Through my years as a game observor I have experienced the good (Games such as Unchanted and Mirror's Edge are great examples) the bad (Sonic:Curse of the werehog was a terrible gameplay experience and destroyed my faith in the small blue hedgehog) and the truly ugly (The ONLY game capable of providing the truly ugly factor was Duke Nukem Forever in every possible way). The one game that has stayed truly epic and provided me with hours of awesome puzzles and interesting gun fights in the tom raider series. So wack out your dual pistols, put on your short shorts and prepare for a personal view on the classic, and still amazing game series, Tomb raider.
Tomb raider 1 Released in 1996
So let'sstart at the start and where better then the release of a quirky title named Tomb Raider, featuring a spunky "Indiana ****" lady named Lara Croft. A "Typical" British archelogist with large boobs and despite not having a license to kill manages to commit a fair few murders. All in the name of history...bloody brilliant. Now getting back to the personal bit of this journey, I remeber the the first time I picked up the game. It was a cold day in 2001 and I was at the height of my retro gaming career. I had already beaten such old school games as Sonic the hegehog 1,2,3as well as Oddworld and was more then ready to take on this new challenge. The game had been introduced to me by a uncle very close to me. It may have been that both shared a passion for games (Or a hate for my great uncle which we would often joke about in secret) but I always wanted to be better then him, especially when it came to gaming. My unlce owned all 5 of the original PS1 games and one day challenged me to complete one. Being a naive 7 year old lad I shook my uncles hand and accepted the challenge. Now at the age of seven I thought I knew pretty much everything about gaming (Of course I did not and as I got older discovered this through any trail and error process in more recent games) and so belived I could complete the game in a matter of days. Now to be honest with you guys I never finished the original version and did not discovers the ending of the game until sometime in 2007 (When anniversary was released, I did complete it) and so I still am yet to prove to my uncle that I can complete it. At the time of course I lied and used a memory card (Borrowed from my fathers house mate at the time) to fool my uncle into thinking I had truly beaten it.
Now it was not because the game was too hard (It was much more simple then other games I had played) it was just a game that I had decided not to complete for no reason at all. The gameplay was amazing and at the time was mind boggling even for me. The storyline was gripping and immediatley immersed you into a world of history and hidden artifacts that truly made you feel like an adventurer. Not only did these qualities make a truly amazing game but they also complimented the players skill, creating a great difficulty that made you really work to finsih a section of the game. Even when you did finish a section it felt like the game was still offering a big pay off, a big mystery that would explode your brian into a million pieces.
Flash forward to today and I of course realise now why I did not finish the title and decided to cheat my way to a win, it was because I was scared. Not of the games characters or monsters (Although the dinosaur scared the pants off me) but of the games next challenge. Instead of wanting more I just wanted it to end and today I realise now that it was wrong tio be scared. So with this in mind I ordered the 5 original games on PS1 and have told my uncle the truth but made a promise that I would complete the original games for real and provide video content instead of a memory card.
Tomb raider 2 Released in 1997
Now my journey continues with a slighlty less dramatic tale, yet it is just as interesting. The discover of this game was slighlty different as although my uncle had introduced me to the series I was yet to be challenged to play the game itself. My first encounter took place in 2002 a horrible year for certain members of my family due to a break up and my father decided to move back into my grandmothers house. I remember my father un packing the PS1 and asking me and my younger brother (Who I was determined to turn into a gaming fan) to set it up. He placed a selection of games on the television stand and I can remeber a few of them clearly. There was a rather scrated, yet still working copy of Rayman 2:The great escape (A game that is still popular today, due to the fact it has been ported a number of times onto many different platforms) a mint condition copy of The Amazing Spiderman and of course a perfect copy of Tomb raider 2.
I remember shoving in a memory card into the huge grey machine and being truly terrified of another gaming mongup in which I would cower in a corner and be taunted by a vision of my uncle saying "I told you so" (It will interest you to know at this point that I did have a rather insane nightmare in which I was taunted for not completing a game by my uncle...still to this day I do not know why) amd thus failing to complete another gaming achivement. To give credit to myself I got pretty far (I was on the ship level where Lara is traped in a prision cell at the start) but again failed to complete the game.
This time it was different, it was a personal choice to play the second game and therefore I did not lie and instead moved on to a different ****of games (Once that required less brain power and more button bashing i.e. Tekken) and vowed never to attempt playing a Tomb raider game again...
Tomb raider 3 Released in 1998
That vow was quickly broken after my brother had managed to obtain a Tomb raider 3 disc from a vintage game shop in the summer of 03. Of course my brother saw it as a disc, green with a picture of the lady of lesiure herself and black on the bottom. The disc to my brother was simply a disc and it would never represent anything else (This conversation took place on a rather rainy day, I remember it because my younger brother looked at me extremly confused and exchanged a look to other family members of deep concern. This look was exchanged after lots of shaking of my brother and shouting "YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND")
To be honest it should have just been a disc to me, hell I realise now of course, After all how can a disc be more than a disc? I found a way. I played the game, or rather I tried to play the game. rying to hold on to one more shred of dignity and putting an end to the guilt, shame and well guilt. No matter how hard I tried I got no further then the jungle level. This not very far, in fact it is the first level of the game!.
And so the chapter closed on Tomb raider and I was still determined to beat the games no matter what. The challenge had changed and this time it was not about the games themselves but more about what the games represented at this point in time. Hence the disc is not just a disc...
Tomb raider 4: The last revelation (The first game in the series to have a title) Released in 1999
Most of what you have heard so far has been a lot different from what you expected. I suppose you may have assumed that I had just completed the whole series and was merley rating each one, using this post as braging rights. I guess it would have been a good idea to do this however that would have been as funny and as interesting as a ham sandwhich.
My encounter with revelations was away from the playsation and instead took place on a sega dreamcast. I had been at a game exchange shop that very same day, looking for cheap games that people have traded for more games that they do not need but look interesting enough to bash through and then trade...and breath. After picking up a copy of crazy taxi and chu chu rocket I stumbled across the holy grail (Last revelations).
The story was simple and the gameplay was fun focusing at first on Lara's younger years. It was a great insight into Lara's past and added another depth to my understaning of the Tomb raider storyline. However past the early levels an evil lerked. A horrific level after this disgusted me and destoryed all my faith in the Tomb raider series. This is why this chapter of our story ends here...
Tomb raider:Chronicles Released in 2000
Now here is an interesting point to make, so far each game has had a story connected to it for the reason that I had at least attempted to play each one. Chronicles was a different story because I am yet to even attemp to play the game itself (Well this is not true, I played the opening level and watched the first cut scene giving me some idea of where the game was heading) and maybe that is where this chapter should conclude, yet it does not.
You see I loved Chronicles (the parts I played) and it did not scare me like the others before it. No feeling of impending doom and not heavy sweating waiting for the moment where I would throw down the gaunlet (Controller) and play mercy to another Raider game. The storyline (Well the start of it) was so gripping. Sure I did not why tomb raider had died (I assume it was because Vernor left her in Egypt and she was "Assumed" dead...huh I did learn something) but I wanted to know how it would end and where the next exciting chapter would take me. Sadly that place was Paris, France and it is where thigs went slighlty down hill...
Sadly that story will have to wait as I would rather not attempt to document the more recent games on more devloped platforms until the next game has been played and explored fully. I hope you enjoyed this story and more wil be revealed in the next exciting edition of...well Tomb raider - A personal journey, stay tuned.