Level: Russian Mountains back home search
Author(s): Eden95
total rating:7.96 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Drakan 9 9 9 8
eRIC 8 9 9 8
EssGee 9 9 9 8
Gerty 8 9 8 7
JessyTR 9 9 8 10
Jose 5 8 8 7
manarch2 5 8 8 6
MichaelP 7 6 10 7
Phil 8 8 8 8
Ryan 8 8 8 7
sonnyd83 6 8 9 9
young Lara Croft 5 8 8 9
category averages
(12 reviews)
7.25 8.25 8.50 7.83

Reviewer's comments

"I actually thought that this was pretty accomplished for a debut level and if not for a few unfair design choices, I would have rated this higher. The atmosphere, audio and texturing is quite well done in both the inside and outside areas, but right away, the excessive darkness makes itself known and doesn't relent for the remainder of the adventure. I've said it before, I'll say it again, but there are ways of creating gloomy environments than plastering everything in gloom. I also found the final boss just to be a bit tedious and overdone, especially in the narrow space you have to manoeuvre. All right, rant over. Now for the positives. As said, the setting works really well, the enemy attacks are otherwise well placed (with the "welcome" return of the flamethrower), the secrets are fun to go for and I generally enjoyed my 45 or so minutes here, despite more negative thoughts." - Ryan (14-Dec-2017)

"Oh my, this turns out to be a very hard to score level and it is such a pity indeed that this is the case. For the first 30 mins or so, I was wondering why some of the scores, especially the gameplay scores were rather low. You get to explore a very decently looking Russian base. It all feels quite non-linear as you can do things to move on, but easily will reach places where something is missing and you have to go back and continue elsewhere first. The flybys and audio help the atmosphere greatly, there are interesting secrets (3) to go for... So... where does it all go wrong? Well, it does not all go wrong, but it all turned a bit 'sour' for me for several reasons: 1. The darkness. Yes, of course, the setting does not suggest constant brightness, but very many areas are almost pitch black and very few flares are provided. 2. The Ice Maze. In principle a nice idea to take it into the deep caves with some mystery demons, but the maze like nature, complemented by the darkness and combined with the general non-linearity of the level turns this part into a bit of an ordeal. You never really know whether you should be still backtracking or not. I have opened several 'short cuts' but ended up never actually using any of them. And then 3. The final boss fight. Yes, fine - give me a challenging boss fight at the end of a level as a climax anytime, but this one here is purposefully designed to annoy the player to the maximum. Darkness, very little room to move and slopes that constantly get in the way and a final enemy that takes ages to kill. Sorry, but that killed that last bit of positive thoughts I had on the level right there and then. The other thing that did not help my impression is an odd bug that caused Lara to not walk across one of the four tightropes when I got to them late in the level. So essentially I had to restart and do that part first and then everything worked fine.
In summary, this could have been a wonderfully atmospheric and quite intense level experience and one of the best debuts in custom level history if the author had built it more with the player in mind and less with his own genius of how to make things more realistic, challenging and difficult. For his next work I would strongly advise to play test his work with a mix of players and listen closely to their feedback before the release." - MichaelP (04-Nov-2013)

"I started this right away but put it aside as I was so stuck. Afterwards I can only laugh at myself as the stuck part was at that breakable tile in the house at the start. Never walked over it and although I did have flares, I was mighty suspicious as it looked (and was) a mighty dark level and not much in the flare department. So preserving is a must and I really, really hate that. I gather that Eden got some inspiration from Lost Mountains made by a dear friend of mine, Mulf, that can only be a plus in my book. OK, this is a first level and can be improved upon, as in the lighting. It was too dark and I know, it should be, but there is darkness and there is darkness. And if you insist please put some flares in it. I didn’t like the boss scene but that is personal, I never like them. Great potential here though." - Gerty (23-May-2013)

"A very good debut, but there were several things I didn't like. The worst was the extreme darkness in all the rooms of the level; except in a few outside areas where there's no really much gameplay, rest of the game always with flare in hand and, when you get out of flares (I found only two packs in all game) you have to reload, light the only flare you have to explore a bit and then reload again (to preserve that flare) and try to advance like a blind man trying to locate the things you saw before with the flare. Another option was to draw the pistols and shoot like fool in all directions to can see a little bit near Lara (pathetic). All this made the gameplay very very slow and tedious. Another question is to hide necessary items and not place them in visible places, like the crowbar. I didn't like the continuous backtracking in first areas too. Fight with so heavy enemie at the very end already would be too hard without the zombies, but this way force the player to reload a lot of times 'cause there is not enough clearance in a room so small to can properly defend yourself. And I think that's all; I liked the TR3 touches, the design of the rooms, the atmosphere and the good texturization, but I can only recommend this level for those who have a well lighted screen (this depends of the features of each model)." - Jose (20-May-2013)

"This level is well built. If you do not seek the secrets, it can be completed fairly fastly. The final battle is pretty tough, but if you can find a corner in a recess, that does not ask too many problems. Very good first level." - Drakan (05-May-2013)

"Another addition to my ever-growing Rogue's List of well-crafted levels that are so dark that I have supply myself with unlimited flares and keep one lit throughout most of the game. On top of that, this one had a lot more backtracking than I like to see, but aside from those two issues I had a good time here for a little more than an hour. Too bad there weren't more of those Russian mountains to look at. The outdoor segments, few as they were, had plenty of light and eye-catching scenery. There isn't anything here that you haven't already seen in an Agnes level, unless you consider the enemies (skeletal ahmets, griffin-like bosss at the end). Still, it's well conceived and presented, and I can recommend it to players of all skill levels." - Phil (03-May-2013)

"I'm sorry to say that I was no fan of this level, even if I didn't encounter the game-stopping bug. While the general construction of the level, the text messages and the camera sequences are showing good work, the way the gameplay is designed is not particularly interesting for me. Most of the time you will be either running around a large base desperately searching for the next switch, key item or passage, often hidden in plainly dark rooms/corridors, or you will be running around not that large, but even darker caves, desperately searching for... you guessed it. The choice of textures feels a little odd for me, with several textures with higher resolution placed near some TR 2 ones, and in the outside area some ice textures looked rather streched, although the looks of exterior sections are certainly more sophisticated and atmosphere is rather nice. Later in the caves, I wasn't able to use the detonator for whatever reason even while having the appropriate key and had to use a kind of flare bug to progress and finish this level. The finale itself was rather a let-down, since Lara is approaching a snowmobile and I thought the fun might begin now, but the level ends before Lara is able to climb on it. Talent can definately be seen in this 40 minute level, but the potential feels wasted a lot in here." - manarch2 (14-Apr-2013)

"Ok right off the bat, I'll just say I really liked this level. The storyline is clearly told and the progression is logical and has a purpose. The tasks are fun and nothing is too hard. Well except for the very challenging final battle but that's where it should be hard, and it provides a great climax. Lara dressed in a revised TR3 Antarctic outfit is perfectly dressed for the occasion. The Russian base setting is a mixture of ice and snow, and rusty corrugated iron buildings and tunnels. The flybys are well done. I really liked the the use of an enemy to create tension in a couple of scenes. The final escape scene is excellent. The various cave enemies are good, but the highlight for me was the return of the TR2 Flamethrower Guy complete with real flames to torch Lara to a crisp - fantastic application of TRNG scripting. Texturing and lighting in the cave/ice areas could have been better, and sound was absent from the detonator explosion and the rolling balls. There's a novel use of legend text to convey messages throughout the level. I think I'd prefer to have had Lara 'think aloud' though with some voiceovers. This level captures the essence of the old school TR games but gives it a modern treatment. Well done." - EssGee (14-Apr-2013)

"This level brought back that classic TR atmosphere and at times it made me think of the games in the series that were the most memorable like TR 2 or 3 with some elements from TR5 (the room full of crates). However it lacked at the gameplay. I constantly thought of the lack of medi packs and dark places. Sure there are plenty of light flare pickups but what I needed more was a health replenish. The atmosphere and cameras made this level unique, some areas were indeed well built which made the classic feel return, but so kudos to the author. I have to point out that some snow textures were a little unfitting and had lines which looked kind of confusing, but the industrious look inside the compound was authentic :)" - young Lara Croft (13-Apr-2013)

"This level gave me a TR2 feeling, but brought back some TRChronicles memories too. The enemies from TR2, they were all well placed, the dogs in outside areas, rats, the supernatural enemies (I haven't gotten what those enemies really are). The puzzles fit the environment, using the fuse, keys, that's what you'd use in a base. I found the 3 secrets, and they were not so easy to find, I spent my second playthrough looking for them, well hidden. Some fixed cameras really bothered me, like when we meet the first dogs, but the soundtrack here is just flawless, I noticed some glitches with the sounds, like in the tightrope part, it makes a monkey sound, that was weird. Lighting here was amazing, I specially enjoyed the caves area, the light blue crystals in a dark cave, that was lovely. I'm glad for beta- testing this game, and the builder improved some things that made this level the best TR2 inspired level for me." - JessyTR (10-Apr-2013)

"With the title sequence showing a thug behind a window , something told me already this level would be interesting , and as you launch the game , you are treated with a very well made fly-by showing a Russian base in the midst of snowy mountains. The level , which lasted 1h20mn, remains intriguing until the end , although I must admit I loved the first part inside the base more than the second part in the icy caves. The first part was almost perfect in my opinion, with a very absorbing non straightforward progression throughout , good sounds , tasks that are not complicated , a few of them that are timed not being difficult. Not a lot of enemies , a few thugs rats and dogs, and fully functioning guys with a flame_thrower gun, which was great. Everything was well thought out. The setting is convincing and realist , the only small downside was the lighting which was decently made but could be better, the shadows could be more smooth in some corners for example. Found one easy secret here , and another one after some backtracking , once Lara could took her first steps outside the base and before adventuring herself into the caves. This second part takes place mostly underground with some bigger enemies, the design of these caves being not too organic to be convincing , nevertheless the looks are good enough despite a rudimentary shaping. I noticed no sound for the explosion with the detonator. The boss at the end was tough and I would have appreciated a more spacious area for the ‘arena’ , I did not had many ammos for the Desert Ranger spared ( never found the Uzis or the Shotgun btw ) so Lara died many times before having the victory. Finally she succeeded to get rid of the zombies before jumping always while shooting at the Monster , for this beast can take huge portions of her health. Quite an interesting level anyway , with a definite freshness to it , and the author has made a good job to bring life to the scenery." - eRIC (06-Apr-2013)

"This is without a doubt one of the most atmospheric levels I've played with a TR2 theme. In terms of scenery and lighting and variety of textures, this gets a big thumbs up. The setting consists of 2 distinct zones, one is a Soviet base and the other is a labyrinth of caves. My favourite areas being the part of the caves with amazing blue lighting and icy floors, and the room with numerous crates, although it appears there's no where out of there. I also enjoyed the battle at the end, quite a shock with the monster coming out of nowhere, he can of course be defeated easily by jumping back into the previous cave. The gameplay is a little basic to be honest with only a few switches to pull, icicles to avoid and mutants to shoot. Most of the game centres around exploring the vast, non linear, complex. I was disappointed when I couldn't drive a snowmobile, why bother having them if you can't use them? There were around 3 good camera sequences, they were especially good as they jumped to different places. Game time for me was 50 minutes." - sonnyd83 (06-Apr-2013)
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