Level: Lara and the Four Shafts back home search
Author(s): Eelkemama
total rating:7.54 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Blue43 7 8 8 8
Christian 7 8 8 8
Diz 8 8 8 7
Dutchy 6 7 7 6
Gerty 6 7 7 6
herothing 8 7 9 8
High Priestess 10 8 9 10
Jack& 8 8 7 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jose 7 7 7 8
manarch2 5 6 6 5
MichaelP 7 8 8 7
Nina Croft 7 6 7 6
Phil 9 8 9 9
Ruben 8 9 9 9
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Sakusha 8 8 7 7
TheStig 7 7 7 7
category averages
(18 reviews)
7.39 7.56 7.72 7.50

Reviewer's comments

"I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy this one, considering some of the review comments. But surprisingly, I had an enjoyable time with this one. Granted, there are plenty of levers, switches and jump switches to look for in each of these five levels, which was a bit monotonous gameplay-wise, but I found that the other tasks balanced it out a bit. There's a couple of neat boulder and globe puzzles included, plus a few timed runs and bike rides to get stuck into as well, so I didn't really mind the more formulaic gameplay sections. Enemies and secrets are pretty much standard, but not badly placed, and the appearance is a bit functional but attractive nonetheless. Anyway, don't let the ratings deter you and give it a shot." - Ryan (06-Jul-2018)

"There is a certain charm in finding well hidden objects and levers, but only for some time. If, however, the same kind of setup is repeated dozens or even hundreds of times in a game it's just getting painful. There's just not much fun in finding a jumpswitch, raising a block, using the next jumpswitch, climb into a crawlspace, get out, find a key, redo the crawlspace part, use the key, find another jumpswitch, find a trigger tile and so on, with only few actual puzzles, some platforming and occasionally a (mostly short) bike ride which, I'm with Michael here, would altogether form one decent level of maybe 40 minutes but not a game of 3:10 hours (and I think I've been fairly quick). All that is embedded in very crude and uninspired, at best functional settings and even for the quite simply architecture the texturing is quite messy and also eclectic, with no large variety in enemies and secrets which are mostly hidden in more or less the same way. On a positive side, there are some decent audio choices and a few objects are well used. I'm really glad the builder has refined her style in her later levels, but I couldn't really enjoy this one much. Found the 25 secrets." - manarch2 (03-Jan-2018)

"This level series had an engaging form of gameplay, even though some elements were overused, and the level series could've been shorter. I really liked the sphere and pushable block puzzles, some jumps were tricky, the motorcycle sequences were engaging and the switches were well-hidden. The author also successfully imported objects and created beautiful buildings such as churches and even a theatre. The scooter was also a nice touch. However, the block raising/lowering puzzles and the switches were overused. The same keys were being used as well. I liked the lighting shades from light to dark to nuanced, but the textures and house designs were slightly monotonous. More cameras could've been used to illustrate what some switches were triggering as well. At the beginning, Lara will lack medipacks, but eventually she'll have enough ammo and medipacks to get through the adventure. Unfortunately, the shotgun shells weren't very useful (unless I missed the shotgun). All in all, this level series is worth trying. Even though one level gives an overall impression of the rest of the adventure, somehow the player is motivated to want to continue." - Sakusha (19-Mar-2011)

"If you enjoy long exploration and uncomplicated gameplay you’ll probably find this release quite soothing. I found the levels themselves straight forward enough to play through. As other reviewers have commented however you do feel like certain game-play techniques become over-relied upon after a while. Architecturally I’d say the results here are mixed. I felt the lighting/design of some sections were very strong while other sections featured bland rooms with repetitive texturing. Object selection seems mostly limited to the standard TR4 objects (with the exception of the scooter later on). No real use of music queues made here, apart from the occasional voice-over. Some of the better use I’ve seen of the motorcycle here, but there’s an awful lot of them which have been left spare lying around for use! Unlike allot of other games you’ll play 90% of the time they key/lever you need is normally never more than a room away, so you shouldn’t find the need to do too much back-tracking. Only the room with the three boulders caused me to get stuck thanks to a very well hidden wall lever in the previous room. Ultimately you do get very good value from the download in terms of gameplay time. I got over 7 hours’ worth of gameplay which is in itself highly commendable. The relaxed pace, and general good attention to detail make this an easy level to recommend. Stiggy." - TheStig (05-Oct-2010)

"With a series like this one (consisting out of five levels in total), I usually would review and score each level individually, but I will refrain from that this time, mainly because I would have to repeat myself too much. Which points immediately to the key problem of this series - it is just too long for its own good. My net game time was five hours, with the first part being the longest at almost 90 mins and the others clocking in a little short of the hour each. And honestly, I felt that there really only good gameplay ideas in the set for about an hour or so. The rest is just more of the same and very, very repetitive. Not sure how to proceed? Look up to find the next of a myriad of jump switches in a dark spot, or a crawlspace, or a key on the ground in a bush. When Lara says 'finally at home' when you reach the finish trigger, I really felt the same - FINALLY at the end. Now, don't get me wrong here though - it is a very solidly built game that flows at a fast pace once you get the hang of the builder's style and has its really good moments. They are just too few and far apart to be very memorable. There is occasional good use of bikes, it has mirror rooms, push block puzzles (some a bit on the tedious side), well used boulders and spike traps, relatively few enemies (mostly guards and dogs that are easily dealt with, even a few easy timed sequences and much more. But then there is a lot of level pulling and running through very same looking corridors as well. Level 4 uses the bike well, but also has plenty of places where you can get stuck if you do something 'wrong' with the bike, so keep your savegames managed well there. Even the 25 secrets, initially a worthwile side quest do get old after a while because they are often hidden in a very similar fashion. So, like I said, for me this would have worked much better had it been half as long or less, but I am sure others may well enjoy the steady pace and constant movement without any too tricky challenges (as long as you keep your eyes open)." - MichaelP (05-Sep-2010)

"The thing that struck me most about this five-level release is the huge amount of varied gameplay it offers. I logged just over six hours here, even though I enjoyed a relatively stress-free romp courtesy of Nina Croft's first (and very well written) walkthrough. There's a little bit of everything here, not to mention scads and scads of jump switches, and it all flows quite smoothly. In fact, I would recommend this to beginning raiders because of the variety of tasks and puzzles. The only part that almost made me tear out my remaining hair was that diabolical breakledge sequence near the beginning of the fourth level. I see that other reviewers have mentioned it as well, so I'm glad I'm not the only one who experienced a difficult time with it. Anyway, I enjoyed myself a great deal and I hope to see more from this builder." - Phil (30-Jun-2010)

"It's been a while since I've managed to get through a level without help and whereby this was no exception, it largely flowed quite well. My main two problems were the rather difficultly angled crumbling floor tiles with the low overhead ceiling and a glitch with the tightrope in the last level. However, thanks to some helpful members (Thank you Christian and Blue43!, I was able to upload a savegame on both occasions so my overall enjoyment was not too compromised! I was happy to have been prompted to relocate two missed keys without having to backtrack a considerable distance and I was impressed by the presentation of this level set in general. A largely smooth level with lots of consistency in terms of gameplay. It was great to ride on the various bikes scattered around also! Very enjoyable level set, all things considered." - High Priestess (17-May-2010)

"I was actually fairly impressed with this level, judging on the reviews i have read i thought this would be quite average but for one, this actually did last a fair amount of time. The puzzles are good, not very inventive though seeing as though it is just finding switches, jump switches etc. Lara only has the classic animations which also limits the amount of creativity that can be implemented into the level. The maps themselves are quite good, only 1 or 2 rooms seemed quite bland to me, other were well textured and has good lighting; overall a good atmosphere is created and i would like to see the author expand on their ideas and create a more inventive project. Grade = A-" - herothing (11-Apr-2010)

"Just finished this one and the first thing I have to say is that it took me a LOT longer than expected. I am reviewing this as somebody who has only played a few TR4 custom levels so far, so I had a few difficulties in this one, but except for one jump with collapsing tiles I managed to finish this one without complete frustration. The one specific jump is really difficult and I only did it one time - with luck, I guess. Wanted to do it again to record with Fraps, but never managed to do it a second time. Besides a few jumps, runs, swims and a couple of short and entertaining motorcycle and moped rides, this level is all about finding (some well hidden) jump switches, different colored keys, levers and tiles that raise and lower blocks, open doors, turn off burners etc. All progress in this level is depending on it. Unfortunately a lot of those important tasks are in very dark areas so I found myself constantly having to light flares or looking through binoculars. In generally I thought the game was a bit on the dark side. The textures in this level are beautifully applied. I didn't notice any flaws. Everything looks like a professionally built level with lots of love for detail and decoration. No boring looking areas, lots of plants everywhere and several of them hide keys and other goodies. I very much enjoyed playing this level in the first part, but after several hours I but found the amount of switches and levers almost too much so I was glad I finally finished it. The opponents in this level are all easy to combat, a few bats, dogs and gunmen. There is never a shortage on ammo or medipacks. I really liked the fact that the builder provided an easy way back after one stands in front of a closed door without the all important key because it was missed way back at the start of the level - that was great. Generally really well built level in surprisingly nice texture and atmosphere, specially considering this is only the second level made by this builder. I can recommend this one for anyone with a little custom level experience, maybe not so suited for a beginner. Found 23 out of 25 secrets." - Blue43 (10-Apr-2010)

"This is more or less classic levelset, with classic animations for Lara and classic combo moves. Surroundings and architecture is basic and limited, mostly indoors and outside courtyards and gardens, with no grand vista we all enjoy very much. The game is linear and straightforward, with very little chance for exploring, very little enemies and action, very dark and gloomy, and generally without any reasonable goal. Lara is to find four shaft keys that will open a gate in the fifth level, that's about the storyline in this levelset. The game seems to comprise about a hundred of smaller tasks, such as: open this door, raise/lower that block, shoot that pendulum or find that key. Once you open one gate, you can be sure that the next gate will be closed. Just one small task after another, with no clear purpose except to keep you away from the end of the level as long as possible. What was most frustrating here was the enormous number of switches, doors, raising blocks and keys. This certainly killed the gameplay which would have been much better without half of the switches and trigger tiles. Also, the author should have added the animation of rolling out of the crawlspace for Lara, since she has to climb backwards out of so many crawlspaces. However, there are a lot of really great moments in the game, aside from zillion of switches and raising blocks. Some puzzles are very well imagined, for example, color puzzle with flames and glass cases, or color puzzle with spheres, or pushing a block onto a trapdoor to get it down to the lower level etc. This game is not a master-piece. It is not intended to take your breath away. The architecture is simple and basic, the rooms are mostly with no decoration, and only outdoor gardens and squares are rich with trees and flora of all kinds. Everything is simple, basic and functional, set there for a reason mostly. There are a lot of concealed openings, hidden behind a cobweb or some ivy, not to mention switches hidden behind a tree or a plant. So even the decoration is mostly used to hide something, and not to decorate. Technically, the game has a lot of flaws: stretched textures, cracks, badly placed doors, low ceiling in outdoor rooms, sound issues, but it is not too obvious for an inexperienced eye. More important than these technical issues is the fact that the game and its story seriously lack the essence, the point and the feeling on being on a special mission with Lara. But also, the game has its good sides, such as many puzzles to figure out and great shortcuts that bypass the whole level, when such a shortcut is most needed. All in all, this is an average levelset, with couple of good moments and lot of pickups and interactive objects. It is not hard and it is perfect for a beginner, due to its lack of challenging jump sequences, pixel-precise jumps, timed runs etc. An expert raider will easily go through the entire game without a single health pack spent." - Nina Croft (10-Apr-2010)

"Eelkemama, the mother of the hidden switches and crawlspaces. If you keep that in mind then you have no trouble to get through (apart from one nasty breakable tile jump I tried about 20 times and I gave up as I couldn’t be bothered anymore). The levels (yes plural) gave me a kink in my neck, peering up and using my binoculars to find the switches and crawlspaces that were almost all hidden in dark places. Progression through this adventure was sort of straight forward and I was glad for that. Apart from the finding of the four shafts I couldn’t really detect a story. You do however see that she is growing in trying out different things. There are some puzzles, luckily none very hard, some timed runs but most of the time (I am sad to say) you are busy looking for switches and levers. Texture wise it could use some TLC and I did find even an un-textured bit. There is one place you for sure see the end of the world, but that didn’t bother me, there were only one or two invisible block in front of doors, so that was well done if you keep in mind how many doors there are in here. You can see however that a lot of work went into this and for a second level I think she made great progress. Must missed a secret or two but had no secret chime at all (unless it was that moment that Lara said something)." - Gerty (09-Apr-2010)

"Well how can I say this… It wasn’t a very exiting level. It’s a constant looking for the next jump lever, climbing up and down an endless number of crawlspaces. Nothing wrong with a crawlspace, but if you put so many in your level, keep em low to the ground so you don’t have to climb up and down twice to get the job done, especially when you find the keyhole for the door there and you know you have to get in there again after you found the key in the other crawlspace. The bike rides were too short to be fun and I didn’t find many other adventures in the level. Some things I liked though, like finding a beehive in a tree, shoot that and the gate opens. Nice find. Lighting wasn’t too bad although too dark in a lot of places. If you stand somewhere and all you can see is Lara and total blackness around, than it is too dark.. Must have missed a lot of secrets (not too hard to find), but after a while I didn’t feel like looking for them anymore. You can give this level series a try, but it’s not my kind of level." - Dutchy (07-Apr-2010)

"Oh my God!!! What a huge number of switches I had to pull in five levels! I think that "millions" of switches are excessive for any level. Look for very well hidden jumpswitches, wall switches and floor switches is not very funny, of course. There are not many puzzles to solve, very few enemies, some tricky and unnecessary tasks like the breakable tiles with low ceiling or the invisible crack in the room with three boulders; some nice rides with motorbikes, sometimes no cameras when you trigger far doors, "millions" of raising blocks, several bad placed doors with the invisible block in front, many times you can touch the invisible ceiling of the rooms, another times you don't need to do the tasks the author thought to continue playing... I missed some more musics and enemies, but I liked the environment with a good touch in lights and textures. Anyway this author is getting better. Continue so but please, try to avoid a high number of switches in your next adventure and think about some more puzzles." - Jose (05-Apr-2010)

"A multi level game full of well-hidden crawl spaces and jump switches. A few short bike runs could have been made more of and a little too much ‘find a switch to find a switch’ in the early gameplay and some areas are dark and gloomy. On the plus side, the builder is very sneaky, which I always like, and the player must look around carefully. Be warned, if you rush through you’ll miss things and have to retrace your steps (A nice touch was near the end where I’d missed a key earlier on, the builder thoughtfully provided a shortcut back to the area where the key was to be found. Was I kicking myself, or what?). The gameplay alters as the levels progress, in my opinion, for the better, although perhaps too much use of trigger tiles for my taste. Not many enemies but well placed, some guaranteed to give you a fright – those damned spiders! Some good agility runs and a few timed runs. All nicely judged to be well within the reach of the average player. (Except for one challenging curving jump with a glance off a wall, which came as a nice surprise!) Plenty of ammo but few medi-packs should make you play with care. 7 hours of gameplay and I found 21 of the 25 secrets (the best secret exclamation ever!). All in all, a very enjoyable level which should keep you busy for hours. I’m very much looking forward to this builder’s next level." - Diz (03-Apr-2010)

"The author made a lot of progress since she released her debut-level. And the quality rises during the game. It is great to see this author growing. During the first sequences I was afraid, there would come up an uninspired looking for jumpswitches or trigger-tiles for opening a door just only to reach the next one. But the authors creativity grew while creating this complex set of levels. Some tasks and puzzles seem too easy. Looking for a nearby jump-switch or a trigger- tile at the assumed location helps in the majority of cases. I missed a theme. It's proceeding from room to room without any connecting storyline. All together: Great work!" - Christian (02-Apr-2010)

"What fun this is. Motorbike riding, artfully concealed passages/switches, mirror rooms, trigger tiles and the best secret ‘chime’ ever – best described as the German version of Lara’s famous ‘ah ha’ and just utterly charming. This is a five parter and the first four sections contain a shaft key, the finding of which involves a nice variety of tasks. If, at times, the action seems to involve a lot of switch throwing, that is well offset by timed runs, collapsing tile runs, good inventive puzzles etc, so really pretty much something for everyone. There are enemies too – mainly guards and dogs - but lashings of lovely revolver ammo make bumping them off an easy task. I’d rate the difficulty level at moderate – readily achieved by all but the newest of players - with the possible exception of one slightly tricky bendy jump in one of the collapsing tile runs. I certainly enjoyed myself and I think you will too." - Jay (02-Apr-2010)

"The builder mentions that one of her ideas while constructing this real big game was the learning effect . Well I for one have definetely come across more than a few dozen of other builders who could learn from her how to construct a bug-free , multi-level adventure with fluent gameplay such as this one. It has not yet the overall quality to be lifted up into the 10 rankings but if this builder carries on like this her next issue could be starshine in TRLE skies. Okay , there`s many levers to pull and jumpswitches to reach ,some of them hidden so very clever. For some reason this did not nag me at all for the reward was mostly close at hand. Backtracking is limited to what is essential in a big game and never becomes tedious. Except in one instance the runs and jumps are all doable for even the unexperienced raiders . Lots of secrets to be found as you go along , always used only to spice up the gameplay and not to distract the player from his real goal like in too many other TRLE issues lately. A very well designed work. Seriously recommended ." - Ruben (02-Apr-2010)

"well ... this game is much longer that u might think from its size ..... moust off the action take part at indoor areas with alot odd coridors and crawlspaces ....the game is fairly linear but have some highlights like the very well hidden switches and JS -es and openings ......from this point off view this builder is a master but the bad part is that are too manny JS es and levers to activate through the game .... more than 50 JS -es !!!! and and another 50 levers iss not more ....... the game might feel long one mainly cos u need to spend alot off time searching for hidden JS and levers ... off course have some very challenging parts too like the jumps sequence over breakable tiles avoiding some obstacles in the process and the last sliding tiles ride with turns ......... also a tough part is a very long underwater swimming at wich the builder dont provided air holes so u must doo it at 1 run and in mean time pull 3 or 4 UW levers ....... this part take me 3 big medipacks cos run out of air is so / so ....... sounds not very well fit to the game .... alot off coridors and levers / JS to activate also alot off keys to use from blue to yellow also is a interesting coloured blocks puzzle at the last stages and some bike ride too ............ all in all not bad one but might u might got headaches to need to pull 50 JS and 50 or more levers also u need eagle eyes and search every corner -for JS es hidden at dark corners .after u use the 4 shafts u might think is the end but no some tough part come and the game end when Lara reach her bedroom ...not a masterpiece but a good ride suited for everybody . cheers ." - Jack& (01-Apr-2010)
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