sheepman23's TR1 - Anniversary Playthrough! (series SPOILERS)

#21JoveHackPosted 2/28/2011 3:55:20 PM
Finished the Colosseum and Palace Midas. For the first time I felt like the levels were making sense as I played them. Finally got a feel for the architecture instead of just looking one step ahead.

Started the Cistern. Love the straight up local platforming where I could see everything and start making plans. Then fell into the water and started exploring the side rooms via underwater passages.

Found lots of stuff, but have no idea where I was, where I'd been, or how to get back there. Felt the need to make maps, but after remembering mapping all of Wolfenstein 3D on graph paper, the feeling quickly passed. The game's in serious need of Doom 1's automapping feature.

Instead, I'm trying the next best thing. Improving the graphics. That should make things more apparent and memorable. Looking at GliDos and its recommendations. I've gotten really hesitant about installing on Vista, but looks like it's all worth the risk.

The game could also really use a game controller, at least I hope it would help. Maybe I can use my DualShock 2 with some kind of adaptor. One more thing to look into as I continue the series.

Jove the Sleep Depraved.
#22sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 2/28/2011 6:05:01 PM
Level 9 - "Tomb of Tihocan"

I wasn't sure how this one would fare upon replay, but I have to admit that I was pretty happy with it. The first half gets to being a little draggy, though, despite being better than anything from the previous level. It's mostly a lot of conjoining chambers that deal with raising the water level up and down... there are a few traps scattered about as well, along with the occasional rat or crocodile. While the first of this level is nothing special, it's pretty solid.

Things really get kicking in the second half, starting with the room with the pressure plates and the doors. I particularly like this, because there's something about that "reveal and explore" that I like about the area. Then of course there's the subterranean cave and Tihocan's tomb, which pretty well solidifies my liking for the level. I never, absolutely NEVER get tired of the tomb sequence, which begins with that centaur busting from the statue, and ends with Lara in the cutscene. It probably helps that you get a healthy does of ammo and medipacks inside the tomb. =)

I like how "Tomb of Tihocan" manages to add some new gameplay elements in, such as the bursting of the centaur from the statue, the new traps in the first part of the level, and the room with the pressure plates as a whole. I also think it's got two very cleverly hidden secrets, which never hurts. The amount of pick-ups in this level is also refreshing, there's quite a few in the second half.

I'd give an 8/10 to the first half of the level, and a 9.5/10 to the second, so it'll round out to be...

Rating - 9/10 (Excellent)
Average Greece Rating - 8.2/10 (almost Excellent!)

I suppose the Greece rating is fair... "Colosseum" and "Cistern" drag it down quite a bit. Neither are bad levels, just a little tedious or boring to get through in comparison to the others in TR1. There are three astounding ones in here, though, ones that show exactly why Greece is my favorite section of TR1. If I could just spice up the other two levels, my rating would be more showing of that.

Current TR1 Level Rankings:
1. "The Lost Valley" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
2. "Palace Midas" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
3. "St. Francis Folly" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
4. "Tomb of Tihocan" - 9/10 (Excellent)

5. "Tomb of Qualopec" - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
6. "City of Vilcabamba" - 7.5/10 (Great)
7. "Collosseum" - 7/10 (Good)
8. "Caves" - 6.5/10 (Good)
9. "Cistern" - 6/10 (OK)

Current TR1 Rating - 8.11/10
#23sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/2/2011 5:43:29 PM
Level 10 - "City of Khamoon"

Chalk this up as one of the levels I liked more on this replay. I'm not quite sure why that is, though... maybe it's just the colorful change of scenery? I don't know. I have to admit that the TR1 Egypt levels are more colorful than Anniversary's, which are bleaker than this.

In this level, you can feel a change of difficulty in the transition between Greece and Egypt... but there are no traps here. Instead, this level gives us more challenging puzzles and more challening enemies, specifically the mummies and panthers. This just gets steeper in the next level, and even greater in the "Sanctuary of the Scion."

I'll admit that I'm a little disappointed on the pharaoh statue room. The Anniversary room is so big and impressive that it makes this one look very small and crunched together. This is also the way I felt with the sphinx room, which is good, but could've been better if it were bigger.

I like the large amount of pickups in this level. That never hurts a thing. =)

Overall, I found "City of Khamoon" to be a pretty solid level, despite being nothing very special. This transitions us pretty nicely between the first and second halves of the game, and I like the straightforward flow to it, something that the next two levels back away from...

Rating - 8.5/10 (Fantastic)
Current TR1 Average - 8.15/10

No "toughest secrets" entries here. In fact, I don't think there'll be any in the next level, although the one in "Sanctuary of the Scion" might qualify... =)
#24sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/3/2011 7:33:57 PM
Level 11 - "Obelisk of Khamoon"

This is one of those Tomb Raider levels that is completely about exploration, and gives the strong sense of freedom throughout. I absolutely love the concept of the obelisk room, where you have to lower the drawbridges to collect the four different trinkets. There's a lot of enemies, a lot of fine puzzles, and everything looks so neat. The textures in the level are phenomenal, and give you the sense that you're really in an ancient Egyptian tomb. Kudos to the designers for this.

I also LOVE how this level goes back into the previous level - that's a nice touch to close things out. Like the previous level, pickups are plentiful, so bonus points for this.

If there's one thing I can nit-pick on, it's the slope-to-step room. Something about it doesn't quite work for me... it seems like a sloppy puzzle idea that was thrown in at the last minute because they needed a big puzzle room before reaching one of the switches. It wasn't terrible, but didn't enhance the level by any means.

Overall, I love how the level gives the strong sense of adventure, exploration, and freedom, in a better way than levels like "Colosseum" and "Cistern" have. A pretty excellent experience, this level is.

Rating - 9/10
Average TR1 Rating - 8.27/10
#25sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/4/2011 9:45:47 PM
Level 12 - "Sanctuary of the Scion"

It's wierd... out of all of the sections of TR1 so far, I didn't expect Egypt to gain as much as it did on replay. Somehow, I remember it being my least favorite section of the original Tomb Raider... which it clearly isn't. It rises above Peru, and maybe even above Atlantis, but we'll have to see about that.

That being said, "Sanctuary of the Scion" still is not a perfect level. I can still point out all of the major things that bug me about it, like the location of the Scion for starters - it's right, in a room RIGHT BEHIND THAT GATE at the beginning of the level. Yet we have to travel through two gigantic caverns before we can find the thing that opens the gate... which is also RIGHT BEHIND ANOTHER GATE at the beginning of the level. This is something that Anniversary manages to fix rather well on the remake. The other (small) issue I have with this level is the structure of the sphinx room. It's one of those common Tomb Raider rooms that's got tons of ledges up high, and it's basically a "hmm... how should I get across this wall?" sort of thing. For me, that gets boring at points, but like I mentioned, it's only a small detail that I didn't like.

However, this level did better on replay. The sphinx chamber is still impressive as ever, as well as the pair of statues in the giant cavern beneath. I absolutely LOVE how open everything is in this level, much like "Obelisk of Khamoon." The flying Atlanteans also make things tons better, and not to mention the level's only secret. This is one of the most clever things the designers ever did... it's just such an original concept.

I love the encounter with the Atlanteans near the level's end, that's one of the hugest "fight moments" of the series. The encounter with Larson feels... rushed, unlike Pierre in "Tomb of Tihocan," and I believe the reason for this is that we haven't seen Larson at all since the "Tomb of Qualopec."

Still, this level is pretty great and gives us the memorable sphinx room. The musical score for when you enter that room is also heightens the level's greatness. Great work, designers, "Sanctuary of the Scion" holds up pretty well after all of these years that have passed.

Rating - 8/10 (Great)
Average Egypt Rating - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
Current TR1 Rating - 8.21/10

Ah, Egypt is finished, which leaves only Atlantis. Looking forward to closing out my TR1 replay... here are the level rankings so far.

1. "The Lost Valley" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
2. "Palace Midas" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
3. "St. Francis Folly" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
4. "Obelisk of Khamoon" - 9/10 (Excellent)
5. "Tomb of Tihocan" - 9/10 (Excellent)
6. "City of Khamoon" - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
7. "Tomb of Qualopec" - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
8. "Sanctuary of the Scion" - 8/10 (Great)
9. "City of Vilcabamba" - 7.5/10 (Great)
10. "Colosseum" - 7/10 (Good)
11. "Caves" - 6.5/10 (Good)
12. "Cistern" - 6/10 (OK)
#26sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/5/2011 8:32:24 AM
Tomb Raider 1 - Atlantis
Level 13 - "Natla's Mines"

I really like how this level plays out. Before we get to the two final levels of Tomb Raider, we get a somewhat "breather" level, and by "breather" I don't mean easy, just laying off of the enemies, aside from three major bad boys. "Natla's Mines" is no stroll - there's plenty of traps to keep you on your toes, everything from the lava river to the numerous boulders rolling around. It's really a very transitional level to get you from Egypt to the Atlantean environment.

And, I think for the most part, it does a pretty good job. There are a few things that are wrong with it, particularly its odd setup. I understand that these are mines, and not everything is supposed to be all square and neat, but seriously? An underground skate park? That's along the lines of ridiculous. There's also those golden-colored chambers near the end... after an entire level of rocky-colored textures, we all of a sudden get these bright, golden rooms, and somehow that doesn't quite work.

What the level lacks in textures and realism, it makes up for in great gameplay... and I'm not talking combat. The plan for getting your pistols back is actually pretty clever on the designers' part, something that's not near as clever when Lara loses her weapons in TR2 and TR3. I like the openness of the first section, it's another nice thing when the next two levels are going to be completely straightforward. >_>

There's a lot of other things I can compliment this level on, like the great traps that turn into great puzzles (as well as three pretty clever secrets), but I'm gonna hurry this level up because I'm busy at the moment...

Rating - 9.5/10
Average TR1 Rating - 8.31/10
#27sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/6/2011 8:59:51 PM
Level 14 - "Atlantis"

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about "Atlantis" on replay... but I think my opinion was better this time than before.

There's a really fun quality about this level. I'm not sure if it's the fact that it's just so different than anything we've seen in Tomb Raider... or maybe it's the innovative puzzles and traps throughout here. This level really does do a great job in those areas.

There are two main things that I dislike about this level, and the first is the EXTREMELY linear path that the level follows. The freedom that we've had from the past three or four levels is sucked away here - everything is pointing forward, and although there are puzzles, they're confined to one room a piece. I don't know about you, but I love the "go explore everywhere" type of puzzle, rather than this. The second problem is the repetitive forms of combat in this level. It's basically Atlanteans hatching from incubators the entire level, which gets rather boring after the 100th one you kill. OK, strike that - there is Atlantean Lara, which is a rather creative enemy to throw in here, but other than that... it gets rather blah near the level's end.

Still, "Atlantis" is a greatly challenging experience that is a pretty nice follow-up to "Natla's Mines," even if it's not quite as much fun as the mines were. A very solid effort, though, and a pretty great level despite having a few major flaws.

Rating - 8/10
Current TR1 Average - 8.25/10
#28sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/6/2011 9:12:06 PM
Level 15 - "The Great Pyramid"

The final level of TR1 - one insanely memorable boss fight, a huge gauntlet, and... a boring plot resolution. We'll get to that last bit later, for now...

I have to admit that the abomination is one of the most clever boss fights in the game. It's not particularly hard, or particularly complicated... the reason why it's a success is because it mixes an extremely powerful and odd boss with a platform suspended high, HIGH over a pit of burning lava. Lovely.

Now, the rest of the level is mostly traps... which in some ways is a very good thing. However, WHERE DID ALL OF THE ATLANTEAN ENEMIES GO? It's like they just disappear throughout the remaining course of the level. There's basically the abomination, a few that pop up right after you shoot the Scion, and then nothing until the end of the level. I have to admit, this aspect is somewhat disappointing.

"The Great Pyramid" is a pretty climatic ending to Tomb Raider 1. The only things it suffers from is a relative drop in combat (when you put aside the two obvious boss battles)... and that ending. Somehow, Lara escaping on a boat doesn't seem like it should've been the ending. Maybe I'm in a minority here, but that's just my opinion. Still, the traps and gauntlets here are extremely innovative, so this level ranks above "Atlantis..." just by a tiny notch.

Rating - 8.5/10
Atlantis Rating - 8.67/10
#29sheepman23(Topic Creator)Posted 3/6/2011 9:24:17 PM
Phew... the end of Tomb Raider 1. It's been fun making these reviews, but I have to admit that the next two games are the ones that I've REALLY been looking forward too... and while Tomb Raider 2 is because I consider it the best game in the series, I'm eager to play Tomb Raider 3 to see if my opinion has changed on it at all. I've played it less than the first 2 games, so I'll see how it works out.

For now, though, here are the official level rankings for Tomb Raider 1. You'll notice that I changed "Tomb of Qualopec" to an 8/10, because it didn't seem right to me that that level should rank over "Atlantis."

1. "The Lost Valley" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
2. "Palace Midas" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
3. "St. Francis Folly" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
4. "Natla's Mines" - 9.5/10 (Flawless)
5. "Obelisk of Khamoon" - 9/10 (Excellent)
6. "Tomb of Tihocan" - 9/10 (Excellent)
7. "City of Khamoon" - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
8. "The Great Pyramid" - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
9. "Atlantis" - 8/10 (Great)

10. "Sanctuary of the Scion" - 8/10 (Great)
11. "Tomb of Qualopec" - 8/10 (Great)
12. "City of Vilcabamba" - 7.5/10 (Great)
13. "Colosseum" - 7/10 (Good)
14. "Caves" - 6.5/10 (Good)
15. "Cistern" - 6/10 (OK)

Average Rating for Tomb Raider 1 - 8.27/10


The first thing I noticed about the game was that Peru was boring to replay... and also parts of Greece were as well. And, I think my ratings for those levels go to show that. 3 of the bottom 5 levels in this game are from Peru... and the other two are from Greece. However, those two sections also give us three of the greatest levels of the series, so those sections turn out to have pretty odd averages, when you combine the low-rated levels with the high-rated levels. Here are the "section" rankings based on the averages I got from level ratings:

1. Atlantis - 8.67/10 (Excellent)
2. Egypt - 8.50/10 (Excellent)
3. Greece - 8.20/10 (Great)
4. Peru - 7.88/10 (Great)

Compare this to the rankings I give them, which AREN'T based on the average of level ratings:

1. Greece - 9/10 (Excellent)
2. Egypt - 9/10 (Excellent)
3. Atlantis - 8.5/10 (Excellent)
4. Peru - 8/10 (Great)

And so ends Tomb Raider 1! Overall, it was a beautifully crafted game that will remain a classic for years (atleast in my mind, if not in yours)... I'd like to announce that this is the end of this topic on the GameFAQs Tomb Raider Anniversary board, I've decided to move the rest of the topic to the Tomb Raider forums. This way I can get a little more involvement. Thanks JoveHack for conversing with me earlier in the topic! I hope everyone who's read this has enjoyed. Thanks again!
#30JoveHackPosted 3/8/2011 2:31:45 PM
Well, I finished Tomb Raider 1. That's too much new stuff at once for deep analysis. So here are my impressions.

GlideDos is great. That plus the improved textures available are like a new game where I can actually see. Too bad there's no hope of me ever being able to register it, but the first two levels are still worth playing in it.

I even went on past that, putting up with the giant spinning logo. Stopped at St. Francis' Folly though. That area's too complicated to play without using the full screen.

TR1 excels in some areas over TRA. Puzzles, side rooms, and swimming areas. A lot of TRA can be summed up with "look for ledges." Level design tries to show off large areas, whereas TR1 goes for intricate.

So many of the areas in TRA are just huge boxes. The Lava Room, the area around the giant Obelisk in Egypt, even the Lost Valley to a certain extent.

The Cistern is a perfect example. Just a big box in TRA, whereas in TR1 I loved swimming Lara around just for fun. Swoop through the "secret" side area. Revisit other rooms. Then once the whole area's flooded swim twisty paths around obstacles. The only experience like it in gaming is Aquis in Primal.

It's like someone said, the star of the Tomb Raider series was the level design, not Lara. Crystal Dynamics lost sight of that. And the problem with focusing on Lara is that there's only so much she can do as an individual.

In most ways the games are just too different in approach for meaningful comparison. TR1 doesn't have the graphics, but the level design is miles ahead in drawing in the player with challenge.

Jove the Sleep Depraved.