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LB Advent Calendar 2010 - Christmas at the North Pole by Raidermatty

afzalmiah 8 9 7 8
Blue43 7 8 8 9
Christian 7 7 8 8
Diz 7 8 8 8
DJ Full 9 9 9 8
dmdibl 7 9 8 9
eRIC 3 7 7 7
Gerty 6 8 8 8
High Priestess 8 7 8 9
Jay 7 7 9 9
JesseG 7 9 8 8
Jose 5 8 8 8
Josey 7 8 9 10
manarch2 7 8 9 9
MichaelP 6 6 8 8
Phil 6 8 8 8
Ryan 7 8 8 8
Scottie 6 8 8 9
TheStig 7 8 8 8
Treeble 7 8 8 7
release date: 06-Dec-2010
# of downloads: 131

average rating: 7.75
review count: 20
review this level

file size: 57.53 MB
file type: TR4
class: Xmas

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"I'll just echo what others have said really, the backtracking in this level might add up to as much as about half of its length, at some point it become tiresome and any other nice touches get easily diluted and lost in the middle of all that. The village is inhabited by dwarves so you're not just doing a lot of running and swimming back and forth but also a lot of crawling. At least I picked up on a new trick, looking upwards to throw a torch up a sloped crawlspace is something I don't recall doing before -- and to add to it, on my way back with it I threw it while sprinting and to my surprise it went all the way through the crawlspace. If you plan on playing this, make sure to follow the walkthrough otherwise you could be here for a long while. 60 minutes, 2 secrets. 08/22" - Treeble (28-Aug-2022)
"An enjoyable enough Advent level, and one that oozes the Christmas spirit more than others. The environments are attractive to look at, and the festive custom objects will also ensure that you have to think outside the box a bit (they did make some small rooms too cluttered in places though). But I felt that the backtracking, point A to Point B progression was done to death a bit here, with a large overdose of retracing of steps. A bit of backtracking is all right if: a) the areas are fairly close together which some of them are, or b) or a few welcome shortcuts open up, which unfortunately don't. I do think this could have been trimmed down in my opinion. I only didn't score gameplay any lower, because this is otherwise a pleasant level with a few neat touches, and a nice ending cutscenes. Recommended if you don't mind the backtracking." - Ryan (14-Dec-2017)
"I remember playing this level a very long time ago and I forgot to review it (oops!). This was a pretty nice christmas level and if I could remember it felt a bit fantasy-ish. The gameplay was nice and the objects were placed well. The lighting was alright nut needs a bit of work. The level needs a bit of improvement but it is not boring and it's very entertaining." - afzalmiah (18-Apr-2011)
"After playing Infada Power, I considered Raidermatty our Bactra King. With this level, he defends his title and makes it very hard for anyone to take it from him. Got lost? No problem - always choose the longest possible backtrack, or at least half of its route and You will end up where the author has intended it to happen. Any longer advice is unnecessary. In this author's levels, backtracking is obligatory and, say, epic for me - at the beginning, I am quite annoyed, but the more I play and the more overwhelming backtracking becomes, the more ridiculous it appears and that makes me laugh. Also, running back and forth, we pass through crucial places, so we can remember them and that prevents us from getting stuck later. So - let's say it loud - backtracking is HELPFUL in such case. And the places we need to remember are remarkable. Houses of the elves are simply awesome. Among their furniture scaled down to fit elvish size, Lara appears huuuge. Just like someone shrinked the editor grid. This is a (literally) little cute world a careless player can easily pass by without noticing it at all. So please, STOP in this place and admire! Also in the caves, where the ceiling often tends to be very low, it feels like Gandalf visiting Bilbo. Also, another world known from many childhoods returns, infiltrating the icy caves with its worst nightmare: Arctos, the most evil snowman ever presented, revives Tabaluga memories by presenting himself in multiple copies. These enemies are simply awesome and I love them. I even stood still for a moment to watch those snowmen punch Lara to death. So cute and so brutal in the same time that it has to be witnessed, just like the whole game. But beware of the secret. I found it not to find. Raidermatty gives us "a small clue on how to find it: don't keep your hands still, look everywhere!" OK, so I've been looking everywhere - for SEVEN HOURS, seeking for: jumpswitches, ceiling trapdoors, masked crawlspaces, shatter triggers, flammable objects, texture hints, underwater levers, underwater 1-click passages, pushables, possible pickups inside gift boxes, ladders, opacity2 doors and hidden switches. The last mentioned search required pressing Action standing in front of objects... I mean touching every single tree, bench, crate, door, plant, pole, etc., doing it at least 8 times for each of them to make sure every possible orientation of a potential invisible trigger is checked. All these efforts resulted in finding nothing. So my secret rating is incomplete and I may want to change it in the future, depending on what I will find. For now, it's 3 points - for a really challenging and (I hope so) smart secret. SUMMARY: 2 hours of Xmas backtracking developed to a kind of art. With this level, Raidermatty joins my personal Hall of Fame. And it seems he is going to get to the real one as well - if only his next level(s?) will be more player-friendly." - DJ Full (20-Feb-2011)
"This is a magnificent level, mightily well constructed, and could be very fun to play it if it didn't entail so many comings and goings to places already visited. There was also the additional problem of too crowded rooms, full of unnecessary objects: Lara almost couldn't move. I have something against continuous background music, too, but I admit that it is a question of taste, and at least here the music changes sometimes. The game has beautiful sceneries, a lot of creative instances, wonderful ending, and also irritating moments; the torch sequence, in special, was pure nightmare for me, but I must confess that I hugged myself when I was successful." - Josey (13-Jan-2011)
"Some builders quickly establish a unique style of their own when they appear on the level building scene and apparently this is also true for this builder here - unfortunately that style is not always for the better and in this particular case a massive overdose of backtracking (or rather being sent from one corner of the level to another and back several - and certainly a few too many - times) is not exactly what would make people look forward to future releases of this builder. Add to that a few objects where the placement is a bit of a wild guess (ie read the forums or the walkthrough to find out who was psychic enough to figure out the next step) and you really spoil what would otherwise have been a very nice and enjoyable level with a few very good elements, like the torch work towards the end. The looks are decent enough, if a little too much the same in many places and those jumping dwarves are always funny to look at. I ended up spending almost 2 hours of net gaming time in what should have been maybe a 45 minute adventure instead, but I did enjoy it as a seasonal offering nonetheless." - MichaelP (28-Dec-2010)
"Christmas at the north pole ,or how to spoil a level which could have been relatively fun , with insane backtracking. Maybe this is the national sport in this region , and the dwarves do not even know what the word crawlspace means, but for Lara there was too much crawling even if they are short , one of them was intended for when you will get the torch , but the other one I don't remember how many times you have to endure it as it is on backtracking road number 1. Added to this a few objects with incorrect and annoying collision. Of objects , some are good like the bell puzzle , and the sling. Of the setting , it is rather decent , the end of the level I preferred with the stables. Of the atmosphere , I like the hymn that is played along the whole level , mixed with the cold wind loop , as it is one of my favourites , but even so I could not bear with it anymore rather soon. I noticed that in the first water cave , I did not pulled the underwater switch , yet I could proceed farther, the switch trigger might be missing here. The level is well concluded but I was glad to leave the north pole for good." - eRIC (25-Dec-2010)
"I don't know if it's just bad luck in my recent selection of levels to play or what, but for some reason there's an epidemic of backtrackitis going around. It was time-consuming in Infada Power, less so in Middle of Nowhere, but here it's just plain annoying. I figure that about half of the nearly two hours I spent here was due to the constant back and forth, so I'm tempted to award 5 for gameplay, but that concluding flyby with the heroic music melted my heart and made me relent just a little bit. If it hadn't been for manarch2's patient walkthrough I might have spent at least four hours here, so I'm grateful for his guidance. This is a Christmas level par excellence in ambiance and spirit, so I'll give it my reluctant recommendation despite the needlessly extended time you're obliged to stay here." - Phil (19-Dec-2010)
"An hour long adventure at the north pole. Many creative custom objects are used, including some elves that perform somersaults occasionally (for kicks, I suppose). The downfall was that sometimes the use of these objects became rather ambiguous. Some examples include the use of the blue bucket, and the receptacle for the gingerbread man. There is also way too much back-and-forth play - you open an area, pull a switch in it, go back to the previous area and pull a switch that opens a door from the area you just came from...and so on. The adventure could have easily been done in a half hour if the level was structured better. Still, it is worthwhile checking out if you have the patience." - SSJ6Wolf (19-Dec-2010)
"If I could sum this level up in one phrase it would be back-track-orama! As Christmas levels go this is certainly tough and taxing. It's not littered with enemies (apart from a few evil snow-men in one small section), but you'll really need to use your head to figure out where things go, and to spot some of the more sneakily hidden items. I'll confess I think I'd of been completely unable to complete this one without the aid of the forums. There is allot of back-tracking involved, and after a while I found myself forgetting that early on I'd passed a receptacle for an item, leaving me fruitlessly searching before a visit to the forums jogged my memory. Lighting and texting starts off ok, and gets better towards the end in the Christmas House. One aspect that really annoyed me was the slope on which you had to throw a torch. I can't say I felt it added anything to the gameplay, and rapidly became a source of frustration trying to get the torch to the location where you needed it. Over all I got 2 hours and 40 minutes gameplay. Certainly one I'd recommend, but make sure you've got the thread open on the forum just in case you get stuck. Certainly not for beginners. Stiggy" - TheStig (19-Dec-2010)
"This is a Christmas level through and through, candy canes, gingerbread men, jumping elves (too many blue Smarties or caffeine can have this effect!). Yes, there was a lot of backtracking, let's be honest, an awful lot of backtracking, but it was easy and, apart from the bits of crawling, quick to do. Everything was well made and looked the part, puzzles, what there were, were straight forward and the lighting was good. I note that some players had problems with the crawlspace and the torch; I used the 'look' button to look up when I threw the torch and had no problem (like the old shotgun sighting trick). All in all, a very pleasant Advent level." - Diz (17-Dec-2010)
"This is a real lovely level full of Xmas feeling. However there are two big NO's in my book, too much back and fro what really stretched the gameplay toward not funny and a tad boring and that ridiculous crawlspace where you had to throw the torch through. Finding some items was pure luck on my side as why would one search a pile of presents while there are all over the place and you have to or else you wont find that specific item you need. Again luck was on my side, spotting the glass figures one had to shoot but next time, draw a bit more attention to it or people will get frustrated." - Gerty (16-Dec-2010)
"To be honest, if the level would only consist of the first half, I would give 5 or worse to Gameplay. A bit backtracking is OK in a level, but after you solved a riddle, the next riddle has ALWAYS to be solved in the most far away room. Also, the riddles consisted on finding levers or buttons. The second part was much better - with a not only beautifully designed mansion, but with, one can say, some interesting challenges: Getting a Torch through a crawlspace and some nice hutch areas are making life better here. The classic sound was fitting here, and textures were outstanding - only watch the candy shop near Santa's house. If the builder would make the gameplay more creative and varied this level would compete with the brilliant 2010 advent series levels." - manarch2 (14-Dec-2010)
"What can I say about this level? I'm confused. The level is very well builded, with some good ideas and a nice environment, it notices an effort with the musics, and lights, but the gameplay was very bad for me. Backtracking, backtracking, backtracking... and more backtracking. The only puzzle I found was the four switches puzzle, the rest of the level was only push buttons and look for items to place. Go there, trigger something, run a very long way, trigger another thing and run again a very long way to return to the same place you came from, trigger another thing and backtrack again to the place where you came from. And so all the entire gameplay. Evenmore you'll have to go through a lot of nasty crawlspaces hundreds of times. I recognize the effort, but not a level for my taste. Sorry." - Jose (13-Dec-2010)
"an enjoyable christmas level at all. This running to and fro, having to go the same ways again and again is quite annoying. So we have several areas, well composed, hiding several tasks and items, even taking effect or being needed in a section we just came from. Having to take one and the same route ten (or more, I didn't count it) times is quite boring. The author creates more and more creative environments, atmosphere is more and more convincing from release to release. He/She is learning fast. A storyline, leading with linear gameplay through something like an adventure is out of sight. But it is a pleasent Christmas-game." - Christian (12-Dec-2010)
"Here we have a level once more with which I do not know so surely what I should hold of it. The level looks good, no question. And the level has a few interesting riddles, also no question. And the sound has also succeeded, also no question. However, is this level a good level? Is this level a recommendable level? I must answer this question, unfortunately, with a No. One runs here constantly from pillar to post. And back again. And again there. And again... Et cetera et cetera. One finds a key at point A, runs to point B, finds there a lever which opens a door at point A where one finds something that one must use at point B. And thus it goes constantly to and fro. Moreover, a few camera hints are absent. And the absolute play fun killer was the torch. One found the torch in point A, had to light him in point B and then had to go again back to point A. So far, so good. This would be, in principle, no problem. Indeed, a crawl space lies between point A and point B. Though the crawl space is relatively short, but is built so impossibly that the torch falls to the back if one wants to throw him forwards. And thus I have used several attempts and have cursed occasionally like a berserk. These are the moments where you want to turn the level builders face to the rear. To sum up it: This level has all ingredients which a good level must have, but the ingredients were wrong composed, thus any taste is absent." - Scottie (12-Dec-2010)
"Here we have a very nice Christmas level where Lara goes to the Northpole and to find Santa. The game play here is fairly easy in terms of difficultly (the torch through the crawlspace is an exception) but is quite complex otherwise and will demand attention as things can easily overlooked and it is not always very clear where to go. There is also a bit of backtracking involved. The secrets must have been well hidden - I didn't find anything, although I read that there were two. Several puzzles are spread throughout the level, but none are hard and all make sense. Some objects used are interesting and funny like the candy cane as a crowbar. And I think specially the sling shot needs to be mentioned, a fun item to use, but it took me forever to figure out what it was before it was combined since the menu is in Italian language. There are no enemies except for a pesky zombie snowman who is slow and can be avoided. The atmosphere is nice and really gives a good Christmas feel. Texturing and lightning was well done. Definitely a good level for getting into the Christmas spirit. Recommended for everyone, including kids." - Blue43 (10-Dec-2010)
"This is a jolly Christmas raid, full of snowmen, tumbling elves and delightful seasonal objects to use - a candy cane crowbar and a gingerbread man to bake being the highlights for me. There is a lot of backtracking, but since it's pretty easy to remember where to go, that really isn't a huge problem and in any case it's all such gentle, good natured Advent gameplay (the only tricky part being getting a torch through a sloping crawlspace) that only the most hard hearted player could grumble - you'll hear no 'Bah Humbugs' from me." - Jay (08-Dec-2010)
"A genuine Advent level with Santa, sprightly elves, and snowmen who come to life--so a sigh of relief. Starting play, one quickly realizes that this is not as good as the author's recent The Infada Power, so probably this is an earlier effort. The best part is the local color: the scenery with cozy elf huts, decorated Christmas trees, and the use of puzzle objects such as a bell and a gingerbread man; the crowbar is a candy cane stick. For the first third of the level there are a number of push blocks to find, or crawlspaces covered with shootable stone, so Lara will save time if she runs around with a flare constantly in her hand. (I added flares.) Once Lara gets the crowbar the pace picks up. There is a lot of back and forth, finding one object and taking it back to a previous area, then returning. Ultimately, this unvarying back-and-forth game play does the level in, and keeps it from being as good as it could be. The readme file mentions a spider hanging from the ceiling, that when it is shot a spell is broken, and perhaps all the spider's spells are broken. So Lara shoots this spider with a slingshot and a bit of metal. And nothing happens. No cut scene of drab elf huts suddenly sporting decorations. No camera shot at all. Lara ran around for an hour trying to figure out if anything had happened. Also the readme file mentions a swan turned to ice, and implies that Lara is to shoot this. After shooting the spider, Lara eventually spots a bit a blue on the high wall surrounding Santa's house. A player commented on this on the forum, that it isn't clear what this is. Well, this is an ice swan, and it took an hour to figure that out. Both the swan and the spider have to be shot, though still the player won't be rewarded with any kind of camera shot. The readme file leads one to think these will be dramatic moments, yet in game they are a complete letdown--players can't even tell that they are shooting an ice swan. The author throws away any dramatic moments, but instead maintains the back-and-forth game play right up to the end. Still, attractively presented and a pleasant play, fitting for the holiday season." - dmdibl (08-Dec-2010)
"A thoroughly enjoyable Christmas level that is not too taxing but does involve a degree of to-ing and fro-ing. However most of the areas that one returns to are grouped fairly close together. My only personal struggles were as follows: failing to recognise a candy stick as a crowbar, successfully getting a torch (in this case a plant branch), through a crawlspace and blocking off a corridor I later had to return to by placing a block in front of it's entrance in order to originally climb back up to a higher ledge. By the time I had returned to this place I had forgotten where to go as a result of having concealed the entrance. The only enemies to be encountered are some slow-moving snowmen in a particular room with levers but I believe you can avoid activating them by keeping a distance but they are easy enough to outrun. Very enjoyable level." - High Priestess (07-Dec-2010)