Copyright Adam Schlosser

Copyright 2005 Adam Schlosser

Posted by Pip

BR56- Thinking With Holes

Fun with loopholes! Suuure the Sins may have that pesky restriction in not being able to smite their captors, but nobody said somebody else can't do that for our lovable rogues. A villain killing a hero, that's totally natural enough to fall under the natural causes clause. What else are heroes and villains going to do with each other?

Comic book PSA for everybody. Saturday is Free Comic Day so check your local stores to see what kind of freebies they have! There's a Tick one this year! Keen. And one about Adam West. So there's that.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light- The Tomb Raider series is a franchise I always have high hopes for because it has elements I want in games: exploration, interactive environments, puzzles, and crazy mythologies. Oddly enough, by ignoring all the original gameplay, they've actually managed to make the first fun Tomb Raider game in years. A lot of the “rush job” feel to Tomb Raider carries over though. The game is just buggy. There are frequent issues where the camera doesn't move with you or misses the cue to change angles so it's pointing at a part of the stage you aren't even in anymore and characters regularly move through objects, get stuck in pieces of the environment, or don't interact properly. You're able to roll boulders over enemies to crush them, but every so often there's one grunt enemy that manages to phase through the boulder while all of his buddies die around him. Wall jumping and swinging have lousy controls that only sometimes respond. Part of the time, you'll jump at the end of a swing and other times, you'll do a half-assed hop without any momentum and fall to your doom. Collectibles can be off-screen or hidden inside other objects, which I think we can all agree is a cheap tactic. The score attack requirements are fairly uneven. Some levels you'll get almost double the top score on your first attempt and others will take multiple retries just to squeak through at the requirement. Part of this comes from cheap hits from enemies (they spawn inside you, don't react when hit, or defy physics to move around in the air to hit you), but the game isn't very difficult so it's an annoyance rather than a game-breaker. Some of the challenges to unlock the bonus items come down to luck with the physics or enemies when items they drop fall off the screen or the enemy kills itself so you don't get the points (being locked up in tombs must mess with your depth perception because some enemies just cannot make jumps), but the game is a lot of fun to play so I really didn't mind playing the stages four or five times to unlock everything. It may take you half an hour to get through a level the first time, but once you learn the stage, you can blast through it in five minutes. Outside of swinging, Lara controls well, has a number of fun moves, and you unlock plenty of useful upgrades and equipment, which encourages you to get in the zone and complete the challenges. The story is arcade-y fluff, but it's just enough to keep you in there and ignore how terrible of an archaeologist Lara really is. I think most preservation societies would frown on her liberal use of explosives. The last boss is kind of a letdown though. There weren't any neat puzzles to solve or ways to use items or physics. You just have to dodge a few spikes, kill a few enemies, and shoot him a few times. If you've been doing the challenges, you're so crazy upgraded that you can beat each of his waves of attack in a single shot, so while the story sets him up as an all-powerful conqueror, in reality he doesn't pose much of a threat.
The game was updated to include a multiplayer mode, but it was completely dead when I tried it. There were a grand total of zero games available and nobody joined the game I set up. This is an extra shame because not only is GoL a fun game, but the multiplayer mode was supposed to change things around and require two players to work together instead of giving Lara all the abilities. I vastly prefer noncompetitive multiplayer modes, so I'm sorry to see an interesting one bomb.
Sins Committed: Buggy, Luck required, Dead multiplayer
Virtues Acted: Fun, Good puzzles, Good upgrades, Deciding that the best way to deal with priceless artifacts and ancient civilizations is through the use of grenade launchers