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Level: Blue Sphere back home search
Author(s): MichaelP
total rating:7.96 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
alan 5 6 5 5
bERT 8 8 7 8
Boris 9 8 9 8
CC 9 4 7 7
Cuqui 9 9 9 8
David 7 5 7 8
Dimpfelmoser 8 7 8 8
Doug E 9 7 7 8
eTux 9 7 8 7
Gerty 9 9 10 10
Gonxii 10 9 9 10
Jbc21 7 8 10 9
Jose 5 6 5 4
Juan Carlos 10 9 7 7
Kristina 9 7 8 8
Lady Lara 10 8 8 9
LaraFan 9 8 8 9
Lorena 10 8 8 7
Miguel 8 6 7 6
Monika 10 9 10 8
Navi 9 8 9 8
Nutman 9 8 8 8
Orbit Dream 8 6 6 7
RaiderGirl 9 9 9 9
Sash 9 8 7 8
Sys 9 9 8 8
The Last Frustration 10 8 9 10
Torry 7 7 8 8
Treeble 8 8 7 8
Tune Razor 9 8 8 7
category averages
(30 reviews)
8.57 7.57 7.87 7.83

Reviewer's comments

"It's not that impressive as some reviewers have said, it's more like another average egyptian/catacombs level. Except that in this one we visit a huge blue sphere that I hadn't seen before, and it has some puzzles. What I didn't like was a lot of backtracking in the green room with pulling that statue over and over again. In the pink room with the spikes there is not a clue. Shooting the pots only makes the spikes to pop out several times, but not all of them do it, so Lara dies instantly if she barely touches a tile with hidden spikes. I don't know, but I think this level is somewhat overrated. I found all 4 secrets." - alan (10-Feb-2018)

"This is an excellent and challenging level full of puzzles. It took me an hour and a half to complete it! Atmosphere and textures were very good and you're always expecting new things each time you enter in a new room. Although it can be frustrating at times, it's definitely worth playing it. Not for beginners I assure." - Gonxii (20-Nov-2015)

"Again 9 and 10 to some sections of this level? Again the hypocrisy running around the boss. To be honest, the level has (as usual in this author) some fresh and original ideas, but again a lot of very elongated textures in many rooms and the monotonous texturization in the huge main room. The worst here is the repetition of the tasks: moving the columns several times, moving the other ornaments a couple of times, and the author was not happy whith that, so he built flipped rooms forcing the players to move them two more times repeating the same jumps, swims and movements. What's the hint to know the vases to shoot in the room with 5 spike balls? The hint is shoot a vase and look where the ball goes, and if it falls onto the wrong hole, reload and try again, and if you start shooting the wrong vase, even worst. Where are the cameras when triggering something? At least there was enough explosive ammo to shoot the skeletons, but definitively not a level for my taste." - Jose (11-Jun-2015)

"This is one of those levels for which,while playing,you discover how many swear words you've ever learnt.Fun jumps and timed swims are combined with nasty spike gauntlets and somewhat confusing pushable object puzzles,compounded by a trial-and-error rolling boulder puzzle containing no hints,then rounded off by having to do the whole thing over again in order to collect the vital stars.It's all very cleverly devised (especially the boulder puzzle)and ingeniously assembled,and progression (aside from the backtracking) is clever and intelligent.However,it was clearly assembled with the intent to get it on-line as soon as possible,as some of the texturing is rushed and wallpaper'd to say the least.Enemies are basically irrelevant,as they can be despatched from the very start with the explosive ammo provided;while objects are restricted to the pushables.Atmosphere is fine as far as it goes,but the level is concerned with challenge and not visual nicities. In summary,then,it could only be a level by Michael Prager...bless him." - Orbit Dream (22-Jul-2010)

“This is a level that I played ages ago and then played again and played yet again just now. Obviously I like this game. There is something about it that holds up very well at least for me. The best things are the puzzles and the texturing. The textures are often single-toned but so well-applied and perfectly lit that the effect is quite polished. Two drawbacks: 1) it was hellish to get Lara out of look mode when placing the stars and 2) I wish there had been some clue as to the order of the vases - I checked the threads for the solution. Favorite things were: the sliding fire-trap the timed swim and the inside of the sphere. Strangely enough I like timed swims but hate timed runs. I guess that's because I am good at one and bad at the other. Also thank you for the grenade gun up front. Definitely a keeper this game.” – Lady Lara (26-Dec-2003)

“At first I thought oh yeah this is going to be a doodle a big room very plainly textured and stretched textures that didn't look great a floor switch - what did that do? It opens a door underwater. That took some thinking about. Into a gigantic room that is the inside of the 'sphere'. Onto a horrible room with spikes the easy ones are the ones you see! Definitely not the easy ride I thought. Onto a very clever puzzle of pushing pillars and climbing into crawlspaces. Passing stars I can't take because I don't have a crowbar grrrrr. Out again to the top of the gigantic room and the jumps across squares in mid air. On to a room where you have to jump over a slope into water and push objects then face tiles this was hard to figure out because you have to visit rooms twice. On again to a very tall room with pillars. The idea here is to shoot the vases in a particular order to open the other door near the switch. Got the hint from the forum of 2 4 3 1 5. They can all be shot from the top of the longer looking pillar i.e. two or three pillars together. Now finally you can get the crowbar and try to remember where all the stars were. I had a problem going passed the room with spikes again. I figured out eventually that to raise the blocks you have to push the pillars off the tiles and back on again - that took time as well. So definitely not the easy ride I first thought. That'll teach me. Enemies are skeletons and not too many the level didn't need many anyway. Very challenging level that'll keep you going for an hour at least - if you're lucky - sinister laugh here. I know now that Michael's forte is puzzles and very good puzzles at that.” – CC (02-Apr-2003)

“I did not dare to play or review this one because of silly reasons. How should I rate a level by one of the persons who's without a doubt responsible for keeping TR alive. Well it may influence my rating a bit but here we go. Said it before but for me a good TR-game should be fun fun and fun. It may look as beautiful as it can be (Return to Jazimiya springs up in my mind) but if it's no fun then no Siree. Well this all in all little level IS fun: there are the rather original jumping sequences (with the big slide down rooms one sequence to get a secret) an original idea to keep the acquisition of the crow bar for later (that may equally irritate you to death because you pass the 5 stars before getting the crow bar) and an original spiked ball enigma (though this one really irritated me simply because not resettable at least I think it isn't). This level proves once again that very basic color schemes too can create an acceptable atmosphere (the blue sphere room itself of course). Special mention for the use of the crossbow that is far too often neglected in custom levels. Specially like those bits where you can shoot a skeleton to smithereens from afar. Fly-by's where great static camera shots when placing the stars where annoying because you had to move a bit to get rid of the shot.” – bERT (23-Mar-2003)

“Well I just wanted some extraordinary adventure for the 10th review... :P And I wasn’t disappointed as I think this level contains some things I definitely like in TRs: difficult and clever puzzles unforgettable rooms and situations a few nasty deathtraps and the whole structure of the level...and finally the short storyline even if it was a simple one...At the beginning I found the level easy and fun - a good timed door and some deadly slopes - but after I reached the large Blue Sphere chamber...well I just started to feel myself being sick and frustrated because of that damned missing Crowbar! ;) It was a long and hard way up and after I found it...then once more to collect the previously seen 5 Golden Stars to open the last room on the ceiling. Anyway for some fun I didn't blow up the mummy on the platform of the Music Scroll just after I picked it up. Another fun was for me to blow up all enemies - mummies and skeletons - in time because it was easy to get the Grenade Launcher at the beginning and later the crossbow and lasersight with 10 Explosive Ammos so the very few enemies really weren't a problem. The puzzles weren't so easy they really made me think about how to figure them out. I have to mention that I really didn't like the ‘ball-maze’ for the first but in the second walkie it became easier as I thought that Lara has to be sharp in time and in the order of shooting the vases for being success. But now...I've just read Michael's walkie and it says that the doors aren't timed so I thought it wrongly when I completed the puzzle although fortunately I succeeded... The best part for me was perhaps the red ‘spike-room’ with the skeleton who didn't attack me from the opposite site. Later I understood its reason. ;) This room seemed to be very difficult for the first but you need just to find some important points on the ground for the jumps and separate the rhythm of the spikes for being able to reach the opposite site very quickly... The worst part was right after the best part for me. I don't like climbing and crawling (especially in the darkness) a lot and at the second trip I had to push/pull the statues onto their places once more to raise the columns again... The secrets were all good but they weren't hard: they all were in the regular path so the difficulty was rather the ‘how’ instead of the ‘where’...I was satisfied with the atmosphere and the sounds although the level needs perhaps a bit more of them. The cameras were very good also - nice flybys and fixed cameras - but I also didn't like the stucking cameras when Lara placed the 5 Stars. The level is quite dark but it wasn't a problem for me (I didn't use up a single Flare) because it has just a few pickups. About the textures...well perhaps they were placed badly somewhere but I'm a fan of the Catacombs-textures and I liked the few new ones too and I also liked the organic floors (except in the dark crawling-tunnels)...I've left the level's most positive thing for the end: the ‘Beat The Creator’ challenge! It was a very good idea as it keeps the player playing: to complete the level more than once. For instance I usually complete a custom level only once but as I'm a maximalist I always search for everything: all secrets all pickups all kills and so on... Therefore my times are enough long...I made the level in about 2 hours and 30 minutes for the first. But for the second trip I knew everything after a very detailed first walkie so I passed the Expert's Challenge. I have to admit that it wasn't so easy... I finished the level with all secrets all pickups all kills and my last savegame - Lara needs just the ACTION-key to put the Music Scroll onto the table - statistic shows 38 minutes and 30 seconds with 12 shots and 3969 metres. I also didn't use up any single medipack and I finished it with a fully maximum energy (Lara says ‘No’ for the Medis). But again...it was a long running/swimming/jumping especially when I was getting close to the end: as you can see my time is not much better as Michael's. I think everybody should try to beat Michael's time: the gameplay becomes harder - more precise jumps for instance - with it and it's fun to play a level again after you already know everything about it...” – Sys (21-Mar-2003)

“This was an interesting level. There are some brilliant puzzles like the timed swim for the gem at the start the vase puzzle with the spikes and the one with the boulders (took some time to figure these out) also the huge blue room was original but it could've been made more rounder (it's a sphere after all). I understand that the bottom part was needed to access the various halls that help you to progress through the game but it still could've been made better. I found only one secret but I actually thought this was the place to go instead of the 2 water holes (the currents confused me at the start). Overall a challenging level but nothing impossible to accomplish took me a bit less than an hour to complete.” – eTux (27-Dec-2002)

“Phew! Not easy to get the first gem in time! Excellent and clever level with difficult puzzles. It's a very good work. The atmosphere is impressive. Congratulations Michael.” – Cuqui (18-Nov-2002)

“Blue Sphere has a few good ideas - especially for players who love the challenge. At the beginning there is a timed-door that makes tension - then you have to slide down and jump to get away from firetraps. Later in the Blue Room you’ll note what will come - use ropes jump skeletons mummies...Teeth spikes in the red room - later firetraps and you come to the very strange part - to think a lot. It is the Room with the rollingballs doors and shatter-objects. What a pity that the good idea was used not so perfectly - first it was hard to see what happened when the ball fell down then there were 5 of them - too high possibilities for solution. And you had to use a lever only one time without take it back - this could have been done better! The textures often were placed badly and so take some honor of this level. Less sounds and cameras. Putting in the stars there is an error with the cameras - you could hardly go away every time (5 times). If the builder would work again and change a little bit this level it would make more joy to play - I hope he does it (when he made it there were not so much tools like today).” – Miguel (15-Oct-2002)

“Lara slips into a cave. Right as a first task she must overcome a time door in order to get a crystal and a secret. The crystal opens the way for her into a blue pyramid. From there it is on the search for five stars and a music scroll. Here she finds also the crowbar. Many mysteries there are to solve which were also well thought out. Opponents were not many mummies and skeletons. Camera guidance and sound were ok. Design was varied whereby the textures were not always cleanly finished which did however not disturb the atmosphere. This level was impressing. One sees how the level designer increased also with the degree of difficulty. It is a good level. I found all four secrets.” – Navi (08-Oct-2002)

”Increasingly, it seems, custom level designers are building excruciatingly difficult levels to test even the most experienced of Raiders, so what a breath of fresh air it is to play this level! Firstly, there’s plenty of light, so no groping around in the dark or constantly lighting flares. Next, progression through the level is well defined, so no occasions of being faced with a closed door and wondering if you have to backtrack to the other side of the map to open it. And the objects you need to progress (i.e. the crowbar) are not hidden in such obscure places that you spend frustrating hours searching for them. So this is not an ‘expert challenge’ level (thank heavens) but I did find it hugely enjoyable and it does have a number of original and challenging puzzles that taxed me for a while. There are a couple of areas where Lara can get stranded with no means of escape or progression, but these ‘bugs’ won’t cause too much trouble if you save your game appropriately. There are a couple of puzzles (the column pushing exercise to climb the ‘staircase’ for example) that are somewhat repetitive (doubly so, as you have to pass through the level twice) and some of the texturing lacks variation, but these don’t really detract from the enjoyment of playing the level. I got through with only two of the four secrets. The other two are very deviously hidden (and a little tricky to reach once you know where they are!) and with the flycheat disabled I wasn’t even able to DOZY around the level in search of them - my usual ruse when I’ve missed a secret! This isn’t the most visually lavish level out there, neither is it particularly challenging, but it is hugely enjoyable and a welcome piece of light relief after some of the levels I’ve played recently.” – Tune Razor (01-Oct-2002)

“I played this the second time and still needed almost an hour so I think I pass the expert challenge and won't try to beat the creator to his 40 minutes. I didn't even go back for the small medipack as I knew I wouldn't need it anyway (I got the big one though). The enemies are a bit wasted here cause you find the grenade launcher right at the start so the few mummies and skeletons pose no threat whatsoever. Michael made the best out of his 68 rooms as you have to pass most areas twice cause you find the all important crowbar rather late and then have to backtrack to collect all five stars (make sure you remember where they are). I didn't mind that but there is one part that I found extremely tedious. In order to reach a higher level in the blue sphere you have to pass three almost identical chambers by means of crawling pushing and climbing. Not really my favourite activities. I really loved the timed swim at the start hopping around the floating platforms was great fun and the target shooting with the spiked boulders is one of the best puzzles I've ever come across. If only it was resettable. All in all an entertaining adventure with a good mix of jumps and puzzles that starts in a rather ordinary catacomb environment but ends in the magnificient Blue Sphere.” – Dimpfelmoser (28-Sep-2002)

“The difficulty factor was well up there and had not only myself but others looking for answers great atmosphere especially the Blue Sphere itself puzzles to test the smartest among us and the way we have to run past each star wondering if we've missed the crowbar only to find we have to make the trek again was just a brilliant creative move.” - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

“This level is astounding. It contains difficult puzzles that will keep you playing for hours - yes hours! It has been wonderfully made and designed; with a huge central room you must make your way round completing puzzles in huge rooms going off to the sides. Definitely worth downloading and playing! - The Last Frustration (TLF) “From the first swan dive to beat the underwater timed door to the frustrating backtrack to get those blasted stars this is a complicated level that only proves that the author has a devious and somewhat twisted mind and should NEVER be left unsupervised with the level editor. He maintains this can be done in 40 minutes. Yeah right! (Oh look folks a pig nesting in a tree). My only complaint was in the area with the vases to shoot and the spiked balls. You simply could not shoot the vases from one position but I am informed that this is a fault of the editor itself. Something for the Eidos/Core boys to sort out.” – Torry (21-Jun-2002)

“A good level with difficulty above medium. Lara has to find 5 golden stars and a music scroll around a blue sphere and get then a magic that makes the better world. There are few enemies but a lot of traps and puzzles to resolve in labyrinths under water and rooms with targets to strike and columns to move. I have ended the level in one hour finding 4 secrets some not easy. I would recommend to download it.” – Boris (21-Jun-2002)

“Very nice Blue Sphere will be forever in your mind in some aspects -- like the huge blue sphere room and the sliding trap room. I needed some BIG help to get this level done but I am sure I didn't waste my time. I liked the level through it all but I just didn't like to repeat some annoying things like crawling and monkey swinging three times to get that path ready and the four times hard swimming. But I can surely say that the level is worth all the time it needs (I finished it in around 50 minutes).” – Treeble (21-Jun-2002)

“A very original and nice level with great atmosphere and lighting. Puzzles are great and some are very hard. The spike balls maze is a great idea but the camera angles don't help for viewing which doors are open and which are not. And also if you get the puzzle wrong there is no way to correct it and Lara is condemned to wander forever in this terrible place unless she jumps into a deep gap! The sliding slopes were a big challenge. A wonderful idea was the hiding place of the crowbar (I'll not reveal it for those who haven't played yet): this made me wonder permanently if I'd have to play again from the beginning! And this Blue Sphere (well almost a sphere!) was so impressive and mysterious! Really I had a good time playing this level (for a bit more than an hour all in all) even if the pushing columns passage made me abundantly swear (and sweat) especially that I had to go there three times! Probably the best level from the same author” – Jbc21 (21-Jun-2002)

“Excellent level. Some reservations as to how to solve some of the puzzles - mainly the order in which to roll balls down a maze-like area to open a door - get it wrong and you're stuck and there's no obvious way other than trial and error to get it right. Clues are sometimes good. Otherwise a brilliant time.” - David (21-Jun-2002)

“With his third level Blue Sphere Michael proves what a devious mind and a clever imagination he has. Though not the hardest level out there this is not for beginners and has some difficult puzzles and death defying jumps that had me saving often. The puzzles were quite clever as well and gave me a great sense of satisfaction when I had completed them. I was glad to see few enemies in this level as just locating and retrieving the five golden stars and a music scroll was enough of a challenge for me. Each area has textures and lighting used perfectly to portray the story behind the level and the secrets are well placed and a challenge to get. Plus I can't forget the giant sphere which is unlike anything I have ever seen before and had me afraid to take even one wrong step. Michael does not build levels for slackers - be prepared to reload a few times. I was amazed at the fact that he can complete this in 40 minutes as it took me an hour and ten minutes with almost two hours of actual game time.” – RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)

“As you can see at my scores this is a level that I will definitely keep. Although I got stuck twice and needed some help the puzzles were tricky but once I knew what to do I could slap myself of not thinking straight LOL. More than enough ammo not much enemies great puzzles my kinda game. There are some authors I would like to meet sit down and talk about the what and how Michael is one of them. I played this one on the Mac without the revised WAD and instead of using the crowbar it made Lara crouch and the stars fell off. Also by placing the stars the camera had a hard time to get back to Lara but I got a warning in advance.” – Gerty (21-Jun-2002)

“This is a strange game as it’s based around a central blue bit. There is a really hard puzzle that involves releasing spike balls and directing them into pits. An underwater swim/push an object section needed some concentration or you might get lost. I did need a little help towards the end as I couldn’t find where to place the music scroll. Perhaps a little more music would have earned a higher score. Worth a visit to this one!” – Doug E (21-Jun-2002)

“A great and difficult puzzle level with good atmosphere and good lighting. The blue sphere room was wicked - amazing light huge room with platforms - very nice. I think like most people I found the puzzles quite difficult but creative and even more so for the spiked room since I had missed the cross bow and luckily found it after back tracking.” – Nutman (21-Jun-2002)

“This level is astounding. It contains difficult puzzles that will keep you playing for hours - yes, hours! It has been wonderfully made and designed; with a huge central room you must make your way round, completing puzzles in huge rooms going off to the sides. Definitely worth downloading and playing! - The Last Frustration (TLF) (21-Jun-2002)

“Wow! I really enjoyed very much the puzzles ideas in this level. At the beginning the swimming against time the secret in your hands but you have to do it perfectly (!) I liked. Then next puzzles normal well made but the last one!! The play of sending the rocks to the correct places was EXCELLENT! Amazing combining 5 shatters (120 possibilities God thanks that was not the idea!) You have to observe! think! combine! and at last fast action! I loved this idea! The way of play first look at all the stars then at last return and get them! The secrets that you can reach but you need to do it perfectly is good. But please Michael you should re-build this level. Level needs more beauty in atmosphere! You made very good traps puzzles and rooms but rooms needs more beauty the rooms are too "square" textures are bad worked short or long textures in long or short tiles. Triangle textures are not correctly rotated. All rooms need lights. I am sure that Michael know this so please re-build it this level can become a classic! (needs flares).” – Juan Carlos (21-Jun-2002)

“The kind of puzzles is the most original I have seen in the games I have played. I lost many hours trying to find the solution finally when I discovered the way to go on I felt very happy. About secrets there isn't problem they are in the way. For my taste level needs cameras and more sounds the last sound is very good. Textures make this level go down in rate. One tip for people who wants to play this level: Don’t stop thinking about the stars go ahead later you will get them.” – Lorena (21-Jun-2002)

“First take a trip into the water and get behind a short timed door Then after some sliding you will find yourself inside this blue sphere - which is actually a four-cornered box - but very tall. The rest of the level will take place herein and in the rooms surrounding. You have several puzzles to solve and you will also need the sniper shot several times. Again there are only a few enemies but the puzzles will keep you busy anyway. The toughest puzzle involves 5 vases which have to release 5 spiked balls in the correct sequence. The textures are well made and not repetitive as in some other levels. I haven’t found any bugs or illegal slopes in this level - good work! A very exciting and challenging level - well worth the download. I got stuck twice but Michael was kind enough to help me out. Thanks Michael.” – LaraFan (21-Jun-2002)

“This is a level with some interesting places to pass. It took me almost 3 hours (says the statistic) but actually I spent a lot longer since I did it the hard way without the crossbow (oversight). The timed door at the beginning was a challenge. Couldn’t get the secret there. I really enjoyed the atmosphere in the blue room. The puzzle in the room with the spiky balls was a bit difficult and without the help of Lorena who told me the start I think I would still be in that room. At first it is a bit irritating when you pass all the Golden Stars and no crowbar to get them. Not too many enemies. I found 2 secrets and I missed one at the beginning. There was enough tension to make you want to go on. In between the texture was not so got. E.g. I could see right through Lara’s bottom because there was just a big hole. I really enjoyed the level and I can only say: play it!” – Monika (21-Jun-2002)

“An enjoyable catacombs level with rather difficult jumps at first. A timed door with a secret and a gem inside will certainly give you a hard time. Getting the guns too soon I would say the grenade launcher you don't really have to kill the mummies nothing else to do in that room and the crossbow was a surprise although the laser-sight was needed to complete the puzzles to come. After long sloped rooms with fire traps and another secret you find yourself in a big blue room. Your goal is to collect five stars along with the scroll to finish the level. Interesting puzzles like the raising blocks in addition with the pushable pillars and the vases and spike balls puzzle will keep you busy for fifty minutes. I liked the idea of seeing the position of every star but the crowbar comes later and not hidden so well that needs an impossible task from you to acquire it more jumping though and it's up there. Every side of the blue room hides puzzles and stars but no enemies that took something from this level. The camera was getting stuck every time Lara placed a star and the look key couldn't break it only Lara's movement. Everything is well organized and with a good flow surely one of the best levels out there worth playing.” – Kristina (21-Jun-2002)
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