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Level: The Inverted Dream Factory back home search
Author(s): Richard Lawther
total rating:8.42 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
bERT 9 9 9 10
CC 9 9 9 9
Dimpfelmoser 8 7 10 10
Engelchen Lara 10 8 10 10
eTux 9 8 8 8
G.Croft 9 7 6 7
gfd 7 8 8 8
Jose 6 5 6 9
Kristina 8 7 9 10
Magnus 7 6 7 6
MichaelP 9 9 8 10
Momster 9 7 9 10
RaiderGirl 9 8 9 10
Ryan 8 8 8 10
Sash 9 8 9 9
Sutekh 9 8 9 10
Tombaholic 9 8 10 9
Tune Razor 9 9 9 9
Whistle 8 7 8 8
category averages
(19 reviews)
8.47 7.68 8.47 9.05

Reviewer's comments

"I think this level (plus his first one CPU Crash) was the phase where Richard's unique style really shone through and he came into his own. The textures in his first effort were certainly different but I personally couldn't get used to them, but here they are really well done (although the overall stark appearance might put some people off as it is still a matter of taste). The metallic textures give the environment a unique flair while not being too much to get accustomed to, and I liked a couple of the custom objects too. The puzzles are also ingenious and more enjoyable than before, containing a couple of nice tic tac toe puzzles, very well set up boulder traps, engaging timed runs and more. What I didn't enjoy so much were the mazes (particularly the 3D underwater one which, while a nice concept, was too frustrating for its own good), the walkthrough walls (despite the hints being given) and the odd sequence with the Factory Keys that require you to have a savegame to hand if you want to refer back to the earlier clues. I didn't so I had to look at the visual walkthrough which somewhat gave the game away. The atmosphere also felt a bit too sterile for my liking, while audio was rather lacking despite cameras being used nicely. But as a whole, I'm definitely glad I tried this one out, as it gave me 101 minutes of intriguing raiding." - Ryan (18-Jan-2019)

"Impressive the author's evolution after his first level. This time there's a very big effort with the geometry texturization and the retextured objects. I found also some entertaining tasks and innovative puzzles; and the timed runs are doable too. Really a good advance. On the other hand, I didn't like look for hidden jumpswitches in huge areas and, specially the fake walls I hate (that feature is only to be sure that players get stucked). I also disagree to force players to keep savegames so they can finish the level; savegames are only files in the hard drive and they can be easily lost. Not good you play two levels only picking up guns and ammo and let all the action to the very end; if you waste all the ammo with the hords of wasps, I don't know how you can kill the T-Rex and another reptiles 'cause they drop important items to finish the level. Anyway a couple of levels worth to play which will not leave you indifferent." - Jose (22-Jul-2016)

"Richard stands out alone as a builder. He thinks outside the box, and all his levels are so unique that, once played, they are never forgotten. His fantastical architecture, new textures, his sense of humour and intriguing gameplay is so addictive. He draws you into his worlds and won't let you go until you are shocked back into reality when you hit the often abrupt endings. I for one sincerely hope that he continues to build for a long time to come. Having played the fabulous Astrodelica levels it's about time I went back in time and played these older levels. My goodness, the original mind is there right from the start. The fantastic architecture, textures, and great gameplay. Not so developed as his later levels, but hey! I'm not going to start nit picking. At the start we see what could be described as a factory in construction, or inverted as the title says. We see four pillars suspended in mid air. Our goal is to raise platforms under these so we can claim them. To do so we must venture through this amazing place and complete numerous tasks, involving jumping sequences, timed runs, puzzles, climbing, monkeyswinging, tremendous slides, excellent boulder runs (I had a ball triggering about 10 boulders in a room of slopes and columns). This level is similar to CPU Crash. This time though it seems that Lara is dreaming about her experiences. Some of us have been playing custom levels for a long time now, and can find ways the author never intended, and in so doing get to places ahead of time, which I did. But we're not so all-fired smart though that we can spot all the hidden places and figure everything out immediately. For example, climbing an amber block a second time to finish a puzzle. The climb through and walk through walls are a big no no. Finding the first climbable texture was a pain, but we recognise these textures from there on and know that it's possible to climb them. On the other hand this is supposed to be a dream, or nightmare, so anything could happen. I was awestruck at the sight of the underwater glass maze. Throughout the game Lara finds binoculars. Picking these up triggers flybys to show us where we need to go, and more importantly what we need to do when we get there. She also finds gems and sunglasses. In this totally surreal environment, moving along, picking up weapons, and wondering where the enemies are, I blinked in disbelief near the end when I entered a room with raptors, pteranadons and a TRex. This following a flyby of giant mosquitoes gathering in formation to attack Lara. They just keep coming! Definitely the stuff of nightmares. I have a feeling that players will either love or hate Richard's levels. No middle ground. Or in the case of this level, no ground at all, at times. I love them and hope to see a lot more." - CC (18-Apr-2006)

Great gameplay, beautiful settings and, as usual with Richard, inventiveness, creativity and originality... what's more to ask for? Gameplay can be tough, especially on the agility department with a couple of expert sequences but never frustrating. On the research side, you'll never be left without a clue and won't ever wander aimlessly. You're at point A and Richard clearly shows you where's point B, but it's up to you to find out how to get from the former to the latter - and make it alive. Not always that easy. On the down side, I found the puzzles a bit too easy for my liking, the secrets weren't that thrilling to find and some of the fly-bys were a bit too long but that's it. Not much for an otherwise highly enjoyable level, with some memorable sequences which place it in the 'Great levels' category. - Sutekh (07-Jul-2005)

"Typical level from Dick with lots of mazes to solve and as usual you have something 'extra' to cope with e.g. mirror surfaces. The linear gameplay also has the difficult pathways to traverse as you find the 4 Bins. As long as you keep your wits about you the gameplay is not too difficult (not easy either). Enemies only come in the end section and with all that ammo collected then they are easily dealt with. As usual with a Lawther level you can expect the colours to be on the bright side in some areas but the graphics are generally good and include Fog among the textures. A good level to play (despite comments above) so try it." - Whistle (04-Jun-2004)

"Another great level by Richard - again he shows the creativity of his puzzles put in some surreal surroundings - which don't really capture you with their beauty - yet are not as inconsistent and chaotic as the same author's 'Folly'. I found the numerous boulder escapes fun the waving icy ground before diving in it cool also the mazes quite fun - as they're not too difficult and easy once you know what you're supposed to do. The walk through doors and enigmatically textured climbable walls are a no no and also at some point you wonder what all the ammo is for? (don't ask but don't waste it!). Well what else can I say - a fine offering by the author - if you don't mind something that's quite a bit away from the usual raiding give this a try and I can assure you won't be disappointed!" - eTux (30-Apr-2004)

"I thought Richard's previous level was weird until I played this one! It's just as strange and just as compelling as the last one but it also inherits its fault of being a bit too abstract for most. So much so that some puzzles will just have you saying WTF? Also despite the fact there is an excellent battle right at the end there are no enemies anywhere else in the map. Whilst I'm on the subject of 'bad' points may I just say that 'invisible' boulder-traps are not a good idea. I hope you're not put off by the poorer aspects of this map though because you'll be missing out on a good solid adventure. Just not really one for the easily frustrated that's all. I took me 2 hours and 30 minutes and I found a lovely 4 secrets." - gfd (06-Feb-2004)

"At first this seems like 'CPU Crash 2' (we all now how often computers crash) but it isn't. Instead it's a level very similar to 'CPU Crash' using mainly the same textures and with the same type of gameplay. The textures are - just like in CPU Crash - the biggest problem with the level. Sure they fit rather well with the theme in the author's previous level but here they don't fit as well. The level is set in the place where your hopes and dreams are made and maybe this is how it looks there? I wouldn't know since I've never been there but I still didn't like the textures even if they are used quite nicely. Well enough about the textures. I found the sound in the background to be very annoying. You hear it it gets quiet you hear it it gets quiet and so on. It's too soothing! I almost fell asleep while playing but fortunately the gameplay was good enough to keep me awake. There are some hard areas some easy and it never gets too boring so you always want to continue. This is not a level for those who like enemies since you don't meet a single enemy until in the last part of the level - there you'll meet enough enemies to form a smaller army. I finished the level after about 55 minutes finding only one of the secrets. This is a level that I recommend to those who liked CPU Crash it's not a level for those who like a little reality when they play." - Magnus (29-Jan-2004)

"This brilliantly fun level from Mr. Lawther 'the maker of oddness' is split up into two distinct areas. The first longer section which took me 75 minutes is what we are used to from Dick there are jumps/climbs aplenty from floating and non floating multi leveled rooms and a whole lot of other things you'd expect. There are also 4 binocular pick-ups with great fly bys giving the solution to a final puzzle in this first section that is just inspired and a fantastic inclusion. The last section which took 15 minutes though is very different than what I am used to with his levels and in a nutshell it's nothing but a killing spree of Jurassic beasts in a setting that is anything but prehistoric. Roll all this up into a tight little ball and you've got yourself one hell of a cool level - ...but and there's always a but the walk through wall at the start of the level was just uncalled for as most players would be tearing their hair out trying to reach the timed but unreachable red herring raising block next to it. So if you come across that raising block at the start then GIVE UP and look elsewhere for a way to progress." - Sash (18-May-2003)

"One more level from Richard and what else could someone ask apart from those great textures and very good lighting. Lara's goal is to collect the four factory keys and finish the level after one big fight with flying insects raptors a T-Rex so make sure you get the guns and plenty of ammo. Gems and guardian keys will help proceed into the level the rooms have mazes difficult jumps with boulders coming down levers with also boulders on top and you have to get out of the way fast and many more. I particularly had trouble with the last maze but the water maze was easy. The whole level is full of triggers so study the surroundings there are hints everywhere and it shouldn't be a problem finishing the level without help unless you mix up the colours like me when you go to place the pillars. One more thing I like about Richard's levels except the nice setting is that you always know what to do or where to go but getting there is another story I hate going around clueless. I only found two secrets the two pairs of glasses or maybe all secrets were glasses. Make sure you read the 'important' document. I certainly enjoyed this and I am sure you will too." - Kristina (31-Mar-2003)

"Whatever else you may read on this page don't be afraid to download this level - the hints guide that comes with the download is more than enough help to get you through it (and thanks Richard for including it!). There are four puzzle areas to get through that involve timed door and blocks huge rooms to jump and climb in one of the best underwater mazes I've ever seen tiles that trigger certain doors deadly boulder traps and finding the necessary objects that are needed to get into the next area. Wondering where all the enemies are? Well better save all the ammo you can cos you'll come across them soon enough. This level is pretty amazing - I can only imagine all the work that the author put into it. Lara is wearing a cool outfit too and the secret glasses are great." - RaiderGirl (09-Feb-2003)

"The Inverted Dream Factory is typical of Richard Lawther's unconventional levels but no worse for that. The environment you're playing in may not be in any way familiar - or even recognisable this side of a nightmare - but the whole package of gameplay visuals and atmosphere is so absorbing that you accept the rather surreal surroundings without question. Gameplay itself is pretty linear once you get started but the quality of the puzzles is so high that this isn't a problem. Where Richard really scores in my opinion is not only in the ingenuity of his puzzles but also in the clever way he posts clues to their solution. As well as the puzzles we get a couple of timed runs (not too tough thank goodness) and a typically quirky transparent water maze (sounds worse than it actually is). Adding insult to injury we also have a timed run within a maze. Richard's ability to put a new twist on established techniques is one of his many talents and this level contains several examples. I won't spoil the fun by giving too much away but suffice to say that this level is full of ingenious traps and puzzles all put together with Richard's usual wit and humour. Be sure to check out the inventory page as well before you finish with this level. This is definitely not the most difficult level you'll ever play but that all adds to the fluidity of the gameplay in this level where the emphasis is firmly on enjoyment rather than endurance. I'd unreservedly recommend this level not only as a fine example of an unconventional custom level but also as a supremely enjoyable one to play." - Tune Razor (23-Oct-2002)

"In brief: Astrodelica (same author) without the humour. First time I played this I immediately chunked it into the hard disk waste bin. There's one thing I can't have and that is gameplay blocking enigma's right at the start and I refer to the unpassable looking passable texture bit with the first seemingly timed block puzzle that is timed but not possible to do. After the brilliant Astro I gave it a second chance. Again - as in Astro - the gameplay and puzzles are original as is the atmosphere and concept of the whole the 'binocular' way of proceeding. Nevertheless the passable texture bit remains a no-go so -1 for that. Cameras following the binocular pick ups were a bit too long (-1). Good idea too were the first seemingly useless weapon and ammunition pick-ups (of course you knew something bad had to come) and absolutely brilliant again the four insects gathering lining up and closing in on poor Lara in the short second part. Dick remains the king in decomposing the whole TR-experience putting his great and weird stuff in it and creating a totally new experience with it. Tops!" - bERT (18-Oct-2002)

"The level almost urges you to give it a perfect 10 across the board because it is so utterly inventive and fun. But of course picky as I am I found a few annoying elements that ever so slightly reduce my score. In fact Gameplay and puzzles are great in their variety with platforming timed sequences (not too tight) boulder traps a plenty raising blocks jump switches tile hopping use of a map once six guardian keys four gems and five pillars to find and use etc etc but of course there are also too mazes (even though the water maze with 'glass walls' is neat) and I simply hate walkthrough walls and they appeat twice even if there are certain hints. Enemies appear only at the end but you get a great flyby there and battling those beasts was great fun. The idea with the four 'binocular flybys' is great although at least one of them is unnecessarily long and overall I totally missed the use of sound and music in the level. Lighting and especially texturing truly stays within Dick's style but this time around even I loved the way he designed these rooms - a must play if only because it is so different!" - Michael (21-Sep-2002)

"Would like to say that both levels had me tied to my computer pretty much. Lara has many puzzles to solve which may be too hard for some players. She needs her brain skills and endurance one must consider the next move very well for the Level builder did come up with some devious tricks. Things that fool you e.g. time doors where one thinks you cannot make it; raising blocks (timed) jump sequences and invisible traps. Honestly I must say I fell for it quite a few times but later I understood what the Level builder wanted to accomplish - that it would not be simple for Lara to solve this task. Because each riddle has to be solved differently in ways I have not seen in other Levels previously and that fascinated me and brought again and again astonishment. Really great that there are again and again new and other riddles. Lara has to gather 6 stinger keys 4 crystals and 5 factory keys in order to reach the dream star. The graphics were real good many textures were changed. Also some objects were new at least I did not know them. The rooms were very well designed suitable to the riddles but I do not want to give too much away. Lara's outfit I really liked and it suited her well. There are four well-hidden secrets to find. The sound was always varied and also to hear with the opponents. I do not want to mention the opponents to not spoil the surprise. I would like to mention the camera flybys though as this is most important in this game: very well designed and Lara has to memorize what she sees otherwise it gets very difficult later. I thought that camera was really the best I have seen in a custom level and I watched it a few times (enough said). For me the level builder has put very much effort and care into this work and I can only say it is great and now part of my special collection. This level might not be everybody's taste but it certainly is mine. For beginners it really depends but for professional players it is a must. From me it gets a very high rating as I have nothing to complain about quite the opposite!" - Engelchen Lara (11-Aug-2002)

"I think Lara spent too much time trapped in that broken computer because this dream looks a lot like the inside of the authors previous level - CPU crash. But maybe that was the intention. Many good puzzles and that's what makes this level worth playing. Boulder traps an underwater glass maze logic - illogical puzzles/ways to go and timed doors are some parts of all the new inventive puzzles. I don't think the atmosphere was so dreamlike more as I said computerlike. The level ends with a big nightmare battle and one final jump......" - G.Croft (21-Jul-2002)

"This isn't as compact and straight as CPU Crash and there were quite a few things that I found slightly irritating but it's still very inventive original and unique in gameplay and setting so I think we should give Richard a round of applause for creating something that is unmistakably his very own style. I think the fly-bys were a bit too long I could have done with less boulders in that three lever room I had to refer to the walkthrough more times than I like to admit and I'm not absolutely sure if it was such a brilliant idea to cram all enemies into the last five minutes but apart from that it's highly entertaining throughout. A lot of jumps clever puzzles timed runs and an underwater maze with a difference but what makes the Dream Factory so memorable are the awesome rooms and extraordinary textures. It is a surreal world (like you would expect in a nightmare) where the author mixes the high tech environment from CPU Crash with post-modern elements in a way that it doesn't seem the least contrived. If you think there isn't anything new in the Level Editor Universe this (along with Richards other two levels) is going to make you reconsider. I forgot to install the two soundfiles but that didn't matter really cause as Lara is dressed in the colours of the Brazilian flag I took this as a perfect excuse to listen to Bossa Nova during the whole adventure." - Dimpfelmoser (21-Jul-2002)

"Two fantastic hours of game time! Dick has created the most innovative and interesting level I've played to date. I am not ashamed to admit that I used that important 'hints' page upon more than one occasion. Definitely not a sweet dream Lara was having this night. I really enjoyed getting into the puzzling of this level without constantly having to pull out my trusty pistols or shotgun to battle it out with some despicable enemy who had the nerve to invade my dreams. Climbing jumping and figuring that's what this dream is all about. Picture Lara tossing and turning in her deep sleep trying to wake up from this one! The binocular flybys are a treat and thank goodness for them but could have been a little shorter. Especially if you had to watch them more than once or twice or... The atmosphere lighting textures are indescribable you need to see them for yourself. Fantastic timed sequences and the water maze - lol. All the while picking up gems and 'stinger keys' and that name didn't prepare you by a long shot! Then the final pickup of the 4 pillars and the placement thereof with the use of your binocular saves. And finally you come to the enemies. Hordes of nasty stinging creatures that just keep coming and coming. And when you think you've got them all they come again. Download and play this folks and don't give up it's worth every second you are asleep." - Momster (21-Jul-2002)

"The intrepid Ms. Croft has just returned from her latest adventure in some remote and exotic part of the world. Weary from her exploits she relaxes in her favorite armchair a snifter of her best Napolean brandy in hand. The fire flickers in the hearth casting long shadows which dance around the room. As the clock strikes midnight the weary Lara falls into a restless sleep and begins to dream... Well I'm not sure that's exactly what the author had in mind when he devised this level but I could only imagine this surreal world as a bad dream - Lara's demons chasing her even past the waking world. Climbing climbing climbing up an endlessly high room; running for timed blocks that cannot be reached no matter how fast you go; walking through solid walls. It all works brilliantly to create the feeling of nightmare. The texturing (and lack thereof) was completely believable to me for this scenario. At one point I found myself thinking the stone boulders didn't really fit the environment but dreams are not logical - people and things often appear where they don't belong. There are many other original effects that deserve to be seen for themselves rather than enumerated here. Without being too difficult the gameplay is well rounded with just a couple tricky jumps some good puzzles boulder traps and a nice underwater maze. Four flybys are critical to solving the final puzzle but they were longer than necessary considering those without photographic memories must watch them each more than once (this is one of my only complaints about the level). After not meeting so much as a bat during the entire level Lara must face a barrage of enemies at the end (you knew all that ammo was there for a reason). Finally you make a 'leap of faith' to end the level and can only imagine Lara waking in a cold sweat and saying Aha, it was just a bad dream. Oh and since I forgot to mention it in my review of 'CPU Crash' I'll say it here: great outfit!" - Tombaholic (19-Jul-2002)
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