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Sunday, 30 August 2009
Nice to see they were pushing the woman-character selling point even then, although Lara doesn’t look particularly attractive in this banner; actually, she looks kind of brain-dead.
I also harvested the Lara forum smilies from tombraiders.com (the old sister website of Stella’s tombraiders.net) which now ceases to exist. I posted on the forums as Starfish, and, being 13, I spent most of my time fangirling Larson, who was my first *cough* video game charcter *cough* crush.
Anyway, here they are:
I will be completing the Lost Valley. I’ve attempted several times, but have been thwarted by corrupt save files which keep booting me out of the game. Finding the Lara smiles has inspired me to persevere, however. Lara Croft wouldn’t give up so easily.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
I think the level of exploration in CD's games compared to Core Design's comes down to the way the games were built. In Legend and beyond, interactable objects were placed onto the scenery so Lara had means to make her way around. In the original Tomb Raiders, interactable objects were the scenery. Lara was designed to be able to climb, run and walk on blocks that were then used to the make up the levels. Slap any texture on them, but Lara could still hoist herself onto it if it was low enough. So, while the original game is technologically insuperior to Legend, it still manages to win in the explorability stakes. If you can see the top of something in Tomb Raider, chances are you'll be able to get on to it (whether it will be useful or not). And there was always that chance the Core would have left something a click too low and you'd be able to explore things they never even wanted you to see.
Another technological constraint in Tomb Raider is the draw distance, which means that the game cannot draw things after a certain distance away from Lara. For example, when she ventures into a large room, whatever is on the other end of it is slowly unveiled the closer Lara gets. Not very realistic (and it's a rare affliction in new games), but this little blip can create a whole lot of atmospehere. Take, for example, my recent excursion in virtual Peru:
All in all, I don't think improved games technology wins everything. There are some things in Tomb Raider that work better because of flaws. St. Francis Folly wouldn't be the same if the draw distance could stretch to the floor.
Tuesday, 14 July 2009
As a young girl playing Tomb Raider for the first time, it took me a while to summon up the courage to play this level. I had watched my cousin play it on his PS1, and it just looked a tad too frightening for me to try. I mean, there are two bears in this level.
This time around, I just about managed to steady my nerves to make my way through this small, plant-infested city.
(And I discovered on Wikipedia that Vilcabamba was a real Incan city, and the last to crumble to the invading Spaniards in 1572. Just in case you wanted to know.)
This is the start of the level. Nothing much to say about it, really, except that it’s apparently inherited the colour-scheme of the last level.
The whole four-dog-attack that occurs the minute you venture through the big stone doors is one of this things that put me off playing this level as a child. Four dogs…and no ability to flip over mid-jump! Even today, it was a nightmare. I actually had to use a health-pack. Yes. On the second level.
Thursday, 9 July 2009
On to the game. We're in Peru, and after a thrilling FMV wherein Peter Andre is mauled by to death and Lara puts down a pack of wolves in the most kick-arse way possible, the level begins with Lara (and the player) on the wrong side of a pair of ancient automatic doors.
Difficult though they are to make out in this picture, Lara has come face-to-face with her first enemy, the humble bat. These animals are easily to take out and their basic attack (which appears to be sitting on Lara's head and spinning around) does little damage. However, they do like to put in an appearance when we're up on ledges teetering over a 100ft drop.
This is the Bridges room. Toby Gard (who Eidos always trot out appease like he's the god of Tomb Raider, completing ignoring the fact that there were five other people involved in it's development) said - and I quote the Anniversary commentary - " I was kind of pushing for us to simply just skip this room on the remake because it wasn't particularly significant", which just goes to show how much he knows. Particularly significant? This is the first room the player is introduced the enemy that is actually frightening to encounter (bats aren't frightening, they're irritating). And although you can snipe them off from the bridges, you get the distinct impression you won't always be afforded that luxury.
The bridges room is also home to this guy, a pained-looking skeleton wrapped in gold string. He looks out-of-place next to the snow-streaked stone, but I don't recall him popping in the Egyptian levels later on. I'm going to keep an eye out, though.