"A great winner, IMO. this entry was
amazing in every way. With the eponymous
ship in the middle area, it looks
absolutely grand. My only minor gripe is
that it was a little dark overall.
Congratulations!" - Ryan (30-Jan-2016)
"As expected of an eRIC map this is full of interesting shapes and
varied lighting, it also convincingly pulls off a unique twist on the
theme and makes good use of objects. Maybe one of the
upcoming levels will blow me away but based on the levels so far I
don't think the theme can be taken much further than this. The
gameplay is enjoyable outside of one flow-stopper of a near
invisible object. There's also one bit of forced damage. It's quite a
difficult map and probably has the trickiest individual challenges of
the levels I've played so far, but it's relatively linear, although it still
manages to interlink in interesting and unexpected ways (another
frequent trademark of eRICs maps). A deserving winner of this BTB." - Mman (13-Oct-2015)
"This was a great yet a little confusing level. It is huge and
you solve the puzzles in the different areas of the place, so
sometimes I got lost because I didn't remember where the
especific place I was looking for was. But in the end I always
found my way (with some hints of the walkthrough and some help
from our dark friend). The music and the camera changes are
remarkable, they really got me into the game. I really got
stuck at some points like the timed wheel because I wasn't
pulling it enough and thought the timed run was more tight
than it actually was. My favourite part was of course the
horse riding. However it's a pitty it dind't last longer.
Thanks for the good work!" - Minaru (29-Aug-2013)
"So the community voted this adventure as the winner of BtB and for me personally it does get close but just misses the top spot. I played this one last and it was definitely a treat with very clever architecture and progression throughout and several taks that are quite tricky to master, so this may not be a level for the junior raiders out there. At times I felt it was almost too sneaky for its own good and I did end up consulting the walkthrough maybe a handful of times as I lost patience searching for the right next thing to do. I also found it too dark at the beginning but that worked out better later in the game. The smart use of the guide throughout is definitely a highlight, as are the diverse combinations of timed sequences. So, a great and involving level, as we have come to expect from this builder and very worthy finale for me of this BtB season. (125 min, 5 secrets)" - MichaelP (27-Jul-2013)
"Sometimes, when you finished a level, you remembers during a long time the nice aeras and extraordinary gameplay.
It was the case for "Ultimate Challenge" or "Jerpoint Abbey".
About Septentrion ... I think the boat prisonner in the ice and rock is "unique" in our Trle world. So ... AWSOOOOOME ;).
The game is perfect, everything is perfect.
Lara discovered a viking necropolis in Scandinavia and the goal is to find the famous Septentrion boat and a Chalice.
The gameplay is exellent. Not just kill, traps, and switch but an intelligent mix of brain teaser. We don't just use our hands to played this game, we also use our head.
The various use of the objects and textures to create the boat, necroplis and villages near are gorgeous.
The secrets are not really hard to find but pick up them is another question ;).
Not really dark and challenging (for me), it's just I love in a custom level.
Congratulation eRIC, "tu merites cette première place de la competition :)"." - BigFoot (20-Jul-2013)
"This level to me holds several unique qualities. It feels like the people around you are actually thinking: Enemies will activate traps on you, and the guide will come help you out of a few jams. The timed runs are nice and challenging, just to my tastes. This was also the first btb level I got to ride a horse, I just wish that part lasted
a bit longer though since you work so hard for it, but it was fun. The level structure is a little weird to me, but it does look nice. One small gripe was that the ax handle piece was very hard to see. The level ends a bit abruptly by mowing someone over with your horse and grabbing your prize. 1 hour, 20 minutes." - SSJ6Wolf (16-Jul-2013)
"This level has been voted the winner of the 2013 BtB competition, and I'm fine with that. It's obviously the work product of a seasoned veteran, but in keeping with my experience with these Northern Legends levels I found most of the settings uncomfortably dark and forbidding. And when the walkthrough has provided nine savegames barely halfway into the level, you know that beginning raiders need not apply. I was never able to grab those rocks in the corner without catching fire, although the builder has explained that the timer was actually fairly generous (maybe I just gave up too soon). Since I play in god mode, that was no insurmountable problem, but seeing as there was no water in the vicinity, I played the next half hour or so enveloped in flames until finally a pool presented itself. Although progression through the level involved a number of impressive sequences, and although I enjoy a complex level as much as the next guy, I felt a bit like Marty Feldman with one eye glued to the screen and the other eye glued to Dutchy's walkthrough. To me, that takes much of the fun out of playing. Maybe I'm just getting saturated with Northern Legends, and maybe my frustration is spilling out in this review of the best level of the bunch (which provided two hours of high-intensity action). The end is in sight, so let's see what the next one is like." - Phil (22-Jun-2013)
"This level has a great premise - an ice-bound wreck of a huge ark-like ship called the "Septentrion". Your exploration passes in an around the ship in varying ways several times during the course of the game, whilst you explore a township that sprawls organically up and around a large chasm adjacent to the ship. This impressive area tempts the player to want to explore every corner of it high and low. There's lots of interesting platforming to do, timed runs and puzzles to solve. I enjoyed all the puzzling and challenges of this level, but felt that the enemy placements could have been better thought out. The first hammer guy I encountered could be picked off from a ledge above, without Lara raising a sweat. The final passage of play was anti-climatic, where several valkyries and a hammer guy are placed in the path of a horse-mounted Lara who simply bowls them over without them ever raising a finger in anger. To me, the valkyries in this situation were pointless, and a decent battle with the final Thor could have been a real contest by preventing the horse from being able to enter the final area. This would have been a fitting finale to an otherwise very impressive level." - EssGee (10-Jun-2013)
"One of these levels when I wonder, during the whole
production period, then for the whole playing time, what the
title means, and I eventually don't check it before I pick
up the final item. Here it's a chalice, on the contrary with
what I've seen in previously played NL game, where the
author made those cups secret instead of setting them as the
main goal. Btw this is a very nice research tool to find out
what the author likes the most: I mean give them a large
variety of pickups and see which of them they treat as the
most valuable, so e.g. if You meet this particular builder
in real life someday, You can give him a bag of runes and be
80% sure he/she'll be happy :) If we speak about items, we
need to point out a nice little application concerning the
inventory of Septentrion: there is a classic setup of
a combined puzzle, in this case an axe, which first comes in
two separate parts we need to struggle a bit for, and then
is followed by two already complete axes, so we can
feel the second lock is twice as powerful as the first one.
That's it - no artificial fulfilling of the backpack, but a
simple yet effective usage of a single-slot key. Just like
no artificial usage of objects - e.g. no dozens of trees but
just two: one is a dead tree fruiting with grenades, another
is a birch-tree growing next to the trapdoor with a guy
falling through, and You can remember both long after
playing, unlike those dozens of pointless trees people place
just in order to improve atmosphere while only lagging is
improved instead. Here, there's no fooling around, but every
single object has a purpose of existence and this is Tomb
Raider. Every single texture has a purpose. Every enemy has
a proper function, also without artificial overusage, and
many of those baddies are made unique with help of AI-s,
consistently ignored by majority of the builders convinced
it's enough for a good game to get rid of bugs and make
pretty settings (wrong people, You're veeery wrong and You
won't make a good game unless You believe me). Have I
mentioned social groups? Well this is how it feels. Mummies
have their social group, Valkyries and warriors as well.
Even the lighting is functional, however I spotted several
rooms where the author seemingly had enough and left the
things unfinished. Arrrh, lighting... Sometimes I think no-
one cares about it completely, till the very depth of the
project. Nonetheless, 90 to 95% of shadows, bulbs spots etc.
is flawless, so I won't be mean and give that 10, as well as
for the atmosphere, because You progress through that game
and any room You enter, no matter of size, no matter of
complexity, is like sucking You into the monitor, simply
magical. But there's one thing that has been forgotten for
this game to be ultimately brilliant: it's the getaway
element. It would be all classic if that single touch was
added, but nooo - Lara grabs the chalice and BAM! - we're
thrown back to main menu, bashed in the face, having not
enjoyed that moment at all. I speak of that kind of joy is
missing which appears when Lara places the last Scion in
Beyond the Scion. You know, when that epic music
starts. From BtB levels I already managed to know, only
The Cottage in the Valley included such element of
epic relief, the most important for a successful ending.
SUMMARY: Play. Just play, You won't regret. And if You feel
the ending is missing, just play something more after. This
is the only cure ;) But until it lasts, it will immerse You
as much as it can be done." - DJ Full (31-May-2013)
"I think this could be the winner this year. The gameplay is very good, with all kind of challenges, full of entertaining and innovative tasks and not so no-lineal like players can think. Architecture is fantastic, with hundreds of rooms well ornated and textured. I liked the guide's touches and the well balanced enemies too. Also the strategic cameras will help you a lot sometimes. The only "but" was the very tight timed run when pulling the wheel. Rest of the game is impressive. Highly recommended." - Jose (31-May-2013)
"Now that I'm over halfway through this year's Back to Basics competition, I think I have a pretty good handle on what to expect. I knew just from reading the description for this level and seeing the screenshot that this would be one of the better levels. And then it sucked. No, I'm just kidding, it was pretty great. The goal of the level is to make it to the ship Septentrion, said to contain a priceless chalice. Most of the level takes place in and around a large hub area. It's deceptively complex but surprisingly easy to get through. For the most part, the author does a good job at guiding you through the level, often closing doors behind you and forcing you to focus on the task at hand. It works well - you have some freedom to explore occasionally, but you're still allowed to focus on the fun stuff - solving puzzles and platforming - instead of having to worry about where you missed a switch or key. Puzzles are mostly of the platforming kind - more"how do I get there?" than actual puzzles - but they're usually fun and they're broken up by some action and exploration, so it's all good. My only real complaint is that there's not really a sense of progression - you see the Septentrion early on in a flyby, then spend most of the level trying to get there, but you never actually know where it is or what your goal in the big hub area is. You go through side door after side door, and when you eventually find yourself in the Septentrion, it's a bit of a letdown just because of how suddenly it happens. Having something more obvious to work towards would have been more satisfying. But that's a minor complaint, and the level is still fun even when you don't really know why you're doing things. Another minor complaint is the large amount of pickups. It's not a very dark level and there really aren't all that many enemies, but you still find a ton of flares and medipacks. That's also not a huge issue, but it's hard to resist large medipacks when you see them, but they end up feeling pointless when you get so many. To end this review on a more positive note - the level deserves it - this is one of the best-looking Back to Basics levels this year (and I feel confident enough to say that without even having played all of them yet). There's a great attention to detail - for example, one hallway that only exists to link two rooms has windows that show a little outside area that the author has put there just to make the hallway more interesting. The big hub area is also both intricately built and nice to look at, and who doesn't like seeing a big ship frozen in ice? Overall, these were some of the most entertaining fifty-five minutes so far of this year's competition." - Magnus (31-May-2013)
"This is a very good and long level. It begins in a dark cave before arriving in the belly of a ship. There are many small rooms, but this level is nice from beginning to end. The puzzles are clever. and the atmosphere excellent.
Very great level." - cho7 (26-May-2013)
"I have mixed feelings for this level. On the one hand, all the way it felt just "right", there was this claustrophobic feeling all around and it just oozed gameplay like old school Tomb Raider games, and on top of that there was a lot of additional work put into about every room to make sure you'd keep on your own track. All of that is coupled with a terrific selection of audio tracks (this is the 12th BtB13 level I play, and there were quite a few tracks I don't think I'd heard until now) and ingeniously crafted environments. On the other hand, I felt that despite all the running to and fro there was no real progress being done and by the time I reached the ship I had no idea what my goal was -- we later then ride the horse around a few areas and eventually find the last baddy who drops the relic we came for. This is a minor detail, however, it's just that there is a lot to do here with a slight bit of backtracking. I also have this strange recollection of only ever finding large medipacks, could be wrong though. 85 minutes, 3 secrets. 05/13" - Treeble (19-May-2013)
"This level can not be ignored, first by the originality of its designs superbly built on several floors. the decor is very well done and well proportioned lighting. The gameplay takes a lot of research and there is no big technical issues regarding this for most players (aside still a timerun a little too hard (The cog_switch) I have not been able to pass without help). I liked to finish the course on a horse, it was refreshing after all these efforts (laughs).Congratulations to the author!" - Daffy (14-May-2013)
"This is an excellent adventure and a pleasure to play! I do
not particularly enjoy the beginning (it did not suit my
tastes atmospherically or gameplay-wise), but the rest of the
level is top notch! The gameplay is rather complex, making
Lara gradually open up new areas which are then blended with
the previous ones, but it is never very difficult, and, even
more importantly, it is quite fun! Lighting, textures,
atmosphere, sound, and cameras are all great, although I found
it a little dark at times, and there are some obvious
invisible walls. The enemies, objects, and secrets are
nothing groundbreaking, but they are aptly placed throughout
the level, and there is plenty of ammo and flares. It took me
~2 hours to beat. Once again, fantastic job!" - okuhtfesq (13-May-2013)
"Little bit long, but easy level. The game quite enjoyable, beautiful places, mysterious atmosphere." - Andzia9 (13-May-2013)
"A very impressive level, great storyline, a lot of good times and an amazing work with the music. Even if there are several good levels in the competition, this one is definitely my favorite (secrets 5/5). Congrats to the author but also to all builders for this BTB2013." - Markus (05-May-2013)
"Whhat a great game! Gameplay is straight forward (after a very unorthodox beginning) through a couple of very well built areas with a lot of creativly created tasks to do. Atmosphere is stunning: Wunderfull areas are combinded with well placed Sound. One of the longest games in this competition is not boring a single moment. I loved the horse-ride in the end. One of my absolute favourites int he 2013-competion!" - Christian (21-Apr-2013)
"This is only the third BtB 2013 level I have played, but no doubt it will be one of my favourites in this competition, and probably one of the winners as well. I love how intricately interconnected the map is - you get to see almost the whole level in the flybys near the beginning, but you don't realize it until nearly the end. As you open up each new area, it fits neatly into the old ones. Despite the complex areas - especially the multi-level canyon area with its numerous offshoot rooms - gameplay flows fairly smoothly at most times, with only the occasional stuck moment mainly due to my own lack of observation. There are a number of great tasks, such as the first room and the sliding floors challenge. On the other hand, there are some tasks that are less than intuitive, such as jumping onto invisible platforms on top of floating candles; or annoying ones, such as a long and complex run while being chased by wraiths. Still, on the whole, the good far outweighs the bad.
The guide is very well used. There are plenty of enemies, but the combat never gets too much. There is a hammergod near the end which is placed in such a way that Lara can easily shoot it from safety, while it can't come near her. I like the use of objects such as the smaller boats around Septentrion, or the 'magic spells' (grenades) decorating a tree.
The visuals are nearly perfect: I especially love the colours in the canyon area. There are several impressive set pieces, like the ship Septentrion in its ice-bound cavern. The only flaw I can see is that the lighting in some outdoor areas (especially the canyon) is significantly brighter than in the others, which is odd. This, along with some blatant invisible walls, spoils the otherwise realistic atmosphere slightly.
Overall: An excellent level in most respects that shows off the lovely BtB 2013 package to its fullest. Highly recommended." - Mytly (21-Apr-2013)
"Do you want to know brilliant talent allied to experience, a big variety of environments and tasks, and, as if it were not enough, hug yourself times and times for having done a good job? Don't look elsewhere: THIS is IT. Yes, here's at least one of the winners, I'm sure. And the brilliant author had also the tremendous good taste of adding very good and varied music to the game, leaving that pretty, but unfortunately continuous, theme music (btw, is it mandatory?) to one of the last parts only. Wonderful! It is impossible to give less than one complete round of 10's to this game, even if it is a little (only a little) darker than it could have been... My compliments and sincere thanks to the author." - Josey (20-Apr-2013)
"This is exceptionally well thought out and crafted. I loved the tantalising glimpses of places not yet accessible and the way all the disparate areas were joined together as the gameplay progressed. It's beautifully built and the variety of tasks/puzzles/enemies has a most satisfying balance. One of the longer entries in the competition, but with a game of this calibre that can only be a good thing." - Jay (15-Apr-2013)
"Another impressive level in this year's contest and I'm almost sure that this will be one of the 3 winners - maybe even THE winner, as it seems to be a "level for everyone". The author created a fantastic map (I didn't realize HOW fantastic it is until the very end, when everything suddenly makes sense) and filled it with various tasks, that are neither too easy nor too hard which results in a constant progression that is always accompanied with a feeling of accomplishment. I purposely said "tasks" though, as this game lacked real puzzles (those that require you to put on your thinking cap), which I found quite a shame. Except for the lion-head-puzzle with the rather ingenious hint (easy, yet effective!) and one that involved sliding and jumping I don't remember any. One could argue, that the way the places are interconnected on the map is a huge puzzle, but - while this is perfectly right - I decided to let this influence my "atmosphere"-rating instead, which got a perfect 10, despite having some flaws. I found it rather odd for example, that at one point there was both an invisible wall AND an "invisible solid ceiling", as such elements keep reminding me, that the world the author created is not real after all. Since I already started nitpicking let me also mention the object usage: It may be minor to others, but I think the idea of using trapdoors as moving platforms wasn't the best (at one point Lara could stand on them, then she fell through) and as a "soon to be physics teacher I also couldn't ignore the fact, that a fire emitter was placed below a WOODEN platform. Apart from these little "annoyances" though one gets an almost perfect raiding-experience that lasts about 1.5 hours. I found each one of the 5 secrets and was pleasantly surprised that they were all placed at points, that were still accessible at the very end. Highly recommended" - Soul (12-Apr-2013)
"Before playing any BtB levels, I thought Septentrion might be a fantastic level or even a masterpiece, only judging by its name, and - sometimes prejudices are true. This game is utterly great from start to finish, with likely the most complicated architecture I've ever seen in any level: Most of the areas are multi-staged and interlinked so well, which makes up for a great atmosphere because of many nice glimpses, partially of rooms you'll explore ages later, and gameplay is near-perfectly integrated into the setting. The way the builder sends you up and down is simply ingenious as well as all the fantastic puzzles and challenges - a great sliding puzzle, jumping across moving platforms, the way the guide is embed into the adventure and many others, though I think the action density could have been even higher for my taste and some puzzles could be a little more ingenious, but that are pretty much all gripes, since the exploration is so dazzingly good that those don't really count. Lighting and textures are utterly perfect and it's nearly impossible to fault them in any way. What also impresses me is that when first entering an area it mostly looks quite disorganised and in a way "over-architectured", but on further exploration it all makes sense. All five secrets I found were very nicely hidden and I spent 1:05 hours in here. There's still one level left for me (of which I already have played a part) but this one is my personal favourite of the contest. Congratulations to the builder and hats off for such a great game!" - manarch2 (11-Apr-2013)
"One the best of this BtB. Excellent adventure. Superb, varied
and creative challenges (puzzles, traps, timeruns,
exploration). Graphically is awesome. Highly
recommended!.Great Job!." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2013)
"Woow, This level is fantastic from the beginning to the end. Everything is excellently thought out. The tasks themselves are creating complex "puzzles". The way how you get "key" items, the way how you pass through traps, the way how you get to the various places, the way how you bring torch to the other side and what item to use where, all are perfection. Amazing level with lots of to do visiting various areas with different atmosphere and perfectly builded inside and outside areas. The music was always fitting the atmosphere and situation perfectly. I can say this was a first class raid. The best BtB2013 level I`ve played so far. This adventure took me 1 hour and 32 minutes and I enjoyed every second of it, found 4/5 secrets. Highly recommended. 10/10/10/10" - OverRaider (05-Apr-2013)
"Without doubt one of the winner of the competition. Gameplay is amazing and is very well balanced. The action takes place mainly inside and around a valley, and the progression is nice because we have always found something and the next step is always closed." - Glouglouton (03-Apr-2013)