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BtB2014 - Cemetery Gates by Tolle87

DJ Full 5 5 6 6
Drakan 10 9 8 8
EssGee 7 6 6 7
janachorider 7 7 7 8
Jay 8 8 8 8
JesseG 8 8 8 8
Jose 8 7 7 8
Josey 9 8 8 7
m.julien 9 9 8 6
manarch2 7 6 5 5
MichaelP 9 7 7 6
Mman 8 7 6 5
Mytly 8 8 6 6
OverRaider 7 7 6 6
Phil 9 8 8 8
Relic Hunter 7 6 5 6
Ryan 8 8 8 6
Treeble 8 7 8 7
release date: 02-Aug-2014
# of downloads: 150

average rating: 7.21
review count: 18
review this level

file size: 91.80 MB
file type: TR4
class: Cambodia

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"The environment here tends to be on the boxy side and the textures a bit wallpapered, so the visuals are not as strong as other entries, but there are some fun moments to be had nonetheless. That includes several timed runs (two of which daisy-chain timed switches together) an interesting pushblock puzzle using an "elevator", and an even more interesting chess game, although it took me a while to realize that Lara was acting as the queen piece. There are some downside though, the first one being that a monkey is triggered up on a hard-to-reach roof, if a player doesn't manage to dispatch it then they will likely have savegame troubles. A couple of areas felt a bit too drawn out, such as the floodable chamber and the green crypt room, both of those areas went overkill on the number of switches Lara has to pull. There was also a spike wall which never triggered, and quite a bit of backtracking needed. A nice raid for sure, if a bit long-winded. 1 hour 48 minutes." - JesseG (16-Mar-2021)
"I forgot how bad it was but I'm glad I recalled it - now I have absolutely no doubt Tolle is one of the fastest, if not THE fastest learning builder we've ever had, since the fact he could proceed from THIS to THAT in just two years is absolutely incredible. Draft looks, elusive interactions, randomness and repetitivity of his debut don't display even a tiny spark of his future genious and if you compare both it's not possible to tell you're dealing with the same builder. So I will still recommend to play this one for science and I can only wonder what marvels he'll make for BtB20... of course if there will be a 20..." - DJ Full (07-Jul-2019)
"I enjoyed the ingenious gameplay in this, the longest level of the contest so far. Torch puzzles, block puzzles and gymnastics. Obviously more attention has been given to gameplay than aesthetics, hence my score in that category. This is highly recommended." - Ryan (05-Feb-2016)
"This is one of the levels I've tested in the last BtB contest. There are some innovative ideas, but the general gameplay is sometimes confused; I think after doing some tasks here and there, is not easy that the player can find a way to proceed further. Texturization is sometimes monotonous in some rooms, but lights are well worked. A level worth to play and an author that sure can bring good levels in the future." - Jose (01-Feb-2015)
"The visuals are the main letdown here; it's mostly okay, if simple, but then there are parts like a flooded catacomb with about three textures and very dark lighting, and it's universally quite basic in design, with little detail. It's unfortunate because this has some of the most creative and challenging gameplay in the set, with some interesting use of the objects in the set and quite a bit of exploration. On the downside there's quite a bit of backtracking at points, and there are some vague hidden switches. The chess puzzle could have also done with one or two more clues because even if you know chess you have to make a leap of logic to understand the puzzle. Despite that however there's a nicely involved torch puzzle, an interesting spiky green room, a flooding-draining puzzle that's a bit backtrack heavy but requires some thought and an actually creative block puzzle. One of the most involved entries in this BTB if you can get past the visuals and more repetitive sections." - Mman (04-Oct-2014)
"This will be my final review before the 2014 BtB competition officially ends, so the few remaining levels will just have to wait until later. I found Cemetery Gates particularly difficult to score, but even at that I feel that it's a bit underrated. The problem is its length. It seemed just to go on and on, and when I finally picked up the artifact after riding up on the quad bike (and after paying meticulous attention along the way to Dutchy's excellent walkthrough) I registered just shy of three hours on my game clock. On the other hand, the gameplay felt inspired from start to finish, and I never found myself growing bored. So, you might ask, why am I complaining? As we all know, the longer and more complex levels tend to get higher scores, and I was tempted to award even higher scores than I have here. However, this wouldn't be fair to those other builders who made a conscious effort to stay within the rules. I therefore deducted one point each from two of the rating categories, on a purely random basis. Indeed, there's enough here for two or three complete levels, and I commend the builder for being able to cram so much entertaining gameplay into a single TR4 file. But it's so complicated in places that I strongly suggest you have the walkthrough close by to minimize torn-out hair loss. Highly recommended." - Phil (02-Oct-2014)
"At the beginning of this level, I had to practically force myself to continue playing, since it was so very ugly: horribly stretched textures, jagged geometry, boxy natural locations and bland, dark lighting. Luckily, I gave it a chance, and was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the gameplay quite a lot. The visuals improve a bit too, once you open the double doors into the temple-like building. There are still some very dark areas (such as the sewers), but some nicely lit rooms as well (such as the room with the yin-yang puzzle). The textures are still mostly stretched, but the effect is not so bad in case of smaller man-made rooms as compared to the large outdoor areas.
The gameplay too starts off a little poorly, with a lot of running back and forth, but it soon settles into a series of enjoyable mostly puzzle-based set pieces. There are some really excellent puzzles: I particularly liked the one where you have to move a pushable on top of other pushables and a moving floor; the switch-puzzle in the green room is also great, as is the overarching torch puzzle that the former forms a part of. There are several good timed runs as well: a multi-stage timed run over burning tiles; and several puzzle-cum-timed runs in which you have to place one or more pushables to make a path for the timed run, or, in one case, clear a path to get out of the way of an advancing spike wall. The chess puzzle at the end was a bit obscure (though I daresay someone better at chess than I am would have liked it more). The end is unfortunately very abrupt.
The enemies are fairly scarce, except in one case where Lara gets attacked by half a dozen tigers at once. Luckily there are no human enemies.
Overall: The builder clearly has a lot of ingenious ideas - if only he/she had put in some effort to make the visual aspect of his/her level more enjoyable, it would have been nearly perfect. Recommended for the gameplay - and for a good lesson in 'don't judge a book by its cover (or a level by its looks).'" - Mytly (02-Oct-2014)
"This level is somewhat long and has many challenges and puzzles, both simple and difficult, but always smart. My favorite challenge was that of the timed run by fiery ledges, using levers at each stop; how I hugged myself when I reached the end! And my favorite puzzle was the water and gates' one (for finding the Symbol Part 2). I found it very interesting. As a counterpart, there was a puzzle that I didn't understand at all: the"Checkmate in Two" one. I certainly needed the walkthrough to find the solution for that. I found also a (not very serious) bug in the elevator puzzle - when Lara put the piece at the top of the elevator and left it there, the piece sank down, positioning itself under the elevator, instead of staying on top. I had to load a previous savegame, and mercifully the piece stayed at the correct position on the second try. Light, sound and cameras are good throughout the game, except in the tomb environment, which I didn't enjoy at all: too much darkness and wading in shallow water. I would also say that the labyrinthine rooms with holes full of spikes were a little boring to navigate, but mercifully the author provided a shortcut. Cheers! Throughout the level, there are not breathtaking panoramas, and there is a little backtracking occasionally, but the multiplicity and kind of tasks fulfill their role of making an arresting and interesting game. This level is all about exploration and puzzle solving, and for those who love it, is quite perfect. Nice job!" - Josey (16-Sep-2014)
"A level with some interesting gameplay ideas. The architecture and environmental geometry is a bit below par, and the builder should work on developing their skills in this area, as their gameplay ideas are good. Similarly, lighting techniques could be improved which would also give the level a better atmosphere. The level is arduosly long. Too long for a BtoB and it's not intuitive, with the way often being quite obscure. I only got one golden buddha secret, so I missed out on the final reward, which felt a bit of a letdown as poor Lara endured this long adventure and left without retrieving the artefact." - EssGee (15-Sep-2014)
"The longest level I have played so far - at just over two hours net gaming time - and in fact much more time spent with it, because it has a massive amount of very original and complex puzzle rooms to figure out. There are just too many to list them here, but the whole torch room puzzle - or set of puzzles rather - was really clever and great fun to figure out. Others though were a bit less fun as they only kind of worked once you finally knew what you had to do and only then you could logically explain why (like the chess puzzle). Progression is mostly fairly clear, maybe with a bit too much running through empty corridors and a bit too much backtracking. The weakest point of this adventure is really the looks. Texturing is extremely simple with many mistakes in rotation and stretched and squashed textures. In terms of lighting, some effort has been made, but it still does not convey any sort of real atmosphere. Everything is just there to support the very clever functional aspects of the adventure. I found only three of the four buddha secrets, so missed out on the quad ride at the end." - MichaelP (13-Sep-2014)
"Second longest level I've played of this btb. I wasn't interested by the beginning ... many cracks and stretched textures, wallpaper effects and surrealist architectures, rooms were quite empties, problems with the horizon and the levelFarview, lot of boring backtracking... A significant proportion of players could give up the level and switch to another entry :(. Interest of this level comes after the first half. I really enjoyed the very creative puzzles (water manipulation room, the 4 wall torches, use of a pushable on a up/downstairs platform, the checkmate...). The wooden barrier wasn't used wisely, Lara can pass through... I was able to recover easily the silver key or the quad at the end. Anyway, there are good ideas in this level! Finished in 2:08 hours with 0 secret. 9/9/8/6" - m.julien (05-Sep-2014)
"The starting room and the rest of the outside areas are very boxy, the atmosphere is okay but the level in question is boring some of the gameplay is alright but in the green spike room was tedious and is unfortunately that this level was so long. found two secrets." - janachorider (03-Sep-2014)
"After a week-long break, I resume my BtB-Khmer journey and I leave this particular entry with mixed feelings. On the one hand, I thought the initial areas were dull and generally poorly designed, hindering the player's progress for no good reason (the key housed between slopes atop the waterfall comes to mind), but things certainly picked up along the way with a huge variety of tasks. I do think that perhaps there were too many keys and levers but hey, that's classic TR for you. Also, pushblock puzzles are proving to be the bane of custom levels IMO. There was one two-layered puzzle that wasn't too long that I somewhat enjoyed because of the elevating platform twist, but then there were at least two other pushable sequences (despite also being short) along the way. As far as visuals are concerned I can't really form a clear opinion on this one: some areas have neat light effects, but there are also several others that look quite bland. Again, the initial outdoor areas come to mind... While your objectives and goals weren't always crystal clear, once you realized what you had to do things would flow rather well. 120 minutes, 1 secret. 08/14" - Treeble (01-Sep-2014)
"This is another entry that goes on far longer than the one hour mark and at first I thought it would turn out to be rather undemanding and possibly unengaging. Luckily, it perked up considerably as it went along, with some good, if occasionally a bit obscure, puzzles and fun, fairly generously allocated, timed elements. I just hope you know how to play chess." - Jay (27-Aug-2014)
"Cemetery Gates is a mixed bag of a level. It is certainly ambitious in the ideas behind its various environments, and there are moments of well-crafted gameplay that are sure to entertain. One of its issues is that the more entertaining section of the level comes after the first half, which is plagued by switch and item hunts that involves a lot of backtracking and revisiting old environments frequently. The inconsistent atmosphere of the level, which very often switches audio tracks with very distinct ambiances can also be distracting when combined with the haphazard texturing in the first half. I noticed a great deal of the wallpaper effect, especially on the rock/cliff faces. Once past the first half the texturing gets significantly better, and the level begins to be quite visually pleasing in some areas. The second half also contains the more exciting gameplay, which includes some fun timed sequences, a few interesting pushing puzzles, a water manipulation room, and a few good moments of exploration and platforming. The big problem with this design though is that I was beginning to feel very burned out by the time I finished the level. The longer it went on, the more I wanted it to end. It also felt a little anticlimactic that the artifact Lara is searching is the reward for collecting all of the secrets in the level, of which I was only able to find 1 of them. I saw another but couldn't find a way to open it up, and missed the rest. That isn't something I'm detracting from the score of the level, yet with the way the level is set up I don't really feel like playing through it again to find the secrets I missed. All that being said, the level is not at all bad. The author definitely put in hard work to realize this, and I can understand what the author was going for visually when designing the rooms. While the level seems to drag on forever, I honestly had fun playing this entry." - Relic Hunter (15-Aug-2014)
"So far the longest level of this year's BtB and the only one lasting longer than an hour. But unlike Fight for the Right to... it really outstayed its welcome especially since there were too long and pedestrian platforming parts at the end and even if the torch puzzle was fairly nice it got a bit repetitive too. You can say it still ends on a high note, with a very creative chess puzzle and an additonal quest item if you found all four secrets. Until then, I had 70 minutes of a thoroughly mixed experience. The gameplay and puzzle ideas seem to origin from a rather experienced builder while the looks are at best mediocre, while often messed up totally and architecture is often randomly constructed. Admittedly there are some better looking rooms here and there and even some with, say, interesting lighting, but the many haphazardly built areas in between diminuished any good feelings about atmosphere et al. The weird geometry certainly concurs with the one in Banteay Kdei, but I guess it surpassed it in the path to the gong which I found totally by chance. But the gameplay is actually the strength of the builder - there are lots of creative ideas that might not be used to their best but show a lot of unformed potential. There's a neat tripel usage of a block, a great multi-timed run with burners, a dizzying trip through a cistern inspired area, a really excellently planned timed run over pushblock that have to be arranged first, a block puzzle including an elevator and of course the mentioned chess game. Actually the creativity deserved for a higher score than "just" a 7 but then there are too many areas where you just hunt for the next lever, too many pedestrian jumping parts towards the end and overall the ideas of the builder aren't quite coherent and rather messily presented, I hope that his/her next level without a deathline won't be cut short in those regards with more care. There's also a pushblock puzzle against a spike wall which is an interesting idea, yet it's actually necessary to save and reload to get rid of the spike wall which I didn't find very good. The enemies and object felt like being placed as an afterthought and seem rather functional (but in their functions in puzzles or tasks they do their job well enough), but the same can't be said about the secret hideouts which are quite excellent and well hidden. The atmosphere is as said not really great, but it's not a total miss either. The work on audios is quite ambitious, yet somewhat the quick changes of the tracks is irritating at first, in the second half of the level that worked better. Also camera work is pretty rare. Texturewise the builder tried to create depth with textures and not always with atmosphere, so that strange geometric figures appeared because of the wallpaper effect, let's say it had its certain something but it didn't really appeal. There are a few missing water textures, but overall the texturing is okay and at least doesn't disturb. The lighting is sometimes interesting, but often pretty unrealistic and doesn't create much atmosphere either. So overall this is another level which I'd classify as from a (relative) beginner and given that it's fairly nice, although there's still a lot of work to do on the builder's side." - manarch2 (15-Aug-2014)
"Still a very long level. The gameplay is excellent with very good ideas (eg drag the torch it down into the room below, or the chess game where you have to know .... play, etc...). I was not too recognized the Khmer empire. texturing is not perfect, there are a lot of stretched textures and a general lack of atmosphere. Lara must be very driven because there is much to do. Excellent level." - Drakan (15-Aug-2014)
"At first of all I must say that this level wouldn`t even get my attention as I am quite a demanding TR player and I usually don`t play levels rated under 9 (but as it is a part of btb and I decided to play all of them) so that judging by pictures I already knew that this level will be nothing special but it wasn`t so bad as I wanted to give even lower scores but the second half of this level is quite impressive especially in terms of puzzles. Well let me explain it. In terms of gameplay the first half of a level is all about picking up key and puzzle items which were mostly just lying on the ground and to use those in other end of the location, so you will be running lot of kilometers just to use a switch or get the key, very easy and boring. But the second half of a level has quite creative tasks and puzzles like how to get a pushable thing onto twoblock platform, but as soon as you realize it then it will get boring because you know exactly where to get that pushable and it takes quite a lot of time to get it on that place using pushable blocks. Next very impressive moment is a spike-wall trap room with pushables and finding out a way or rather solve this puzzle was quite entertaining as it is very creative and also accompanying by epic soundtrack and flyby camera. There are also many places where you must think, like the drain/flood room or a room where you must light four wall torches was full of creative tasks and especially the checkmate puzzle which you must do in two moves, well I must admit that I had to check a video on youtube how to make a checkmate in two moves and did it according that :D BUT!!! How could I enjoy all this if this level lacked atmosphere! Yes I can say that this level is anti-atmospheric! Most of the areas (outside/inside) are boxy rooms where textures were applied rather well but tuxturizing such simple constructions isn`t really demanding also many areas have just 2-4 variety of textures used and there are several incorrectly textures applied. Creating a cave with 10-12 clicked sloped blocks and applying a texture on it affects the texture and that making it stretched. Enemies were mostly tigers inside the temples but what are they doing in there? I mean triggering an enemy just for making some action isn`t really a good idea, because enemy must fit the environment and/or situation, well it`s not a bad idea to place tiger inside the temple but why not to place it rather in some kind of cage? It would give much more sense. Also lighting mostly doesn`t give much sense but there were some rooms which were ok with it. Also I don`t understand the use of background music in first half of this level. There is a big outside area at the beginning seperated by gates or small cave-like corridors but passing from one part to another part the audio changes from birds-nature ambience to windy to mystery also to some kind of music-like ambience. And it`s all the same big outside area... doesn`t make any sense! All in all this level would be so much better if the atmosphere (audiovisually, variety of textures used, more complex constructions...) would have been improved and if there wouldn`t be so many long corridors and boring tasks. Creator of this level has a big potential so his/her even non-btb future releases may be a lot better and might even get my attention. Took me 1:54 hours and have found 3/4 secrets which were rather nicely hidden. 7/7/6/6" - OverRaider (05-Aug-2014)