Curmudgeon Gamer
Curmudgeoning all games equally.
22 April 2007
A loss of grand scale (and a whiff of adult themes)
A new trailer came out last week for the upcoming Tomb Raider Anniversary and I was dismayed by what appears to be the new Great Sphinx level. I found a picture on the Glidos site which conveys the sense of scale present in the original:
Here are a couple of shots from the new trailer:
It could be that the new Sphinx is just as big as the old one, relative to Lara's size, but I don't think so. It looks like they've scaled the Sphinx down, and I think that's a real shame. As I've stated previously, the original Tomb Raider conveyed the sense of being a small adventurer in a vast, unexplored space. (A similar feeling can be found in the more recent God of War, and reportedly in God of War 2.)

I hope that sense hasn't been lost completely, but this new evidence makes me pessimistic.

As the trailer ends it reveals that the ESRB has rated Tomb Raider Anniversary as T (for Teen), specifically for violence (expected) and mild suggestive themes (say what?). For all the hullabaloo surrounding Lara's attire and bust size, there was nothing remotely sexual in the original game. The first lurch in that direction came with Tomb Raider II. In particular, Lara does a quick clothing change from her usual outfit to a wetsuit which happens just out of view of the camera. Then after the game's climax, there is a brief coda with a voyeuristic camera view of Lara taking a shower. That bit ends with her saying "You've seen quite enough" and unceremoniously discharging a bullet right into the camera.

Everything I've seen says the remake is only the first game, not the second, so they've added something to earn that extra ESRB tag. I'll be curious to see just what that is.

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--Matt Matthews at 22:23
Comment [ 7 ]

Comments on this post:

Well, the first Tomb Raider was back when the tombs and atmosphere was the focus, and not Lara.

In my opinion, no game that's obsessed with showing us how cool its main character is likely to be very good.

By Blogger JohnH, at 23 April, 2007 00:37  

I agree about Sanctuary of the Scion, it's kind of an oddity compared to all the other shots at current; all the other areas shown have looked much bigger than they did in the original.

By Blogger Shaun, at 23 April, 2007 06:12  

I don't know, it still looks pretty big to me.

By Blogger QueenKatofTypos, at 23 April, 2007 08:23  

Well, the good thing about TR is that everything is nearly always a discrete number of cubits big. It looks like the first one is about 6 door heights tall. The new version is perhaps four.

So the question is, is the door taller in the new version relative to the player?

(I also wondered if perspective doesn't have a bit to do with the accuracy of eyeballing the height. If you want something to look tall, put the camera at the bottom, of course.)

By Blogger rufbo, at 23 April, 2007 08:52  

I'd guess the door is taller in the new version, as it is more ornate.

The sphinx is obviously redesigned itself, though.

Wasn't the original in sand? The screenshot seems to show sand piled against the arms. The new is on clean stone. And with stairs forming almost the entire walkway. The headdress is different, the part under the head and between the arms is more flat, where it was curved in the original.

You'll probably have to play the level to really know, or at least see it from the proper angle. There are just so many changes. Even if the door really is bigger, that will affect how you judge the rest of the sphinx. And if it is made for a widescreen display, that will affect things as well. All the alterations will play a part.

By Anonymous Baines, at 23 April, 2007 23:31  

I agree about the sense of space in the first, and it'd be a shame if htey lost that.

Jedi Knight is another example that comes to mind of a game that really had a great sense of grand scale in many place.

King Kong on the 360 hits it in brief (planned) moments, and then retreats to claustrophobic paths and tunnels. It's a strange game from that perspective.

By Blogger kim, at 25 April, 2007 12:19  

The original Tomb Raider and the original Banjo Kazooie are the two best examples of level design I've seen in a very very long time. Prince of Persia Sands of Time was coming close though.

If this TR remake doesn't stray too far from the original's sense of scale, I'll probably pick it up.

By Anonymous fnc, at 25 April, 2007 17:49  

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