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Old 22-04-16, 03:34   #71
sheepman23
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Originally Posted by trfan16 View Post
People hate on Natla's Mines, but at least you are required to navigate the level and overcome certain challenges to get your Pistols back. It felt rewarding in that level and High Security Compound to get them back. But it was too forced in this level.
Preach it.

Not much I disagree with in your assessment. I too think this level was a huge missed opportunity; I like that they tried to take on an industrial setting in TR2, but both of these levels are just complete misses. They should have combined them into one and kept all of the good parts.
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Old 22-04-16, 04:41   #72
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Offshore rig and Diving area are among the worst of TR2's levels, that much I'll agree with, but that alone is nowhere close to a negative description.

Lot's of things that could've been better of course, I'd of liked to have to lure more baddies into shooting out windows and stuff like that, that's for sure. But, I feel the weapon confiscation was more to take away the big guns you're able to get quite early, rather than the pistols in particular. The Grenade launcher doesn't return for quite a few levels, and even then is only a secret, most notably. Natla's Mines pretty much hands you all the weapons back, which makes finding the secret Uzis in the previous level feel pointless. They do different things with the confiscation, and I still much prefer the rigs short confiscation over HSC taking away all my ammo, medkits and flares.

It does add some vulnerability, since from about five minutes into Venice you can ditch the regular pistols for the automatics entirely, and take out any tough encounter with the grenade launcher. Now you're fighting stronger enemies with only the regular pistols. (There's enough ammo in the game for you to not need to ever use the pistols after the Great Wall, and the first section of the rig, which I quite like)

Colors weren't the nicest, but still more diverse than a number of TR1's levels, and certain modern games... I liked the Silver secret, and the Jade one was good enough for me. I'm pretty sure the only reason the two levels are separate were technical ones, like many levels in TR1 that were originally meant to be one as a whole. The harpoon gun was one thing I honestly didn't like using.

I find the rig to be distinct from Maria Doria, so I don't think it makes it's own section too long myself. The lack of actual oil drilling doesn't seem out of place to me, since they are clearly using the rig for different, less-than-legal purposes. No one complained about the lack of opera performances being held in the previous level...

Last edited by Uzi master; 22-04-16 at 04:50.
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Old 22-04-16, 05:14   #73
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I would still argue that High Security Compound does the infiltration the best out of any of them. To me, having literally everything taken away made it more realistic and challenging, especially if you had chosen Nevada last out of the three central sections. As for Natla's Mines, it made sense to give you everything back right before the two final levels with the most difficult enemies; also, it's not as if TR2 doesn't also throw the guns right back at you. Lara obtains five out of the seven weapons in her arsenal after the Offshore Rig, and one more by the end of Diving Area.

However, my issues with Offshore Rig/Diving Area go far beyond the situation with Lara's guns or the colors. The gameplay in general is terribly boring and even irritating in a lot of cases. It's just not fun.

Last edited by sheepman23; 22-04-16 at 05:18.
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Old 22-04-16, 07:13   #74
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On it's own HSC was great and all, but in the context of the rest of the game it can be really frustrating. Do it first, and all that ammo you can find in India feels pointless, do it later, and you're screwed over for the harder sections. It's not exactly fair game design so for it's place as part of the game as a whole, I prefer how it was done in TR2.

Uzis are a secret too as I recall and M-16 and Harpoon gun weren't things you already had. Anyway, only four out of seven are thrown back at you, with the fifth, powerful but hard to use weapon being obtained in the next level. Compared to TR1, you get more out of finding the powerful weapons early, and the strongest ones aren't made nearly unmissable after losing them, which I very much prefer.

To be fair, about half of your review was written about those things .

To address a bit more though, I don't mind the number of enemies, (and it's really nothing new at this point) the alarms aren't heard from very far away. Block pushing could be reduced yeah. Don't recall a forced damage encounter. The jail cell was a bit silly, but I could probably make every level from each TR game sound really silly in some way.
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Old 22-04-16, 07:15   #75
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One difference with Natla's Mines is it's possible to complete the level with no pistols, which is an interesting challenge and also saves a lot of faffing around getting the fuses. But on Offshore Rig you have to kill two guys for their keycards so you need the pistols, as I can't find any way of getting through the locked doors without the keys. Maybe there's a glitched way to do it but I prefer to do levels with no cheats. (In Wolfenstein, it was possible to trick the guards into opening locked doors for you but I haven't managed that in TR.)

Re Caves of Kaliya, I agree it is worse than Offshore Rig, in fact I'm not keen on HSC either.
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Old 22-04-16, 15:25   #76
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THE RIG
Level 6 - "Diving Area"


Alright guys... it's gonna get worse before it gets better, unfortunately.

I am disappointed that Diving Area was not as good of an experience as I remember it being. I certainly did not have high hopes of it to begin with, but there were a few really terrible parts here that I completely forgot existed, and that really sank the experience for me.

So let's talk about why that's the case.



The first half of this level, to put it lightly, is an absolute mess in terms of level design. It is a mishmash of four or five big rooms that really have no rhyme or reason. There are two arbitrary moving claws that obstruct you from getting across one pool, an absolutely unnecessary toxic pool (more on that later) that does not even fit the level's theme, and one of the ugliest gray chambers towards the end of this first half that features glorious backtracking - which is exactly what you wanted to do at this point, right?

There are two main reasons why I hate this particular section, however:

1) The ladder. You know what I'm talking about. The 50-mile ladder that serves no purpose other than that to elongate the gameplay. It is awful and whoever had the idea to include this thing should feel bad. If there had been some sort of scenery or anything of interest to look at during this climb, I would reconsider its worth, but as its stands, a solid minute and a half or so of staring at gray, gray, and more gray while my two fingers are pressing down on the up and action keys is awful.

2) The toxic pool slide. To be honest, this is even worse than the ladder. First of all, there is a hindering camera angle (shown above) that completely skews your judgment. Why is that important? Because the leap across the toxic goo vat requires that you do not try and grab the ledge; it is impossible since the ledge is lower than the ramp. Instead, Lara needs to simply jump and land with both feet on the catwalk, but because the perception is skewed, the player jumps from the edge of the slide and has no idea why Lara can't seem to grab the ledge at the end. It's one of the most annoying things about any of the TR games, in all honesty, and this room was a terrible endeavor for me on my first time through.

I told you it was going to get worse before it got better, so there you go. The first third or so of this level is absolute garbage; in fact, it is worse than anything from Offshore Rig.


This screen pretty much sums up what it's like to slog through the first one and a half rig levels.


No. No. No. No. No. No. No.

However, don't despair! The second half is... actually kind of okay. It has issues of its own, but we won't focus on that right away.

First of all, let's talk about the flamethrowers. Flamethrowers are one of the best additions to TR2's enemy palette. Of course, if we're being honest, anything is better than the mindless gun-toting goons that TR2 usually sports; while flamethrowers technically fall under the category of humans, they really do not behave like the others at all. They are deadly dangerous with their billowing plume of flames, and they tend to show up in situations where there are other enemies trying to distract you. I got roasted twice in this level, actually. To put it simply: I love the flamethrowers because they are different and inspire a more careful style of gameplay. It is pretty easy to frolic around the various gunmen and dogs, but these guys require you to play strategically and to not run around a corridor with no purpose. (If only they had been more heavily used throughout the Maria Doria section... *sigh*)

Enemies aside, the second half of Diving Area is also just more fun than anything we've experienced in the rig thus far. Yeah, it maintains the awful color scheme that plagues these two levels, but atleast the quad-style central chamber with the offshooting rooms and areas feels as though it has some thought put into it - unlike that travesty of a path that led to here. There is only one block to be pushed too, and that is a massive improvement over the monotony of Offshore Rig's block-pushing antics. Different rooms connect together, and there is even a bit of foreshadowing with the glimpse we get of the submarine. I really like stuff like that, and the latter half of the Diving Area gives it to us.


You could say she's going down in flames. Wink.


Um... the whole "fire near the clearly flammable orange container" thing seems a little overlooked here?

While on the subject of fire, I have to admit that I'm also a big fan of that random burner hallway that houses the Circuit Board late in the level. I'm not sure why it's there, and it's not that difficult to get through, but I like it for some odd reason - especially since we get our hands on the M-16 at this point too.

Time to Put on the Hard-Ass Hat Again

Yeah... it's not all sunshine and roses, though.

This part of the level features far too much backtracking. It's kind of big and expansive, so that's not really surprising, but this sort of backtracking is even worse because most of the time the designers decide to throw in new enemies that meet you along the way. This is not only a cheap method of elongating the gameplay, but it's also downright annoying since gun-toting humans have never exactly been my favorite thing.

So while this area is kind of fun and refreshing at times, it is ultimately bogged down by how long it feels. By the time I reach the end of this level, I just want it to be over.


Oh no! Not a spinning saw that can clearly be reached underneath!

Conclusion time!

Pros:
+ Better enemy diversity with flamethrowers and scuba divers
+ The latter half of the level is designed pretty well
+ Overall, it's less irritating than Offshore Rig

Cons:
- Terrible design in the first half of the level
- The toxic pool and the big ladder are awful
- Too much backtracking with too many human enemies

I really wanted to like Diving Area, I really did. I wanted to be able to say that it was the better of the two rig levels, and... while that is still something I can say, I can't exactly gloat over how much better Diving Area is, because it's not that much better. In fact, the part near the beginning is actually worse than anything from its predecessor. However, I'll admit that the back half is not too bad and does a lot of things right. Still, this is not really a ringing endorsement of the level, and it's not one that I would rush to replay by any means. Therefore, I have to go with a pretty average rating:

5/10

Current Rankings:
1. The Great Wall (9/10)
2. The Opera House (8.5/10)
3. Bartoli's Hideout (8/10)
4. Venice (7/10)
5. Diving Area (5/10)
6. Offshore Rig (3/10)

Next Time: We'll be taking a break and doing a film review of Jaws! Oh wait, my producer is telling me that that's not a film, it's actually a part of the game...
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Old 22-04-16, 15:56   #77
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Unlike Offshore Rig, I actually like Diving Area because it provides more puzzles and challenges than the previous level. Although I still think your review and score is pretty fair for this level. I do like how this level incorporates environmental hazards as traps - giant fan, swinging cranes, buzzing saw, pool of toxic water, etc. Even though they are pretty random in context of this level. I also liked the mini burner hallway timed puzzle too. I also enjoyed the diversity in baddies also. The Flamethrower guys are pretty awesome and the frogmen were interesting too since they are your first underwater human enemy in the series. the noise they made was also pretty unnerving too.

On the downside, this level is still pretty drab just like Offshore Rig. The ugliest room is by far the giant sloped one where you have to jump and get the Purple Card Key. The room is nothing but that hideous orangish-yellow color. And I loved how you highlighted the two most awful parts of the level - the long ladder and toxic pool. The long ladder is just so unnecessary and sluggish. What were they thinking. And I have to say that the green toxic pool jump is probably THE most annoying moment in TRII. Just perfecting that jump took me over an hour. :can: And this level just feels too similar to Offshore Rig (key card collecting, same environment, etc.) that one of these levels really would've been enough.

I give this level a 7/10 because it has more redeeming moments than Offshore Rig. It had more fun puzzles and traps, better enemies, and some pretty cool rooms like the one with the yellow submarine and the secret that is located behind the false switchboard. Although I totally understand if people are not a fan of this level too.
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Old 22-04-16, 20:05   #78
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The ladder is even worse where, unless I am not aware of a shortcut or such, you had to go up it at least two times. I don't think I actually had much issues with the toxic pool section through. Otherwise I didn't really felt much from the level even in the second half, but yeah I think it got a bit better there too. The flamethrower guys were a nice addition to the usual grunts you face, plus someone that you really had to be careful of.

Last edited by WolfRaider; 22-04-16 at 20:07.
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Old 22-04-16, 22:53   #79
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I agree that all the backtracking is very annoying. Personally I'm not keen on the flamethrower guys although its true they force you to exercise more skill.

Re. the toxic pool, a surefire way of getting the jump right is to slide down the slope backwards (from any offcentre starting point so as to miss the hole) and grab the edge when you reach the bottom. Then shimmy to the midpoint, pull up and backflip and you will land on the platform behind. It's tricky to do this if you want the dragon though as you can only climb out of the hole facing downwards and have to flip round to face uphill as you emerge which may result in your landing in the toxic pool.
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Old 23-04-16, 15:50   #80
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trfan16 View Post
I do like how this level incorporates environmental hazards as traps - giant fan, swinging cranes, buzzing saw, pool of toxic water, etc. Even though they are pretty random in context of this level.
Good point, I hadn't really thought of that but this level does atleast have more imaginative traps than its predecessor did. I'm still not a fan of how they're just randomly thrown in, but I can appreciate that they did something other than burners and rolling barrels.

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Originally Posted by Hiroyuki View Post
Re. the toxic pool, a surefire way of getting the jump right is to slide down the slope backwards (from any offcentre starting point so as to miss the hole) and grab the edge when you reach the bottom. Then shimmy to the midpoint, pull up and backflip and you will land on the platform behind. It's tricky to do this if you want the dragon though as you can only climb out of the hole facing downwards and have to flip round to face uphill as you emerge which may result in your landing in the toxic pool.
Yeah, that silver dragon really messes things up there. Thanks for the tip though, I'll certainly try this the next time around, although I did miraculously get the jump on second try during my current playthrough, so maybe I have finally mastered that harrowing camera angle.
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