Level: XETH RAYDA 3-6 back home search
Author(s): XETH
total rating:8.49 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
bERT 6 5 7 7
Boris 7 8 7 9
Dimpfelmoser 5 5 5 9
Fips 9 10 10 10
Freeman Porter 10 9 9 10
illyaine 9 9 10 10
Jorge22 5 6 6 7
Kristina 8 10 9 10
MichaelP 9 7 9 7
Qwendo 9 10 9 10
RaiderGirl 9 9 9 10
Ryan 7 8 7 9
Sash 9 10 9 10
SilentViper 9 10 10 8
Tammta 9 8 10 9
Tombaholic 10 8 9 8
Too_krass 9 10 10 10
Treeble 7 8 7 7
TrueRaider 10 9 9 9
category averages
(19 reviews)
8.21 8.37 8.47 8.89

Reviewer's comments

"These are surprisingly huge and at times hideously complex levels for their age. However, while they are certainly ambitious, challenging and have their good moments, my overall impression was that they overreached themselves quite a bit. There's far too much backtracking and climbing, unmarked ladders and monkeyswings that were just cheap shots and spoilt the gameplay, trial and error puzzles, a definite overusage of enemies of all shapes (the first level, actually known as level 4 in this series being the worst in this regard) and sizes and some dodgy and lacking camera hints when needed. The ending was also botched because you either die if you move too far out of the stargate, or if you choose to backtrack for a secret, you have to go through most of the whole thing again, which really didn't like, so I quit there. I spent close to three hours here, but I wanted it to end long before then. It's a shame really, because I found that the textures were eclectic but pleasing, the trap sequences were fun and the audio was good. But overall, it felt like too much work." - Ryan (01-Dec-2018)

"If the level 4 is anything to go by, these levels are rather confusing and long, so I'll write reviews as I go. You start at level 3, out of what was supposed to be a 10-part game, but it really is only a one room level with a number of supplies that you WILL need in the upcoming level. Xeth Rayda 4: Temple Entrance (45 minutes, 2 secrets): in my opinion, this level looked so messed up. It features about every sort of texture and pretty much every baddy you can imagine, so it's a huge area with lots of greenery to hinder your view as you explore looking for what to do next. There's a certain tone of non-linearity to it and I never found my way to the Hand of Sirius -- hope it's not needed in the next level. I came across a number of problems, such as illegal slopes, unmarked climbable walls and monkey ceilings, one walkthrough gate and the oddest of all were crocs simply flying to bite Lara as she was climbing the ladder and then they'd drop down into the water, only to pop up in air top and bite her over and over again. The design layout is a bit too confusing and there were a few tedious pushable sections, but really, you can only cram so many baddies in one level and although you get lots of weaponry and supplies, gameplay here is mostly remembered by the never ending fights. The scenery, despite convincing, tries to blend in too many different textures and falls short to create a gripping atmosphere. Xeth Rayda 5: In the Shelter (95 minutes, 2 secrets): even more intrincate level design and mix of different styles similar to level 4. A huge let down is that here you have lots of unmarked monkey swings and climbable walls, so gameplay suffers a lot. There are quite a lot of backtracking to do and not as many enemies as in the first level, but the number of spiked balls make up for that, statisticwise. Along the way we make a short trip back to level 4 to get the hand we couldn't before but quickly we return to level 5 to immediately use it. The underground water area is nicely crafted, but there are too many triangular spots where the crocodiles inevitably get stuck. Also, there was one particular spot towards the end, near the second Eye Piece where the game would randomly crash. I've used the Position Editor to get Lara through it and then reused it to place Lara back in her original position, as no matter what stepping on that tile would bring me back to the desktop. Xeth Rayda 6: Xeth's Grave (10 minutes): in my opinion this was the best level of the three, despite being awfully short. There were tons of enemies, as you would have expected, and even Seth himself makes an appearance here (with a nice music to enhance the feeling), but all you've got to do here is use the Eye of Horus and collect the Stargate Key, then you return to level 3, but on the other side of the gates, and watch a long flyby going through a building which plays the role of credits. Lots of familiar names you'll see, too. Bottomline, I think this was a rather confusing series and it isn't always clear where to go next, but I did enjoy my time even if the ratings may suggest otherwise. Final stats: 150 minutes, 4 secrets. 09/07" - Treeble (12-Sep-2007)

"Now this really made me sweat! The place is huge and there are always lots of places you can get to (most of them wrongly) which took away most of the fun for me - that's not complex or adventurous it's confusing and annoying. I found a couple of bad bugs in the levels such as Lara swimming through an underwater tunnel and being trapped inside a block not one but several times! The enemies in this game well there are entire armies of them of all colors and shapes and it makes you wonder how come so many people and things hate Lara to the point of keeping her shooting and shooting most of the time... There are too many times when you can go to places where you're not supposed to go yet - but you can't do anything there yet - and that also adds to the unplayability of the game. There isn't much logic here. You never really know what to do or where to go or what the hell you're really doing. And what about the ending with that never ending loop which is in fact a repetition (or almost not sure) of level 3 which was an immense flyby in itself? In that part I managed to make Lara walk on a little while the flyby was playing and finally there she was standing in front of some altar with signs and facing the wooden gate that led her back to the beginning just ahead. Since everytime I tried to go back to the portal there came the never ending loop again I simply crossed the gate like a ghost and there I was back to ground zero again. Maybe there is another ending but I couldn't find it... Ok I have to say this is not one of the most enjoyable TR moments I've been through and I had to make an effort to make it all the way to the end being stuck about every five minutes. I'd like to thank Terje and bERT from the forums who were very helpful and somehow allowed me to make it to the end. I could have given up...Having said all this I realize the author has put great time and effort into the building of this game. The fact that in such a huge environment everything is well interconnected is precisely a proof of that. Thus I'm not at all discarding any future games by Sven. I believe he just has to control his will to do something so impressive and be able put himself in the player's place. In fact I hope he builds more and I'm looking forward to hopefully rating future games much better than this one." - Jorge22 (26-Oct-2003)

"When you finish this series of levels you have to admit that 1. this author put a lot of work in it 2. did an effort to make it complex with here and there attempts of original gameplay and 3. sure knows how to build rooms. But level building isn't only about these three things there has to be PERSPECTIVE and foremost BALANCE. And that's exactly what's lacking here big time. I know it is difficult when making complex levels to make sure your players cannot reach places sooner than intended but that's where it goes wrong as soon as you reach the big rolling door. It can be opened very soon into the level and when you find no way to progress (it takes a while when you notice there are many climbable walls without any hint because they all look textured being unclimbable) you look for an escape route behind that rolling door. Rather obvious I believe when you open a door no? So I saw I was able to go down the big water area in level 5 much sooner than intended only to see after 3/4 through the level that builder Sven warned me this was not the way... Not a happy player I was. So much for the perspective. What balance is concerned there's just too much of anything: kazillion of enemies some appearing out of thin air. Sometimes the purpose with that is to make you as a player think up strategies but sorry again no strategy here than to shoot shoot and shoot. A kazillion instances where you have to look for climbable or 'hangable' textures (take the room with the big waterfall and many ceiling/hang tiles that was a bit original though for the use of different 'hang-routes'). And foremost a kazillion options of where to go: again keeping perspective in your level building can keep you away from making a level with endless running around and backtracking. To end the way I began on a positive note I have to say that there WERE instances I enjoyed during this game: the high/deep room with multiple drop-down-jump up routines and with the 'escape the kazillion spike ball' routines were much fun. Though usually annoying I did enjoy too the quest for the swimable spaces in the water sections with heavy currents. All in all I'd say when you want to play this game don't think you can run all the way through: this one is surely walk-through or should I say picture-through material and that's just not my thing. Nevertheless two thumbs up for the effort done by builder Sven." - bERT (21-Oct-2003)

"Level3/Title: The exceptional title level flybys as if you were watching a movie and it feels almost real. Level4: Finally a level in which you can not only shoot as much as your heart desires (miss that in many other levels) but it's also equiped with great textures - a treat for the eyes. Puzzles are challenging and you will die a lot. Special mention goes to the earthquake - very impressive. Level5: This level features less enemies but through the peculiar atmosphere of the bunkers and the cobwebs and the scarcity of medipacks it is very difficult and challenging. In no other level I got trapped as much as here although none of the traps was unfair. All in all the biggest and longest level I ever played. Level6: In this level you think you were transferred back to the wreck of Maria Doria in TR2. The showdown at the end with many enemies is a great highlight." - Christoph (05-Aug-2003)

"Roll up roll up roll up let me welcome you one and all to our world famous traveling sideshow where you'll be witness not only the weird but also sometimes the wondrous. If you're looking for a lot of action and intrigue then ladies and gentlemen look no further as we have an endless parade of the deadly and deadlier to match your wits against in the first and last level we have ninjas white and red skeletons SAS crocs dogs mummies sharks giant wasps beetles templar knights demigods and for the grand finale a meeting with the most demonic of them all Seth. For those of you faint of heart who like the more sedate things in life then maybe our second level will be more to your liking and if you believe that then I have a lovely tract of swampland going cheap. Our second level ladies and gentlemen is so full of tricky moves and endless exploring in a world of wild and wonderful architecture that it will have you scratching your head pulling out your hair and turning you round so much so that you won't know your ass from your elbow. So ladies and gentlemen do you dare step on in and take a wander through our land of confusion and danger all it will cost you is 4 hours of your life and a strong disposition. Come on now don't be scared step inside!" - Sash (22-Jul-2003)

"What a thrilling experience this was a brilliant set of levels for even the most experienced raider! With its well built rooms clever effects and puzzles great new textures and chilling atmosphere it's something you just have to experience for yourself. It's not easy to get through this series with its tricky jumps hard to find climbable walls and monkey swings deadly traps rope swings boulders spikes and currents in the water that meant a certain death - I had to use the forum and the picture walkthrough and still found myself dying and reloading a LOT. It was worth it to see the great rooms and effects - the huge lake that opens up in level four the lake room that you eventually explore every inch of the mirror effect in level five was fun the battle with Seth for the set of Stargate keys and even exploring the area in the wonderfully done opening flyby after jumping through the stargate at the end. There are too many great rooms to mention them all here and the use of fog and light really added to the atmosphere. I was one of the unfortunate players that had problems with my game crashing in level five but Sven was very nice and worked with me until we found a solution so that I could play these wonderful levels." - RaiderGirl (17-Mar-2003)

"Triumph of the Will anyone? Well you can say what you like about the Nazis but they sure as hell had a dab hand in designing impressive bunting. But the question is: Do the fascist aesthetics go so well with the TR concept? And seeing that no other reviewer seemed to mind: do you have to be German to feel slightly uneasy when you encounter a black symbol in a white circle on a red flag? Try as I might I'm not able to shake off the most sinister associations and all that it implies so that ruined the atmosphere for me hence the low rating. Furthermore I have no doubt that these designs were chosen deliberately if to provoke or because the author has questionable views on German history is ultimately irrelevant as they don't really fit in with the mystic setting. Meanwhile the gameplay seems to be devised with the sole purpose of frustrating the living daylights out of you. For example: at he beginning of the 5th level you go through some trouble to locate two buttons which -when pushed- give you a cutscene of the Big Wheel rolling to the side and allowing you to access a new area. But this is not the way to proceed instead you have to backtrack and search for a climbable wall that is not textured as such and to add nsult to injury there is a slope in front of said wall so you won't find it by groping around. A few hours later after tracking down the two pieces of the cartouche and one piece of the Eye you pull out of an underground lake push a statue onto the doggy tile and climb into a nearby hallway. You pass a closed door and after some swimming jumping and climbing you finally reach a large area you've been to ages ago. But since the path has lead you here and because you've done so many things in between you think there might be a new opening a raised block or a rope that will help you on your way. Wrong! There is nothing to do there but instead you have to climb another wall that isn't textured as such when you pull out of the lake. From then on I didn't refer to the walkthrough when I was stuck but when I had to decide which way to go as so many parts of this game seem to be deliberately misleading. You get monkeybars that let you plunge to your certain death while you can safely monkeyswing across the plain ceiling. That just doesn't make any sense and has you reloading over and over again thus taking out the fun completely. Be it the strong current that lets you only surface at a certain spot or the scorpions that corner you in the crawlspace; you die all the time which results in one of the slowest gameplays I've ever encountered while the enemies are just thrown in by the dozend to make your life just a bit more unbearable. Crocodiles drop from the sky sharks float through the air SAS guards stand next to skeletons and whenever things threaten to slacken an elemental is set loose There is no concept as far as I can tell just the apparent resolution to make this level a really tough on regardless if the player enjoys it or not. It's a pity really cause some of the traps you run into are most ingenious the interacting rooms are cleverly constructed the flipmap near the start is awesome and whenever the gameplay shifts into second gear for a couple of minutes you get an inkling of how great this level could be if only it was a bit more user friendly. Also the textures are brilliant the lighting is excellent and the fog is used to maximum effect." - Dimpfelmoser (03-Oct-2002)

"Phew! That three+ hours net gaming time trip was really something. As you can see in the other reviews this set of levels has been heavily discussed and opinions deviate a lot and once you get into the levels you will find out for yourself why. Let me start by saying that I was lucky enough to play version 1.3 and even in this one still found a bug that prevented completion of the level but this is fixed now in version 1.3b and with a savegame from the author I made it through as well. This set of levels is definitely one of the most ambitious ones out there. You can love it or hate it but it is very special either way. So here goes my opinion step by step: Level 3: This is for now mainly the very nice title flyby which you should sit back and enjoy (great music too). Sometimes it does go through walls a bit but I liked the reference to members of the German Eidos Forum. Level 4: I guess my PC may be a little weak as initially I had a few slow animations but it improved later on. Most of the level takes place basically in one big area and you will be fighting countless enemies some appearing out of thin air and in enormous variety (ninjas dogs skeletons scorpions bats locusts SAS crocodiles ...). There are quite a few pick-ups to be found and a few smart camera angles. While you explore you will have to push a few statues around and pull some levers. I did not quite like the fact that often enough it was pure trial and error why to push which statue where. Then there is a nice flipmap which opens up the floor and reveals a big underground lake (nice secret there) and you can actually reach level 5 if you are not careful with the sinks (because you will immediately die in level 5 this way). All in all the progression is based on exploration and will take you about an hour. Level 5: This is definitely the better level. It starts out with an eerie atmosphere and the conceptual architecture especially in the big lake room and the oasis area is fascinating with all the jumping and climbing and monkey swinging and ropes and poles to get to all the corners of the room. Best use of cobwebs greenery and fog I have seen so far. Some of the secrets are very difficult to obtain - really an adventure of their own. Again many many enemies but not as overwhelming as in Level 4 although the wraiths are really annoying and the overall list keeps expanding (beetles wasps sharks ...). I really enjoyed the trip back to the upper region of Level 4 to collect a crucial pick-up. The major issue I have with these levels is the totally unfair texturing of climbing walls and monkey ceilings which often is done in a way deliberately confusing the player and leading to inevitable death. I repeatedly checked in the 'picthrough' provided by the author to find climbable walls as I did not want to test every wall whether I could climb it or not. I had a net gaming time of about 2+ hours for Level 5 and I do not think I could have made it through without the help of the author - so maybe the difficulty level is a little high and the gameplay too often does not flow in a logical way. Level 6: This starts out with some fun when you lure the sharks out of the water and can then shoot them when floating in mid air J. After that you have pull a well hidden lever (wrong Lara animation here) drain the water place the Eye of Horus and you are off to the final big fight with yet another bunch of huge enemies including some ahmets knights demigods banshees and of course Seth himself before you escape through the stargate and up back in Level 3 with the flyby (which you can escape from and actually explore a little further. For some reason the music worked in this level but the sound FX did not. Bottomline try those if you dare - I certainly enjoyed it despite a few frustrating moments." - Michael (21-Jun-2002)

"A level much controversial for very many bugs corrected after various versions. It's hard to end because it's extremely vast and complex with some very original and difficult to resolve puzzles The textures are good but there are too many objects too diverge and placed in little space. Personally I liked very much the transformations of the ground after the earthquake and the possibility to move from a level to the other from diverged postings. I have ended the level in about 1 hour last version thanks to the walkthrough of XETH." - Boris (21-Jun-2002)

"Xeth likes to do things on a grand scale and in many ways he has succeeded. Level 5 alone is enormous and taken together these levels are a vast interconnected world which show a lot of imagination. The earthquake and chasm in level 4 are truly impressive as is the large lake room in level 5. There are many puzzles to solve (some quite original) nasty traps and some difficult moves at times. Where the levels don't work as well is in the details like some wrong animations illegal slopes cut-scene cameras that don't release and crocodiles that float down from the sky. I also came away with the impression that the author wanted to squeeze every enemy and texture possible into the levels. If there really are to be 9 or 10 levels there's plenty of room to explore different themes without going overboard in any one. Bottom line for me though is the fun of exploring all the many corners finding some well-hidden secrets and enjoying the great atmosphere in many parts. I also commend Xeth for his willingness to help and fix problems when they arose." - Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)

"A brilliant level with everything that is fun in it. Beautiful new textures lots of action and many enemies difficult puzzles and secrets (2 of them - I am still trying to figure out the first). Difficulty is pretty high not because of traps but because of 'push-pull-puzzles'. Sort of half way through you are rewarded with a great fly-by and an earthquake. This Level is meant to be a part of a bigger series and if you enjoy action and original puzzles this one is for you." - Qwendo (21-Jun-2002)

"This is certainly the most original and slightly strange set of levels I have played. They do not follow many of the typical conventions of a tomb raider level by mixing hundreds of different types of textures and objects together. The download in the first place is rather large so I recommend reading all the reviews before you download. XETH 3 is in fact a title flyby not a full playable level yet. It is very long and large and good at that. I particularly liked the vast open areas. You really begin playing in XETH 4. Already by looking at it you can see it does not fit any category of level. Textures from the jungle are mixed with industrial style it does not create much atmosphere but all the grass and reeds on the ground do make up for it in my opinion and make it a pleasure to explore. Overall it looks quite a small area but it took me an hour to finish this level! There are so many ingenious hidden parts that give you a sense of satisfaction after finding them and progressing in this quite difficult and 'mind-boggling' area. However there were way too many enemies! Too many to cope without nearly running out of medipacks. For inexperienced players it will not be so enjoyable but to hard-core gamers it will be brilliant! XETH 5 is perhaps the most difficult level but the author has made sure it is possible and not frustrating. Once I had finished it I thought it was great. Much darker and enclosed form the previous this level is more puzzle based than exploring and much slower paced. It is this variety that appealed to me so much while maintaining the level of enjoyment. XETH 6 is also pretty good although far shorter. A nice round off to this set of fantastic levels. I recommend this to professional players because it is quite challenging however less experienced people with slower modems I suggest you download one level and try it out." - TrueRaider (21-Jun-2002)

"One of the hardest games so far but very well made. The good and evil symbols (dog and cat) are a very good idea and you will find them in all your long way through the levels. In XETH 4 there are lots of enemies attacking Lara but after finishing them the gameplay is getting better and better. Later the floor opens and you come to a big lake with some crocodiles. In XETH 5 you have to solve lots of monkey-swinging and climbing walls. The difficulty is situated in the fact that the climbing paths are not easy to find so the provided Picthrough is very helpful here. All in all one of the most difficult games I played so far. I haven't seen so many traps in custom levels yet like in XETH Rayda for example in a big cave area are about 18 (!) spike balls falling down! Some ways are difficult to be mastered however without Picthrough: who would know that in the lava lake in a small place Lara can swim? The support from XETH is very good so with much patience and time you will find your way to the stargate and can enjoy the Flyby sequence on which many level builder names are written on the walls. Very difficult but also one of the best levels if you have good nerves play it." - Freeman Porter (21-Jun-2002)

"I played again the entire game as my first review was about only one of this levels. I have to say that this is still affected by so many enemies in the game that makes you so crazy and frustrated. But I must admit that some solutions are very original even if not so immediate to find. Some others are not that beautiful. The 'too many enemies' problem is still here but playing it all now I had a different point of view about the entire story. Not that original but I cannot consider that this is the first (or one of the first) entire game which is not official. And I even had some surprises while playing. You must download this for the fun you could have but try to forget while playing all those silly moments with all those enemies to fight at the same time." - Tammta (21-Jun-2002)

"Firstly it's a pity that the other 4 of the eight levels and actually also Level 3 are not yet playable. Also even though in level 4 you work up quite a sweat with all the enemies to battle overall it is a prefect mixture of puzzles and action. Flyby-cameras atmospheric sound and texturing applied with much attention to detail make this level a special one. In Level 5 there are less enemies but they are well placed. Level 5 in itself is huge. I have yet to see a level where atmosphere is so intense and integral part of the gameplay. Lots of traps maybe a little dark but sufficient flares and medipacks provided beforehand. Level 6 then nicely tops it off for an intermediate final. More action and still some decent traps. Smart use of fog gives the level a mystic flair not mentioning the final enemy. The use of a Stargate is fabulous as you could already see it in Level 3. Unfortunately in Level 6 the animation for the underwater switch is wrong and there is another minor bug in Level 4 which prevents the highest possible score but all in all these levels are better than everything I have seen so far." - Too_krass (21-Jun-2002)

"Fabulous level especially the end is great and what I have not yet seen in any other level is an add-on level at the end (actually Level 3 when you are through all of them). The atmosphere is ingenious (apart from a few texturing bugs) not too few and not too many enemies. All in all top notch or in other words better than most of the Eidos/Core Levels!" - SilentViper (21-Jun-2002)

"Xeth Rayda is the most thrilling user level I have played. The scope of the levels is so huge that it is easy to lose the overview but that is exactly what makes it so thrilling. Unfortunately little Lara died often in Xeth Rayda but that was the challenge for me. I can only hope that others take this gigantic project as an example or at least get a grip and play Xeth Rayda to the end despite its difficulty ;-)" - Fips (21-Jun-2002)

"I want to begin by saying that I needed the help of the author to finish these levels and it was kindly given to me by him. I am glad I decided to play them it was an experience I am not going to forget. First of all my computer didn't slow down not even the slightest because of the large rooms. I had somewhere to go constantly so my interest was kept alive through the entire game. I needed some time at first to get myself into the climate. Even if your first impression in the fourth one is that you are going to play a level that has you going around and push objects believe me that's not the case. Some puzzles are new and they require good thinking. The same applies to some secrets. They are well hidden. You have to perform a certain action to be able to access one and I don't believe many people could have thought of that. A nice touch though is the picture walkthrough to help you understand the concept. As for the textures they are applied correctly through the entire environment. My problem and therefore one of the reasons why I needed help to finish is a mistake from the author in some part of the fifth level. I had to grab the ceiling and access a different part but because of that mistake Lara kept falling and I got frustrated because I couldn't move on. Another mistake is a wrong animation in the sixth level but it doesn't stop you from finishing. That room needs a little work after you lower the water level the rest of it seems to go nowhere. A floated room elsewhere or a hole in the ground from that water to go might be more convincing. The enemies are well put they aren't behind you all the time chasing you but as you proceed you will need some good targeting and jumping skills especially at the end. A good touch is an enemy that makes you burst into flames. As for the lighting we have a dark environment but not too dark so navigation is good enough to match that atmosphere. In the bottom line if the author corrects those mistakes which I am sure he has in the next version don't pass by these levels even if you find them too difficult it's a good exercise for your raiding skills. I know I had much fun with them." - Kristina (21-Jun-2002)
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