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Old 28-04-21, 21:52   #61
UniMatrixXB's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2020
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I don’t even know where to begin.

Tomb Raider III was the game that ignited my spark of love for the franchise. Although TR II was the first one I played, TR III was the first game I owned. I remember begging my grandfather to buy it for me. I remember opening the big box and admiring the box art, reading the booklet and even the smell of it. I was 8 years old in 1998 and always afraid of what might be behind the next corner. Since it really is the most difficult of all the classics, I couldn’t beat the game without cheats back in the day. I own the PSX and PC version and both have their benefits. The save crystal system feels like a “hardest difficulty” setting and has some beautiful lighting techniques while the PC version is easier to beat and is graphically more polished of course. I love them both.

Today, even without nostalgia, I feel like TR III is the peak classic TR experience, the one that gives you the most challenging and satisfying experience. It has almost everything you can wish for: gigantic and complex levels with a decent amount of backtracking (I’m blinking at you, Aldwych), various paths to take, good puzzles, dense and immersive atmosphere thanks to lighting and music and last but not least a nice balance between exploration and action resulting in a fair variety of enemies. Also the game really gives the player a large amount of agency thanks to the platforming and climbing system, the complex level design and the ability to choose the order of locations by yourself. Even though you are constantly threatened by traps I feel like it is justified since you are indeed exploring ancient temples and forgotten civilisations. It is a challenge that I sometimes miss in modern games. Given the limited resources and amount of time Core Design had to develop the game, they managed to implement an interesting level of AI which still suprises me today. Each location is so unique in design and atmosphere that it really is hard to choose a favourite, but I have to choose Nevada since it is the most uncommon area for a TR and really captures the hype and vibe of alien/military conspiracies and the supernatural during the 90s. Oh and how can I forget the ingenious design of Croft Manor with its own secrets? Absolutely amazing.

Favourite location: Nevada
Favourite levels: Nevada Desert, Area 51, Jungle, Temple Ruins, Aldwych, Coastal Village, Crash Site, Temple of Puna
Favourite boss fights: Sophia and Puna
Favourite vehicle: Quadbike
Favourite weapon: Desert Eagle
Favourite moments:
  • Reaching the section of the Jungle when the track “Something spooky is in that jungle” is played for the first time. Iconic.
  • The first fight with the Shiva statue (isn’t it actually Kali?)
  • Reaching the top of Nevada Desert where the first military airplane appears over you
  • All of Area 51
  • Entering the Masonic Lodge in Aldwych
  • Reaching the Egyptian room/exhibit in Lud’s Gate
  • Finding the Rocket Launcher on the Sphinx
  • Finally reaching the office of Sophia Leigh
  • Entering the Coastal Village with the drums in the background
  • Looking at the Puna Temple from the outside (Beginning of Madubu Gorge)
  • Beating the traps in Punas Temple and entering the throne room
  • Encountering the first mutant in Antarctica

Due to TRIII celebration month (and keeping the tradition of replaying the classics which I started in the first lockdown) I recently replayed the game and I can honestly say it is still my favourite classic TR.

Criticism: At times it can be a bit unfair, lack of storytelling/narrative and FMVs, the one hit kills of the final boss and I absolute hate the controls of the canoe. All of this could be well addressed in a remake. Imagine we had a fully fleshed out narrative for the artefacts, the power they held and the Polynesians. (I hope you read this, Crystal Dynamics ).
Great! Broccoli with attitude.
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Old 28-04-21, 22:15   #62
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^I love your post because it feels like you love this game in a similar way to me. I feel so much surprise and thrill in this game, diversity and beauty, that it does feel like the pinnacle of the classics.

The story I feel just needs expanding, but I love personally that it plays on the concept of evolution - having Darwin's crew discover a means of evolution artificially (the artifacts) on the same voyage (The Beagle) that Darwin gathers his evidence that leads to his theory of Evolution by Natural Selection - but don't show him what they've found (a bit of irony there). And then playing further on that theme by having Lara find alien life in Area 51 (evolution beyond the Earth). Plus coming across animals lost to ancient evolutionary history - dinosaurs - hidden deep within the unexplored jungles of the pacific islands.

It just needs tying together properly and having a character arc for Lara within the story, some kind of emotional core.

My main criticism of it is that it is a revisit to some of the same concepts that the TR1 looks at, albeit tied behind a slightly different plot.

Anyway, I think a proper remake of this game would sell bucket loads if they did it justice to the destinations, and levels, because within them is such exciting and diverse things to discover and experience.
Whispers to the Old Moon ◉

Last edited by Blackmoor; 28-04-21 at 22:17.
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Old 02-05-21, 01:27   #63
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Posts: 16,876

Tomb Raider 3 fan art showcase.

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