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Level: BtB2014 - Sumeru Illusion back home search
Author(s): Blacksheep
total rating:8.07 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Drakan 9 8 9 8
EssGee 8 8 8 8
janachorider 8 8 9 9
Jay 8 8 8 8
Jose 7 7 7 7
Josey 9 8 8 8
m.julien 9 9 9 9
manarch2 7 8 9 8
MichaelP 8 9 8 8
Mman 7 8 8 7
Mytly 8 8 9 8
OverRaider 6 9 7 8
Phil 9 9 8 6
Relic Hunter 8 8 8 8
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Taras 9 9 9 8
Treeble 8 8 9 7
category averages
(17 reviews)
7.94 8.24 8.29 7.82

Reviewer's comments

"I was doing fine in this level until halfway through. After the spiked wall and monkeyswing run, I encountered a weird glitch where the warrior carrying the Khmer Key vanished and I was forced to use DOZY to continue. A bad taste in my mouth was left afterwards. This could have been good but it didn't work for me." - Ryan (04-Feb-2016)

"Well done this level. There are some special effects and there's a well balanced gameplay between outside and inside areas. Secrets are hard to find. I've got no problems to finish this adventure, with no much backtrcking. Not spectacular but well builded and worth to play. Good work." - Jose (01-Feb-2015)

"This level starts well, in a lost city well built, although a bit claustrophobic. After a while, however, it becomes repetitive and I was tempted from abandoning it. But as soon as you arrive in the basement, the scenery changes and greatly improves the gameplay, for me so far one of the best BTB 2014. In perfect logic of T.R., you have to find 4 Buddha in different environments. A couple innovations that have impressed me: the puzzle with the raising and pushable block and sliding traps before recovery of the crowbar. The enemies are few but well-placed. The background music may seem annoying at first, but then it becomes appealing." - Taras (11-Oct-2014)

"This is probably the most authentically Khmer environment so far, with a main area made up of an open-plan symmetrical temple. Unfortunately the realism also results in the main structure being a little repetitive, despite various fissures and similar to break it up, there's also some interesting interior rooms. Unfortunately the lighting is the thing that really drags it down; the outside parts look okay (although a bit lacking in contrast), but a lot of the indoor areas have drab and dark lighting that drains the life out of places that could look great with some improvement in that area. Gameplay is decent but doesn't have particular stand-out moments, and there's quite a few longish corridors with little of note to go through (even if a Quadbike is provided for the largest), which combines with the symmetry to get a bit dull at times, but it mostly holds together. I was slightly puzzled by the Guide though, who seemed to suddenly appear in an area I thought was pointless after I did some stuff, with no clues she had appeared beyond me wondering back because there was nowhere else left. I find the issues a little unfortunate as with better lighting and more to do in some of the more drab areas I feel like the authentic feel could have made this one of the best in the contest." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)

"A very realistic representation of the typical Khmer architecture. The level is certainly bright enough in outdoors areas, but perhaps could have been enhanced by some more dynamic lighting, especially some of the indoor areas that have very subdued lighting. Each area opens up nicely as you work your way into the centre of the courtyard, and eventually onto the impressive central tower and the artefact that Lara is after. The guide is used very effectively in one of the four missions to obtain the golden buddhas, and the quadbike can help you get around in another area. The level features a good push puzzle, and a well thought out torch puzzle. Texturing is generally good, but there are some inconsistencies in this department. Good use of audio. I liked how this level built in intensity, from the almost deserted temple ruins to what lies beneath. Very good." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)

"The environment here feels almost too real to be the venue of an entertaining adventure. Several times during the 80 minutes I spent here, I wondered whether I am still on the right track or missed something completely. Many of the courtyards look alike and the next area to move on to is not always obvious. For example it took me a very long time before I finally ran into the guide who then graciously helped me towards the fourth golden buddha that I had been missing. I also never used the quad bike, as you can proceed through that passage easily on foot. What I did very much enjoy though are the elaborate and well constructed puzzle areas. Well organized and architected they require you to find the right sequence of jumps (never too tricky) and a few objects need to be pushed around, a few traps to be mastered, a torch to be used. All rather classic, but really well done. As mentioned, I found the rooms often maybe a bit too symmetrical and same-looking and for me that hurt the sense of atmosphere slightly, but overall this is yet another very solid entry into the competition." - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)

"Pardon me if I start to sound like a stuck record, but not halfway into the 2014 BtB competition I've experienced a number of levels that are ingeniously complex, that offer a generous amount of gameplay (two hours and 24 minutes for me), that display the marks of a veteran builder, and that are entirely too dark to make playing them a truly enjoyable experience. Sumeru Illusion is one of those levels. Since the quad bike has no headlights, I was obliged to dismount periodically and throw a handful of flares along that pitch-black tunnel so I could make my way back to the temple near the end. That's simply unpardonable in my estimation, and the only way I can voice my displeasure with any effect is to slash my scores in the lighting category, so that's what I've done. I also noted the sameness of the various courtyards, but with the help of Dutchy's verbal roadmap I was able to avoid hopeless confusion. On the other hand, the two secrets are quite elaborately presented, and I took the considerable time necessary to acquire both secret gems as documented in the walkthrough. As in the other BtB levels I have recently played and reviewed, the gameplay here is well conceived and impressive, and it's definitely not the work of a beginner. I just wish that players had the option of choosing between "bright game" and "dark game," as we sometimes can elect either "hard" or "easy."" - Phil (13-Sep-2014)

"Without being particularly beautiful, without having particular variation in terms of sceneries, still this level has good puzzles and challenges, a charming part with a guide, a nice Quad run, and deserves a try. Enemies and lighting are all right, and the same goes to music. Recommended!" - Josey (11-Sep-2014)

"I was thoroughly confused at the beginning of this level, as Lara has to go back and forth through several nearly identical courtyards - for a directionally-challenged person like me, it was as bad as a maze, and I still have no idea how many such courtyards there were in all. But once I made it to the central temple (in the middle of another confusingly symmetrical courtyard) and went off in search of the Buddha statues, things started falling into place nicely. Getting all four Buddha statues involves several enjoyable challenges - my particular favourite is the pushblock puzzle where you have to move blocks through shallow water. You can use the quadbike to get to the areas with two of the statues, though it is optional.
The architecture in this level is really good - the temples and courtyards at the beginning resemble actual Khmer architecture quite closely (as far as I have seen from photos of the latter, anyway). The underground pool with the surrounding buildings is also very nice. On the other hand, the builder seems almost perversely determined not to let players see his/her work in the best possible light - the lighting in the indoor areas is depressingly dark, and greyish and flat even in the outdoor areas. (The screenshots on the levelinfo page are either from an older build or are artificially brightened.)
The enemies can be a little daunting at the beginning, with Lara encountering a soldier around almost every corner. But the enemies get more manageable later on, and the final boss fight is quite enjoyable. I found a number of items that are apparently for a secret quest, but not the secrets themselves.
Overall: With better lighting and a bit more asymmetry, this level could have been excellent. Still, a fairly nice level on the whole. Recommended." - Mytly (05-Sep-2014)

"Very good level. the architecture and atmosphere looks very realistic and detailed and the bhudda quest was fun." - janachorider (04-Sep-2014)

"The beginning could be a little disoriented and could feel confused the players, but after some minutes we find easily the good way . Many good things in this level especially the puzzles with the 4 pushable tombstones in a half flooded structure. The global architecture is feeling like the Khmer empire as I see it. Good level. 9/9/9/9" - m.julien (01-Sep-2014)

"Something didn't feel quite right about this level for me, but I can't put my finger on it. The outer main temple is very grounded, built in a way I'd expect one to look in real life, maybe that's why? This results in very similar areas but it's pretty easy to get the hang of the surroundings, especially as the temple doors begin to open and you can run through the areas quickly. Gameplaywise it's very simple, revolving around the quest for four golden buddhas while relying on solid and proven tricks, so you have the (fortunately very quick) two-layered pushblock puzzle, a few scattered keys to gather and a few platforming and a quick section with the guide as you press on. I'm not entirely sure the quadbike was necessary but I rode it to the broken bridge anyway. While texturing is very efficient and, like I said earlier on, serves well the grounded nature of the level, I think more could be done with the lighting, most of the time it looked very basic. All in all, definitely not a bad level on its own, but not my favorite. 70 minutes, 1 secret. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)

"The initial flyby reveals a large and somewhat austere temple structure and the initial look of symmetry is often reflected in the gameplay - find four gold Buddha statues, move four blocks etc. There's a diversion with the quad bike that meanders about as a nice contrast, but some of the tasks can seem a bit repetitive. Enemies are effectively used (loved the way a serpent gem was dropped by a serpent) and it's a well built level, but perhaps not quite as pretty as some of the entries. Still very well worth playing however and if I seem to be damning it with faint praise, that really only bespeaks the extremely high standards of this year's competition entries." - Jay (22-Aug-2014)

"Sumeru Illusion is an enjoyable one-hour long level that does live up to its name. Perhaps the construction of the outer rooms looking rather similar to one another contributes to the Illusion part of the level's title, but it's done in a way that you aren't spending too much time in similar looking rooms for very long. I thought that aspect of the rooms was kind of cool and thematically seemed to fit the level. On the gameplay side this level isn't too demanding, the first part is mainly a hunt for passageways to the following rooms and a hunt for switches to a lesser extent, though the pleasant construction of the rooms doesn't make these tasks too monotonous. Much of the gameplay also consists of doing platforming tasks. Near the beginning there is a nice trap room with spikes, a flame emitter protecting a puzzle item, as well as a battering ram to make things tricky, later on is a grand hall with some platforming involved, leading to a race against a moving spike wall whilst Lara is monkey-swinging. The remaining elements of platforming consist of routine climbing blocks and ladders to get to the next level or puzzle item. Speaking of puzzles the level features a few simple pushing puzzles, nothing too challenging overall. I did also like how the quadbike got some use in the level. It was satisfying being able to use it to run down some thugs before they could toss any grenades at me. The level's atmosphere is fairly standard and doesn't stand out too much, but it is enhanced by using good music cues when appropriate and the level does have sufficient cameras to guide the player around whenever anything significant happens. While the lighting outside was sometimes flat it is used better in the indoor areas, though it's solid overall. The texturing is good as well, except in some of the outside areas, namely the rocky quadbike tunnel and the pushing puzzle in the pool I've noticed rock textures being applied like wallpaper which made the visuals a little jarring. Despite these small drawbacks, Sumeru Illusion was a fun playthrough for me and the author certainly has a flair for architecture, and he/she can make their levels better by trying to create more interesting, challenging gameplay. Overall a solid and enjoyable level." - Relic Hunter (22-Aug-2014)

"The level looks labyrinthine at first glance, but after have turning around, we seem to find a good way to start. After finding the first puzzle, it comes together well. Good level with interesting puzzles" - Drakan (15-Aug-2014)

"A level where you mostly go through temples collecting various items which was for me sadly more on the boring side also too easy. Even though that this is nicely constructed level and let`s say nicely textured and lit (there are some areas with flat lighting especially outside also some texture issues) but environments are very similar to each other so that getting boring for exploration. In terms of gameplay as I said rather boring as you will get from one similar location to another similar location where there are some tasks which require lot of running through corridors or all around the place just to get the key and second key in a very similar way then to use these keys in receptacles both in oposite places of a room or to easily reach a switch so this is mostly the things you will do in this level also I didn`t really like the puzzle with four pushable stones as you will exactly know where to push all of them at first sight and the time it takes is time absorbing so that getting boring, sorry to say but I didn`t really like this level in terms of puzzles and gameplay. There is also one thing which I need to mention and that there is only one background audio playing all the time in this level and that I really really don`t like and not only that as the sound didn`t really fit the atmosphere but soundtracks are mostly well chosen and fitting the situations.I also must admit that areas are well interconnected and what I liked most in here were secrets which were really nice touch. Took me some time to find the second serpent gem (two of them is required to find 1 secret) but it was worth it. Also I liked enemy placements especially the one which relates with one of the serpent gems as it gives a nice sense to it. Well this level would be much better if the tasks in here would have been more creative and if the environments would have differed from each other in some way also more variety of background sounds would be more appreciated from me. Playtime 1:02 found 2/2 secrets. 6/9/7/8" - OverRaider (10-Aug-2014)

"My first pick in the current BtB competition, and certainly a good way to start with a medium-sized and not all too demanding level. After a bit of initial confusion (you'll visit many areas which look pretty alike and where only one or two things have to be done) the level got better for me the longer it lasts and at some time it opens up quite a bit. The main puzzle concerning the four buddha statues is very cleverly constructed, as are the various quests to actually find those statues - especially the intriguing push puzzle around a half-flooded building. The rest of it is good classic raiding too, including a rather nice trip with the nun as a guide and (as this is my first level) the first, even if a little buggy, experience with a bounce pad in a TR 4 level, but generally is a bit too undemanding (take the guide tour as an example - everything except of getting through two traps is made by the guide and Lara's only job is to follow). The only quite tricky bit is very close to the end with Lara having to avoid the spikes while climbing up to the last artifact, which might even be a tad too tricky for a BtB level - even I only managed it with a good dose of luck. The atmosphere of this level is rather well done, with an incredible structure of the temple so many areas are interconnected multiple times - architecture is certainly one of the builder's strengths - especially if you go for that second secret (explained later in the review), you'll appreciate the map even more. The levelinfo pics made me think the lighting would be pretty flat throughout, but actually it looks much better in-game and it seems the pics show an old version. There still are a few parts with flat lighting, and overall the appearance is a bit dark, but it still remains fairly atmospheric and isn't really player-unfriendly. And there aren't many negative things to say about the texturing either. I found two secrets, of which one is already very nicely hidden, but the other one includes a mini quest (not even so mini) for qutie a bunch items and sends you around the whole level again if you want to find it. One of the gems in particular is fairly obscurely hidden, magically appearing somewhere on the floor, but otherwise the secrets are a very good aspect of this level and I was quite satisfied to have found them both. The final boss fight is also rather well done and enemies in general are very nicely placed. Overall, I spent a total of 45 minutes in this level which, just as Blizzard did last year, definately made me even more enthusiastic about the other BtB levels." - manarch2 (05-Aug-2014)
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