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Sophia's Obelisk by Crane

CC 5 6 7 7
dantheraider 7 9 10 10
eTux 3 4 5 6
Gerty 6 6 5 6
Jay 6 6 7 7
Jose 5 7 3 5
Kristina 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 5 5 4 5
mugs 8 6 6 6
Orbit Dream 3 6 7 7
Phil 7 7 7 7
Ryan 4 6 5 6
Sash 7 8 8 7
Scottie 5 6 4 6
Treeble 6 6 6 7
release date: 29-Jun-2005
# of downloads: 134

average rating: 6.15
review count: 15
review this level

file size: 12.74 MB
file type: TR4
class: Venice

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I have no idea if the author will ever read this, but I need to step forward (and I'm sorry it took me nearly two decades) and say mea culpa. When this young builder joined our local community back then, I was incredibly cocky and toxic - perhaps even to this day - , and for whatever reason he got stuck with me as his betatester. Instead of helping him out, I pushed him and coherced him to release this as is, which is pretty much a shame because this isn't a bad level. With a bit of adequate feedback, it could have been great. SFX issues aside, which are obviously very detracting from the experience as a whole, there are two major problems here. One is pacing, it seems rather uneventful for the most part as you run through a string of hallways which all look alike, then there are long ladders and long monkey swings to overcome. The other issue is that you can only ever have one Token in your possession and you can easily softlock yourself if you're not careful. It only really becomes a problem because the author offers you up to three of them at one point, all hidden inside boxes, so if you search more than one you're essentially done. Had a bit of thought gone into forcing the player to use one before getting the next one, this would be easily circumvented. The outdoor areas were pretty and exactly what you'd expect out of a Venice level though, so a bit more of that and less of the brick/library indoor mazes and this could have been a different experience altogether. 50 minutes, 2 secrets. 12/22" - Treeble (25-Dec-2022)
"Another one-shot, but not a bad one at all. For the most part it's well lighted, but plenty of flares are provided to get the player through the dark places. Lots of dogs and stick-men soldiers, but again you get plenty of firepower to deal with them. It's also fun to use the motorbike as a deal-dealing device. I don't know about this one-token-at-a-time business. If it's inherent in the game engine, then maybe the builder should have chosen gems or something else to avoid needless back-tracking. But I'm a fan of Venice levels, and this one gives you nearly an hour and a half of playing time. Too bad the builder didn't stick with it in later years." - Phil (22-Mar-2018)
"Venice levels tend to be among my favourites, but I found this one to be far too tedious and dragged out for my liking. The main reasons for this are the tedious backtracking across different portions of the level, the boring mazelike corridors, the irritating darkness in some of the narrow corridors and the apparent token bug which, thanks to the walkthrough, I was able to avoid. I also had a few dodgy sound files with the gunshots and Lara's movements. It's not too bad for a debut, but I couldn't really enjoy it." - Ryan (09-Dec-2017)
"Lara is in Venice because she was asked by the dog breeder association for help. All vicious dogs have run away and Lara must find them and kill them all. However, also disguised animal welfarists are in the town which Lara want to hinder in it. Hmm, I believe, I have misunderstood there something. So a new attempt. Lara is in Venice because there just the film festival runs. She searches the director of her new film Sophias Obelisk. The director has turned on to her a film role with miserable tone and Lara wants to exchange this film role absolutely. However, the director wants to prevent this and so has attached countless dogs and disguised amateur actors on Lara. Also wrong again??? So then the last attempt. Lara runs in Venice around, hits constantly on vicious dogs and disguised SAS-Soldiers, can make the houses and canals unsafe with a motorcycle, finds occasionally some Token and must open at the level end under friendly supervision of Sophia a big double door. I believe, now I have it!!! However, does not ask me now please for what this was well. I have no notion. Actually, it could have become a really good level, but, nevertheless, he was too long with about one hour playing time. Particularly as the sound was absent by a lot of actions. And at many places it was too dark. But apart from the fact the level was well built and textured. Who has no problem to play half a silent film level, can risk here sometimes a look." - Scottie (30-May-2009)
"It seems like ages since I have actually felt apprehensive about enemies in a level, and I mean apprehensive in the way that I knew they would frighten me. When this Venice level started it felt just like all the rest but around half way through it started to get an ominous feel to it with the interiors becoming quite dark and maze like and I really loved the change. At one point I even got myself so worked up in one large dark area that I intentionally put off going there as the thought of dogs and transparent green SAS jumping out of the dark made me too nervous, and only got the nerve to check it out later in the level when I thought maybe something important may have been down there, thankfully it was only a secret and some weapons, but it was just great knowing how much this level could make my pulse race. The game itself was fairly straightforward, however you have to be careful not to collect more than one coin (the level's item of choice) at a time as only one will ever show in your inventory, so when you find one then find a place to use it, and unlike some may have said you do not have to backtrack far with the two coins in the one room as the receptacles for both coins are only steps away. Anyway I think that there is one coin more than you need in this level so you will always have a back up if needed. You end at the obelisk where you are greeted by many enemies and Sophia, but alas there is nothing to take with you as reward when you do finish and it would have been good if maybe Sophia had dropped something when you take care of her (even some bats left behind pick ups when they were shot) as there would be a real goal to the level and as it stands there isn't. Anyhow I really enjoyed this 60 minute Venetian level but I sure wish I had grabbed that shotgun in the bin instead of overlooking it as it would have made my life a whole lot easier. I found 2 secrets." - Sash (15-Jan-2006)
"It notices that is a novice builder. Simply architecture, huge rooms with nothing to do and no puzzles, only push buttons or find items to open doors, no musics,.... Lara's face seems to be the face of a baddy! Like author said there are problems with the sounds; many sounds. You can pick up two tokens without use one of them and in your inventory only appears one; this is a very bad detail, so you have to let the token underwater and continue playing to use the token in your inventory, then you have to go back to pick up the token you left and return again; if you don't do it so, you'll have to reload a savegame or abandone the game; this could be avoid easily whith a little bit of imagination. To be a first level isn't bad." - Jose (12-Sep-2005)
"In a Venice type level, Lara will wander in darkish corridors and will have to explore many areas with houses full of dogs and wire frame SAS. I got a little confused in this level and lost in the two libraries. I am not sure what the goal is in this level but there are a lot of tokens to find and buttons to push. Don't pick up more than one token at a time because there is a bug and they will disappear leaving you with only one again. This information is in the 'readme' file but still I know it can fixed, other levels have more than one of the same item to pick up and the bug doesn't occur. You get the bike at some point which is mostly to cover the long distance. Sophia at the end is terrible at aiming; she kept missing with that staff of hers. I played version 1.1 and found two secrets. I think I missed one because of a big medipack I saw behind a window but didn't find a way to it. A nice level I'd say but a bit confusing." - Kristina (25-Aug-2005)
"Afterwards reading the reviews I am a bit puzzled as I never found the two coins in the same room that some people mentioned. Also I know Lara died when she encountered a rolling ball. I just closed the game and went to make my supper, then I reloaded and where ever I looked I couldn't find that passage again (or was that the other level I just played). I did however hit the finishing trigger with using only three coins. I wasn't really that much fond of the original but for custom made Venice levels, there are some fun ones around. I liked this one, the jumping over the awnings, shooting windows, not much button pushing or lever jumping. However long, long monkey swings and ladders to climb. That was a tad boring. Some dogs did give me a scare though and there are many of them in this level. There was hardly any sound that is a shame though. Found one secret. 02-08-2005" - Gerty (03-Aug-2005)
"I played this no that long ago, but I was too busy to review it. Welcome to Crane. The level was okay, I don't really care for Venice levels, but nevertheless I like them. There should have been more puzzles. I liked that Crane worked hard on this level and he did a wonderful job. The level was great, but there are a few things that need to be there like more puzzles such as heavy, turning off a trap before you get an artifact. But nevertheless it is still a great level." - dantheraider (27-Jul-2005)
"A sunny day in Venice... and a raid that I would not want to repeat anytime soon. It is actually all rather nicely set and progression is smooth and easy with the usual Venice works: explore roofs, balconies, sewers, streets and shoot plenty of dogs, cyberguards and bats along the way. But what I did not like was the increasing element of repetition and sameness, the maze like feel in places, the darkness that too often required you to crack a flare and the rather long climbs and monkey swings. It took me about an hour and I did not actually have to deal with big backtracks despite the coin bug, as for some reason I never had to go back to the room with the two coins in boxes and finished the level with only three coins used. Maybe I missed secrets there as I found only one. The battle with Sophia at the Obelisk makes for a good ending and clearly the author has put a lot of work into this level, but please make your next one a little less tedious than your debut." - Michael (24-Jul-2005)
I like Venice levels. OK, this may not be the best one I've played, but I still found much to enjoy. I just wish I knew why the baddies were semi-transparent. Apart from them, you get dogs - lots and lots of dogs. The settings are very pleasant, albeit somewhat 'samey' after a while and the gameplay is very uncomplicated, but if you also like Venice levels I think you'll like this one well enough. - Jay (20-Jul-2005)
After double-checking the first sentence I wrote in this review, it dawned on me it's a perfect conclusion for the review, and so I left it there, but was still left with a handful of things I wanted to mention and no start. I could go on and on about the level, but the review would feel incomplete somehow. I wonder if the author if this level felt the same when releasing the level, as it sure feels like it. The author has somewhat well mastered the looks and the atmosphere of Venice and it's a delight to look at mostly, yet overall feels rather monotonous, as if the exterior was strictly dictated to look one way and interior had to stick to the posh marble walls floors. As if the outside areas all had to be well lit, yet the inside parts a strong contrast to the outside, thus very (ridiculously, even, at times) dark. Lacking sounds generally give levels an amateurish feel to them and it was no different here, also the 'bug' with the coins, which was my main annoyance in the gameplay sector, is no longer an unsolvable problem, so why for example the author didn't at least set the level up in a way, that it's not possible to get two tokens at a time and cause this bug is beyond me. The gameplay mainly consists of you searching for the infamous tokens, pressing switches, doing exaggerated climbs and monkey swings, and of course killing, killing and killing dogs and the cyber guards, nothing overly inventive. Might sound like I'm making this sound no-fun but that's not the truth either - as I thoroughly enjoyed jumping on the red roofs and bridges, and once you get the bike the progression is much better and more enjoyable. I understand what it is though to release a level nowadays, and would advise the author to not feel disheartened even if these comments might be a bit harsh, as there definitely is potential in here, and with improving in certain areas of building, I'm sure we can expect good levels in the future. The way I see it now this is not a finished level, but rather a 'demo' of things yet to come. It's a nice level, but generally quite a pity it ended up like this, as it had the potential to be so much more. - eTux (18-Jul-2005)
Always delighted to revisit Venice. And always great to see new builders, especially when they choose a lovely well-known wad like Venice. When we think of the Venice level we think of shooting windows, jumping across canals on red awnings, those brown brick walls that turn to green from the water level down, dark watery cellars, bridges, stylish - almost empty rooms with wooden floors, gondolas, ornate street lighting, and that lovely blue sky (in this case a good looking cloudy sky). Well, we have all that here, and some more. The strongest memory for me is of finding a cool looking bike and driving around the city, along the canals, up and over bridges, and having to deal with a huge population of dogs and bats. The other enemies are green, almost invisible, cyber-gunmen. This was clever in a way and goes nicely along with Crane's readme - 'Story: After the installment of the new SLINC Headquarters in Venice, the population of this beautiful city in Italy start to see strange things happening. Lara decides to investigate, but she discovers she is not alone.' Lara is looking for coins (appropriate when you think of it - 'coins in a fountain' sort of thing). There are three, but due to a bug, you must use each coin before taking the next one. Lara is exhausted, in total shock, or has had a radical makeover, because her face looks very different. Still, it's nice to see these changes too. Sophia seems to be part of this invasion of Venice. We find her defending a tall tower (her obelisk) flanked by yet more cyber gunmen and guard dogs. The fun factor was diving off the top of this tower into the canal below. The level certainly looks huge, with very tall ladders to climb, long monkeyswings, and a number of really huge, and very dark water rooms. The only thing that really got on my nerves was the maze-type interiors. It just didn't register as being right. But then again, if Venice has been invaded by aliens I suppose that might be acceptable. All in all, a good first level from this author, and it will be interesting to see what levels Crane will produce in the future. - CC (12-Jul-2005)
First of all, welcome Crane! We are delighted to have you join our growing list of esteemed builders and you are well on your way to becoming a class contributor. Crane's raid takes our Lara to Venice to find Sophia's Obelisk. Lara's enemies are 10,000 dogs and what I affectionately call the invisible men. The best part of the raid has to be on the motorcycle and these parts always end too soon. Anyway, Lara will need to find token coins to further her advancement through this game. There's a bug associated with the token so do read the 'tips' portion of the read me file before playing. There are lots of places to explore in this game - some a bit too dark - and I enjoyed it very much. I would have loved a few more challenging moments with the invisible men instead of dog after dog (too monotonous), but Crane is generous with the supply of arms so you can dispatch the dogs pretty quickly. I can't wait to see what Crane does next. - Mugs (11-Jul-2005)
Who would have thought that Venice could be such a monotonous place? Although the atmosphere has been caught well enough, the never-ending huge baroque-style rooms, maze-like library corridors, dark underground canals and tediously long monkey-swings (many of which yield absolutely nothing but manage to pad out the Gameplay) only succeed in generating tedium. Edit half this level out, and you'd end up with a pretty decent and succinct adventure. Instead, you have a sprawl. The Author warns of a bug with the 'coin' item, and instructs you to only carry one around at a time. As you find two in the same room, and the receptacle for the second coin is almost at the other end of the level, you are presented with an unavoidable and epic backtrack which proved to be the last straw for me as far as enjoyment was concerned. A fun ending with Sophia (and a tremendous dive off the top of the eponymous Obelisk) together with amusing 'cyber-guards' all helped to provide some entertainment; but it's otherwise far too wild and woolly. - Orbit Dream (05-Jul-2005)