Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lara Croft, Forklift Operator

Finally got around to finishing "Legend."* Right, a game from 2006. So sue me. The controls don't feel quite as fluid as "Underworld" (from two years later) but the "camera screw" (to use the TV Tropes term) isn't quite as bad, either.

The game is fun, even if the play is relatively short. On replay, with combat set to "easy," it finishes in under six hours. The puzzles are mostly environmental; as in, no real cases (outside of the Croft Mansion) where a lock is designed in the form of a complicated puzzle. More, this is figuring out how to get from spot to spot, or how to get weights to where they will sit on pressure plates, with various tricks using levers and blocks and grapples and so forth.

Still, several of these puzzles are up to "match the soup can" level; you need to do some odd combination of things which is not terribly intuitive. Such as, in one room, instead of searching the room you are supposed to swing a chandelier into a bell in order that the sound causes a crystal to break...

For me the highlight is really the over-the-top cheesy Arthurian Museum, with animatronic knights and a recorded announcer who pronounces all his "ye"'s. Which drives Alister (on headset) up the wall. And does a quite painless info-dump on Arthurian legend while it is at it.

During the museum, you get to drive a forklift. Which means at some point you are playing a video game in which you are driving around stacking crates with a forklift. It made me laugh. And was actually kind of fun. Also had one of the better bits of level design; down a flight of rickety stairs hidden behind a stack of crates is a stone mausoleum. Which contains as out-of-place artifacts two of the same crates. Which is to say; a very direct clue you are supposed to get the forklift down there, and use it to continue the adventure.

And it is most satisfying to drive the forklift right through the spinning blade traps, snapping them into little bits. And then you get to a portcullis gate, and Lara wonders aloud how she's going to raise the gate. And all I could think of is K9's response during "School Reunion," when Mickey (the other tin dog) asks if K9 has any high-tech tool to get them back into the locked school; "We are in a car."

And drat for continuity. My fanfic in progress arbitrarily admits "Legend" (but back-dates it to somewhere between 2001 and 2004) but I've been cagey about whether the first game (or, rather, the Core Dynamics re-make issued as Tomb Raider: Anniversary) is canonical.

Trouble is, now that I've finished Legend, it makes my fanfic a little out of character. Lara finishes that game with a new urgency to follow her father's clues and attempt to rescue her mother; in fact, the events of Underworld happen within a few months. She should not be kicking back on Malta and enquiring in a lazy way about a random Egyptian artifact.

Ah, well. It's just a fanfic.

* Here's the geeky bit.  Using wswine 1.7.28 engine, with "use wrappers quartzwm" checked and only "decorate windows" checked in the screen options. There's a flicker during mouse-over within the Steam wrapper, but once a game is started it runs without the dratted synch flicker and without crashing.

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