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Level: TR Forge Advent Calendar 2011 - Messy Christmas back home search
Author(s): Codo
total rating:9.19 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Capt. Abbey 8 9 9 9
Diz 10 10 9 9
DJ Full 9 10 9 8
dmdibl 8 9 9 9
eTux 8 10 9 8
Jay 9 9 10 10
Jose 7 10 9 9
manarch2 8 10 8 9
MichaelP 8 10 8 8
misho98 10 10 10 10
MrJavi94 7 9 9 9
Nuri 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 9 10 9
Ryan 9 10 9 9
Shandroid 10 10 10 9
TifaNazah 10 10 10 9
category averages
(16 reviews)
8.81 9.69 9.25 9.00

Reviewer's comments

"Impressive new objects and enemies. Te secret shields are not very hidden. The environments are well created and beautiful, but the music in the piano room was not very nice. I never liked very much the mansion levels, 'cause usually the player only needs to go from place to place looking for keys or objects and pulling switches to open doors. Evenmore sometimes it's difficult here to know where to use the new objects or where to go 'cause the absence of cameras. But there are some areas with creative tasks, like the unicorn track or the cellar where the bunch of keys are; players will enjoy. Even for a Christmas level, Lara will need to overcome many dangerous situations. Worth to play and recommended." - Jose (11-Sep-2017)

"Lara has neglected to get the necessities prepared for the Christmas season, so she goes on an unforgettable journey round her mansion and the grounds. And what a wild and wacky ride it is. There are so many brilliant custom objects here to list that I'll just name a few: a backscratcher (Hello Kitty edition), trollhead boulder, Nyan-Cat wraith, unicorn and chickens. It is the standard mansion layout, but I absolutely loved it (even if the awful Christmas tune renditions got on my nerves somewhat)." - Ryan (28-Mar-2017)

"Oh dear... I never played such a funny game before. This level is awesome!!! The gameplay is really great and I LOVE the puzzles. The custom objects and enemies are so good made, especially the colourful stars. When I saw santa running around drunk with his bottle or the nyan-cat, I nearly fell of my chair. The atmosphere in this is just perfect! A really cool christmas and adventure feeling. The lighting and the textures are also great. There is really nothing in this game, that I didn't like. I would definitely play this custom level on christmas." - Nuri (13-Apr-2015)

"Yeah sure, of course it's a battery operated backscratcher Lara *wink, wink, nudge, nudge* - like we don't know you have certain needs to satisfy! With that I think I've set the tone for the review - but don't blame me - one can't say even such cheeky stuff is unexpected in a game where Lara is literally dying when in smelling distance of her bathroom because she forgot to flush, Santa Claus is too drunk to fulfill his duties, where references are made to the Nyan cat, "Robot Unicorn attack", trollheads, ghost busters and possibly many more funny stuff that went right over my head. There are heaps of things to put a smile on your face - thawing Winston from his icy prison (he must've been writhing in agony by that fireplace - if you've had body parts freeze in winter to the extent you did not feel them at all, you'll know what I mean), texturing a spot the author left out, the Grim Reaper reading a book whilst Lara masters death-defying tricks in front of his eyes, and many more. At the same time - this being a Lara's house game - you see familiar settings that, while overall pleasing aesthetically, are not really standing out from the crowd, and the gameplay - based too much around running around, finding the next item and so on. The author does a good job in pointing out how most of the unorthodox stuff works in the game, but I either must've missed the hint in some sections or it was a bit oblique - namely how is cooking the chicken related to thawing Winston, where to use Lara's... erm... backstcratcher, where the grenades had to be used apart from blowing up your opponents. If I may go a bit esoteric on you - my prediction is that those setbacks are partly due to the house setting, and not necessarily because the connection could not be made in of itself. But those are the only complaints I have for this imaginative, humorous and challenging raid. Found 5 of 6 secrets, so might just return some day for the one I missed." - eTux (02-May-2012)

"A wonderful "home" type level to be played through. I didn't enjoy so much the gameplay and my point of view of this very good level is that is has a very beatiful enemies like those harpies; the objects are almost perfect and they're placed amazingly well. And as for the lighting & texturing, almost perect for me too. Highly recommended, overall for those who are in love with Croft Manor type levels." - MrJavi94 (02-Apr-2012)

"Crazy Town would be a tough act for any Christmas level to follow, but when I loaded up Messy Christmas and saw that horrified look on Lara's face (no doubt caused by a truly abysmal rendition of "O Holy Night"), I knew I would be in for an unforgettable seasonal raid. The environs are not far behind the stunning detail presented in Crazy Town, and there seemed to be quite a bit more to do here than in that level. About halfway through, the gameplay abandons all pretense of being all about peace and mercy mild, because you have to navigate a room with spikes, swinging blades and flame throwers. The enemies are imaginatively textured, however, so that baby dinosaurs become chickens (come to think of it, they're not all that different biologically), wraiths become flying cats, and jeeps double as unicorns (complete with reverse gear). That timed ride on the unicorn was quite exhilerating, and the video provided by scottie was very helpful. A wonderfully inventive level, but I still prefer the charm of Crazy Town. We raiders have definitely been blessed during the current Christmas holidays. High recommendations." - Phil (13-Feb-2012)

"Simply amazing! Awesome and original puzzles, awesome christmasy felling and the music that was used is...awesome! The use of Nyan cat and trollface were very original.I lol-ed a lot of times while I was playing the level. Textures and lighting - just perfect! The dragon was also cute...danger, but cute! Definitely recommended!" - misho98 (10-Feb-2012)

"A truly Christmas game, the one to remind You about presence of God... Because You will think "Oh, my God" many times while playing it. As soon as You finish, You will either search the whole Youtube for themes used here, or You will have a sweet reminiscence of the most catchy videos You already know - including "Always" by Erased, "Trololo" by Edward Khil and even Nyan Cat himself. Some features have been added to Croft Manor surroundings - a platforming area, a new maze and even a little Sudoku riddle zone. Basements are spiced up with few, yet challenging traps, one of which is really annoying - so time it well or suffer a pain! Unfortunately, I liked the buggy version more than alpha one - because of possibility of non-linear jumping here and there, and ability to finish the game alternative way - by shattering the ice. It can be felt in the fixed version a lot of gameplay routes have been inverted, and the path is put together in haste - what makes getting rid of the wraith very annoying. Fortunately for final versio, a game-stopping door are removed - so even though You waste some time for backtracking, You might earn a lot of it by a removed possibility of replaying from the beginning. Presence of approx. same amount of failed and succeeded changes prompts me to rate the alpha version just like I would rate the beta one. Enemies, and objects of course get a full 10 - after seeing all this epic stuff: (CAUTION, SPOILERS AHEAD!!!) mummy Evil Christmas Tree, riding a robotic horse, avoiding a Drunk Santa and finally burning Lara's Christmas Tree (SPOILERS END HERE), which are only a tip of the iceberg... or a flying-candyberg, I was LMAOOFROTBing while ROTFLIDHing for a long time... and the jeep song still catches my attention, as well as the introducing theme Codo forbid us to listen to. SUMMARY: You played Deep Down Below? So forget it and prepare for something compl... or no, no, don't prepare at all. Just play." - DJ Full (14-Jan-2012)

"I always admire Codo's technical ability and rather unique style of creativity and it comes in spades again in this quirky Xmas adventure of a different kind. The special moments are too many to mention in a review, but certainly the unicorn stands out, as does the general reworked bunch of enemies throughout. I can not say though that I had a lot of fun playing the level as such, as it was more of an ordeal for me to get through than a fun raid. Aside from the occasional smile or chuckle, some of the humour got a little lost on me and after all this is a Home level with all the features I hate about a Home level - endless running around trying to find all the necessary tasks that need to be done. I even stumbled across all the 6 secrets in that search, but needed the walkthrough for 2 or 3 other crucial activities. And I thought many of the rooms seemed rather square and empty, as if built without much care or in a rushed mode - certainly not with the great attention to detail that all the enemies and some of the objects have. So in the end a bit of a mixed bag for me, but a very special level that has to be seen to be believed either way." - MichaelP (03-Jan-2012)

"Once more we search Lara's manor, but this is when Christmas preparations have gotten out of hand in Lara's absence. The results really is sort of a confused mess. Maybe most players will identify with the hectic aspects of the season. The designs and wacky play are done by an exceptionally talented author, who at other times has produced levels of beauty and grace. And of course only someone who is highly professional could have created all the varied effects here. I know this is meant to be campy and humorous, but when some things are intended to be bad for sly humor, then a mean-spirited reviewer might see them just as bad. Such as a god-awful Christmas carol rendition. The player is sometimes treated as a chump. Such as the unicorn racecourse with its welcoming sign, "You will fail." Or the offer to have Lara pull a chain and "End this nonsense [cow manure] now!" I thought that might be a good idea, but it results in Lara getting fried. There are a number of good things here, such as slowly moving Christmas tree monsters with extended branches, and the end ride with the unicorn seems to have generous timing, but I was often at a loss as to how next to proceed. Anyway other reviewers loved this, so players should play this for themselves, as they may find it uproariously funny." - dmdibl (01-Jan-2012)

"What an inventive, hilarious and completely fun xmas level! Codo is an exceptionally talented builder whose levels are so very good. It was fun to play a joke xmas level and not be turned off by it. I was able to complete most of the level without help, except for one jump to a monkeyswing, which was impossible for me to do. Thanks to Scottie, I was able to finish this great level. I don't know if everyone had trouble with this area, but I tried everything I could think of to no avail. Everything else was just perfect and I just couldn't deduct for my shortcomings. Music was great and I had a good laugh at the off tune xmas song. It was nice to hear one of my all-time faves, Erasure in a custom level. Very nicely chosen. I adored this level and I really hope many players will give this one a try, you won't regret it!" - Shandroid (01-Jan-2012)

"No wonder this level is good, as it was made by a prolific and very talented builder. It would take too much time to specify all the different funny objects used in this level, but believe me they make this level incredibly fun. At the start, I thought this level would be rather dull, as progression was linear and easy, but the quality raises successively to the fantastic mushroom puzzle at the end. The negative sides of this level are clearly that there are many issues, even with the bugfix version (I hope another version will be updated), there are many unintended shortcuts and stuck moments.
There were a few enemies in this level, but they all looked so funny I didn't care, e.g. the fish, the dragon, trees and Santa as an alcoholic. The objects used here were - as I said - fantastic, maybe there could have been more in the main hall just for decoration, but that's a minor complaint. The six secrets were so easy to find (well, except the last) that I think this was fully intended as another joke.
Another bigger complaint I had was the repetitive sound in this level with many loops and I think there could be much more camera hints, as there were a lot of keyholes and actions and the players might run through the manor without knowing what to do, this is especially needed as some of the tasks simply are new to every player, such as shooting the ice with the grenade launcher for example. The texturing was faultless, as every missing texture was fully planned to be exactly so.
Summary: A fantastic level in terms of innovation and humour that was a little faulty at times, but it's highly recommended nonetheless." - manarch2 (31-Dec-2011)

"I originally started this level with the ‘un-fixed’ version and had every problem that were mentioned on the thread, crashing, freezing, dead end (with the texture pickup) and even music playing after I’d closed it down which could only be got rid of by re-booting my computer! To any-one who encountered these problems and stopped playing (as I did), I thoroughly recommend that you re-download it and play again. If you don’t, you will be missing out on one excellent level which, now the bugs are fixed, runs smoothly and well. The gameplay is quirky and wonderful, the settings magical and round every corner it seems there’s something to make you smile (especially the harmless, big, goofy fish). The unicorn run, or should I say canter, is a joy and if you played it like I did, once to activate the door and once for the speed run, you’ll get twice as much fun out of it. Lurching Christmas tree, drunken Santa, homicidal toadstools, what more could you ask for at Christmas? I challenge you to play this without grinning!" - Diz (28-Dec-2011)

"Best. Mansion. Level. Ever. This is just brilliant – highly original objects, hilarious artwork, quirky music, all set in a really lovely looking version of the traditional mansion. If there is anyone out there who has occasionally felt guilty for succumbing to the temptation of locking Winston in the deep freeze, now is your chance to make amends. Judging from the sound file accompanying the secrets and the fact that the wraith pursuing Lara looks suspiciously like Nyan Cat, I’m betting Codo spends far too much time laughing at lolcats (and so do I). There are transporters dotted around the mansion, so Lara does get to visit other areas. This is no peaceful, easy Advent level as there are enemies and one or two rather challenging agility tests, but it certainly is a fun holiday level and Lara does get to ride an enchanting unicorn, so there is definitely magic in the air." - Jay (27-Dec-2011)

"What a feeling - I would never ever think that I could rate a joke level so high - but what can I say, I replayed the level 3 times, after the first time... Loved the totally crazy parts, mostly the robot unicorn... Loved how Winston was there but not trying to run after Lara. All over I believed nearly everthing was as funny and as perfect as a not serious meant level can be, only lightning could be better in a few places(mostly in dark areas, where the shadow was to strong and sharp like above the aquarium room). That's why I couldn't give full 10 points for lightning and textures. But apart from that, can't say nearly anything bad about the level. Personally I did not like the short part with the traps, but as it takes maybe around 5% of the elsewhere perfect gameplay it's fine with me. Plus I love in general Croft Manor levels, so I couldn't imagine any better location for this kind of gameplay. Worth playing and replaying!" - TifaNazah (26-Dec-2011)

"I never cease to be amazed by what Lara keeps in her mansion, and I had never had an awkward moment in Tomb Raider until she reached into that cupboard next to her bed! I wondered if the builder was trolling when they made it possible to avoid a certain part of the obstacle course by going elsewhere, but I was very annoyed yet relieved when I finally figured it out. Sometimes the gameplay was simply exasperating (when I saw that trollface I knew there would be trouble) but the level was quite beautiful. It was very cute yet full of dark humour. I was happy that it has a horse, which is a vehicle I always wished Lara would use, even though it isn't exactly what I was picturing and she rides like a cowboy! I loved the title song and the evil Christmas tree. It was sophisticated and silly and totally unique." - Capt. Abbey (26-Dec-2011)
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