By Ferry "Sadhonker" Adams on June 24, 2016
What on earth is going on around here?! I just had the entire place repainted, got rid of the unicorns and sparkly stuff and turned my HQ back to its grey and dark self when Dennis “CallMeBackdraft” Aspers walked up to me and asked if he could borrow the Big Red Timemachine for once. Of course, I said no and kicked him out of my office. Now, I don’t know why he thought it would be a good idea to sneak into my office and steal the key to the timemachine. I also don’t know what part of “NO” he does not understand. Let’s just say that, to my dismay, I arrived at work one morning and saw my HQ definitely lacking in the timemachine department. DENNIS! After my initial anger subsided a bit, I started thinking clearly again. I apologized to the cleaning ladies that I inadvertently scared out of their minds and went back to my office.
There, I waited patiently for Dennis’ return. The sly bastard managed to hide from me for quite a while, but I got him in the end. He nearly escaped again by using the old ‘three-headed monkey’ routine, but I wasn’t to be fooled that easily. I quickly caught up with him and shot him in the face with my double barreled shotgun. The upside to this was that I felt a lot better; the downside was that now, my office was a mess, and Dennis was very, very, extremely dead. I sat down to think about what to do when his story about his adventures with the time machine caught my eye. After reading it thoroughly, I decided it was actually really good. Damn, did I just shoot the one guy who could help me run the Big Red HQ? So I decided to go back in time, explain what would happen to my former me and return home. Once back, I had a talk with Dennis and we decided to run the Big Red HQ together. So you’ll be seeing a lot more of Dennis in the near future... or is it the past... Damn, Now I’m confused!
One thing I am not confused about, however, is the game we are going to search for today. Ladies and Gentlemen. I give you exhibit A: a woman. And although she has pyramid-like breasts, an oddly square-shaped head and a peculiarly pointy behind, she was the wet dream of many young man back in the day. And of quite a few young women as well, I'm sure. Allegedly, people even went so far as to make her run around the house completely naked. So let us go back in time and meet what was considered by many at the time to be the height of femininity. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: Lara Croft!
Developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive in 1996 for the PC, Sega Saturn and the Playstation, Tomb Raider took the gaming world by storm. Everyone seemed to want a piece of the action an critics all over the world praised the game for its (at the time) stunning graphics, its innovative gameplay elements and its immersive story. Tomb Raider really had it all; beautiful environments, wild animals, a story filled with mysterious characters and ancient temples. And to top it off, the game had one thing more going for it; it had the beautiful but tough Lara Croft as its protagonist; an adventurous girl with a huuuuge... personality and legs that never seemed to end.
Ah, Lara Croft... what can we say about her? Well, all the girls wanted to be her and all the boys wanted to be with her. In some cases, it might even have been the other way around. Whatever the case may be, Tomb Raider changed the way we looked at platform games forever. It added a deeply immersive story and 3D graphics to the genre and broke every boundary imaginable. No longer did we bounce across the screen from left to right; no sir, we were climbing, running, swimming, jumping and shooting, preferably all at the same time. The non-combat portion of the game consisted of a series of puzzle-platform challenges that the Lara must overcome to reach her destination. To do this, she was equipped with a wide range of abilities. Apart from the usual running and jumping, she could grab on to ledges, walk sideways across narrow paths, roll out of the way of danger or dive into the water and swim around. Failing to grab on to a ledge, staying underwater too long or trying to jump across a gap that is too wide, even for our Lara usually resulted in a situation I’d like to call “Death by gravity”. I must confess that, when I couldn’t get past a certain portions of the game, I’d go to the highest reachable point in the level and perform a beautiful swan-dive, inevitably resulting in Lara’s head meeting the rocks below at quite some speed. After this, I was calm again and could get on with completing the level.
Normally, Lara could be found brandishing her standard weapons, dual pistols with unlimited ammo, in a manner that would even make John Woo proud. Other weapons could be found throughout the game and included dual Magnums, dual Uzis and even a shotgun. Your weapons were definitely not just for show; along your travels you had to defend yourself from various enemies, human and animal alike. Failing to counter your enemies’ attacks would ultimately result in death, as did getting burnt, getting electrocuted or getting impaled on spikes. Now, I can hear you think: “If it’s so dangerous to travel to these places, why did Lara go there in the first place?” Well my friends, the answer is simple: She was hired to retrieve a mysterious artifact, known as the Scion, by a woman called Jaqueline Natla, who runs a huge corporation by the name of Natla Technologies. When Lara is on this quest, she finds out that there are actually three pieces of the Scion and that this artifact seems to have come from Atlantis. This artifact could be really dangerous if it wound up in the wrong hands. So, being the adventurous type of girl she is, Lara decides to go after the other two pieces herself and save the world.
Although the original Tomb Raider may not look like much by today’s standards, back in the day it was one of the best damn looking games in the genre out there. Its core gameplay, amazing graphics and well-written story built a strong foundation for the game, while the sex appeal of its protagonist really helped in making Tomb Raider a very successful series of games. Tomb Raider is one of those series that can actually withstand the test of time. I mean, just last year, a brand new Tomb Raider game was released, almost 30 years after the release of the first Tomb Raider Game. If that’s not a sign of a good series, than I don’t know what is! And, may I say that Lara only looks better as years go by. And, although the new Lara looks infinitely more like a real woman than the first Lara ever did, I still fondly remember her pointy bosom and square facial features. Ah, to be young again! Oh well, that’s all behind us now. Let’s look at the future and hope that Crystal Dynamics has a number of Tomb Raider games in store for us! Here’s to you Lara, may you always live in interesting times. And may we always be there to experience your adventures with you!
And with that, we’ve come to the end of this week’s Big Red Timemachine. It’s time for me to return to my Big Red HQ and meet with Dennis to talk about the future of this company. *sigh* Now he’ll probably want an office for himself. Oh well, I could probably get someone to clean out the boiler room... That should be big enough, right?
Core Design & Eidos Interactive