Level: Caves of Manaus (Demo) back home search
Author(s): raiderromero
total rating:6.62 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Blue43 6 6 7 7
Diz 7 8 7 8
DJ Full 5 7 7 5
dmdibl 7 8 8 7
Dutchy 4 5 7 6
EssGee 7 6 6 6
Gerty 5 7 7 6
Janny 6 6 8 7
JayHannel 5 6 5 7
JesseG 7 5 6 6
Jose 5 5 7 8
manarch2 7 8 8 7
Mary 10 8 9 7
MichaelP 8 9 9 8
Mman 6 6 4 4
Mrshina 4 7 5 5
Orbit Dream 5 6 6 7
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 7 6 6 7
Steven Svorticher 7 7 7 7
TheStig 5 7 7 7
category averages
(21 reviews)
6.24 6.71 6.86 6.67

Reviewer's comments

"Even after awarding an extra point for meta2tr usage, half score for the looks is as much as I can give. Seriously, this is a point missed, it's all a grey trap corridor so I often felt like playing a Crystal Dynamics level. Appreciated the secret design, it's really nice to get rewarded the faster the more you care. Appreciated the sound design despite of some off-pitched samples and the chance attribute on spikes. Appreciated the highlight of event importance with lines and Jenni's voice, although making the artifact room just an unpickable decoration is a huge NONONONONO to me. Thankfully, demos can be fixed... and there's a lot to fix. Not really recommended." - DJ Full (09-May-2018)

"This was certainly a hectic experience I won't forget, but not one I'll likely ever replay. I had to use the walkthrough to bypass some of the more sadistic trap sequences as some required far too much precise positioning for my liking, and things like the torturous gas sequence and the modified voice effects were a bit overdone, although I personally liked the experience bar displays. The surroundings are fine, but a bit dark and repetitive after a while. Certainly a good try, but it just failed to be another enjoyable raid after some time. I can see opinions differ though..." - Ryan (03-Nov-2016)

"I generally scan the reviews before playing a level, and what I read about this one led me to expect a sadistic and frustrating ordeal. Granted, one's perspective is somewhat skewed when he's able to play in god mode, but I found this to be an exhilarating exercise that's quite within the reach of all somewhat experienced players. The only sequence that gave me a real problem was the one where you slide and jump from a series of sloped surfaces before ending with a curved jump to safety, but I finally managed it after a number of tries. David Dibble has given us a thoroughly documented walkthrough laced with his humorous observations about the futility of it all (on the assumption that one is playing by the book), but out of all the reviews I have to agree most with Michael's assessment of this level. Indeed, the occasion is rare when my scores are lower than his, and they probably wouldn't be if the builder had deigned to brighten the surroundings a bit more than he did, but I feel that this maiden (and sole) effort deserves more praise than it has received to date. Recommended to those who enjoy a fair and brisk challenge." - Phil (21-Sep-2016)

"This one just didn't gel with me I'm afraid. The author is clearly talented, but sometimes 'less' is more. The embellishments on the interface all look nice, but they don't really add much to the experience of the gameplay. I don't know about other reviewers, but when I play levels I want to become lost in the world, not have constant pop-ups & strange sounds remind me that I'm playing a game. Some of the sounds (like Lara's high-pitched squeaks & moans) are just out of place too. To the author's credit the environments themselves are very nicely constructed, if a little overly dark. Music is nicely chosen, especially during tension moments. There's allot of skill here, but I think they need to take a look at the difficulty curve to make it more accessible to a broader range of players. It's almost brutally unforgiving in terms of timings, accuracy of jumping & conservation of ammo & medi-packs As it stands it's fine a technical demonstration but I suspect that allot of people who download this demo, may well just give up with frustration. Sorry but this one I can't recommend as it stands. Stiggy." - TheStig (26-Feb-2014)

"This level first caught my attention for all the wrong reasons when some screenshots appeared of it featuring objects from my own levels. Strangely, the author had not asked for my permission to use any of these objects. A big no-no at the time. However, moving on, this has now been sorted out, and I guess it's a compliment that so many of these BTS objects have been featured here. Trouble is that several of the objects are of African origin, yet this level is supposed to be in Manaus, Brazil....oh well.... also some of the caves are adorned with brightly coloured flowering plants, yet there is no natural light source - this diminishes the sense of realism. What you get here is a skill-testing progression through inter-twining caves that are perilously peppered with spike traps and fire traps galore - a hard-core player's delight! The texture choices for the caves are fine, but application is a tad lazy, with many misapplied surfaces, although in combination with a good attempt at Meta2TR rendering, the cave system looks quite good. On the positive side, there are some interesting experimental ideas with experience gain, reward comments, text cues, PLS and the save system screen. A tight timed run in a CO2-depleting cave provides plenty of challenge, and some good platforming to the upper reaches of the cave is a satisfactory ending. I wondered if the strange CO2 levels in these caves had affected Lara's voice in some way, because she was sounding like she had been sucking on a helium balloon, producing a very high-pitched voice. Might have seemed like a good idea at the time, but it's not too easy on the ears. In some ways, it's more of a test level than a demo, showcasing some interesting experimental scripting ideas in the TRNG environment. The ability to integrate these ideas shows that the builder has promise. The average texturing application, lack of variety in the environments and gameplay tasks are the weaker elements of the level. If the builder wishes to appeal to a wider audience, then he might consider changing features such as reducing the damage caused by the shooting enemies, being more generous with medipacs to balance the difficulty of the level, and maybe adding a second or two to what is quite a tight timed run. Overall, an encouraging demo, with a bit to think about for a subsequent full release." - EssGee (09-Jan-2013)

"The name is a big hint to the theme of the level, unfortunately there's little more to it than that; You are in a series of caves, and almost every room is cramped and it makes the level layout lack the feeling of a bigger picture despite interlinking at certain points. The lighting is also almost entirely white or flat, and the texturing feels repetitive and is frequently stretched. There are some effects (like fog and meta geometry editing) to spice things up, but it's mostly a disappointment visually. There are also some new interface elements that end up taking away from immersion; there are things like random voice messages when your health is low, Quake/Mortal Kombat (I'm not sure which it's from) voices congratulating you after certain kills for some reason, and, on top of that, Lara has some new sound effects that sound ridiculous. The word that comes to mind to describe the combined effect of these things is "gaudy", maybe even a little camp, which probably isn't intended at all.
The gameplay is mostly a brutal death-course of traps. If you're in the mood for something a little sadistic it's mostly enjoyable, however, the layout issues I mentioned earlier become a problem as it makes it hard to feel like you're really working towards anything other than surviving the next gauntlet. It's also cagey with medikits to the point you can potentially run out and be stuck very easily. There's also a poison gas area that is pure trial and error to the point that even when you know the route it's difficult to get out without having to use a medikit. There's an experience and magic system implemented, however, in this demo they don't seem to do anything (experience is apparently supposed to reward you, but I didn't seem to get anything). If you want something that's a straightforward death course this provides some fun, but it's not an especially deep experience." - Mman (12-Jul-2012)

"I find it quite odd how this level has received (fairly consistently) scores that I think are rather below what it deserves. Yes ok, it is clearly more a level for the seasoned raiders out there, as it is essentially 40 minutes of mastering trap after trap. Yes ok, it is maybe a bit too much on the dark side overall. And yes ok, it was not such a clever gameplay choice to put up this devious poison gas room run towards the end, which is near impossible to master without taking in the odd medipack - when by that time the player may well have run out of medipacks already. But - let's look at the bright side: There is plenty of modern gadgets implemented here, like the experience bar. The lighting system works well and helps with the darkness. There are three nice secrets. None of the spike, blade or burner traps is really all that hard to master and should not take more than a few tries to get through (even the poison run is not that hard after all). And I really liked how objects have been used well to avoid the square and blocky looks of the editor to a large extent. So, I for one had great fun with this adventure and hope the author is not too discouraged by the scores, takes on the feedback and remodels and expands the level into something bigger and maybe a bit more friendly for the average player out there." - MichaelP (02-Jun-2012)

"Caves of Manaus What a pointless level.. A continuing series of spikes, plint blades packed nicely together in tight passages. Nothing else to think about than “what would the next trap be” (apart from two boring push puzzles). The looks of the level got me interested to play it at first, but the fun was soon gone. When I finally reached a long cave where you had poisonous gas combined with spikes, (Oh and let's throw in a SAS) and then reached another series of plinth blades in a tight passage, I totally had it... The level ended there for me. Very nice inventory, gadgets like an experience bar would suggest a builder that would know how to put together an interesting level, gameplaywise... Not this one IMHO. But maybe there are players out there that like this kind of fun. Atmosphere was OK, can’t recall any camera’s, found 3 secrets. Also not sure who build it and what the level name was when I see “Beyond the Darkness” by Eli, then Beyond the Darkness by (k.e.r.r.) and finally it is called Caves of Manaus by raiderromero?. If this is the Demo, I won’t play the real thing…" - Dutchy (09-May-2012)

"Really a very well made level, with a good atmosphere and environment (sometimes textures are repetitive though) but a really bad gameplay, only for expert players. Tasks are at least doable (even the nasty spikes), but you'll have to reload a lot of times to try the same task in certain areas, and this is not good for many players. The worst were the enemies and objects, forcing you to reload savegames even more when you realize that there are not medipacks in your inventory; no mistake about this: objects and enemies are good and well placed, but there are not enough medipacks and weapons so the gameplay can be a bit fluid and instead of play thinking about the real gameplay (where to go / where to do) you are all the game preoccupied about save health so you can continue playing. About the experience bar... I still don't know what was this bar for... I think the author should think a bit about the medipacks, weapons and ammo (not so about the enemies) before releasing the final version." - Jose (24-Feb-2012)

"There's a good way to make a hard level (Taras could tell), and then there's the not so good way to make a hard level. Raiderromero got stuck somewhere in the middle. For every thing he does with this level quite right (Lara's weakness has never been this close to realistic; texturing is not half bad for a novice builder; lighting does its job just as well; the builder managed to implement some of his new ideas quite functionally), he does something very, very wrong (the Quake III Arena sound effects need to disappear, they just don't fit in; speaking of which, the guy constantly reporting on Lara's health should better get out of the game as well; it's rather nonsensical for a plain earth to set Lara on fire; most of the tasks are absolutely unnecessarily frustrating). Judging by the general attitude and reactions of the builder to the local reviews I'd say he's of the younger age, which actually brings a bit of happiness to me, as I always like to see such young people picking up the classic tomb raiding. The builder said he wanted to create a survival experience, as opposed to an adventure in the sense we're used to. I must say he certainly met his goal, but left loads of potential untouched along the way. So, my advice, if there's any chance the builder might be interested in taking it: Balance things out, don't just throw one excruciatingly hard task by another in the player's face, instead give us some space and time to breathe now and then, kill the Q3A sound effects for they really don't fit a setting like that (nor the music you chose), polish up the visuals a bit, and the full version of this game could be very, very good." - JayHannel (23-Feb-2012)

"I can see a lot of talent and potential from this level builder, this is the first time i play one of his levels, i have to say that the level was quite difficult, a tr game wasnt that hard in a while, this is just a demo there a lot of bugs; some textures didnt fit, a zone needs triangulate rectangle in metasequio, constantly use of the same textures, it needs more cameras(i counted only one or two),the "you feel refreshed" was very annoying, i really loved the checkpoint. Recommended!!" - Mary (20-Feb-2012)

"A talented demo-level, not so long, but I cursed-blasphemed to the author (obviously joking) so many times considering the too many concatenated traps and the nearly total absence of medikit (personally I think it's exagerate, even if it can be useful for players wasting medikit and ammo) and that voice repeating "your healt is low" :p. In this way the level gets very difficult, the player has to conserve health from the beginning to the end or he's not going to finish this diabolical exploit. An other thing giving more difficulty is the fact that enemies are stronger than what they should be and even their attacks (Lara might die with a grenade thrown by a soldier if she has 3/4 health). So: who uses to waste everything.. no! Not in this level! (Personally I use to reload everytime I lose a piece of health to conserve medikit, but in this case it was so difficult eheheh). "Funny-joking" the idea to start the level in a dangerous way: after a few seconds if you don't jump anywhere, you'll get dead very soon. Too many traps making a very funny gameplay.. some enemies (bats, wolves and soldiers), a few enigms but too simple. I found 2 secrets and the comic thing is that near them there are medikits! Good environments, Anniversary music but very few flybys (just say the "necessary ones"), not bad textures- lights (maybe some areas are too dark). Globally a not bad demo with a particular gameplay that I appreciated, but lack of enigms.. if the author dedicatse himself to this aspect, we could see something even more diabolical eheh. A few objects but we know it was intentional. I hope in a great level because we can notice a lot of talent from this "sadic" author!" - Steven Svorticher (14-Feb-2012)

"Although it is a fairly nice looking level with a good atmosphere, I still have mixed feeling about this one for a couple of reasons. First of all, the game play is basically one long punishing gauntlet, filled with hard to spot death tiles, plenty of timed spike traps and enemies that were very hard to kill. The result is constant death and reloading save games, which for me took the fun out of playing this. The other thing that became very annoying is the sound selection. Lara herself makes a lot of squeaky noises while fighting and then there is also an additional announcer type voice updating you about health conditions and so on. Stuff you would expect from a death match level in Quake or Unreal Tournament. Overall it is not a bad and there is definitely a talented builder involved here as the texturing and architecture was nice to look at. Considering it is a debut level, it is actually pretty good. Give it a try if you are looking for a challenging and rather fast paced raid and remember to save often. (33 min, 1 secret found)" - Blue43 (13-Feb-2012)

"Well this is certainly a more unique level. Gameplay has some flairs such as an "experience" bar which I guess makes Lara stronger (I never got to feel it up) and a CO2 bar that turns one part of a level into a giant timed run. It was challenging and fun overall, but short and not without some problems - mainly the combat. Enemies are too hard to defeat, especially if you are trapped at the bottom of a pit and can't climb up without the enemy shooting you - but you can't shoot him very well either. Even the dogs can eat a lot of lead. It is not by any means impossible, however. For objects, Lara's sounds are a bit...odd. I don't know, it seems very ill-fitting because some are custom and some are not. The real drawback though is the "command 3" bug on Lara's pull up animation. This is very bad because you use the pull up a lot, but after every time you must stand still and draw your guns or else you can no longer grab ledges or crawl. Atmosphere - the only camera shot I remember seeing used Lara as a target, the door that was being opened should have been the target. Atmosphere is also broken by some bizarre architecture such as floating pieces of stone. Texturing is overall decent, but is hindered by poorly marked death squares (the texture is no different from surfaces that DON'T instantaneously combust Lara and the "smoke hints" are inconsistent) and poorly marked ladders/monkeyswings. Overall not the most polished demo, but if you need something challenging this is not a bad choice at all." - SSJ6Wolf (12-Feb-2012)

"I have to admit that after playing it, I was rather in a foul mood. There were too many pet peeves of mine in this level. But I have to give credit where credit is due as the builder did try to make a different game, not all well thought off.. but he tried. A pity there was no readme because then you could have found out that there are flares, not as we know them but as a PLS (although they do give a funny light). Sounds Lara made were a bit weird and that experience bar, loose it, it is a nice touch to get some extra goodies but it is way to much “in your face” sort of thing. As well as all the other bars that are in the lower left corner. Textures could use attention and I wonder how those plants survived in the dark. If you read the piece of paper in the PIX folder, don’t try to use the F8 cursor, it is not working. The “your health is low” got on my nerves a bit too much so I killed the sound as I died a lot. And… this builder for sure likes his spikes and to top it off, is very stingy with medipacks." - Gerty (09-Feb-2012)

"This is a challenging level because, in this level, you will not make a manoeuvre that causes a slight loss of life and think “Oh, that’s close enough”, you’ll do it again because you’ll need every bit of life you’ve got! The baddies are tough and fast, ammo and weaponry in short supply and medi-packs almost non-existent. For this reason this could have been a very interesting level, the layout’s well made, the lighting’s fine, baddies, textures and objects all very good, unfortunately the gameplay, whilst challenging (and in some places quite taxing) is repetitive and consists, not of finding out what to do and where to go, but of merely surviving. Survive the fire-pads, survive the baddies, survive the gas and, most of all, survive the endless spikes (I don’t know if there’s a medical term for spike-fixation but this builder’s got a bad dose). I enjoyed playing this level, I like a challenge, but I know that I would have enjoyed it so much more with some varied gameplay." - Diz (08-Feb-2012)

"Sometimes when a talented and artistic author miscalculates the results is a lot more excruciating than anything produced by lesser talents. This is actually a very well designed cavern. Players need to remind themselves of this during the level, or they may not appreciate it. Just pause for a moment--assume that this is a place where Lara isn't blindly sliding to her death--to admire the scenery. The trouble is that the cavern and heavy wisps of fog don't indicate where Lara is to go, as many places give a feeling that Lara is operating blind, jumping to openings she can't see. When Lara does find the right jumps she is always hitting her head on a ceiling. Multiple timed spikes are fun. Of course Lara gets over the next multiple spike tiles, but sooner or later it dawns on us that the author is trying to hit the editor object limit with pop-up spike tiles. The same with plinth blades that now look like sharpened logs: three in a row is tough. Oh, another three in a row. And again, and again, and again. Soldiers and dogs add spice to the level, and it is reasonable that armored soldiers are tough, but why does it seem that Lara only shoots and shoots at a pair of dogs until they deprive her of all health? In a poisoned cavern a soldier is drilling Lara with bullets, but not once did I see him, because that would have meant pausing to look around, and Lara has no time to spare. In addition to a firing soldier and pop-up spikes there are also three plinth blade logs in a tight row, hinged to be as inconvenient as possible. Players have to practice the poisoned cavern, then go back four or five save games, to restart and take everything at a breakneck pace. But the most annoying thing throughout the level, a constant annoyance, is that this is really pretty good, if the author had only stopped to question whether something is fun or not." - dmdibl (08-Feb-2012)

"I can honestly say that this was one of the toughest levels I've ever played and, in my experience at least, all the frustration you accumulate throughout this raid doesn't really seem worth it in the end. It seems like the level was designed with the idea of survival, where every single element is against Lara. And boy does it get tough. A good example would be that it's possible to die in the very first few seconds of gameplay unless you react fast enough. Still, challenging as it is, the gameplay can prove to be quite fun once you finally manage to get past this or that difficult set of maneuvers. Simply clearing an area is a real exercise in patience... The textures are fitting, but because of the lack of lighting they're pretty hard to spot. Which is why I don't understand the point of building a beautifully looking level if you're going sink it in darkness... All in all, an interesting and rather frustrating level that seems designed more for the very dexterous (and very patient!) players that want to show off their raiding skills." - Janny (07-Feb-2012)

"Despite what some may believe,my reviews have never been written to intentionally discourage builders;merely to suggest to those builders which areas of their levels could be improved,should they ever care to take heed of my opinions. Which is why I say in this review that the gameplay for this well constructed adventure is truly sadistic,and reason enough for less confident players to leave it well alone.I enjoy spike traps and gauntlets as much as the next player,but not when they are incessantly placed in every room,interspersed with spiked blades and constantly burning floors.My patience was finally exhausted when I reached a poisoned-gas corridor where I needed to constantly replenish my continually depleting health while simultaneously avoiding floor spikes,spiked blades,burning floor tiles AND a gunman taking pot-shots at me - and they complained that Mallory's Trail was too tough! Eventually I staggered across the finish trigger having acquired some sacred thingummy that magically appeared in my Inventory without my ever picking the thing up.While I'm on the subject of bad stuff,did we really need to have some bloke constantly telling us when to replenish our health? Or tampered sounds which often made Lara sound like one of the Chipmunks? On the plus side,the adventure was well constructed and atmospherically lit (I never found it excessively dark;but instead,well-suited for the environment).Enemies,although often sadistically placed,where nonetheless effective;and there were moments when the level showed its potential (particularly the push- block sequences;and some really nifty jumping challenges). If you are an experienced player of limitless patience,this level should provide you with plenty of enjoyment;but I really hope that the builder takes some heed of my comments,and ensures that their next levels be a little more player-friendly.Thank you for listening. Goodnight." - Orbit Dream (07-Feb-2012)

"When I downloaded this level from TRF this still was called "Beyond the Darkness" and immediately got biased by this title, not expecting too much. And indeed this level was very, very dark, but nicely the builder implemented the flashlight system we got to know from "Mists of Avalon" and thus helped to get oriented. What you get here is a quite interesting 25 minute romp filled with traps; the builder especially seems to love spikes as they are nearly in every room. The gameplay is quite linear but there is a divide of the path quite near the start that can be game-stopping for players; when they enter the door opened by an underwater lever they won't get any health first (in contrast to the first path) and thus may be stuck after returning to the hub room. The setting was quite convincing and even if not done that correctly the non-squaric walls were a nice touch. There is good usage of the new moves and some sequences really need more tries to finally get it; there also were two smaller pushable puzzles that were quite fun. Nonetheless I wished there was a little more variety in gameplay as it mainly really is only surviving one trap room after another. The textures itself needed a little more care as they often weren't placed correctly - some were wrongly turned or (not too heavily though) squeezed. All in all a quite interesting and modern level that for sure won't impress every player out there, but you can - like me - have a lot of fun with it. Found one secret." - manarch2 (05-Feb-2012)

"The Major problem there is that DOZY the flight cheat is enabled so i would rate this gameplay better it i can get trought only without cheating. Also without cheating the game was a bit harder but i can get trouht without usage of medipacks 30 mins 3 secrects. Game was nicely Meta2tr but i can see some bending faces so triangulating them can help to prevent disappearing. But objects added in meta was nice but can be a little more toned in the right light. Enemies was harder in case that there aren´t too much medipacks but as i said a there is a DOZY so you can hit it any time you want...There are 3 secrets i found and they count to your experience bar so i see some nice scripting skills here so i can´t understand how someone who can script this thing cannot script simple line like FlyCheat= Disabled even when people on TRF points out on this case. Mixing sounds from Quake 3 and Laras was the weirdest thing i ever see in the custom game Lara has two pairs of vocal cords or what? The ambient music changes trought level was ok anyway next time make your audio in one the same and one audio format i know LE can handle them all but you already have 96MB of audio folder and its only demo so on the whole game it can be pretty huge most of the builders use the ogg format because is not that huge as wav and also less looseless than mp3. Lightning was darker on some part but quite nice textures was badly placed on some parts and badly rotate on triangles..also i didn´t see any blending here and any texture varieties just one texture on ground and the other texture on the walls and the same on the ceiling and sometimes one tile extra on the ground and this style was repetitive in every room but with different combination of textures." - Mrshina (05-Feb-2012)
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