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Level: The Building of Russia back home search
Author(s): Smallmoon
total rating:7.24 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
alan 7 6 7 5
Andi Croft 9 9 9 9
Boris 9 9 8 9
CC 8 7 7 7
David 8 6 7 7
Dimpfelmoser 10 8 8 7
Engelchen Lara 9 8 9 8
eTux 6 6 6 5
Freeman Porter 9 9 9 9
G.Croft 8 8 8 8
Gerty 8 7 7 7
Jay 7 7 8 7
Jose 6 6 5 5
Kristina 9 9 9 9
Lara_Fox_Croft 4 5 3 4
Magnus 5 3 3 4
MichaelP 7 7 8 9
Nutman 8 8 7 8
Orbit Dream 6 5 5 5
Phil 8 8 8 7
Qwendo 8 8 9 8
RaiderGirl 7 8 8 7
Ryan 7 7 7 6
Sash 9 10 9 8
Scottie 9 8 7 5
Sheevah 6 6 6 5
Torry 9 9 10 10
Treeble 6 6 5 6
category averages
(28 reviews)
7.57 7.25 7.21 6.93

Reviewer's comments

"This is actually quite an extended raid for being released in 2001, but the majority of the gameplay is very simple and linear. The only two occasions I got stuck were due to the fact that I overlooked a hidden lever near the start and I didn't see the invisible crack in the fire tile room. Aside from those, there's a lot of levers to pull and quite lot of crawling through ducts and running down corridors, so it does get a bit tedious in places. It's also rather dark in places and I found the textures to be a bit sloppily applied. Plenty of guards and bats to shoot, plus a wraith to evade, but overall not a bad raid." - Ryan (10-Nov-2018)

"This is a level that uses city textures to create a building in Russia. There are a lot of guards to kill, as well as switches, and stretched textures. The only part I liked was the big room from the loading screen, it had some nice jumps in platforms. Some flybys are well placed. I got stuck in the room with the fire with an invisible crack that took me a while to find out how to grab it. There are a lot of dark places and it was awful to find the flare bug when I needed flares the most. I already wanted it to end; when I heard that track that usually plays when a level is about to end, I was kind of relieved but there was still another lever to find to open that gate. Found 5 secrets and finished in 57 minutes." - alan (03-Jan-2018)

"after I saw some people review this level, I decided to take a look to it. How disapointed I was when I played this level. I suppose this is because of the age of the level, I'm not sure, if I compare it to some other games of the beginning of the editor it still a not good level. This level was a like a lot of other levels (even recent ones) I mean with no interesting gameplay and a lot of guard to kill..More a shooter than a Tomb Raider. The level design is not that good, textures are not good at all, a lot of stretched textures etc etc... About the gameplay, you run in a very cubic level, kill enemies, pull levers, open doors with a crowbar swim and run again...this is less than a TR4 official level. This is pointless. When I see this note for this level I understand how hard the reviewers became and how sweet they were... If I would review this level how some reviewers do now I would put some 3 or 2 to every points. But I'm not this kind of people, this level is bad compare other levels I played, but this is an old one... Maybe I should be nice for that." - Lara_Fox_Croft (14-Aug-2015)

"This is fairly linear and straightforward in terms of gameplay, mainly involving shooting a load of guards and a few bats and, at one point, running away from a wraith which seemed to have wandered in from another game entirely. It's very dark in places, but you should find sufficient flares to cope, plus a generous supply of revolver ammo, so don't miss the 'secret' revolver. Despite a lot of crawlspaces and lever throwing, I actually enjoyed this more than I expected. The city atmosphere is rather good and although some of the textures are less than carefully applied, it manages to look quite good too." - Jay (13-Aug-2015)

"This level is very long, but not so hard to play if you explore carefully the rooms to find the right switches to pull, many of them hidden in the darkness. There is a swinging ball to shoot and an invisible crack, but the remaining tasks are pull switches and pull more switches. Most of the rooms are very dark, but you'll find enough flares and ammo to deal with the numerous SAS and some bats here and there. The architecture is simple, and the textures are often stretched in all rooms. I found 5 secrets in dark crawlspaces (excessive crawlspaces and monkeyswings for my taste). Also the rooms are very empty with no objects, and you'll only find floors, walls and ceilings in all rooms, giving an unreal appearance. Better don't try to follow the walkthrough 'cause it's unreadable." - Jose (26-May-2015)

"This level was warmly received when it was released 13 years ago, but it hasn't been played and reviewed very much in recent times. I started by referring to the walkthrough, but to state it as charitably as possible I found it less than helpful (other than to confirm from time to time that I was on the right track). Fortunately, the game is linear enough to be played without getting stuck if you keep your eyes open, and the tasks are well within the reach of the average player. I even found a majority of the secrets on my own (be on the lookout for crawl spaces), including the revolver near the beginning. It's a bit dark in places, however, and to make matters worse the flare bug kicks in near the end, so this flaw is reflected in my scores. Still, it's an enjoyable raid that plays remarkably well even after all these years. Recommended, but you'll probably want to give yourself extra flares." - Phil (11-Mar-2014)

"This level wins certainly no brilliancy prize, because for it one sees too many stretched textures and the lighting is also not the yellow of the egg. But this level is good to play, has some interesting places and for the dark corners one finds quite a few Flares. Moreover, one finds almost all weapons, a lot of ammunition and enough Medipacks, thus the many SAS-Soldiers are no problem. Who searches for a Shooter which looks still quite good, is exactly right here." - Scottie (19-Feb-2010)

"Magnus mentions in his review this level has once been in the Top 30; and I seriously wonder why would it if it ever has. This isn't a bad level, but it's not really something exceptional. In fact, progression is rather linear and it seemed a lot more like a shooter to me, but still, I had some fun with it. Textures were often stretched and lighting wasn't diverse, ranging from pitch black to regular defaults. There was a point where I got stuck and I didn't realize until I tried and came across the unmarked climbing surface, which led me out of there. All in all, it's an early work and plays as such. 45 minutes, 3 secrets. 02/07" - Treeble (20-Feb-2007)

"I thought long and hard about which level to play for my 400th review (I know there are people out there with over a thousand reviews, but it's taken me years to get this far), and what better level than the one level I deliberately chose not to review when I first played it? Sure, there are quite a few other levels I've played and simply forgot to review, but for this level it was a deliberate decision, as I didn't like it at all, despite the high ratings it had got (I think it was even in the Top 30 at one point). I blamed it on having a terrible headache and moved on to another level. Four years or so later, I've finally gone back to it, and you know what? It's not very good. Granted, it was made in the early days of the level editor, so you can't fault it for using the standard city wad for making a base level, but it's still not a good level. Gameplay mainly consists of finding the darkest corner in a room, since that's where the author generally hides his or her levers. There are also quite a few enemies, which quickly gets irritating. There are a couple of fun rooms, though, where you get to perform some death-defying jumps. I liked the daring choice of using blue textures in a lot of places, but unfortunately, that was the only thing I liked about the texturing. It's decent in places, but there's an amazing amount of stretched textures - not even floor and ceiling tiles go safe. The lighting is pretty dark in most rooms, but there are plenty of flares to be found. In the end, this twenty-five-minute level was about as good as I originally thought. I must say I was disappointed. The author's other levels are better, so check those out instead." - Magnus (01-Aug-2006)

"I liked this level very much and it's one of the few times because it's quiet dark at places but I never run out of flares. The building is great with bluish areas everywhere and much to do. There are jumps involved levers to push secrets to find which were four for me and some nice camera work. It kept me entertained and wasn't bored even once; the game play is straight forward with the crowbar being an essential item from some point after. Everything is well done with the items you need given at the right time and although the laser-sight was a secret another one was provided at the area it had to be used; good thinking. I think this is better than 'Alcazar Raider' and a MUST play level." - Kristina (16-Sep-2003)

"Stretched textures; predictable enemies; repetetive tasks; boxy rooms. If this level were released today would it score highly? I sincerely doubt it but I don't see its age as being an excuse for leniency. Although there's a decent flow to the gameplay I became so bored with this that I just wanted it to end so I could go and do something else. But if you get all sweaty-palmed at the thought of climbing up boxes shooting baddies and then picking up their discarded ammo all in the same type of environment over and over and over again for an hour or so then this is the level for you." - Orbit Dream (24-Aug-2003)

"I have a savegame called Oct 8 2002 that's when I started this level and got completely stuck at the start. Now I decided to give it another go (July 2003) and after running around a bit again at the start on the point of throwing it out altogether I spotted the hole near the long shimmy crack with the floor switch in it. Well I needn't tell you I felt a right thick. Or maybe it's just that I've become more experienced and generally speaking know what to look for. (I'm probably going to eat those words soon so I'll quit while I'm ahead). This is a very very strange looking place. A base perhaps going into a kind of factory complex some swimming pools crawlspaces rope swings. I found it a fast paced level. After the first hidden switch I looked everywhere so I seemed to have got it right each time after that. You don't notice the weirdness of the environment after a while because gameplay is great it just will not let you go 'til you're finished. I found two lasersights and the enemies SAS were excellently placed. Great stuff. BTW I've just had a look at other reviews. If you run to the right of the last big gates in the more realistic Russian street you see clothes waving on a line. Turn around and drop down to a crawlspace and you'll find more stuff to do." - CC (05-Aug-2003)

"A good City level :-) I really liked the environment Lara had to explore. Lara has to pull many levers master many jumps and crawls but all very well manageable. There is also some diving and quite a bit of monkey swinging. ;-) The atmosphere was nice and textures were well applied. Enemies were mainly guards and a few bats. My Lara found five secrets and the fifth you could almost smell from a long time away. ;-)))." - Engelchen Lara (11-Jan-2003)

"I think this is a highly overrated level the textures were applied badly throughout the adventure there were a lot of shadows and the lighting was nothing special either. Even though there are a lot of fun jumps and things that are not standard for VCI levels you mostly have to activate levers and jump switches for further progression and this didn't keep me interested through the 45 minutes I spent in this one. Am wondering why there was so much of the revolver ammo if you couldn't find one? (or was it in one of the secrets? wasn't in the only one I found anyway.) This is an old level and probably was great for the time released but I think we can get so much better levels these days I wouldn't bother to play this one." - eTux (07-Jan-2003)

"This turned out to be a huge city level with many maze like areas burning floor tiles lots of switches to find and a great room with some fun jumps to go through. There are lots of guards scattered about and some pesky bats as well but I found five secrets with weapons and ammo plus various other pickups so they didn't end up being a problem. I was a little confused at the end though. While being constantly chased by two elementals I finally made my way outside where I found a few more soldiers and a trapdoor but then I found nothing else to do so I assume that was supposed to be the end. I was ready for the end by then though because the two elementals were really draining my health pack supply." - RaiderGirl (28-Dec-2002)

"Not a great fan of base levels this on the other end did surprise me. It is the jumping you had to do in this level. Not too hard and with a bit of thinking you can't get stuck or lost. There is one element that had me puzzled why did that box disappear when Lara picked up the shotgun ammo (almost at the end of this level)? What was its purpose? Anyway in this level you have to find the revolver (secret) and laser-sight as there is some practice shooting and of course the crowbar. Getting the crowbar involves a lot of jumping way up in the building and you have to do it again after getting it. Levers you need to pull and there is also swimming monkey climbing and shimmying involved. Enemies of course SAS men and plenty of them but finding the revolver and plenty of ammo they are no real threat. There are also some pesky bats locust and two wraiths (still not sure what the last two were doing in Russia). Of course at one point I went the wrong way by crawling through a grate but that didn't hinder the gameplay at all. There are also flares enough as at some parts it is pitch black. Found 4 secrets. 25-22-2002" - Gerty (26-Nov-2002)

"Another early work by Smallmoon and even though it is a quite linear 60 minutes run through a base environment I did enjoy it a lot. I found four of the six secrets including the revolver which makes the killing of the 35 or so SAS guards rather easy. There are also a few bats and two wraiths to avoid. The big room where you have to do a lot of climbing and jumping was quite a treat and while the texturing was a little bland the excellent and colourful lighting made all up for it. Not too difficult and great fun so try it out." - Michael (22-Sep-2002)

"A nice 'SAS base' level by Smallmoon. Soldiers are not overdone but nicely placed throughout the level the revolver made it relatively easy to take them out. A nice huge room with platforms and some fairly standard but fun jumping around. Near the end I thought I was playing 'medal of honor' on the playstation (would have been good to have more gameplay in this area)." - Nutman (11-Aug-2002)

"One word comes to mind when I think of this wonderful level: industrial. Set entirely inside what seems to be an enormous factory apart from a small section outside at the end this metallic cold environment actually surprised me as I am usually not a big fan of them but I thoroughly enjoyed this one. With more SAS men than I have ever seen in one level placed perfectly throughout an extremely large room in the middle of the level with plenty of exploration a long journey to the end and five well-hidden secrets this was a seemingly endless great adventure." - Sash (21-Jun-2002)

"Well I really enjoyed this level. I particularly liked the diversity of textures used throughout this long involved level. You will be doing a lot of trick jumping particularly in the furnace room which really took me a while to sort out. Expect 2 to 3 hours away from the family with this one. Well worth playing." - Torry (21-Jun-2002)

"A level much interesting with some intense colors. Lara discovers a secret construction in Russia but for escape she has to kill a lot of hidden guards activate levers that transform rooms perform acrobatic jumps and strike target. I have ended the level in 1 hour and 10 minute finding 5 secrets and a bug Lara succeeds to pass through a closed trap door in ending." - Boris (21-Jun-2002)

"And again a great level by this author! Full of suspense and action with many SAS soldiers; beautiful rooms and many dark walkways at the beginning but there are plenty of flares and lots of ammunition to get along. Difficulty is about medium and you can get through in about one hour. 6 Secrets to be found. The outside area with the marvelous towers was unfortunately a little brief - we want more of that!" - Qwendo (21-Jun-2002)

"A nice long and involved level with some good puzzles and ideas. It's always a good idea to check out dark corners but the author maybe goes overboard with *every* dark corner hiding a pick-up or an exit or both. There are lots of snipers to contend with which keeps you on your toes and much running along tunnels. Towards the end breaking a swinging pot releases two ghosts which seem to give up shortly after (I didn't find an owl-icon to kill them) and at the very end Lara emerges onto a rooftop by jumping through a hatch from where there seems no further gameplay (except killing a couple of gunmen). It's as though this is the start of another - unfinished - level with closed doors no switches or exits and just a long fall down a shaft to end Lara's torment and boredom of being there. Overall a great level quite challenging and interesting." - David (21-Jun-2002)

"Fun gaming not too hard pretty straight forward. Lots of enemies but if you find the revolver (which is a secret) that's no trouble. A little too dark for me - but check the dark parts - you might find something." - G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

"Brilliant not too hard level with fluent gameplay. I like such big rooms with many platforms. The cameras were well placed especially when enemies were coming. The textures are very nice sometimes it was too dark for my taste but there were also many flares to pick up. The goodies and ammo have been too much so the level is never too hard. My playing time was 1:30 I found 4 secrets" - Freeman Porter (21-Jun-2002)

"This is one of those levels I downloaded because of all the high reviews. But now after playing I can't really agree with the other reviewers. The gameplay is okay so far but I found it a bit too straight and after all it's nothing more then finding switches and opening doors. Also I found the texturing not so well chosen the rooms were so bare somehow. The author could have done that better. And all those SAS guards at nearly every corner! And in many places it was too dark to my taste. - I'm sorry but for me this level is only upper average." - Sheevah (21-Jun-2002)

"This is a nice city-level. The textures are good and the enemies are not so hard. I liked the atmosphere and I found what I needed. The lighting is good too. I found 3 secrets and I was playing 1 hour and 15 minutes. This is a better city-level than many others. The best in this level is the big room with the blue walls and traps. All tomb-raider-fans must play this level." - Andi Croft (21-Jun-2002)

"Moscow here we come. The textures here are rather stretched and rough most of the time but that doesn't matter at all cause the gameplay is so fantastic and when you finally reach the Red Square you actually get a very nice and beautiful setting. In between you won't have a chance to admire your surroundings anyway cause the pace of this mission is so fast it barely leaves you time to breathe. Some rooms seem designed for the sole purpose of providing you with a puzzle (which they are of course but it's not always so plain to see) and therefore have fairly artificial feel to it but strangely enough I don't mind on this occasion. As I said you simply don't think about it since you are constantly on the move. I found lashings of revolver ammo but never the darn thing itself which is probably a good thing cause otherwise the enemies wouldn't have been any threat. If you want 50 minutes of good clean fun go for this one." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)
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