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Old 21-11-02, 15:06   #1
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The Cistern looks like the inside of a giant toilet, either that or the remains of an abandoned sewer works. There are certainly enough rats in the vicinity to support my theories. If my mother saw the place she would probably tut in disbelief and suggest Lara run round with some Ajax and a spot of Toilet duck rather than bother fishing for artefacts. Let's be honest - You are more likely to catch a disease in this place than whatever is Natla has assigned you to find.

Imagine if Core had held this level back for the underwater section from TR2. It would have meant Lara tackling the Cistern in bare feet, and if that had been allowed to happen the poor lass might have turned up to TR3 with the Guinness world record in the multiple verucca discipline. Never the less, The Cistern may be manky and it may be smelly, but it is also far from a TR1 low point. Following on from the Palace Midas experience it actually does considerably well.

The bulk of the events centre around a complicated water puzzle that still manages to confuse when you replay it for a sixth time. There was a much inferior version of the concept in Zelda : The Ocarina of Time (1998). Whilst the popularity of Zelda flags these days though, people are still very much willing to guide Lara around sewers and put her at the day to day risk of contracting hepititusB. I can only think deep down we love her a lot more than she loves us.

Much to my chagrin, Pierre whats-his-face returns for this level, just when you thought he was gradually being phased out. Let us consider the statistics so I can show you what I mean. In St Francis Folly he appears twice, in the Colosseum he appears once, and in Palace Midas he does not appear at all. So, just when you think it is safe to take that holiday in Marseilles you have been putting off, up pops Le Brat a mind-numbing three times in the one level to completely pee on your bonfire. To be fair, some of Pierre's previous appearances in TR1 are actually quite effective.

With the Cistern though, the designers abandon all attempts at thinking up inventive ways for him to encounter Lara. They appear to just chuck him in three random rooms and to hell with what the artistic damage on the rest of the level may be. Mind you; let's give Pierre his dues. He evidently was not slacking off in the Palace Midas gift shop when Lara was turning things to gold. He was practising his vanishing technique! If the trick was still in the development stages back in levels like the Colosseum, then by the Cistern it has become something polished enough to give David Copperfield a run from his money. Pierre pops in and out of his Cistern appearances like the invisible man. And If I am at all worth a dime as a detective, I might offer the theory he spent a more than a few hours of his life bathing in Sophia Lee's flotation tank.

The inclusion of rats in this level provide shivers to the spine for players but a logistical problem for the designers. For whatever reason, you cannot shoot some of the rats until you are almost standing right on top of them. The pesky little critters stay frozen up until that point, all the time completely immune to the danger of Lara's auto-aim. Why this can happen to the rats and no other animal in the game is a mystery, not that it makes too much difference to one's enjoyment of the overall proceedings. In fact, even with the freeze-frame bug I still would not banish the rats to Room 101 along with the bats and the boulders. They may be small and they may be unmemorable, but they are dangerous. Two or three of them can nibble away half your health bar in a matter of seconds. Incidentally, seeing rats this size make me wonder if they exist out in the real world too, maybe in the sewer system under New York or London? If they do exist I would be willing to bet they are just as vicious as they are in TR. That is not to say I think ANY rat would stay directly underneath a human being as they shimmied along the top of a wall thirty yards above. I can believe the size of the creatures as depicted by Core, just not the over-exaggerated intelligence.

With a complicated level like this, you are always going to need certain 'barriers' to stop players getting to areas prematurely. Yes I am talking about locked doors and hidden keys. Such functions have been regular TR staples since day one and are still likely to be when AOD hits the shelves next year. Even though I have never counted the amount of keys in each level, I am willing to put a flutter on the Cistern having the most of any level in the whole series. If it is not the steel key it is the silver key. If it is not the gold key it is the wretched toilet cubicle key. Keys. keys. keys. Poses an interesting question does it not? Do you love or loathe TR keys? What sort of keys do you prefer? Do you prefer the boring but realistic rusty key, or the exotic if slightly far-fetched trident piece #6?

I have another question with which to finish this thread off. The end room with the lions and the chessboard ; Should there have been a decontamination chamber here? How would Tihocan have known any would-be visitors to the next level were not carrying anything contagious? You do not actually have to answer or think about that. It is just one of those *Scottlee speaks the nonsensical* moments I will probably end up getting gagged by the admin for. 9/10

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Best part - I think the exit door deserves a mention. For the briefest of moments it hides itself like it does in the Colosseum.

Worst part - "French" and Saunders are not that bad as a double act. Get one on their own though and they suck so bad you can still feel the asbestos on your tongue weeks after the event.

Secrets - 3/3 good ones. The shotgun shells hidden up in the pipes is a standard 'search all corners to find it' procedure. The Uzi opportunity requires good skill, and the underwater secret needs good eyesight and the bravery needed to dip your feet in such dangerous waters in the first place.

Monsters - The gorillas look a bit out of place. Everyone else fits in.

Time - Roughly 40 minutes if you know what you're doing.

Difficulty - Quite hard, to be honest. You cannot just whiz through. This takes quite a bit of logical thinking

Cigarettes smoked during level completion - For me it was just the two. I was cutting back at the time I first played TR1.

[ 19. October 2005, 16:49: Message edited by: Scottlee ]
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Old 21-11-02, 16:00   #2
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What exactly do you have against rats?

And what is the French and Saunders reference about, I'm from england and I'm not sure.
( for the overseas members who don't know... French and Saunders is an english comedy double act, who do sketch shows and such. you may have heard of Jennifer Saunders from the show Absolutely Fabulous )

The keys obviously help to create a puzzle solving senario, and in TR1 you often found I had several keys at once and had to try different locks, which added an extra element to the game. However in the later games (TR3 most memorably) it tended to be... Door - find key - open door - Door - find key - open door - Door - find key - open door. I don't know about anyone else but I thought the later games did lack something when it came to key gathering.

Anyway, excellent Scottlee. again.
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Old 21-11-02, 17:32   #3
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Bravo, also.
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Old 21-11-02, 17:40   #4
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Another great analysis!
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Old 23-11-02, 03:33   #5
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I still can remember the sense of wonder I felt the first time I entered this huge place - the ethereal music, the top sight from the bridge, the emerald water below... and that was on my good old PSX. (Its graphics look so dated today!)

Oh, I'm really dying to give a try to Glidos...
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Old 26-11-02, 14:56   #6
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I loved this level... it was probably my favourite level... I hated it at the time but thinking back i loved it. weird eh?
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Old 09-12-02, 22:46   #7
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As always, Scottlee, I've greatly enjoyed your analysis. I have to laugh about the rats. I also noticed the freeze frame of the rats and I had to really risk getting bit (usually getting bit) just to shoot them. I didn't like them because they really did take big chunks out of you for just being rats, and they had those little red beedy eyes. Ooohhh!

I also liked this level, I thought it had some pretty cool stuff and it was difficult to figure out where you were, where you'd been and where you needed to go next. I liked collecting all the keys, and I agree that it was more fun having more than one type of key and having to figure out which key opened what door. I like the special shaped keys, like the pyramid key. Those are fun.

Scottlee, I loved your comment about how Pierre's ability to disappear was equal to David Copperfield's. I couldn't figure out who was shooting me and where the hec they were the time where you go through the locked door and have to keep jumping higher and higher, farther back into the room. I can't hear shots being fired, so I really freaked out when I started seeing blood splattering on Lara out of no where.
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