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Old 05-05-07, 14:15   #1
Scottlee
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Default "Trajan's Markets" analysis

The markets were presumably the rows of square rooms we see at the beginning of the level. I could consult a history book to run a more cultured background check on the meaning behind the title, but I'm happy to imagine this little corridor once contained a room for selling bananas, a room for selling coconuts, a room for selling knocked-off David Bowie L.Ps, and so on. All the stalls are empty now though, with dirt and spades (and Lara pick-ups) the only things remaining.

The first level prior to this was a gentle walk through an abandoned vision of backstreet Rome. It was quiet, simple, easy to plod through, and never really troubled us other than to occasionally playback Larson's FMV's to try and work out what he says. Now however, as we enter Level 2, I expect something better. I expect the excitement bar to be raised just as it was between the TRLR training levels and the Tomb of Seth, just as it was between Look Who's Talking and Look Who's Talking Too etc. Let us proceed....

The first portion of the level has us scrambling around the box rooms to the background noise of ringing church bells. These church bells sound out for the ENTIRE level, either hinting at someone forgetting to turn the effect off or just a Roman with very strong arms. I constantly found myself wanting to hunt that mother down and put two bullets in him and his damn bells. Alas, the noise is always coming from somewhere over yonder we never quite reach. In England we bash the church bell once if it's 1pm, and twelve times if it's 12pm. By the end of this level, Italian meantime is officially Three-Thousand-Seven-Hundred-And-Sixty-Six-O-Clock (the mouse wouldn't want to run up that clock!).

After about five minutes (and 90 thumps of the bell), we come to the level's first big set-piece, involving a big set of clanking wooden machinary. We know this moment is going to be big because a short FMV shows the machinary clunking away in all its clunk-clunk glory. Sadly the puzzle on offer here is a lame donkey. We simply pull all the strings lying around the yard, the machinary does some more clunking, and a door rolls open. Oh. So glad we figured that one out. Behind the door is a roman statue that doesn't come to life and a breed of rat that's like a poor man's scrarab beetle. Nothing impressive about this level so far then? Nope. It is though about to get better.


(Here's Tomb Raider Master making a complete pig's ear of fighting the octopus creature)

Cue a rather eerie moment just a few more minutes of progress later, as our drip-drying from a brief swim is interrupted by a second FMV. This time we are quite simply bowled off our feet by the shocking sight of what can only be described as uncoiling freak of mechanical nature. Now this I didn't see coming. What the feck is this goddamn thing? It looks like something out of a Spiderman movie. Malevolently it splutters its head this way and that trying to plaster Lara against the wall with its fiery rays of blue lightning. Shooting its eyeballs with the revolver (not an obvious solution)requires skill and precision and is easily the standout moment of the game so far. This is more like it! The machine even dies in a really cool way.

It's down into the sewers at this point, which look just a tad too clean for me. It looks as though cleaners scrub every inch of the walls to keep them looking like the kind of sewers Julius Ceaser would be happy to come down and eat his dinner in. They also bear a striking resemblance to the sewers seen in Final Fantasy 8 and Silent Hill, with thin walkways available on both sides of the water. On emerging back above ground we come to yet another boss fights, of sorts. This time it's a Roman gladiator in our way, who like the octopus machine fires bolts of blue lightening. If Russell Crowe had this ability in Gladiator it would have brought the house down. "Are you not entertained?!?"

I certainly was entertained by this point, the intriguing boss fights just about making up for the slightly lacklustre puzzles. Killing the gladiator though strangely makes a gate open about half a mile away (wtf?). This is TRC's pantomime theme coming back into play again. All of us at some point in the series must have spent one moment wondering what sort of mechanism could be behind a lever that it would make a door open two hundred yards away. Here the writers play on that curiosity by having a distant gate open when we haven't even pushed anything! A window smashes by itself too, just for added effect.

Concluding the level is not only a third boss fight, but a FOURTH one shortly after. It's Larson up first though, that glutton for punishment who is just as inferior to Lara in the verbal exchanges as he is in the physical ones. Larson is a pantomime all by himself, but TRC goes further than that, being as blatant here as to have the two characters engage in a brief "He's behind you!" exchange, eventually resulting in the villain being tossed like a disengaged rodeo rider halfway across the yard.

As so onto the boss fight, against three snake-esque creatures attached to the wall. This is a minor nod to those annoying underwater snake puppets from TR2. But the TRC incarnations are far more patience-trying, needed at least a thousand and one hits before they wither and die. It's always best to save your game about three of four times during this encounter. It is the final task in the level though. Not a bad level on the whole, the numerous boss fights making up for the lack of any decent puzzle-solving to do, as I indicated previously. 7/10

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TRM's Tomb Tidbits
"Marcus Ulpius Nerva Traianus, commonly called Trajan was Roman Emperor in 98–117. Under his rule, the Empire reached its greatest territorial extent. Unlike many lauded rulers in history, Trajan's reputation has survived undiminished for nearly nineteen centuries.

Trajan was the son of Marcia and Marcus Ulpius Traianus, a prominent senator and general from the famous gens Ulpia. He was born on September 18, 53, in the city of Italica. His Spanish origin made him the first emperor not to come from Italy.

Trajan's eventual entry at Rome in AD 99 was a triumph. The new emperor entered the city on foot; he embraced each of the senators and even walked among the ordinary people. This was unlike any other Roman emperor and perhaps grants us a glimpse of Trajan's true greatness.

Trajan was an educated but not an especially learned man, who no doubt was a powerful, very masculine figure. He loved hunting, ranging through forests and even climbing mountains. Further he possessed a true sense of dignity and humility which in the eyes of the Romans made him an emperor of true virtue.

Trajan's most famous campaign is undoubtedly that against Dacia, a powerful kingdom north of the Danube in modern Romania. Two wars were fought against it, resulting in its destruction and annexation as a Roman province in AD 106. But Trajan's passion for military life and warfare would grant him no rest. In AD 114 he annexed Armenia and spectacularly conquered the whole of Mesopotamia, including the Parthian capital Ctesiphon.

But Trajan's star then began to fade. Revolts among the Jews in the Middle East and the recently conquered Mesopotamians weakened his position to continue the war and military setbacks tarnished his air of invincibility. Already suffering from circulatory problems, which Trajan suspected were due to poison, he suffered a stroke which partially paralyzed him. The end came shortly after when he died in Selinus in Cilicia on 9 August AD 117.

He body was taken to Seleucia where it was cremated. His ashes were then carried back to Rome and were placed in a golden urn into the base of 'Trajan's Column'."
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Thank to TRM for the pics and the tidbit
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Last edited by Scottlee; 05-05-07 at 17:52.
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Old 05-05-07, 14:29   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scotlee
The first portion of the level has us scrambling around the box rooms to the background noise of ringing church bells. These church bells sound out for the ENTIRE level, either hinting at someone forgetting to turn the effect off or just a Roman with very strong arms. I constantly found myself wanting to hunt that mother down and put two bullets in him and his damn bells. Alas, the noise is always coming from somewhere over yonder we never quite reach. In England we bash the church bell once if it's 1pm, and twelve times if it's 12pm. By the end of this level, Italian meantime is officially Three-Thousand-Seven-Hundred-And-Sixty-Six-O-Clock (the mouse wouldn't want to run up that clock!).
So far these TRC analysis threads are making me tempted to find my Chronicles disc again. Keep them coming!
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Old 05-05-07, 15:38   #3
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Quote:
In England we bash the church bell once if it's 1pm, and twelve times if it's 12pm. By the end of this level, Italian meantime is officially Three-Thousand-Seven-Hundred-And-Sixty-Six-O-Clock (the mouse wouldn't want to run up that clock!).


Quote:
(Here's Tomb Raider Master making a complete pig's ear of fighting the octopus creature)


Quote:
It looks as though cleaners scrub every inch of the walls to keep them looking like the kind of sewers Julius Ceaser would be happy to come down and eat his dinner in.
No comment on this one.

All in all, very enjoyable read.
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Old 05-05-07, 17:19   #4
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Wow, excellent analysis, Scottlee! I enjoyed reading every paragraph.
Can't wait to see what level you're gonna analyse next. Keep 'em coming!
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Old 05-05-07, 17:50   #5
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Well done Scottlee

Brilliant as always
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Old 05-05-07, 19:53   #6
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You know, you don't have to fight the snakes. If you have enough medipacks, you can go to the door while Larson is shooting at you (ignore him) and put however many stones are left in their places. But before the cutscene starts, make sure your health bar is full, because Larson keeps shooting at you and there's nothing you can do about it except kill him before putting the stones in, but then that triggers the snakes/dragons and then you have to fight all them, which is extremely difficult (for me at least).

But good job with the analysis. Apparently you've made a lot, but this is the first one I've read.
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Old 05-05-07, 19:56   #7
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Brilliant writing as always Scott.

And TRM's tidbit is also brilliant.
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Old 05-05-07, 20:38   #8
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It's nice to see that you're doing these again! I thought you'd never do any more. Brilliant as usual!
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Old 05-05-07, 23:45   #9
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Nice analysis, Scottlee!

I think I prefer it when you review a level you dislike - it's far more entertaining!

Well, The Colosseum is up next ... plenty of nasty things to be said about it ... *keeps fingers crossed*
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Old 08-05-07, 14:30   #10
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I haven't read the first one, but I will now! Well done, I liked that!
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