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BtB2010 - Palace Dionysus by Chronicles5

Bene 9 9 10 9
Cory 8 9 10 9
Dick 9 9 9 8
DJ Full 9 9 9 8
dmdibl 9 9 8 9
Dutchy 10 9 10 9
eRIC 7 7 8 7
eTux 8 8 9 9
Eva 8 8 7 7
Gerty 7 8 8 8
jawi 9 8 10 9
Jay 8 8 9 9
JesseG 9 8 9 8
John 9 8 9 8
Jorge22 10 10 10 10
Jose 6 9 8 9
Josey 9 10 10 8
Magnus 7 7 7 7
manarch2 8 9 9 8
masha 7 8 9 9
MichaelP 8 8 8 8
Mman 9 9 9 9
Mytly 8 8 8 8
nerdfury 9 10 9 7
Phil 9 8 9 9
Relic Hunter 9 8 9 8
repley 8 8 9 9
Ruben 10 10 9 9
Ryan 9 9 9 9
Scottie 9 9 10 9
TheStig 8 8 9 9
Treeble 9 10 10 10
Zhyttya 7 8 8 9
release date: 01-Jan-2010
# of downloads: 142

average rating: 8.61
review count: 33
review this level

file size: 55.62 MB
file type: TR4
class: Venice

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"Back to Basics series it's always a breath of fresh air. Palace Dionysus by Chronicles5 is quite a pleasant gameplay for about 1 hour. It can be a little bit overwhelming at first, knowing all the environment at first hand, not a linear gameplay, but as soon as you start figuring out how to progress, everything is quite simple. Very nice level for its short duration. I'd say the puzzle with the crosses was a bit random, wasn't quite getting it, had to look it up. Also, I do think the secret are given a overly special treatment. Sometimes you have a whole building just for pick ups and secrets. Nonetheless, I enjoyed the level. Don't be afraid to save up your ammo for harder encounters, there's plenty to go around. Lovely Venice representation, lovely soundtracks, lovely atmosphere." - Zhyttya (22-Aug-2022)
"What a fantastic venice level. There is so much variety in gameplay here that the list would be too long to go into but what i will say is that despite a lot of the objectives are searching and using items that it is also packed full with fun platforming, nasty traps, and timed runs/tasks galore! The level is set at night with a lot of exploring around in and around buildings that are encircled around a lot of canals. I have to say i found the whole layout of the level quite original and fresh and with so much area to go and explore in that i think at the beginning you could be overwhelmed wondering where the devil do i start, but that's half the fun i think here at least personally. There is a few dogs and men to kill as well as some annoying rats and wraths to run from and i feel the music here fitted perfectly with the flow of the level. this is very enjoyable level here with lots of focus on surprises and fun gameplay that i think i need to check out more levels from this builder!" - John (10-Apr-2022)
"(9) Gameplay & Puzzles: The exploration in this non-linear level can initially feel overwhelming, as you're exposed to a huge canal area with many buildings at the beginning of the adventure. Drawing a map really helped me orientate myself, as well as "checking off" areas I had explored/needed to come back to. As I acquainted myself with each building and their purpose, I started to have a great time working on the element puzzles and unravelling more and more areas. Blowing up the baddie's hideout was of course the highlight. I think the weakest aspect of the gameplay was the vague graveyard pushables puzzle -- yes, it is obvious that the tombstones need to be pushed under the white light, but it's vague regarding which specific tile within the white light. There's also a lot of "dead space" in the canal water where you're just swimming around looking for a crack or lever, but don't find anything for most of the huge area. (10) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: Enemy selection and placement was perfect, and I particularly enjoyed the fire n' ice wraiths and their themed areas. Object decor was also of the highest quality. Traps were minimal, but used effectively. I really enjoyed the builder's secrets, particularly the one with the tricky timed run, and I always appreciate it when a builder creates special "shrine" areas to hold the secrets. (9) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The nighttime, eerie atmosphere is very well done. Even though the buildings don't have any elaborate shaping, the city as a whole still looks very polished in a simplistic, minimalist way. Prior to blowing up the baddie's hideout, you can climb up onto the hideout roof and treat yourself to a stunning view of the whole area. Sounds/musics were used well, as were camera hints and several immersive flyblys. I think my only issue with this category is the overuse of crates in order to flesh out some rooms. (7) Lighting & Textures: The builder demonstrated great skill in this category and the level looks just lovely from start to finish, minus a few spots where the shadow bulbs were too dark. I mostly marked this category down due to flares. While I prefer a bright setting, I have no issues with nighttime settings as long as there are plenty of warm spots for balance, as well as plenty of flares. The builder addresses the former but is not very generous with flares. The progression path is very non-linear so it can actually be quite some time before the player gets more flares beyond the initial 15, and the initial 15 is not enough to check all of the dark canal paths, rooms, and alleyways carefully. Overall, while the gameplay wasn't particularly innovative, the progression and exploration was still very interesting and engaging, and I would recommend this medium-difficulty level to anyone who enjoys Venice settings. 9/10/9/7." - nerdfury (09-Mar-2021)
"Second run through, through all Venice levels and I am still not bored. You spend most of your time outdoors and it felt more like a vacation resort than the actually city of Venice. Again I was running back and fro quite a bit but overall it was not too bad. I always find the secrets this way so no harm done. Textures could use a bit more attention but overall the whole place looked good." - Gerty (10-May-2017)
"I ended up playing this as my last BtB2010 level and I can gladly say that it all ends on a high note. This is a non-linear level and be prepared to put some time in for this one. It's all worth it though!" - Ryan (19-Mar-2016)
"I was really surprised about this level, getting much more than I expected here. Gameplaywise exploration is high on the list, but the way it is done here is rather smooth, with many paths to go at the start without leading to dead ends. I found some puzzles, or better: scenes to be rather stunning, such as placing the harp on the theatre stage and "playing" it (really well done), the (albeit a bit cryptic) cross puzzle, the blow-up of the building, and there are quite a few timed runs with original twists which are great fun, while not overly hard once you know what to do. The enemy attacks are extremely effective and if not for the excellent Black Lodge I'd say those were the best of the contest - not only in those cases, the multiple fixed cameras are a great addition to this level. The atmosphere is very well conceived, with lots of buildings and lots of canals to explore, and even if the overall structure feels a bit checkerboard and, as stated by others, "horizontal", I found it very attractive; the lighting does its job extremely well here, being the main "ingredient" for the great atmosphere in this level. Textures were also good here, but not always their application because there are many badly clashing textures and odd cracks which could have been easily avoided. I found five extremely nicely hidden and highly rewarding secrets - most of them present a new area to the player, and they also provide enough ammo to get rid of a whole army, so more than enough for the comparatively low amount of enemies. Overall, this level is in my personal upper third of the contest, and after this and A Rift in Sedona I'm becoming a fan of the builder's works. 40 minutes." - manarch2 (26-Apr-2014)
"This is the last level in the original BtB order and would have been a perfect way to wrap things up. It probably was for most, but not for me as I ended up skipping one too many levels along the way. Despite rather intimidating at first glance, gameplay flows in such a natural way here that you are able to enjoy the amazing scenery without ever coming to a screeching halt. You can pretty much go to any point in the map at any given time, but it's been designed in a way that what you're looking for is most of the time close by, and the sole fact there's no abusive backtracking is a massive plus here. The only exception would be a few keys, but by the time you get to them you already know exactly where they go. My one complain would be regarding the cemitery push block puzzle, it might seem obvious to some but definitely it wasn't clear enough for me, and generally the level felt slightly dark, but IMO that actually added to the atmosphere. Definitely among the best offerings in BtB-Venice, don't miss out. 55 minutes, 5 secrets. 02/14" - Treeble (01-Mar-2014)
"A total surprise. After I was initially terrified by the totally horizontal map design and disappointed by quite unfamiliar fat-pillared, heavy-looking buildings, the multi- route and diverse gameplay drew me in for good with its freedom of choicce, fine flipmap usage and warnings we get about guardian enemies we have time to snipe from distance. Even though there is a lot of running around and the level feels too big indeed, I think almost all wad objects are used here, maybe except from falling/swinging traps. Some of them have a bit wrong tinting and there is really PLENTY of shatters, but the locations are of many kinds and the filling is varying, so the effect is still great between travelling from one location to another. The eventual pre- final elemental part fills my need for symmetry., and everything ends with a proper fight climax closed with a nice flyby... wait, didn't I write it today already? Well it means there were two properly closed levels I played today. One more thing to add is that the author must be one.of few Venetian competition builders who treated secrets as seriously in his level as I would in mine. SUMMARY: Worth a try, being surprisingly fluent compared to its sometimes underdone looks." - DJ Full (04-Nov-2013)
"The last level from the Back to Basics 2010 and for some reason one of the most enjoyable. It seemed so quick, but it took me 1h and 20min to complete. The gameplay was really flawless and simple. Accompanied with well textured areas and some pretty lighting it created an interesting experience, which I will hold for a while in my memory. I found no major bugs, only some minorities: wrong textures on the walls of the last secret area and altogether 4 cracks (!). Also there could be some more objects placed. There wasn’t a lack of them though. I hadn’t known this builder before and that’s why I was surprised by the quality of this level. I didn’t really use walkthrough. Although the city area seemed big at first, there were no problems with passing by. The only annoying thing was the very well hidden underwater switch, though author could match this place with an additional light bulb or so. To not go into unnecessary details: texturing was very good. Lighting was even better; author used spot lights in an accurate way, leaving no doubts about his skills. Even though visually the level was good, what made it so unique was the atmosphere. A lot of music tracks, supplied with BtB wad were used there, consequently making level a great experience and an enjoyable game. Also, everything in this custom felt in the right place and time. On the top of everything there was an explosion of the warehouse, which I loved. Now convince me, how not to return to Palace Dionysus once more, this time in your memories. A truly magical adventure, one of the best entries to the contest." - jawi (18-Aug-2011)
"The open-ended nature of the level seemed somewhat intimidating initially, as just about any non-linear level seems to me, but fortunately this is one of those games that make sense sooner rather than later no matter how you ultimately decide to approach it. Some confusion and a bit too much running around did spoil it a little bit to me, but there were lots of really clever tasks and events to make it worth the trouble. I liked how Lara was ambushed from another door when approaching the seemingly obvious path, the destruction of the hideout is definitely a highlight and I really enjoyed the timed runs employed here - both for a secret and for normal gameplay. The setting is vast and maybe not something one is used to see when setting out to visit Venice, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. In any case, the textures and lighting are used masterfully to create a very vibrant and moody map one would feel invited to explore to the last detail. Maybe it's just me, but I did not feel the storyline translated that successfully into the actual level, but that, as said, may just be a subjective observation, and if anything - the cliffhanger ending sure made me curious if it's one of those endings where we're supposed to be left in suspense, or whether there will actually be a sequel? All the competition stuff aside though, this is by far my favourite of Chronicles5's levels so far, and he's done a good job making my mouth water for whatever may come next. Found 3 of 5 secrets." - eTux (28-Jan-2011)
"A good level here with a dramatic ending. I am not sure that I fully completed it however, as I still hand an un-used swipe-card and set of keys on completion of the level. One of the things that will immediately strike you is that this is a very expansive environment. Gamplay initially feels quite non-linear as you search around for a 'start'. Once you start picking up the components to the elements puzzle however, everything starts to drop together and you'll find yourself making fairly swift progress. The enemy count is quite low, so you dont need to fear the same down to the wire fire-fights that have been common in some other B-to-B releases for this year. One word of warning however is that the timed runs are very very tight, and you'll find youself squeezing through them at the last second (one with a flaming pit run probably took me about 20 goes to complete which became very frustrating). The atompshere is generally dark, but nothing that should have you reaching for flares every few seconds. Overall the level took me around 1 hour 30 mins to complete. Recommended." - TheStig (09-Jul-2010)
"If you like to explore big areas it's your level. All the level is a very huge outside area with water channels and many buildings to visit. For me was not good 'cause many times I got very disoriented and I hadn't the necessary items to continue playing, so I waste hours and hours exploring and running around and around a lot of kilometers trying to find all the items I needed. Enemies were quite good, and if you find some secrets there's enough ammo and guns to deal with them (perhaps too many ammo) as medipacks too. I liked some special effects like the explosion of the small house and certain cameras. Sometimes a bit dark I missed more flares; and cameras sometimes showed you places you've not visited yet. The best for me were the well textured rooms and not impossible tasks. Another good work but too no-lineal for my taste." - Jose (01-Mar-2010)
"The nice introductory flyby already gives you a sense of what you will experience in this level. A fairly extensive wide open space to explore and some very decently applied lighting. And while I don't care much for all the running around, progression was going smoothly enough, as most of the tasks are really to too hard to accomplish, so always have a sense of moving forward. Camera work is good and the whole impression is only spoiled a little bit by a number of rather carelessly applied textures and by some of the rooms or even entire hourses feeling a bit empty. The theatre was nice and also the dog coming out of the dark. One of the pushable puzzles seemed odd, as I found no clue and just ended up lucky eventually in placing those two crosses. The stronghold explosion is clearly a highlight and very well executed and near the end you get a fairly tough timed run over burners. Knowing how very last minute this level was finished for the BtB competition it does hold up really well and was enjoyable to play through (90 mins, 3/5 secrets found)." - MichaelP (01-Mar-2010)
"Man, that Bartoli doesn't know when to quit, does he? But then what do you expect from a man who fills his hideout from top to bottom with crates of TNT? This forty-minute level is of the non-linear kind, and Lara will spend a lot of time running back and forth, collecting keys and pulling levers. It can get a bit confusing at times, but fortunately it's usually clear when you've found everything you need in an area and can turn around and go somewhere else. The push-block puzzles aren't quite as clear, however, as the only clue you get as to where to put the items is a light source, and even knowing this I had problems putting them in the right place. The rest of the level is more fun, though, with some varied tasks and some cool moments (like blowing up a building). Enemies pose zero threat, since you're given an abundance of ammunition, so maybe the author should have been less generous. The night setting is pleasant and he author does a good job at lighting the level without making it too dark. Texturing is mostly good, though there's an alarming number of cracks, which is a shame. I also found the layout of the level lacking somewhat. There are some nice areas, but they just seem to have been placed next to each other (connected through canals, of course), with no real sense of logic or realism. Overall, though, this is a pretty good level with some good ideas, and it's well worth playing." - Magnus (28-Feb-2010)
"Quite the large, outdoor level as is usual with these entries. This one is a bit more simplistic in nature though (whether that's good or bad could depend on the player). Some good flyby sequences, one of which is secret for some reason - perhaps a way to pat yourself on the back? Lighting is a little dark in some places, but otherwise the looks are well done. There are some nice gameplay touches such as some challenging timed runs and the seperate quests for the elemental items. It's always fun to make a house blow up too! Again a bit on the simple side, but it was enjoyable all the same." - SSJ6Wolf (25-Feb-2010)
"Only two levels left to play in this year's BtB, and for the life of me I've seen little that I could classify as a maiden voyage. If Palace Dionysus is indeed someone's first effort, as several of the reviews have suggested, then it's certainly a remarkably polished one. There are some sophisticated touches here that would seem to be within only a veteran's reach, such as the modified terrain following an explosion, not to mention a few timed runs that nearly had me trying to tear out the few remaining strands of hair on my head. The action takes place in the twilight hours, which makes things a bit difficult to see on occasion, but in general the lighting was quite well done, especially in the indoor areas. Much attention has been given to detail, even in the large secret areas, so playing this level is a visual delight. The game map is quite large, with many outdoor areas to explore, but it all fits together and plays quite well. Kudos to the builder for a fun raid." - Phil (22-Feb-2010)
"This is a rather simple level (which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view) - perhaps a debut level? The architecture is rather simplistic, with mostly large square buildings with large empty or crate-filled square rooms inside, and set on large square islands separated by canals. The level map is one large building-filled area, which could have been intriguingly complex, but turns out to be mostly just one big place where you have to keep running from one end to the other to collect the necessary items. Gameplay is mostly about figuring out where to go next and a few timed runs, as there are hardly any puzzles to speak of, except for a couple of push-block ones with rather obscure solutions. On a more positive note: there are a few sequences that I enjoyed, like blowing up Bartoli's stronghold (it's always fun to make things go ka-boom!) and the trapped timed runs to get the mask pieces.
Secrets can often spice up a level by adding additional side quests - but in some cases, like this level, they seem to steal the focus from the main quest. I also don't get the point of the flyby that forms a part of one of the secrets (only if you find a code card) - surely that flyby would have made more sense at the beginning of the level, in order to give the players a glance at the level layout? While the idea of an extra flyby as a secret is original, it could have been executed better.
Texturing and lighting is quite nice at times - for example, I liked how the two corridors where you get the mask pieces have their own colour scheme and corresponding traps and wraiths. On the other hand, lighting is often quite dark in many places (the builder seems to be very fond of shadow bulbs), or garish in other parts (for example, bright purple water in the palace at the end).
Overall: A pleasant level on the whole, though it could have been better with a bit more polish, and a couple more puzzles." - Mytly (20-Feb-2010)
"A large open area and much of it in deep shadow. However, once the exploration began, I was hooked; the gameplay flowed well, right to the end and I liked teh setting. There were too many dark shadowy areas for my taste but I can see why this works better in a dusk setting. Overall, level design seemed rather blocky and square compared to, say, A Day In Venice, but it was still a fun place to explore. I think more could have been made of the smaller houses with their shatterable windows - I could see how you could add more connections between them, and other structures, and hence have more action going on away from ground level all the time. That said: another great BtB level." - Dick (20-Feb-2010)
"Nicely laid out with something interesting to do in every area. The timed run for an early secret is tight but the pay-off is worth it - the grenade gun. Lots of pick ups, medis and good secrets. The lone bird flying over the library and another over the graveyard was a nice touch. The ruins of Bartoli's Stronghold was well done as were the flybys and cut scenes. There's a nice little unexpected pay - off near the end. This was a pleasure to play and highly recommended." - Bene (17-Feb-2010)
"Lara is exploring a rather large area here in search of a rose, so first you need to get to know the place, because otherwise you will end up going back and forth between places two or three times while searching. Gameplay is fairly simple but diverse, there are nice timed runs, puzzles and search quests and a few challenging traps. Atmosphere and architecturedid not fully convince me, as the many buildings set on square islands with the canals separating them did not have a lot of similarity with the real Venice. Also, the expansive areas and the buildings were rather scarcely furbished. But all in all a convenient level to play." - Eva (17-Feb-2010)
"A well crafted level many tasks to perform of which one left me puzzled, the Secret Movie Card. What did it show? A flyby that could have been used to end the level, did we travel all the way back only to see that? The rest of the level was very good, maybe a bit too large as the builder itself aleady states bugs were starting to occur. Lighting was superb IMHO, atmosphere well chosen. No really hard tasks so playable for all, that is if you found the trick to get through the fire run. At first try you want to get to get to that door as fast as possible and not go down pits, but thatw as indeed the way to tackle this run. Well thought out! Lovely level, with a wide variety of pickups, maybe even too much...but it is always nice to find stuff as you go along. Would the texturing have been more accurate, the points would even have been higher there." - Dutchy (13-Feb-2010)
"A beautiful, lovely and relaxing conclusion of Back to Basics 2010 in Venice. Easy and fluent gameplay in an optically great based system, a few easy puzzles and secrets, pleasant timeruns and a hidden camera journey as a small gift. Lara have to explore a big complex of many buildings to carry the necessary items for the element puzzle. This task could have been built more interesting with more puzzles. There are nice pushable puzzles, which could be solved easily without concrete indications. I liked the two timeruns in combination with traps and the double timerun at the palace, although they are very moderate. More puzzles like this would have given the level a bit more substance. The architecture is interesting, but kept simple, the setting is beautifully designed and culminates in the palace. The evening twilight in conjunction with the music create a pleasant atmosphere. The enemies are well used, but i missed a little showdown. Overall, a simple level, for everybody playable and recommended." - repley (13-Feb-2010)
"Great to find one more jewel in this year's BtB's collection! This game is suitable for all and has several great ideas while not overusing the mafiosi characters. The architecture and the night sky are rather well done and the music, even though it comes directly from the official Tomb Raider games, is very well used, precisely where and how it's needed. A pity that the fences may be crossed at times, as if we were ghosts... But at least we're warned. While it can't be compared to just a few other contestants, it still deserves top ratings from me." - Jorge22 (05-Feb-2010)
"Great Level which I really liked playing.Again upper class BtB 2010 . Good Idea to use Bartolis own TNT to blow up the place .It takes Lara a good time wandering around the city to find several items which give access to other places . The amount of weapons and ammo Lara had to carry was a little bit overdone, medipacks supplied in the game would make a hospital happy ! Good forward storyline and a game without annoying dark areas shall be rewarded by a good rating." - Ruben (05-Feb-2010)
"A big level with a big houses, but with few venice-feeling. Each house offers the gameplay, but few and almoust search and find riddles, battles or a lot of very faire timeruns. Textures are ok, lighting - inside imperfect, outside too dark for me. But the lighting of the water outside was very realistic (water will have the colour of the sky). Bravo! Flyby of the begin and of the end was very nice and with well-fitting sound. Secrets do fun, and who find all secrets, he gains one surprise :) Result: for all player to play, because the timeruns were very faire." - masha (02-Feb-2010)
"A very enjoyable game. Highly recommended. The action covers a very large area, a little dark, packed with stimulating tasks. I think there was some need of more clues to solve the problems of the cross and of the harp, but, as they were not so difficult... OK. I also encountered a bug when Lara shots the bell, probably associated with the use of zoom, as when I downloaded a savegame and didn't use the zoom, there was no bug. And finally, I didn't grasp the meaning of the "movie card"... only for a panoramic view of all the area? But I liked very much the game. Good job!" - Josey (01-Feb-2010)
"And finally a well built level is still served which has something from all. A few shootout, a few relatively light riddles, moderate time runs and mountains of Medipacks, weapons and ammunition. The whole area is relatively extensive and looks very good. A small negative point is the push action with both crosses. There was no right hint where the inclined player had to push the crosses, so that one could move the third cross. A nice addition was the Scretcard which released a good made Flyby. The bug with the fences where one could go through was demanded in the Readme, hence, I do not see as a negative point. All together a good end of BtB 2010. To me has struck anyhow that this year was a very good year. I have found, actually, only one addled egg, otherwise I might play good to excellent level." - Scottie (01-Feb-2010)
"This level takes place in a large area of buildings and canals that you can roam quite freely. Theres quite a bit of exploration but it's sectioned off just enough to be focused, and the gameplay flows well, although a couple of block puzzles are a bit vague about where to place stuff (although there is a clue). Most of the puzzles are sectioned off into the buildings, which creates a nice contrast in gameplay between the exteriors and interiors and there's a variety of tasks to do; it all comes together well and enemies are placed decently.
I think this is the only level in BTB2010 I've seen so far that outright takes place at night, and this gives it a unique atmosphere compared to the other levels, especially when combined with the large scale of the areas. The visuals are very well executed, although I didn't find them to have quite the wow of the very best looking levels in the contest. Another top level in the contest for me." - Mman (30-Jan-2010)
"And so I come to the end of the B2B Venice levels (with a visit to the palace of my favourite god no less) and it may be last, but certainly not least. This a large slice of Venice to explore but it is laid out in a square so navigation isn't too complex. I must say it was nice to visit Venice without ending up in the sewers too. There's plenty going on, including a few slightly tricky timed runs, and five, most generous, secrets to find along the way. I was surprised there weren't more enemies considering what havoc Lara wreaked during her visit, but she does indeed end up in an ambiguous position as the palace explodes. Is our heroine still alive?" - Jay (17-Jan-2010)
"A vast map in size , with at times interesting things to do (mainly timed doors including for some secret), but most of the time is consumed by knowing your whereabouts and trying to find an elusive object. The end of the level is a bit more interesting with timed doors again. I like the fact that the fire wraith is in the timed fire hall , and the blue wraith in the other timed hall. So aside from the timed doors, the level is a bit uneventful. If it was logical/intuitive to place the harp at the middle of the stage, no clear hint was given for the movable crosses. It was suggested on the forum that they must be placed where spots of light are , which is rather intuitive but not more than (for example) placing them in the four corners of the delimited area, and these spots of light are not one square wide but four or six, so it is mostly trial and error. The looks are generally quite okay , except for the domed"see through" ceilings as there is no stacked rooms above them. If a builder does not know how to stack a room above one which has a ceiling which is not flat , it is better to make the ceiling of the room below flat without an added stacked room : in this way your architecture is maybe less impressive but at least you do not have disappearing textures. There is also visual bug at the top of the big library when you look at the buildings outside. Also it was possible to enter in the palace courtyard without having placed the Mask , I put this flaw on the weakness of flip mapped rooms with the Editor, and not on the incompetence of the builder or the beta-testers. I quite like the fact that entire extra rooms are hosts for the secrets. The flybys , use of music are good too. Finally a little word on the general atmosphere where the author has made it a bit special which may remind a Mediterranean place , with the sound of crickets and a predominantly warm lighting , but alas too dark to be attractive. When all is said and done, this is a rather pleasant level with no particular difficulties." - eRIC (16-Jan-2010)
"This is the first level I've played in the BtB 2010 compilation, and I was glad to see that this competition was off to a good start. The setting is mostly outdoor Venice canals and streets, with each area enclosed in a square. The level's opening camera was nicely done, and this level has a knack for establishing a continuous flow of where one needs to go, making for a relatively stress free experience. There is also a nice bundle of secrets that can be discovered by keen exploration in these parts, and they provide a couple of added thrills, such as a timed run. On the other hand, since the secrets do hold most of the weapons in the level to go up against the hordes of bad guys, it's recommended to go for the secrets. But besides that the level does do a good job of offering plenty of arsenal to wipe out the baddies. The environment is lovely, having some good architecture in general, though the design is indeed pedestrian, and in some spots the lighting is a tad dark (I can't complain though, it is night after all). It doesn't detract from the experience though, as the level is fun and there is much to do. Timed runs, burners, spikes, good puzzle item placement, all keeping the player satisfied until reaching the end. The movie card drop, which can be used in one of the secret areas to get a camera rolling that looms over the other secrets provides a cool challenge if one does want to find the rest of the secrets. A pleasure to play overall." - Relic Hunter (09-Jan-2010)
"This appears set in outskirts of Venice, with many individual buildings, and has the sort of game play that makes players feel competent. I don't mean that the game play here is easy: there are many varied things to do, including close timed runs, and timed runs over spikes or flames. The author has laid out play in such a way that if Lara keeps eyes open, a new course of action is always being discovered, which is fun. Very near the start, Lara has to make a timed run for a secret, with the door always shutting in her face, but a bit of perseverance will succeed. There are lots of enemies, but Lara is heavily armed with grenade gun, M-16, and shotgun (assuming one finds secrets). The torch is cleverly placed, so that if players stop and think, they may well reason their way to its location. The laser sight isn't needed, as Lara can stand on the roof of Bartoli's stronghold and, using M-16 explosive ammo, aim for the distant bell to set it swinging. Naturally this is before Lara blows up the stronghold. (The explosive ammo may be contrary to the author's intent, but once Lara had the doors open I couldn't really object.) Some of the architecture is on the pedestrian side, maybe the only slight criticism here. Other buildings are lovely, including the colorful ending palace. Near the end of the game Lara gets a secret movie swipe card, which is used in one of the first secrets Lara spotted. A fly-by camera then sweeps the entire level, briefly lingering over spots where secrets are, and this can be replayed as often as one likes. It was amusing to have Lara discover a discarded small medipack in a wastepaper bin. A pleasure to play." - dmdibl (04-Jan-2010)
"This level is certainly an example of what you can do with the given wad. The opening flyby showed many buildings along canals, with palaces, houses and a theatre. Gmaeplay was never too complex, however, I do think that both of the pushable block puzzles (In the theatre and with the crosses) seemed to be down to luck. My only other 'annoyance' with the gameplay was that the fire needed to hide the flames was 'sneakily' hidden by the ground so you could only access it by one angle. Other than this the gameplay flowed nicely. The enemies were used well but too much ammo seemed to be hidden around the level, even though there were not very many enemies in the level. The secrets were also slightly too easy to find, as I was able to find all of them relatively easily in the level. The atmosphere was great with the sound of crickets being used well and effectively and camera hints were welcomed and appeared often. The ending flyby was very nice to watch (however, I did not see the secret 'movie' as I did not know where to use the card). The textures were used very nicely and the architecture of the whole level was great and beautiful to look at. Overall, a magnificent adventure in Venice with a great atmosphere, I thoroughly recommend it. 1 hour 25 minutes, 5 secrets." - Cory (02-Jan-2010)