Level: BtB2018 - Starlantis - Natlas Trail back home search
Author(s): AgentXP
total rating:8.89 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Cbl 7 7 10 9
Jay 8 8 9 9
JoeTheCrazyGamer 10 9 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 7 8 9 8
Josey 9 9 10 10
Magnus 6 7 8 9
manarch2 8 8 9 9
MichaelP 9 8 9 10
Mman 9 10 10 9
Mytly 9 7 9 10
Ryan 8 8 9 9
Torry 9 10 10 10
Treeble 9 9 9 9
category averages
(14 reviews)
8.43 8.43 9.36 9.36

Reviewer's comments

"Another prospective winner! Here we have a really good game, full of interesting sequences, with quite a flair of TR1, complete with Torso Monster (ugh!) and rooms, sometimes actions, taken from that game (notably the part where Lara has to use two levers and do a sprint to use two platforms before they go down), but indeed with a lot of differences as to game play, environment and places. I loved almost everything, with exception of the Monster and the trembling screen at the very end. There is also a little darkness in certain areas, but the author was more than generous in flares and general pickups. Action is varied and creative, timed runs are not prohibitive (although there is a serious difficulty in one of the timed sequences, where the repeated use of an UW lever results in failure as to the rising of a platform, obliging the player to download a previous saved game, be warned), there is good use of camera hints, nice puzzles, and a healthy amount of difficult sequences. In resume, this level is a must, congratulations to the author!" - Josey (07-Jul-2018)

"Too many pickups! What am I supposed to do with 34 medipacks? I’m almost offended by the author’s lack of faith in my abilities. I swear I’m semi-decent at Tomb Raider. I’ve played, like, a bunch of levels, honest. We start our Adventures in Picking Things Up in this year’s eight and final Back to Basics level by picking up a pack of flares, a large medipack and a revolver in the very first room. Lara is here to defeat her old foe Natla, and to do so, she has traveled through time (for some unexplained reason) and space to the distant planet Starlantis. It’s easily one of the best-looking levels of this year’s competition. The author has gone with a blue theme, which works really well, and there’s some really nice architecture here. The central shaft looks especially impressive, with a lot of really nice details along the walls. It’s been a while since I’ve played the original Tomb Raider, but some rooms have clearly been inspired by areas from Sanctuary of the Scion. Had this level been more similar to the original Atlantis, that may have been somewhat boring, but since the theme of this level is so different, it’s really fun to see the author’s interpretation of places we’ve all visited before. Natla’s minions seem to be mostly bats - I assume because they look a little bit like Atlanteans? - which doesn’t really warrant the huge amount of ammunition and medipacks you’ll be picking up. There are some stronger enemies towards the end, but still nowhere near as many as you’d expect. The gameplay, unfortunately, doesn’t live up to the beautiful architecture - it’s just too simple and pedestrian. Pull some switches, pick up some keys, jump here, climb there, kill that - none of it is surprising or especially creative. It’s not bad, don’t get me wrong, but it’s Tomb Raider by the numbers and I was expecting more. And it’s a shame, too, because there’s a lot to like in this 80-minute level. Not the least of which is the finale, where you get to battle a familiar boss and even catch a glimpse of Natla. Well, I guess it’s not technically Natla, but it’s close enough that it works, and it ties the story together well. To sum up: some good, some bad, way too many pickups." - Magnus (05-Jul-2018)

"I don't know if anyone else picked up on this but the last rather large part of this level is a rendition of the last part of TR1, negotiating your way up the huge vertical tunnel until you meet and challenge the big boss. Now this was nicely done here with a few neat side challenges thrown in. I hardly had to refer to the walk through at all (once or twice to be honest) so this is always a plus in my opinion, in that the raider can move forward without becoming lost or so perplexed as to become aggravated. The textures were amazing and the whole atmosphere quite creepy. I was constantly waiting for one of those exnomorph skeletons to come to life (but they did not alas). I am unclear why exactly we ventured into this realm. Was is to locate Natla's teddy? Did we actually defeat Natla? If so how? Some things are unclear I'm afraid. However, a worthy three hour romp that I thoroughly enjoyed." - Torry (04-Jul-2018)

"This is a lovely level that is vaguely inspired by the Atlantis levels of TR1/TRA. The gameplay is quite varied, with a nice mixture of puzzles, timed runs, traps and jumps. None of the tasks are particularly hard and everything flows quite logically. So even though this level is over 2 hours long, it never felt like it was being dragged out unnecessarily. I especially enjoyed the tasks in the arboretum. Some of the tasks are simpler than they seem: for instance, getting an item from a platform above a burner without getting burnt was daunting, but I managed it after several tries – only to realize that there was a method for turning the flame off (or rather, sideways) that I had missed.
Though there are only a few big enemies, the small ones – namely, the alien bats – are far too numerous, and extremely annoying. Almost every time you open a door or use a switch, one or more bats start attacking you. There’s nothing quite as frustrating as being knocked off a high platform by a goddamn bat. There is a ton of ammo spread out generously throughout the level – a little too generously, as gathering it all starts to become a chore. That said, the thousands of uzi bullets I had collected came in handy against the final boss, the torso monster – the biggest tribute to TR1’s Atlantis.
The first word that comes to mind when describing the looks of this level is ‘blue’. Almost the entire level is in shades of blue, with just the occasional pink, orange or purple highlights. It sounds boring in theory, but the builder somehow manages to make it work, and the level looks stunning on the whole. I especially like the tall hub room – the geometric design of the construction looks suitably alien. The arboretum and the pool room near the end are quite pretty too.
Overall: A charming level with a classic inspiration, and with very few negative points, apart from the pesky bats. Recommended." - Mytly (03-Jul-2018)

"Now, I'm not a Natla's fan. But that doesn't really matter when the whole thing has been updated and adapted to this Back to Basics contest in a basically flawless manner even though the game feels different from all the others. This is by no means one of the most confusing entries and it even seems the easiest at times but I think that actually means good game design. The truth is the game is full of well crafted endless tasks and traps and fights and plenty of imagination in great sceneries with very nice architecture and fitting sounds. This may be the most thrilling entry in the contest, which is a lot to say, but it may be so and it keeps you glued to your computer from the beginning till the end. The builder is also overly generous in how he offers you more than enough ammo and medipacks throughout, which is great as you're always on the lookout for the next pickup, it's like a luxury Christmas party. Unfortunately, I only found four of the five secret keys (or whatever they were called), so I didn't get the special secret. I was about to rate the gameplay 9 but maybe that could be somewhat unfair, so I'm changing it to 10 at this very moment and who cares what others have thought about it. Quite recommended without a doubt." - Jorge22 (02-Jul-2018)

"Another BtB level that just went on and on and despite the length never stopped being entertaining and interesting. Natlas Trial indeed, as there are quite a few traps to master along the way and more than half a dozen boss enemies thrown in as well - although on that note I found those pesky little flying bird thingies much more annoying and really diminishing my enjoyment of the game. But these were really the only annoyance - otherwise you get breathtakingly large architecture and huge multi level halls to navigate through and around, a great variety of taks to manage and a final boss fight that deserves the name. Awesome adventure - not to be missed!" - MichaelP (02-Jul-2018)

"Now, this was a fun surprise. It was nice to see many rooms from the original Atlantis levels re-imagined using the BtB-Space resources. It's far from being a remake though, but if you have a history with the franchise you'll certainly smile at the similiarities. Despite having a few huge areas, I felt gameplay was quite straightforward with a few nice moments, such as the doppelganger pyramid and "Natla's" apparition towards the end, just as you are set off to face the boss. There were far too many supplies scattered around, it drove the hoarder in me a little crazy, but all in all this was a very pleasant entry. 85 minutes, 4 secrets. 06/18" - Treeble (27-Jun-2018)

"Great Level design, It is unlikely you would run of Uzi ammo, I think the level looks amazing, Its a great way to end the BTB 2018 levels, The Puzzles are really well though out and fun to solve." - JoeTheCrazyGamer (24-Jun-2018)

"This is my last review for this BtB and it definitely ends on a high. This one is a sort of reimagining of the original TR1 and Anniversary Atlantis sections, right up to the huge room you work your way slowly up, and the boss fight against the giant mutant at the end. The atmosphere is brilliant and the surroundings are very pleasing. There's plenty of timed runs in this one, but all of them are readily achievable with a little bit of practice. There's a lot of supplies scattered around, so taking care of the demigods you encounter shouldn't be too much of a hardship. A great capper to this year's competition. Well done to all involved." - Ryan (23-Jun-2018)

"And so I come to my final foray into this year's B2B competition and it doesn't disappoint. There's a lot to explore in this one and shed loads of pickups along the way so the enemies are pretty easily dealt with. Those fire gods are a bit of a doddle in any case as jumping up and down immediately in front of them whilst firing seems to confuse them a lot. The environment is impressive and the gameplay good fun. There are quite a lot of timed elements, but I think the builder has been quite generous with allowances as I'm not the best player in that regard and I had no trouble at all. A great note to end on." - Jay (22-Jun-2018)

"This is set almost entirely in an alien setting, as you go through a pseudo-remake of Atlantis (a combination of the TR1 and Anniversary versions); like that level there's a massive shaft as the centre-piece, and the level does a great job making a convincing alien structure, including a lot of clever use of objects and some huge scale areas. The lighting is very good, although the blue gets a little omnipresent and monotone, and a few sections could have maybe varied it up a little more (especially as the few rooms that do look just as good). As a semi-remake a lot of the individual tasks are based on ones from the other versions (including a doppelganger type part and familiar boss), but it maintains it's own style and flavour and adds it's own twists to everything. This last map I played this BTB is one of my favourites although I think the originality of Renaissance edges it out." - Mman (22-Jun-2018)

"Summary: Heavily inspired by Atlantis and The Great Pyramid, as the title might suggest, this level has classic gameplay and numerous pickups, along with a fun secret system. The repetitive enemies and straightforward puzzles detracted a bit from the nostalgic architecture. Overall, this felt like Tomb Raider 1, if there had been an extra level set in space. Details: Lara could have taken out an entire planet of Atlantean baddies by the end of the level, given the plentiful Uzi, Crossbow (Laser Gun) and Magnum ammo to be found throughout the level. Unfortunately the most common enemies are some of the most annoying in this year's BtB, souped-up psychedelic bats that would be fun to combat occasionally (and have a propensity to knock Lara off of any ledges she happens to be on), but they seemed to appear every single time a new lever was pulled or door was opened. Taking them out with the Uzis made me grateful I had so much ammo. They, along with the frequent surprise slicer-dicer doors, made parts of the level frustrating. The level shines best in the moments when Atlantis is specifically referenced, such as the central multistory chamber, the mirror room, and the final battle against the alien Abomination. TR1's Atlantis was weird and pulsing with an organic technological creepiness that has made it stand the test of time as a game setting unique to Tomb Raider, so I enjoyed the echoes of that here. I only found three of the secret plugs, and would have enjoyed seeing behind the door. Cameras and music definitely helped the gameplay, and while I got stuck every now and then, I could always figure out where to go next with a bit of exploration. I liked some of the puzzles that relied on geometry and timing, such as the two chambers after the mirror room with slides and crumbling floors. I'd say this is a fun level to play, possibly best for those who most enjoy the early Tomb Raiders. 2 hours on first playthrough, 3 secrets found." - Cbl (19-Jun-2018)

"Until now this is my overall favourite level of the contest. The atmosphere of this level is really a strong point, with a giant main shaft to climb up (reminiscent on the classic Atlantis levels) and a lot of side areas that are all quite beautiful to look at, with nice lighting and a good colour scheme. The texturing is not bar of mistakes but overall it's quite strong as well and the issues are really minor in comparison. The gameplay is also quite enjoyable. The builder seems to love timed runs (as I do), there is quite a bunch of them here but nothing is excessively hard; even the fire at the item near the end can be "redirected" if you can't pick it up in time before going up in flames. The gameplay is overall very much task-oriented with many puzzles and traps and most of them are quite fun to absolve, perhaps none of them is very ingenuous and one or two are even a bit boring (especially a part that basically is an extended shooter), but overall this was a quite satisfying level. The only thing the builder should've avoided is placing that super-super-fluous amount of items in this level, it's really ridiculous. Tip for players: Never use pistols for anything, you don't need them. Tip for the builder: I wouldn't do that again, it gives a slightly odd note to your work. The seven secrets are fun to find, two or three perhaps a bit too easy but the rest is nicely hidden. It took me a total of 65 minutes to finish this level - with 25 (!) medipacks in my inventory ..." - manarch2 (18-Jun-2018)

"The last BtB level I played and none of them has disappointed me. In this case you'll find a very very long level with a lot of tasks and traps and a lot of enemies. There are hundreds of pickups too. I think excessive pickups, most of them hidden in vases, and excessive "bats" to shoot. Lineal level without backtracking, the timed runs are not very hard, but I've got a lot of problems to pick up the Atlantean Totem over the fire emitter; the time is too short but at least you'll previously get enough medipacks to be able to reach the nearby pool. The secrets are nice to find, and there's a big effort with the musics and camera shots to help players and create atmosphere too. No much care with the texturization but the enviroments are good anyway. Entertaining and enjoyable." - Jose (12-Jun-2018)
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