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Level: The Cottage back home search
Author(s): MpGrill
total rating:9.10 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Feder 9 9 10 10
Gorty 9 10 10 10
Hdoyle11 8 9 10 9
Jay 9 10 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 9 10
Jose 8 9 10 9
LarangL 5 6 8 9
Lara_Fox_Croft 6 7 8 8
manarch2 7 8 9 9
McRaider 9 9 10 10
Phil 10 10 9 9
Ryan 9 9 10 10
SeniorBlitz 9 10 10 10
Torry 9 10 10 9
category averages
(15 reviews)
8.40 9.07 9.53 9.40

Reviewer's comments

"Reading the reviews I see lots of negatives however this level really is a classic with a tale that the game explores and resolves. Half the levels I play seem to have no point to them so kudos for that. Yes it is difficult at times but not impossible. All the traps just rely on timing and if you get that right you can move forward. Some of these sequences took a couple of tries to master but with the right timing they really are simple. The secrets were well hidden and I admit having to resort to the walk through for a couple of them. I did like the reward they offered though. Enemies whilst not plentiful were disturbing but you really can get by with just your trusty pistols. None of them take a great deal of hits to dispatch and some you simply can avoid. The ONLY other firearm you need (and this only to get a secret) is the musket and telescopic sight. Atmosphere was great but lighting could have been improved ever so slightly in some areas." - Torry (27-Sep-2018)

"This is a great adventure that utilises the BtB Northern Legends package really well and may have been a contender for one of the top places if it had been in that competition. The environments are beautifully made and stunning to look at (lighting was a bit dim in some of those cave areas) and the gameplay is constantly entertaining without being too frustrating. There are plenty of challenging jumps and puzzles, but they are certainly doable with a bit of practice and are enjoyable to solve. I never did find a use for that witch's broom near the end, and thought that the mutant attacks were a little overdone and tricky in such narrow spaces, but apart from those negatives, this is a very involving and entertaining game." - Ryan (08-Sep-2018)

"Amazing atmosphere in this level, the enemies and the objects well chosen, the secrets are hard to find not my taste but ok, the story is great and there's a boss fight wich is really good! About the gameplay some parts were hard mostly traps and some rooms I felt that the textures didn't look good for the atmosphere but I didn't find any texture error." - Hdoyle11 (16-May-2018)

"As I wrote in the review thread: those traps are simply wonderful. I cleared them after 3-5 times only by bothering to use the look button and examine them in advance. It's nothing unfair, and a whole world of difference between this thoughtful trap design which is masterable for a player to feel accomplished, and luck-involving sequences it was mistaken for. If someone doesn't see it, it just means he tried the level in a wrong moment. Everything else is also great. The color style is not my cup of tea but the visuals are coherent, the audio is perfect, and the storyline is more complex than I need. I granted 9 for gameplay because it lacks some unique surprising stuff I usually award a 10 for. But this is still the most balanced game of MpGrill to date, and I hope for a sequel behind that final door." - DJ Full (29-Dec-2017)

"This was a pretty outstanding level to say, there is a lot to talk about, so I decide to separate it in parts like other reviewers do. ~Gameplay & Puzzles~: While the puzzles and tasks are simple, there is a lot of variety here, so, it doesn’t get monotonous. There are also some new traps that I didn’t see before in any TRLE (the sawblade trap), one thing to note is that you have infinite flares, so don’t worry about saving them for later. ~Enemies, Objects & Secrets~: The object placement feels very natural, none of them feel out of place and they help create a very beautiful atmosphere for the level. There are very few enemies to fight. The secrets are the highlight here, since; they are implemented in a way that helps build the story, all of them are very fun to find and worth getting (especially if you’re interested in getting the alternate end). ~Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras~: This is also one of the highlights, the atmosphere is just incredible and very authentic, the soundtrack and (few) “flybys” also adds a lot to this beautiful level. The idea to add a diary was also pretty cool and made the level have even more depth to it. ~Lighting & Textures~: Nothing to complain here, there is a lot of variety on the texture department and the lighting is also pretty good. In conclusion this is an incredible level, that I definitely recommend giving a try." - SeniorBlitz (27-Dec-2017)

"G&P : Classic Tomb Raider level with classic tasks such as keys and levers for doors, plus some fights against enemies for which you don't have appropriate weapons. I'm thinking of Groot like skeletons that need at least the shotgun to be killed. Unfortunately, the shotgun is a secret such as other weapons which are needed to pick up other secrets. IMO, it's a mistake to summon enemies you can't defeat and secrets you can't pick up. A positive point is the story told in the diary that adds a good atmosphere to the level. Now let's talk about traps. So many ones that require too much accuracy. OK they are doable, but how many times you'll have to reload your save to succeed ? Too much for some to get frustrated. And when you're happy with your success going through those devilish traps, you figure out that you'll have to go through them one more time. Difficulty is not really progressive in this level, so I think it's not for casual TR players. Speaking of platforms, there are many enjoyable sequences and many tricky jumps. Some should not be used as normal gameplay, such as the one from the trapdoor in the Dragon Hall room. Angle jump with curve avoiding a sloped ceiling to grab a ledge forward is really unfair and requires too much luck. Thus there are more than one banana jump in this level, as written in the pdf. EO&S : I'm not going to repeat what I have already said above. All in all, enemies are quite easy to avoid and/or kill except for the big creature. How hard was it to deal with this so large and fast enemy in such a small room with deadly holes all around ? Even if I succeeded in all the traps in this level, I had to give up the fight and ask for a savegame. I don't consider myself as a beginer in playing TR levels, but creating such a challenge here is quite a great frustration and isn't equal to pleasure of playing, but anger. Anger not because you can't succeed as a "poor" player, but because of "sadism" of the builder (lol). Talking of objects, I think there were too many objects Lara collides with and disrupts the progression : plants, flowers, small objects on the floor. I noticed an object, the witch broom, that is not used, or I didn't find the place to use it. There are also flickering objects like roots for example. AS&C : Atmosphere is the real good point in this level, especialy in the outside. Very enjoyable. I noticed clipping that indicates a lack of a Levelfarview command in the script. Sounds are quite good too, even if some sounds are missing (some doors for example). Cameras are a good hint and weel used in all the level. I could just say not to use flybys only to show the architecture of the level. This is not interesting for the player IMO. Those cameras should always be used to show the progression of the level. They also should be a bit faster. But These points are only details and don't really interfere with the game pleasure. L&T : Lighting is good and adds tension to the atmosphere when needed and calm outside. Textures are quite well used despite some mirror effects here and there, but nothing really important. All in all, this level is really not for casual players, but for those who like difficult traps and platform challenge. My experience after almost 2 hours of gameplay is not really enthousiast. Even if there are many good points, all those negative ones such as frustration take advantage." - LarangL (11-Dec-2017)

"G&p: The gameplay is quite classic, I saw no real use of NG functions, so you spent more than 1h of searching keys/puzzles for at the end put them in a hole. You have quite a lot of backtracking and the level is awfully difficult for "casual" players. Difficult? Yes of course it is, traps that you have to run through 2 times or more, hard traps, like rolling ball, spikes or squishing blocks that kill directly if you enter in contact with them. The secrets are hard to spot, and when I found one, and the location of another one, I had no "manual aiming" weapon, so I was not able to do anything. And the same happened with the "snake head". There is a lot of platform in the game, which is pretty cool, but the problem is that the platforms are intersperse with almost impossible jump and traps, their are banana jumps like the builder said in his readme file, which is not an excuse, putting banana jumps is a mistake in the gameplay, it demands the players to use a bug, that official TR did never use... As I said puzzles were not very unic or special, this level could be a classic one, but with quite NG objects/texture...I still wonder why we pick up the broom...Is Lara going to use it as a gift for Winston? E,O,S: Enemies were nicely made, I mean for the design, because some of them were really tedious to kill, like the big monster (In scorpion slot) and the boss and her henchmen, fighting in a small space (small platform) is always a problem, and the horseman (the kind of doctors) made heavy damages on Lara when they did touch her. And some of them are unkillable without a secret weapon...That's also a big mistake, in TR4 we need the shotgun for the sketons too, but it is very hard to miss it, because you can grab it twice in "Seth tomb"... But here, the weapons can ( like I did) be missed, so that's a problem. Objects were quite nice, except for some collision problem, like flowers with a collision or some rocks on the ground. Secrets were very hard to spot, and sometimes you need some previous secrets to access some other. A,S&C: Atmosphere was very nice, even if a bit too "dark", with black magic and the famous stabbed heart. Sounds were very nice, cameras too, except the flybys showing room architecture, it felt a bit like "hey guys look how I build this room", well we play the level, so we see how good it looks. L&T: The lighting was very professional, and the texture too, except for few things: I saw some underwater cracks (so we can see a black line appearing between walls), and the mirror fonction used in every room, is it too hard to find some seamless textures? To sum up this level is nice, for expert players, and way too tedious for casual players, it looked like the builder made his game to be tedious, and frustrating... That's how it feels in some parts. So I will clearly not recommend this level except if you're up to some hard traps sequences, enemies and unfair platform, then enjoy it as you can, because I did not." - Lara_Fox_Croft (11-Dec-2017)

"This is a very complete level made with an old BtB package with variety of tasks. Even when there are not great puzzles and I found some tricky tasks like the pit with spikes and slopes or the room with two big beasts where I suffered to pull the jumpswitches, the level is entertaining based about exploration and with no much backtracking. Of course, I coudn't find all the secrets 'cause I needed previous items from another secrets; there are very few enemies to shoot but several traps to avoid. The best for me was the well created atmosphere, with appropriate musics, camera shots and flybys. The architecture and texturization are good too, even when the lighting is not very worked. A good history completes a very good work from this author. Recommended." - Jose (06-Dec-2017)

"This release would have been right at home in the Northern Legends BtB competition and may even been a winner had it been released back then. There's no particular reward for finding the nine secrets along the way other than the satisfaction of knowing that you got them, but if you miss the first one (or any succeeding one) along the way, you won't be able to acquire the rest of them. I felt during most of the game that this was a trapfest extraordinaire, but it was a fair trapfest, and with Dutchy's typically competent walkthrough I was able to make it all the way through in a little more than two hours without having to resort to any of his provided savegames. In reviewing any released work, I always try to step back and consider the big picture. How does this level stack up against an inventory of custom levels that now approaches 3,000 in number? Some fairly recent TR1 and TR2 levels have garnered top scores even though the graphics are crude by comparison (with TR4 levels), and on top of that the game can be played in much less than an hour. Being as objective as I possibly can under the circumstances, I feel that The Cottage is worthy of the numbers I've awarded it, and that no further defense is necessary." - Phil (01-Dec-2017)

"This is a great adventure contained in a single level, with a story that develops as the game progresses, complete from beginning to end and the atmosphere created is very convincing. Some tasks are challenging and there are parts where one might get stuck a little, but it is not so difficult to find your way. I liked the system of secrets, although missing one can be quite frustrating since you can not get most of the rest. There are not many enemies, everything is more focused on exploration, but there is a couple of battles plus a nice final fight. Recommended" - Feder (20-Nov-2017)

"While I can't tell I was as excited as the previous reviewers, I can certainly say that this is a very competently put together adventure and mostly a clear improvement over the builder's Cottage in the Valley of which this is kind of an extended remake. The level has a much more mature appearance with clean and realistic texturing and lighting that really create some highly atmospheric parts, very good sound usage and some nice cameras as well. I think the lighting is slightly weaker in the outside areas (also with a few cracks) but that's it. The enemy attacks are all quite effectively timed, only once I felt that there was a player-unfriendly shootout (the one against two mutants with pistols only - especially nasty as it's for a secret). Minor problems also occur with objects (mostly doors) going through walls and appearing on the other side; the cottage at the start, for example, had a not very tidied up connection to the rear wall. Gameplaywise, it's mainly the lack of innovative tasks that lets it down somewhat, as otherwise it's a very nicely flowing game with a great storyline and smooth progression throughout. There are also a few nice trap sequences, but in terms of puzzles the game is rather uneventful. That said, I enjoyed this level for all above said positive things, and despite minor issues with the gameplay design this is the builder's level that is most polished in all regards. Found all 9 secrets in 55 minutes." - manarch2 (19-Nov-2017)

"What a good level this is. It's extremely attractive and, I think, uses quite a lot of the objects and textures from the Back to Basics Northern Legends. The gameplay is constantly engrossing and mostly quite intuitive so you shouldn't get stuck too badly at any point. There are some occasionally fairly challenging tasks to accomplish, but nothing too gruelling, although I believe some of the secrets can be more difficult. Needless to say, I only found a couple so can't really say. Otherwise, anyone with a bit of experience should be alright. There are some lovely traps and puzzles, but I can't recall any timed elements. Enemies are well used and not overdone, although a couple of times they ran into walls, or disappeared, which made things rather easy. Highlights for me were the interesting torch puzzle and the beautiful and magical cut scene of the water tunnel appearing. Highly recommended." - Jay (14-Nov-2017)

"A very good level, entertaining and good gameplay. A couple of points to discuss. The witch's broom never use it or where to use it, in the room where the giant is killed (I do not remember well) There is a platform to lift so you can use a lever..I never found a way to lift it.. Except for these points the level is excellent, congratulations!!" - McRaider (13-Nov-2017)

"The level starts in a really beautiful and breathtaking environment that instantly drags the player into the game. It continues in the same fashion from the beginning till the end with really great designed areas. The author did really put a lot effort into creating some amazing sceneries that looked very natural. Very beautiful with some good ideas. It’s worth playing the game just to take a look around. Reminds me of a Hall of fame level I’ve played recently. The atmosphere is kept on a very high level and never fades away through the game. I liked how the game evolves from a cottage, village ( ? ) or ruins into a dungeon and magic witch hunt. Some creepy or spooky elements occasionally pop up and break the peace, but also boost the atmosphere even more and give a more obscure feeling to the game. The level is played very smoothly, progressing is never hard or cryptic, but intersected often with some hard jumps, tricky traps and good hidden passages. I had some problems with few gameplay tasks that required more than 10 tries ( like jumping to the torches or avoiding the moving cutters ), but the gameplay is always interesting and, which is important, stays fair. There were also very hard tasks, inhumanly hard, but are only required for secrets, so I’m not sure if I’m supposed to count that in my rating. At least I got a warning with the secret sound. There were many nicely done flybys and triggered events with great choice of music. One big plus are the camera hints after every switch. The texturing and light were close to perfect with occasionally noticing errors in some corners of the level where I’m probably not supposed to be or look in ( rough texturing ). Object placement was great with properly applied light. The secret system was very interesting and serves as a big side quest for players seeking a bigger challenge. I never got all secrets since I’m not a treasure hunter ( or just don’t care about secrets ? ), but I was curious and I did take a look on youtube. The alternative ending should maybe be the only ending as it serves as a sequel, so I’m not sure about that choice of the author and how it will turn out. I took my time to read the diary and it was a disturbing story, but served its purpose. Overall, a magical and beautiful level, with great architecture and design, great texturing and light, amazing atmosphere and great ideas. I especially like the proper texturing and light that give a great combination together with the environment. The witch elements somehow did give it a special ambient. Defiantly excited for the sequel. Recommended." - Gorty (12-Nov-2017)

"The one thing I loved right from the start was the textures and the way in which they apllied to the general atmosphere. Something else I rather liked was that the level was intriguing but not overly complicated and actually generally very player-friendly. Still, I never found the guns I collected ammo for and I wasn't able to open a door in the dagger area which, so I've been told, must have been a secret that I needed the *secret* sword for. I also couldn't find any use for the witch's broom. What I liked less was that the level was a bit too "viking" for my personal taste and that the music sometimes sounded as if it were going to get into some sort of loop (which never happened, thank God and MpGrill). This game will probably be continued and, if it is, I'm looking forward to playing the continuation. Really good as always." - Jorge22 (12-Nov-2017)
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