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Level: Secrets of South America back home search
Author(s): technojoh
total rating:7.84 Gameplay &
Puzzles
Enemies,
Objects &
Secrets
Atmosphere,
Sound &
Cameras
Lighting &
Textures
Doug E 9 8 8 9
Dougsan 9 8 10 10
eRIC 7 7 8 7
Gerty 8 8 8 8
Jorge22 9 8 8 8
Jose 6 7 7 7
Kristina 9 8 9 9
MichaelP 9 7 8 8
Nina Croft 6 6 7 7
Obig 9 8 9 9
Orbit Dream 6 6 7 6
Phil 8 8 8 8
RaiderGirl 9 7 9 9
Ryan 8 7 8 8
Tortoise3 9 7 8 9
Whistle 6 7 7 7
category averages
(16 reviews)
7.94 7.31 8.06 8.06

Reviewer's comments

"For a relatively high rated level (over 7.5 in this case), this has received surprisingly mixed reviews. Sure, there are downsides which I'll get to now. The underwater maze was fairly tedious, as was having to backtrack to a certain large lake area and I found the use of fog rather overbearing (Volumetric FX, maybe). However, despite all that, I actually enjoyed it. The revolving bridge was a nice variation on the TR4 format, jumping across the swamps were fun and the torch work was fun. Worth a look, I think." - Ryan (04-Nov-2016)

"This is one of the older levels, but there are relatively few reviews for it. And it appears from those reviews that you'll either love this level or hate it. For this reason I began playing with low expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. Usually, when one or more reviews mention excessive darkness, I find that to my tastes this means intolerable darkness. But in this case I found the lighting to be much better than in other levels that I have drastically marked down for this reason. Also, there's a certain amount of required backtracking, but not the extent that I found it tediously distracting. No, my experience with this adventure of an hour and a half was that it was well designed and constructed, and flowed very nicely. I followed Harry's typically excellent walkthrough, so there were no surprises for me. The only thing I feel worthy of mention is that near the end of the level you pull a switch to lower a trap door (shown in a cut scene, signifying something of importance) that gives you access up a long ladder. The walkthrough says only that "you can't climb the ladder." Actually, I found that you can climb it, but when you reach a certain height the game freezes up and you have to use task manager to exit the program. You don't have to climb the ladder to complete the level, so I'm wondering what that was all about in the first place. Anyway, if you overlook that glitch you have much to enjoy in this level, which I can recommend without reservation." - Phil (25-Jul-2012)

"One of the worse levels I've played lately. The problem here is not the very huge areas or difficult tasks. The problem is running around and around very long distances for hours through the same places. It's easy that you miss the crossbow for example, not only shoot all those bones with no camera at the end to show you the very beginning of the level; it's not good the trigger to dry/fill the fire for the torch kilometers from that place; it's not good to dive through the nasty underwater labyrinth so many times. There are some small defects too: bad placed doors with the invisible block, the unmarked ladder in the very huge lake, untextured tiles, once you fill the small cave with the torch one of the entrances has an invisible block (the raised block?) and you can enter only through the other hole... The only thing I liked were the well worked lights, but textures were very repetitive, applied the same to very huge surfaces. For me, not a level to replay. Sorry." - Jose (08-Dec-2010)

"This is a decent and nice little game, but far from being perfect. I liked the settings and the overall architecture, especially in the waterfall area, and the texturing and statics are great, not too excessive, and the lighting is overall very nice and cosy, with a few pitch dark areas which were quite annoying and unnecessary. But, the downsides of this level are so numerous that I significantly lower my review score due to them. First of all, four switch sequence was too obscure, and you will surely get frustrated a lot trying to find some really cleverly hidden switches. You'll be stuck for ages at some points, due to darkness, lack of clues, backtracking and silly puzzles such as the shooting plant puzzle which is a champion in obscurity and illogic. Water maze is too hard and too big, and the hints are almost non-existent. I never enjoy simple try-and-error puzzle, and I think that the player should have at least a slightest hint about where to go or what to do. I also think that excessive darkness ruins the ambiance and the pleasure of playing, especially when you are low on flares. I am sure the surroundings would look much better if the game does not get too dark at moments. This would be a great level, if the puzzles were not so obscure and illogical, if the gameplay were not killed by the water maze sequence, and if there weren't so much backtracking and points where you can get hopelessly stuck. I wanted to give up on this level more than once, but I kept playing, because the level really has some good ideas and new moments (flyby sequences are awesome and the rotating bridge is absolutely fantastic), but still, they are completely ruined by sadistically hard puzzles, timed runs and traps that will make you desperate. If you don't mind the utter confusion, obscurity, tough traps and too long swims, if you have the nerves of steel and if you are stuborn enough to find the way through this level, then this is a perfect level for you. Otherwise, you should avoid it, or at least use the walkthrough to avoid much of the frustration, at least. I would have enjoyed this level a lot, and my rating would have been much higher, if the builder had just had a bit more mercy for a player, and had given him some hints or at least some directions on the way." - Nina Croft (05-May-2010)

"I don't usually read reviews before posting my own,but I wanted to know why this level was scored rather high and was subsequently interested in reading the opinions; as a consequence,I found that Whistle's review got it absolutely spot on and there is little for me to add - far too dark;many unmarked climable walls;pushable blocks which look just like static blocks;shootable plants that look just like ordinary plants;enigmatic gameplay.There's a large underwater maze which needs to be negotiated several times from different directions.Unconvincing surroundings.I gave up trying to work things out and retreated ignominiously to the Walkthrough,and still found the whole level to be pretty interminable and illogical.It has its moments,undoubtedly:the revolving bridge and the returning to the same places but from different directions come to mind;but it's vastly overrated in my opinion,far outstays its welcome and should only be approached with caution." - Orbit Dream (08-Mar-2010)

"This level is far too dark, especially only having the 3 flares to start with. Constantly running or crawling in pitch darkness is wearing on the ears with constant gunshot, or having to stop and use the bins. The game play is often confusing as to what to do next, with the frequent back tracking and combinations of switches also not at all logical. Shooting plants is not an obvious switch and you find out by trial and error (or trying to find your way thro darkness???). Some of the textures are weird, especially the swamp areas which just act as a barrier to getting out-shooting and use of bins etc still being possible. Lighting I have said is too dark far to often. Puzzles consist of an under water maze and a few pull out block and put it on marked square types. Enemies include bats, crocs and Tin Men in S. American garb, but sounding like tin men. All in all for me the level was very much spoiled by the lack of light and frustration with not getting the 4 switch sequence correct and having to back track twice to sort it out. You have been warned!!!!" - Whistle (10-Oct-2006)

"Apart from the two plants you need to shoot as I wouldn't have figured that one out for myself I thought this was a great adventure. Your main goal is to find two Red Rubies and in the meantime you will be bothered by some very pesky bats crocs and some natives. There are some puzzles to solve and don't forget the levers one has to pull and some of them are really well hidden. There are also some traps and I did like the spiked walls even if I had to reload a few times to get through that. Some of the jumps are very hard to do but with a bit of practice even I could manage. There is also an underwater maze that was no fun and the burning of the floor surrounded by spikes was a novelty. The best was to see that huge lake with the two faces a pity that there wasn't that much to do there. Almost at the end there is a moveable bridge that is new and what a great idea. I felt sorry the level ended far too soon in my opinion. 11-10-2003" - Gerty (11-Oct-2003)

"A long level with puzzles and exploration in temples and outside grassy areas. The highlights for me are the series of traps with spiked walls and the last puzzle with the turning bridge (this puzzle is really great). On the downside my PC crashes when Lara climbed a useless ladder leading nowhere and some puzzles are too much cryptic (shooting plants). I used too much often the walkthrough for this level (a big thanks to Obig) so it was not very entertaining." - eRIC (04-May-2003)

"Well I thought this was going to be a pushover but 'Boy was I wrong'. The enemies were practically non-existent bats a few crocs a couple of natives and a poor little lone pig. But the overall appearance of the level more than compensated for the lack of enemies. I spent a long time swimming between the two water rooms mainly because I cocked-up with getting the torch. [liked the head with the water passage underneath it] There were two horrendous jumps [for me anyway] namely the one back to the block in the swamp and to the fissure in the turning bridge area. I absolutely loved the waterfall room even if I was only really passing through it and the turning bridge was a nice touch. A very cleverly thought-out level and one worth doing." - Tortoise3 (31-Mar-2003)

"If we were awarding prizes for the most well hidden switches two of the overhead pull switches in this game would be automatic winners! The first goes to the switch in the shallow pool right at the beginning. The second to the switch on the column just before the area Lara must flood. It took me at least 45 minutes to find the first and 30 minutes to find the second. The puzzles in this level are terrific and would rate a 10 without question if Lara didn't have to shoot living plants. This is pushing the envelope beyond the edge of the TR universe. The ONLY way I found this was out of complete frustration I had Lara shooting up everything! The water maze Lara had to return to many times was a pure delight in its ability to frustrate me. I never mastered it! Big bravo to the designer. Also the torch puzzle was a very tough one to figure out. Not the double filling but the whole magilla. The amount of pure TR fun I had playing this level all but demands I rate it a quad 10 but a couple of minor bugs (the ladder near the end froze my machine after the barrier was open and Lara could climb before the barrier was open etc.) and a couple of frustrating things I don't think designers should do (like pull/push blocks with no markings suggesting they are to be moved and things I have to shoot that I can't see) reduce the objects to eight and the shooting of plants reduces the puzzles to nine. I very much liked the use of darkness. It added to the game rather than detract. I also liked the muck from which Lara had no escape at least none I could find. Highly recommend this level. I felt I always knew where to go and always sensed I knew what I was doing. Bravo technojoh. How about some more." - Dougsan (22-Mar-2003)

"What a great level! First of all it's very professionally built and textured and since there are few enemies (mostly bats and a few crocs) you are free to enjoy your time exploring these jungles of South America with its great use of water in waterfalls pools and streams; a small village full of huts; small caves to explore; and the many bridges that connect things together including one that you rotate. Puzzles are clever and include the filling and draining of pools raising blocks finding gems and switches (including a few well hidden jump switches) and my favorite of all - a spiked wall puzzle that is better than any you'll find in TR3. This is a level I would highly recommend to any fellow explorers." - RaiderGirl (28-Feb-2003)

"You slide down into a spooky jungle atmosphere with a good mix of spacious and tight rooms some good fog and light effects and a sometimes confusing gameplay that all makes sense once you figure it out. I liked the use of the bridges the nice waterfalls swamps and hut area and the rather smart setup of the crossbow and torch/lasersight puzzle the shooting of bones and plants (!) was a bit enigmatic but still fun. I did not care so much for the underwater maze (although it is manageable) a not so obvious climbing wall and the huge water area with rather little to do in it. Traps are fun too including moving spike walls boulders burners and spikes. Two red rubins are the artifacts to find along the way and there are actually a few jumps of the more tricky type but as I have just played Eye of Eve right before this level they seemed real easy to me ;-). Very few enemies around (bats crocodiles a warthog and two natives) and I did not find any secret. Near the end another highlight as you need to 'turn a bridge'. All in all a nice adventure of a little over an hour if you don't get lost too much in the wide areas." - Michael (25-Feb-2003)

"If you want to get stuck over and over this is the place! Talk about tough levels... Still Secrets of South America is so well conceived it never really made me want to give up. Instead I kept trying and fortunately I had some help here and there and was able to deliver some help too. Nice atmosphere some huge rooms (I'm not sure that's what I like the most) some backtracking this level could be considered as a huge maze and God knows we already get a lot of mazes in custom levels. But it wasn't boring. Very dark at times and only two flares that I can remember. Some puzzles that you'd never think of such as shooting bones (I know it's already been done in TR4) and plants (!). You go from here to there and then back always wondering what the hell am I supposed to do next? Anyway what was that lever in the underwater tunnel right in the first room for? I still can't imagine... And as you go down through the underwater tunnels to find the torch what's that lever that you only use to block the trapdoor you just came from doing there? And what exactly are the platforms (one standing on nothing and the other by the big wall) doing there? And why would you drain the flooded room after the 'danger room' (spikes a rock and a red gem) for? Still it's one of the best conceived levels I've played. Just plain difficult. No problem with enemies that are easily dealt with (I liked the natives from South Pacific as in TR 3 just the huge maze and some very very tough jumps - if you do not succeed at first keep trying maybe you're not mistaken and that's precisely what you have to do. I also liked the final bridge that you have to turn to get to the end. This is not really South America but who cares? If you're patient enough you'll definitely get a kick out of this very good game!" - Jorge22 (24-Feb-2003)

"This is one of the most difficult I have played in a while. There are a couple of switches hidden in dark corners. You need to find two red gems and place them in a head. There is a water area where there is a large underwater maze that leads to different places. A good memory is required to get to the right place before Lara runs out of breath. There are a load of bones scattered about that need to be shot after getting the crossbow and laser sight. I found there was a lot of going back and forth to get to the end. A good level to play if you want a challenge." - Doug E (23-Feb-2003)

"Although I got seriously stuck more than once I liked this level. Lara starts by sliding down and finds herself looking down to greenery and water from a very high bridge. Entering the main area gives a feeling of Angkor Wat but the level isn't exactly based on that. I am not a fan of back tracking and there is some here flooding and draining areas plus the torch puzzle were a very interesting combination. There is a lot of swimming levers and a maze underwater with no air hole everywhere except from when you reach the trapdoor. A bit on the dark side with enough flares though. I liked the idea of shooting something unusual to pass some spikes and enter a crawlspace although I could pass the spikes from the left side and keeping very closely to the wall but it doesn't always work. You need two gems which are also secrets but somehow they don't register in statistics the huts were nice too and the bridge you have to turn in order to reach the other openings. Watch out though because this level has some tricky moves. Crocodiles bats are some of the enemies. I liked the whole atmosphere and gameplay definitely one of the good levels out there." - Kristina (22-Feb-2003)

"This level takes place in the South Pacific. I didn't find a secret but discovering of some switches is equivalent to the secrets. :-) Immediately finding the first switch below the bridge got me stopped for a bit. You have to find two red rubins and the crossbow and lasersight for shooting the small bones. There were not too many enemies in the level only some crocodiles bats natives and a wild-boar but I didn't miss them too much. The game has a very good atmosphere but sometimes I nearly kicked my head off if I couldn't find any objects. :-) The plants to be shooting are very witty especially the one before the spike blockage. The textures are nice and the added sounds are very good too. There's only one thing which made me a bit trouble. There's an inactive ladder next to the receptacle of the red rubins which would lead to the place where Lara has slope down in the beginning of the level. There's a gap high on the wall but I didn't manage to reach there in no way." - Obig (19-Feb-2003)
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