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Level: Black Palace back home search
Author(s): Piega
total rating:9.07 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
alan 6 8 9 9
CC 10 9 10 10
Cuqui 9 8 10 9
David 9 8 6 8
DeathMelody 9 9 10 9
Dhama 10 7 9 10
Dimpfelmoser 10 9 10 10
DJ Full 9 9 9 8
Dougsan 9 10 10 10
eTux 10 9 10 9
Gerty 8 9 10 10
gfd 9 10 10 10
Ivan 10 10 10 10
Jay 8 8 10 10
Jbc21 9 8 9 8
Jose 5 8 9 8
Josep 9 8 8 10
Josi 9 9 10 8
Kristina 9 9 10 10
Magnus 9 9 9 10
manarch2 6 8 9 8
MichaelP 9 8 9 8
Miguel 9 8 10 9
Minox 10 9 9 10
Momster 9 9 10 10
Navi 8 9 9 9
Nicky 10 10 10 10
Nomad 9 10 10 10
Obig 9 9 9 9
Percys 9 9 10 10
Phil 10 9 10 9
QRS 8 8 10 10
RaiderGirl 9 8 10 8
rjb 9 8 9 9
Ruben 9 9 10 9
Ryan 8 9 10 9
Sash 9 8 9 9
Scottie 9 8 10 10
Tammta 9 8 10 10
Torry 9 8 10 8
Treeble 9 8 9 9
Vinci 8 9 9 10
WebKnight 9 10 10 10
Xxenofex 9 8 10 9
category averages
(44 reviews)
8.82 8.66 9.52 9.27

Reviewer's comments

"Just like the author's previous level, there's a very nice atmosphere and well applied textures here. Cameras are nice placed and the sound is too. What I didn't like was the maze. Unfortunately, the walkthrough doesn't have a specific path to follow, but oh well that was the only part where I played without the walkthrough. If you like exploring then you should play this level. I finished in almost 2 hours." - alan (02-Apr-2018)

"This is a pretty impressive effort for an older level. As you can expect from this builder, the environments are extremely evocative and stunning, with some nice uses of lighting (a bit too dark in places though) with excellent atmosphere, sound and camera angles. The gameplay is generally fun, although I could have done without the dark beetle labyrinth, some of the long monkeyswings and swims, and I curiously never found the Grenade Launcher in one of the secrets, where the walkthrough said it should be." - Ryan (14-Dec-2017)

"It's a long time since I played this level and I'd forgotten just how annoying the maze section with the beetles is. Apart from that, it's a good adventure with nicely balanced gameplay, but be prepared for a lot of exploring as it's not the most linear of levels. If you've played Piega's other levels, you will know what to expect in the way of excellent architecture. If, however, this is your first taste, prepare to be amazed at what can be achieved with basic textures and objects in the hands of a master." - Jay (24-Feb-2016)

"This had all the feelings of an exciting adventure. Piega has created an amazing complex buried in caves underground. The surroundings and setting felt realistic thanks to pro level textures, lighting and apt usage of greenery and I felt like I was really underground exploring a forgotten egyptian site giving that awesome tomb raider feel. Extra details like the cinematic camera angles (i.e while opening a crypt it showed a skeleton rising behind lara), the scarab entering a cranny after the second use, added to the experience. The secrets were very well placed and seperate rooms with beautiful visuals, one had stairs descending into water and looked fantastic. Gameplay was rich and consisted mainly of hunting for four beetles in a non-linear way. I loved descending the tower with monkey bars around it and the small maze with scarabs chasing brought excitement. The enemies were the usual wad enemies but they were very well placed. The design started to lack towards the end but still the end felt like a final showdown with a final escape. Just make sure to pick up the scarab every time or it will cause a weird bug and make the level unfinishable. The only thing i didn't get in this level was why it was called black palace." - Nomad (06-Feb-2016)

"A lot of consistency with the prequel, but a different wad, improved enemy usage and more varied gameplay. The intense red color scheme puts a dismal overlay on originally bright classic cleopal, but thankfully some breaks from it are given, for instance the obelisk pool, the scarab maze or the green secret. SUMMARY: A solid sequel. It missed some wow moments again, but still left me tempted to replay The Last Crusade." - DJ Full (17-Jan-2016)

"As usual from this author, an excellent architecture and a good design with a fabulous texturization; also there is a professional atmosphere with a nice use of cameras and musics and the enemies are well balanced (perhaps too many demigods in the final area). On the other hand, the gameplay was not good for me, too much no-lineal finding often dead ends and repeating the same movements and routes many times, the nasty dark maze with the beetles (I had to edit a savegame to get extra flares and medipacks) and the continuous darkness forcing me to play always with flare in hand. I found the crossbow and the sight but no use for it, so I think I've missed secrets or a part of the gameplay. Definitively, a level to play following the walkthrough." - Jose (12-Nov-2015)

"The next high-quality offering from the builder and considering the time this level was built it's a quite marvellous effort. Especially the looks are top notch again - the cleopal set has been used to its potential and the texturing is very cleanly applied, giving this level a very sober feeling. The lighting is sometimes very good too, but sometimes it's quite unicoloured and oppressively in the use of red, overall it was great at the start but there's no evolution and all rooms look a bit the same. The cameras are very professionally used and sometimes even in ways you don't see often in custom levels even nowadays, and the choice of sounds is always very apt. Enemies are used decently in well chosen situations and the object design - as far as it can go with a classic set - is creative and pretty too, and the five secrets are also well hidden, most even have a new area you can explore. I didn't have any problems after finding the last secret after having picked up the scarab again. The gameplay has a few good moments, like a couple of decent platforming parts and fine exploration for the four beetles, but there are way too many tedious bits to really enjoy it, like the horribly long monkeyswing session down a tower, high ladders, many crawlspaces, large and confusing underwater areas and of course the rather pointless (if not very large) dark beetle maze - a few more puzzles would have been a welcome addition instead. Anyway, this is still deservedly a classic and definately worth to check out only to see what is possible with limited tools. 40 minutes." - manarch2 (04-Jul-2015)

"This level is almost perfection. The gameplay is perfect. This camera movement, it seems that this is the room that rotates. Beautiful." - Minox (20-Mar-2014)

"Good "Cleopatra's Palace"-Level are rare in the Level Universe. I do not know why. Is it really so hard to build a good Palace-Level? One would have Piega to ask for, because Black Palace is an excellent level. However, I had to consult a few times the WT, because some riddles were so sophisticated that it was difficult to find the right solution. Most rooms looked good, because only few texture mistakes were to be seen and above all I never had this "this room is too big and too empty"-feeling. On the one hand it was a good idea of Piega to place beside some Harpyies only a few Demigods, but then it was irritating a little bit that the Demigods hung around only in one single room. It would have been nicer if Piega had distributed them in the whole level. However, this was the only criticism point, because all together it is a real pleasure to play this level." - Scottie (01-Jun-2011)

"Although it may have a bit of an old fashioned touch it clearly shows that Piega even in his early years was way ahead of most many other builders in those days , mainly because of the fact he sat down and studied deeply the TRLE engine for long before starting to construct or even present his excellent workouts to the TRLE community.It was these pioneers in the old days who helped and encouraged many others to follow to take up the challenge , until it finally has shaped into the TRLE community 2010 ,with many stones which had to be moved along the way and countless hours our fantasic builders have spent all alone in their little homes before their screens only to renew ever and ever our little vision of a never ending dream." - Ruben (13-Aug-2010)

"Ok, so I'm just a few years late with this review, but I'd eventually get to play this level. This is another of the levels I've started several times and dropped them before I could finish, in this case it's because you have to use the provided savegame otherwise you're stuck right in the beginning, thus you can not use any sort of modified wad (even if you've only replaced the outfit, it's not going to work). What can I say, I was totally overwhelmed by the whole level, except the final areas which looked a little bland in comparison to the entire palace you were leaping through. The primary quest is a music scroll, but to get to it you'll need to hunt four beetles to unlock the black pyramid, and it's easier said than done -- it took me a while to find the fourth beetle, but due to the non-linearity of this level, it might well have been the first one you found. Unfortunately I came across the bug with the mech scarab (it simply vanished before reaching the other end!) and thus I can't add the revolver secret to my final stats, but I was there and saw the weird outcomes that Phil kindly warns of in the walkthrough. In the end, this is proof that you don't need any sort of customization to build a winning level. 70 minutes, 3 secrets. 08/07" - Treeble (05-Aug-2007)

"This is a pleasant level; for those who like the egyptian feeling it could be on the top. It's not too hard, except the roamings. Maybe the dark-scarab part near the end is some kind of extra-time, but it is possible that it seemed so only for me. But there are some challenges. I hope your swimming skills are excellent, because you'll need it. :) Also, spare ammo and medipacks and try to find the 5th secret, because the serious firepower lies there. The textures are wonderful, but a little bit dark. I suggest you play this level. It got its high rankings not by accident. :)" - Obig (25-Jan-2006)

"Another great level by Rene. Everything is looking fine and he has mastered the standard textures and objects in this level. I did find this level to be very hard though. Sometimes so hard it was not even fun. The worst thing is the dark maze later on in the game.. and the bug with the pulley thingie. I had to replay the whole level due to that. Other than that it is a great level. Not as good as the Catacomb towers but still a great level to play." - QRS (31-May-2005)

"I played this level after finishing the author's first level-Catacomb Towers. This one is much better. Texturing is great and gameplay is great too - the best I have played. Fighting with the enemies at the end of the level is very interesting. Absolutely a must-have level ^^ [Feb 22 2004]" - DeathMelody (22-Feb-2004)

"This level looks just as beautiful as Rene's previous - if not more so! It is more of a challenge this time because it's certainly more complex. There is also definitely more wandering around wondering what to do this a well. This map is not linear which means you can get the objects you need and face the various tests in the order you choose (most of the time). Another professional quality level from the master then :) It took me 2 and a half hours and I found all 5 secrets!" - gfd (25-Dec-2003)

"Can a recent player add anything else useful at this late date? (18.10.03) Well Navi above has identified that there seems to be a problem in the game if you collect all the secrets but not if you miss out the last secret. Having come across the same problem - you cannot finish the game properly because most ladders become unclimbable the 'picture' becomes entirely unstable in places (not the 'earthquake' kind of unstable) monkey swings are 'unclingable' spikes are automatically raised and the 'guardian' enemies at the end all appear at once but then activate one at a time - I came to the same conclusion until I investigated a bit more. You'll be pleased to discover that there is in fact a simpler solution (see below). Curious and most annoying for a game that is attractively laid out as intricate as 'Catacomb Towers' but less dark most of the time (the notable exception being the awful 'beetle maze' where suddenly you have no idea what you're supposed to be doing). I liked it as much as 'C.T' overall but for different reasons - I thought the puzzles in 'C.T' were better and the frequent use of windows to show you rooms you hadn't found yet that were all 'intertwined' with those you had found was intriguing. So the solution: don't leave the mechanical scarab 'running'! As you approach the 5th secret you use the scarab for the 3rd and last time so you might be tempted (as was I) not to pick it up again. If you don't then all the problems detailed above become your delight! If you leave it 'running' and collect the 5th secret nearby then when you reach the 'lava pool' room where you need to jump about and climb a bit you'll find you can't do the climbing nor cling to the monkey swing that follows etc. I went back and picked it up again and managed to continue past the obstacles WITH all 10 secrets. [I played straight through: 'C.T' then 'B.P'.] (Although if you've already encountered the problem you may be too late to reverse it: better then to reload an earlier savegame.) I enjoyed both games for their ingenuity and can see that these were a fine testing ground for the talented Rene who was at that time yet to produce the magnificent 'Last Crusade'. (I haven't yet played 'Sanctuary' which everyone says surpasses even that.)" - rjb (18-Oct-2003)

"Taking a break from TR AOD - I don't like it so I don't find the time to play it - I remembered I never played the sequel to 'Catacomb Towers'. I liked that game except for the excessive use of darkness. 'Black Palace' certainly is worth playing. It is better than 'Catacomb Towers' because there is no excess darkness. The textures are close to perfect the game play is original and I was never at a loss for where to go or how to accomplish the task at hand. There are enough puzzles to keep even experienced Raiders happy (though the grey matter will not be brought to a boil) and a maze or two that kept this lover of mazes challenged. I learned on my second go round that there is a secret in the last maze that I missed the first time through but it had no impact on the game. On two efforts I found five different secrets though not in a single game. They are well hidden ...Enemies you ask? Until the end there really aren't any worth mentioning. Don't get cocky though. Acquire all the medical packs ammo and secrets (major weapons are secrets) you can because you'll need them for the final fights. Excellent adventure. Wouldn't change a thing." - Dougsan (17-Jul-2003)

"I've come from Catacomb Towers straight to this level and again considering the age of these levels it's remarkably good. I've rarely seen such beautiful rooms especially the caves. Gameplay is extraordinary. I'm playing this level for the first time now April 2003 so I know there are loads of reviews already. I'll just mention some details i.e. pharaoh head column tops the fixed camera scene when Lara opens a coffin and the skeleton rises behind her the room with 3 beetles you think you're going to get hah the monkey swinging around a gigantic structure. Catacomb Towers and Black Palace have to be a must for all custom level players. Brilliant." - CC (18-Apr-2003)

"A nice Egypt level. Graphically designed with a lot of care and impeccable texturing. Lara needs to find four beetles. Various types of enemies but not too many around. Puzzles not too hard and progression was quite smooth. Now the secrets: I restarted this game a second time as I could not find all secrets in the first run. When I had all five I then suddenly could not finish the game anymore. For one there seems to be a bug and then there is a place in the game which I could pass without having the secrets but not anymore when I had them. But I liked it nonetheless." - Navi (31-Jan-2003)

"The first time I played it I was running around for hours searching. Well the second time I knew what to do. Everything has been said I want to add my dislike for the maze and the beetles. The whole level though is a big garden with the cleopal wad used so ordinary but very well designed. I don't know what it is with Rene's levels and they are all so good old and new. If it wasn't for the date you would think it's a level made nowadays. Quite a few doors to open crowbar or switches many spikes to get through the mechanical scarab of course is appropriate for that and beetles to put on the pyramid and proceed among other puzzles. Everything looks very good I liked the view from up above. Start playing it and watch your step." - Kristina (02-Dec-2002)

"I've propably said before that the cleopal adventures are among my least favorites but how could I deny the excellence of this level just because of that? Sure there is one really long and tedious swim a boring monkey swing down a tower of some sort and the looks of the areas are monotonous at times but the gameplay is unique a class of it's own and the objects used smartly to create a totally unique environment for an Egyptian level. There was one secret I desperately wanted to get (I think it's a secret cause I never got there through any of the quests) cause it looked so nice but I got only 2 secrets and that one was not among them. The camerawork is spectacular from the camera that guides Lara when she's falling in the water to the one that shows a skeleton rising while you explore a coffin and not forgetting the flybys! The final battle with the 5 demigods was great (this makes me think why Core gave us such crappy wads cause you can see that the demigods launch the deadly 'shoes' at Lara) and one of the most exciting ones I've been through in my custom level playing career. My second favorite level from Piega (straight after the Sanctuary of Water Ice & Fire) so far (if he'll release another one)." - eTux (09-Nov-2002)

"The first time I played this as an inexperienced raider it took me hours even with emails from Rene. This time it took me just a little under 2 hours and although much of it was familiar it was still a thrilling experience. This is an ultimate raiding experience with non-linear gameplay which always returns you to the same place to continue on yet another quest for 1 more black beetle until you've collected four. The first time I played the concept of the revolving water room had me totally baffled but I was ready for it now as well as the action of pulling the chain only once. The lung busting swim and the long monkeyswing were tedious but somehow fit into the picture and the maze with the beetles chasing Lara around was nasty but what a feeling when you finally get through that door! What else can I say it's all been said. Wonderful adventure." - Momster (19-Oct-2002)

"Black Palace convinces you from the first step because of his incredible atmosphere which Rene has built with his very good placing of textures light and shadows. A lot of really good ideas even if there is nothing new in enemies or sounds - but he uses the things professionally and shows quality. Challenge in jumping by fire and teethspikes and a good show-down with demigods in the high places...More than 1:45 hours of real gameplay and of course something for your eyes!" - Miguel (07-Oct-2002)

"Again Rene made an adventure and a real feast for the eye. Although this one baffled me as I couldn't get my bearings at all in this level. Only thing I had to do is to keep track what was where and even then I probably backtracked way too much. I did make it tough although even with the revised wads the chains had to be pulled a couple of times before the doors opened. I did like the way you had to travel back and forwards and because it is pretty huge it take you quite a while to go from point A to B and back again. I didn't like the maze although after the swim and finding the revolver secret I got rid of the beetles so I could concentrate on opening that door (pull the chains a couple of times). The jumping at the end was hard but once you know where you go it is much easier. After finishing the game it all made sense does that make sense? 17-09-2002" - Gerty (23-Sep-2002)

"An excellent level. I'm definitely a great fan of Piega. Not because he's from the same country but because he makes such beautiful and fun-to-play levels. The only downside is that it's really too dark sometimes which is a shame for the oh so beautiful textures. On the other hand it's good for the atmosphere which is also important. The rooms are very beautifully made and it's a joy to walk (and sometimes swim) around without being bothered too much by enemies although I did not like the beetles in that dark maze! (a small maze luckily)." - Josi (05-Sep-2002)

"Wonderful level with excellent atmosphere and very good playing. My recommendation for one of the best levels. Not as good as Last Crusade but much better than many others." - Ivan (25-Aug-2002)

"Having already played Piega's other two levels I knew this would be good and I wasn't disappointed. This classic Egyptian style level is as good and as professionally made as many of the original TR levels. The objective finding four beetles is one we've all seen a hundred times but with the variety of puzzles and the perfect level of difficulty it's just as good as the first time. I found four secrets by the end and my time said 90 minutes but I probably spent over two hours working on this one. It's obvious the author spent a great deal of time on the rooms textures lighting (though some areas were too dark) music and camera work and the result is a level that everyone will enjoy." - RaiderGirl (20-Aug-2002)

"This is the sequel to 'Catacomb Towers' and has a different air to it. This features mainly the buildup of a story of escaping and has still several puzzles. I like the pool-circulation puzzle. I've tumbled for a misjudging a crowbar-door. (I got stuck two days!) But still excellent professional work. Fantastic!" - Vinci (15-Aug-2002)

"It has taken me a long time to finally get around and play this and especially given its age you are in for a real treat in this (not so black) Palace. I spent 1:45 hours of net gaming time here and while it starts out in a pretty standard Cleopal WAD style Rene yet again comes up with masterful architecture beautiful caves and structures and water passages that make this a special scenery. I found three secrets and all of them in extra rooms which was great but unfortunately the actual reward you got was a little poor (shotgun revolver and a bit of ammo). Enemies are only the occasional harpy and skeleton and four demigods in the final area. Very good use of camera together with the standard TR music many spike traps chains to pull two Lara doubles (does that make a triple then?) and a cool jump sequence keep you entertained. What I did not care for so much was the dark maze with beetles nibbling on your heels the looong monkeyswing passage and that one breathtakingly long swim. You will use the mechanical scarab you got in Catacomb Towers three times and claim the obligatory four black beetles a portal guardian a knot and a gem as well as the music scroll which you get to keep. Great tomb raiding here even after such a long time!" - Michael (02-Aug-2002)

"All I can say is if Catacomb Towers is ranked 21 and this level 32 I must be in for a super treat when I lock and load the reigning #1 Last Crusade. Black Palace meets and probably exceeds the high standard Piega set for himself with Catacomb Towers if difficulty of gameplay is the primary criterion. I played Catacomb Towers without the flycheat and had to whine for help only once whereas I unabashedly flew about willy nilly while trying to navigate Black Palace and I found it necessary to consult the forum several times for hints. The two biggest examples that stick out in my mind: the location of the beetle in that tucked-away spot high up in a cave and the horseman's gem that you had to find in the darkness and take from the third vanquished demigod. And I didn't even bother trying to hop my way across the platforms and spikes in the little room leading to the final conflict; I was so tired by that time that I just DOZYed across. But as a whole this was another outstanding level that richly deserves the high ratings it has enjoyed. If Piega's third level (Last Crusade) was released eight months ago (as I write this) it's high time for an encore. I put Piega right up there with Pascal Ducey and Justin who have been my favorite level designers up until now in my fledgling Tomb Raider career." - Phil (12-Jul-2002)

"There haven't been many tomb levels that stylishly combine organic and man made textures as beautifully as they have been in this 90 minute level but it isn't any real surprise as Rene with his wonderful eye for detail is the creator here. This level has lots of great progression so that you feel like you are exploring but you always seem to find your way back to main areas from all different directions and puzzling is never too hard so the flow of gameplay is fairly smooth with the fantastic inclusion of 5 lovely secret areas similar to those found in 'Catacomb Towers'. Throughout the level there aren't a whole lot of enemies and if you've played Rene's other levels you'll see that he doesn't depend on loads of enemies but rather strategically placing the ones he does include so save your ammo up for the final demigod confrontations. I guess there is really no need for reviews when it comes to Rene's levels because really can he make a bad level and of course we all know what the answer is: no!" - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

"First off I am not a fan of Egyptian levels but this one stands out from the crowd. The author has cleverly inserted some underwater sequences and some cave sequences that provide that much needed release from this tired old theme. The objects used naturally were the tired old ones we have seen a thousand times but the gaming time and thought taken to find these made up for it. The level is not too difficult though which in itself as I have discovered is a difficult medium for authors to discover. All in all a great level and a must play." - Torry (21-Jun-2002)

"Black Palace is one of the best levels I have played so far. Full of action colorful (there is nothing black in this palace) tricky but not too much many original ideas and a nice climax with the Demigod attacks. And yet I found it a bit long. When I thought I had opened the last door it was only the start for another puzzling area. Overall this level is a must download." - Jbc21 (21-Jun-2002)

"A very nice level with wonderful scenarios. I have enjoyed specially the underwater caves, really you can feel that you are inside. The"natural" scenarios, where is quite difficult to get good results, are really very good. The mix of buildings and caves is very nice and fine. The use of cameras is good, for example the rotating room, but it would be also recommendable to use it to get some help. Download it!" - Josep (21-Jun-2002)

"*Very* impressive indeed. Loved the detail in all the rooms the mix of run-around and puzzles is cool. Perhaps not enough pick-ups plus a couple of puzzles are perhaps not obvious enough (or I'm not the right sort of gamer for those puzzles). I felt that the level was a little dark in a couple of places (the side exit (where the beetle is) was very hard to see and find not to mention the maze area) and some of the essential elements were not highlighted - for instance you do need the crossbow at the end and yet if you get to the end and you don't have it you can't go back for it. Also FYI when I broke up the bench under which the grenade launcher was (the underwater one) there was no grenade launcher there. No idea what happened! I finished the level without it. Some of the doors didn't appear to open (the double doors in the maze for instance) and I did find it confusing that the underwater door I was trying to open didn't open from that direction - it had the same texture as the doors which did open which gave the wrong signal maybe the texture should be changed. I would also have liked some clue as to the pull-ropes (ie that you just pull each once only) - a cutaway showing the door etc opening would have been handy and given the clue that you only pull them once. Overall it's a superb level very well thought out and constructed and tricky to do without being too impossible." - David (21-Jun-2002)

"Did you play Catacomb Towers? Then you have to play Black Palace. In short words: harder more beautiful better. Another Must Play!" - WebKnight (21-Jun-2002)

"Another superb offering from this master level creator. I loved every moment of it and if anything was lacking it was in the enemy department. Personally I would love to have seen ninjas instead of skeletons but that is just my own opinion. If you want an adventure that will use some more of that grey matter then you can't go wrong with this one. One point that did get on my nerves a little was the monkey swing all the way to the bottom of one of the larger rooms. My arms really did start to ache (LOL). The bottom line though is that if you miss this one you will miss out!" - dhama (21-Jun-2002)

"I can't understand why this level has less reviews than both 'Catacomb Towers' and 'The Last Crusade' since it's just as good as those levels (well maybe not as good as The Last Crusade). I assume that the 'Black' in the name considers the lighting because the level really is too dark in many places. The texturing is excellent however and therefore I couldn't rate the level any lower in that category just because the level is a little too dark. There aren't many enemies but it feels so good not having to kill millions of enemies in a level (I've been playing a couple of levels like this recently). The gameplay is very good and after a while it gets non-linear when Lara has to find four beetles. The beetles are four different (small) adventures. The level lasts for about one hour and you should be occupied the whole time since it's easy to see what you have to do to make progress. Really a good level and everyone who loved the author's other levels should play (and review) this one." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

"I am rating this level after having rated his 'The Last Crusade' which I didn't like that much. But this one 'Black Palace' is wonderful. So I was a little bit disappointed when I played his last game as his maniacal way of texturing was not improved but done in a 'decadent way'. Instead this level is very beautiful :) I completely liked the illumination; I found it was very original and fitted with both textures and ambience. I am rating them the max as I was really satisfied for my eyes. Even if I think this one would have deserved some original textures this does not decrease the atmosphere which I even rate to the max. The gameplay is even appreciable for the mind :) So definitely it is still his best game and surely one of the best levels I played." - Tammta (21-Jun-2002)

"'Black Palace' is an Egyptian level very much in the style of the Cleopatra-levels in TRLR. Lara has to find items and switches to open doors in order to make her way thru chambers diving areas palaces and hallways and only few baddies are coming her way. I don't know if there's a story behind but who cares. As in 'Catacomb Towers' and 'Last Crusade' Piega has created a breathtaking world with excellent lighting and beautiful colors. The gameplay is rather linear and not too difficult - except for this maze with the scarabs that nearly drove me crazy. In fact I was close to giving up but then when I finally made it thru I was glad I didn't. When you come to the maze you'll find some ropes Lara has to pull - for heaven's sake let her pull every rope only ONCE or she'll be running around in this maze forever! And before pulling any ropes look for a waterhole Lara can jump in - that way you'll get rid of the nerve killing scarabs! You may wonder why the hell Piega doesn't give you a clue about that - well it's part of Piega's philosophy of an authentic gameplay and 'real surviving'. You don't get hints that a real Lara wouldn't get in real life. For the same reasons there are doors that never open and large locations with almost nothing to do and nothing to find in. You'll find the same philosophy in 'Catacomb Towers' and 'Last Crusade'. I loved 'Black Palace' for it's genuine and outstanding atmosphere that drew me in right from the start. I know I'll play it again as I did with 'Towers' and 'Crusade'. But when you start 'Black Palace' make sure you have the revised WADs installed or it won't work." - Percys (21-Jun-2002)

"In this level the atmosphere has impressed me mostly. The cameras and sound were used very well the textures were used professionally. Particularly the labyrinth with the time gate and the scarabs has cost me a lot of time and the final battle with the demigods was made strange. Secrets were extremely well placed I do not think that I have found all. If I consider that the level was already built approximately one year ago and which means was available at that time I like the level still better. I have played the level only a year after its appearance and I must say: a very beautiful work." - Xxenofex (21-Jun-2002)

"To complete Black Palace you'll need the beetle from Catacomb Towers. So I was surprised when Black Palace was nothing like Catacomb at all. But it is a very nice level again with a lot more enemies this time. You've got to be even better then in Catacomb (with jumping walking and looking) but that can't be any problem it's just exciting to be at your best. Lighting was great textures well chosen and the atmosphere was beautiful again. A complete different level then Catacomb so we all can see that there is somebody working to not fall into repetition. A perfectionist at work again!" - Nicky (21-Jun-2002)

"The Cleopal wad is probably my least favourite but how could anyone not love this?! Why are Piega's levels so much fun? Is it the excellent camerawork the brilliantly textured rooms the original gameplay the cleverly structured course? Most likely all those things coming together in perfect harmony. This is just so inventive and I always like it when an opening or a window gives you a glimpse of other areas that you're going to visit later on. Every time you pry loose a beetle you expect the black swarm to attack but it will happen when you're less prepared. This is the most fluent gameplay from Piega and though the four beetle section is non linear you have a strong sense of making progress throughout the whole adventure. Flybys are beautifully done and very helpful and whenever you really need it you get a hint where to go next . Piega is really a class of its own." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)

"This is the third creation of Rene I've played. It's a wonderful level with beautiful rooms. Lighting makes an atmosphere of mystery that I liked very much. In my opinion this level is better than Catacomb Towers. I've enjoyed it very much." - Cuqui (21-Jun-2002)
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