trle.net
Level: BtB2013 - Blizzard back home search
Author(s): Ader
total rating:8.52 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bigfoot 10 10 10 10
Casual Raider 8 8 7 9
Christian 8 8 8 8
DJ Full 8 9 8 8
EssGee 8 9 9 8
Ivan 10 9 10 10
Jay 8 9 9 9
JesseG 8 9 9 9
Jose 8 8 7 9
Josey 10 10 10 10
Magnus 6 6 7 6
manarch2 8 8 9 9
Markus 8 8 8 9
MichaelP 7 8 9 9
Mman 8 9 8 8
Mytly 7 9 8 9
Orbit Dream 8 8 9 9
OverRaider 8 9 9 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
requiemsoul 8 9 8 8
Ryan 8 9 9 8
Soul 8 9 10 10
Treeble 8 9 10 9
category averages
(23 reviews)
8.09 8.61 8.65 8.74

Reviewer's comments

"I was tempted to abandon this level close to the start,due to an obscure spike trap conundrum (made rather harder by the confused explanation in the Walkthrough).I feared that all of the remaining puzzles in the level would be of the same nature,but fortunately things picked up dramatically afterwards.Interesting spike and squishing gauntlets;a couple of nice torch sequences;and a lovely outdoor area consisting of several physical levels which needed to be surmounted a number of times,but in a manner which never became tedious.A few of the traps were a little on the irritating side;and the hint for the acquisition of the final secret was far too obscure - but overall this was a challenging level which rarely crossed the line into frustration.The nocturnal ambience was eerie,even though enemies were few and far between (and the final Boss really was way too easy to defeat);while lighting was atmospheric and the texture application superb.A very solid and sinister 90 minute level." - Orbit Dream (12-Aug-2016)

"A nice level to start BtB2013 for me. Nothing too strenuous, but nice relaxing gameplay and atmosphere. Let's see what the rest of the contest has in store." - Ryan (27-Jan-2016)

"Here we get some caves that then move on to some underground ruins, and a little outdoor gameplay towards the end. The visuals good, with decent geometry and nice texturing, the lighting is a bit inconsistent in quality though; some areas make great use of colours and contrasts while others are drab and flat.
Gameplay is decently varied and there are nice puzzles like the spike sequence at the start, some parts are a little tricky but it's not super tough. I thought one timed multi- crusher trap was especially interesting. The main weakness is the length; just when I thought things were about to get going I was right at the end with little climax (even if there's technically a bossfight), and it prevents the general design and atmosphere being as developed as it could be. A good map to start on with few issues beyond the major length one." - Mman (10-Aug-2014)

"I am playing the BtB Levels in sequence, so this was my first encounter and a very pleasant one indeed. The whole setup is very coherent, solidly architected, lit and textured and it starts out with a fairly clever little spikes puzzle. You get to push a few statues around and will run into a few more spike and boulder traps along your way. The highlights in terms of gameplay were several distinctly different timed tasks to master, but funnily enough I had most trouble with a sliding jump to a monkey swing, which took me a few attempts to properly manage. I like the solid but not overdone camera work and good use of audio. The underwater sequence was ok but not my favorite element of the level. Enemies are relatively sparsely used but work well where they appear. Overall, a promising start into BtB2013. (47 mins, 2 secrets)" - MichaelP (27-Jul-2013)

"A very nice presentation. This level does a nice job of feeling like an open environment without becoming overwhelming to the player at the same time. One of the strongest points to me was the lighting - it felt so natural in every area, and was never uncomfortably dark/bright. The texturing was well done too as were the decorative objects. Some more camera cues would have been nice as there are a few times that you can hear a door open but have to guess for a little bit where the opened door is - case in point is the cog-controlled door. But the level design is structured well enough that you are not at a loss for long. A little more combat would have been nice, but overall the gameplay was pretty engaging between the timed runs and pressure-pad puzzles. It's a beautiful level, give it a look." - SSJ6Wolf (16-Jul-2013)

"My first level from the BtB2013 pack and I was really amazed with a bow as new model of weapon. About after 30 mins playing the level I got stuck at some point with only heart and no dagger but it seems sometimes you need to look back :) The traps and timed runs were challenging but not too hard, so it made level to be enjoyable and rather smooth. Everything was textured really nicely and level is well built." - Casual Raider (09-Jul-2013)

"From a design point of view this map is a very well-constructed level and a pleasure to navigate around. The main lake is thoughtfully created and the cliffs, cave and catacomb areas that branch off from it are very good. Equally well done is the upper outdoor area featuring the house and the element puzzle. I liked the way traps were used. A couple of things could have been better addressed. Lighting, whilst adequate was somewhat lack-lustre. If better used, the environment could have felt more dynamic. Several reverse cameras seemed unnecessary - not really serving a purpose to create tension or excitement, and merely serving as an annoyance that you needed to break free from. Some more attention to detail could have avoided some oversights like the skull door appearing through the concrete roof above its entrance, lack of collision on some wall columns from not using the supplied invisible collision box, unnatural placement of outdoor flowers in enclosed indoor environments, and providing more stable landscapes for some enemies which otherwise got stuck on slopes or in crevices. Unfortunately I did not observe a high-set floor lever which resulted in me reaching an area with a perched roll-ball not knowing what to do and consequently a lot of to-and-fro. In summary, a pretty solid level that looks good and has interesting and fun gameplay. It's not overly hard, so is suitable for all players." - EssGee (10-Jun-2013)

"It's with a wonderful level we start this btb2013 competition. It's not a very hard level, but sometimes, some objects, secrets and switchs are very well hidden but don't worry, nothing difficult. I specially enjoying the first puzzle with the teeth spike and the little house near the end. The design is very well done (the center cave with boat is terrific) and the choise of the lighting and texture is perfect. For me, and it's not a critic, the atmosphore is melancholy and the choice of music accentuates this impression ... beautiful!That why I really enjoying this game and give a perfect 10. So to conclude, a very good first level of this btb competition. Adrian do a perfect level. Very recommended" - BigFoot (10-Jun-2013)

"First level I play from this BtB and the first good impression. Sometimes the gameplay is confused, 'cause the cameras don't help so much showing you places you've not visited yet, or the case of the phantom wall, etc. I missed some more enemies, but even so the game was entertaining for me, convincent architecture and the texturization is excelent. A promising startting!" - Jose (31-May-2013)

"Made it. I'm through all, heheh. I hope Jay succeeds and does it as well. If it only can be all or nothing, it should be all, never nothing. Meanwhile, I'm done and exhausted :D so, apparently taken Blizzard as that last stand, I'll just say the level was good. Not long at all, I would say one of the shortest among the competing, with only one small goal (reach the top and get outta here) and with some (as Jay tends to say) "duh moments" (which I was too tired to solve without referring to the stuck thread), but anyway good. There were only two major puzzles: one item combined from two gotten by spike challenges (note creative usage of pad triggers) to leave the prologue, and one concerning multi-thread riddle concerning a torch, a bow and a waterskin to unlock the final getaway. That second one has a fragment when we're supposed to do something in certain order an if we don't, we're forced to go back (if only the laser sight was placed where the lever for rollingball is, the error would be gone). But most of the path is designed properly. The game is a bit lacking of cameras, but what is more significantly missing in the end is some powerful artifact to obtain. We wanted a Northern Legend, and we rather got a survival. And yes, I'm going to say it: lighting could be better :) SUMMARY: Off-topic and actually no-topic, yet recommended." - DJ Full (31-May-2013)

"Only Lara could stumble upon a hidden tomb when a blizzard hits during her daily stroll in the Scottish Highlands (?) (sure, the plane ticket to Scotland every day is expensive, but she's got the money and needs the exercise). The level only lasts for thirty-five minutes before Lara reaches the surface again, so hopefully it was a short blizzard. During that time, you'll pull some switches, avoid some traps and solve one puzzle involving spikes that I'm sure is actually really clever but that I just solved by jumping around blindly. It's a decent enough romp, though the gameplay is a bit on the basic side with nothing that really stands out. On the plus side, it's very player-friendly and you'll rarely have to wonder about where you need to go or what you need to do. The level looks pretty good overall, though I think there's a lot more you can do with the whole tomb-in-a-hidden-cave theme than the author has done here. The only really impressive room is the one on the load screen (though it is possible to reach the end of the world there), with most rooms being a bit small and gray and uninteresting. For what it is, though, it doesn't look half bad and the textures are all applied well. This was a decent way to spend thirty-five minutes, though I think Lara may have found it a bit of a waste of time, since she had to leave without even finding an artifact for her collection." - Magnus (31-May-2013)

"The multi-level cave that forms the hub of the second half of the level is very impressive. The offshoot rooms are a bit dull in comparison, but they all look nice enough. Though the base colour of the lighting is bluish-grey (like the majority of the levels in this BtB), it is spiced up nicely with the use of subtly coloured lighted spots and fog.
I really like the underwater rotating traps (though 3 of them together weren't really necessary), the timed run through the moving logs, the timed run to light the torch, and getting down a ladder before a rollingball lands on you. On the other hand, I do not much like the walk-through wall. The puzzle with the two pushables is too easy. But the worst problem is the constant backtracking. Every time I seemed to make some progress, I would inevitably find that I had missed or forgotten to do some other necessary task first, and so would have to go back for that. For example, right at the beginning, the fixed camera angle makes it very easy to miss the caves behind Lara, and therefore miss the dagger. The puzzle to get the dagger is a bit obscure, though in this case, it's probably my own fault that I just didn't get it, not the builder's.
There are not too many enemies, but the ones that are there are used well. The second secret is quite sneakily hidden - though getting it (i.e. the grenade launcher) makes the final fight rather too easy.
Overall: A pretty good level, which is slightly marred by the large amount of backtracking." - Mytly (30-May-2013)

"Another highlight of the contest! Looking at the rating I was expecting something nice for in-between, but indeed I got a fantastic level that kept me entertained throughout. The only thing I didn't like was the semi complex-gameplay in the main-cave (either make a game linear, or complex, but don't let us do things in random order, when there's only one "right" way) but apart from that, the author provided a series of great puzzles and some challenging trap-corridors, that made my raider-heart leap for joy. I especially liked all the subtle puzzle-hints (the already mentioned Ahmet and the ray of light come to mind) and the "killer logs"-corridor with the timed trapdoor!
From the aesthetical point of view, I can't fault anything (well - I spotted 3 (!) cracks D: ), as the cave-complex looks very realistic and there's tons of eye-candy in almost every room. The levelinfo-pics are all rather dark, but I never found it to be too much and indeed was a bit surprised, when I looked at them. It's always hard to strike a balance between realism and playability but this author did it perfectly. Highly recommended!" - Soul (13-May-2013)

"Ok, so again it's been a while since I've last written a review (or played a custom level), so bear with me. At first, this level didn't click with me, the beginning seemed a bit too non-linear and confusing for my tastes but it was just a matter of collecting the two puzzle items to take the main path further into the level, which then brings us to a rather large area which might be slightly daunting at first, but soon enough you have the main points of interest tracked down. There were a couple of things that hindered my progression here, most of them were quite logical and I just wasn't paying attention, but there's one particular walk-through wall that had me running all around the level thrice looking for anything I might had missed -- in the end I reloaded an earlier savegame, seeing as the lever nearby wouldn't reset, and then I realized where it was. I didn't feel cheated or anything, but I think it could have been slightly more obvious, but, then again, this is me we're talking about. Overall the level was very aesthetically pleasing and a reasonably challenging adventure to get back into the TRLE scene: there was even room for a boss fight. I like it. 60 minutes, 2 secrets. 04/13" - Treeble (05-May-2013)

"Nice 50 minutes adventure with some clever puzzles (I especially liked the spike puzzle) and some interesting tasks to do with exploration. As other reviewers mentioned the blades in a water while using underwater lever in my opinion this was a good idea because there are enough medipacks here and not many enemies. Areas and construction were builded nicely and also textures and lightings well applied. Good choise of ambient sound and music, nice atmospheric level. It`s one of the shorter levels of BtB2013 and still very enjoyable. I found 1/2 secrets. (As this is my final review of the BtB2013 pack, because I decided to play all BtB2013 levels in ascending order, I want to say a big THANK to all the builders which had put lot of hard work for creating all these amazing levels, also a big THANK for all who created new objects and new pickup items and also a big THANK to all the other contributors. I had an amazing time playing all the levels of BtB2013 and I appreciate all the hard work, respect from me!!! Thank you so much!) Blizzard - 8/9/9/9" - OverRaider (21-Apr-2013)

"Even if the main area is not very big and that we can string together all tasks, it's a pleasant level to play. Except some unavoidable blades on the underwater levers, there is no bad surprise (secrets 1/2)." - Markus (17-Apr-2013)

"OK, the first (for me) entry in the Back to Basics competition gets everything off to a rousing start with a most enjoyable raid. Needless to say the objects and textures are exquisite, but that's a given for all the levels. This builder has used the mouth-watering examples to good effect however and has also devised some fun gameplay. There are interesting timed elements, which are nicely challenging without being hair wrenchingly difficult, nicely hidden crawlspaces/ walk through walls and enemies are sparingly but effectively used." - Jay (15-Apr-2013)

"A nice intro, pushing some pedestals, performing a spike puzzle (one oft he highlights) to finally reach te main-areas of this level. The rest is quite a lot running to and fro between some caves, an elevator revealing torches ist he most inspiresd sequence after the mentioned puzzle. A liitle timed run is not that challenging but brings some fun into a gameplay lacking real creativity. The end oft he level is quite abrupt, lightning is well done, atmosphere could be a bit closer to reality..... A nice game so far." - Christian (08-Apr-2013)

"Original puzzles and nice atmosphere and sound. Recommended." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2013)

"Brilliant made trle level and very good atmosphere with perfect lights and secrets for finding. Not too hard for playing but for really enjoying. Some areas are made like old good times of old Tomb raider 1 or 2. Very good puzzles and colors with special effect lights and darkness corners. Boulders puzzles are very well timed made with highly precision of impact. Almost feel smell of old Viking times and their ships. Highly recommended for playing of all fans!" - Ivan (07-Apr-2013)

"For better or for worse, I've decided to play these BtB levels in numerical order. From the reviews posted thus far I should find this to be a balanced approach. This initial offering left me a bit underwhelmed by the Northern Legends theme, but this may be because the builder chose to shroud everything in dismal darkness, leaving me unable to appreciate the environs in their full splendor. I was expecting something like the lush greenery of Sherwood Forest, but I didn't experience that here. Maybe future levels will brighten up a little, but I'm not optimistic. As far as gameplay is concerned, this is quite well done, although somewhat obscure in spots. When a laser sight is provided you know you need to look around for things to shoot. The swinging ball was fair enough, but that barely visible vase after using the waterskin was a bit over the top. The most memorable part for me was an invigorating timed run past a couple of thumping barrels. That one took me a number of tries. The competition has gotten off to a good, but not blazing, start. Recommended." - Phil (06-Apr-2013)

"In terms of creativity to devise good puzzles, this game is the best I've seen in a long time. The puzzles require a lot of attention to details to be solved, and are just the perfect entertainment. The game has also very lovely locations, very well placed enemies and the right amount of camera clues and sound. It is a little dark, but not too much so, and there is a sufficient number of flares. It has difficult passages, but not impossible ones. I loved it from the beginning to the end, and was amazed, and gratified, by some puzzle solutions I found. A genius, this author. I'll give the game full marks, with my thanks." - Josey (02-Apr-2013)

"The first BtB level I picked this year and while being far from a masterpiece it managed to keep me entertained from start to finish. The whole construction is done very professional, texturing and lighting (from an aesthetic viewpoint) are perfect, found only few small mistakes but not in the overall design which was very solid. One can see the builder is pretty good in creating a fun and well-flowing gameplay, the few puzzles are excellent like the spike hall, the raising elevator revealing a hole to find a torch or the invisible doorway hinted by an ahmet coming out of it. There are also a few trap passages that are quite hard to master but still should be doable after few tries, found two secrets of which one was easy and the second required careful observation. I didn't like the room with the three underwater levers and Lara being forced to use them while a nasty blade trap runs above, losing a bit of health on each lever. But the main critisism I have with this level is that it ends way too soon after only 40 minutes and that also means I had a good time playing it. If this level is representative of the contest, I think this BtB will be another great one. Recommended and maybe even pick this one first when you want to play all levels." - manarch2 (01-Apr-2013)
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