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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2010 - The Middle of Nowhere back home search
Author(s): Seilion
total rating:8.90 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
afzalmiah 9 9 10 10
Andzia9 9 9 9 9
Bene 10 9 10 9
Blue43 9 8 9 8
Christian 9 9 10 10
Diz 9 9 9 9
DJ Full 8 7 9 9
dmdibl 9 8 9 9
eTux 8 7 8 8
Gerty 8 8 8 8
Jay 9 8 9 9
JesseG 8 9 9 9
Jose 8 8 9 9
manarch2 9 8 9 9
MichaelP 9 8 9 9
Phil 9 9 9 9
rtrger 9 9 10 10
Ruben 10 9 10 9
Ryan 9 8 9 9
Scottie 10 9 10 9
TheStig 9 9 10 10
category averages
(21 reviews)
8.90 8.43 9.24 9.05

Reviewer's comments

"This is not a Christmas level in the slightest, but it does offer an excellent array of challenges that is everything an experienced raider wants. Tricky jumping, good puzzles and some backtracking. The ending scene was Christmassy though. Recommended for a challenge." - Ryan (27-Apr-2016)

"As with all the other advent levels I replayed them to get a better"feel" for them. This one was the hardest. Not so much the gameplay (it wasn't a walk in the park) but my computer was lagging big time, not making it very enjoyable. There is lot of jumping and traps to conquer, not much in the enemies department, but it was released in the advent month and the killing of animals and/or enemy is zero. Xmas or not, it is quite an adventure that would hold on its own pretty well outside the Advent month." - Gerty (09-Dec-2015)

"This not Christmas level, but who cares? The gameplay was fun. Starting in beautiful area and finishing in the snowy mountains. Textures from TRA were nice idea. In each room there are some traps, most difficult were in lava rooms. But passing them really pays off, because a little surprise is waiting in the end." - Andzia9 (20-Dec-2011)

"This level (like almost every other reviewer said) is not that much of a christmas level but it is a really beautiful level. I was very impessed with the textures and puzzles especially in the mirror room. There are no enemies but there are a lot ot traps and lava. The gameplay is good and fun but sometimes you might get stuck but as always the walkthrough helps. The ending cutscene was very nice and more christmas-like which made a good conclusion. Recommended but remember it is not a normal christmas level." - afzalmiah (15-Aug-2011)

"At last, I play Seilion's level. I didn't hear a lot of this guy before, but I've already watched his custom anims he has made for No Xmas Without A Tree and I loved them. Here, this is another place where author improves the introducing atmosphere, immersing players with a nearly cinematic cutscene, so no matter what is next, anyone wants to continue playing. Also, after performing the final climb, when I managed to feel nearly as cold as Lara, the ending flyby warmed me and I reminded myself: "Of course! Wasn't it supposed to be an Advent level?" Such way of getting players' attention and playing with their emotions is something very rarely encountered in TRLE, even if it's been over ten years of building custom levels already, and the last authors I remember to become famous for simple, but perfectly executed custom anims were Bojrk and Titak. It may be very intriguing if Seilion continues their work, because, as I watch his cutscenes, the impression is very promising, and it might become a crucial thing for achieving Seilion's future uniqueness - what I'd really like to witness. Today, there is still much to do... Especially because gameplay doesn't compete with the initial and ending cutscenes. It's still very good, especially in a trap-placing field, but includes nothing new - however, all these familiar things are very well put together. But in the last part, one can really feel like in the middle of nowhere - the central raised block is "the middle", and the four ramps lead to surrounding "nowhere". Of course, there is plenty to do in there, but I mean a different kind of "nowhere" - I speak about feeling of being lost (even if You are not), due to running back and forth, just like the author couldn't decide where Lara is supposed to go first. Opening the the revolver with its laser sight requires passing the same corridors for SEVEN times. A little bit too much. Still, everytime we go back (or forth), we do it in a different purpose, so backtracking it's not a gameplay killer. Unless You miss something. But if You do so, it's Your own fault. Graphics are of a very high level. Texturing is perfect. Apart from some unnecessary bending in the mine, I didn't notice any stretches or squeezes, with the most realistic part in the timed trapdoor area. That metal grates are so well applied I could feel like I was nearly touching them. Lighting is also well done, but unfortunately constant in the outside prologue, so the initial surrounding rocks appear flat; also in the mine, the ground is way too bright, and casting flat, unexplainable reflection on the walls. Objects fit the environment - some temple motives outside, some skeletons and mine carts underground, and Advent theme in the end. Nothing to say a bad word about. The most important thing, without which all these graphic stuff would remain dead - soundtrack - is filled with nice, and sometimes very well fitting, but often overlapping samples. [This problem is so common to TRNG creators that I start to wonder if it is evitable at all, and will ask someone who knows more about it, as soon as I GET MY NET BACK AT LAST - a reviewer's digression.] In an Advent level like this one, enemies don't exist. Unless Lara counts the last creature as a potential one... But the game doesn't show what happens with it, ending and leaving all possible scenarios to players' imagination. The last thing - secrets - well, they exist. And one of them is created the identical way like that one from l.m.'s Fortress Stonerock I disliked. So it's the same assumption coming to my mind now: "Secrets shouldn't be created that way." SUMMARY: Not bad at all... and recommended, especially for lava maniacs and those who like to appreciate custom animations." - DJ Full (20-Feb-2011)

"Not really a Christmas level, save for the kind of forced ending, this was an adventure that I greatly enjoyed playing and that would also serve as a great introduction level to somebody who wants to try her or his hands on custom levels for the first time. Why? Because it has it all! A bit of exploration and backtracking, but not too much to be tedious, a fun array of traps and timed elements, but nothing too tough or tight, nice use of the usual ingredients for puzzles, including a clever torch puzzle, use of revolver/lasersight and waterskin and a vareity of fun jumps to manage. All that placed within about an hour of net gaming time in a darkish, but not pitch black setting and always logical and nicely flowing along. The only thing missing were a few enemies to spice things up and maybe a bit more care put into the three secrets. Highly recommended for an entertaining raid!" - MichaelP (02-Jan-2011)

"Lara should really be wary of any vehicle in a 10 kilometre radius around her, as their poor technical conditions far too often end up being the catalysts for new and unexpected adventures. For whatever reason, this level gave me much more trouble than the average game without being intrinsically more difficult or complicated, so partly because of that I did not feel the love for it as much as the other players. That's not to say I didn't enjoy it, as it certainly is a fairly enjoyable game the whole way through, but some things just did not add together for me. An eclectic mix of settings can be pulled off well as many other custom adventures have proven, but some elements here - the techy base parts within the temple - felt somewhat out of place. The looks are generally of a rather high quality here, so that choice struck me as particularly odd. The gameplay is uneven for lack of better expression too. In places it really shines with greatly inspired moments (jump sequence for revolver, the lava rooms, the hideout for the waterskin), but at others, it feels a bit structureless due to the backtracking (for example, I thought the use of the torch would only be confined to one area where you find it and not throughout the whole 4-puzzle hub area), some of the hidden switches were not my idea of engrossing gameplay (particularly at the start of the game) and I was not entirely sure what the logic was behind some of the gameplay elements (spikes deactivating after you step on the tile with a chest behind it?) was. I had no moral or artistic objections to calling this an advent level only because of the last cutscene (as nothing else would really give you that idea during the 50 minutes of net gaming), I felt the level did well enough to stand on its own. It's a very enjoyable raid, though not entirely without problems and difficulties to overcome, so proceed, but proceed with caution." - eTux (30-Dec-2010)

"That is not the usual Xmas raid. Not even related to Christmas, except the story and the final cutscene. The whole level is quite action-packed, that means some of the traps are tough a bit, but I have no problems with that. No big puzzles in this one, which is a bit bad. Visuals are okay in my opinion. Another good point for the author is the animations. They're look realistic and professional. Overally I think the work should be concentrated to the puzzles next time, so it makes a balance between the harder gameplay parts. The level is absolutely recommended anyway." - rtrger (27-Dec-2010)

"It seems not to be a Christmas level, except for the final animation. In fact, there are a lot of danger in many places, and Lara died a lot of times in my game. Talking about the level, was good for me 'cause there's no much backtracking and tasks and exploration were entertaining. There are some difficult jumps in the lava rooms, but not too hard. Ambience is fine, there are some defects with the textures but lights are well worked. Recommended." - Jose (19-Dec-2010)

"A 45-minute temple level that does not seem to be an xmas level - until you reach the end. And it was an ending that made me smile. Besides the occasional stretched texture, the looks were very nice and ornaments were well used. Everything functioned pretty smoothly except for a buggy ladder at the end that you cannot shimmy on properly. Thankfully there was an alcove behind you to jump into. I also thought the torch bit was a bit much since you have to use it in multiple areas before continuing - it can be difficult to backtrack with in some places. Other than that, and a camouflaged switch at the start, it is a fun and rather challenging level, so give it a look!" - SSJ6Wolf (17-Dec-2010)

"This isn't a Christmas level, but who cares? It's a cracking good level anyway. It's basically a hub level, central area with four areas off it. There's some tooing and froing and a certain amount of backtracking but, as the distances are short, it doesn't become tedious. Some nicely judged agility tests which look harder than they actually are, fairly tight timed runs (love them, bring it on!) and tricky puzzles. These combined with a solidly build and good looking area made it a level to cherish. I would thoroughly recommend this for the average-to-good players out there. And for the not-so-experienced? Why not give it a go, it will certainly stretch you and there's always our friends on the forum to help out." - Diz (17-Dec-2010)

"This level is surely a highlight in the 2010 advent series. Right from the brilliant starting cutscene one has the feeling this level will be special. Textures were very good here. I liked the idea of putting a central room very much, where you always have to go back and into another one of the four doors. Jumps were very challenging, the mirror room was very unique and difficult to solve, too. At the end all got a bit annoying because of the backtracking (more than once here) but still much better than the North Pole level. The torch challenge was nice, too - you had to search all rooms you already explored for wall torches, and this of course wasn't easy when going in a lava room where exploring was hard even without a torch. Seilion has made a beautiful level which ended with a surprising cutscene. Highly recommended from me!" - manarch2 (16-Dec-2010)

"Notwithstanding the official classification and the charming cutscene at the end, this is not a Christmas level either in letter or in spirit. However, such an engaging and challenging raid is welcome at any time of the year, so I'm certainly not complaining. I spent a little over an hour from start to finish, and there are some harrowing jump sequences along the way, including one that you have to repeat while carrying a lighted torch. You're basically working off a hub with four spokes, and you're obligated to revisit each one a number of times a la Infada Power. In other words, this level too suffers from a touch of backtrackitis. However, the backtracking here isn't as time consuming as it is in Infada Power, so I haven't taken off points from gameplay. I'm not familiar with this builder, but if he has any works in the hopper that are on a par with this one, I'll be eagerly awaiting their release. Recommended for more experienced raiders." - Phil (13-Dec-2010)

"Obviously not quite a christmas level but I guess that is not what it was supposed to be . When Lara rides home in her sleigh high in the sky she is still bouncing up an down so it must have been a rocky road indeed in the middle of nowhere. Excellent gameplay and puzzles that twist the brain more than once show the talent of this builder. A well balanced and interesting game . Don`t miss it !" - Ruben (07-Dec-2010)

"Fun, entertaining, with original sequences, but somewhat uneven. Parts can be judged against the best levels. The author must have put in a lot of testing time to create a small lava room where Lara makes tricky jumps (nowhere near as bad as forum comments would imply, but instead carefully designed jumps). There is another lava room where Lara makes jumps for a revolver that at first glance look impossible, like something that Taras might do, and an adjacent room with a fence blocking a walkway which is well done. The mine carts creating a crawlspace was good, and the underwater door fits well, and is something I have never seen before. The end has Lara riding off in Santa's sleigh, which pleases some people, though such a totally incongruous and tacked on cutscene does not make this an Advent level, anymore than putting rabbit ears on Lara would make her the Easter bunny. The opening scene with the helicopter, and Lara sliding down is good. But the huge starting area, with all its trees, mostly serves to hide a silly switch and to bog down the level with objects, and make it hard to load. Next there is a glaring yellow mirror room that is cramped. Once Lara gets into the level there is plenty of good stuff. But hiding a jump switch in the dark in the lava room is totally unnecessary--the lava room has so much else going on that it doesn't need such a trick. Since I have mentioned Taras, I would have preferred the brighter lighting effects that he uses. In a mazelike area there is a crawlspace hidden in the dark, but if Lara uses binoculars here the level crashes. I just felt that there were a lot of small frustrations like that which disproportionately disturbed game play. Until recently most levels would load up briskly, and selecting a save game to start was decisive, whereas here one goes through fumbling delays to get going. This is a shame because the author has produced something good, and promises to do even better. Those who want plenty of challenges and puzzles may look no further." - dmdibl (07-Dec-2010)

"I'm disappointed! I am extremely disappointed! That's not a Christmas level! Where was the Christmas music? Where were the gifts? Where mountains and valleys with full of ice and snow? None of them was seen. Absolutely nothing. Well, except at the end of the level. But that did not really Christmassy feelings arise in me. And what there was instead? Tons of partly difficult puzzles. And a level without stretched textures. And scarce timeruns. And why there was no monotonous lighting in this level? And where was the annoying sound? That's pretty steep! Since I plan to shoot a level builder in flames because he has built a nasty level. And my choice fell onto Seilion. And what? Nothing is! There is simply nothing that I would complain. That's really mean. Since I am sometimes in the mood to stomp a level into the ground and then comes Seilion therefore with such a masterpiece. One has it as a Reviewer sometimes really hard. Well, I have to keep looking for another victim." - Scottie (06-Dec-2010)

"Well, where to start on this one I suppose is the question. Firstly and foremost unlike allot of Christmas level's you'll play this one really isn't aimed at young kids. It's pretty dark, scarey and dangerous. For us seasoned TR players however it represents a very good mixture of fun and frustration. The level is completely enemy free, and you play most of it without the benefit of any weapons at all bar a revolver you pick up towards the very end. All of the gameplay is on the very challenging end of the scale, from the jumps to the need to really really look closely at the detailed environments to see what you need to proceed. The lighting is pretty staggering in my opinion, especially in the later lower levels and lava rooms. Texturing is immaculate. All of the architecture was very believable and solid too. In order to progress you will have to regularly look off the beaten track too. I completely missed the revolver early on for instance. In total I got almost an hour and half's gameplay out of this level. A level that should definitely be on your Christmas List. Highly recommended! Stiggy" - TheStig (06-Dec-2010)

"From the very visible but still hard to find switch to the ending sleigh ride, this was a memorable level. Not made initially as an Advent level the sleigh ride brought a bit of Christmas whimsy into a level that was as difficult at times as it was a joy. The slanted blocks over the third lava room was impossible if the swingpole was not caught at just the right spot and there is a sneaky crawl space designed as a mine cart. The red maze just may be the first maze I have ever enjoyed. Nothing was simple and, at times, I wondered if I had got to the right place at the wrong time but it all works well - one thing leading to another and no wrong times at right places. Textures, lighting are perfect except for the mirror room. I'm not sure what effect the builder was trying but it made the area hard to see to complete. The ending sequence with finding the wires was a surprise as I had thought the wires were for a secret I missed but they were necessary to get Lara to her magical sleigh. This is a must play with diverse areas and puzzles that make you think. Recommended but not for beginners." - Bene (06-Dec-2010)

"Whilst this may not, for the most part, evoke the spirit of Christmas and lava is more in evidence than snow, it most certainly is a very entertaining raid. There are no enemies, but there are plenty of other challenges - timed run, torch work, some quite tricky sliding and jumping, puzzling out just what to do with that waterskin you just picked up - you won't be bored. In keeping with the season, Lara does eventually make her way out of the caverns and into the snow, just in time to fly away in Santa's sleigh, which gives a 'feel good' ending Excellent fun." - Jay (05-Dec-2010)

"Since it is listed as an advent calendar level you might expect something different here, but the only things Christmas-like during this raid are that Lara has no enemies and the very end of the level contains a nicely done and cute Christmas cut scene. Lara begins this adventure after a helicopter crash in an open area which looks really nice and after looking around one wants to get going but is already stuck because of a rather unfair placement of an all important switch who blends so well with the background that I probably ran by it 20 times without ever seeing it. After that, the game moves along nicely but it is still quite challenging. The game play here is very exploratory based and there is a fair amount of back and forward between areas and I felt confused more than once. This is definitely not an easy one as there are some interesting tasks and well-hidden objects, challenging jumps, boulder and blade traps. There were many nice objects used, the secrets were well hidden (obviously missed one) and there are no enemies. At one point Lara picks up a weapon: The revolver, but it is only needed once in order to progress. This level has a wonderful mining camp/lava room/cave atmosphere and has some well made flybys. Sound effects and ambient track were well chosen and everything was rounded off by great architecture and connectivity of some of the rooms. All walls were well textured and broken up and the lighting was really well done in the lava room areas but I found it a bit harsh in the beginning of the level and especially in the mirror room, where the bright yellow was irritating to the eyes - glad only one room was like that. This was a nice and interesting game, not for inexperienced players but any seasoned player should really be able to enjoy this one and yes, it does feel like a Christmas level at the end!" - Blue43 (05-Dec-2010)

"Sliding down a waterfall this great adventure starts in a very well composed outdoor-area. A bit frustrating here is the search for a switch that is nearly invisible. Once it is found, you'll find yourself in an outstanding level with creative and elaborate puzzles, a lot of exciting tasks to do, some of them definitly challenging. I liked the puzzle in the mirror room quite after the start, there is onje of the best torch-puzzles I've ever played. There's a lot of action for Lara, who actually wanted to spend Christmas with a friend. There are some more switches that are a bit hard to see, in the end of the level there is a bit too much to and fro between the different areas, to which we gain access step by step. But it's absolute great and fluent gameplay. Great atmosphere with thrilling sound effects, lightning and textures are perfect. For those who are in a Christmas mood: The final cut scene will make their day. A must to play!" - Christian (04-Dec-2010)
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