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Level: Complex Simplicity 2010 - Prisoner in the Castle back home search
Author(s): Eelkemama
total rating:8.38 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bene 9 9 10 9
Blue43 9 9 8 9
Christian 8 8 9 9
Diz 10 9 9 9
DJ Full 7 9 8 6
dmdibl 9 8 8 9
eRIC 6 6 8 7
Gerty 7 8 8 8
Jack& 10 9 10 10
Jay 9 9 9 9
Jose 9 9 10 10
Magnus 5 6 6 6
manarch2 8 7 7 7
MichaelP 8 8 8 8
Minox 8 9 8 8
misho98 7 9 10 10
Mman 8 10 10 10
Mytly 7 8 8 7
Phil 9 8 8 9
Ruben 10 9 9 9
Ryan 8 9 9 9
Shandroid 8 8 8 8
TheStig 8 9 8 9
category averages
(23 reviews)
8.13 8.39 8.52 8.48

Reviewer's comments

"My last Complex Simplicity level played and a nice way to end the series. Nothing frustrating to achieve just nice gameplay with a few enemies and secrets. Good fun." - Ryan (13-Mar-2016)

"Eelkemama is famous for basic shapes and basic lights. Again, we get large, boxy rooms, resembling man-made structures only thanks to castle texturing and furniture used. But we can always count on her if it comes to quick, relaxing gameplay without much chance to get stuck. Here it's mostly flowing from the beginning to the end, except one odd jumpswitch, one must-repeat swing, one trial/error pushable (unless I missed a hint), and one fence You can get trapped behind till a reload. Puzzles are sequential and not requiring much tweaking, however the crystals are easy to miss, forcing a long backtrack in such case (a door opens to shorten it but it's still long), so look carefully for them. CS enemies work well to keep action fast and entertaining. SUMMARY: Imperfect and primitive to unreality, but somehow pleasant and rewarding in the end. Recommended." - DJ Full (11-Oct-2014)

"This is the first level I play from the whole pack and I'm planning to play them all. The best in this level is the textures and the level design (in some parts). The gameplay wasn't bad but there were too much puzzle items. And why Lara's pistols are in her cell? The puzzle with the statues was kinda long, but it was good and fun to do. The water areas were huge and It can gad kinda boring swimming in them all over again. I must say that all the rooms looks amazing and the atmosphere in the prison was just the right one. It took me 1 hour and i found 5 secrets. Not all players will enjoy it." - misho98 (11-Mar-2012)

"I'll be honest with you, initially I wasn't optimistic about this particular level. The lighting seemed very flat, the texturing a tad repetitive and I was left in a state of some confusion after basically completing what seemed like one big-circle which took me right back to where I'd escaped from. Dissapointed I put the level down and left it for a while. I'm very very glad I went back to tackle it for a 2nd time. A cunningly hidden pull-switch keeps you away from the outside world. The best tip I could give for playing this particular adventure is explore as much as you can, use your eyes and be patient. Despite the beginning I actually really came to enjoy this level. Once you escape out of the initial 'loop' everything really starts to flow, texturing looks great and lighting is pretty good too. There aren't too many nasties to worry about (a good thing to as the medi-pack count is very low!), and there isn't anything here that should be overly challenging to inexperienced players. You work your way towards a large central structure to claim your prize & escape the complex. All in all I got around 1 hour and 30 minutes solid raid time from this particular adventure. Don't let the initial 10 mins put you off, this one is a class act. Recommended! Stiggy" - TheStig (11-Apr-2011)

"You start off in a cell, and after escaping, you need to find the way out of a castle. The castle itself is interestingly designed, with a moat and various inner-walls and structures; being able to look towards the centre and see the large central structure at almost any point outside is a really cool idea. The texturing and lighting is great too.
Gameplay is mostly fine but has a couple of odd flow- stoppers and a slight lack of variety (almost all the puzzles involve pressing switches and moving blocks). There's one really random invisible pushblock at the start that serves no purpose other than to get you stuck, one block puzzle is a bit long (although with a nice concept), and getting the crowbar is a bit obscure. The structure is nice though, with it being quite non-linear with multiple choices of where to go. Hopefully the rest of CS is just as good or better." - Mman (20-Feb-2011)

"I'm not sure I get the story for this level. Who captured Lara and why? And why did they leave her pistols in her cell ("sure, we could put them somewhere else... or we could hide them under this box and go watch television!")? I'm also not entirely sure who these "few guardians" are supposed to be, nor do I understand the point of the spinning woman in one of the rooms. It's all very strange. That aside, this is a decent level that unfortunately fails to impress. The goal is simply to escape the castle, and it's a fifty-five minute grind to do so. Before she can open the second-to-last door, Lara has to find three crystals, but they're all hidden in rooms that you end up running through on your way to the next key/door/switch anyway, so the only function they serve is forcing you to run back and search for them if you fail to keep your eyes open. Of course, if you don't keep your eyes open, you're unlikely to make your way through the level to begin with, as there are hidden keys and switches all over the place. When you're not trying to find that one key you missed, you're probably groaning at the author's attempts at stretching out the gameplay. For example, at one point you have to pull a sort-of-hidden underwater switch, swim over to some platforms, monkeyswing for thirty seconds or so, pull a jumpswitch that drops you in the water again, swim back to the platforms and monkeyswing for another thirty seconds before you can finally make your way through a door to the next area. Now, there are several issues with this. The most obvious one is the jumpswitch, which is only there to make you redo a boring monkeyswing. And why is the monkeyswing even there to begin with? Why not just put the platforms closer to the door and save the player some trouble? And we've already covered the hidden switches. There are a lot of moments like that in the level, unfortunately, and they killed my enthusiasm for the genuinely fun moments. You'll also spend a lot of time running around. The author decided to connect the different areas of the level with each other through multiple paths, which was an admirable idea, but it didn't work out quite as well as one would have hoped. There are a lot of long hallways and the whole water area that surrounds most of the level seems to be as large as it is just so it can surround the level, as there's very little to see there. The texturing and lighting are both okay, though not too impressive. There are a lot of cracks and some of the larger areas look very wallpapered. Really, a lot of the areas would have looked a lot nicer had they been smaller. Overall, I was disappointed in this level because it could have been so much better. If the author hadn't been so concerned with making the level so 1) big, and 2) long, it would have been a lot more fun to play." - Magnus (30-Aug-2010)

"There is almost no logical flow to the gameplay in this level, which can be really frustrating at times, as I wound up in almost every new area without the items needed to progress, and then had to backtrack to hunt for them. A key that is practically invisible on the stony ground; a suit of armour pushing puzzle with a barely visible clue; far too many hidden jumpswitches - these are just some of the problematic parts. Still, there are a few nice bits, like escaping the prison in the beginning or the double suit of armour puzzle later in the level.
Some of the outdoor areas are quite pretty, but the indoor rooms are just so grey and bland. The architecture and geometry are mostly very blocky. A lot of the areas seem underused or even unused. On the other hand, music is rather nicely used. There are some unusual effects with the objects, like the spinning princess statue, which was a nice touch.
Overall: A pleasant enough level, but it doesn't really offer much excitement or novelty." - Mytly (27-Aug-2010)

"This level starts out promising and I know it isn't fair for the builder as he/she did quite a good job, but I got stuck almost at every corner. The main goal getting the three crystals but it'll take quite a while before you have them all. The prison where our lady Lara starts is very well done. A pity that the moat where she has to swim is a tad too pristine looking. There is not so much puzzle wise in this level and I still think that getting down the cellar where one has to push some knights and one has to use the torch as well and you didn't take it with you is a game-breaker. The switches were hidden very well (sometimes a bit too well) but I got there in the end. Again a great WAD is used as well great looking textures." - Gerty (18-Aug-2010)

"The gameplay was at some places quite linear (in the prison itself) but still hard because of well hidden switches and pickups. Enemies were well placed but, for a prison, not very much. Textures were quite uniformly in the castle moat, but that it what the castle consists of. Inside the main house they however looked very well. Some nice gameplay with the knight puzzle and surely worth a look." - manarch2 (16-Aug-2010)

"This level didn't seem to have as much pizzazz as the other CS levels I've played, perhaps because there were relatively few enemies here. Still, it stacks up more than favorably when compared with most other custom levels out there. I played this one on my office computer, which doesn't have as much juice as the one at home, and I experienced the same dragginess in the outdoor areas that others have complained about. However, that only slightly detracted from my enjoyment of the level. There's lots to do here, and the whole adventure will require at least an hour of your time. The environs are quite easy on the eyes, and this is always a big factor in how much fun I have when playing a given level. I was prepared to take a few points off gameplay because of that little bit near the end where the trap door closes when you vault up into the room with the flammable floor. I thought that, without the torch, I was up the creek without a paddle, but then I saw that hole in the ceiling that gives you access to the outdoor area. A lot of planning went into this one, and I especially enjoyed that armor-pushing exercise near the end of the level. The only real glitch I encountered was with the mounted knight. He had a habit of getting his horse stuck in a wall before I could bring him down. I must have had to reload and try again at least a half dozen times. No matter, this is a great level. High recommendations." - Phil (31-Jul-2010)

"Good level fairly straight, fairly easy, many switches and research jumpswitch well hidden in the dark. I was surprised to be able to move during the flyby lara, lara fell into the water. I really liked the message (Thanks to Ilyaine for wads). I recommend this level." - Minox (24-Jul-2010)

"Prisoner was a pretty fun level with interesting puzzles and atmosphere. I did think there were a few rooms that had a lot of "stuff" in them but very little to do like pick up a key or flip a switch. The problem with that was there were a lot of boxes in these rooms and I wasted a bit of time making sure they were just decoration and not hiding something. The level really picked up toward the end where all the inspired puzzles and most of the fun was. Although more could have been done, the level was still a very good effort." - Shandroid (23-Jul-2010)

"Last level played and again it was very good level . Some may say oh, its just finding keys and means to escape from the castle but that is exactly what the title predicts. Another fine adventure with lots of interesting things to do for Lara so when she finally takes the last steps towards freedom it leaves the player with a proud feeling . Unlike the Football World Cup 2010 there is no specific winner in CS 2010 but the winner is one more time the whole TRLE community . Many thanks to Christoph and all the people who put so much effort into the making of CS 2010." - Ruben (13-Jul-2010)

"The first CS level that I played and it starts with a rather convincing dungeon / cells area that Lara needs to escape from. As you get to the outside though, the architecture feels a bit too huge and square and blocky and the gameplay maybe relies a little too heavily on the next well hidden jump switch or lever. Textures are generally ok without being special, but I thought lighting was actually used rather well in places and the audio tracks were well triggered too. You get to do plenty of swimming in the huge moat, two small timed runs, use of the torch and a clever but rather tedious knight push puzzle. There is an occasional invisible door block, but these did not disturb the playing experience much. The search for the crowbar seemed to last forever and I was glad when I finally had it in hand. All in all, a very well rounded level of up to 90 minutes, with only minor complaints to mention and easily playable by everyone." - MichaelP (13-Jul-2010)

"Going back to check an obscure note I made, I was reminded of how good this level truly is. The sounds and the atmosphere are top - notch. From the beginning, which reminded me of the 'Thief' series to the ending sequence, finding the Helmet and especially the falling rain when Lara finally exits the prison and surroundings, there is an attention to detail not always found, such as the fire-proof tiles over all the wall torches. Sometimes puzzling gameplay such as the library with what looked like a crawl space that I just could not reach or the area just outside after the timed run that seemed to have no other purpose than a return to the canal - I'm sure there was something I missed there, perhaps a secret.. Another really good addition to the contest and another must play or replay in my case to find out just where that helmet is to be placed and to shoot out that box in the canal to see where that rope leads. I'm looking forward to it." - Bene (12-Jul-2010)

"Here we have a level where Lara must find 3 crystals to finally escape from a castle. Lara starts unarmed in a cell, finds her guns and then works herself through the level to the exit. This takes quite a while, as there is a large amount of levers and jump switches. Some of them are really well hidden, so it takes quite a bit of time to run around and look. Cameras are done really well and so it the lighting and texturing. The whole level has a great layout with 2 moats surrounding the place. The soundtrack was not so much to my liking. The background loop in the outside area had a bit of a jungle feel to it, but that's just my preference. The enemies are the usual bowmen, dogs and a horseman. I really liked the push puzzle with the knight statues, which was a great idea. The game play wasn't hard at all. No really tight runs or difficult jumps. Highly recommended - just remember to look carefully for well-concealed switches, otherwise it's easy to get stuck." - Blue43 (11-Jul-2010)

"Lara does indeed start out as a prisoner, but naturally not for long. This is a fairly complex level in terms of working out where to go and what to do, but in purely physical terms it's not too demanding, with nicely balanced gameplay. I liked the contrast between the somewhat austere indoor areas and the attractive exteriors, especially the little village, and the moat area was fun. This is the first level in the Complex Simplicity series that I've played and if they all turn out as well as this one, we're obviously in for a highly enjoyable time." - Jay (06-Jul-2010)

"It's the first one I played from this series and I was exalted. You'll find Lara in a prison cell. From this initial point she has to make her way through a very complex (as the series promises) castle-structure to find three gems and finally to get free. Everything convinced me. Very intelligent gameplay, creative ideas, camera-hints were set when they made sense. No hard jumps, one moderate timed run, a few items hard to see (e.g. the key, a horseman drops). Some areas are a bit too wide in my opinion, so an outer channel and various yards. Great and convincing atmosphere!" - Christian (05-Jul-2010)

"Starting as the prisoner of the title and required to obtain 3 crystals to escape is the name of the game here. Puzzles aren't too difficult but imaginative, enemies few but well placed, lots of levers to find but it didn't give the impression of that old dislike 'pull a lever to find a lever' that can get so boring. No, this game trundles along nicely with well hidden levers, some re-textured and some hidden in plain sight. The gameplay was varied and flowed well. Lighting was excellent. Definitely worth the playing." - Diz (05-Jul-2010)

"Quite a long level. Solidly made without being too fancy. Simple architecture , good texturing , pleasant and rather appropriate use of audios , I missed some more action to do and more interesting puzzles to solve. Too many switches , although I like the placement of some. It is as if the author had not dare to put to good use the possibilities of the Wad or the new moves for Lara , and not even her old moves ! Maybe I am wrong but perhaps the author is not an old timer for I have noticed a door not placed in a portal, too easy secrets , Lara not immobilized while fly-bys are playing , and you can reach the top of the world to see the end of it ; these things are no big deal though , the lack of interesting tasks offered by the level is more aggravating, especially that the level is long and never engrossing. I wonder what was the use of that large water area where blocks have raised. Nevertheless all things in the level eventually come together until Lara finally escape for good. A good level if you like spending time exploring in a correct and rather peaceful setting and 'solving' the occasional riddle. [ 1 h 47 ]" - eRIC (04-Jul-2010)

"wow .... what a masterpiece ...... this is a very well crafted game .... moustly inside ones with a beautifull castle prisson at wich need to escape ..... but is not that easy .. u need to find 3 gems - a ocular combined bye 2 pieces and a jewel too also nice puzzles a torcs puzzle ... not manny enemyes but tough ones ..... a bit too tough .. moustly the horseman knight ...alot off work alot off lever and JS to pull some off it well hidden ....also a swim section . on it ....the places are very well builded and once u get a clue what too doo next flow the story marvelous ...u need to put ur brain on work that is for sure ...... all in all a hall off famer game in my opinion ..... allmoust 10 from me ...... at enemyes i give only 9 cos was a bit to tough to be killed alot off bulets needed some off it ... excelent game highly recomanded a real masterpiece .... thx alot for the builder ...." - Jack& (03-Jul-2010)

"The game play keeps one engaged throughout. I particularly enjoyed the opening with Lara in prison, and finding all the little tricks as she makes her escape. This is well done. Then play becomes a little puzzling. Lara was delayed for a time when she has to shoot two chests or portmanteaus. Shoot one, and a ladder magically appears beneath it, which is jarring. Shoot another that is in the water, and a rope appears. Lara had been struggling to grab an overhead monkey swing (that isn't really a monkey swing), and she must use the rope instead. Other players seem to have fallen for the same misdirection. At that point the game started to lose me, and the area that Lara swings to with the rope looks lazily crafted. That is the main flaw with this level. While game play works, and everything is competent, the environment often is given short shrift. When Lara enters the castle there are a number of tasks, from putting together a complete tea set, to burning a wooden floor with a torch. Instead of Lara pushing two knights into a cramped dingy basement to complete a placement puzzle, she could just as well have done the same actions in an elegant throne room, with Lara pushing the knights off a balcony, and ending by placing them on a raised throne dais. But aside from the mundane environment, there is lot here to keep players happily occupied, the colored crystals are fairly hidden, and this is a recommended play." - dmdibl (03-Jul-2010)

"This is the first level I played from this contest and this promises many hours of big fun. The level is very long and complex; no-lineal sometimes you can do the tasks in any order; architecture is good with nice connections between areas sometimes. The only thing I didn't like were the excessive switches from my taste, but tasks are not difficult and you can play the game with tranquility with no shocks. I missed some more action and some traps too. Enemies are few, but very well placed and builded with many details; secrets are not difficult to find. I loved the cool musics in aproppriate places, and the helping cameras many times. Excelent lightened and textured. Highly recommended." - Jose (01-Jul-2010)
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