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Zymoticus
29th Jun 2002, 21:21
Like most here, I'm dying to plunge into the next-generation Tomb Raider, and am somewhat irrationally incensed at having to wait until winter to get my hands on it (irrational given the fact that I'm only just halfway through "The Last Revelation" and have yet to buy & play "Chronicles.")

News that it will begin in Paris is a kick because I fell in love with that city within roughly 2.0031 seconds after emerging from the Les Halles subway from the airport. The more real-world detail built into the game, the better!!

Having said that, I'll echo what someone said on one of the old forums - that I'm much more fond of the scenario of Lara exploring ancient sites buried deep in the wilderness, alone except for the occasional, overly-frisky wolf/bear/tiger/dog/bat/crow/tyrannosaurus/snake/etc. and perhaps the rare intrusion of an "ethically-challenged" humanoid (Bad Guy.) The predominantly urban/industrial settings of TRII and TRIII were still thoroughly enjoyable but after extended periods with no sunshine & fresh air, got just a bit oppressive, claustrophobic, and somewhat tedious.
"The Last Revelation" has been a refreshing return to the great outdoors - and crumbling indoors.

Another couple of criticisms:
I was disappointed with the new menu structure and appearance in "Last Revelation". That floating, circular thing in TR III (and II? 'can't remember,) was not just excellent in its usability, but was visually stunning. The hi-res image of Lara behind it likely had something to do with that, but nevertheless... I find it less confusing to be able to see all menu items at all times in a "lazy susan"-type circle than in a top-of-screen lineup where they disappear on each end as you navigate. That was a definite step down in design - hopefully the new games will either go back to the circle structure or invent something just as good.

The other thing that's particularly frustrating and hopefully will be corrected: the absence of brightness/contrast adjustments in "Last Revelation" (and "Chronicles"?) I currently have my monitor set far brighter than I ordinarily would, because "Last Revelation" is so !%#@ dark.
Naturally, this means that everything else I do on my computer is washed-out, but since continually changing and re-changing monitor settings is profoundly annoying I'm just leaving it.
Even with the monitor thusly tweaked, "Last Revelation" is still too dark. This is very frustrating.

The obvious fix is simple: restore the brightness/contrast settings to the menu options - why this was removed from "Last Revelation" is beyond comprehension. Did they restore it for "Chronicles"?

But I'm droning on here - to my primary point!
Something I was relieved to see changed in "The Last Revelation" was the elimination of the necessity to find all secrets on every level, else forfeit the right to play the last ("bonus") level.
The unintended consequence of that requirement was essentially to get players hooked on the seductive drug of Online Walkthroughs.

In their defense, without Walkthroughs I would never have accumulated all the secrets necessary to get the bonus level, and in one case a Walkthrough showed me, several levels after the fact, that I'd walked right past an entire area of gameplay - the "Valley" section of TR I. I'd missed big brother T-Rex and all those fun-loving Raptors altogether!
The problem, of course, is the often irresistible urge to consult a walkthrough whenever play takes you to an area that's a little less interesting, or worse, whenever you get lazy. Yes, this is a personal willpower issue, but I have a suggestion:

Part of the urge to consult a walkthrough is the sense that you may have missed a pickup - and obviously pickups are important to future gameplay, particularly weaponry and ammo.
What if there were a selectable "Pickups Hint" feature in the Options menu that would serve as a strictly limited hint source for pickups? It could be text-based similar to the Stats window, but a kind of text "radar" that might say something like "You have missed two pickups, located 40 yards and 130 yards, respectively, of your present position." This "pickup tracker" would only divulge items Lara had already passed, not those ahead of her, and would not give direction or further info - just the fact that they're there and their approximate distance from Lara.


Pardon the book - "binge-writing", sorry.

The Gamester
30th Jun 2002, 03:49
:o I find it interesting you haven't tried Chronicles yet. In my opinion it's by far the best of the entire Tomb Raider game series. The dark atmosphere you saw in Last Revealation is still there but in Chronicles you will see a lot of changes. The game contain flashbacks and enhanced moves for Lara. It also have puzzles and mazes that you must solve before proceeding to the next level. When I tried it the first time I had a tough time getting through all the levels until I downloaded and printed out the walkthroughs. After reviewing these cheats I managed to get through it.
As far as game development ideas goes, I would like to see the original Tomb Raider reissue with modern CGI. In my opinion this will greatly enhance the series without loosing the original framework for this game. :rolleyes:

DaveJ
30th Jun 2002, 08:42
As for your monitor issues, track down an application called "3deep".

It allows proper gamma adjustments for your games, without having to fiddle with your monitor's brightness control.

Works great on the TR games, but not sure if it works under XP.

http://www.ecolor.com/page.asp?content=colorific_and_3deep&lev1=1&lev2=1_4&lev3=1_4_1

edit: Got it to work under XP after all!

whitemetal
30th Jun 2002, 10:39
Selectable pickup hints........Hmm! that would make it easy to find
everything and perhaps thats the point. I'll be the first to admit
using a walkthrough but only once after being stuck for over a month, i would have prefered not to use it but it got to me in the end. The point is that if it were part of the game then it would be
used as part of the game, i think something about the adventure
aspect is taken away and you feel you haven't completed it yourself. But maybe thats just me:)

cjhilljack
30th Jun 2002, 23:00
I agree about the menu ring - I would like to see it back in AOD. I am pleased, however, with having retrieved that ability to save when and where we wish. I do also, however, wish to see the "passport" brought back so that if we mess up a level, we can at least go back to the beginning of that level if we need to (and I also like to play favorite levels as warms ups when I haven't played TR for a bit).

Like some other folks here have mentioned, I am lamenting the loss of Lara's Home. I love having the opportunity to work through new moves, etc. prior to beginning gameplay and while I didn't mind the training level incorporated into the 1st level of Chronicles I absolutely HATED (yes, I know it's a strong word) the training level in Last Rev.! I wanted, at the very least, an option to get out of there and to make Von Croy shut up!!!!!

I also agree about the return to the more classic TR play that was experienced in TRLR, but I also LOVED Chronicles - it was cool to have different, unconnected scenarios...Zy, you definately need to get around to playing that game!

Last, but not least, as a PS player, I wish they'd add that gamma adjustment to the options in the menu - I am frustrated with having to adjust my TV all the time, and then having the settings way off for actually watching TV.

Zymoticus
1st Jul 2002, 00:22
Thanks for all the suggestions & comments, guys - I was hoping to get a "brainstorm" session going here to churn out ideas...so far so good.

The only reason I don't have "Chronicles" yet is that I'm playing the games in order and right now I'm about halfway through "Last Rev". I'm finding that Last Rev is becoming a fave - I just came across the "Fire Elemental" and "Ice Elemental" which are very, very cool inventions. Unfortunately, Mr. Ice is a !%#@!*&# slowpoke so I had to cop out and make the mad dash for water. :D

On the gamma adjust front, thanks DaveJ for the link to 3Deep. I'm loath to pile more stuff into my system but I may have to give it a try - monitor technology has improved vastly in the last couple decades but I still don't think it's good for them to be running at fry-level brightness for extended periods. And Last Rev is likely to take me at least a couple more months to complete.
To give the developers credit, I understand the darkness is set that way to enhance realism and atmosphere, but at a certain point it becomes such a continual annoyance that it detracts from the game more than it enhances. To be deprived of the simple option of adjusting it is, as Phil Mogg would say, "enough to make you rip out your hair."
Secondly, the rendering of just about everything in Last Revelation is stunning - if only we could see it in normal light, i.e., not the brief and faint green wash of Lara's flares.

The point about the Passport (I'd forgotten all about that!) is also a good one. I save a ridiculous number of times, and have had the experience of having to dig into the savegame folder (file management - aaarrrrgghh!!) to delete a save I mistakenly made when Lara was roughly 47 feet into a 50-foot fall onto solid ice - and the most recent previous save was about three weeks' gameplay behind me.

It would be great if there were multiple save slots available for *each level,* accessable through the Passport - but I assume there's a space limitation issue preventing that...? With the series moving ever more toward multiple paths to the same point, often with different impacts on future play, having more flexible access to areas already played would be a plus. Then there are those things you'd just like to go back and do again for the sheer fun of it: the Senet game (a game within a game - excellent!); the Kayak and Quad bike rides in TR III, etc.

Zymoticus
1st Jul 2002, 00:29
And now, for something completely similar:

The buzz about Lara's slide into ethical obscurity in AOD makes me a little nervous in a philosophical context. On the one hand, a scenario of ambiguity as to Lara's guilt or innocence in Croy's murder sounds like another innovative element to inject depth & complexity into Lara's character and into the storytelling aspect in general.

On the other hand, you have five more fingers (oops...) - there's the worry that TR's developers could drag Lara down into that "anti-hero" muck that's reduced Hollywood's recent output to little more than brilliantly-rendered depravity studies. A great philosopher once wrote, "There's nothing more boring than depravity." - I agree fully.

Maybe I worry too much - I'm just hoping that the Eidos folks don't lose sight of the core composition of Lara's character. If she 'becomes a villain' arbitrarily it would effectively obliterate what's made the entire TR francise so popular and therefore so successful: Lara's understated but definite ethical orientation.
From what I can gather that won't be the case. The former scenario in which a basically just person finds it necessary to dive into the underground and live as an outlaw, is classic irony in storytelling.

Ok, I'll shut up now.

AngieCroft
1st Jul 2002, 08:01
I think it's everyones own choice, if lara becomes a villain or not. You could choose in AOD, if lara is nasty or not and how the game goes on. I trust Core, that they put the ethic in AOD in the right way. But theres only one way to find out: Buy the game! (Oh they should pay me, for all advertising i'm doing all time) :D

SecondShadow
2nd Jul 2002, 22:19
There is one thing I'd like to say in AoD. It comes from the fact that I haven't played TR in a while and I've played a lot more FPS lately. You see, I wanted to brush up on my TR playing so I tried to play chronicles again. Much to my dismay I SUCKED bigtime. This was due entirely to the fact that I have becom almost entirely dependant on my trackball for turning/aiming and using the keyboard just seems clumsy to me now. So my single request is for you to PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD add mouse support to the list of supported control methods.

DaveJ
3rd Jul 2002, 07:37
Lara has always been an anti-hero(ine).

She is not the typical Lady of the Manor, she has an unhealthy morbid obsession with Tombs, and all things dead and buried.

She kills without remorse (not only in self defense) and is, at best, a thief.

Villain? No.

Heroine?
No.

She sits just on the fence facing the latter.

Acceber
3rd Jul 2002, 10:00
I'm currently replaying TRLR on Mac (having first played it on PS1). I read the Read Me and noted down the instructions for adjusting the brightness settings in game.... F10 for brightening and F11 for darkening, I think. But I'm making those numbers up, I don't know for certain. Maybe this is just a feature of the marvellous Mac. ;)

Also, I'm sure you can set how bright you want the game to be in the TRLR Setup icon and this doesn't affect your monitor brightness. Again, maybe this is just one of the many joys of owning a Mac. ;)

I seem to remember reading somewhere in one of the articles about TR: AoD that Lara would be interactive to a degree, i.e. if you were about to miss something really important you could look in a journal or something that would recall a similar incident from her history of raiding and that would give you a clue as to what to do. I don't know if that's official information, but I certainly remember reading something about it.

Zymoticus
6th Jul 2002, 03:46
In response to DaveJ -

"Lara has always been an anti-hero(ine)."

I disagree entirely.
I think we have different ways of appraising heroism but in any case that doesn't change the fact of Lara's identity. Heroism is determined by one's actions rather than self-conscious posturing, ostentatious self-sacrifice for self-sacrifice's sake, or in an overt presentation as "a hero" in the game marketing context (none of which three applies, thankfully, to the Lara Croft character.)
LC is defined by what she does, and in what she does she is indeed a heroine - in spades. She is an understated one to be sure, but that's the best kind (I refer you to the ultimate example in a classic novel: the architect Howard Roark in "The Fountainhead".)
She does what she does without complaint, without self-congratulation or smarmy, feigned modesty, and does it with superhuman efficacy.
Her actions - and attitudes behind them - are inspiring to her fans, and that is the very measure of heroism. [Not to overstate this whole dialog - she remains "just" a character in a video game, not Hugo's Valjean or something - but I think everyone here understands that the context is not high art.]

"She is not the typical Lady of the Manor,"

That's precisely my point - she's no sheltered, primping debutante waiting to be served her next tray of bon-bons - she does what she wants to do with singularity of volition and purpose, without asking for permission, and without that tedious yet fashionable wallow in neurotic self-doubt that undercuts every lame "protagonist" stinking up Hollywood's standard fare.

"...she has an unhealthy morbid obsession with Tombs, and all things dead and buried."

I think that's your interpretation, one that I don't see as being backed up by the game series or even the movie (shallow as the latter was.) The same could be said of Indiana Jones (a rare exception to Hollywood's proctological worldview) - but is "an unhealthy morbid obsession" really the motive for either character's digging around in ancient ruins? Instead, how about a good, healthy - even scholarly - passion for history? Or even the equally good, healthy passion for wealth?

"She kills without remorse (not only in self defense)"

Correct me with a specific example if I'm wrong, but I can't think of a single instance in any of the FMVs where LC kills anyone for any reason other than self-defense. And if a kill is in fact done in self-defense, there is no logical or ethical cause for remorse.

In one's own gameplay it may very well be that Lara (controlled by you, the player,) may shoot somebody without provocation (or accidentally,) but that's the decision of the player, not the character as presented by Eidos/Core.
Even in gameplay, a distinct disincentive to kill unless first attacked is built into the game. For example, leaving the Monks in TR II (?) alone and the snow-cave guys in TR III alone, means far fewer adversaries running around with you (LC) in their sights for the rest of the game.

That feature in itself is one of the greatest things about Tomb Raider. Some of the other denizens of the game's world can be rendered as "friendlies" just by the player's choice of action!

It's subtle, it's not preachy or even central to the action, but the fact that it's there speaks volumes about the TR developers' ethical grounding, not to mention imagination. [They're to be applauded for this as much as they're to be applauded, on the other side of the coin, for ignoring the "PC" (Presumptuous Conformist) pressure to eliminate violence and weaponry as evil regardless of context - and pressure to make LC look more like...er...Gloria Steinem or Eleanor Smeal....yeeek.]

"...and [Lara] is, at best, a thief."

I disagree with this appraisal as well - it's the same false premise to which an LA-area newspaper's movie reviewer alluded last summer after the movie release, so you're not alone in this...

"Theft" is defined as the confiscation of the property of another by force or fraud. "Property" is defined as something owned by someone else.

Some person - or entire culture - that has been dead for centuries, cannot be said to "own" anything. From what person or persons, therefore, is Lara "stealing"?
An argument could be constructed to the effect that ownership in such cases reverts to some organ of the government of the country in which the tomb (ruin/shipwreck/etc.) resides, but that's well beyond the necessary scope of the game and is not necessarily the case even in the real world:

A bright, shiny jewel or other miscellaneous, opulent doodad that is moldering away deep in some nook or cranny unseen by human eyes and inaccessible to most human hands, is useless in any case - until it is unearthed. In such cases the item is infused with its value by sole virtue of the actions of the person who brings it into the human sphere - which in this case would be Lara. I believe this logical principle has been the basis for real-world ocean salvage rights for over a century.

Lara a thief? Without the necessary precondition of ownership by another party, she most certainly is not - and neither, by the same token, is Indy Jones.

_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/



Pardon me for running l o n g - but I'm always up for a good philosophical debate...:cool:

SecondShadow
6th Jul 2002, 06:05
ummmm....wow....

AJDave2k3
6th Jul 2002, 06:49
I was just wondering if you guys knew that she wasn't real... ya know Core could make lara in a serial killer (she kind of already one) and then that would be final she's a story.

Zymoticus
6th Jul 2002, 08:22
You mean she's.....not?

Uh-oh.....

:eek:

AJDave2k3
6th Jul 2002, 18:17
haha no Zymoticus i'm afraid not... neither is the Kernal from KFC. I see some people have REALLY made a connection with Lara.

AJDave2k3
6th Jul 2002, 18:37
Anywho back to what the topic was about... although it's prolly too late for this anyway considering they're done the game and just tweaking it.

- Lara shoud take damage (if they haven't already put that in)
- Evironment should be interactive (with flying pieces of wall and such, and lara should be able to throw books and whatnot at people)
- We should be able to turn on a feature for hints saying things like "a key has been dropped" ala Hunter: The Reckoning. Or Lara should say things like "Holy jumping leemers batman A KEY"

that's all i have time to type because this apple juice is giving me cramps. PEACE

DaveJ
7th Jul 2002, 09:27
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Zymoticus
In response to DaveJ -

"Lara has always been an anti-hero(ine)."

I disagree entirely.

She does what she does without complaint, without self-congratulation or smarmy, feigned modesty, and does it with superhuman efficacy.


Thats because she isn't programmed enough to have those characteristics. ;)
Lara being an anti-heroine is my interpretation, based on the game I play and the original outline for the character ("psycho with a gun" courtesy of Toby Gard.)

You play her as a heroine, one to be looked up to and admired; I find her behaviour deplorable. Each to their own.

"...she has an unhealthy morbid obsession with Tombs, and all things dead and buried."

I think that's your interpretation, one that I don't see as being backed up by the game series...

I borrowed that phrase from Adrian Smith of Core there... he was amazed at her success as after all "she has an unhealthy morbid etc etc..."

"She kills without remorse (not only in self defense)"

Correct me with a specific example if I'm wrong, but I can't think of a single instance in any of the FMVs where LC kills anyone for any reason other than self-defense. And if a kill is in fact done in self-defense, there is no logical or ethical cause for remorse.

True it is on the part of the player, but in order to get ALL the secrets in TRC you have to kill an unarmed, innocent scientist.


Even in gameplay, a distinct disincentive to kill unless first attacked is built into the game. For example, leaving the Monks in TR II (?) alone and the snow-cave guys in TR III alone, means far fewer adversaries running around with you (LC) in their sights for the rest of the game.

It never occurred to me to shoot at the monks...despite her other failings I always saw her as being spiritual, and so left the buggers alone.

Something to consider....it is illegal to carry firearms in this country. If someone breaks into your house and you shoot them, you are arrested. Barmy, but true. Even in self defense. Considering the mayhem witnessed in her house in TR2, Lara would be in prison by now. As a killer.
That, at least, is something the movie got right. She incapacitated the guards who broke into her house, but didn't kill one of them. Nice touch.


That feature in itself is one of the greatest things about Tomb Raider. Some of the other denizens of the game's world can be rendered as "friendlies" just by the player's choice of action!

It's subtle, it's not preachy or even central to the action, but the fact that it's there speaks volumes about the TR developers' ethical grounding, not to mention imagination.


It would be even more noteworthy if you were given that choice more often...say for example in the South Pacific area in TR3. The natives immediately open fire at Lara so we are thrown into this BANG BANG scenario...it would've been more in keeping with the image of Lara most people have if she had been given the opportunity to approach them and try to win them over. But that would be a dull game, and as she is a psycho with a gun, the pistols route is again more in keeping.



"...and [Lara] is, at best, a thief."

I disagree with this appraisal as well - it's the same false premise to which an LA-area newspaper's movie reviewer alluded last summer after the movie release, so you're not alone in this...

No...we had this discussion in the old forum and an amazing number of other members viewed it the same way, too. Its not a false premise by any stretch, its one open to players interpretation.


Lara a thief? Without the necessary precondition of ownership by another party, she most certainly is not - and neither, by the same token, is Indy Jones.


Indiana Jones:"It belongs in a museum!"

Lara Croft: "It sits in my basement!"

Even Indy's activities are shadowy, he can never admit to working on behalf of anyone whilst doing what he and Lara do for a living - 'grave-robbing'. If it was perfectly legit, these clients would go get the bloody thing themselves. But it is easier to hire a thief.

So we find ourselves in AoD where she has to break into the Louvre to steal, like a thief would.

And stealing the orb in TRC, like a thief w... you get the picture.


Edit: Did you give 3Deep a try? It does work wonders on TR games!