Level: Burn the Midnight Oil back home search
Author(s): EssGee
total rating:6.63 Gameplay &
Objects &
Sound &
Lighting &
Anurag 7 7 6 5
bERT 7 6 8 8
CC 7 6 7 7
eTux 6 5 7 5
Gerty 7 6 7 7
Jose 4 5 6 5
Kristina 7 7 8 8
MichaelP 7 6 7 7
Miguel 4 7 5 6
Phil 8 8 7 7
QRS 7 6 7 6
RaiderGirl 6 6 7 7
Sash 7 7 8 7
Sherry 7 7 7 7
Torry 8 6 8 8
Treeble 6 6 6 6
Whistle 7 6 8 7
category averages
(17 reviews)
6.59 6.29 7.00 6.65

Reviewer's comments

"Even a great builder like Scott was a novice one day. In this first level, it notices some innovative and talented ideas, but also a lot of defects and things I didn't like. Many rooms are too dark (even black) and the flares I found were totally insufficient. Where are the guns and the ammo to shoot all those ninjas? The poor uzis with very few ammo were totally insufficient too. Sometimes there are camera shots when pulling levers, but in that cases, the camera doesn't return to Lara and the "look" key doesn't work so I was forced to move Lara out of the trigger tile in many cases. In the room with the tall pillars, the surfaces are not segmented so the textures are very elongated; the same in many other rooms. I found unmarked fiery tiles, unmarked trigger tiles, unmarked monkeyswings... Not hints in the room with deadly tiles and also in the checkered room near the end to know what tiles are safe: trial and error, and lots of reloading. In the room with two levers, if you step on the, again unmarked, tile in front of the exit door, you'll be trapped forever and you'll have to reload (again). In one of the corridors before the oil river area it's easy that you can miss the Hand, and the author lets you advance to the very end without that important item; and now? I can't remember another features but, fortunately this builder was getting better and better giving us many good creations over the last years." - Jose (26-Aug-2016)

"This is the first level from a builder who has since gone on to become one of the giants in the field. It is amazingly sophisticated for a maiden voyage, but it left me somewhat unfulfilled. It's too dark throughout, and therein lies much of the tale. The walkthrough apparently provided by Scott himself (although it's not credited) allowed me to grope along through the darkness, but things got so complicated with those platforming exercises in the final room that I finally flew to the final floor level so I could reach the exit and keep my total playing time to just under an hour. Along the way you have to avoid some mummies (but are given the opportunity to go back and exact revenge after you finish) and deal with the usual scorpions and ninjas. I would have had a lot more fun if I had been able to see what I was doing." - Phil (23-Aug-2016)

"This is Scott's first level, and it's nice to see that one of the greatest builders of today has had a humble start. Built using the standard Tutorial WAD and TGA, you can expect the usual gameplay and looks of a thousand other levels, with the well known unmarked deadly tiles (a few trial and error puzzles), unrecognizable climbable walls and to a certain extent a lack of consistency in textures: one room is covered with the 'oil' texture and is completely harmless. Towards the end, the same texture becomes rather dangerous. You get fooled in the first one, thinking it's not safe, and then in the end again, because now you're thinking it's safe since it was early on. Not bad at all, but Scott's later offerings certainly will please you more. 45 minutes, 2 secrets. 03/08" - Treeble (31-Mar-2008)

"It all starts out suspiciously familiar to the playable tutorial level, and for a while it actually is interesting to see how this resembles to it and where it changes. And luckily before it is in danger of becoming too predictable the author's own rooms start. Now, while it might not be my favourite kind of level out there - actually having lots of things I hate in levels, it definitely has its shining moments, mainly through creative gameplay elements. For example, I both loved and hated the final board puzzle before getting out. I loved the creative way the trap was set up if you failed hitting the right tile, but didn't like as much that, just like most puzzles of these types here, it was more trial and error than an obvious or at least plausible pattern to hold on to. At least if there were hints, I totally missed them in both of these guess-the-tile puzzles I remember. There are a couple of other issues, like the hand of Orion, which can be easily missed in one of the numerous crawlspaces, only to find out later that you can't get back to it if you missed it along the way. I also can't say I enjoyed the unbalanced amount of ninjas, but since this partially was supposed to be a nightclub too, who was I to question their right to party? The looks had me on two minds here all the time. On one hand they were kind of disjointed, chaotic and random, but on the other hand there's some appealing freshness to it, that along with the brave, colourful use of lighting gave this level a livelier, even more cheerful atmosphere. On the positive side again, I enjoyed the huge oil filled cavern right after the devious hand of Orion hunt, which had a few decent jump sequences in it. Overall - the author has had an interesting approach on the well known themes, and though the level definitely has some issues, it has its highlights as well." - eTux (16-Jun-2006)

"Seems like author's 1st trial & pretty good for onr except for some stretched textures the level looks pretty good. Lara's aim is to know the secret of oil & to stop the ninjas from getting it. Though some parts may look puzzling as I was baffled when I took my 1st look at the room with solid water textures on the wall. Then there was a chessboard like thing in which no idea was given as to which is the safe block. Alltogether I really loved this level, had downloaded it 1 year back & played it now, seriously now I think that I didn't waste my time searching my CD's for this level it was worth it." - Anurag (30-Dec-2005)

"A nice first level from Scott. Allthough there are some stretched textures and large empty areas, the potential for beeing a great builder is there. Especially for the gamepley in this level. And ee have seen proof of that in these days have we not?!?! ;) Tons of ninjas to find and some secrets that was quite easy to find. Overall a solid first level which is fun to play." - QRS (12-Dec-2005)

“This level starts with a lot of action. Lara has no chance to rest a bit – but after a while she finds some resting place and situation. Looks like someone has shown us his tutorial-level – even if textures are good – some places are too dark. What a pity that the builder has forgotten to give some hints – you will maybe be in situation to put the level down and stop playing it. A room with fire floor – all textures are the same – you can make some jump combination but it s like playing lotto. After this there is no climbing texture and you will run around without a plan. Then you get on but have no more flames – use pistols (and be patient...) Climax: a lot of levers and timed doors leading to a deadend – not so logical. Yes there are some ideas and a good map – but these are the only points – bad placed cameras. Sounds ok.” - Miguel (03-Apr-2004)

“This is quite an entertaining tomb level with a lot of what we are used to but still there was a freshness about it although by the readme this is supposed to be a tomb/nightclub and just a thought but shouldn’t a tomb/nightclub at least look slightly like a nightclub and not just a tomb what about adding a door bitch at the entrance to the tomb who could have looked Lara up and down with a disapproving cat’s ass look upon her face spouting the usual ‘you don’t think you’re getting in with those ugly shoes’ line! Okay once again I digress. Some standouts in this level are the black pulsating room full of mummies the hit and miss disappearing chessboard column trap the boulder and sarcophagus room and the movable statue puzzle that seemed daunting with the large floor plan but if you can decipher the wall hint it is very simple. What I thought was a bit mean is making an essential Hand very overlookable and when you realise you need it the way back is no longer available so make sure you keep your eyes on the look out for high crawlspaces not to mention low crawlspaces. This should take you a little under an hour with 2 secrets not too difficult to find again think crawlspaces and a whole load of ninjas to get in your way.” – Sash (18-May-2003)

“This starts almost as a copy of the Playable Tutorial Level of the Editor. Fair enough because it goes on to be a much more interesting level later on. A lot of rooms have the moving water texture and I must confess I didn't like it. What the idea was supposed to be I didn't get. Your aim is to find two half eyepieces and there's a lot of switches to pull. One area is a long corridor with 6 (I think) doors that have different puzzles in each two are timed that was good fun. On to a huge room with a floating pharaoh statue in the centre a lot of nasty boulder traps here ladders and ledges. Then on to a room where you have to move a pharaoh statue to a particular square to open the door. Now this was a little weird but I suppose it would have been far too simple if the square was obvious. Look carefully for crawlspaces one at the end has a 'hand'. And what about that collapsing giant platform where if you step on the white squares you're doomed great stuff. So this is the author's first level. Very good effort and can't wait to see what comes next.” – CC (20-Apr-2003)

“The game play is generally sound but expect some long energy sapping drops. Some well hidden crawl ways especially in the large room with the sandy coloured columns. Puzzles tend to be ‘find you route through here’ type with burning floors and one with a large breakaway floor if you go wrong. With the large number of levers one could have been used to drive you to the need hand of Orion as if you miss it a long arduous track back is needed to finish the level. Enemies mainly Ninja who have a nasty habit of appearing from behind or in gangs. Graphics are ok and mainly standard for this type of level. Lighting can be pitch black and flares scarce at the beginning force you to use gun flashes and bins. You won't burn the midnight oil playing the level so go ahead and give it a go!” - Whistle (22-Feb-2003)

“The author did a good job for his first level but I thought the first areas were too much like the tutorial level with the rooms that were built exactly the same and the same double doors ninjas and boulders that can't surprise you because you're expecting them. The second half was more interesting but was more frustrating too with the timed doors and switches with no camera work the statue that I didn't know where to push the fire tiles that weren't marked any differently the hand that you have to have at the end but is easy to miss and there's no going back for it and the block of tiles that fall away if you step on the wrong one.” – RaiderGirl (21-Feb-2003)

“For a first effort this is pretty solid. Of course a few of our own pet hates are in evidence such as the unmarked fire tiles but if you look closely you will see that these are a bright red/orange colour so they DO sort of stand out. The unmarked ladders and ceiling swings were another. Apart from these the level progressed rather nicely starting off in the familiar tutorial level settings but quickly moving on to newer textures. It was dark in some places but there were sufficient flares to light your way. The second secret is a good find as it gives you the grenade launcher which comes in handy later with those pesky mummies. The puzzles (yes even the fire tile room) were simple enough except for the movable statue one. That was trial and error although thinking of it later it did appear a lot simpler than it was. I liked the disappearing block puzzle at the end and getting the star well if you think about it it's quite obvious. Still could have been better but like I said for a first effort not too shabby at all.” – Torry (20-Feb-2003)

“I didn't burn the midnight oil as I was playing this level in the early evening. You need to as this level is quite dark. But the author warns us about that in his readme. Starting outside you have to enter that building and run for your life. The big doors open when Lara approaches ninja's attacking you know the game you know the drill. You'll find a dark room where mummies roam you need to find openings where you can collect the two pieces of the eye. Than a big drop so be sure your health is up to it. There are crawl spaces throughout so have a good look. Some hide goodies and some a lever. There are all kinds of gates that you need to open and there are some timed doors not too hard luckily. Nice jumping some shimmying pole climbing and sliding. Placing the Hand will open the last gate and Lara is once again outside. 17-02-2002” – Gerty (18-Feb-2003)

“Is this really the first level from Australia (it is now 17 february 2003)? Well at least this one shows there's still life in the editor without having to create new animations enemies or anything fancy. Quite enjoyable level with eyetricks thrown in (the first dark blue room with white disorientating moving dots where you easily may miss some exits) seemingly inescapable rooms and traps and such. Everything is solvable meaning the author is not one of those cleaver jacks thinking to ‘outplay’ the player but I missed the ‘point’ with the moving statue (though both walls show some kind of hint). One thing I'm not so fond of is trial and error sequences (both the small red burning tile room and the big pillar with chessboard like structure that makes you plunge to your death when jumping on the wrong tile). I accidentally played this one with Tina's Castle Doomsday 3 sound of the walking dead giving this level a nice spooky atmosphere as soon as the mummies appear. Certainly worth to play and to the author: keep building. Maybe next time throw one or two kangaroo's into the game!” – bERT (18-Feb-2003)

“A very good effort for a first time level builder. It gave me a few problems such as a non-delineated monkey swing and difficulty in finding the star to finish the level. Lots of ninjas and other familiar enemies but nothing too difficult. Good fun for an evening.” – Sherry (18-Feb-2003)

“It clocks in just under an hour of net gaming of the tutorial persuasion but it shows again that debut levels even in this environment can offer lots of fun along the way. It is actually a misconception that this would be the first custom level from ‘down under’ I think as Adom Furminger and Jaxx and maybe even a few more seem to originate from those realms as well. What you get here is a rather linear progression with many areas where lighting was added very well but also with quite a few pitch-black corners hiding things. Some cameras are added but maybe a few more wouldn’t go amiss. Watch out for crawlspaces (high and low) if you think you are stuck. EssGee built in a few of my pet hates: unmarked traps unmarked climbs and unmarked monkey swings and at least two puzzles which are pure ‘try-and-die-and-try-again’-style so these passages were rather annoying for me. I found one of the two secrets and thought that maybe that empty high crawlspace could have been the other one but there was nothing there and it also did not register. There was a timed run spikes boulders and darts along the way and a few nice flip effects. The hand is easy to miss and I am not sure you can actually get back there if you do (I did not try I just reloaded a savegame). The huge room with the pillars and the ‘oil’ is quite impressive. Enemies are plenty of ninjas (20 or so) some scorpions and a few mummies. Try it out for an hour of fun.” – Michael (17-Feb-2003)

“The first level from down under as the author says in his notes. A very good effort I might add. The level unfolds in darkish caves with plenty of flares although not many are needed. Nothing original about the puzzles or textures with some of them animating and not exactly matching therefore giving a not so convincing idea of a room but nicely done for a first try. A few fire traps here and there baddies to shoot and some mummies easy to avoid. The rest is pushing levers but you have to make your way around the traps to do so interesting gameplay. You need the two halves of the Eye and a hand to reach the end. Looking forward for a second level from lovely Australia.” – Kristina (17-Feb-2003)
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