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Level: BtB2014 - Paradise Gained back home search
Author(s): Marksdad
total rating:6.72 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Christian 7 6 6 5
Drakan 7 8 8 7
EssGee 6 7 7 6
janachorider 7 7 7 8
Jay 7 8 8 7
Jose 7 6 6 7
Josey 7 8 7 8
m.julien 7 8 7 7
manarch2 7 7 6 5
MichaelP 7 8 7 6
Mman 6 7 6 5
Mytly 6 6 7 6
OverRaider 5 6 5 5
Phil 8 7 8 8
Relic Hunter 6 6 7 6
Ryan 7 7 7 7
Treeble 6 6 7 7
category averages
(17 reviews)
6.65 6.94 6.82 6.47

Reviewer's comments

"The easiest entry played. It doesn't look as grand or beautiful as others I have played but it stands well. That said, there is not much to do here. Gameplay, lighting, textures and enemies were fine. Looks a bit bland though." - Ryan (02-Feb-2016)

"Not a jewel of the custom levels, but enjoyable anyway. The main room with the stacked platforms/ledges was problematic for me 'cause I was not able to use the jumper correctly. Anyway, even when it's a short level, there are good ideas and the ending was very original. Take a try, you will not regret." - Jose (01-Feb-2015)

"This is a pretty trademark Marksdad level; short with scattered very challenging moments, lots of combat and functional (to be generous) visuals. After a couple of outdoor bits the main hub is a multilevel temple room that everything else is based around, objects are mostly used okay, but the texturing has some questionable elements like a monkeyswing with multiple misaligned textures. Gameplay is okay, but I didn't feel the first block puzzle added much (at least the second has a slight surprise part way through) and the rest of the tasks aren't especially elaborate, with the opening, a nasty timed switch pillar challenge and a Midas fire room type challenge being the main standouts, along with an intriguing ending. I also felt one or two more camera hints would have been nice. Maybe his non-BTB entries are more adventurous, but based on his BTB levels it feels like Marksdad's style hasn't developed too much since 2005; to be honest I feel Mallory's Trail is still the strongest BTB level he's done (and the ratings seem to support that), for the next BTB he takes part in I hope he tries something a little different." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)

"The level starts rather excitingly: in the first 5 seconds Lara encounters a rollingball, 2 soldiers and a tiger. But after that adrenaline rush, excitement takes a backseat, while you're treated to a long, dull pushable puzzle that involves dragging a pushable across nearly the entire floor of a room. There are a couple of good timed runs later on - though one of them has to be done at least twice. The bouncepad is used well to enable Lara to get to higher floors in a multi-level room.
This large multi-level hall, which makes up the centrepiece of the level, would have been interesting if it hadn't been textured in monotonous grey textures and didn't have the same dark reddish lighting as in almost all the rooms in the level. The darkness in this room is particularly annoying when you have to use a monkeyswing at the top of the room: in the darkness it's difficult to make out the monkeyswing textures, and taking a flare along is counterproductive, as it means that Lara falls off at the end while throwing away the spent flare, instead of grabbing a jumpswitch. The final room (not counting the final flyby) looks good, and the final flyby is nicely done.
There is a dearth of ammo for tackling all the enemies. The boss fight with the Shiva and the soldiers can be made easier if you wait just outside the door and let the Shiva kill the soldiers.
Overall: I'm afraid this level gains the dubious honour of being my least favourite level in this BtB. There's nothing wrong with it, as such - it's just not very ambitious or interesting." - Mytly (02-Oct-2014)

"One thing I've learned about these BtB levels: even if you're playing in god mode those grenades fired at you by the soldiers will kill you. And there are lots of soldiers in this level. I've also learned that if you get up close and dirty with them, they'll pepper you with rifle fire (harmless if you're in god mode) so you can kill them without fearing a grenade attack. This strategy isn't as effective, however, if the soldiers come at you in waves. Suffice it to say that I was forced to adjust my playing style for this level. As other reviewers have noted, this appears to be the work of a fledgling builder for two main reasons: the fairly obvious but tedious pushpiece puzzles that for me were more of an ordeal than fun, and the fact that the level ran a mere 45 minutes. The only other gameplay flaw I can remember is near the end where you have to monkeyswing in pitch blackness to a jump switch. That one had my blood boiling, as the 30-second flare was sufficient only to get me started. I saved at every corner and was not a happy camper when I finally reached the jump switch (and I wouldn't have even known where it was had it not stood out brightly in the darkness). The negative points aside, I felt that if this indeed is a debut level, it's a mighty creative one, and I was particularly impressed with the multi-layered room that drove me to Dutchy's walkthrough for some of the more obscure means of progression. An early reviewer said this level is overrated; at this point I feel it's significantly underrated and worthy of a recommendation." - Phil (24-Sep-2014)

"Oh joy... I have reached the enlightened state of medipaKhation..... forever healed and enveloped like an embryo in the womb of light..... I liked this bit. This is a Back to Basics raid in the truest sense, as the gameplay and level design takes me back to some of the early rather raw levels that adorned the halls of TRLE.net back in the early days of TR level editing. It's a linear progression with fairly simple puzzle and geometric design and the biggest challenge is a few of the enemy battles that you will encounter. Unfortunately, this being a competition level there are a number of things that I have to critique. Texturing is very average, with several textures being used that weren't really for what they were intended, giving a bland uninspired feel to some areas. Lighting - fairly rudimentary and lacking atmosphere. Doors placed in ways that they are buried in the ground. Unconvincing setups - e.g. There are two torches to be lit to open a pair of doors. One flame is far away from the doors involved... why? Sorry but the doors disappear into the wall too which looks bad. Oh no.... the level is littered with my pet hate... wall levers with no marked wall slot. And why this lazy setup when the wad specifically has an ornate static housing for hosting the wall lever? Flybys and audio cues were suitably used. Secrets: Hmmm I got to the secret Jumpswitch which incorporates a justifiably tricky Bouncepad move for a secret, but no prize. It's a classic old-school raid that could have made much better use of the building pack." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)

"A level that takes no prisoners. You will very likely die a few times within the first 30 seconds of this adventure, but that is part of its intended challenge - you need to devise the right strategies to manage the enemies and traps the author has set out for you. It is reasonably short at 45 minutes and progression is largely clear and obvious. I think the three trigger tiles in the room where you have one clear other task to accomplish were a bit on the obscure side, so I needed some help there, but everything else worked out just fine and kept me nicely entertained, including a few timed elements and push exercises. The overall atmosphere, geometry, texturing and lighting is a bit on the more basic side in comparison with many of the other entries, so it is more about function than form, which is just fine by me though and the ending is really well done!" - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)

"We have a non common beginning with a falling rollingball. Don't miss important puzzles and keep your eyes opened especially the key for the second raisingball. The huge central room was rather too cubic with flat lighting and repetitive textures. Many switch and no camera hints. However, this supposed debut builder has a good potential for the futur if the builder focus his/her energy on a more detailed architecture, more various lighting and well applied textures. I didn't find handicapping bug. Found 1 secret.7/8/7/7" - m.julien (06-Sep-2014)

"Well, we have a great start with a boulder right in our path! the rest of the level is decent but in some parts, it lacks interest some rooms are square and empty,the soldiers are just SAS modified so i have to lower the score a bit but the raising block puzzle was good.still not a good level but not a bad one either." - janachorider (03-Sep-2014)

"This is a rather humble offering, amidst the others I've played so far. Environments tend to be very boxy, sometimes too big for their own good, and I felt gameplay was quite unbalanced. Levers seem randomly placed on the walls, and then there are far too many soldiers in this level. It normally wouldn't be a problem, but with the changes that have been made to combat in this years BtB, I found myself going up in flames for no reason whatsoever. It's hardly the author's fault, I know, but this was quite aggravating as the environments are filled with objects and the explosion radius is ludicrous, pretty much inevitable during most conflicts due to the geometry of this level. Anyway, I digress. I'm not quite sure whether this was intended, but there was a flame emitter trap protecting a jumpswitch that had to be exploited with the save/load trick, forcing the emitter to reset upon reloading. All in all, I didn't quite click with this level and fortunately for me, it was much shorter than the others so far. I'll admit, however, I quite liked the dream-like ending sequence (even though it could have been much shorter and it would still have held the same effect). 35 minutes. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)

"If you love survival strategy games, than you are going to enjoy very much this one - from the very first"load game". It makes sense: it's not easy to gain Paradise. Your main problem will be your enemies: I had never seen so fierce bombers - and they always appear at the most inconvenient times. (Instead of them, I would like to have seen more camera hints to tell me what happened when a particular lever or switch were used.) But the lighting and the music are ok, and the other challenges are not that hard, except for the difficulty to use a certain spring board. Good raiding!" - Josey (01-Sep-2014)

"The main task in this game is to survive. Lara is attacked by soldiers from the real beginning. The puzzles easily can be solved: it is some pushing and pulling, some timed sequences. The environment isn't pleasant at all, the areas are looking quite unreal, especially the outdoor-area is not convincing at all and not properly worked out. A lot of rooms are looking wallpapered, lightning and textures are quite mediocre. If you like fighting you may enjoy it." - Christian (01-Sep-2014)

"In my opinion quite overrated level so far. It`s not only shortest of the btb2014 (but I was glad it was that short as I wished this level to be finished as soon as possible) but also the whole level was for me very boring, really nothing special in here. You start in a small outside area with unrealistic rocks all around the place and don`t forget to pick up everything here before you move on to inside the temple as the area contain some important keys. Then you go through some small room where there is boring pushable "puzzle" to the big visually uninteresting temple where the goal is to light two wall torches and the tasks before that aren`t interesting (some monkeyswing, some tile triggers, some timed raising block jumps which by the way is let`s say quite good in terms of challenge, also some timed jump through fires and another easy and boring pushable "puzzle"...). I didn`t really liked most of the enemy placements as it hadn`t any purpose, also I didn`t like background music at all as not only that there is only one single ambience playing all the time in background but also I absolutely didn`t like the choice, at least there are some good soundtracks. Camera aspects in one hand there are some well done flyby camera sequences but on the other hand it was uninteresting to watch it due to anti-atmospheric looks. In terms of textures/lighting nothing much to really say about. And the only secret was rather well hidden but nothing really creative, well there is nothing really creative in this level either. I am sorry but (with all respect) I really disliked this level and there were some moments I wished I didn`t decide to play all btb2014 levels. Playtime 37 minutes found 1/1 secret. 5/6/5/5" - OverRaider (20-Aug-2014)

"There are some fairly tight timed elements in this level that might prove tricky for the less experienced player. Lara also tends to get clobbered quite a bit so hang on to those medipacks. Whilst this is perhaps not quite as assured an entry as some in terms of the actual build, there are some interesting ideas incorporated into the gameplay and the ending is spellbinding." - Jay (20-Aug-2014)

"The level starts with a good spark as Lara is already in imminent danger thanks to a rolling boulder, though the pace slows down considerably immediately afterwards. The level takes the player through a small campsite with a misleading "Danger: Mines" sign and it quickly moves on to a series of temple rooms. The large central room looks rather nice, and it could have been nicer had the author tried to vary some of the textures. The uniform gray look felt rather uninspired. A good amount of the environments also suffered from being somewhat boxlike and sometimes a bit too large for the intended purposes of the rooms. The geometry gets more interesting towards the end of the level though. The gameplay is not bad, mostly consisting of shooting an abundance of enemies, but there are a couple of neat timed runs and the platforming isn't too bad. The push puzzles weren't all that fun though, and the one with a skeleton on your heels felt more irritating than it felt fun. The later areas, and the finale were more fun to play through. On the positive side the level features some neat flybys, and in a few areas the lighting effects look quite nice. The final flyby was nicely done. Overall this isn't a poorly constructed level and if this is a first effort it's better than most, however nothing really stands out too much in the level aside from the finale." - Relic Hunter (17-Aug-2014)

"No time to react in this level that we take a ball on his head from the start. This level is a series of classic puzzles (pushing objects on specific places, kill some enemies that surprise you ...). After killing shiva we reach the final part which is a bit fantastic." - Drakan (15-Aug-2014)

"In between two quite atmospheric and detailed levels, this offering does stand behind a bit. The visuals are at best mediocre - the architecture feels quite plain in many areas, texturing aren't very diverse and mostly grey and uninspired, there were too many places where you can see the builder has plainly used shadowbulbs and objects aren't properly lit, so from that viewpoint, the level doesn't really offer much. But those things aside, I actually liked this level that took no prisoners right from the start with an actually pretty hefty escape from a boulder. Afterwards the difficulty is rather medium, still there are a couple of timed runs and jumps which took a bit to solve. Quite many enemies in this level and barely other ammo rather than the unlimited pistol one is available, but everything is still rather enjoyable, especially if you find the crossbow :). There were a few rather lengthy push puzzles that drag on a bit, and a few quite tricky parts where you have to search for various trigger tiles - overall, this still remains a rather fast paced and fun level for the time it lasted, even if it's probably not up to the best this year's BtB competition has on offer - and the final cutscene definately will give you a, say, different kind of reward. Found the sole secret in a net playtime of 30 minutes." - manarch2 (05-Aug-2014)
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