About

Perusing Pixels is a photo diary of my expedition through the Tomb Raider series. Use the links to the right to find a particular game or level, or see below for the latest post.

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Sunday, 16 September 2012

Kingdom

Well, this was certainly a fun little level.  No, I’m not being sarcastic (for once), I actually really enjoyed Kingdom.  It was just the right mix of killing, climbing and puzzling, and there was some pretty cool scenery to look at as well.  It wouldn’t have felt out of place wedged somewhere in the later levels of the main game.
So, Lara’s found the titular mask, some stuff has happened and now she’s gone and fallen into a cage, where our adventure continues…


The level starts with Lara still pacing about the afore-mentioned cage.



Escaping the cage is simple enough thanks to a conveniently-placed lever and pressure pad, but I’m sure Lara is soon wishing she had stayed put when she discovers that the natural fauna of Kingdom includes yetis with access to hair dye some Bigfoots (Bigfeet?).



If that wasn’t bad enough (and believe me, it is), the snow leopard has also decided to make a comeback.  Bored of killing them, Lara decides to try and ride one instead.
On a side note, you do not want to see the screenshot that preceded this one by a few frames.  Suffice to say that I’m glad I don’t have the nude patch installed on this game.  I mean, I’m always glad I don’t have the nude patch installed, but this time I’m doubly-glad.


 
The snow leopard doesn’t take too kindly to being used as some kind of primitive snow-mobile, and instead chooses to prance around in a fabulous fashion while Lara watches on*.

*And by “watches on”, I of course mean “shoots the hell out of it”, AKA her default reaction to seeing something animate.  You gotta feel sorry for Winston.


Lara shows her soft side and takes a few moments to stroke the feline after she’s sufficiently sedated it.



Ah, oversized footprints, the skeleton of doom’s subtler cousin.



Just another awesome picture of Lara killing a bigfoot.  Of course, the adjective “awesome” can be used to describe any picture of Lara killing a bigfoot, because, you know, bigfoots are getting hurt.



It’s not all murderous mayhem, though.  That dancing polar bear from the last level has got everybody in the mood for a boogie.



8D



Dancing Bigfoot gets a little aggressive when Lara dares to critique his moves.



They manage to put their differences aside, however, and join together to execute a grand finale for their routine.



Such elegance!  Such grace!  The crowd goes wild.



Dancing Bigfoot takes a bow to his audience of cheering sasquatches and indifferent skeletons.



Meanwhile, Lara manages to extract herself from the disco and head into the forest.  I loved this area; it looks good and it’s a bit different from the locations we’ve seen so far.  Plus, it reminded me of Tomb Raider III, the glittering prize at the end of this expansion pack.



In the midst of the forest stood a building which contained this poor-man’s colosseum.  Pulling a lever sent some random mercenary tumbling into the room.



Another lever released a duo of eskimo whalers into the room, and a mildly entertaining showdown ensued.



The whalers won, at which point a third joined them, presumably with a weak apology and an unconvincing excuse as to why he was late for the goon-killing.  I left before things got too ugly.



The cave paintings have certainly got a lot darker in tone since we last looked at them.  I don’t even want to know what this is meant to be.  Thankfully, it didn’t manifest.



It took a hell of a lot of pointless exploration for some kind of diamond before I realised that you’re supposed to put the mask in this receptacle.  In what world is that hole mask-shaped?!



Inserting the mask into its new home released this gloriously golden variant of one of those things from Ice Palace.  Yay.



Getting near the beast is pretty deadly, although sometimes it will take a break from trying to punch Lara so it can attempt to scratch some hard-to-reach place on its back.



Mostly, though, it just chases her around while Lara tries to stay as far away as possible.



We eventually managed to trap it on the other side of this room, making killing the thing only marginally harder than killing its silver sibling.



Finally, it dies in the hammiest fashion imaginable, including a bit where it reaches to the sky as though it’s asking God (or whatever twisted deity created this abomination) why He has forsaken it.  It makes the Tomb Raider 1 crocodiles look blas√© about death.



The beast finally dies, triggering the official end of the Golden Mask.  Six out of twelve secrets?  Well, I tried.

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Furnace of the Gods

I hope you’ve had enough time to contemplate the many thought-provoking and ground-breaking points I make in my analysis for Fool's Gold (would a vacuum cleaner attached to a label maker make a sufficient flame-thrower substitute?  Are we in some kind of time-warping Futurama crossover?  Seriously, what’s with all the Stalin images?  (honestly, I should release study notes)), but it is now imperative we move on to the next level, mainly because I am desperate to play Tomb Raider III but still have three levels of this game to get through.

It may seem that I’m not particularly enjoying The Golden Mask, and that’s partly because I haven’t been, but hopefully that is going to change from here on out; Furnace of the Gods, once it got going, was a fairly pleasant and visually varied level.  Also, some of it reminded me of Atlantis – the good Atlantis, not the one in Unfinished Business.

 

The start of the level, apparently.  At least, it’s the first image that appears in my FRAPS folder.  It’s been so long since I began this level that I personally can’t remember.

 

Continuing through a gauntlet of poorly-lit spike traps leads us to this massive, slightly-superiorly-lit room.

 

Hey, the wolves from Tomb Raider I are back!  It certainly makes a change from a never-ending wave of artic felines.

 

…her head and feet are pointing in opposite directions.  This picture makes my neck hurt.

 

Betwixt frolicking wolves and lazy skeletons, you might a-spy the titular Golden Mask.  Yes, we’ve found it already!  So we can turn round and go home and play Tomb Raider III now, right Lara?  Right?

 

The ice-ghost men from the first level appear again, posing as translucent statues.

 

Upon collecting the mask, they burst into life, as viewed from this rather dramatic camera angle.  It took several seconds of running around (Lara) and screaming (me) before I realised they were apathetic.

 

There’s the mask, for anyone that wants a closer look.  Why does it have skin-flaps where the eyes should be?  *shudder*

 

The Furnace (or wherever we are) is awash with ugly faces carved into things.  This one looks like a Shinigami

 

…and here we what can only be the result of an illicit romance between a troll doll and a decaying tree.

 

The next section of the level largely revolves around what I mistakenly assumed to be a river of liquid gold.

 

Turns out it’s just a load of fancily-coloured liquid fire-death.

 

This part in particular reminded me of Natla’s Mines.  Substitute the gold for Lava and it’s almost like you’re in a classic Tomb Raider level (just joking, TR2G!  Don’t get angry and send me back to The Cold War, now!)

 

I have never seen her do that with her guns before.  That’s awesome!  It’s almost on par with kicking an eagle in the face.

I came across the following wall-paintings whilst traversing the river.  Bear with me while I try to translate.

It’s fun to stay at the Y…M..C…A!

 

Some poser Polar Bear commits the blasphemous act of free-styling to the song’s chorus and is justifiably condemned by the Giant Golden Face of Acceptable Dance Routines.

 

For his crimes, Polar Bear is thrown into a pit of fire, which apparently turns him into a giant ice-cube.  THAT’S NOT HOW FIRE WORKS.

 

Golden Face is momentarily appeased, until he notices the dancer to his left making decidedly un-C-like arm-motions…

 

In the end, however, it’s Polar Bear that has the last laugh, as he defiantly parades round his little ice-cave, throwing completely non-alphabetical shapes to his heart’s content.

 

For those of you that found it difficult to follow my train of thought for those last few pictures, please enjoy these images of Lara looking drunk instead.

 

What is it with this game and ending levels with seemingly-endless pits?

 

Does anybody actually go to the trouble of correctly descending a ladder in Tomb Raider, or do you all do as I do and simply let her fall down, pressingly Action occasionally to try and stop her breaking her neck?

 

Lara leaning provocatively against a wall.  “Hi there.”

 

Another Atlantis-esque moment.  I suppose this level is an improvement on Atlantis in that there are no centaurs.

 

We end the level in a cage, guarded by a pair of eskimo whalers (?).  We’ve spent this whole level travelling downwards, and yet somehow we’ve emerged into a place with some sky.  I’m not complaining, the sky has yet to lose its novelty in this series.

 

Just ignore the secrets part, okay?