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KasigiYabuSama
18th Apr 2008, 22:17
I have been one of the vocal critics of the emphasis on urban landscapes in Legend and AOD, and in general I stick with the contention that Tomb Raider should be about...raiding tombs. Or at least really, really old stuff. :D

Even though I loved the eye candy of Tokyo by night - and that spectacular moon - it seemed too much of a departure from TR's core (pun if you want one.) But then I got to thinking about it, and realized there's one great big fat exception, at least for me:

Venice.

Maybe it's because of the need to get around via canals instead of walking down streets (like the horrid "Parisian Ghetto" level in AOD,) or just nostalgia, but to my shock I realized that the Venice levels are among my faves for the entire series. Something about those levels made the city seem utterly unlike a city and just as musty & crusty as any tomb. The supreme gaudiness of the Opera House made for a palpable atmosphere, and Bartoli's Hideout was just scuzzy enough to seem ancient.

None of it was anywhere near as realistic as Legend's or Anniversary's settings, but sometimes too much realism and not enough over-the-top goofiness can just get dull. (Like the horrid AOD, f'rinstance.)

So scratch my previous, blanket opposition to urban settings. It all depends on whether the city in question is interesting.

Fickji
19th Apr 2008, 03:29
As long as there are tombs or old relics/artifacts/old things to get in a cityscape their fine with me.

To stay just in the tombs and not proceed anywhere else would limit what can be done with story and such. However the title is Tomb Raider and so raiding of old and lost dead things is a definite must.

What I'm saying is I can see both sides of the argument.

I'm not opposed to seeing things like Venice and Tokyo and the Lauve in Paris as long as there is more raiding of tombs and it works in the story. With better graphics it will be easier to distinguish what this is from that so cityscapes can be done better.

I'm also up to having Lara go to a museum to talk to someone about an artifact found and shoot bad people who are robbing said museum. Like the Field museum in Chicago or the Natural History museum in NY.

AOD is more of a second cousin twice removed that you don't invite to the family reunion. Unless there's no one else to invite. It should NOT be the major issue when looking at cityscapes and them not working. More like a "what not to do" example.

rabid metro
19th Apr 2008, 07:07
cute catch phrases are usually just that ...
as an example:
"tomb raider should be about raiding tombs" is mostly a reflection of shallow thinking.

on the other hand, "formula" levels need to be creatively implemented.
an obvious "water" level (or ice, fire, air, electric etc.) can have the opposite effect- detracting from the value of the game.

the venice and tokyo levels are among my personal favorites. :cool:

other bits of nonsense: tomb raider is about isolation ...
:cool:

Jezyk
19th Apr 2008, 09:23
Tokyo is my favorite in TRL:)
Thames Wharf level was also great, especially the first part (rooftops, courtyards etc.)

Mangar The Dark
19th Apr 2008, 11:39
there's one great big fat exception, at least for me:

Venice.

Oddly enough (and I know I'm in the minority here), Venice was the worst one for me. Maybe it's because that was the first time Lara really stepped away from tomb-like environments, so it felt the most jarring. Also, I just felt the puzzles didn't work at all. It was like the designers were trying to force TR-style gameplay into an environment where it didn't work. Pulling levers in one building to open trap doors in another, etc, just seemed silly. In a tomb, I could believe it, because I figured the tomb's builders wanted to make them difficult to explore. But in a city? Nah.
Also, I thought Venice had WAY too much gunplay for a TR game, and the whole section went on too long for my taste.

But now that I've gotten more used to modern environments in TR games, I actually enjoy them. I really liked the Kazahkstan levels in TRL, for example.

And although the Paris levels in AOD weren't done as well as they should have been, I still liked the premise behind them. I thought the idea of talking to people to gain knowledge and get sent on missions was great, but it should have been developed a lot more. The storm drains and the Louvre were quite well done, I thought.

LisaB1962
19th Apr 2008, 12:38
I'm in the minority too, Mangar. I only play Venice for the pickups. The Opera House is marginally interesting because of the creep factor, but there's too many bad guys and the health/hit ratio is insanely unfair. :mad2:

But London? :thumbsup: Maria Doria:thumbsup: Cairo? :thumbsup: But they've got the creep factor which for me is key. I don't even remember being bored through the VCI levels. The platforming was marginally interesting in Tokyo, but the goon-a-palooza and endless hints and straightpipe nature kept it from being truly fun.

Randy 54
19th Apr 2008, 13:42
I normally don't care much for the cityscapes, it has a "fish out of water" effect for me, but I really liked Venice and The Opera House. Both were laid out in a manner that left the player with many places to explore and I don't recall them ever getting boring as did some places in TR3.

Emroid
19th Apr 2008, 14:41
i just recently began reading tr forums n its mentioned alot that evryone doesnt like AoD****

pesonally that was my faveiorite in the whole series becouse the environment was much more realistic than the others, i feel like im taking crazy pills:(

Fickji
19th Apr 2008, 21:55
I just recently got AOD so I'll see if the PC version was better than the PS2 version.

I also forgot that Legend had the England(Cornwall) one as being in the abandoned building and the Peru level starting out in that town. That worked fairly well as it moved into a tomb later on.

Should it just be in tombs though or just really old ancient places that no one has seen for years? Would Pompeii be considered a tomb type graveyard if she went there or a cityscape?

lightspeed
20th Apr 2008, 05:37
I like the direction they've taken in Tomb Raider Legend. If it were only tombs and "really" old stuff, we'd get super bored.

LaraCroftRox
20th Apr 2008, 12:12
I like the direction they've taken in Tomb Raider Legend. If it were only tombs and "really" old stuff, we'd get super bored.
Then why are you plying TOMB Raider?! I agree it should be all about the tombs but like 1 level of the outside world would be good to. ;)

Alexlovesguns
20th Apr 2008, 13:08
I didnt like Venice in TR II and neither did i like Tokio in Legend, ok i didnt like most of Legend...

I also didnt like London in III because it was urban, dark and a strange place to solve puzzles and find artifacts, on the other hand Nevada/Area 51 were nice because they were isolated/remote/secret places.

But India and south pacific in TR III will always be my favorites :) .

ElevenTR
20th Apr 2008, 13:34
I normally don't care much for the cityscapes, it has a "fish out of water" effect for me, but I really liked Venice and The Opera House. Both were laid out in a manner that left the player with many places to explore and I don't recall them ever getting boring as did some places in TR3.

Fish out of water, eh? I'd refer to Lara as more of a.. Amphibian. :D

What i do enjoy in games is abandoned buildings, like the derelict apartment block in aod. But that level was boring, and i'm sure CD can come up with something thats more Lara-compatible, e.g. one of those 'this building is really old and dangerous and the floor's gonna cave in and the gas is leaking etc. etc.' levels.


:D

Fickji
20th Apr 2008, 16:36
After playing about 2 hours of AOD I have come to the conclusion that the problem plaguing AOD was not that it was a good or bad game but that it was a LARA CROFT TOMB RAIDER game. If it was anny other character but Lara it would have been better.

And I kept trying to remind myself that Lara was previously dead or neardead and now must gain strength that she had lost. But this sadly was to no avail and I just couldn't get into the game.

Its really hard to explore and jumb around like a happy monkey when you have a bar telling you you only have so long and than you'll go splat.

And with those nasty evil loading times inside the persian ghetto basicly cutting it in four places (worse than the american/mexican boarder IMO) no wonder people found it boring and stupid. Of course it just wasn't there and I found myself scared to move around to the next place because of it.

So I will trudge through it. The only part I've found enjoyable and funny is annoying Kurtis in the cafe metro and thats really bad.

On the subject of cityscapes my opinion still stands and AOD should still be the "what not to do". She also talked to much/too rudely. SHUT UP AND JUMP MONKEY JUMP...

KasigiYabuSama
20th Apr 2008, 23:20
Oddly enough (and I know I'm in the minority here), Venice was the worst one for me. Maybe it's because that was the first time Lara really stepped away from tomb-like environments, so it felt the most jarring.

Mangar, I had exactly the same reaction to the Venice levels first time through (dusting off some ancient memories here...) The whole of TR1 and then the Great Wall, then...what the hell is this? It's only after all this time & looking back and all, so maybe it's just nostalgia and a fetish for jumping around on striped awnings.

As for the implausible lever mechanisms, I just rolled with it uncritically. That's part of what I mean by the "goofy" factor: If everything is nuts-and-bolts realistic and nothing's over-the-top, things get boring fast. That's been one of my minor criticisms of the two CD games - I liked that Lara could jump a little farther and higher than was plausible, that she had ever-so-slightly superhuman abilities. The initial games comfortably walked the fine line between realism and out-of-the-park fantasy. Call it "deniable plausibility" - or something.


And although the Paris levels in AOD weren't done as well as they should have been, I still liked the premise behind them.

That was a big letdown for me. The pre-release hype made it sound like the settings were going to be copies of actual real-world Parisian streets - like Louis L'Amour did with his westerns: "I’ve ridden and hunted the country. When I write about a spring, that spring is there, and the water is good to drink." I was very stoked for this, because not too long before that I'd had my first dive into Paris and had dutifully fallen in love with it like most American tourists. Maybe my expectations of seeing familiar walkways & details were a little unrealistic, but those levels gave a new meaning to the concept "tedious," at least for me.

Also, though I liked the huge number of levels in Last Revelation and thought they were excellently done (as far as I can remember,) the need in Cairo and Alexandria(?) to backtrack to previously-traversed levels to pick up stuff before proceeding with the game was a little like drinking stale beer. 'Didn't want to have to do that, but the game left you no choice. I have no shame in admitting a heavy reliance on Ms. Stella for that section, 'cause I just wanted to get through it and get on with it. The curiosity factor about what's around the next bend is a major motivator for me, and a big part of what I love about TR in general - having to backtrack and replay levels may make the game run longer, but at the expense of the player's patience. Just like the checkpoint mechanism vs. saving at will.

Randy 54
24th Apr 2008, 23:23
I know what you mean by the stale beer comment, it's tough to have to go back when you would like to move forward. All in all, I thought that Revelation was a very well thought out game, lots of new places to go to. The "civilized" areas fit well within the game unlike office and apartment buildings do.
I have AOD, but to this day I still refuse to play it. The controls were moronic and when I saw her in those blue jeans in the opening sequence, that was it for me. She looked like a teenaged boy.:eek:

Rai
25th Apr 2008, 00:21
I have mixed feelings with towns and cityscapes in Tomb Raider. I don't like anything that is too modern, so Tokyo, London and Kazakhstan and wherever it was with that big-guns guard contraption in Chronicles (Russia?); those places feel out of sync to me. On the other hand Venice and Paraiso and the abandoned town/buildings in Last Revelations work because there is an ancient feel to them. In other words they're not urban.

Apart from Paraiso where the shutters are slammed shut with Lara's (Old Western style) entrance, the thing that puzzles and freaks me out about these places is how empty they are of normal people. Perhaps they are all in hiding thanks to the swarm of gun toting bad guys?. That is what bothered me about Venice and Paraiso - the gun fest. But in a way the abandoned feel adds to the potential for eeriness.

If the town/out of the tomb locations are done correctly, with the right atmosphere and it carries the plot forward and isn't just placed there for the heck of it, then I can live with them being part of the Tomb Raider game. If Lara's search for an artifact leads her to a town for, lets say, research reasons then great, I can't see a problem. Variety is important to keep the game fresh and less predictable.

Just leave out the high tech stuff. It feels wrong to include that stuff in. And Mangar is soo right with the whole switch thing. That is just laughable.

As the OP was talking about Venice. I wouldn't mind seeing that city again. The scenery would/could be amazing. As long as the location made sense with the plot - and less gun fighting.

RainaAudron
25th Apr 2008, 07:13
I liked Venice in TR2. But I didn´t like Cairo in TR4 - it was so dark in there, I couldn´t enjoy the level and those onwards very much...