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Level: Obsidian Heights back home search
Author(s): Inchdix
total rating:9.31 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bex 9 9 10 10
Brigidsgirl 9 10 10 10
CC 10 9 10 9
Chronicles5 10 8 10 10
Cuqui 10 10 10 10
David 9 9 10 10
Dimpfelmoser 10 10 10 10
Doug E 7 9 9 10
Drew 8 8 7 8
eRIC 10 10 10 10
EssGee 9 10 9 10
eTux 10 10 10 10
Freeman Porter 9 9 10 10
G.Croft 10 9 10 10
Gerty 7 9 9 10
gfd 9 9 9 10
Ivan 9 9 10 10
janachorider 5 8 8 9
Jason 9 9 10 10
Jorge22 8 8 9 9
Jose 4 7 7 9
Kristina 9 10 10 10
Leandro 8 7 8 10
Loupar 9 9 10 10
Luc 10 9 10 10
Magnus 9 9 9 10
manarch2 6 8 9 9
MichaelP 10 9 10 10
Momster 10 9 10 9
Monika 9 9 9 9
Moonliteshadow 10 10 10 10
Navi 10 9 10 10
Percys 8 9 8 10
Phil 9 9 10 10
QRS 10 10 10 10
RaiderGirl 10 10 10 10
Roylion15 10 10 10 10
Ryan 8 8 10 10
Samu 9 9 9 9
Sash 8 9 10 10
Sherry 10 9 10 10
Tombaholic 9 9 10 10
Tombraidergirl 10 10 10 10
Torry 10 10 10 10
Treeble 8 9 10 9
Xxenofex 9 9 10 9
category averages
(46 reviews)
8.89 9.07 9.54 9.74

Reviewer's comments

"I'm generally fond of floating island type levels but despite this being an undoubtedly great level, it was less enjoyable than the previous ones in this series for a number of reasons. The acrobatic nature of the gameplay is probably a given in this case and I usually tend to enjoy it, but having to perform the same jumps over and over again became repetitive really quickly and tarnished my experience of the level itself. The constant backtracking to the places I had to go next was also annoying, as was one particular switch that had two functions and because I only pulled it once, I had to retrace my steps an additional time. Enemies are well enough placed although a little too reliant on ahmets and harpies and the secrets seem to be the Tridents themselves, which was a bit odd. On the plus side, the looks are absolutely faultless, the atmosphere spooky and the lighting is just right. But because of the aforementioned negatives, I had to rate it slightly lower than others did." - Ryan (08-Jan-2019)

"Again surprised with the very high ratings in the gameplay section. Yes, there's a very good design, texturization is near perfection (except the unmarked climbable ladders) and the camera shots are efficient, but the gameplay was quite bad for me, forcing me to do a tedious series of jumps through the same places a lot of times; the backtracking here is terrible. Also the flares and the ammo were not enough, and there are not entertaining puzzles. Even the walkthrough is bad. No recommended." - Jose (04-Jul-2016)

"Maybe the previous reviewer was a bit rough in his choice of words but I think I understand what he wanted to say. I think that this level has one major problem, it is as confusing as it can get. In this level there are three main areas which are connected with floating islands. This actually might sound interesting but the way it is done here is not very player-friendly, because the (rather long) trip over the islands is fun the first time, but when you have to do it again and again it simply isn't. There are way too many levers in this level with missing camera hints, so if you want to find the next part you can go explore the whole level again, repeat the island part... I guess you know what I mean. It all would have been so much more entertaining if only the builder provided shortcuts after a certain platforming part has been solved, but the lack of it destroyed the flow for me totally. Add to this a fairly superfluous underwater maze, some (not so bad) unmarked ladders and beetles following you to more places than you could imagine and you have a game which actually should have been a masterpiece but ends up in nothing but an exercise in tedium. This is a real shame - because I think there are so many great things in this level, the very atmospheric and (for this time) unique setting, the near-perfect texturing, the challenging fights, the secret design which actually leads to a secret room in the hub level... as said, it could have been a masterpiece but it just missed it. It's maybe the strongest level in the series from a visual viewpoint but at the same time the least entertaining for me. 50 minutes." - manarch2 (23-Feb-2014)

"This level got me enraged once again that i found myself cursing and screaming with rage!.if Inchdix makes another level i hope he make sure to never include floating islands!." - janachorider (21-Feb-2014)

"In my opinion the most impressive part of this game was surrounding and especially the huge area containing plenty of floating islands where you have to perform many jumps. Objects were well used and gameplay was good as well but sometimes a bit confusing due to complexity of level which makes some certain things hard to find. Nevertheless I liked this level and I think it's the best of this series." - Samu (15-Jul-2008)

"This is probably the earliest "Floating Islands" inspired level released, at least as far as I can think right now, and even though it draws from the basic concept, it's much, much more than a bunch of all-around green islands. The blue textures really set a cool mood for this level, and so does the floating fortress. Gameplay obviously relies mostly on platforming and object hunting, and the level design will have you going through the same areas quite a few times (in fact, there's one particular sequence over a somewhat long shimmy that I had to perform FIVE times). Other than that, it's really a relatively linear level. There are a few issues, such as some unmarked climbable walls (they're obvious, but unmarked nevertheless) and you can rope swing into the wall, but the major surprise came at the end when the level would crash. I resorted to the level skip cheat right there at the final slide, and I certainly hope this won't affect my time in Serpentine Gorge. Also, the wasps in this level are pure evil -- I had to reload quite a few times because their dead bodies would push me off the tiny islands just as they fell down! The Hidden Garden series so far has been an incredible adventure, but this level itself really stands out for it's unique feel and for that it's worth playing. 70 minutes, 3 secrets. 05/08" - Treeble (01-May-2008)

"Playing Inch's Hidden garden series is an inspiration. I recommend them to any builder as something to aspire to. When I wrote this review I was unaware that the levels were listed individually. I played the gaame as an entire series and my review is done on that basis, so you find an identical review for each of the levels. Architecture, texturing and lighting are stunning and provide an amazing atmosphere. Inch is the master of not having a straight surface, so you'll always be checking every little corner for something hidden, especially in the cave like areas. The Emerald Lakes level provided me with the greatest difficulty and I particularly enjoyed the Firewalk level. The atmosphere of Obsidian Heights is a must see. Enemies are never overused, but you'll be kept busy figuring out some great puzzles. And even if you get stuck with some of these puzzles you can just walk around and soak up the atmosphere of these picturesque levels. Although now an older release and lacking the bells and whistles of custom objects, you'll marvel at how well these levels stand the test of time and match it with any of the latest releases." - EssGee (10-Mar-2007)

"Well, there are great levels and extremely great levels...then there are these kinds of levels that take your breath away! Piega's Sanctuary levels come to mind. This level fits in this category. It has it all. Amazing gameplay with so much to do that the level never seems to end. The secrets are challenging and you always look behind every corner for hidden things! The cameras, architecture, sound and atmosphere...outstanding! The whole idea with a floating island level is great but not many levels live up to that name. This one does that! This is the grand dad in this category and it is something special about it. The only thing I could point out that can be frustrating is the lack of a shortcut back in case you miss a thing or two. You will have to go the long (and I mean LONG!) way back all the time. Proceed carefully and it is not a problem though. All tens from me as it would be heresy to give it anything less!" - QRS (10-Feb-2007)

"Beautiful level! I love these floaty block things! There were a lot of tricky jumps although I could have done without the one that loses half of poor Lara's health that you have to do a few times. But overall mazes torches ahmets and those mean wasp tings make this level a winner in my book! I just wish I could've gotten the last level to go (I'll never give up!)" - Brigidsgirl (08-Apr-2004)

"A wonderful level that will challenge almost all players very nicely. The excellent atmosphere running around the floating castles is only increased by the constant jumps over the bottomless empty voids. Fights here are good and there are ahmets wasps gold flying demons and even one poor skeleton. The map also features the dreaded unkillable beetles - so do what another reviewer suggested and hang over the edge and watch them fall off! One bad point though: the map could have used at least a couple of extra cameras. Lovely level then especially if you like true death-defying jumps over gaping chasms. I completed it in 2 hours and found 1 lonely secret :(" - gfd (03-Jan-2004)

"This is the level where Hidden Gardens starts to show its beauty. My main complaint is that it's pretty hard to get oriented here especially when you have to do things in a certain order and many times the clues to that are virtually vague or non-existent. It reminded me (and I'm sure everybody else since it's so obvious) of Floating Islands only that this level has been more perfected. A particular Golden Door can become a headache since you know it opened someplace but you have to sweat a lot before you finally find where it was that it opened even though it really is so near. I found one bug here even though not too serious: in the place where you have to climb to the top of a floating structure when a fire goes out you have to do it several times (now that reminds me one of the things I disliked here was having to repeat the same moves and journeys one too many times). Only after you've done it once the fire will be off... Will it? No. I found it by burning my Lara once on account of that. So even though it seems like the fire is off you have to step onto the fire tile and immediately hop back because you've just triggered it again. Well at least I think that was a bug... To cut it short nice beautiful level but a little too complex with a couple of bugs. I liked it even though I didn't enjoy it half as much as if I hadn't had to use the walkthrough. Great level but it can become a little exasperating at times (when you have no clue as to what to do or where to go and because of all the above mentioned repetitive itineraries)." - Jorge22 (15-Oct-2003)

"The fourth in the series this was by far the most inspired level with its wondrously mystical setting. When you step outside of the castle you first find yourself in you will be just stunned by the brilliant vista that awaits you and also the realisation that you aren't in any old run of the mill castle but that you are playing in an amazing world where everything is built on floating chunks of glassy volcanic rock and that to get from one large island to another you have to use the smaller pieces of broken obsidian like stepping stones over a large abyss of black. This one great element of the gameplay the path across the smaller chunks was also the one thing that brought the enjoyment aspect of the game down as you will have to complete it a certain amount of times for me around 7 times and although this is probably higher than necessary it still will be fair to say you will do it many times this for me got a little tiresome especially as those darn giant mosquitoes knew just when you were most vulnerable and made an appearance trying to not only give you a sting but also bump you off the edges add on top of this one very lethal jump that takes quite a slice of health and I finished after 80 minutes with the bare minimum flashing on my health bar. Don't let me lead you astray though as this is just a must to play definitely my favourite of the series as it has some nice puzzling I didn't even mind the water maze cool if not at times annoying enemies and just fab atmosphere." - Sash (15-Sep-2003)

"This level had me going for quite a while as I do have enormous trouble with height even in a game. The weather was quite warm but that had nothing to do with the very sweaty palms I had. After I finished this level I was so relieved and to be honest I had a real dislike of Jon as I had to do that jumping over those blocks about zillion times and that was one time too many. Also because this is not a straight forward level and also I couldn't get to certain places and had to take the long way around to reach them. Most funny thing I encountered is; the beetles jumped in the abyss and Lara hanging there from a block seeing them scurrying way down right under her LOL. Only problem I had every time when I went back I got more beetles. Enemies are nasty as standing on a block they can push you in the abyss. 04-08-2003" - Gerty (15-Aug-2003)

"WOW WOW and WOW. First impression - TR2 floating islands lovely bright trees stand out from the black night background with blue crystal-like underparts to floating walls/buildings and below a fall into black oblivion - impressive. Looks like we are going to have to deal with flying things here . . . yep golden harpies luminous mosquitoes and in the buildings ahmets and beetles. A challenging underwater maze. Jumps across those floating rocks and trees all the time keeping an eye out for mosquitos who could push you off keys to find stars switches pull-chains the vraeus of course and a very clever rope climb and jump. I had to use the walkthrough to learn that one switch had to be pulled and re-pulled to make the way clear later on. I'm not sure what to think about this it would never have occured to me to do this unless I read it so I definitely would have been totally stuck. I really don't think this should be in a level unless it's pretty clear what you need to do. It is more clear when you slide back into Hidden Garden. A very curious thing . . . even though it's night-time we get a sun lense flare while in the trees . . . weird. A great level the best one of this series. Time to go to Serpentine Gorge . . ." - CC (31-Mar-2003)

"I love levels that grow and expand as you play them and THE HIDDEN GARDEN is a great example. We start in predictably enough a garden with monkeys and a cursory explore reveals some areas to get to but lots of locked doors. However further persistence starts to really open up the level and before long the place is flooded and there are entrances to four further levels available: EMERALD LAKES OBSIDIAN HEIGHTS SERPENTINE GORGE and FIRE WALK. Each of these is different and each is pretty hard to complete. Perhaps the hardest is FIRE WALK for which I needed the walkthrough and I also had to check on progress on some of the others from time to time as well. The use of graphics is brilliant and each place seems real and a lot of care and thought has gone into them. There are several things to kill - bats ahmets and clockwork men mainly with dragonflys in OBSIDIAN HEIGHTS as well oh and several crocs sharks and other assorted nasties including bugs in one area. My one complaint in the whole thing is in FIRE WALK when you have to shoot 5 vases in the correct sequence - how are you supposed to know? I thought at first that the colours of the translucent floor tiles on your way into the area was the key but this seemed not to be the case at all. I hate this kind of random-ness to a level - there should be some clue as to what is going on. Despite this I got over 10 solid hours of gameplay from this and it was great fun. Definitely one of the best level sequences I've played." - David (23-Feb-2003)

"I loved this 4th of the Hidden Garden series the most although it also gave me the most difficulty. I was really stuck trying to navigate the underwater maze and required an excessive amount of help with it. I also found myself 'going where no man has gone before' with no way to get out (hey it looked like I could jump in there lol). But on the whole an exciting raiding experience which oozes atmosphere and very believable atmosphere at that. The floating islands so well done the castle finding keys difficult jumps fire puzzles and deadly enemies just made for an ultimate raiding adventure." - Momster (28-Dec-2002)

"These levels seem to get better and better. This is my favorite of the four I've played thus far in the Hidden Garden series. Although it's no walk in the park the progress through the different milieu one encounters along the way is fairly intuitive and can be accomplished without undue frustration for the average gamer. There are the usual forays down tunnels dry and wet in search of switches to throw doors to open and artifacts to claim interspersed with jumps to the familiar tree limbs of the first episode not to mention some delightful but harrowing romps across and around a series of suspended blocks where a single misstep will have you plummeting into screaming oblivion. The key here is to save early and often. And stop at frequent intervals to look around and enjoy the beautiful environs. The only glitch I noted - and a minor one at that - is a giant mosquito that doesn't seem to want to come out and fight after being alerted by the taking of the Golden Vraeus. I'm sorry that there's only one level left for me to play in this fine series. Inchdix has been dormant for too long since completing it and his next release will not come too soon for me." - Phil (02-Dec-2002)

"Oh! What a wonderful level! The fourth of Hidden Garden series. This is my favourite. The gameplay is exciting from the beginning to the end. Excellent atmosphere. Textures and lighting are perfect. The floating islands are beautiful and the castle superb. Enemies are very fun: giant mosquitoes lots of beetles ahmets and skeletons. I loved the difficult jumps to reach the floating garden where you must place two stars and you find another one in an underwater labyrinth. An enjoyable adventure simply amazing." - Cuqui (01-Dec-2002)

"Wow - 90 minutes of excellent fun - I simply loved the floating obsidian 'islands' and the jumping around on them in constant fear of slipping into endless darkness (especially as I had to make the various trips around them quite a few times). The numerous mosquitoes and harpies are quite a threat as you have to battle them on small ground on those 'islands' or in the trees. Also a few ahmets skeletons and pesky beetles thrown in for good measure. The trees and the castle look very very real and were great to explore for two Iron Keys a Bronze Key and four Golden Stars that lead you to the vraeus. The beetles chasing you through the swinging blades was a great idea. A few really minor downsides (not always consistent texturing of climbable walls a rope swing through walls and that annoying underwater maze) did not spoil the fun and this has just become one of my all time favourite levels." - Michael (22-Oct-2002)

"Lara begins the fourth level in ruins is surrounded by floating platforms which were very well designed in a bluish colour. It was a rich atmosphere. The task is to find again the golden Vraeus. It was again very variable gameplay. Lara had to jump much and solve different mysteries. She came also again and again back to the beginning of the level. The mysteries were well thought through. So one had to operate a lever twice to get to a secret. There were also two parts which brought one back in the first level. The one was to find a way over to a secret in the first level. Sound and camera were good. Opponents were not all too many but were suitably assigned. One sees how the designer's levels inmproved. Which my Lara thinks is very good. The level was plotted very well. Very recommendable!" - Navi (28-Sep-2002)

"What can I say that has not been said already and better. This is an absolutely marvellous level. Jon Heywood is the master of the level builders. This level is so beautiful it takes the breath away. Although I had to have a lot of help from the Forum and thought a couple of times that I would not be able to complete it I persevered and really had a wonderful time playing this level. Highly recommend." - Sherry (11-Sep-2002)

"This level is one of the best I played. I will not repeat the many qualities described already in the comments. A particular environment points out to me the floating islands of Tomb Raider2 but this level is definitely better by the enigmas the puzzles to carry out it is really a very great level which deserves surely the first place for me as a single level." - Roylion 15 (14-Aug-2002)

"One of the most original and beautiful levels I've played. Only a certain 'bug' that makes difficult the avoiding of the scarabs (they follow Lara to every place including the dark abyss)." - Loupar (11-Aug-2002)

"This one was a lot of fun I liked the new blue textures and the floating islands feel the textures and the way the level was set up really reminded me of floating islands. It was the wasps that bothered me the most. They were not afraid to push you off ledges they especially liked it when there was backtracking to be done one could picture :D They were a good enemy for the area but there were too many. I liked how a lot of the castles and 'high up' areas were accessible but I didn't like the backtracking there were a lot of places to put the 'golden stars' and I didn't know where to start. If you liked other levels from HG you will like this one it was very fun and challenging at the same time a good combo to have :)" - Chronicles5 (23-Jul-2002)

"The series runs 1. Hidden Garden - 2. Emerald Lakes - 3. Firewalk - 4. Obsidian Heights - 5. Serpentine Gorge with Hidden Garden being the central hub as you return here often to gain access to the other levels. The order in which these go and the approximate times taken are as follows. You start in Hidden Garden for 75 minutes move on to Emerald Lakes for 90 minutes back to Hidden Garden for 20 minutes then onto Firewalk for 65 minutes back to Hidden Garden again for a quick 5 minutes and onto Obsidian Gorge for 130 minutes. Then a quick backtrack to Hidden Garden for a minute or so and onto Serpentine Gorge the last level for 155 minutes with a final visit to Hidden Garden for 5 minutes to place the 4 Vraeus objects. This ended up for a total game time of 9 hours. Obsidian Heights: My favourite level of the five. What a great accolade to 'Floating Islands' of Tomb Raider 2. This level will confuse the hell out of you if you don't do things in order and like me missing an important jump switch early on had me jumping around those floating platforms for hours. Some of the jumps look impossible and really are if you try the old jump/grab ploy. Take a hint and just run jump and angle the jump correctly and Lara will make it trust me on this. The hunt for the keys and the stars will keep you running around for hours and when you FINALLY get them all you realise there is still one Trident to be found in a secret area. All said and done though this is simply a BRILLIANT level." - Torry (11-Jul-2002)

"This level contains a lot of complicated jumps and a lot of climbing. I was reminded of 'Floating Islands'. Your enemies are ahmets lots of little beetles harpies and dragonflies. There is a little bit of diving involved. To reach the different levels there is a lot of climbing to do and you will get hurt. You have to collect and use 4 stars. Levers are hidden well and it's difficult to get to all the stars. At the end you can collect 2 tridents to reach a secret area. You have to collect another Vraeus and return to the Hidden Garden with it." - Tombraidergirl (11-Jul-2002)

"There's no shortage of reviews for this one from Jon's admiring fans (I'm one too and have been since the 'early' days LOL). But I can't resist throwing in my two cents on this stunning creation ('level' seems too bland a word to describe it). Jon is an artist and it really shows in his LE work - the level's look and atmosphere are just visually superb. Every once in a while I just forgot about playing and looked around admiring this fortress floating in space recalling the 'Floating Islands' level of TR2 and executed just as well. What really makes the level great though is that the gameplay lives up to the same high standards as the visual aspect. I found it so engrossing that I was amazed to look at my game clock and see that I'd spent over four hours playing it - time flies when you're having fun! This series is shaping up to be one of the best ever and I can't wait to see what Jon has in store for us in the next installment." - Tombaholic (21-Jun-2002)

"It can be said over and over again; another amazing level from Jon! The architecture lighting and the atmosphere is as usual the best (you're spoiling us Jon ;-) ). At one point in the gameplay you have to go back and redo something and that is one of the hardest things to figure out I think. Couldn't have done that without help. Otherwise the areas are well used as you go back and forth to go on with the game." - G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

"This level is... AWESOME! Puzzles are very smart and will take time to solve most of then. We also have a very beautiful lighting and perfect architecture. Love 'Floating Islands' from TR2? Then you will love this level because the puzzles are just like that one: do something in an island jump to another (some very tricky jumps!) to solve another puzzle and so on... I've taken more than 1 hour to finish this very good smart and fun level. So what you're waiting to play another Inchdix excellent adventure? Download it now!" - Leandro (21-Jun-2002)

"Because of its spooky atmosphere this level could have been named 'The Hidden Garden of the Underworld' but Obsidian Heights fits it very nicely as well. The entire level takes place in various sections of a haunted looking castle which is floating on a huge slab of obsidian with smaller chunks of the dark natural glass being the only available route to many of the higher areas and far away wings of the castle. With a few jumps that look almost impossible four golden stars three keys and some well-hidden switches you gain access to almost every part of the castle many of which you'll be returning to as more and more areas are opened up to you. Besides the ever present danger of falling off into nothingness there are swinging blades underwater tunnels mutant beasts and other hazards in your quest to retrieve the next Golden Vraeus and then make your way to one of two possible exits. With its custom title fly-by new textures and clever puzzles you can tell a lot of work was put into making this level. I just can't think of the words to describe how truly amazing this level is you'll just have to see for yourself how special it is. It reminds me of when I first started playing Tomb Raider - it was thrilling and exciting and a little scary as well. Obsidian Heights brings all those feelings back and reminds me just why I love the game so much." - RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)

"This is another fantastic level by the 'Master'. The textures are superb and you really feel you are there with Lara. There are a few difficult jumps to make and a long way to fall whilst screaming if you don't make it. I found the going back and forth a little tedious and I wasn't always sure where to go next! Having said that this is well worth playing and must be a candidate for the best level offered on the forum for a while. Download NOW!" - Doug E (21-Jun-2002)

"Fantasic level like all the others from the 'Hidden garden' series. This time you have to find your way on different heights of the levels and jump over floating platforms and different levels of the trees. In the beginning I was stuck a while because I didn't find my way downstairs but after that I had fluent gameplay. First you have to find 4 golden stars in different areas and put them in then 2 Tridents and a golden Vraeus again to take with you in the 'Hidden garden'. Absolutely fantastic atmosphere nice puzzles and very good leveldesign makes this game to one of my favourites. The only problem I had that my own savegame didn't work so I had to use one from Sweden (Thanks G Croft). Absolutely recommended!" - Freeman Porter (21-Jun-2002)

"The fourth level in the Hidden Garden-series and certainly one of the best. The atmosphere is great with all the blackness and the floating islands. I couldn't give it ten in that category due to the lack of cameras though. The texturing is very good and I especially liked the blue textures that were used. The enemies are well placed and the insects from Tomb Raider 3 quite often push you down to a sure death. The level took me one hour to finish if I didn't get the tridents and 70 minutes if I got them. Finding them doesn't make such a big difference though. I couldn't get one of the tridents because the chain I had to pull to make the fire go out only worked one time. So I used the DOZY-cheat to be able to survive the fire. Yes I'm ashamed but I'd rather do that than restarting the level. All in all another good level by the author and worth playing if you like a challenge." - Magnus (21-Jun-2002)

"This level is part of the Hidden garden series what a complement it is to such a wonderful set of levels. You will start by wondering which way to go once you get your head round that you will be well on your way to a nice adventure. All the puzzles are mainly switch type and they are hidden quite well with several stars to find to finish you will be kept entertained for ages. There is one switch puzzle that got me stuck (thanks Jon) just remember not all switches do just one thing. There are a few enemies one of which is the dragonflies. They were very well placed and became active just when you didn't want them to; it wouldn't be a challenge if it were easy. The mutants were too easy to kill as you could just stand outside the room and shoot them without them attacking you. It is worth going for the secrets (tridents) so you can appreciate the full glory of this level. This is one of the few levels where I felt like I was there; I don't think it could feel more realistic than this. The atmosphere can't get any better than this. The lighting and textures complimented each other perfectly. The trees look fantastic as is expected from Jon. I loved the floating islands with their ice blue crystal appearance underneath even the dark stonewalls with grills on them look convincing. I don't know how Jon manages to pull off such a stunning looking level but he has certainly done it in this level. You have to play this level because you will not be disappointed. Thank you Jon for letting me beta test it." - Jason (21-Jun-2002)

"First I have to mention that it was not so simple to get the level installed. Starting from Firewalk (level 3) the level was not playable because it just landed on the desktop. Using the freeselect.script (which inchdix offers as an alternative) means you have nothing from the previous levels in Lara's knapsack. I started from Emerald Lake and that worked. At least I had a crossbow which I was really thankful for. But even so there will be at least one Golden Vraeus missing in the end. It is again an Inchdix level which is not easy to play but it is a beautiful one. The idea to have to push up a switch far away to stop the fire around a pearl rope is not obvious and also rather an unnecessary obstacle. The one jump where Lara loses a lot of health has to be done to often for my liking. You really don't get too many medi-packs. Then there is an opening which looks like you have to go there and the jump is impossible. Enemies are ahmets giant mosquito skeletons. They are well placed and even so one has a shotgun I was glad to have explosive arrows too. The giant mosquito have a tendency to push one from the branches or into the fire. And then there are the beetles . Once they come out you can't get rid of them. They follow you everywhere well almost. You need 4 Golden Stars. I made my way to where they have to be used just to discover that I had only 2. I had to go back and then the story really began. You also need 2 tridents and you will find one Golden Vraeus. On the whole I enjoyed the game and I'm looking forward to the next level." - Monika (21-Jun-2002)

"Obsidian Heights is the fourth part of Inchdix' series and takes Lara to an old castle that is built upon obsedian rocks that are floating free in space. Black sky black horizon and a black bottomless abyss below. The realistic castle and the surrealistic obsedian rocks make a nice contrast and you feel like in a dream very much like in "Floating Islands". The world Inchdix has created is truly breath taking everything is just perfect the textures the colors the architecture and especially the lighting. I was really looking forward to just spending some hours with Lara here searching the halls for the Golden Vraeus. Unfortunately after some time some aspects of the gameplay spoiled a little of the fun. Looking rather non-linear at the beginning it turned out later it isn't at all. Because you don't get any hints about where to search first Lara has to make a lot of the ways again and again and that means very long ways including difficult jumps that are excitement at the first time but get on your nerves when you have to do them again and again. For the same reason I was missing the cameras - Lara throws a lever and you have to guess what action it triggered. And of course it's not just around the corner or at any logical place sometimes you have to search half of the castle to find out. Actually these "Guess what this switch triggered"-sequences are the only real puzzles in the level. The worst case is a confusing underwater maze where you have neither an idea what it is good for nor get a hint when everything is done. People like me - I am not good in mazes - could spend hours there always wondering if they have overseen a lever or item or if they have finished the maze. Obsidian Heights is a rather short level - it took me 3 hrs. net to finish it but that's only due to the missing cameras. Playing it again and knowing where to go first I could make it in one hour. But that is absolutely okay 1 hour in a level of such beauty is more than you can ask for. If the author had spared me the other 2 hours and given me 1 hour of pure fun instead Obsidian Heights would have been a perfect level and one of the best I have ever played." - Percys (21-Jun-2002)

"Now wasn't that fun. An excellent level to complete a series of four. I am sure others will notice but I have to say it the author is obviously influenced by the 'Floating Islands' which of course isn't a bad thing quite the opposite it gives another status to the game play. Don't be alarmed if you fall from one of the floating platforms and you get the loading screen it isn't over it's just a way of preventing Lara to land and therefore spoil the atmosphere and the sense of chaos. The primary goal is to find a certain number of keys and access the above level areas. You will have to jump a lot of times from the tree branches to the platforms and go back a few more to the places you visited before only to continue the adventure in a whole new area. Although you might be puzzled sometimes due to the fact that you will be pulling switches which isn't always obvious what their purpose was. A difficult spot that made me get frustrated was a burning chain. There is no hint what so ever as to the solution of that puzzle nor a view when you pull the switch in one of the key rooms to show you the fire turning off. One other thing but I can't say it's a problem is that the second time you visit an area up above with some axes they are not swinging anymore I don't know if this is deliberate or not but it doesn't conflict with the game play anyway. Besides that everything flows smoothly. The enemies are mostly mutants along with some skeletons but one enemy you will be faced a lot looks like a big insect funny. Textures and lighting are perfect and the secrets not very hard to find but very attentive. Don't miss to find the two tridents strange thing is that you can exit the level by a grate which gets you to the desktop and miss half of it well almost half. As the previous levels from the same author this is highly recommended if not even more." - Kristina (21-Jun-2002)

"From the textures I have liked this level best from the previous 4: a wonderful atmosphere expects Lara here. I liked the castle; it is an architectural masterly achievement and exceptionally well done. Very difficult jumps and polished falling well positioned opponents and crisp puzzles. In this level I needed of 3 medipacks because Lara always had to jump so deeply and the scarabs were always behind her. If one does not give up here too early one finds a way back in the Hidden garden which contains an additional secret. The search for both tridents is worthwhile." - Xxenofex (21-Jun-2002)

"Inchdix is building before our eyes a marvelous game made with precious stones. After the privilege to enjoy a sparkling emerald and a burning ruby Obsidian heights is simply a pure blue jewel. It is incredible how the author can make such a beautiful level set in parts of a castle surrounded by trees to climb and a lot of exploration to do. You have sometimes to think about what will be your next task or move. Enemies are mainly red ahmets and giant mosquitos. The puzzles are actually quite simple and so it is amazing how the gameplay can be so enjoyable. My opinion is that the author has the touch. A great sense of adventure a wonderful and clever architecture and it is pure tombraiding. This single level has kept me busy a whole afternoon for finding all the keys and stars the golden vraeus and three secrets before returning in the hidden garden where I am always pleased to come back. The next time I will play it it will take me only one hour. Note: I think that the underwater lever opens the golden gate to have access to the Neptune statues but it opened only when I had the two tridents that is not bad." - eRIC (21-Jun-2002)

"This just has to be one of the best levels I've ever played and I'm not saying this only because I'm a 'Floating Islands' level-type fan (sadly this is the only one from such a type so far). This level doesn't have too much puzzles and I almost didn't get stuck in this level but the excellent tough jumps and ways you have to use Lara's skills to get through this level left me no choice than to give the gameplay a ten. The spooky castle and platforms on the pieces of obsidian mixed together with the really great looking trees (knowing how much you can do with the LE) and some cracks in the obsidian with a strange shining (what you later find out is a secret) gave an unforgettable atmosphere overall to this adventure. The unearthly sounds on the background that give me creeps from the first time I heard it helped a lot in making of the atmosphere too and the custom fly-by showed you a lot from what you can expect. I just didn't like the sun that shined in between in some places but it really didn't ruin much of the adventure. The secrets were hidden very well even though I found most without any help. There were a lot more and a lot tougher enemies considering that you have to fight them above an abyss in which the enemies can push you in every moment of the battle. But even if they are more than in the Hidden Garden this isn't another one of those massacre levels. Again I loved the range of textures used in making this level and it again gave the 'where the heck am I?' feeling which I really love. Maybe there could've been more use of lights in the level but the level was so great it'd just pain me to give it less in the rating because of this. This just is one of the best levels ever been out there so if you'll miss this one I feel sorry for you." - eTux (21-Jun-2002)

"When I started out rating I never thought I would ever give ten out of ten in each category. I just wanted to wait for that perfect level that might never materialize. However now it seems that every 50 levels or so I come across an adventure that is pretty close to that unreachable state of perfection and just like Catacomb Towers and The Lost Valley this is one of them. True I would never have found the second trident without the help of the forum but then it's great fun to work on a level together. Also the course being rather non linear there is one jump I found quite tricky that I had to perform at least ten times not to mention getting past that column of fire (five times). So maybe the gameplay warrants only 9 points but enemies and secrets deserve 11 in my view so there you are. Those giant dragonflies are just so creepy. You don't get as many as in the original TR game but they are not that easy to kill. I loved the way you had to jump across some gaps in order to put a safe distance between you and those noisome beetles only to encounter them later on a lower level. So you had to bait them into the abyss to get rid of them for good. Great stuff. Due to impeccable textures and lightning the atmosphere is just fantastic and the blue structures mix well with the traditional castle environment. Hoping over those floating islands is simply brilliant and since I started out without a crossbow I neutralized the three skeletons in three differnt ways (headshot/ gunshot/explosive arrow). One of the highpoints of this quest is the construction of the area how the rooms interact how you get glimpses of levers long before you get there how you get to see the big black void from so many different perspectives. You simply have to go there and see for yourself. A masterpiece. Can't wait for the next level to arrive." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)

"Very nice level and very nice levels of all serial 'HIDDEN GARDEN'. I liked to play it and some times it was very difficult to find something that was needed and some times it was very fun to play:)). Excellent atmosphere lights and textures make very impressive feelings and lot of good raiding. Waiting for next levels and looking forward to see what excellence mind can make it! After Celtic Folly this is better more difficult and more good playing for lots of hours!" - Ivan (21-Jun-2002)

"Obsidian Heights may sound just like another flush residential subdivision you'll like to live in. But far from it this level is really straight out of TR2 floating islands. In between two castles are the dreaded floating rocks and bottomless chasm to intimidate even the most experienced TR gamer. Definitely not for the acrophobic! This last of the series by Jon follows the footsteps of all the previous three --- exacting gameplay design. You may if you want do things haphazardly but it's going to cost you much damage and aggravation. However one thing I didn't like is the dual function switch. This level is tough enough even without that trick. You see that switch goes beyond the game parameter (or call it common thinking) that a switch is good for just one use. You throw it and that's it. In one instance that was not adhered to. Sure it's something new. But in my opinion that presents too much confusion and difficulty if gamers have to constantly throw and unthrow switches at the risk of triggering or un-triggering things in the game. I understand that the author is just exercising his creative license here but he should have been fair at least by showing camera works." - Drew Pizza (21-Jun-2002)

"This is the fourth level in the "Hidden Garden" series and it's just as beautiful as the first three with its gorgeous colours and texturing. Jon is fast becoming one of my favourite level-builders. (Fans of the "Floating Islands" level in TR2 will love this one as there are loads of jumps onto high ledges that have eternal blackness either side of them). This level is perfectly lit throughout and enemies are well-placed. Very highly recommended as are all the "Hidden Garden" levels. Note: The author states in the readme file that Obsidian Heights is part 4 of the Hidden Garden" series and is designed to work along with the 3 previous levels." It's not a standalone level you'll need the other levels in the series to play it. But then if you haven't already got the other three you're missing out on some great gameplay anyway. :)" - Bex (21-Jun-2002)

"The scenery here is simply amazing. The blue caves are fascinating. The jumps in this level are certainly not for beginners and the right timing to get past some obstacles is critical. (I found hanging from a turret a good way to get rid of some obnoxious nasties). The whole Hidden Garden Series is well thought out and well connected. I can't wait for the next level so that I can get my fourth vraeus." - Moonliteshadow (21-Jun-2002)

"It is a splendid level with a fantastic environment. It has there many puzzles to realize and also enigmas to solve it's hard to find all the secrets of the level. The textures and the style points out an old level of Tombraider 2 to me 'the islands in the sky'. Very very good work Jon!" - Luc (21-Jun-2002)
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