www.tombraiderforums.com  

Go Back   www.tombraiderforums.com > Tomb Raider Series > Tomb Raider Chronicles

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 07-04-07, 17:38   #1
Scottlee
Relic Hunter
 
Scottlee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Leeds, England
Posts: 7,507
Default "Streets of Rome" analysis

With AOD and TRL still dividing opinions years after their release, the once heavily ridiculed TRC is almost in danger of making a dramatic comeback as a cult favourite, the last dying remnant of a golden era, if you like. I have certainly noticed less and less message board criticism chucked its way over the last two or three years. TRC has so often being lost in the 'No members currently viewing' wilderness, a long forgotten experiment sandwiched in time between the Hollywood glitz of TRLR and the big event release that was AOD. It's definitely time then to go back and offer the game a second chance, and it I manage to get past The Deepsea Dive without stabbing myself in the eye with a pencil, overall analysis could prove strangely favourable for this aging compilation piece badly in need of a little love.

The opening FMV shows Lara's memorial statue, in which she's standing alert with her guns raised. What a charming way to pay tribute to someone! "Oh, we'll have a statue where she's holding guns. That will go down well with family members who have no knowledge or interest in what she gets up to abroad". Seconds after the camera pans in on the inscription, Winston gets his first spoken lines in the series. This must have confused the actor doing his voice, who had probably been expecting to have to do his annual fart and was suddenly asked to do something else - speak. Father Winston is the other noticable guest at the funeral, clearly in mourning over the fact he never did end up seeing young Lara take her shirt off pre-Ireland.

Back in the drawing room, the brandy, the biscuits, the pipe, and the slippers, all come out of the cupboard as Winston's little posse sit down to reminisce Lara's greatest adventures. First up is her one-time retrieval of the Philosopher's Stone from Italy, to which Winston, ever the livewire at the party, chuckles "She always did know how to paint the town red". Quite.

Cue one of the funniest scenes in the franchise, as Lara gets re-aquainted with old foes Pierre and Larsson at the opera. This setting itself rather fitting given the duo's habit throughout this game of resembling a tired Punch and Judy act. So is Lara's initial escape from their clutches, as she leaps onto the stage curtain and lands to a standing ovation and the throwing of red roses. It's certainly a funny moment, but it's also completely over the top, just like the tone of most of the game. Furthermore, there just happens to be a convenient pizza bike for Lara to escape on out the back door. I say 'convenient' because who on earth would have ordered a pizza halfway through watching the opera?



We have the option of going through a mid-level training routine once the game finally gets underway. This is where TRC scores its first points. With the mansion assault course done to death, and the Von Croy's Apprentice routine of the last game proving a cut-scene riddled flop, this new spin on an apparantly necessarily staple is the best yet. Seasoned players can just get on with the game where as newbies can go on a brief detour whilst still feeling a minor sense of lurking threat. Perfect. There are even some hidden pick-ups available inside the training area for those willing to go the extra mile.

The game's new move is tightrope-walking. The moment we try it in the training area, we instantly know that later on in the game there will just happen to be a tightrope suspended over either lava or spikes. It's not even something that adds anything worthwhile to the gameplay. It soon gets boring once you've done it once, and only further enhances the notion that TRC-Lara will be much more the circus act and much less the adventurer-explorer. I was half expecting six or seven red roses to land at my feet when I crossed that training ground tightrope.

Thankfully the rest of the level manages to stay gimmick-free. Streets of Rome is exactly how you would expect it to be, both as a first level and as a product of its name. The enemies are mostly snarling mutts you see coming from twenty yards away, the puzzles simple lock-and-key affairs. It's all tight and compact. You almost feel as if Core are deliberately trying to play things as safe as possible. The music though definitely has more of a light-hearted feel to it than previous games.

Every now and again Pierre and Larsson add to their appearance total, and if there have been ever two bigger dorks in a computer game you will have to let me know. Larsson in particular demonstrates very little evidence of brain-activity. It completely beggers belief that any self-respecting crime boss would hire this guy. Essentially TRC is Larsson's Moonraker performance (ala Jaws), an encore for a character who simply wasn't THIS stupid even to begin with. Pierre meanwhile, who never had a cut-scene in TR1, proves to be a something of a Dick Dasterdly character in that he often seems intelligent but isn't really.

Just a quick note about the 'gateway' thing - How could it be nobody has ever managed to get inside it when it's right in the middle of the street? Not only that but the keys (which look like giant mini chedders) are lying around in nearby wine cellars! How did they get there? And why has Bob the Wine-owner, or whoever, never elected to pick them up? I won't pick on the level's other absurdities, such as the weird bird pedastals or the swinging wooden thing, because they were quite cool in a bizarre way. 7/10

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

TRM's Tomb Tidbits
(What has TRM pulled out of the library today I wonder?)
"The philosopher's stone, in Latin lapis philosophorum, is a legendary substance that supposedly could turn inexpensive metals such as lead into gold and/or create an elixir that would make humans younger, thus delaying death. It was a longtime "holy grail" of Western alchemy. In the view of spiritual alchemy, making the philosopher's stone would bring enlightenment upon the maker and conclude the Great Work. It is also known by several other names, such as the 'Golden Wedding Garment', the 'Soul body', the 'Astral body' and the 'Living Stone', spoken of in some of the ancient philosophies as the 'Diamond Soul'"

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

__________________
For the first time ever I will understand my television

Last edited by Scottlee; 07-04-07 at 17:43.
Scottlee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 17:52   #2
Titanium
Tomb Raider
 
Titanium's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: England
Posts: 13,079
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee View Post
Furthermore, there just happens to be a convenient pizza bike for Lara to escape on out the back door. I say 'convenient' because who on earth would have ordered a pizza halfway through watching the opera?
I dont think I ever thought that.

Anyway great review Scott.
Titanium is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 18:01   #3
Chocolate
Professor
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3,968
Default

Great stuff Looking foward to the next level review!
Chocolate is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 18:03   #4
jackles
Super Moderator
 
jackles's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Fereldan....apparently
Posts: 21,551
Default

Very amusing! me like!

jackles is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 18:32   #5
Noodleboy
Archaeologist
 
Noodleboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: ツナサラダで
Posts: 2,430
Default

Ha! can't wait for the VCI levels reviews xD cuz those levels where terrible
__________________
If I'm flying solo, at least I'm flying free
Noodleboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 19:13   #6
Tomb Raider Master
Tomb Raider
 
Tomb Raider Master's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Croatia
Posts: 20,980
Thumbs up

Nice writing, yet nice introduction to this great game!

Quote:
"She always did know how to paint the town red". Quite.


Quote:
I say 'convenient' because who on earth would have ordered a pizza halfway through watching the opera?
LMAO, you're right!
Tomb Raider Master is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 19:32   #7
Mytly
Moderator
 
Mytly's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: In the unfashionable end of the western spiral arm of the Galaxy
Posts: 13,942
Default

Aha, Scottlee's reviews are back!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee View Post
Seconds after the camera pans in on the inscription, Winston gets his first spoken lines in the series. This must have confused the actor doing his voice, who had probably been expecting to have to do his annual fart and was suddenly asked to do something else - speak.
"Annual fart" -

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee View Post
Furthermore, there just happens to be a convenient pizza bike for Lara to escape on out the back door. I say 'convenient' because who on earth would have ordered a pizza halfway through watching the opera?
Maybe the manager or one of the stagehands was feeling a bit peckish?
Mytly is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 19:47   #8
tweetygwee
Archaeologist
 
tweetygwee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: London
Posts: 2,151
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottlee View Post
This must have confused the actor doing his voice, who had probably been expecting to have to do his annual fart and was suddenly asked to do something else - speak.
I've been waiting for this! Chronicles is a nice light-hearted escape from the AOD/Legend/Anniversary controversy and hate! I know what you mean about a comeback being possible.
tweetygwee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 07-04-07, 22:06   #9
rr_carroll
Bug Scientist
 
rr_carroll's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: California
Posts: 7,213
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mytly View Post
...Maybe the manager or one of the stagehands was feeling a bit peckish?
No, the delivery boy is an opera fan, and he snuck in for an aria between deliveries.

I know the Winston/fart reference is just a throwaway line, but don't forget his great old man warble, "oo-woo-oo-loo-oo".
rr_carroll is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-04-07, 00:19   #10
Scottlee
Relic Hunter
 
Scottlee's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Leeds, England
Posts: 7,507
Default

__________________
For the first time ever I will understand my television
Scottlee is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT. The time now is 04:30.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.