I apologise for my brief absence. I was attempting to reboot the blog to its gritty origins by posting a couple of levels and then disappearing for months on end, but I quickly realised that such an update schedule wasn’t as much fun as I remember.
Tomb Raider 2: The Golden Mask is a collection of five levels that sees Lara travel to Alaska in search of the legendary Mask of Tornarsuk, which will no doubt turn out to be anything but. Really, Lara’s gotta hit a dead-end one of these days, hasn’t she? I for one look forward to Tomb Raider XLVII: The Completely Made-Up Artefact and the Sixteen Levels Wasted On Confirming That Fact.
Anyway, on with the first level of the game, The Cold War. My limited grasp of history tells me that the cold war was something to do with Russia, nuclear bombs and the nineteen-eighties, none of which appear in this level (thankfully, in regards to the last two), so I’m concluding it’s some kind of pun. Because it’s cold and Lara’s shooting stuff. And there’s a military base. To be honest, I would have run out of level-naming ideas too after the five-thousandth snow-based level, so kudos to the original author for getting this far.
Times are hard and Lara’s run out of functional pens, so it’s off to Alaska to pick up a nice little trinket that happens to be made out of solid gold.
The level starts with Lara plunging into some ice water. At least it’s not a corridor.
First weapon pick-up, and it’s a bloody harpoon. Really, I would have been happier with mild disappointment.
Look, even Lara’s pissed off that she has to waste backpack space on this glorified toy dart gun.
Oh, and there’s a shark chasing her, but I doubt she’s bothered about that, seeing as this is the cutest shark I have ever seen. Look at it! It has beady little eyes and it’s smiling! :D
The part of me that recently became addicted to Imgur is screaming caption this picture with nothing more than “boop!”, but the part of me that wants to continuing earning the respect of my readers is doing its best to quash that urge. We’ll know it’s too late when I start to superimpose poorly-written captions in the Impact font directly on to the pictures.
The secrets are a little less refined in TR2 Gold than they are in the original game; this one is pretty much just some loose change. Still, at least Lara can afford some stationary now. "First stop, Staples!”
Having seen Lara avoid hypothermia and shark death and make it safely to land, the helicopter trundles off to go do whatever it is helicopters do.
Bad news, everybody, it looks like the snow leopard is still standing on this side of extinct.
But it’s not just cute sharks and irritating felines Lara has to face; there’s also this man, who looks like he orders his clothes exclusively from the KKK’s winter range catalogue.
There’s also a zip swing. Yay, zip swing!
Not sure what’s going on here, but it looks painful.
Eventually, Lara stumbles upon a military base peeping out between the hills of snow.
Ignore whatever the hell it is Lara's doing and appreciate the prettiness of the sky. Aurora Borealis! Looks like she picked a good time to venture north.
Slightly-better-outfitted goon can only look on helplessly as Lara runs around his base. Damn those impenetrable iron bars and their bullet-repelling powers!
Lara takes a moment out of her busy schedule to practice some more seductive poses for TR3’s promotional images. Keep trying, Lara.
On first glance, these signs looked like they said “DOOP”, but alas, close reading reveals it’s “CCCP” and any hopes of a Tomb Raider/Futurama crossover go out the window.
After a rather slow start, we make our way into the above room, which is probably the most interesting place in the level. It’s light and pretty and has semi-transparent ice everywhere.
Something a little more unusual dwells within this cave too, however. Can you see it?
How about now?
For those that still can’t see it, it’s some kind of translucent Ice Warrior thing who looks and acts a lot like the Barkhang monks with a fancy new texture. There are quite a few of them running around the cave, for no discernable reason.
After this intriguing aside, it’s back to the boring ol’ army base to run around shooting people and then fall down a hole.
Soon after the hole comes The End Of The Level (thank God).
*!* BONUS PICTURE *!*
Lodair (who runs Examinando Pixels, the Portuguese translation of this blog), sent me some pictures he took of this level, which included an awesome set of Lara riding the snowmobile. Here’s my favourite:
I think you’ll agree, this is a pretty cool image, at a great camera angle (although it does obscure the majesty of the zebra-print coating). In fact, it kind of makes the level look more exciting than it actually was.
Anyway, that’s all for now. Stay tuned for the next level, which will hopefully be posted before the end of the year.