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KickStarter Poll - Best Tomb Raider

Which is in your opinion the best Tomb Raider game?


  • Total voters
    162

Bigg Boss

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
5,998
Venice pisses all over TR3.
 

Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
? I don't get it. In terms of what? Venice is probably my favorite level in TR2 (Bartoli's Hideout and Opera House are also decent, but not great). But what about it absolutely destroys the best TR3 level, whatever that may be (probably the first or second level for me)?

Perhaps it's the non-linear-ish design? Perhaps it's how clear and readable the environment is (India can be a bit difficult to read - comes with the territory)?

Venice does have its flaws. e.g getting shot at by hitscanning assholes during awkward moments such as disembarking from the boat which requires absolute precision and coming to a complete stop to not end up in the water. Also every level in TR2 is let down a little by its retarded secret design (have to find all three to see rewards, leaving absolutely no room for error).
 

Bigg Boss

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
5,998
? I don't get it. In terms of what? Venice is probably my favorite level in TR2 (Bartoli's Hideout and Opera House are also decent, but not great). But what about it absolutely destroys the best TR3 level, whatever that may be (probably the first or second level for me)?

Perhaps it's the non-linear-ish design? Perhaps it's how clear and readable the environment is (India can be a bit difficult to read)?

Venice does have its flaws. e.g getting shot at by hitscanning assholes during awkward moments such as disembarking from the boat which requires absolute precision and coming to a complete stop to not end up in the water. Also every level in TR2 is let down a little by its retarded secret rewards design (have to find all three to see rewards, leaving absolutely no room for error).

The fact that I can't remember a single level from TR3 aside from some snowmobile section?
 

Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
Clearly your memory is not reliable and should not be used as a measure of anything, since there is no snowmobile level in TR3, but rather that is TR2.

Did you play it? You go to Area 51. there's a UFO. You murder velociraptors in the jungle. Kayak down the Ganges. Scale down St Paul's Cathedral. The level design is pretty brutal at times, making it further stick out in memory. Sure many criticisms can be given about TR3 but I don't think unmemorable is one them. At the very least the basic premise of a level will stand out, as it is pretty wild at times.
 
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Bigg Boss

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
5,998
Clearly your memory is not reliable and should not be used as a measure of anything, since there is no snowmobile level in TR3, but rather that is TR2.

Did you play it? You go to Area 51. there's a UFO. You murder velociraptors in the jungle. Kayak down the Ganges. Scale down St Paul's Cathedral. The level design is pretty brutal at times, making it further stick out in memory. Sure many criticisms can be given about TR3 but I don't think unmemorable is one them.

Ok thanks it has been twenty years. So the deal with that is I got 2 on PC but my mom bought 3 on the PSX along with a bunch of better games (probably Soul Reaver or something) in the same genre so I didn't finish it. I vaguely recall the desert and the graphical improvements and the stuff you mentioned, but I guess I never finished it, or if I did it just blurred together with all the other games like it. I know it is one of the good entries in the series (compared to everything after it) I just got burned out on it by that point, so I might give it another shot.
 

Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
Soul Reaver, now there's an overrated game. Samey basic aesthetics endlessly. Annoying otherrealm/soul mechanic that rushes you and makes you retread level design with minor changes. No resource management whatsoever not even the baseline health packs and ammo type deal, overrated basic-ass combat but omg GORE so it must be good. Story concepts, music, atmosphere, platforming and puzzles are worthy, but to me it's kind of like a dumbed down TR, outside of all the animations being faster. To be fair, I also didn't complete that one (got bored) and this is all stuff from memory twenty or so years ago. So do tell me if anything I said is inaccurate and if I should give it another try.
 
Joined
Feb 28, 2011
Messages
3,476
Location
Chicago, IL, Kwa
FWIW I found Blood Omen and Soul Reaver to be aggressively overrated when I played them for the first time about a year ago. Soul Reaver at least had some occasionally decent level design, but Blood Omen was very linear compared to what I was expecting. The tone of both games is also incredibly cringey 90s edgelord goth. It’s entirely plausible they would have clicked for me when I was fifteen, but at forty? Not so much.
 

Bigg Boss

Arcane
Joined
Sep 23, 2012
Messages
5,998
Thinking back a little harder maybe 3 had the ATV. I'm not going to look that is cheating.

FWIW I found Blood Omen and Soul Reaver to be aggressively overrated when I played them for the first time about a year ago. Soul Reaver at least had some occasionally decent level design, but Blood Omen was very linear compared to what I was expecting. The tone of both games is also incredibly cringey 90s edgelord goth. It’s entirely plausible they would have clicked for me when I was fifteen, but at forty? Not so much.

PLAYED THEM FOR THE FIRST TIME ABOUT A YEAR AGO? Yeah no wonder you missed how FMV's were brand new (the first one) and amazing with all kinds of CD quality sound on a console. I bet the lack of load times in Soul Reaver was no big deal as well but back then it popped cherries.
 

Semiurge

Cipher
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
3,867
Location
☢️
Everything definitely goes to shit after that though, even taking into account TR3's occasional strong points.

TR3 has more strong points than TR2. The Great Wall and Golden Mask demos were the first experience with the series I had but once I finally got ahold of the full game, it didn't live up to my expectations because I had already experienced some of the best it had to offer. The shipwreck levels and the Chinese palace were underwhelming, but the Tibetan levels were pretty solid. Venice was mediocre. Afterwards I played all the available demos for TR3 before getting the full game, but there was no sense of disappointment then. The level design was confusing at first for someone who had been conditioned for linearity. For example in the first level, "Jungle", you can see a part of the level's end behind the mud pool. It might take a while before you realize that there's no path to wade across. The "River Ganges" level is the first truly non-linear one in TR3, but unfortunately it's more of a rule than an exception that choosing one path might lock you out of some secrets. That is my main gripe about TR3 - if getting all secrets on all playthroughs is essential, there will be less variety between them. The paths with fewer secrets are usually shorter as well.

It just so happens the devs fucked up taking away your inventory in Nevada and not giving it back

It's an overrated issue, so small in fact that it won't matter if you go to Nevada last. You get most of your weapons back in the second Nevada level, possibly even the exact quantity of ammo you gathered prior to that point. Half-Life does the very same thing, yet I don't hear any complaints.
 
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Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
It's an overrated issue, so small in fact that it won't matter if you go to Nevada first. You get most of your weapons back in the second Nevada level, possibly even the exact quantity of ammo you gathered prior to that point. Half-Life does the very same thing, yet I don't hear any complaints.

We discussed it before:

All that exploration, thorough secret hunting, strategic inventory management prior, all for nothing. Yes other games have done this but TR lives on its exploration so it's extra important to not do it

I specifically get those secrets in India, spam the pistols to save up on shotgun/other ammo, play well avoiding damage, making smart/skillful decisions resulting in not too much health pack usage, and I even find a trusty grenade launcher and damn well save that for potential bosses or mid-tier enemies. Then I play London next and do all of that, further strategic resource management, secret hunting and smart play is paying off. I've amassed a sizable inventory and I can start to be more liberal in my usage of weapons now, and I have many health packs that I damn well earned. So I go to Nevada and the game says FUCK YOU PLAYER!

One of the most terrible singular design decisions I've ever witnessed in an otherwise good game. Completely shits all over smart & skillful play.

Half Life on the other hand doesn't have a proper inventory (e.g health packs, flares), is pretty linear (minimal exploration, minimal secrets), and doesn't have an infinite ammo gun that encourages spamming it to save resources for tougher enemies later.

Also as a kid TR used to scare me, it is a genuinely scary game at times, so you can bet I wanted to save the big guns for scary shit that appeared later, not these stupid snakes and monkeys.

Unfortunately if I install that mod that prevents the game taking away your stuff it will potentially break game balance as like you said, shortly after you get given a lot of ammo and stuff, but I don't want that shit, I want my shit back that I earned. Yet of course the game was never designed with getting your shit back in mind. So the mod will need to either reduce post-High Security Compound pickups, or increase enemy frequency to enforce usage of all the extra items you have. But the best result would have been if the game was never designed this way in the first place at all.

You could try to claim it's my fault for not just going gung-ho and using my hard-earned ammo, but that won't defend the game from jacking my health packs and flares. Furthermore why would I use ALL my ammo randomly before Nevada without prior knowledge? It is always wise to at least save enough ammo to kill a few tough enemies, so you don't get stuck with only the pistols in a bad situation.
 
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Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
Half-Life can pose an actual challenge at 'hard', more than TR3 which is easy for those who are familiar with the tank control scheme. I think it will help if you adopt a score oriented attitude towards TR games in general - even if you know what's ahead, collect all pickups and secrets that you can for the sake of perfectionism, and use the powerful weapons for fun until they're taken away. As I mentioned earlier, the game is full of ammo and healthpacks so you'll quickly replenish the lost assets. The secret hunting is in fact one of the best features of TR1-5. On their first run, I wager that most players never find all secrets without the help of walkthroughs even if they try to. The first two especially are known for well hidden secrets, and TR4 doesn't even list secrets per level, only for the entire game.

I don't need to change my mentality, which is correct and accurate. they need to change their shitty thievin' game design. Typical for fucking English. thievin' cunts.
 
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Semiurge

Cipher
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
3,867
Location
☢️
Half Life on the other hand doesn't have a proper inventory (e.g health packs, flares), is pretty linear (minimal exploration, minimal secrets), and doesn't have an infinite ammo gun that encourages spamming it to save resources for tougher enemies later.

Half-Life can pose an actual challenge at 'hard', more than TR3 which is easy for those who are familiar with the tank control scheme. I think it will help if you adopt a score oriented attitude towards TR games in general - even if you know what's ahead, collect all pickups and secrets that you can for the sake of perfectionism, and use the powerful weapons for fun until they're taken away. As I mentioned earlier, the game is full of ammo and healthpacks so you'll quickly replenish the lost assets. The secret hunting is in fact one of the best features of TR1-5. On their first run, I wager that most players never find all secrets without the help of walkthroughs even if they try to. The first two especially are known for well hidden secrets, and TR4 doesn't even list secrets per level, only for the entire game.
 

Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
Can't believe you defend this stupid shit. If Deus Ex permanently robbed your skills, augmentations, weapons, ammo, medkits etc in the UNATCO escape I'd probably quit for good. Doom/Quake/Half-Life/RTCW get away with it because outside of guns n ammo there is no inventory, and it's balls to the wall action where you chew through ammo constantly, not a scarce resource. TR/Deus Ex are more exploration-based games, resources are less expendable, and part of the incentive for thorough exploration is all the rewards (resources). Resources that then play into the challenge and can be used optimally or sub-optimally, or just saved up for whatever reason (for bosses, or because you want to go on a shotgun killing spree later). To then steal that with no warning is to fuck over those that play optimally with those resources, and those that explore optimally with secret discovery. Hell it fucks over even those that do not.

TR2 was way smarter about it, if I recall (off shore oil rig). It robbed your guns, and your guns ONLY. You keep all your ammo and medkits. The stuff you rightly earned.

Picking up a shotgun shell box gives 2 (!) shotgun shells, that's how scarce ammo is in TR. So you do your best to be thorough and find as many as possible, use them not so mindlessly, and spam the pistols tediously to save on resource expenditure. Then the game steals them.
There is no defending this terrible thieving design, stop being crazy.
 
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Semiurge

Cipher
Joined
Apr 11, 2020
Messages
3,867
Location
☢️
You keep referring to it as a "plot twist" rather than a gameplay design decision or a gameplay twist, and see it is a miniscule issue...storyfag detected. How unfortunate

I'm a proud storyfag, also a nostalgiafag and atmospherefag. Yet I don't play Tomb Raiders for their stories, their weakest links.
 

Lemming42

Arcane
Joined
Nov 4, 2012
Messages
4,393
Location
The Satellite Of Love
Love the stories of TR1 and TR2. No clue who Vicky Arnold is but she did an absolutely outstanding job writing stories that were exactly the right complexity and depth for a videogame. None of the longwinded shit that you get in so many games nowadays.

Give the player an intro to hook them in (TR1: Lara is approached by Natla corporation to search for an artifiact of supposedly unknown nature in Peru. TR2: In a battle which took place in China centuries ago, an enchanted dagger allowed a general to transform into a dragon. Lara has heard of this legend and is on the hunt for the dagger)

Throw in a plot twist to send the player to the next location (TR1: Natla sends an assassin to kill Lara, prompting her to break into Natla's headquarters and discover more about the scion. TR2: Lara is fired upon by Bartoli's hitmen, and learns that they are also searching for the dagger)

Reveal more about the core plot, send the player to the next location (TR1: Lara combines the scion pieces and receives a vision of Atlantis. TR2: Lara is taken prisoner aboard Bartoli's oil rig and learns that, to access the dagger, she must race against the cult to recover the Seraph and enter the Tibetan monestary)

Final twist near the end (TR1: The scion reveals that Natla was an Atlantean ruler, imprisoned in stasis for unethical genetic experiments. TR2: Lara falls through the floor (lol) and lands in an expansive underground complex beneath the Great Wall, and sees Bartoli stab himself through the heart with the dagger. The pursuit leads through a strange realm made of jade where ancient Chinese warriors still exist)

Finale (TR1: Lara defeats Natla's half-formed ubermutant, destroys the scion, kills Natla in one-on-one combat, and escapes Atlantis seconds before it explodes. TR2: Lara kills Bartoli and retrieves the dagger, then escapes the collapsing complex just in time (and then fights the cult at her house).)

These are great stories for videogames because they give context for where you are and what you're doing at any given time, they offer clear goals, they lend themselves to many great and memorable set pieces (the Midas hand, Thor's hammer, the running shootout through Venice, the shipwreck which is partially upside down, the snowmobile chase, etc), and they can be told mostly through the environment and relayed to the player through exploration. Short FMVs cover the parts that can't realistically be put into gameplay - Lara escaping Natla's hitmen by throwing herself off the canyon, for example, or the plane crash in Tibet - and these are generally entertaining enough to act as a reward for finishing a level. Lara is wisely left as a mostly silent protagonist, speaking only in cutscenes. This gives her enough personality and presence that you know who you're meant to be playing as, but also makes sure that gameplay is never interrupted.

They feel similar to Half-Life to me - a relatively simple story that engages the player by actively placing them in it, and never halts the gameplay or removes the player's control to impart information because virtually everything you need to know can be relayed to you by just playing the game.
 

Ash

Arcane
Joined
Oct 16, 2015
Messages
4,741
A game with such simple, non-intrusive yet wholly effective storytelling is almost unheard of today. But it's too subtle and trusts you wont rage quit from the testing gameplay I suppose. Goddamn story cunts, yet another agent of decline demographic.
90s devs time and time again had the perfect formula of game design for whichever genre, sometimes even striking gold on the first goddamn try. And still much room to grow. Yet they all threw it away for extracting optimal money from the braindead masses.
 

Unreal

Liturgist
Joined
May 6, 2016
Messages
1,585
Location
The Centre of the World
I only played some of the original Tomb Raider, and it was very tedious. The controls are actually entirely appropriate, and it's an interesting ‘experience’, but playing this for ‘gameplay’ is utterly retarded. It's a game made for atmosphaggotry. One of the ways to do that is through tedious gameplay, lolz. Because, in actuality, most games that aren't for Japanese arcades are actually much more ‘simulative’ than skill-based. In that context it's entirely fine to troll Ash and take all his retarded items away and make him cry. I don't care because I accept games as they are and don't act like a pathetic try-hard who mods games to add retarded masturbatory ‘hardcore’ shit.
 

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