Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Tomb Raider: Anniversary Update 6b

St. Francis Folly
  • I finished the Damocles Room. I probably spent around 2h in total time getting through it. That's far longer and I don't think I'm completely to blame.
  • Ok, here's what I figured out: Lara can jump backward away from a wall when using her grapple. That was what I wanted to do, but couldn't get her to do.
  • The answer is to read the manual. As far as I've seen this was never explained in the game. and I have the tutorial text on, so I hope I would have seen it.
  • In the manual, it explains that you can first let go of the grapple (i.e. let go of the square button) and then push the left analog joystick in the direction you want Lara to jump while pressing X, the jump button.
  • Even knowing this, it's tricky to get the timing right.
  • I blame the designers. If you don't make me learn a move that's (a) not obvious and (b) required to exit a room, then it's your fault, not mine.
  • That said, I did try to come up with a novel approach that I was disappointed wouldn't work. Since Lara's new cool move (other than the one I didn't know about with the grapple!) is standing on top of poles, I figured I might be able to jump across the tops of the sword hilts that were buried in the ground around the room. They were nearly tall enough for Lara to possibly get somewhere new, but I didn't find any way to get on top of them. She can nearly get on top of them and if the game were going to use its magic to help her out, I think it would have.
  • The balancing on top of poles is a new and interesting move for Lara -- except when there are poles around and the designers don't want to you balancing on them!
  • Poseidon Room - This was perhaps my favorite of the new rooms, but was one of my least favorite in the original. It requires true three dimensional thinking (although the third dimension is really limited to only two or three discrete values instead of a continuum) and is downright soothing.
  • How does the classic St. Francis Folly compare to the new? I think I like the old one, but I'm having trouble separating my nostalgia from my reasoning there. The old puzzle rooms were more contrived, for sure, but also somewhat more focused. Just like I didn't care for the new Qualopec tomb, I didn't come away as impressed as I'd hoped.
  • That said, there are some good points here. The four doors each having to be handled (mostly) differently is a nice touch. Except for the Damocles puzzle, everything was very straightforward, but not necessarily easy.
  • And the game brought back some of that "I have to be careful or I'll have thrown away a lot of good work" feeling that I had in the original. Mostly this stems from being in a huge vertical chamber with ledges all over and a fatal fall only inches away.
I'm at the Colosseum now, which is an exciting prospect. I am reasonably hopeful.

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