Dear Lara [Tomb Raider: Anniversary]


I still remember the first time we met, ten years ago. You were a hotshot explorer getting by on your beauty, and I was a punk high school kid with time on his hands. You wanted me to follow you to Peru, to Greece, to exotic places filled with the promise of mystery and adventure. You were smart, strong, and seductive, and I was up for a challenge. How could I say no?

Of course, we were both so young then. You sometimes moved awkwardly, unsure of each step, and you hadn't really rounded out yet. Your face often seemed painted on, a fixed expression of fake allure that didn't always work. And yet, even then there was something in the way you moved that beckoned me to follow. We spent so much time just exploring back in those days. We traveled together for a while and had our fun. It wasn't love, really, but it was something.

After a while, though, we seemed to want different things. You kept traveling, exploring your tombs and having the same adventures. I fell in with some Wood Elf women in Norrath and discovered the joys of camping. We eventually grew apart, as people and computer-generated protagonists sometimes do.

Sometimes my friends would fill me in on how you were doing. The stories always started off well, with you trying new things, learning new moves. There was still always another ledge to jump off of or another wolf to avoid. You even got a movie deal! (Pretty impressive, although I don't think that no-name actress looked anything like you. I guess that's Hollywood.) But as time went on, those stories got stale. You seemed like you were trying too hard to impress everyone, and entertaining no one in the end. I hate to sound cold-hearted, but I didn't miss you much.

And then last week you sauntered back into my life. From out of nowhere, you asked me to journey with you to far away lands and solve ancient puzzles again, just like we used to, and I couldn't say no. We went to the same exotic locales as that first adventure, except they were different, too. The environments are like I remember them, but the various mazes are new again, enhanced and remixed, almost like I'm seeing them for the first time. Everything feels familiar, but the challenges are fresh and new.

Leaping across deep chasms and rolling underneath dangerous traps has never been so much fun. You control so effortlessly, like you know exactly where I want you to go. And you're not flashy about it. You're not trying to show off for me, throwing your new grappling hook everywhere and posing after each stunt. That early awkwardness is long gone. When you gracefully climb your way down the side of a cavern wall, you know every step you're going to take. It's breathtaking to watch.

But I have to be honest with you, Lara. I'm only back because of how beautiful you look.

I'm a shallow man. When I say I don't care about looks, that gameplay and experience is all that matters, I'm lying through my teeth. You could never hold my attention if you were that same polygonal mess from 1996, all angled and jaggy. But you're not that same girl. You're smooth and alias-free, finely-detailed, with your long, flowing hair, and legs that go all the way down to the floor. And the first time you climbed out of that pool of water, dripping all over the cave floor? I knew I'd melted for you. Looks are the thing, and you look stunning.

Listen, I don't know how long this thing we've got is going to last. You and I have both been down this road before, and we know that this kind of passion doesn't always last. Will you hold my attention six months from now? Probably not. But I know I'm enjoying what we have right now, watching this old flame spark up again like someone threw gasoline on the fire. I don't know if I'm falling in love or if this is just a fling, but being with you this past week has been fantastic, just like it used to be. Let me know if you've got another tomb to raid, baby, and don't ever change.



I shall be checking out the goods, as it were, sometime this week, thanks to Gametap.

The clunky controls were what frustrated the hell outta me in the original game. It was otherwise a good game, but it never captivated me that much. I'm interested in this remake though.

Nice article. It's the first time for a long time since I've been interested in a Tomb Raider game.
Maybe if the eventual 360 version comes out I can travel with Lara to a beautiful HD world.

Great perspective, Demi. Did you play through Legend too?

I'm really enjoying this remake. I never got into the original, and this has been a blast.

That it runs like molten butter on an aged rig is like, icing.

I'd like to get this game. The first two I really enjoyed.

Do I need to have a Steam Account? Or can I buy this in stores?

Wait, does that mean I am getting sloppy seconds, Demi? You sick bastard, YOU NEVER TOLD ME SHE WAS USED THIS MUCH WHEN I BOUGHT HER!

I'm pretty frustrated with one section I can't get past. I'm fighting the interface, not a puzzle.

There's a spot where you have to grapple from one hook to another to get to a switch. But as soon as you release the hook from the first grapple, it becomes the priority target, so that you CANNOT grapple onto the second hook. I've been working at it for almost an hour and it just CANNOT be done. As soon as you release the first hook, that's the only target it will hit, no matter what you do. You will never hit the second hook, no matter how much closer it is to you.

I'm very frustrated and disappointed with the lack of testing.

@Demi: We need to get you a girlfriend...

Malor, I think I might know of the area you speak of (late into the first level, crossroads room, three triggers to open three iron gates) and I guarantee you that it can be done. In fact, I did it on my first try without problem. It might be that I'm sometimes overly cautious, on new tricks especially. Grapple to the first hook, correct your angle, swing a couple times to get some speed and then jump off. A split second later you should be able to grapple the next hook. (provided you shot off the stone hanging from it) If this isn't the same area, perhaps you're not meant to swing from hook to hook? It's not an uncommong experience to find myself trying the hardest of tasks without success only to later realize that I wasn't meant to go that route.

I don't know how many times I've screwed up the simplest of jumps in games like this. It's easy in a rush to think you're pointed in the right direction, only to jump off to your doom. "Whoops!" PoP's time control was a blessing in this regard. In TR you're "treated" to a surprisingly jolting thud as Lara hits the rocks below. It's still fun and rewarding to see your character effortlessly maneuver around using the simplest of controls, though. Just flip through the halls with the shooting spikes.

Well, I discovered that it was indeed a game bug. Proved it absolutely, in fact. Quitting and restarting the game fixed it. With a fresh start and fresh load of my checkpoint, everything worked perfectly; I made the jump the first try. (I tried it a couple more times just in case; it was flawless, and quite easy.) It wasn't me. I spent almost an hour struggling with a game bug.

If anyone has similiar issues, try restarting. Fixed it for me.

Thanks to GameTap, I'm currently enjoying the game as well. I haven't played anything since part II, so revisiting the original with the Legends engine is great. Fantastic controls!

This is a good game, but as relationships go, I'm not sure it's so hot. "Dammit! Do what I tell you, bitch!"

The invective in these parts gets pretty intense sometimes. She has an amazing ability to refuse to do what you want under stress. She takes quite awhile to react to your controls; if you push left and jump, you may very well not go left. You have to wait for her to aim herself left -- which takes freaking ages -- and THEN jump. This is frustrating when you're in a hurry.

I think I may be an abuser.

They've announced this'll be coming over Xbox live in September. Unclear whether part of it is free or for points for owners of TR Legend. My money's on them wanting to take my money for it.

Looks like I'm stuck again, maybe also from a bug with grappling hooks. In the first level in Egypt there's an area just past a cat statue; after some rather tricky climbing in a watery room you're supposed to, apparently, use your grappling hook to open a trapdoor. This does not work; my grappling hook will not stick to the handle. I've absolutely scoured the area for other levers (none), and even checked a walkthrough -- it also says you're supposed to pull this trapdoor open with your grappling hook.

Doesn't pull. So I'm stuck. Game over.

jonnypolite wrote:

They've announced this'll be coming over Xbox live in September. Unclear whether part of it is free or for points for owners of TR Legend. My money's on them wanting to take my money for it.

Aw, by then it'll practically be her eleventh anniversary. I want my tombs raided now.

"Xbox 360 games console owners will be able to purchase a serialization of the full-game from September in episodes and download them over the Internet through Microsoft's Xbox Live Marketplace....While Tomb Raider Anniversary launched worldwide in June on Sony Corp.'s (SNE) PlayStation 2 and Windows PC's, a physical copy of the game won't be marketed to Xbox Live customers through shops until later this year."

I'm kind of torn about this. While getting it sooner is preferred, the limited space on my 360's hard drive makes me want to wait for the retail disc. Plus, are we absolutely sure that everything we download from Marketplace, premium or gratis, will be downloadable again in the future?

Yes. Also I'd rather rent it then buy it. Or if I buy it I want to be able to resell it.

New press release says it's $30 to download.

Update: it was a game bug. Reinstalling under XP allowed me to get past the spot where I was stuck.

Waiting on the Wii version of this and hoping for the best.

Haus wrote:

Waiting on the Wii version of this and hoping for the best.

More visceral oogaba?

I just started playing this on GameTap.

It's fantastic! Plugged in a 360 gamepad and 10 minutes of control tweaking later, it's perfect.

From the looks of things, this is what I Legend (a very good game) to be: more cave-crawling heavy, less combat heavy.

I considered waiting for the 360 release but it's a perfect summer title, and would be totally lost in the flood of games I will be playing in the fall. And I need some more games to justify this GameTap subscription.

I just got an email from Amazon saying it will be coming out on the XBox 360 on 10/23.

The 360 version just got review.