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Old 17-03-07, 20:26   #1
Scottlee
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Default TRLR, Final Five Levels Analysis

My enthusiasm for the fifth section of TRLR is so minimal, it is probably quite telling that I have delayed for so long in writing this the final analysis of the game. The finales of Lara games have never been as majestic as the journey leading up to that point, the possible exceptions being TR2, and bizarrely enough, TRC. This game has the worst finale of all, even if it is far from the worst of the sequals. It isn't the plunge to doom of our beloved Lara that bothers me, nor the lack of a final boss with the ability to move his arms and legs. It is simply the tired graft of getting her royal highness through what feels like exactly the same level about eight times in a row, none of which are any good. It's almost like walking through an actual desert, praying for salvation as we wilt in the heat and the endless boredom of our toils.

(The Mastabas)
I reached the beginning of The Mastabas last time around, one of the slightly better segments of the final action, which isn't saying much. It's all very mysterious and creepy until we realise we're doing the same room over and over again, at which point we start baying for the next level to come along. Before then the presence of the van, and subsequently the large pits between the huts, at least provided some scenic reference for me as I attempted to think to what I actually enjoyed. Everything else just looks the same as the previous levels, or maybe the levels that haven't come yet. Or maybe both. I don't know. I went through a online walkthrough to jog my memory before writing this and even the author seemed to be a tad on the bored side. Am I annoying anyone with all this sarcastic criticism? If so, I apologise. However, this section bored the craps out of me and not I'm going to lie about it. You know something has gone sterile though when a walkthrough author describes one typcially blank-looking room as "SouthWest-Central Mastaba" (eh?)

We have to use a Jerrycan at some point, which may be a sly reference to our lead villain being a German. If you're having trouble recollecting this, allow me to help you out a little. The Jerrycan usage comes just after we leave "NorthWest-Central Mastaba". That's cleared it up for you hasn't it? Come on, we didn't have any BS in the previous games like "SouthEast-Lower Barkhang", or "Lower-Middle North by Northwest Ganges". Places back then had character and spectacle. It wasn't one endless San Andreas style quicksand with the occasional giant wasp flying out of the sky.

"Here we have something a little different" the walkthrough author says about the room with the Monkey statues (I'm not making that quote up). This is a puzzle involving a black monkey, a ghost monkey, and a friendly monkey, according to the walkie. The friendly monkey though is nothing more than a monkey who happens to pull the right switch for you. He doesn't rub his chest and a re-enact a child's tea party or anything. He could be the most devious, scheming, little pest in the whole monkey kingdom for all we know, but Tomb Raider folklore will always have him down as being the 'friendly' monkey who got Lara out of a jam. 6/10

(The Great Pyramid)
Sadly, The Great Pyramid hardly warrants any discussion because I already talked about pyramid climbing in the last anaysis. Suffice to say that it's reasonably fun again here but offers nothing new 6/10



(Khufu's Queen's Pyramids)
As well having a stupid level name that makes no sense, this level also has a bunker with about fifteen pick-ups inside it, just to completely kill off the remaining challenge. The actual pyramid itself is a series of corridors that all look the same, which is a shame because the outside part of the level all looks the same, and that makes most of what I'm writing look the same. Anyone remember that Blur song, "Ernold Same"?

The most noticable thing here (and it's another bad thing) is that the doors have no sound effects. Where are the creepy creaks gone from the door-openings of earlier games? When I press a switch to open a door, I want to hear the customary "ehwaaaaaaeahh", not complete silence. Don't ponder too long on the "ehwaaaaaaeah", by the way. I couldn't think of a way to write down the sound effect I'm thinking off. 5/10

(Inside The Great Pyramd)
So the ancient Egyptians had hand-rails in the corridors? Fantastic. It's much of the same stuff repeating itself now, as scorpions and bad guys pop out from everywhere trying to make Lara's last push for glory as difficult as possible. I've thought of something positive to say here - The moving blocks which try to squish you have been designed very well. You can use old tricks to good effect, you just need to spend some time on them. 4/10

(The Temple of Horus)
I don't care much for the water and scales puzzle because it's ripped off from Die Hard with a Vengence, and it doesn't seem bad-ass enough for a final level task anyway. On the positive side, there are no more shaft keys to pick up for the rest of the game.

So onto the final showdown. This is to take place between Lara (obviously), and Set, who frustratingly is now an indestructible statue who can't be killed. On the positive side though, he's no longer talking any crap no-one can understand. Given all the invincible enemies who have plagued us throughout the game prior to this, it seems sadly fitting TRLR should end in this manner i.e with the enemy standing tall and Lara scampering for crevices like a rat fleeing from the flood.

The escape from the temple warrants more discussion because of the way Lara slips and plunges into the darkness, to me as if she's finally had enough and she just can't be bothered anymore. The Man from Del Monte tries to offer her a hand but it's all to no avail. German efficiency has triumphed over English grit. The angel has fallen. TR is no more. This was the fourth Tomb Raider game incidentally in four years, and it would be another four years before we saw another one to feature a Lara existing beyond this point.

TRLR is a fine game but it runs out of steam about 75% of the way through. There is much to go back and enjoy about this entirely Egyptian experience. However, a classic game it is not. The best TR game it is certainly not. Happy raiding. See you all over in the TRC Chronicles section. That's going to be fun. Oh there will be blood!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

TRM's Tomb Tidbits
(What has Tomb Raider Master cooked up for us today?)
""The Mastaba in Egyptian architecture is a sepulchral structure built aboveground. The Mastabas of the early dynastic period (32002680 B.C.), such as those of the I dynasty at Saqqara, were elaborate, having many storage or offering compartments, and were quite evidently close copies of contemporary houses. The typical Mastaba was generally rectangular in plan with a flat roof and inward-sloping walls, built of brick and faced with limestone slabs. This structure was favored as funerary monument from the Early Dynastic Period on. Originally, the Mastaba was built above a shaft at the bottom of which was situated a tomb. As the Egyptian craftsmanship increased, the Mastabas became more elaborate, housing funerary chapels, shrines and offering tables where the cult for the deceased was held.

Better known are the Mastabas of the Old Kingdom, which were an elaboration of the Pre-Dynastic Period burial-pit and mound form. In contrast to their royal counterparts, the pyramids, which were left undecorated, the Old Kingdom Mastabas offer us a variety of texts and images, illustrating scenes from the daily life of the deceased, offering scenes and ritual hunt scenes. The Mastaba of Mereruka is the largest in Saqqara. It has 32 rooms."



(Thanks to TRM for the pictures)
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Old 17-03-07, 20:53   #2
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God did I need my analysis fix... tonight I was having withdrawal symptoms and searching in vain for ones that I haven't read yet!

great analysis! Lol at the following:

Quote:
(Khufu's Queen's Pyramids)
As well having a stupid level name that makes no sense
Scott, you always manage to put into words the thoughts in my head while playing TR!

Quote:
Don't ponder too long on the "ehwaaaaaaeah", by the way. I couldn't think of a way to write down the sound effect I'm thinking off.
You're usually great at text-ifying sounds! What happened .

Quote:
The Man from Del Monte tries to offer her a hand but it's all to no avail.

Quote:
See you all over in the TRC Chronicles section. That's going to be fun. Oh there will be blood!
Yes, I remember you saying that Deepsea Dive happens to be your favourite level of any game ever, doesn't it!

Last edited by tweetygwee; 17-03-07 at 20:55.
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Old 17-03-07, 21:34   #3
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I think there's much more to the water puzzle in Temple of Horus that you have not touched on. The water in the jar is balanced against the feather of truth ( Shu, or whatever it is called). Presumably, the jar contains your heart. If it is lighter or heavier than the feather, your soul is eaten by the monster Ammit (the reptile-like monster you see in the cage). Obviously, this is meant to represent a test of not only Lara's intelligence, but also her soul's 'worthiness' to continue further into the temple. It's even described in the walkthrough you used.

By the way, Khufu was the builder of the Great Pyramid (well, his subjects built it), so it makes sense that one of the shaft keys is in her tomb.

Also, the hand railings were not built by the Egyptians, since the pyramid is obviously of interest to modern archaeologists. There's also a big, modern, iron door if you haven't noticed it.

I don't think you've paid attention to the levels much. There weren't even any scorpions inside the Great Pyramid, and you say that a lot of areas look the same. There are quite a lot of mastabas around the area of the Great Pyramid in real life, and they do look much the same as each other, so maybe that's why the level is like that. Remember that the last section of TLR takes place in an area of Egypt that has seen some of the most archaeological activity in the country. Given that, I think the level designers have done quite a good job of keeping it all varied. Apart from the short bits of pyramid climbing in Atlantis, I don't think the last levels of TLR is like any TR level previously seen.

I can agree about Seth completely though. He was quite disappointing. By then, after going through almost the whole game, you really wanted something triumphant, but instead Horus is defeated and you have to run away.
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Old 17-03-07, 22:58   #4
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good analysis, but harsh as i've come to expect.

your first shot (looking up at The Great Pyramid) is probably my all-time defining moment in TR series.

no other structure in TR history has actually made me gulp whilst looking up at it, and it makes me think "thats my final hurdle."

and the clouds rolling past all the while.

my best TR4 moment.
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Old 18-03-07, 10:18   #5
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Ahh, I was wondering where the rest of the TR4 analysis threads were!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee
So onto the final showdown. This is to take place between Lara (obviously), and Set, who frustratingly is now an indestructible statue who can't be killed. On the positive side though, he's no longer talking any crap no-one can understand.


On a serious note I do agree that the final levels of TR4 were disappointing. Can't wait for the TR5 and AoD analysis threads!
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Old 18-03-07, 10:44   #6
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Quote:
You know something has gone sterile though when a walkthrough author describes one typcially blank-looking room as "SouthWest-Central Mastaba" (eh?)
Totally useless if you ask me.

Quote:
The Jerrycan usage comes just after we leave "NorthWest-Central Mastaba". That's cleared it up for you hasn't it? Come on, we didn't have any BS in the previous games like "SouthEast-Lower Barkhang", or "Lower-Middle North by Northwest Ganges". Places back then had character and spectacle. It wasn't one endless San Andreas style quicksand with the occasional giant wasp flying out of the sky.
LOL!

Quote:
I don't care much for the water and scales puzzle because it's ripped off from Die Hard with a Vengence, and it doesn't seem bad-ass enough for a final level task anyway. On the positive side, there are no more shaft keys to pick up for the rest of the game.
Thank god. Although I like the scales puzzle.

Quote:
The escape from the temple warrants more discussion because of the way Lara slips and plunges into the darkness, to me as if she's finally had enough and she just can't be bothered anymore. The Man from Del Monte tries to offer her a hand but it's all to no avail. German efficiency has triumphed over English grit. The angel has fallen. TR is no more. This was the fourth Tomb Raider game incidentally in four years, and it would be another four years before we saw another one to feature a Lara existing beyond this point.

TRLR is a fine game but it runs out of steam about 75% of the way through. There is much to go back and enjoy about this entirely Egyptian experience. However, a classic game it is not. The best TR game it is certainly not. Happy raiding. See you all over in the TRC Chronicles section. That's going to be fun. Oh there will be blood!
Ah, what a dramatic way to finish. To be honest, I'm glad we're finally over with it - I'm dying to see TRC!
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Old 18-03-07, 14:07   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee
TRLR is a fine game but it runs out of steam about 75% of the way through.
I've always maintained that this is the case with TLR, I'm glad someone else agrees. It's such a shame, because if Core had been able to keep the pace up right until the end, it probably would have been a great TR game rather than simply a pretty good one.

Great review as ever though, Scottlee
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Old 08-04-07, 18:50   #8
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"(The Temple of Horus)
I don't care much for the water and scales puzzle because it's ripped off from Die Hard with a Vengence, and it doesn't seem bad-ass enough for a final level task anyway. On the positive side, there are no more shaft keys to pick up for the rest of the game. "

I think to fully appreciate that puzzle you have to realise the symbollism behind it. It's all about your heart being weighed against the feather of truth, to decide whether or not you're allowed to pass into the underworld or whether the half hippo half lion creature "the devourer" gets to eat your soul...which is what happens if you mess the puzzle up. This has already been commented on here in a reply I think. It's egyptian legend, and I think they added it right in there at the end to suggest that Lara is being tested "at her death"..whether she should be allowed into the underworld or not depending on whether she has behaved. Maybe it's a sign to forewarn her actual death at the end...a final judgement...

"So onto the final showdown. This is to take place between Lara (obviously), and Set, who frustratingly is now an indestructible statue who can't be killed. On the positive side though, he's no longer talking any crap no-one can understand. Given all the invincible enemies who have plagued us throughout the game prior to this, it seems sadly fitting TRLR should end in this manner i.e with the enemy standing tall and Lara scampering for crevices like a rat fleeing from the flood."

I agree. I was dissapointed with that end showdown. I wanted to shoot him! I was dissapointed that you just had to climb and pull some leavers and stuff whilst dodging his attacks..what happened to running around and shooting him and stuff? I know you probably can't shoot a God to kill it but they could have come up with something better other than lara fleeing all the time. Also, throughout the whole game she'd been trying to get the armour to put Set back, but in the end he came anyway! it felt like a whole waste of time. I know she did defeat him in the end but she might as well have just gone into that temple without collecting the armour.

oh, and something I forgot to add...I hate climbing that bloody pyramid...the wasp things annoyed me when I was trying to concentrate on jumping. It took me ages just to get across to the pyramid without falling in that big pit let alone climb it.
However, I will say one good thing about those end levels...they creeped me out. It was scary and it did feel like the end of the world was coming, especially in contrast to the beautiful decorated tombs and sunshine in the beginning levels.

Last edited by Chaosreaper; 08-04-07 at 18:52.
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Old 08-04-07, 21:13   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chaosreaper View Post
"(
"So onto the final showdown. This is to take place between Lara (obviously), and Set, who frustratingly is now an indestructible statue who can't be killed. On the positive side though, he's no longer talking any crap no-one can understand. Given all the invincible enemies who have plagued us throughout the game prior to this, it seems sadly fitting TRLR should end in this manner i.e with the enemy standing tall and Lara scampering for crevices like a rat fleeing from the flood."

I agree. I was dissapointed with that end showdown. I wanted to shoot him! I was dissapointed that you just had to climb and pull some leavers and stuff whilst dodging his attacks..what happened to running around and shooting him and stuff? I know you probably can't shoot a God to kill it but they could have come up with something better other than lara fleeing all the time. Also, throughout the whole game she'd been trying to get the armour to put Set back, but in the end he came anyway! it felt like a whole waste of time. I know she did defeat him in the end but she might as well have just gone into that temple without collecting the armour.
.
TBH, i would have been quite dissapointed if we had to confront a god with mere bullets.
we're not talking about a wild creature here, its something far more powerful.

It makes sense that Lara should just get the hell out of there like she does.

And as for collecting the armour, well, it happens.
It's just one of those unpredictabilities that pops up.

Things don't always go according to plan, its just another twist in the tale, and I think it's a good bit of story design that way.
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Old 08-04-07, 22:54   #10
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In general terms I agree with you, at that point of the game, it turns a bit boring, in my case just until great pyramid, I just like to add that:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee View Post
(Khufu's Queen's Pyramids)
As well having a stupid level name that makes no sense
You know that the great pyramid is also know by Khufu's pyramid, cause the pyramid was built for him, and the most, if not all of the other pyramids around the great one where for Khufu's wifes.. so it may sound weird, but it's not that nonsense

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee View Post
(Inside The Great Pyramd)
So the ancient Egyptians had hand-rails in the corridors?
C'mon it was pretty clear that they were people exploring the pyramid for a long time, installing hangrails it's a normal security behavior..


And I share the same views of White Rabbit and Chaosreaper about the judgment puzzle...

About Seth, I like the fact that we just needed to prison him again... but It could really much more challenging, and I always thought that it's weird that the great pyramid was fully prepared to prision a God...
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