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Level: Ta Phrom back home search
Author(s): Chronicles5
total rating:7.27 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Bex 6 6 10 8
Dimpfelmoser 5 6 8 8
DJ Full 6 7 8 7
eRIC 5 6 9 9
eTux 5 6 8 8
G.Croft 5 7 8 9
Gerty 6 6 9 7
Jay 5 6 8 7
John 8 10 10 10
Jose 4 6 6 8
Kristina 4 6 9 9
LarzBritish 7 9 10 10
Magnus 5 5 7 7
MichaelP 6 6 10 8
Monika 7 7 8 8
Orbit Dream 6 6 8 10
Pam 8 7 8 8
Phil 7 8 7 8
RaiderGirl 7 7 10 9
Ryan 5 6 8 8
Sash 4 5 7 7
Tombhead96 7 10 8 8
Torry 6 7 8 7
Treeble 4 5 6 6
V Croft 8 9 10 10
category averages
(25 reviews)
5.84 6.76 8.32 8.16

Reviewer's comments

"This is a rather nicely made, atmospheric level and certainly something different from the all too often run of the mill levels of this era. Unfortunately, playing as young Lara always has its limitations and the gameplay is very simplistic, mainly involving a lot of lever throwing and running away from enemies (pigs and crocs). At under 30 minutes, you might want to try it for the settings, but otherwise it’s not very absorbing." - Jay (28-Apr-2019)

"A Young Lara level in an undoubtedly gorgeous setting with some nice music choices, but unfortunately the actual gameplay is a little uninvolving. It's very simple, really - just use quite a few levers and search the various courtyards for optional golden skull artefacts, all the while avoiding crocodiles and wild boar that are out to take a chunk out of poor Lara, and there's a bit of gruelling backtracking as you near the end. 30 minutes at the most." - Ryan (20-Jan-2019)

"I guess that young Lara levels receive a similar squint of the eye as any in the shooter label. This should be no difference: a nice (if somewhat small) jungle in which you run back and forth throwing levers to proceed. It's all very easy except for two points - one is a run-through waterfall, for which there's no clear indication (and it's pretty much at the first dead end you may come across) and then one of the levers required some backtracking across the river where the bridge collapsed. Everything else was rather linear. Some of the areas looked great, while others weren't as inspiring, so it's a bag of mixed feelings for me. 30 minutes, 3 secrets. 03/18" - Treeble (25-Mar-2018)

"Nothing interesting in this small level except look for the five secrets. The remaining tasks are only pull levers to open doors and some gymnastics; also I suffered an unnecessary backtracking before the ending. The best is the architecture and the well created environments, no much problem avoiding the enemies and there's a good use of the cameras. Playable but not very enjoyable except if you like only exploration." - Jose (25-Jul-2016)

"I've learned to view Young Lara levels with considerable suspicion, not so much because you have to play them without weapons, but because you have no flares, cannot cheat to acquire them, and are therefore left to the builder's lighting whims (and too many out there are too fond of dark surroundings). I decided to give this one a try notwithstanding my misgivings, and I found the lighting to be reasonable throughout. However, the downside is the considerable backtracking as you make your way through the level. Without Harry Laudie's typically competent walkthrough I probably wouldn't have stuck with it until the end. It's a fairly short level, clocking in at just over a half hour, and I suspect it will look crude in comparison with the upcoming Khmer Empire BtB levels. Still, it's well worth the download." - Phil (07-Mar-2014)

"Preparing to my BtB attempt, I've been studying Khmer stuff for several days in a row. One of temple names seemed familiar to me, so I checked the listing and indeed found this little piece of Mike's. The author's statement about the level having more beauty rather than challenge is purely right - gameplay, is linear and without much confusion, mostly focusing on running, platforming, swinging and swimming, but thanks to contrasting lighting, large amounts of running water and many small rooms resembling cramped corridors of Cambodian temples, locations we run through feel cute and admirable even with numerous texturing flaws, some shadow lacking on the classic Lara model and occasional lack of transition from one setting to another, the most ridiculous portal leading from the twin door corridor into the shiva forest. Things that, in place of the author, I would fix at all cost before releasing this game, include two huge backtracks, both missing a camera that would point to a remote open door You can't hear from distance. But the hugest mistake is linear secret system - missing one denying all following is a really bad idea. Still I like a stroll down the memory lane with those golden skulls, and medikits may be useful for a player yet unaware how to avoid feeding enemies with Lara's flesh. I didn't mind lack of firepower, for executing boar- and croc-evasive manoeuvres is as entertaining as usual shooting - but I cried for some flares or binoculars just like in original Angkor Wat levels, because each dark spot without any way to brighten it is simply annoying (thankfully, there weren't many of these). Finally, I enjoyed a remarkable amount of impaled dead guys, making the level more funny than scary if You realize all these guys died tempted by the same vase model and no later temple visitor took a lesson from its deceased precedessor. SUMMARY: Opposite to what the author advises, this little temple raid is a purely relaxing if You don't bother the secrets. Of course if You want an optional challenge You might go for them, but results my vary. Anyway solid, atmospheric and recommended." - DJ Full (09-Feb-2014)

"Not a very long young Lara level in Cambodia, but interesting to play for the author has added some new textures to the ones we know already , and some of the areas are really nice like one room with the 4 lions statues in the beginning and the jungle watery place with all the waterfalls and shivas statues. This place is well valorised by a very beautiful flyby. Some secrets to find are not really obvious, which is a good thing and the main progression is not hard which is not a bad thing. Not a bad thing either that the crocodiles get stuck in the corridor after a while. A pleasant level." - eRIC (02-Jun-2008)

"Since levels where you play as young Lara seem to be feared by many players this level comes as a pleasant surprise. Don't get me wrong it's not one of the best levels I've played but it's one of the better levels with young Lara I've played. Well if you decide to play this level it has to be because of the scenery; the gameplay is not impressive at all. The level looks very nice with a lot of waterfalls but you don't get a chance to look closer at anything since you don't spend a long time in any of the rooms. There are some misplaced textures and it's a little hard to see where you can climb sometimes but the texturing is overall good. The lighting is also quite good. The level ended quite suddenly after just over ten minutes but then again I didn't find a single one of the secrets." - Magnus (29-Jan-2004)

"The atmosphere is excellent and the music is nice too. Young Lara though can't give any excitement with no guns and limited animations the best you can do is add some golden skulls as secrets and levers. This had just some climbing enough monkey swinging and quite a few crocodiles. That wild boar at the beginning really annoyed me until I got further. Poor men that got spiked are all over the place and many Shivas. The ropes near the end aren't necessary as you can easily jump to the right side and keep going until you reach the second lever. Anyway barely twenty minutes in this game and that's all it can give." - Kristina (22-Mar-2003)

"This is a nice area to explore as young Lara that is all you can do anyway. Looking for levers and even finding golden skulls (I found 3) is all one has to do. As there are no flares I found this level in certain corners a bit too dark. This level in a way offers eye candy as the waterfalls are really nice to see. Standing on the bridge way above the water you see a helicopter flying over you. All the six armed statues boy was I glad they were only statues made me a bit longing for TR III. The only enemies you will encounter are some boars and too many crocs. With more gameplay I am sure that Mike can make great levels. 03-12-2002" - Gerty (07-Dec-2002)

"I can accept the other reviewers when they say the environment was attractive but it just felt so busy that it took away rather than enhanced the feel for me. I also felt that there were too many dark places not enough diversity in gameplay and enemies were more annoying than thrilling. This is however a young Lara level and we all know they lack that something special so for what it is it is quite good." - Sash (06-Dec-2002)

"I'm not sure how to rate 'secrets' as I only found 3 but I quite happily awarded 10 for Lighting and Textures because they fully deserved it. The forest area with the trees and the Shiva statues is one of the most beautiful places I've ever been to in a custom level and the camera work and music complimented it superbly. Shame there wasn't much to do really. Such is the problem with Young Lara and putting in lots of dark places is really unfair (not to say self-defeating as it makes all the texturing invisible) without flares to assist you. Not all the rooms worked as well as they might (particularly at the beginning) and the ending was frightfully abrupt and un-satisfying but the use of a Nathan McCree music score will always cheer me up." - Orbit Dream (02-Dec-2002)

"Argh. It's Young Lara. And I think most people will agree with me when I say that Young Lara is boring in the sense that she can't really do anything except move! For me this level was a bit of a conflict. On the one hand there's no denying it looks beautiful I think this author will be making great levels in the weeks and months to come (just look at some of the level titles he has got planned from the load screen and you'll see that we have some nice things to look forward to). Ta Phrom is very picturesque very realistic in many ways and I must say that it's by far the most pretty Young Lara level I've played so far. On the other hand this doesn't disguise the fact that it's a Young Lara level and that in itself means that you're very restricted and that the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired. I'm very much looking forward to seeing other levels by this author as I'm sure they will be just as detailed and gorgeous as this one and that they will also include a higher level of gameplay." - Bex (26-Aug-2002)

"This is a young Lara level lasting around 45 minutes that is quite pleasing on the eye. The textures were really nice and the Shiva statues in the big room with trees wonderfully done. Unfortunately as with most young Lara levels the gameplay lacks a bit. Not the fault of the author just the character is very much under equipped for us hard and seasoned raiders. Basically this is another switch hunt which opens another area to locate another switch and so forth and so on. I only found 3 secrets of the 5 that the author maintains are there and I never did find the underwater door that opened when I triggered the switch in secret number one." - Torry (11-Aug-2002)

"Nice and short level that definitely goes in my folder with the good levels to play again one day." - Pam (02-Aug-2002)

"Young Lara has only two kinds of enemies. Pestering wild boars and crocodiles. The ambience was almost too over-ornate for my liking. The monkey bar from the big pool with the crocodiles to area with the crocodiles had a bug. Lara would grab and turn but would not move forward. I just had to cheat to get across and this 4 times. I quite liked the game and it took me about 60 minutes to finish it. I found 4 Golden Skulls instead of 5." - Monika (01-Aug-2002)

"Well for me the environment was really too much. There were so many textures and ornaments crammed into each space that it felt like walking through a garishly over-furnished room. The gameplay revolves around running from lever to lever till you eventually step into the white nowhere and the game ends with a very strange cutscene. Some areas were truly awesome complete with a picturesque waterfall and being stalked by those crocodiles was quite a thrill but on the whole we could have done with a bit more diversity. I said it before and I say it again with young Lara you are pretty restricted in the pick up and enemy department the more important to include a few puzzles jumps or timed runs when working with the Angkor wad. But just to frolic around in this serene scenery climb high up into the trees and swim around in the stream until the crocodiles have eaten you is worth the trip." - Dimpfelmoser (01-Aug-2002)

"A young Lara level with great scenery set in ruins in the jungle. Lots of trees vegetation and waterfalls. Young Lara can't do so many things so the gameplay isn't that much. Pulling some levers swinging some ropes. Enemies are wild boars and crocodiles which are easily avoided. So this is a level to play for the beautiful surroundings - not for the challenge!" - G.Croft (30-Jul-2002)

"This is a level for us explorers and a beautiful place to spend half an hour in. It's based on Ta Phrom a temple in the jungles of Cambodia and the author has done a fantastic job of making it look like the real thing. The highlights are the beautiful waterfall rooms the well done trees and foliage and the new textures. As we all know by now the only puzzles available in a young Lara level are the switches and ropes and though they are usually fairly simple the author has done a good job here of making it a bit more difficult with breakable tiles monkey swing walk through waterfalls and once or twice having to search for what that lever you just pulled opened. Apparently there are five secrets to search for but I only found three. Many areas are too dark which may have been hiding the rest and in my opinion there are too many crocs running around which make it difficult to look around for them. Plus I only found one health pack two if you count the one that appeared on a pedestal when I pulled a lever near the end. It would have been nice if most of the level had been set outdoors and he had given us plenty of natural sunlight so it would be easier to see. The music is well done as are the camera angles and flybys. Near the beginning you're running across a bridge and can see a helicopter flying overhead and the flyby of the shiva waterfall room was smooth and fun to watch. The end came suddenly though and left me wondering what happened next." - RaiderGirl (27-Jul-2002)

"Wow! Definitely visually impressive if not even a little overloaded. It is sometimes hard to take it all in as you run through this beautiful location with Young Lara. There is a number of things I really liked a lot for example the waterfalls look so much better than in many other levels the secrets are fun to spot and cameras and sound are used to advantage. On the downside though this can indeed only be a taste of greater things to come with its 30 minutes of rather linear gameplay with just a little bit of backtracking and the only objective being to pull a few levers and avoid a few crocodiles and warthogs. The binocular animation when picking up the golden skull from a pedestal should be avoided and the ropes hanging from the sky and the 'one-way-walkthrough' waterfall were already mentioned in eTux' review. In any case give this one a look - it definitely wet my appetite for the series yet to come from Mike." - Michael (26-Jul-2002)

"This level plays with young Lara and concentrates more on exploration rather than a lot of gameplay the textures and the structure of the level was just beautiful! Some parts were just breathtaking the cameras and lighting was excellent and it was just a joy to play well done!!" - John (26-Jul-2002)

"A beautiful level this is but that doesn't compensate the fact that it is very weak in terms of gameplay and I think the 5 is even a gift for the level. All you do is run around activate a lever and go further and sometimes you have to return to places you've already been and a activate another lever. Also some places like the ropes that came from the sky (also a low point Tomb Raider mustn't necessarily be too logical but ropes from the sky?) were not necessary cause you could easily get to the necessary lever walking around the cliffs on the side of that area and eventually landing to the waterfall area with the switch. But the level was too short and easy to be boring so maybe you could even enjoy the 25 minutes it lasts. As this is a Young Lara level there are no weapons no flares no binoculars and I can't blame the author for this but I can blame him for the dark areas (not many but there are a few) many crocodiles. I didn't mind the boar but the crocodiles would have been just as deadly if there were not so much of them too. The textures were nice but there were some misplaced textures a only-one-way-through-waterfall before the great waterfall area mostly the waterfalls came out from 'nothing' and there could've been more use of lights. Ok there were some rooms with nice lights but there were also rooms that didn't even have the ambient lighting! The ending was a bit dull too and I was surprised that it ended in such a way. This is not a bad level and has its great moments and definitely a very good young Lara adventure but I also think that there are a lot better levels like this out there." - eTux (25-Jul-2002)

"Upon first hearing about Chronicles5 Exotic Locations I was intrigued. I have always enjoyed levels that focused more on world geometry and textures than running from point A to point B to point C and back again. With this level and hopefully the rest that will follow in the series Chronicles5 has created some lush scenery while still keeping the level challenging and the gameplay absorbing. A must." - Tombhead96 (25-Jul-2002)

"This level is a very good opening for Exotic Locations. The atmosphere is just perfect and the scenery is amazing. Most of all I loved the waterfalls. The custom textures are really magnificent. Moreover the Indian music and the proper lighting give the level an awesome atmosphere. I guess this will have to be the best young Lara level we've all seen in a long time. The gameplay is good and the secrets are not very difficult to find and they reveal a bonus area. The enemies were some warthogs and some crocodiles which Lara has to avoid. In the 3rd and 4th categories I would have given more than ten if possible! This level is definitely worth playing." - V Croft (24-Jul-2002)

"This level is the first level in the Exotic Locations series and the Ta Phrom exotic atmosphere is excellent in this level. The areas are made with great detail and the texturing is very thought-out and well used. The texturing wasn't very Angkorish like some Cambodia based levels I've seen it looks very different. The music was superb TR3's Indian drums music gave it the atmosphere it needed. The puzzles are mainly lever pulling to open doors and backtracking. The secrets were easy to find if you were observant of the areas and the extra area as a reward for the secrets. (Though I don't know what was the point of making that long swim to get the last skull for since the extra area was already found.) There were also some nice surprises in this level that really impressed me. This level was a fun romp through Ta Phrom avoiding a few warthogs and some crocs and beautiful and detailed areas I'm really looking forward to the rest of the EL series which promises to be just as scenic as Ta Phrom. This would be the best young Lara level I've seen in a long time a great intro to the series. It's worth the download just to experience the great atmosphere." - LarzBritish (24-Jul-2002)
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