Level: The City of Gods 3/4: The Unexpected & The Gates to the Forgotten City back home search
Author(s): Claude Gross
total rating:8.71 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Bex 8 10 10 10
CC 9 8 10 10
Dimpfelmoser 8 8 10 10
Freeman Porter 9 9 8 9
G.Croft 9 8 10 10
Gerty 6 8 10 10
Jorge22 10 9 9 10
Kristina 6 8 8 8
MichaelP 9 7 10 10
Momster 7 7 8 7
Percys 6 6 10 10
Phil 10 9 9 10
Qwendo 9 9 10 10
RaiderGirl 7 9 8 9
Sakusha 10 8 8 10
Torry 7 8 9 7
Treeble 8 8 9 9
category averages
(17 reviews)
8.12 8.18 9.18 9.35

Reviewer's comments

"After my poor experience with the previous level in this series, I decided to check the reviews for this installment before running it and noticed a few keywords in most, if not all, reviews: frustrating, confusing, challenging. And even though I've played by following Phil's extensive walkthrough, I also leave this adventure with those same feelings. There are a lot of nice ideas here, and the sunken ship/seabed ambience works (and I also liked the final quest for the four tridents), but there are other things that I didn't enjoy, such as all the backtracking, the dragon spewing locusts all the time forcing you to save and reload every two or so seconds. It's an intertwined level set, so you go back and forth between the two levels (reduced to a minimum if following the walkthrough, which I highly recommend) as you find keys and levers to proceed. There were also a few timed runs along the way, one of which apparently is extremely tight but fortunately only for a secret so I didn't bother. Two taps on the shoulder of those who've done it. 115 minutes, 4 secrets. 04/18" - Treeble (09-Apr-2018)

"This is a continuation of 'The Forgotten Passage'. Lara sank into a long underwater tunnel, and she got out of the marine depths where the first thing to do was to find air. This will lead her to what appears to be a shipwreck. The problem is that the priests of the cave have arrived before her, and they had to bring a friend with them, even though he has mistreated them a bit. Lara would have to make with it in order to find a way to get out of the boat of the dead in order to reach the door of the forgotten city. In this adventure, there is a combination of modern (eg. the shipwreck) and ancient elements (eg. the Poseidon statues and the dragon). So inside this cold, dark, metallic shipwreck, there is a place of worship that is full of life (were the priests trying to appease the underwater gods? I don't know). The author has successfully imported objects from TR2 (eg. the submarine), and I have found the variety of gameplay enjoyable, especially the underwater maze, the trident puzzle and the timed switch puzzle. I was quite impressed by some of the decorations (especially the transparent triangles), the flipmaps are interesting, the puzzles are witty, the steam and the fire are well-placed, and the timed run (the one with the fire traps) was quite challenging. This adventure requires some patience in order to fully appreciate it." - Sakusha (23-Oct-2005)

“The primary reason I played this (11/04) was to fill in a gap in our walkthrough library. However I soon became hooked by the challenging gameplay and the sheer immensity of this two-part adventure. I had somehow missed exposure to Claude Gross's levels before now but I'm certainly going to go back now and see what else I've missed. The majority of the action here takes place aboard a derelict vessel although there are some brief forays into the open sea. There's a particularly vicious timed run involving three switches that you must master in order to make it to the second level and this run is sandwiched around an even more difficult run that leads to one of the secrets. Be prepared to spend the better part of a weekend on this one but you'll be glad you did. Highly recommended.” – Phil (20-Nov-2004)

“As I'm writing these lines I'm seriously bugged by the huge bugs I've encountered while playing this otherwise magnificent game and which totally prevent me from finishing it. And I'm not speaking of the dreaded locusts that follow you every place from the dragon’s filthy mouth no... Allow me to name but a few among the most threatening: a) While doing the terribly difficult timed run in the room with three levers one of which up in a high entrance behind a corner my Lara always ended up as if trapped inside an invisible cube of which she just couldn't get out where she could barely move in fact. b) As I arrive in the room with a lever inside another one outside facing the dragon and a room upstairs with several SAS near the sub I should have seen something to place the map to the ventilation on according to the walkthrough which I had to read. There's no such thing inside that room. None at all. 3) After climbing up the pole from that room and descending to the place where there should be a brick wall I'm unable to get there since there's a grate stubbornly blocking the way. By now I know the surroundings of the entire game and am able to describe them to you by heart. Have I replaced the files with new ones ask you? Yes I have. Each of them. With no results though. So what am I to do now? Well showing a lot of patience you'll have to agree I'm going to replace every single file once again and start the game from the scratch. Because I find the game very good (if playable) and I'm willing to give it another chance. If I still encounter the same bugs (even though I'm aware that other players have found none) I will review the game just the same because I spent a lot of time playing it and because I seem to have played most of it. Unfortunately if the game remains unplayable I will have to rate it accordingly. (April 21 2004) Well I'm really glad I gave the game another chance! For some mysterious reason (and I did install everything precisely the same way as I had done earlier) everything worked fine this time - and even better since I knew my way around. Just a warning that may prove useful for those who wish to play about a bug that remains: when you're in the room previously described in a) do not for the sake of any God you may worship ever save the game in front of the first lever you'll be using (the one up in an entrance of course)! You'll surely end up inside that horrid invisible cube. Of course it's a bit unfair since the run is very very tight and you may end up bumping against the wall several times and lose some of your precious health - or simply getting bored of climbing the same ladder over and over. The best and only way is to start from an earlier savegame. Another good advice: every time you need to get rid of the grasshopping pestilence that follows you everywhere you go the best may be to side jump to one side then to the other then back to the first and so forth until they finally decide to leave you alone. There were two secrets near the room with the ropes I couldn't for the life of me and God is my sure witness that I've tried find the way to get to. Maybe you will and kindly let us know... And I'm not sure I figured out that room with the mines... I mean you could (and should?) disarm every single one of them (as I did) except for the one square just to your right on the corner as you enter the room. You don't need to do it to finish the game though. Now is there any way to disarm that one mine? Does disarming the mines serve any purpose? Maybe Claude Gross wouldn't mind dropping by just to shed some light on the matter?... Anyway this is one exciting game full of adrenaline well balanced where you have to think and act quickly. The settings are great and I've got nothing to say against the very nice graphics. I was just a little disappointed that the last part in the room with four tridents was so comparatively easy... As if the author had ran out of ideas... Or not. And I was also a little disappointed by the final. Lara enters a dark tunnel and that's that. No a game such as this would have deserved something better more original more filmic. My final advice: do play this game immediately and you won't regret it. I'm certain you won't be as unlucky as I was the first time. And I'm also certain that you'll be having the time of your life! (April 22 2004)” – Jorge22 (30-Apr-2004)

“Whoohoo a sunken ship level. A familiar swim past sharks to find how to get inside an almost impossible to see underwater lever and two more further in. Inside is a very good looking sunken ship environment and that is where the familiarity ends it certainly does become ‘Unexpected’. Gameplay from the start is tough in that first room you have to move shelf units to get at a wall switch while being scalded by steam do a timed run over pipes up the stairs and through a door and stop dead in your tracks to avoid the fire or if the tank puts out the fire the sink action in the water will kill you and all in the first five minutes! From here on it's more like a marine base than a ship or submarine. There's a brilliant tight timed run pulling three switches jumping over pipes and going through two doors. After meeting the dragon the never ending locust attacks become tiresome especially where you have to jump past swinging hooks. The hopping between these two levels is confusing you are always left with the idea did I do this right? And taking a peek at the walkthrough you certainly do need to do some things in a very particular way. Now how is a novice supposed to know that. Gameplay is marked down for these reasons. The lighting in this level is superb and textures and architecture are brilliant as per usual. Other things of note are the torch actions the runs out past the dragon to each switch the little submersible room those transparent blocks dragon wall statues you have to light and the beautiful room with trident statues and giant heads of dogs/cats! In this room doing the first floor switch that showed the trapdoor in the pool open didn't work for me no matter what I did the trapdoor stayed closed. So in the end I dozied to the wall switch and down to the underwater maze when I came underneath the trapdoor this time it opened. This must have been a slight bug. I liked the four gates run to get the second trident the fire puzzle to get the third and it took a while to figure out the climbable surfaces and fire run to get the fourth. The only way I could do the four gates run was to start at the switch straight ahead of you go round clockwise to the other three (by hopping back and jumping over the corner) and then pull the first and second one again hop back and sprint through the gates. And what a surprise when I saw the gates open as you approach them to leave I thought I was stuck in there. My final stats showed 10 hours but it was worth every second of it. This all could have been more straightforward and less confusing but where’s the excitement in that? The only moan I have is that certain tasks had to be done in a particular order or you’re stuck. This is where beginners (and experienced raider) would I imagine give up. So use all the savegame slots and follow the flybys. It doesn’t do to pull/push switches just because they’re there. I found a star in the first office after entering the ship but I couldn’t find a receptacle I thought maybe it opened that famous closed gate coming into the second level. The second level here is called The Gates to the Forgotten City - does that mean there's a level coming called The Forgotten City. I'd love to see that.” – CC (24-Aug-2003)

“Highly frustrating. It starts off nicely underwater and most of it is in a rusty submarine but there are some problems with the level. For example you need to be very carefully with the buttons and switches otherwise you can get stuck. The most annoying of all was a non climbable ladder. If you make the mistake and push the button last to drain an area you will have to start the level again or in the best occasion reload a previous savegame. Anyway I think it was a mistake otherwise if this was intentional I will give it a three it was a very nasty trick. Of course that's not all the whole level needs to be played in a certain order in other words the player has to do things the right way so be very careful and visit next the area a flyby or a scene shows if available or you might not be able to finish the game. SAS guards sentry guns and the annoying locusts are the enemies and there was also a room with mines. Most of the traps are just currents and fires. I liked the room with the hooks on the ceiling and the use of the car jack. I had to start this game twice because somewhere along the way I was so confused and lost that there was no way to figure out the next step. This kind of confusion and illogical puzzles sometimes are a trade mark for Claude's levels and quite frankly I am not very fond of them plus most of them have bugs. At least some more cameras would have been very helpful and in my opinion the second level was totally unnecessary it just added more frustration when it could have been one whole level. I found three secrets and a lot of frustration in the two and a half hours it lasted.” – Kristina (31-Mar-2003)

“It started out really nice and by the time I was well into the second level I hated it. It has nothing to do with the timed runs not my favorite but after numerous tries I was able to master those no it was the ‘getting things done in the right order’ that did it for me. I played this over a time period of two weeks with a buddy of mine as two minds think better and I was glad because I would have chucked this game ages ago (I did a while ago but hey). This game was as illogical as one can get and that is really a shame. This game is too hard to play for just a bit of fun and that's what's all about last time I checked. 08-03-2003” – Gerty (09-Mar-2003)

“As you do alternate quite a bit in the middle of this adventure between the two levels I will comment them as one. Imagine this: You are in an area where you need to find and place four tridents to open the exit door. To get them you need to find your way through the mouths of four giant heads on the wall and behind them solve a smart 4-timed-doors-run a jump/climb/fire sequence an underwater maze (not too bad) and a 6-fire-reach-in-swich puzzle. Sounds like fun? – well it is but that is only the last 20 minutes of this absolutely engrossing and nerve-racking 2:30 hours adventure. It starts out easy enough as a shipwreck level with quite a bit of diving for underwater levers sharks SAS guards and excellent use of steam and fire. There are a couple of timed runs which are taxing but not too hard and funny swinging spike thingies to maneuver around. You drain some of the water to progress and about 40 minutes in the game when you enter part 2 for the first time the issues begin with the appearance of the dragon who will provide a constant supply of locusts that will be draining your health as you are trying to figure out a very complex area. Admittedly there are many rather well placed cut scenes giving you hints about things you have triggered but without a good sense of orientation and a decent memory you don't stand a chance to get through this with your sanity intact. I was utterly relieved when I finally found the keys that subsequently opened several doors. There are too many great things to list here so just to name a few: a yellow submarine a neat torch/sprinkler puzzle moving cranes use of the car jack smart movable block puzzle minefield to find your way through and five nice secrets to find. Yes the puzzle around all those levers in the dragon room is a bit over ambitious and highly frustrating and if it were not for the threads in the forum I am not sure I would have made it. There are also some rather tedious passages like long climbs or monkey swings and the area with the ropes and the five buttons but if you are up for a challenge here you get one and the overall design is brilliant. Play it if you dare!” – Michael (27-Dec-2002)

“OK this is contrary to my fellow reviewers but this level or set of levels is a love/hate relationship. On the one hand I loved it the sets were fantastic the new objects creative etc but on the other I hated it as after you leave the first level all logic deserts this game. You blunder about from one room to the next picking up things you have no idea what the use is for until you stumble upon another switch that opens another door that leads you off on another chase. Where is the logic when the object of the level is to get the four tridents and get out of there? I mean realistically we could have dispensed with the entire middle third of this level and still attained the same outcome. The levels were confusing as may be attested by the ten page ‘help me’ thread that is blossoming at the forum and even for seasoned raiders this will have you tearing your hair out. My gaming time was a little over three hours but I spent almost 14 hours on this trying to figure my way through it. Honestly there is no need for this level of complexity and if it must be keep it logical. This was not logical. God even Spock turned his nose up at this one. Now some of the aspects were utterly brilliant. I loved the locust vomiting dragon who had me cursing Mr Cross for hours on end as those blasted locusts kept nibbling my butt and depleting my health as I ran around. The sub was nice but I wished we could have gone for a ride. The Trident timed door run was a bitch. Very finely timed. There are probably more but you will see for yourself. I have downgraded the score on this as I honestly believe it is far too difficult for the average raider and only us die hard masochistic raiders will see it through to the end.” – Torry (21-Jun-2002)

“What a well thought through level! You get a mix of submarine atmosphere with a sunken ship flavour and added smart puzzles and brilliant timed doors (once there are even four switches combined) which all in all makes a fascinating double level. It is great how often you revisit the various locations to master your tasks. All the happenings around the locust spitting dragon or the procedure to finally leave the arena of the submarine – it all makes sense and ends up at the four Poseidon statues which on their own would fill a whole level. This piece should not miss in any good collection.” – Qwendo (21-Jun-2002)

“A perfectly built level! Looks really great. You start this long and fun and many many puzzles game underwater and you swim into a sunken ship. In there are timed doors traps and levers and puzzles all the way. The gameplay is not quite linear and you have to try out different orders to pull the levers to be able to get on. At one point (and this is what I did not like) you have to pull the levers in the exact right order or you will get trapped - no way to continue but to use a savegame. A big part of the game takes place around a dragon and those pesky locusts keeps harassing you a great deal so be careful with your medipacs – you’re gonna need them! In the second part of the game you have to find four tridents and to do so you have to solve four puzzles placed inside giant cats heads! Sounds crazy but the surroundings looks good. This second part is much shorter but is also fun gaming! This game can be rater difficult at times but I think it is one of these "must play" levels!” – G.Croft (21-Jun-2002)

“My favorite levels from the Tomb Raider games are the shipwreck levels from TR 2 so I was pretty eager to play this after I read part of it was set on a sunken ship. After completing the level though I see that this is definitely not for the beginner and I almost gave up more than a few times. I started this on a Saturday and here I am on a Tuesday and have finally finished with almost three hours on the clock and many more hours actually spent playing. I absolutely loved the first thirty minutes of those 3 hours - the ship looks perfect the puzzles are complex but nothing that can't be solved - overall just great fun to play. Then you move to the second section of the level where you move back and forth between the first two levels and things get way too confusing for me anyway. I was constantly wondering what I should do next I stumbled across many switches but due to the lack of camera work still haven't figured out what most of them did. So I'm running around like an idiot with this constant swarm of locusts eating steadily away at my health (not to mention the dragon shooting fire at me) wondering just what I'm supposed to do. The puzzles are very clever but most of them involve timed doors fire climbable walls machine guns and doing things in just the right order (which is just trial and error) so they seemed very difficult until you actually solved them. Finally you get to the third section which has you solving and completing four tasks to get the four tridents that allow you to exit the level. Getting to these tasks is almost as hard as completing them as they are in a large room and you have to do a lot of jumping climbing and swimming in underwater mazes to get to them. The tasks themselves are very difficult and include fire puzzles and one of the hardest timed runs I've seen yet. I'm grading down in a few areas. The textures are perfectly done and the level is built perfectly but areas of it were a bit dark and I found few flares. With all the switches there really need to be more camera work. Finally the level is just too hard and too confusing especially considering how easy it is to get stuck forever just because you do things in the wrong order. Even after finishing this level I still have no idea what most of the switches do and at least one door is still unopened. I did find two secrets and there were few actual enemies (soldiers) but the level needs a lot more health packs because of the locusts who I don't count as actual enemies because you can't kill them.” – RaiderGirl (21-Jun-2002)

“Puh what a difficult level. This double-feature from Claude Gross can be played as single one or continued from ‘The forgotten passage’. In the second part a serpent is always spitting swarms of locusts at Lara nearly permanent during the game. That costs a lot of energy. This one and the darkness in the game were the biggest enemies for me. You can see a lot of places nearly in the beginning where you get later sometimes really confusing you have to change the levels a few times to proceed. Also a lot of levers often you don’t know what they did some of them opened secret areas. Anyway a very well-thought-out and nice designed level exciting until the end. After I found out that the keys are universal in this game from the second part I didn’t have many problems anymore. When you think the game is finished you get to another area of the level you come out in a beautiful designed area with 4 statues who want to have a trident each. So you have to solve different puzzles in 4 different rooms to find the 4 tridents and put them on the statues now the exit opened. This last area could have been a small level on its own. My net playing time was about 3.20 hours but in real time more than double. For hardcore gamers a must-have-played level for rookies too hard. Waiting for the next level from Claude Gross.” – Freeman Porter (21-Jun-2002)

“At the start this level looked very promising but after a while it turned out to be one of the most frustrating I have ever played. First you can get stuck just because you threw some levers in the wrong order (and you don't get a hint there's a certain order things have to be done). Second you can get stuck because of bugs. In the room with the automatic machine gun Lara has to push a red button. Unfortunately you don't get a feedback she does because she actually doesn't push it (she just doesn't move) although the attempt triggers some action somewhere else. In my case I've tried to push the button but because it didn't seem to work I thought this button was just a fake. Then Lara got killed I reloaded and didn't try the button again. In the consequence I was stuck - only it took me two hours of running around senselessly to realise. My main complaint about the level though are these terrible locusts that are pestering Lara most of the time following her almost everywhere. Well they could have been fun in a pure ‘action-level’ but this level is a VERY confusing one which needs a lot of thinking trying and exploring. You just need time to think to find your way. Unfortunately that's exactly what the locusts don't allow you. For me they spoiled the whole game which could have been a really fine adventure. The only chance I had was to try a path pumping medkits into Lara all the time and then reload. Reload reload and reload until I finally found my way. That was no fun that was no thrill and no suspense it was just going on my nerves. Why I bothered to write this review at all? Because the level has had it's moments and I think it could have been a really great one if the author has had a little more sense for balancing it. I'd really love to replay a version without the bugs and without those nerve killing locusts.” – Percys (21-Jun-2002)

“30 minutes into the game I thought this might be another ‘four tenner’ cause the shipwreck setting is my favourite scenario everything was beautifully textured and I do love these timed doors. Unfortunately the gameplay and puzzles are too clever for their own good. Meaning you can get stuck on various occasions if you do things in the wrong order not even knowing where you failed. But the main flaw in my view are the locusts that constantly attack you in the dragon room. I found only one way to survive them: As soon as they appeared I hit the save key and then reloaded this very savegame. That gave me three locust free seconds. But as you can imagine it really destroys the gameplay and kills all the fun if you have to save and reload every three seconds over long periods of the level. And by the way what the hell are locusts doing on a damp and musty shipwreck. Not their natural environment. That aside it really is a fantastic adventure with everything in it that you can hope to encounter in a TR Level. Every room is designed with so much care and an eye for detail and Claude has managed to combine quite a few different styles while sticking to an overall atmosphere. It took me nearly 4 hours to complete this once I knew why I got stuck (big thanks to Doc for his patience) and you get such a plethora of tasks it's close to a miracle that the whole thing still holds together as an unit. Ok let me just mention a few highlights: The timed run where you have to push four levers (there is another one with three) the way the whole thing is constructed and how you have to go back and forth between the two parts; that mean sentry gun that took me some time to destroy; the big rusty room you have to jump through to get access to the lock that deactivates the underwater propellers; the moving block puzzle that rewards you with a swim in the ocean. You simply have to call in sick and see for yourself. Or if you have a weekend to spare there are certainly worse ways to spend it but you might want to have a look at he rather long thread before you do anything rash. I lost count of the cigarettes I smoked during this one but when I finally reaching the end I felt such a sense of accomplishment that all the frustration was forgotten. To give you an idea how often I gave up on this and waited for help from the forum I can tell you that during this I finished no less than nine other levels on the side.” – Dimpfelmoser (21-Jun-2002)

“Before you download this be aware that it is very difficult in places and that it will have you tearing your hair out more than once. In fact I had to resort to the forums for help a few times (thanks Dimpfelmoser and Sash!). But don't let that stop you getting your hands on it as this one should be in everyone's collection and there's a lot of help available on the forums if you need it. The first part begins in what is very much a ‘TR2 Maria Doria’ kind of way it positively oozes that familiar nautical atmosphere. I felt quite nostalgic as Lara frantically swam for her life past a load of sharks into a rusty shipwreck. Great stuff. Almost immediately you realise that this level is not going to be a walk in the park - you had better be good at timed runs if you want to finish this level with your sanity intact! The second part of the level is centred largely around one large scaly enemy (as well as many small airborne enemies) and will test your raiding skills to the limit - conserve medipacks whenever you can because you will need them here! Eventually you'll find yourself in a kind of Egyptian building which contains amongst other things a timed run with four switches that had me close to throwing my computer across the room in frustration. (Ah but what a sense of satisfaction I got when I finally managed it!) In short this work from Claude includes everything that makes Tomb Raider so good. There are however a few small bugs - I found myself trapped once by jumping up at a closed grate and getting stuck inside it you can get the car jack before you're technically supposed to which I suspect may have caused me a few problems later on and you can also get stuck inside a couple of moveable blocks etc. I would have given it a perfect score if it hadn't been for these minor glitches. Don't let that put you off though because the gameplay is so engrossing and fluid throughout that such things almost cease to matter. The statistics screen shows that I completed the game in just under 4 hours but with numerous reloads plenty of head-scratching and much searching of the forums it was probably more like 6 or 7. This really is a ‘must-download’ level. I didn't want it to end and was really sad when it finally did which says a lot about what's on offer here. More levels like this please Claude!” – Bex (21-Jun-2002)

“This is one of the first levels I played after arriving to this forum. My thinking? I’ll play something along with everyone else more help that way. WRONG This level took me hours I mean HOURS. A little dreary a hateful dragon hordes of woman-eating locusts. There are no words to describe how much hair I pulled out on this one luckily I have plenty LOL. Definitely not for the beginner which I don’t think of myself as but yes I felt like one here. I somehow stumbled upon part 2 before part 1 and was totally lost. If not for Matthias I would have given up the game as it were. Happily I got help sometimes timely sometimes not but am quite glad I stuck with it for this is a thinking level and worth the time played. But if you can’t stand being frustrated don’t bother. It’s got a couple of bugs but what the hey live with it. There was one door to my knowledge that no one got opened and it leaves me wondering if I should play it again.......what do think I’m nuts?” – Momster (21-Jun-2002)
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