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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Sunday, 20 March 2011

St Francis’ Folly

Being tipsy is not the optimum state for playing a video game, especially if you are also trying to appreciate the art and design of said video game while you are playing it.  Being tipsy also means that, when you come to write an online review analysing your experiences in the video game, you will find yourself staring at a load of pixelated pictures and wondering how exactly they correspond to what you played the night before.  And then you will become disillusioned, and abandon your blog for the best part of several months.

You will also cry over deceased pixelated crocodiles, but that’s neither here nor there.

St. Francis’ Folly frequently appears on Tomb Raider Forums members’ lists of favourite levels, or at least, it used to when I hung around there (which was in 2006 when I was going through my “Legend sucks but Alister Fletcher is hot” phase (actually, that wasn’t a phase, I still think that)).  It’s not hard to see why St Francis’ Folly is popular; there’s something there to appeal to everyone.  Puzzles, climbing on things, timed doors, bats…(haha, just kidding, nobody likes bats).

So, Lara has fled Peru and gone to Greece (or is it Rome?) to search for the next piece of the Scion.  Arriving at another tomb-like structure, she is greeted by some lions and a collection of mismatched pillars.

Apparently, gorillas are also native to this area of Europe (I wouldn’t know, I didn’t do Geography), and several of them get very angry when Lara tries to throw some switches.  Gorillas are the bears of Roman-Grecian levels, in that they make a strange noise and move about in a creepy fashion.

Meet Pierre, the magical Frenchman.  He likes to jump out from behind tall objects, shoot at you a bit, and then evaporate into thin air the minute you turn your back.  This makes him a little tricky to kill.

At some point during the first area of the level, I stumbled into this secret room and was very excited because I had never been there before in my entire life.

Another resident of Rome (or Greece) is the hovering crocodile, which has the ability to propel itself three feet above the ground when it dies.

Past the gauntlet of vanishing Europeans and improbable death physics lie the levels main event; the big tall room with lots of ledges.  Up until two minutes ago I had been referring to this room as the “folly”, but have just looked on Wikipedia and discovered that a folly is a decorative building with little reason for existence.  Even fourteen years after it’s creation, this game just keeps on teaching.

Naturally, you can’t have precarious balancing on ledges without a steady supply of bats to come and drill into your head and try to make you fall.

The rest of the level basically revolves around throwing switches, opening doors and collecting keys so you can eventually open this large door, which is locked with four massive swords that are about twice the height of Lara.  I would use a padlock, but whatever.

Four swords = four keys = four rooms.  Here’s Lara standing on the perimeter of Thor’s room.  Before her is a ball that shoots out lightening bolts.  There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to this puzzle; I just closed my eyes and took running jump, and didn’t stop pressing ‘forward’ until I heard her crash into a wall.

After the lightening ball comes a giant hammer that you have to avoid getting squished by.  I thought it was pretty unfair to have two obstacles in one room but I guess they were making up for the Poseidon room, where you just have to swim around for a bit.  Wow, that Poseidon, what a ball-breaker.

The Damocles Room provides a fairly unique challenge of trying to avoid falling swords whilst having “The Sword Of Damocles” stuck in your head.

As far as I recall, the Atlas room consists of a boulder chasing you down a long corridor.  I think the level designers were running out of ideas at this point.

The Poseidon room.  Yep, definitely running out of ideas.

And rather abruptly, that’s the end of the level; as you can see, not only does drinking making you forgetful, it gives you an awful level time as well.


  1. This blog has become my favorite thing since I found it a few weeks ago xD I'm straining my willpower to spread out when I read each level so I don't read them all at once. They're hilarious XD (they also reignite my nostalgic passion for classic TR) Kudos :)

  2. Actually, the romans "stole" Colloseum and the gods from the greeks. They just renamed the gods and made the statues white. Sort of...
    Anyway, I looove this blog! Just replayed the first and second game and then I found this page so it was even more fun when I could remember everything so clearly. Very nice blog. :)

    1. Just doubled checked (after publishing) and yep, I misspelled Colosseum... Still think the blog is great though!
      /Jennie... Again...

  3. I'm glad Anniversary focuses on Greek mythology exclusively - Thor (Norse god) in Coliseum along with all the gods of Greek mythology in this level just makes me confused... And the fact that the gods depicted are mostly Greek, I would assume the Folly is in Greece, but you never know with TR...