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Level: BtB2013 - Ultimate Challenge of the Northern Gods back home search
Author(s): m.julien
total rating:9.46 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Andzia9 8 8 9 9
Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
cho7 10 10 10 10
Daffy 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 8 9 9 9
Drakan 10 10 10 10
EssGee 9 9 10 10
Jay 10 9 9 9
JesseG 10 10 9 9
Jose 9 9 10 10
Josey 8 10 9 10
karlo002 10 9 10 10
Magnus 8 8 9 9
manarch2 9 9 9 9
Markus 9 9 9 10
McRaider 9 10 10 10
Mezcal 10 10 10 10
MichaelP 9 9 10 9
Mman 10 9 9 9
Mytly 10 9 9 10
OverRaider 9 9 10 10
Phil 9 9 10 10
requiemsoul 10 9 10 9
Ryan 10 10 9 9
Soul 10 9 10 9
The Boo 9 9 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
category averages
(27 reviews)
9.37 9.30 9.59 9.59

Reviewer's comments

"Excellent level from start to finish. Diversity of puzzles, combat with the enemy, traps, everything is perfect. Great challenge.Recommended strongly." - Drakan (13-Oct-2016)

"As you can tell from my scores, a near perfect level. Amazing puzzles, atmosphere, well placed enemies, textures and lighting. The big cave seemed imposing at first but fits together greatly. One of my favourites so far. Well done!" - Ryan (29-Jan-2016)

"There are a lot of impressive and grand areas here, it's also nice to see a level in this BTB that explores a somewhat brighter atmosphere. The lead in is relatively simple but once you reach the main hub the visual quality remains high for the rest. The gameplay here is quite difficult along with being based around a complex interlinking hub, however, it kept a good flow for me and I never got stuck despite that complexity, and there was almost always something else to go and explore if one challenge was giving me trouble. There seemed to be one or two bits of forced damage (but maybe I did it wrong), but that didn't take away from how good it mostly was. This will likely be one of my favourites of this BTB." - Mman (12-Oct-2015)

"This is only the second entry in the 2013 BTB series I've played, so I can't judge how it rates against the other levels. I mention that to point out....that taken as a stand alone experience, this level stands alone! A wonderfully intelligent and enjoyable adventure that deserves high praise. Perhaps the three most interesting aspects of playing this level for me were: 1. It's challenging game play. I don't recall the last time I became so immersed in what at first appears to be a somewhat small environment that suddenly becomes such a challenging and ever-expanding adventure. The builder's creative imagination is just awesome. 2. It's challenging game play. Unarmed with my poor memory, I had so many, uh what do I do now, where do I go now moments that it was just a pleasure to play. That is not to knock the linearity or construction of the level...it is all there for those who still have their wits about them. Of course, as I struggled happily, I never did find the secrets, or understand how important those magic potions would become in the end. So to get through the challenges in the end with what health packs I did have was just a lot of fun. 3. It's challenging game play. I figured that once I finally placed the four flames of Niflheim I was home free. How great were those unexpected challenges ahead, and talk about fall down laughing upon meeting up with those terrifying last two dudes! Many thanks for an absolutely enjoyable raiding experience." - Mezcal (05-Aug-2013)

"If there is one complaint the maybe it is the vastness of the central cavern which makes it easy to get lost and disoriented in it and the fact that while being lost you end up doing a lot of tedious wading through the shallow waters. And maybe some of the puzzle clues are little obscure to figure out and may need some forum or walkthrough help. But that is really all I can think of in what otherwise is just a plain perfect raiding adventure. From the beginning encounter with the guide it even tells a bit of a story and combines stunning looks, often introduced by beautifully crafted flybys, with very clever and original gameplay ideas. In particular I enjoyed the great first timed run, the freezing of the pool and the earthquake and break tile escape. At the end you get a rather tough but still manageable boss fight and a nice little timed escape run. Highest recommendations and a very well deserved top contender of the competition! (92 min, 4 of 5 secrets)" - MichaelP (27-Jul-2013)

"Another level full of fun gameplay. You get thrown into a large cavern in search of 4 frozen flames. Each one comes with a nice, varied set of puzzles and timed runs, and most of them are not easily solved in a glance. The whole thing is topped off with a nice bout of combat at the end, scoring the second 10 in gameplay from me this competition. The level structure is large so there is a lot to explore, but it is not so chaotic that it makes you utterly lost. It is also relatively easy to backtrack to missed items which is a big plus in my book. Very nice." - SSJ6Wolf (16-Jul-2013)

"Now, we enter in my own personnal favorite level of the "cold "wads. Just a world: PRODIGIOUS. It's the second level of the author and we can see a perfect use of the level editor. When the game start, we see this level is a winner. Indeed, Lara is in search of Thor's chalice far away in a north country and she hope get it in a mysterious and dangerous place: Niflheim Even if the level is not very linear, it's not a very hard game even if sometimes some objects, switchs and even secrets are very well hidden. There are very good brain teaser and if we are lucky, you can even get a special "weapon" to help you. I thinks one of my favorite moment it's when the floor collapses with a earthquake. Epic moment of the adventure. We can notice a perfect use of the many objects of the cold wads. Indeed, some places built with these objects are fabulous. Be warning: Terrors moments sometimes ^^. The cameras are very well use and with the musics who follows here, we have the impression watching a movie. Amazing design, I can just imagine the nombers of rooms and flipmaps to create some places of this game. Lighting not really dark but very well use and the textures are perfects. The mist effect give also a wonderful snowy atmosphere. Then, after you get the 4 Flames of Niflheim, you can access in a great battle to keep the famous Chalice. Amazing fight. So to conclude, a terrific adventure by julien and congratulation. Abolutely recommended." - BigFoot (13-Jun-2013)

"The best compliment I can pay the author is that this is the one level that I immediately wanted to go back and play again, just to soak up the atmosphere of the environments. Fantastic architecture. Good tasks, challenging but logical puzzles. This year's BtoB wad is crammed full of objects and I guess the temptation is for builders to want to use everything just because it is available. In some of the other levels I felt that some objects had been used just for the sake of using them, and in others that objects could have been used more to enhance environments. That is not true of this level. It feels like every object has been placed with a purpose, and that is to be highly commended. At first I thought that the author had lost his mind with the Final Battle which seemed impossibly hard to take on three hammer guys all at once and at close proximity with little safe space on a suspended platform. And then I realised there was a better and fair strategy which gave the player much more breathing space. Highly recommended." - EssGee (10-Jun-2013)

"Well, the suspense is over and the competition has officially ended, and I'm still not at the halfway point. I've found that this year's theme goes down more smoothly when taken in smaller doses, so I'll likely continue my practice of playing other levels for variety's sake while I'm completing the Northern Legends levels. This is one of the three French winners, and deservedly so. I spent a total of one and three-quarter hours net gaming time here, even while being assisted by Dutchy's walkthrough, and I found myself consistently entertained. The environs are used to good advantage, but I still deplore the relative lack of brightness favored by every one of the builders thus far. That's the main reason I'm playing other levels on the side, for a little light relief. The cut scenes are especially effective in this level, providing panoramic vistas of new areas to conquer as the player progresses through the level. Good stuff, most assuredly." - Phil (05-Jun-2013)

"The author wanted to bring freedom of choice and gave us a para-hub structure with four receptacles in the middle. I say "para-hub" because there is also some relation applied between items and activities of separate paths, just like if the builder wanted to break the 4-side pattern and make the whole thing seem more integral. Unfortunately, trying to apply non-linearity together with inter-path connections is dangerous and might result in losing freedom of choice. Here it happens just like that: in theory can follow any path we want, but if we don't do it in specific order like if sitting in author's brain, the game will take us much, much longer than it could - we'll climb a single ladder many times and face a closed door without a pickup we need to take a whole different path for. Luckily, these are the only two serious points where the path design brings seriously bad fruits. I only wrote so much about that single error because of its importance for possible future levels. Everywhere else the puzzles are rather flowing and even if we don't know what to do, beautiful settings prompt us to stay and sniff for clues. I really liked the RGB secret and the Uzi one, even though I missed it. But by far the most original ideas are lift to spikes and, on the top of that, the Viking guy we can play with and get rid of him instead of just performing evasive manoeuvres. Of the enemies, the final boss fight is possibly the toughest of all BtBNL - nowhere to hide and it costed me two medikits (of course if one has all secrets, it's much easier). But I switched to manual rapid pistol fire and survived by jumping upwards when the hammergods were thumping the ground. Later on, the second stage was tougher and it costed me two large medis. All in all, it had to be an ultimate challenge, so we got it. SUMMARY: Search the builder's mind and take the SW path as first, ignoring all other. That will save You a looooot of time. Do not and You might be cursing the path. Apart from that, highly recommended - spacious, bright and filled with several ideas ranging in terms of creativity from original to unique." - DJ Full (31-May-2013)

"For me the best of the levels I played till the moment. No difficult gameplay with no much backtracking, magnificent scenes, excelent atmosphere, very well textured with a good architecture, fantastic environment with a lot of special effects... In the area with the frozen pit full of spikes the use of the floor levers is "obscure"; also I lost a lot of medipacks there. The last fight with the three bosses was great, but I had only the shotgun with few ammo and I finished out of ammo and medipacks so, I had to do the best I could to avoid the last two large enemies near the exit. Perhaps if I looked for the secrets... Extraordinary and highly recommended level. Thanks!" - Jose (31-May-2013)

"Now this was more like it! (This will only make sense if you're reading my Back to Basics reviews in order for some reason [maybe you're a huge fan of my reviews?].) This level had me hooked right from the opening flyby, and it was clear right from the start that this would be a good level. The Guardian guiding you into Niflheim sets the stage nicely, and once you reach the entrance, you'll spend roughly an hour slowly opening up new paths in an impressively designed hub area. While it's possible to do some things out of order, the level is actually pretty linear, but I don't really think that's a bad thing - the hub area gives the illusion of non-linearity while still guiding you through the level. The puzzles and traps don't pose much of a challenge but are well-designed and there's plenty of variety. Usually when you get to a new area, you're faced with a trap or puzzle and everything you need is right there, so you're rarely confused about what you need to do - if you're stuck, you only need to explore the area you're in and don't need to run around the entire level looking for something you've missed. The one exception to this is a crowbar lever placed in a dark corner - in an area that has a completely unrelated puzzle - which was really out of place in a level that is otherwise so well-designed. But that was the one low point, though the finale where you're facing the Thor Triplets proved surprisingly difficult, as I hadn't picked up a lot of ammunition or medipacks throughout the level. Niflheim looks great, with the central hub area being the star of the show, but all of the side rooms look good too, and you always feel like you're in a real place, so you don't get a lot of empty hallways and things like that. In the end, this is a really good level and I'd hate to be the level that has to follow it." - Magnus (31-May-2013)

"Excellent level from start to finish. Diversity of puzzles, combat with the enemy, traps, everything is perfect. Very good lighting and good texturing. Nothing more to say, perfect. Great challenge.Recommended strongly." - cho7 (11-May-2013)

"Not a bad custom. The title may be misleading. This game wasn't that diffcult at all. There was a bug in place with the third Flame of Niflheim. After using a "Magic" the game crashed. But this weapon was very good." - Andzia9 (09-May-2013)

"Wow! Another great 'challenge' from BtB2013. So far 'Septentrion' was my favourite among this year's BtB levels, but this one edges it out slightly.
Except for short sections at the beginning and the end, the entire level takes place in a huge cavern hub and its offshoot rooms. At first, the number of doors to be opened and artefacts to be found seem a bit overwhelming, but once you start doing the tasks, everything flows smoothly, and there is rarely a stuck moment. Some of my favourite parts are: the timed run that is essentially a puzzle, i.e. the cog switch timed run, for which you have to prepare the route by raising trapdoors and lowering spikes; the pushable puzzle with its ingenious clue; the long timed run for which you need to memorize the route; and the triple spike trap. A couple of puzzles find up feeling a little obscure, such as the mirror puzzle and the knight puzzle (I solved the latter pretty much by accident). There's also a switch puzzle right at the beginning for which no clue is provided. An artefact is placed in the middle of such dense fog that it's impossible to see. Still, despite these flaws, the gameplay is extremely enjoyable on the whole.
Since enemies are few and far between in the majority of the level - just the way I like it - the final multi-boss fight seems a little over the top. The atmosphere is great, but music is not used quite as effectively as it could be.
The level looks absolutely gorgeous. Though pale blue and grey are the main colours used, the builder somehow manages to make it look stunning. The architecture of the main cavern is pleasantly complex. The tower where Lara is transported to for the boss fight is really gorgeous - I wish there was some way to explore it fully.
Overall: A beautiful, atmospheric level with great gameplay - no doubt it will be among the winners of this BtB. Highly recommended." - Mytly (08-May-2013)

"I think I have just found my personal favorite level from BtB13. I ended up taking a week long break after finishing the previous entry in the competition but I am glad I didn't give up altogether. From the get go I felt like there was such a massive amount of detail invested into crafting each of the environments here and as a result I ended up stopping every now and then for mere sightseeing. The main hub lagged a little, but other than that it was perfect. Gameplaywise I also thought it was thoroughly enjoyable, there's a variety of tasks to perform as you quest for the four Flames of Niflheim -- and while the title may sound quite intimidating, the difficulty/lenght felt just right, so it never became frustrating or a chore to play. After placing the four quest items you get to the gran finale, which was perfectly executed in my opinion. Definitely one not to miss. 80 minutes, 1 secret. 05/13" - Treeble (05-May-2013)

"A great adventure and without doubts the best 2013 BTB Challenge, architecture, objects, textures and lighting are perfect with a very good gameplay...a highly recommended level where the player would be amazed with this excellent work." - McRaider (30-Apr-2013)

"And here is... another winner. A smart and beautiful game, displaying a lot of creative power; a brilliant level. I liked best the first part, with the guide and the levers' puzzle. Afterwards, the central cave could have less or more deep water, because wading along an irregular ground, or swimming without diving, is slow work, and the cave is big. I had also some difficulty in the interpretation of camera clues, notably at the Mirror room. It is not clear what happens after the use of the Rune button. And I didn't like at all the sequence of the Cog Wheels and jumps. It is true that the fire in the middle of the platforms doesn't hurt Lara, but the initial jump, from a stone ledge to the first wooden platform, was made difficult (i.e., boring) by the fire bowl in the center of the ledge; and this jump had to be done twice! On the other side, I considered very smart, and liked very much, the Snake Head puzzle; the Torch one was also very good; and all the time sequences were perfect: not too difficult or easy, adding interest and stamina to the action. Congratulations!" - Josey (29-Apr-2013)

"Definitely one of the best levels amongst the BtB 2013 level collection. Very nice textures and lighting, the puzzles are not too hard and the timeruns are balanced farly. The big main room reminds me of TR Underworld and this is what I loved a lot about this level. There are not too many enemies and the puzzles are all logically built. A very good one! Can't wait for the contest to end and to play more levels from this levelbuilder! Highly recommended!" - karlo002 (20-Apr-2013)

"Don't be afraid by the title, there is nothing really dangerous or insane in the level. Good utilization of the wad and a professional build in several aspects, unfortunately the lag in the main area makes the game not always very fun (secrets 3/5)." - Markus (17-Apr-2013)

"This is well named. The challenges are many, varied and clever. The action follows a genre I'm fond of, i.e. a central hub area with lots of tasks to achieve in surrounding areas. The emphasis is mainly agility and puzzle orientated, with enemies used fairly sparingly throughout the game, up until the final boss ending and when I say 'boss', I really mean it. Conserve all your ammo and medipacks for the finale. Difficulty level is satisfyingly challenging, without at any time reaching hair tearing out territory and should be achievable by any player with a reasonable amount of experience. It's also not a level that will have you diving into the stuck threads every five minutes (if at all). Personally, I loved it. In fact, I'd go so far as to say it's my favourite of the entries so far." - Jay (15-Apr-2013)

"This is my favourit level of the competition. Stunning atmosphere, creative puzzles, challanging traps, and well hidden secrets make this adventure almost perfect. The only point of critcism is the confusing structure. Apart from that a fantastic and wonderful game!" - The Boo (14-Apr-2013)

"What a great finale to the BtB levels to me - it all ended on a very high note! A very special level which started calm with a guide setup but if you search the "challenge" you won't have to wait long. Fantastic puzzles and difficult traps and timed runs await you, all highly creative and also quite difficult. I had a few problems navigating through the central room, since the floor is overly uneven and partially flooded and thus it's getting pedestrian after while to traverse through it, and maybe the whole place is just overly huge and gameplay a tad too non-linear (more camera hints would help to find the next task quicklier), so that I found myself lost several times, although I never was completely stuck except in the puzzles which is a good thing. Especially the puzzle that involves the knight was quite imaginative and takes its time to solve, but the trapdoor puzzle with a cleverly set up timed wheel, the mirror room and the fire bowls were highlights in this level. The whole appearance is very professional and atmosphere is generally great but while I can hardly find any faults in texturing and lighting (there are some but no glaring mistake), I thought the architecture was a little too functional for the great puzzles. The secrets were extremely well hidden and especially the one requiring three near-invisible switches scattered throughout the whole level was devilish. All in all I spent 75 minutes in here and would rank this one as #2 of my favourites in this contest (Summertime Sadness goes on #3 and Septentrion on #1) - mainly because of the imaginative ideas put into the gameplay. Highly recommended and thanks so much to all contributors of this fantastic BtB 2013!" - manarch2 (12-Apr-2013)

"Beautiful level scenery sublime and addictive gameplay from one end to the other. What I enjoyed the most is the good compromise difficulty level makes it accessible to a majority of players. Thank you to the author for having as many thought, Congratulations for this great work!" - Daffy (10-Apr-2013)

"One of the best of BtB2013 for sure. With no doubt a professional level with various tasks and puzzles to solve, very entertaining exploration and gameplay, pretty atmosphere and very nicely textures and lights applied. Mirror room was clever, the way how I obtained every item and pickup is perfection, memorable moments and the ending battle was funny and epic. Complex and very enjoyable raid, absolutely recommended. 9/9/10/10" - OverRaider (08-Apr-2013)

"One the best of this BtB. Idispensable adventure. Superb and creative challenges (puzzles, traps). Graphically is stunning. Highly recommended!." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2013)

"At the beginning I was almost sure, that I'm playing some beginner's work: the look of the village wasn't all that great (flat lighting, some badly applied textures), gameplay felt lackluster (key appearing out of nowhere, pointless guide) and at one point epic music started to play when Lara entered a rather boring corridor - it bugged me that much, that I saved and reloaded a savegame to stop it, as it just didn't fit at all...I decided to give this game another chance though - mainly because I just NEEDED to see what the author's idea of this place would be- and I didn't regret it by any means: As soon as the "challenge" started the whole game picked up pace in every possible way! The lost world of Niflheim was fantastically crafted and didn't only LOOK great (I can forgive some of the cracks ^^) but also PLAYED great as the several loose ends such as closed doors and unreachable places, got tied up while exploring this huge place and solve all the great puzzles. At times I had the feeling, that this author was maybe a bit too clever for their own good (the knight-puzzle especially was evil) but the great moments outshone the rather bad ones. Highly recommended!" - Soul (01-Apr-2013)
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