Level: The Gates of Ishtah back home search
Author(s): Blacknile
total rating:7.56 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
alan 7 6 7 6
Bex 8 8 9 8
CC 7 7 7 8
Cuqui 9 8 8 9
Dimpfelmoser 9 8 9 8
eRIC 9 8 8 7
Gerty 8 8 7 8
Gonxii 9 9 10 10
Jay 8 7 8 8
Jose 5 6 7 7
Kristina 8 8 8 8
Lady Lara 7 8 8 10
Magnus 6 5 5 6
MichaelP 9 7 7 7
Miguel 7 5 6 5
Momster 8 8 8 8
Monika 9 8 8 8
Necro 8 6 7 7
Orbit Dream 7 6 5 6
Phil 8 7 7 8
RaiderGirl 9 8 8 9
Ruediger 7 6 8 8
Ryan 7 7 8 8
Sakusha 9 8 6 6
Sash 9 7 9 9
Scottie 5 6 7 8
Sheevah 8 6 9 8
Sherry 9 8 9 9
Treeble 7 7 7 8
category averages
(29 reviews)
7.79 7.10 7.59 7.76

Reviewer's comments

"This level must have been a tough nut to crack when it was first released. Even today, it still proved quite complex. The gameplay is surprisingly varied, with a good mix of well thought out puzzles (I think that the hint for the first statue puzzle was there, as you have to push them both on the side of the picture that is complete, the second one I'm not sure about), timed runs and jumping sequences, although I felt that there was too much running down long corridors and climbing long ladders for my taste and the maze was an irritation. Enemies and secrets are well placed, although seeing mostly just ninjas does get tiring after a while. In terms of looks, aside from it being too dark in places, it's quite colourful and pleasing although the mix of textures is rather unorthodox. Worth a look." - Ryan (06-Nov-2018)

"Your objective in this level is to pull a lever that is a the top of a tall room where Lara has fallen from. And to do that you will need to make a rather long trip. Yes, this game is about exploration, finding various cartouches and stars. There are some textures from TR1 used in this old level, some of Atlantis and others from the Cistern. But sometimes they were repetitive and in some rooms the lighting was flat, sometimes they were a bit empty of objects too. I liked to go back to the beginning after pulling that lever and making a swan dive to the water. I finished it in almost an hour: 57 minutes." - alan (28-Oct-2017)

"For such an old level, this is quite complex at times and took me well over an hour to achieve. There's a lot of exploration, some of it through maze like areas both on land and underwater. There are a few puzzles and a short timed (easy) run and plenty of ninjas and mummies to deal with, but it's mainly the exploration that may cause confusion at times. Lots of cartouches and hands to find and levers to throw too. Looks wise, it's not bad - occasionally very colourful and the high room where you have to make your way ever upwards is fairly imposing. Worth a look." - Jay (01-Jun-2015)

"I'm not very convinced with the gameplay from this level; there are a lot of switches to pull and the puzzles with the moveables are a bit "obscure"; example: in the room with two statues the fixed camera is not enough to give a real hint about where to move them. Sometimes there are cameras when you don't need them 'cause the door is near and another times you pull a lever or trigger something and you get disoriented; example: in the room with two floor levers for the timed run (why a floor lever for a timed sequence?) could be a camera to show the door opening; in the room whith many water holes when you place the hand, how do you know the spiked tiles are not active? Apart from this I think there are excessive artifacts to search and place. Again, the same old enemies from the tut1 wad: scorpions, white ninjas and mummies (Aren't there more kind of enemies?). The best for me were the lighting and the nice texturization, but even so the same texture tiles are repeated in big areas of the walls and ceilings. Take a try but better follow the walkthrough." - Jose (30-Apr-2015)

"This is yet another level which would have seemed highly innovative all those years ago,but which has had it's magic somewhat neutered along the way.The texturing is alright as far as it goes,but it doesn't really do much more than serve its basic purpose;while the lighting (although colourful at times) often errs toward darkness,which flares can do nothing to alleviate as the flare bug is evident from quite early on.The atmosphere does its best to grow on you,even against all these odds;but it's really only the gameplay which keeps the player absorbed.Despite a tendency toward mazes and much corridor running,there is plenty along the way to entertain - including a smart use of pushables;some inventive flip effects;a few clue'd puzzles;and a good variety of enemies.Progression is generally linear,eventually leading the player back to the beginning in a rather satisfying manner.Definitely worth playing,if only to see how the use of the original wads can still produce innovation and entertainment." - Orbit Dream (12-Feb-2015)

"A very nice level with good atmosphere and textures, it keeps you raiding for almost an hour or so, gameplay as long as puzzles were quite challenging with lot of back-tracking, a nice maze and long swimming tunnels, this level makes you think and re-think from begginig to end" - Gonxii (29-Sep-2013)

"My head smokes and I do not know what I should hold from this level. I have nothing against the Baddies, mummies and scorpions, although these sometimes were a little bit too many. It also does not disturb me which one had to go several times from point A to point B to do there something, so that one can continue with point A. The ways were luckily not so long which would have been dull it. And there is anyhow nothing to fault with the textures, there the level builder has performed good work. And the small labyrinth was luckily so small which one could not get lost. The riddles have irritated rather me. One had to gather so many cartouches, hands of the Sirius and Osiris which one almost already lost the overview. The camera hints were sometimes absent. And the hints were sometimes absent where one has to go then now with the pushable objects. And thus I am split about what I should hold from this level now actual. Though he looks good, but the Gameplay does not accept to me partially at all." - Scottie (19-Jun-2009)

"This is another example of a recent review drawing my attention to an older level. I wasn't as impressed with this one, however, as the scenery was somewhat crude even if the gameplay was fairly engaging. I used Eric's walkthrough and managed to get through in about 70 minutes, so you get a fair amount of playing time. It's not a bad level, just one that I won't remember for very long." - Phil (04-Mar-2009)

"In terms of gameplay, this was very good - especially for a level produced in trle's early history. The level design was quite remeniscent of the final levels of the original TR game. I found this quite challenging and it took me 2.5 hrs to complete. It's quite easy to get lost too since the entire level is open to exploration with only a small section inaccessible until various pickups are gathered and used. The puzzles are nicely thought out and I found not one section of this level boring or tediuos. I have played three levels tonight and this one is by far the best of them." - Necro (26-Feb-2009)

"A great level which will always remain one of my favourites. A different texturing gives to this level a special look, sometimes it works well sometimes not too much. What works very well here are the interesting exploration and the puzzles. Due to the limitations of the Tut1 Wad, many flipmaps have been used by the author to make appear new ledges and therefore new situations. I like very much the fact that an extra area can be visited if all the artefacts have been found. An old classic." - eRIC (27-Apr-2005)

"This level is pretty mind-boggling at times. The labyrinth with the many doors can drive you crazy if you are impatient and you want fast-paced gameplay instead of taking the time to do everything one step at a time. There is so much backtracking in this level that you even have to go back to the beginning of the level in order to finish it. The author concealed certain objects such as a vase which allows you to open a door if you shoot at it with the crossbow. The secrets are TR classics because the player simply has to take a little detour and do something that's fairly challenging in order to get them. As you continue on the level becomes more and more difficult and the enemies are harder to kill. For the first time I have played a custom level with a timed run which was fairly easy to do. I liked the way the author would 'forbid' the player from taking a shortcut (eg. the boulder preventing you from climbing a ladder which leads to the upper floor of the room with the purple pool) and obliging him or her to take an alternate route to the same area and for once you MUST kill the mummies because they can have key items such as cartouche pieces. The level's size is very convenient and surprisingly it takes one hour to finish it (you don't expect that from a 900kb download). Unfortunately this diamond is slightly flawed because of a flare bug (too many flame emitters) a flame_emitter2 without a torch and a few (very few) stretched textures here and there. Even though many people may find a walkthrough necessary I don't think there should be one. Otherwise it would ruin the mind-boggling effect that this level can create." - Sakusha (05-Aug-2004)

"A level in mixed style - you will find Egypt elements but you also will find Sci-Fi-Textures. The map is difficult and at the end I didn't know where a door has opened. There is also a dead end in relation with a rolling ball but with a savegame I could fix it. Not so much enemies: mummies white baddy and scorpions. But let them live is not a solution here - you have to talk with weapons...Light/Shadow placing is well done and with the sounds you get a good ambience. Even more than 1 hour of playing I didn't get the kick which so many levels have...But you can see the effort of the builder - flipmaps cameras...." - Miguel (25-Feb-2004)

"This was not my kind of level. It was confusing with a lot of backtracking and I had a really hard time finding the third Hand. Which was in the long tunnel underwater by the way. I can't believe I missed it. That was not the only time I got stuck since it's really hard to know where you have to go sometimes. Other than that the gameplay was quite interesting with a few nice ideas. The texturing was... mixed. That is the textures were mixed. In a very strange way. It didn't look that good. I finished the level in a little over half an hour after I had finally found the last Hand." - Magnus (29-Jan-2004)

"I was very impressed with the architecture of this level and the use of textures Atlantean/catacomb. Some rooms were very high with lots of levels to work your way up or down as the case may be. I did an awful lot of backtracking and I got stuck so often I almost gave up altogether. I never got to open some gates especially the ones in the maze even the one that the flyby shows. I just climbed into the crawlspace. I have a feeling I didn't do some things the right way round. And I feel I messed up by actually triggering that spike boulder (maybe not I don't know). Some good twists on puzzles we've seen before i.e. those pushable statues that have to be lowered to the ground from ledges above. Another room with a statue on a ledge stumped me I pushed it but I have no idea what it did? Also what was I to shoot with the lasersight? One thing that stands out for me is the use of coloured lights quite beautiful in places. I'd be interested in doing this again if a little walkthrough were written or maybe I'll just try it again anyway myself." - CC (19-Oct-2003)

"I liked this level a lot. Having played part of it in a previous attempt but stopped due to being stuck forever I thought to give it another try. I am glad I did because it is really one of the good old ones. Lara has to collect cartouche pieces hands and solve puzzles with moving statues climb a lot and most of all open doors in a maze. Every one of those doors holds a small adventure behind it with mummies that hold important items so be sure to kill the enemies. I thought the room after the underwater tunnels which take almost all of Lara's breath was very good. Pushing those statues and having to play with the switches to lower them was something that we don't usually find. I am sure it was new in the period the level was released. I would recommend this level despite its date it's good entertainment." - Kristina (04-Jul-2003)

"It seems that Ishtah loves gates because there were about a hundred of them in this level! And opening them was not that easy. This level requires way too much exploration and I am not a big fan of levels like this but it kept me occupied for 70 minutes. Many doors remained closed though and the level ends right near the start but you must travel all around the level to get that door open. Many items are required and be careful not to collect twice the same puzzle items (like Hands or Carouches). This doesn't happen with all of them but the previous items tend to disappear when you get a new one of the same kind and believe me you WILL need all of them. Many Hands and Cartouches are needed and finding them is what makes this level a little boring in my opinion. After using the three orange hands the cameras didn't work anymore so I had to roam around that maze looking for which door just opened. Also I'd like to warn you about something - the mummies mostly carry crucial items so be sure to kill the dead! It's an old level and I actually am impressed with the textures. The author merged many different styles in a single texture set and it seemed to work out quite well!" - Treeble (05-Apr-2003)

"This is an older level which thwarted me when it first came out. Thought I would give it another try and it was well worth it. This time I blew up the mummies which was the key to continuing. Obviously I am getting better in my game play. Very interesting and beautiful level. The many storied room was just great. Some enemies lots of running swimming and climbing. What more can you ask for? Great level." - Sherry (30-Dec-2002)

"Interesting level. Very well done and beautifully designed. Atmosphere is superb. Good textures and lighting. Nice puzzles to solve and quite difficult. Wonderful rooms. I found the underwater passages a little hard. It is worthy to be recommended." - Cuqui (25-Nov-2002)

"A level that was built in the early days of the level editor but more entertaining than many new ones. The texturing partially reminds of TR1 and the lighting is very good. The task is finding three stars (hands) to finish the level. Besides there are many switches to find. There is one rather hard diving part and Lara drowned several times before she found the right way. Your opponents are baddies mummies and a few small scorpions the typical tut1 staff. Unfortunately the level ended very suddenly and two doors kept close." - Sheevah (17-Aug-2002)

"This is another stand out level that I have been lucky enough to have come across large rooms beautiful and varying textures throughout difficult puzzles progression that makes you feel as though you have moved from one entire level to another all in all just a joy to play there are some Asian looking large tiered rooms that were just spectacular and in themselves alone held more to do than most levels water was used to perfection here also with one very breath depriving long swim that will no doubt have the player reloading at least once do yourselves a big favour and check this one out." - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

"This level has been out there for a while and is still fascinating. It starts off pretty slowly and easily but then opens up with puzzles becoming more in quantity and higher in difficulty thus making it a really enjoyable level. There are deadly spikes a few mummies which you better blast away lots of pushing and pulling several puzzle pieces to be found and a very long almost deadly dive. Talking about diving - there are two opportunities for a very long jump dive into water which adds just that little extra bit of fun. On the downside while the textures and colourful lighting are interesting I found it applied in a very careless way and mostly not very consistent. The one camera fly-by is missing its one-shot setting and I had a hard time getting off that trigger tile some of the puzzles seem to lack a bit of logic and the end of the level is - well sort of sudden - ...but nevertheless an hour of great entertainment for lovers of puzzle based levels." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)

"First of all let me say that the creator of this level is obviously a brilliant person who put a lot of time and effort into this project and I hope to see more of their work in the future. Every room is different and gorgeous with large areas to explore and lots of fun stuff to do (including a VERY high dive off a platform in the large tiered room). There are few enemies but they are well placed. It mostly involves puzzle solving and coming back to areas you've already been to now that you've finally got that door open. However the puzzles in this level are quite challenging and the area is huge! The cameras show when a door is being opened but there are so many doors and they all look the same - I never could tell what had just happened. There were doors and switches that I never did get open or use and I could never have finished this level without a little help. This will give you a few hours of gameplay and if you make it through that long swim you'll be a star!" - RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)

"This level will give you the impression that it is huge all the closed grates with a promise of more to come. Nice little tricks are added like stepping on a certain tile will trigger deadly spikes and you can't get off the ledge. Saving in different slots is a must. Missed the certain fly-by Michael mentioned as well and had to ask for help at a few occasions. Would like to have more indication at certain moment where to go next as I kept running around to figure out what I just opened. Still one grating stayed closed though (hmmm wonder what is behind it). All in all the rooms were vast very well done good atmosphere more than enough ammo. Enemies easy to get rid off more a puzzle level then anything else. Looking forwards to another level by this author. Found one bug though in the room with the floating blocks I couldn't use the binoculars it threw me back to the desktop." - Gerty (21-Jun-2002)

"This is an older level but a really enjoyable one. There are beautiful rooms to discover. The puzzles are not too difficult. Something special is the one where Lara has to move 2 figures down. There are ninjas and mummies to cope with. I found one secret." - Monika (21-Jun-2002)

"Rhapsody in Blue. A classic TR adventure with items to find puzzles to solve levers to push blocks to climb long underwaterways to manoeuvre and foes to kill all set in a very well designed structure that alternates between dungeonesque rooms and beautifully textured thermals. The highgpoint is the long climb up the high tower that holds a variety of challenging tasks. Therefore the subsequent lever and door feast was an utter disappointment to me. There are at least five Hands of S/O involved which makes the placing of them a bit confusing but you will get there eventually. A few guncrazy nomads are thrown in for good measure along with mummies that you shouldn't run away from but this adventure isn't memorable for it's enemies but for the puzzle invested course that will after more than an hour bring you right back to the starting point. I had a wonderful time in Ishtah." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)

"Back into the temples again but this one is above average. I started it at 9 pm and finished 1 am since there was so much to see and try out. The puzzle with the pushables on different floors was cool. The swimming sequences were well timed. The gameplay is divided in two different halves. In the first half of the level you hardly meet any enemies. In the second half a lot of gunfire will keep you awake. Maybe the author thought that's necessary since you have to run back through a lot of rooms you have already seen to put in a couple of keys. This running-in-circles and looking for too many closed or opened doors became a bit tiresome but it's the only thing I have to complain about in this quite professional looking level." - Rüdiger (21-Jun-2002)

"I've only just played this one and it's been out for a while now. So it's commendable that I found it to be just as enjoyable as some of the higher-rated new levels. This one reminded me very much of TR1 in places and for all the right reasons. For example there are some parts near the end that use textures that look (to me anyway) very similar to those used on the walls of the 'Atlantis' levels. I almost expected the infamous flying demons to swoop on me at any minute. The atmosphere is superb. Also the puzzles here are nice - not too easy not too difficult but challenging enough to make you sit back and have to think about things from time to time. This is great stuff and like I said it's reminiscent of TR1 in many respects during the latter half of the game. Throughout the level enemies are not the focal point - the few you do meet fit perfectly into the gameplay and are easy to get rid of. Speaking of gameplay everything has a nice 'learning curve' in that things get more difficult the further you progress - in particular one long swim that killed me twice and a spiked boulder that I didn't even *have* to encounter (it all seems so obvious with hindsight!) As someone else has mentioned you also have the chance to try out that wonderful swan dive move - I managed five somersaults at one point and that was just plain fun. If I had one complaint it would be that there is a fair amount of backtracking involved and at times it was not always obvious where to go. Other than that this was a totally enjoyable level for me and it's definitely worth a download." - Bex (21-Jun-2002)

"What a great level! I can't believe I waited so long to play this one. A magnificent puzzling level with a beautiful setting that rivals some newer levels. As the other reviewers have mentioned be sure to blow up the mummies that's why you get the crossbow right off. The only problem I had with this was maybe a little too much backtracking but the cells my brain re-generated while playing this one makes up for any drawbacks found. Definitely worth a look I can't believe it only had 9 reviews." - Momster (21-Jun-2002)

"I played this level a while ago and it was what got me really interested in playing TRLE levels. I almost fell off my chair when I first saw the beautiful textures and the color saturated lighting effects. I got stuck a few times as I avoided the mummies but thought it was a wonderful idea to put some puzzle pieces in their guts. The main drawback for me was having to backtrack a lot - I actually gave up for a while because I could not figure out what door I had opened - that pink/salmon colored series of hallways almost drove me nuts. But this level is special in my book especially for an Egyptian level." - LadyLara (21-Jun-2002)
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