2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

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VideoGameCritic
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2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby VideoGameCritic » August 16th, 2020, 9:29 am

My original reviews for these (dated 7/1999) were pretty shallow so I figured it was time to do these games justice.

I think these new reviews reflect a lot of the sentiments I've read in the threads as of late.

Feel free to chime in.

VicViper
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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby VicViper » August 16th, 2020, 10:01 am

For IV & V if you stick to consoles, try to do them on PS1 instead of Dreamcast though.

Controls on the D-Pad is pretty hit & miss on the DC controller, I used to love playing Toy Story 2 on PS1 for example and remembered how great the controls felt, and when I picked the Dreamcast version a few days ago it was absolutely lousy, it's basically unplayable with the stick and the D-Pad isn't a replacement for the PS1's controller. Pretty much the same experience you had, good game but terrible port.
These low effort PS1 ports seem to flock on Dreamcast. And for real, the PS1 versions of TR IV & V are the ones that received the most effort/least glitched anyway, even if they are obviously a step down graphically.

Also I wanna know, how much of an improvement/downgrade is it to use the analog controls in classic Tomb Raider with III? You mention that in the TR III review, but I can hardly imagine this controls better than with the D-Pad or arrow keys on PC.

EDIT: Ah nvm, I must've skipped the line where you said they're so inexact, you reverted back to the D-Pad. Somehow I'm not surprised, analog stick on tank controls never felt right for me.

CaptainCruch
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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby CaptainCruch » August 16th, 2020, 1:05 pm

I played the first Tomb Raider back in the day on the Sega Saturn and I hated it. It almost got me to hate 3d action-platformers in general. Never played another Tomb Raider game since.

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Retro STrife
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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby Retro STrife » August 16th, 2020, 2:06 pm

Nice, big upgrades to these reviews. I'm always curious though, what were the old scores?

Lately, with all the Tomb Raider discussion here, I've also been playing snippets from the original trilogy this past week. I just started the reboot Tomb Raider (2013) too. I respect the original PS1 trilogy for the landmark series it was, but personally I don't think their gameplay has aged well. Even in the 90s, I thought the levels were too convoluted and the platforming controls were too clumsy. The games feel prone to cheap deaths, and that pain is heightened by the save systems. Honestly, subtract Lara Croft, insert a random male character, and would these games even be considered classics today? IMO they wouldn't.

Then again, maybe my feelings are tainted a bit by Tomb Raider III - I tried all three, but TR3 was the only one I owned on PS1 growing up. I tortured myself into beating it (while using a strategy guide), but I remember hating it half the time.

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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby Retro STrife » August 16th, 2020, 2:11 pm

Typo alerts: Near end of the TR1 review, "very well" is spelled as "veru well". TR3 review: the term "wispfully" is used where you meant "wistfully".

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JustLikeHeaven
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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby JustLikeHeaven » August 16th, 2020, 2:25 pm

I have such fond memories of the first two Tomb Raider games. My best friend and I bought the games at the same time and I remember we tried to finish them before the other could. Each day we would talk at school about the progress we made and try not to spoil any levels. The worst was when you already finished a level and the other person asked if you had found a secret. When we would get together on the weekends, we would put our competition aside and work on levels that both of us were stuck on. Gaming before the internet was wild lol! Certain levels would be impossible to make progress without finding some random switch or lever. And when you figured it out you felt like a clever genius or an idiot because it was so simple.

There was a genuine sense of wonder and discovery when these games first came out. The levels generated tons of atmosphere with their eerie quietness and labrinth-like designs. You always felt like an enemy or hidden ledge would kill you at any moment. Plus, each level brought some new challenge/enemies and you were dying to find out what you'd see next. The first game did all of this much better than the second or third.

As a young teenage boy I remember thinking Lara Croft was insanely awesome. She was a badass, Indiana Jones-esque, spelunking archeologist, who dual wielded pistols, spoke witty lines in a terrific British accent, and made it cool to own a Playstation. Games like Tomb Raider, Metal Gear Solid, and Resident Evil offered cinematic type experience that just weren't happening on the Nintendo 64. While the industry has arguably gone too far in the importance of story/cinematic over compelling gameplay...at the time it was a perfect ratio.

Finally, who can forget all the creepy rumors about the game with kids coming into school claiming they did the "nude" code for Tomb Raider! The first game was a genuine milestone moment in gaming. It was rare to witness a cultural phenomenon be created right before your eyes, but that is exactly what happened. Lara Croft is a gaming icon right up there with Sonic, Mario, and Master Chief. Good to know that the first game still holds up. I've never gone back and prefer to remember it with the rose tinted shades of nostalgia...

VicViper
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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby VicViper » August 16th, 2020, 2:29 pm

Retro STrife wrote:Nice, big upgrades to these reviews. I'm always curious though, what were the old scores?


The old scores were a letter grade above the current ones, for each.

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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby jon » August 16th, 2020, 7:16 pm

I rented the first one back in ‘96 and Had fun for a few levels until I got stuck and couldn’t figure out how to get past a level. Since it wasn’t necessarily groundbreaking and the PS1 isn’t exactly my favorite system when it comes to graphics I called it a day. And it wasn’t really that fun. Again, like some of the ‘95 first games it was nice to play a 3d game, and like most of those I don’t expect to play any further.

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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby Cafeman » August 16th, 2020, 7:31 pm

The original is still the best, I still enjoy it more than the newer Anniversary game. I enjoy the platforming platforms but some were very difficult. I don't think I could play any of these the whole way through again.

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Re: 2020/8/16: Playstation: Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, Tomb Raider III

Postby TheEagleXIII » August 17th, 2020, 5:17 am

Nice to see the updated reviews.

I never realised before there’s no reviews for TLR and Chroncles. Be interesting to see you tackle them too. Although it’s probably worth taking a break to avoid the Tomb Raider burnout everyone, developers included, suffered back in the late 90s ;)



Retro STrife wrote:Honestly, subtract Lara Croft, insert a random male character, and would these games even be considered classics today? IMO they wouldn't.

Then again, maybe my feelings are tainted a bit by Tomb Raider III - I tried all three, but TR3 was the only one I owned on PS1 growing up. I tortured myself into beating it (while using a strategy guide), but I remember hating it half the time.


Lara definitely helped the series reputation, but the over-sexualised nature of her in marketing was never the original intention. Sure, her physique and looks were already sexualised, but Eidos ended up taking that ball and running with it - to the extent that the guy who originally created Lara was so disillusioned he left Core after the first game. He tried to convince them to do something classier and they basically just ignored him.

But having a female lead adds more than just sex appeal. Sure it made the game stand out for the right reasons and... more questionable reasons too, but the game design was still groundbreaking for the time. I always felt Lara makes everything seem graceful in a setting/genre usually reserved for gritty masculinity. I think the main character in any game is as important as the game itself - I can’t imagine the Sonic games would have been so successful with someone as inherently loathsome as Bubsy or Awesome Possum in his place.

I understand the games don’t appeal to everyone, but your experience with III may not have helped. I played the first 3 in succession last year and was loving the experience until the third game. I was planning to do all 5 back-to-back but III was so unenjoyable that it put a halt to that plan.

I was proud I’d completed the first two without referring to walkthroughs when I got stuck - which I’d always end up doing when I was a kid. But I needed help with III from the first area of the game. When I’d read what I needed to do each time I got stuck, it always just seemed so unintuitive. III isn’t even cryptic, I kept wondering how I ever would have figured out what I was supposed to do/where to go without help. It wouldn’t have been so bad if the game was fun to play between getting stuck but it wasn’t. I think calling it a version for super hardcore raiders is giving the designers too much credit - it was passed to a team that prioritised complexity and didn’t understand what made a good Tomb Raider.

I hate TR3 too.


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