: everybody can play this level" - masha (02-Feb-2010)

"Very nice level, quite a bit on the easy side, where Lara roams the streets and buildings of Venice (starting in the sewers but just for a little while), swims along its canals and finds a few keys and items, including two rose jewels and sandbag secrets. She ends up in a theater where she finally meets the usual masked ghost and a couple of wraiths that - may I complain - seem impossible to eliminate. Nonetheless, they end up not doing much harm, so everything is fine. I rather liked the "friendly-thrilling" ending (you'll see what I mean) just as she's about to pick up the heart and finish the level. Cool is the word." - Jorge22 (02-Feb-2010)

"This is the only short entry where I thought the length actively harmed it; just when I thought it was warming up it ended. The difficulty is low and leads to a smooth flow but it doesn't really get enough time to pick up (although it does increase a little towards the end). What's there is well done though, and leads to a pleasant experience along with minimal backtracking, as well as some good use of Wraiths at the end.
The visuals are excellent, and one marble garden type area (which reminded me of the ones in Cult of the Mask) made perfect use of fog for a humid atmosphere. The streets and buildings are also interestingly varied, and it ends in an Opera house type place. A good level but like Phantom of the Opera its length means it can't match levels which offer twice the content that's of the same quality." - Mman (01-Feb-2010)

"Well, what a nice level to play! All the way through, the gameplay was logical and flowing, I never got stuck once. The only slight problem with the gameplay is that there were no stunning moments or mindbending puzzles that I would have liked to see. Enemies were used well, as were the objects, however, the secrets may have been slightly too easy, as generally I don't stumble on 4 secrets by chance. Everything else in this level, I found to be perfect, as the architecture, texturing, atmosphere and cameras were all immaculate. Sounds were used to aid the level well. Overall, a very nice level, however, it could have been a bit longer as it ended with only 40 minutes on the clock. 40 minutes. 4 secrets. Highly recommended." - Cory (01-Feb-2010)

"A beautiful little adventure with charming atmosphere and good fluent gameplay.Wonderful architecture in all its locations. Playable for everybody without nasty gamestoppers. One for the upper class in this years BtB." - Ruben (31-Jan-2010)

"The power of the dragon has rubbed off on this level. Thereby the level grew not dangerously angry, but dangerously well. The level is well built and it gives pleasure to play him. The riddles are relatively easy. Merely both minds at the level end were quite irritating. Though one could expose a pool, however, had to jump first to a swing rope, jump from there on a balcony, then high on a cloister under the roof, jump on the opposite balcony, press a switch and was able only then jump into the pool. If Lara has not burnt before a few times. Or one shoots a few times at the ghosts and they enjoy themselves somewhere else. However, this was already the only thing what has disturbed me. Otherwise the level felt well to play. For example, the room with two floors and the light greenish fog was very nice. But also the canals looked very good. Added to this a very good lighting. Therefore it is everything present what the heart of the inclined player desires." - Scottie (29-Jan-2010)

"A relatively simple, but very, very well imagined and enjoyable level. It is not perfect, as I found some difficulty to light a wall torch, couldn't get rid of two wraiths almost at the end of the game (a thing which, by the way, was not important, for the wraiths didn't go for Lara as they should), and simply don't know what the lighted wall torch and the last jumpswitch at the opera house have done. On the other hand, the lighting was excellent and the level is mightly understandable and playable. Undoubtedly recommended." - Josey (28-Jan-2010)

"This is a short and fairly simple level - there's nothing spectacular in it, yet it's quite enjoyable. The tasks are fun and straightforward, the atmosphere is relaxing and the architecture is lovely. In the majority of the level, you can happily wander around without taxing your brain or fingers too much. Only towards the end - from when you enter the opera house - does the adrenaline start flowing. First an encounter with a witch, then a wraith (which you have to distract by releasing another wraith - a novel idea), and then finally a short but challenging trap gauntlet. I can't help wishing that the traps had been used to spice up the earlier part of the level as well, but apart from that I have nothing to complain about.
Overall: A lovely, peaceful and pleasant level. Not quite the best that BtB10 has to offer, but a very good level nonetheless." - Mytly (27-Jan-2010)

"If I had to go out on a limb and pick a BtB level released by a first-timer, I'd probably pick this one. What seems to give it away is the relative ease of the gameplay (except, as has been noted, at the very end). Even the object-lifting puzzle was not beyond my limited capabilities. And most of the secrets were simply sitting there, ripe for the picking. On the other hand, the level presents a visual feast, with a tasteful blend of indoor and outdoor tasks set against a backdrop of Venetian architecture. The lighting was most pleasant, and there was none of this crawling around in dark corridors and sewers. If I haven't insulted the builder by suggesting that this is a maiden voyage, let me hasten to add that scaling down the complexity and danger thresholds provided a much-appreciated break from the intensity of the other BtB levels I've already played, and have yet to play. This would be a most fitting level for introducing a new player to the joys of raiding. High recommendations." - Phil (20-Jan-2010)

"A soothing trip through a very convincing Venice was finely weaved into this level. The architecture used by the builder here is certainly the high point, and it convinced me very much that this is something that Venice might really look like. I was just put into a sense that I may actually have been playing TR2. Lights and textures are also utilized with excellence, enhancing the atmosphere greatly. Gameplay is a more relaxing affair than other levels in the BtB '10 batch, providing a fairly linear trip guided well by the cameras and good musical cues. Much of the thrill here comes from exploring the canals, buildings, and rooftops, and part of the stage takes place in a well-crafted opera house. Only at the very end does the difficulty ramp up a bit, but produces a satisfying finale. Great work!" - Relic Hunter (16-Jan-2010)

"This is one of the more straightforward, linear and non-confusing levels in the B2B competition and it's enemy light too, so I really recommend it as a soothing break from some of the more arduous levels. This is not to say that it's in any way an inferior offering - far from it. It's an extremely nice looking section of Venice Lara's visiting this time, the tasks to accomplish are well varied and the secrets, whilst not particularly difficult to find, are nicely hidden (although since they are bags of sand I can't help but feel that Lara's backpack would have been extremely heavy by the end of the adventure). There's a good ending sequence too." - Jay (14-Jan-2010)

"This is lovely to look at. All the contest entrants have been supplied with a wonderful package, including textures that produce attractive settings. Even so, I felt this level stood out for its sense of design. I always enjoy Lara going over a rooftop to find a secret. Play is good, everything is here, but in a compact space. So in a short time we get a zip line, a painting that opens, a pushable cross, shooting a bell, and a mirrored table. Lara works her way down a short canal, doing the buildings in order, and gets a key and secret in a cross canal. There is a wide open plaza with dogs, then crushing boulders before Lara enters an opera house. This is a highlight, with Lara trying to find a way up to the rafters. I thought things were getting better and better, but then the level ends. Some authors are producing levels that take about five hours of real time to finish, while other levels such as this take closer to one hour. It is hard to make a fair comparison. I loved everything here, particularly the appearance, and wished it were longer. On the forum, some players posted technical problems, but I experienced no difficulty at all while playing this gem of a level." - dmdibl (04-Jan-2010)

"A very good level , not too long, it easily clocks under the hour, that was very pleasant to play ( and to replay so to find all the secrets , but I still miss one out of the five ) , good looking , varied enough , and not difficult, so it can appeal to everyone. The main goal is to find two roses so to enter into a beautiful theatre ( very elegant flyby here by the way ) and make the escape at the end which is not more difficult than the rest. A elegant level without too many enemies and with a fluent progression" - eRIC (04-Jan-2010)

"This is one of those levels which,while not being particularly difficult,nonetheless provides a great deal of enjoyment.Progression is extremely fluent,logical and a pleasure to experience;linear,but not obviously so. Instead,you spend the level following a trail through beautifully crafted canals,courtyards and alleyways (all visible from the very start);with a few rooftop jumps and excursions to private-looking appartments thrown in for good measure.What makes this all the more pleasurable is the verisimilitude of the setting: it really FEELS like Venice.None of the buildings and rooms are particularly spectacular,but they seem genuine and authentic;and the atmosphere is correspondingly convincing,with a very good placement of objects and an effective use of background sounds and music cues.Enemies are quite varied and not over-used (although the two wraiths near the end didn't seem to inflict very much damage),and the adventure builds to a neat little action Finale. You'll not be left scratching your head too much in this adventure,but you'll enjoy the experience thoroughly - and that's what matters most in the end." - Orbit Dream (04-Jan-2010)
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