Perusing Pixels is a photo diary of my expedition through the Tomb Raider series. Use the links to the right to find a particular game or level, or see below for the latest post.

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Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Lara's Home


"Welcome to my home. I'll take you on a guided tour."
Ah, Lara's home. This spacious mansion represents my first experience with Tomb Raider, and with video games in general. While the FMVs played and the ring menu loaded, my first thoughts weren't about the graphics or the sound quality as they might be now; no, my innocent ten-year-old brain was simply impressed that you could go running around her house. I didn't realise this feature was fairly exclusive to Tomb Raider, I thought you could pay all major video game characters a home visit.
So, Lara's Home. According to Lara's biography (and I mean the original one, not the Crystal Dynamics bastardization), Lara resides in a large, Tudor-style mansion located in Surrey which was left to her by an eccentric, corgi-loving aunt. Lara invites you on a "guided tour", by which she means that she will talk your through her usual exercise regime, which involves jumping on crash mats and vaulting over crates.


We start the "tour" in Lara's hideously-carpeted Library, where Lara is gazing out of the window. Nothing much to do in here except marvel at the 3D furniture and make your way down into the Music Room, a large room containing a harp, a piano and a crash mat (one of the harder instruments to learn).

TR1 01 CrashMat


Later instalments in the Tomb Raider series have this room kitted out with a TV and a swish-looking sofa, but back in 1996, Lara made her own entertainment, and invites you to join her as she bounces around on the giant blue cushion.


After leaping about the room for a bit, you can make your way into the main hall. "Sorry about the mess," Lara says. "I'm having some things put into storage and the delivery men haven't been yet. So I've decided to leave the crates scattered haphazardly across the floor to make my journey into the kitchen ten minutes longer and just that little bit more entertaining."
Apparently they had enough carpet left over from furnishing the library to infect the hall with it's eye-scrambling glory. There was even enough to make a rug!


This is Lara's gym. Sales of her travel memoirs must be slow, as Lara is obviously not drawing in enough money to be able to afford gym equipment that advances beyond 'crates with numbers on'. We are talked through the basic climbing techniques; running, jumping, grabbing, and, of course, running-jumping-grabbing.


After completing a circuit around the gym, you can take a dip in Lara's indoor pool, which is overlooked by what looks like a statue of Queen Victoria. I forgot to take a closer look at the statue, so I'm just going to assume that's what it is.

Leaving the pool will prompt Lara to declare "I'd better take off these wet clothes!" Those who get off on blurry skin-coloured pixels will be disappointed to learn that Lara doesn't follow through with this threat. Instead, the game fades to black and we're kicked back to the main menu to start the real adventure.

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