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BtB2010 - Revenge of the Illuminati by LarasBoyfriend

Bene 9 9 9 9
Cory 7 8 7 8
DJ Full 7 9 8 7
dmdibl 8 9 9 8
Dutchy 8 8 8 8
eRIC 5 6 7 6
eTux 6 7 7 6
Gerty 7 8 7 7
jawi 6 7 7 7
Jay 9 9 9 8
JesseG 8 8 9 7
Jorge22 9 9 9 9
Jose 8 9 8 8
Magnus 4 6 5 5
manarch2 5 7 7 6
masha 6 6 6 6
MichaelP 8 8 7 7
Mman 7 8 8 7
Mytly 8 7 9 8
nerdfury 5 9 6 5
Obig 8 8 9 8
Phil 8 8 9 8
Relic Hunter 9 8 9 8
repley 7 6 8 8
Ruben 9 9 9 9
Ryan 7 7 8 7
Scottie 9 9 8 7
TheStig 7 8 8 9
Treeble 8 7 8 7
release date: 01-Jan-2010
# of downloads: 1332

average rating: 7.59
review count: 29
review this level

file size: 63.65 MB
file type: TR4
class: Venice

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"(5) Gameplay & Puzzles: I really wanted to like this debut level. I think it had some sparks of cleverness, such as the very challenging boulder-ladder dash, as well as how the builder inter-connected all of the areas. However, as a whole, it was very arduous to play, and felt like work, not entertainment. It is probable that without following a walkthrough step by step, a player will miss a hard-to-see essential item and be forced to backtrack for ages. Even if the player manages to find all items and takes an efficient route, there's *still* tedious backtracking. I don't think the level was carefully tested. For example, there is a ventilation room where you can use the waterskin on an altar. It appears as though the builder wanted the player to fill the waterskin with water in that same room, due to the existence of a raising block that allows Lara to stand in shallow water (once the pool is flooded). However there's no way to raise that raising block, which means very unpleasant backtracking across the giant map in order to find someplace to fill the waterskin. The difficulty curve is also very strange, with one very challenging trap task near the beginning of the game, yet everything afterwards is quite doable for a beginner. (9) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: I think the thrilling combat encounters were the strongest aspect of the game. The baddie placement was very clever; if you go in guns blazing, you're going to burn through so many medipacks. However, if you're smart and careful, you can snipe goons from afar, or aggro a few goons, fall back to a more favorable angle, and pick them off one-by-one. I really enjoyed this aspect and the enemy selection in general. The builder also applied object decor in a polished and attractive manner throughout the game. There were a couple of weird situations where Lara would swing through a solid decor object while on a rope, but it's not a big deal. (6) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The atmosphere is very mixed. Some interiors have very interesting architecture design, such as the giant manor that is quartered in the upper levels. The outdoors looks dull, however, with oversized buildings that look like cardboard cutouts. You'll be running back and forth in a straight line along these buildings for ages, which isn't very fun, and I think the overall size of the "world" is too large. Sounds weren't too bad, however I think more camera guidance was needed so that the player feels more clear about their next and overall objective. There were also way too many fixed cameras. If the builder wants to change the camera perspective for stylistic purposes, that's great -- just allow the player to break out so they have a better chance of seeing what's going on around them. I feel more strongly about this principle in dark levels, which brings me to my next point -- (5) Lighting & Textures: This level was too dark, with not enough interior warm spots for balance, and there were not enough flares. The lack of flares was the most frustrating thing about the playthrough. Besides darkness issues, there's frequent wallpapering and underwater cracks. Overall, I am sorry to say that with the combination of unpleasant backtracking, too many fixed cameras, and not enough flares, I mostly found this level to be an arduous experience. 5/9/6/5." - nerdfury (12-Mar-2021)
"Still not sure what Lara had to do apart from maybe killing all the member of the Illuminati group. If that is the case, yes then they are all dead. The start might be pretty clear, till you find the crowbar but from there is gets mighty confusing at times. There are at a certain point long treks back and fro, not my favourite pastime I admit. Architectural it looks good, but I could use more flares, as it was very, very dark. I even would like to exchange some of the medipacks (and although you need a fair amount with all the opponents of the nastiest kind, you encounter, I left with a couple of them tucked away in my backpack) into flares. There is also the matter of getting a black screen in the last room where you use the bottle of wine. That is a prj matter, stay away from the right bottom corner while building. Nasty were also the fixed camera’s and not really needed." - Gerty (04-Jun-2018)
"Sorry to say, but I am glad this ended. The amount of enemies were too excessive for my taste. The backtracking was tedious too. Also, it was too dark in spots. The gameplay was not that inspired either. Not the best I've seen." - Ryan (18-Mar-2016)
"Another level that didn't quite appeal to me and I was rather glad when it was over, because the gameplay is rather tedious to say the least. It's not really bad anywhere, yet there's an excessive running to and fro and if you don't print out the walkthrough and play with it close by, I almost guarantee that you sooner or later will miss an important item or lever and thus have to backtrack through the whole level - may it be the revolver, the place for filling the waterskin, the bookcase ladders etc. To the builder's credit, everything can still be achieved, but maybe there could've been a bit more guidance to not create such moments. The tasks you'll get here are pretty standard fare, there are lots of levers to pull and no particularly great puzzles or jumps. Lookwise this is also a mixed bag, with many areas being rather empty and generally the builder took on too much with the large scale of the level, which results in rather bland atmosphere. Occasionally there are some nice looking rooms, some areas which a cool whitish lighting as well as the darkish underground area, but they are few and far in this oversized level, whereas many other areas suffer from rather uneven looks (streched textures and many cracks). The enemies generally attack in groups of three and more, and I had a hard time because there's not enough ammo left at a certain point (I wish I could've taken the from Palace Dionysus with me); the three secrets are rather nice to find though and the object design, while often rather barren, is nice when existent. Not quite a favourite of mine in the competition (rather on the lower end), but taken into consideration this is the builder's first effort not a disaster either, it took me 55 minutes to play." - manarch2 (26-Apr-2014)
"Size does matter, and in this case it's obvious why. You'll find yourself wishing Lara's sprint gauge was a tad longer as you end up having to run through huge environments back and forth quite a few times. The theater was so large the draw distance wasn't enough and, despite a clever use of cameras at the top, from the bottom the skybox kept breaking into the room. Gameplaywise, however, I did find it to be rather enjoyable - long climbs and general darkness aside - as you quest for the items in different areas eventually leading you to the final three items to finish the level. There were a few things that shouldn't be, however, such as rats attacking you in crawlspaces surrounded by traps and the one boulder you have to climb to escape undermined the otherwise pleasant time I'd spent here. 70 minutes, 2 secrets. 02/14" - Treeble (01-Mar-2014)
"Because of being a BtB part without any wad modifications allowed, this only level by one of the most talented and recognizable object creators ironically doesn't showcase his primary skill, and sometimes can even repulse an ordinary player with dark lighting, boxy scenery and monotonous texturing of places, making it hard to believe the builder has been touched by incredible talent. Very similar to early levels of Sponge, I think. However the game contains some remarkable moments and - despite of much backtracking - is packed with high object kind density and clever fights, the latter involving sniper tactics so everything can be performed without any medikit used. Recommended." - DJ Full (01-Nov-2013)
"Believe it or not – before I wrote this review I had read Magnus’s opinion. Although, he gave rather low scores, he made some valuable remarks. Firstly, the level is too long. It’s because there is much of tedious backtracking and following long (mostly empty) corridors. Author made the level unnaturally big, what often leads to frustration. Consequently, I’ve been happy that I’ve finished the game, even though I got angry many times and switched off the level. Secondly all of the areas are very ugly, beginning with wallpapered city buildings, ending on awful bridge with stretched window textures. Most of the level’s textures are stretched, squished or cracked. It’s a pity, because it isn’t builders unintentional mistake, but planned action, that destroys all the fun. Lighting isn’t so bad, though it’s not good either. Builder placed some sun bulbs with colour without even changing its direction (yes, sun bulbs have certain directions). Thirdly, the gameplay is poor. There is nothing that you could call exploring, only passing through big areas without any special purpose. Cameras increase hardness. A lot of places are too dark (due to wrongly placed sun bulbs) and there aren’t enough flares provided. If you don’t believe me about the gameplay, have a look at the following situation: “Lara opens big villa and has to search for one little switch. Afterwards it turns out that it shouldn’t be pulled before another one.” I think that’s enough. Sadly, there are many of moments like this. To sum up: I don’t know what made me so mad at this level. I suppose you don’t need a beautiful level, with great atmosphere or such, you just need fun and nice gameplay. Unfortunately you can’t expect it from this level. And when was there the revenge of the Illuminati?" - jawi (20-Feb-2011)
"The shooter aspect of Venice hadn't been that prominently present in this year's competition, but wherever it might have been under-represented in the other entrants efforts, is made up for in here. I wasn't particularly missing it this far, but I suppose with the author supplying sufficient amounts of firepower, ammunition and health it wasn't that tough to bare even if it's not your favourite aspect of TR. Moderation generally isn't the strong suit of debut levels, and along with the enemy amount (though that might have been a deliberate choice) it shows here both in looks and gameplay. The looks are a bit of an enigma for me - on one hand - the lighting is done well technically (lots of sun bulbs, etc.), there are some nicely textured rooms, but the darkness was surplus to requirement, the rooms simply far too large and boxy for the compact and elaborate settings Venice is famous for, there are some stretched textures present (more in the beginning) and there basically was no differentiation in size - most of the level is huge whether it needs to be or not. There are a number of nicely done tasks (escape the boulder, blow up a room, the setup for the water puzzle (even if you can get in trouble here too if you happen to walk out of the room after opening up and filling the pool), the list could go on) but they are diluted by the great distances you have to cover and the amount of backtracking required. As a result the level feels too dragged out, and I feel it would've been far more effective if the less is more philosophy would have been embraced. I was lucky enough in finding pickups and firearms to take on the huge quantities of enemies and move on in one piece, but the rats that attacked in crawlspaces were a big no-no, it's the TR equivalent of kicking a man who's lying on ground. That said - there are moments that make up for some of the less successful elements of the game - the Earth puzzle room was nice and eerie, the theatre and manor - as over the top as they are - nice to look at, the secrets are well placed (found 3), and there's some interesting camera work involved at times. Maybe not the strongest contender in the 2010 competition, but with enough strong points to be given a chance." - eTux (28-Jan-2011)
"This level intially looks vast, but provided you follow things in a logical order as they appear you'll find it pretty straight foward. Texturing is pretty meticulous, and while I think generally that the whole level is very well lit, there were a few areas that fall into being slightly too dark. Nothing here that should prove too challanging to most raiders with an hour and 46 minutes of flowing gameplay. Recommended." - TheStig (23-Jul-2010)
"I have ambivalent feeling about this level. It’s a masterpiece. But really. That is not the author’s fault I don’t like the binding injuries and the many battle. But you can pick up a lot of medipacks and weapons too. There aren’t impossible moves, so I can suggest this one to everyone. I think the author could many things from the TRLE. To be honest more stages in the theater and on the streets would be cool, but it’s still a masterpiece. If you try it, you will geta real TR adventure ? I think this is one of the best BTB level. You can find a Hungarian walkthrough (as we don't have English version), savegames and pictures here:" - Obig (01-Jun-2010)
"A pretty fun hour-long adventure in Venice, as usual. The surroundings were not as impressive as other entries however and were a bit more "boxy". There were also some stretched textures in the darker sewer areas. I did enjoy the gameplay though, there were plenty of traps to dodge and enemies to gun down as you collect all the artifacts that were stolen. There were some nice camera shots used as well. Nice job." - SSJ6Wolf (02-Mar-2010)
"Really long and complex this level with a lot of areas to explore and many tasks. The only task I didn't like was the nasty jump to the ladder with the boulder behind. Rest of the level was very playable and secrets were not very difficult, but well hidden. Textures are very well, but I didn't like the very dark ambience in many areas and there were not enough flares, so I had to reload a lot of times. Also I found some fails in the design. First you can fill the waterskin in the sewers after got the revolver and sight so you don't need to do the tasks with the harp and the switches later to fill it. In the room where you get the rose, if you go down to the dry pool below I found no way to climb up. In the room where you release a rope to reach a small roof and monkeyswing to the jumpswitch, I was able to climb to the very top of the roofs trespassing the small balcony and find the end of the world above; evenmore, I was able to run off the roof and reach the top of the small roof-ledge under the high bridge without release the rope, this way can be avoided the jumps outside over the awnings. Even so was a good level I liked to play, well placed enemies nice fixed cameras and good features." - Jose (01-Mar-2010)
"If you run off in the wrong direction at the start your first impression of this level is not the best - large area, big boxy rooms and nothing to do. But once you find the first door, things quickly pick up pace and you get to play through a very solidly built level. Lighting seems to make an effort to be 'realistic', but what it leads to is many darker areas and very dark corners, so for me that rather took away from the entertainment factor. I liked the Earth of Death room, because it was different and the whole theatre area was well done, too. Some good attention went into designing the secrets, so these are worth going for. For a change the element puzzles are spread out across the level with the wine/torch one being an interesting setup near the end. There are a few rather fierce battles to master in this adventure which were a bit overdone for my taste, but may suit other players just fine as a challenge. Overall, yet another solid debut level and we can look forward to seeing more from this new builder. (60 mins, 3 secrets)." - MichaelP (01-Mar-2010)
"I will have to play more Back to Basics levels before I can be sure, but there seems to be a correlation between the quality of the story and the quality of the level. The story in this level is about as generic as they come - the Illuminati is wreaking havoc in Venice and only Lara can stop them. Sadly, the level itself is about as interesting as its story. This is a fairly long level, though you'll spend most of your time running back and forth through empty rooms and pulling levers. In almost. Every. Single. Room. Seriously, almost every room seems to have a locked door just so the gameplay can be padded with a short search for a lever. And it's not like you're not going to search through all of these rooms anyway, since you need to make sure that you don't miss anything important, or you'll have to backtrack even more than the level already requires (with the added pleasure of having no idea where you've missed an item). There are a couple of traps, but the focus is on pulling levers and finding hard-to-spot keys. There's also quite a few enemies, and some early fights can be pretty challenging (and very, very tedious) unless you take the right path at the start and pick up better weapons. Once you have better weapons, though, none of the enemies pose any challenge, since you'll also be given an abundance of medipacks. The texturing is, for the most part, fairly repetitive and uninspired, with some wallpapered walls and floors and a lot of cracks, though there are some nice-looking rooms later on in the level. The lighting isn't too impressive, either, with a lot of dark rooms and an overall feeling of blandness. There's no real sense of progression, and you'll run back and forth without ever really knowing what you're trying to achieve or where you need to go. At close to an hour (a lot of which is backtracking), this level felt too long, and, I'm sad to say, wasn't as enjoyable as some of the other Back to Basics level" - Magnus (28-Feb-2010)
"Very nice kind of long-ish Venice level where Lara is on the search for a heart, a mask and a rose, while fighting the illuminati that look terribly like mafiosi. It isn't a short route to the end, but it's pleasant to look at and apparently solid, despite the occasional back and fro and a few confusing moments, maybe because Lara can get to places before she really must. It is better than your average custom level and I liked it." - Jorge22 (26-Feb-2010)
"If this level was built on a 'smaller scale' it could have scored higher from me. The distances were too far, the ladders too long, as were the swims etc. Even though the gameplay ideas may have been quite good, it was let down by the massive area of the level. There were many enemies in this level, however, objects were placed well, as were the secrets. Atmosphere, although good, was let down by the vast area, sounds were not used often, and cameras showed you doors opening, but not where to find them. Lighting and texturing were both decent, but again we have the same issue, the area was too big for good and consistent texturing. Overall, not one of the strongest in the competition, however, I can't help but feel it could have scored higher if it was smaller. 1 hour 1 secret." - Cory (21-Feb-2010)
"Too long.. too big.. If this level had been more compact, it would have been nice to play. Sorry, but the distances were too great, ladders too high, monkeyswing too long and with all the long backtracks it became boring. I also doubt this level was properly tested. The room where you had do use the waterskin looked like it was meant for filling the skin too, but that puzzle didn't work or I've never found out how to raise that platform in the pool. When you left that room to look for a lever for the platform, the grated floor would be back when you returned??? The level appeared too dark for me too and normally I have no problems with levels, so for most players it must have been like running in the dark without enough flares. There were some nice puzzles and some of the gameplay was nice. The Secret room must have been in the lower right hand corner of the LE map as it would go black from certain angles. Nice, but certainly not one of my favorites this year." - Dutchy (13-Feb-2010)
"Big rooms, little puzzles and tasks, long distances and many enemies. The focus is on exploring the huge territory and the gathering of several items needed. The level is built mostly linear, and there are roughly six major areas where to find important artefacts. Unfortunately, you have to walk back the long way, not a comfortable gameplay. The puzzles solve itself, torch and fire are side by side, the same applies to the sandbag. Only for the water there is a pushable puzzle, which is not absolutely necessary, because the bottle can also filled elsewhere. Many areas are kept quite dark and there are only a few flares to be found, so they quickly become scarce. I had often helped me with the binoculars. The sound has been used very well, however, varied and always appropriate. This can not be said unfortunately for the enemies. In my opinion, there were a lot too much, and sometimes in unfortunate places. I would like to see more intelligent puzzles!" - repley (13-Feb-2010)
"A level that is a bit painful to go through , darkness mostly everywhere , lots of backtracking , and not a very good texturing at times as there are cracks and slanted blocks without appropriate segmentations. The author has made attempts to create some atmospheric places, and partly succeed like in the area below the cemetery. Enemies are numerous and it became a bit annoying, while puzzles and interesting actions to perform are rather few. The end of the level -in the two palaces- is a bit better looks wise and also more interesting , in particular the symmetrical concept of that big palace is good ; alas there also , are very tedious lots of redoing." - eRIC (13-Feb-2010)
"Another extremely busy level, especially near the end. I had already been moved to enable the flycheat, for the second level in a row, to avoid the damned boulder that kept arriving before Lara had a chance to get her feet set on the ladder and start climbing. And so, because it was available, I used it liberally during the last fifteen minutes or so to avoid what would otherwise have been a great deal of annoying backtracking. Other than this, the level is quite ingeniously put together and provides a great deal of enjoyable gameplay. The overall ambiance in a nightime setting is effective, and I gave myself unlimited flares so that the occasional dark spots did not present a problem. Purists would probably consider this cheating as well, but when I play a computer game I want to be able to see what I'm doing. It's as simple as that. Lots of keys, lots of levers, lots of climbing up and down, but until tedium started setting in near the end I had a pretty good time here. Recommended, but with the caveats already noted." - Phil (10-Feb-2010)
"This inluminated level about Illuminati - how ironic - is too dark, too gray, too boring with his big rooms with nothing nice inside. The gameplay was linear and bid clever riddles at all. Partial it was too illogical... Sound was ok. Too much enemies. Textures were boring, lighting bad and had a lot of cracks. Result: boring, grey, too dark" - masha (04-Feb-2010)
"This level seems to suffer from the newbie mistake of overscaling, at times it overlaps into the positive of portraying a surreal, monolithic take on Venice, but it's mostly just big. This comes with issues like stretched textures, although it's generally avoided. Also, the lighting of the level seems to be for a night map, while the sky is for a day level (although the scale means you generally don't see the sky anyway), and the lighting seems pointlessly dark occasionally (although it's also atmospherically moody at times). There were scattered rooms I quite liked the visuals and atmosphere of, like a large tiled room and domed library towards the end.
The gameplay is mostly good, but there's quite a few areas where the scale results in areas where you do very little, or have to walk longer than necessary (if the scale was smaller). Towards the end there's quite a bit of backtracking up semi-long ladders, and a few too many enemies (although the need for the lasersight was sort of interesting). Good but the author's lack of experience shows a little." - Mman (01-Feb-2010)
"Another excellent little adventure . They still keep coming in this years fantastic BtB ! A bit too much back and fro for my taste here. Stunningly good architecture in every location , the builder should be proud of it. Its gloomy darkness fits the story well but , alas, why did you supply only so VERY FEW TORCHES to illuminate your wonderful city ? I found it very annoying running round using the binos all the time not to miss out an important item on the way ! Without the tedious backtracking and the lack of light I should consider a better rating but it still remains a game recommended to play ." - Ruben (31-Jan-2010)
"There was something compelling about the initial darkness here that caught my interest and that interest was retained throughout. The beautiful architectural structure of the inside bridges where a fixed camera was used to great(!) effect and the run from the fire wraiths up on top sealed the deal. It just may be the only time I have ever enjoyed a run from wraiths but the strategy needed was well thought out and very satisfying. Getting up on the rooftops and from there to various places including the 'end of the world' added to the fun. The run to a ladder with a rolling ball was not so much fun as finally also satisfying. It took me so long to get up the ladder that I forgot Lara already had more than enough weapons and ammo for the gunfight immediately after. Still, using only pistols adds an exciting dimension to it that wasn't really appreciated until it was over. Great fun... in retrospect. I got only two of the secrets and that wall jump switch close to the beginning that Lara could not reach may have led to the third. More than enough medipacks without having to really conserve also adds to the enjoyment." - Bene (29-Jan-2010)
"This level builder must definitely not fear the revenge of the Illuminati. Rather the revenge of the companies who produce illuminant. They will take revenge because the level builder has bought far too little light bulbs. These sales losses have badly hurt the companies. But maybe Lara is quicker, because she had to go after this level to the doctor because she has stumbled so often with the head somewhere. But seriously. I already play with brighter settings, but it was still quite dark at many places. And this is a pity, because the level is actually very nice. However, the camera work was sometimes a little bit irritating . Then she showed Lara from above or from afar. I like such a thing not at all. At least not in this frequency. The jump to the ladder with the Rollingball in the neck was a little bit too difficult. There it would have been better if the level builder had shifted the Rollingball a Square to the back. The riddles were relatively easy. One knew, actually, any time what is to be done. Though there were many opponents in this level, but because one had enough weapons, ammunition and Medipacks, this was no problem. All together a good level which was however unambiguously too dark." - Scottie (29-Jan-2010)
"'Revenge of the Un-Illuminated' would have been a more suitable title. This level somehow manages to neatly combine all my pet peeves about custom levels: too much darkness, too many enemies, too much backtracking, and enforced health loss due to long drops. There was barely a moment during the whole level when I wasn't feeling frustrated because of one or more of these factors. Which is rather a pity, because when I look back on the level, I can see that it had the potential to be really good, if it hadn't been for the player-unfriendly aspects listed above.
The gameplay is complex yet fluid: there's always something to do, even though you usually feel that there's something else you should be doing instead. The element puzzles are used very well, as they each tie in with the quest for one of the three main artefacts. And while I am not a fan of fixed camera angles, I must admit that they are used quite effectively in this level.
There is some very good architecture, like the multi-level main hall of the manor, or the huge cavern where you use the earth element. On the other hand, there are also many large empty rooms, long empty corridors and long empty canal-side paths. After a while, the 'bigness' of everything stops looking grand and merely looks boring. The builder clearly has the creativity to build interesting architecture - he/she should concentrate on that instead of getting carried away by some 'bigger is better' fancy.
There were a couple more issues, which reflect more on the betatesters than the builder: there is one long ladder later in the level which you can continue climbing right up to the roofs, and then explore the entire level via the rooftops; and the room at the beginning where you find the wine can be accessed via its exit (which is what I did) despite the water current which is presumably meant to keep players from doing just that.
Overall: I assume this level is by a not-too-experienced builder, in which case I hope he/she can improve his/her craft and give us some stunning levels in the future. But as far as this level is concerned, I can recommend it only to those with great night vision." - Mytly (27-Jan-2010)
"Going for a grander scale in appearance, this entry certainly places emphasis on big. Large rooms, long rooms, long streets and hallways, distinctly showing the player the scope of the level. Certainly, the level is quite big not only on its size, but in its gameplay. The flow in progression went very swimmingly for me; keen eyes and having a good sense of orientation definitely helps in keeping this a stress-free experience. There are some nice platforming sequences and a couple of puzzles thrown in too for interest. While the large scale in design made the level stand out, it's a bit overwhelming at times, and made some getting around a little tedious, what with having to sprint down long, stretching hallways. The texturing and lighting also works very well and Venice looks quite pretty, yet a few areas were a tad too dark. Overall object placement is also good, such as the use of the windows that can be shattered to backtrack, and the pushable crosses in the cemetery are well-used as well to give a few examples. However, this level does have a horde of enemies. At the beginning it's quite easy to become outgunned and, for less skilled players, it's easy to run out of medipacks too. The author does give a bit of mercy by providing just enough weapons, ammo, and medipacks to make it through, yet they can be easily squandered without caution. Overall though, quite an enjoyable entry in the contest." - Relic Hunter (21-Jan-2010)
"We're definitely in one of the more up-market areas of Venice in this level, although Lara being Lara it isn't long before we're down in the sewers with the rats. The gameplay moves along at such a lively pace that I found myself constantly convinced that I'd missed all sorts of things - occasionally I was right. It's really playable and some of the architectural features are quite innovative and stunning, in particular the areas linked by little bridges where (for once) the fixed camera angles really added something. Try and find the secrets; they're really useful and generous. Also, play in a darkened room if you can as some of the areas are very gloomy." - Jay (14-Jan-2010)
"I liked the creativity and game play in this level. Much of it is exploring throughout Venice, and bringing various objects together. A high point for me was in a huge mansion at one end of a canal, particularly when Lara lights the fire element and wraiths chase her. It is possible to get down faster than seems possible, with Lara leaping down to chandeliers, and to switch pillars, and then stepping backward from a block to land in a tiny corner of pool. I sampled enough Venice levels to be familiar with the new textures and objects, so when Lara encountered the harp it was clear what to do. Lara finds the crowbar at the beginning of the level, and the new crowbar doors are good. It appears that Lara is working on many narrative threads at once, and mentally keeping everything clear is good fun. The problem is that I think this is an illusion. There is one bottleneck in this level, and Lara encounters it very quickly. From a machine room with pipes and rotating fans, Lara drops to a corridor with mice and two fire tiles. It is impossible to jump by those fire tiles. Lara repeatedly searches for a way to turn the fires off, and that, too, is impossible (until an external event happens). So Lara goes off and finds an element puzzle that needs the waterskin, but that can't be gotten either. Everything comes down to the bottleneck of that one fire corridor: during play it looks like Lara has options, but she doesn't. Lara has to first solve the puzzles in the mansion, using everything at one end of the canal. The exploration is good, and satisfying to work out, although I had confusion over the "Secret Room Key"--I thought it was for a secret. Something happens, maybe the fire element portion is completed. I'm not entirely clear on this. Then it becomes possible for Lara to find a way to open that bottleneck corridor. Eventually Lara discovers what has happened. But Lara can't rush forward because of a boulder waiting to squash her. In his doc file the author admits that getting past is difficult, but that theoretically it is possible to get by the boulder. By this time, few players will be in the mood for this. When Lara does break the bottleneck corridor everything goes at a fast pace with element puzzles being solved and the waterskin acquired for another element puzzle. I would have preferred a level without blocking fires or crushing boulder, that allowed Lara to solve each of the element puzzles in an order of her choosing. Game play seemed better when it appeared multiple threads were going at once. Once again, some of the details need work. After Lara turns a wheel switch, the animations stay with her for a while, so when she presses buttons or uses a wall lever, it still appears that she is turning a wheel. After a while this problem self-corrects. The lighting is quite dark; perhaps I am mistaken in thinking that Venice has electricity. One example would be the room with the water element puzzle. In an undersea level dark lighting is fine, and in cave ruins one expects heavy shadow, but in Venice the unremitting darkness is oppressive. If players get help with this level it will go better, and I certainly found much that was enjoyable and imaginative. Recommended." - dmdibl (02-Jan-2010)