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LB Advent Calendar 2009 - Zickchen's Home by Zickenalarm

afzalmiah 8 8 9 9
Andzia9 10 10 9 10
Athukraz 10 10 10 10
Christian 9 9 8 10
DJ Full 9 9 10 10
dmdibl 8 9 9 9
drguycrain 9 9 8 9
Gerty 5 8 7 6
High Priestess 9 7 10 9
jawi 8 8 8 7
Jay 8 9 9 9
John 5 7 7 8
Jorge22 7 9 8 8
Jose 8 9 9 9
manarch2 8 9 9 8
MichaelP 7 9 8 7
Orbit Dream 5 9 9 10
Phil 8 8 8 9
rtrger 10 10 10 10
Ryan 8 9 8 9
Scottie 9 9 9 10
SeniorBlitz 9 9 10 10
Shandroid 9 9 9 8
sharnilal 8 9 9 8
Silgukaarel 10 8 9 8
Soul 8 9 9 9
TheStig 8 9 9 9
totizedger 7 9 8 7
Treeble 6 8 8 7
release date: 01-Dec-2009
# of downloads: 206

average rating: 8.55
review count: 29
review this level

file size: 40.42 MB
file type: TR4
class: Home

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I liked this level, surely among the best based on real homes. Made with palpable love and much customization. Maybe a bit too many keys but well, it's a house level. The blue key is elusive and some interactions are precise, not for beginners. But if you know the mechanics, you should be okay and better here. The unsaid band from the readme makes me think it's the author performing the music, and in good way. High recommendations." - DJ Full (08-May-2024)
"I had this level installed somewhere in my temporary working folder for a while now without even realizing it, think a couple of years ago (very temporary, yes...) someone asked in the forums about the music used here. I needed to play something else inbetween the massive levels from Tomb Raider Peru and reviews suggested this fell in the "under 1 hour" range so I figured I should give it a proper go. I had a weird feeling of deja vu when entering the main building, and the entire layout felt strangely familiar. In standard tomb raider logic, you go around retrieving and interacting objects to explore further the house (ie the toaster opens the bathroom, the oven opens a door in the upper floor etc) so in that sense the walkthrough will optimize your experience here. The grid engine isn't quite cut out for this type of design but ultimately it works ok, the garden area possibly being the highlight. All in all this was a good distraction, the kind we could definitely use in present day. 40 minutes, 3 secrets. 11/22" - Treeble (06-Nov-2022)
"An original mansion based on the makers home with lovely textures and lighting both inside and outside especially the gardens, they are just stunning with all those pretty flowers and plants made the gardens a pleasant place to roam around in, as for the inside there are dozens of carefully textured rooms with lovely bright colours and plenty of furniture and objects, theres some music every now and again but it wasnt my taste and didnt seem to fit in with the level, good camera work though with the flybys. Now as for gameplay and puzzles if you enjoy constantly going in and out of rooms going up and down the stairs getting lost and confused and finding object after object, key after key to combine with another object or place in something that is not obvious at all, (except for keys which is obvious) then this is the level for you! personally i found this tedious, irritating and boring, having to look at a walkthrough every 10 mins as well didnt help unless im supposed to somehow know that a glass goes on a shelf or a butterfly goes on a specific flower out of the dozens and dozens there are in the garden. so visibly this level is nice to play in but for me lacked any enjoyable tasks or puzzles" - John (05-Jul-2021)
"A house level that astray's from the average 'Mansion' formula, with a vibrant setting and pretty nice music queues, that culminates into a fun, but also very relaxing level, strongly recommended for all raiders." - SeniorBlitz (01-Nov-2018)
"This is a very creative home level where the author has added many of her own personal touches to the setting to set it apart from the 'vanilla' mansion level, not least the cute cat strolling around and the photographs of the builder and her husband dotted around. The gameplay really boils down to obtaining custom objects and pondering upon their correct uses. If you don't have the walkthrough handy, it can be very confusing The music was different, but I can't say I was fond of it, although that's probably a matter of taste. Overall, a very accomplished debut level and the builder delivered an even better second offering." - Ryan (08-Jan-2017)
"I really enjoyed playing this great and relaxing level. The textures, the objects everything looks great. It is the best Home level in my opinion. The basement was scary though and I pretty understood what was told at the radio in the basement. I thought he would come for me anytime. This was the scariest part. The cat idea was nice. If you kill it it will teleport to a random place in the level where it couldn't go, for example it couldn't leave Fritze's room. You can shoot it once and let it follow you and have fun with it. This game is absolutely recommended." - Athukraz (09-Jun-2014)
"This was a pleasant raid in a beautifully made house, as always with home levels you get to run around alot and search for things which really isn't my type of gameplay. This level is quite easy to get lost in so i recommend having the walkthrough at hand. Some of the things you need are hidden almost too well for example the Cake Tin and the Watering Can but as lucky as i am i tried to pick up all sorts of things and by pure luck got the cake tin. Don't get me wrong it has some very clever and interesting ideas going for it so i do recommend it. The music used in the level didn't fit but it didn't matter too much to me." - totizedger (21-May-2014)
"I really enjoyed this debut level. A different house level from Lara's home or her new croft manor. You even don't control her! You control the auther herself Zickchen. Gameplay was good and textures really fit the home. Also the objects fit in. The secrets were a bit easy to find but it doesn't matter. There are no enemies except for some bees which you can't shoot but go way soon. One thing I didn't get was the strange music in the basement. Other than that it is good." - afzalmiah (03-Mar-2011)
"A really nice home level. You have to search not only keys, but also everyday things like coffeepots. You have to push toaster levers, which I found funny. You have to cure for a cat or flowers. Very well level, sound is great!" - manarch2 (12-Jul-2010)
"It's fun to raid someone else's house than Lara's. This level really shows, how everyday life can be turned into a Tomb Raider level. You arrive at home and you'll soon discover that the main character is as forgetful as Lara. There were no puzzles but the amazing gameplay makes it up. The secrets were not that hard to find. The key items were really fun to use, especially baking the cake and making some coffee. The music used in this level was good. The textures were nothing special but that was actually a good thing about this level because this level popped out with it's ordinarity. An excellent level to play any time, any place." - Silgukaarel (17-Jun-2010)
"This peaceful level isn’t so easy as I it seems from the beginning. There are a lot of tasks to complete and they are quite complicated. Sometimes I had problems and I had to read the walkthrough because I didn’t remember everything. Gameplay is very nice and enjoyable one, it includes very inventive ideas like watering the plant or baking a cake. Textures are good as well as texturing although I found some cracks which are very common in debut levels. Objects are well placed. I find them very good – some of them are new. Lighting is great (beautiful outside rooms and I loved the turquoise fog), but some of the areas are too dark (for example basement). The music fits very well with the game and makes it very specific. I felt a little bit like in a cartoon, but I didn’t mind. After playing this one I can say that Zickchen has a beautiful house . All in all this is very successful debut level which I enjoyed very much. I recommend it to everyone who just want to relax and have some fun. I hope Zickenalarm will build more levels in the future. Congratulations!" - jawi (10-Jan-2010)
"I quite enjoyed this one. Although it's not a christmas level as such, it's a nice relaxing diversion (and ideal if like me you spend most of your day under moderate stress). Lovely custom objects, great lighting and game play which leaves you thinking. Definately looking forward to seeing more levels from this author, especially given such a high standard for a first level. Took me around 2 hours to complete. Play it, get immersed, feel relaxed :)" - TheStig (25-Dec-2009)
"I like this level very much, but little shame that isn't Christmasy. The rooms and the objects are nice. I liked new using objects like making coffee, cake or watering a plant. If you want some relax, just play it." - Andzia9 (15-Dec-2009)
"A very good, relaxing level that carries through Zickchen's beautiful home. I enjoyed the complex and non-linear gameplay, including the intresting puzzles. And your task are very cute. You have to get some decoration to the house, and you have to bake a cake before the girl arrives home. Well, I like preparing for Christmas, so I think it's a very, very good level. Don't miss it." - rtrger (13-Dec-2009)
"One day I really ought to write a thesis on 'The use of strange looking custom-built objects in German Levels'.They really are obsessed with them! As this particular level began,I visually took in the wealth of flowers in the neatly mown gardens and made a private bet with myself that a large part of the gameplay would incorporate combining petals (and other such colourful things) with flower stalks in order to make various doors implausibly open - and that's exactly what happened. For those who thrive on this sort of esoteric (and often highly illogical) gameplay, this will be right up their street.Those who prefer a logical flow will quite possibly throw it all away in disgust.Oddly enough,I enjoyed it greatly.The level is impecabbly and flawlessly built;objects (as already intimated) are used obsessively,but they all look wonderful;the atmosphere is utterly charming and texturing is as perfect as is possible to get.Ultimately,then,this stands or falls on the gameplay.I decided to take the exact middle ground on the assumption that some people will love it,others will hate it,but the majority (preferably with the walkthrough handy) will find it entertaining and relaxing - which is exactly what it is." - Orbit Dream (11-Dec-2009)
"As always, it is great to see long time players try their luck with building and the results here is an endearing and very personalized debut level. On replaying it now, it took me 40 minutes because I was more familiar with the layout and some of the obscure objects to pick up and their use (like the glass, the cake tin, the watering can and the butterfly), which had me running around clueless when I played it the first time. And this is really the only trouble with this level - I am not a big fan of search and explore levels anyway and in this one some of the needed actions are a bit odd and the author truly sends you up and down, left, right and around the place several times, which can get confusing and even a bit tedious. Still, it is not too bad, as there are helpful cameras and the original ideas do make up for the occasional frustration. The whole 'baking the cake' action was nicely embedded in the story, the cat is as cute as always and the whole outside area is stunningly beautiful. I liked the personal touch of some of the added audio, but not sure it served the overall atmosphere of the level so well. All in all, a lovely debut level and I hope not the last one we will see from her! :)" - MichaelP (11-Dec-2009)
"I have to admit, I was a bit worried that with the number of builders participating in the Back To Basics competition, there would be no Advent Calendar. Needlessly worried as it turns out. December is my favourite time of year - I love the Christmas levels and I must admit that these levels are the closest I get to snow most days. Taking into account what has been said by other reviewers about this being a summer level, I would just like to point out that for me, and others in the Southern Hemisphere, Christmas and Summer go hand in hand and so it wasn't that much of a stretch to imagine this as a possible Christmas level - even with the lack of anything Christmassy (apart from the cooking and visiting with good friends of course) in it. To be fair, the download page did say it was not a Christmas level as such. This is Zickenalarm's debut level and, having read her article in the LB Tribune a few months ago, I was keen to see the results. There was a fair bit of to-ing and fro-ing in this level, probably made worse by my poor memory and not remembering where I had seen things, but in general the game flowed well. The atmosphere was light and airy, and the none of the tasks too taxing. Just my speed for this time of year. I enjoyed the use of the puzzle items, especially the toaster and the coffee pot as I hadn't seen them used before. Overall, I thought the builder had shown a good grasp of the use of the editor and while some of the textures were a bit blurry, and perhaps not as HQ as we might be used to now, they did suit the situation. Loved the use of Pink Floyd's music when finding the secrets too. Overall a very, pleasant and relaxing little romp and made me quite determined to get down and finally complete a level myself." - sharnilal (08-Dec-2009)
"The first of the advents I played, thinking that a nice sweet level was what I needed. Not so, as I found it very confusing and you will be roaming around Zickens house and there is much back and fro even if you will find the unusual objects you need right away. Overall the house is pretty decorated and the garden looks wonderful. The cat wouldn't leave the room, more the pity for the cat though as the weather is beautiful outside. How this all fits in with a Xmas mood, I don't know. This is a search party for money (the 3 secrets I found), keys of course, and much more objects so you can get ready and finally eat the chocolate cake you've baked. I also see that the toaster lever is coming back with a vengeance, funny but not realistic, but then this house isn't realistic." - Gerty (05-Dec-2009)
"A thoroughly sweet, colourful level with no tricky sequences, timed runs or menacing enemies aside from a brief appearance from a swarm of bees. I didn't need to use any medipacks although you are warned to steer clear of certain poisonous plants. Basically Lara must locate a key to her home and find a cat, a few additional keys, bake a cake and find a succession of objects to progress. Although the garden appears inaccessible initially, you will be able to access it a little later in the game. It may take some gamers a lot less time than it took me to complete but I like to savour the game and explore all areas at leisure. There are three secrets in the form of a pile of coins but I can't see that they win you any additional items and the textures are generally so good along with the lighting that I didn't even need to use the matches that replace the usual flares. Very enjoyable level and refreshingly vibrant. I will definitely recommend this level to others who like the more adventurous and explorative aspects of Tomb Raider!" - High Priestess (05-Dec-2009)
"This was a fine little home level with great combining puzzles, fun music (I am guessing sung by the author herself!), and lovely, lush atmosphere and objects. Although this level is not Christmas related, it is no matter, it's a nice, non-violent level that will certainly entertain you. The author states that the level was a challenging process, but I am glad she stuck to it!" - Shandroid (05-Dec-2009)
"An Advent Calendar level that isn't Christamassy at all and it becomes an occasional habit... But that's alright, though. As long as they don't all become summer levels instead. Anyway, it's quite imaginative, both in sounds (I mean the secrets sound) and in tasks to do and quite lively too. Its only main problem, that I see hasn't been noted by other reviewers so far, is the fact that it gets so random-ish at times one just runs around like a headless chicken for hours without a clue as to what to do anymore - and that could be a shootable beehive, very high up in a tree, among the foliage, that can be seen or not depending on where you're standing or a butterfly that needs to be placed...erm...somewhere. But don't let yourself be put down by my words, it's really a very nice debut level with lots of nice touches along the way (some already seen, some not, but always in a unique perspective anyway). The story has already been told by othr reviewers. Enjoy and remember the beehive!" - Jorge22 (03-Dec-2009)
"What a great start to the Advent Calendar season, with a fun packed visit to such a lovely home and garden. There's a wealth of interesting custom objects to use - which is always a treat as it can be far from obvious just what to do with them - and you even get to bake a cake. A beautiful, charming, peaceful level and a wonderful debut offering." - Jay (03-Dec-2009)
"I echo Jorge's remarks, particularly those regarding the randomness of this level. The download screen clearly states that the level has nothing to do with Christmas, but it still seems appropriate to the season in that we have a tranquil, bright and colorful setting. When I saw the fairly obvious key tossed into the bushes at the beginning, I thought to myself that this was going to be a breeze. I soon changed my mind. After navigating a number of tasks to carry myself along inside the house, I soon found myself hopelessly bogged down. Judging from the number of stuck thread participants, I was not alone. But with the help of Tom's concise notes, I finished the level with no problem, although a lot happens here that is not at all intuitive. The background objects and textures were crude in comparison with, say, E&B, but this was more than compensated for with the colors and brightness. A fine debut level, once you know what you're doing." - Phil (03-Dec-2009)
"This house has a very good look, with nice views and a beautiful environment. Very complex to play this creation, with a lot of new objects it's difficult to figure out what to do with them or where to go, but sometimes the builder gives some hints if you read the names and with good placed cameras. Secrets are easyer to find than the main gameplay. I've got many problems to shoot the beehive 'cause you can only shoot it from a certain position, another times it disappeared or when approaching the sight even the tree disappeared! The level is too much no-lineal, you'll have to go around and around and visiting the same rooms a lot of times, but the house and the gardens are not too big, and there is a shortcut to the basement, so it was not so tedious for me. No enemies, the only danger you can receive is from the poisonous plants, I liked the musics and the nice textures too. Really a very good debut with a lot of work behind (as the author said in the readme file). Congratulations!" - Jose (03-Dec-2009)
"It is Advent time. And in the Advent time there sprout the coloured sheets. Sorry, I meant of course the coloured level. Since it is the time of the LB-Advent calendar. And he begins this year with a first work. Now we know everybody that first works can be awful. One knows such a thing. And every player knows what I speak here of. But not with Zickenalarm. She is a real spoilsport in this regard!
- Wallpaper textures? One searches that here in vain
- Dull Gameplay? No chance
- Lack of ideas? But not, nevertheless
- Desolate sound? This already not at all
In other words: A persuasive and absolutely successful first work. There is here, however, a big negative point: This level is rather a summer level and not a winter level. And already no Advent level. However, must it look then always after winter? With metre-high snow? No! And even more nicely it is if one may explore the house of a level builder. I know, actually, only two suitable house levels. One of Clara and one of Sheevah. And this level is now number 3.
It is of course not everything perfect. It already seems which does not fit the sound to the surroundings. This happens above all always then when one loads a save again. The stairway steps have not succeeded so completely. One could have made this a little better. And a key on the roof was hardly to be seen.
Particularly there is to be emphasised of course the very diverse sound and the great pieces of music which were sung and played by Zickenalarm and her former band. The garden was wonderfully formed. The same one is valid for most interiors. One could have built one or two rooms differently.
Result: Absolutely successful debut. One may miss this level by no means." - Scottie (02-Dec-2009)
"An accomplished home level, with a cozy and imaginative decor. The home turns out to be rather large with all manner of objects to find and to combine. Gretchen (or whoever) is fixing her hubby a chocolate cake, and preparing the house for Lara's visit. I have to say that the sound for the first secret had me laughing out loud, so I went ahead and found the two remaining secrets. Not really a Christmasy level, though the living room does get greenery for decoration, and we get to slap butterflies on flowers. Tomb Raider house levels require a certain mind set, since tasks have their own logic: toasters, coffeepots (with lid), or shooting a beehive all open doors; and you can't fill the watering jug at any of the taps in the bathrooms, but must go through contorted game play to find water. But we have seen this sort of cause and effect in other high-ranked levels--one level in particular seems to have inspire this one. Things have to be taken with humor: when our harried cook (the cake is on a ticking timer) goes into the basement, the ominous music sounds like something from Seth's tomb. One problem was that Gretchen sometimes leaps into invisible walls. An angled leap from the guest bedroom window over to a building slammed her into an invisible wall. Trying to jump any fence hits an invisible barrier. Even when the garden gate was finally open, so the path was clear, a leap anywhere near it hit an invisible barrier. This is a debut level, but it rivals home levels done by seasoned professionals." - dmdibl (02-Dec-2009)
"At first I was a little bit disappointed as it seemed like a 'Lost in Sand' Pt.2. Don't get me wrong. I love 'Lost in Sand', but I would have prefered something new. However, after entering the house I realised that I was terribly wrong and that this debutlevel is a real gem. The whole scenery was designed with so much passion for details and everything fits perfectly. And so you can spend hours just running around and spot those nice little details the author put into this house. There are loads of plants, paintings, a nice little kitchen with fitting kitchen utensils and various other wonderfully decorated rooms and you have to explore every single meter of it to find all types of levers and puzzle objects. Sadly gameplay was mostly finding these objects/levers and finding out where to put them/ what was activated. A pushable block-puzzle or a little timerun would have been nice. What I liked the most in this level was that Zickenalarm gave it a personal note. In the bedroom you see a photo of her and her husband and every musictrack was performed by her own band. Even the secretsound was changed! If you haven't played it yet, give it a try. Hopefully we can play other levels by this author in the future :)" - Soul (02-Dec-2009)
"A dejà-vu to an earlier level from Masha and Clara - but after a few steps you see it's a new, creative independent work with refreshing new ideas, spiced up with a lot of lovely elaborate details. As soon as you have found the entrance-key you're responsible for doing the housework before Lara arrives for a visit. And there's a lot to do and some puzzles to solve. The solutions are not always obvious. So you have to learn, that bedroom-doors latterly are opened by toasters in German households. Don't draw any conclusion out of that. It's a long way up and down through the house, over roofs and through the garden to finally water some flowers to let grow some decoration for the living room adequate to Lara's visit. Gameplay is fast, it's very much fun to run from one task to the other, I couldn't stop playing, always with a smile on my face. Dark, convincing atmosphere in the cellar, suasive homelike the environment in the other floors, well set and helpful camera hints - everything fits together. It's amazing, with how much passion for detail everything is created here. There are now hard jumps or timed runs in this peaceful level without enemies, it's playable for everyone. Highly recommended. What a debut!" - Christian (01-Dec-2009)
"A house level with a LOT to do! The objects were very diverse and well designed. The garden especially was pretty well decorated. Lara's outfit is super trendy. The house was absolutely huge in terms of gameplay--tons of rooms to go into. It was an excellent use of space. i find a lot of level builders design actual gameplay around only a small portion of the total space they design. This level makes a near-maximal gameplay use of the space. That makes a level much more fun in my book. The only thing i didn't much like was the music. i'm guessing it's just some of the author's favorite tunes. They weren't bad songs in themselves, but i'm not sure i totally "got" the ambiance the author was trying to create with them. However, the triggered sound effects were creative--the ticking oven timer, the computer modem, and i'm pretty sure a clip from Pink Floyd's "Money" when you pick up some coins. If this is the author's first level, i'd have to say it's very, very well done all around." - drguycrain (01-Dec-2009)