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Old 18-09-13, 17:44   #71
sheepman23
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To me, good design is when I can envision myself in that environment. I can envision myself in The Lost Valley. If the valley was square, didn't look realistic, or had odd colors, that would be poor design. I don't lump gameplay and actual design into the same category, even though I would still give it high marks if I did.

It's interesting that you brought up the TR1 vs. Anniversary discussion when I actually think the latter is more linear. You start out, kill a few raptors, and you're immediately forced into the battle with the t-rex, in a confined area. When you're done with that, you take a linear trip to the upper valley, and then across a set of ledges that all go in the same direction with no side paths to explore. I much preferred the freedom of TR1's version.

By the way, I am not getting defensive. I was just curious as to why you thought The Lost Valley had "poor design."

@ mepsipax: I never knew that about Mario Galaxy, but that's a very cool and interesting fact. It is iconic in a lot of ways, and even though future games expanded upon what The Lost Valley does, that doesn't make it any less impressive than it was back then.

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Old 18-09-13, 20:03   #72
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I remember reading an interview once with Shigeru Miyamoto (I think) who said they looked towards this level's use of 3D-space for influence designing the Mario Galaxy games; the way it uses space and its "go anywhere" feel, especially in the Valley itself and in the Waterfall area, as well as St. Francis' Folly.
Do you have any clues where this came from? Because it would be incredibly interesting if anything like this was actually quoted. If Nintendo happen to be one of the few developers still looking at games like the original Tomb Raider for their 3D platformers that would certainly explain the quality of the Galaxy game's level design.

While I think there are various more complex and sophisticated levels in the series, this is the third level in the entire series (Manor aside), and it does a perfect job introducing openness and backtracking after the first two linear levels, and in the context of where it is it gets it just right.

I guess Anniversary technically has more content in the Valley, but it lays it all out in a boring linear way that removes the mystery of all the little caves in the walls and feeling of exploration (and that's without even starting on the T-Rex).

Last edited by MMAN; 18-09-13 at 20:05.
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Old 18-09-13, 20:48   #73
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Do you have any clues where this came from? Because it would be incredibly interesting if anything like this was actually quoted. If Nintendo happen to be one of the few developers still looking at games like the original Tomb Raider for their 3D platformers that would certainly explain the quality of the Galaxy game's level design.
I can't really remember, it was an English games magazine anyways, possibly gamesTM or N-Gamer. It does explain a lot though.
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Old 18-09-13, 23:36   #74
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I'm kind of excited to play the Greece levels again. I remember having extremely positive opinions of some and mixed views of others... we'll see how it changes this time around.
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Old 19-09-13, 12:40   #75
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I had always thought that since there was no sky that these areas were sealed inside of the earth. Seeing the coliseum in its subterranean state was incredible to me, and it only added to the whole amazing archaeological aspect of the game. Sure, I have read in this forum that they could not make the sky for some reason, but I still see it the way that I had originally envisioned. And I am glad that I do.
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Old 21-09-13, 02:54   #76
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PERU
Level 4 - Tomb of Qualopec




This is the first review so far in this playthrough where I actually had a little difficulty sitting down and trying to form an opinion on the level at hand.

I realized that I really don't have very strong feelings towards Tomb of Qualopec. When I tried to figure out why that was, I realized that it was because the two prior levels had raised the bar so high that the game's first actual tomb was somewhat underwhelming for me.

ToQ doesn't really do anything wrong. There are very few levels of TR1 that do, actually. But about 3/4 of the level is just kind of "meh" territory for me. You pull a few switches. Solve a little puzzle involving moving blocks. Run over a rickety old tile that has a spike pit beneath it (notice that the game is finally getting mean with us instead of providing safe pools of water for us to fall in ). Kill the occasional raptor.


This is actually a fairly decent puzzle, but the room is so bland and there's little to be discovered.

And as nit-picky as it sounds, I'm not a fan of this level's color scheme. The oranges and pinks are vibrant, but don't fit together well.

Putting aside that clever boulder trap right across from the opening of the tomb (I have fond memories of running up it, seeing the ball drop, and doing a instant U-turn to high-tail it out of there ), the level itself doesn't get really good until you pass the three gates close to the beginning.


I have no words.


Lara goes to great lengths to get a hold of her Snickers.

For starters, the secret room. This has to be one of my favorites in TR1, largely due to its obscurity. You have to be a really thorough player to find that one, and I admittedly didn't even get it on my first run through. I scratched my head wondering how on earth I had missed two secrets... furthermore, the secret itself is a little death trap of a room, and one wrong misstep means a spike through Lara's thigh. The lower secret is especially tricky as you have to find a safe patch on the spikes to drop down to.


Does anyone else ALWAYS think of Indiana Jones when they get to this part of the level? The parallels are striking...

Then there's the aftermath of taking the Scion from the pedestal in Qualopec's chamber. And... even creepier, that mummy that just falls in front of Lara. What the heck?! I have no real theory or explanation as to what this is supposed to be. Maybe this mummy is serving as a guardian to the Scion? Is this mummy Qualopec himself? There's a lot of room for interpretation in this somewhat bizarre little extra, should the player notice that one of the mummies is following Lara's every move...


Natla? Ain't nobody got time for 'dat!

Finally, the confrontation with Larson. While the revelation that the artifact Lara collected is only a piece of the puzzle isn't really groundbreaking, I love the dialogue between the two. Larson comes off as a stubborn redneck (whose personality is completely ruined in Anniversary, by the way), and Lara's attitude towards Larson is kind of funny when you consider that she goes from holding a gun to his head to apologizing for cutting him off mid-speech.

Conclusion

Oddly enough, the culmination of the Peru levels doesn't feel like anything entirely special. I like the ending, and there are a few cool little features inside the tomb, but for the most part it's all pretty generic. I guess that I can't really fault the designers for anything, but at the same time I can't praise them like I did in Vilcabamba or the Lost Valley. As I stated at the beginning of the review, I did not experience any strong or distinctive feelings while playing it, and as a result that means that it's pretty middle-of-the-road.

Rating - 6/10
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Old 21-09-13, 06:59   #77
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Originally Posted by sheepman23 View Post
Larson comes off as a stubborn redneck (whose personality is completely ruined in Anniversary, by the way), and Lara's attitude towards Larson is kind of funny when you consider that she goes from holding a gun to his head to apologizing for cutting him off mid-speech.
Yup, it sure is amusing Gotta love the old cut scenes.

As for the level, 6 out of 10 seems quite right. It doesn't really offer much, but still I don't think it's a bad level. I do like the ending though creepy mummies...
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Old 21-09-13, 07:08   #78
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Then there's the aftermath of taking the Scion from the pedestal in Qualopec's chamber. And... even creepier, that mummy that just falls in front of Lara. What the heck?! I have no real theory or explanation as to what this is supposed to be. Maybe this mummy is serving as a guardian to the Scion? Is this mummy Qualopec himself? There's a lot of room for interpretation in this somewhat bizarre little extra, should the player notice that one of the mummies is following Lara's every move...
You can clearly see Qualopec's skeleton and chasis in the throne between the mummies, so no. When you get to that cinematic in which Qualopec and Tihocan condemn Natla, you'll recognize Qualopec's gear. I've always found that mummy creepy, too. Notice how his head follows Lara when she first enters the tomb? And how he groans when you shoot him?

Anyway, I like Tomb of Qualopec a great deal. I like that it has a decidedly different color scheme from the rest of the Peru levels. All four levels in Peru felt distinct and memorable to me. I also like that it's small, concise, and deadly, in contrast to the Lost Valley, and it does a good job of setting up what is to come. The mummies, the traps, the scion, and the confrontation with Larson which reveals that Lara has been used as a pawn in Natla's game. It's all crucial and compelling. Encountering Larson at the end made this one 'wham episode' for me the first time I played it, and watching their exchange after defeating him in combat was rewarding (as opposed to defeating him in an QTE).

I also love the sense of space, and the overlap with the Lost Valley. You can very easily visualize how Larson managed to follow Lara's progress, and the return trip. It feels more realistic to me than the other locations. You can't really do this with Greece (because I think there's some spacial overlap in the levels, and God only knows how far underground Lara is by the end of that episode), or with Egypt (which makes no pretenses at showing us the entrance or exit of the ruins--how did Larson make his way inside that time??).
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Old 21-09-13, 10:00   #79
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Does anyone else ALWAYS think of Indiana Jones when they get to this part of the level? The parallels are striking...
The TR's games are similary to the IJ games in sometimes, and You put an example of this...
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Old 21-09-13, 12:31   #80
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Fantastic review.

I agree with pretty much everything this time.

Quote:
And as nit-picky as it sounds, I'm not a fan of this level's color scheme. The oranges and pinks are vibrant, but don't fit together well.
Yes, and not only that, but the bright colours used make it feel much less like a tomb, not to mention that the level is rather bright anyway.

I do also like the moving block puzzle; it seems like one of the best of TR1, mainly because there aren't that many great puzzles.

Anyway, the rating of 6/10 is probably what I'd also give.
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