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Level: The Castle back home search
Author(s): Lucas Malmgreen
total rating:7.27 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Dimpfelmoser 6 6 6 6
Gerty 6 6 8 7
Jose 4 5 6 7
Josi 5 6 6 5
Kristina 9 8 9 8
MichaelP 9 6 8 8
Momster 8 7 9 9
Phil 8 8 9 7
RaiderGirl 5 8 7 7
Ryan 8 8 8 7
Tombaholic 8 8 9 8
Treeble 9 7 7 7
Yoav 8 8 8 8
category averages
(13 reviews)
7.15 7.00 7.69 7.23

Reviewer's comments

"This level took me well over an hour to successfully complete, so it's definitely one of the more complex and no doubt difficult levels from the early days. And despite the inevitable frustrations and tedious bits that I endured (and you probably will too, I felt a sense of accomplishment and achievement upon crossing the finish trigger (really just an empty room with THE END stamped on). Granted, the object puzzle was too tedious, the swimming/crocodile shooting rather long/winded and the lighting was annoyingly dark in places with no flares, but I found it was balanced by the trigger tile puzzles, timed runs and enjoyable exploration of the different towers. Definitely worth a look if you're up for it, but keep the walkthrough handy." - Ryan (19-Nov-2017)

"Not good the gameplay for me 'cause the tricky tasks (starting by the very frustrating curved running jump to the green block, and continuing in the next room with three switches and no hints to know which to pull, or the room with two jumpswitches with the difficult drop/grab/shimmy to the crawlspace) an also the permanent disorentation, 'cause many times it's very difficult to figure out where to go and I needed to explore huge areas to find my way. Example: look for a small crawlspace in the long castle moat; once I got the pieces to form the Alphabet Key, where to go?, where is the receptacle for the Silver Eagle?, etc. I think the author could place some more cameras to guide the players in that sense, but there are only very few cameras in all the game. Unmarked spiked traps in the battlements, move tediously the four pieces a very long distance, no flares pickups in a level with many dark rooms, the phantom wall near the end (even with the hint, it's still a nasty phantom wall), etc. At least the timed run was not hard, and the spiked tiles are pad-type triggered. There are also some interesting tasks here and there, but the game seems prepared to suffer players. Not a level for my taste but perhaps good for expert players." - Jose (05-Aug-2016)

"This is an amazingly elaborate level that was far ahead of its time when it was released back in 2002. You explore in and around a huge castle with high turrets, an outbuilding and a crocodile-infested moat. Much backtracking is involved, and even though I finally resorted to extracurricular aids just to save time, and even though I used Harry Laudie's typcially thorough walkthrough, my game clock registered an hour and a half by the time I'd finished. Some of the hazards are rather devious, particularly the unmarked spike traps, but of course the walkthrough gave me advance warnings of these. It's dark as well, but using the extracurricular aids mentioned earlier gave me the added benefit of unlimited flares. Not a barn burner, but definitely worth a look." - Phil (19-Aug-2014)

“Amazing adventure, one of my favorites. Excellent Castle level, many puzzles to solve for some gates/doors, a little work to move the goblets to the right place. I played this level two times and I enjoyed this level.” – Yoav (27-Dec-2003)

“Finally I got around playing the other Lucas’ level. I will start commenting about the title level Lucas included – it’s pretty interesting indeed, and quite a laugh if you watch it until the end. Now the level itself – it’s HUGE. I mean it. You’ll be running round and round wondering what to do next in every 5 minutes. I think this level can be split in two parts – the first one, which is pretty confusing and you’ll never know what to do next and if what you did was in the right order – I myself didn’t realize that to get to the upper area I should have used the illegal shortcut I used before lol. This first part is over when you get to the Blue Crystal. Lara surely got tired after pushing those statues... In the second part, it goes pretty straightforward, it seemed like Lucas went out of resources – you use the crystal to open the trapdoor beneath you and just as you drop you get the crowbar, which you use to open the door in the room behind you and just as you open that door you get the key to open the tower! Watch out as you jump out of that tower because it is pretty easy to miss that receptacle (a camera would have been of help here!). Then you jump down to the water, and swim through a wall (well, this one was pretty easy though, as this one wall was textured upside down – something had to be different ;) ). Then you surface and ‘THE END’. It’s what that icy room tells you though. So, I must say I did like this 90 minutes adventure, but I do NOT recommend this level to any beginner – even experienced raiders might have trouble with it. So, my namesake, keep building and improve your skills and your next level will be a hit!” – Treeble (25-Dec-2003)

“Having played this level twice now, I think it's rather under-rated. The game map is very cleverly done and gameplay features some nice puzzles, a fun timed sequence, and a couple rather tricky jumps, just to name a few. I'd call the gameplay moderately difficult as I was left wondering about the next move more than once, but persistence pays off. The only time gameplay really bogged down was during a dreadfully long pushable object sequence. Enemies don't play a large roll, but I thought traps and enemies were well used. One rather major flaw is that the main courtyard can be reached illegally, leaving the player wondering what to do with a cartouche piece or two they may have collected. As for atmosphere, I thought the castle was nicely done, with a dark brooding feel, enhanced by some good lighting effects. In this case, turn a blind eye to the level's overall rating and give it a go - it's worth it.” – Tombaholic (25-Dec-2003)

“Well, us reviewers are a strange bunch, aren’t we? All the time we complain about all those easy linear levels that provide only such lame adventuring and once we get a rather challenging course to crack, we complain it is all confusing and contrived. I started this level when it was released and thought that as well. And now when I picked it back up, having some of the forum comments in mind it flowed rather well, though definitely no walk in the park, you almost always get a helpful cutscene or hint about where to go next and there is really a number of very, very clever ideas in here. If I got it right, the sequence of things to do is ‘Alphabet Key’ (cartouche), Snake Xia (serpent), Blue Crystal (gem), crowbar, Tower Key, Silver Eagle (vraeus), Music Scroll. Enemies are only a few crocodiles and skeletons and scorpions and shame on me, I missed all of the three secrets. But I did spend a very enjoyable 1:30 hours in here, scratching my head every now and then about which next move to accomplish and enjoying the nice, if a little bare, castle setting. Yes, the initial curved jump is super tricky and the movable objects pushing way too tedious but I liked it nonetheless. Try it if you dare!” – Michael (03-Jan-2003)

“This is the first time ever that I used the flycheat. Early in the level there was a jump I could not do (running jump, turn in the air and grab a ledge). Funny thing is that when I came back to that room later in the game, a block was raised to make it so much easier. I don't know what made that block raise but I wish it could have been sooner so I would not have to cheat. So it was not a very nice start but later on, after a lot of searching and running around, it became better. I liked the room where you had to free the knight to progress. The wall jumping was kinda nice to do too. I'm not sure there is a particular order to do things, but I never got really stuck so I guess not. It can be confusing because most of the time you don't know why you are doing things, just look around carefully if anything opened or raised when you pull levers or even step on certain tiles. I have no idea why the crowbar is to be found, there's no use for it as far as I could see. The level is very dark (I know, a castle in the night is very dark) but I don't like that. The end is obvious although there is no end trigger. If I would have found the music scroll earlier (that is possible) I could have ended the level without doing the half of it, I think. Still, it's not a bad level, I hope the author will not be discouraged by this review and keeps on building.” – Josi (28-Dec-2002)

“I usually am a big fan of castle levels, but in my opinion this was just too confusing a level for one that looked like it should be simple. Gameplay mainly consists of two hours of seeing where you need to be but not being able to get there, lots of doors to figure out how to open, buttons, wall switches and jump switches with no camera work so who knows what they actually do, and a few objects to collect - one of which I thought was unfair as you have to swim through a wall to get to it. It looks like the author tried to make something both challenging and different than other levels out there, and there were some clever ideas, but a few changes would make it less confusing and more fun, like more light and more camera work. The three skull secrets are fun to collect though and the enemies used well. After all the work it takes to get to the end, your only reward is a message written on the floor.” – RaiderGirl (24-Nov-2002)

“A very good and dark level, not black dark just the right atmosphere. The player has to find a vraeus, a serpent and solve other puzzles to reach the end. A long underwater tunnel is the start and then the adventure begins. The castle is surrounded by spikes and you have to find the way to enter it. As all levels that respect themselves have problems or bugs this is one could be no exception. There is a problem with the cartouche piece and its hole, it is well hidden obviously because I didn't solve that puzzle, so I dropped inside the castle from one of the roofs nearby. That is the problem I am talking about. Other than that the whole level is fun with skeletons chasing you and crocodiles into the lake around the castle. Too many jump switches I would say and blocks raising. The part that caught my interest was with the movable objects and the compass, you will know what I am talking about when you get there. Another good part was the use of the knight to help you go further, that is also something we don't see often. All together is a very enjoyable level and recommended.” – Kristina (10-Oct-2002)

“I like castles, but I didn’t like this one. Very confusing as there are loads of jump levers and push buttons and half the time I didn’t know what they did. Even don’t know if the way into the castle wasn’t an illegal jump. But that’s the only thing that worked for me without cheating. For the rest you need to find your way into all those towers and in every one there is either levers to jump or buttons to push. The 4 balls in the corner had me baffled as only 2 came down, no matter what I tried. The trick with the knight very nifty, haven’t seen that one in any level yet. I didn’t encounter that much enemies but then I only found the shotgun, very handy for the few skeletons, and some medpacks. There is one jump from one tower to the other that was great and the jump with the Vraeus had me reloading a few times. You’ll get a blue gem, a Snake Xia and the Vraeus (Lucas used another name) and the scroll. So far didn’t find an end trigger but it was quite obvious I reached it.16-09-2002” – Gerty (23-Sep-2002)

“Remembering this level, I think: What a mess. There are certainly some good moments here but for every nice effect or clever idea you get something that completely ruins it. For instance, there is a nice variation of the four pushable object puzzles but it is spoiled by the fact that you have to drag the objects over such a long distance. Or the nice timed hopping sequence along the moat is followed by some unnecessary deadly spikes and two levers that I found fairly dispensable. The course is sometimes too clever for its own good cause you can take unintentional shortcuts, which add to the overall confusion; also, the gameplay is dragged out over two hours or so, mainly by making you cover every distance three or four times. I'm a big fan of the castle setting but here everything -inside and outside alike- is boxy with an interior that seems to have no other purpose than to provide a tricky course for Lara, thus giving the whole experience a fairly contrived and artificial vibe. As for the swim through wall, well, it is actually marked in some way but I still found it out of place.” – Dimpfelmoser (22-Sep-2002)

“This was by no means a piece of cake. Almost 2 hours of playing time and I started over almost completely when I became totally lost and confused. For a first effort, I must say this author has done an outstanding job. Some difficult jumps and maneuvers are necessary to advance in this level. Enemies are almost non-existent, a couple of scorpions, 1 undead knight who has to hit you 3 times and 3 skeletons. But this level was very confusing and I must confess to having to dozy my way up to the top of 1 column, or I’d be playing for 8 hours. There are a lot of switches to find and use and plenty of spike traps waiting, but if you have the patience, worth a look.” – Momster (21-Sep-2002)
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