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, 15 January 2012

Tibetan Foothills

After several thousand levels splashing around barefoot on the world’s most poorly decorated ship, it was enough for me that Tibetan Foothills took place overground; it didn’t have to be awesome as well.

But awesome is what it is.  It’s like the level designers had an attack of conscience somewhere around the third (empty-bloody-waste-of-time) floor of The Deck and decided to make Tibetan Foothills as compensation.  You name it, Tibetan Foothills has got it; vehicles, pretty locations, minimal swimming…

Having just crashed the hijacked seaplane she was flying, Lara finds herself lost and under-dressed in the ranges of Tibet.


Why do so many Tomb Raider II levels begin with sliding?  Well, okay, only about three so far, but that’s three more than Tomb Raider I.  Is sliding the new ‘starting in a corridor’?


Eagles have returned from their extremely long leave of absence, although to be fair, we did leave their natural habitat (apparently China and surrounding areas) after the first level.


Why did they make the giant snow boulders look like fat, cuddly snowmen?  It makes me feel bad for running away from them.


Note: snowmen appear cuter in my imagination than they do here, but you get the idea.


Tomb Raider teaches many important life lessons, but the fact that Lara can smash through giant panes of ice and escape unscathed is not one of them.


Stupid though they may be, at least Bartoli’s henchmen are better dressed for the climate.  It looks like this guy is mocking Lara’s outfit and she’s proving how hard she is by rubbing her face into the snow.


Oh, yes.


The Skis are not available as a alternate mode of transport, mainly due to their underwhelmingness in comparison to the kick-arse snowmobile.


See?  Could you do this with skis?  Well, yes, probably, but would it look as awesome?  NO.


Even Lara has to look away as she offs yet another endangered species.


At one point (more specifically, a room near the frozen lake), a passageway I passed through mere moments before turned into a solid wall.  Is the Seraph up to its old physics-bending tricks again?


…yes.  Most definitely.


These goons are posing like they’re a boy-band on an album cover.  Or maybe Marco is in the habit of putting out an annual employee calendar and they’re all gunning for Mr December.  The one that’s dead laying down is poorly executing some kind of flirty, frolicking-in-the-snow position.


Considering I needed to use this snowmobile, that’s possibly the worst place this selfish bastard could have crashed and died.


This is like the polar opposite of a scary corridor.  It’s full of hope.  It makes me feel all is right with the world and I’m not going to be forced back down under the sea.


And that wraps up another level.  See you in the monastery for some monk-based action!

Saturday, 7 January 2012

The Deck

First of all, Happy New Year everybody!  I hope you all had a enjoyable festive season and are ready for a 2012 packed full of tomb raiding.

Anyway, I digress;

We’ve done it!  This is it!  Crack open the champagne (or the celebratory beverage of your choice (I’ll stick with the whiskey))! 

Yes, it’s time to kiss the seabed goodbye and make our way back into the sun.  Oh, after we’ve played The Deck.  Which was, you know, alright.  Kinda maze-y.  Too many doors.  The standard Tomb Raider experience.



The start of the level.  At least we’re not under water this time.


This is the doorway through which you exit the last level, which has been magically transformed into a solid wall with a window painted on it.  There is some spooky stuff going on in this level, which I can only credit to the presence of the Seraph (oh, spoiler, this is the level where you finally find the Seraph).


The deck, as in The Deck.  Does anybody else think “The Deck” sounds like the title of a low-budget horror movie?


I think Lara must have accidently enrolled in super-advanced gymnastics without taking the basic skills class first.  Hence why she can’t crouch or squeeze through slightly narrow gaps but can happily perform multiple somersaults whilst swan-diving.


The massive cavern with a boat in the middle!  I like this room, all though it’s not as majestic as I originally remembered it to be.  Still, it’s yet another example of how atmospheric the limited draw distance can make things.


Lara decides that this particularly section of the wall is dangerous and that she should probably shoot it.  It’s ocean madness!


What…is that….is that a secret peeping out behind that dense forest of seaweed?  Wow, how incredibly well-hidden.  C’mon, Core, give us a chance.


What the hell texture is this?  It looks like you should be able to pass right through it and come out into some kind of netherworld.  I blame the Seraph and its physics-bending abilities.  Windows where there should be doorways, universe-skipping portals where there should be steel…


The grenade launcher has been kicking about my inventory for several levels and I decided it’s time to have some fun with it.

Here’s henchman #649, holding his massive wrench and looking rather blas√© about the fact that he’s about to try and kill you.


“How bizarre.  It would appear my limbs are no longer connected to my torso, as they were mere moments ago.”


“Yes, I have definitely become the victim of a violent and explosive dismemberment.  How tiresome.”


What’s all this weird blue stuff creeping around the screen?  Seriously, I don’t remember this at all.  It’s the video-game equivalent of those light orbs you get in photographs, the ones that ghost-hunting TV shows conclude are ghosts.  So apparently, my copy of Tomb Raider II is haunted.  Yay.


“Before moving on, give a moment of thanks that you don't work for Marco Bartoli guarding a statue in a swimming pool at the bottom of the ocean.” – Stella, in her walkthrough for this level.  Not that I was reading it or anything.


Finally, finally, Lara finds the Seraph, which triggers the end of the level and our cue to exit this blue-and-orange nightmare.


Yep, it’s the end.  I can’t really think of anything particularly conclusive to say.


Oh, no matter, it’s a bonus FMV-pictures post anyway!


Lara is driven to euphoric distraction when she catches sight of a discarded old jacket in the sea-plane she’s flying.  No wonder she crashed.

Having (finally) uncovered the Seraph, Lara makes her way back to the top of the sea, hijacks Bartoli’s sea-plane and heads off to Tibet, changing into a weather-appropriate new outfit along the way.  She eventually crashes the plane, but as she’s already in Tibet it doesn’t particularly matter.

Next time:  The sky!  The sky!  THE SKY!!!