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BtB2015 - The Secret of Rhodes Island by Bojrkraider

Bene 8 8 10 10
DJ Full 9 10 10 8
Drakan 10 10 9 9
janachorider 8 8 8 8
Jay 8 8 9 8
Jose 8 9 9 9
Josey 9 9 9 9
Leeth 7 7 7 9
Magnus 5 5 5 5
manarch2 5 7 7 7
MichaelP 8 9 9 8
Mman 9 9 8 8
Mytly 8 8 9 8
nerdfury 5 8 6 7
Phil 8 9 9 9
Relic Hunter 8 9 9 8
requiemsoul 8 8 9 8
Ryan 8 7 8 8
Tolle87 9 9 10 10
Treeble 10 10 9 9
Zhyttya 7 7 8 10
release date: 11-Oct-2015
# of downloads: 190

average rating: 8.23
review count: 21
review this level

file size: 102.00 MB
file type: TR4
class: Rome/Greece

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"(5) Gameplay & Puzzles: This is a medium-difficulty adventure that took me ~1 hour 30 mins. There's quite a lot of timed runs here, and the occasional puzzle or trap. I would describe the first 75% or so of the gameplay to be "okay" and the last 25% to be "very bad". Before I go into the final boss and beyond, I want to summarize the first 75%:  You start off collecting a bunch of items in the village. There's a puzzle involving a beehive that is very creative conceptually but I think is flawed in execution. Initially, the fountain next to the beehive and villager starts off empty. You can flood the fountain, and then you shoot the beehive and the villager runs into the fountain to avoid the bees. That makes sense. However flooding the fountain is optional, and if you don't flood the fountain, after you shoot the beehive, the villager runs into a dry fountain with no water, which doesn't make sense because that would provide no protection from the bees. This gameplay flow, and many other little things, needed more testing. Once you go underground, traps are introduced, and there's a neat little side quest to visit a church, but I never really feel like the gameplay "took off" and got exciting. The final boss fight area is just a mess. There's a whole bunch of levers in this area and it's not clear what they do. I don't like backtracking in general, and I especially don't like backtracking over and over with regards to a timed run, and this occurs here. Also, the player can stumble into a buggy mess in which the Medusa is killed, but then the player pulls the lion pulley and then the Medusa respawns. This may happen if the player fails to raise a certain raising block B that allows access to the upper area. So, they kill the Medusa, they're back on the ground floor, but this raising block B hasn't been activated so the player will try to use the lion pulley again (to raise a different raising block, A), and that respawns the Medusa. Finally, to end the gameplay, the builder places red jewel objects on the hellish lava ground, and they're so hard to spot -- why? If I want to play a hidden object game, I'll go play a hidden object game. (8) Enemies, Objects & Secrets: Enemies and static decor objects are decent and I think this is the strongest category. The traps aren't very exciting, and the 2 secrets by the lagoon are too easy, however for the most part this category is done well. There's a great use of a skeleton within the church. (6) Atmosphere, Sound & Cameras: The architecture and atmosphere isn't very memorable. There are certainly some attractive areas (namely the outdoor areas with trees and bushes and such), however, these are offset by some overly boxy areas which appear quite beginner-like. For example, there is an underground lagoon/cave area, with a floating boat, and the lower boundary of this cave is just one giant rectangle. The final hell area with the skeletons is again another rectangular box. The starting brownish town area also looks plain and empty, and has some paper thin walls. Music/sound cues are well utilized and the builder effectively uses a number of flybys to set the scene. I do think static camera hints are lacking, though. It's not a convoluted level in terms of directions to travel (there's only so many areas to explore at any given time), however, cameras are lacking in terms of highlighting the objective within an area. I feel particularly strongly about this with regards to the boss fight area and all of the levers there. (7) Lighting & Textures: There's never a dark area in this level, which is always nice, however the lighting seems "off" in a number of areas, both outdoors and underground. Outdoors, the lighting is often too uniform and bright -- even on a sunny day, the alleyway areas would have more shadows. While the builder does use colored lighting attractively in the underground caves, there are often underground areas where I wondered where all the light was coming from, as there are no wall torches, holes in the ceiling or other feasible sources of light. The texturing needed more care, as there were often misshapen textures, which surprised me given the builder's experience. The builder at times also tended to mash together busy textures of various colors which did not look harmonious or have a consistency of theme (e.g. the underground hall with the pillars that you climb on). Overall, I'm sorry to say that I did not enjoy the gameplay. I think the atmosphere and texturing are also unpolished, and it is disappointing given that the builder is very seasoned. There are many unpolished "little things", too much for me to list here, and it just created a sour experience for me. The only aspects of this level that I enjoyed were the storyline, saving the village, and of course meeting friendly Pierre (he even shoots the bees for Lara, what a cool dude). 5/8/6/7." - nerdfury (23-Aug-2021)
"Usually the expert builders release good levels, and this is not an exception. Not easy to get stucked, not difficult tasks, few backtracking, good texturization and lighting, well balanced enemies, not very hidden secrets, enough ammo for the shotgun, surrounding atmosphere, entertaining gameplay with traps, puzzles and gymnastics... All a TR fan needs to have a good time. Recommended." - Jose (20-Oct-2017)
"Like Myth this is another level that tries something different, although this one is a little more traditional in structure. The starting town area is a bit simple looking, but it starts to make sense after certain events happen, and the later parts generally look better, with some impressive looking segments later on. The inconsistency does harm it somewhat though. There's some great creative object uses too. The gameplay includes some nice challenges and interesting non-standard puzzles. It gets a little backtrack heavy at one or two points (especially for the boss), but beyond that it keeps introducing new things at a nice pace. Despite the backtracking issue and some luck with it's attacks, the boss also still manages to be one of the involved ones of this BTB. It does a good job wrapping up it's story and it's a great map overall. I know Bojrkraider made this map in a relatively limited period; given how good it is despite that it's probably a mercy to everyone else that they didn't get the full time." - Mman (27-Apr-2016)
"Well, that was tricky. Turns out the Underworld opened because Lara Croft took another artefact for her collection. I found the Dragon a bit of a nightmare though. But it was alright." - Ryan (08-Mar-2016)
"The shark didn't said "raw" like it did on TR2, so that is less one point. But out of jokes now, this was a beautiful level, full of nice mechanics and with a really nice atmosphere. Even with the music being to loud, this was a nice experience. Love the use of the textures and the lightning was spot on. There were some random bugs with the weapons, even one that makes it impossible to end the game since you can't use any other weapons that is not the 9mm. Or if you place a statue in a bush you can't use it again. A bit more of camera's when using switch would be lovely and there is one switch that I have no idea what it did until now. Even with some really simple puzzles, the platforming was great and enjoyable and the enemies were awesome. Highly recommended level with great use of what was available for it! Even if the "story" being a bit random." - Leeth (06-Mar-2016)
"I don't really know where to start about this one. I guess i'll say what's the most obvious: the wad of 2015 is absolutely amazing, therefore i have no complains on the textures and how they were used. Let's go by topics shall we. 1. Gameplay and Puzzles: While i overall had a lot of fun playing the level, specially the boss part, i can't seem to ignore the fact that a lot of random stuff happens, like the whole city turning into a deadly lava floor out of nothing, like the random hammer at the end and a few jumps at the beginning with "forced" loss of health. One thing that happened to me was that my shotgun and bow completely bugged out after the church area. It happens that in the church you're not allowed to carry any weapons (nice touch btw!!) however if you draw your bow or shotgun inside the church they will stay "nonfunctional" throughout the whole level. For that matter, i wasn't able to finish the level, since you need to blow up the skeletons to pick up the last items (and yes, not even the light sword was working). It was my fault, but i didn't know the weapons would bug out. I've seen this mechanic been used before and never did the weapons bugged out for me. To finish off this topic i think that one of the cogs was hard to get, since the veeery small gap it's almost invisible inside the lake. 2. Enemies, Objects and Secrets: Funny thing that most of the secrets were actually easier to find than the bloody cog...and the part at the church were you need to move the statue, the bush that was in the way didn't let me grab it at a point. 3. Atmosphere, Sound and Cameras: There isn't much to point out at this, the atmosphere is brilliant as expected but i did find that the background music was waaay to loud. Summary: Fun level with a few random triggers but definitely a must play." - Zhyttya (06-Mar-2016)
"A level that starts in a relaxing manner inside a beautiful village with it's kind-hearted citizens, apartments and everything that makes a typical peaceful town.Tasks are simple but enjoyable, you are basically just exploring and searching for items.There are a few tight timed runs but apart from that, there is nothing that could prevent you from walking your way through this simple level, right?Wrong!After some 20 minutes, you will find Pandora's Box in one of the apartments and that's when your troubles begin.Once a peaceful town is now filled with lava and nightmarish creatures.You jump your way to the underground area and from that moment you will find yourself on the action-based trip through lava caves, old churches, underground lakes and ancient booby- trapped temples.Tasks vary from platforming through the caves and some more timed runs to puzzle solving.There are a few areas that remained intact and avoided the effect of Pandora's Box and they present a nice contrast and give you a nice break from agility tasks.There is one main underground chamber that leads to several areas while you search for two cogs.For one of them, you will visit a small church that contains a very original puzzle which includes movable table, prison-like chamber and one helpful skeleton.The builder wasn't careful enough here because you can get the table outside and reach some unintended areas with illegal slopes and the end of the world.For the other cog, you will search one nice-looking lake.What I really liked is the effect after you place both cogs when lava and water are flowing into each other, creating new passages in the old areas.Final part of the level is a battle with Medusa and I have to put a line here and say it's way over the limit.It includes timed run which you have to repeat several times, long switch animations and scaling around a huge room, while Medusa is throwing fire at you all the time.Simply, you can't do anything except to ignore it and pray to all your Gods that it will miss you by some miracle while you are limited with animations and shimmying.I respect the idea and good design, but in the end it comes to random luck and endless reloading.Apart from that over- frustrating room, everything else is just great.Gameplay offers big variety, all places look wonderful and authentic, cameras and music create great atmosphere and honestly I think this level is underrated so far with it's marks.Definitely one of the best entries in BtB15." - Tolle87 (02-Feb-2016)
"Yeah, I don't know. So Lara's on holiday in Rhodes, where she runs into Pierre and gets really suspicious about why he's there. But isn't the really suspicious part Lara herself going on a holiday? When has *that* ever happened before? Anyway, naturally I murdered Pierre in cold blood as soon as I got the chance. Just in case. Twenty-odd levels into this year's Back to Basics competition, I'm feeling all reviewed out. On the scale of bad to good BtB levels, this one falls squarely in the middle. This iteration of Greece is a bit on the boxy side, but it looks alright, and the opening area is bright and colorful, so that's nice. The gameplay is also what I've come to expect: you start out searching for switches and keys, then things get a bit more linear - but it never gets very challenging and it's nothing I haven't seen twenty times before by now. Two things that did stand out were finally getting to open Pandora's Box (very cathartic) and all hell breaking loose, as well as flooding a lake to open up a secret entrance behind a lava waterfall (a lavafall?). But for the most part, it's Back to Basics Greece by the numbers. It's not a bad level, but it's not a great level. It's a decent effort and a decent time, and that's all there is to it, I guess." - Magnus (30-Dec-2015)
"This one follows the rules of ancient play structure divided into prologue, epilogue and particular epeisodia, and is one of few which left me with real catharsis (in artistic sense, not medical). Texturing could be better, the cog puzzle could be a bit clearer and the ending fight could be a bit easier but there is no location I would throw out, for each one has a purpose and something different to do. The level lacks open space but provides multiple comfy details and I had a lot of time to hang an eye on these because I was never stuck for more than five minutes. SUMMARY: Makes sense. Left me rewarded with a gallore of pickups and a surprising ending I didn't see anywhere else. Highly recommended." - DJ Full (27-Dec-2015)
"Wow, what a wonderful, interesting, creative game, full of things to do and varied environments. I didn't understand the presence of Pierre at the beginning, but it was fun to see the man jumping in the fountain when Lara shoot the beehive. There are also beautiful places, as the room where Lara found the Happy Mask, and the illumination is good. The idea of changing the place (Lara's fault) after the finding of Pandora's Box was original, and I liked the red sky. It was also a good touch to show a typical theater of old Greece, and to include among the secrets typically Greek products. The music is also great. After the scenery change, all the action at the lava river is interesting, and even the return after the flipping of the lever is not boringly long. Afterwards, I enjoyed very much the skeleton part at the chapel, and the tasks at the beautiful watery cave. In fact, if I have reason to complain of this game, is only because if Lara is not of the very active kind, we have to walk through some boring traps at least three times, two of them after pressing lion buttons... because almost all the timed sequences of this game (there are several) are a little hard. Granted that I could also complain of the boringly difficult Medusa's part (why 6 levers/buttons, may I ask?), and of the monotonous Hell room, where it is very difficult to see the items to pick up and the places where they must be put. But why should I complain? It is an excellent game, and I congratulate and thank the author for it." - Josey (06-Dec-2015)
"Here's another solid entry in the BtB competition, a level that has appealing graphics as well as engaging gameplay. I spent about an hour and a half here, but I was obliged to use a savegame about halfway through because of a pillar object that did not allow Lara to stand upon it to engage a timed pull ring. Since few others experienced this glitch, my guess is that it somehow has to do with the fact that I still use Windows XP. Still, it's something that should have showed up in testing, so I've deducted a point from gameplay for this reason. The player is treated to a wide variety of looks in this level, but I most enjoyed the opening sequences in the bright and blue outdoors. The hellish area in the second half is well lighted but not as visually compelling. And I wish that the builder had incorporated the scene depicted in the closing flyby, which was quite intriguing. There are only a few BtB levels left for me to play, and I'm sorry to see this excellent series draw to a close." - Phil (03-Dec-2015)
"This level starts off peacefully enough: Lara is in tourist mode on a visit to Rhodes Island. But soon enough, Lara comes across Pandora's Box, and unleashes an apocalypse on the town. 'Lara unwittingly releases the forces of evil and then has to try to undo her mistake' is a story that goes all the way back to TR4, but it's nonetheless very entertainingly presented in this level. It helps that the BtB 2015 package has the necessary objects and textures for both a touristy Greek town as well as a hell dimension.
Gameplay involves exploration, traps, some platforming, and a couple of timed runs, but very little by way of puzzles, except for the pushable and skeleton puzzle in the church. There are some cute moments, such as Lara shooting a beehive above a fellow tourist to get him to step off a trapdoor. The horse statue that comes to life near the end to enable Lara to cross the lava safely is cool. Overall, this level feels a little unpolished. There are some unintended shortcuts, such as a line of safe lava tiles that allow you to skip a chunk of the underground section (I did it the intended way nonetheless, so as not to miss anything). The animation on some of the switches is wrong; and when it is right, it involves Lara walking on air when pulling a timed switch, and then falling down and losing health at the end of it. There is a large amount of tedious shimmying in the room before the one where you place the lyre, and in the boss fight room - a couple of shortcuts would have helped considerably in these places. Finding Pandora's Box is almost laughably easy - one would think that such a dangerous artefact would be better protected.
The main boss fight is pretty good, but is marred by a lack of cameras, which fail to show not only the effect of pulling all those switches, but also the final death of the monster. Fighting against the skeletons in the end is not bad, but the items they drop are nearly impossible to see, as are the puzzle holes for those items. Nearly all the secrets are extremely easy to find - there are one or two that are almost impossible to miss.
The lighting can be overly bright at times, and the colours a bit gaudy, but overall, the looks of this level are quite good. The town area is fairly pretty - though the architecture is a bit boxy and beige. The outdoor areas in the hell dimension are surprisingly nice - I especially like the area with the church. The underground lake is not bad, but the overly dense fog is a bit annoying. The textures are applied a little sloppily - there are a lot of distorted textures everywhere.
Overall: Despite some shortcomings, this is a fairly enjoyable level that uses the resources of the BtB package very well. Recommended." - Mytly (23-Nov-2015)
"A very long level . The part with the mutant is not easy because to activate the last jumpswitch I had to get back many times. I wondered why a timer on the raisingblock. Otherwise excellent level with a very nice water area." - Drakan (21-Nov-2015)
"Wow, this one starts so peaceful and harmless in a daylight village, with plenty of pickups to make and a few short timed tasks, but soon turns into quite a raid in underground hell, which is really creatively designed, although not quite as artistically beautiful as it maybe could be. It was very entertaining to guide Lara through the lava stream area, the church with a nice lock-the-skeleton puzzle and the beautiful cave with the lake. Hiding one tiny cog in this large lake area was however maybe not the best of choices. And then you get a hell of a Medusa battle that again was cleverly designed but I thought a bit over the top, as at times it seemed pure luck whether you were set aflame or not. All is well that ends well though, as is the case in this adventure. Recommended to see for many original ideas. [77 min, 6 of 9 secrets]" - MichaelP (18-Nov-2015)
"This is certainly a level with a great intention and quite a bit of imagination has been put into it, but it's simply a total mess in the design. Starting with the good things. The storyline is fairly inspired with a unique usage of Pandora's box and I liked how internal level jumps are used to convey the story. There's some good use of objects here and the atmosphere, despite some later to be described issues, is quite interesting and again different to most other BtB levels. The gameplay had some good moments, like the timed runs in the outside area, some jump sequences with the help of new moves and a few decent puzzles. But - and that is really a large "but" - it seems this level hasn't received enough attention, neither from the builder nor from (possible) beta testers. There are several inconveniences in the architecture (the boxy and flat design of the town, some really oddly designed areas, some room connections, e.g. from the temple to the lagoon, don't make much sense and there's also a bit of a lack of camera hints on what a certain action did (it's not even possible to see how Medusa is killed by the boulders). Then there is an overuse of objects in the town which doesn't create a very nice feeling (though thankfully no lag this time), and some objects even are embedded in each other or in walls. There are many strange things about the gameplay too. The scales puzzle is very easy to solve without a need for a second waterskin (nothing bad about that), but when you pour in the correct amount and the door opens the scale goes down (?). Having to grab twice into a reach-in switch is also very unintuitive. At the top of the lava river one can run over the safe lava to avoid having to go down at the bottom of the river, and there's another, even more serious shortcut in the church where you can jump to the upper ledges from the block besides the door - when you solve the statue puzzle for the plaque later (not needed though) and re-enter the church, you are stuck for good. When you pull the timed lever in the lava hall below the lyre room you drop on the floor losing a lot of health, but the other levers have an intendedly incorrect animation to avoid falling down (?). I somewhat liked the quest for a bunch of levers in the Medusa room, but it's a bit tedious at first to use the long crevice several times (if you don't follow the "perfect" route described in the walkthrough, it can be even more pedestrian). And if you save after climbing Pegasus and reload the whole lava has turned deadly (at least there's a revealed path after finding the secret). Those things are all quite distracting to be honest and there are no really off-blasting things that made me forget those issues. The secrets are mainly very easy to find, especially those in the sea, enemies are at least decently used in here. The looks are solid, but not utterly convincing with not very spot-on lighting (some parts are very flatly lit, while others are way too strong such as the blue fog in the sea) and not very clean texturing either - a lot of mistakes are visible at first sight. The flare bug also occurs somewhere in the game. I feel that the builder wanted to express quite a lot in this level, and there are quite good approaches, but IMO he has overdone it, sadly, as there's too little care for many important things a good level needs. Spent 40 minutes in here." - manarch2 (05-Nov-2015)
"Great level!.entertained me for two hours." - janachorider (04-Nov-2015)
"This is a hard review for me. Lots of conflicting opinions: The town was rendered well and better conceived than some but then, why place a timed run at the beginning when it wasn't to be used 'till later? A bit of a downer but did not mar the atmosphere. The time run to the grape trellis needing a second more (for me, obviously not for all) had me using words that are not usually in my vocabulary but it led to an area filled with great pickups and then there was the crowbar/sword that had to be grabbed 2X before it came out of the wall making it very easy to miss. Despite what I have already said this was one of my favorite entries - the lava river area was perfect with well-placed enemies and a clever return away to that flame throwing Medusa. And nothing beats a horde of skeletons like Zeus' thunderbolts. A final walk through the town and Lara "sails" out to the ship. Recommended for all but perhaps easier for some (me) with a walkthrough in hand." - Bene (04-Nov-2015)
"While other levels have used the Pandora as a mere collectible, this one takes it to the next level: Lara herself unleashes chaos upon a peaceful little town and on her quest for atonement she ends up in a very unexpected place - loved that bit! Gameplay flows rather nicely with a number of fetch quests and a few crafty platforming sequences. Nice little touches along the way (such as the guy moving into the fountain to avoid the bees) make this a great experience, don't miss out on it! 75 minutes, 6 secrets. 11/15" - Treeble (04-Nov-2015)
"Good contrast here between the lovely town with its peaceful alleyways and the lava filled nightmare that Lara manages to unleash by opening Pandora's box. It certainly lets the builder have fun with different ideas - obviously the hell hole version of Rhodes is full of nasty creatures who don't particularly like tourists. Fun timed runs, nice puzzles, a somewhat different ride on Pegasus - all combine to make this an enjoyable raid with excellent atmosphere." - Jay (30-Oct-2015)
"Dang it, Lara! Some people just want a peaceful vacation in a quaint Greek town without you causing another apocalypse upon mankind! Talk about a pretty gripping premise to a Tomb Raider level. At the beginning I was sure this would be a traditional raid of exploring different areas of town to unearth some hidden temple for Lara to loot. Imagine my surprise when I accidentally set off an apocalypse and everything goes south for Rhodes Island. The idyllic, sleepy village literally becomes a hellhole of lava, a red sky with ominous lighting permeates through the horizon, and horrible monsters roaming the area as the action moves into underground caverns with hidden temples, and some of the more remote outside areas with mythological altars and a small church. That aside, this level entertains with a good mix of exploration and active, engaging gameplay. There is a healthy number of timed runs to test one's agility with, boulders, spikes, darts and currents of lava to evade, harpies, centaurs, and giants to fight, and everything culminates with killing a gorgon and vanquishing the evils of Pandora's Box. We get to see the fruits of our heroine's efforts too as the town is restored back to normal and things end on a happy note. Progression is overall smooth and doesn't leave players scratching their heads for long, and the descent to the underground parts and further in is nicely done. I also really liked unleashing a torrent of water to extinguish the lava-fall (as opposed to a waterfall), and freeing Pegasus to be able to run over the lava flooding the town. The builder makes good gameplay and has a nice flair with creating caverns, though the more man-made parts of the level don't look quite as good. The beginning town section looked very open and sparse, and some of the temple areas don't look like they've been given enough attention. However, the texturing and lighting works well throughout. Definitely one of the competition's bolder entries. Solid thumbs up from me." - Relic Hunter (20-Oct-2015)
"A solid and old style map. The tasks are clever and fun to play. Not hard map I like the"chuch" and "hive" tasks Difficulty: Medium. 70 minutes." - requiemsoul (13-Oct-2015)