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Level: Golden Hearts back home search
Author(s): Larabiker301
total rating:6.80 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
dmdibl 6 8 8 7
eRIC 5 6 6 5
Gerty 5 6 6 5
Jay 6 8 8 8
JesseG 6 7 6 8
Jose 7 8 8 7
manarch2 5 7 8 7
MichaelP 5 8 7 7
Orbit Dream 5 7 7 6
Phil 8 8 9 8
category averages
(10 reviews)
5.80 7.30 7.30 6.80

Reviewer's comments

"Picture an adventure that has an initial training level and then three levels that progress our Lara towards an objective in a mix of cold/snowy and then Tinnos setting with a few decent enemies thrown in and a total of 10 secrets to be found along the way. Sounds like you want to play it? Well, maybe think again - because this particular adventure is about as painful as it can get for the player due to bad design choices by the builder. The main one being the massive overuse of freezing water that drains Lara's health in no time. Within themselves none of the swims is actually too hard to accomplish, but of course only if you already know where to swim to and your moves are working properly to get you to the next safe ledge or water hole. As this takes several tries to figure out and as there are many tasks like this, you will be moving really, really slowly through the game and often wish that it will finally come to an end. On top of that, there are other bad choices, like an invisible ledges section, pitch black corners, a very long backtrack and a rather superfluous maze type area just before the boss battle that is then mercifully easy. Personally, I liked the double timed run, but others may find it quite hard to accomplish. And the short floating island/burner section was kind of nice too, but whatever is good in this adventure will not stick, because the only thing people will remember is the 'dying-in-cold-water-all-the-time' element of the game. Pity." - MichaelP (14-Jan-2013)

"Quite an ambitious project that didnít pan out as the builder intended is my guess. First you replay the demo that was released not too long ago, then we get to Antaric Circle (I think this is a spelling mistake) with way too much freezing water. I think I had a nasty glitch because from this level on Lara held her right hand up in the air and wouldnít let it down, which was rather funny while shooting and climbing. The third level Pandemonium, well some of it anyway. Again the nasty freezing water, at this time not funny at all. Then we have the Meteorite Cavern, which didnít resemble a cavern, but who is counting. We do get to fight at the end the boss. Overall I am not impressed, textures could use TLC, lighting was rather bland, too much freezing water makes this not enjoyable. The few good moments got buried by the irritation I felt most of the time." - Gerty (26-Oct-2012)

"Games which present different worlds to explore is always a good thing. The first level is the Egyptian demo , then we go to Antartica, then in undergrounds to defeat a boss and get the prize. There is room for improvement in the looks, and I noticed walls you can climb without the appropriate textures , but these were not the intended way so the confusion was not too great. The author uses rather well audios and objects and there are some good ideas. If the Egyptian level is fluent , the second level was not very plesant to play given the repetitiveness of the timed swims before Lara dies in cold water. And as if it is not enough , we have also cold water in the third level. In the underwater room with 3 underwater levers, I pulled only 2 and when coming back there I was not able to know which one I missed the first time. The period where you do timed swims was too much extended , the charm this level set can have in some places was broken." - eRIC (18-Aug-2012)

"When I finished this four-part adventure and prepared to review it, I was struck by the relatively low scores and the small number of reviews. Then I read the reviews and realized that, for one who plays in god mode as I do, icy water is simply not a factor, let alone an annoyance. And there's a lot of icy water here. I can imagine the frustration of the unlightened who insist upon playing Tomb Raider by the rules, as - thinking back - I recall that my pink life bar was always long gone by the time I'd completed any given task in the water. Not that I was ever in any hurry, mind you. Anyway, I enjoy playing these little vignettes that give you a cafeteria-style raid with a number of different looks, and this one took a combined hour and forty-five minutes (mainly because the second and third levels were each of nearly standard length). The lighting and surroundings were appropriate to each level, and gameplay was sufficiently challenging (apart from those icy water segments). There's a notable timed run in the third level that Josť documented with precision in his excellent walkthrough. Without his time-saving tips I would not have been able to do it successfully. I had a good time here, no doubt because I was able to thumb my nose at that icy water. Recommemded." - Phil (05-Aug-2012)

"Gameplay: The "instinct" moment was kind of an odd moment, the screen pauses and yells at you to duck. Even if you followed through, you still could die depending on where exactly you stood. At least the game is nice enough to explain what an instinct moment is...after it happened. Thankfully there were no more occurrences of that. Another downer was using a push switch for a timed run - meaning that you could only give it one shot. There are way too many hypothermia moments, including some dead-end hallways. Almost everytime you take a dip in the water you have to sacrifice some healthpacks to survive. Objects: A good use of TR3 objects (the boat just sounded scary though). However, antitriggers need to be handled with more care - some squishy blocks got antitriggered too soon, trapping a key behind one of them. I had to "glitch jump" my way through it to proceed. Atmosphere: Some fixed cameras can get in your way, one even blocking your view of a deadly pitfall. There is also a glitchy room at the end of level 2 (the boat part) causing a bunch of stacked rooms to appear and disappear constantly. It was so bad that I used a cheat to skip to the next level. The texturing is decent and there is some pretty lighting, but textures get a bit stretched in some places. You will also find textures that don't look climbable to be climbable, and vice versa. Finished in an hour and 12 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (26-Jul-2012)

"Egyptian Training Centre 1: This is basically an extended version of the authorís previous demo, i.e. a pleasant, linear traditional Egyptian raid, with an occasional trap, but no enemies as Lara doesnít get her pistols until near the end of the section. Anartic (sic): Cue the swimming in deadly, icy water. I had to play this part with long breaks in between, to avoid throwing something at my computer monitor. I really do NOT like the icy water scenario where the only option, no matter how hard you try, is to feed poor Lara lots of medipacks. Itís just not my idea of a fun raid (although I did enjoy the boat ride). Pandemonium: Just when I thought there would be a nice break from death by icy water, it got even worse, culminating in an incredibly frustrating three underwater lever sequence that severely tested my supply of medipacks and my reserves of goodwill. I really felt the need to go and play in the desert after that particular section. Luckily, it got better from then on, with some timed action and fire avoidance and the next patch of water wasnít deadly. Hoorah. Meteorite Cavern: A shortish, but mercifully dry final section with a boss ending, which, if you have found the fire power along the way, shouldnít pose much of a threat. In summary, this could have been a most enjoyable level if the icy water theme had been kept to a minimum rather than taking up the entire mid section and, for me, completely spoiling the experience. Please, please, be a little kinder to poor Lara next time." - Jay (27-Jun-2012)

"Honestly - I didn't really enjoy playing through this more than one hour long adventure. The gameplay wasn't very enjoyable and the only not-frustrating level was the first one, most of it which was already in the demo version. The other levels, especially levels two and three, are really annoying as you mostly swim through icy waters losing too much health, run around and find levers and items. Not many other tasks in this set: a double timed run and some fun agility in a floating islands area in the third level; some traps in the first and the second one but all in all I wished there was more up to this game than those player- unfriendly tasks and gameplay moving on and on without any puzzles or challenges. The fourth level was playable but it was very short and also very maze-like (luckily not a huge maze) so fun didn't come up here either. All in all the diverse settings were the most pleasing in this level; the builder has a talent to create believable large areas. The texturing wasn't always applied well, especially the waterfall textures looked pretty crude. Next time something more fun please!" - manarch2 (27-Jun-2012)

"I was impressed with the potential of the demo, and I do think that in the third level, :Pandemonium, there is good stuff going on. The short timed run is a challenge, and I liked the way a hub room integrated action, and enjoyed an otherworldly environment that takes Lara past fire-breathing dragon heads. I found myself having a good time despite every effort of the author to sabotage this work. There is still that annoying cloaking darkness in corners or canyons, clearly used for the purpose of hiding things. For instance, Lara jumps back and forth across a pitch-black canyon, then shimmies into an opening where there is a collapsed trapdoor. She endures a painful dive into cold water. When she has to return, the planned way to get out is when the trapdoor is raised, but there is no lever to be found. Resorting to an earlier savegame, I found that Lara had to spot alcoves obscured by darkness, and throw a needed lever on the way in. It is too late when she is coming out. This is a minor example, but the whole emphasis on tricking players creates less than positive feelings. Cold water damage gives Lara an incredibly short lifetime when swimming. Other authors make a similar mistake with timed runs, meaning that they know exactly which route to take and somehow forget that players don't know where Lara is supposed to go. In cold water if Lara pauses to do any sort of exploring she dies with a health bar going down in a second. These swims may be possible if you know exactly where to go, plus know exactly when to head for a crevice where Lara can pull out of water and restore health bar. But since players don't know these things, then swimming is soon something to be dreaded. It is like having one incredibly short timed run after another. Basically, the second level, Anartic, is nothing but swimming. Oh, and Lara having to discover invisible platforms when there isn't a clue that they exist. The first time Lara climbs out of water there are obvious climbing surfaces, but if Lara travels that route she is tricked into a meaningless death. Instead Lara has to shimmy into cloaking darkness, and make jumps (if she tries to carry a flare, it burns out, making a back flip/twist/grab impossible). After the negative feelings from level two, it is amazing that the third level succeeds as well as it does. I'm not sure what the statistics time is, but the whole of this took a couple days to get through. Again, I'm impressed with the potential, with various creative touches, and levels that could have scored so much higher if the author learned to think of gameplay as a partnership with players." - dmdibl (23-Jun-2012)

"Previously playing the demo, a player could think it could be a good debut, and yes, itís a good debut. Not easy get stucked, except in second level with that underwater passage with the current, and no much backtracking. I think the time to swim in cold waters was too short Ďcause often you need to use a lot of medipacks to do required tasks. The uzis appeared too late (in my game a secret in last level) but all the same I found enough guns, ammo and medipacks to advance with no problems. Environment was well worked, except textures in small surfaces and diagonal lines, or lights in any level. I missed some more cameras, and one of the timed runs in Pandemoniun was too tight as well. But definitively a good work from a good promise of the custom levels. Well done!" - Jose (22-Jun-2012)

"A four level set.Level One is the Demo,as released previously (please refer to that release's reviews and ratings for the appropriate opinions).Level Two: Anartic (sic) Circle.A somewhat repetitive level;with bland lighting;boxy rooms;a buggy boat ride;and way too much freezing water,which saps Lara's life tediously.The gameplay is predictable and repetitive,and the wallpaper texturing combined with the general lack of atmosphere induces an overall feeling of ennui.Level Three:Pandemonium.Something of a misnomer,as (aside from a couple of timed sequences and a few monsters) there's very little feeling of excitement or speed anywhere here.Nonetheless,this is by far the best level of the four,as you get a smart confrontation with four fire-breathing dragons;two tight timed-runs;and a couple of good moments when you find yourself back in the central Hub Room,but from completely unexpected directions.The texturing is considerably better,and the lighting is vibrant and interesting.Nonetheless,that freezing water has become ubiquitous by now,and the tasks you are asked to perform in it while Lara's health rapidly diminishes (necessitating the gulping down of countless medi-packs) are nothing less than ghastly. Level Four: Meteorite cavern.Not much resemblance to a cavern,and a bland maze-like area to begin with do little to sell this level as an exciting Finale.All the same,a smart fire puzzle and a fun confrontation (not too difficult) with the End-of-level Boss make this rather more bearable than the previous three. Throughout the two hour adventure you will constantly be irritated by the overly unfair 'freezing water' challenges;the often scrappy texturing;the overly large rooms with little to do in them;a couple of stupidly invisible ledges;and a great deal of backtracking. There ARE good moments and decent ideas in here;but,regrettably,they're buried pretty deep." - Orbit Dream (15-Jun-2012)
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