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Level: Hogwarts Ruins back home search
Author(s): Lynus
total rating:8.66 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adrian 9 10 10 10
DJ Full 8 10 9 8
Gerty 7 9 8 9
Jay 10 10 9 9
Jorge22 5 9 9 9
Jose 5 8 7 8
manarch2 8 8 7 7
Nina Croft 8 9 9 8
Phil 9 9 10 10
Ryan 9 9 9 9
SlyRaider 10 9 9 10
category averages
(11 reviews)
8.00 9.09 8.73 8.82

Reviewer's comments

"This is indeed an immersive level and it's evident that a lot of time and effort has been put into it. However, I would recommend you to keep the walkthrough nearby because it is extremely nonlinear and there are a couple of, not necessarily bugs but more... design mistakes. Admittedly, the issue surrounding the Fat Lady key is fairly crippling, but provided you can ignore that, you'll doubtless enjoy yourself very much and if you're a fan of the books or the movies, you will love it." - Ryan (23-Jan-2017)

"This builder for sure deserves an A for effort. Very bold for trying to translate a well-known story like Harry Potter into a level. I have to admit there were a few wow moments and overall the objects and textures did fit the story. The story on itself is nice, however it doesn't translate into game play much in my opinion. Lacking of camera work is one big issue; it is nice to know where to go instead of running back and fro over long distances like a headless chicken. Then there are too many glitches that could have been ironed out, sloppy. Reloading from the start is so different then reloading from in-game (as a for instance). I wished that builders would use some sort of uniform animation, like the pole swinging. This was different and nasty and one had to do this trip a couple of times. Also there is no readme to explain which moves are used for which animation. I also could do with some flares, as there were none in this game. There is more I could write about but other reviewers already mentioned them. I would like to see more made by this builder, but I can only stress to take your time and iron out the glitches because without them I am sure it would score much higher in my book anyway." - Gerty (23-Dec-2013)

"I must say I rather liked this level. Inventive, varied game play, nice interconnected map & clever use of TR features/objects to meld with the Harry Potter universe and make it all pleasantly familiar. Yes, I benefited from those who found the problem with the Fat Lady door, and was only temporarily irked by Hagrid's motor-bike obstructing dog, so I docked a point for these. Otherwise a great and thoroughly enjoyable game, which, for me has been underscored - perhaps the author could post an updated game that corrects these two main issues and enjoy better reviews all round." - Adrian (03-Dec-2013)

"I waited for Nina Croft's masterful walkthrough to become available before downloading this level and setting off on a quest for all those dreaded bugs, the dire warnings of which could not be avoided by anyone who spends much time in the forums. I played a little bit here, and a little bit there, and so on with great delight and enthusiasm until I finally finished the bonus level with 4:19 registering on my game clock. Not surprisingly, I encountered nary a single bug along the way, because I played as the walkthrough directed, and as the builder apparently intended. I realize that the use of walkthroughs is a matter of personal taste. Some view them as a crutch for the weak that takes full enjoyment away from playing a level. Others see them as a time-saving aid that keeps them moving forward in the level. To me, a walkthrough is Instant Stuck Thread. With one, instead of posting a plea and having to sit around waiting for someone to come to my aid when I reach a game-stopping barrier - a delay that may be prolonged, and may result in a response that's less than helpful - all I have to do is consult the relevant place in the walkthrough. I suggest that for those of us whose tolerance for frustration is low (and I consider myself to be in that category), it's more efficient to wait for the walkthrough than to litter the landscape with uninformed and inaccurate accusations of bugs that simply don't exist. In this regard, it's also important that we take care in defining our terms. I've always understood the term "bug" as something that fails to perform in-game as intended. Many features referred to as bugs really describe the builder's choices in game design. If things aren't done in the prescribed order, the results are not what the player would otherwise expect. You may or may not approve of those decisions, but don't call them bugs. In this case, Nina Croft took the time and effort to learn the proper route, documented it carefully and clearly in her walkthrough, and she thereby enabled me to play the game from start to finish without a hitch. And it's an excellent game, by the way. The Hogwarts theme is unique, and I'm surprised that no one else has hit upon it before now. The lighting is flawless, and I had no trouble seeing everything around me. And that's a good thing, because the environs here are quite pleasing to the eye. The builder has opted for the traditional Tomb Raider music, which I found quite refreshing in light of the ambitious and frequently ineffective sound effects we've been subjected to lately. There are several TR4 files in the download, but everything flows together quite seamlessly to give the player the feeling of playing a single extended adventure. I'm not sure, on the other hand, how players feeling their way on their own would know to end the game by jumping into a roaring fire (there was no mention of this in the diary entries, perhaps it's a detail that someone who'd read the books recently would be aware of). The bonus level consists of a fairly short but fun romp in the train to Hogwarts. In short, this is a fine debut release that everyone can find enjoyable if not scared off by the unfortunate barrage of bug alerts." - Phil (26-Nov-2013)

"I have to admit this is a great idea and a great and very varied game in all senses, not necessarily only for Harry Potter's fans; hence, it is not without regret that I see myself forced to rate it with only 5 in the gameplay & puzzles area but I can explain... The game looks like it wasn't betatested which is dreadful in a game with a complexity such as this one... It has mean bugs that won't let you proceed unless you go back, maybe quite a while, to an earlier save so you won't give up. The bugs I found: bug a) - in the room where one has to place four pushables in their correct positions a door should open to the right. It didn't. bug b) - in another room with a pushable I went there, then went away before using it and did quite a few things and when I came back there was no pushable anywhere to be seen. bug c) - in the hut with a dog inside and the motorbike I shot the dog outside the hut. When I went to get the bike the dog was lying inside the hut, on the way, together with a lot of furniture in a small space, making it almost impossible to get the bike out. These are the bugs I found, there may be more... or not. But they're bad enough. And then, there's the Fat Lady key issue. As open as the game may be, things still have to be done in a certain order or the Fat Lady key, needed to get the sword/crowbar as well as to play the bonus level, in a sense to continue, won't work. The result was numerous going backs till I finally managed to use it properly. And on the way there are bars above a burning floor that seem to work very poorly, letting Lara fall quite a number of times. Having said that, finishing the game takes a dose of patience that wouldn't be necessary in a betatested, much more pleasant game. Hadn't it been for the above, I could have rated the creative gameplay 10 (even with the dreaded Basilisk room), but I think these are all pretty bad and could have been avoided with just a little bit more time put into the game. And I thought people who haven't played it yet, should be warned though, if they have to use a walkthrough in order not to fall into the traps I did, playing with a walkthrough in hand is always far more boring. In itself, it is extremely interesting and rather varied in its multitude of achievable yet challenging tasks. I liked it a lot despite all the unnecessary efforts. In the end, if you find all of four shields and cross a certain fireplace, you get to play a small, nice bonus game aboard the Hogwart Train. My advice for a possible next level: betatest it, please. Then, I'm sure we may count on something close to a masterpiece." - Jorge22 (18-Nov-2013)

"This is a really charming attempt to transfer JKR's work into a virtual adventure. I didn't expect so many references to the original story. We can even explore the Moaning Myrtle's bathroom and the Chamber of Secrets, and if You know the book, those will bring respectively laughter and awareness even before running through them (players who don't know the book won't totally experience it, so I recommend to first see the movies and then play the level). Metasequoia wasn't extensively used, so locations which are shaped round in the movie have been made blocky here, but nonetheless the object looks and alignment makes each place - maybe except the astronomy and herbology class - recognizable even without those extremely nice explanation lines that tend to show themself at the bottom of the screen everytime we enter a location that was important in HP book or movies. One thing that also touched me in the filling matter was even though many original Core Design objects are used, they anyway work as good as they could to fit in the climate - we have a TR3 snake gem adapted to Slytherin's domain from HP2, a TR4 horseman acting as a chess figure from HP1 a TR3 kayak for the first year's introduction transport (HP1) and TR4 Semerkhet pushables standing for house colors (HP 1-7). I only missed a Periapt Shard (TR6) for a basilisk's fang to poke into the diary (both from HP2). All of these would make a perfect adventure, enjoying and surprising behind every next corner... yes, it WOULD. Because there are events that we can unlock earlier than the author intended and when this happens, we end up stupefied... I mean confused. Some of these situations seem to be bugs, but only one of them is a literal bug, which I personally didn't stumble upon. The remaining problems either come from mentioned inconsequence or the faulty game engine, so I'm only lowering gameplay rating for the first reason, not for the latter. And for the extraordinary amount of sudden traps resulting in many inevitable deaths. The last problematic thing is insufficient amount of hint cameras that should point to keyholes we forgot about a long time ago, while some existing hint cameras are uninterruptible and therefore disturbing - however those last mentioned are few only and we can see everything clearly through the majority of playtime. SUMMARY: Despite of frequent dying, confusion and few plot anachronisms, the spirit of Hogwarts is presented in really convincing way, so a true HP fan should feel like inside the book and definitely shouldn't miss this game. You can first read all the problem warnings and then easily have a go on it." - DJ Full (16-Nov-2013)

"It is very hard for me to review this level, as I have some mixed feelings about it. On one side, this level is really epic and immensely interesting and extremely well built, but on the other hand, it is also too complex and some things are overdone. I immediately understood the intention of the builder to build a level that would be everything but not straightforward. And he achieved that goal. Once you enter the Grand Staircase, your gameplay and routes diverge into many smaller or longer side missions you have to accomplish in any way you want. You can visit the Clock Tower now or later, you can visit the Library or Herbology or practically any other area of the level in any order you want. I appreciate this effort of the builder to let us choose the route and sequence ourselves, but at times it has (in this case) some downsides. There is still a certain order in which things have to be done so that you can finish the level. If you use the Fat Lady Key too soon (before dropping the highest staircase from the Clock Tower), you'll realize that you cannot finish the game any more. You'll have to replay the entire game once again in order to avoid using this key too soon. So, a simple note in the Readme, a warning for the players not to use this key before they drop that staircase, would have been much, much helpful. I don't think there is a single player out there who hasn't replayed a huge part of this game because of using the Fat Lady Key too soon (thus rendering it useless for later). Should this small nice note have been made in the Readme file, the Gameplay&Puzzle review would have been higher. Apart from that, the gameplay really IS interesting and dynamic, comprising of some interesting puzzles to solve, traps to survive, items to collect, and sometimes even requires logical thinking by the player. However, due to the fact that everything is inter-connected and that there are possible routes through the level, a player has to backtrack a lot. That could have been prevented by simply preventing the players to enter a new area before finding the keys/items required for that area (not in all cases, but at least in three cases it would have been great). Enemies are suitable for a Harry Potter level. The level is extremely well built when it comes to architecture and decoration with objects. You'll find many different areas, starting from toxic pools, quicksand, castles, caves, outdoor area under snow, freezing lakes, rooms with toxic fumes, libraries, bathrooms, courtyards etc... I liked the way the builder allowed us to use the torch in almost all cases when we do have to use it. Secrets are cleverly hidden and I recommend collecting them all, along with some crucial items that will enable you to visit the bonus level. Atmosphere is also well built, with nicely applied sounds, music tracks and camera flybys. Lighting is great, the textures are well chosen, but the builder should use the Crack Mode next time and apply the textures correctly and without cracks. OVERALL IMPRESSION: Wow! Wow! Wow! More than two hours of (net) playing, even if you know exactly what to do and where to go, even with the least backtracking possible. Considering the fact that this is a debut level, I must say that this level is amazing. Maybe not a candidate for the HoF, but this builder will definitely be its regular member in the future. Just like the books about Harry Potter, this level is MAGICAL! Highly recommendable, provided that you don't use the Fat Lady Key before it's intended to (will be soon explained in the walkthrough). Great work, Lynus! Please keep building!" - Nina Croft (14-Nov-2013)

"Again (one more time?) I disagree with many reviewers. I'm usually not very exigent with the levels I play, but in this case I wasted a lot of time running around the entire level very long distances and returning often to the same places and doing again the same tasks (except avoiding the traps, of course). The worst problem I found was that the author lets you advance through the level even if you didn't get the necessary items you were looking for; that way, you can return to the main room with your empty backpack and you are forced to replay again. Example: in the area with the giant serpent I missed the wall button and continue to the main area without the ocular part; also in the room with spikes in the floor you can get the key and not use it so you can go back without the other ocular part. In that sense I loved the last MagPlus level 'cause the doors often closed at your back, and only open if you pick up the item you were looking for. Despite several bugs I found with moveables and keys, and all the problems to ride the bike out of the small house (the dead dog was on my way), the game has a good design, and the author has a great potential and good ideas. I think if the author fix all that problems with the gameplay, the levels could be rated higher." - Jose (12-Nov-2013)

"I really fail to place this level. It ranks somewhere between really epic and immersive (reminding a lot on the great King Arthur Project at several parts) and ... a very amateurish work of an inexperienced builder - meaning some parts of this level are really good, some failed to impress me at all. To start with - the builder strength is definately the gameplay which is quite imaginative and fun, there are lots of good puzzles in here and there's no real dull part where you just search for the next lever, or anything like this. What I really liked was the creative usage of traps in this level, but at times they felt a bit overused and somewhat random (especially the invisible knife traps and the falling debris). Also, it was often hard to get orientated in this really huge(!) game split in two interconnected levels, and the game lacked a certain guidance by the builder on what to do next; despite of that, I never felt overly lost in here and if you don't know how to solve a certain task right now, you can do several other things first, and often this will get you on the right track. The only major problem concerning the gameplay are the bugs in this level, some doors opened only after a save/reload, but surprisingly none of them was actually of the game-stopping category. The storyline is quite neat and the allusions to the Harry Potter books are great (the ghosts, Hagrid's bike, the fat lady), although the concept would have panned out much better with more creativeness in terms of objects (such as e.g. potions to collect/combine). Some objects are a bit oddly placed, such as the ladder in front of a window, or the fountain in the snowy courtyard, and the enemy choices didn't always work quite well (like the boars), but the excellent secrets are making up for these things. They are really well hidden and getting into the bonus level with finding all four main items (no secrets) was a nice add-on, although the train level is perhaps not as intense as the rest. In general, the atmosphere in this level is quite appealing, but many room connections are simply too eclectic and unfitting, and the famous "end of the world" can be visited way, way too often and easily in this game. There are also things like paperthin walls and rooms that don't look realistic at all, not even for Hogwarts (e.g. the greenhouse and the corridor leading to Hagrid's hut). The sound choice and mainly placement felt a bit strange too, as well as the cameras (also what about some more flybys?). I actually found the lighting to be quite well done, creating a kind of atmosphere that fits nearly perfectly to most rooms, but the texturing is what brings this category down again. The problem is not the choice of textures, but the often (sorry to say) poor quality of their placements. I don't care so much when there are some texture mistakes (some often can't be prevented totally) but there are so many squashed, streched and even missing textures (the latter in the outside areas) that I can't really rate this category higher. To the builders out there - please, please, take your time and build the environments of your level(s) with more care, even if they do look nice already, it's so much better with a minimum amount of mistakes. So the last thing I can say about this level is that it's created by an incredibly talented builder who has a lot of imagination (which one can see throughout the whole level), but definately needs to take his time and polish up his works carefully to raise the visual quality and reduce the possible bugs, then I'm almost sure the next level will rank very, very highly. This is nonetheless a very interesting and fun raid and definately something different. Spent 2:30 hours in this levelset with all secrets found." - manarch2 (09-Nov-2013)

"Magic abounds. What a great idea to have a Harry Potter style level and how very well done it is too. All the references are there so fans of the books will have a marvellous time exploring iconic places and even getting a short ride on Hagrid's motorbike (though sadly not through the air). It's beautifully evoked and the gameplay equals the design, being comprised of a good mix of enemies, traps, agility tests and some truly excellent puzzles. The only down side would appear to be a possible bug with the Fat Lady key, which I had to keep trying to use at various stages and eventually it worked, plus the apparent lack of a finishing trigger if you don't find the five secrets, but if you do, you get to ride the Hogwarts Express. Yay. Even if you have never read the books or seen the films (and there may just be one or two people to whom that applies) this still represents a cracking good raid and is not to be missed. It's the work of a really creative mind and would be a level a seasoned builder could be rightly proud of - for a debut level it's just amazing. I really didn't want it to end." - Jay (08-Nov-2013)

"A mixture of Tomb Raider and Harry Potter that I recommend to all fans of the two great sagas. An adventure that requires reflection on some puzzles, combat against the strange creatures of Harry Potter, etc. I hope you enjoy every visit the ruins of Hogwarts along with Lara !" - SlyRaider (08-Nov-2013)
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