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Level: Create a Classic 2019 - Sleeping with the Fishes back home search
Author(s): tombraiderxii
total rating:9.05 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Cbl 8 9 10 10
Chel 9 9 9 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Jay 8 9 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 5 9 10 10
manarch2 6 8 9 9
MarlenaCrystal 8 9 10 9
Mman 8 9 10 10
Phil 9 10 10 10
Raider99 9 10 9 10
Ryan 8 10 10 10
The Snarky Lesbian 7 9 10 10
Torry 6 7 7 10
TRaider1996 8 8 9 10
category averages
(15 reviews)
7.87 9.07 9.53 9.73

Reviewer's comments

"Again, a level with an impressive architecture and a very good design from this expert builder. Excellent. But this was not a very funny level for me. Explore very huge areas looking for hidden openings and hidden levers, a continuous backtracking, and evenmore, with some tight timed runs and a lot of levers to pull was not a good gameplay for me. The remaining features were quite good, but I never enjoyed this level, always stucked and checking the walkthrough. Sorry. If you like the pure exploration, perhaps this level could be good for you. Take a try." - Jose (23-Jan-2020)

"I really enjoyed this level. I thought it was really well built, the atmosphere is just like in TR3, although I wished there was more of a supernatural/mystical vibe. It felt just like a remake to be honest. I did think that there were too many switches, and it was sometimes hard to know which door it opened. But, it is still a very nice level that I would recommend!" - TRaider1996 (06-Jan-2020)

"I wish there was some kind of a blueprint to this place. While it was built beautifully, it was as confusing as it was stunning visually! Few times I ended up swimming endlessly as I lost track of which switches I used and which ones I did not. That's one of the things I didn't like, it was full of many underwater switches that end up opening some door that aren't that close, thus here's me wondering how this place was built to make that all possible! This level truly captured the feel of TR3 LA's Sleeping with the fishes, it was enjoyable, offered many things one classic inspired level needs and it also gave us something beautiful to look at from any part of the level. I noticed some minor sound issues with pushables, other than that I don't remember anything major that could've annoyed me. This level offers huge level of immersion to that extent I felt so relieved once I reached the surface, being underwater felt tense and calm at the same time which kept me engaged throughout the whole playthrough, thus, I recommend this to any underwater levels or TR3 LA fans!" - Raider99 (30-Dec-2019)

"Was it hard? Looking back, just hard-ish, even the timed runs. But the action was plenty, it was varied, everything seemed to fit well within the theme, I loved the atmosphere and the general architecture (honestly, this is all you can ask from Sleeping with the Fishes - and damn well made) and it was a relief - and an invitation to underwater adventuring - when the aqualung was finally put to use. The sound of the push/pull cages was slightly off but, in the grand scheme of the event, it's just the oddity that makes the global work feel even better. It was doable, it was nice to look at, it was challenging and it was very rewarding. Thank you." - Jorge22 (22-Dec-2019)

"Here we have another one of those overly complex levels that has the player running and swimming about looking for the location of yet another unknown open door and it just becomes a chore and no fun at all. So get out the walk through right at the start folks. Then don't get me started on the underwater crevices that you MUST locate in order to proceed. These are generally tiny and oh so easy to miss. Things do get a little easier once you have the aqualung although how that works is a mystery as Lara never actually wears the damn thing. There are too many avenues to explore, too many doors to open, too many switches to find and then, just to add insult to injury, some of those underwater switches need to be pulled in a certain order "sigh". The explosive harpoons are a godsend BUT if you attack something from a distance it takes around half a dozen hits to explode your opponent yet if you are up close only one or two? Why? Can you actually shoot those submersibles that constantly fire torpedoes at Lara? Secrets? What secrets I ask? Then some sound affects are out of sync with the animations. Not all, just one or two. Textures on the other hand were grand. So we have another level that tests your sanity and patience and I just do not understand why this seems to be the norm with today's levels. Tomb Raider does not need to be this hard guys. It should be enjoyable and this level was not. Sorry." - Torry (17-Dec-2019)

"A better title for this level would be Bustin' Your Arse With the Fishes, as there's little time for sleeping here and Lara is in busy mode from start to finish. It's still early for me, but this one is my favorite thus far in the CaC competition. It's colorful and brightly lit throughout, in stark contrast to Puna's Revenge. There's an appropriate balance between tasks done indoors and out in the ocean, backtracking is kept to a minimum and the scenery is nothing short of breathtaking. Mulf has provided a walkthrough so masterful that he's earned a place at the top of my nag list when next we are blessed with such a deluge of fine levels. Much has been said about the timed exercises. There's a fine line, I suppose, between a task that's challenging and invigorating, and one that's simply unfair to the player. The builder has come close to that line here, but in my opinion has not crossed it. I found the shorter timed swim for the secret to be even more difficult than the longer run that's required for progression. The former would have been made more manageable had the cut scene not repeated each time the lever was pulled. It also helps to swim a longer distance so you won't have to run as far when you pull out. As for the timed run, it takes several tries to master the route and decide how you wish to tackle it, but I found it necessary to save only once along the way, and that was in the long corridor before making the turn to jump the second stacking of crates. I've long forgotten the original level on which this adventure is based, but everything here is fresh and original. My net time was just less than two hours, and in my estimation this is Hall of Fame material." - Phil (15-Dec-2019)

"As the name suggests this is a level themed after the same-named level in TR3 Gold. It takes a step further beyond just being a homage though, as it becomes clear as you make progress that it intentionally poses itself as a full-on expanded remake of the original level, with new story elements building on from what's implied in The Lost Artefact, and similar progression (A base/diving area, a large underwater section and a final lab area). There's even some subtle thematic extras like adding some elements from the Catacombs in the final level of Lost Artefact. The visual execution is great and builds on the original perfectly (especially as this is a rarely explored theme) with good use of the original objects and some new ones to spice it up further.

The gameplay has some challenging exploration, with various entryways that can be easy to miss if you aren't thorough, and some multilayered switch puzzles. It does generally have some clues to point you towards things, like objects that catch your attention. There is one needed backtracking trek, but it kind of works as it's for an aqualung that changes the pacing of the level, as the time pressure of the earlier sections is gone and there's a sort of Metroidvania aspect to looking over earlier areas more freely. There's also a small bit of spice to the combat, as the added messages nudge you towards switching Harpoon types to take out specific enemies. The amount of searching for random entryways and backtracking for air in the first half can get a bit repetitive, but the second half removes the second issue at least, and there's enough other challenges along the way (although a certain switch puzzle getting repeated felt a bit unnecessary). The secrets are slightly disappointing given the nature of the TR3 Gold ones; one of them does follow that style of giving an extra set-piece, but the rest are pretty standard, and the "big" secret of the original level doesn't seem to be present (although I guess the set-piece I mentioned is supposed to be a replacement). A great level and remake with a rarely used theme, although the base nature of the level it's following does cause some occasional frustration." - Mman (08-Dec-2019)

"What a complicated adventure indeed. On the positive side, the atmosphere and textures are truly breathtaking, object and enemy placements are excellent, the flybys are impressive and the "classic" theme is very well carried out. But on the other side, it is a very difficult raid, in the exploratory manner and in the sense that the timed runs contained herein are pretty brutal at times. If you practice enough, you can conquer them in not very many attempts, but most of the time there's no margin for error so frustration can set in pretty quickly. Scouring the immense (but undoubtedly beautiful) underwater depths for the next switch or pickup can also get tedious in a pretty short time. Had these been streamlined a little more, it probably would have been more accessible to a larger group of players. As it is, it's an adventure with striking construction, but may be a little too aggravating for some." - Ryan (07-Dec-2019)

"Lovely remake of the TR III Gold level. This level features some of the most difficult timed runs I've ever encountered in any TR level, official or otherwise. For some there is literally NO room for error. Zero wiggle room. Those runs have to be pixel perfect, and even then the doors are shutting on Lara's pretty ankles. I was doing exactly what another reviewer mentioned: saving during pull-ups and mid-jump after executing near-flawless segments of each timed run in order to spare myself the frustration of restarting from ground zero/in front of the trigger switch. Level design was tight, very reminiscent of the 20X20X20 challenges, with the exception of the underwater areas. The section of map with the circuit fuses was very jarring in comparison to the rest of the level. We went from small rooms and cramped hallways to being completely overwhelmed. Extremely large underwater rooms also tend to be frustrating as a general rule and this one was no exception. When it's dark with a lot of shadows and fish moving about, finding that necessary crevasse leading to the next key item becomes 10x harder and very frustrating. I logged approximately 90 minutes with this level, and a good 30 of those were spent in that underwater cavern swimming about scrutinizing each and every nook in search of the last fuse. On the plus side I loved blowing up the underwater propulsion units with the explosive harpoons. Combat was on the mild side and never overwhelming, which was good considering the limited arsenal. Also had fun getting stuck and un-stuck in the room with the locked door that requires assistance to open. Nice touch. I enjoyed pretty much everything about this level, with the exception of the overwhelming underwater room. Found 3 of 4 secrets. The last one was great with the 'easter egg' cameo. Again, those explosive harpoons. Bwa ha ha! At the end of the day, this is well worth playing through, and it's a solid addition to this year's wonderful CaC competition. TRXII has done a really phenomenal job of capturing the atmosphere and overall 'feel' of TR III Gold, and I have to give them serious props for that. To create something fresh that still manages to evoke the same experience as the 21 years old original level is, well, awesome. That's what the competition is all about right? Well done, mate. Well done." - Chel (30-Nov-2019)

"Lara visits SLInc's underwater base once again, this time with considerably increased difficulty, but equally improved atmosphere. The level begins by gradually unlocking the interior of the base, graduating to some difficult timed-run sequences to get to the upper levels, and then launches Lara into a giant grotto with an impressively sized second base and research lab, filled with sharks, hostile submarines, and a few creepy mutant alligators, all of which were fun to fight. Reading other reviews, I was prepared for the timed sequences to be difficult, and while they were tight (especially the very first one to open a trapdoor), I found I could accomplish them in five tries or fewer, helped along by saving every time I managed an especially tricky move. Late in the level, Lara acquires an aqualung (after a short backtrack) that significantly enhances the later stages of the game, since you no longer need to be concerned about air. This turned the exploration for switches in the cavern into a much more peaceful adventure, and I enjoyed the atmospheric ambient sounds, the colorful Lost Artifact texture set, and the creepy textures drawn from Reunion with the piles of bones. The architecture of this second base area was impressive, with giant metal supports anchoring the area to the ocean floor. It all added up to a pleasant adventure! The two gameplay mechanics I did not enjoy were the distance or obscurity of switch locations compared to what they actually opened, and the multiple instances of logical switch puzzles. While the logic puzzles can be accomplished by writing down which switch does what, I (and many other players) simply use trial and error, since this is the only way to find out what the switches do at first without other guidance. If there were some texture or note indicating the logic, these would have been much more enjoyable. I liked the final boss fight, especially the camera angle. The level took me two hours, although some of this involved backtracking or exploration when I became lost, and I only found one secret: the much-appreciated explosive harpoons which helped do away with the submarines." - Cbl (27-Nov-2019)

"Not for the faint-hearted, this one! The timed runs/swims are tight and, yes, I had to get some ‘in house’ help. The underwater areas are absolutely stunning, albeit rather confusing as to where to go at times and, surprise surprise, the denizens of the deep are not at all friendly. Apart from sharks and divers, there are those submersibles firing at poor Lara as well, but at least she gets diving gear before doing too much swimming." - Jay (21-Nov-2019)

"As I Am a big fan of the TR gold levels, I enjoyed this level a lot! There is a strong resemblance to areas of the original TR3 gold level with the same name, but the author still managed to implement new ideas. Unfortunately the gameplay had its flaws, especially the nasty timeruns (one of them for a secret) were absolutely not to my taste. The valve puzzle was nice, but I wished there were some hints or tips for solving it, rather than trial and error (the camera hint showing the flames was not too helpful, except I would have drawn it to a paper, which valve activates what flame). Objects and environment were also fitting, even if I thought that the divers might have been a little bit too strong. An absolutely stunning part was the underwater cave section, where a lot of exploring was demanded. The level took me 1 and a half hour and I found 3 of 4 secrets. Recommended and especially for TR3 lovers." - MarlenaCrystal (17-Nov-2019)

"A level you should play in the middle of the competition pack since it suffers from "middle episode syndrome" with no strong ending or beginning - but as for such, it really stands strong: it's faithful to TR3 Gold which we rarely get remade, contains all the cramped twisted glass foreshadowing I would expect, yet still provides elements of surprise I didn't predict, therefore ticking all the boxes you need in a "new but classic" mission. I needed some time to get used to omnidirectional gameplay, and even more to find the fourth vial, but since I played this game on one of my stupid days (IQ -15 or lower), you might not even have that trouble. Good thing." - DJ Full (17-Nov-2019)

"On the one side an absolutely brilliantly set up level with masterful architecture, very careful texturing, decent lighting, customized objects, a lot of tricky timed runs and interesting exploration - on the other side too much of a good thing. The underwater caverns are fun to explore the first time around, but when you have to find yet another lever somewhere in the open and/or backtrack through the entire swimming area (as you have to do if you want to have the air lung), it becomes somewhat strenuous and quickly tedious. Also when there are repetitive setups with puzzles and parts where you pull a lever to open a door to find another lever. But still this level is not entirely boring, it really gives a good mix of everything otherwisely and the views are spectacular, with wide open spaces that are a feast at least for the eyes. The four secrets are very nicely hidden and the enemies are both well placed and diverse, with some nice fights underwater against sharks or mini U-boats. Also noteworthy was a scene where you have to lure a soldier somewhere to open a door, even if it is a bit obscure. A good level that can get an exercise in perseverance towards the end, but there are enough good moments to make it recommendable. 50 minutes." - manarch2 (16-Nov-2019)

"So before playing this level I actually was not aware that it existed before in a directors cut of Tomb Raider 3, and that this TRLE would be a bit of remake of that level. Nontheless it was very fun to do overall as I'm the kind of person that enjoys water levels quite a bit. And in that it hit the atmosphere on the head. Ocean Floors, underwater caves, diving bells, fish - this level has it all, making it a stark contrast from either the Ship or Cister-type water levels I am more used to. And that is very much appreciated. Everything works well in that themeing, even the oddly viscious chaingun divers.
The gameplay however is a bit hit and miss. This specific level has a lot timed parts, both in pressing switching and having to get somewhere quickly and in swimming due to the nature of the Air Meter. And the timed puzzles in this level are sooooo damn tight. And counter what one might think with my nickname, tightness isn't always great. At various points I would save-scum the perfect movement to just barely make it. Especially for the secrets. Secrets that in the end weren't actually that useful. One of them awarded me with explosive bolts that I did not use once. There is even a boss fight-esque situation in this level, where explosive weapons turn out to be completely useless. On the flipside, the game equips you with plenty of poison arrows, which - even more than the original TR4 - are so powerful that more often than not you could spent one arrow on an enemy and then just move away from them, and in about 6 seconds they would be defeated. And there is more than ample supply of them too. So most of the pickups seemed to stay underused. Same goes for what felt like a forest of normal harpoon arrows I never used. Additionally, some the caves and places to go were extremely hard to find, since everything is kind of a coral-cave of sorts. But that might just be an extension of very well done textures and lighting. There is however quite a bit of back and forth where you would enter a room to push a switch that would open access to a switch in another room that felt a tard bit arbitrary. But all in all I very much enjoyed playing this level, especially with it's rare colorful visuals and endearing underwater caves! The Atmosphere is truely great." - The Snarky Lesbian (09-Nov-2019)
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