Level: The Hand of Orion back home search
Author(s): Marksdad
total rating:6.62 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Blue43 8 7 8 7
Dimpfelmoser 7 6 6 5
G.Croft 6 6 5 5
Gerty 8 6 6 6
Jose 5 5 7 7
Kristina 6 6 7 6
MichaelP 8 5 7 5
Momster 6 6 6 6
Moonpooka 9 8 8 9
Phil 8 8 8 8
RaiderGirl 8 6 7 7
Ryan 6 6 7 7
Sash 6 6 6 6
Treeble 7 8 7 8
Wolfe 7 6 5 5
category averages
(15 reviews)
7.00 6.33 6.67 6.47

Reviewer's comments

"Poor Lara's shot at countless times throughout this quite linear level. This is a bit of a shooter in places, so mostly this game didn't quite appeal to me (and I definitely wasn't fond of Lara taking so much damage from the sentry gun, seemed a bit unfair), but it has its moments with a couple of challenging jumping sequences, boulder traps (watch out for that one with the crowbar, you can't backtrack for it) and a nifty timed run up a few crates and ledge. The cold, sterile atmosphere worked rather well too." - Ryan (02-Aug-2018)

"Again very surprised 'cause the very high ratings for a level. It's not a bad level, there's an effor to create a good atmosphere and the textures and lights are well worked too, but I found many features I didn't like. First of all, the unmarked climbable surfaces in the first caves; in a corridor I went back to avoid a boulder and when stopped totally blocked the way; the hole with the crowbar nobody can see 'cause the boulder on your feet, I think everybody ran and got stuked forever when the boulder stops; there are some missing sounds (rolling boulders, jackals...); triangles with no colision in the water near the submarine; Lara burning even if there's water near; no camera shots when pulling levers; the nasty sentry gun in the bridge you can't blast; not enough ammo for the shotgun; not flares for the first areas (I found only a pack under the submarine); all that weapons and ammo in the final corridor which you never use, is it a derision?... Not for other players, of course, but for me it wasn't a nice experience." - Jose (12-Aug-2016)

"This is a nicely constructed level with interesting game play. It consists of outdoor areas and an indoor submarine base. There were some challenging jumps in the beginning, but after reading the walkthrough and knowing where to go it wasn't as hard as it looked. There is also a timed jump sequence, which took me a few tries. I did like the atmosphere and lighting in this level, also the interesting camera angles and flybys. The enemies are rather tough. There are several gunmen, which can take a lot of bullets and are heavily armed. Other than that there were bats and dogs. I enjoyed the climbing area and the tunnel with the boulder trap/ crowbar sequence. The encounter with the automatic machine gun turret was rather unpleasant. You can't kill it, because all of the good weapons are picked up right before the level end when you don't need them anymore. I would definitely recommend this level. It's worth the download and will keep you playing for about an hour." - Blue43 (30-May-2010)

"This level is rather severely slammed in some of the earlier (I played in 10/04) reviews and I have no idea why. I found this to be a workmanlike and entertaining level with several difficult areas to conquer. The very beginning requires a jump sequence that had me stumped until Ian showed me the way. Then there's the ice water area the timed door sequence and a hellish encounter with the sentry gun. No this one's definitely not for beginners. There was a nice touch at the end with the wounded soldier trying to back up away from Lara. Give this one a try; you'll be sorry if you don't." - Phil (01-Nov-2004)

"I read about 'first looking level attempt' by reviewers and wonder what they are all on? This level was fabulous and I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Ok the first area had one small bug up the climbing wall but then came some nice jumps to enter the main areas of the level. Health is low and enemies are rife bats dogs and guards will swipe your limited health away and you won't collect much on the way either I like that touch it makes a level challenging. You will have to think of the best and sneakiest way to pick the guards off to conserve health and that also makes an interesting game rather than just shoot get shot then top up with mountains of health to spare. So I snuck around avoiding boulders and fire traps then picked off the guards and escaped the blasting sentry gun (which wasn't easy) then I finally got my bike. This next bit I loved in the penultimate room as you go up the steps the dead body moved away from the door on its own *freakout* excellent spooky moment! When you have The Hand you get to meet the demigod and finally escape; now this was my only head scratching moment why all the pickups at the end when I needed that blasted revolver hours before? In my opinion I think this level has been seriously under rated either that or I do need to see a shrink. Great work Ian I loved it thank you." - Moonpooka (01-Nov-2004)

"This was one of the first Custom Levels I ever tried to play. It was written by Ian Smith (Marksdad) and was one of his early levels. There is no walkthrough available, but the level is pretty linear. There were several elements of this level that I found difficult. In the very beginning of the level, Lara has to perform a couple of pretty tricky jumps, one of which is extremely tough to get Lara to survive. She has to jump into a deep dark hole that is barely visible and she takes quite a bit of damage, so be sure she has full health before leaping. Later on in the level is a timed door puzzle that I found hard to get through. It took me a bunch of tries to get Lara through the door and then there is a very bad guy who immediately jumps her in the dark. This bad guy may or may not come out of the door when it first opens, so Lara may have to fight him as she tries to get through the door. There are not a lot of medpacks in this level and Lara really needs to hold on to them as the end is a bit rough to get through if you don't have either complete health or some medpacks left to get you through to the final part. Although this level is short, if you are a novice or unpracticed at Tomb Raider, you might find that it gives you some practice on controlling Lara and performing some rather difficult moves. I found the level on the whole pretty challenging for a 'newbie'. Plus, Marksdad was very helpful to me when I emailed him with some questions about the level. I enjoyed it, though at times it drove me nuts." - Wolfe (13-Mar-2004)

"It seems that Ian's wickedness is shown nicely at the end of this 40 minute level as getting through with a fair amount of damage you then find a whole stash of what would have been very helpful weaponry and now no enemies to kill beside a teeny weeny scorpion. I love that ironic sense of mocking. To get through this rocky cavey icy submarine basey and back to cavey environment you have a couple of nice things to do there's the initial rock pillar jumping with a not so obvious exit a very precise timed run that I had to cheat through the first time I played and the second time just made by the skin of my teeth (or should I say the pixels of Lara's butt) and a cool shimmy past an automatic gun. Being a prolific hitter of the F5 button though (as of now I have clocked up nearly 70 000 saves) there is possibly a point where you could be stuck as if you overlook the crowbar which is easily done then it is inaccessible forever and then go in search of it you may save where you can then not go back and get it but this is most likely worse case scenario just look out for certain camera angles that take your attention away from an area and you will find it. In the end this was another enjoyable middle of the road level that has its moments but just not enough of them." - Sash (24-Dec-2002)

"After already retrieving the Hand of Sirius in an earlier level now Lara is after the Hand of Orion. It was stolen by the Russian Navy for its power but unfortunately they were unable to control that power and have allowed an evil beast to roam free and it's up to Lara to banish it forever. Unfortunately the soldiers in the Navy are afraid that she will succeed where they have failed and make them look bad. Along with the icy caverns and river she must cross they have also placed many traps to slow her down including boulders fire traps attack dogs and even a machine gun! She has no choice but to kill all the soldiers along her path which is already full of peril and includes some tricky jumps on foot and a jump on a motorcycle over a submarine - all to get the Hand of Orion and then save the world from the evil beast. There are very few pickups and at the end you'll see why. It seems that the beast was hording all the weapons in his lair but once he is dead Lara is free to collect them for herself." - RaiderGirl (02-Dec-2002)

"Last level by Ian and he went out with a BANG. I laughed so loud at the end as I found all that ammo and even a scorpion trying to bite Lara's bum and leaving a little package after he died hahahahaha. Those are the things he doesn't like in a level hahahahaha. For the rest I would say although very straight forward he made me work for it. I loved the jump sequence finding even the revolver and had a hard time trying to find my way out of the water while it was rather simple when you think of it. That timed run was a bitch but then I hate all of them anyway. Still not sure what a demigod is doing there. 30-10-2002" - Gerty (09-Nov-2002)

"I will admit I died a lot in this level! Man this level definitely is not for beginners. After 40 minutes you finally would escape - if you survived through that is. The level starts off in the arctic setting in the Soviet Union then Lara enters a submarine base where there are 2 submarines that unfortunately will be seen only from the outside and then she gets a bike to do a single jump to the part where the hand is. I recommend anyone who will play this level to spare medipacks: there are two or three to pick along the way and obviously there should be a lot more. In the part of the sentry gun you will use some and against the demigod you will need them again as there isn't space to avoid his attacks. One thing I couldn't understand though were the weapons right in the end of the level why is that?" - Treeble (07-Nov-2002)

"After Ian got by and large better and better with every new level this comes along as somewhat of a disappointment. All the more since this is supposed to be his last adventure. You would expect him to go with a bang wouldn't you?! Instead this seems like a rushed job with only a hand full of good ideas in a bland patchwork setting that can't decide on an overall theme. Furthermore some of the features like the soldier in his death throes and the scorpion that drops the grenades are nicked from other levels. It starts rather promising in a psychedelically lit outside area and a tantalizing fly by that gives you a glimpse of the obscure object of desire. Once you mastered a few hit and miss jumps you reach a lake with many slopes and pillars. I don't know if it's intentional but you actually don't need to hop over them as you can reach the jump switch at the other side by a simple backflip/jump after pulling out of the water. There is a tight timed door and the well placed enemies provide some excitement but as you see your health dwindle away you are tempted to replay most of the battles as you fear you might run out of medi packs before the end of the mission and that really hampers the flow of the gameplay. The area with the two submarines taunts Lara with a gap that is too big for her to jump over but wait a second; what's that over there? Someone was considerate enough to park a motorbike nearby. That might do the trick. But how did it get there? And why is the demigod not in the room with all the dead soldiers? Why are climbable walls still not textured as such? I'm not sure what irritated me most; the bleak atmosphere in the room with the trapped bat the charmless lighting that you were stuck when you missed the crowbar the first time around the boulder trap that we've been through a million times before or that there weren't any Egypt style tombs and puzzles?! I just wished that Ian had picked it up where he left it with The Hand of Sirius rather than throwing things together in such a lackluster fashion. Err can we still be friends?" - Dimpfelmoser (05-Nov-2002)

"Well it is hard to please the crowd and like the other reviewers I had thought that Ian's allegedly final level would be a very special one but it is not. I for one did enjoy the sometimes rather cleverly constructed path though where you needed to think a moment about your next move. Ian's trademarks (camera angles and boulders) are present as well as a few short and appropriate flybys many bats dogs and SAS along the way and a good moment when you shimmy past that sentry gun. It is all in all a fairly linear 50 minutes run through changing environments (rocky area icy area inside area) and while the textures chosen aren't half bad they are applied in a rather careless and repetitive way. The boulders did not have any sound in my game and make sure you pick up the crowbar before the one boulder buries it forever or you are stuck. In the ice area you can easily reach the 'end of the world'. The short timed run took me a few tries and though simplistic in design I found the submarines (?) worked pretty well and after a jump with the bike you get to fight a demigod and end the level with lots of weaponry to pick up." - Michael (03-Nov-2002)

"If I didn't know better I would say that this was someone's first level. It has not the quality of Ian's former work. The surroundings feel very 'squarish'. There are several places you can go to which you aren't supposed to and there you find illegal slopes and missing textures. The gameplay is mostly pulling levers and killing guards. A timed door and a sentry gun are the two main obstacles. But the level does have the most important thing - a mission! And that is to find the Hand of Orion which I did in 40 minutes." - G.Croft (01-Nov-2002)

"I'm very disappointed in this level. It's as if Ian in deciding to build no more just kind of threw this one together without any thought to gameplay. Enemies were placed strategically but I don't understand the picking up of all the heavy duty weapons at the end of the level? Knowing for some time that Ian was planning for this to be his last level I've expected much more. You would think he'd want to finish with a bang and unfortunately this doesn't come close to his previous work The Hand of Sirius which was his best effort. Of course the usual difficult timed jump/run/to the door bit and the beginning had me going for a good long while but too bad these are the highlights. I played in under and hour and finished feeling somewhat deflated." - Momster (30-Oct-2002)

"Unfortunately this level is not representative to Ian's work I would like to think. I am convinced that the builder in question can actually make more complex and complete levels. This one has quite a few problems. The main one is that Lara can climb onto those icy rocks not only and the result of that is to get trapped in a room behind the actual level which of course seems to be just a connection. Almost everywhere you can see the blackness beyond. As always there are a lot of enemies and mostly SAS guards which gave me trouble along with a demigod dogs and one sentry gun I barely made it through the level with the medipacks provided but then again that's Ian he only gives enough to survive. The textures are nothing interesting to look at although I liked that kind of red colour at the beginning. There are no puzzles except levers and jump switches and of course the hand of Orion which you get at the end let's not forget the motorcycle though I thought that it would get interesting from that point further but I was wrong I only needed it to perform one jump. I could also get to a jump switch in the area with the water and slopes from a totally different route I am sure from the one that Ian had in mind and I say that because once again I got to a very small area with black walls inside the ice. I liked the way the player gets out of the starting area the exit was well hidden I also liked the way you can reach the opening at the area with the water and the sloping surfaces. There is also a flyby as the level starts that gives you a short view of the item you are searching for and I think one or two more after. I really like to believe that Ian can do much better than this." - Kristina (29-Oct-2002)
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