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Level: Primordial Catacombs back home search
Author(s): Colin Benson
total rating:6.65 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
eRIC 7 7 6 8
Jose 3 6 8 6
manarch2 4 7 8 5
Phil 9 8 9 8
Samu 4 6 7 7
category averages
(5 reviews)
5.40 6.80 7.60 6.80

Reviewer's comments

"This game consists of 5 levels, each of them having TR4 catacomb style visuals and atmosphere. There are certain things in the game that I didn't like very much, mainly related to the gameplay, but I will however, start with the positive qualities. First of all, I liked pretty much the visual look of the levels including texturing and lighting, which was used especially well to create a good atmosphere. Textures are mainly from TR4 catacomb level and even though they don't make the levels particularly unique looking, they are used very carefully. Moreover, the audio tracks are full of feeling and I also liked a lot the secret system, which I haven't seen in other levels as far as I can remember. However, what lets the game down in my opinion is the highly repetitive gameplay, which contains similar tasks used over and over again. My gaming time was around 6 hours and most of that time I spent completing some very basic tasks like activating switches, finding items, jumping from ledges to another, shooting enemies and occasionally avoiding some traps. Author did include also some rather interesting puzzles here and there, containing a one really clever push block puzzle, some riddles written on walls, a labyrinth consisting of invisible walls and some others. Nevertheless, these are very scarce and don't help much to make the gaming experience more varied and interesting. If author had included more of these puzzles instead of those very similar and basic tasks that are used countless times, I would have given much higher rating for the gameplay and puzzles category. In summary, this game has atmospheric environments to explore but the gameplay consists of highly repetitive tasks accompanied by a couple of interesting puzzles." - Samu (24-Jan-2015)

"Another level that had a rather tragic review history, both from the overall review count and also from my own history with it. I really, really wanted to finish to this level until the end of last year (2012) but I simply didn't manage it due to its incredible size, the first four levels take much more than an hour to complete and only the fifth is half as long, but that's not the full truth. I mean, long levels can still be entertaining (and thus better received), for a good recent example look for Leprechaun's Hideout which takes nearly half of the time spent in this level, but the way it's done here is not satisfying. The game suffers from a multitude of sins. It's not very fun to raid hours and hours through a consistently uniform setting, but even that IMO could've been covered by challenging and clever gameplay, which is inexistent (I'm really sorry to say that) for about 95 % of the level. The mentioned percentage of the game you'll spend running around epic-sized rooms, finding levers, using keys and performing ultra-long backtracks through the whole map, which is already tedious at the end of level 1, but imagine how you'll feel after level 3, or 4, or during the last level, because nothing really improves and you will be doing the same (mostly uninspired) tasks again, again and again. Not to forget most of the rooms are set in pitch black darkness and lit flares will be your constant guidance through the game (there are enough of them, luckily). So if the game didn't have the 5 % "highlights" (i.e. better gameplay moment but still not extraordinary) - namely several good timed runs and platforming parts (some of which have to be repeated several times though, which make them pedestrian again), and a handful of good puzzles (the one most noteworthy being the pushable puzzle where you can't jump over the lava - that one was great) - I would have given a 1 to Gameplay & Puzzles because the entertainment factor is very close to zero at the end. Coming to the positive aspects of the level - despite the all-spoiling darkness the atmosphere in this level is quite impressing, with great audio tracks used, a few nice flybies and a good architecture, and several custom objects are helping the level to not feel that "old". What lets it down a bit is that several sounds (e.g. for taking out the pistols, and several doors) are missing. The enemy placement in general is effective but the choice of them is rather uninspired, with five or so standard enemies used in each level, which makes it rather boring. I really would like to praise the "secret" system with the diamonds and the crystal (it's a good idea in general) - but it honestly wasn't my cup of tea, especially since I prefer being rewarded with an actually counted secret and not "only" with some items. Textures were solidly placed, but it's getting repetitive after some time. All in all I spent 5:10 hours in this levelset and would only recommend it to the most patient raiders out there who like exploration and overly complicated levels, but if you're rather looking for inspired tasks and brighter settings, I'd say go search for something else. Found 26 fire, 25 earth, 29 air and 19 water crystals." - manarch2 (03-May-2013)

"Quite a long and well built game, which took me 7 h30 of net gaming time. It would have benefitted greatly to this 5-levels game to be cut down to 3 , as some sections are good. But you get also tedious backtracking and redoing, especially in the first two levels. The author seems to like symmetry , nothing wrong with that , but here symmetry equals often doing twice the same thing. But there is definitely some good and enjoyable parts too : the puzzles with levers in levels 3 and 4, the good use of the plinth blades and an exhilarating use of rolling balls near the end of the first level followed by the ascending of the structure with 5 pattern tiles to step on ; I also liked very much the long timed door in level 2, and the exploration in level 4 to get 8 Orbs was pleasant. My favourite is level 3 with some good platforming. Plus there are a few original puzzles. So this game is worth the patience of the player as globally it gets better along the way. The last level is a bit more spooky , until that point it was not very heavy. The same enemies in all levels , and some missing sounds do not help to create a gripping atmosphere, despite some atmospheric areas, caves or places that look more like what you can expect in real catacombs with nooks and crannies, but in my opinion there were not enough of them. Anyway these counterbalanced well all these bigger majestic rooms. I will not complain about lighting , and supplies of pickups, and texturing is very good, good work in that area, there are some new textures , and the author tried to applied them with imagination at times, and with a lot of care generally. Finished with 25 Fire 17 Earth 29 Air 24 Water crystals. But I'm afraid Lara will not be able to bring them home :]" - eRIC (13-Apr-2013)

"If anybody want to know my opinion, please see my comments for the previous level from this author. But this time it's even worst: many areas totally black (I said it several times: GMac said: "I can turn off my computer and it's the same") and even more and more backtracking. I'm not surprised that a lot of months after the releasing, this levels only have a review. A waste of time even following the walkthrough. Where is the fun? Sorry." - Jose (28-Mar-2013)

"It's hard for me to believe that mine is the first review of this five-level megaset more than two and a half months after its release. This explains why I played Primordial Catacombs before tackling the builder's companion set, Primeval Catacombs (released at the same time and now boasting a whopping three reviews). The levels are too good to deserve this fate, but I can think of at least one possible reason for the lack of feedback. Although I've always been a fan of the Catacomb wad, these levels exhibit a sameness from start to finish that makes the player feel as if he has embarked upon one sprawling, interminable exercise. Dutchy, bless his heart, has plodded through the whole thing to provide a masterful walkthrough that eliminates the guesswork that otherwise would have significantly extended my net gaming time. The builder says that each level should take "more than an hour" to play, but even with Dutchy's help my time was close to twice that, so that when the relatively brief (but no less complicated) fifth level came to an end, my game clock showed eight and a half hours. Don't get me wrong; this is a fun and engaging gaming experience, but it's best when sampled in small doses. There are no secrets as such, but I liked the builder's idea of placing "secret crystals" here and there, to be used in special secret rooms where the available goodies evoked mental images of the proverbial kid in the candy store. There are also many element crystals scattered throughout the landscape, but the builder may have been better advised to find some practical use for the accumulated loot as a reward to the player for locating them. Much of the action took place in environs that were much too dark for my taste, but there are plenty of well-lighted areas to offset these. In sum, this is a worthy, ambitious project by a builder who has long been absent from these parts, and I can recommend it wholeheartedly. However, I imagine it will be quite some time before I fire up Primeval Catacombs, which I understand offers more of the same." - Phil (03-Jan-2013)
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