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Old 31-12-18, 13:28   #211
Maverin
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You obviously put a lot of effort into these reviews
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Old 21-01-19, 20:34   #212
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Hey guys! Got busy with stuff during the new year, but I'll probably have time to finish up this week. Thanks for the comments.
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Old 22-01-19, 18:32   #213
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Awesome! Looking forward to the grand finale
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Old 22-01-19, 23:10   #214
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I am looking forward too, I love reading your reviews!!
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Old 23-01-19, 09:36   #215
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Didn't realize that 6 years have passed since you started writing this TR1 review! Getting near the end must be so satisfying for you. You're doing great
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Old 24-01-19, 01:22   #216
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Maverin View Post
Didn't realize that 6 years have passed since you started writing this TR1 review! Getting near the end must be so satisfying for you. You're doing great
Oh my God, I forgot how long it's been I certainly didn't intend for it to take that much time... my reviewing style honestly feels way different than it did back in 2013.

Anyway, give me about 30 minutes-1 hour and y'all can see the final entry.

Last edited by sheepman23; 24-01-19 at 01:30.
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Old 24-01-19, 01:25   #217
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Looking forward to it sheepman23.
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Old 24-01-19, 03:19   #218
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ATLANTIS
Level 15 - The Great Pyramid




The End

Before I delve into The Great Pyramid, I want to talk a bit about Tomb Raider. Despite the fact that it took me over 5 years to finish this review, I actually adore this game. It's one of the first video games I ever played. I played the five original Crash Bandicoot games when I was about 5 and was glued to that series for quite a while. I had seen my mom play Tomb Raider before when she used to stay at home with me before I was old enough to go to school, and I didn't know much about what was going on. I did really like how Lara could jump and climb everywhere she wanted. I thought was really cool for a video game. Crash could spin things and jump a little bit, but Lara could climb all over her environment.

One day my mom told me that I could try Tomb Raider, and little did I realize that it would go on to be my second-favorite series of all time, right behind Crash.

My experience with the first game was kind of hilarious in retrospect. I got chicken pox in the middle of my first playthrough, and spent a whole week home from school. I spent part of that time playing the game: I would get lost, sometimes get frustrated, and uncover secrets here and there. That was the best feeling. When I finished, I believe I moved on to Tomb Raider II almost immediately after, but that first experience with TR1 will forever be cemented in my memories. There are exactly three video games which honestly changed my perception of gaming as I know it: two of them are from the Xbox 360 era (Mass Effect and Assassin's Creed II); the third, and chronologically first one, is Tomb Raider.

I could really write a whole thread's worth of memories I have of playing this game in my earliest days, but coming back to it after all of these years is beautifully haunting... if that makes any sense. Every tomb, every corridor, every trap, and every pickup is exactly how I left it. The sounds, the music, and the atmosphere are all wonderfully resonant. It's the exact same as I remember it back in 2001. And that's how I know that it's a timeless title. I know that I'll be able to pick this up in 20 years and feel the same way I feel now.


You know what they say about having the high ground...

The Biggest Brood of Em All

The Great Pyramid starts out in a way that pretty much no other level of TR1 has so far - it places you in immediate danger. You don't have a whole lot of time to get your bearings on this platform with Monster Fleshy Man, and the game basically expects you to know how to handle yourself after 14 levels of madness. This opening boss battle feels like a proper entrance, too. Atlantis was cool and all, and it certainly ticked the "combat" box, but it didn't feature any one encounter against a colossal enemy.

If I'm being honest, however, this guy is really easy to defeat. I don't even remember having much difficulty with him as a kid; it was more Natla's flying antics that made me suck up medipacks later in the level. As long as you watch where you're going and don't fling yourself off the edge of the platform, you can pump this thing full of lead and take your sweet time in running around in a square formation.

Still, it's a hell of a way to start the level off. Unfortunately, I can't particularly say that the next set of hallways lives up to the hype of the first encounter. Moving crates, dodging sets of slamming teeth, and jumping over a lava river is old stuff, and much of it already got worked to death in Atlantis. I don't particularly like how The Great Pyramid immediately goes back to that well; it's a bit of a momentum killer after the legless mutant battle, but luckily it doesn't last too long...


Is the Scion Natla's Horcrux? Cause thing definitely counts as a "kill" at the end of the level...


Oh that's just RUDE

The Atlantean Gauntlet

After lodging a bullet in the Scion and basically signalling an apocalypse through all of the shaking afterwards, we enter the portion of The Great Pyramid which is essentially a very, very nasty set of traps. It's so nasty, in fact, that it rivals the Temple of Xian in Tomb Raider II, yet people seem to forget this little gauntlet... and it's probably because it feels out of place. The level is capped on both ends by boss battles, and the middle portion really ends up being forgettable. In all honesty, I think it would have been beneficial to have Atlantis (the level, not the entire place) be more focused on traps and gauntlets, and to instead have made The Great Pyramid the massive shoot-em-up. As it stands, Atlantis steals too much of the thunder right off the bat, and once you defeat the legless fleshy monster, you're kind of left with this harrowing set of traps that really feels like it belonged on the way up to the Scion... after all, shouldn't Natla have wanted to stop Lara with these traps before she made it?

This isn't a bad section at all, and on the contrary it's pretty challenging and good fun. But it ultimately does feel a little out-of-place, and what's even more out-of-place is the lack of Atlantean mutants after you defeat the ones in the bridge room. If any of you have ever played TR1 Gold, then The Hive is a much better example of what I think the final level of the game should be going for. That one's got the problem of too many combat encounters, but it's still way more of a grand finale than the middle portion of this level. The Great Pyramid also doesn't have much music to speak of in this area, and that's really a shame since there are some pretty up-tempo tracks that would have really heightened the adrenaline during the final level.


I freaking love this hallway. THIS is an example of making the player think hard before they just start running. You know that you have three hazards to deal with, and that timing is everything.

And even though none of this is particularly worthy of the grand finale, it is still really solid platforming, and the aforementioned picture and caption explains why. The Great Pyramid contains some of my favorite timing-oriented trap hallways in the original trilogy, and a couple of them I had honestly forgotten about before my replay. It's been quite a few years since I tackled TR1, and it certainly showed on this playthrough.

The game also does a pretty admirable job of using the traps and environmental hazards to give the illusion that the pyramid really is falling down around us. The slipping red boulders are one thing, but there's a room towards the end of this trap gauntlet where lava starts to seep in from all sides of the chamber, which can be quite daunting if you're not aware that the lava will stop at certain points.


If you thought Tomb Raider III was an evil game for crap like this, just remember that TR1 started it...


It's like Olympic diving! Except with no judges. And there's no reward for doing it well. Oh, and you're probably gonna die if you're even a meter off. But yeah. Exactly like the Olympics otherwise.

Natla's Last Stand

I feel like Natla is one of the better villains that the TR series has ever produced. While she lacks a real character arc (other than... being evil for evil's sake), she at least talks to Lara at several points in the game, and you get the sense that she's strong-willed, highly competent, and influential. She managed to recruit some pretty skilled henchmen and archaeologists to help her reclaim the pieces of the Scion, and she's also in a position of wealth and power in the real world due to her Natla Technologies company. The original game does a surprisingly great job of building her up as a real person; this is not the case with TR2 and 3. We hardly learned anything about either Bartoli or Willard, so it's refreshing to see both the history and present-day interactions with Natla.

So what to make of this boss battle? Well, to be honest, it's like fighting a jacked-up Atlantean flier instead of a full-on boss. That's not really a bad thing since the original titles certainly didn't have high expectations in this department, but Natla also has the disadvantage of not being as large or menacing as the legless mutant that we faced off against at the level's beginning. On the other hand, she's certainly a lot more aggressive than our fleshy friend was, and those flesh sacs can really dish out some damage to our heroine if she doesn't flip around like crazy.


It's a bird! It's a plane! It's... an Atlantean mutant attached to Natla's back?!


"OH, so you thought those SCORCHING FLESH SACS were bad, eh? Wait until you feel the wrath of my DARTS!"

Like any ruthless villain, Natla doesn't go down so easily (or, in her own words, "You can't bump off me and my brood so easy Lara!!!" - bad grammar Jacqueline, but okay cool). Her winged mutant doesn't help her out the second time around, and instead of those powerful flesh sacs, she shoots piddly darts at us, which is kind of hilarious to the point that I want to leave the pyramid to die since she's no threat anymore.

But anyway, one more whooping makes her bite the dust for real, and then it's escape time. I actually do quite like how the game presents us with one final climbing challenge before we're out for good; it feels fitting in a title that has usually emphasized exploration over combat, and even though there's nothing particularly confusing about this final ascent, it feels fitting to reach the highest point in the room and then slide our way down in order to make Lara's grand exit... unless you play Unfinished Business.


Conclusion

The past five levels in this review have all received a score of 8 or higher, and 4/5 received 9's and 10's. That's pretty impressive, honestly, and I think it points to how TR1's quality definitely improves as it uses bigger set pieces, tougher traps, and tougher enemies. While Egypt and Atlantis are both cool set pieces, those points alone don't make them great final sections.

Unfortunately, The Great Pyramid doesn't quite reach the heights that I feel previous adventures have. While it's got a lot of great trap platforming and a really memorable initial boss battle, the level feels quite disjointed at times - especially after you defeat the legless mutant and spend the next several minutes rehashing gameplay tropes that were front and center in Atlantis. And as I already went into detail about, the trap gauntlet feels out-of-place in the game's finale. There's a pretty heavy imbalance on the traps compared to the combat... and this is the one level of the game where that really shouldn't have been the case, in my opinion.

This is still an enjoyable final entry to our original Tomb Raider experience, however, and I think the general doomsday atmosphere of shooting the Scion - and subsequently getting the hell out of Dodge - really drives this game into its ending.

Rating - 7/10


A couple of things to wrap this up...

First of all, THANK YOU to everyone who has contributed on this thread! I'm super sorry that it literally took 5 years for me to do - back when I first joined TRF, I basically reviewed several games within one year, so this delay is a little strange for me, but college had a tendency to get in the way of things. In any case, it's been a lot of fun, and it's great to finally add the original title to my list of TRF reviews.

I'll have more time on my hands throughout 2019, so my hope is to either complete Unfinished Business soon, or to head back to one of my absolute favorites: Tomb Raider III. When I gave my thoughts on it way back in 2011, I was 15 years old and brand new to this site. Flash-forward to now, and I feel as though my reviewing style and general writing ability has improved tenfold, which makes me think that my current interpretation of the game could be a lot more insightful than it was previously.

Let me know your thoughts - is there any game of the series that you would like to see done? I'm pretty much open to anything with the exception of TR2 (just did that one a couple of years ago), and Underworld (because I do not like that game at all ).

Once again... thank you all for the support, and see you around TRF!
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Old 24-01-19, 08:05   #219
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Lovely review! I'm getting the urge to replay TR1 again now

And yes, the middle is something a lot of people tend to forget about that level. It's not that special but more of a collection of most of the traps they used throughout the game.
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Old 25-01-19, 04:54   #220
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Quote:
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Lovely review! I'm getting the urge to replay TR1 again now
Thank you! I would definitely recommend a replay. It's truly surprising to me how well the gameplay holds up. It may be considered somewhat outdated but it's a hell of a lot more simple, hands-on, and truly skill-based than many games today.
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