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Level: LB Advent Calendar 2011 - The Golden Christmas Tree back home search
Author(s): Raidermatty
total rating:8.97 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Diz 8 9 9 8
DJ Full 7 9 9 9
dmdibl 9 9 9 10
fox86 10 9 10 10
Gerty 7 9 9 9
Janny 9 10 10 10
Jay 8 9 9 9
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 5 8 7 9
Josey 7 9 9 9
manarch2 8 8 10 9
NightShadow 10 10 10 10
Pablito_it 9 9 10 9
Phil 7 9 8 9
Shandroid 9 10 10 10
TheStig 8 9 9 9
category averages
(16 reviews)
8.19 9.13 9.25 9.31

Reviewer's comments

"After firing 8000 bullets at Santa to verify his immortality I returned from a cup of tea and took over the controls. The castle is overwhelming but one level is exterior, another is interior and I liked how instantly clear it was. Unfortunately, it didn't help much - soon every door was open and every location was visited but I could barely progress, because of frequent focus absence. The low crate puzzle feels standalone, so I tried to solve it for an hour before I read it's unsolvable without the torch - very hard to guess since the pushblock steals attention from the torch passage, which looks like nothing more than a fast return way so it would be hard to guess even if nothing else was in the room. Another issue is places you want to explore with the torch but you cannot retrieve the torch from. Even if you have a torch left you're then forced to leveljump without it - even though I read the warning I had to reload an earlier save, losing about ten minutes but it could be worse. So the real problem isn't torch number but the torch depot location, and the question is why there's only one in a game with so many trees, each one having a branch. Next on the list, pushables: it's another time when Lara enters a magic castle to discover tons of them - almost every room has Semerkhet cones or crates, some used in twin couples to make them pointlessly long. This aside, back to focus issues, it's unacceptable to require phasing through such object on the way to solution - the number of newbies solving that part will be close to zero. Even less acceptable, the library key is an example of either carelessness or puzzle cruelty, in any case to an extent I myself wouldn't be capable of - I visited that room six times, always missing the item, but even with the walkthru I still couldn't notice the thing unless from its square and looking directly at it, because it not just blends with the ribbon but also sinks in the box, somehow not a shatter it should be, easy to make, much easier to play. After wasting so much time even minor issues like cameras unbreakable without save/load become ridiculously annoying and I cannot even give usual extra points for innovation because the only new object - the CD - has easily fixable misrotations, and the only inventive puzzle - the guide - is buggy. What I awarded is atmosphere, for well foreshadowed yet still unexpected figure climb, and secrets, for the most creative one I have seen this year, even though the game got me so tired I gave up looking for it and just read where it is. Last but absolutely not least, a very good thing is to see Mattia has finally learnt how to reduce backtracking - compared to his initial works it's minimal and I hope this trend will continue." - DJ Full (17-Mar-2017)

"Had to play this again as I hardly could remember a thing apart that one had to be cautious with the Torch as the builder only gave us three and warned us about how to use it wisely. The part I really didn’t like was that nasty timed underwater lever. I had to borrow a savedgame, as no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get it. But for the rest the whole level oozes Christmas set in a winter wonderland. It is quite a long adventure as exploring is a must, so be prepared to spend a few hours behind your computer but it is well worth it. But please Mattia next time go easy on the tight timed runs, as that does ruin somewhat the fun of it." - Gerty (08-Jan-2016)

"This is one of those levels where you always have the sensation of being in another world during the whole game...and in effects so it is! You are in the Christmas Dimension, searching for the mystical Golden Christmas Tree: a beautiful tree's statue made of gold. It's here that the magic of the Christmas period starts. The scenaries are incredible! The castle is very well built in each of its corner! There are a lot of details and lights and textures are always perfect! The game contains a total of three levels. The first two are connected, the third one is a little bit harder than the other but with a lot of puzzles and some nice ideas that I'm sure you will find particular! For example, the giant statue of Santa Claus it's simply funny and beautiful. But It could have had better textures...By the way, the atmosphere is totally christmassy and the musics are amazing! I enjoyed very much the Enya's one. Apart from some nasty bugs, and some difficult tasks, this level it's simply perfect! And I'm sure that it's a must to play during the Christmas Holidays! Higly recommended. Stefano." - NightShadow (31-Dec-2013)

"I had no idea what I was biting off when I downloaded and fired up what I thought would be a routine Christmas level. Three hours and twenty-two minutes of net gaming time later I finally hit the finish trigger, and along the way I experienced a generally satisfying but strangely uneven raid. The music selection is appropriate for the season, but it got on my nerves in places (particularly that clanging bell), to the extent that I finally turned it 'way down in my settings so I could enjoy the more normal ambient sounds for the rest of the game. Dmdibl has provided a remarkably detailed walkthrough that provides ample warning of the several trouble spots, and how to get past them. As a result, I was never stuck behind one-way windows, and I knew ahead of time that a routine-appearing standing jump to grab a roof was going to cause me some problems. However, no walkthrough can get you past a timed swim if it's flawed in its execution. The problem lies in the fact that the cut scene plays each time you pull the underwater lever (contrary to most timed runs, where the cut scene plays only once), coupled by the fact that you have to wait until exiting the cut scene via the look key before you can make Lara perform a flip turn. If it weren't for these obstacles, the allotted time for conquering the timed swim would have been fair to the player. As it was, my fastest times always found me a second or two away from the closing door, forcing me to use the posted savegame in order to continue. And that, I'm afraid, will cost the builder a couple of points in the gameplay department. And the angel sequence, which seemed to give some players fits, worked like clockwork for me, thanks no doubt to the painstaking instructions provided in the walkthrough. I share the sentiments of some of the other reviewers, in that I was ready for the game to end when it finally did. But to the builder's credit, he has provided a scenic adventure that I found a delight to play, and except for the few matters mentioned above I can recommend it heartily." - Phil (09-Feb-2012)

"Really a big effort to build this complete adventure; well choosen melodies, nice environment, some good puzzles and more... On the other hand, there are some features I can't understand in a good adventure like this: glasses you can trespass and get stucked forever, cameras in the library never return to Lara (reload), the ghost always trapped against the pillars... Also, to give the final touch there are very tricky tasks like the diagonal standing jump to the roof (at least twice) or the insane UW timed switch in the church level. I think there is enough difficulty run around huge areas and remember all you leave at your back so you don't turn fool later exploring the same areas again. Only for expert players who love hard challenges." - Jose (07-Feb-2012)

"A beautiful level, full of good things, actions and places. I would only observe that some very difficult sequences, as the timed swim and one boring ice jump from a triangular platform to another, were unnecessary and annoyed me very much. I also didn't like Lara's ability of going through iced windows only to be stuck at the other side. We have also a quite boring library maze, and perhaps the gameplay was a little confusing. But the Christmas atmosphere was magnificent (note the sky), the lighting was very good, the puzzles, clever and fun, and I certainly recommend this game." - Josey (22-Dec-2011)

"I think there's a whole artistry behind building the right atmosphere for a level, and the strong mood crafted for this level hits you as soon as the menu comes up. And I absolutely loved it. Xmas related levels are always a bit tricky in my book: add too much and the effect can be really cheesy; add too little and you're stuck with a snow level like any other. I believe that what Raidermatty has done here is balance out everything just right. Your senses aren't assaulted by constant carols or over-the-top decorations, and it feels natural. You're just thrown into this little adventure with no clear goal on the table, just exploration. And it's always exciting when you finally figure out how to access another part of the castle or when you get past a puzzle. I only wish that more of the gameplay would have taken place outside in the snow. Also, major bonus points for the music. I was never a fan of carols, but I really enjoyed the songs used in the beginning flyby and the menu." - Janny (21-Dec-2011)

"This is a very beautiful and fun addition to the Advent calendar with few problems. The level looks and sounds stunning, and gameplay is eventful and interesting. There were two issues that I am sure have been mentioned, one, being the short box bug having to be used to move on, and two, being a buggy angel ghost. I figured out the short box just fine, but the ghost was a problem for me and lots of other people. A remark about how not to get stuck here is necessary for the readme. I liked the first part of the level a bit better than the second part, and I especially enjoyed the ringing of the bell and music by Enya. I want to thank Raidermatty for making this wonderful level, and don't get too down about players being upset by a few areas, just make sure to give everyone a heads up about these areas in the readme. Very nice level, highly recommended!!" - Shandroid (21-Dec-2011)

"Excellent, excellent, excellent piece of work, perhaps the best Christmas level (as in really Christmassy, not simply released around Christmas time) I've ever played. No enemies, no traps, but what are they for, anyway, in a Tomb Raider game that features such truly beautiful settings coupled with very suitable music and loads of great, imaginative puzzles? I can only complain about the virtually impossible swim/run timed episode somewhere in part 2/level 3, but I suppose most of us players will too. That was indeed excessive but not enough to spoil the party. The ghost in the church, the record, the wise use of pushables throughout, the giant Santa, the torches and so much more I can't even remember just like that are all that's needed for a time well spent while continuously scratching your head. Hence my four most well deserved tens." - Jorge22 (20-Dec-2011)

"This is a very beautiful Advent level, with stunning scenery and imposing rooms. Just as well really, since you will get to do quite a lot of exploring. There are no enemies obviously, but plenty of enjoyable puzzles, torch work and, mainly, readily achievable agility tests, with the very definite exception of a really tight timed swim (but I am admittedly a rotten swimmer). It can be confusing at times, but well worth a few trips to the stuck threads, as the overall experience is wonderful and, hey, Lara gets to climb a giant Santa – what could be more festive! Highly recommended." - Jay (19-Dec-2011)

"Beautiful Christmas level created by Raidermatty. This game is really great, very detailed as are the textures, environments, puzzles. I enjoyed very much in play, especially because Raider has made ​​every area in every detail not forget to leave gift boxes, Christmas trees and other decorations scattered throughout the castle. The puzzles are feasible, although at first I was attacked by "panic" :D. Remember to always keep the flashlight handy. The secrets are many, since I have only found two, I also believe they well hidden. I liked the music very well, very pleasant and well designed. A big thanks to Raider for this beautiful Christmas level!!!" - fox86 (19-Dec-2011)

"This is a three part treat in which the player goes back and forth from parts 1 and 2 until complete then on to part 3. By the time I came to play it part 3 had come out so I found it better to include part 3 tr4 file to make a seamless game. The gameplay is fairly straight-forward, mainly consisting of finding keys and switches and lighting candles (I do think that builders using lighted candles as switches should make ALL candles lightable). Considering how playable all the agility was in this level, there’s a surprisingly difficult ‘pixel-perfect’ jump to a roof and a tightly timed swim/sprint combo that’s great fun. The only other part that may give trouble is getting the ghost to follow you; all mine wanted to do was run into walls! All three parts are well made throughout although there seems to be little variance in the lighting which makes the indoors scenes similar to the outdoors. Overall a very enjoyable Christmas romp. Recommended playing." - Diz (18-Dec-2011)

"This is surely the best thing the author has done: the three levels look beautiful and Christmassy. Despite the confusion a few mentioned on the forum, I found play to be well thought out by the author. Lara starts out with nothing to do outside the castle, and still finds nothing to do in the first two areas she sees inside the castle: the library and a side hall. But once past this tour, there is a sort of logical progression as Lara opens up gates, and finds the torch and uses it. (I would mention a problem in the early side hall, especially since players soon encounter it when looking for something to do. There are "windows" that Lara can step through and be trapped, unable to get back out. Those "windows" should have looked like solid glass windows, and should have been made so Lara couldn't step through.) Lara often travels back and forth between the first two levels. This opens up possibilities for torch puzzles in a separate wing of the castle. As the author warns, Lara must take the torch with her when passing between levels, or the torch will disappear. At one spot, when Lara acquires the roof key, the torch is going to be lost--there is no way around this. So Lara is left with only two torches. The cut between levels can be abrupt and unexpected, so it requires care not to lose a torch. A couple more extra torches could be added to these two levels. The one spot that slowed me down was the hiding place near a Christmas tree for one key. Each of these three levels takes about an hour and a half to play, four and a half hours total for the adventure, and in huge complex levels such a hiding place seemed too small. Overall, for the first two levels (which were released as Part 1), I was impressed with the professional appearance, the varied gameplay, and a number of well-done puzzles, a stand out being the torch/staircase/block puzzle. There are impressive scenic moments, as when Lara is outside the castle, perched on a high floating ledge watching a large bell ringing in a tower. These two levels make for an enjoyable three hours of play, and for real satisfaction when Lara finally makes her way to the third and last level (released as Part 2). For me this level seemed more uneven. Lara has to climb up castle exteriors, which again look excellent. But there is an oddly difficult jump. It seems charming that Lara has to lead a ghost around, but the ghost may lose interest and cease to follow. There is a difficult timed run, which would be considered good in other levels, but here feels too demanding. The enormous Santa Claus didn't quite work for me, sorry, although it must have been hard work to construct. By then I was ready for the level to end, but there is more busy work to conclude. I liked the visual aspects of the castle, climbing up to scenic heights. There is plenty here that is excellent, although maybe the author didn't recognize that players might be getting a little weary. Perhaps because I was tired, I felt there should have been more cameras to improve the flow of play. Still, a fitting ending for a memorable Christmas outing. Thanks to the author for these wonderful levels, which are highly recommended for all." - dmdibl (18-Dec-2011)

"Raidermatty, despite his young age amazes us more and more in every level which releases, many improvements demonstrated both from technical and graphic. In this story, so far the best Christmas of all LB Advent kalendar, proposing an adventure in an imaginary Castle divided into two parts, the first part we find ancient coins that open access to the second part, the church. This is the part that I liked more, spectacular from the graphic point of view, gameplay with many actions to be performed, riddles and demanding parts. Very addictive, sounds atmosphere and pleasant and excellent textures, good even the 6 secrets, 3 for each part, especially that of the swan crystal that is not easy to destroy. Overall an excellent level and well matched with the Christmas period." - Pablito_it (18-Dec-2011)

"The Floating Castle / Inside the Castle (7-8-10-9) The first part of this levelset starts with a breathtaking cutscene of the floating castle, but without exploring the village you directly enter the next level. Shortly afterwards, you notice the two levels are very often interconnected, so it would have been maybe better to provide more torches by the builder, to prevent having no torches anymore. The main task in these first two levels is getting two Ancient Stones, and there is a huge variety of tasks to do in order to get them. The castle is very nicely designed in terms of objects and textures, with some CS objects used nicely in here, but in my opinion in some parts of the game the gameplay lacks substance, as there are many, many levers to pull to go on and I missed puzzles until the two globe ones, which seemed quite difficult first, but were very easy in fact. I didn't really like the library part where one has to search for five candles to be lit, it was too easy to get lost in the passages, and one of the keys was too sneakily hidden. 80 minutes.
The Church (9-8-9-9) This level, released as part two of this levelset, was clearly the most concise level in this game. There are a lot of small puzzles to solve and this level was pure fun to play through. Apart from a rather odd curve jump up to the roofs (unless this game is made by a Japanese builder), this level flows nicely, centred around a hub room. The ghost puzzle was ingenious (luckily I have had Latin in school to understand it) but there also were some little things to delight the players, as climbing up to the church with the torch and lighting the candles there, using the disk to play some Xmas music, and again some smaller globe and pushable puzzles. The area with the huge Santa was architecturally brilliant, but on the top it rather seemed a little odd with the invisible walls and the thus created end-of-world feeling, and maybe a little reduced version would have been enough, as some of the textures slightly looked strange this way. Another area had some textures on the walls that could have been divided, not that they are streched, but it just would look a bit better if some of the textures didn't raise up to the ceiling.
The end was of course a small magic moment and the storyline was fulfilled nicely after 60 minutes in this part and altogether 2 hours 20. Highly recommended if you search for a enemy-free, festive level." - manarch2 (17-Dec-2011)

"A really nice Christmas release here from Raidermatty. While not without it's challenges, it's a mostly relaxing adventure set amongst some really beautiful quiet and pleasing architecture. The ambience here is pretty much perfect, though I might of dropped just a hint of white distance fog in to enhance the effect. Texturing for the most part is also exemplary and the environments as a whole hold together very well. Split into 2 parts as part of the advent calendar release the first two levels are expansive but it's relatively easy to make progress through them. The 2nd part (and final part) is equally as well constructed but does move the gameplay difficulty up a notch (particularly one under-water switch/timed run which proved very difficult. These small detractions aside I think the Golden Christmas tree is a great release. I'd encourage all to download it and give it a try (and make use of the friendly forums here if you get stuck!). All in all I netted 4 hours 47 minutes of raid-time, which in itself is not to be sniffed at! Thanks to RaiderMatty for a great Christmas release. Highly recommended, Stiggy." - TheStig (17-Dec-2011)
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