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Old 21-09-13, 13:06   #81
Blackmoor
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I always liked the vibrant colours in this part. They hinted to the ruins of a high culture, rich and advanced, which I imagine the Atlanteans to be.

When I first played this level is was the complete opposite-ness of what had gone before that made it extra interesting. It felt like my expectations were being dashed all the way through the game by what the designers kept presenting next.

The dinosaurs (which seem easy now) at the time terrified me too!
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Old 21-09-13, 18:25   #82
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This was an OK level overall, just not especially memorable. I quite like the final shootout with Larson in the waterfall room though.

But 6/10 for the level as a whole sounds about right.

Btw, I've always been intrigued about the way the camera pans out in the room with the scion part. It's amazing just how fluidly it moves, especially in a game from 1996. I think there are a few other points in TR1 where the camera does this, but not in any other future TR games. I wonder why?
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Old 21-09-13, 20:13   #83
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomekkobialka View Post
Btw, I've always been intrigued about the way the camera pans out in the room with the scion part. It's amazing just how fluidly it moves, especially in a game from 1996. I think there are a few other points in TR1 where the camera does this, but not in any other future TR games. I wonder why?
This also happens a lot in Unfinished Business, if memory serves, and some parts of TR2 and 3 I think (although those are usually just panoramic shots rather than the camera moving).
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Old 24-09-13, 00:29   #84
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GREECE
Level 5 - St. Francis Folly




I've been wanting to review the Greece levels for a long time since I think that this section is possibly the most interesting one in the series. Not necessarily the best, but an important and infinitely memorable experience within the TR series that sticks out for a variety of reasons.

The Lost Valley has dinosaurs. Cool. Greece has an enormous tower room, four challenges based off of Greek/Roman/Norse gods (I'll get to that glaring flaw later ), a colosseum, a hand that turns you to gold (!), a giant underground reservoir, and a subterranean chamber where two statues burst to life. Oh, and to top it all off, we have Phantom Pierre DuPont, who goes wherever the hell he wants, whenever the hell he wants.



I don't know why, but it seems like the designers really had no idea where they were trying to go with this set of levels. Just when you finish up one thing, you're getting thrown into something else that seems to have no correlation with the previous area. I can just imagine the designers saying, "We're putting in a cistern because... why not?"

Granted, I like this sort of train of thinking. One of my main problems with later levels of TR4 was that too many of them shared many similarities with other levels of the game, and very few managed to feel special. That's not the case in Greece. Regardless of your opinion on each experience, they're all very distinct and some do some pretty crazy things. Some are a little questionable due to the Greek location (I'm looking at you, Colosseum ), but they're out there, and you have to respect the designers for that.


Lara challenges Pierre to a duel.

Enough of my rambling. St. Francis Folly. This is another one of those levels that's kind of iconic in the TR series, although for much different reasons that The Lost Valley. This is the first level of the game where you really experience the heights first-hand. I don't think there's a single person who can say that they weren't atleast a bit impressed by the wonderful piece of design that is the central tower room. I know that it gave me a shiver to look down it.


I love how some ancient Greek builder decided to paint colorful, peaceful dolphins along the edges of the shaft. That's a red herring if I've ever seen one.

Speaking of the tower room. I am not the first, and likely will not be the last person to make note of how... off the names of each challenge are. OK, I can sort of see swapping Neptune as the Romans did base their gods off of Greek ones, and even though Damocles is mortal (whereas the rest are gods), he's still a Greek figure. But Thor. That just doesn't work at all. Zeus? Yes. Jupiter? Sure, because he's basically the Roman counterpart. But Thor? Uh... no.

To be fair, these design oversights are not particularly problematic since they don't even affect the gameplay. However, I just have to wonder what exactly the thought process was regarding the represented figures. Neptune, Atlas, Thor (!), and Damocles... it's just so random, especially the inclusion of a mortal after three gods. Then again, this is St. Francis Folly, and who knows? Maybe the "folly" is how inconsistent the names are...


Lightning doesn't strike twice in the same place... right? WRONG.

As harsh as this is going to sound, I think that the challenge rooms themselves are slightly overrated. With the exception of Thor, each one is pretty easy to figure out, and Neptune and Atlas aren't very memorable. Damocles is probably the coolest one of the lot, as it initially tricks the player into thinking that the swords are going to come down upon entering the room... only to find out that they don't activate until the return trip.

Thor is kind of an odd room. It should be the most memorable one since the lightning is pretty neat, but the chamber is actually kind of frustrating since the lightning seems to strike pretty randomly. There apparently is some sort of diving trick that you can use to get through it, but I'm not sure that it works 100% of the time.

I think it would've been cool if there had been gray tiles in the room that were "safe spots," and on every other tile, you could get hit by lightning. Kind of like the puzzle in TR4's Tomb of Seth. It would've been a neat jumping test that would've had more rhyme and reason than what we actually get.


Dionysus hung ONE sword above Damocles. Somehow we end up with like a hundred.

You know what's more interesting than the challenge rooms of St. Francis Folly? The secrets. Seriously, this level has some of the best ones in the series. The first one requires some fancy footwork, and the second alluded me for a long time before I realized that there was a specific trick for reaching it. The third one is easily missed since it becomes inaccessible after draining the channel of water (speaking of which, check out "Stupid Lara Tricks" at the end of the review for a fun bug you can exploit here ).

And then there's the one in the main tower room. Damn I love this one! Not only does the player have to actually notice that there's a door opening four stories below them, but then they have to figure out a safe path to get down there before it closes. As someone who once did an all-secrets no-medipack run, this is not an easy feat.

Conclusion

I was probably more harsh on St. Francis Folly than I was on Caves, oddly enough.

In reality, I do really enjoy this stage of the game. It's memorable for multiple reasons, and the design of the main tower room is just astounding. The challenge rooms themselves are a pretty cool and unique idea, and the secrets get an A+. They're challenging, and highly rewarding.

But... I suppose I just don't regard St. Francis Folly as one of the "elite" levels of this game, or of the series. It's neat and its praise is well-deserved, but unlike some of the other parts of this game, I just can't fall in love with it as easily. I think that while the idea behind the challenge rooms is great, the actual challenges sort of miss the mark. Everything seems a bit stagnant and rushed.

I straddled the line between two different ratings for a long time before deciding on the lower one. This playthrough of SFF made me realize that there are other levels in this game, and even Greece itself that I enjoy much more. That's not to take anything away from the grandeur of it, or of the impressiveness of that main tower room; it's just that, while the premise is spot-on, the execution is ultimately off - atleast from my standpoint.

Rating - 8/10


Stupid Lara Tricks

Only one for this level: after sliding down the long slope leading into the underwater tunnel, swim against the current and try to pass through the opening at the top of the submerged grate. If you're persistent and keep trying to push through, you can get beyond it and swim into the dry tunnel beyond. After that, you can play around with the "wall of water" that's created:



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Old 24-09-13, 00:41   #85
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really like your reviews =D saint francis' folly is one of my favourite levels too. i do think its called saint francis' 'folly' because i think folly means a building with no practical purpose or something. mostly towers so it makes sense. there seems to be no rym or reason for its design which is what is kind of cool about old 3D games. sometimes it go so weird you had to make up where you are (looking at you doom >>)

this is a weird question but... how come your copy of TR doesn't have the little squares everywhere? o.O its all smooth but somehow more blurry o.o it looks kind of neat in a way :x
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Old 24-09-13, 00:54   #86
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Great review.

I love the challenge rooms in St. Francis Folly, even though they are pretty easy. And the secrets as you said are excellently placed as well. The level just generally made a nice change from the dreadful colours of Tomb of Qualopec. Looking forward to the next review.

It deserved a 10 though.
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Old 24-09-13, 01:05   #87
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Amazing review, I completely agree with you that some of the rooms in SFF as a challenge are 'overated' and who wasn't mesmerized by that first tower room, especially with the music playing. I really really love the greece levels. Once again, really enjoyable review can't wait til the next level!
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Old 24-09-13, 02:03   #88
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bethiepie View Post
this is a weird question but... how come your copy of TR doesn't have the little squares everywhere? o.O its all smooth but somehow more blurry o.o it looks kind of neat in a way :x
Are you talking about blocky graphics? I honestly have no idea... I used a fan-made TR1 installer to get the game running, that might have something to do with it. I noticed that the graphics look different compared to PS though.
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Old 24-09-13, 02:28   #89
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Are you playing the PC version? Do you still get the in game soundtrack? I.E. the music that plays as you enter the main room in SFF etc etc.
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Old 24-09-13, 02:35   #90
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Yep, I get all of the music now. I originally used an installer that didn't have the tracks, but I switched recently. The music is a huge part of the experience for me since I originally played TR1 on the PS.
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