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Level: BtB2016 - The Prison of the Daeva back home search
Author(s): IvanTRFan
total rating:7.61 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Drakan 8 9 8 8
Jay 7 8 7 8
JesseG 7 8 7 8
Jorge22 8 8 8 8
Josey 8 10 9 8
Magnus 5 5 5 5
manarch2 7 7 7 8
MichaelP 6 7 7 6
Mman 7 8 8 7
MrJavi94 8 9 9 9
Mytly 7 8 7 7
Phil 8 9 7 8
Ryan 8 8 7 8
Treeble 7 9 9 9
category averages
(14 reviews)
7.21 8.07 7.50 7.64

Reviewer's comments

"This one was a bit of a mixed bag for me. For one, it is a bit on the darker side and at least in parts unnecessarily so. But there are quite enough flares, so not such a big problem. Then it has some really good ideas - with the play with water levels and the nice acrobatics for the jump levers in the first part or the rather interesting choice of how the camera works during the wraith chase near the end. That wraith chase is however also a bit of a gripe of mine, which is typically more tedious than actually being challenging - running around, dodging the demon, saving and reloading a lot until you find your way and get done what needs to be done. Not necessarily my kind of fun. And then it gets kind of repeated with the final boss, although that was less tedious than expected as the area is large enough to easily avoid the demon. Good thought went into the secrets, with some traps to manage around them and decent reward in terms of pickups (although you really do not need any of them). So, all in all, quite clever level in places, but with some choices made that were not entirely to my taste. [48 min, 4 secrets]" - MichaelP (30-Jul-2017)

"The water-changing puzzle near the beginning is good, and nicely integrated into a quest for one of the secrets. Fixed camera angles feature prominently in this level, and are rather unfairly used to add cheap difficulty to otherwise simple tasks. For example, the cogwheel timed-run, where the fixed camera angle makes it difficult to get a good start on the run; or during a long sequence where you have to run through a house and surrounding rooftops, where the camera angle makes it almost impossible to see where you have to jump next. The screenshot lover in me did appreciate the chance to take some pretty unusual shots, though!
The run through the house and roofs is supposed to involve Lara getting chased by a wraith; however, I took the advice given in the walkthrough, and shot at the wraith a few times, after which it left me alone, and so I could stroll through the house at leisure. The boss sequence at the end – which is not a fight as such, since the boss is not killable – could have been good if it hadn’t involved numerous pushable tasks, during which the boss would catch up to Lara and kill her. Still, the idea of trapping the Daeva within light beams and crystals is kind of cool. Getting the first two secrets involves a lot of backtracking; however, one of them is quite worth it, as it includes a nice task featuring jumping on safe tiles.
There are some nice-looking spots, such as the area at the beginning (though it’s rather dark), the interior of the house, and the final boss fight rooms. However, the majority of the level is pretty bland and monochrome. The worst offender is the large courtyard where you fight the manticores – it’s so huge, but almost completely featureless.
Overall: Not a bad level by any means, but it feels rather empty – both in terms of decorative objects and in terms of substantial gameplay." - Mytly (29-Jun-2017)

"In this level, Lara’s searching for the prison of the Daeva, although it's not clear why. According to Wikipedia, the Daeva are, at best, gods with "disagreeable characteristics," and at worst "personifications of every imaginable evil." I guess Croft Manor doesn't have an internet connection? There's a funny moment halfway through the level when Lara destroys a crystal and frees the Daeva, and afterwards finds a scroll which clearly states (in modern English, because the Persians were more modern than Lara) that freeing the Daeva is a Bad Idea. Although why the door to the warning only unlocks once you've destroyed the crystal, we may never know. These mysteries aside, this is a very straightforward level. There's always only one direction to go in and it's usually clear what you need to do. You enter a room where you have to push a block to reach a switch, and then you enter a room where you have to get past a trap to get to a door, and then you enter a room where you have to climb around a bit to reach some switches, and then you enter a room where you have to kill a couple of enemies to get keys to open a door... There's some backtracking, which goes a bit towards helping the level not just feel like a series of rooms strung together, but it's still extremely linear. The actual things you have to do in the level are all very simple, but to be fair, they are at least somewhat varied, and you get some (simple) puzzles and some (simple) traps and some (simple) platforming. The combat is also very easy - with most of the enemies being scorpions - which is funny, since you get a shotgun right at the start and find plenty of ammunition throughout the level. Save for two bull-type enemies, only the Daeva pose a threat, and most of them are invincible. The level looks nice enough, but the architecture is very simple and especially the outside areas are a bit dull. I also found the whole level a bit dark. It's a very unassuming level in every way, and this is even clear in the time it takes to complete - that moment where Lara frees the Daeva halfway through the level? That happens after only fifteen minutes. It only takes another fifteen minutes to trap the Daeva in another crystal and finish the level. Hopefully Lara goes back later and puts a post-it on the crystal with the words "DO NOT DESTROY" on it in capital letters." - Magnus (26-Jun-2017)

"The areas here have a large scale, although they're relatively simple in terms of geometry, part of the storyline also says you're in a city, but I felt the map didn't do enough to sell that (outside of one part where you don't have time to take the setting in). This is the darkest level in the contest and will probably give people on darker systems some issues, but there's also plenty of nice lighting use too.
This is another relatively short entry, and, after an exploration based start, this one is heavily based on challenging agility tasks. In particular there's a Wraith chase sequence with some great ideas but not so great execution; there's quite a bit to the chase, and there's a side-quest to get multiple items for a secret after. Unfortunately the camera angles are kind of annoying and there's a couple of obscure parts that you can only really work out with trial and error (like jumping out a window that looks like a texture and finding a pool of water with a camera angle that doesn't help much), so it ends up on the frustrating side in practice. The boss fight is also okay, although it's one where you spend a bunch of time as kind of a sitting duck. The two secrets I found are pretty interesting to access, so I assume the two I missed are along those lines and another strength. A good level with some nice ideas, but it's another one where it's obvious some deadline issues made it not come together as well as it could." - Mman (22-Jun-2017)

"This level is good and well done. It is also difficult, boringly difficult at the end, where after running endlessly and succeeding in picking up items with a fire spirit in her tail, Lara despairs and jumps through a window that she hardly knew would take her to a terrace (mad camera), jumps to another terrace to pick up a last item, jumps to a pool that she hardly knew was there (mad camera), sighs relieved to be rid of the spirit, goes down a ramp and… finds a very similar enemy. A little too much difficulty, isn’t it? In fact, I seldom have seen so much difficulty to pick up secrets in a TR game – if, and only if, you can find their hideouts. Nevertheless, the picking up of secrets is certainly the strong point of the level, affording a certain pride to the player when he/she succeeds. Gameplay, as such, is a little confusing since the beginning, with two opposite staircases bending and leading to the same place; and a lever that should be underwater, in a dry place that I could not see how to fill with water, puzzled me no end, until I knew that it was all for a secret, and that the picking up of this particular secret would involve a lot of backtracks through traps, and more climbing in a room where Lara already had a lot of climbing and grabbing to do, but this part was fun, at least for me. The game is also quite dark and forbidding, but if you love challenges, traps, and nervous sequences, play it." - Josey (20-Jun-2017)

"A generally fast paced level lacking the beauty of other contenders but making up for it with some great action (of course, some areas are well designed and I always enjoy the sight of the light rays coming through the windows). Having said that, the bit of earthquake at the first Daeva prison and the annoying use of the third person view (in the timed run with the wheel on the cave and in the entire last part) didn't please me much.There was a door I couldn't open as it seems I hadn't found the blade wherever it may have been hiding. Maybe I'd get some more ammo and medipacks inside? Not my favourite but still a pretty good level." - Jorge22 (06-Jun-2017)

"My first pick in this year's competition, and this was actually a very nice level to start with. The gameplay is generally agility based. I rather liked the platforming around a nicely designed flooding and draining puzzle at first, although the double doors don't have to be opened at all as you can either swim or walk through them for some reason and it's also getting repetitive after some time. Later on there's an adrenaline-filled rush through a mansion against a fire wraith which was the highlight of this level, even if certainly not to everyone's taste, and a rather simple final puzzle where you have to push some statues on nearby tiles – not so inventive but avoiding the bolts of the Master Daeva makes it feel more exciting. So overall there are a few memorable tasks in this level but also a few lengthy passages and not so inspired things. As said the enemies are well used here and the secrets are excellently hidden, all acquired by a side quest – I'd really like to see more of this in the main gameplay path. Maybe some more effort in terms of object design (rooms often feel barren) would have been nice. The architecture is at times quite large-scale and impressive, but in other places is just built out of very basic and square rooms of which some (mainly larger ones) feel a bit barren. There's also a lack of background audio in this game and a few doors are missing sounds. The few cameras are put to decent use, I rather liked their quirkiness in the mansion run. The texturing is very cleanly applied and rather strong overall, the lighting is a so-so mix though as there are many well lit as well as a couple of monotonous looking rooms, but overall it tends to be quite strong. On the whole I had a pleasant time, 35 minutes to be exact, here and found all four secrets." - manarch2 (29-May-2017)

"A rather dark level but it did not bother me too much I play in a dark room. It is quite short and I found it nice to play, the chrono with the wheel took me several tests and I did not like the race against the wraith with the fixed camera, the final part with the boss is enough Easy to manage." - Drakan (18-May-2017)

"An unfairly underrated level to me, or at least I can attribute it to the fact I've enjoyed this level way more than other players. I personally enjoyed the epic runaway near the end of the level, and I did more still because I wanted the fourth and last secret, whose key is no other than luring the fire wraith. You can't just run recklessly while picking up the three stone prayers because chances of getting burnt get multiplied by 1000. The final battle was also kind of challenging, which I also enjoy, having to dodge the deadly bolts that immortal creature keeps pn launching at you unmercifully. Overall architecture and lighting are really great in this level, and this is part of my liking toward this level. Needed 25 minutes to complete this non-long level with all four secrets which were hidden in a nicely varied way. Like always, I want to finish congratulating the builder and thanking him/her for sharing this to all of the coummunity." - MrJavi94 (11-May-2017)

"I ended up playing this entry as my final Back to Basics entry (yes, I played them in order). And what a level it was! I kind of have mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, there are some nice touches here, like the inventive pushable puzzle while being pursued by a boss, and also the secrets and enemy combat sequences were nicely set up. But on the flip side, the fixed cameras were irritating (I get the intention to make the final sequence a little more exciting, but it did hinder progress slightly). It's also a bit too dark in areas for my liking. Nonetheless, a fitting conclusion to this contest and I would like to thank the team for their efforts." - Ryan (05-May-2017)

"This is the only entry in this year's competition that I found a bit too gloomy in terms of lighting. Well made and atmospheric certainly, but I would have liked a bit more light on the subject. The action is puzzle-light and fairly straightforward, with plenty of use of the 'new moves'. I had love/hate feelings for this particular level. The sequence with the wraith and awful fixed camera angles was a nightmare that I could well have done without. I did however rather enjoy the boss ending and the super cut scene of said boss baddie being trapped in a cage of mirrors. Nicely done. Then just when Lara escapes to get a glimpse of blessed daylight, the level ends." - Jay (04-May-2017)

"This level mostly takes place underground, which for some reason felt a bit like a throwback to original TR1 and TR4 levels to me. Perhaps as a result of this choice, the level might seem a bit too dark at times, but generally speaking it still manages to look great. There is a chase sequence that many might not like, but I've always loved fixed cameras and thus I can say I loved it. The wraith did cause me trouble while trying to pick up the objects along the way, but by the time I realized where I was headed to, I understood they were there only for a secret so I get the idea of one-upping the chase. Generally speaking however, it is a pretty standard and somewhat linear level, which is not a bad thing. Ah yes - for the most part there wasn't a background ambience track, which is a major pity. 40 minutes, 2 secrets. 04/17" - Treeble (29-Apr-2017)

"I decided to download and play this level first because of Dutchy's initial howls of outrage in the stuck thread (and because of the accusations in the following posts). Actually, although he didn't realize it, Dutchy had documented nearly all of the level in what he had written, including two of the four secrets, before calling it quits. Manarch2 then stepped up to the plate and completed the walk in short order, finding the remaining secrets to boot. This I used to play the level, and I can attest that when played as the builder intended it's completely bug free, and any suggestions to the contrary have given the level an unfair bad rap. I can't say that it's right up my alley, due to its excessive darkness and those damnable fixed cameras (particularly near the end) but it's atmospheric, challenging, and it provides a solid hour or more of intense raiding. The surroundings are eye-pleasing as well, so I'm looking forward to playing the remaining levels in this year's BtB competition." - Phil (22-Apr-2017)

"Lara goes deep underground in search of ancient Persian Gods. This level plays a bit like a roller coaster: it's linear, a bit on the short side, but packs a lot of action along the way. This prison doesn't give Lara much room to roam around in, instead most of the gameplay is spent dodging traps and attacking enemies. However I wasn't able to find any of the secrets so I must have run past some things. More puzzles would have been nice - there is that mirror puzzle at the end, which is good for story and cinematic purposes, but a bit menial. I particularly liked the challenging run to the slowly falling door. The enemies are definitely the highlight of this level and used well, in particular the run from the fire demon through the rooftops. The decor was pretty good, a little sparse in some locations, but maybe that's better off as it's less things for Lara to get caught on while running around frantically. The structure of the level is mostly simple corridors and trap sequences. There are a few larger areas but I didn't find myself spending much time in them. The music is sparse at the beginning but builds up toward the end, enhancing the more stressful sequences. Cameras are used effectively, especially the iconic run from the fire demon - however they can also be deceptive, preventing the player from seeing that there's something Lara can jump to. The texturing is applied pretty well, especially in the first chamber, although it gets a bit monotonous in some of the corridors. The lighting was slightly dark, but not enough to hinder my adventure, and there is some nice variation in colors at times. Overall it's a quick shot of adrenaline that will give raiders a run for their money. 43 minutes." - JesseG (18-Apr-2017)
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