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Old 18-03-19, 17:52   #249
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 382

I will say something to Atlantean Stronghold:
I can see why you enjoy this level. It is the kind of chaotic and strange level, that only a Gold Level could be. Like ending a long level in under three minutes without much problems. Interesting that Campbell stated it was intentional that the player could end this level so quickly. Or activating a centaur via lever and many demons that are triggered through pickups. I also like the chaotic structure of this level. From the valley with the tower in the honeycomb structure back to the valley and in another area and from there to the top of the valley. The most insane thing of this level, is it to end it with a dive from probably the highest point of the level.
There are also some interesting parts like the underwater area, where you can see I think it was four atlanteans behind a wall and then they activated when you pull the wrong lever.
But I have one big problem with this and the next level. For me this levels don't have much context and I don't feel I reached something grand when finish this levels. For the Egypt levels you have the cat statue, that Lara examines. These levels should a continuation of the original game. Problem is, the pyramid was minutes before collapsing and exploding and now the gold levels tell you, you have another two hours to get out of it and even kill much more atlanteans that were in the original pyramid? This is to hard to believe for me.
Also another big mistake is, that these two levels focus too much on combat. It seems like the only goal is to kill as many atlanteans as possible. Tomb Raider should never be combat-focus, the very few exceptions (Home Sweet Home and Crash Site) only work, because of the special location (defending your own house) or the possibility to bypass it (Crash Site). Enemies in Tomb Raider are like the traps, they are a hindrance and an obstacle for Lara to reach her goal. For example: She is not in Vilcabamba to kill wolves and bears, she is there, because she want the scion and the wolves and bears are in her way. The atlanteans in the Atlantis level are also in her way to get to the scion.
But not in this level: It feels more like, that Lara is in the stronghold to kill as much atlanteans as possible and this disconnects me a little from an otherwise great level.

The last part I said is much worse with The Hive: Except for the great boulder room, where you have to think your step twice, this level is nearly puzzle-free and is overflooding with combat. Yes, some of these fights are fun and I will never forget the shotgun clips room with the eight atlanteans that will awake one by one.
But like you said, the ending rooms are a little bit disappointing. I expected a huge fight, but it is only Lara's bum and I think also, that the chance was wasted to let hatch more atlanteans at the end (not only a Torso, a few flying ones and normals, that all will shoot at Lara moments, before she is at the end). Maybe the memory space of the level was exhausted. So it is a rather underwhelming ending to a great expansion.

And I would like to see more of your reviews, sheepman. I see, that your analytical writing has improved over the years. I would like to see how you would rate Tomb Raider 2 and 3 today. You totally have my interest in these.
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