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Level: Lara's Birthday 2003 (revised) back home search
Author(s): Lara's Soul
total rating:7.08 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Aims 8 9 8 7
bERT 9 8 8 7
Capt. Abbey 10 9 9 8
CC 7 6 8 7
Dougsan 8 7 8 7
eTux 9 9 9 8
G.Croft 7 6 6 6
Gerty 8 6 7 6
Glow 7 7 6 5
Jose 7 7 6 7
Kristina 9 8 9 8
Loupar 7 7 7 7
Magnus 5 4 4 6
manarch2 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 8 6 7 7
Monika 7 6 6 5
Obig 8 8 9 8
Orbit Dream 6 7 4 5
Phil 8 7 8 8
RaiderGirl 9 8 8 7
Ryan 8 7 7 7
Sash 6 5 7 6
Torry 3 5 7 7
category averages
(23 reviews)
7.43 6.91 7.17 6.78

Reviewer's comments

"Sorry but I found this rather boring and lack lustre. It is just another of the many home levels with an added area to explore but a huge truck fills up the drive way so you first task is to figure out how to get over the truck. Then it all falls into place. You may think that the puzzles are clever but when you really look at them they are rather simplistic which describes the whole level perfectly." - Torry (12-Oct-2018)

"It's Lara's birthday and she has brought out her best dress for the occasion! It is a mansion level but don't run away screaming just yet. There are some neat little touches added to make this a nice level to play: buying a bottle of water to extinguish a fire, using a mirror to reflect light to light a candle on the cake and using pushblocks to form a word. There are occasional texturing glitches, by that's minor. If you're a fan of mansion levels, then this is one of the rare few that are worth a look." - Ryan (30-Oct-2016)

"Well, I expected another boring Lara's mansion, but this time was not so boring. All the doors were closed (few backtracking), and after the first tasks with the bike, the coin and the bottle of water (new objects are always difficult to figure out where to use them), the gameplay is more fluid and entertaining, with some original puzzles. Few enemies to shoot, the secrets are not difficult to find if you explore a bit. Only fixed cameras, I missed a name for each key and not the "Load" 'cause the author didn't modify the script; that way you'd locate the properly keyholes easyer. After many mansion levels played, this was worth to play for me; at last!" - Jose (25-Aug-2016)

"Here's a Lara house level with some quirky differences. Gameplay consists mainly of finding a key to access one area of the house, where you find another key to access another area, etc. It all sounds rather boring, but there are some interesting steps along the way, including using a magnifying glass to light a candle on a huge birthday cake, using pushblocks to spell out a word, and so forth. Total playing time was a little less than 50 minutes, so you get a full-fledged raid. The builder has provided a short walkthrough that's even more compact than Yoav's, forcing the player to do a little exploring on his own. Still, for a house level it's not bad at all." - Phil (20-May-2015)

"Here is yet another ripped prj of the tried-and-tested Mansion,and you'd think that there would be nothing left to do with this particular theme.Indeed,the builder,despite adding bits here and there,gleefully allows Lara to come to the edge of the map on a number of occasions.Nonetheless,all credit must be given for having a good stab at giving this particular Home level a proper storyline;even though some of the gameplay ideas,novel though they may be,don't quite work. Arranging pushable blocks to form a word was a bit of a chore;and there was a puzzle-less lever sequence which seemed rather superfluous.Even so,the motorbike sequence at the start was original;the enemies were well chosen (one dog,in particular,gave me such a fright that I exclaimed out loud!);and progression was smooth and rather enjoyable.Texturing was fine,as was lighting;but the FMV Finale (which could have potentially lifted the scores a little further) didn't play for me.All the same,this is one of the more enjoyable House levels out there;and worth a glance for those looking for something somewhat out of the ordinary." - Orbit Dream (07-Dec-2013)

"Interesting that a level released in 2003 is playble without trle. Interesting is this level too; the old Lara's House, with mostly old TR3 textures, but this time filled with many little tasks, packed in a hunt for five birthday presents. Good idea to find the keys where the presents are so one doesn't have to search the hole house for it. The tasks were quite simple but very innovative - writing a name with boxes, getting a mirror on the top of a little pyramid and such things. After finding all five presents a little surprise with a robot and good old Winston takes place. Recommended as a fairly nice 20 minute level." - manarch2 (03-Dec-2010)

"Not a bad home level as it actually has a story. It's Lara's Birthday and she is expecting guests but as the doorbell rings it turns out she has some gatecrashers. It is usual go from room to room pushing switches but you have a reason to this time. You have to find a way to access her secret party as well as dispose of the gatecrashers and they are literally gatecrashers as the have smashed through her gates with a truck! lol. Some original items too Lara has a nice sparkly dress a giant birthday cake which you have to light by using a giant mirror driving over the truck on a motorcycle so you can get a bottle of water to extinguish the fire in the truck and access a switch and so on. There is a little church just outside Lara's house which you need to visit and presents are scattered throughout the house with keys to get into each room. Kind of weird really I would have thought her guests had run off if they saw men with guns around! lol There is also an fmv video to watch at the end but it's different to the cut scenes you get normally and a remix of the TR tune (I have to say the tune was rather funny lol) but I couldn't get the video or song to work. I had to just watch the video on my windows media player. So if you fancy a home level with a goal - play it!" - Aims (01-Jun-2004)

"A quite cute little level with a few rather interesting things to do. Lighting the cake was the highlight. Unfortunately it only goes downhill after that. The whole level revolves around finding keys. When you've found one key you can go into another room and find another key. And another. It goes on like that the whole level and behind each door there is something that has to be done. Be it moving blocks or something as simple as pulling a lever but there's always something to do. I hate to say it but this level felt very mediocre. The texturing the lighting the gameplay - it's not too good but at least it works. The whole level is rather boring but it's a nice try nevertheless. And when you finish the level after less than twenty minutes at least you've had a reasonably good time. The cut scene was just disturbing though. There are still some things that puzzle me. The cake - if it's Lara's birthday why does the text on the cake say 'Happy Anniversary Lara Croft Online!'? And why are there two Winstons in the cut scene at the end? Oh and how come the bathroom is in the same place as the room with the blocks but can't be seen from the inside of that room? Just some food for thought." - Magnus (29-Jan-2004)

"YAY! I loved playing this level. Not only have tomb raiders everywhere craved the ability to drive a motorcycle through Lara's bathroom since the original tomb raider but the originality and the gameplay was wonderful. I don't know if anyone else discovered the invisible platforms you get to via the roof (via bugsie) but I liked those too. Except for the occasional deep blue nothingness textures and the hideousness of Lara's choice of gown (no hard feelings: it looked really cool!) I enjoyed this level more than any other level from the level editor! ROCK ON!" - Capt. Abbey (04-Nov-2003)

"Door bell rings is it Lara's birthday guests no it's a break-in and she's under fire immediately. Lara in a party dress with her pistols! Always at the ready. Someone has just delivered the mother of all birthday cakes in a truck and just left it outside the door while they try to figure out how to get the giant inside the house. You can use a bike outside to go over the top of the truck killing a guy on top and go into a garden with river and church that was nice and you can run over more goons. And Lara has installed a drinks machine for her guests which she uses to get a bottle of water to put out a fire. It took me a while to figure out how to light the cake. And the room where you have to move blocks to form letters that make a little word was unique. The only moan I have is I couldn't save or reload so if Lara died I had to start all over again. Still it was a very clever unique way to use the mansion level. Great fun." - CC (12-Jun-2003)

"I'd love to say this is a doozy of a level and is worth the large download but I can't. What you get is just over 30 minutes of Lara having to find 5 presents strewn through the mansion as well as 3 secrets and all of these easy to locate. There are a couple of moments of head scratching like knowing at the start to use the bike to get over the van using the mirror to light a candle and how to move the blocks to form a word but these are things that are evident after a little thinking. I did love the giant birthday cake and the chapel area that is very underused but otherwise it is just a mansion level. What makes this such a large download is the FMV included with friends singing Happy Birthday to Lara but I would have rather a smaller download without it." - Sash (18-May-2003)

"This is a different house level altogether. It starts with Lara standing at the door and the bell rings. You have to open that door and if you're not careful Lara can die even if is her birthday. There is the bike you have to use to get over the truck and finding some useful items in the garden and chapel. Then she finds a note saying that she has to find 5 Birthday presents. Finding also keys you can enter all the rooms. Some nice puzzles are here and the only hindrance I had was the butler. Winston kept pestering Lara with his cup of tea. The rats I encountered made manlike noises that was a hoot. 13-03-2003" - Gerty (18-Mar-2003)

"Well yes Lara has been older a year again. But does she welcome guests like these? :-) It's true she has received a cake which is as big as a lorry. :-) Well this is a quite unusual level but it was great fun playing with the new ideas the big mirror and the inscription KEY taken out by blocks. :-) I suppose I played with the old beta version for the first time and I hadn't found any secrets involved. But playing with the new version I managed to find 3 secrets one of them was particularly good. The sounds and the textures are excellent and the lorry the water slot machine and the 50 penny coin are witty as well. On the bike practicing area a closed door left on me I went outside with a corner bug but I didn't find anything there." - Obig (15-Mar-2003)

"A short level (less than an hour) with a couple of original details: the search for the gifts/keys and the dress of Lara. The house seems almost like the original nothing new. The outside and the church are very simple and the coin too easy to find. It's an easy level with only few enemies and a final one (the robot) too easy to kill. The final surprise is very funny with all the Lara's friends singing but this is not enough to make up the gameplay. A nice level to enjoy." - Loupar (11-Mar-2003)

"Being a house level but with differences I thought it would be boring but not so. Starting the game you hear the doorbell ring cool idea isn't it. There are some nice puzzles in this level. For example I enjoyed lighting the candle on the cake yes there is a huge cake outside the house and putting out the fire inside the van. Also the church was a nice touch and the 5 pennes to buy some water but I won't tell you what for. The rest of it though is picking up presents and keys killing guards and dogs. The word you need to write in the room with the moving blocks was also something unique at least I don't remember seeing anything like it in a custom level. The textures and lighting are quite good. In the room with blocks by pushing the button next to the door you hear Lara I believe and some man talking also some nice music playing in the background but the screen got grey and I don't know what to think of it. The FMV at the end was nice and original with the symbol from the TR movie in it and Lara's friends singing the happy birthday song. Of course don't expect it to be like in TR games but even so it has its own beauty. Take a look at it." - Kristina (07-Mar-2003)

"What a fun level and the perfect way to celebrate Lara's Birthday! Someone has dropped by and left some presents and keys scattered around the mansion and it's up to you to find them. There are some clever puzzles including using a coin to get a bottle of water and then using that water to put a fire out and then using a giant mirror to light the 'candles' on the cake. The pushable block puzzle was too clever for me and I would have never figured it out without eTux' help. Most of the house looks the same as we're used to but Lara's wearing a beautiful new outfit and there's a lot of area outside the mansion walls to explore including a small church type building and a stream. I love when Lilian puts out a new level because they're always so much fun!" - RaiderGirl (28-Feb-2003)

"A fun idea to have a birthday party for Lara too bad that she was out shooting enemies when her friends passed by! But they did leave 5 gifts for her that she has to find. Some original puzzle ideas makes this level worth playing otherwise the mansion looks pretty much as we are used to." - G.Croft (24-Feb-2003)

"It isn't often that level in and around Lara's home interest me - mostly because of a lack of originality but also because the designers don't respect what we know of the mansion and its grounds. Well that has changed. This level hasn't taken too many liberties with the environment but she has added some interesting twists and a few interesting puzzles; How to get out of the irrigation/drainage ditch How to light a fire How to fix a door so it remains open. A few players think the latter is a glitch. I took it as part of the puzzle since it was a double door. I would have liked the level to have been opened up so the area beyond the chapel and the other side of the ditch was called into use. Always wanting more is a good sign. I didn't like the poor responses of the enemies. They died too easily and did not appear to shoot to kill. Also once again a designer has called in darkness for whatever reason but failed to give Lara flares (I never found any). Also access to the game exit from the gym ended the game. Not good design." - Dougsan (21-Feb-2003)

"A house level and boy do I usually hate those. And yes indeed here you do have the endless running around with nothing to do too but it is it so nicely spiced up with a few really original ideas that you can't help but enjoy it. The bell ring at the start the cool bike the very appropriate outfit (for the occasion of a Birthday party - not so much for the actions Lara has to accomplish) the cake (and lighting the second candle) buying a bottle of water finding the note some friends left and battling a few soldiers and dogs all to find her five gifts each accompanied by a key that brings you further in this level towards the end which is rather sudden as the announced FMV sequence is not available yet. On the downside there are quite a few collision problems (lack of it that is) occasional missing textures end-of-the-world-problems and the Zip line did not seem to work for me. Also there is a 'save bug' so make sure you get in and out of the attic multi lever puzzle (great hints there to solve it) without saving in between. 45 minutes of fun simply because of a few very neat ideas." - Michael (17-Feb-2003)

"Now the first thing that caught my eye was Lara in a dress and heel shoes. I think this woman is unbelievable the way she tackles things even in a no combat outfit. Well it all happens in Lara's Mansion and she is just ready for her birthday party but some soldiers come up and sort of spoil the party a bit. You meet soldiers dogs and rats. You have to collect 5 keys and you get 5 gifts. All would be well if not that pestering Jeeves would be around. The idea how to light the second fire on the cake is something special. The drive over the red truck isn't too difficult. The puzzle with the blue blocks is really obvious if you know what you should achieve when pushing the blocks. But the best thing was when Lara pulled switches and she got told if it was wrong or right. I really had to laugh. I'm a rather slow player and it took me not quite an hour to get through. It was fun to play while it lasted. 16.02.2003" - Monika (17-Feb-2003)

"It's a nice little level it won't take you long to play but probably a couple of puzzles will take you busy and (maybe) stuck for a while (the boxes one and the bottle one). Lara's dress and shoes are very well made but some of the textures are completely wrong (f.i. from the garden you can see inside the house some boxes in a room seem to be on the outside wall of the mansion!). There is a big bug that could keep you stuck forever if you don't keep a earlier savegame: in the levers room if you re-load between the levers when you try to get back in the room (after picking up the gifts) there is an invisible door that doesn't let you in! Basically your task is to find and pick the gifts that friends let in the house (of course there are some enemies but they are very easy to kill). I was disappointed when the game ended so suddenly I was expecting some cut scene with friends etc....but the author said that the final version will be more complete (for instance maybe something will happen in the museum room that here was useless....)" - Glow (16-Feb-2003)

"Lilian's building skills have altered since Santa's quest and I really enjoyed this level of hers even if a part of it takes place in the well worn environment - Lara's home. This level really gave me a feeling of a party coming up cos' as you see all doors to the rooms are locked up which you usually do at your house too - so that guests wouldn't see things they don't have to see ;) (or wouldn't brake something incase of small kids). The level doesn't have a traditional Tomb Raider gameplay and requires a bit of logic to get through and I liked it because of this. The first thing you see is that Lara has a new dress for the party and someone's already ringing at the door. Not quite what she had expected but I didn't expect anything else than a bunch of thugs wanting to ruin her party. You also see a new bike outside the house and if you're quick enough you can get to it and drive over the enemies instead of the boring shootout. And here comes the first not traditional thing I liked very much (especially because I figured it out myself) you use the low hedge to get on the boxes and from the boxes you drive over the van - fantastic! Outside the house you go shopping for some water and return to the house. Another clever idea of the author - while Lara was 'out of the house' (for about 10 minutes) her friends were here and since she wasn't left a note which tells you what you have to do further in the level. Lighting the candle was fun and required some logic again and I won't spoil it here you have to see it for yourself ;). The further puzzles in the house are also fun - the one with five switches in the attic where Lara tells you that you hit right or the wrong lever (a really good way to avoid this to be called a trial and error puzzle). But there's also a bug in the attic - if you are in the room where you get the present you can't reload because an invincible wall will prevent you from escaping then and you'll have to reload an earlier save! Also the block puzzle before the library was quite clever - at first it seems very confusing and tedious but once you know how simple the solution is no fun is taken away from the level. And according to what the author says the level is supposed to end in the dark room (when you use the key you get from the library) where in an updated version of the level you'll see an FMV (full motion video) and it's not hard to guess what'll happen there ;). I don't know how this could be translated in English correctly but here in Latvia we have a saying - 'you will get back what you give away' and since Lara gave away so many presents in Santa's quest she got many for herself in this adventure so the saying has some truth into it ;) Even though I found this level really enjoyable I'd like to point out some bad things too. The level seems to be a bit rushed since some rooms are not connected (the only effect you see from this is the sometimes disappearing environment) and there is a high point in the ceiling which can't be overlooked! But otherwise this is a fun Lara's house adventure and I'm looking forward to the updated version with the FMV." - eTux (16-Feb-2003)

"This level feels like a cross between an exploitation movie and Ken Russell's movies where when you least expect it religious elements join in. You open your front door and wham! the heavy guys start shooting at you and a few minutes later you find yourself in a chapel. Very clever indeed to let you find exactly there the one object to proceed: more of this originality/realism please! And the cleverness does not end there: the lighting the fire bit and the box shoving are worth mentioning too. I would have put one more box in that last room because one of the letters does not come out right in my opinion. Thanks Lilian for making us this special treat!" - bERT (16-Feb-2003)
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