Level: BtB2015 - The Labyrinth of the Minotaur back home search
Author(s): IvanTRFan
total rating:7.50 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Christian 7 8 7 6
DJ Full 7 9 9 8
Drakan 10 10 8 8
janachorider 8 8 9 9
Jay 8 8 9 8
Jose 5 6 8 6
Josey 7 6 7 5
Magnus 4 3 3 4
manarch2 8 8 8 7
MichaelP 7 8 8 7
Mman 8 9 8 8
Mytly 7 6 7 6
Phil 8 8 7 6
Relic Hunter 8 8 9 9
requiemsoul 9 8 8 8
Ryan 7 7 7 6
Treeble 9 10 10 10
category averages
(17 reviews)
7.47 7.65 7.76 7.12

Reviewer's comments

"Even when there are enough flares, the extreme darkess was not very good for me in any level, always with flare in hand trying to find something when you can't see more than few meters around. This ruins the gameplay in some areas, like in the big room with two ropes, where I never saw the cracked pillar to swing there. As usual from this author, the architecture is simple without objects or furniture to ornate the rooms, there are excessive enemies and the game is based most on solving puzzles, hard battles and dangerous situations where the player is often forced to save and reload numerous times, like the path with all that giant "dragons". There are well known puzzles like the one dragging the horse without stop (I used it in my first level, years ago) or the room with the corkscrews where you have to pull levers to open the exit door, but also fresh ideas like the battle with the minotaur where you only can shoot from one of the rooms (I think the time is too short here). Not agree with the nasty labyrinths too, but if you like challenges perhaps this level can be good for you." - Jose (11-Oct-2017)

"This level has some odd contrasts as it goes from cubic and dull looking rooms to ones with interesting geometry, obtuse moments to interesting and creative ones, and tricky moments that end with little fanfare to interesting and unique scripted moments and cameras. It's weakest at the start where you have to go through some time-consuming and somewhat obtuse puzzles, but the pacing picks up there and it turns into a roller- coaster of action moments and interesting set-pieces (though being able to skip weapons is a little annoying with how much action this level has). There's one of the most creative uses of the dragon enemies I've seen, and the whole Minotaur segment is well handled along with ending in a creative way. One of the areas towards the end did flicker to blackness a lot for some reason though. It's a shame the weaker moments weren't improved because at it's height this has some of my favourite moments in the set so far, but it's a bit too uneven for me to rank it near the top." - Mman (23-Mar-2016)

"I didn't enjoy this very much. Too dark in places and too difficult. Quite buggy too. There were a few nice tasks though. Sorry, but not a favourite of mine." - Ryan (02-Mar-2016)

"Very nice camera, lighting and enemy work in this one, also some nice secrets and creative design though the last can be considered controversial. For instance the switch puzzle is very clever but also hard to solve without being dragged out to draw things on a separate sheet. The maze is supposed to be confusing and repetitive but it could nonetheless contain some natural wall cracks or plants to easen the orientation necessary to outsmart the minotaur. The boss fight excellently portrays enemy divinity but why to make portals solid and harden the evasion for Lara? Even the texture disappearance glitch helps here find out which crosses have been already hit, because you cannot see it on your own, also no hint is given on how many are yet to go. But the game is predominantly immersive and well concluded so in the end it rewards no matter of what. SUMMARY: Can be artificially hard but still doesn't disappoint." - DJ Full (10-Jan-2016)

"Considering the level name, I was prepared for a long, boring maze section. Well, I was wrong on that front: this level does not contain one maze Ö it contains two. The ultra-long, featureless maze where you have to run around avoiding the minotaur is downright nightmarish. I donít know whether I dislike it more or less than the second maze, in which you have to wander around looking for spots where you can shoot crosses from, but with no indication that youíre achieving anything (apparently the room shakes when you correctly shoot the cross, but this doesnít always happen, so itís a pretty useless indicator). Apart from the mazes, there are other tiresome bits of gameplay, such as a double rope swing and lengthy shimmying along buggy cracks. On a positive note, there are several examples of creative gameplay such as: some interesting puzzles involving pushable wooden horses at the beginning; a (somewhat obscure) switch puzzle in the church; and the idea of no-weapons sections, which is interesting in itself, though itís not always implemented well. I ran into a bug in which a wooden horse lost its collision after I saved and reloaded while it was on a raising block, so I had to redo the whole puzzle.
The enemies are numerous and tend to gang up on you Ė fighting a number of gladiators and lions in a room with lava pits is particularly annoying. Getting past the rows of multiple medusas is daunting, although I have to admit theyíre pretty impressive. The final boss fight in which the room keeps switching between no-weapons and weapons-allowed areas is rather cool, though the constantly changing light gave me a headache.
Apart from the mazes, I was also prepared for an oppressively dark level upon seeing the levelinfo screenshots. The level certainly delivered on that count too. However, to be fair, the darkness isnít too oppressive, and there are always plenty of flares. Architecture tends towards huge rooms: sometimes this is less than impressive, and the rooms just seem empty (such as the large courtyard surrounding the church); other times, it does create a rather majestic feel, such as the enormous underground cavern with the medusas. The interior of the church is somewhat pretty (though dark), as is the underground pool and temple faÁade.
Overall: While there are some creative ideas in this level, they are implemented in a very player-unfriendly way. Unfortunately, that makes this one of my least favourite levels in BtB 2015." - Mytly (31-Dec-2015)

"Halfway through this nearly hour-long level, I thought of one phrase I just had to use in my review: unrelentingly dark. This level will go down as the darkest and dreariest level in this yearís Back to Basics competition. Far below the picturesque vistas of the Greek countryside, Lara travels through a labyrinth to fight the dreaded Minotaur. Which is a bit clichť, but I donít really mind. But why does it have to be so dark? The actual labyrinth isnít so bad, although running around searching for switches while youíre being chased by a Minotaur is about as much fun as it sounds. Most of this level is a blur of long dark hallways and things that outstay their welcome. There are two early puzzles involving fire Ė one of them is one of those puzzles where you have several switches that each trigger some of the same things (those are always a pain), and the other involves pushing a horse onto just the right tiles so you wonít die (Iím still not sure how you were supposed to solve that puzzle, unless trial and error was the intended way). Two fairly lengthy puzzles in a row? Itís slow and boring, and that continues as the level goes on. There are several long climbs, slow and arduous platforming, about a million pickups, and everything just feels like a chore. And I think the darkness of the level doesnít help here, because you end up pushing through yet another slow gameplay segment, and for what? Another dark and dreary room? And then you have to do something else slow and boring. It never feels like thereís a reward for anything you do. On the plus side, while the final battle against the Minotaur is annoying, itís at least creative, and the rules for how it works have been firmly established beforehand, which I thought was clever. Really, I think the darkness and the slow pace are the two biggest problems with this level. If it had looked a bit more interesting and the gameplay had been a bit Ė for lack of a better word Ė snappier, it could have been so much more fun. If youíre more patient than I am, there are things to like in this level, but you may want to consider getting a vitamin D injection before you play it." - Magnus (30-Dec-2015)

"There are several innovative ideas concerning gameplay and some interesting sequences like a run under fire of quite a number of Medusas, but also some annoying parts like a buggy sequence with cracks, where the new moves are extensively used and a labyrinth-area with weapon-rooms, where the door finally didn't open after performing all required tasks. As I#m not the only one who had this problems I must say this could have been sorted out by proper testing. Atmosphere is not really convincing, lightning a bit monotonous and textures don't always fit very well. Not my favourite one of the competition." - Christian (25-Nov-2015)

"Great map for that level. I did not like the part where Lara cannot use her weapons but that's part of the game. Originale also the end with the various portals. Good level." - Drakan (21-Nov-2015)

"On the one hand this is an adventure that is really full of creative and inventive puzzles. You get to push a horse around in a special way, need to solve water scale puzzles, figure out a lever/symbol puzzle and more. And it has a pretty unique moment with the appearance of not only one, but a whole army of Medusas. And it has a few nice traps to offer as well. And yet - for me it fell short of what it could have been because it is a rather player-unfriendly level. The puzzles have a tendency to be so clever that you only get them once you actually know what you need to do. The enemies are generally placed in a way so that they are either tedious to kill or plain annoying - especially the room with the three gladiators and two lions. And then of course, there is a conceptually nice idea with the no-weapon zones, especially how it is being applied as an original element in a boss fight - and yet - getting through these parts of the game gives you more of a sense of ordeal than the satisfaction of accomplishment. Not to mention that, as the title suggests, you do get to navigate two mazes here, which is rarely fun in any TR level and this one is no exception. Still, despite all my gripes, the level is definitely worth a look for its original ideas and maybe you can bear some of the tedium better than I could. [65 min, 3 secrets]" - MichaelP (18-Nov-2015)

"Another quite strong entry in the competition. The builder makes excessive use of dark blue lighting in this level, which can be a little off-putting (even more so in the even darker sections), but with plenty of flares and never too gloomy spots this should not pose much of a problem. But the problem with the lighting is that it's fairly monotonous and lacks contrast, most areas have pretty uniform, not well enough accentuated lighting. The texturing is clean, but also a little too simplistic, especially visible in the outside areas (on long rock sections), but in many occasions the effect it creates (also with the lighting) is quite nice. The atmosphere is convincing, despite of some basic geometry in a few rooms, because the scenes portrayed here are quite special and unique and sounds and cameras are very nicely used. The gameplay is quite unusual too with a clever horse pushable puzzle, a lot of excessive platforming with nice use of new moves (occasionally buggy though) and two surprisingly interesting takes on labyrinths - really sweet and fun ideas are inserted in this game and even if not everything is perfectly flowing and there are a couple of slower and less interesting parts in between, it was very enjoyable overall. I also liked the intense and innovative use of enemies in this game, which really add a lot to the game. The secrets are also a nice extra quest, the only reason for not more points in the second category is that the object design is often a bit basic and rooms are a bit barren because of that. While sometimes uneven, the overall impression of this game is convincing enough to let me call this a very solid and worth to play game; it took me 45 minutes to finish." - manarch2 (11-Nov-2015)

"I'm sorry to say that for my taste, this level has only one strong point: the very good and creative horses' puzzle. With the buggy cracks and the almost invisible ropes and pillars... the previsible tinmen... that Medusas' burning path (bad taste, I think)... the ennerving and quite boring Minotaur labyrinth... the imprevisible "weapon rooms" (here I followed faithfully the walkthrough, but the door didn't open in the end, although I had seen all the indicated rooms shake, so I had to download one of the gracefully provided savegames)... the simplistic surroundings... and in the end, that insane sequence of rapid changing colour rooms, that stretched my patience to the limit... what more can I say? I beg the author's pardon, but I'm amazed at the marks this game has received!" - Josey (06-Nov-2015)

"Wow. Just, wow. I had to admit that I didn't really like this level at first, and when I got stuck on the very first puzzle (was too hasty and not really careful enough) I did consider ditching it and moving on to the next BtB level to come back later, but I'm glad I didn't. The atmosphere is always dense, you get this ominous darkness throughout the whole level, but when you get to the first huge underground area you can't help but marvel at it. It was truly unnerving. Then the minotaur's lair proper... disabling your weapons in that area did add a whole new flavor to the level, one of powerlessness. When you finally get the chance to finish the beast, it's also done in a (unintentionally) "flashy" room, I quite liked it. The rope jump was unnecessarily difficult though, but I guess it was just part of the whole experience. Maybe not so much of a looker as the other entries this far, but definitely charming in its own way. 70 minutes. 10/15" - Treeble (04-Nov-2015)

"Great level.excelent gameplay and tasks." - janachorider (28-Oct-2015)

"I suppose it was inevitable. After playing eight BtB levels with gorgeous surroundings and ample lighting throughout (with the lone exception of the opening segment of To Atlantis), I stumbled across this hour-and-a-half level where the builder has given his sole attention to gameplay with total disregard for the accouterments provided with the Grecian package. On top of that, he has elected to shroud everything in depressing darkness. (Flares are provided in profusion, but I would much rather play in surroundings where I can see what's going on around me.) For these reasons the fun factor of this level is much lower than it could have been, and although there were some nifty tasks to perform along the way I was happy when it was all over so I could move on to the next level. I played the entire horse- scales section twice, and on both occasions the N scale refused to accept water in any quantity from any angle. For some reason, however, this didn't act as a game-stopper, as the exit door opened for me so I could move on. And I question the symbolism behind shooting crosses in order to progress, but that's just me. The no-guns motif was used several times to good effect, and I can't complain about the level's intensity (the dragon gauntlet comes to mind). I just wish the package had been used to its full potential." - Phil (27-Oct-2015)

"If you're wondering why you've been picking up so many medipacks, you'll find out before too much longer, believe me. Enemies are really thrown into the mix with gusto in this level and some loss of life is pretty much inevitable. In particular there's a spectacular run through massed ranks of Medusas and getting through without Lara catching fire takes some doing. At times it felt almost vindictive. There are some good puzzles and agility tests, but really what you come away with is a remembrance of the enemies. And yes, you certainly do get to meet the Minotaur. It's undeniably well done, but I have to say it's quite dark, literally and metaphorically, and not altogether player-friendly at times." - Jay (20-Oct-2015)

"Greece is one of my favorite settings for anything Tomb Raider, and Iím really thrilled that itís this yearís theme for Back to Basics. I also enjoyed starting off my playthrough of all the levels with this solid entry. The Labyrinth of the Minotaur has a unique atmosphere among the entries of this yearís competition due to being set at night. As a result the level is suitably dark, though never overwhelmingly so that itís difficult to see or navigate through the level. The lighting pairs well with the background tracks used to exude a mysterious atmosphere as Lara explores the eponymous labyrinth hidden beneath the hills of an unassuming church, and the ambiance becomes suitably darker the deeper Lara ventures within the labyrinth. The gameplay is paced well, containing a good mix of platforming and fine puzzles, and some nice mood-setters like seeing the minotaur roaming the jail cells with Lara below him, the chase sequence, the gorgons and a climactic boss battle to top things off. Some of the gameplay was a tad uninspired though and felt like it was tacked on to pad the level for its length. The maze where Lara had to shoot the white beams in certain designated areas felt mildly tedious due to its layout, though it still fits the myth behind the level. One of the push puzzles near the beginning with the accompanying fire switch puzzle also took some time to figure out, and the length it took to traverse from one switch to the other makes finding the solution a little irritating. However, that may just be my being used to modern game design that eschews logic puzzles to not frustrate the player. I appreciate these types of puzzles, though I like them best when experimenting with combinations doesnít take much effort. Still though, this is a very solid level I enjoyed kicking off Back to Basics 2015 with and I look forward to what else is in store!" - Relic Hunter (18-Oct-2015)

"A solid map with a amazing boss. The puzles are very good, one of them involving ďfizzlersĒ like Portal. Visually is a effective level.. Recommended Difficulty: Medium 80 minutes" - requiemsoul (13-Oct-2015)
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