Level: BtB2016 - In Search of Immortality back home search
Author(s): BtB 2016
total rating:8.83 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
AaronD 10 10 10 10
AlexCroft 10 10 10 10
Drakan 9 9 9 8
Gorty 6 8 8 7
Jay 9 9 10 9
JesseG 10 9 8 8
Jorge22 9 9 9 8
Josey 10 10 10 10
Magnus 5 5 5 5
manarch2 8 8 7 8
Mman 8 9 9 9
MrJavi94 9 10 10 9
Mytly 9 8 8 8
Phil 10 10 10 9
Revenge 9 9 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 9
Talos 8 10 10 9
Thiago 10 10 10 10
Treeble 8 8 9 9
category averages
(19 reviews)
8.74 8.95 9.00 8.63

Reviewer's comments

"Whenever there are notes for a Back to Basics level I always make sure to read them, because I'd hate to get stuck on something easily avoidable. The problem is actually remembering what the notes said when I'm half an hour into a level. So although the notes for this level clearly state that you get a scroll along with the coins you find and that it's very important to read said scroll, I completely missed that I'd picked it up and spent quite some time trying to give the coins to the man with the flute. The last note reads, "enjoy the level!" and I guess I forgot about that too. The main problem is the author's obsessive-compulsive need to have everything come in twos. If you're lucky, this just means that to open a door, you first have to pull a switch to open a door that leads to another switch that opens the door you actually need to go through. But a lot of the time, it means running off on two different errands so you can get two keys or pull two switches, just so you can open up a door which shortly leads to another closed door that requires you to run off on another two errands to open. And even within these errands, you'll need to pull two switches or find two keys. Like that time when there are two switches in a room, which raise two timed blocks, which lead to two switches - which means you'll have to do the exact same thing twice, just on opposite sides of the room. Or that time when you get locked in a room and you have to push - you guessed it - two things onto floor tiles to open the door. It's not even really a puzzle - you just push both things three times in a straight line and the door opens. Everything ends up feeling like an ordeal and it doesn't feel like you're making any progress when getting farther into the level always requires a lengthy detour. The actual things you need to do are fine, but nothing special. There are quite a few puzzle-y rooms - there's one with invisible platforms, and a couple with spikes you have to find a way to avoid, and of course there's that one puzzle where you have to pull the right combination of switches (four levels into BtB 2016, and this is the third time I've seen a variation of that puzzle). There are two (of course) rooms where you have to perform some acrobatics to reach the top. It's all fine, but it's nothing we haven't seen a hundred times before and everything's very bite-sized. Rooms are generally pretty small and the architecture is fairly simple, but at least that's helpful if you ever get stuck. The most interesting moment in this 35-minute level comes when you think you're about to finish it, but instead your whisked away somewhere else and have to escape, because that ties really well in with the story, and it was the one time the level managed to surprise me. Sadly, you can't make people enjoy your level, but I guess it doesn't hurt to try. Maybe the author should have tried asking twice." - Magnus (26-Jun-2017)

"The gameplay in this level is mostly enjoyable, with a quite a lot of platforming and traps. The final sequence, where you have to escape with the plant of immortality, is particularly good, with a lot of fiendish jumps and traps. The room with the sliding floor is fun as well. I liked the fakeout ending, which works well with the storyline.
The builder’s fondness for symmetry can be annoying, as you are sometimes forced to do nearly identical tasks on two sides of a room/area, or even in case of the overall level design where nearly every new area involves a hub with three or four identical doorways opening off it.
The visuals are not bad – the dark blue lighting with yellow-orange highlights looks nice. But unfortunately, there’s not much variation on this scheme in the whole level, and there’s no particular spot that stands out overall. The architecture is rather simplistic, with almost all the rooms being plain cubes. There are some areas which feel underused, such as the large waterfall and underwater area.
Overall: I must confess, I don’t see why this level has received such high marks so far. No offence meant to the builder – it’s a fine level, with very little wrong with it – but IMO, ‘fine’ doesn’t warrant all-ten marks. Recommended mainly for the gameplay." - Mytly (25-Jun-2017)

"The visuals here are strong in almost all areas; some rooms are a bit on the cubic side, but overall there's little wrong, and lots of nice lighting and object use. This is easily the shortest entry I've played so far, and probably the only one I've finished in less than an hour. The actual gameplay content is good, with a ramping up in challenge throughout (it starts simple but the last couple of areas have some pretty brutal moments) and little filler due to the short length, but the "do two tasks to get two keys for a door" structure is repeated multiple times and gets a bit predictable. The length also leads to the issue of other maps in this contest being both longer and keeping a near equivalent (or superior) level of gameplay quality, which my score takes into account. A good level in itself, but it doesn't quite have the wow factor of the other top-quality levels in the BTB." - Mman (20-Jun-2017)

"Excellent LE, environment of historical and myth key-subject matter of the entire adventure, the difficulty is not to underrate and is not easy, gameplay is various, secrets are very hard to gain, circumstancial and ambient musics are always right and parallel with every moments of the game. I faced some problems concerning with spike traps, maybe it's an editor problem. Overall the LD shows here his giant skills who has got really mastery of the Persia style. Highly recommended for every players." - AlexCroft (08-Jun-2017)

"This level has a very charming moonlit landscape; and although not spectacular in terms of gameplay, movie scenes and tasks, it fulfills its ends and is very sound and true to the spirit of the BtB competition – a level short and to the point. There are sneakily hidden secrets, mostly useful, for a happy change; a satisfactory bunch of enemies, and it is not necessary to kill a certain number of them, because they don’t follow Lara when she leaves their area; a difficult sequence of jumps through spikes and ramps; some quest rooms to traverse, lovely ways of obtaining certain items, and even fun timed runs. In fact, there is nothing wrong with this game, and so it deserves full marks, cheers!" - Josey (06-Jun-2017)

"I liked the surroundings and the atmosphere when Lara slid into the night on her first appearance. But I also liked several other things in this interestingly varied entry, namely how Lara could get a key and a kebab from women on the street, the part in which she dives into a lake and a lot more - even the spikes by the end were enticing. I'm not saying this is the best contendant in this year's Back to Basics, far from it, but then again maybe that's because the overall quality is much higher than ever. It's a nice, enjoyable level." - Jorge22 (31-May-2017)

"A solid entry in the contest that had quite a few very nice trap sessions (especially towards the end) and timed runs. The gameplay is very, almost too fast-paced here, and on the whole I can't really say this is a really immersive game. It never has a dull moment, but I think that the gameplay is a bit monotonous and there's little variety in it. Enemies are used well, especially at the fake ending. The object design is okay, with the exception of a few quite obviously misplaced objects like some being stuck in walls. I thought that the architecture was really quite basic at times, often the rooms are long cubes essentially and the level feels very two-dimensional at the whole, but still the atmosphere in this level is appealing enough due to the nice (if a bit monotonous as well and slightly flat at times) blue lighting, the cameras and musics; texturing is clean mostly and is used quite nicely here. It really felt a bit two-dimensional and also functional for gameplay regards. Overall a rather short but fluent and entertaining level that I finished in 30 minutes with five decent yet a bit too similarly hidden secrets." - manarch2 (29-May-2017)

"Of course I saved in the half-gods room and on reloading the door closes and I had to take back an earlier save (I had to read well the readme). excepted from passing the teeth spikes and clinging to the upper cornice, this level is fairly easy and matches the standards (I put 1 hour of playing time). Recommended" - Drakan (22-May-2017)

"Persia by night, once again. Everything is slightly darker than I would like, but not to the extent that it gets incredibly annoying. Some of the tasks, including spike ledge puzzles, slope jump sequences, effective enemy encounters and crisp timed runs engendered a feeling of adrenaline and I admired a couple of the sweeping flybys. Another enjoyable entry in the contest." - Ryan (03-May-2017)

"Lara searches for the plant of immortality that no one else can seem to walk away with. At last, a raid that felt like just the right length of time - there was a great balance of puzzles and traps, as well as some places to wander around in, although a few more open areas to explore would have made it even better. The tall chamber in the end demanded constant adrenaline and I loved it. My one main critique for gameplay would be to reduce redundancy by not making the player backtrack through the same traps they just got through after getting their puzzle or whatever award at the dead-end. There are quite a few "arenas" created for engaging enemy encounters, although more weapons would have made combat more interesting. Decorative objects are used well, particularly in the marketplace, although there are collision issues below the collapsing blocks in the final chambers.preventing Lara's jumps. The geometry in this level is good, but compared to the previous submissions I've played (I'm playing this BTB in reverse order) it is not as strong, particularly in the indoor areas which are mostly simple square rooms. Music is effectively used to emphasize the many trap sequences, although I would have spaced it out just a little bit more. Flybys and cameras are used well to indicate what is happening around Lara. The texturing is well done overall. My main critique is that the interiors are pretty heavy on the blue, which is visually tiring after a while. Also, when it comes to climbable textures consistency is key - don't just make peach vines climbable in one specific area when the player has already failed to grab other ones elsewhere. The lighting is a bit too dark, and like the other submissions could use other colors other than just yellow and blue (especially with the texturing in this level). Overall not as strong visually as other submissions, but this raid hits the sweetspot in gameplay. 58 minutes." - JesseG (02-May-2017)

"This level actually does come in at not much more than the hour's net gaming time. It's reasonably straightforward and of a medium difficulty level, so a good one for just about all players. It's definitely a lot of fun, with some excellent traps - the builder definitely has a way with spikes. It looks beautiful so wandering round the bazaars etc., is a treat and there are some very helpful vendors inhabiting them too. It's also the first level of the series (I'm currently half way through) that is set at night, which makes a pleasant change." - Jay (02-May-2017)

"The 6th BtB level I’ve played. It starts in a sand dune pit where I got stuck right at the beginning. A little bit cryptic tasks needs to be done to open the first door. Shooting one star doesn’t really give you a hint that it’s the right thing to do ( no camera hint showing the closed door after the first star, no sound, no shattering of the star ). Only with the help of the forum and when shooting the second star the door opens. There was a nice placement of the camel in front of the moon which looked nice. After the stars I pushed a lever in a nice looking room. So far, it looks promising. I entered a huge room with a central fountain. The light is decent, but a bit too dark at many places. I had to use the flare too many times through the game. The first part of the level shows that the room design is generally very basic and not even close in complexity than the previous levels I’ve played. Gameplay was also very straightforward. The more I played the level, the more disappointed I was. Maybe I was expecting something different as it had a rating of 9.70 while I downloaded it. The first repetitive tasks are being presented like climbing up two times in a row after pulling the first jumpswitch ( JS ). After killing the first two baddys, I found some horrific and beginerish looking rooms with very flat light and object sticking out of the walls ( stairway room ). Some floating objects could also be discovered. I had to find, again, the hidden jump switch in the corner that led me to an empty looking room with a lever. Here comes the part with the highlight in the gameplay. Left was the room with the sliding carpet, which was very good. On the right was a room with spikes and ˝invisible˝ blocks Lara had to jump on. Those were some very interesting gameplay elements in this level. After the star push button a very good looking room with a cliff waterfall needs to be explored. Some texturing errors can be found if a player decides to do some more exploration around than the author imagined. The underwater caves looked nice, but there was not really much to do in that huge area. Sometimes there were just too many enemies. After the two pumas Lara was shortly attacked by two more baddies and after that, again, two more baddies in the market place. Many times I noticed that objects had wrong applied lighting that made them glow in the dark ( or blue ). The market place/street had some nice gameplay ideas, but it starts to get repetitive and boring because through a long part it’s only based on picking up something and using it. The idea of placing the key in front of the women looked a bit buggy. The climbable orange object was not climbable on all parts of the level. After finishing this market street the game gets heavily worse. Using the two keys in the market street opened up a room where I had to find, of course, another hidden JS in the corner. Solving a simple timed run and a switch riddle ( I got somehow in only one try ) got me the sword item. I noticed that rooms are not on even quality. Some look very nice, but there are also rooms that look like they are from ˝Lara in a box˝ ( not literraly ). There was a very good triggered event for the boss fight. I don’t understand why there were two bosses at the same time in this empty block room ? It’s like the author just wants to use as many as possible objects from the WAD. This here would be a very good time to end the level, but instead the author decided to use some more repetitive gameplay tasks ( that were already seen in this level ) in beginerish looking rooms to prolong it a little bit. One of the rooms is very simple with floating stone object Lara has to jump on. It’s a very simple and easy design to put this floating things in order to create some gameplay, but let’s imagine that ˝magic˝ is making them float. This has actually been seen a few times through the level. After reaching the top Lara has to collect two more keys ( unicorn and a golden one ). On the left is a gameplay task on already seen invisible floating blocks controlled by magic, placed in a laggy room ( frame drops ), stacked to the limits of TRLE with fog and light objects. On the right side is, again, a gameplay task very similar to the previous tasks already done before. This time Lara doesn’t have to fight spontaneous combustion, but a magic keeping the door shut. If not careful enough, Lara will land behind the door that will close her together with the key for an eternity ( bug warning or eventual game killer if someone is smart enough to save behind the door ). After using the two keys another room, controlled by magic with floating platforms all over, opens up and leading to the final end of this adventure. This level is better than bandits keep, but far worse than forty thieves, Lara of arabia, lost city or tale of lost brother. Comparing it to the better levels, it’s clear ( at least for me ) that this level has much simpler room design, even beginerish in some parts, that can’t even be compared to the masterful achievements done by the other authors in this year’s competition. Same count for the light. The texturing was good, but again, it’s a texturing in ( mostly ) much simpler environment. The gameplay had its few highlight, but it was mostly very basic and very repetitive. I would say that the level keeps itself on high ground to the point at the market street. After that the author just stacked up his level with this ridiculous looking rooms and gameplay just to make it a little bit longer. He was probably in a rush to make it on time. Overall, recommended, but since this is a competition and I’m comparing all levels to give fair scores helping to rule out the winner, my ratings will be different than from previous reviewers. I’m at the opinion that this level is overrated and, for some unknown reason, maybe even the winner based on the current reviews." - Gorty (30-Apr-2017)

"A pretty solid and linear offering, this level has several little quests which are all contained to the area you're currently in, so you never have to backtrack and it's pretty easy to get on the move. It does have its moments, such as a few beautiful vistas coupled with the night sky, but generally speaking it's fairly simple. The "ambush" area felt a bit like an afterthough but it did serve its purpose of setting a finale for the adventure. I encountered at least two (minor) situations here: the flautist rope had a weird collision so it took me too many tries to get into the opening above and later on, in the area with the five raised tiles for one of the final keys, you have to jump and hold action to fall into the tiny room, stepping on the tile directly between might shut down the door and you'll remain forever trapped inside the door. 55 minutes, 5 secrets. 04/17" - Treeble (29-Apr-2017)

"A nice and short level we have here. A beautiful one as well, with amazing lighting to recreate a palace at night. It wasn't really hard overall, although some parts were really tricky like the falling block jumps for instance. I got a few jumpscares as well, because of well placed baddies or traps. There wasn't any hard puzzles, it was more traps, tricky runs and hidden stuff which still gave some challenges and fun. There wasn't many medikits, but that actually inscreased the difficulty which was welcome. Architecture was quite nice in the outside areas, but could have been spiced up some more in the inside areas I think :p I really liked the little plotwist towards the end too. Statistics : 1h08, 2 secrets found." - Revenge (27-Apr-2017)

"This is only my third BtB level to date, and I'm playing them in random order, but this one by far has the most attractive environs although you play in a nighttime setting (what's wrong with daylight, builders?). The gameplay easily matches up with the visuals as well, so that you get an energetic workout that lasts just over an hour in keeping with the standing rules. There are a couple of nice platforming exercises near the end, and the concluding flyby is little short of breathtaking. Before that there's a nice sequence in a Persian bazaar, and the five secrets are fun to find, even if the last two give you no reward other than a pretty trinket. From what I've seen thus far, the quality of this year's competition is extraordinarily high." - Phil (26-Apr-2017)

"A wonderful evening moonlight level which illuminates the small town in the desert with it's inhabitants. Don't be fooled by the small map of this level, it's full of surprises. It will be very difficult to be stuck in this level. Not always "quality" rhymes with "quantity", often the most beautiful things are the simplest ones. We are facing a long but immediate level, it will be very difficult to hang in any room, because the solution is almost always at hand. Thanks to the map and small rooms, helped also by a great choice of textures (Nothing like some of the previous levels, also from Greece BtB)coherent with the atmosphere and story. If you've played Prince of Persia the Forgotten Sands, you will notice some small resemblance to this level (the package of this BtB has many objects inspired by this episode, along with the unforgettable "Sands of Time"). Great choice of music, appropriate level to spend an hour pleasant with Lara and the magic of the world inspired by the Arabian nights. Recommended:D" - Talos (26-Apr-2017)

"From the package, I chose this level to be the first to be played. I loved everything, starting with the beautiful night atmosphere. The game is a little linear and was very enjoyable to me. It's easy and intuitive at all. But in the ending have some nice challenges. In short... this level is a good balance between easy and challenging. I found all the secrets. Congratulations to author." - Thiago (26-Apr-2017)

"This year is replete with highly talented (or should I say professional) builders, and whoever of them has made this joy is quite likely to be in the top-three. There was no a single moment where the player could get bored as you proceed doing many tasks of different kinds. Visually, it's a true joy where the builder has put loads of devotion into every detail. The overall architecture here is also magnificient, without any simple noticeable mistakes in texturization or anything else. I personally liked the double boss battle near the end where we were warned not to save the game because of a possible bug that could rarely happen while reloading a previous save, so I refrained from doing so just in case. After this particular battle, what awaits you is a nice sucession of cool spike challenges and dodging-boulder games all in middle of a aesthetically brilliant place. Secrets, except one which was presumably obvious to spot, were kind of cleverly hidden. This is in short a must-play for this Persian adventure, and I believe it's gonna hit the top- scorer levels eventually. Very highly recommended, cannot be missed at any cost!" - MrJavi94 (23-Apr-2017)

"A very cool level , that definitely earns its place in the BtB Persia set ! The level is not overly difficult , but can be surprisingly tricky at some points . There are also a few puzzles / areas that will have you scratching your head . The atmosphere and music are perfect for this level , and for the BtB Persia theme , the creator has done a great job with the lighting too. The secrets ( for me anyway ) were very difficult to find , I could only find 1 , that doesn't mean it's a bad thing , it's actually very clever in my opinion . Lots of thought and effort went into this level and it's a great addition to this BtB set of levels ! Well done to the creator !" - AaronD (18-Apr-2017)
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