Level: Create a Classic 2019 - Hostile Waters back home search
Author(s): SrDanielPonces
total rating:9.48 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Baratheon 10 10 10 9
Cbl 10 9 10 10
Chel 10 10 9 9
dinne 9 9 10 9
DJ Full 9 10 10 9
Jason L 10 8 8 7
Jay 9 10 10 9
Klona 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 9 10 9
Raider99 8 10 10 10
Ryan 9 9 10 9
Talos 10 9 10 9
Woops 10 10 10 10
category averages
(13 reviews)
9.54 9.46 9.77 9.15

Reviewer's comments

"I’m a big fan of ship levels and this is definitely one of the best. The atmosphere is excellent and there are some wonderful animations, especially Lara climbing a pipe early on in the game. That had me stuck for a while as it was not something she normally manages to achieve. Gameplay is varied and enjoyable, if somewhat complex in places, but luckily by the time I played it the walkthrough was available so I was glad to dip in at times. There are plenty of divers out to get Lara, but the weapon pickups are more than sufficient to deal with them. If you like ship levels, you really mustn’t miss this." - Jay (12-Nov-2019)

"This competition kind of snuck up on me, although I'm sure that many TR fans who visit other like-minded sites were eagerly awaiting the event. When I saw that influx of 18 levels I expected something like bite-sized morsels that would occupy 15 or 20 minutes of playing time, but this initial (for me) CaC download took me a whopping two and a half hours to complete, even with the assistance of Dutchy's typically complete and reliable walkthrough. We're given a heavy dose of nostalgia with a return to TR2's Underwater Ship levels. The two parts fit together seamlessly, although I spent four times as long in Part 1 as in Part 2. I was unable even to invoke the game at first, but the builder suggested that I try deleting one of the plug-ins (SAS_fix.dll). I did that, and I found that I could now play normally on my XP machine. You get a generous six secrets, all in the first part, and to complete the game you need to conquer a timed swim (which I did with about a second to spare) so you can enjoy the end credits. I see from the present ratings that this is one of the top offerings in the competition, but I'm looking forward to playing the remaining 17. High recommendations." - Phil (12-Nov-2019)

"This double-level set really succeeds admirably at recreating the atmosphere and nostalgia of the original TR2 underwater sections while presenting us with a sufficient variety of brand new scenarios to keep things fresh, as well as being a worthy sequel to this builder's One Room Challenge entry. Apart from the textures being slightly pixelated, everything surroundings- and atmosphere-wise is pretty much on point, and the addition of the customised cutscenes and animations are a definite plus point. I also nearly jumped out my skin when I saw that the scuba divers had seemingly grown to twice their normal size and were now land enemies as well as underwater enemies. On the gameplay side of things, the entertainment factor remains high throughout thanks to some nifty puzzle sequences which do demand some thought from the player, but are never unfair or frustrating to absolve. The secrets also provide some nice little side quests, although the only thing you really get is those cute dragon statuettes. The only gripe I have (and it is extremely minor) is that one of the timed runs from the main turning wheel might be a bit too difficult for some players, although it was only for a secret, so I'm not complaining too much. A truly enchanting underwater adventure." - Ryan (11-Nov-2019)

"This has to be one of the most creative levels I have played. It nails the classic look. The gameplay is only a taste of what I hope is the future of TRLE." - Klona (11-Nov-2019)

"Simply put: the perfect classic experience, mixed with NG elements: the perfect level. Everything is amazing, from the title screen, up to the last second, is perfect. never a dull moment in this game. The eel jumpscare was so amazing it had me in tears haha! I really loved it. the perfect level." - Woops (09-Nov-2019)

"Two and a half hours of awesome. This sequel level surpasses part one of the adventure and is an absolute blast to play. Those of you who loved the underwater segment of Tomb Raider II will have a great time with this level. Daniel weaves the old into the new seamlessly with just enough familiarity to evoke a strong sense of nostalgia. The new elements are an action-packed, innovative joy. The title screen flyby is worth watching to the end, and the cutscenes are nice. Excellent job on atmosphere and the further deterioration and decline of the once-proud luxury vessel as it is slowly claimed by the ocean. The metal and wood is rotting away and the local aquatic life have moved into each new flooded compartment and made it their home. Some of the new animations and custom sound effects were great, and there was a lot about this level that impressed me. Tomb Raider II textures are what they are, however! Daniel's innovation on staircases (you'll know it when you climb one) is well done. Combat was well-balanced and there are plenty of pickups available. The frogmen are some of my most-hated/most-loved adversaries. There isn't anything quite like a harpoon-laden dogfight in the water with those guys. The puzzles and exploration fall into the sweet spot of pleasantly challenging and thought-provoking without being overly taxing. I hunted out all 6 secrets, 2 of which were just evil. Won't spoil the fun for the rest of you! Happy dragon hunting! The timed swim of the second level was pretty tight, and luckily I remember the layout of those hull compartments very well, so I was able to zip through with 7 seconds on the countdown. There really isn't any time to waste when the clock starts. This open water diver really hope that Lara did her decompression stops on the way back up; that would be a serious case of the bends! I didn't encounter any of the bugs that Daniel mentioned in the Readme. Okay, that being said... when do I get to play part 3?!" - Chel (09-Nov-2019)

"An amazing adventure, with strong Maria Doria's vibes, nostalgic views and great reinterpretations, with many surprises. This level brings a lot of great custom animations and cinematic scenes. The level design is well structured, even though the game progression is pretty linear, but the explorable area is so big and various that the linearity brings literally no boredom and there are chances you don't even notice it. From the start to the end there is a smooth climax of tension, and the ending part is a whole backtracking of the original TR2 40 Fathoms, timed and risky. Enemies/traps are harmonious and progressive, even though I missed some dangerous fishes (except the moray eel). Puzzles are nice and the ones of the water pressure and of the waterskin are interesting to solve. Secrets are relatively easy to find and enjoyable. A beautiful level that is open to a wide audience, from more relaxed gamers to more advanced ones, that miss TR2. Totally recommended." - dinne (06-Nov-2019)

"This level set features a beautiful atmosphere, engaging and dynamic puzzles, surprisingly varied environments within the sunken ship, and extra polish with classic sound effects, ring inventory, and health / breath bars. SrDanielPonces expertly conjures nostalgia through the setting and textures while building entirely new environments and puzzles that make the levels feel fresh. Beginning where Maria Dorias Lost Treasure left off, “Under Siege,” is instantly engaging, with a door-by-door exploration of the ship’s cabins. I am fond of levels which include windows or viewpoints into places further along, a design style used here and reminiscent of Unfinished Business and The Lost Artifact. The caverns visible through portholes or chambers blocked by debris make the gradual opening up of the level feel like an accomplishment. This meant backtracking, but it was genuinely exciting to realize a new object could open something seen earlier. Puzzles often relied on wits and attention to context and detail, a sign of truly intelligent level design. One example is the pressure gauge puzzle, which requires consideration of exactly where Lara is. Enemies appear halfway through the first level, except for the demonic gulping eel lurking in an inconvenient alcove. While combat is never my favorite part of Tomb Raider, I was surprised to never encounter sharks or other threatening sea life while swimming around, especially because of the abundant harpoos. Pickups appeared often, although adding the automatic pistols and uzis to Lara’s arsenal took some extra exploration. Later, it was fun to blast through the frogmen, but I also missed the earlier peace and solitude. Well-placed musical cues, primarily from TR1 and TR2, aided the atmosphere. The music that plays as Lara emerges from a crawlspace into a gigantic cavern with three decks of the ship to explore was especially memorable. Music played an even larger role in the short second level, “Under Pressure,” which consisted of a few puzzles followed by a timed combat and swim to escape the collapsing ship. Here, the background track included new themes that perfectly ramped up the “pressure” of Lara’s escape, and sped up as the timer ticked down. While I enjoyed the level immensely, I think it was at its best when showing off its large environments, careful exploration, and puzzle-solving. In addition to a few more underwater enemies, I would have liked to see other parts of the ship not present in the original TR2. I loved the sections that were upside-down, but what if some of the ship were perpendicular? The various instruction papers could also have been more legible. The only bugs I encountered had to do with the new stair objects and the ascent/descent in a pipe between a dry room and a water room. I occasionally sank into the stair objects, which caused Lara to slide across the floor before being released. In the case of the pipe, Lara got stuck swimming in the wall above it and I had to reload. Apart from these, the new animations and cutscenes were great: I loved Lara’s initial ascent up a pipe to enter the ship. My final critique is of the timed-swim escape. While the music made it exciting, the swim’s environment itself was not especially interesting, consisting of large rusty hallways and many shattered wooden crates. I think it would have been fun to see more variety here, perhaps catching glimpses of the level’s previous locations. A memorable, beautiful level that I’m looking forward to revisiting in order to find all the secrets. The wonderful traversal of the undersea environments and solving the smart puzzles provided a great sense of achievement. 3 hours to complete both levels, found 3/6 secrets." - Cbl (06-Nov-2019)

"A very talented TRLE author here. In this game we explore in more detail the old sunken Maria Doria ship with some interesting gameplay stuff like the fact that you need to break a rock which has incrusted inside a key that later we're going to need, or some cool puzzles like waterskin one. We should also mention some really well done animations with cutscenes like the one at the very beginning when Lara goes inside a rusty pipe! This was a really good level, with great ideas and an actual decent length (I beated it in almost 2h) so... Congrats to SrDanielPoncess for this Create a Classic TRLE, I really enjoyed it and probably going to replay it soon :D" - Jason L (06-Nov-2019)

"I haven't played the prequel to this level, however the builder did show us nicely what it was through the title level as well with intro cutscene. Set directly after the events of Maria Doria's lost treasure, you have to find a way to escape the wreck and return to the surface. The gameplay is filled with some nice innovative ideas, immersive cutscenes and creative puzzles. However, even with all of that, the gameplay did feel a bit straightforward and not engaging enough through the whole playthrough. It lacked some more platforming or a few timed runs thrown here and there to force players to be a bit more responsive and faster and get even more immersed thorough some action. In every other department the level excels, it has nicely implemented enemies (without sound or AI issues, plus a cutscene announcing their appearance!), nicely hidden secrets, nicely put and lit objects. The level as a whole was really immersive and the builder captured the isolation & claustrophobic feel of the level fantastically. I highly recommend this level to any fan of TR2 and as I've heard, there might a continuation within these series of levels and I'm very much looking forward to them as with each release this builder shows more and more promise and keeps getting better!" - Raider99 (06-Nov-2019)

"Since I was a child I wanted to explore the cabins of the Maria Doria (the original Living Quarters are no cabins, the only visible "living" area is the old theater), and finally we can explore other areas and decks of the ship (including some reserved crew only areas), complete with exquisitely new objects in lowpoly and beyond! Lara can interact with different objects collected to make her way, returning to areas of the ship already visited in TR2 (the Ballroom, the Tea Room and the indoor pool Dressing room present in the Wreck of the Maria Doria; the Theatre, part of the decks present in the Living Areas)and visiting new areas looks like the cabins. Unlike the remake levels, this time we really return aboard the mysterious wreck, which is starting to collapse on itself, sinking into the depths. The gameplay is to say the least original, complete with heart-throb racing and some amazing actions. I would have preferred the face of Tomb Raider II's Lara instead of the TRIV face, but it's irrelevant. If you love the Maria Doria' set levels, playing it is a duty." - Talos (06-Nov-2019)

"Hostile Waters is the epitome of classic Tomb Raider. Aesthetically, absolute perfection. THIS is classic through and through. Starting with the fantastic title screen (great logo), to the interactive game-play (advanced and new, but still classic), the stunning cut-scenes (incredible animations and camera work) and attention to the detail (the elevator shaft, the huge chasm) and sound (that eel death noise) make this one of the best levels I have ever played. A gripe? Not enough effort put into the lighting & a few areas through-out. But still, highly HIGHLY recommend." - Baratheon (06-Nov-2019)

"It's a work of art to tweak with everything but still maintain the classic (f)eel, and the ending just blew my mind. Also it's refreshing to not stumble upon secrets without extra attention (not saying easy secrets are bad though). My only gripe is the inaccessible deck cameo, I got so disappointed I will actually include it in my own level (hopefully released in 20 years or so). Possibly the best classic Doria so far - dive in and don't do Daniel a denial..." - DJ Full (05-Nov-2019)
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