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Level: Tarragona 8+9 - Final Countdown / Caves of Steel back home search
Author(s): Josep Borrut
total rating:9.48 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Aims 9 9 9 10
Angel 10 10 10 10
bERT 8 9 10 9
CC 10 10 10 10
Chris LP 9 9 10 8
Cuqui 10 10 10 10
Dimpfelmoser 10 10 10 10
DJ Full 7 10 9 8
Dougsan 9 9 10 8
eTux 9 10 10 9
G.Croft 9 10 10 10
Gerty 7 9 10 10
gfd 6 7 9 8
JayJay 10 10 10 10
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Josi 9 10 10 10
JRaider66 10 10 10 10
Kristina 9 10 10 10
Loupar 9 10 10 10
Magnus 8 9 9 9
manarch2 8 9 10 8
MichaelP 9 9 10 10
Miguel 9 9 10 10
Mman 9 10 9 9
Navi 10 10 10 10
Phil 10 10 10 9
RaiderGirl 9 9 10 9
Ryan 9 9 10 10
Scottie 9 10 10 10
Tombaholic 10 10 10 10
Treeble 10 10 10 10
category averages
(31 reviews)
9.03 9.55 9.84 9.48

Reviewer's comments

"In these final two sections of the series, Lara has reached more surrealistic territories and is now sporting a natty spaceship outfit. I mostly very much enjoyed these last two sections as the environments were much cleaner and the majority of the gameplay was challenging while not being frustrating. This was close to being another four-tenner, but I did have to deduct a point from the first and second categories due to the fact that I had to backtrack up and down the main laser room too many times, a few too many forced damaged parts and (to me) due to having to start from scratch, a lack of ammo and weapons for the many guards she encounters along the way. However, it's an enjoyable ending to a mostly enjoyable series even if I didn't enjoy some parts." - Ryan (19-Apr-2017)

"Despite of the whole creative layer of this game, the nonsense secret, the dominating symmetry, passage similarity and mazelike structure of the steelworks room made it incredibly long, boring and annoying - to me, it took 1/3 of the whole runtime. The folloing tower room is great but both the lasers and the elevators are buggy and can produce gamestoppers, also the prologue wraith chase produces too much of health loss. The ship level is much denser and better, almost every room contains something defined and original, but the vague or missing crowbar hint made me look into the walkthrough for the first time in the series, and the second time occured at the purely nonsense silver skull. The ending is brilliant as always from this author but the inbetween experience is only rathergood. Then I looked at the listing and couldn't believe: so, A witch shall be born is rated lower than this? People, get rekt, you gotta be kidding! SUMMARY: The whole series is a mixture of "wow" and "whatever", has its wonders but makes you wonder. Begins and ends brilliantly, but ruins the middle with mediocre base/lab stuff, like if it was built by a completely different author or consisted of much earlier maps used as a filler... The game deserves being played BUT also being fixed - I'm totally sure Tarragona: Gold Edition would hit the bull's eye with better graphics and cleared issues, jumping at 9.80 just like the topic deserves. Wherever Josep is, I hope he thinks about it as well." - DJ Full (24-Mar-2017)

"It should be noted there's a bug mentioned in the readme that forces you to start over from this map, but the set as a whole seems designed for non-continuous play anyway (due to stuff like the Trident issue I mentioned in the previous map) so it doesn't matter too much. This part goes much further in adding a bunch of new objects and textures, and a bunch of stuff is original now. The first map has some bland corridors, but the second map has some of the most unique geometry I've seen, along with very eclectic texture use that seems odd at times, but overall it meshes so well with the general strangeness that it works.
The first map is mostly an intro and epilogue to this final set, but it does have some nice puzzles (though the logic of the navigation room one eluded me). The second map is easily the most challenging in the set and has multiple tough moments and tricky navigation, with the main part centred around a large metal room full of lasers with very three dimensional design. There are various other areas though, with their own original concepts (like a creative lift area). There's also a storyline here told through your interactions, and it ends with an amusing twist. I think this set as a whole has dated quite a bit, but map 4, 7 and 8+9 are still excellent, and this is easily the best part overall with plenty of ideas that are fresh even today." - Mman (15-Feb-2016)

"Another change of setting as you are now on a spaceship and for such an early level the looks are highly stylized with a lot of fancy new objects and futuristic texturing. There are also some cool lighting effects and a few great views to the outside area; sometimes the passages still feel a little drab and unlit but not always. The gameplay in the first level has a few obscure moments (like the card in the bed) but overall I enjoyed all tasks in here, like a rather thought-provoking, if a bit tedious, duct crawl passage or a very enjoyable puzzle where you first have to find a map to find the right way. The button puzzle is a bit hintless though, even if I could guess two of the three pictures correctly it does not follow a logic pattern, and it seems pushing the buttons is not needed at all anyway (by the way, you had to remain on the square with a button because the trigger is delayed on all of those). I liked the usage of the access cards and also the fire gauntlet with a very well designed extinguish scene though. The level change is very cinematic and I liked the use of diagonally(!) lowering blocks, as well as the 'combination' of wraiths to make them safe. The eponymous steele caves are most impressing with a very unique use of window objects and rotating laser traps. While the exploration of the room is quite a task with a few nicely created sequences, I found finding the hideouts for the five gems and their recepactles a bit of a daunting task which could've been a little more intuitive and flowing – such as that one doesn't have to climb up that one ladder again and again, maybe with a shortcut. But once that room is done, the game is rather pleasant to the end; especially as both the laser and elevator rooms and also that timed run which is about life and death at the very end are very enjoyable and thrilling. The textures are very aptly used overall and I really loved the look of the game; the perfect choice and use of sounds and cameras warrants a 10 in the third category alone. Maybe the lighting in here leaves a bit more to be desired as it's rather flat most of the time. Use of enemies and objects is marvellous for that time and as usual the secrets are a fun sidequest. In the second visit to the first level you'll experience a quite unforgettable escape from the starship and a return to Lara's home(?) which is nothing short of impressively designed and which alone makes the whole series worth playing. Because of that blockbuster finale I left the series with very good feelings, despite not being constantly good everywhere. Spent 80 minutes (20+10 in Final Countdown, 50 in Caves of Steele) in this game and a total of 5:35 hours in the entire game. Recommended if you search for a mostly solid, classic, yet also at times surprisingly modern series." - manarch2 (23-May-2015)

"There has Josep an interesting ship built. One room is nicer here than the other. Now and again one could see in my face a question mark, but I knew most of the time what was to be done. With one exception. The riddle with 12 buttons and the crowbar was utterly unsolvable. I had done exactly what was described in the WT and had pressed the right buttons, but the door stayed shut. However, in the WT stood also that the door opens without push the buttons. Exactly this was the case with me. Mistakes can happen of course, but such a thing is really irritating. Particularly as there were no hints which button one should press. Apart from this one place it has properly given fun. In the second leve wasl the degree of difficulty significantly higher. The aliens are obviously quite paranoid, because, otherwise, they would not have inserted so many laser traps. But exactly for that reason has it given so much pleasure. I must mention three outstanding built rooms. This was the huge room with the laser traps, the room with the three elevators and of course the reactor room.
Summary: A worthy conclusion of the Tarragona-Series with a surprise ending. Now Lara has her own shuttle in the garden and her butler is an alien. This brings us to a few interesting questions: Has Lara only dreamt everything? Or have the aliens maybe taken over the earth? Or have the people transmuted into aliens? Questions about the questions which nobody can answer. Suffice it to say that this is a real masterpiece." - Scottie (31-May-2011)

"For some reason I failed to review this two-level release when I played it while writing a walkthrough several years ago. I recently replayed it, making substantial changes in the walkthrough to correct minor errors and to give it more clarity. For those who may feel that enhancements made possible by improvements in the game engine render these older levels old hat and obsolete, I commend this Hall of Fame entry to you. Admittedly, I was underwhelmed by the opening segment that struck me as a bit tedious. But when I got to that incredibly complex area with the roaming lasers, my imagination was brought captive once again to the sheer other-worldliness of the gaming experience. The relatively modest download gives you more raiding enjoyment than you're likely ever to encounter again, megabyte for megabyte. If you've somehow missed playing this classic, I envy you for the treat that awaits you. This one is truly a classic for the ages. Play it not only for the challenges it provides, but for the total immersion in an alien setting that you will find in few other custom levels." - Phil (29-May-2009)

The Final Countdown (6/5/9/8) starts with a confusing and rather boring maze. After this though things improve, but not dramatically. There is a button puzzle that I just couldn't work out and could find no clue for (so I pressed until luck was with me - but it still seemed a tad buggy) lots of crawl spaces and not a single enemy! This level still had its moments though: Lara's new outfit, the well placed and helpful sounds and the custom objects. All in all though, I did not rate this as high as Josep's previous levels. It took me 1 and a half hours but I didn't find a single secret :( The Caves of Steel (5/7/8/8). This was the hardest, most frustrating level I have ever played. To start off with, the puzzle at the start was unfair as far as I'm concerned because it involves you pushing a (newly-textured) push-block OFF of something. A situation I have never encountered before or since. Then we head off into an extremely difficult maze-like area that is just maddening and confusing. Not fun. After this we enter into some lazer-trip-wire rooms that are horribly difficult and seem more trial and error than actual skill. Just after this the level finally becomes playable with an interesting lift-puzzle, but it was far too little much too late. One last thing, this level will require the use of a walkthrough like no other ever made and it's just not satisfying having to 'cheat' as much as that (and even then, because of the extreme difficulty and maze-like confusion of the level, the walkthrough won't help you out much). I completed this torture session in about 2 hours and found 1 secret. The Final Countdown: part 2 (7/9/9/8). We return to this level to find that things have changed somewhat. We also find that it is no longer as confusing or boring because it's actually quite fun this time. It's all fairly straight forward now and you can expect a few good fights and a brilliant final cut-scene that may just contain a surprise. This bit took me just 20 minutes but I still managed to grab a quick secret. I'm afraid to say that this funny little final mission can not quite exorcise the painful memories of the horrors that preceded it. In fact, now that I look at the overall rating (6) I can say that, due to the endless frustrations I faced in The Caves of Steel, the score may even be a bit higher than it really should be (but I can't really rate it any lower than that because The Final Countdown was nowhere near as bad and doesn't deserve a lower rating). Suffice to say, I honestly believe that these levels, above all others, absolutely do NOT deserve to be anywhere near the Hall of Fame, or even the Top 50 for that matter. The complete mission took me 4 boring, painful, frustrating hours and I found 2 secrets. - gfd (01-Jul-2005)

“Starting of this level one sees Lara with a helmet on and I was wondering what kind of adventure she was having this time. A space adventure hmmm nice I thought. First level you explore a space ship finding coloured cards that give you access to certain doors. You need to find that space map as that will show you the way to take through a kind of maze and that blue corridor was excellent done. Lots of crawling though and I thought the planet puzzle wasn't that hard. The second level took me 5 days to complete as I got to a grinding halt everywhere I went and had to read the walkthrough for that and then it wasn't a walk in the park. The idea was great with those lasers but it did tax my patience quite a lot. You need to find 5 Guardian Keys for this part and then you get into another room with only floor lasers and some elevators. At the end you have to find a Mine so you can blow everything to smithereens and escape through a transporter to the first level. Now you can fly that plane and the ending is a hoot clever. This was a great game to play and also very frustrating and that did spoil it a bit for me. 09-05-2004” – Gerty (18-May-2004)

“This was a fun alien level. Lara onboard an alien spaceship (friendly) but she needs to help destroy the enemies before she can travel home to earth which she does at the end of the level. There is a very funny ending which is a classic I played the level to see it after reading other reviews and I also found the level was really good. Lara has a new outfit with a helmet on and the enemies are lizard headed aliens. In 1st level you have to search the spaceship and reach a warp gate so you can go to the enemy’s ship and blow it up for good! The 2nd level is very taxing. It took hours to complete the game even though it said less on my statistics you have a lot of climbing to do to get the items in which you can return to the friendly ship and go home. The level was good fun and even if just to see the end you should play it!” – Aims (30-Apr-2004)

“Puzzles within puzzles each more challenging than the one which came before. Marvelous. Lara’s space costume is a quite a work of art. I never got used to it banging the helmet into the roof was a major problem for me but I liked it very much. I also liked the imagination of the various environments. Truly excellent design work. Some problems I had with the levels; the play of the game did not hold my interest. Climbing up and down the silly tracks over and over was truly a bit much. Riding the cable was fun but not necessary. Lara could make it to the opening without the cable ride just as she could jump around from level to level without losing any health if she chose her spots with proper care. There were a lot of ‘logic’ problems like that which put me off – why couldn’t Lara hand over hand around the barriers at the ends of tracks why were all the ‘secrets’ colored skulls save for the final two etc. Add some light and the puzzles become repetitious and bit boring. There was a whole lot of magic! Carrying around a dead person’s hand as a prop was great. (Truly great if it wasn’t so obvious that Lara was supposed to pick it up.) Blowing up the vessel before exiting and before planning the means of exiting! Big surprise. Very tricky. The maze that starts in the corridor lit with blue lights is the best maze I have encountered in any computer game and make the gameplay a minimum 8 on its own. (I love mazes.) Josep has put together a very challenging and very imaginative set of levels. He is the first designer in a very long time whose work had me relying upon a walkthrough (not referencing but relying upon). Bravo Josep. Please continue. And maybe think about using more light please.” – Dougsan (04-Feb-2004)

“And so the Tarragona-saga comes to an end. And what and ending it was… The first level starts quite slowly but it soon gets much more exciting. Both of the levels are fun overall but they have some slow and confusing parts which can get quite annoying. The worst part in the levels is by far the caves of steel. Here you have to find several Gems while trying to find your way around in the complex room and all this while dodging lasers. Sounds exciting? Well it could have been if the route you had to take had been a little clearer. Other than that there are only a few small places that were a little boring. The new objects fit the levels well and the new enemies (well they were new in the last level) add to the atmosphere. Sometimes it can be quite hard to know what to do but if you get really stuck there is a walkthrough on the author’s homepage (and no – it won’t help you anything in the caves of steel). The texturing and architecture is as always in this saga excellent – and the spaceships look great. The best thing about these levels has to be the atmosphere – it really feels like you’re in space. Lara wears a spacesuit (which unfortunately looks a little strange when Lara turns transparent) you can see the stars through the windows and there are also a few aliens. The flybys are excellent and they are a really important part in these two levels. The flybys in the end are great and I hope that no one will spoil the surprising little twist by writing what it was in a review. After about 75 minutes the last level ends and it really was a worthy ending.” – Magnus (29-Jan-2004)

“Lara starts out somewhere in space aboard an alien spaceship. The aliens themselves are nice but there are always the lizard faced evil aliens who are trying to conquer and destroy their vessel. The first of the two levels Final Countdown which is the beginning and the end of this double level is easier once you finally find your way around the ship. Caves of Steel is a very different story... Here I really had to resort to the walkthrough since I found it I confess too complex for poor old me. Deadly lasers all around a lot of going here and doing that which aren't at all easy to figure out. Then there's an elevator puzzle which might drive you insane until you finally understand what is going on. And there's more... Always very complicated. But I must say the beginning of this level is truly memorable with all those alien mechanical wraiths incessantly coming after Lara until you finally find a way to get rid of them in time... Very good. Very imaginative. At the end of the level Lara has to explode the bad alien's spaceship and get teleported back to the good aliens’ vessel before being blown away together with it all. And here comes the final part of the Final Countdown... Lara gets back only to find the good vessel has been assaulted by the baddies and now a lot has changed amongst the fires and whatever's left of the nice space people's ship. Now and above all Lara has to find a way to get back home that is back to earth. After some more adventures and fighting some more ugly lizards our heroine finds a way to put a spaceship to work and bring her in a star voyage precisely back to her mansion's door. Then comes one of the best endings I've seen in a custom level so far. Has everything worked according to planned? Is Lara finally back to her nice and quiet life in the English countryside? You'll have to see for yourselves... *creepy music*” – Jorge22 (05-Oct-2003)

“Everything comes together and makes sense now in these final two levels of this brilliant storyline. We know Lara was on board a spaceship in the last level now she has to don an appropriate outfit a great looking suit and glass helmet. I thought this looked odd at first but whoever said that a breathing helmet had to be round lol! She makes her way round the ship through different coloured areas (that need coloured cards) and finds a smaller spaceship. That's like her transport home but first she has a lot to do. The glass walkway between the living quarters and the control part of the ship is great. I loved that alien guy sitting in the control room working away ignoring Lara. When Lara finds one of the discs she can do a clever little puzzle of choosing where she wants to go on the walls are the planets the stars and the galaxys naturally she chooses earth. Someone has tried before Lara to destroy this ship he is lying dead in an engine room with his face and limbs torn off horrible and he has the same outfit as Lara. He must have done some damage though as some of the corridors are on fire and things are exploding. She runs through another teleporter and is outside the ship. After running to avoid flying alien 'wraiths' while pushing buttons she comes into a green pool room. Have a look at the gate walls they are babys with TRex heads so is this the pool that spawns those soldiers? Further in and we come to the most frustrating challenging and exciting room I've ever seen. It's an enormous dark 'cave' you see a lot of glass 'corridors' and outside these are rotating lasers whirring along tracks in front of the glass. You must get in behind the glass to find 5 pyramid keys and their receptacles. This took me hours to do but when I finished I don't think I ever felt to relieved. It's the sort of puzzle that won't let you go. She gets the coolest shotgun and grenade gun here and deals with pteranadons. The next room is hard too where Lara has to crawl out through more moving lasers. My Lara died so often I almost gave up. This is a brilliant tall glass elevator shaft room. The flyby will show you the route you must take through the elevators. You must time this route well to get to the lever. Great stuff. Further on again she deactivates ground lasers and kills enemy soldiers that drop from the ceiling places a mine in the engineering part of the ship and blows it up. Back to the living quarters pick up an alien's severed hand yuk yuk yuk but she needs this to use in the hand recognition switches that have little alien handprints on them finds one of those small spaceships and zooms home. The ending is outstanding absolutely brilliant. What an achievement. Definitely belongs in the Hall of Fame at the top of the list. Very well done Josep and thanks for the help you gave me the first time I played this and all the help I got on the forum. If anyone intends playing this do play all the levels from the start. I hope you will build another level in the future Josep I will dive on it straight away. Time here 7:42 hours.” – CC (11-Aug-2003)

“Wonderful level. Lots of fun - was able to finish without pulling my hair out. Loved the ending also.. very creative.” – JayJay (12-Feb-2003)

“These were really great levels and I can see why they are in the top 50. The new suit and the alien characters enhanced an already excellent level. I was thinking it was pretty easy until I was thrown into the caves of steel. This is one of the most challenging levels I’ve ever played and it makes patience a necessity. It will make you think hard at times but it is well worth. My suggestion is that you keep an eye on every corner and every possibility and take it slow. The ending was really excellent to this level and the movies sequences were also great. I can’t describe how funny the ending to the game is and I won’t give it away but I hope none gives up in this challenge because you have to see it!” – JRaider66 (31-Jan-2003)

“The two last parts fascinated me the most. The way they were designed and crafted and put you into the game - it functioned simply realistically. Lara did not have it easy here and found one secret. Textures/sounds and camera guidance came suitably. Enemies were the aliens. Not very many but enough. The end was a surprise. My Lara landed at home and had to realize that the servant had changed. Large praise!” – Navi (07-Jan-2003)

“Man if you didn't download this level yet you must do it now! Not only download and play it but keep it in a safe place because it's simply awesome! The adventure started in simple caverns in Tarragona and as the world is not enough Lara is now in deep space (where Civilisations Crossroads left her) and she will work for aliens! Firstly she will be at the friendly alien spaceship (The Final Countdown) looking for cards to open doors (a brilliant puzzle) and a rival spaceship full of bad aliens attack the ship! That was the best thing I've seen yet in TRLE! Lara enters the other spaceship and after destroying some security devices which were completely new for me she discovers why this level is called ‘Caves of Steel’. This one was quite frustrating at times because it was really hard a complicated 3D maze which seems quite simple when you're looking at it from the central room. Several laser traps are here and there was a bug with the elevators for me so I had to cheat - just be sure you are quick then the elevators won't get you stuck. Once you're done with this ship DESTROYING it and trying to escape alive you are back to the friendly aliens ship then to the real final countdown. A few intruders from the other ship and then you go to the hangar and get your own spaceship - yes Lara does know how to pilot those things! Getting of the mother spaceship you are back to Earth after a few cut scenes and you can finally see the ending of the game which was awesome perfect! I am still wondering about it but these were with no doubt 2 hours which were well rewarded. I didn't mention but while at the beginning the spacial suit seems to be quite strange later you get used to it. Thanks a lot for all these enjoyable hours Josep!! (PS.: special thanks to eTux which helped me providing a savegame after the galaxies puzzle)” – Treeble (21-Dec-2002)

“A saga has come to an end and what an end it is! These 2 levels are really great with many memorable moments like the attack on the spaceship the reactor explosion and the hilarious ending (is it a good end or a bad one? Who knows!). There are many great puzzles like the fire extinguishing part the fire extinguisher explosion and also the deadly timed run after the reactors' explosion. The steel caves themselves were very confusing and I didn't like that you had to go up to get the next piece again and again I was relieved when I finally got to ride the zipline and get out of this area. I also liked the neat visual effects like the blue light room and the part where Lara walks through the wall to find herself outside the steel caves. I liked to see the submarine from ‘Underground Empire’ too but it was obvious that it had other use there in space. This though an excellent level was not my favourite but if you liked the rest of the series you must complete this one even if only to see the ending.” – eTux (26-Nov-2002)

“Having just finished the Tarragona series it's been great watching the story come out though each of the nine levels and the ending is quite a surprise with Lara now being in space and wearing an appropriate outfit for an afternoon moonwalk. The first level is fairly easy with a few corridors and crawlspaces to search for cards disks three simple secrets etc. During the second level though I found myself fighting the urge to quit very often - especially during the area where you find and place five keys in the rooms with all the lasers and during the mine sequence when I couldn't figure out how to escape without being blown up. I found the first secret but didn't even bother with the other two as by then I figured I'd be lucky just to finish the level. The ideas and building are really brilliant - you just need a lot of patience and a great desire to see the cool ending to the series - which I won't give away here. Let's just say it's worth playing the level to see it.” – RaiderGirl (13-Nov-2002)

“Why does Hollywood bother to make a second mediocre Tomb Raider movie when the only real follow up has already been made by Josep? A lot of memorable moments in these two levels: the attack on the alien ship by those two fighters the fire extinguishing scene the reactor explosion the take-off back to earth and of course well you have to see the end sequence for yourself but it has a kind of Planet of the Apes (second movie of the 'old' movie series) nightmare theme. It all blends nicely into one big movie experience where you immediately and repeatedly go back to that previous save game just to see it again and to make sure that you saw what you saw. Absolutely without a doubt great stuff. On the downside I found the gameplay in the first part not very entertaining besides the how-to-get-by-that-door-closing-in-front-of-my-bleedin'-nose and the pillow examination. I'm not gonna make public all the things I've tried with that pillow before I finally just did what you had to do but other than that the crawling spaces and mainly running around was just too tedious. I see I was not the only one who found it unclear what to do in the navigation room: looks like it was just a trial and error thing and I just can't go for that. Gameplay in the second part was a whole different ball game though the first bit was easy but very annoying (with the re-vamped wraiths following you around). But then we still had to go through the real downer the big black reactor room with the five pyramidal keys. One of the most well build rooms I've ever seen: really great stuff with all those red laser beams and glass but...black so black. Yes on second thoughts when persevering 4 out of 5 key-holes were do-able but that last one with all the jumping slopes I like a challenge but no Siree. This is really Check-the-walkthrough stuff and I like to read but I'd prefer The name of the rose or a detective for that matter. The next laser room was more inspired where you had to time a bit your jumps. But then followed the elevator room once again well built but...not really entertaining to play. Enemies were around too throughout the levels but nothing special to mention there except for again the way they looked (again well done). Pterodactyls were out of place (black reactor room) my opinion. In short: a certain must-SEE but less of an absolute must-PLAY (some people may want to shoot me now so I'm taking Lara's ship back to that animal planet shoooooooot forgot...I blew up that one...).” – bERT (12-Nov-2002)

“The Final Countdown (8/9/10/10 45+10 min. 3+2 secrets): Lara is exploring an alien spaceship in a very suitable and impressive outfit with a space helmet on. Many many custom objects make this a unique experience. I liked the idea of coloured access cards (green yellow red) that once obtained allow access through doors. The blue corridor with its light effects is awesome and the use of starship level map very clever. Two more CDs to find and three skull secrets (not too tricky this time). The spaceships and the alien operating the controls look great too. On the downside this part is a little short on gameplay with the mazelike corridors and a bit of crawling/grate shooting and the hint for the Planets button puzzle (if there was one) completely eluded me and I had to revert to the walkthrough. Some fires to safely pass and on you go to the next part. When you come back later into this one there are another ten minutes in which you are treated to a couple of excellent flybys as you travel back home to earth and the mansion and the ending had me laugh out loud - brilliant idea! The Caves of Steel (9/9/10/10 1:45 hours 3 secrets): Alright this part starts out easy enough as you outrun four flying robots (great!) to place a Mother and Father artifact and enter the 'Caves of Steel'. But this is where it got very frustrating for me - finding and placing the five pyramidal keys and then the two pieces of the artifact to make your escape from this area via the zip line is very tough as it is easy to get lost in the vast room with the many walkways constantly on the watch for those rotating lasers. It's brilliantly crafted but I got really annoyed after several hours of searching. Well I made it in the end and the subsequent 'rail lasers' (great!) the three elevator area (smart puzzle) and the reactor which you get to blow up made up for all the frustration - fantastic storyline there as you make your escape back to part 8 via a teleport. Bottomline I will definitely be playing the whole Tarragona series again in its entirety one day - the way this unfolds from the humble Tarragona caverns into deep space and back to Lara's Home is just to good to be true - don't miss it!” – Michael (27-Oct-2002)

“A great final for the Tarragona series. I just have finished and I can't forget the last image... I've enjoyed with these two levels and after some walkthrough helps I finished with only three secrets. Josep places very well the secrets. You always see them but the way to get them is not obvious. The gameplay is a bit difficult with some situations really hard to resolve but after all is the best series of levels I've played and The Final Countdown/Caves of Steel are the best finale for a Tomb Raider game (including the official ones).” – Loupar (22-Oct-2002)

“Tarragona 8/9 left me without words...It is incredible what is possible to make from good ideas and what helps to use what a few good guys made (Strpix TrViewer TrWest TrBuilder .....) Josep another time shows us good effects of tension and he shows us ‘old friends’. Textures are made to make this Sci-Fi theme reality and with a good placing of light and shadow it is sometimes really frightening. Laser traps and aliens good arms and especially use of flip maps and cameras you should see. An end with some surprise takes his good Saga to an end - a good end (or not???). Tarragona - you should play them all - you will see how progress is possible and you can see his path - that let us hope more for the future. The game has two parts and you come back to the first one later. Second part is really challenging and I had to use the Walktrough. Of course to mention this horrible jumps...A lot of surprises a lot of challenge fire laser radioactivity enemies water and not to forget the lifts... Hope that Josep makes something new later...” – Miguel (15-Oct-2002)

“Even if you do not like these levels you should finish it because of the ending sequence. It is fantastic lol. But then the whole level is of course very good. I expected nothing less from Josep. I did not get all the secrets not even with the walkthrough some were in plain sight but I could not find a way to get them. The levels are very difficult but absolutely worth playing.” – Josi (14-Oct-2002)

“So I admit when I saw the setting of this double feature that my first reaction was say to myself ‘Oh! Not that a science fiction thingy!’ I admit too that I'm not very fond of this kind of level but my natural suspicion about it was quickly replaced by a growing interest as one goes along the way in and out of both these linked levels. By no way we can name it an easy stroll. And I want congratulate Josep here for his particularly nutty imagination that more than one time had me fall not far from the nervous breakdown. But all these moments of discouragement are just the price to pay to have the pleasure to finally end this original adventure. I admire the great circle mean room with these fiendish whirling red lasers all these very peculiar enemies (aliens security robots and creatures from another age). The way through the elevators was a great moment too and all the cut scenes and all these little details (the alien cut hand the enemy's spaceship grip to outside on board of the other ship) was fine ideas to give to this adventure an extra feeling of life and soul. And the last ending scene was a really funny moment. But some aspects have bored me in one or two occasions. The first level is not so interesting just a step to the other. There are only objects cards and secrets to be picked up doors to open and the right way to the teleportation device to find. And even if the building is made with a sure original talent I find that the texturing is a little bit darkish and uniform (you can say to me that is thus made in a space ship but sorry my feet have never touched the deck of such a ship!) So by all means try it. Josep have made one of the most beautiful fine exciting levels ever seen and you will not be disappointed with it.7oct02” – Chris LP (08-Oct-2002)

“Great levels! It's a wonderful work. Josep always makes original levels. Textures and lighting are perfect. Lara is very pretty with her new suit. And there are new weapons too. The gameplay is very fun and exciting. I've enjoyed the whole game. It's one of the best I've ever played.” – Angel (05-Oct-2002)

“Woah! I must say again that this is the best game I've ever played. It's like an original game of Eidos. Lara is very nice with this space suit. And I think that this work is absolutely perfect. Great brilliant exciting challenging and clever. I have no words to explain how I've enjoyed Tarragona. It's a treasure of imagination. The atmosphere textures and lighting are perfect too. I hope to play more levels from Josep soon! Congratulations Josep!” – Cuqui (01-Oct-2002)

“Having played all of Josep's levels I must say this was much different from the style we were used to. Of course it's an improvement for the best the objects enemies aliens are extraordinary. The secrets are skulls silver green gold and not very hard to find as you can almost every time see them but you have to find the way to access them. Everything is unique in this level although I was very frustrated in the part with the pyramidal keys those circles with the lasers made me really want to cry no I didn't but I was close. Once you get the hang of it it's not too bad but it does require patience. The ships the traps the alien hand it was a little creepy are a small sample of what you are going to see. Crawling through ducts climbing ladders riding elevators getting through toxic water and many other tasks makes this a great adventure. I particularly liked the mine explosion and the teleporting. An excellent level from a very good level builder he has proven through time that the editor has still many possibilities. Rumors have it that this might be Josep's last level well I would like to think that the editor is an addiction that you can't get out off or should I say Lara is so I do hope that we will see another one from him even better that this one. Great work.” – Kristina (26-Sep-2002)

”Is this the swan song for Josep? If so, it is a brilliant one. This series (TWH) stands out, along with ‘The Rescue’ by Pascal Ducey, as the finest among custom levels. For some strange technical reasons, I ended up playing this series from beginning to end, and what a trip! Lara ends up as far as she possibly could from the beginning of the adventure in Catalonia, but I loved the progression of the story line as well as the common elements that tie it all together. Do you think Josep is fascinated by caves? Starting with the amazing caverns of levels 1 & 2, caves play a part in every one of the nine levels (except 8, but it's linked together with 9, so...). In the final level, ‘Caves of Steel’, the caves have gone high tech, with a web of deadly laser traps spiraling around. As Matthias notes, this is a very frustrating puzzle indeed, collecting and placing 5 keys, but persistance brings the sweet taste of...more nasty lasers and deadly elevator shafts - LOL. The reason for the score: 1. Gameplay & Puzzles: Very challenging and very original. 2. Enemies, Objects, Secrets: Terrific custom objects and enemies. Nobody hides secrets the way Josep does. 3. Atmosphere, Sound, Cameras: Simply outstanding. 4. Lighting & textures. Some great original textures, all applied with a professional touch. Thanks for some very memorable raiding, Josep. What an ending.” – Tombaholic (24-Sep-2002)

“This is like playing a completely new game and it’s awesome! New objects new enemies new friends new outfit. Totally astonishing surroundings cool effects and perfect flybys. Lara starts off in an alien spaceship and has to make her way home....through hostile places filled with traps and puzzles aliens and security robots. And as in any good story Lara does find her way home.....?! I downmarked on the gameplay because I found the big caves of steel room a bit too hard but with a little help from the walkthrough I finally solved it. This is definitely a level that nobody should miss!” – G.Croft (23-Sep-2002)

“Okay I admit there was a point in the midst of the Steel Caves where I was convinced I would give only six points for gameplay as the search for the five pyramidal keys (and even more confusing for their slots) is so frustrating that I referred to the walkthrough on two occasions. And even with that it was tough as I think east and west are mixed up there. Once you leave the area you have to pass a room with moving lasers and there you can't save otherwise you might be trapped (Josep explains this in the walkthrough) which had me dying over and over again. I was really angry at that stage but from then on (the last forty minutes or so) it's simply so brilliant so inventive so original so exiting so satisfying that I can't help but think it's another close to perfect level. You are bound to compare it to the 11th part of the Rescue series and though I probably prefer the gameplay from MagPlus I reckon the atmosphere you get here is far superior to the Hidden Experiment. Especially the fly bys and cutscenes are among the best I've seen anywhere inside and outside of Custom Levels. The fly by you get before you enter the second part gave me goose pimples all over. But let's go back to the beginning. It starts out in a deserted spaceship that was built by alien life forms who obviously don't need oxygen so Lara has to wear a space helmet. That takes some time to get used to but at the end of the game it is the most natural thing in the world. It starts fairly slow with a lot of exploring; searching for access cards that involves many crawls and gates to shoot out. Shortly after you put the crowbar to good use you will encounter the first bout of resistance in the form of little flying robots (that you can't kill of course) which results in a frantic search for some water. Then you progress into the heart of the Steel Caves and there you have to be very observant and explore throughoutly to find all the spots you need to pass. And don't go down the slopes before you know which slopes to take otherwise you will be trapped. This as I said is very hard and time consuming but the atmosphere with the rotating lasers is just so brilliant and reminded me of the books by Stanislaw Lem that I used to love when I was 16/17. However for me the highpoint was the elevator puzzle (took me some time to work that out) the whole part where you have to find and place the mine whereupon you have to get the hell out of there before the base explodes. Once returned to the spacecraft you started out from there is this really spooky bit where you have to pick up a body part of an alien and then find a use for it. Suddenly there are guncrazy monsters on the rampage and Lara has to get the shuttle started that will take her staight to the mansion. But wait there is a nice twist at the very end. All in all I have to say that textures objects storyline camerawork sound atmosphere enemies deserve 11 points in my view so I will kindly overlook the fact that with me the gameplay came to a grinding halt on a few occasions.” – Dimpfelmoser (21-Sep-2002)
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