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The Hand of Sirius by Marksdad

Catherin 9 7 8 7
CC 7 6 6 6
Dimpfelmoser 8 6 7 7
DJ Full 5 4 6 6
eRIC 9 8 8 7
G.Croft 8 7 7 7
Gerty 7 7 7 7
Jay 7 7 7 7
Jose 5 5 6 6
Kristina 7 7 7 7
MichaelP 7 6 7 6
Momster 8 7 8 7
Monika 9 7 7 8
Moonpooka 8 8 7 8
Mulf 4 4 3 4
Phil 7 9 7 8
RaiderGirl 8 8 8 8
Ryan 6 6 7 7
Sash 7 6 7 6
Scottie 8 7 8 8
Treeble 8 8 8 7
release date: 06-Jul-2002
# of downloads: 119

average rating: 6.93
review count: 21
review this level

file size: 17.78 MB
file type: TR4
class: nc

author profile(s):

Reviewer's comments
"This looks very much like a step back in the builder’s development, from challenging-but-fun levels that play with players’ conventions, perceptions and expectations back to Frozen’s practice of annoying players on purpose. Although the tasks you’re asked to perform are not particularly challenging in themselves (I don’t see why everybody’s so hepped up about that timed run, for example—it took me all of two attempts, and I am prepared to repeat it anytime), the level amasses quite an impressive number of well-known irritants that collectively drain almost all the fun away: forced health loss during regular progression; forced backtracking with no hints, and including the repetition of previously completed tasks; fixed cameras used to make jumps artificially more difficult, or for misdirection (hiding crawlspaces and underwater tunnels from view); many pitch-black nooks and crannies, but few additional flares; enemies used as unavoidable health drains. Then there’s also that obvious illegal slope next to a gate near the beginning; and the builder’s refusal to mark his climbable walls as such looks increasingly like a silly gimmick.
The level’s only saving grace is its use of rollingballs. However, towards the end the builder botches even those with his bleeding fixed cameras. I could avoid major health losses in this latter section due to an unresolved glitch (the ninjas that come running up the stairs after you pick up the Hand fail at crossing one particular step, float down to the floor and try again; you can easily pick them off from above while they’re doing so), and by shooting from the alcove during what would have been the Great Ninja Massacre near the end, hopping back out of the line of fire when necessary. Much of the level looks like certain parts of “Thames Wharf” without lighting, and Dimpf is absolutely right when he says that the little street at the beginning (and at the end) looks rather like an abandoned movie set. So it’s appropriate to leave the last word to the late great Roger Ebert: ‘I hated, hated, hated this level’." - Mulf (06-Mar-2021)
"Not perhaps the best level Ian has produced, but it has its moments. OK, Lara does visit the sewers, but they certainly appear to be the cleanest, most hygienic looking sewers and totally rat free. There’s a bit too much backtracking and annoying fixed camera angles to greatly endear it to me, but there are some pretty good traps, the occasional slightly tricky jump and tight timed elements. The town with its grand church looks attractive, but you’ll probably be too busy slaughtering ninjas to do much sightseeing!" - Jay (27-Mar-2019)
"Those of you out there who are fond of boulder traps, then this level will be right up your street. The ways in which they are used are certainly intriguing but I thought they were somewhat overdone for a level as small as this. There's isn't a lot of variety to speak of otherwise since most of the gameplay involves either avoiding them or pushing a lot of levers, so it become rather tedious quickly, at least for me. There was also quite a bit of backtracking in the earlier half which proved a bit of a drag, although the distances are fairly compact. The fixed camera angles were nifty, to be fair, but also proved an annoyance when trying to perform jumps, and ninja enemies were overused too. Ultimately not my kind of game as I prefer a bit more meat to the gameplay, but it might appeal to fans of traps (and yes, boulders)." - Ryan (17-Jan-2019)
"Again too high ratings for a poor gameplay; why? he's a moderator, of course. The lonely pack of flares I found near the beginning was not enough to light all the entire level. There are a lot of fixed cameras, but not the important camera shots when pulling levers, envolving some backtracking and re-exploring previous areas. Not appropriate textures for some climbable walls, except for the timed run (well, two in fact, the second easier) you'll only have to pull switches and avoid traps; in this sense, I think there's an abuse of the spiked balls in many places/ramps. The fixed cameras seem to make players' life harder instead of helping: hide the crawlspace, the narrow water passage where the exit is not at the very end, the final jump at the bottom of the ramp with several spiked balls where you need to jump twice as a blind man... And what to do when returning to the starting area? Again to the sewers? When you pick up the hand there's not a camera, as usual, but perhaps you previously saw the closed door in the streets; but near the end you never could see a door or so when starting to play 'cause it never was there (flipmap?). Not a bad level, but not so good as the previous players said." - Jose (20-Jul-2016)
"The initial camera looks nice, but the second (fixed) one disturbs as hell. Next thing is an illegal slope behind the door, forcing a player to reload the game in case of getting trapped. The only flares (right behind that door) can be missed too easily, and in such case we have not enough of them till the very end of the game. It seems the author either didn't care, or simply couldn't concentrate on details - as water is too shiny as for sewers, and even double sided fails in the first pool. Thankfully, such minor flaws appear rarely. The introducing (and ending) city is rather atmospheric, even though built of basic textures. Nevertheless, most of the game is boring - as this kind of painting doesn't work underneath the city, where we explore some sewers as an intermezzo, and where we have to do plenty of backtracking, and no camera hint is given after pulling a switch, so it's very likely we check a wrong corridor before we enter the one where a door has actually opened. Ladders are marked unclear, mostly with a window texture - this is one of two games when I've seen such application (the other one is Sirio's first level). I also found the uzis (secret), but that particular (unmarked) ladder was simply unfair. Most of beginner players will be dissapointed here, as they will force themselves to replay the game rather than have some pleasure from it. I know because I did it - however, for a different reason: I wanted to find out if the game is manageable without medikits. I assume it is - with dying many times, and thanks to engine bugs rather than due to merits of careful building - but ONLY if You don't miss any normal shell nor its future target. I learnt this in a quite frustrating way: in the end of the level, there is a slope Lara is supposed to slide down, and an enemy targeting her while she is doing it. Without that particular single shell (and it is essential for it to be a normal shell, as a wideshot one has too large radius), she was doomed, no matter how hard and how long I fought in order to survive all previous baddies. From real advantages of the level, I feel obliged to mention the timed run, which is calculated to a split second, hard but anyway fair, and we can do its second version after the room is flipped, what is inventive and makes backtracking a bit more interesting. The basilica is also atmospheric, and I like the classic getaway sequence occuring after picking up the Hand, although I found the boss fight camera very disturbing, even more than the fixed one in the beginning. Sound is divided in themes corresponding to situations/objects, sometimes two variants of the common theme occur before and after solving a particular puzzle, and it's causing a very good impression of fulfillment and match. SUMMARY: A level about a hand. On one hand, it's unfinished. On the other hand, it's full of potential and quite interesting despite of its contrasting texturing and backtracking. Anyway, rather optional, and for a single play only." - DJ Full (30-Aug-2011)
"How wrote the author in his Walkthrough: "don't blame me, if it isn't". With it he meant a grid door which should be open, actually. But exactly this I have made. I have cursed him because this grid door was closed and I had found no lever or Jumpswitch to open this door. And of course I have read this point in the Walkthrough several times. And of course the door stayed shut. And of course I have cursed the author several times. Until to me had struck then that I must make maybe something else other before. Disgrace about me. But how already said quetzalcoatl:" We players are like chicken who are looking for a single corn... and when we have found it, we leave the walkie as almost as possible". And with it he is of course completely right. I would have had to read only the sentences about that, then I would have substantially been more relaxed. And I wanted to send already almost the level into the data nirvana. Only well which I have not made. Since, otherwise, a really good level would have escaped me. Though it was irritating a little bit if the Baddies have sometimes shot from the back at Lara, but we do not want to stay with little things. And the last room with the rotary camera and many opponents was actually brilliant." - Scottie (19-Jun-2009)
"The Hand of Sirius in this case is in the area of San Marco Square (would that be Italy by any chance?). So even though this is a tut wad it's very city looking. Nice buildings. But as always our girl has to get into the sewers before she can get out into the streets. Tough life! I like city levels and I liked this one. The biggest excitement I found was dealing with umpteen boulders and my Lara got killed by these more than the umpteen ninjas. Things can get a little confusing on occasion and the solution is just to try and remember the closed doors you passed along the way because you don't get camera shots. Backtracking to you and me. Nevertheless it's a nice one-evening level to play and who can complain about the size of the download? Good fun. Actually speaking of cameras remember some fixed ones are there for a purpose not just to give an overhead view of Lara or to distance yourself from her after she's been in the sewer. One of the most entertaining parts of this level was reading Ian's walkthrough. Such a nice modest guy!" - CC (21-Oct-2004)
"Thirty minutes into the level and I didn't have time to catch my breath I mean Lara didn't. Spike balls coming down timed runs well one but I did it three times and ninjas in teams of three or five. As the title says we need to get hold of the Hand of Sirius and do a circle to finally emerge from the underground and get back up to the streets. I liked the rush but not the back tracking especially since I forgot to pull a lever and had to go back that gap more times than I needed. One secret found and half an hour of game play." - Kristina (24-Jul-2003)
"Another little foray into the demented mind of Marksdad and am I surprised at the huge amount of tricky boulder traps to get past? Well no! The boulder traps in this level are just brilliantly made not only are they there just to get past with a bit of speed but you actually have to give the answer to passing them a good think especially when it came to the run then jump in water where you have to quickly swim through a small opening before the big squish or the slide with three chasing you as you try and jump to a set of steps in front of you just nail biting. The game otherwise it a bit sequential with a timed block jump a fire block jump and levers to find but this is sometimes made that little bit harder with the use of fixed cameras we hate fixed cameras and a lot of ninjas shooting at you sometimes down right unfairly in the back. I found one secret the uzi but it didn't register and finished in the little section of town where I started after about 35 minutes. If it weren't for the traps in this level I would have to say that it would be a little unexciting but as they are there it makes this level a definite play for a bit of re-loadable fun." - Sash (19-Jul-2003)
"When the level starts Lara gets right into her first puzzle. She has to jump to a lever and as there are a lot of fixed camera angles in the whole level she always has to take her time to find the right way. The fixed camera angles are fantastic and the varied puzzles are great: sneaky jumps a timed run fire pillars. There are also quite a lot of spiky boulders but each time the author uses another cunning puzzle. The level took me 1.5 hours (statistics) to get through. Actually I just use the pistols but in this level I had to use at the very end the Uzis as I was running out of medkits. 'The Hand of Sirius' is not too hard (so you won't get frustrated and won't skip it) but it isn't easy at all. It's a great level (very easy to install) just give it a try. (02-07-2003)" - Tinka (02-Jul-2003)
"I really enjoyed this level. There are levers to find to open doors mainly back where you've already been but that was the joy of this level in that things weren't always as you'd expect them to be. I loved the textures and sounds although bland in places the square was lovely with its little chapel area. Some ninjas to sort out on the way and a great shootout near the end. Rolling balls fire pillars and timed door all added to the enjoyment of the level. Lara gets The Hand of Sirius for her troubles and leaves with it I particularly liked the end because you arrive back where you started and leave the level through a newly opened house door hard to put into words really but it was quite nice. Some great sneaky moves involving camera changes a hidden crawl space that had me stumped for ages. Although a walkthrough was provided I didn't use it but did get some help from the forum. Great level and fun to play not too hard and worth a look at." - Moonpooka (26-Jun-2003)
"I enjoyed this level a lot! It's very challenging and something you're going to see a lot is the loading screen. It's very clear the author likes tough jump sequences because there were some in this level being one right at the beginning which also is the end of the level. Lara gets deeper into a city through the sewers and she finds the Hand Of Sirius in a church I think. After getting the artifact you better have some medipacks to use because you will fight dozens if not hundreds of white ninjas while avoiding rocks that keep falling. There's one secret that I find more by accident because I really did not imagine it would be there... 45 minutes." - Treeble (07-Nov-2002)
"Considering the tutorial wad was used here this level looked nothing like what I expected - instead of an Egyptian tomb I found a small city in San Marco. While the buildings and textures are great Ian has a way of making the traps jumps and moves the main focus of his levels and the ones here are pretty exciting. Boulders and crawl spaces are used in a way that we rarely see simple solutions are made more difficult through the use of clever camera angles and some difficult jumps and a timed door will have you sighing with relief when you finally make it through them. Your objective is to grab the Hand of Sirius from it's resting place before the many groups of ninjas do and then make your way out of the city. Apparently there was one secret but I never found it anyone want to give me a hint?" - RaiderGirl (17-Oct-2002)
"The level starts in a small village and of course I went the wrong way. Jumping over a grate that wasn't open I got stuck in an illegal slope. Teach me to play it by the book. I loved the jumping you had to do towards a lever but hated that camera angle. Ian must have an evil streak to make our lives miserable playing wise. Then you enter the sewers the cleanest I've ever seen. There are several openings you have to go to. There is a great jump sequence for a timed door. Had me reloading quite a few times. And then of course the boulder traps. I had even more problems to pass those. There is one secret the uzi. Enemies are ninjas and they do sneak up to Lara so watch your back. Ian does use more evil camera angles and the end be prepared for a shoot out. 25-05-2002" - Gerty (11-Aug-2002)
"Starting out in a small city road this level somehow just did not click with me. There is a fair amount of backtracking here with little if any camera help (in fact rather hindrance by camera angles) and I got really annoyed when being flattened by boulders on a few occasions and by several pitch black corners around. I did enjoy that short but challenging timed run (and the relief when you did not have to do it again). The two dozens of ninjas were maybe a little much and almost let this 50 minutes adventure end as a shoot 'em up level. Well I guess should I ever replay Ian's levels I'll stick with the Hollow Mountain series but you go make your own decisions." - Michael (28-Jul-2002)
"A lot of good challenging puzzles and traps in this level that has a clear goal. Get in - get The Hand of Sirius - get out! To be able to do this you have to get by rolling boulders burning pedestals timed runs and fight enemies that don't come in one and one but in groups. Some levers to pull and sometimes you have to do a little backtracking to find them all." - G.Croft (27-Jul-2002)
"Marksdad has designed some solid levels over the past year or so. Nothing overwhelming or even particularly outstanding but just good fun-to-play levels. He also shows consideration for the novice Tomb Raider player (or the advanced player who doesn't care to admit he or she is stuck) by providing walkthroughs on his web site. This latest effort is more of the same but we have the added touch of a locked camera in several sticky places that makes it more difficult for the gamer to proceed. ('Lara needs to get on her knees' indeed!) These are fun downloads that don't take up an inordinate amount of disk space and I hope that Ian keeps 'em coming." - Phil (22-Jul-2002)
"Although quite entertaining for most of the time there are a few things I really hated in this quest. First you have a return of the old push-a-lever-here-and-a-door-opens-there game. The cause and effect is rather enigmatic and since you get no cutscenes to give you a hint you have to do a bit of running around to find the way to proceed. Also you get a cleverly hidden crawlspace which due to the imaginative camerawork is almost impossible to spot. I'm not against fixed camera angles per se but here they are deliberately employed to make your life just a little bit more unbearable and in the process make you aware that this is just a computergame thus destroying the illusion of reality. There isn't much variety in the enemy department put the warriors of the desert are placed with care and you even get a shoot out at the end. I particularly liked the boulder traps the timed run and the room with the fire pillars. There are some impressive rooms like the inside of the church and the hall where you get shot in the back while hanging from the ceiling; at other places the textures have a patchwork quality to them and the little village at the start looks a bit like props of a movieset. Apart from the aforementioned crawlspace the gameplay is pretty fluent not to say fast paced and shall provide you with good clean fun for at least 40 minutes. Highly recommended." - Dimpfelmoser (22-Jul-2002)
"Having never played one of Ian's levels I had a little trouble getting into this. I intensely dislike fixed camera angles which was pretty much what you started out with here. But I must say as I progressed into this adventure I found myself enjoying it more and more. 'Fiendish' is what I called Ian on the forum he did some exceptional things and I would like to thank the staff at Bedford Hospital for making sure Ian created this level. I will admit to having to dozy over the fire blocks because try as I might I just couldn't get Lara to jump to that starting block so I did have to cheat to that first block. There are some good puzzles in the level and some really fun jumping areas not too many enemies until the end but he made up for it there. Very enjoyable level which took me 1 and hours but I'm slow." - Momster (14-Jul-2002)
"The level starts in some streets and this is also where Lara will leave the game. In between she has to find a Hand of Sirius. The switches that will open the doors to continue are not always obvious to see or easy to reach. There is a timed run over blocks to a door. That run was not really my problem but the spiky boulders that came down at the most awkward moments. Also the ninjas firing when Lara was hanging on the ceiling or the camera would not move. Yes the camera really made things a bit difficult. On the whole I quite enjoyed the challenge of this level. It took me about 45 minutes (statistics) to get through and Lara had almost no health left." - Monika (12-Jul-2002)
"This level is a must play Tombraider boys and girls because it is very fun. There are some good ideas some good puzzles good traps a rather tough timed door with jumps over pillars (I succeeded in this timed sequence by avoiding one of the pillars) and if you don't like the Tutorial Egyptian textures this mission takes place in a European little town with blue new textures for the houses and London textures for the underground. Anyway the texturing is not very important here because the pace is rather fast and the gameplay enjoyable. At the end this mission becomes very serious for Lara with groups of baddies and very good spiked ball traps. And there is a new kind of enemy: the camera. Very good camera work by the way! Completed in 50 minutes with no medipacks in the inventory found no secret even though the uzis could be counted as secret. Recommended for the fun and some rather hard but manageable sequences." - eRIC (21-Jun-2002)