Level: Four Lost Keys back home search
Author(s): Frank Petser
total rating:4.69 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Ceamonks890 5 5 4 5
dmdibl 4 5 5 5
Gerty 4 6 4 5
Jay 4 5 4 4
manarch2 4 6 5 4
MichaelP 4 4 4 4
Nuri 4 7 6 6
Orbit Dream 4 5 3 4
Ryan 4 4 4 5
sonnyd83 5 5 3 5
Torry 5 5 1 4
Treeble 7 7 6 7
category averages
(12 reviews)
4.50 5.33 4.08 4.83

Reviewer's comments

"Having to play a TR1 level in the primitive old Dosbox format doesn't really make the experience any more endearing than it would without. This particular had no sound files whatsoever, so the atmosphere was severely let down and is close to nonexistent. The gameplay is quite aggravating in places; despite being a relatively brief level, frustration was high on the list due to the builder restricting Lara's medipacks to nil and the skateboard kid battle near the end becomes tedious, as you have to either continuously reload to conserve health (difficult as there is a centaur, a couple of bats and some dart traps beforehand) or get behind him by chance and just keep shooting that way. The textures are repetitive and dull and also make spotting necessary levers harder, as well as glitching into other rooms. Not really one I can recommend, unless you're a TR1 completist." - Ryan (06-Aug-2018)

"Unfortunately I could not get this to run. Using the Glide batch file it refused to load and crashed. Using the dos batch file it played but without sound so half the experience was lost immediately. Pity as the level itself (apart from the absence of medi packs) wasn't half bad. Levers are difficult to see and the cowboy kills Lara quick smart. I simply outran him. Graphics are terrible ofcourse." - Torry (09-Apr-2018)

"A challenging but short TR1 level. The main problem is that you have no medipacks at the beginning and you won't receive any until you reach a point in the game. You are searching for 4 keys, killing some hard enemies and escape!" - Nuri (22-Feb-2018)

"Not funny was no medipacks until after two nasty fights, so that will mean for the most of us (like me), reload and do it again (and again LOL). Loved that bright pink hat of the cowboy, he was also nasty but at least I found medipacks to use. Then there is that maze and as with all mazes, not so nice. Had to peek in the walky but that was also lost on me. But I found what was needed in the end. Using all 4 keys the level ends." - Gerty (01-Sep-2016)

"In all honesty, I quite enjoyed my time with this level. Sure, there was absolutely no sound and as such the whole experience might have been compromised, but the gameplay is rather engaging. I was a bit wary about the skateboard kid, as pretty much every fellow reviewer has mentioned it, but I guess I got lucky as I managed to get past him unscathed on the third try. As the only other big enemy encounter was the pink-hatted cowboy in the maze, much later, I ended up never using any of the two provided medipacks, just makes you wonder why the author didn't offer them prior to the first boss. 20 minutes. 12/15" - Treeble (30-Dec-2015)

"Unfortunately, due to a lack of sound files provided with the level download in question, I can't really give a solid opinion on atmosphere or sound effects. But I'll just assume that it's most likely no different from what we have come to expect with TR1 custom levels at this point. Beyond that though, the gameplay starts off quite brutal, mainly due to the fact you have no medipacks available initially and have to be a lot more careful to avoid Lara getting killed prematurely, even more so with the lack of any predetermined sound effects to make you aware of the coming dangers ahead, as you search for the aforementioned four lost keys alluded to in the title, St. Francis Folly style. But once you manage to find some medipacks after EVENTUALLY defeating the skateboard kid, the overall challenge starts to become a lot more reasonable(so long as you have a keen eye for certain details and run circles around the enemies to avoid getting shot at or bitten in some instances). On top of that, the texturing is competently done but due to pixellation(most likely caused by Dosbox), it can make finding a lever needed to progress a hell of a lot more trouble, than it really needs to be. In conclusion, a somewhat decent raid in Greece for those who desire more of a challenge(if you can tolerate the lack of any sounds whatsoever in-game). But unless you're not one of those players, you're better off playing something else." - Ceamonks890 (28-Jun-2014)

"It's always hard for me to be entirely objective playing a TR1 level if only for the fact that I absolutely hate having to play in DOSbox, added to which I had no sound files with this game so the atmosphere was very much compromised. So... trying to assess the game as the author intended rather than the reality five years on - it has its moments, but inevitably the gameplay is fairly simple, consisting of a bit of block pushing and some fairly hairy enemy moments. Lara doesn't get any serious fire power so dealing with the carnage is quite hard. I have to say I heartily disliked the skateboard kid on first introduction and various encounters with him over the years have done nothing to endear me to his obnoxious character. One for diehard TR1 fans only." - Jay (15-Oct-2013)

"This level didn't work particularly well in Windows 7. The sound was non existant. However, I doubt that was the builders intention. Never use the 'number lock' key as one of the controls - never ends well. This is an original TR1 style level and you can tell! The textures are like jelly and move about, and you can see the pixels clearly. I don't think this is the builders fault so I've scored that aspect on the use of textures instead. No dynamic lighting existed in those days so can't judge that either. The gameplay is not all that bad, you start in a room with water and crocodile, you then move on to a nice simple pushable block puzzle, then a centaur, and then spikes and so on. The aim it seems is to collect several keys. Only play this if you have patience or you enjoy retro gaming - this is literally like going back to the very beginning of 3D games." - sonnyd83 (05-May-2012)

"Not much to add to the elaborate comments of my fellow reviewers, but I will reiterate: The game is almost impossible to complete as is, unless you manage to reach the skateboard kid with virtually no health loss (which is tricky to achieve due to the earlier centaur battle). I started over four times before getting even close, which extended the 20-30 minute experience to be an increasingly unpleasant one of several hours - spread over the course of several weeks. Not really a level to recommend for that alone, especially with the irony that the much needed medipacks appear right AFTER the skateboard kid encounter. That fundamental gameplay design flaw aside, this is a decent enough old school level, with a mix of puzzles and jumps and a fun circular progression, but it is all spoiled by the not very well balanced use of tough opponents for Lara." - MichaelP (14-Apr-2012)

"I thought the initial three-block puzzle was an indication of clever things to come, and there is some interesting searching for four lost keys, but ultimately this is a level that is off the mark. First I tried to play this in Windows ME, but there is no sound. So I used setup.exe to register a (phony) Sound Blaster, but that crashed, causing the tomb.exe program to stop working. Not only that, but my original Tomb Raider installation was now locked up when I tried to start it. It took a complete system restore to get things working again, so I played this level without sound. It isn't clear what caused all the problems, but this TR1 level is based on a Demo--the savegames are SAVEDEMO--that apparently precedes the release of Tomb Raider itself. A 30-minute TR1 level like this just isn't worth an hour to set up, but it seems to work in DOSBox, where it should work automatically. (I have been setting cycles=max in dosbox.conf and getting better results.) In this TR1 level lighting is fairly uniform, but then so are the textures, and not only do wall levers blend in all too well, but a lever may be hidden behind bushes. Gameplay becomes increasingly frustrating. There is an initial battle in tight quarters with a centaur when Lara has no medipacks, and she may end with a sliver of health. This makes it tricky to maneuver through spikes and boulder traps, searching for two promised medipacks that are supposed to be in this level. Then Lara faces the skateboard kid, and dies within the first seconds. I had to give Lara a large medipack, and for good measure gave her Uzis as well. Then it turns out that Lara discovers a large and small medipack after the battle with the skateboard kid, which seems a misguided order. There is some freedom as to which keys to get first, but Lara neared the fourth and last key unhappily in a maze. There is a good layout and map sometimes, and jumps and block puzzles are fine, but the author might have done better with a TR3 level." - dmdibl (26-Mar-2012)

"It's hard to accurately review a level which I had to play in poor screen resolution through DosBox,but this ancient- looking TR1 level built with the correspondingly primitive Unofficial Editor doesn't just show its age,it also displays other manifest weaknesses.Scenery constantly breaks through from other rooms;the pixellated textures do their best to obscure wall levers;and the lack of medipacks combined with the clunky save system entails constant saving and reloading in order to deal with the hard-hitting opponents - especially the ghastly Skateboard Kid.I find it hard to believe that the builder could actually consider such gameplay to be enjoyable;although it must be said that the map itself has been rather well worked out,and there are frequent interesting returns to the initial Hub room.The title of the level sums up the plot;and,indeed,when all four keys are placed the level ends,without Lara having actually obtained anything to take with her. It's difficult,under the circumstances,to recommend this 30 minute adventure to anyone - other than a very patient and tenacious completest." - Orbit Dream (23-Mar-2012)

"Another nice little TR 1 level from a few years ago that could have quite been as fun to play through as the recent "Return to Rome" but suffers from nearly no medikits to find there and thus I had to use the weapon cheat to progress as I could find no way to kill the skateboard kid else than with harder weapons. Else than that, it's a fairly unimaginative 20 minute level with many old enemies to kill, not very good textures and only few more attractive exercises such as two decent pushblock puzzles and some fun slope jumps. There were no camera hints but this game didn't need it as the few levers used here were quite near the door they opened. Only the maze could be a little more smaller and it's easy to miss the lever so I recommend playing close to the walkthrough often here. Everything is really not that bad, only the fights with no health were pretty painful." - manarch2 (18-Mar-2012)
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