trle.net
Level: LB Advent Calendar 2010 - Christmas Mission back home search
Author(s): Adriel
total rating:8.14 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 10 8 8 8
Diz 8 9 8 9
DJ Full 7 9 8 7
dmdibl 8 9 10 10
eRIC 5 7 6 6
Gabriel Croft 10 9 10 9
Gerty 5 8 8 7
Jack& 5 7 8 10
Jay 8 8 10 10
Jessica Croft 8 9 10 7
Jorge22 7 9 9 9
Jose 5 8 7 7
Josey 7 9 10 8
manarch2 5 8 9 7
MichaelP 6 8 8 7
Phil 8 9 9 9
Ruben 8 9 10 10
Ryan 8 9 8 9
TheStig 8 9 8 9
category averages
(19 reviews)
7.16 8.47 8.63 8.32

Reviewer's comments

"Definitely a rewarding Christmas raid, but be warned, this is not your usual peaceful and quick festive jaunt. It's actually an incredibly intricate and sprawling raid spread over three sections of the same level including libraries, snowy courtyards, sewers and cosy houses. I was wondering what the point of all the extra items were until I realised they must have been for the secrets as I did manage to find a few. Don't get me wrong, it's a very enjoyable game, but I do have a couple of niggles in the form of the backtracking (too tedious for my liking) and one of the audio tunes was incredibly annoying, but I grinned and bore it. I'm not a builder, so maybe I failed to notice some of the more finer texturing details, but the environment looked pleasing to me. Overall, this could have been tightened up slightly in a few more spots, but I go back to what I said before: it will captivate and enchant you for its (long) duration. Recommended for explorers." - Ryan (03-Dec-2017)

"Wow, what a game... What a game! As challenging and rewarding as illogical and frustrating. I possibly got all secrets (because some of them don't count), but 3 days of searching for the wine combo eventually defeated me. As much as I like Xmas levels, I hate a vast amount of identical objects for one of them to be interactive. As much as helping poor people and restoring peace in a cursed city fulfills Advent theme, headless pressing Action on every single box or wrapping paper has nothing to do with brain training (what any TR level should do). Of course there are also many brilliant sequences requiring great memory usage from a player - You need to remember something on one edge of the map to use a pickup in there found on the opposite side - but sometimes we visit certain places several times with only several doors providing a quick getaway, while many gates stay closed forever, forcing us to backtrack literally for dozens of minutes. Can't end naming flaws at this point, because a greatest one is still to mention - bugs. Lots of them and several are gamestopping, crowned with the rollingball glitch in a location You can visit very early and solve very lately, what might result in repeating 1/4 of the game (or even half if You do the library before realizing You're stuck, what fortunately didn't happen to me). Summarizing the whole main thread structure, I can behold an unusually weird combination of brilliant puzzles yet really faulty gameplay. Let's focus on the looks now... Not that bad, but definitely underdone, and poor in comparison to Stigmas. If a NPC didn't tell Lara the time of action is night, I wouldn't even know - as everything is bright, and street lanterns don't actually provide any additional light at all. Still the city is huge and complex, with its flats, villas, sewers and varying public facilities, including a theatre, a store, a park and - most of all - an epic library in its own separate level, my absolutely favourite area. But the single best room was the Special Gift secret zone. It's a pity I found it the only truly warm place in the whole game. There should be more of such contrast like this, especially the interiors with burning fireplaces and Xmas trees on the floor - because constant foggy landscape might be realistic, yet it brings no relief in any moment. SUMMARY: A hard time for Lara in the town. Stay calm and observant, turn on the trial-and-error resistance mode and You should find it worth. If You like challenges, this game is for You - but if less buggy and more polished, it would be for everyone, I am sure. Progressing to Vacation Home, hoping everything I missed here is fixed there." - DJ Full (08-Oct-2013)

"Here you'll get to play a 2.5 hour long three-parter with a storyline that gets carried through in this level (especially in the end), including lots of nice add-ons like the bell area, the boulder courtyard, the theatre; while at the same time being one of the most immersive raids I've encountered ever. On the other side, I started this level at the time it was released (December 2010) and finished it today (March 2013), being the level with the longest time spent on my computer(s). So why does it fail? Actually, there are too many things to mention so I'll concentrate on a few. Without using several smaller and larger cheats, I never would've been able to finish this level - on one point (after shooting the barrel) the screen freezes after reloading a savegame, so I had to use a cheat to retrieve the key differently. I also couldn't enter a certain crawlspace so that I had to cheat myself some flares and then use the flare-bug to get into it. Apart from that, the gameplay in this game is complex and that in a very confusing and player-unfriendly way, as finding a key item here, placing it in a different level there to open a door in another place often without camera guidance is not very fair in my opinion. It also relies too heavily on using lots of levers although at least there were several timed runs which spiced things up a bit. There are actually ten secrets in this level, but the builder either choose the same number for them or used way too high numbers (over 500) so that most of them didn't register and only four times secrets are registered, but I liked that finding the five roses gains access to a secret area and a password for an unluckily not yet released bonus level. While the atmosphere is really fantastic throughout the whole level with nearly everything being close to perfect, the few negative things spoiled it more than they should: a) While in many areas the end of the world are cleverly prevented, in one outside area (with water surrounding the city) it was more than obvious and didn't feel really nice; a few rocks around the area would've been better. b) One of the sound files is heavily messed up after a certain time and I got a real shock because the calm music for what reason ever "explodes" and the quality diminuishes dramatically. c) Last but not least, as mentioned a lot of camera hints were missing. I still decided to give it a high mark because it was most of the time totally absorbing and the level was beautiful. Lighting is generally good, there were a lot of texturewise faults though - although the massive amount of different textures is outstanding (faults: squeezed, many misplaced and even a missing one in a corridor Lara runs through) and sometimes the rooms had a too similar design with the same objects and textures used. So bottomline a remarkable adventure and the only thing I'd commend to the builder was that less would certainly more - nearly all mistakes I mentioned are results of the blatant hugeness of this game, essentially meaning this work could've scored much, much higher because most of the time it qualifies for a masterpiece." - manarch2 (03-Mar-2013)

"First time around I was so hopelessly stuck in this quite ambitious level, so had to get the walkthrough or else I wouldnít have finished it at all. Too much back and fro and not enough camera work to point you to the many locations you have to visit. I couldnít get one secret, as there was an invisible door in front of the grate and Lara had to crawl passing it but couldnít. Also when quitting the game (this is when I went to the third level) the game crashed on me. It did after that point every time, even in the rare event that Lara died. There are many good things in this level, puzzle wise or the use of objects but for me I got quite irritated by the much back and fro and also not knowing what to do next. Keep at it as it is a fast improvement on his last level and it can only get better and better." - Gerty (15-Dec-2012)

"I always wished there was a level like Christmas Train but much bigger with explorer kind of a gameplay too. And this was it. Huge explorer levels with many many inventive solutions, you must really think outside of the box sometimes to progress. The necessary items scattered round three big levels and to find them all sometimes involve serious backtracking, I like this kind of gameplay so it was perfect for me. Unfortunately the levels aren't without problems. I started with it on bad terms, as it produced a terrible graphical glitch on my main PC, all the floors, most of the walls and objects, and Lara herself were just pitch black. No custom level did that before. So I had to play it on my older machine, where the graphics was okay but there was serious lagging in the big areas as expected. Also this level marks only the second time that I ever deleted a wav file, that horrible 111 one. I always respect the builders' wishes to play with the music they intended, but in this case I considered it an utter disrespect and carelessness toward the players to provide us something with such unacceptable quality. Overdoing the volume level of a file does ruin the quality. Other annoying ones that sometimes produced distorted noises at their loudest parts were the 108 and to lesser extent the 105 wavs, but in these cases using a sound editor program to turn down the volume of the files a little did suffice. I needed to peak into the walkthru twice, but both were matters of procedure rather than need for help, first when I was stuck for ages, just to find out that I have to pull the carpet, which I actually did try, but it seems I didn't position Lara perfectly. And second a similar situation, to learn exactly what pixel I need to stand on the place the blanket, basically I had to do it as if I were wanted to cover the dog. These solutions were a bit too demanding but in the wrong way. And also there were some beginner kind of errors like some missing sounds, some cameras don't cut back, many little texture errors, a bit too many trees and bushes floating in the air. And the builder just refused to give us any flares, there were some areas, basements and the like, where I badly needed them. The builder states 10 secrets, while in fact there were just 6, no doubt only due carelessness to place a few simple triggers. These may be minor errors on their own, for sure, but pile them together this much and they became just too numerous to be dismissed, and here it really pains me because many other aspects of the level, well, most of them really, is absolutely magnificent, the architecture, the whole concept of creating this massive environment and cleverly fill it with all the tasks. So I just don't understand how the builder can be so careless in some of the details, since the time and effort needed to fix them would have been insignificant compared to what already was put into this levelset. All in all, this is a very good explorer levelset as it is, alas it fell short of becoming a masterpiece in my book, due to some perfectly avoidable silly little mistakes." - Akcy (25-Nov-2011)

"If you are looking for the usual calm, festive and shortish Advent level to play, then give this adventure a wide berth! It is anything but that. Actually I thought it cannot quite decide between being an advent level (despite the nice story), a city adventure with sewers and a Venice style level with some Base elements thrown in as well. Which already says a lot about it being very, very expansive and quite confusing due to its non-linearity and the fact that the gameplay actually expands across three levels that you go back and forth between. I had actually decided to use Phil's excellent walkthrough to guide me and not be lost in terms of where to go next - but even so I found the level to last too long for me (almost three hours net gaming time) and just wanted it to end after about half its duration and even so there was already too much backtracking, so I do not even want to picture how much more of this back and forth I may have had if I did NOT know where to go next (from reading the walkthrough). This biggest weak point of the adventure (for me anyway)aside, it is a level with many, many great moments. I really liked some of the ideas (ringing the bell to blow the windows) and the more concise gameplay passages (push/raise puzzles, a timed run, the underwater mirror swim, zero gravity jump, use of the torch etc) and those players with more of an explorer mindset than I, may well have a field day in this one, as there are plenty of switches and items to find and use. There is also an interesting secret system although it seems a bit messed up, as some of the roses register as secrets and some don't, so ended up with 4 secrets out of 10 only (as documented in the walkthrough) even though I did get the 5 necessary roses and the code to unlock a bonus level in the future." - MichaelP (30-Jan-2011)

"Now, this is a really hard one to rate (and easily subjective). I liked the architecture, no one can complain about how short it was and it was full of great ideas and challenges. At the same time, you had to find so many things and the entire place was so immensely huge it all became utterly confusing. I'm not repeating the idea that there were no image clues, for example, but the fact is that, ok, you see a load of gifts where you must place something and in the very next moment you simply haven't got a clue as to where it is - meaning you have to search the whole place until you find it (the use for the torch wasn't at all obvious either). That carries another problem with it: most of the times you have to stand in a very precise position in order to place the gifts, the blanket or whatever it may be (pulling the carpet, for instance, isn't obvious because it only works when it works), which may make you give up thinking you're in the wrong place when in fact you're precisely almost on the spot. Yes, I don't know neither do I want to know how many kilometres I ran, endlessly going back and forth and back and forth and that would have been the hugest of no-no's for anyone if the level hadn't been so interestingly crafted. The password for the game to come was also a nice idea. I say it's quite interesting but a little less would have been a little more. I confess I had to search and ask a bit in the stuck forums and was finally helped by Phil's walkthrough, which must have been somewhat hard to write, two things I don't particularly enjoy. Still, I'm eagerly waiting for the next release, perhaps a little less overdone and still with the same quality." - Jorge22 (21-Jan-2011)

"This is a very beautiful game, congratulations, Adriel! I, like almost everybody else, considered the game map too big for my taste; in the improbable event that I constructed a game using a map so stretched as this one, I would give my Lara much more things to do... but, as I am not a games author... In the credits side, I loved the "exterior" music (the "interior" was too high), the beauty of the places (in special the other girl's house),and the fun of exploring the library; but I am at present waiting impatiently for a walkthrough, because I never discovered what to do with a glass full of wine (Lara wouldn't drink it), and could finish the game without using a great number of objects." - Josey (17-Jan-2011)

"Used to be that the Advent levels were a light and pleasant diversion during the Christmas season, providing a half hour or so of stress-free tranquility. No more. I have yet to play some of this year's crop, but in Christmas Mission and Mystica (at least) we have some of the most complex levels you'll ever encounter. Tradition is maintained in the "no enemies" category, but in all other respects these current Advent levels offer challenges and rewards befitting of other top-ranked releases. Although I had the advantage of the builder's posted videos as I played, I was amazed at the breadth and scope of this adventure. Some of the reviews and comments in the stuck thread mention certain bugs, none of which I encountered when I played. However, something was haywire in the way secrets were registered, as only four showed up on my screen (and of those, only two gave forth with the familiar chime). Also, there was no background music throughout the game (which suited me fine, actually), and any conversation during cut scenes was lost to me. Everything flowed quite smoothly for the first two thirds of the game, but I experienced some annoying backtracking during the last third. (I wonder if there's some kind of conspiracy among the Advent level builders, because the outbreak of this epidemic seems particularly virulent this year.) Other than that, I found this adventure of more than four net gaming hours to be well worth the investment in time and energy. High recommendations." - Phil (05-Jan-2011)

"ohh boy .... what i cab say bout this one ? .... well for sure is a huge game ...in terms of longness and very confusing ... i admit without Youtube Video walkthrough te watch time to time i would still play this untill next christmas lol ..... i mean confusing cause u need to colect alot off gifts and items and even for gifts u need box + paper .... wich are scattered around the levels ..... and even after get them u still need to find where to put them .... useles to say iff u miss the revolver + the sight from 1st level and pass through the next one u discover that u need it and backthrow alot .. i dont think is someone here except the builder lol here wich would be abble to finish it without help ....alot off swimming / jumping involved also ...... after 2/3 days ..... or more lol probably u will be happy to hit the finish after go down at beggars underground place and give some money + a blanket open a door + a flybye off u traveling away in a car ......... very very confusing game . the graphics was good .... flybyes a bit short u need to pay atention to understand where and what happen ....... cheers ." - Jack& (04-Jan-2011)

"Well, where do we start with this one?! Itís certainly fairly epic, massive, gargantuan in pretty much every respect. It is the least-linear game Iíve ever played too. Usually when you play levels with such massive environments itís easy to put together a picture in your mind as to what it all looks like. Then over time the level usually seems less intimidating. This on the other hand is so massive there just wasnít enough room in my head to fit it all. After reading through the forums I actually abandoned my first play-through as it became obvious that Iíd missed so much early on, and done some things in an irreparably bad order. My second play through I did through use of the forums, and the series of you-tube video walk-throughs that have been released. Without them I would have probably had to park this one, and move onto the next. This level of expansiveness and difficulty therefore probably makes this release inaccessible to most casual players. You really will need to devote a significant amount of time, exploration, and keep back-copies of saves in order to make good progress. The reward for this however is one of the best constructed sets of environments Iíve seen. Itís not perfect in a few small places, but nothing that significantly detracts from the experience. Lighting is pitch-perfect, and the distance fog is usually effectively for that cold, Christmassy atmosphere. The only thing I found objectionable was the horrendous quality of one of the audio tracks. It annoyed me so much in the end I deleted it (111.wav if you need to do the same), and swapped it for one of the other audio tracks. Itís such a shame because all of the other tracks are fine, and fit their scenes perfectly without the same distortion issues. Once you start to get into the actual swing of the gameplay itís not actually an overly hard series of levels. I think the most challenging aspect is some of the very tight timed-runs which might again leave the experience inaccessible to less experienced players. I think (as is often the case with Christmas levels), the hardest part is understanding where each custom object needs to be placed (like the Wine glass, and each present/toy etc). The experience was also not bug-free. I had problems with a crashing loading title frequently, and the scene where Lara speaks to someone in a house froze on me completely and I had to use my ingenuity to by-pass the trigger and get to the item I needed another way. That said however, when you consider this was put together under significant time-constraints it represents a pretty solid, remarkable achievement. Itís as expansive as anything Iíve played, and definitely worthy of commendation. The time indicated on my save-games indicated it took me 4 hours to complete, but Iíd say with the replay it took me more like 10 hours to complete. The only time Iíve felt this lost before was when I first started playing the original Tomb Raider! Certainly worth the download, but just be aware, this is a release which will take up a significant chunk of play-time to complete. Highly recommended (just keep an eye on the forums and help-videos). Stiggy" - TheStig (30-Dec-2010)

"One of the best levels of home I've ever played, some errors in textures that do not block out the good fun of the game, not like a lot of levels of its cities far exceeded my expectations, the floor is some errors with anything that undermines the very game, I found very interesting the level keep it up!" - Jessica Croft (23-Dec-2010)

"I've loved this level. The exploration of the level looks like a "open world", you can go wherever you want, not all the places, but when you solve puzzles and challenges on another locations you are able to access those locations that were closed. The atmosphere and the sounds when you are on the streets/backstreets is so peaceful and relaxing, totally a Christmas atmosphere. I just didnít like the loud sound in the houses. The objects fits perfectly on this level, my favorite place is "the library". The Lighting is perfect, but unfortunately some textures doesen't fit perfectly on some walls in this level and in other levels too. The cutscenes are really perfect, the voice acting too. The story is so beautiful, and this is a very good level to play for hours for that people who like exploring and discovering mysteries. But I donít recommend this level to people who get lost easily and doesnít find items exploring because it could become a nightmare for them." - Brazilian Croft (22-Dec-2010)

"Donít get me wrong, I really like non-linear levels, but this was ridiculous! The level is massive, huge! It consists of a beautifully made central town area with building and areas off it (including the obligatory cellars and sewers). It was a strange mixture of very good, imaginative gameplay and use of objects mixed with the most horrendous backtracking. Time and again you ended up in an area in which you require something you need in order to progress and, guess what? Youíve not got it and have to back track to find it. You progress a little further only to find you need something else, so back you go again. This got tiresome very quickly. Some things had to be done in a particular order without anything to guide the player; this shouldnít happen in a level of this standard. If only the builder had thought to provide short cuts once an area had been accessed and had fixed the buggy areas this would have been a most excellent level. As it was, I finished the level with some items remaining in my inventory so I knew I hadnít gone everywhere, and didnít care." - Diz (21-Dec-2010)

"You know how some levels seem really big until you get used to running around them and suddenly they seem to shrink to more manageable proportions? Well, this level is absolutely nothing like that Ė itís big, itís really big and it just keeps getting bigger and bigger and ends up feeling really HUGE. Donít get me wrong, itís an extremely good level, full of inventive ideas (the underwater mirror room and low gravity room being real highlights) and gorgeous scenery, but donít for one moment begin it with the idea that youíll finish it in a couple of hours. You will really need to be prepared to work on this one. I spent the majority of my time in utter confusion as I seemed to be galloping through endless rooms, leaving doors unopened and hoping to resolve things at a later date and some doors I never did manage to open. Since I could finish the level in any case, Iím assuming that they were secret related (I missed half of them). It is certainly an enjoyable game in many ways, but I canít help but feel that it slightly over-reached itself and you might just possibly be well advised to wait for the walkthrough before attempting it." - Jay (19-Dec-2010)

"This is an epic raid of considerable proportions , with a few interesting ideas and a few actions worth the play like the timed doors , far between long sequences of boring search and running around. I found the texturing quite neat when the areas are not complicated, but when some places are a bit more chaotic there is compressed textures and the like. Donít design wall panels of 4 clicks high on one side and 1 click side on the other side, make the wall panel triangular instead. What I appreciated here is the efforts of the builder to create realism into the environment , love the objects floating in the submerged room for instance. I did not have audio loops when playing , only the audios which are not loops , and the loading times for savegames may be the longest I have experimented so far in a custom adventure. Would have been better to have more restraint play game areas where what has to be done may be concentrated and true sense of discovery not diluted by so much uneventfulness. Quite a confusing and time-consuming game that does not reward you much for your patience and time spent here." - eRIC (19-Dec-2010)

"We all have to recognize the big effort from this author when building this two huge levels, but this is one the authors who never read the page 70 of the official manual. Textually: "In the tutorial you learned how to set it up so the player could not leave the area until the puzzle piece was found. Try not to create a situation where the player can get to the end of the level and not be able to finish a puzzle therefore not finish the level) without having to retrace stepsÖ.especially if it is a long distance. BORING!". Please take this in your mind for future levels. The level is very entertaining and there are a lot of good ideas in it, but there are many situations which are not good for many players. Example: the library gameplay was really a nightmare 'cause you can't know what surfaces are climbable and what not. After half an hour I reached the second level, but when I pushed the snowball into the hole I was totally stucked, and I had to travel a very very long way back to the previous level to look for the relvolver and the sight. An so all the entire level; backtracking, dead ends, backtracking, dead ends... Not a gameplay for my taste. I only give a 5 'cause I didn't need to use all the objects in my inventory to finish the game, otherwise, I should give a 3 or 2 in the gameplay. Please, think about what I say if you decide continue building." - Jose (18-Dec-2010)

"Well, I am torn between "a fantatsic creation of huge dimensions, giving the player all the time in the world to wander round and enjoy all the mysteries of Adriels Christmas Mission" and " a senselessly expanded exploration giving the players sleepless nights only to find useless secrects". These were the two options . Now, dig it , man , not quite an easy task for a reviewer to justify a true and honest rating in respect of both the TRLE Community and a hard working builder, especially if the builder is a new member of the TRLE builders society who will definetely be checking this site frequently for any news on results and comments. Right, before I continue I my review I would like to mention that there is an updated version of this level in which most of the major bugs this game initially had were corrected. If you should have trouble to identify which window to open in the Levelbase Advent Calendar to download this game once you have been transferred to LB its Window Nr 16 . This magnificient game reminds me very much of Trixies ATO both in complexity and size and would have certainly deserved a similar good rating but as for script and gameplay. Where do you begin, and where will it end? And what for ? And why ? The level designer mentioned in one of the forums it`s a game with lots to explore . OK , I am always ready to explore but don`t stretch the limits and give me sleepless nights only to find one useless secret !This game is so different to anything else I played before . Many reviewers will judge it as an incomplete game with too much effort the players have to spend in vain. Mabe right , maybe wrong ...! I only hope the builder takes heed of the warning for as far his skills in designing a visual masterpiece are concerned , it`s second to none !" - Ruben (18-Dec-2010)

"The author has put in what seems like years of work to produce a wonderful looking set of three levels. Lara can happily wander here in a professional setting. In many given areas the play is great, with a nice sequence of puzzles to solve and the bonus of a rich environment. The problem is that the author admits to rushing the release of the levels for the Advent season. And it is the total effect that can be something of a disaster, and make for unhappy players. (Another reviewer mentions that a bug-fixed version has been released. I hope the author continues to improve these levels as they have the potential for top reviews. Most players would do well to wait for a walk-through--my best wishes to the hardy soul that attempts one.) My experience was that Lara explored a house, took trapdoors down to the sewers, did a timed swim, and transported to another level. All good so far. Then after a lot of exploration it became clear Lara needed the revolver and laser sight, which were hidden back in the first level. After spending a day finishing up the first level, and also the library, Lara returns. But she had already pushed a snowball boulder onto a raising block, and now when it finally raises the snowball falls to the floor. There is no way to recover. I had to start the game over from scratch and redo everything. Lara never really did finish this section, as it leads to an area with two horses, and the placement of an object which Lara never had. Then there is the colossal library, more confusing than wandering through a university library of ten million volumes. Lara could look up to a towering ceiling, and see a key lying on an open grid work. Lara never did get that key. So really the library was never finished. (I suspect the key was for the hotel, as one room never opened.) Lara also never used the basement key. And there was one section--again, the local play here is good--with a timed warehouse run, a ride up in an elevator, and shooting a high explosive barrel. This wrecks the savegames, which can no longer be loaded. But that action is for a yellow key, which also isn't needed to finish the game. In my game, Lara still had items like keys, extra blanket, and gifts when the finish trigger was hit. Other players seemed to have finished with a whole different set of leftover objects. Expect to spend a couple of days with much good scenery and design, and sometimes clever game play, but long stretches where players are left wondering what it's all for. Life is like that. Definitely an experience. Sure to provoke a reaction from players." - dmdibl (18-Dec-2010)
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