This week, The Escapist's Zero Punctuation reviews Tomb Raider: Anniversary.
In reviewing Tomb Raider: Anniversary, I feel a strong temptation to rely on cheap laughs, but since I always try to challenge myself, I've decided to solemnly vow to get through this entire review without making any reference to female breasts. So with that in mind, let's get rolling.
The original Tomb Raiders were made by British developers, Core Design. But after a while, they weren't exactly treating the old girl properly. They basically just made the same game six times with each setting introducing broader and broader definitions of the word “tomb,” and the series practically died with Angel of Darkness, but the publishers weren't prepared to let something so popular with sweaty thirteen year old boys with holes in their pockets die. So they handed it over to some cheeseburger-inhaling Yanks who announced their intention to remake the first game and do it properly, which as insults go, is right up there with slapping you in the balls with your own dead dog.
Maybe it's just me, but the developer transition seems to have brought about a few changes in Lara. For example, in the original intro for Tomb Raider, she responds to the advances of a big, lumpy Texan vaguely flirtatiously, while in the new one, she has the bog-standard, Hollywood tough-gal coldness with threats of violence, because everyone knows action-oriented, independent women all munch more carpet than a malfunctioning vacuum cleaner.
For the most part though, it's pretty much a straight port of the old levels with some extra puzzles to show off the new moves in Lara's repertoire, most of which she probably picked up from the tombs of the Persian Royal Family, if you see what I mean. But don't panic, fans of the original, because Crystal Dynamics have faithfully continued the tradition of having Lara handle like a cow in a supermarket trolley. Oh yes, Lara was no stranger to the five-story splatter death on this adventure. Half the time I'd take a running jump off a platform only to discover too late that I was a few degrees off, and could only watch helplessly as Lara ragdollized on jagged rocks. The other half of the time, the game engine stubbornly refused to register Lara's grip on the next ledge and another unscheduled trip to Jagged Rocks Country would ensue. It came to the point that I actually became rather glad whenever it happened, because I was enjoying seeing Lara receive just punishment for not following my instructions properly.
Part of the problem is the camera, which never seems to be pointing at what I want it to point at, resulting in what I like to call “Leap of Faith Gameplay”. The camera seems to be constantly swinging around into the best angle to show off Lara's physique, leaving you pushing forward when you have been pushing left and taking another wrong turn at Jagged Rock Junction. The reason for this seems to be a cynical emphasis on pandering to the aforementioned thirteen-year-old pocket-mining demographic. If you leave her for a while, Lara does these shamefully erotic stretches, and whenever she comes out of water, she's realistically wet and glistening. It kind of takes me back to when I was fifteen and playing the original Tomb Raider, and I'd back her up into a corner to get the best view of her juicy... thighs.
The combat has also been upgraded for modern times, and by that I mean they've chucked in the tired old God of War Simon-Says button matching sequences which every action game has to have now by law, and someone on the design team, you know who you are, thought it would be a great idea to have the player constantly press R1 to fire repeatedly, rather than just hold it down. But the R1 button is not positioned for comfortable mashing, and when you go up against enemies who can take ten million bullets before dying, like, say, for example, most of them, then your fingers cramp up like you're playing Guitar Hero, only without the nebbish rockstar fantasy.
I could keep lashing the game for all kinds of stuff, but I'm judgmentally biased against it because it's a remake, and I think remakes are bloody stupid. It's just futile money-spinning for the terminally unimaginative but unnecessary remaking is becoming inexplicably popular, and it's not just happening to old stuff anymore. I'm given to understand that Vin Diesel is planning to remake Escape from Butcher Bay. I have stuff in my crisper drawer that's older than that game.
I mean, is it just because no one can come up with new ideas? It's not hard, here's one: a genetically-engineered Taiwanese chef teams up with a newt in a fez to rescue his large-bosomed girlfriend from mummies. There, you see? It's easy. A breast cancer specialist with large bosoms journeys through time to pay for a breast enhancement. A race of bosom-people set out with an armada of bosoms to find a new bosom homeworld. Bosoms, melons, milk factories, busts, funbags, knockers, ballistics, boobies, jugs, nipples, jubblies, STONKING GREAT TITS!
Protecting, lifting and separating: Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw
"Going Underground" by The Jam
"Fat Bottomed Girls" by Queen
RETRACTION: Contrary to claims made in the previous video I have not in actuality fucked your mum because damn that shit is nasty, yo
Ask me how long it's been since I have known the touch of a woman: firstname.lastname@example.org