Level: Tomb Raider Sanctum back home search
Author(s): Gabriel Croft
total rating:7.11 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Adriel 8 8 10 9
Bradley 9 9 10 10
dmdibl 6 7 8 7
Dutchy 7 7 7 6
Gerty 5 7 6 6
Jay 8 7 8 8
Jessica Croft 8 9 10 9
Jorge22 7 7 7 7
Jose 5 7 8 7
manarch2 4 6 7 6
MichaelP 6 7 8 7
Mister-B 3 3 4 4
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 6 7 7 7
Taras 7 8 8 7
TheStig 6 7 7 7
category averages
(16 reviews)
6.44 7.13 7.69 7.19

Reviewer's comments

"I actually thought that this started out in a rather enjoyable fashion: the surroundings are square but nonetheless attractive and the gameplay moves along in a smooth fashion with some nice varied tasks to accomplish, including a timed run. I wasn't a fan of having Lara run through fire to obtain a vital artefact, though. But then you get to part 2 and the extremely tedious underwater maze. I easily spent ages on numerous reloads trying to keep my bearings while also trying to go back for air after pulling all of the underwater levers, even with the walkthrough's assistance. I also found the pushable puzzles way over the top, even when I knew exactly what to do. I think it would have been better with a bit of tightening up to avoid the drawn out sections." - Ryan (07-Aug-2018)

"The first part (30 mins) of this adventure was really quite enjoyable. Fairly simple but still decent looking architecure, fluent gameplay branching out from the starting lagoon, two nice timed runs to master and generally good mix of tasks to make your way forward, maybe with the exception of the run when you have to set Lara on fire and jump into water at the end. Part 2 however (also about 30 mins) is just a pain to play through. Initially you get a sizable underwater maze area in which you have to search switches and items and will drown a million times until you know where they are. And then you get a lot of slow gameplay with crawling, monkey swinging and a lot of pushing of blocks. So I was glad when it ended after all and wished the second part would have been more like the first." - MichaelP (15-Jun-2015)

"At first glance, you'd be forgiven for being drawn into the visuals. Indeed in the smaller or enclosed cave areas things look good. But there's no getting away from the fact that this level has a few architectural flaws. Textures & lighting are applied well throughout but there really is just no getting away from the boxy nature of some of the larger outdoor spaces. The result is that first half is quite hard to get immersed in. Game play consists of fairly standard elements. The 'burning water' was very frustrating however, especially at one point when you've got flying nasties which sweep down and keep pushing you into the water. If you want to make the water unpassable, a kayak or motorboat would of been a better addition. Music & atmosphere is well selected. Some of the under water mazes are very challenging so be prepared to be patient! A final note is that the end of the last level can be a little buggy (crashing to desktop after dying etc). All in all I netted just over 2 hours from Tomb Raider Sanctum. Certainly worthy of your consideration. Stiggy :)" - TheStig (12-Oct-2014)

"Another level that could have been a gem but falls short because irritation set in and wouldn't let go. Pity though as apart from rather boxy rooms it did look somewhat pretty. Here you have a good example of how to prolong gameplay unnecessary by putting a lever at point A and having to go to point Z for the action. This is throughout the level and that irritated the hell out of me. Also the underwater mazes, yes plural. And for what, so you can drown a lot before you finally figure out what to do and where to go? Sometimes less is better." - Gerty (23-May-2013)

"Tomb Raider Sanctum is an adventure composed of two levels, which alternate valuable things, as the area of the river and the rapids in "search on" and the puzzles of "Sanctum" and great ingenuity, as the death square on the bottom of the river, it's hard to believe that Lara catches fire in the water now that ngle allows many alternatives, or as almost all portions of textures evil applied. The second level crashes when Lara dies. All in all, however, are two levels I've played with fun and pleasure." - Taras (26-Sep-2012)

"A couple of things: a) I count this among one of two levels I played recently that kept crashing whenever Lara died on my Win7; b) I "kind of" finished the level, but I went far enough to be able to write a review. I'll explain: in the last part where I had to get the blue fuse-like artifact, a "sanctum" I suppose, I simply had no medipacks left whatsoever, hence I could choose between getting to the dragon's mouth without the sanctum or almost get there with it - I did see *the light* anyway, even if it wasn't the very ending bright light, meaning I must have stayed in purgatorium instead of going straight to heaven... Other than that, I did enjoy the game, perhaps mostly the more varied first part because I wish someone had taken care to build all those underwater mazes in a way that Lara wouldn't keep bumping against the water all the time - a little more beta-testing would have made marvels there methinks. Still, despite the fact that I wouldn't place the game in my Top 20 levels, I actually enjoyed it (a little less the two follow- up push-pull sequences) enough to say go ahead and play it because it won't be a drag. Just remember to keep a small medi for the ending - it'll be enough to get you to the light." - Jorge22 (11-Sep-2012)

"I hadn't realized how prolific this builder is until I checked his stats. He has come a long way since the dismal ratings of his early releases. For the most part this was a nice, pleasant raid of the modern school until you get to the most maddening and frustrating segment of recent memory. I'm referring, of course, to that underwater maze early in the second level. I must have spent an hour in this part alone, and I almost gave up and moved on numerous times. Even playing in god mode, with no fear of drowning, and even with the help of Dutchy's walkthrough and map, I kept getting hopelessly confused. I wound up by saving after each essential task, and I was indeed a happy camper when gameplay returned to dry land. There's plenty to do here, but I suspect that the two hours and twelve minutes on my game clock is mainly attributable to the fact that I stubbornly swam around in circles until I finally finished with that damn maze." - Phil (23-Jul-2012)

"It's a good evolution if you look the first levels from this author, not only for the use of new tools but just for new ideas and better architecture. The underwater cave, even with the air pocket is very nasty to play without a walkthrough; I've tried to explore that huge area for myself and after half an hour, found a lot of dead ends and reload hundreds of times I decided to take Dutchy's help. Also the final swim when you got the crystal is too tight and distressing for Lara. It notices an effort with the architecture and the atmosphere (musics), but I missed some good puzzles and not only the long timed run in the beach and some moveables. Even so it's not a bad adventure you can try if you have free time." - Jose (11-Jul-2012)

"Maybe it's getting too easy with Next Generation to put out levels that on the surface look attractive. Here the opening with the seaplane looks nice, but a lot of canyons or water areas are basically boxy, and there is a blinding glare off the water surface (Lara misses her sunglasses). When Lara reaches a monkey swing the rock textures reminded me of TR3 gorge; this level suffers by comparison, as this is a boxy corridor with deadly water. In the first level Lara runs down a flaming corridor, taking burning damage, and ends by plunging into water. This would have been unthinkable in an early official game. There is a complex underwater maze for most of the second level. First I thoroughly studied Dutchy's map, then tried to play the maze on my own. This only got me so far, to the bronze ball. Then I had to use Dutchy's walkthrough and map, and even then the maze is an ordeal. There are more swimming mazes to come. And a lot of pushing stone blocks into a row: the objective is clear in the first second or two, so why is Lara forced to do all that dragging and shoving? Then there is a final swimming maze that is designed to force Lara to use all her medipacks and drown, or at least half-drown. Why aren't there a bunch of breathing holes scattered throughout these mazes? Other authors certainly do this. In my game every time Lara drowned the game crashed, although to recover it was just a matter of restarting and loading a savegame. I admit that this shows promise, that there are valid ideas, scenes, and texturing, and that revisions could vastly improve this. But there have been several recent releases that make me wonder if these authors have ever played TR1 or TR2 to understand classic play, or whether their only experience is playing custom levels, many of which are designed for very experienced players." - dmdibl (08-Jul-2012)

"A nice and entertaining level. I would have rated it higher if the author would have had it properly tested. Or was it? The textures are very nice but there are so many misrotated ones. Some tasks were stretched too much, like swimming through endless tunnels, maybe even 3 times before you found what you were after. Ladders were most of the times too high, I think it's boring to have ladders more than 10 clicks high. A push puzzle used twice for objects you had to combine, it took too long and wasn't much of a challenge Apart from that I thought the Maze to be pretty cool, hard yes, but when you were familiar with the layout it was in fact quite easy. Lighting overall a bit too bright IMHO, can't rememember lighting a flare, apart from one in the Maze. In the last part, near the Sanctum Crystal I started to encounter crashes. Finished it nevertheless because I was curious how the end would be. The level also gave a rather empty feeling re objects and enemies, the big bend over palm trees were very nice. Next time have it tested by some experienced testers (they could have improved your level)" - Dutchy (06-Jul-2012)

"On the Search: Lara finds herself on a pleasant trip to Madagascar - well, it starts off in a relaxed, holiday island manner, but, Lara being Lara, things soon hot up (sometimes quite literally as poor Lara has to make a dash through a burning corridor and put herself out in the water at the other end). The highlight of this section for me was the Madubu Gorge style setting, involving jumping from islet to islet with Tinnos wasps doing their best to shove Lara into the deadly waters. Sanctum: I hope you like swimming. Actually I hope you like drowning, because you're likely to be doing a lot of it in the vast underwater mazes in this section. It also doesn't help that every time Lara dies the whole game crashes to the desktop. Luckily, the author has posted an extremely helpful video clip of the correct route to the various underwater levers, or I'd probably have had to give up. In any case, I was so glad to get out of the water and on to dry land that I even embraced the otherwise rather laborious push puzzles. Lara's discovery of the fate of the original expedition and her timed escape from a similar fate was nicely done though. It's an enjoyable game and well worth playing, but I couldn't help but be left with a feeling that it had the potential to be better." - Jay (04-Jul-2012)

"I really liked the whole game. It was very difficult for me to finish it. I taked 2 hours to finish it, the first and the second level. I enjoyed On The Search very much, I don't know what the wasps means in this level but ok, liked it! I loved to explore the beach and the jungle with that deadly waters. In the level "Sanctum", honestly.... I hated to die MANY TIMES on that subwater caves trying to find those switches, and the pushable puzzles were very annoying! I spend so much time on them... but they're easy to figure out after all. The author should have tried to be more creative putting more nice enemies, but I like bats anyway! The sanctum level comes more nice when you reach the "golden" place solving all the mystery! Then you have to escape and it's very nice! Next time, I highly recommend that the author should do more fun challenges in future projects like he did in "on the search"." - Bradley (24-Jun-2012)

"The first level was cool and beautiful. The atmosphere was nice and the ambience too. I liked the enemies and the challenges. The burning corridor was very challenging and the river too, reminds me a lot of another level of the author named "Thailand Souls", I think it was inspired, I noticed it too because of the waterfalls place, inspired or not, I loved it! The beach is beautiful too, I really liked to fight against the cannibals and sharks. Now going to the second level, I have to admit it is a bit more difficult but it's nice too. The underwater huge caves is just a matter of patience and exploration. You just have to be patient, search very carefully and find the switches! The pushable blocks puzzles were not that hard too, just took me a time to figure it out and make it. Reaching to the final place, when you discover what happened to the men, you feel the emotion and tension, now that you have to find the exit too, and fast or you will die drowned. I loved the final scene,when Lara escapes the sanctum. The two levels were very good for me, I still prefer the first, but the second one was good too, but more challenging like I said before. Gabriel could have fixed switches and door sounds so the experience would be better, I think. If you like a mystery level, you should play Tomb Raider Sanctum!" - Jessica Croft (23-Jun-2012)

"It really is interesting to see two most different reviews that - when put together - make a quite fair rating in my opinion. I believe the builder created the environments for this level first and only then thought about putting in gameplay, which obviously wasn't such a great idea, especially in the second level that mostly was about exploring some huge underwater maze-like areas with finding overly well hidden switches and probably loosing a lot of health and certainly also the nerves. The first level seemed a lot more decent to me; it was mostly about finding the necessary levers and keys and it contained a lot of backtracking but everything was pretty playable and there were a lot of things you could at least enjoy, mostly the river area with a lot of tricky jump sequences or the ambience of the high waterfall area. The second level however was nothing but a pain to play through, at least the first half but things didn't really pick up much in the second half, maybe only in terms of atmosphere and sound usage. I was lucky to find the needed underwater levers after not too much time but what should any player out there think about this level when he isn't as lucky as me? Most players are still searching! Only later on the game got slightly better, but the two pushable puzzles were pretty enerving as they were not really long to figure out, but it took way too long to execute them. The last area was quite the atmospherical highlight of the game with nice sound usage, a lot of text messages from Lara searching for the way out and good fixed camera usage, but I have to say I was rather glad when the game finally ended after 70 minutes of net gameplay time (without the walkthrough you'll probably need a lot more of real time)." - manarch2 (22-Jun-2012)

"I find it very interesting comparing my review of a level with others. This level could have been OK but the author made one very big deliberate mistake: He used huge rooms to try to hide the fact that this level is nothing special. The whole level was a case of pushing a switch and the running all the way to the end of the level to find what happened. Here one would find another switch or something similar which would again do something at the other end of the level. This happened throughout the whole level. The author tried to artifically lengthen a mediocre level this way. The two massive underwater labyrinths served only one purpose: the player is supposed to drowwn many times before eventually stumbling across the right way. This was utterly annoying and certainly caused many players to through in the towel. But even having stuck to it, I found the whole level to be nothing special. Enemies consisted of a few bats. The puzzles have all been seen thousands of times already. Also the first part of the level was without camera hints. I also wondered at the chinese music playing in an african level...." - Mister-B (16-Jun-2012)

"The first level gameplay was very cool. I loved the way the author used the distance fog for the better ambient aspect. I loved soo much the soundtrack used in the game. It fits perfectly and do this be very atmospheric. The author should have worried more about fixing the sound bugs and other minor errors, but I think this didn't affect very much the gameplay experience. In the second level the bugs affects more the experience and the gameplay becomes more challenging because of that. I think that the last level would be very much better if the author put some less annoying challenges. Some textures could be better applied to make things more real, but I loved the lightning and visual effects in many areas. The story was very mysterious and I was amazed to discover what happened to the lost expedition. If the creator could have fixed all the bugs and bettered the second level gameplay I think this level would be very better rated by players." - Adriel (15-Jun-2012)
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