Lara Croft: Please Stay Above Water

By John Walker on September 25th, 2008 at 10:47 am.

They'd beat her if they were under water.

More Tomb Raider Underworld trailers. I can’t resist them. The first is in the jungle, showing off Lara’s climby-climby powers (with a bonus cartwheel thrown in), and looks most tempting. The second is bloody underwater bits, which always suck out loud in every Tomb Raider game, and here is 99% cutscene which is even more reason to wish they just wouldn’t. Lara is not aquatic. This has been proven too many times. Anyway, concentrate on the first one.

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56 Comments »

  1. Real Horrorshow says:

    Tigers are the greatest creatures on the planet. I can’t play this game if it forces you to open fire on tigers.

  2. Bobsy says:

    What the hell is going on? I, gaming’s (second) greatest fop, am genuinely looking forward to a new Tomb Raider game. Tomb Raider! Oh mercy me! The end times are nigh, etc.

    It is an affront to the natural order that TR: Legend was of such high quality (other than the appalling boss fights) and I am locked in nervous knee-hugging hope that Underworld will continue to tear the flows of nature assunder by repeating such quality.

  3. Esha says:

    @RSH

    It’s funny, I was about to make the same comment…

    The reason I’ve never played Tomb Raider games is because they come a little too close to poaching for me. The very first and original Tomb Raider wasn’t so bad, for the only critters in it were mutant Wolves with slitted eyes. But the second game had a damned realistic (for the time) Tiger right at the start. Couldn’t pull the trigger on it.

    Though I often have this problem with games and realistic predators, be they big Cats, Wolves, Coyotes or whatnot. If it’s Warcraft where everything looks damned ludicrous, then I don’t really care. But the closer they get to photo-realism, the more inclined I am to run away shouting “Bugger off, I don’t want to kill you. Couldn’t I have some human bandits to slaughter instead?”.

    The first Tomb Raider was fun, but I wish they’d left animal culling out of it. I wish the Tomb Raider games were moddable, so I could rip the critters out of there and actually enjoy the games. But when you’re facing off against a realistic Tiger with a gun, it just feels so wrong, even if it is only a game.

    Though I suspect it takes a very special kind of person to sympathise with that kind of view. To most people, I suppose the everyday view is “Killin’ Tigers inna game s’like killin’ people, s’all digital bits’n bobs, computer people’n computer critters, amirite?!”. I can understand that. It’s just not a view I can share and I have no idea why since I have no issues with computer-generated homicide whatsoever.

  4. BrokenSymmetry says:

    Lara seems to have a tranquillizer gun this time, if you don’t want to kill endangered species.

  5. Esha says:

    @BrokenSymmetry (I’m not going to shorten your name!)

    …really? Okay then. If that’s the case then I could actually play this game. I don’t mind taking critters down with tranq guns, as I have done in games in the past. There’s just bad symbology with putting a bullet in some of nature’s greatest. Bad karma, man. But a tranq gun? That’s fine.

    I’m glad the developers saw that potential issue. Good for them. That kind of foresight is something I can and will praise.

  6. Steelfist says:

    “Tigers are the greatest creatures on the planet. I can’t play this game if it forces you to open fire on tigers”

    You do realize that if you meet a tiger in real life it will eat you…?

  7. Esha says:

    @Steelfist

    You do realise that any person you meet on the street of a big city could stab you and take your money?

    But that’s no reason to go around slaughtering every human you see, is it?

    Same applies to animals.

  8. Lars Westergren says:

    “You do realize that if you meet a tiger in real life it will eat you…?”

    Yeah, like he said, they are awesome!
    :)

  9. Bobsy says:

    I still haven’t forgiven the Bengal Tiger for being Shere Khan.

  10. Jonas says:

    This game honestly looks really fun, but it has giant spiders, so I can’t play it.

  11. Thirith says:

    Having played Tomb Raider: Anniversary only, I think there’s a very good, glistening, dripping wet reason for Lara to splash around in the water. Oh yeah.

    (God, that was probably the most laddish I’ve ever been. I feel unclean now.)

  12. Duoae says:

    I should point out to everyone reading this article that those animals pictured above actually look like Sabre Tooth tigers of some variety. Note the mane and the extended canines.

    But anyway, i have to echo that Legend was actually a brilliant game – well paced and artfully constructed. I also agree that she shouldn’t really be under water so much…. but i’ll hold off judgement of that particular segment of the game until i play it.

  13. Thirith says:

    Is Legend worth buying if I quite liked Anniversary but never played any of the other Tomb Raider games?

  14. Urael says:

    @Thirith: Yes. I picked up Legend after Anniversary and thoroughly enjoyed it.

  15. Esha says:

    @Jonas

    I actually had a friend that had that problem with Arx Fatalis. It had such huge, creepy spiders that it set off his arachnophobia, so it wasn’t even a game he could watch me play. Unless I was in a strictly “No Spiders” area.

    @Duoae

    I saw that too, but in my opinion it doesn’t make a difference. Honestly, I wish we still had Sabretooth Tigers around, but it seems that even Bengals might be going their way eventually. /sigh But I digress. If I do play this un’, I’ll still be making hefty use of the tranq gun. For I am the Paul Denton of the animal kingdom, and I look upon killing such critters with great disdain.

    Here, have a shock-stick! Be good!

  16. Bobsy says:

    Legend is like Anniversary but 100x gooder, except the boss fights which suck.

    This is a note to EVERYONE: No matter what you think about Tomb Raider, or what you think you think, go out and find a copy of TR: Legend. It has a standard of quality far, far beyond whatever anyone expects, in storytelling, dialogue and atmosphere. Oh, plus the music is some of the most incredible game scoring I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying.

  17. John Walker says:

    I feel it’s important to point out that the tigers in the game are only pretend, and killing them doesn’t make a real tiger be dead.

    There appeared to be some confusion over this.

  18. Dan says:

    Legend is definitely worth it. You can play through the story in a few hours, and the time challenges are fun afterwards. And it’ll get you up to speed on the story for this one, which appears to be a direct continuation.

  19. randomnine says:

    @Esha: I’ve always found animal enemies to be one of the best things in Tomb Raider. Nothing spoils the atmosphere of exploring some ancient untouched ruin like a couple hundred bandits who got there before you taking cover and shouting, and it’s not like all those guys between them could be half as scary or as awesome as a single OH SHIT A BEAR moment.

  20. Thirith says:

    I feel it’s important to point out that the tigers in the game are only pretend, and killing them doesn’t make a real tiger be dead.

    There appeared to be some confusion over this.
    Sorry to disagree with one of the RPSers, at least to some extent, but I’ve always found that argument both factually true and terribly facile. If we reduce the characters and opponents in games to bits, bytes and pixels, why do we connect to some of them? Why do people feel sad when Aeris (Aerith?) gets shishkebabed, unless we invest emotinoally in these games?

    Added to which: if the “It’s only fiction!” argument held, then there’d be nothing wrong whatsoever with Konzentration Kamp Manager 2008 or Rape ‘Em Up – Double Penetration. I’m not saying there automatically is something wrong with such a game (although that is my opinion, yes), but if you use the argument that it’s all just pixels, then there’s no point in any discussion, is there? It’s a conversation stopper.

  21. The Sombrero Kid says:

    looks very assasins creed which means it could actually peak my interest this time (laras been dead to me since 3)

  22. AndrewC says:

    If I tranq the tigers, the bodies will be on the ground still warm and breathing, right? And then I can make Lara crawl over them? Right?

  23. Mr_Day says:

    I would like to point out that the reason you feel sorry about Aerithissess is because she is a member of your party, not a faceless horde of irate badgers. You don’t empathise with your enemies unless you played Shadow of the Colossus, which made you cry. You big girlie.

    If killing tigers in a videogame makes me a bad person, then my games of Fragile Allegiance made me worst than Hitler. Maybe I am? Who are you to judge me, history?

    Oh, right. Bugger.

    Also: Games need more faceless hordes of irate badgers.

  24. Thirith says:

    *wishes that people on the Internet, however satiric they wish to be, would realise that very few issues are binary*

    *will readily admit that he felt sorry for some of the opponents in the NOLF games*

    *agrees about the faceless badgers though. shudder.*

  25. Adrian says:

    Idk guys Prince of persia sands of time could do these climbing moves and that was ages ago! looks like **** to me

  26. AndrewC says:

    How about: the relationship between reality and fantasy is complex and doing a bad thing in a game is part of what gives that particular button push its thrill. The fantasy is only entertaining if we accept that, in reality, it is bad. Thus doing bad things in games makes us good.

    Also, Legend contained some really wonderful platforming, but was very a linear and very ‘moulded’ experience – it didn’t contain the sense of a real place and exploration that the sometime obtuse level design and resultant aimless wandering of the originals created.

    Also, the plot in Legend was duff.

  27. Mr_Day says:

    I am not trying to belittle your point, I am saying that the difference between a rounded character you constantly interact with throughout the game has a greater emotional involvement than masses of Nazis. This isn’t an attempt to say “video games are unfeeling”. I am saying that people will imprint their own feelings on the characters they meet.

    It isn’t just videogames – how many millions of terrorists has Bruce Willis mercilessly mown down and we gave not the slightest shit?

    This is all reading back weird. I shall turn off the podcast in my ears, for the robot voices irk me.

    It is very rare that you get an emotional connection with an enemy in a game. There are a few ways to accomplish this, though.

    Make the character an intricate part of the game, a constant companion as well as antagonist – like SHODAN. This is also how I would describe the Colossi in the previously mentioned game – they are both the objective of your level, and the actual level you play on, and as the game goes on you get a weird twinge that maybe you are not doing the right thing. Then it goes unsubtle, but you get the point.

    The other way is to make the character easily identifiable as something you wouldn’t want to hurt. Like the little sisters, though that didn’t work so well because they are irritating bitches. Or make them Pandas. Who could hurt a cute ickle Panda*?

    TR has been a long running joke that Lara is putting an end to species being endangered by wiping them out. I am not saying you should refrain from caring, just that pulling the trigger on the little bleeders doesn’t make you a bad person in real life. Playing the game with a higher understanding of what you are doing and why it is wrong makes you a better person, in my opinion.

    Also: There is a game called Battle Raper. I don’t know why I only just remembered it.

    * I would hurt a Panda, for they are useless.

  28. Bobsy says:

    I wouldn’t hurt a panda. They can’t fight back, the useless freeloading shits.

  29. Thirith says:

    @Mr Day:
    Absolutely. I would definitely agree with you on most of what you said. But that’s actual discussion. John’s comment annoyed me because it was the simplistic “It’s not real, so there.” As I said, that’s 100% correct and totally inadequate. And if it’s meant to be clever, it sadly fails.

  30. Bobsy says:

    In addition, I’d love it if the tigers in Tomb Raider started going “L-l-l-l-looook at you hackerrrr-r-r-r-r…”

    Or sang Still Alive at the end. All endangered vocal choir.

  31. Darth Benedict says:

    I really hope it’s mostly animal combat. The human combat in legend was so awful it put me off the game, but anniversary was great. Plus it’s such a novelty, seeing as every other game has generic faceless soldiers as enemies and does it way better.

  32. tmp says:

    You do realise that any person you meet on the street of a big city could stab you and take your money?

    But that’s no reason to go around slaughtering every human you see, is it?

    Same applies to animals.

    The crucial difference is between “could” and “do”. The animals in the game (as well as humans) *do* attack you on sight, making it issue of pure self-defense. Not unlike you’d defend yourself from someone on the street of the big city that actually *does* try to stab you and take your money. Vs million other individuals who could do the same but *don’t*.

    If you’d rather have your character in game die when attacked so the endangered species has something to feed upon, well, you are given that option too.

  33. Mman says:

    “Legend is like Anniversary but 100x gooder”

    This, except the complete opposite way around.

    “The second is bloody underwater bits, which always suck out loud in every Tomb Raider game”

    I completely disagree with this, as TR’s underwater levels have been among the most atmospheric in the series.

  34. Phil says:

    That first trailer reminded me a lot of Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune.

  35. Optimaximal says:

    I wouldn’t hurt a panda. They can’t fight back, the useless freeloading shits.

    Agreed… Useless wasters even expect us to impregnate them* now.

    * with a baster/syringe ofc, as any other method would be gross**…

    **Not that using a baster for inseminating things isn’t gross…

  36. The Shed says:

    I was under the impression that the underwater area in this game served as a free-roaming HUB level. Maybe the impression was totally wrong, although in that preview they were talking about her swimming around for ages, looking at dolphins, hunting for collectables at the sea bed, and avoiding sharks. Maybe it was just one level.

  37. The New Guy says:

    The new Tomb Raider reboot games are good but the problem is it’s too formulaic. I guess too much of Prince of Persia and Bloodrayne inspired gameplay.

    Oh also to the person who said Legend is a hundred times better than Anniversary, I want to see you play those driving levels with a mouse and keyboard.

  38. CrashT says:

    @Jonas:
    Oh god, tell me about it. I had to wait years until there was a “No-Spiders” patch for System Shock 2 before I was able to play it. I’ve still never finished the first Thief.

  39. Smileyfax says:

    I don’t see what the big deal about tigers is; after all, Lara blows away a T-Rex in one of the games, and they’re considerably more endangered than tigers.

  40. mike says:

    So shooting tigers makes for a big moral dilemma, but blowing up shitloads of people in any FPS is totally cool? Yeah, because it’s like self-defense or they’re bad guys anyway. Tut-tut.

  41. AndyDiplo says:

    @Esha – I’ll tell you why – cos you’re GAY (yes, I said it: GAY). What kind of homatic fudge-foid can kill virtual humans but cries like a beeatch over a couple of pixelated fur-burgers?

    I defend with my life your right to your “opinion” but I shoot your opinion in the face when it lacks any kind of logical consistency or coherent thought.

  42. AndyDiplo says:

    Re: the difference between fantasy and reality argument – the line is drawn in a sensible place (and yes, I realise that’s its own can of worms): we might engage with our virtual experience on a visceral and/or emotional level but we understand that it is not in any way “real”. And we draw a line at things that are not accepted by the majority of humanity – i.e. the rape game, etc.

    Killing animals is an everyday part of our existence, whatever the tree-huggers might say, so it makes it into the fantasy experience with no qualms. If I had a choice in RL between killing an angry human pygmy or a raging monkey I’d pull the monkey close to me and press its warm body up against my own as I pulled the trigger against its head so I could feel its viscera splatter my face. I’m not violent, its just that I choose the life of sentients over the walking meat.

  43. Down Rodeo says:

    John: you seem to be a big Lara Croft fan as well as a pedant. :p I’ve been looking out for your name of late. Sad as that sounds.

  44. Angel Dust says:

    @Esha
    “You do realise that any person you meet on the street of a big city could stab you and take your money?

    But that’s no reason to go around slaughtering every human you see, is it?

    Same applies to animals.”
    That doesn’t really make sense since I don’t think ‘Steelfist’ was talking about a preemptive strike on all animals. He was merely stating that the in real life you might be forced to defend yourself should you be faced with a tiger or if you prefer a mugger threatening to stab you. It’s not like you are attacking them without provocation and I’m sure if there were benign animals, I kind of wish there were, most players wouldn’t kill them.

  45. Bobsy says:

    @The New Guy

    I did so. So what? Wasn’t so bad, the Japan bit notwithstanding.

  46. Alarik says:

    Interesting that Legend is liked so much. Haven’t played Anniversary because I felt Legend was rather subpar.

    How ‘worse’ is Anniversary compared to Legend? Still parkour I presume? Maybe the ‘worse’ could be ‘better’ for me…

  47. Mman says:

    “wth is wrong with you.”

    We’re not trolls?

    “How ‘worse’ is Anniversary compared to Legend? Still parkour I presume? Maybe the ‘worse’ could be ‘better’ for me…”

    As a remake, Anniversary dumps most of the plot and action sequences and focuses on the level design, if it’s that aspect you care about (like me) then you’ll probably find it much better, but if your issue is more with the story and stuff you might find it worse.

  48. Malagate says:

    I’ve always found these Tomb Raider games never really clicked with me, it’s just the whole premise of who she is and what she’s doing that turns me off to the games.

    Nevermind all the rare and never seen before animals that she could have studied and introduced to the world, all these archaeological places she explores and seemingly destroys to get to the shiny loot would offer huge insights into ancient cultures, but is it ever mentioned that she cares about that? All she ever does is go in, kill the animals, take the shiny stuff and then keeps it in her big mansion out of sight of the world. Makes for a nice platformer/action game yes, but as such a selfish magpie of a character I always get irked and I feel a bit Indiana Jones at times (This belongs in a museum! etc).

    (Interesting aside: not one word was mentioned about the shark she killed in the above trailers, pretty much all of them are endangered as well, yet not one bleeding heart about the sharks? “I only care about the furry endangered species, the rest can go to hell the scaly bastards!” bloody furries).

  49. AndrewC says:

    Her being an amoral, cold sort of a character is part of the charm for me. It could just be for the rather shallow reason that I think the sex would be kinky.

    And Bond is certainly a bastard, and lots of people like him. Indiana Jones is no boyscout either, if you look at him closely. He thinks the artifacts belong in a nice white, American musuem.

    Either way, it is certainly a deliberate design decision to make her that way, so I doubt there will be less of it in the new game.

  50. BooleanBob says:

    “But when you’re facing off against a realistic Tiger with a gun, it just feels so wrong, even if it is only a game.”

    If folks are being attacked by tigers with guns I think we’d better just give up all pretense that we’re the dominant species right now.