Lara’s Home makes a welcome return in Tomb Raider II, only this time, Lara has kindly left a few more doors open and has upgraded her estate to include the outside world. She’s also brought her butler, Winston (or Jeeves, as his fan-name was before Tomb Raider V) back from wherever she was hiding him last year (maybe after accidently crating him up and sending him into storage).
I don’t know if I made it clear in my first post on the subject, but I love Lara’s Home. The idea of building an entire estate for your lead character to run around in (and creating a fairly believable premise for a tutorial in the process) is, in my mind, a stroke of genius that serves both gameplay and character development. It was a great disappoint when the house failed to appear in Tomb Raider VI and V, and was then horribly mutilated in Anniversary.
The snapshot illustrating Lara’s Home at the main menu. Now, did Lara intend for Winston to be in the shot, or would he just not stop following her for the two seconds it took to take this photo? She does look slightly irritated.
The first time I ever saw Winston, I thought he was a skeleton, or the grim reaper, albeit a fairly slow grim reaper who brought his own refreshments.
One of the new skills Lara claims to have picked up since last time is the ability to use a zip swing. Truthfully, I don’t remember the lack of this skill being a particular impairment in Tomb Raider I, although it would have been nice to have had a couple of lines to speed up Colosseum.
“Feel free to explore the rest of the house and gardens,” Lara says after she’s praised / ridiculed your finishing time on her assault course. If the rest of the outside looks like this garden, I think I’ll pass.
Thankfully, it doesn’t. Here is the front of Lara’s gorgeous abode.
Here is Lara’s not-so-gorgeous fish statue.
The inside of Lara’s home, as seen from the front door; and oh, look, she’s finally updated that hideous carpet!
There are a few repeated pictures in Lara’s home, but this instance really takes the biscuit. The same image, five times, in varying scales and rotations. That’s what you get for having a three-hundred-year-old butler whose eyesight probably gave up when Queen Victoria was still on the throne.
Why is Lara storing gold in the fire grate? We’ll find out later.
A lot of Lara’s furniture dwarfs her; my hypothesis is that her aunt (who left the house to Lara in her will) was a very large woman.
Sometimes you see something distinctly un-Lara, like a leopard-print fainting couch, and you must force yourself to remember this was her aunt’s house.
Any edgy game can include a toilet, but what other game developers would have added a bidet? I’m impressed.
Hey, Lara has a yellow toothbrush. Now I need never again face the agonizing choice of which colour to choose when selecting my own brush (unless there’s not a yellow one, of course).
Another gigantic hand-me-down from Lara’s aunt. What was she, part-whale?!
I tried to entice Winston in to watch while Lara was “bathing”, but he chose instead to circle the room in confusion before exiting again.
Winston somehow manages to find his way onto the inaccessible outside balcony.
Of course, there’s a simple explanation; he can walk through glass. Is in any wonder people find this man so creepy?
Back downstairs to look around the kitchen.
No wonder Winston is constantly trying to force tea onto Lara; look at the size of the kettle! He’s must make about three barrels full every time he brews up.
The only thing in Lara’s fridge are massive joints of meat. I know Tomb Raiders need protein, but Jesus, Lara, a carrot wouldn’t hurt.
Of course, it’s impossible to play Lara’s Home without locking Jeeves in the freezer. In fact, I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to exit the level until you do so.
I let him out again, though, so he could accompany her through the maze. While Lara ran around, Winston chose to practice his physics-bending abilities on a hedge.
Hey, it’s the Vilcabamba twins! I don’t remember stashing these in the inventory in Tomb Raider I, meaning that Lara travelled back afterwards and damaged an extremely rare, historical site just so she had some unique garden ornaments.
A switch in the maze opens a timed door to the basement, where Lara keeps the treasures she’s picked up on her travels, as well as her ugly old carpet.
It turns out Lara did take one of those cat statues from the Shadow of the Cat levels. And she had the sense to put it in a sealed room in case it turns into a panther.
I love the random piles of gold Lara has apparently accrued from her adventures. This explains the fire grates (see above).
And that concludes our tour of Lara’s home. Time to head off to China for the first chapter of the awesomeness that is Tomb Raider II. See you there.