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Well I meant to die there: Chapter 2- Tomb Raider Underworld

Tomb Raider. Possibly one of the most iconic gaming series to have ever been released on a console. Even if like me you aren’t really a gamer, you will have at least heard of both Tomb Raider and the series’ main star, Lara Croft. Revered by hardcore gamers and hardcore perverts everywhere, Lara is without a shadow of a doubt a pop culture icon. So really as a new game in the series is scheduled this year, it was no real surprise the mystical being Roberto lobbed this onto my lap for me to try. I tried not to let the fact he was cackling unnerve me. Or the fact he wasn’t wearing trousers while he stroked the cover.

Now I do have to confess here, I have actually played Tomb Raider before. It was a simpler time, where HD televisions were a thing of fantasy and the use of 3D was merely constricted to those dinosaur magazines (remember those?). Yes, I played Tomb Raider 2. And yes, I remember absolutely nothing about the game. apart from the fact you could lock the butler in the fridge. Potential homicide aside, Tomb Raider 2 left no real impression on me. Thankfully its latest incarnation, Tomb Raider Underworld, did.

The story is basically this. Lara is trying to find out what happened to her mother, who went missing in a plane crash, when she was a child. Along the way, she fights octopuses, mercenaries, giant spiders and viking zombies. In terms of the story, I’m a huge fan of Norse mythology so I found that aspect of the game very enjoyable.


To be frank, like Uncharted before it, I found myself enjoying the game immensely. However, unlike Uncharted, I actually found Tomb Raider more challenging. Indeed, the RPG format offered a lot of flexibility within the game, combining aspects of shooting, puzzle solving and action adventure.  The puzzles, assuming you’re not cheating and using walkthroughs (like I would never do…*awkward cough*), will require some thought on your part and will keep you pretty engaged for a while.


The controls are pretty straight forward, meaning a non-gamer can pick it up fairly swiftly. For example, if you despise shooters, the game offers auto lock on your enemies. To a non-gamer like me, it made the challenge of shooting the bats hell bent to chew my face off a mere formality. As a whole, there’s plenty to like about this game.

That being said, this game is far from perfect. Namely, there was one main culprit of why I was unable to finish this game, and no it wasn’t the janitor in Scooby Doo. No, the mask was ripped off to reveal the true mastermind, the god awful camera angles. You see, gentle viewer, somewhere in Eidos, the man in charge of that aspect of the game got terribly confused. He made the somewhat understandable mistake of confusing the command “close up of where I want to jump” with “I want an extreme close-up of Lara’s arse”. Now I understand the idea of appealing to your market. However, when you’ve died for the 50th time and all you have to console you is the image of Miss Croft’s backside on your screen before she hits the floor because you jumped in  the wrong direction again, it can become somewhat tedious.


So what was my final impression of this game.? Overall, I think there’s a lot for the casual gamer to enjoy. However, for a first time gamer new to this series, I would seriously recommend playing an older Tomb Raider (particularly Tomb Raider Legend for this series) before inserting this game into your console. As this game can be picked up at your local CEX for less than a fiver, I firmly believe its worth the investment.

The upshot is this: you’ll be able to do it, and you’ll probably enjoy it, but be prepared to be frustrated. You’re going to die. A lot. But lets be honest, for a gamer overcoming the challenge is all part of the fun.



Well I meant to die there…..Chapter 1: Setting the Scene

Okay, I admit it. I’m, what the French have termed, a noob.

Its been almost five years since I’ve completed a game on the PS2 (anyone remember that console?). I’m not sure exactly when I fell out in love with gaming and we amicably seperated with the PS3 taking my dignity and half my money. Maybe it was the pressures of university and being drunk through most of it. Maybe it was the harrowing depression that comes with dealing with the jobcentre. Maybe Uri Gellar did some form of mind control over me and I spent my time chasing squrriels in the park. Nethertheless, my gaming career appeared to be dead and buried.

Until the first week of February 2012, the last Button Mash event. While kindly making up the numbers in a stellar re-enactment of timeless classic “The Power of Love”, by Huey Lewis and the News, I managed to score O% on the guitar. No, thats not a mistype. A big fat zero, or for the eurovision fans amongst us, nil point. The taunting was merciless. And quite like Pop-Eye before me ” I had all I could stands, And I cant stands no more”. So naturally I grabbed a can of spinach and squeezed with all my might. After 2 hours and a bruised ego, I dropped the can and made the decision to dust off my PS3 and get back into gaming.

So, this is essentially the sit. Every week, a mystical being (known as Roberto), will pick out a game for me to try out each week and I’ll feedback to you on my progress. It wont always be pretty, hell the weeks I get shooters will be bloody depressing, but if you’re a first time gamer looking for new games to try, or a seasoned veteran who wants to laugh at the shortcomings of others, this will be an essential read.

So my starting point this the blog was a release from around 3 years ago, Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune. Those in the know about gaming will recall the series is on its third game, and I have been informed I will review the next two in the series at some stage. The premise of this game is pretty simple. Drake is a treasure hunter, looking for a golden idol in El Dorrado. Along the way he faces hardship, mercenaries, cliffs and generally anything one might expect in games in this genre.

For me, the game was a good starting point in my development. The controls were pretty simple for a newbie to pick up and start playing immediately, thanks in part to the very easy level offered at the start. Okay sure, the dialogue is lifted from Indiana Jones and there are a few glitches in the gameplay (at one point, my accomplist decided to float over the edge of a cliff, when I tried I plummeted to my death), but the story is solid and doesnt require to much thought or investment to get into. As a matter of fact, I actually completed this game within the week, and trust me you wont be seeing that sentence crop up too many times.

The only real issue I had with the game was its decision to change the plot and genre of the game at the end. In one of those genius plot twists Hollywood tend to love, the game suddenly changed into a fight against zombies. Granted, its no aliens in Indina Jones but still quite the shock for a guy expecting something akin to Tomb Raider. Unless there were zombies in an obscure Tomb Raider I dont know of, and if that’s the case I humbly apologise. As the game essentially became a shooter, my television was subjected to the phrase “oh (insert relevant swear word here) many times. Now it didnt ruin the game for me, but if you’re gonna give this a try brace yourselves.

Ultimately then, Uncharted is a decent place to start for a non-gamer. Its not too taxing for a first timer, has a pretty good story, quick and easy to master the controls and will give you a few hours of enjoyment. Thankfully my journey to rewin gaming’s love has gotten off to a decent start. Granted we’re not at full blown reconcillation stage yet, but I’m excited to pick up the control pad again, and that’s not a bad thing.