Tomb Raider: Anniversary
sheepman23's TR1 - Anniversary Playthrough! (series SPOILERS)
Hello, and welcome to my official "playthrough" topic for Tomb Raider 1... all the way to Tomb Raider: Anniversary! I haven't replayed this entire series since 2009, so I'm very excited to get to do my second big "replay."
Now, the reason why I'm doing this is so I can evaluate every level of Tomb Raider 1 - Anniversary, as well as all the games as a whole. It's also because I'd like to see how my opinions have changed on the replay of these levels... and furthermore, I'd like to get those opinions out there for you guys to see and comment on. I really would appreciate anyone commenting on my level summaries/reviews. I think that this board also needs a bit of a spark, and maybe this topic could contribute to that.
Anyway, I'll plan on doing 2 or 3 level summaries/reviews a day, usually at night. On the weekends I'll probably play a lot more, so more reviews will come them.
I really encourage everyone who comes to this board to participate and comment on everything! I think it's going to be really fun getting to replay the whole series...
Well... here I go. Before I get started, I'm going to give my personal "rating scale," which gives descriptions on each of the ratings from 1 to 10, and what they mean:
10/10 (Flawless) - This level has excellent design, is extremely enjoyable, and is very memorable.
9/10 (Excellent) - The level is very enjoyable and memorable.
8/10 (Great) - The level is fun to replay and fairly memorable, with some minor flaws.
7/10 (Good) - The level is pretty fun, but has some flaws within.
6/10 (OK) - This level isn't as memorable and is more flawed, but not bad.
5/10 (Average) - The level is forgettable and flawed, but not bad.
4/10 (Fair) - The level is deeply flawed and pretty forgettable.
3/10 (Poor) - The level is very flawed, and is also somewhat boring.
2/10 (Bad) - This level is extremely flawed, and also boring.
1/10 (Awful) - The level is a disgrace to the Tomb Raider series and is extremely boring in addition to having very bad design.
Alright, I'm excited to get this started with...
Tomb Raider: Level 1 - "Caves"
I've replayed this level so many times that I pretty well tell you every feature of every chamber of the level. In fact, I'm so locked in on the general path of the level that I forgot to grab secret #3 while I was in the chamber with the timed door... that might be the first time I've forgotten it... ever. Oh well, it's not like there's a reward for all of the secrets in the game, so I'll go on without it.
It seems like every time I replay this level, the bear pit gets easier to deal with. I used to spend an eternity just trying to get a lock on the bear, now I can get it locked on right away.
"Caves" is a very solid effort at a first level of the game... I just think that for myself, it's gotten old and is a little more boring to play through. I'm going to go 6.5/10 on this one, because I feel it definitely deserves some credit as it was a great opener to the series.
Rating - 6.5/10
Level 2 - "City of Vilcabamba"
Wow, I'm realizing how amazingly clumsy I am on my replay. I was going by those lovely swinging axes, and timed it wrong on the third one and... BLOODSHED. Sorry 'bout that, Lara.
For whatever reason, I found the first two levels to be... somewhat boring. Now, I'm not sure if that's because they really are boring... or if I've just played this game too many times. Hopefully it's the former, though. If there's anything I know, it's that the games from TR3 to Angel of Darkness I haven't played too many times, because as of right now, they're in the lower half of my rankings, the other 4 games are in the top half.
"City of Vilcabamba" is not a let-down of a level, and I actually did find it more enjoyable than "Caves." A little mystery that I'd like to have cleared up - why is there a switch that turns off the swinging axes, when we had already gone through them? It just seems a little strange, I may be in the minority on this one.
I have a feeling that these ratings are going to skyrocket on the next three levels...
Rating - 7.5/10
I'm doing a replay myself right now. Quite a coincidence. I find a lot of the game very high stress, even after many, many playthroughs. That's when I'm not ready to break my controller, as happened earlier today in the Final Conflict.
Then there's that one platform in the lava room in the Lost Pyramid, which I had to take a break from overnight. Read up on TombRaiders.net on the alternate methods and finally managed to beat it.
As for judging the level design, that's tough for me. I originally played through TRA while ill. Just kept blindly re-trying stuff until I'd made it through, using FAQs, etc. Another problem was I was playing the PS2 version on an HDTV, but using the original composite cables. The game consisted mostly of blur, like playing in a pea-soup fog.
Just recently tried to find a blind Let's Play on youtube to see how newbies deal with the game.
Found this excellent one by Infin1tyGamesTV.
Too bad he's speaking German, but watching him fumble around can still be fun.
In some ways the level design's not that great, as most of the time it's just a matter of blindly moving forward in whatever direction the game lets you. The exception is St. Francis Folly, which goes way overboard in the other direction.
On reflection, the Mountain Caves and Vilcabamba are excellent for what they are, introductions to the gameplay. One thing that stands out is excellent use of the vertical. The need to look up, and traverse the areas on different levels. This reappears frequently in the game.
One thing the Mountain Caves has is little side areas. Like the first large medipack, and the little medipack in the side cave below the wolf bridge. I really like things like that. They break the feeling that the area is a large box with locations scattered up and down the sides (which the lava room in the Lost Pyramid turned into.)
Jove the Sleep Depraved.
^ It's going to be interesting once I get to Anniversary, and am able to compare and contrast them against these levels from TR1. JoveHack, have you played the entire series? Just curious. I'm just glad that someone has taken interest in this, it's just a little something I like to do when replaying different games and series.
Level 3 - "The Lost Valley"
One thing I disliked about TRA's "Lost Valley" level was how it seemed overdone; everything was way up in scale, which wasn't necessarily bad, but things like the t-rex fight, the adjoining caves, and the entire cog puzzle just seemed blown out of proportion.
In this TR1 level, I'm happy with how everything is simple, especially the t-rex battle. And oh, the memories that are brought back from replaying this level; standing in one of the little nooks, taking cheap shots at the t-rex whenever he passed... good times. Now, I just run into one of those tunnels on the side of the valley and step in and out to take shots at it. Yeah, I'm a bit of a wuss. =)
I'm also fairly happy with how the level has held up in the course of the entire series. This is one of them that I've replayed very often, so it's almost worn out... but not quite. I'm still getting all of the enjoyment out of it that I normally do. I love the t-rex battle. I love the random raptors that appear all over the place. I love the general location of this level... after being cooped inside of caves for the past two levels. Of course, it would help if the sky wasn't black... but that's almost nitpicky. Still...
"The Lost Valley" is as great as it was the first time I played it, and that's saying something.
Rating - 9.5/10
Average Tomb Raider 1 Rating - 7.83/10
sheepman23 posted on 2/23/2011 at 8:04 PM "^ It's going to be interesting once I get to Anniversary, and am able to compare and contrast them against these levels from TR1. JoveHack, have you played the entire series? Just curious. I'm just glad that someone has taken interest in this, it's just a little something I like to do when replaying different games and series."
I've never played the originals. It's somethign I'm working on. Recent games are all loud, flashy, with lots of screen shaking. Even TRA did some of that, but had plenty of exploration as a change of pace. TRL had less abrasive combat, and also had the motorcycle sections for a change of pace.
I've only watched video walkthroughs of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, but it seems to have gone over to the dark side. Some interesting puzzles, but so many ambushes by swarms of enemies and we're back to whizzbang, noisy, screen-shaking combat.
I saw someone describe the original TR games as being more about the levels than Lara, which sounds pretty good right now. Lots of exploring interesting levels with some basic combat sounds about right.
I'm glad to see someone else still interested in discussing the games. It's surprising how quickly the reboot games have faded away.
sheepman23 also wrote, "One thing I disliked about TRA's "Lost Valley" level was how it seemed overdone; everything was way up in scale, which wasn't necessarily bad, but things like the t-rex fight, the adjoining caves, and the entire cog puzzle just seemed blown out of proportion."
Hmm, I'm not sure I agree. My main problem with the Lost Valley on the PS2 is the blur that was poured onto everything. I guess since the PS2 didn't have built-in anti-aliasing to avoid jagged edges they just smeared everything with blur.
The result was that views of the Cave and Valley that should have been impressive looked like bad pastel paintings. One more reason I miss the binoculars from TRL. It would have been great to scan around the valley from all those high vantage points.
Of course, I haven't played the original so you may be right. I started watching a Let's Play of TRA that turned into a direct comparison between it and the original. It was great and I almost got sucked into watching the whole thing, but managed to stop myself. If I can't restart TRA unspoiled maybe I can still play the original doing mostly my own exploration.
Jove the Sleep Depraved.
SpiralDrift posted on 1/16/2011 at 1:30 PM in
"On the subject, check out this thread:
It's TR1 remade with the level editor that was packed in with Chronicles (though it was actually for editing Last Revelation levels). So it's basically the original Tomb Raider but with the controls and move-sets of The Last Revelation. And better graphics to boot. I've played a bit of it and it seems pretty cool so far."
I may try to get that running on my PC. Good practice if I ever get a copy of the original games.
Jove the Sleep Depraved.
Yeah... I don't know. Maybe my opinion will change on the Lost Valley when I get to replaying TRA. For right now, though, I would rate TR1's version above it. Also, my comments on "blowing everything out of proportion" was probably a bit extreme, I just think that some parts of the level could've been scaled down a bit, mostly the caves that join the waterfall cave with the lost valley. You'd need to play TR1's version to realize how different they are, and that the simpler the level, the better.
sheepman23 posted on 2/24/2011 at 6:48 AM "Yeah... I don't know. Maybe my opinion will change on the Lost Valley when I get to replaying TRA. For right now, though, I would rate TR1's version above it. Also, my comments on "blowing everything out of proportion" was probably a bit extreme, I just think that some parts of the level could've been scaled down a bit, mostly the caves that join the waterfall cave with the lost valley. You'd need to play TR1's version to realize how different they are, and that the simpler the level, the better."
Yeah, I'm looking forward to playing TR1 someday just for the simpler approach.
I think the extensive cave passages are there to give the next large area time to load. Both the waterfall cave and the Lost Valley are impressively large to not have loading screens.
The same technique is used later to mask loading. St. Francis Folly has that long spiral down to the main room. The side rooms at the Folly have those "airlock" type gates to keep you from getting in/out too quickly.
I've continued in TRA. Just did a number of Time Trials clean, Tomb of Tihocan, Obelisk of Khamoon and Sanctuary of the Scion. First time I've ever completed those without using glitches!
Jove the Sleep Depraved.
Level 4 - "Tomb of Qualopec"
This is one of those TR1 levels that I can't find anything really wrong with, but also can't find much special about. Actually, strike that - there's the mummy in the Scion chamber, which I didn't actually notice until a few replays after playing the first time. It's a nice little touch. I also like how colorful the level is, something that probably isn't exactly realistic... but oh well.
I like this level. It's the first one in the TR series to give us the "Choose Your Own Route" thing with the 3 gates puzzle, and I think it's held up reasonably well on replays. The only little thing I don't like is its short length, something that could've been changed pretty easily with just a few more chambers leading to the Scion room, but this is fine anyhow.
Rating - 8.5/10 (Fantastic)
Average Peru (TR1) Rating - 8/10 (Great)
I'd say that seems about right. Peru was a great opener to the series, it's nothing spectacular, but definitely not average, either. Here are the current level rankings for Tomb Raider 1:
1. "The Lost Valley" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
2. "Tomb of Qualopec" - 8.5/10 (Fantastic)
3. "City of Vilcabamba" - 7.5/10 (Great)
4. "Caves" - 6.5/10 (Good)