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Level: Secret of Mount Parnassus back home search
Author(s): Sabatu
total rating:8.37 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Chel 8 10 9 8
DJ Full 8 9 9 8
Gerty 6 8 7 7
Jose 7 7 7 7
manarch2 7 7 8 7
McRaider 8 8 9 9
Mehrbod 10 10 10 10
Mman 8 9 9 10
Phil 9 9 10 9
requiemsoul 9 8 9 9
Ryan 8 8 9 9
The Snarky Lesbian 5 6 9 7
TheStig 10 9 10 9
category averages
(13 reviews)
7.92 8.31 8.85 8.38

Reviewer's comments

"This TR1-like level (but with a modern engine) will take you to the past with all those old features and environments, the boulder and spike traps, the lions, the crocs and the bats, the rusty sounds... I don't know if there is a new set of textures available with a high resolution, because the 64 x 64 used here give a poor aspect to the environments, even when the architecture is quite good. I think another kind of items could be included, like the flares or the binoculars, even when in TR1 don't exist. The worst was the absence of camera shots to guide the players, even with the timed run near the end I think the author wanted to include a camera, but the time was not enough to see something. The musics are well applied in appropriate places. If you are a TR1 lover, this levels will be good for you." - Jose (11-Apr-2019)

"A great TR1 adventure I would say. As soon as you start playing, you will start familiarizing yourself with a TR1- ish environment, using a great music at startup. You can't wait anymore to test some cool TR1 features, such as the disability of rolling in air, underwater, etc. Even I can say the animations looked exactly like a TR1 game. One of the bets games ever built. This deserves a HOF place. Great job! Thanks a lot!" - Mehrbod (11-Mar-2019)

"This is an absolute gorgeous thing if it comes to bringing back TR1 nostalgia but heck, how I wish it was another game which is simply FINISHED - yup... missing cameras, sneaky pickups, undershaded openings, openings out of focus, multiple passaging in case if you miss something, and the author says he's already working on something new instead of fixing issues here. Long story short, same talent as the master builders show, yet same bad approach as I often have when building, so in my case it's double aggravating even though I can understand it :P It just has to backfire at level reception so I think in this case it's totally fair to aid yourself with a walkthru, to restore the proper intended experience - because it will be totally fair and you really shouldn't miss out on this level. Recommended... Can you still fix and reupload, please?" - DJ Full (03-Mar-2019)

"This level is honestly kind of difficult to rate, because I personally love Tomb Raider I. I love the aesthetic, I like the textures, I like the sound and I like how it plays. In fact I casually speedrun TR1 from time to time until I get bored by it. So if you too also love TR1, this set of levels (2 exits) follows the TR1 aesthetic and has the TR1 controls, with just about most of what this entails (other than the engine, so you cannot just jump into most geometry and clip as hard). So as opposed to other TR4 stuff you cannot have a lot different styles of puzzles and artistic goodness. Meaning the weight is on pure level design, flow and general atmosphere. Jump, run, shoot are the bread and better of Tomb Raider, especially in TR1. This set of levels however, I would argue does not excel at this. There are essentially 2 types of hazards in this set (not counting water or death from falling), those are enemies and rolling rocks. And both are so frequent in this level that it boggles the mind. There is only 2 types of enemies in both of these levels, Lions (Greece) and Bats, and this set goes out of it's way to make sure that every area bigger than 3x3 tiles contains at least 2 Lions. To the point that it becomes predictable. Another name for this set of levels could also be "Watch for Rolling Rocks", because that would be the most accurate description for both of the levels in this game. The only thing missing is paralell dimensions. And I'm not hyperbolic here, both of the included levels have a ton of rolling rocks. At every point. When they fit and when they don't. There is so many rolling rock hazards, you could mistake this game for a cynical perspective on vanilla TR1. So what about the puzzles? There is also 2 kinds of puzzles: pushing blocks and pulling levers. Overall probably less block pushing, but in return more lever pulling. Now while you could say that about many TR games, the egregious thing about them in this set is, that you never know what they do. These levels have maybe 2 levers in total that actually show you what they do. Every other one it is up to you to guess what happened. And it isn't like it would open the closest door, or be in an area where you can guess what it opens. No, it is always the most far away door. Figuratively speaking, but this is how it feels like. The very first level bring you into a fairly big area about 10 minutes in, and this area will be where you will play for the next 60 minutes of your time. These will be spent pulling a switch on the right side of the room, and then entering a door on the left side, and the other way around. You will constantly run back and forth. So when in doubt, check the opposite side of the room for answers. Best advice I can give. The worst of these switch puzzles is a timed run in the second level. Where the background music might be your best guess that the lever is timed. Now the door that opened is NOT visible from the timed switch. So not just will you have to search the entire area for a door that might have opened, you also need to be really quick. You might end up finding the right door, but didn't reach it quick enough to know that you indeed DID find the right door. This timed run alone cost me about half an hour to figure out, by which I mean that I gave up and checked out Dogget's video for the solution. A watch that I'd recommend to future players of this as well, because right after that you need to figure out how to even reach that door in time. The path for that is so obnoxious, the video makes it look like a cheesing tactic. but mimicing it perfectly I ended up reaching the door pretty much the last second. I never would have found this without Dogget's video. So, let's talk about aesthetics and textures. The latter of which are pretty bog standart, which is okay considering the original Tomb Raider's tile sets were not especially varied either. You have to deal with what you are given. The tiles and textures used for both of the levels are adaption of the Greece levels from vanilla TR1. TR1 did not have the same freedoms for custom models TR4 has, but what you can do, it build structures and convincing level designs to achieve realism and atmosphere. The strongest contender for this is the "Aqueduct" the second level is named after. In fact the whole interior design is pretty similar to TR1's Colosseum level (which is my favorite TR1 level), which has similar aqueduct-like structures. However the actual aqueduct in this level is about 5-6 blocks wide and 20-30 blocks long. Sure, with the water flowing through it it creates a nice little waterfall, but overall the actual aqueduct is very small and does not play a big role in the level itself, only giving you access to 2 levers. Leaving me wanting for more. So my overall rating for this set of levels is fairly low. Which makes my heart bleed, because TR1 is such an underrated game these days and a lot of TR4 level creators could still learn a thing or two from it's approach to level design. Elements I find especially in Feder's levels. This set however does not excel at them, and that saddens me. If your love for those Tomb Raider 1 aesthetics and style is however as strong as it is for me, give the levels a try yourself and who knows, maybe you will come to a different conclusion than I did. Point of advice for everyone actually trying it out: The moment you get the Uzis - use them. Shut up and just use them, there won't be a better use for them later, there is no reason to save ammunition. Just use them." - The Snarky Lesbian (26-Feb-2019)

"This builder has went to great lengths to keep the essence of TR1 at its highest level; even Lara's movements have been drastically reduced as she cannot crawl, shimmy round corners or perform a backflip-turn. At times I even forgot that this was actually the TR4 engine being used. The latter manoeuvre was a bit of annoyance in the final timed run and it took a few tries to find another reliable method, but it's doable. Apart from that, a bit of an overuse of boulders, a bit too much backtracking near the end and a tedious block puzzle, this is a well crafted classic Greek adventure. The old textures do look a bit jarring to the eyes nowadays, but the construction is decent and the atmosphere well up to standard, particularly the music choices. I see the latest version has now eliminated all of the fatal bugs, making this well worth a download for those in a nostalgic mood." - Ryan (26-Feb-2019)

"Retro set of levels that does a wonderful job of using the TR4 engine to almost perfectly imitate the TR1 experience. Everything has been scaled back, Lara, her moves, enemies, grainy pixels in the environment, the menu ring. This is as old school as it gets. Both levels draw entirely from the Greek levels of the first game for graphics and enemies. Some secrets are dastardly (I found 5). The last timed run is brutal. Pickups are generous and appreciated, since there's a large number of lions waiting to chew on Lara. For me this was a completely immersive experience. I was immediately taken back to childhood and playing through St. Francis' Folly and Palace Midas. Spent a few hours here and got squished by boulders more than once or twice. I think that players who don't have good memories of TR1 will probably be annoyed by this set. Those of us who did play the original waaay back are the intended audience. I hope Sabatu keeps creating levels like these. I've really enjoyed playing through these two!" - Chel (25-Feb-2019)

"This builder has given us an excellent two-part TR4 adventure with a convincing TR1 ambience (Feder and others, please take note). Even the limitations of TR1 have been incorporated here: no crouching, no shimmying around corners, etc. I had a marvelous time playing this game while writing a walkthrough at the same time, so I didn't bother to keep track of my playing time. The two levels fit together seamlessly so that you have the perception of one continuous level. I had a few game crashes early on that were annoying, and I had to disable my antivirus in order to download the bug-free version, but those were minor distractions. The gameplay negatives in my mind were the plethora of boulders and the frequent backtracking required to get back up to that elevated canal. The timed run near the end was a doozy, but once you figure it out and spend a little time practicing the route it loses much of its intimidation factor. Well done, Sabatu. Thanks for a nostalgic romp down Memory Lane." - Phil (23-Feb-2019)

"This is a very solid TR 1 style game that manages to create a nice nostalgic atmosphere and even spices the thing up using various TR 1 features. Some of them are quite nice, others do not work particularly well for me - like the jump animation being slightly delayed, causing a lot of unnecessary deaths (IMO there is no need to remake even the bad things of the old engine). The gameplay is generally nice, with a nice variety of puzzles, traps (though a few boulders less would be welcome) and exploration. The lack of cameras in this level is a serious issue and even some of the present ones are corrupted. Many times it is very hard to orientate in this game because of that, and - while actually one of the best tasks in this level - figuring out the timed run to the key in the second level is very annoying. The looks are what you'd expect from a TR 1 level, also including a few misplaced textures, but texturing and lighting are still quite effective. It's not an especially dark game, but I wished the builder had provided at least a few packages of flares because even using pistols do not light the slightly darker rooms and occasionally it's hard to see where to climb up next. The enemies are well used too and the six secrets are decently hidden. All in all a nice level duo with some drawbacks that might've been ironed out by testing, but none of which are too heavy to put players off. Finished in almost exactly one hour." - manarch2 (23-Feb-2019)

"Next time let the levels be tested so you are sure they work on different computer systems. Still like the old games but after playing too many TR4 ones it was hard to get used to the controls one had to use. What is wrong with having a screenshot what door you opened as well as having flares? It is exploring what you do here and the secrets are very cleverly hidden, as well as the keys you need to find. They are so small that it is easy to overlook them. There are a few puzzles and quite some jumping to do. For my taste too many enemies come at you at once. Oh well… so have a go at this level set; you won’t be bored." - Gerty (23-Feb-2019)

"It brings back old memories when I play this kind of games, it's entertaining without major puzzles. Unfortunately for me too many lions that end up being annoying. I would have preferred to have waited a little more to play it and give time to the author to fix bugs (Level 1 and 2, although it was made an update) and not launch it so that the player is completely trapped without return. The idea in general is not bad and makes it entertaining." - McRaider (20-Feb-2019)

"This is a set (with two maps of relatively similar theme) designed to evoke the Greco-Roman segment of TR1 (with a focus on The Colosseum and Palace Midas); it's very faithful visually with the old models, lack of coloured lighting and control tweaks to match TR1 (including irritants like a lack of hotkeys and TR1's worse jump behaviour) and even the ring menu is present. Despite the lean on nostalgia the visuals are still very accomplished, with large-scale cave structures that do a great job evoking the best looking parts of the TR1 segment, and it's pretty much perfect for what it's going for. The gameplay is mostly exploration based, but there's some challenging platforming that leverages the more limited TR1 moveset, some traps (including a slightly overkill amount of boulders) and the old TR1 enemies used. There's nothing bad here but part of TR1 is the semi-unique puzzles and obstacles like the Midas Hand and Lighting in St Francis' Folly, and since this set mostly relies on traditional TR obstacles that aspect isn't really present. There's also an odd lack of camera hints, and the few there were in the second level broke later on. Despite that this is a good job at evoking the TR1 style with overall strong design." - Mman (19-Feb-2019)

"Very solid and highly recommended. Sometimes it costs a bit to guess the door that has been opened by the lack (or failure) of cameras and the author abuses a bit of the traps with boulders. The latest timed-run was quite hard and clever." - requiemsoul (19-Feb-2019)

"I'm back again to reviewing after a long absence, and I'm not sure I could of picked anything much better than this to start with! Sabatu has managed here to really give one of the most authentic TR1 experiences I've played since the original 1996 game. Proper TR1 ring menus...YES!!! I love the non-filtered, ever so slightly over-gamma'd look to whole thing which just brings memories flooding back of playing the original PC game in 256 colours and software rendering. Considering how much the tweaks to the game's engine effect the character and look of the levels as the series progressed it's impressive just how close this TR4 engine version feels to the original TR in terms of look, right down to the perfect black draw distance and every proper TR1 sound correctly mapped. Normally I spend a fair bit of time tweaking levels for widescreen or even ultra-wide resolutions but this time I felt to respect the author's efforts I'd play 4:3 for the full nostalgic experience! The two levels featured here take you back to the typical tried and tested early Tomb Raider formula namely isolation and exploration, with a few animals to nibble at you when you're running around unawares! The distribution of enemies just gave that feeling of slight tension I always remember from the original game about wondering what was ready to leap at me from the next corner. It's nice that the author thinks vertically as well as horizontally and you'll find yourself scaling spaces to make progress whilst looking down on your prior track below. There's also a tight timed element. Music is entirely from TR1 along with the ambient sounds which is absolutely perfect for the setting. If there was one criticism of the game play it's that the 'surprise' boulder mechanic was perhaps a smidge over-used, and I'd of liked Pierre to be a bit more of a challenge at the end. All in all it took me 2hrs 45min to finish Secret of Mount Parnassus. Absolutely brilliant and loved every moment. Highly recommended. Stiggy" - TheStig (18-Feb-2019)
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