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back to article Hooters, shooters and looters: Eidos’s Tomb Raider

It has been argued that Tomb Raider’s star, Lara Croft, was the first feminist female of video games: a bastion of 1990s "girl power" and the "ladette" culture that was (supposedly) happening at the time, and thus a great role-model for young empowered women everywhere. Then again, take one glance at Lara posing on the cover for …

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From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous, we present Rick Dangerous with tits in 3D.

Hated RD (I despise games that play unfairly) and hated Tomb Raider as well. However sex sells and so did Tomb Raider so I guess I'm in the minority.

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Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

I'm with you, Mr Hill - Tomb Raider was crap. It being one of the first things I played on Playstation, it quickly became clear that platform games don't work in 3d (Spyro soon corroborated this; see also that awkward moment in Half Life where you need to jump onto packing crates over the obligatory bottomless pit). Add to that, wandering alone around enormous caverns, whilst technically impressive, is dull as ditch.

Most fun I got out of it was drowning Lara in her own pool.

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Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

And worse, it took the 2D mechanic of a duff platform (Rick Dangerous) and put it into 3D. Fall into pit, spears out of nowhere, not so much a test of skill as a test of memory.

If Tomb Raider had featured a male protagonist it would have sold a quarter as many copies and would be remembered as just another Playstation game. However sadly it's cult status is assured by the fact it was the number 1 "self pleasuring" aid of the PS1 era.

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Mushroom

Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

I take it you never played Mario 64 then?

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Megaphone

Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

Because while I accept that platformers are harder to make work in 3D, that Mario game was amazingly well-crafted and playable.

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Happy

Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

@DaneB No, I had a Playstation, not an N64. Platform games peaked with Decap Attak on the MegaDrive, anyway.

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Angel

Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

@ Lmont Cranston. Ha, Decap Attack, that's a blast from the past... I think you'll find platform games have been going strong ever since. I know there have been some crap 3D ones, but there are quite a few good 'uns too, of which TOmb Raider was at least half decent.

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Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

platform games don't work in 3d (Spyro soon corroborated this...

Actually, while I never cared for Tomb Raider, I found the first two Spyro games tremendous fun. (Never played any of the others.) Tastes differ, of course, but clearly for many gamers, platform games can work just fine in 3D.

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Re: From the people who bought you Rick Dangerous

"I take it you never played Mario 64 then?"

I did, and it's the reason why I gave up on Nintendo for a full decade, if not longer. Damn thing was horrible to play!

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Go

@ Mr C Hill

Yes, you are in the minority thankfully. If all you see in the Tomb Raider games is "sex" then I suggest you leave gaming to those that actually enjoy "gaming".

As to TR itself - have been huge fan since day 1. If I had a top 10 games list then "The Last Revelation" would be on it. Now that my kids are growing up it has been great fun to revisit the Crystal Dynamics reboots of the series with them - even if they are a little easy; and I do believe that games of this nature help with problem solving skills, dexterity and observation... also, if my daughter ever finds herself alone in a tomb with a sword wielding Nordic troll then she'll know exactly what to do.

As for me, I have a free download from AMD for the new "18 rated" TR game which I might do eventually, but I've moved onto the Uncharted series which are also fantastic, and I need to get round to finishing those (hint... I can't seem to kill the Yeti in "Amongst Thieves"???).

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Re: @ Mr C Hill

Just keep on shooting it … can't remember what triggers the event that actually "kills" him though! Finished Uncharted 2 years ago and it seems everyone forgets how to beat that Yeti!

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"Yet it’s also worth remembering that all those cut-scenes and cinematic touches found throughout the disc were still fairly new entities at this point in videogame history."

Not too sure I agree with that, but I suppose it heavily depends on the platform you're looking at. Because in that era we had already seen the first release of Command & Conquer which basically consisted of missions which were followed by cut-scenes. Same applies to other titles of that genre like the classic Dune and later Dune II. Considering the timespan I'm tempted to say that cut-scenes had already become more mainstream at that time.

But yeah, cut-scenes or not, this one was a classic.

However, I also think Tomb Raider is unfortunately another very good example of trying to milk something dry to such extremes that it doesn't work out too well in the end. Let's not forget that although the franchise boomed at first it also more or less collapsed (looking at Angel of Darkness here). Even resulting in (as I understand it) the selling of the Core Design company, which were the original creators of Tomb Raider.

And although I have no doubt that there's still good money to be made from the Tomb Raider franchise I don't think it will ever get as big again as it once was.

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As the article suggests, if you'd been playing PC games then maybe the cut-scenes weren't that new. But if like me you had a megadrive until the PS came down to about £200 a couple of years after launch, and Tomb Raider was released about the same time, then the upgrade from Sonic 2 pretty much blew your mind...

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Mushroom

monkeyfish takes the marks for comprehension. :)

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It would be quite miraculous if it ever got to be as big as it once was. As the article alludes to: a point in time, never to be repeated.

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cut scenes

I would consider Dragon's Lair (1983) to be the first game with cut scenes. In fact the game was almost all cut scenes with a tiny bit of action mixed in.

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Re: cut scenes

Yes, and it was cack!

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Re: cut scenes

Not saying it was a good game just it had cut scenes a full decade before Tomb Raider came out.

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Pint

Damn!

I once read an article that Tomb Raider was the game that weaned boys off Sonic as Lara had boobies and furry blue hedgehogs just weren't that cool any more

I do recall there was a "naked patch" for the game too that had Lara running around exposing her badly rendered boobs and her dark "triangle of hope"

We used the game with the 3DFX glide patch to show the difference that the [original] Voodoo card made to gaming.

Lara's come a long way from our beloved 15" CRTs to the big screen, but just how many Lara (Angelina) fans know her deep roots stem from gaming?

Thanks for the trip down memory lane ElReg,

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Re: Damn!

Should that not be

Thanks for the trip down mammary lane ElReg,

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Zot
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I remember playing TR 2 and enjoying it.

It had great puzzles and a freaky ending.

But not TR 3, now that was horrible - with random deaths and a mocking attitude towards the player. More like torture than game.

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Re: I remember playing TR 2 and enjoying it.

The early TRs were the best, back when they had real gameplay and puzzles, now they've been substituted for glitzy graphics.

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Re: I remember playing TR 2 and enjoying it.

I don't know - wasn't TR2 mockingly called Doom Raider at the time for the amount of shooting involved?

Later games Legend & Underworld manged to have good puzzles and game-play as well as having glitzy graphics. I'd agree the latest is a bit easy, but is very well done.

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Re: I remember playing TR 2 and enjoying it.

The funny thing to 2013 eyes looking at those screenshots is that you can easily count the polygons, and there aren't very many of them.

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It's worth picking up Legends and especially Underworld on the PC if you find them cheap on Steam. The graphics are great and the gameplay very slick by this late stage, compared to the original titles.

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Happy

Palace Midas

Still remember the trouble I had jumping between the 4 burning pillars with one offset...

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It is probably worth passing comment...

...that the in-game music, in the first game at least, added a real sense of atmosphere. The part that springs to mind being in Midas' Palace.

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Re: It is probably worth passing comment...

Indeed, the professionally produced music added an extra dynamic not really present in games until the PS1. There was one part (I can't remember the name of the level) where you walk through into a large room that has a large pool and those disintegrating platforms around it. When you walk into the room, a version of the distinctive title music kicks in with the strings and the harp, which was playing as I made Lara dive into the pool and swim about in this huge 3D environment. That blew me away back in '96.

Back then (as an 11 year old), I thought games couldn't get much better. Looking back at TR's dated graphics now shows that they've come a long way, but everything now is incremental. The difference between console generations now is nowhere near as big as the leap between Megadrive/ SNES to PS1 was then.

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TR is firmly engrained into my mind

I used to play TR while listerning to music. When ever i hear certain songs I get a flash back to the Cistern Level. Copper green channels of water, leaps of faith between them.

I've brought and completed every TR game, with the exception of the disaster that was Angel of Darkness (brought but unplayable).

Crystal Dynamics reboot have been perfect.

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Re: TR is firmly engrained into my mind

I did the same thing! Poison by the Prodigy always reminds me of the exact same cistern level! Thanks for the nostalgia hit friend :D

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Coat

controls

not complicated = win!

games these days... Use left bumper to walk right bumper to grab while jumping or draw a weapon, use X to use something, use X to sprint, use A to bring up a menu of some kind, use B to jump, use left shoulder button to do something else and right shoulder to do the opposite. click the left movement stick to aim, as well as using one stick to move around the place and the other to "look around"

then you need to do all these in a combination when playing at some points.

It is not a game, it is WORK!

I am a PC gamer and I expect on a PC there are a number of functions, that's why I play them! but when I played on a console I found it was not as entertaining, I had to think too much about the controls to enjoy playing, ( and usually spent time running around looking at the ceiling or floor and performing death spins strafing the crap out of the room when attacked).

just because a controller had 60 functions does not mean you should use them.

needless to say I spent most time playing indie games that did not involve too much thought

>>>>>>>>>> ok I am old and cranky, it smells mostly of mothballs and arthritis scream

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Tomb Raider and 3D

I think one thing that's important to note is that Tomb Raider was one of the early games that jumped on the Voodoo bandwagon. Not long after the Monster 3D card was out, special patches to Tomb Raider (and other games) appeared to take advantage of Glide rendering. Tomb Raider with the acceleration was what sold me on Monster 3D/Voodoo. The boost in speed and the "smooth" graphics were breathtaking at the time.

Loved the original Tomb Raider. After Toby Card left, the series went downhill fast (Right around Tomb Raider II which had very few "tombs" to raid and too many city environments with vehicles to pilot). After TR II I gave up on the series.

That said, when Crystal brought Toby back for Tomb Raider: Underworld, things got really interesting again. Enjoyed the heck out of that game (the big swinging hammers in Valhalla actually gave me vertigo).

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Sirs

I object strenuously to the sentence,

"she flaunts an overinflated chest and ass to the masses"

if I recall correctly, she had rather boyish buttocks.

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Mushroom

Re: Sirs

Does it not take one to know one (or two, perhaps) ?

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Re: Sirs

>rather boyish buttocks

Nothing wrong with that.

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Happy

T-Rex

I almost shat myself when it appeared on TR1. I'd never seen anything like it before.

100% awesomeness.

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Re: T-Rex

You missed the ZX81's 3D Monster Maze then?

*That* was frightening...

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I had the original PC game

But it was so buggy that I gave it away. Stuff like walking into a wall and getting stuck half in the wall, could spin around but not move otherwise.

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I've still got a (probably still) working Sega Saturn and copy of the original TR kicking about in the garage. Complete with hacked audio output hanging off the SCART and a drive lid microswitch override for playing "backups"...

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The most recent incarnation is a bloody great game...

As someone with no previous Tomb Raider experience, the last TR game was fantastic... and was dirt cheap in a Steam sale to boot.

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How do I suggest a game to cover?

ElReg,

As a gaming nostalgia boffin, may I suggest you look at the Rainbow Six franchise for one of your upcoming gaming articles?

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arg

The first mass market successful 3rd person game.

and it was all downhill from there...

if its action, 3d, and not in first person its a bag of shite.

It was true in 96, and it's just as true today as you try to walk your 'toy action figure' around the miniature play-mobile of Los Santos....

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Grunt

I never got any further than backing her in to a corner and making her grunt, but why would you need to.

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Anonymous Coward

Still have nightmares about swimming

TR - one of the first games the wife and I played together. Still have nightmares about the number of times we sent Lara to her death swimming in an underground cistern looking for some lever or other.

Being young and stupid at the time (me, not the wife) we played this all the way through with only pistols. By the end of it we were like Olympic gymnasts. You get very good at running and jumping when all you have to take down the boss at the end of each level is a pair of peashooters.

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Well, I liked it.

For what it is worth, this was a great, great game. I was suitably impressed and my brother and I spent countless hours playing this. I remember we'd sometimes play through together - one of us acting as the lookout for the other, noticing hidden ledges and so forth. Whatever criticisms can be leveled at it regarding the character and depiction of Lara or the fact that cut-scene were not so novel to the PC crowd, the fact is that I enjoyed it an lot and many others did to.

It showed very clearly that 3D adventure/exploration platformers could work and sell well if done right.

The atmospheric music and effects were particularly good, if memory servers.

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