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All items from July 2013

27 Jul 2013 : Raiding Revisited #

Over the years I've collected a lot of screenshots of the various games I've played. Still, the games that have captured the essence of adventure and exploration most consistently for me over a long period of time are those from the Tomb Raider series.

The thing they've consistently managed to get right throughout the series is the sense of scale needed to pull the adventure forwards. Surprisingly evocative vistas and large internal cavernous rooms (captured using clever cinematic long-shots) are balanced against intricate mazes with hidden alcoves. The large scale of the vistas offers the promise of future adventure; the claustrophobic corridors achieve the sense of exploration.

On top of this, there have even been some beautiful weather effects (contrast the atmospheric storm at Dr Willard's Scottish castle against the bright burning sunlight of the Coastal Ruins in Alexandria).

The Tomb Raider Reboot didn't disappoint. To celebrate this (it's a small, private celebration to which only me and the Internet have been invited) below are a selection of some of the more powerful screenshots captured during my playthrough of the game.


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7 Jul 2013 : Tombs: Raided #

No one other than me will care about this, but I've finally completed the full complement of Tomb Raider games. It's been a long slog, over 10 years in the passing. It doesn't help that they continue to make things harder by releasing new games every so often.

Perhaps surprisingly, but fittingly, the last game that I managed to complete wasn't the latest Tomb Raider reboot, but instead was Unfinished Business, where Lara returns to the Atlantean Hive from Tomb Raider 1. To be fair, I'd already completed this, but had taken the shortcut to skip the Atlantean Stronghold level. I've now done it properly.

Although there are lots of Tomb Raider games I've not played, most of them are mobile, Gameboy or Xbox exclusives which I don't imagine I'll ever get to have access to. I like to think of them as not being canon! Here's the full list of conquered games.

  • Tomb Raider.
  • Unfinished Business and Shadow of the Cat.
  • Tomb Raider II: Starring Lara Croft.
  • Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft.
  • The Golden Mask.
  • Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
  • Tomb Raider: The Lost Artefact.
  • Tomb Raider Chronicles.
  • Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.
  • Tomb Raider Legend.
  • Tomb Raider Anniversary.
  • Tomb Raider Underworld.
  • Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
  • Tomb Raider (reboot).


From all of these, the standout levels are the Venice Level from Tomb Raider II, and (ironically, given the bad reviews) the Louvre level from Angel of Darkness. I loved leaping around those roofs. The latest Tomb Raider was a great game and worked really well as a fresh approach. Still, Edge had it spot on when they said it was a reversal of the formula: from precise platforming and loose shooting to loose platforming and precise shooting. I'd rather have precise platforming and no shooting myself. In spite of this it was a great game and it would be a lie to say I didn't enjoy it a lot.

Thankfully Tomb Raider is a bit like Doctor Who. There's more than enough non-canon material to fill a lifetime, so I have absolutely no plans to stop here. Even the original block-based adventures have their place in modern gaming as rare examples of games worth playing on a laptop without the need for a mouse (it's a dubious accolade I admit). With a bit of luck they'll continue to release great games in the future.

Below are a few more images taken from my final foray into the original world of Lara Croft: Unfinished Business.


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