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Level: 15-Minute Raider - The Watery Grave back home search
Author(s): matrix54
total rating:7.30 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
anniversarytr11 9 7 10 7
Blue43 6 7 8 8
Christian 7 8 9 9
Cory 7 6 9 9
DJ Full 7 7 8 8
dmdibl 6 7 9 8
eRIC 5 4 8 8
eTux 5 7 9 9
Gerty 4 6 8 7
Jay 8 8 9 9
Jose 5 6 7 7
Kat 5 5 6 6
Laralives 6 6 9 9
manarch2 5 6 8 8
MichaelP 6 6 8 8
Minox 6 6 7 7
misho98 7 8 9 9
Mman 6 6 8 8
Moonpooka 9 8 9 6
Orbit Dream 5 6 9 9
Phil 7 7 8 6
rtrger 7 8 10 9
Ryan 6 7 9 8
Scottie 4 5 7 7
TheStig 6 9 8 6
wdavid 9 7 9 10
category averages
(26 reviews)
6.27 6.65 8.38 7.88

Reviewer's comments

"Somehow I missed this one the first time around, but now that the builder has come out with a second, highly-acclaimed release, I wanted to start finding out what all the fuss is about by playing the maiden voyage. I took nearly 20 minutes to complete this 15-minute raid, and I found it to be much too dark. Yoav has documented three secrets and no enemies in his typically compact walkthrough. Hopefully the builder's current release will have more light in consideration of the players, but I saw considerable promise in this debut effort." - Phil (07-Dec-2016)

"A fun but short level. That said, it was a fun fifteen minutes. A nice swimming exercise and a nice underwater maze. I would like to see a longer level from this builder." - Ryan (24-Dec-2015)

"Level very short (10 min). Too bad it's too dark, the puzzles are simple. Very well built. Big potential." - Minox (19-Apr-2014)

"A rather short level as the title says. The puzzles aren't hard, only the swim in the poisonous water can be difficult. The atmosphere is amazing, but I think some more camera hints would've been good. Textures are applied perfectly, the lighting fits the atmosphere, but I think there should've been some flares pickups. Recommended for people who won't mind the dark lighting." - misho98 (11-Feb-2012)

"I played this wanting to like it, especially having seen the gorgous looking screen shoots and previews. But if I'm honest I found this a little underwealming. There isnt anything wrong with it as such, it's just far too gloomy. I'm sure there was some fantastic work put into texturing and structuring the cavern and connecting rooms, but it's all so dark you'll be pressed to spot the effort unless you use the flares. It was so dark in fact I didnt at all see how to get up to the upper levels, and had to resort to the walk-through to get over this stumbling block, a subtle bit of shading and lighting would have been a significant benefit here. The poised water also played havok with my medi-pack hoarding tendancies, it fits ok within the context of this 15 minute level, but would have left me very worried on a longer adventure! I think these byte sized levels as a concept is quite a good one (perhaps worthy of a competition one year?), but I think this levels gloomyness really percludes it from something you might just wanna pick up and have a quick play of. The level took me 23 minutes to complete. Look forward to future levels from the author, and it's also worth noting that the output here is technically very impressive for a debut level! Stiggy" - TheStig (11-Aug-2010)

"If the level was a bit longer, it would be boring, as the puzzles are average. Atmosphere deserves rather good rating, lighting as well. But each element creating this level makes better impression when joined with the others. As a result the overall rating is higher than it would be if I rated level elements separately. SUMMARY: I know I'm not gonna replay this. It's not a level to remember. However, I felt good during this 15 minutes and if you have similar amount of spare time - you can spend it here." - DJ Full (05-Aug-2010)

"I like the idea of bite-sized levels, rather than the hour+ behemoths most TR levels are, but this needed a little more work. The atmosphere is decent, however, while I had no real issues with the brightness, the lighting is a bit flat and just gloom without any real highlights (beyond the torches at the "temple" part and the few bits of daylight). The texturing works though and the few enemies and objects fit well.
The gameplay is mostly shimmying along with some platform jumps, it could have done with some more puzzles and use of the space provided (about half the main room is completely unused). There's almost some inexplicably harmful water and only one medikit provided that you have to save for that section and nothing else, although the level is short enough that this isn't too big an issue. The level ends with an underwater maze, not a very difficult one but also not that imaginative, and finally the secrets are just strewn about with little interesting done with their placement. It's worth checking out considering how short it is, but there's not really much to set it apart beyond general decent design." - Mman (03-Aug-2010)

"This level is quite good but a bit short. If it would be longer, it would get more points of me. But the atmosphere in this grotto was wonderful. Textures were nice but it was too dark. The gameplay elements, exspecially at the end, were nice but at the beginning, the level was a bit too linear and just searching levers isn't very interesting. However, try it." - manarch2 (22-Jul-2010)

"This is a short level that is dominated by a huge water cave with interesting lighting, although a bit to dark for my monitor setting but with adjustments it looked pretty good. Not many tasks, no real enemies except bats, 3 secrets and a very good and spooky atmosphere. Good thing the flares lasted long and there were enough of them. I kept expecting a surprise attack throughout the whole level. Fairly easy to complete, except for a swim through a room with deadly water and with only one small medipack in the inventory. I would definitely recommend this as the author has created a great atmosphere, and that alone is worth to play this one." - Blue43 (20-Apr-2010)

"A mini adventure is a good name to call this. Nice for in between if you need a short break. Dark, not so nice (the builder was going for being realistic) but hey, did you see the latest we can do with the flares, yeah... make them red, one of the worse colours in my opinion. Oh and lets not have any medipacks as a pick up, that is only for losers, but give them two worthless Idols. That being said because of the darkness, what I could see did look good. Didn't mind the transparent spikes that much, but there was no sound. I have no clue why the water was draining Lara's life so a reload or two might be in order to get the task done in time. Talking about realistic, it is a frigging game... tsk." - Gerty (24-Mar-2010)

"I don't know how some builders want the players can't enjoy the environment of their games. Flares were not enough and I had to use the binoculars often, making the gameplay more slow. There are not cameras when you pull the switches or place the artifact so you must explore into the darkess what has changed. I can imagine that textures are good only for what I could see when using the binoculars. No enemies, secrets are easy to find. Good architecture, only a small medipack could be not enough for the poisoned waters; I finished the level only with a 2% or so in my health bar. Please, if there's a next game in the future, let us see something; I've played this one 'cause it's very short, but I'll never play a long level with that kind of darkness." - Jose (08-Mar-2010)

"Really hard to rate. As a debut this level is too small and short to tell anything about author’s skills and ideas. On the other hand I completely don’t understand why builder decided to create the atmosphere by placing Lara in total darkness! Okay, let’s say it’s because of realism, but even that does not explain why I have to play with brightness turn to 100%, trying to figure out what to do next. I think that lack of lighting is just an attempt to hide simply architecure and texturing of the central cave and also general simplicity and short time needed to end this level. There are several flares and only one small medipack, so it’s really frustrating when you have to swim through underwater maze, or survive in the pool with deadly water (why the ordinary water hurts Lara? – I have no idea). Overall, not so bad, but could be a lot better. It’s really nice that player can choose from two different versions of suit for Lara, but that is actualy only thing worth attention." - Kat (27-Feb-2010)

"Another well done debut. This could be a good opening sequence for a longer level, but it ends, before it really starts. Gameplay is a bit to easy, but shows interesting ideas: The deadly water-sequence spices up the whole little game. Secrets can be found easily, the atmosphere in this dark cave is convincing. I don't like dark levels, but here the darkness is adequate. Good work!" - Christian (12-Feb-2010)

"As the title indicates, another quick demo given immediate release, so hard to score. There is one large cavern room and several passages that open up to sparse rooms, though if Lara searches around for secrets the time takes more than fifteen minutes. The main cavern looks impressive, with good texturing, but is exceedingly dark. The screenshots look dismal. Other reviewers liked the darkness, but I hope the author takes a look at TR1 before extending this to a full game, at the haunting lighting effects, at the way pools in caverns create rippling refections on cave walls. Here play consists of one upper route that branches, each fork leading to a switch that opens a door. Then (the best touch in the level) a flaming bowl, a beacon in all that darkness, shows Lara her destination. This is a lot better than a camera shot which would have been solid black anyway. The damaging water wasn't a problem (though somewhat puzzling): I just worked out what to do, then reloaded a save to start over, so Lara completed the tasks efficiently and quickly. A promising debut with talented design." - dmdibl (12-Feb-2010)

"Impressive debut! Let's see...the texturing. I think the main cave is a bit repetitively textured, but the other rooms are simply magnificent! Lighting made the level very intimate. I think there's no problem with the darkness there, since the author had given enough flares and they're last for 2-3 minutes. The gameplay is simple, lots of shimmying, collecting a gemstone, then some swimming to collect an invisible rose. Otherwise, the level is soooo short. Ambient music is nice. Secrets are easy to find. Try it if you're bored, it's worth it, even the game lasts for 10 mins." - rtrger (11-Feb-2010)

"I may be your average player , for I did it in 15 minutes and 57 seconds. This is a well made level , with perfect texturing and good atmosphere , on the dark side. There area some jumps to do around a big water cave, and two temple rooms to raid , one of which where the author uses the new possibilities of the new exe to propose a different challenge. The transparent spikes look a bit strange and the level is too short to be fully satisfying. But and anyway the author shows good design potential." - eRIC (11-Feb-2010)

"The level was obver all fun and felt very much like a tomb raider level although sometimes it got fustrating and becuse of the sheer shortness of the level I got a feelingof unsatisfaction when th ended. I liked the part where lara's health bar goes down in the water, makes you rush and get scared not to die and it is clever how its timed so you just get out in time if youre fast enough. I was a little dissapointed that there were no enemies, it would have added to the atmosphere. The objects that were made in the level looked fantastic but i thought the 4 secret key things needed some kind of use as wellas the glass rose, there needed to be more story to the experience and meaningbehind everything. The atmosphere is just amazing, more well done than many of the official tomb raider levels, which is saying something! The ambience was great too. My critisizms are in the main cave there shouold of been more variety of textures, they looked repetitive in view. Also the lighting was just a little too dark in some parts but over all the lighting was good, added to the atmosphere. The Watery Grave is a very well made level, very polished and a great play." - anniversarytr11 (07-Feb-2010)

"No question, the level is built quite well. And he also has a few nice effects, as for example the Flares or the deadly water. And the background sound feels also well. But anyhow it's not my cup of tea. He is quite unequivocal too darkly. And he is quite unequivocal too briefly. And quite unambiguously there are missing camera hints. No I'm sorry, this level is really not my cup of tea." - Scottie (02-Feb-2010)

"A small gem is what you get here. A very nicely crafted cave which you need to traverse around for two switches and then a water and a spike puzzle room to find your needed artifact. It is all over too soon after the 15 minutes mentioned in the title, but it still leaves a positive impression and the promise of more to come from this builder. And the red glow of the flares is a great sight too." - MichaelP (02-Feb-2010)

"It is hard to rate this adventure, as it was built to only be 15 minutes long. Therefore, I find it impossible, no matter how good it is, to award a very good score. Gameplay was nice through-out, using the NGLE and TRNG effects to the level's advantage. The damage water was fun, however, I don't knwo how the water was deadly. Gameplay was generally shimmy, find a lever, repeat. Objects were gemstones and bejeweled idols, and enemies were bats. I'm not sure if the idols were secrets, as I never used them. The atmosphere was great, as it took place in an underground temple, surrounded by a vast pool of water. This was all created and textured beautifully, however, as said before, it was only 15 minutes long. I would like to see the next level from this builder, and I hope that it is longer so that I can rate it higher. 16 mins." - Cory (31-Jan-2010)

"Actually I found this to be quite a terrific debut - the atmosphere is positively captivating, the texture use great, the architecture utterly convincing, and the tasks make sense without much additional help. In light of this I'm puzzled by some of the author's decisions even more so, for example, where was the rush to release this as a 15 minute demo? Why was the water hazardous for no apparent (at least no obvious) reason? Why make the teeth spikes translucent? And why spoil all the good impressions by adding an underwater maze close to the end? Admittedly the darkness didn't bother me that much personally, but I agree that the author was very close to the limit here and I most likely would've been practically unable to play this on a sunny day - so maybe it's worth looking into methods how to convey the feeling of darkness without decreasing the brightness of the actual room ambiance. Apart from that I would've preferred the 2 secrets I found to hold a bit more than the odd looking 'idols' as the lack of additional pickups did become a hindrance, especially in the inexplicably hostile water room. That said - this is worth a go if you want something relatively brief, but compelling all the same, so give it a go. If there is a sequel or merely another level from the author - I hope he keeps the lessons from this level in mind!" - eTux (30-Jan-2010)

"Nice idea to give players a choice of colour for Lara's wetsuit, although given the rather low light levels it's possibly slightly academic. This is exactly as the title says, approximately 15 minutes of raiding, so probably best regarded as a demo. Your objective, very basically, is to climb around a water-filled cavern, searching for switches to light pots and then retrieve two gem parts in rooms involving spikes and a timed swim in most unfriendly water, culminating in a short underwater maze to find a crystal rose. It's very nicely built and the red flares are eye catching. The secrets are rather different too - not objects I can recall having seen before. I'm giving it a higher mark for gameplay than is my norm for demos, because, short though it is, whilst it lasts the gameplay is very enjoyable indeed. I'd very much like to see a proper feature length level from this obviously talented builder." - Jay (28-Jan-2010)

"Awesome debut level. Consists of many shimmy-ledges with the original TR4 anim which lengthen the game unnecessarily, perhaps the author did this on purpose to create the illusion that the level as long as titled. Various swimming scenes after all "Watery Grave". Approx 4-5 enemies all which attack before the opportunity of getting back on your feet after exiting a crawlspace. Objects are for the majority original which is a nice change for a new builder. Secrets were hidden in plain sight not a great addition all it takes is exploring a little. Atmosphere is spot on, would've loved to see water drops though (:P) Lighting: it's not too dark, I found the flares unnecessary (they usually ruin the atmosphere the builder has created). Saw a few textures mis-rotated but other than that all in all I highly recommend it. The builder next time could focus on more elements of gameplay and more puzzles, and hide secrets more cleverly, and more enemies but well placed too." - Laralives (26-Jan-2010)

"Well, this is a hard level to judge because apart from it being a fabulous game, it is let down by the constant darkness; which spoils the overall experience. I strongly advise players to save the 8 flares and 1 SMP provided until you are in the final flooded maze; otherwise you are not going to finish the level. Lara begins in a dark cave with a pool. You need to search the pool for a couple of secrets, then make your way to 2 levers; which open the doors to the essential quest items - 2 x pieces of the gemstone. You can also locate another secret during this task. Inside the gemstone room 1, you will have a spike-trap floor to negotiate and in gemstone room 2, you need to make a speedy swim to 2 x underwater levers to drain the room. This exercise will leave you will almost no health at all and you will have to use the one and only SMP if you want to finish the game. You are literally left with half a bar of health if you're lucky! That's fine by me as I enjoy a challenge, but by now, I had run out of flares and the final flooded maze was impossible to accomplish in total darkness. So, I re-played the level and kept all my flares for this final task. Inside the maze, you can find the final secret, and then eventually locate the room with the the final quest item; a silver rose. As I said at the beginning of this review, this was a fab level and I loved the game-play aspects of it. From what I could see, the textures were well placed and the rooms had a nice atmosphere with the BG audio. Objects were minimal; just a few pots lying around, but the rooms weren't that large so they didn't have an empty feel about them. So, I'm only going to pick on the lighting in this game as I thought it spoilt the enjoyment, and the lack of flares was unforgivable. Otherwise, this is a superb level; lasting only 15 minutes or so, but a good little run-around never the less." - Moonpooka (25-Jan-2010)

"Due to the fact that this is intended only as a mini-adventure,I'm sure the Author understands that it would be hard to rate it too high in the gameplay category as there's only so much to do before you hit the Finish Trigger - but I had a very enjoyable time in those 15 (actually,closer to 20) minutes,in a beautifully textured and constructed environment.All the details have been well worked out (including the oft-overlooked 'adverse current',to prevent Lara swimming to places she shouldn't)and the atmosphere is hugely effective as a result. Lighting could perhaps have been a little less on the murky side;but then this is a waterlogged cavern,so I'm presuming 'murkiness' is something waterlogged caverns would have in abundance! As for keeping the player occupied:there's a little platform jumping;spike traps;a banana-jump or two;bats;levers and several secrets (I found two)to keep you occupied.In building a 15 minute level,the author has succeeded admirably;and I personally very much look forward to his next quarter-of-an-hour!" - Orbit Dream (25-Jan-2010)

"This level is one of the best one level games i've ever played. The game itself isn't that long but i don't mind it. The gameplay and the puzzles are well planned and made. There weren't any enemies in the level...with some enemies and more object it would have been better (bats, spider, plants or vines for example). The lighting and the texturing is perfect, it made the game very atmospheric :) I can't wait the next game of the author..." - wdavid (25-Jan-2010)
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