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Level: BtB2011 - Madness is not a Shame back home search
Author(s): uranos1
total rating:8.43 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Akcy 9 7 9 8
Blue43 8 8 9 9
Christian 9 8 9 9
Diz 8 9 9 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 10
dmdibl 8 9 9 9
eTux 9 8 10 8
Jay 9 9 9 10
Jerrod 7 7 8 8
JesseG 10 8 10 8
Jorge22 5 6 6 7
Jose 5 7 8 8
Josey 7 7 9 8
Magnus 6 7 7 7
manarch2 9 9 9 9
masha 10 9 10 10
MichaelP 9 9 9 8
Mman 8 9 10 9
Mytly 9 9 9 9
Phil 7 9 9 8
Pistoltiger 10 10 9 8
Raymond 9 10 10 10
requiemsoul 9 8 10 10
Ruben 8 9 9 9
Ryan 5 7 8 8
Scottie 9 9 10 10
Sethian 4 5 6 7
TheStig 7 9 8 9
category averages
(28 reviews)
7.93 8.25 8.86 8.68

Reviewer's comments

"I'll admit that I was expecting a lot more enjoyment than what I expected here. I admired the concept and the way the concept was brought to fruition through the use of arty camera angles and the bending of reality. You'll return to different versions of various places to perform various tasks in order to make your way through the level. However, although it is a neat concept it does fall short in gameplay. There's a couple of highly frustrating timed runs at the very beginning which will probably turn more casual players away and prevent them from experiencing the rest of the level. The first run is where I chucked this the last time as I couldn't progress any further after many tries. This is just really unfriendly to the player and not a very balanced level of gameplay. I eventually made it through this time around, but my experience was very much soured by that annoying start, despite the fact that there was high invention elsewhere (a couple of valve and switch puzzles, for instance). Enemies are prevalent in the beginning but rare towards the end and I had a few frame rate drops in certain areas. In conclusion, I applaud the concept but the gameplay really wasn't to my taste." - Ryan (12-Apr-2018)

"This game has become one of my personal favourites when it comes to gameplay. It has most creative ideas and entertains you from the first to the last minute, there are many puzzles I have never seen in any other level before. I do not know why it is rated rather low. In my opinion the textures aren't entirely well placed and the level could have been more beautiful on occasions, but the airship is a nice setting as such. I guess that the unusual style of the gameplay is just what a level needs, and this is why I loved it. Well done. :)" - Pistoltiger (30-Jan-2014)

"The storyline seems very odd, so I sank ingame without hesitation to check how my favourite Advent object creator builds levels. Since the starting timed run through a corridor filled with almost everything You could put in, I knew the game is mad indeed. Then I noticed some "wrong" textures and realized it's a part of a very unusual concept. Then I wondered how he built a circular room and got surprised with the same concept again - quite an achievement for a builder. Next, I had an opportunity to digitally experience Monty Python's perception of mountaineering. Finally, I got stuck in the raising block tower hall, perhaps the most difficult puzzle I've ever encountered. And here comes my greatest advice for this game: NEVER attempt this part at late night or if You don't have time, unless You don't mind peering in the walkthru. Still I think only a genius mind would contrapt something of that kind and I totally admire it. I was so amazed that I hesitated if not to give max score for the whole first category. Nonetheless I decided to drop one point some elusive pickups hidden in places they don't quite belong, what unnecessarily slows the progress. Secrets are another thing difficult to analyse. The first one is absurd, the second one is very creative yet includes an inconsequence, and the third one is nice. Still if we find the crossbow, we can easily blow up the upcoming way of baddies instead of spending a long time on slowly finishing them all with pistols... and the objects compete so much for this category that I have no other choice than to give another max score. OK, end with that. All the rest is simply top-notch, so just play and see/hear for Yourself. SUMMARY: Filled with ridiculousness and unusual creativity. Contains at least several unique places and all other are remarkable. It seems there is no unnecessary room used. Some points are confusing but You still must play it." - DJ Full (14-Nov-2013)

"This is what I'll describe as a 'Marmite' Level, by which I mean you'll either love it or hate it. Ultimately the gameplay wasn’t really to my taste but I pressed through it because of some of the nice original touches and well crafted environments. There's a very surrealistic quality to this which does hold appeal. I think the most clever section was the part with you traversing the side-ways room finding yourself in the same place but upside down...slowing pulling each lever to get through. That was really nice and original. Unfortunately there were also some frustrating aspects. The first-timed run was a complete no-goer for me...and I felt compelled to make use of the save-game on the walk-through. Speaking of which the camera clues for what some of the levers do is very poor. I don’t mind finding out what combinations of levers do by trial and error if I get a good view of what's happening when I pull them. The final platform sequence gives you pretty much no clue at all and I doubt I'd of cracked it without the walkthrough to hand! There's also a few issues with lighting (very dark in a couple of places). All in all I netted 1 hour 15 mins from Madness is not a Shame. A nice piece of original work, but not for the faint hearted. Stiggy" - TheStig (10-Oct-2012)

"I liked this surreal game from it's beginning. Jumping up the chandelier to get out of Laras 'prison' was a nice prelude to two very well composed timed sequences leading to an area where rooms have to be rotated in order to leave to the top of a spaceship. Puzzles cannot be solved easily. Gameplay is doable but a bit challenging - quite interesting and creative. Especially in the main room of the spaceship atmosphere is really great. I loved this sauna-room, being chased by a fire wraith being extinguished in the pool. Lovely ideas and creative moments make this game an outstanding one!" - Christian (26-Apr-2012)

"Objects: The ornamentation is decent, but some of the hiding spots for items you need to pick up are kind of ridiculous, having you search a dozen bushes before you finally get what you need. The way that exactly one raising block is climbable is too inconsistent and had me stumped or a while. As a plus, the use of objects to communicate messages to the player is good.
Textures: Just as above, textures are used to communicate to the player which helps set the scenes. There are some squished and stretched textures, and there is a ladder that is not textured clearly and that is no good.
Atmosphere/Cameras: Now this is where I can really start praising the level - near the start you begin to be introduced to Lara's crazy head, stumbling into a room that twists sideways. And then there's the part where the author uses cameras to create the effect of Lara running along the curved wall of a room. In fact, this turns into a puzzle in itself...
Gameplay: Oh boy was this fun to play. Tons of crazy traps that you have to surpass, along with some very right timed runs. And of course the puzzle I mentioned above - when you run on that wall and enter the door, you are on the ceiling of the room you had left before, so everything is upside down. You have to use this to your advantage. It took some thinking to get all those valves working in the "airship garden" if you can call it that.
Overall: Of all the levels this one was the most fun I had in, and showcased some great creativity. Madness is not a shame indeed. Finished in 1:11:11 (ha!)" - SSJ6Wolf (15-Nov-2011)

"I admit I had high hopes regarding this level because I liked the title and still when I saw how the beginning looked so much like American McGee's Alice - and I like that too. Then come a couple of nearly impossible timed runs in a row, that may only be compared to how confusing the ending is, when Lara finds herself in a room with loads of walls levers and a cryptic-ish way up (after a rather confusing lever game up on the plane as well). In the meantime, it's never ending ladders, unimpressive settings mostly, somewhat boring key- and-other-stuff puzzles and a never-ending army of those tiresome female ninjas awaiting Lara. I'm not even sure what I lit all those cactuses for... You can tell I'm not impressed, which is a shame. Perhaps next time, but then again the builder doesn't need to impress me specifically." - Jorge22 (19-Oct-2011)

"I don't know what the author wanted to offer to the players with this creation. Of course, there is an original level, and it notices an effort to innovate, with very original ideas, but after trying the first timed run hundreds of times you can realize that this is not a level for everybody. After this, another strange timed run... I found strange environments and tedious puzzle, like the switch puzzle or the final platform puzzlewith. Another times there are many unnecessary backtracks. The outdoor area houses was my favourite area, but rest of the level was not so entertaining for me. Many enemies to shoot in some areas, good use of the cameras and musics, very innovative, correct texturization and clever design, but this is not the kind of levels I like. Sorry." - Jose (16-Oct-2011)

"I first started playing this year's Back to Basics levels the day they were released for download, and then the excellent - and ridiculously long - Xenoblade Chronicles was released. Now the winners will be revealed in twenty-four hours (give or take), and I just finished the final level. In a way, I feel like Xenoblade Chronicles saved me - at least now there are walkthroughs available. When starting up this level, I got the distinct impression that the author is a fan of American McGee's Alice, what with having Lara in a mental institution and the warping of reality. It does make for some great moments, though, like when the hallway starts to wrap around itself and suddenly you're running on the wall instead of the floor. There's also a clever puzzle a little later on, even if it does go on for about two switches too long. After that, the author drops the Alice influences like a hot potato and the rest of this fifty-minute level takes place on an airship. This was also where the gameplay started to fall apart for me. First, there's a fairly good puzzle involving raising blocks. And then... hidden keys. Everywhere. This was where the walkthrough was invaluable, because God. Looking behind every bush and in every dark corner because there might be something hidden there has to be the least interesting kind of 'gameplay' (and I use that term loosely) there is. There's no feeling of "aww man, I should have figured that out!" when I use a walkthrough for things like that. Instead I'm just annoyed by how the author expects me to turn over every rock. The rest of the gameplay in this area is pretty dull too, but I could have lived with it if I hadn't gotten stuck three-four times because I'd missed a key somewhere. At least this part of the level looks really good - more so than the first part, which has some interesting ideas, but looks pretty bland - and airships seem to work really well with the steampunk theme. The main hall looks pretty impressive and the flyby that shows off the airship is kind of cool. Near the end, there's another puzzle involving raising block that also had me running to the walkthrough. It's the kind of puzzle that's extremely clever... to the point where most players are unlikely to be able to figure it out. It feels really out of place and it seemed more like a cruel joke than anything else, but maybe I'm just not a very good Tomb Raider player. But if there's no shame in madness, then I shouldn't be ashamed of not being able to figure out ridiculously complex puzzles. There's something to be said for knowing your audience. All I know is that in next year's Back to Basics competition, everyone's getting minus one point in gameplay and puzzles for every hidden key or switch." - Magnus (15-Oct-2011)

"I was prepared to hate this level intensely after my early experience with that hideous timed run at the beginning. (By way of explanation, this was the first BtB level I downloaded and started playing, but I soon laid it aside - because of that timed run - to be resumed much later.) But after manarch2 posted his video of the timed run, I was convinced that it could be done legally. I gave it a few tries the second time around but ultimately relented and used manarch2's posted savegames to get past this point. It's the builder's level, and he can present it as he wishes, although he must realize that implementation of such a game-stopping sequence will cost him points in the gameplay department. Chacon à son gout. Things flowed much more smoothly after that, although the player is immediately faced with another complicated timed maneuver involving collapsing platforms. That one, however, is a bit more forgiving, and I was able to conquer it legally with a little effort and persistence. You're then confronted with a fixed camera angle in an area eerily reminiscent of the rotating wheel within the spacecraft depicted in the movie 2001. I've never seen this effect in a custom level, where centrifugal force makes it appear as if you're running along a level plane at all times as you circle the wagons, so to speak. A very neat touch. The gameplay for most of the remaining portion of the level was consistent with what we've seen in the other Steampunk releases, until near the end when you reach a towering room with a series of raising blocks. At this point I believe the builder got a little too cute for his own good. The puzzle is brilliant in its design. The problem is, you have no perspective of the room other than an opening flyby that offers too few clues, so you have no idea of what to do, or in what order. At this point I resorted to manarch2's walkthrough to make my way to the top of the room and complete the level. In summary, this is probably the most cerebral and the most sadistic of the Steampunk entries. And although I can appreciate the ingenuity of the builder's craft, this level won't appear on my replay list any time soon." - Phil (13-Oct-2011)

"This level proves one thing to us more than anything else: that madness is in fact a shame. This level is so brilliant and creative in some respects, however so awfully stupid and inane in others, that it drags itself down to an insane oblivion (perhaps that was the intention?). To begin with- the timed trap gauntlet and timed trapdoor gauntlet that follows right after: Not only are both of these incredibly difficult and almost impossible to complete, however they are also the most idiotic thing one could possibly place at the onset of a level, no doubt turning away many players from actually wanting to see this through to the end. Players should be seduced by a level, not instantly repelled. The stuff that is quite clever and genius here is how the passage rotates in complete madness early on and we end up walking on the ceiling… however the passage is filled with at least one illegal slope which screams a bad lack of beta testing. Moving on we get a very interesting room that rotates ad infinitum as Lara runs along it – quite genius once again, yet it is used in a such a tedious and boring puzzle of climbing up and down an exceptionally long ladder that it’s quaintness wears of very fast. We then end up outside on top of a giant air ship, and even though this area is quite interesting and madness inducing (the sky and fast moving clouds mixed with the rotating windmills can make you quite dizzy), it was a rather bad choice to hide a tiny broken disk fragment that is impossible to see under a plant who’s collision keeps us from getting it without crawling. Also, the puzzle hole for this disk item is almost invisible without a flare due to the dark and flat lighting in the room. There is also a torch which we seem to pry from a tree as Lara performs the “Poseidon” animation. This isn’t a bad idea considering it is BtB and you want to try and work with what’s there, however it just looks silly and sounds silly too when the “water flooding” sample plays. However, lighting a pedestal with the torch to make it explode and then get a secret is a nice idea; however the secret itself was almost impossible to pick up off the pedestal, once again due to a strange collision bug. We move on into a giant hub room with lots of little rooms connecting to it, and the frame rate really becomes a problem here due to the overdose of random objects the author chose to place. On top of that, we get to battle quite a lot of Ninjas (the ones that deflect in the Baddy2 slot and the ones that stumble around awkwardly and then float into Heaven as they die in the Horseman slot) as we enter this room, which makes the experience even worse: A room with slow frame rate and too many objects plus buggy Ninjas flipping and stumbling all over the place as we ourselves try to flip and dance and shoot and try to get rid of them all. Not exactly the best form of enemy and object placement. When finally done, we explore a bit to get a number of keys (including a “connector” placed on a table that is once again hard to pick up due to being placed underneath collision) and access some little side rooms. There is a rather clever pushable puzzle here to get to a crowbar door that I actually liked, however it’s a bit annoying since it involves getting around only via crawling. As we finally progress into a machinery room the insane nature of this level truly reaches its magnitude: A puzzle consisting of countless raising blocks and lots of switches, and we have to figure out which switches are the correct switches and how to get the right blocks down and the right blocks up one at a time in order to get to the top of the room… and we have to do it twice (!). This is not intelligent or mad in the fun sense: it is simply stupid and unnecessary. When we have finally made it to the end of the level, there is a rather terrible trip over a zipline, having to time when we can fall into the opening hole beneath us… and this takes a while since one is either too far or too close and so plummets to one’s death. Once you do fall through however, it is quite cool seeing each “Iris door” opening beneath you. We then get a screen showing us a “To be continued…” message constructed out of the BtB wad’s pipe objects (very clever idea this) although I really hope this doesn’t happen. The idea that exists behind this level is genius and definitely not a shame; however the execution of the level itself is sadly a mad-shame." - Sethian (12-Oct-2011)

"A very unique and original level that will really test your skills and will have you scratch your head a few times. Unfortunately it does start off with a pretty darn tough timed trap gauntlet that you will need quite a portion of luck to make it through, so I am willing to bet that many players will be giving up right there and then. The subsequent combined timed climb sequence is a piece of cake in comparison, though also not a walk in the park. I just loved how the author manages to tiwist the players brains with the walk that seems to turn your up into down, or was it left into right? Very, very clever. Then you come out on top of the airship and maybe the weakest part of the game with a bit of searching and figuring out a switch sequence, some ninja battling and key finding. The push block part can get slightly tedious but not too bad here. Soon enough you get to the rather intirguing 4x3 lever puzzle to make your way all the way back up through the engine room - unique construction and a nice puzzle to figure out! And the best part then comes at the very end where the author announces a continuation - what better could we look for? Great and unique adventure, which will keep you playing till the end. [2:00, 0/3 secrets]" - MichaelP (09-Oct-2011)

"The level starts with a great timed run that provided honest challenge even to me, I liked it very much. Then a more forgiving one up the trapdoors to arrive to a changing gravity puzzle, even though just lever pulling still qualifies as puzzle as I had to figure out what was going on. At this point I was amazed by the creativity of this daring builder, even though those areas weren't exactly impressive visually. The second part took place in an airship and the picture turned around to the opposite; gameplay slowed down to become more relaxed and puzzle oriented, and the looks increased dramatically. Alas the lagging certainly didn't help there, actually in this level I experienced the worst lagging to date, it was bad enough to hinder the enjoyment of the level. I realize this comes from the engine but it should be handled as any other limitation and build in a way to avoid it, as other builders have managed to do so. I wasn't impressed by the secrets, I had to peak into the walkthru for the first, very counterintuitive. The second I found only by accident, I was stuck there due to a sneakily placed item under a bush and tried all crazy things. By the way why was that bush and the cacti later burnable? And those fires didn't even harm Lara. Careless object handling there. The puzzles with the wheels was nice, the one later with all those multilevel columns even nicer, although I got stuck there too, but then made the jump on a hunch, that climbable surface under the stairs should have been textured differently. The design is good, especially the interior with cabins and even a sauna. Lots of unused keyholes, if the builder didn't have enough time to finish the level the way she/he intended those at least should have been removed. Yeah I saw it's to be continued, but a B2B level must stand its ground as standalone even if it meant to be as part of a series from the getgo, and modify it accordingly. All in all, the level has its ups and downs. My excellent first impression downgraded somewhat by some of the later irregularities, still it's a good level for the more experienced raiders." - Akcy (08-Oct-2011)

"Once again, my opinion differs from the other reviewers’, though this time in a good way: I love this level, including the ‘evil’ timed run at the beginning. IMO, it looks much harder than it is (though I agree that it’s not a great way to start the level).
The creativity and originality in this level are incredible. In the insane asylum at the beginning, you are introduced to a topsy-turvy world in which walls are floors and floors are ceilings. The ‘changing direction’ puzzle is a particular highlight, with the direction of the gravity apparently changing as Lara runs along the curved ‘walls’ of a circular room (I wonder how this illusion was created?), and goes back and forth between two areas, which are apparently the same area turned upside down! Another cool and original puzzle is the one in which you have to create gaps in a tall tower made up of raising blocks. On the other hand, the middle section (in the airship lounge and surrounding rooms) is rather lacklustre – it’s as if the builder had great ideas for the beginning and end, but couldn’t figure out how to join them effectively. The multi-valve puzzle in the garden is rather unintuitive, and would have benefited from some camera assistance – as could the tower of raising blocks puzzle, for that matter.
The use of objects is highly creative, from the creation of light fixtures using switches and untriggered wraiths (!) to the placement of pickup items on the side of a square or on the walls (I didn’t even know the former was possible). The secrets are very hard to find – I needed some walkthrough assistance.
The garden area on top of the airship is the visual highlight. The lounge area looks nice, but the severe lag there made it hard to appreciate it, especially since you have to battle about a dozen ninjas there, with Lara moving almost in slow motion because of the lag.
Overall: This would be my favourite level in BtB2011 (of the 10 I have played so far), if only the looks were a bit prettier, and the gameplay maintained the same level of creativity throughout. Highly recommended, but not for the faint at heart!" - Mytly (29-Sep-2011)

"After the pure adrenaline of the first timerun and the slight relief of the second, we find a mad environment and a tedious switch puzzle, with many backtracks. This has a compensation: the outdoor area houses a quite fascinating platform/extending crates/switch puzzle. (There was a little slow motion here, at least in my notebook.) The enemies were perhaps a bit too many: 6 or 7 of thouse hateful Ninja girls, with masculine voices, together? And I found a bug in the stairs/keyholes room: if Lara jumped to the top of one of those moving tables, she fell in the dark to her death. The final platform puzzle was somewhat tedious, too, but certainly creative, with many difficult jumps. All considered, a good job." - Josey (25-Sep-2011)

"It may merely be the random order I'm playing them in, but I do find it a bit surprising that I only encountered the first zeppelin in the 6th level I played from a Steampunk-themed set. It does take a while before you actually get to it and the difficulty level of this one is indeed 'bonkers', to go with the level builder's chosen theme. So much in fact, that I had serious doubts whether to actually give this the gameplay score I did, but the creativity and technical genius behind even the more unfair elements is undeniable, so I went along with it, with a footnote remark, that this is a very reluctant 9 I'm bestowing upon it. The level shows you who's the boss already with the first few tasks, which will have you shouting expletives so much, that your neighbours might start believing *you* should be a little ashamed of your own madness. I coped with it as I usually do with diabolical timed-runs these days (ever since Falls of Naga at least) - by saving mid-way through if I thought I had made good progress and continuing to master it from then on. A strategy that works surprisingly well and helped me get through in no time and minimal loss of my own sanity (ok, enough with the funny farm remarks! *slaps his own wrists*). I did love how the author plays with the room geometry, thus giving hints of more wacky gravity business to come. And alas, not soon after the double-timed starter you are rewarded with a simple, yet probably the most brilliant puzzle the Steampunk set will have to offer, introduced by a nicely misleading fly-by. Yes, due to its specific setup it may drag on a little more than you'd welcome it to, but for me, it alone was worth all the preceding ordeal and despite more quirky stuff still to come, became the uncontested highlight of the level. The presentation in form of fly-by's, cameras and audio is top notch, and the atmosphere of craziness sculpted to the last detail. Thematically the second part of the level is set around the said airship, and while I still enjoyed it a great deal, this is also where some of my grievances with the game cropped up more prominently. Namely, as clever as some of the puzzles of the author might be on paper, I am not sure they translate that well in execution. The ones I have in mind particularly are the eight valves, which I initially activated willy-nilly as I came across them (turns out there's a method to madne... *ouch!*), and the final puzzle where you raise or lower segments of 4 pillars to construct a makeshift course in their gaps for Lara to ascend that particular room. While at least the latter puzzle is rather clever in hindsight, both ended up being too much on the trial-and-error end of the spectrum and dampened much of the enthusiasm the previous gameplay had accumulated. Also - if I'm to be really picky here - then the switch from the madhouse to the airship seemed a bit arbitrary, or at least was short of a more elaborate explanation than merely setting part of the game on an airship, because it is steampunk-rooted. But in hindsight (having been through all 14 games by the time I'm reviewing this) it probably is the best zeppelin in the competition, so it is indeed a very minor, nit-picky point. I was not sure if the 2 secrets I found were clever or truly intended for mind readers. I must've attempted to get them after glancing over certain sections in the walkthrough, but I don't think they would be something a majority of players would pick up on by themselves. Overall, if more puzzles had combined the author's genius with the intuitive qualities of the gravity puzzle in the madhouse, this would've hands down been my winner of the competition - as it is, there's still room for improvement, so maybe it's indeed a good thing there might be a sequel somewhere down the line?" - eTux (25-Sep-2011)

"This interesting level starts with a real nasty timed run and once this one is completed (thanks for the youtube video, manarch) there is a timed platform-climb that will again take many attempts. The madness doesn’t end there either and poor Lara finds herself in an upside down world with funny camera angles, a couple of wall switches and quite a bit of back/forward tracking until she emerges in a world that looks pretty nice – a large grassy courtyard with a switch puzzle and from there into the large interior hall of the “ship” where there is some serious ninja combat and quite a bit of key hunting. The following red light tinted engine room with the multi level switch puzzle looked interesting and was not easy to so solve. I was stuck there for a long time but finally made it. Overall the level looked very nicely textured and had a decent lighting and atmosphere. The Gameplay was a strange mix of easy key hunting and extremely difficult timed runs and a very challenging puzzle. Good level, but not recommended for beginners. (1h 16min, 1 secret found)" - Blue43 (18-Sep-2011)

"Intriguing start, calm first steps while escaping the cell. I noticed the builder likes to place objects not in the middle of a tile but on the side of it. Then, the level really starts with a brutal and tight timed run through a multi-trap passage that many of the players weren't able to do. You need to be the very observant to solve it, to know where you can jump and when. Another timed run follows up a high tower, not so hard anymore, but you need to be quick. So - players, if you don't think you have much experience, rather stay away from this level! It is only for very skilled players, especially the start. What comes afterwards is rather ingenious. Another reviewer mentioned it - the level somehow reminded me a lot on "The Black Lodge" I recently played - the half circle room (that didn't look so nice when using the binoculars however) with an included flipmap was nothing but nice, you had to push a lever and then you discover the next lever is somehow upside down... Maybe getting down and climbing the ladder is a bit too often used, but when you figured out how to solve this puzzle it's absolutely fun. Few rooms later you get transported to an airship with a brilliant valve/raising block puzzle, and at the end you get another raising block puzzle where you need to raise four gaps in a tower of raising blocks in order to jump up... Ingenious. What is the let-down of this level is the rather uninspired big hall of the airship, with too many keys to find and rather boring and repetitive tasks to do. Finding the secrets is another treat in this level, as all three are very unusually hidden and being the observant is not enough, for one secret you may remember the griffin from the Jerusalem Project. Anyway, this level is very much fun if you know what to do (walkthrough close-by is recommended) and something entirely different." - manarch2 (17-Sep-2011)

"This level is very creative and original, but very difficult. It starts with the shocked timerun through a traps, trapdoors, flames, many rammer - without the limited time is this parcour difficult, as a timerun is it nearly impossible. I thank to all the member, who gave the savegame for the other player! Because the rest of the level is very very impressiv! Lara is on the airship and must solve very interesting riddles - the most interesting puzzle was for me the engine room. I have required 2 days for solve this way upstairs, but it was very interesting and challenging. Very recommendable! With or without the help by the start timerun - one MUST-Level with high quality and creativity." - masha (14-Sep-2011)

"Frustration kicks in very soon after the start and though it is made good by a very interesting gameplay after this builder should not forget that it is a BtB level where everybody should be given a fair chance to complete the levels in order to compare and pick his favourites without using other peoples savegames . The comments in the forums show that even seasoned raiders are not prepared any longer to suffer from these evil save/load sequences which make no sense but to warm the heavy heart of the builder. Otherwise this could have been a top notch game ." - Ruben (11-Sep-2011)

"You start in an asylum, with some crazy and creative geometry to convey the madness theme, along with a strange gravity room/puzzle (and a brilliant camera flyby before it). Then you move on to some sort of airship that provides another theme entirely. This second half has an impressive looking main hall and some interesting realism touches like a sauna. This is another level with a few framerate issues though, and the main hall is quite possibly the slowest area in this BTB series so far; it doesn't help that there's quite a bit of combat there. This is one level where I think the object density could have been toned down a little.
This begins with a brutal series of timed runs that are by far the hardest part; which seems a bit odd balance-wise. The rest of the level is slower and more adventure based. A persistent flaw is things that are hidden in ways which make them near invisible, and a walkthrough is pretty much needed for them, similarly, there's also a ladder that's almost unmarked too (it does have a texture, but it's one that isn't climbable elsewhere). Finally, while the concept is great, the gravity puzzle requires some heavy backtracking. While those issues hold back the gameplay somewhat, this level is full of interesting and original ideas; when reviewing Last Train to Paris I said the level was occasional trying to be too clever for it's own good, this level is similar, but it actually is as clever as it thinks it is at times. While a little flawed (and a walkthrough/help is almost mandatory) this is definitely the most original level in the contest so far." - Mman (10-Sep-2011)

"Actually, it is a mortal sin that the inclined player will confronted already at the level beginning with a difficult time run. Nevertheless, the player must first dabble in the level and get no know him. One must acquaint him slowly to his tasks, so that he can estimate whether it is really worthwhile to continue. Well, on the other side it is maybe, nevertheless, a good idea, because thus every player knows immediately what comes up to him. However, it would be a pity if the player already give up here, because then he would miss an interesting level. I'm thinking of the lying of side big perfectly circular room. Or the room with the columns which each have three levers. Or to the riddles on the airship. Well, on the airship one could jump behind the big fence. And in the big perfectly circular room one must climb one or two times too often the long ladder up or down. Moreover, the keys are hidden in the room with the Ninja ladys and the adjoining small rooms partly too well. But, nevertheless, one should play this level in any case, because, otherwise, one would miss one the most interesting level of BtB 2011." - Scottie (09-Sep-2011)

"Play can be difficult or obscure, so I played this intermittently over a period of days. I was sort of forced to take this in small doses. In the opening timed run, falling debris forces Lara to the right against flame emitters, and a gauntlet of fire, thumpers, and flopping trapdoors feels like a brutal assault. The timed run takes too many frustrating repetitions, and involves too much chance, and is not a good way to start a level. At least after the second timed run there is a reward of exchanging floor for ceiling. I once thought about something like this--I had a spaceship in mind, not an asylum--and it is a complicated effect. A lot of time and effort had to go into creating this, perhaps not evident to the casual player. Here the effect is not only done well, but has good camera work to enhance the illusion of an upside-down world. So that is a big plus. The steampunk airship has a striking design, and gameplay in the cabin quarters is comparable to a normal level, so no complaints on that score. But there is no clue how to do the valve puzzle; there is no reason why players would guess that four lower valves have to be done first. It is pretty easy to waste a couple days going nowhere with these valves, as the temptation is to start turning valves as they become available. At the level end there is a wall lever puzzle and I simply could not believe that no camera shots were provided to show the results of Lara's actions as levers opened up climbing gaps. Everything indicates that this is an accomplished builder who has mastered advanced techniques; therefore, one has to conclude that "player friendliness" is simply not in her or his lexicon. A lot of the areas are too dark. To recount the good: a remarkable prank on gravity, a well-designed airship, a technically sophisticated lever puzzle--but is it worth it without a walkthrough and maybe a savegame to avoid that initial timed run?" - dmdibl (07-Sep-2011)

"Well, it’s not quite the strangest place Lara has ever found a crowbar, but it’s definitely up there (literally and figuratively). Actually, Lara would probably have done better to stay in her room because once she ventures forth the madness really does begin, or at least it was doing my head in initially, with all the strange camera angles, turned around rooms and general weirdness. Clever, but I’m not sure I entirely enjoyed it. Anyway, once aboard the airship it all settled down a bit and became, for me, more enjoyable with some good enemy action and really ingenious puzzles. It’s almost certainly the most challenging of all the entries in this year’s competition and obviously aimed at very experienced players. You might just want to wait for the walkthrough." - Jay (06-Sep-2011)

"It's possible that enough people hate it. It reminds myself the surrealism of "Black Lodge". The pistons puzzle is awesome. A great personality from this level. It has soul." - requiemsoul (05-Sep-2011)

"Some good and less good moments in this level, my favorite part is the ingenious puzzle in the machine-room but I cannot say that I liked the 1st timed run (you can made it only you're lucky because it's almost impossible to calculate the timing between the trap-doors and the stomper from the start). There is also a battle with around ten ninjas and a extra-weapon would be welcome, but even if the level is not large, the secrets seems very hard to find. The graphics are rather good, though the level is generally too dark for this kind of game and you need to use the binoculars too often for my taste." - Jerrod (05-Sep-2011)

"This is such a difficult level to review. It’s technically brilliant (as far as a numbty like me can see) but it puts me in mind of the proddy gunslinger in the Old West who goes into town and takes on the Marshall ‘just to see who’s best’. There’s an air of competition with the builder making everything ‘just possible’, but only if the player is very, very good. Well, I’m fairly good and I’m afraid that I found the whole process of trying again and again and AGAIN AND YET AGAIN both frustrating and tedious. No, I don’t believe in a level being for the lowest common denominator, far from it, there should be levels for all skill types and, if this level had been released normally then I’d have been all for it, but to include it in the Back to Basics completion will mean that an awful lot of players will not be able to complete the competition satisfactorily which sort of defeats the whole object. OK, rant over. The level is both imaginative and very clever, utilising features that I don’t think I’ve ever seen before (but hope to see again). The textures are well used giving a true ‘Steampunk’ feel to the whole level and the lighting is excellent throughout, gloomy and atmospheric but enough to see by. The secrets were nicely sneaky and the enemies came in batches large enough to make life ‘interesting’. The gameplay: well there’s something of a dichotomy here because sometimes it was too clever for its own good. Players don’t want to examine fifty plants to see if there’s a key in one, or not (it really get boring after twenty or so), and why have one bush that’s flammable so the player has to try all the others (this is on top of the ship and what did it do?). The puzzles were good, especially the last one with the towers, I particularly liked the way it was split into two halves. The agility testing was fairly straight forward if you discount the lack of discernable climbing textures. The timed runs were difficult and tight and I think that having two long ones coming consecutively so close to the start might be off-putting to some players. This is definitely one for players who like a challenge." - Diz (04-Sep-2011)

"This is without doubt the most original and creative level in the contest, but also one of the most difficult. The timed run through a trap corridor near the start is quite a shocker and there are two more trapdoor runs just after it. I hope, that players take the help in the forums in form of videos or saves and at least don´t miss the rest of the level, which is really worth the raid. It follows a directional gravity puzzle (really, you have to play it) and finally get to a completely other place: an airship. It follows a very nice switch puzzle with raising blocks and a hunt for some (too) well hidden objects. Then you get down to the cabins of the ninja crew, who are very angry about this. Finally you have to solve one of the most clever and well constucted puzzles,I have seen so far. Very, very cool! Then follows a starange end sequence. So alltogether really a high quality level on the difficult side! Only some small things to complain about for me: the timed run at the start is may be a bit to shocking for a contest entry, the too well hidden objects and a not rightly marked ladder. So don´t be afraid, use the help and play this excellent and original level!" - Raymond (04-Sep-2011)
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