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Old 31-03-19, 08:04   #30
Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Germany
Posts: 382

Ah, yes the famous second TR 3-Level Temple Ruins:
Anyone who has a fear of snakes gets their nightmare as we see cobras popping their heads out of the bushes. The decision to make these entities inanimate works well, I think. There's still a huge surprise factor if you stumble onto the wrong patch of grass and don't notice them, but it prevents the snakes from feeling a little OP by being able to sneak up on our heroine at any point.
I know what you mean, the snakes are often a nasty surprise and adding poison at this point without explaning it before, is a typical TR-3 move. The snakes are only the next page in a long, long series of "watch your next stop carefully, even it seems to be relatively calm". And that poison will cost you minimum one medipack also makes the player more careful with the use of them.
And I also found it odd, that snakes can't move. Maybe it was too difficult to program the sinuous move of a snake. I think it is okay with the cobras, but it is weird with the rattlesnakes in Nevada.

Let's all be honest with ourselves for a moment. The interior portion of Temple Ruins is, to put it lightly, a bastard. If you didn't feel this way on your first playthrough, then you're either in the top 1% of our population reflex-wise, or you enjoy getting your ass kicked over and over again by traps.
You are absolutely right, the traps are of the kind, that they will to 99% kill the player at the first playthrough. There are so many examples: the boulder in the first secret room, the collapsing ceiling in this pool room, the boulder at the top of this room, the spike walls behind the two blades,...
Perhaps the most unfair trap is, when after picking up the Ganesha key the room with the invisible platforms is full of mud. And the player have absolutely no clue where he should go through this without dying and on top, there is debris that can kill Lara instantly. GameStatistic criticises this heavily in his review of Tomb Raider 3.

This type of unpredictability works in grand finales like the Temple of Xian or Atlantis, but to throw in this mayhem on the title's second stage is just a bit too unforgiving if you ask me.
Maybe it would be a little better, when Temple Ruins were the third or last India level. The next two levels are much easier (or you can argue, that River Ganges is more difficult, because of the quad-controls), so it feels a little off, to give us the grand level as second installment. Such a "grand level" has every section (London has even two). I can only imagine the designers wanted to show the player at a very early stage, that this is hard, sometimes unfair and unforgiving game, always to expect the unexpecting, be careful with every step and finding solutions for apparently impossible tasks. This could be a cool experience for a Tomb Raider veteran, who enjoyed Atlantis and Temple of Xian and is searching for a more difficult experience; but for a normal player or a newbie this level could easily made him too frustrated to continue this experience.

Instead, Temple Ruins opts for encounters with gargantuan, reanimated Shiva statues. The reveal of the Shiva baddies is effective because the first statue we run into doesn't animate; the second one does, however, and takes the player by surprise.
The shivas (or maybe they should portray Kali, because she has often more arms) are one of the best enemies in Tomb Raider. They are scary (I think I didn't play further in Tomb Raider 3 after I saw the one of stone in the first room) and hard to kill, because you cannot use the typical tactic get to a higher point and shoot from there. You have to confront them in close combat and this needs some overcoming of the player.

At its core, Temple Ruins uses its two most prominent features - the relentless traps and the symbolic Shiva guardian statues - to craft an awesome atmosphere.
I can totally agree here. If you expect to play a typical Tomb Raider level in India, you would expect exactly this: This level feels like something that was put together from many movies you watch with this indian adventure setting like The Jungle Book (not the Disney version, the scary one with real actors), some Sindbad movies (there also very often statues that come to life) and of course the second Indiana Jones movie. This is the reason I like this level very much. After you get over the frustration of the first or more gameplays, you have a grand level with a really good atmosphere, many challenges and an India experience.
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