L – The Polygons Strike Back
Ahoy hoy fellow gamers, Nerds, nerdettes and the Gaming community as a whole.
It’s that time of the month again where we delve into the weird Al’ Yankovich’s mind of the Gaming Library and search and find a hidden power up of a game. Where spawn points were few and DLC hadn’t even been invented.
This month’s Alphabet is going back way way to the time when 1996, to the Sega Saturn. Ahh I remember those day’s well. It was as if every game was a gift from the gaming gods. And none could be more required in your collection than Tomb Raider.
Tomb Raider was initially released in 1996 upon a Sega Saturn audience before shortly being given its PC and PlayStation releases, garnering mass acclaim from critics and ordinary players alike. The game was revolutionary to all of its predominantly chauvinistic male audience who perceived the idea of a female, hard as nails front woman to be about as likely to happen as a child friendly Grand Theft Auto game and when it was unleashed, many did not know what to make of it. Having a strong female leading role, the game became renowned for its innovative graphical work with three-dimensional platforming that at the time was almost unbelievable. The game provided some well rendered backdrops for the story that would unfold that showed that 3D game play could be more than just the boring and bland environments that populated the Doom games.
The gamer controls front lady Lara Croft as she is commissioned to find three artifacts that quickly becomes a tale of cut throat relations and revenge as Lara has the artifacts taken from her and she is almost murdered, before she tracks down the people who ambush her and attempts to take the artifacts back. The story has many twists and turns to it that keep the player involved and helps it refrain from becoming stale and as the story unfolds you will await the next chapter with bated breath and anticipation. This is a masterpiece of storytelling, that was ahead of its time in nearly every sense with writing that was superb. To carry the story forward this game has several cut scenes that were beautiful for their day and some fantastic voice acting work coupled with a spectacular sound track that could be seen as the sound track for a generation.
The gameplay revolves around exploration and great combat scenes that make for a fantastic ride of a game that consistently keeps the player on their toes. Many enemies will be encountered as you press forward through the murky dungeons and icy snow landscapes that will frequently challenge your skill to survive, especially the biggest memorable set piece that involves a T-Rex and numerous velociraptors around an Aztec temple. The combat is very well handled with a wide variety of weaponry that even in 1996, ensures that any style of game play is catered for and that if one wishes to go for a one shot dispatch of a Wolf by using a shotgun then they may do so, whereas if your preferred vision of the game is of Lara spraying ammunition blindly with an Uzi then this can also be done. Tomb Raider was certainly not a game devoid of interesting secrets either as there are numerous scattered across the sprawling levels and there is even an in-game count that enables you to track how many secrets you have found in a level so the player will leave no stone unturned in their quest to find every secret. And trust me to anyone who has searched for them, they were a bugger to find!
Tomb Raider is rightfully considered a masterpiece and can speak for an entire generation of video game lovers. It is a work of art that many games attempt to recreate the fantastic level design on display here with each attempt feeling more and more tedious to play through. Tomb Raider may not be the most technically advanced video game out there today but it can more than hold its own against the latest blockbuster games purely on the variety to be found in it and the clever level design. This is a game recommended to absolutely everyone as it has enough excitement to be garnered for it for every single type of gamer in existence. It may have spawned many sequels but none will ever match the originality nor sheer entertainment factor worn proudly as a badge on the arm of the original Tomb Raider game. And with that, I am off to play it again and giggle like a school child as I did when I first played it.