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Level: BtB2014 - From Cambodia with Love back home search
Author(s): Jesus C.Croft
total rating:9.09 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Christian 9 9 9 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Drakan 9 9 9 8
eRIC 8 9 10 10
EssGee 9 10 10 10
Jay 9 8 9 9
Jose 8 9 8 9
Josey 8 9 10 10
m.julien 9 10 10 9
manarch2 7 8 9 8
MichaelP 8 9 10 10
Mman 8 9 10 10
Mytly 8 7 9 10
OverRaider 8 7 9 10
Phil 9 9 10 10
Relic Hunter 8 8 9 10
Ryan 8 8 10 10
Taras 10 9 9 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
category averages
(19 reviews)
8.53 8.79 9.47 9.58

Reviewer's comments

"I started the game and instantly softlocked heheheh :> But I never quit after 5 minutes and you shouldn't as well: this level was one of the first signs of how ridiculously talented Jesus actually is - I guess his IQ is comparable to psiko's but even the style here is similar: big natural landscapes holding grand architecture not just epic but also portable to real life; audio, combat, cutscenes and interactions used for plot chaptering; eventually, many colors which is probably my only pain since it's done by chromatic tinting of greyscale textures which almost never works in this engine - however here we get more cases when it doesn't cross the uncanny valley than when it does. Another controversial thing (which I didn't have a problem with but new players might) is running through spikes which normally looks like you should look elsewhere to deactivate them, which is particularly confusing in the last case which then leaves you with the unfinished bell room until you somehow realize you need to return all the way. Also, the baboon crash issue seems heavier than in the other package levels (I tried reloading a dozen times an I couldn't) so probably it would be good to reupload this level (AND ALL OF THEM) with baboons used in crocodile slot instead. So yep in the end this one has several issues but it's still an impressive adventure, and it's hard to believe it was built within the tight contest deadline. Very recommended." - DJ Full (06-Jul-2019)

"Quite a ride indeed! This great level throws challenge after challenge at you and you need to be on guard at all times. This is very accomplished for a debut. Nicely done. My only complaint is that it gets a little too tricky at times and enemies are quite overwhelming at times. Not to be missed!" - Ryan (02-Feb-2016)

"This Spanish builder has a great potential. His first level and a good debut. When testing the level I commented several things about the backtracking when players reach the closed door at the top of the cascade, and also the confused gameplay in the room with the rope (many stacked rooms). Excellent imagination to create nice environments and innovative puzzles, good use of the cameras, good texturization... Here we have an architect who can give us a lot of hours of fun in the future. Congratulations!" - Jose (01-Feb-2015)

"If I had played this level before the BtB competition had ended, and if someone had told me at the time that this was a debut release, I frankly would not have believed him. What we have here is a professionally rendered raid that is complicated, well conceived and executed, difficult in spots (particularly near the end where several convoluted jumps are required to gain a couple of secrets, followed by a boss fight upon which I would not dream of embarking without playing in god mode with unlimited weaponry), and supremely fun to play. The ambiance is sinister but adequately lighted, so you won't hear my usual lament about dark levels in this review. I've now sampled nearly everything the Khmer Empire theme has had to offer us save the most tranquil and the quirkiest levels of the bunch, and I'm more than a satisfied customer at this point. Whoever Jesus C. Croft is, my hat is off to him, and I'm confident that he has a bright future as a level builder. Highest recommendations." - Phil (13-Oct-2014)

"The first part of the level is fairly linear but as you progress it is tangled a bit and improves gameplay. The puzzles and traps are well constructed. The textures are well positioned and environments are captivating. What struck me the most are the landscapes and in particular the flyby at the arrival in the lost city. Highly recommended." - Taras (07-Oct-2014)

"This is a beautiful level, with lots of detailed temples, tons of objects and great lighting. I do think the amount of objects could be slightly cut back at parts though as this is the first BTB level to lag my system, which sticks out given how other levels are very object-happy too. The presentation excels in nearly every area. My feelings on the gameplay are more mixed though; the individual tasks are mostly varied, fun and interesting, but something about the overall flow felt off to me. Throughout I kept wondering whether I had done things correctly, and not necessarily in the sense where it all comes together and you realise how brilliant it is, but in the sense I'm still not 100% sure if I did everything as "intended". There also seem to be multiple moments of forced damage (as a result of the previous point I may not be fully right about this though...), a bit where statues exploded in my face and took me multiple attempts before I got away without dying and unmarked ladder climbs (actually a result of me doing things in a slightly unintended order) at the start that made me believe I was stuck until I realised they were present. The "boss" fight also took ages as I had missed the Bow and had minimal Revolver ammo so I had to plink away at a horde of enemies with just Pistols. Of the three secrets I found only one wasn't right in my face, and I had no idea what one secret even is (I smashed a statue and the chime sounded, but I could see no items or openings). A great entry despite my issues, and maybe you won't run into them so much..." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)

"When the BtB levels were released, this was the first level I chose to play, because I liked the screenshots. On the visual front, I wasn't disappointed at all - this level is a feast for the eyes, with spectacularly beautiful lighting, excellent architecture, and a good use of plant and architectural objects to create very realistic-looking locations. Some of the temples and courtyards remind me of the Thailand level in TR Underworld. There is translucent quality to the lighting in several areas that I particularly admire - I think it's done with the use of multiple light-ray objects and fog objects. Really, I can't think of a single negative thing to say about the visuals and atmosphere.
About the gameplay and enemies on the other hand ... *sigh* 10 minutes into this level, I was hopelessly stuck because I couldn't find a key which was hidden in a random clump of grass. After considerable frustration (including a lot of problems with reloading savegames), I put the level aside to play later. When I got back to it and managed to continue a little further, I was stuck in a spot where Lara, while pulling a skeleton off deactivated spikes somehow kept being transported onto the (still deactivated) spikes and getting killed. This is a ridiculous bug - I can't believe it wasn't fixed during beta-testing. After putting the level aside again, I came back to it a few days' ago and finished it. The later part of the level didn't alleviate my negative feelings, especially due to the hordes of enemies at the end. The final fight is one long and boring massacre, made doubly difficult by the limited aiming range of Lara's weapons in this BtB package.
Ok, negativity aside now ... there are a few things I like about the gameplay, such as the pushable puzzle at the beginning and the multi-stage timed swim for the Ornate Lion Key. The use of the bouncepad to jump past flames is a nice idea. There are several good jumping and trap sequences. The run over the double spiked ledges near the beginning would have been fun if it weren't for the irritating fixed camera.
Overall: A beautiful level with frustrating gameplay and way too many enemies. Recommended for the eye candy." - Mytly (02-Oct-2014)

"A great looking level. Since the beginning , this level promised to be of high quality , in the first room the warm and pleasant lighting welcomes the player. The hole with trapdoors should have climbable walls all around , and I did not quite appreciate to run through already triggered spikes even if it was obvious to do exactly this. Aside from these two minor quibbles , a very enjoyable raid where the player discovers area after area very well designed with much care for atmospheric texturing and architecture. Some places are awe inspiring. The tasks to be done are not challenging, with perhaps the exception of the timed run/jump on ledges with spikes near the beginning , which was eventually overcome after a few tries. Towards the end , I enjoyed having to take"leaps of faith" to continue, somehow it was intuitive for me. Many fixed cameras well mastered, and nicely made fly-bys. The level really has a 'professional' design feeling to it. Very well done" - eRIC (20-Sep-2014)

"Wow, and double Wow. That's what I'm talkin' bout baby. Just great from start to finish. I may run out of superlatives for this one. For me this ticks all the boxes. Grand architecture and geometry, sublime lighting, that oozes atmosphere. You can almost smell the equatorial heat emanating from the outdoor settings. Brilliant use of wad objects, textures and audio. Again, there is a sense that the builder has shown absolute respect for the builder's pack and has understood well how to use it to maximum benefit. Good flybys, and really interesting and challenging gameplay and exploration. And what an ending... my my!! Wham bam thank you ma'am. It's a big level, and depending in what order you do things, there may be a bit of back tracking. But who cares, it's such a good looking vista to explore. The only imbalance is the overuse of reverse cameras, and perhaps that one must take enforced health loss at some points, and whilst that may upset a few purists, I actually don't mind this type of gameplay provided that the builder offsets it with medipacs for repair. Found 3 secrets and could have happily spent more time just taking in the scenery. Congratulations! My absolute hands down favourite level of the competition." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)

"It is not easy to review this level.After some mediocre rooms combindes with several annoying camera angles there is stunning environment towards the end, quality is growing here in all means. Full of expectations the Player moves on to the next area and doesn't get disappointed. Quite a lot of areas are are stunning worlds of their own evoking that 'wow-effect' I missed in the most levels of the this year's competition. Heterogen also the gameplay: There are demanding, but doable parts spicing up the game. Lara's agility is demanded more than one time. But there are also some frustrating parts as the ways to proceed are quite unclear. Moving all around a large hall via poles, ropes and banana-jumps only to push up health to get down to the floor seems to be a bit strange. But all in all creativity of gameplay prevails in this great game. The authors hint to save ammunition is a good idea. Especially towards the end Lara also has to Show her fighting agilities. Poisened arrows collected on the way are quite helpfull here. Lightning is in very outstandning and nearly perfect in most of the Areas. A must to play!" - Christian (13-Sep-2014)

"This extensive adventure is a true work of art. You cannot help but marvel at the way the whole setting is crafted, the use of textures and light is not only flawless but truly inspired and thankfully the level starts out with rather simple and straightforward progression, so that you have a chance to take in the beauty of the surroundings while you begin to dive deeper and deeper into it.Until you realize that the end is nowhere near in sight and the action picks up significantly. And this is where I am a bit torn. I do like a challenge as much as the next seasoned raider out there, but I did feel that some of the tasks border on the confusing or unfair to the average player and to me seemed a bit out of balance with the magic of the adventure overall. They are all quite achievable, but more than once I wondered whether I really did things the right way or was just lucky enough to find an unintended way - especially when you need to get down from high up twice in the game. The final epic battle is wonderfully set in scene and really not so hard with a bit of strategy and patience. The 4 secrets seemed like more of an afterthought and for me did not add much to the overall experience. Overall, do not be fulled by the relaxed beginning. If you engage in this adventure be prepared for quite a ride and one that you will want to finish no matter what - for me the ending happened after a little over 2 hours." - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)

"It is somewhat difficult to review this level, because here we have at the same time: a feast for the eyes, from beginning to end; a remarkable level for those who love athletic feats and survival strategies, for there are a multiplicity of athletic demands and a big number of enemies, specially at the end; an unsatisfactory level for those who love puzzles, because the few puzzles presented are simple in the extreme (unless you choose to rename as puzzle that necessary sprint through spikes in order to open a door; I lost a lot of time searching for some means to deactivate the trap); boring sequences, such as those impossibly difficult banana jumps, and also that aquatic pulling of an apparently infinite number of chains; interesting sequences, such as the rest of them; a great variety of tasks, a thing that strongly contributes for the interest in a game; an undeniable expertise in devising and building rooms; excellent lighting; no bugs, except for a possible one: if Lara goes into the gong room maintaining a good distance from the monkey-stone knights, the explosion only occurs when she approaches the gong. And if she approaches the gong looking at it, she catches fire after the explosion; but she doesn't catch fire if she approaches the gong facing the room and stepping back... a thing that I didn't understand at all; sufficient camera and flyby hints. Well... play it (because it is a must), and judge for yourself. Perhaps we even have a winner here... who knows?" - Josey (03-Sep-2014)

"I had a good impression of this level ... good architecture, textures are well applied, lighting is various and nice to see, good puzzles (for example the pushable and the raising blocks at the beginning..) up to be litteraly stuck. A closed door at the top of a waterfall and obliged to come back on my steps to find a buddha statue (thanks the forum). To be honest, this is the only complaint I can do from this custom, all the rest is a perfect raiding adventure with an happy and engaging ending. Congratulations! 9/10/10/9" - m.julien (01-Sep-2014)

"I think we have a winner. I'm about halfway through BtB-Khmer but the sheer scope of this outing is so relentless that it is probably going to be unmatched. The vast majority of entries this far have graced the player with stunning and lush temples, but this just throws you one gorgeous vista after the other. There's just such a verticality envolved and you can rest assured, beyond every corner the level will surprise you with something even larger on scale than before. A couple of areas involve backtracking but fortunately it's never too demanding and once you move on to the next area you're not tasked to come back. The author also provides you plenty of poison arrows along the way: and they are the way to go here, especially towards the ending where you have a few equally out of bounds fights. Fire one of them at as many enemies as you can, run back for cover and wait a few seconds, then just run in with your pistols for the one shot kills a few seconds later. This works on Shivas and two-headed tigers as well, so don't be afraid to use resources at your hand. Towards the end a few 'expert' moves were required to progress, I think the level could have done without them but it's specific to just one area so it's no big deal. There's just so much to do and to see here that I feel I'm forgetting something, but make yourself a favor and don't miss out on this one. There's only one minor thing I would have changed in this level: I'd have marked all the walls beneath the trapdoors at the beginning as climbable. There's no good reason not to. This would usually render a remark of "unmarked climbable walls", but when you put that against everything else you see here you might even not remember it. 115 minutes, 4 secrets. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)

"The author of this level sends his/her regards from Cambodia as we are treated to quite the audiovisual treat here. The visuals are very top-notch with great texturing everywhere and very nice lighting effects throughout that seemed to simulate realistic shadows and rays of sunlight. The choice of audio is very fitting and the background tracks change accordingly as Lara goes from outdoor jungle to underground chambers and back, and the soundtracks at various points in the level are utilized very effectively. Combining this with the generous placement of foliage and atmospheric fog definitely adds to the visual delight. Of course the visuals are not the only part that makes up a level, and the level does have a number of engaging agility tests involving spikes, and a few with burners to mix things up. There are also a few relaxing puzzles, and plenty of platforming and exploring in wonderful environments. Towards the end of the level there is a nice mystical turn in the environments, and everything ends in a spectacular showdown to wrap up the level. A few times though the cameras get in the way and obscure the gameplay, like with the first spikes challenge. It took me some time to find a way to get up because of an unbreakable fixed camera which made the angles of the slopes difficult to see. The object placement in the level takes some getting used to, such as hiding objects in the tall grass or having to pick up objects through spikes, which had me stuck a few times until I realized this is the expectation the author laid out in the level. I have to admit also that near the end of the level, one of the triggered explosions came very unexpectedly and killed Lara, and with my habit of saving the game every few steps to minimize replaying segments that forced me to have to load an earlier save. Also I was confused about a few secrets too. One of them seemed to do absolutely nothing and the other one was in plain sight. Otherwise I'd have to say that I really did enjoy this adventure, and it could be much better if the gameplay were more involving, perhaps featuring more puzzles and having more challenges like at the beginning of the level. My regards From Cambodia, With Love." - Relic Hunter (23-Aug-2014)

"Wow, what fabulous gameplay. The agility tests are extremely enjoyable - challenging without being hair-tearingly difficult and there's a fair proportion of 'route finding' that I just love. If you feel things are a bit lacking in the enemy department early on, you'll be more than catered for at the end of the level - the builder's advice about conserving ammo should be heeded. Beautifully put together in every aspect and well chosen music. Definitely one of the best of the crop, which is saying something." - Jay (20-Aug-2014)

"Another nice level where atmosphere has stronger point than the gameplay. Right at the beginning there is a rather easy pushable puzzle with raising blocks but still entertaining and as soon as you get out of the temple there will be very atmospheric outside area which requires only running through (you can admire the scenery of course) to the big area with huge pit where there is waterfall and big temple. This part of level requires lot of exploration, some tasks to get necessary items also some puzzles to solve (but I think such huge area could have been polished with more tasks and also more creative tasks). As soon as you acomplish all the required tasks in here you will get to another temple where the game gets more challenging and that in terms of jumps, enemies and getting up/down which was rather nicely thought out and at the end final artifact was protected by enemies, well in my opinion too much protected as I am not a fan of shooter class (attacking 8 or so enemies on Lara at once is rather annoying than challenging). I liked atmosphere in this level and so I liked textures and lighting very much, also I liked very much music choice and background ambience too. But there are some moments where I had a feeling that I am on a different planet, sorry but the place where waterfall falls into small plash of water and there is no way of water flowing out, or trees growing from tiles? also those swinging monkey traps were swinging through each other all this doesn`t make sense and destroy the atmosphere a little bit. Also fixed cameras are too much in use here and are really annoying, because most of them has no purpose and everytime Lara walked on the trigger the camera angle showed up, sorry that`s annoying. Well despite these problems this is very nice atmospheric level with some medium challenging action and easy tasks and puzzles. More creative tasks and more challenging/complex puzzles would have been more appreciated from me. Playtime 1:24 secrets 4/4 of which 1 isn`t hidden at all (I don`t understand placing a secret right onto the pedestal in front of our eyes) but some of them are nicely hidden. 8/7/9/10" - OverRaider (19-Aug-2014)

"I found this to be a hard to score level, being rather uneven in its quality. The overall atmosphere of this release is quite different to most of the other BtB levels in its choice of colours and architecture, and actually this is a welcome change. While the room geometry seems to be a bit unrealistic at the start, and there were some rather uninspired passages, it gradually gets better and later on there are some really impressive large scale areas. The use of music and cameras is quite excellent especially for all those enemy attacks where it nearly has a cinematic feel to it. The reddish lighting is quite lovely, but since most of the level has pretty much the same kind of lighting it gets a bit old after a while, although there are different coloured areas that make up for a nice change, and actually those areas impressed me more than the "red" ones. The gameplay starts fairly ambitious, with a clever push puzzle and a quite challenging course over spikes which took a few tries, but afterwards it flattens a bit and there were too many passages where you just move along without doing anything else. It luckily got better again towards the end, with some tough jumps in a high hall and an explosive finale, but overall my expectations were a bit higher given the good start. Still, there's a good bunch of classic traps, some interesting platforming parts and good dose of combat. I didn't really like all those places with forced health lose, may it be sprinting through spikes or high drops, and I also missed some heavier weapons else than the revolver or ammo for the crossbow in the finale. The four secrets were kind of a mixed bag, since two are really well hidden, while one doesn't even give you any reward else than the chime and one is not hidden at all. Overall this is a fairly atmospheric and action-packed 60 minute level whose gameplay should have stayed on the same level of the start, although the rest is still not without its moments." - manarch2 (17-Aug-2014)

"This level is quite vast with plenty to do in these large rooms. I had a small problem with a climb but nothing important. The finish is quite difficult with the long slide with rollingball and the many enemies that appear. Excellent!" - Drakan (05-Aug-2014)
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