Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
31 January 2006
Tomb Raider: Legend -- Good news, bad news
GameSpot posted some experiences with a short demo of Tomb Raider: Legend, and I'm faintly optimistic. The classic run/jump/grab/climb mechanics appear to be back in vogue, which is good news to me, a devout fan of the first game. The bad news is that Lara wants to be Trinity from The Matrix.

Apparently, Lara still hasn't figured out how to relieve a foe of consciousness without also depriving him of life:
You'll start Lara's latest adventure armed with her trademark dual pistols, but you'll also be able to retrieve weapons, ammunition, and grenades from any enemies you're forced to kill.
Please, buy a copy of Metal Gear Solid 3 to see that there are other ways. Thanks.

This gave me a bit of hope:
For starters, you'll be able to perform a sliding tackle or jump kick while running toward an enemy, and if he gets up after that, you might want to follow up with an especially painful-looking kick to the groin.
Sounds like we can neutralize guards without killing them, right? Maybe not:
Lara's most exciting new close-combat abilities are undoubtedly her rebound and head-stomp attacks, which are both performed using the jump button. Neither of these spectacular-looking attacks actually does very much damage, but they do stun the target for a few seconds so that Lara can shoot at them as she backflips through the air in aerial assault mode--which is bullet time, essentially.
That's right: she knocks them down, humiliates them, and then does showy acrobatics while killing pumping them with slugs. I'm guessing this means she'll also be mowing down people in an office building, as seen in the trailer a while back, only now she can do it Max Payne-style.

Look, I'll admit that it was lots of fun back in 1996 to have Lara pistol-dance around bears and mummies in the original Tomb Raider. But that was 10 years ago and times have changed. Regardless, the heart of the game was, and always will be, the evocative locations, devilish spatial puzzles, and daring jumps. It gained no value by becoming more violent. That effort put into weaponry and populating worlds with cannon fodder was effort that could have been put toward better level design. Perhaps not the only reason that Tomb Raider went downhill, but certainly a big one for me.

I'm glad the exploring is back. Way to go, guys, that's one lesson learned. I hope you learn some others.
--Matt Matthews at 20:17
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