Tomb Raider – A Fan’s Perspective
Sometime ago in the mid-nineties, I
found myself in the middle of a new generation of gamers. Some of us were
moving towards 3D gaming, with a 360 perspective and all sorts of new ideas. I
come from the 2D classic gaming era, the usual platformer, or catchy tune that
plays in every level. Little did I know, I was part of something bigger,
something evolving before our very eyes.
It was the summer of 1996, the PSX was
just narrowly overtaking the Nintendo 64. I recall this pretty well because it
was advertised in every toy shop from KB’s to Toys R’ US. Oddly enough
everyone’s reaction was different, maybe it was just the job they had, or it
was just some way to keep themselves afloat. Even with times changing I hadn’t
saved up for a console in years. And just that upcoming crazy season, did a
friend offer to let me hangout and play a few Playstation games with them.
Within their gaming library was a mix
of role playing, to action titles. There were a few sparse games, I think they
had close to 20 at the time. They were doing a few summer jobs, which I was
also keeping myself busy. But during the weekends, it was just our game time.
Come the fall, then winter a bunch more games were hitting shelves. As it turns
out my friend was hyped about this new platformer called Tomb Raider. I thought
at first, maybe it’s because my friend is a woman its why she looks up to
characters like this. Then it made me think back to Metroid, where Samus Aran
So with money saved, we put our cash
together and voila. Except the fact that she had plans to visit family
elsewhere, so it would be a little while longer till we indulged this crazy
adventure. So I kept my mind off of the game for awhile, till I stumbled upon a
kiosk in one of the local stores. Turns out Tower Records actually had a
competition for the best time trials in the first stage demo. I tried out, and
found my way around the level, even winding up getting over a bunch of
pitfalls. And sadly not getting past a few key areas, without screwing up and,
seeing the poor character fall many times. I phoned my friend to let her know
about this contest, she got a bit jealous but wished me luck. I braved the
level various times to pinpoint where the hazards were till I finally got
adjusted to the unique setup. Although I didn’t win, I learned that this game
would not be a cakewalk.
Metroid, taught me a lesson of patience
(it was actually this same female friend that told me about it). Then I turned
things around, to find out Samus was all along a lady fighting a horde of space
pirates. Still to this day, its something I can never forget, and the look on
her face when we took turns going through every pitfall, and how many screams
of glee or terror whenever we hit a snag.
I have to be honest faithful reader, this
is actually the first time I’m writing about my misadventures in gaming. So
let’s press on shall we?
Back to Tomb Raider, it contained tons
of chills, spills, and narrow platforms that would make Mario, Sonic, and Samus
blush. Even though the graphics at the time were the best they could deliver.
That PSX pushed itself so much, it was crisp, and the atmosphere truly felt
alive. Just getting past every obstacle was a feat of itself, and every time
you missed something it was totally your fault. (and I learned the hard way
along with my friend as we went through every peril together, and I got hit
with pillows every time!) Each and every level contained unique levels of
difficulty. The further you explored, the tougher it would get. But the main
headache to overcome was the loading screens. Oh the nightmares! Just for one
mis-step that made you Swiss cheese over spikes, or a pancake thanks to a
boulder. Loading screens in TR were such a pain, but getting over that it was a
joy to get back into spelunking.
Looking back to those days of the first
TR was a blast. And I was thankful I wasn’t alone in the journey. And now, Tomb
Raider is undergoing a rebirth, thanks to the team that worked on the original
game. (Along with another friends’ guiding wing) It’s going to be a fantastic
chapter, every Lara Croft fan will want to play and share with others.