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Level: The Old Spire back home search
Author(s): raidertom
total rating:8.98 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Christian 10 10 9 8
DJ Full 8 8 8 8
Dutchy 9 10 10 9
EssGee 8 8 8 8
Jay 10 10 10 9
Jose 8 8 9 9
Josey 10 10 10 10
lesandwichpants 10 10 9 10
manarch2 9 9 9 8
Minox 9 9 9 8
Nina Croft 7 9 9 10
Phil 10 9 9 9
Rambo 9 8 8 8
requiemsoul 9 9 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 9
category averages
(15 reviews)
9.00 9.07 9.07 8.80

Reviewer's comments

"This is an ingeniously complex and intertwining level that I didn't want to end, although I felt that if it dragged on for more than the three hours net gaming time it took me, it would have became less enjoyable and more annoying. It's not for beginning raiders, as some of the jumping manoeuvres, timed runs and swimming sequences require a lot of skill. Not too many enemies, except at the end, so the focus is on on puzzle solving and admiring the well constructed environments. Recommended for more advanced raiders." - Ryan (12-Aug-2017)

"It may seem Lara is trapped, but she's in fact inspired. Mostly with several unique object setups, but also with unexpected environmental modulation as we first face dense interaction in little space and then try to beat dispersion of scenery chunks among each other - it's like witnessing a well organized place fall into greater entropy in time, because of some mysterious power. It's possibly the best of raidertom so far, but it's as clever as confusing while greyscale lighting doesn't help, so you may prefer to attempt this one on a bright day when you think fast." - DJ Full (25-Jun-2016)

"I found this level to be confusing and difficult. It clearly didn't gel with me as it has for some other reviewers. At 4.5 net gaming hours to complete this single level- I guess I ought not complain about value for length of gameplay, but it was hard work to complete and certainly one of the longest single levels I've played. This level suffers from similar issues to it's predecessor Leprechaun's Hideout. Just too many ideas crammed into the one level. There are some good gameplay elements but the level consists of many small areas which are at times a tad claustrophobic. The yellow lake area is perhaps the best constructed area in the level. It's one thing to come up with clever gameplay ideas, but the game has to play out so that the player feels clever in solving it too. When you confuse the player too much they feel dumb and don't want to continue. If you are going to try and hold the player's interest for such a long level, it really needs to have more inspired settings incorporating better use of static objects and more intuitive gameplay. It was more through stubborn determination that I finished the level rather than because it drew me in and kept me captivated. There is so much to and fro, up and down, back and forth, that Lara was almost giddy trying to find her way. Even the walkthrough was hard to follow when I got totally lost, particularly around the yellow lake and the minicube. The visuals are a mixed bag with some rather esoteric areas created. The final battle is suitably hard. I think a few more medipacs could have been made available through the game, as I finished with only a single half medipac left. Flybys were adequate but not particularly cinematic, especially at the end where the player has battled hard for hours to complete the level, and it would have been nice to be rewarded with something a bit more epic. Lighting is mostly bright, and I rarely had to use flares. One nice addition is the harpoon gun which comes in very handy for busting sea hag's bubbles. Overall, I'd recommend this for player's with a lot of patience and plenty of time on their hands. I'd rate the gameplay difficulty as hard." - EssGee (28-Feb-2015)

"Really not a level for everybody, full of tricky tasks and sometimes a complex gameplay. Fortunately I didn't need to return to the same places many times, and the cameras helped me a lot level over. There are interesting puzzles, the best for me the crates puzzle in the area with several bells; some timed runs not too tight, and a lot of exploration too. Not many enemies but well balanced, nice and well textured environments and a good architecture for a level worth to play, but not for beginners." - Jose (26-Aug-2014)

"I cannot agree with other reviewers regarding the gameplay. Surely the level is superbly built and thought of, surely the puzzles are excellently elaborated and interestng, surely the gameplay is not straight-forward and boring, but it is indeed extremely hard at times. Many times during the play I just wanted to give up on playing furhter and finishing the level. My fingers hurt and even two days after finishing, they hurt. I like the gameplay spiced with a couple of hard moments and jump sequences, but here we just have too many of them. I repeated one jump sequence across the slopes for more than three hours. The jump sequence above the large poisonous pool to grab the ledge with burner (and obtain the first Star Crystal) took even more times. I don't care what the walkthrough says, it did not work for me. Each time my Lara grabbed that slope with burner, in the very right edge of it, she was caught by the fire, even during the jump, in mid-air. Simply impossible for me to get through, and I had to use the provided savegame, which I hate, or to give up on the level, which I hate even more. And because of the necessity to use the savegame, I decided to lower the mark for Gameplay category. There are also other very hard jumps and moments, which all accumulate to a lower mark. Too bad, as the puzzles are superb and there are great and epic moments in this level to be seen as well. As I said, I immensely enjoyed jumping across sinking blocks or running away from wraths, or perfectly balanced timed runs, but still, the level is too, too, too hard and heartless. Other than that, everything else is great and well though of. Balanced supplies and enemies, cleverly hidden secrets (too hard to obtain sometimes, but still, they are optional), the level is well built regarding the geometry and decorations, not too heavily decorated and very realistically built. There are a lot things to be seen and areas explored, the atmosphere is perfectly built thanks to impeccable lighting and sounds, camera hints are sufficient and you will hardly get lost anywhere in this huge level full of twists and turns and surprises and smaller tasks to be done. However, you will get stuck and feel hopeless many times along the way thanks to smearing downsides with jump sequences. Not recommendable for beginners or even players at the intermediary level. I have been playing custom TR for a decade, I immensely enjoy hard levels and timed runs, but this was simply too much even for my taste. Recommendable only for well-experienced players who are stubborn enough to play this to the end and ready to ignore the pain in their hands from playing." - Nina Croft (13-Jun-2014)

"This is an enormously complex level that somehow manages to pack about three and a half hours of gameplay into a single TR4 file. It never ceases to amaze me how Dutchy is able to suss out all the nuances in a level and convert them to a verbal blueprint in so short a period of time. That's why, as you may have noticed, I leave all the complicated levels to him for walkthrough writing purposes. Anyway, The Old Spire is an outstanding production and appears to have been built with the BtB tools of a few years back. With Dutchy's help everything (except for the last secret) was manageable, and now that I'm done I can devote my full attention to HyperSquare. That last secret proved impossible for me, because midway through when Lara slides down to a sink tile, she invariably stumbles, and before she can regain her footing and jump off, the tile sinks and she dies. A clean landing would have fixed this. Anyway, I found this to be a great gaming experience. High recommendations." - Phil (07-Jun-2014)

"the total range of gameplay is present in this huge game: A lot of exploring partially in wide Areas without gettimg totally lost, some interesting timed Tasks and some demanding jumps creted not for everyone. Well, some underwater-suquences could have been shorter - but that's a concern of my personal preferences. Atmosphere is convincing in all parts of the game, lightning and textures are very professionally created. Very well donw!" - Christian (07-Jun-2014)

"Gameplay & Puzzles: The gameplay is very much fun and varied enough to fill nearly two hours, great tasks, timed runs, puzzles... really a winner. The only thing I disliked was the long swimming part and the minicube, although that was a nice idea. Enemies, Objects & Secrets: The enemies are nicely placed, not too few, not too many, and the boss fight was great, objects are good too (not very inventive) and the secrets are really clever. Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: I loved the mysterious feel to the level, but I felt this level was a bit too grim, it could have more life in it. The sounds are great and cameras are good too. Lighting & Textures: Textures are very well placed, the lighting is often dark, but still solid. Total: 8,25/10, a fun and challenging game." - Rambo (05-May-2014)

"The Old Spire is an excellent level. The puzzles are genius, and the gameplay is outstanding. The plot is interesting enough. It's very supernatural and a bit amusing. Everything fits into the atmosphere and theme of an old house and a demon's strange world. Raidertom did a great job at adding elements of surprise and adventure around every corner. The level had unique puzzles which I loved. The enemies were slightly irrelevant to the theme, but it was interesting to fight or even just look at. Overall, The Old Spire is beautifully designed with a fantastic plot and brilliant puzzles. I'd recommend it to anyone who has the slightest interest in an adventure game." - lesandwichpants (27-Apr-2014)

"Perfect build up of the story in this level, find a Monk and then you'll have to find it's heart which quest will take you through the rest of the level. I think everything was well built, didn't find any spots where I would have done it differently (actually quite jealous). The atmosphere was perfect, lighting leaves nothing to comment on. Gameplay was fluent after you got the drift of going down for the heart and then back up to finish the tasks. Some nice jumping in this level and finding the secrets were a quest on its own. Great level IMHO, must play." - Dutchy (22-Apr-2014)

"A lovely display of creativity and expertise, that works without a glitch. Lighting, puzzles, enemies, sequences of actions, all of these is very good. There is a slight bug at the end - in benefit of the player; I wouldn’t mend this. There are even funny instances (as the minicube with that silly music, for example) and challenges that are less tough than they seem to be; but there are also almost impossible slide jumps that require seasoned players, a difficult collapsing platform/rope sequence, and swimming parts that require a great attention to the camera hints, and the finding of a few air holes. But the main thing is that there is not a single instance of boredom in this game – and I loved in special the block puzzle (one of those things that are more easy than they seem to be), the timed sequences (none of them impossibly tight) and the kind of enemies encountered (none of them invincible, with the possible exception of the dragons). I would also praise the elucidating and beautiful flybys, and the fact that there was not a single instance where I didn’t know what possibly had happened after the use of a switch or a lever, because even when camera hints were absent, the solution was very near. Thanks and congratulations!" - Josey (08-Apr-2014)

"This level is quite difficult throughout with fairly tortuous puzzles and lots of timeruns. I liked all except the "mini cube" I found complicated and labyrinthine.Very long and beautiful level but for lovers of complex level." - Minox (07-Apr-2014)

"Superb and nostalgic level. Varied, complex, but not desperate challenges (A bit timing is necessary The atmosphere and gameplay reminds me Ricahrd Lawther (The master of masters). In my opinion, Leprechauns Hideout was an underrated level. I have no doubt that this new one will be appreciated. Highly recommended. Well done!." - requiemsoul (07-Apr-2014)

"A builder that lets a player bump off the zombies is definitely a winner in my book and that's far from the only thing to treasure in this level. We've been completely spoilt just lately with the calibre of games coming out and this is right up there with them. All aspects of gameplay are presented, so there will almost certainly be something to delight everyone as well as parts that will have you tearing your hair out. I especially liked the inventive puzzles, inclusion of the 'minicube' idea from an earlier work by this builder and the sinking tiles challenges, but could well have done without the locusts in the boss ending. Good atmosphere, attractive settings, effective use of enemies and interesting choice of music all add to the experience. Be warned though, this is definitely not a game for beginners or the faint of heart, involving as it does some tricky jumps and (my particular bete noir) fiendishly tight underwater routes. Yes, I cheated and got my husband to do the swimming for me. It really is very well devised, clever stuff though and if you aren't an accomplished player may I suggest you wait for the walkthrough which will hopefully include some savegames after the most difficult bits. It would be a great pity not to experience this excellent level." - Jay (03-Apr-2014)

"Still clearly remembering the builder's massive levels in mind, I was kind of prepared for what is about to come when I started this level, but then not quite at the same time. Work your way up the tower, receive your quest and then get back down to explore the deeper mysteries of this place... it gets larger and larger along the way, but thanks to the builder never overly confusing. The difficulty is more about solving the various tasks, mostly in the form of difficult jump sequences or excellent puzzles. At times I felt that some puzzles were dragging on a bit too much (like two of the block puzzles) and the ... (albeit positively surprising - aargh! to that music button) "twist" towards the end didn't contain the greatest gameplay, but most of the time this is a plainly enjoyable level - I especially loved the use of the sinking tiles. The atmosphere of this level is quite convincing as well, and the looks are pretty varied and colourful (thanks to using objects and textures from the last three BtB's). I found the lighting to be too consistently dark, if highly realistic, though, which sometimes disturbed the exploration slightly. Various sound themes and cameras are very well put into scene and are most important elements which make this level so unique. If at all, I think that the choice of audio is a bit eclectic at times. Overall, this is not a game to recommend without doubt to anyone, as its complexity and difficulty might be insane at parts, but I for myself found it to be an immensely entertaining and wonderful experience. Found all six (greatly) hidden secrets in 1:50 hours of net gameplay time, usual for the builder but still remarkably high for a single level. Very well done and definately the builder's best game until now." - manarch2 (01-Apr-2014)
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