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Level: Escape from the Zoo back home search
Author(s): mathew9r
total rating:6.31 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Blue43 6 6 6 8
Bradley 5 7 4 6
Christian 6 5 5 5
Diz 7 7 6 5
dmdibl 7 6 6 7
eRIC 5 6 6 7
Gerty 6 7 7 7
Jay 6 7 7 7
Jose 6 6 6 8
manarch2 5 6 6 6
MichaelP 6 7 8 7
Nina Croft 7 5 4 7
Orbit Dream 6 7 7 8
Phil 7 7 7 8
Ryan 6 7 6 7
Scottie 7 6 6 7
SeniorBlitz 6 5 5 6
Shandroid 5 5 5 5
sonnyd83 7 7 7 7
TheStig 6 6 6 6
Torry 6 8 7 8
category averages
(21 reviews)
6.10 6.33 6.05 6.76

Reviewer's comments

"Here's a nice little adventure if you're looking for something a bit more relaxing to fill your time. The gameplay is simple, certainly, but there's a nice smooth flow to it nonetheless as you explore a zoo and its underground mines in search of the three fuses. A few areas seemed underutilised and more could have been made of them, but the environments and textures are pleasing to the eye, although the odd sound when Lara bumped into a wall was a bit disconcerting. I hated having to shoot the escaped animals, but they were in Lara's way after all. Worth a try." - Ryan (20-Apr-2019)

"This level confused me. Is it a zoo or is it Natla's mines from TR1? How does one have any correlation to the other? Also, what was the point of this exercise? Why was Lara there? To do what? Confused I am. There was no real point to this and what was the crowbar for? Just laying around because? Sorry but I found this incongruous and pointless." - Torry (26-Mar-2018)

"This builder has had a rather sporadic career, as his relatively few levels have been released in bunches over a number of years. While I was playing this one I wasn't sure if I were trying to escape from a zoo or from a mine. The 25 minutes I spent here were about equally divided in the two environments. There was a cage occupied by critters high on most people's hate list -- scorpions and snakes -- but I never got the chance to blast them away. The provided weaponry, however, enabled me to eliminate everything else that came my way. The zoo sections were especially appealing to me, as I'm partial to outdoor raids under sunny skies. Not a bad level at all." - Phil (28-Jan-2018)

"Not much to it, the level lacks substance and it ends abrutply,but it's not exactly "bad"." - SeniorBlitz (13-Dec-2017)

"Just another one I forgot to review but it didn't matter, it still is a nice little level to replay. Starting in a zoo, you then go down into the ground (a mine apparently). Blowing things up (always fun) and the goal is finding three fuses. There was something odd with the sounds because when Lara bumps into something you hear a gate opening. The choice of textures is great for this adventure. Some traps are thrown in for good measure and I hated to shoot the animals even if they were roaming outside their cages." - Gerty (27-Nov-2013)

"I need a nice relaxing level before I embark on my next project, and this is the one I chose. It takes place in a zoo on a very pleasant sunny day, with various animal sounds heard in the distance. The layout of the zoo is very open plan with limestone walls surrounding, large enclosed areas with animals inside, and some water features to admire, all nicely broken up with a few trees. The tasks are simple, collect a key, pull some switches, dispose of some leopards, a little swimming. You have to find an area behind a waterfall, which is cunningly disguised, although I have reservations towards the waterfalls themselves - perhaps not realistic enough, the item you collect reveals possibly the scariest moment in TR level history - I won't spoil the fun though. Then we have some contrast with a dark underground area entered by a trapdoor, it's very nicely 3D and appropriate sound, I just wonder where this tunnel came from? Perhaps the animals escaped! Well, there does seem to be a distinct lack of anything 4 legged in this place. I also notice the odd random gate opening sound, even though no gates are opening. Back to the gameplay, and a few bats are dispatched on the way to the water pump area, after turning a knob, opening a trapdoor and you find yourself in an abandoned mine! Yes, this is the last place I thought I'd end up in a zoo. The mine is really nicely designed, my favourite bits are the small windows, and mine excavating machine, and the lighting is the most realistic here. This area gives you some impressive explosions, rolling balls, collecting fuses, and pull switches. I feel that the explosions to clear areas don't pose any challenge whatsoever - could be better gameplaywise. A few push blocks later and I realised this bit was a remake of Natla's mines! You then travel back to the start of the level and shoot a couple of baddies and the level ends. All in all, this level has quite unexpected twists and turns, the change of scenery I quite liked. Cameras are used well when doors open. Sound is standard. Net gameplay 25 minutes." - sonnyd83 (31-May-2012)

"A nice simple raid here from matthew9r, and a sign of real evolution compared to previous offerings. Texturing is pretty good throughout, as is the lighting. Lara's 'odd' sound when bumping into things did have me searching around for a door that was continually opening and closing (in that usual 'timed run' horror), before I realized it was a sound bug. You don't spend that much time in the zoo itself, but a fair bit climbing underground. It never the less combines indoor and outdoor spaces quite nicely. Completed in 30 minutes. Recommended!, Stiggy." - TheStig (30-May-2011)

"If you are searching for one short and simple level which even a beginner can play, then this one is a perfect choice. I think it is almost impossible to die in this level (maybe if you let a boulder kill Lara or something). Despite of a few flaws, such as sound issue when Lara hits an object or a wall, or some invisible walls at the edges, the overall architecture is not so bad, although the impression would have been much better with better lighting. The gameplay is simple and straightforward. Lara has to open a trapdoor and visit a mine under the zoo, then collect some fuses to get back to the daylight, escape some boulders and kill some animals and soldiers (if you want additional and optional action, you can have it). There are also some interesting pushblock puzzles, and not at all challenging traps, a very scarce climbing and jumping sequences that are very easy, so, altogether, it is not very likely to get killed in this level. Textures are taken from original TR, mostly from Coastal Ruins and Lost City of Tinnos levels, but nicely applied. Lighting could have been a bit better in outdoor area, with some nice shadows and dark corners, but unfortunately, it is not so perfect. What I lack here was the purpose of Lara's visit. Exactly why has Lara decided to visit this zoo? To find a shotgun, perhaps? Also, the name of the level indicates that Lara should be inside a zoo, but here, she spends most of her time inside a mine underneath the zoo, and the main adventure and puzzles are happening inside the mine and not inside the zoo. One more thing: Lara picks up a crowbar only to open a trapdoor, and the crowbar seems useless. Why? However, there are some nice touches in this short level, and the builder definitely can give us much more than he did here. All in all, not a bad way to spend 20 minutes of relaxed playing, just to take a small rest from much more challenging levels." - Nina Croft (25-May-2011)

"To start with : why is Lara there? Did she just decide to go to an abandoned zoo and escape? Anyway, the zoo and the mines looked good. The edge-of-map problem was delt with in a way I believe was good : there were boundries before the end of the level. Something I notice was that when Lara bumped into something in her jump a openning gate noise would go off. Still I did enjoy this level. Overall rating : good. Use of walkthrough : no.**" - Bradley (22-May-2011)

"This little level wasn't too bad, although I think it would have been much better had the action taken place above ground mostly and checking out buildings in the zoo. Most of the level was in a strange underground that obviously would not be in a real zoo, but since the boxes were labeled "Natla," I am assuming the zoo hides one of Natla's storage facilities. I had a hard time killing zoo animals, but in other levels we kill wild endangered species, so what's the difference! I loved the military guards, they looked great, as did Lara herself in black jeans and tie-die. I didn't understand the strange noise Lara made when she bumped into a wall, was that a mistake? Nonetheless, keep building, as I can see potential!" - Shandroid (14-Aug-2010)

"First of all, I have to applaude that Matthew comes up with something of his own this time. Yes, it is a very quick and very easy 30 minute raid here in the zoo, including the submerged sewer and mine area, but the looks are clean and solid and pleasant and the occasional boulder and enemy encounter keeps you awake. Sadly, it does feel as if the author lost interest in expanding the level though, as the third fuse is just lying on the ground close to the receptacles and the ending is very sudden. Also, the zoo cages seem a bit of a wasted opportunity, as there is simply nothing in them to do or find, just like you do find a crowbar and never use it. Hopefully, Matthew will continue on this path and eventually come up with a more holistic and comprehensive adventure - the talent is all there. Oh, and a great Lara outift picked." - MichaelP (10-Aug-2010)

"30 minutes of straight forward gameplay. Starting in a zoo, you'll spend most of the time in a dark underground cave searching for three fuses. Puzzles are too predictable. Not a single challenge at all. An atmosphere didn't really exist, lighting could be improved. Quite annoying the sound of a door opening when Lara runs against a wall. All in all: Something for a rainy afternoon." - Christian (06-Aug-2010)

"A straightforward level well lighted , with a few dark undergrounds , not too eventful outside , a few traps and the hunt for 3 fuses underground. The ending is a bit disappointing but the level gives a rather pleasant time the times it lasts. [ 30 minutes ]" - eRIC (05-Aug-2010)

"Two areas in this short level. An outside area in the zoo and an underground area in the mine. The zoo was bored 'cause there's almost nothing to do there and you run around and around to find nothing. The mine area is a bit better with some traps and a crates puzzle, but no much more than pull some switches and find your way through the easy gameplay. I found the shotgun at the end but was unuseful for me; good use of the cameras, I missed some more musics in certain places. The opening door sound when lara hits a wall could be fixed. The best: the textures and some effects in the mine. No worked lights outside. Play it if you are ocious with nothing to do." - Jose (03-Aug-2010)

"As a debut level, for all intents and purposes, this has promise. However, the author must do something about that 'door-opening' sound whenever Lara runs into a wall. The first time that happened I spent ages looking for the door I'd (not) opened. Letting the animals out just to shoot them seemed pointless and much more could have been made of both areas, the zoo and the mine (I missed the connection there!) The gameplay was promising and I loved the 'secret'. Equally, the misdirection in the pool with the spiked platforms requiring you to exit via another pool and maybe missing what the lever had accomplished, was very good. Both areas seemed well made although the lighting could have been better in parts of the mine. The whole thing just needed more of everything to be an good, interesting level." - Diz (02-Aug-2010)

"I was really looking forward to a nice trip to the zoo and certainly the opening scenes were promising, with light, bright areas full of cages - even if there did seem to be a distinct lack of animals. Soon enough though, the action moved underground, into a mine area, whre I encountered some of the missing inhabitants of the zoo. It's quite dark in sections, but nicely made, with a good atmosphere and being 'Rick Roll'd' was an entirely new experience, Quite an enjoyable level, despite the abrupt ending and the slightly nagging feeling of having left things undone." - Jay (02-Aug-2010)

"The author released trial levels several years ago, which maybe we should forget about, and treat this brief new level as a promising debut. The well-lit zoo has a few cages, each with a lever beside the door so visitors can release the animals to frolic in the open. The big cats do look pent up, pacing back and forth. There is a snake enclosure...snakes behind widely spaced bars, something the author let pass. Lara can get a puzzling secret "You just got Rick Roll'd!" and an item which (I think) is only a trophy. Lara descends into a dark underground similar to Natla's mine to hunt up three fuses, but one section is cloaked in darkness. In the original TR1 Lara could see, and one fuse isn't as easy to find as in the original. Then it is back above ground to finally use a key, and fight a couple soldiers. When Lara goes through a crawlspace the level abruptly ends. I had to check to make sure this really was the end. It would help if the environment were more realistic; for instance, I was baffled by the structure where Lara finds the shotgun. Sometimes details feel mismatched or neglected, and there is the sound issue (the distracting opening and closing gate) mentioned in other reviews. A fast playable level." - dmdibl (26-Jul-2010)

"Nicely built level with above and underground area and straightforward game play. I thought the underground area (which looks a little like the first part of Natla's mine) was really well built and had very good atmosphere, texturing and lighting. The enemies are easy and a lot of them can be avoided. The game play is simple and not complicated - no timed runs or complicated jumps. A couple of levers and a nice push block puzzle. Some good explosion effects, but most of the time there we no cameras. The main complaint about this level would be the sound assignment. As others mentioned, if Lara runs into a solid object, which happens more often than one thinks, the sound of a gate or cage opening is played. I would highly recommend to the builder to maybe fix this as it is very irritating and takes away from an other wise really nice level!" - Blue43 (25-Jul-2010)

"The biggest problem with this level is which one very often hears a noise which sounds in such a way, as if somewhere opens a door. But if one searches then everything, nothing has happened of course. Then I have found out only quite at the level end which then one hears this noise always when Lara runs against a firm object or a wall. This is very irritating. And I spread on the music which one hears if one takes up the object behind the waterfall rather the coat of the silence. Apart from the fact the level was not so bad, actually, at all sometimes. For example, the explosion effects were very nice. If the opponents shot, one heard a water sound. Luckily only two soldiers were present, hence, was not so bad. The lighting was ok. All together quite a well-arranged level. Who wants to visit a zoo once more which has, however, only a few tigers and snakes as an attraction, can pay a visit here" - Scottie (24-Jul-2010)

"First thought this was a level for kids, but then realized it wasn't. You had to kill some of the animals, not necessarily in their cages, but as they ran around free or in the underground cave. What a horror if this zoo really existed! The gameplay was all in all OK, but a bit too linear, mostly in the zoo itself; it was better in the underground. This underground was TR1-Atlantis-like. Reminded me a bit too much on it. The fuses were well-hidden, was really difficult to get two of the three. At several places in the underground, it was too much gloomy, not so good. Textures didn't really gave me the feeling of a zoo. If you crash into a wall, you always get the sound of an opening door. Pretty annoying. But an interesting adventure anyway. Worth to have a go at it." - manarch2 (23-Jul-2010)

"Well,this is certainly a profound step up in quality from this builders previous works! Gone are the walkthrough walls and overall brevity;in their place are a substantial duration (around 50 minutes for me),a well constructed and textured environment,a good variety of enemies and a quirky storyline (although it ultimately fails to build to anything significant). Putting Lara into a Zoo where all the cages can be opened by activating nearby levers is inevitably tempting fate;although the slaughtering of the zoo's cheetah's and snakes has a certain anarchic quality about it.It doesn't really look much like a zoo,admittedly;but the underground areas are considerably more atmospheric and well assembled.After several explosions and rolling-boulder traps (the latter easy to avoid)you need to embark on a search for 3 fuses,and at least one of these is cunningly hidden. A pushblock puzzle and a gunfight later,and the fun is (sadly) all over;but the builder has honed his craft nicely,and the lighting and textures are appropriately placed;while gameplay has been well thought out. Enemies and objects are used in appropriate abundance,with a few helpful camera hints thrown in.Only the innapropriate sounds of doors opening whenever Lara runs into a wall spoil the generally immersive atmosphere; and you feel the adventure's imaginative concept should extend a little further than simply putting in a Finish Trigger after a non-descript crawlspace. Nonetheless,this is a fun little adventure;and I recommend it for an enjoyable and comparatively undemanding experience." - Orbit Dream (23-Jul-2010)
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