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Level: BtB2016 - Lara Croft and the Forty Thieves back home search
Author(s): BtB 2016
total rating:9.54 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Adrian 10 10 10 9
Drakan 10 9 10 10
Gorty 8 8 10 10
Jay 9 8 9 10
Jorge22 9 10 10 10
Josey 8 10 9 10
MrJavi94 7 10 10 10
okuhtfesq 10 9 9 10
Phil 10 10 10 10
Revenge 10 10 10 10
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Treeble 10 9 10 10
category averages
(12 reviews)
9.17 9.33 9.75 9.92

Reviewer's comments

"Up to the Mevlana Palace part, I was indeed convinced that this level certainly deserved a full round of 10s. What with the creative traps, not too difficult, and great fun (didn’t you enjoy those sliding walls?), the smart use of waterfalls at that lovely part of the Babylon Bathhouse (I even liked the timed runs, and generally I hate them), the nice levers’ puzzle, and the astoundingly beautiful view of the city from the rooftops, coupled with a sequence of tasks that was non- linear, but didn’t make the player feel stuck and lost, a round of 10s was certainly indicated. Well… all of it lasted up to the Mevlana Palace, as I have said, because that part was quite confusing and frankly irritating, with the multiplicity of similar rooms, the far from clear indications of fake walls, and so on. Next, we have an annoying camera part where Lara has a lot of difficulty to find a valve wheel, a series of not very clear necessary or unnecessary actions at the thieves hideout (what was accomplished pressing that button near the flautist, was a mystery to me, before reading the walkthrough), and an unnerving boss sequence for Aladdin’s Lamp! The only solace was the beauty present everywhere… So, we have here a level done by a seasoned, talented and creative author that just missed to be excellent. Nevertheless, a sound, mightily good work." - Josey (23-May-2017)

"When I started I immediately said: "oh lala, still a very long adventure" because I could not find anything to do except run around lol. But after having inspected everywhere, I started in the pool room with the 2 timeruns, everything was chained, apart for the last city seal that I was able to recover in the maze mirror. Final fairly easy with the gun to kill the last enemies, and jump rope to finish on a nice flyby. Recommended." - Drakan (18-May-2017)

"This amazing creation only has a problem, which wasn't so small after all, and is the lag present in many areas of it, especially in those outdoors area of the palace, including the Babylon baths and some other big areas. But aside from that, this is the result of a great effort presumably made by an accomplished and experienced builder who paid lot of passion in creating such piece. Needed 39 minutes to finish this really nice level (except for the extremely annoying lag, that explains the grade given to the Gameplay section) with the five secrets found on my own, last of which was a pretty nice and original quest. Congratulations to the builder and also big thanks for giving this precious gift." - MrJavi94 (08-May-2017)

"This is an astonishingly gorgeous level, so gorgeous that I didn't all mind the two hours plus of gameplay that is required to complete it. It's complicated as well, with many side rooms that must be passed through several times, so I found Dutchy's walkthrough indispensable for keeping things straight in my mind. Anyone capable of conceiving and executing such a masterpiece in the limited time available must surely be an accomplished builder, and even though I'm not yet at the halfway point I suspect that this level will either win the BtB competition or come in a close second. The action takes place at night, but everything shows up quite clearly and the colors and accoutrements are extraordinarily beautiful. However, the gameplay by no means takes a back seat, as there are many difficult tasks to accomplish. I didn't count the thieves, but there could well have been forty, together with an assortment of other enemies that are encountered along the way. The boss at the end cannot be killed, and is taking pot shots at you while you're having to negotiate not one but two ropes. A job well done. Highest recommendations." - Phil (07-May-2017)

"Astonishing is a good word. And it's also a fitting one to describe the scope of this level: it's a huge city which is likely to cause lag in some machines -- it certainly did on mine. However, it's such a good looking city that I wasn't going to sacrifice looks in favor of performance so I struggled with the frame rate drops near the central structure. Fortunately, however, the vast majority of the action happens all around it so it's all good otherwise. As you search high and low for four seals you clear a variety of tasks inside different areas of the city. I'd say the gardens were my favorite part, with the mirror palace being a close second (although admittedly I spent way too much time running around aimlessly in the latter, not realizing some of the 'non-mirrors' had actual mirror images). You also get an extensive use of soundtracks all along, which is a good thing as the musical selection for this BtB is marvelous. While I still have another 10+ levels to go, I am fairly sure this will be among the top tiers once BtB-Persia comes to an end - and with good reason. 110 minutes, 4 secrets. 04/17" - Treeble (29-Apr-2017)

"A great contribution to this contest and a wonderful level in its own right. I'll get the downside done with first - the annoying lag which detracted from the experience ever so slightly. But apart from that, I absolutely loved it. The scenery is beautifully made and shows off those Persian textures to good advantage, supported by good music tracks. Gameplay is very entertaining and centres around dodging traps, exploring a bathhouse and rooftops and accomplishing some brilliant timed runs. Definitely likely to be one of the forerunners of the contest. It already is, in my book." - Ryan (29-Apr-2017)

"Definitely eye candy and adventure packed. I can only complain of the lag due to, I think, the excessive use of objets - other than that, even though it does get confusing at times, the level's really well put together (gameplay, music and sounds, overall atmosphere) and I obviously recommend it." - Jorge22 (24-Apr-2017)

"I know that several others have mentioned this, and I hate to beat a dead horse, but lag really is a huge problem with this level. At points, the lag made the level almost unplayable. However, Lara Croft and the Forty Thieves is so gorgeous and was so much fun to play that I can overlook the lag! The gameplay is very fun and involves exploring the massive Persian town for four seals, which gives access to the final area and the final boss. The level is complete eye candy as well, with plenty of beautiful structures to explore and climb on, and the lighting and music are used to good effect. The puzzles are extremely tricky, so the 'Stuck in a Custom Level' forum or the walkthrough, when it comes out, will most likely be needed! The level is quite satisfying to beat, and the secrets (of which I found 4) are quite satisfying to find! My only complaints other than the lag are that the level is missing some camera hints, and it runs a little long at about 2 hours or more of gameplay. Otherwise, it is highly recommended! 10/9/9/10" - okuhtfesq (23-Apr-2017)

"Surely a contender for the best level (for me at least). A beautifully designed & laid out level with a nice varied tasks to be carried out in the gameplay. Sneaky use of mirrors - especially one that doesn't reflect Lara! The use of waterfalls to get down & up again in the water palace was inventive. Good secret placement & I liked the inclusion of stealth for the last secret. Enemies & objects were well used. The sounds and atmosphere were excellent. I did notice at the beginning of the level that the water under the grating flowed the wrong way though I realised at the end of the adventure why that was (the builder I suppose could have made the water flow the correct way for those textures too & flipped them when the current changed). I didn't suffer the degree of lag that affected other players and I never, ever complain about a level being too long if it is enthralling playing it - why would you want it to end?? 5 secrets in 5 hours." - Adrian (23-Apr-2017)

"Actually, ignoring the few in the ending flyby, I counted about 23 thieves, but it was quite sufficient. This is definitely not for beginners, having some rather challenging (and extremely cleverly devised) timed runs/traps etc. It's well conceived all round, with excellent use being made of the beautiful objects and textures provided this year. The level is large and somewhat confusing and I found myself occasionally irritated by the fixed camera angles, but they weren't frequent enough to be a major problem." - Jay (22-Apr-2017)

"Another incredible level submission to the this years competition and the third one I’ve played so far after Lara of Arabia and Tale of the lost brother. The player starts in a massive huge area that feels like an open Arabic world to explore. It looks incredibly beautiful, astonishing with great architectural design and texturing. Only a few times a stretched or too squeezed texture is noticeable. The light work in this level was better than in the previous two I’ve played. One thing that gets noticeable right at the beginning is the horrific lag ( frame drop ). The intro, which is very good in scenery, is going through so slowly that kind of destroys it. Walking through that huge area is also very annoying due to the lag. There is a good use of objects, but it’s obviously abusively overused that it’s a shame that the author decided not to remove some of the objects in order to preserve that nonfunctional beauty of the level. The problem with the frame drop is affecting the overall gameplay in big parts of the game. First time in history of level playing there is a lag in the loading screen. The beginning of the level is a little bit frustrating as it takes ages to explore everything and to find the path to the first key objects. Giving at least some direction would be really nice. This seems, so far, a popular approach in level building this year to create this huge areas and let the player die of exploring. I noticed a very nice use of cameras to show the beauty of the level from the right angles. Also, a very good integrated triggered events through the game. I started this adventure in the bathhouse and continued through the mirror room, fire temple and so on. Maybe bad approach as the first two stones include some ˝bad˝ ( not literally ) gameplay parts. The bathhouse had a wonderful use of water pillars as elevators. It was actually hard to figure out that I was supposed to swim against the current in order to teleport myself in the lower parts. The two timed runs were a nightmare as it made the already frustrating gameplay even more frustrating. The lag problem was less noticeable in inner parts of the game, but still appeared sometimes to give a good slap in the face. After getting on the roof of the bathhouse the game become unplayable. Killing the two swordsmen was inhumanly difficult because the frame rate dropped to like less than 10 pictures per second ( maybe even more ). Somehow I managed to kill them with avoiding to look at the part that showed the whole level. The mirror palace looked very good but all rooms looked the same so it was very difficult to orientate Finding the first go- through wall was very hard as the wall was way behind the mirror in a totally different rooms. Even after reading some hints in the forum I couldn’t see that in the mirror. I could spent a lifetime analyzing the mirror palace and not discovering the right wall. After getting the first two stones I really started to like the level and appreciating the room that the author gave the player to explore. The fire temple and the gardens were really nice. After finally collecting the 4 stones the gate opened and a cool boss fight started. I thought this is now the end of the adventure … but, no, it continuous. A really nice use of camera that follows Lara through the fighting and climbing. I activated a wheel that turned the water stream in a different direction. Finally, this must be now the end of this beautiful adventure …. Oh no, it goes on ? Another big area opened up. I’m already a bit exhausted from this level. Another boss fight started, but this time it was more difficult to fight against the lag than the boss itself. I finally thought his must be now the end. Collected the sword key again, opened a door and it goes on and on and on …. C’mon. It’s supposed to be one hour long for this competition not more three hours of gameplay. I really don’t want to spend 3 days playing one level. It’s not even fair to submit so long levels. I’m even tired of writing this review so long. Overall, this is an incredible and beautiful level, great design, great light and texturing. The level is partly destroyed by the lag, some frustrating gameplay elements and the too long adventure. The rating for the second category reflects the lag and in some degree in the gameplay. Highly recommended !" - Gorty (19-Apr-2017)

"This level is one of the palace complex kind of type, and I'm not gonna lie, I love those. Contrary to what I expected, this level doesn't contain that much ennemies, but it still does have a decent amount of them, so most of the time I could stroll peacefully around the place, which was amazing because this level is definitely a blessing for the eyes. The gameplay was just difficult enough and most importantly, very clever, helped by a brilliant level design. I had to look on a walthrough for the mirror puzzle, which was nonetheless extremely well made. The music was perfectly chosen and the atmosphere was on point. I can't really find an important flaw to this level, just maybe the ending that was a bit abrupt (I didn't expect it when it happened because I thought we would have to go back for the heart item), but other than that, it was a pure gem which gives a nice feel of achievement at the end. Definitely one of my favourite custom levels ever. Stats : 2h55 and 2 secrets found." - Revenge (17-Apr-2017)
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