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Level: Aiding the Crystalrunner Dwarves back home search
Author(s): Colin Benson
total rating:7.20 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
dmdibl 7 9 9 9
eRIC 7 8 7 7
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 7 8 8 7
Jose 2 6 8 8
Leeth 4 5 6 8
manarch2 7 8 8 7
Phil 9 9 9 8
Ryan 7 8 8 7
Zhyttya 3 5 6 7
category averages
(10 reviews)
6.10 7.40 7.70 7.60

Reviewer's comments

"Thankfully this single level is much more manageable (and dare I say it, bearable) than the builder's previous Catacomb megasets, which I started to get weary of after playing them for a while. I still felt that there was a bit too much backtracking to find where your next objective was, but I actually couldn't complain too much this time around because the distances required to travel aren't too lengthy. But I still found the overarching darkness levels a bit excessive and despite enough flares being provided if you look carefully, it was still a bit too much. But apart from the backtracking, a couple of extremely boring push puzzles and a few crawlspaces that were rather too long, this is quite an imaginative level in places. The revolving maze area was ingeniously constructed and not too tedious like in most cases and the various battles against the bird monsters and ice demonesses were engaging. The secret sapphire idea has become a staple of this builder's games, and again it returns here so don't hesitate to stock up on goodies if you have to, even if it means backtracking a fair bit. A good raid if you bring a bit of patience along." - Ryan (10-May-2019)

"Honestly i have to agree with Jose on this one. This was such a pain to play. Throughout the whole level, i rarely sensed any kind of accomplishment...the whole level is basically running..and running...and running, not to mention that you have to back and forth a lot. To start off you don't have any meds and you're forced to tank a bit of dmg to hit the first lever in the level. Then you have this really boring puzzles with the blue statues to move. THEN you can easily miss the last key needed to finish the level. As the lever for it's door it's km's away, and i just eventually forgot about that door...because you know...there's a lot of doors that were left to open. That leads me to my last critic: the walkthrough. I do understand the author not waiting to give the reveal of the secrets, but i would much appreciate a full version of the level... Oh! I almost forgot, there's a pointless puzzle in this level. There's no sign of it on the walkthrough as well. Anyway...to conclude i don't really recommend this level, it's boring, frustrating and lacks flares." - Zhyttya (06-Feb-2016)

"A pointless level. Everything I did while playing this seemed like I was doing nothing. It was just walking up and down the road and questioning my self why something was open or close. It took so long to open something that I recognize that I didn't even remember where it was and that was a first. Is just TO MUCH ROAMING and a lot of backtracking. And please add more flares. The lightning was appropriate but it was so dark in zones that you have to search a bit that you run out of flares way to fast. I found incomplete puzzles, boring boxes to push on obvious solution (boring and not rewarding once again). The only puzzle that i can give some credit it the "4 blocks and a ball" one that it seem unfinished and wasn't even in the walk-through. The coins were pointless (like a lot of stuff in this game). The things are bad explained or there was just to much thing for nothing. Still, not a bad level but was boring and made us wish that it ended fast" - Leeth (06-Feb-2016)

"Once you've played this level around half an hour you understand the reason why almost three months after the releasing it only got 6 reviews. The design is really good, but the gameplay is terrible, one of the worst I've ever seen; even following the walkthrough from the very beginning, after 1 hour 20 minutes I got out of ammo and medipacks and very bored running long distances through enormous scenaries only to get keys or artifacts and came back through the same places to use them in another far places. So I was forced to abandone after the battle with the Ice Demoneses and Men Eagles when a single dog gave me a little scratch and took the last breath of life that I had. Even so, I had a secret Sapphire, but only think I had to go back some kilometers to the place where I could use it to get some breath was beyond my strength." - Jose (04-May-2013)

"Overall it's a nice and well made level I reasonably enjoyed. Decent looks with good looking rooms and a few areas a bit too square. The general ambience is pleasant albeit a bit monotonous ; there could be more audios and a couple of sounds are missing for the spikes and the collapsible tiles. Large map, a trademark from the author , where after the initial section which is straightforward , you need 2 Jottun pillars and a Scroll , the path for these artefacts seem to cross. So probably I did some backtracking that was not needed. The jumps around the main icy cave is what I enjoyed the most. The short maze with the flipmaps was quite well made. In one place I noticed an interesting puzzle with levers/raising blocks and a boulder , but went on somewhere else and in the end I forgot to solve this one , so I probably missed one secret here. Found only one secret gem and 22 golden coins. There isn't many medicine potions so it was better to be prudent with the various enemies. I also finished the level with zero flares. Even if the level seems to lack a bit of "punch" , it succeeds to remain interesting enough until the end which occurs after placing the Scroll. [ 1 h 30 ]" - eRIC (06-Apr-2013)

"This is a fairly complex level that has a nice dose of traps, puzzles, and enemies. There were some nice gameplay touches, such as activating fire under a pool to unfreeze it, and face-offs with the giant ice giants. In a few ways the gameplay fell short: the first major problem I encountered was a rolling ball puzzle that cannot be reset if you, like me, get the twitch to pull the jumpswitch prematurely before you realize what the objective is. The second gameplay problem is backtracking, if you forget the second pillar for instance you have to run back and forth through the whole level three extra times. The third is mazes. Mazes are just evil, and the one in this level shifts as you run through it, so you just have to run into every dead-end until you see the exit. Lighting outside was bland, but inside was nice and colorful. However it was also too dark in many places, most of which you had to backtrack again and again if you missed a jumpswitch somewhere. You will find flares, but only 3 of them, which is not nearly enough. It was a nice level overall, but if you go for it, keep your mind open to hacking the save for more flares. 1 hour, 30 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (09-Mar-2013)

"First things first. At the end of the walkthrough (that the builder wrote himself), he says "I hope you enjoyed my level." I did, very much. I've been working on Primeval Catacombs since the end of January, playing a little bit here and a little bit there so I don't succumb to boredom from the sameness of it all, but I had no trouble at all staying focused on this 75-minute adventure that began one morning and ended the same evening. Moreover, I did something different for a change and tried playing without a walkthrough. I did okay for a while, but I placed the pillar in the wrong receptacle (if I were a builder, which I'm not, I would have chosen two brands of pillars instead of one, which would have prevented players such as me from using the wrong pillar in the wrong slot) which enabled me to enter the huge glacier area too early, and from the bottom rather than the top as the builder had visualized. I then went back and replayed from the beginning, using the walkthrough, and had no issues the rest of the way. I also found nary a single secret sapphire, so I have no idea how many there were or where they were. The environs here are more varied than in the Catacombs series, with indoor areas and outdoor areas, and for this reason I deem it more appealing to the eyes and therefore more interesting to play. The builder does have an unfortunate penchant for darkness, however, so I supplied myself with unlimited flares very early in the game. A very nice level, and I hope the builder has come out of hibernation permanently." - Phil (24-Feb-2013)

"I had a bit of a love/hate relationship with this one and I have to say I'm really glad the builder included a walkthrough in his readme or the balance might have tipped over to the dark side. Cons: it's a large, extremely non-linear level that can involve a massive amount of back tracking if you do things in the wrong order and parts of it are far too dark. It also contains one of the longest and most comprehensively boring push puzzles I've ever encountered. Pros: with the occasional nudge in the right direction from the walkthrough, it's perfectly possible to retain one's sanity and have a rather good time (plus the level supports the level editor so I was able to give myself lots and lots of flares, thus ensuring that I avoided grumpy old woman mode most of the time). I must also give credit to the most inventive 'maze' room which changed as Lara ventured round it. Clever stuff. You will have to be careful with Lara's health as the various enemies are occasionally quite fierce (big bird anyone?) and medipacks aren't exactly sprinkled around like confetti, but with care it is possible to cope and there are secret sapphires to be found, giving access to extra goodies. Overall, a positive and enjoyable experience if you keep your cool." - Jay (19-Feb-2013)

"The good news is that this is only a single level, so players can experience this accomplished author without the long complexity of his catacombs series, to which there will be some comparisons. Here there are caves, ice, Ice Demonesses, and Bird Monsters, with fine craftsmanship in building and map layout. The author provides a walkthrough, but it doesn't mention those important secret sapphires, so Lara decided to set off on her own. One quickly finds that play is similar to the catacombs levels. That is, Lara more or less duplicated the exploration in the first paragraph of the walkthrough. But after passing through swinging spike bags she decided to go left (not knowing that the walkthrough goes right). There is a trek out to a multiple level cavern, a descent, rope swings, and Lara ends up at a closed door dead end. So Lara climbs out, finds a side passage, which also leads to a dead end. This is pretty much the way play went in the catacombs series, too. After forty minutes or so Lara stumbles on a Jotunn Pillar, and at this point I checked the walkthrough and found her advancement amounted to a few more sentences. Basically, in this author's levels, if you don't know where to go (such as making a left instead of a right), you can wander fruitlessly. On the plus side, exploring on her own Lara did find two secret sapphires (out of six), and traded these in for a revolver and grenade gun, and with a found shotgun this made for easy dealing with enemies. Reviewers complained about mazes in the catacombs, so here the author gives us a maze that changes as Lara goes through it, so there is no possible way to know what is going on. For some reason the author mentions in his readme file that this is an improvement. Because of her haphazard searching Lara had to go through this maze twice. Lighting is supposed to be better, and in open patches it is. But I played most of this with my own TREP-ped Tomb4.exe that has enhanced dynamic lighting and bright flares that last for 90 seconds, and frankly found this more enjoyable. Lara solved a four-lever puzzle to set a ball rolling over a trigger tile, but there were no camera shots, and as this isn't even mentioned in the author's walkthrough I'm not sure what happened. Maybe a door opened somewhere to a secret sapphire. Lara also found 26 gold coins (out of 30), but these are completely useless. This is a good level, up to the author's high standards, but to appreciate it you really need dedication to explore for yourself, and as noted there are inherent frustrations. Playing time was 2:25. Recommended." - dmdibl (19-Feb-2013)

"I felt somewhat con-guilty for the disaster concerning the review numbers of the builder's previous catacomb levelsets, since I stopped playing them in one level and never could bring myself back to playing them until now, because of various reasons (explained in the future review), so that I downloaded and played this level directly after I could get my hands on it. This more than hour long level quite maintains the very own style of the builder who succeeds in creating a nice classic atmosphere in his levels, including a large map with a high complexity in the gameplay. Unfortunately, this does not work so well at least for me, although I think this level is more concise in that regard as the two recent Catacomb levels. The areas are still very, very large, but the tasks within the areas and also the number of possible paths to explore are reduced a bit. Some ideas worked well for me, like melting the ice in the large hall and finding a way up and across this room was quite a challenge. I found the Tinnos reminiscent setting to be quite authentic although I was missing more camera work and several areas are too dark for me, e.g. one of the cellar rooms where you search for a jumplever to find a receptacle for a pillar. The enemy usage was a bit eclectic but somewhat fitting to the story; the "secret" system from the previous levelsets was used here again but I'd somehow prefer that finding each of the gems would register as a secret. Texturewise there was nothing really special here and the mentioned huge hall had a few odd wallpaper effects and felt too boxy for me. All in all I liked this 65 minute level in many regards but the builder should really should make the levels a bit more linear since the incredible complexity in not really special environments (so that you're not overly curious what will follow next) will certainly hold off many players to finish his levels." - manarch2 (17-Feb-2013)
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