"A tale of two experiences really for the Halls of
Records. First off, its worth noting that this is the
author's first release. The general standard is high,
especially in terms of ambience and atmosphere. Spaces
are large (huge in fact), and the geometry very
believable and organic especially in some of the larger
outdoor spaces. There's some nice interactive touches,
including on-screen prompts and a PDA which updates with
objectives as you go. Unfortunately this release can
both entertain and frustrate in equal measure. Some of
these spaces are vast, so it's a shame that there's often
little reward to exploring. I personally don't mind long
traversals and back-tracking, but that organic landscape
I mentioned earlier does cause a few little problems
elsewhere. There were a few occasions where a few extra
clicks to raise a roof, or slightly flatten a floor would
of made progress slightly less tedious. I hit a few
gameplay issues, like problems with the monkeyswing,
being unable to get out of crawl-spaces and struggling to
pull-up on some platforms too. That said there's allot
of gameplay elements I do like, and the sense of absolute
isolation is very classic tomb-raider. All in all I
netted just over 4 hours from The Halls of Records. I
think it's a great start from Baddy82. This release may
lack a bit of polish in places but ultimately the
experience is worth-while. Recommended, Stiggy." - TheStig (10-Sep-2017)
"I felt torn about this level series because some things were really impressive, but other things were tedious, or even considered mistakes. What makes this adventure really stand out is the atmosphere it conveys, I really felt like I was going through deserts, jungles, beaches and big underwater passages. Even though textures and lighting were relatively simple at first, the lighting became more sophisticated and subtle later on in the game. Nonetheless, I did feel like I was going through Egypt, Guatemala and Bimini. As for gameplay, exploration is really the dominant theme, I really had to figure out the next step, but there was one instance in Guatemala where backtracking took too much to remember. The pushable blocks, some of the ladders and the monkeyswings were problematic though because while I'm sure the author wanted to make the places authentic by not making ladders, monkeyswings and blocks stand out, it's not a great gameplay tool when the player has to figure out through trial and error where they are. For the most part, there weren't a lot of enemies to deal with, mostly bats, scorpions and crocodiles. Lara could only swim away from the vicious piranhas though. There were also a few well-placed scorpions that poisoned Lara at one point in Bimini. Considering the relatively quiet passages of this level series, I was also surprised by some of the cold water passages and sulphuric passages that really drained Lara's health. The jumping sequences were nice to figure out, going up and down places. In Bimini, there was a lot of focus on long underwater passages, which in some ways, made sense, and in other ways was tedious. For the crawlspaces, the narrow spaces were sometimes difficult to go through, and I was unable to do any of the special rolls from a crawl position mentioned in the pda for some reason (many months ago, I did have to modify the controls since I don't have an End button on my laptop, and having ctrl as action while jumping backwards flipped the screen during gameplay). As for the music, and the cinematics, the depicted scenery was breathtaking, but overuse of waterfalls and overuse of certain music tracks made the waterfalls and music tracks lose their charm to some degree. The objects are pretty sophisticated though, especially some of the boxes, huts, corals, aquatic vegetation, sarcophagi, books, ritual knives, tablets and crystals. There is some eye candy, and a Tomb Raider Anniversary-like atmosphere to this level series, which makes it worth looking at." - Sakusha (02-Sep-2017)
"Hall of Records
This is an ambitious offering for a debut level and is split into several parts comprising Egypt, Guatemala and Bimini. The initial segment in the Great Pyramid has to be one of the most realistic settings I've ever seen in a TR game. It's not exactly pretty and there's a lot of crawling around and pushing blocks, but you really do feel the weight of the centuries and the countless tons of stone above your head. Just don't play it if you have a tendency towards claustrophobia. The Guatemala setting brings a much needed splash of colour (OK, mainly green, but very welcome) and involves a lot of swimming and a short canoe ride. Bimini brings yet more swimming and crawling about in caves. I have to say I was relieved to finally finish this one, which is never a good sign. It's an excellent idea, well executed, but the gameplay is lacklustre, with the emphasis being firmly on exploration, with little else going on and, especially in the first part, an inordinate amount of backtracking. There are some enemies and I thought they were very appropriate and well used, but otherwise there's little in the way of excitement. This is a builder with obvious potential and if he can just spice up the gameplay side of things, I feel sure he could bring us some first rate raiding." - Jay (05-Aug-2017)
"Let us not discuss technical details as it's not my
strongest point although I was very able to see the
multiple flaws in the otherwise "grandiose" (at least
vast) albeit repetitive architecture... I don't think
I've ever crawled such long distances in any level I can
think of, very old levels included. The added darkness
and the sameness of the surroundings, mainly in the
Egyptian levels, didn't help much either. I did like the
overall idea and I'm indeed a fan of exploration but
let's face it, this was more like a somewhat boring
marathon. Apart from a lot of bats and a few crocodiles
on the way, nothing happens throughout the entire time
the levels take. I mean, not even a few pickups, not to
mention challenges and puzzles, to help break the ice.
So, there were a few nice settings along the way but and
utter emptiness assumed full control of the entire thing.
With all due respect, Tomb Raider isn't supposed to be
"realistic". Especially not classic Tomb Raider. But I
did actually play the game to the end, didn't I? Somewhat
recommended with a warning, I guess..." - Jorge22 (05-Aug-2017)
"It's obvious that the builder has a lot of interest for the topic, a lot of details are presented throughout the whole game; I also thought the storyline at least was rather well incorporated into it. This game spreads realism throughout with no even slightly illogical tasks, detailed architecture and good texturing and, if often a bit too dull, lighting. Objects have been placed very aptly and are most likely handcrafted. On the other side, it really makes me sad to see that the builder obviously has a lot on offer in many regards but then completely destroys the good feelings with his gameplay, or better to say with no gameplay at all. I don't know if the almost complete lack of any interesting tasks except of progressing through long tunnels and large halls, partially of the "flooded" variety, is founded in the aim for realism, but in any way you really can't release a level like this without putting anything of interest in it. The more I played of this level, the less I was interested in any kind of looks, I just wanted to pass through every area as quickly as possible as a very nasty kind of tedium kicked in and I just wished that this game ends quickly. Apart of that, the only points I dedicate to the gameplay are because of the storyline and a few platforming parts where you have to put your thinking cap on at least for a moment. Still, there are a lot of dead ends where you have to reload an earlier save, especially nasty was a passage in the last level where Lara climbs in but then drops out due to collision with the architecture and is stuck in a water hole. The underground river part in the second Guatemala level is also highly buggy. Why are no ladders or monkeyswings marked as such? Very lazy... More minor notes: One or two secrets are not registering as such, especially the knife in the third Guatemala level. In the first Guatemala level, the sound for the pistols is often missing (sometimes it's present, strangely); there are several lighting cracks throughout the game and (especially in the first levels) the texturing also could be more clean. A good effort overall in three categories but the gameplay has really been forgotten. 1:55 hours, 6 secrets found." - manarch2 (04-Aug-2017)
"When I read the description, I was delighted. As an avid fan of Graham Hancock I am well acquainted with the subject of the levelset. I started it up and thought "this might well turn out to become my favourite level ever!" But sadly, that did not happen.
The pyramid had the most realistic layout; King's and Queen's Chamber were present, as was the Grand Gallery, the Well and the Subterranean Chamber. I loved the little holes in the walls and imagined somehow having to put the mechanical scarab from TR4 into them to go exploring; but sadly, this did not happen.
The layout of the Great Pyramid does not leave that many options for puzzles and gameplay, so I was quite content at first to find pushable block after pushable block and roll through endless corridors. The texturing was on par, as indeed it was through the whole game; unluckily "subtle" can become "samey" if you use it often enough. I did not get around to even looking at the Sphinx complex as I found the entrance to the mastabas and that took me elsewhere.
There was frequent reloading: illegal slopes and drops that could be survived but not reclimbed were aplenty. I actually don't mind the many holes in the ground - "that'll teach me!" is my usual sentiment - but illegal slopes there were way too many.
During Giza 2 I started getting bored with the crawling through dark boxy corridors. I hoped Guatemala would fix this.
By the time I was finished with Guatemala, it hadn't; the music started getting on my nerves, I traversed the rooms blindly without ever stopping to think and the final chamber was a copy of the first final chamber in Egypt. Now, one might argue that the Atlanteans simply had that particular style and built the same wherever they built stuff, but disappointment crept over the horizon and from then on never left me.
While I thoroughly appreciate all the little and not so little nods to Hancock's literature, and adored the texturing and overall atmosphere, the whole levelset is not much more than a pretty walk in the park. Granted, there were some moments where I had to find yet another entrance, but I got so bored with the repetetive gameplay and samey rooms that I did not look left nor right in the end but hopped on to Phil's walkthrough soon as I would get stuck for more than two minutes. I stopped looking for secrets, too. In the end, I just wanted it to be over.
Here's where I probably got stuck the longest; the ship where I found the crowbar proved to be a fun and not too easy challenge. I think I found the exit from the ship after a good ten attempts.
This is a level debut, if I understand correctly, and I applaud the landscaping and the texturing, but please, PLEASE add in some puzzles and general interesting gameplay in your next set! As for Enemies, I usually like peaceful levels so I did not mind it not being a shooter. Objects were pretty and from what I gather some of them hand-made(? especially the Corbelled Niche, the Grand Gallery and the blocks with the little shafts). I discovered all three secrets in the first zone, but then my interest in finding them died.
The atmosphere is good, but I would have loved to see a nice bright Bimini or Guatemala, at least in the overworld! Camera is used well, and the flybys were never so long that they would annoy me. My biggest gripe here is the endless music underlay. I get it, the game tries to be Legend, but Legend was bad for the very same reasons. I turned the music off entirely.
This leaves Lighting and Textures. I've already said my thing about the texturing, but the lighting was rather bland and could have very much benefitted from more light and shadow.
All in all, I enjoyed it though, took me 5 hours to finish. I'm looking forward to the builder's next release!" - Manymee (30-Jul-2017)
"This is an example of what I often speak about in my
reviews: levels that, while aesthetically pleasing, have a
terrible game design. I wholeheartedly suggest to the
builder to study about the subject. The pretty things you
build should serve a purpose besides making us go "oohh"
and "ahhh" whenever we enter a room. You're not supposed
to offer us a tour through the environments you created,
you're supposed to offer us a gaming experience with
everything it entails: rules, challenges, goals, puzzles,
interactions, decisions, strategy. All of these things are
much more than running/swimming/crouching through endless
corridors and rooms, pulling levers, and pushing blocks.
You know how to use sound, light, textures, geometry, and
cameras very well already. I can't deny that. But if you
want to be a great builder, there's a lot for you to study
regarding the theory of game design." - KBoaz (29-Jul-2017)
"These are the most player-unfriendly custom levels I've played in recent memory. The builder's apparent fixation with tunnels became wearisome in the early stages and continued unabated until the very end. The periodic earthquakes didn't lighten my mood very much, either. Although the surroundings appear to have been crafted with much attention to detail, they are presented in dim lighting conditions and are aesthetically boring in their coloring. I tried to keep my bearings by following the builder's frequently confusing walkthrough, in which he provides no compass directions at all. (It's frustrating to be told to "climb the mountain" when there are mountains all around you.) The four and a half hours I spent here did have their redeeming moments, however, but they were relatively few and far between. I consider myself to be a pretty easy grader when it comes to reviewing custom levels, but I'm at a loss to account for the gushing praise that other reviewers have lavished on this one. It won't be on my replay list anytime soon." - Phil (28-Jul-2017)
"An extraordinary debut. Really this builder knows how to build fantastic worlds very near to reality. The atchitecture and texturization are excellent; I liked a lot the new objects too, the good use of the musics and flybys to create atmosphere and the absence of hard tasks. But this is a game only for pure explorers; where are the puzzles? where are the entertaining tasks? Your only goal here is to look for an exit to advance, advance and continue advancing. Evenmore, I found too many crawlspaces in the Egyptian levels and too dark rooms, slowing down a lot the gameplay. In Guatemala and Bahamas was better in that sense. Not an entertaining level for me, but you can take a try even if it's only to admire the marvellous landscapes." - Jose (24-Jul-2017)
"After a long intro story sequence the game starts in a cave like environment. Some fine texturing errors are immediately
noticeable while running through the maze. Soon another nice flyby kicked in. I have to say right at the beginning that the level
feels very very atmospheric ! A great achievement ! I took me a long time to figure out that I had to push the block out of the
wall. A little bit too cryptic for my taste. After pushing some more hidden pushables I finally got a first pick up item that
started a flyby sequence showing me where to push that thing in. The fyby was nice, but a little bit clumsy ( going through walls,
fighting against rotation … ). I have to add that I find it very hard to navigate through the level. Even after the flyby I still
had no Idea where to go. Also, its sometimes very hard to tell which of the walls is supposed to be climbable ? This wall climbing
turned out to be big problem . I got stuck a million times just because I couldn’t figure out what wall I was supposed to climb
up. Such a big mistake by the author. The two problems, searching for pushable blocks and climbing walls made me run through the
whole level with the flare on and constantly jumping on everything because I never knew where I could climb. Some important routes
are so easily to miss that’s crazy. Like when I got the crowbar, went further down and opened a door. After that again a long
cryptic run through the level in search for the next path, but of course I missed something in the narrow pit before. So I finally
arrived in that cave that was shown in the flyby and used the box key. After reaching the other levels I was so glad I didn’t quit
playing. The outside part looked just magnificent ! Really a masterpiece of level designing ! Same for the forest (?) –raining
part and temples ! Some gameplay problems continued later on that I already mentioned for the first level, but the gameplay does
improve. The atmosphere is kept on highest ground through the whole game with always nice flyby sequences. I have to add that the
inner parts are a little bit too dark. Overall, everything expect the gameplay is made incredibly good and atmospheric. The design
and architecture is also incredibly. Maybe a bit too dark and with some easily fixable texturing errors. I can’t say for the
gameplay that I enjoyed it that much ( especially not the first level ). I have nothing against atypical gameplay that involves
exploring but this I feel it’s made too cryptic. The walkthrough was written badly and often confused me more that it should. I’m
sure this is not the author’s first attempt in creating a level. Definitely recommended!!" - Gorty (23-Jul-2017)
"I always enjoyed Lara's egyptian adventures the most, so the first level in the Cheops pyramid was quite unique and well done, I really enjoyed it.I noticed some difficulties in the giza levels but with the walkthrough I had no real troubles. The Guatemala levels have beautyfully made landscapes. Secrets and objects that can be used are quite rare and strictly about the storyline the author referres to (the Atlantis story). The Bahamas levels look great." - Beaewa76 (23-Jul-2017)
"I really enjoyed this first release from Baddy82! It does
have bugs that can be game breaking at times as they
prevent further progression, this is primarily in Giza 2.
However, I emailed the creator and they sent me a save
file which made me able to progress from one point one of
the game mechanics was very broken, this consisted of a
crawl space where I could not exit and it was also a wide
open space and Lara would not stand. Thanks to the save
file I was sent, this was resolved and I believe they
mentioned this will be fixed. Despite that, loved the
atmosphere, the puzzles were rather unique. Enemies mainly
consisted of bats and alligators, general wildlife. My
favourite section has to be the Guatamala levels, I really
love jungle temple style levels in Tomb Raider! For a
first level, this was fantastic! I hope to see more from
this creator in the future." - MrXenomorph123 (21-Jul-2017)
"The eight levels are quite lenghty and some of them not easy, so there`s a bit of a challenge. I really liked the allover atmosphere and gameplay. A very realistic pyramid design( first level). As the builder describes himself, the complete game is not an action shooter,and I liked the more classic adventure or archeologic approach. After the first technical 'hickups' of the level 'giza 2' the atmosphere develops even more ( Guatemala, Bimini). The caves and diving situations in the Bahamas levels look awesome. Considering this is the first levelsets from the builder I really had some fun.I used the walkthrough, too. I look forward to the next levels." - OlafRaider (21-Jul-2017)
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