Level: Desert Dam back home search
Author(s): Michal Mularz
total rating:7.38 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
alan 7 7 7 6
CC 7 6 8 6
Dimpfelmoser 9 9 9 9
eRIC 9 8 8 8
G.Croft 8 7 8 7
Gerty 8 7 9 7
Gonxii 8 7 9 8
Jay 7 7 8 8
Jorge22 6 5 6 5
Jose 6 5 5 6
Kristina 8 7 8 8
MichaelP 8 7 8 8
Nutman 9 7 9 9
Orbit Dream 9 8 9 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
RaiderGirl 9 7 9 10
Ruediger 5 5 5 4
Ryan 6 6 6 6
Sash 9 7 8 10
Scottie 9 7 8 8
Treeble 6 5 7 6
Whistle 7 7 7 7
category averages
(22 reviews)
7.64 6.77 7.68 7.41

Reviewer's comments

"It's hard for me to review this level without being a bit overly critical of its more obvious faults and the fact that I thought it was a bit overrated. There are some old levels that have stood the test of time very nicely indeed (have a look at Piega's levels or the Rescue series, for example), but this isn't one of them, I'm afraid. The Nevada textures were probably a welcome change from the hoary old Egyptian levels of that early era, but here they are applied in a rather crude and haphazard manner and the architecture has a certain naivety and simplicity to it. There's no real exciting parts aside from trying to navigate the huge outside areas and finding your way through the narrow corridors, although the boulder traps provide a modicum of challenge. Enemies are the usual ninjas which are easily disposed off due to the copious supplies scattered around. I also found nothing to do in the secret room with the picture, nor did I find a way to open a gate with a ninja and a couple of items behind it, but by then I'd nearly reached the end of the level anyway. Okay for a simple experience though, I guess." - Ryan (11-Mar-2018)

"A level where you have to do lots of exploring in the great desert, in order to find some puzzle items, open doors, pull levers. Some places are not necessary to be visited, you can go through various paths. I found 1 secret." - alan (03-Nov-2017)

"Amongst levels of this age, desert settings are quite rare and I must say I found it a refreshing change. Just as well really, considering the amount of exploration required in such a vast area. Confusion due to all the searching is about the only challenging part, as the action is quite readily achievable and the fairly frequent ninjas are easily taken care of with the generous weaponry supplied. Plenty of swimming, climbing and monkey swinging going on and a few caves and buildings to visit, but it's mainly outdoors in the light, bright sun. I was beginning to query the name of the level, but, sure enough, eventually there is a damn to admire. The only thing that seemed a bit out of place was picking up two eye pieces to open the relative door - that felt as though it had wandered in from another level entirely. Not a bad raid however." - Jay (05-Jun-2015)

"Here we have a level with very very huge natural environments, so prepare yourself for a lot of climbing, jumping, swimming and a lot of kilometers running. Your goal here will be get two eye pieces to open the exit door, but it will not be easy. In the lava caves there's a graphics bug so the screen turns black, also when I wanted to explore the dark backside of the buildings the flare bug appeared. Where are the flares? Only white ninjas as enemies? Why don't place another kind of enemies? The texturization is very crude, also I found missing textures in the lake near the buildings but it's comprehensible 'cause to apply decent texturization to all that enormous environments the author should waste years of his life. Where are the cameras? Only saw a single camera when pulling a lever, but even so it was unuseful for me. The best were the musics and the lighting in some rooms. Better play it following the walkthrough." - Jose (30-Apr-2015)

"Here's another very old level that still provides an atmospheric and fun raid. It's rather disjointed, with most of the action taking place outdoors as you make your way along the desert terrain. But near the end you come to signs of civilization as you explore some crude buildings, but an apparently important pickup does nothing but give you access to a room with the builder's (I assume) photograph plastered on the wall. If so, it's a rather narcissistic gesture. But that close-up view of the eponymous dam near the end made up for it. There were no enemies I can recall other than scads of ninjas that seemingly popped out from everywhere. Dutchy's walkthrough mentions a closed gate near the end with a ninja waiting behind it, but neither he nor I found a way to open it. By that time I'd spent close to an hour here, and I was looking forward to the finish trigger. Still, Desert Dam is a worthwhile download even after all these years." - Phil (31-Jan-2014)

"This is an amazing huge level wqhich resembled me of the Nevada Desert in TR3. At first you get confused, there's a lots of way to explore and the map is so big I sometims got lost. Recmmended for those who like exploring a lot and have lot of patience!" - Gonxii (03-Oct-2013)

"What am I for a lucky devil! Nevertheless, there I have really got one of these old treasures which one must play absolutely sometimes. Though the download is small, but the area with the whole caves is simply gigantic. And it looks damn good. There are big waterfalls, hidden caves, lava caves, diving distances and interesting buildings. However, unfortunately, there is also the Flarebug. And one does not find Flares at all. But luckily it was never so dark that now one would have absolutely used the Flares. And of course still some Baddies walked around there. But one finds enough weapons, ammunition and Medipacks. One must find here a cartouche and the eye of the Horus. All together a good level which one should miss by no means." - Scottie (23-Jun-2009)

"This takes place in a very large desert area. The artificial buildings around the dam blend in well with the natural environment, and so does the water which seems always to come from somewhere and go somewhere due to many waterfalls. The gameplay is unfortunately a bit tedious as you run for miles, climb on rocks and usually don't find anything to do there. Few enemies, except that occasionally a ninja will shoot at you. You can get stuck in illegal slopes. The rock textures tend to look wallpapered and some are missing. In my view, the second level from the same author, "Laguna Temples", is WAY better." - Ruediger (17-Feb-2008)

"Huge. That word defines pretty well this non-linear level all about exploration. The one thing I don't like about this sort of level is the obscene ammount of attention and patience you have to keep when playing it, what is meant to be fun end up being a chore. Anyway, you really feel like you're in a desert dam, very similar to the one in TR3 except a lot more empty, and you're on a quest for two eye pieces. I ended up coming across lots of levers and thought was retracing my own steps until I eventually reached an area with a few buildings and a hand receptacle for which I've never found the hand, but I was still able to finish the level. This is a good level, just not my cup of tea. 45 minutes. 02/07" - Treeble (19-Feb-2007)

"Well, what can one really say about a level from the editor's pre-history days that wouldn't be somewhat correctly judged as unfair? I enjoyed playing this short level despite all the sudden blackouts at places, all the so predicatable shooting arabs, all the naiveté in the graphics department and the absence of real traps and challenges apart from finding one's way among the desert rocks, caves and buildings (supposedly temples?). There's one thing I'd like to say, though... After playing, I took a glance at the walkthrough and felt as puzzled as the walkthrough's writer. In the photograph room, I couldn't find anything to do, but... was that it? I mean, there were two torches, one by each side of the picture. One was lit and the other wasn't. Lara had a revolver with a lasersight. Could it be that it should have been used there somehow? I wish someone could tell me... And then, there was that closed gate with a large medipack and a baddie behind it, which neither one of us could open. But I'm certain there had to be some way... One funny thing is that after Lara slides down to the end of the game she always gets back to "Year 2000, somewhere in Egypt" and the final door remains open, so she can slide forever and ever if she's got nothing better to do. Lol, yes. Well, good enough for someone with a true nostalgia attack, I guess..." - Jorge22 (25-Nov-2005)

“'The Year 2000 Somewhere in Egypt' so the words say. A vast sprawling level of rocks sand caves pools and areas around a gigantic dam. Definitely an explorer's level. Climbing jumping swimming in the hot desert. Some relief is got inside large buildings beside the dam that look like warehouses of unusual construction. The main goal is the eyepiece and a hand that gets you into a room with a big photo of the author I dare say. Desert and Nevada levels are not my 'thing' but I can see a lot of players loving this. 1:50 hours of exploring.” – CC (08-Aug-2003)

“This is one of the few desert levels and a nice one with many passages inside the rocks but few enemies. I enjoyed finding ways to reach the next area and I was surprised when I fell into a hole and discovered a wonderful blue cave. The puzzles are few basically we are looking for a cartouche and the two halves of the Eye of Horus. Lara has to push some levers and open doors to new areas and new passages. The few ninjas were placed when necessary but still weren’t enough; Lara was just exploring the surroundings without being bothered. At one area you can find the secret hand along with other pick ups and access a room on the roof tops to see the author’s picture. It lasted forty five minutes for me and I think more attention should have been given to the textures as I noticed a couple of paper thin walls. Those of you that like exploring and not so much fighting enemies will find this level most appropriate.” – Kristina (07-Aug-2003)

“A great desert level which recalls somehow the first Nevada level in TR3 because of the red textures of the rocks and the blue waterfalls and lakes. This level is gigantic there is some big and wide areas to explore to find the two pieces of the golden eye. A lot of climbing and monkeyswing along the way and some tricky jumps to perform. Very enjoyable for me this kind of level may not be the taste of everyone. Not many enemies only white ninjas and only 1 secret found: the hand of Orion which opens a gate upon the roof of a castle (transformed in an army base) to look at the author's picture on a wall. I was happy to be able to finish this adventure without too much difficulty. Although there is a few flaws (some textures are disappearing and some illegal slopes in the great outside areas) I have not taken off points for that because the overall texturing and architecture is good.” – eRIC (21-Dec-2002)

“Funnily enough I played this shortly after Canyon/First Cataract and it is a similar style of adventure here. The vast areas created by Michal with the standard Tut1 WAD are truly impressive - there is a lot of rock sand and water to wander climb shimmy and monkey swing around in and the dam and the broken bridge look just great. As this will easily take you 1:30 hours in which you meet 17 ninjas and not many more pickups (although I did find shotgun revolver with lasersight and Uzi) it does become a little tedious - even more so if you happen to miss the crucial openings for progression. There is no camera work to speak of (except one time where it is utterly pointless). The cave area that leads to one half of the eye was a nice diversion from the big outside. There is one secret area to find and the hand can be placed elsewhere to give access to a nice picture of the author (presumably) so make sure you find it. On the downside there are quite a few problems with this level such as invisible blocks a few missing textures the disappearing horizon you can reach the end of the world many illegal slopes and the flare bug but it all does not interfere much with gameplay so we'll let that pass. A note to Orbit Dream - no need for DOZY there - two backward jumps with twist in midair will easily do the trick ;-)” – Michael (20-Aug-2002)

“This is an outstanding outdoor level with plenty of exploring and adventure. Set in the desert of Nevada you find yourself having to make your way through two outdoor caverns with one leading underground on an adventure all of its own till finally you come to an unbelievably immense outdoor area with a huge dam an extremely large body of water and a couple of buildings. Texturally the settings are stunning in their authentic realness although the buildings look a little like small castles and not like anything associated with dams but it is impossible not to be struck by the absolute magnitude of the place. The creator seemed to make sure that the player could totally explore the surroundings with most places accessible even when unnecessary for progression. He also threw in a humorous ego driven Easter egg for the players who really make great use of that exploration. It took me 1.5 hours to finish this level and on more than one occasion I was stumped for my next move which made it less straightforward and a lot more interesting.” – Sash (21-Jun-2002)

“This is a level with a lot of stone water and waterfalls. There’s a lot of jumping and climbing not always leading somewhere but you get to practice. Two big areas to search through to find the two Eye Pieces to open the final door and a little secret to make you smile!” – G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

“This level was made for the explorer in all of us. Set in an area that looks just like the Nevada desert your goal is to find the two eyepieces and combine them to open the exit door and make your escape. Finding those two pieces will take all the jumping and climbing skills you have though. This is a large level and you will find many places to climb and explore in this very realistic looking desert. The setting is just gorgeous and includes many beautiful waterfalls and clear bodies of water realistic looking dams and quite a unique looking building that seems to be placed inside a mountain. There are a few ninjas scattered about but with a little searching you will find plenty of ammo and almost every weapon. I found one secret with lots of pickups including a hand needed to open a secret area and had a great time exploring every nook and cranny I could reach. I hope Michal makes another level soon.” – RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)

“If you like climbing and exploring this level set in the Nevada desert is it. Bearing in mind that it was made some 9 month ago I found it very enjoyable. Texture wise it could have been better; at some parts I could jump into a black nothingness. Also the loss of a horizon was making me queezy if I remember right Tomb Raider had the same problem. It is not a straightforward level and I got distracted because I wanted to climb everything. The huge dam was great to see. And....... one could walk over water LOL.” – Gerty (21-Jun-2002)

“If you like a level that is set in the desert that is huge with plenty of exploring (can even get to those "impossible" high areas) has large water areas with nice waterfalls along with some interesting indoor/cavern adventuring then make sure you play this level. My only real complaint is that there is not much reward for getting to those "impossible" areas.” – Nutman (21-Jun-2002)

“A level of LARGE areas and creeping around tunnels. If you like jumping around this is a level for you but don’t expect many pickups or not to lose your way. Enemies appear (ninja) unexpectedly and are reasonably dealt with. The big downside is the texturing. Many places where slopes trap Lara with the jitters and in the lava area plenty of sudden blank pitch black screens appear when Lara moves. The flares suddenly don’t work properly as well as the binoculars and you are dumped back to desktop. I found the level rather boring hence the just above average marking.” – Whistle (21-Jun-2002)

“This is a magnificent level epic in scope and beautifully designed. Exploration is what it's all about as there are very few enemies and even fewer levers. Everything must be explored thoroughly and great fun it is too as (just when you think you've seen it all) you stumble upon another vast environment. The outside views are breathtaking the twisting labyrinths are ingenious and the secret area is very amusing. However this falls short of excellence on a number of counts.1) There are too many illegal slopes. 2) One of the ninjas walks around underwater. 3) There are simply not enough camera views (in fact none at all!) to give you some indication of where to go after pulling a switch which in such an enormous environment is quite imperative. 4) I was left with a Star in my inventory at the end of the level. 5) One small climb and shimmy left near the end of the level appeared to be impossible so I had to DOZY cheat. If it weren't for these this level would be an absolute classic.” – Orbit Dream (21-Jun-2002)

“Are you one of those fools (like me) who when they are at the Grand Canyon try to make it down to the river and back in one day despite (or rather because) the fact that this exactly what every ranger and noticeboard in the area warns you not to do. Well then you gotta play this one here as it felt like doing it all over again. There are a lot of special treats but what I loved most was that there was almost half an hour of leverfree gameplay at the start (or was that just me being slow again?). This level is pretty unusual since you don't have that many items or switches but instead make progress by exploring into the mountains. The area is fairly huge and I confess that if it hadn't been for the help of Doc I might have never found that underwater door. With a concept like this the gameplay has to be non linear to some degree but I would have liked a clue from time to time cause when I couldn't make any progress I started to shoot at rocks which was really stupid and boring but I thought the revolver and lasersight were there for a reason. Apparently not. I also like the fact that the baddies not only try to kill you but make away with the pick ups as well. I really think we should give the author credit for coming up with something out of the ordinary so I'm gonna rate this slightly higher than strictly necessary.” – Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)
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