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Level: BtB2014 - Banteay Kdei back home search
Author(s): mugs
total rating:7.64 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Drakan 8 8 8 8
eRIC 7 7 7 7
EssGee 8 8 8 8
janachorider 8 8 8 7
Jay 7 8 8 8
Jose 8 8 8 9
Josey 8 8 9 10
m.julien 8 8 8 7
manarch2 5 6 7 6
MichaelP 7 7 8 7
misho98 7 8 8 9
Mman 7 8 8 8
Mytly 7 6 8 8
OverRaider 7 8 8 8
Phil 8 8 8 8
Relic Hunter 7 8 8 8
Ryan 7 7 7 8
Treeble 7 7 7 8
category averages
(18 reviews)
7.28 7.56 7.83 7.89

Reviewer's comments

"An easy entry in the contest. Nothing at all very challenging, mainly a hunt for some items and a few fights thrown in. Lighting and textures were good. It is a lot shorter than others. Nicely done." - Ryan (05-Feb-2016)

"The main problem in this level is that the gameplay never really peaks - it's mostly finding hidden levers or jump switches in a beautiful surrounding that deserves much more. I did have fun though with some of the tasks like the very first one with the jumps over the lava and the one with the torch in the beautiful cave with river which by the way looks stunning. Еnemies were well placed and fun to deal with except those that come after you kill the boss - they are unfairly put there because by the time you are out of the crawspace you'll most likely end dead. The visuals are great with a few mistakes if any at all, I'm just not a big fan of the opening area - looks a bit bland and not very atmospheric, things change later on though. There's lots of beautiful rooms. Love how the trees make you feel like you're really deep in the jungle, although I found myself stuck in them after doing some tricky jumps. Having the presence of the monkeys and the elephant is somewhat relaxing. Took me about 50 minutes. It has it's problems but I can still strongly recommend it." - misho98 (28-Dec-2015)

"Not difficult to play except if you miss the small opening in the alcove in the outside area. As ausual in this author, a solid level with no bugs, good architecture, no tight timed runs and this time a gameplay I enjoyed. Nice environments, well textured, variety of tasks, well balanced enemies... A bit short but very enjoyable. Recommended." - Jose (01-Feb-2015)

"(I thought I had reviewed all BtB2014 levels, and only discovered that something was wrong when I didn't find my name among the names of those who had reviewd all levels. In fact, I had really reviewed all of them, but I had forgotten to submit one of the reviews (this one), don't ask me why. Well, now the competition is over, but,for the sake of completeness, I'm submitting the forgotten review. My sincere apologies, Mugs!) This level is very realistic; graphically, it is one of the best, reproducing with fidelity the environment. But it is also one of those levers best played with a walkthrough, because everything is very well hidden, particularly the paths to take and the necessary actions. There are no challenges or puzzles demanding solution, there's only territory exploration in search of necessary items and enemies to fight. I missed sorely some more camera hints. Even climbable walls were difficult to identify, there was an excess of cramped places, and I would never have discovered by myself the opening that took Lara to the place called Elephant Square in the walkthrough (a small crack up a particular window partially blocked? be serious...) Nevertheless, one thing is certainly undeniable: finding out things in this game tends to give us an unusual satisfaction with ourselves. Good exploits!" - Josey (07-Oct-2014)

"I find Mug's levels in BTB a bit hit and miss given how strong her non- contest levels tend to be; in multiple instances pre-reveal I've pegged a BTB map of hers as by a new author. Luckily this is on the stronger side, although it still seems lacking compared to her main releases. There's a nice use of objects and inaccessible areas to create the feeling of a larger world, and the main areas look nice. The lighting is a bit flat outside though and the main ambient music didn't fit for me (it feels a bit too mystical and climatic to be a general ambience). The level is relatively short (as Mug's entries tend to be since BTB2010) and gameplay is mostly based around finding sneaky entrances and switch/shimmy spots with only minor puzzle elements and quite a bit of combat. One Wraith escape was nice, although the forced damage felt a bit cheap. Some of the combat situations felt a bit unfair too, like falling into areas with little time to get your bearings before Soldiers start grenading you, or getting shot at in tight spaces; there is at least plenty of ammo though. One of Mug's better entries in more recent BTB's but still flawed in certain areas." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)

"The enemies can get really tiresome in this level. I don't mind the animals - in fact, I was quite happy to see the elephants in this level (and experienced a hilarious bug in which an elephant floated down onto Lara from thin air!). But the numerous human enemies are really annoying, especially when they start shooting bazookas at Lara, which is a one-shot kill and against which there is no defence apart from running away. I was nearly unable to complete the level because, near the end, while Lara was trying to get out of a crawlspace, mercenaries would shoot a bazooka and kill her before she could get out and get away. I managed to get away only after several dozen tries.
The lighting is a bit bland in the outdoor areas, but suitably atmospheric in the indoor areas. The red lighting in the lava area near the beginning is particularly nice. The architecture is a bit boxy, and often far too cramped. Navigating some of the areas - for instance, the place with the big face statue and waterfall - is difficult because of the far too many plants which keep getting in Lara's way. Climbable surfaces are rather poorly marked - for instance, in one case, one section of a plant-covered wall is climbable, though plants cover so many other surfaces too.
The cramped surroundings also negatively affect the gameplay, especially since a lot of it is exploration based. There is very little in terms of puzzles in this level. Mostly, you need to find a few switches and artefacts. That's not a problem in itself, but it can get a bit tiresome at times because the builder has a habit of hiding the switches.
Overall: A decent level, with a couple of memorable locations, but not quite among the best of this year's BtB." - Mytly (02-Oct-2014)

"Here's a pleasant entry in the BtB competition that follows the one-hour guideline almost precisely. There's nothing that really stands out, but it's a fun raid that provides plenty of light so you can see what you're doing. I remember a nice timed run-swim that requires some dexterous movements to get through the timed gate before it closes, and I also encountered another one of those rogue elephants. This one isn't a serious contender for top honors, but it's certainly fun to play." - Phil (25-Sep-2014)

"One hour level set in only a few intricate areas , the author has made a good job trying to bring realism for the archeological sites with many SAS , and for the ruined sites. The level is not difficult even if in a few places the playor wonders what to do next, the author having some ideas to hide what your next step shall be. The looks are not grandiose , the level proposing more rather small areas, the texturing is well made generally , I noticed a few minor bugs like plants floating in mid-air. A level solidly build and eventually quite satisfying." - eRIC (17-Sep-2014)

"This is a good looking level with authentic looking temple ruin areas throughout. The Valley area was a particular highlight for me which featured some good organic looking geometry. There could have been a bit more attention to detail with some inconsistencies with lighting and lighting of static objects, and the provided invisible collision boxes not added to many of the static arch objects. I stumbled at least three times in this game. The moral being consistently .. when in doubt... look up for hidden stuff. A couple of tough engagements with the army guys, and a quite tight timed run, all made for good challenges. Only one secret found. Audio cues were well suited. Could have been a bit more in the flyby and camera department. Overall, a solid and entertaining level." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)

"I spent more than 80 minutes in this adventure and my guess is that it could actually be played in almost half the time, but only if you either already know where to go - or have a really, really keen eye for jump switches, openings or crawlspaces hidden in plain sight. The architecture has many small and cramped areas that our Lara needs to work her way through to then reach the next more open space with additional tasks awaiting. So, progression generally consists of finding that next well hidden item or opening and killing off quite a number of soldiers and local wildlife along the way. This works well and is fun as long as you do find what you need to do within a reasonable amount of time, but starts getting on your nerves a bit when you keep running in circles. I would probably never have found the way to the use of the torch without forum help for example and easily spent 20 minutes searching the entire level for the right place, when it was actually just around the corner. There are a few smaller puzzle areas using switches and keys, which spice things up and I thought the use of vegetation to seal off areas worked quite well. And this is the first level I played that actually had an elephant - so cute..." - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)

"Second level I've played from this contest. Not a bad custom, some rooms look really nice and the architecture is quite good. The ending sequence is a little too abrupt. Approximately 1 hour of playing time 8/8/8/7" - m.julien (06-Sep-2014)

"At the start, the level isn't very good but right after reaching the surface,it changed to a beautiful place. statues, bambos green places and the temple is very good however, in some places the light is non-existent and there are many annoying enemies but overall i liked this level." - janachorider (03-Sep-2014)

"This has been my least favorite of the BtB-Khmer entries so far. I'm not sure if I'm just spoiled with the wide open environments of the other entries, but something about level design here felt aggravating for no reason other than just being. With the exception of one or two outside areas, every room is too small for their own good, so it's got this constant feeling of claustrophobia all around, which in itself is not a problem, but considering the vast majority of surfaces throughout the whole level were slopes the navigation is too difficult to make it worthwhile/enjoyable. Despite being very linear in structure, I managed to get stuck quite a few times because I was unable to spot the next tight spot I should be crawling through. Gameplaywise it's not a bad level, but like I said, having to either retrace steps or reload a save just because of one slightly poor jump/object collision pushing you elsewhere made it a bit of a chore to play through. Enemies also more often than not pop out of thin air, even though they do so somewhat concealed by the plant objects. 55 minutes, 2 secrets. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)

"This is one of the few entries in this year's competition that actually does come in at round about the one hour mark. OK, I admit I'm not the fastest of raiders, but there really have been a few that nobody could have accomplished in an hour. Anyway, this is also one of the easier offerings and would definitely suit a newish player really wanting to join in all the fun. Enemies are mainly guards and they do gang up on Lara a bit, but ammo is fairly generously supplied. There is the odd puzzle and timed element, but the emphasis is mainly on exploration." - Jay (27-Aug-2014)

"57 minutes from game for this level, it is entirely within the conditions for this contest. Level is enjoyable to play. The only problem is this wraith who pursues us when we take the key, it took me a while to understand what to do, I was thinking of going in the water but nothing worked, before I understood.   But other than that, the level is easy enough, but Lara must protect themselves from enemies in the ruins of Banteay kdei." - Drakan (15-Aug-2014)

"I must say I'm quite pleased again by the quality of the BtB levels this year and even if this particular level is not quite among my favourites, it's still a rather decent effort and would be even more so if the builder had better kept track of the playability of his game. There are some really obscure moments in this game and even if I quite enjoyed the quirky way to progress above a doorway, plants and room geometry blocking the way or preventing from a better view most of the time are really avoidable things in a custom level. Yes, the object design and "broken" geometry helps to create a rather solid atmosphere, but they very often hindered me from doing regular jumps that would be no problem in other levels, this hasn't got anything to do with challenge - it's just annoying. It also has a number of mistakes in it that suit a debut level - the first area looks fairly rushed, most fires on torches are placed one click too low, enemies appear out of thin air, a flyby goes through walls and there's a monkeyswing where you can see the end of the world through because it's semi-transparent. Put those gripes out of the way, this is an appealing effort. The lighting, while being quite minimalistic (could definately be less flat at times and I doubt there's a sun in each room), creates a few very nice scenarios, even with a partly psychedelic nature. And finally, there are some enjoyable tasks, like the two timed runs, the wraith chase or the torch puzzle (even if spoiled by what I already mentioned) and all the secrets were quite tricky to find, well especially two of them. The gameplay still lacks major puzzles or a wider variety of tasks, but I think there's a lot of potential in this builder (hopefully I'm not too wrong thinking this is a first or second effort, who knows... some others sat down in the nettles with that), but he/she should definately care for the gameplay, and let his levels get tested (better)... talking about sitting in the nettles - I probably made too many assumptions in this review, so I'll better finish now and apologize just for the case ;). 20 minutes." - manarch2 (14-Aug-2014)

"It's time for a new Back to Basics competition, and this level seemed like an interesting place to begin. The action begins in a small underground temple occupied by armed thugs, wherein Lara enters the fray and makes her way through its chambers, including a nicely constructed lava chamber. Lara then emerges in an outdoor complex of Cambodian ruins, where not only are there more thugs in wait, but tigers present a considerable threat too. The environments throughout the level's Cambodian ruins are nice, including a pretty glade with a pool and a large Buddha watching over the area, a stream of water emerging from one of the large statue heads in one of the valleys, and interesting outdoor temple designs overall. Sometimes though the lighting seemed a little flat and uninspired, where the later rooms in the level seemed to share relatively the same lighting. While looking good overall, the level wasn't always all that fun to play. I spent some time stuck in areas not knowing what to do, when the necessary passage to progress was obstructed by unclear geometry or dark lighting, or at times a jumpswitch blended in very well into the environment and it took some time to see it clearly. This created a feeling that every few minutes I'd be happily progressing then get stopped for a while before I could progress once more. Overall it's not a bad level at all. It could have benefited the most from a clearer flow of gameplay, which I hope the builder includes in his/her future releases." - Relic Hunter (07-Aug-2014)

"A quite enjoyable and also shortest level so far as it didn`t even took three-quarter of an hour for me. The beginning of this level is quite promising and that in all aspects but as soon as you get out of a temple the tasks will get less creative I mean not only less creative but also there are some bigger areas and they are not filled with many tasks. You will get from one place to another quite quickly but it doesn`t mean that it is boring. There are no real puzzles here but the tasks especially at the beginning inside the temple were really good also I liked a small sequence with torch and I liked the temple tasks at the end too but mostly you have to find a way to progress but as it is quite intuitive you will be not stuck here for long. About the matter of atmosphere I must say that the looks are good especially inside areas and not only in construction terms but also in terms of lighting as outside areas have quite flat lighting. There are more than enough enemies in this relatively short level and perhaps they can get annoying but some of them were placed nicely so that making a solid action situation. I don`t understand triggering soundtrack two seconds before the finish trigger also I didn`t like much the choise of the background audio in outside areas but there are some good moments with right choises of audios. All in all above average level which most of you will enjoy. Took me 44 minutes and have found 2/3 secrets of which 1 is very tricky and very cleverly hidden. 7/8/8/8" - OverRaider (06-Aug-2014)
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