Tomb Raider EP9: Tree’ed!

By Josh Posted Saturday Jun 29, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 161 comments

Link (YouTube)

Wherein Campster reveals that he’s never actually watched Homestar Runner or anything related to Homestar Runner. I invite you all to throw rocks at him. Also: Pun wars, arrows, and making fun of my mom offscreen!


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161 thoughts on “Tomb Raider EP9: Tree’ed!

  1. Humanoid says:

    Home Star Runner? Is that like a baseball position?

    1. Gruhunchously says:

      No, you’re wrong. Home Star Runner was actually the name of the space program that put the American astronauts on the moon.

      1. Humanoid says:

        I thought that was Apollo Creed.

        1. Bryan says:

          Yeah, Home Star Runner was the space program that ran astronauts to the Sun.

          What they did when they got there, we never heard…

          1. Syal says:

            Because in space, no one can hear you scream.

            1. Sleeping Dragon says:

              No, because the sun landing was obviously a fabrication, the shadows in the photos don’t match.

          2. Daemian Lucifer says:

            They built houses,of course,and are now selling them at ridiculous prices.

            1. Humanoid says:

              Windows oriented for morning sun, afternoon sun, evening sun, and night sun.

          3. Gruhunchously says:

            I thought that was the Solar Express.

        2. The Rocketeer says:

          I thought Apollo Creed was that game where you ran around the Holy Land boxing people.

  2. The_Unforgiven says:

    The one thing I didn’t like about the death animations when you were being swept away by the river was that it seemed as though the pole (or whatever it was) went under the chin, and out the upper back of the head, meaning it’d spear the brain and there’s no way she’d be able to struggle as she did. I suspect, therefore, that it was supposed to go out the back of her neck, but the angle doesn’t really make that obvious (to me), so it seems like the struggling is out of place.

    Also: Those death animations, especially the river pole and parachute tree ones, are really more gruesome and graphic than they need to be.

    1. James says:

      i never saw the tree ones until now, and only saw the pipe one twice, does that mean i’m better then josh?

      also everytime i see them i wince, it just so graphic, and unnecessary.

      also on the line mumbles was on at some point, i think R.P. ( the lead writer i cant spell her name) said she intended that Sam and Lara were romantically linked, but in the final game it was either made less apparent or outright removed, though ALL the signs are they’re.

      1. StashAugustine says:

        I got desensitized to them because I saw them (especially the river one) about fifty damn times. That was a really awful QTE for some reason.

        1. Duhad says:

          Ya I got that too. Just by watching this episode I went from chocking on my beer with a muffled “OH F***!” at the first pipe death, too an uncomfortable wince by the last tree death.

          Its like seeing a movie monster for the first time and being scared, but being less frightened by it each subsequent time it appears on screen. Its not that the thing is less frighting, its just that the more time you have to look at it, the less strange and shocking it is.

          On the other hand that pipe thing is still going to give me nightmares!

          1. Humanoid says:

            Since the game audio was largely inaudible due to the format of the show, as the deaths rolled I stopped thinking of Larry screaming in agony each time and was instead mouthing “oh bugger, not again” each time.

            Then extracting the branch from her abdomen (at least branches aren’t rusty), trekking back up the mountain, grumbling all the way for another take.

            1. Duhad says:

              … OK that is an amazing mental image.

      2. I think Josh was trying to prove once and for all that Larry Craft is not a vampire.

    2. Tizzy says:

      To be honest, Lara inflicts a lot of gruesome deaths, it would be really weird if all of hers were sanitized. Still, the game seems to enjoy Lara’s suffering a bit more than is healthy.

      That said, we’re coming up on the “diminished Lara” bit, where — for once — her wounds actually have consequences. Surprisingly enough, I actually liked that mechanic, and it appeared at an appropriate moment: when the player is growing a bit confident in the controls and has good equipment. On the other hand, it was a short bit, and I think there was room for more of the same in the game.

      E.g., instead of opening new paths through already visited areas by giving Lara new gadgets (something that made narrative sense at the very beginning of the game, but felt silly and video-gamey very quickly), why not have a Lara who simply doesn’t dare do certain things at first, and then grows in confidence later? “Oh no, I have no intention of jumping in the air to try to land on this narrow beam!”

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I think it has a lot to do with how much the game lingers on her deaths. When you kill an enemy, while it is gruesome, we also see it for a second and move on (because you have better things to do).

        When Lara dies, the death animations take their time to really show you how painful and horrible her death is. They linger on the subject just a bit longer than they needed to.

        1. False Prophet says:

          That, and the length of the death animations are seriously flow-breaking, pun intended. Especially for the river-riding/parachute gliding glorified DIAS QTEs that you’re going to do again and again and again.

        2. Isn’t it interesting that another game series with a perk called “Bloody Mess” doesn’t have near the pathos when someone (even the player) dies as they just fly apart or rag-doll?

          Adding twitching and an expiration that’s not instant is just so much more emotionally disturbing.

    3. Gosh… I can’t decide which I hated more when I went through this, the pole or the branch.

      1. bucaneer says:

        But I thought it was the pole and branch that went through you, not the other way around.

      2. newdarkcloud says:

        I never saw the branch impalement until now and I saw the pole one once. That one time was enough to really make me uncomfortable.

        I do think Chris is right in that they make them intentionally uncomfortable both to dissuade players from seeing them multiple times and to sell the whole notion of an island where everything is trying to kill you.

        That drowning death though, that felt gratuitous if it’s the one I’m thinking about.

        1. I can’t help but think they’re all pretty gratuitous.

    4. MrGuy says:

      One thing I’m a little surprised by is that, given the amount of effort and realism they put into the death animations, that there’s only one in each section. In the river, it’s ALWAYS pole-to-the-chin, and in the trees, it’s ALWAYS limb-through-the-midsection. Exact same thing, exact same spot.

    5. Tse says:

      Being stabbed in the brain doesn’t stop the struggling as long as the stem is intact. So yeah, she got stabbed in the brain. It’s a better death, much quicker than asphyxiation from getting a huge hole in the neck…

    6. some random dood says:

      Josh was selling me on trying the game – until those death animations. No, I don’t think I’ll be playing this one after seeing those. I’d definitely need a “no gore” option that removes the death scenes.
      Also, that idea about “if you fail 3 times, get an auto-pass if you want” is certainly something I’d support! Die DIAS!

      1. Trix2000 says:

        Except that, for the most part, you CAN do the stuff on the first try (pretty sure if I ever died on that part, which I don’t think I did, was one in the water with the pipe). There’s enough indication of where you’re supposed to go an what to do if you look for it, so it really comes down to managing the controls and noticing things coming.

        Of course, the gruesome death scenes are still arguable – they didn’t bother me so much both because I hit them so rarely and because, to me, they ended up as a much better incentive NOT to die.

  3. ehlijen says:

    At 8:30, is that the Tardis falling past Lara?

    1. Michael says:

      No, I think, that was one of the hanging lamps that have been sitting there, burning, for thousands of years.

      1. I think all of this stuff must be made by the cheese industry. I mean, you can go out and buy cheese that has a sticker on it saying how it’s been aged for over a decade, but it’s only good for the next two weeks at best.

        1. anaphysik says:


          +1 Igniteful

  4. Paul Spooner says:

    Never seen Homestarrunner? That. Is just. Sad.

    1. Bryan says:

      Eh. He’s not the only one.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        I’ve never seen it.

          1. Ramsus says:

            Same here.

            1. Hieronymus says:

              Same here.

    2. X2-Eliah says:


      Why is not seeing some random crappy flash cartoon “sad”? On what basis do you dole out that judgement?

      1. MadHiro says:

        Paul likes it a lot, seems like?

        I think it’s sad when people tell me they haven ever had custard ( the sort of ice cream ) or that they haven’t ever been sailing.

        1. Paul Spooner says:

          What can I say? It was an excuse to make a context appropriate HR reference.
          You got “it’s” right too, so I can’t even call out the “Ooh, if you want to be posessive…” song. Guess this will work:
          I had a dream I had a Strongbad quote setup. It was the setup of my dreams.

          1. Hal says:

            Sorry, friend. No scalawags around here.

      2. Hal says:

        It is “sad” because Paul obviously enjoyed the series, and others have not experienced said joy. That can be cause for (contextually appropriate) sadness.

    3. I actually have seen Homestar Runner and I never understood the appeal. Occasionally strongbad would make me chuckle in a sort of weak way. The humor was definitely of the “My mom would find this funny” type.

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        My angle summed up in a previous comment thread:
        In short, you’re probably right. I’ts mostly making fun of the 80s.

      2. Rosseloh says:

        It’s very “stupid funny”.

        So, if you’re like me and my boss and are mentally 10 years old….it’s hilarious. But I can see where someone might not find it interesting.

    4. Nick says:

      I’ve never seen it

  5. Tizzy says:

    I really don’t get all the hate for the Sam character. She may whine a bit, but come on, she has reasons! I found that the backstory between her and Lara rang true, and my guess is that her main role, besides pure plot, is as a contrast between Lara who hears the call of badassery and a more normal person.

    Sure she is very passive, but it’s mostly plot-dictated (imagine how frustrating it would be to try and rescue her only to find out she’s broken out already and you need to catch up with her!). She never struck me as particularly inept; simply normal.

    1. RTbones says:

      If I had to guess, its partially because she is SO weak, when the other female characters are so strong. Laura, naturally, is a strong character – but so is Reyes, the few times we interact with her. Think about it – she’s on an archaeological expedition, at sea for who knows how long, in conditions that are, shall we say, not the Ritz. There has to be SOME level of toughness to her.

      Personally, I don’t hate the character, and tend to agree with you. But I do see why some people do have a problem with her.

      1. Flock Of Panththers says:

        I agree. For me the problem was that she’s the only ‘normal’ character we ever see, ever other character who gets a name is kicking ass and taking names, or is at least rising to meet the challenge of surviving. So she doesn’t feel like a contrast to Laura’s Call to Badass, she feels like the one painfully meek character.

        Not for a second am I saying her actions/attitudes/reactions aren’t objectively normal, reasonable and expected; but with the game around her, she looks bad. I’d put it in a similar place as the clash between the ‘pulp adventure’ parts of the game, and the ‘internal growth’ parts of the game. But when
        the IT guy gets his scene, when Reyes and Jonah get what they do, when the Scottsman has his scene, and our surrogate paternal figure does everything that he does… Sam is…
        Well, the only person who contributes less or shows less growth is EvilBrit McCertainBetrayer.

        So even though it makes complete sense for her to act the way she does, when we and everyone we have ever known can become unstoppable badasses in order to survive, her acting ‘reasonable’ and having ‘limits’ starts to grate.

        It’s like the resentment most of my dnd players seem to have for villagers.

    2. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

      The game is going so well, we’re seeing cool stuff, exploring strange locations -and blowing them up. Meeting exotic new people -and killing them.

      And then Sam comes screaching over the radio to drag us back to the plot.

      It’s a bit like Mom calling your for dinner. In a whiney-and-oh-by-the-way-you-totally-brought-this-on-yourself-by-wandering-off-with-that-mysterious-dude-on-the-cursed-island sort of way.

      1. MrGuy says:

        I wanted to see exotic Vietnam… the crown jewel of Southeast Asia. I wanted to meet interesting and stimulating people of an ancient culture… and kill them. I wanted to be the first kid on my block to get a confirmed kill!

    3. My biggest complaint with Sam is something Shamus actually brought up in one of his Experienced Points articles. For me, it’s not necessarily how “weak” she is compared to the rest, but specifically how easily she keeps getting kidnapped as if she never puts up any fight. Especially at the end where Matthias is escorting her to the temple to be sacrificed. There are no additional guards, and she wasn’t really bound as far as I could tell. She’s just calmly walks in front while calling for help, then kneels down in front of the alter. And this is a LONG WALK as you are chasing after them while fighting a hundred dudes. She KNOWS she’s needed alive, Matthias isn’t really trying, AND SHE KNOWS SHE’S BEING LED TO HER DEATH AND MAKES NO ATTEMPT AT A STRUGGLE WHATSOEVER! GOOD GOLLY MISS MOLLY, WOMAN!!! ARGH!!! I mean, if you want to have her keep getting kidnapped FINE, but at LEAST HAVE HER PUT UP A FREAKING FIGHT FOR HER OWN LIFE! I’m okay…

      1. Daemian Lucifer says:

        And like Ive said to Shamus back then:What exactly would you do in such a situation?There is a lunatic next to you with a spear (and a gun?),and you already saw him kill people.Would you put up a fight?Would anyone that had no training put up a fight?Of course not.And yet just because we follow lara,someone that had bunch of training,and can do incredible stuff,we feel that this normal character,that is acting realistically,is somehow less realistic.

        1. Shamus says:

          In pulpy stories, cowards tend to be bad guys. Naturally we feel sympathy for gentle people in real life, but in an adventure story the coward character is usually the dummy to run away into WORSE danger and get eaten / stabbed / vaporized / etc. The story sometimes uses the coward to show us how real the danger is without needing to sacrifice any of the likable characters.

          Sam seems to fall pretty far into that cowardly space. Lara is being torn apart climbing this mountain, facing the constant dangers of weather and crumbling structures while killing dudes and monsters. Lara is pushed to the limits of her ability. Meanwhile, Sam is shuffling along screeching “Help me, save me Mario!” while not taking a single risk to save herself. In fact, she’s working damn hard to climb this mountain, and every step she takes makes things that much harder for Lara. If she loves Lara as much as the game claims, then at some point she ought to begin fighting back not just for her own sake, but for Lara’s as well.

          It might be “realistic” to do what you’re told at spear point. But fighting back (or attempting to) is also totally plausible and reasonable. And in a pulpy story like this one, Sam comes off as way too passive. I really resented her by the end.

          And having Lara carry Sam’s helpless dumb ass down the mountain made me hate her guts.

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Thats just it:People dont hate sam because she is a bad character,but because she is out of place in this game.In a more realistic story,where the protagonist was much more fragile and subdued,sam would be just a regular girl.

            1. Shamus says:

              I agree with that. Well, she could have used some more depth of character. (Her Lara fangirl-isim is pretty shallow and boring.) But in another story she could have been an acceptable character.

              And it all goes back to the tone of this game, where it wavers between Jack London and Nathan Drake.

              1. Tizzy says:

                OK, so Sam is too passive and doesn’t try to escape enough.

                Contrast with Lara who gets cut-scene captured multiple times, and somehow always pulls nonsensical escapes out of her ass (not to mention miraculous wound recoveries).

                I think the problem is the game’s schizophrenia: Sam is at home in the gritty violent reboot world (Mathias is a scary mofo, by the way, I would not recommend going toe-to-toe with a guy like that), and Lara’s action fit better with the pulpy Tomb Raider (of the Lost Ark).

                1. The Rocketeer says:

                  Mathias also has about a million HP. I think he could fistfight Omen Deng pretty fairly.

            2. See, I don’t really by this whole notion that “Oh, she was a gun point, of course she wouldn’t put up a fight”. That’s crap. There is an EXPLICIT reason I mentioned “she’s needed alive”. If she’s is so important to these cultists’ escape attempt, then they would be careful NOT to damage her. She has every incentive to put up a struggle and not worry about being killed, because IF she does get killed (which is pretty unlikely) she’d be no worse off than she was before, but she at least has a chance to escape or make things easier for Lara.

              1. Daemian Lucifer says:

                Funny thing with weapons:You can use them to subdue someone without killing them.Wounding their leg,for example.Which hurts like hell.

                Furthermore,lara is the one that found documents about why they need sam for,not sam.She just knows that this guy with weapons told her to go somewhere and that he already killed someone.

                1. Tizzy says:

                  I have a huge beef with that part of the story: as soon as we meet Mathias early in the game, and Sam mentions her possible family connection to Himiko to him, the player immediately figures out essentially the whole plot of the game (except maybe for the Stormguard’s role).

                  How long does it take Lara to figure this out? Wait a second, has she even figured it out yet? And note that this doesn’t have anything to do with believing in Himiko, just understanding what the Solarii’s agenda is. That chump Dr. Whatsisface figures it out in no time, but Lara cannot?

                  I hate to blame the writer in a case like this, because I realize that, unlike in a novel, the writer of a video game may have little control on how the final product looks. Still, I’m disappointed: I expected more plot twists and/or mystery from a Pratchett…

                2. Last I checked, Sam KNEW her importance in the ritual, as I mentioned. “Oh golly gee! I don’t want to get hurt, so I guess I’ll lay down and die.” Furthermore, I don’t think Matthias would be willing to damage his prize.

                  1. Tim Charters says:

                    When untrained, peaceful civilians are confronted with violence, the normal reaction is to just shut down and do what the scary person with a weapon says. Rationally, they might have a chance to escape, but people frequently have a hard time thinking rationally in a dangerous situation.

                    How many prisoners have calmly walked to their own executions, without even attempting to resist? Rationally, they should try as hard as they can to escape, because no matter how low their chance of escape is (and in some situations, like mass field executions, it might not be that low), it is still greater than their 0% chance of survival if they don’t do anything. But more often than not, they just lie down and die.

                    Besides, at that point did Sam, or really anyone, know that the ritual was actually going to kill her? At first, it seemed like the ritual just transferred the Sun Queen weather controlling powers to another person, and it isn’t until near the end that Lara finds out that it actually transfers Himiko’s soul, presumably killing the “successor” in the process.

                    Matthias might know how the ritual really works, but would he have told Sam that? For all we know, he might have told her that the ritual would give her the power to stop the storms and let her friends escape the island. In which case, she might have gone along semi-voluntarily.

                    Though in that case, you would think she would say something about that to Lara at some point. But that’s a larger issue with the story: nobody ever sits down and seriously talks about what is going on, kind of like how nobody on Lost compared notes about their experiences on the island. Even at the end, I really wish that Lara had tried to negotiate with Mathias, said that she had found a way to stop the storms that wouldn’t require killing anyone or unleashing a potentially dangerous weather goddess on the world. But no, we just get typical good guy/bad guy back and forth.

                    1. Flock Of Panthers says:

                      I don’t think anyone is arguing with you about reality, but you don’t seem to be addressing the argument about the video game.

                      To my knowledge 80% of the named characters are civilians, and the only civilian to act like that is Sam. That’s the point of contention. Not that we’d do better in her place, but that it jars against the portrayal of the rest of the game.

                      It’d be like if there was one star trek character who needed to do their math on paper. Honestly, a lot of people do, and objectively I’d prefer it if the military/science leaders were double checking their math before blasting my settlement with various kinds of radiation. But it makes them look like an idiot, because they are the only one being normal instead of superhuman.

                      Actually, yeah. I like that way of putting it. I think the problem is that we weren’t given enough of a justification for why Sam is different to everyone else. A couple of our companions have warrior/soldier/highlander backgrounds going on. I did not believe Reyes or IT guy did. Maybe they took lessons, I don’t know. But I didn’t get any strong feel for why Sam was the only one who didn’t become badass (excluding the nameless npcs who served to die at tension-convenient moments. Note that some of them even died trying to escape or provide escape for you {the guy who shouted “run Larry” before getting shot way back in the burning village}).

                      Maybe she’s meant to be Newt, an interesting character in over her head but largely holding it together far better than expected, but not expected to become a hero. But to balance expectations with that in a piece where the main hero is an untrained civilian woman without any physical training and only 5 minutes logged practice with a firearm -during which she fired no bullets- who rises to the challenge and slays unstoppable killing machines, they made Newt a child.

          2. Shamus, I haven’t played the game, but it sounds like Sam is basically the token hostage, the helpless innocent, the non-violent victim. Or in other words, a device. Maybe TV Tropes has a “hostage ball” trope, but it sounds to me like you could replace her with an object of value to Lara (an artifact, an ancient book, etc.) and it’d serve the same function.

            She sounds a lot like the sexist characters in early sci-fi movies whose sole purpose was to scream, get captured by the monster/bad guy, trip over something, or otherwise give the hero something to do for no really good reason.

            1. Jakale says:

              Pretty much, yeah. Shamus actually did an article about it.

  6. anaphysik says:

    Rope Magic vs. Space Magic, who wins?

    1. Daemian Lucifer says:

      The monkey king,of course.

  7. It’d be rather distressing if turned out the lesbian subtext was consciously done and not just an unintended consequence of the pulp style storytelling. It’d just scream of dude-broing from so many angles. Aside from the obvious titillation aspect, it offers a cheap ‘easy out’ for any sexual insecurity/confusion brought about by the possibility of the character you are directly inhabiting being involved romantically with another dude.

    From what I understand the game keeps romance right out for the whole thing, but that almost makes it worse because now that ambiguity can be used as a smoke screen to avoid criticism. I dunno, but I’m willing to give the developers the benefit of the doubt at the moment.

    Also to be fair, I personally don’t see it from what little I’ve seen of their interaction. I can see from the situation how Sam might end up coming off as very admiring or obsessively reliant upon Lara, but that’s not behavior that automatically translates to romantic feelings.

    1. I pretty much agree, I think. I don’t see it either, and never got that impression on my playthrough. I think I would chalk it up to obsessive admiration/dependence as well. I’m going to be honest and say I get a little annoyed when people call out romance between best friend characters. It’s like Frodo and Sam jokes for me. It completely misses the point of the relationship and, I strongly feel, cheapens it. It doesn’t always have to be about romance/sex! It’s one of my pet-peeves.

    2. MrGuy says:

      I wonder if it’s just the classic “rescue the princess” story that goes back to before Grimm’s fairly tales and runs through pretty much all media. Handsome hero rescues princess, gratitude and romance ensure, happily ever after. The romance is the payoff at the end of the arduous journey.

      And if we swap up the gender on the hero, but not the princess, well, we’re still conditioned to be expecting “this kind of story” has the romantic payoff, and that’s where some of the “ZOMG lesbo!” comes from. They don’t have to do anything to put the romance in. We bring that baggage ourselves. Other writers taught us there’s romance here, so we see it.

      Less charitably, the writers are deliberately using that trope so they can (as you say) make you think it without having to come out and say it.

      1. Tizzy says:

        Well, Lara is the knight in shining armor in this story, and Sam the damsel in distress. And everyone knows that the damsel in distress has to be insanely grateful and in awe of the knight. That might explain the way the relationship between the two is written: not even as a meta-reference, just as a (perceived) narrative necessity.

    3. Tizzy says:

      Was it mumbles who mentioned Sam crushing on Lara? I think the game clearly intends to convey that, but I would add the caveat that they don’t necessarily mean a romantic crush. I picked up on it while playing, and I concluded that it was all platonic. I assume that the ambiguity is deliberate: let people read what they want into it.

      (Thinking about it, the reason why I would fall in the platonic camp is the actual in-game interactions between the two characters. For two people who have known each other for so long, any trace of romance — even the unreciprocated kind — ought to be glaringly obvious.)

    4. Viktor says:

      Given the writer of this was a female raised by someone who cared a lot about equality, I’d expect the inclusion of lesbian characters has less to do with male gaze and more to do with the fact that lesbians are automatically assumed to only exist for the male gaze. I know multiple lesbians who were very happy with the implied Lara/Sam relationship, and would have been happier if it had been explicit. Not everything needs to revolve around “but what will 18-24 dudes think of this”.

  8. krellen says:

    What the hell is up with this game and its fetish for beating up Lara? It’s seriously making me feel nauseous. Please tell me it gets better after this.

    1. X2-Eliah says:

      Yeah, this is quite uncomfortable. And I’m failing to see the point of this over, say, just a normal fadeout or something less gratuitous.

      1. Humanoid says:

        Well, a bit more than a fadeout, I always got confused watching the Hitman episodes/streams, wondering “huh, why did he stop?” before realising Ruts has somehow screwed up spectacularly again.

      2. Alexander The 1st says:

        To be fair, in this section, you usually aren’t even aware of why you died until you see the death animation.

        So yeah, fading out would be a “Huh – what did I hit there?”

      3. Raygereio says:

        Yeah, this is quite uncomfortable. And I'm failing to see the point of this over, say, just a normal fadeout or something less gratuitous.

        There are several interviews with Tombraider’s developers that made me think that scenes like the one with Mister Rape, the death cutscenes and various others are meant to portray Lara as a victim and appear vulnerable. The intention being that the player would feel protective towards Lara and would want to help her not get raped, not get impaled by spears and evil trees and whatnot.
        That was apparently their incredibly clueless and dumb way of attempting to connect the (male) player with Lara's (female) character.

        That said, some of the more over the top death cutscenes just made me think someone on the development team had a fetish for this stuff.

        1. GM says:

          i think of the original series of tomb raider and what happened upon death there here´s an example maybe because of limits or perhaps just the style was coherent.

        2. krellen says:

          I kind of do want to protect Lara – but I want to protect her not from the island, but from the developers, by getting her out of their snuff game.

    2. What the hell is up with this game and its fetish for beating up Lara? It's seriously making me feel nauseous. Please tell me it gets better after this.

      Sort of…? A bit…? I think…? I don’t think the beating ever stops, but unless I forgot/blocked something out, I think the poll and branch may be the peak of the awfulness.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Yeah. This is a particular bad section of the game when it comes to death animations.

        I don’t know if it gets better, but it definitely is less pronounced.

    3. I think Mel Gibson was a creative consultant.

    4. Daemian Lucifer says:

      If by better you mean having lara coated in blood from head to toe,or smashing her skull on jagged rocks underwater,then yes,it does get better.

      1. Oh gosh, that one yeah, oh gosh. x(

      2. Tim Charters says:

        Yeah, having Lara instantly slam into a rock and die if she even steps in water that the level designers don’t want her to go in did seem pretty cheap and gratuitous. Especially since, unlike most games, this actually has an in-story justification for why you can’t just swim around or away from the island. All they had to do was have Lara get struck by lightning or pulled underwater by a wave that appears out of nowhere if she swims too far out.

        Though I’m sure that they would have found a way to make that death animation gratuitously violent as well.

    5. Hieronymus says:

      You know, the first few times I saw those death animations made me feel bad.

      Then, for whatever reason, the game was put in the same mental category as slasher films and Army of Darkness, and now I can’t stop myself from laughing at them. They’re just so absurd.

  9. Spammy says:

    You know with all the overly gruesome death animations we are a little bit of nudity away from some Hopkins FBI level messed up stuff. Don’t try to look that up if you’re at work. I’ll give you the summary: Women dying in horrible ways usually with some level of nudity and a really unsettling level of sexualization.

    I mean I think Chris is right in how it does sort of fit with their Lara as a survivor angle and she’s done some pretty horrible things to the mooks trying to kill her* (I literally cringed when she drove her axe into a dude’s skull, but… Devs did you really have to seem like you put so much effort and imagination into those death cutscenes? And she gets impaled and she’s still struggling and then the parachute yanks her further forward onto the tree and eugh. Not all of us liked or want to watch Saw.

    *Aside: How many dudes are on this island? There’s hundreds of raiders/cultists, crazy Japanese survivors with cave trolls and rooms that have no purpose but to create a lot of rot (Also where did those bodies come from), what’s next? Lara’s going to turn the corner and find a secret Nazi listening post/bunker that’s survived to this day with it’s own population of crazy Nazi cultists?

    1. BeamSplashX says:

      What’s worse, if you fail the first parachute QTE, Spider-Man tries to catch you with his web but accidentally pulls too hard, snapping your neck.

  10. SlothfulCobra says:

    The way this game tries for realism at times makes me notice just how dead I’d be if I had to deal with the same crap as Lara.

    I’d lose my footing while running on a falling structure, twist my ankle, and end up clinging to a piece of wreckage as it falls into the oblivion.

    I’d barely be able to keep my head out of the water when sliding down the waterfall, and I’d have no idea how to stop tumbling and keep stable, let alone steer myself out of the way of any of that debris.

    The speeds at which Lara slides down many surfaces would probably shred me up through sheer friction.

    And most of all, I would be pounded into mashed potatoes with no bones left from all the damn blunt force trauma she gets hit with. After a fall like that, it would be all I could do to avoid curling up into a ball and passing out, let alone out-maneuver and bludgeon full grown men to death with a pickaxe.

    Of course Lara’s probably enjoying it all by now, seeing as how she could’ve grabbed onto something in the plane rather than just put on a parachute and continue fall of death.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Well, looking at the game from that perspective, I expect each and every one of us would have failed to even reach the island.

      Which would have been a blessing.

    2. harborpirate says:

      I keep thinking, watching all of these falls and jumps, that if this were me, I’d have shattered every bone in both of my legs dozens of times over.

      Probably not much of a spine left either.

      And who needs ribs? They’re probably overrated.

      I think that using a guy-wire as a zipline is the most preposterous thing the game has done so far, but the ridiculousness is stacking up furiously now.

  11. Hitchmeister says:

    I have to praise the title card for this episode. I had to stare at it a few seconds before I got it. Then it made me smile… a lot.

    Bad, Josh. Spoiling Peasant Quest like that. You should have done it as a special episode of Spoiler Warning.

    1. Humanoid says:

      Didn’t notice either until reading this comment and going back to stare at it.

  12. ClearWater says:

    I was sure that when she pulled the parachute chord, cutlery would fall out. Bit disappointing that it didn’t.

  13. anaphysik says:

    @11:49 “rem-muh-nants” <_<

  14. RTbones says:

    I was uncomfortable with this section of the game – the death scenes were just soooo brutal. I get that Laura (Larry? Tom?) hasnt exactly been kind to those she has opposed, but the death scenes are… a lot to take. I had the same issue Josh just did, where it seemed almost impossible to tell when you’d impale yourself or make it through – which meant I saw them a few times in a row. What made it worse was that she was still alive in them.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Yeah, making them at least skip-able would have been nice. Of course, then the devs could have justified a three hour long animation where she slowly dies impaled on a tree branch. You’d have the choice to call for help, but if you do the guards just burn the tree down.
      So, at least they are relatively short!

      1. Humanoid says:

        I wonder if the addition of an ME3-esque “Story Mode” would have fit this game a bit better than it did for the game originating it. Say during the parachute sequence this would have changed the mechanic so that you would just bounce off the trees, like you’d bounce off the barriers in an arcade racing game.

        Likewise The Witcher 2 had an option to turn off the “challenge” QTEs.

        …and yeah, this comment came about because I misread the above comment as to be about skipping the cinematic action sequences rather than the death animations.

  15. hborrgg says:

    Sorry you haven’t been on your game this week, Rutskarn. Don’t punish yourself. . .

    1. modus0 says:

      At least we were able to get to the root of the issue quickly.

  16. sofawall says:

    You know, as someone who’s participated a fair amount in the Char Op boards of GitP and WotC/Gleemax, that Rope Trick text comes up a lot. It never says anywhere what the hazard is, and it’s mainly a holdover from older versions of D&D. The only text similar to extradimensional hazards are Bag of Holding into Portable Hole and Portable Hole into Bag of Holding (which do different things depending on what goes into what). Putting a Hole in your Hole? Totally fine. Anything into a Handy Haversack (or vice-versa)? Also fine. Most people (read:everyone I’ve ever talked to or played with) either hand-wave that rule as being royally stupid (with the implicit “Don’t be a dick” factor of not stacking Bags and Holes) or just banning Rope Trick because god that spell is dumb.

    1. Viktor says:

      This. If you absolutely want to keep your players from taking their stuff into a Rope Trick, fine, tell them before they do it instead of after the TPK, but I have to ask why you care. Encumbrance is an annoying rule, BoHs help people get around that annoyance in an intended way. Don’t make the way around the annoyance annoying.

      1. Jeff says:

        Groups I’ve played with have typically ruled that aside from the explicitly stated Portable Hole/Bag of Holding combination, any OTHER combination of extra-dimensional spaces simply makes the inner one inaccessible… (eg. you can’t open your bag of holding inside a portable hole.) We’d probably disallow nesting bags somehow, but nobody has ever tried it…

  17. Weimer says:

    Person 1: References media X.
    Person 2: Reveals ignorance about media X.
    Person 1: Implies that whoever hasn’t consumed media X is a filthy savage.

    I love those exhanges for how stupid they are. If one person would want to watch everything that can and has been referenced, they would have to devote their whole lifes consuming that shit. It is simply absurd fo people to expect everyone they meet to have consumed everything they have consumed.

    (I like the word consume. Shut up.)

    In fact, I’m going to shun anyone who haven’t watched Moomins, coz looking at some fat troll mofos prance around doing Shiva knows what with their pointless existences is so friggin enlightening. Everyone should have watched it. If you haven’t, you are less of a human being.

    1. Weimer says:

      I realize that the above’s tone might have been a bit too hostile. Just for the record, I’m just a bitter and cynical asshole, not an angry person.

    2. Syal says:

      If person 1 and person 2 know each other, that exchange is what we refer to as “exaggerated nudging”.

      1. Weimer says:

        True. I wasn’t accusing any of the SW cast of this. The thing is, even if it is simply in jest the internet makes it hard to distinguish genuine trolling from friendtrolling. I suppose my original statement was a bit too obvious to be relevant in any way. I should stop writing pointless words.

  18. Frankenstein says:

    I really didn’t have much of a reaction to these death animations. They at most made me cringe a bit the first time but usually I just kind of chuckle at the extreme violence. Guess i may have seen a bit too much fake violence by this point like the scene in Crank 2 where a guy has to cut his own nipples off with a machete or later on when a stripper get shot in the breast and implant fluid leaks out while it slowly deflates and crumples before the blood starts pooring out then she finally dies. Hell i see worse stuff than this on Hannible every week and thats NBC. I really don’t grasp getting disturbed by it especially since its a game character and not a human being.

  19. “If you think about this game for more than five seconds it falls apart.”

    Wouldn’t that be a great mission objective? It’s like a murder mystery, but you collect clues that your world doesn’t make a lick of sense, allowing you to cause parts of it to self-destruct and you advance to the next scene that you’ll demolish with logic.

    1. Hitchmeister says:

      Ah yes, the old Oolon Cullophid point-and-click mystery series.

    2. Syal says:

      That would be an awesome mechanic. Like, your path is blocked by a tree, so you have to gather evidence to prove the tree could never grow that big in that place. And then it gets smaller and you can fit around it.

      Maybe a “trapped in a novel” kind of setting. Or a dream.

  20. The Rocketeer says:

    This stupid, stupid falling/sliding crap. One of the worst, laziest un-gameplay tricks of the last few years and this game can’t even do them “right.” The whole point of this garbage is to provide some empty spectacle while the player gets to feel like they’re still playing, even though it’s ideally hard to actually mess it up.

    But this section throws in so many split-second instant-death moments that the spectacle loses all impact and the player can’t help but reflect on how shallow and token their role is, while enduring the building frustration of cheap, increasingly-meaningless deaths and this games psychotic fixation on torturing Lara for pathos.

    If I saw this section waiting on the bus, I would spit in its eye.

    And Ruts, violence just causes more violence. It’s like an Ouroboros.

  21. It’s okay Chris! I get most of your jokes/puns/references! Even if the rest of the cast doesn’t notice or get it.

  22. anaphysik says:

    mook 1: “Hey, wait, don’t shoot!”
    mook 2: “Shut up, idiot! Game designer says we’re only allowed to do forced combat encounters, so we FUCKING DO A FORCED COMBAT ENCOUNTER. CHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGE!”

    1. Torsten says:

      That really has been the only time the game has tried even a little to characterise the enemies to anything other than cannon fodder or murderous rapists. It would really make the enemy encounters more interesting if they tried to talk to you, instead of just the usual screaming orders or throwing insults.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Sad part is that by this point in the game I totally started open hostilities on any person that looked vaguely cult-ish, and started openly firing the moment I saw these guys.

        I never saw that scene until now.

        1. Tizzy says:

          I never saw that scene either. Needless to say, I was surprised that they might even attempt to talk to Lara.

          To me, the “best” part occurs even later, when enemies are running around on fire and their dialogue suggest that the writers wanted us to feel sorry for them. And then, as if this wasn’t ridiculous enough, they turn around to fight you even though their world is falling apart, and you cut what is, at this point in the game, the bloodiest swath through their ranks. Just because they forced you to.

        2. Alexander The 1st says:

          There is another scene later on where instead of talking to you (Because you’re still stealthed), one of the guys thinks he should mutiny against Mathias because, well…he’s sick of the system Mathias runs for the people who keep dying and such, IIRC.

          Sadly, if you let them run it out, he gets shot by another one of the guards. I was really hoping that one of them would defect and then join me in my rampage the game had me go through.

          1. anaphysik says:

            Obviously I’d love to see things like defection, teaming-up, etc. be implemented in video games – but realistically those would be really hard to properly program and mesh with the general gameflow paradigm established elsewhere in the game :/. Still, something very basic (and easily implementable) like “we didn’t see you, you didn’t see us, deal?” would be a nice start, and definitely could have worked here. Then again, basically zero non-role-playing-games /ever/ include such interactions.

            (Honestly, what I /thought/ was going to happen during that part of the video was: an oni crashes in and kills the guys, then Lara either has to shoot it to death or else she gets whisked away in a sliding sequence (depending on the level designers tastes in YAWN). As should be obvious, my mind was giving the game way too much credit -_-)

            1. Tizzy says:

              Gotta love that “we didnt see you” option. I think I would be floored if it actually happened in a game.

    2. Disc says:


      This scene gave me some bad flashbacks of Spec Ops: The Line. That game is just riddled with stupid crap like this.

      1. harborpirate says:

        Though at least that game eventually condems such design, because its ending leads to contemplation of this exact fault. It has a reason for such absurdity.

        Contrast that with games like this version of Tom Braider, that treat it as acceptable game design with a straight face.

  23. newdarkcloud says:

    Josh, are you aware that when the shield guys come out, you’re supposed to dodge and counter their attacks?

    It makes fighting them SO much easier.

    1. Weimer says:

      A lady of the esteemed Cuftbert -lineage doing something in the easy way? Scandalous slander good sir! Obviously you should bash the shield with your face until one of them breaks.

      1. Humanoid says:

        But in the Cuftbertian karma-houdini sense, it would turn out that that method is actually the quickest, easiest, and generally most optimal one.

  24. Paul Spooner says:

    I guess you can justify anything with “magic Japanese Goddess powers” but even so, flying horizontally with a ‘chute is quite silly. Bonus crazy because that parachute is the wrong shape to be at all steerable! Ahh well.

    1. Torsten says:

      I dont think there is a parachute that would be that steerable at all. Maybe the magic wind powers send her flying that way, seeing how she started the fall going straight down. And lets not forget that the chute is nearly 70 years old and still in working condition.

      1. That’s why the greatest challenge would be another decades-old threat: The prehistoric version of the Kite-Eating Tree from Peanuts.

      2. harborpirate says:

        She flies that stupid thing like its a hang glider or ultralight. And yet, this is not even close to the most absurd thing the game has done.

        Because VIDEOGAMES.

  25. Daemian Lucifer says:

    So,Shamoose never played baldurs gate,Chris never watched homesar.What are the embarrassing secrets for the rest of you?

    1. newdarkcloud says:

      In Shamus’s defense, I wouldn’t even bother with Baldur’s Gate 1. I tried it, I really did. Spent a few hours and got no enjoyment from it.

      I have yet to play Baldur’s Gate 2 though. I have it installed, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

      1. Humanoid says:

        As someone who likewise briefly attempted to play BG1, but only after completing BG2, I ended up feeling it was some sort of prototype “Bioware learns to rock make a game” type demonstration instead of a fully-formed game.

        The closest similar comparison I can make is when I did the same to the HoMM series – there was no point whatsoever in going back.

        1. Tizzy says:

          You have to remember: when BG1 came out, it was absolutely groundbreaking. Nothing had come even close in terms of its ambition to faithfully recapture the tabletop experience of DnD.

          I don’t think anyone else had even considered implementing the actual DnD rules before in a game. It must have been a huge undertaking, and though it’s not something that every player cared about, for DnD aficionados, it was a huge deal.

          By the time BG2 rolls around, the whole system is in place, programmers have become really comfortable with the design tools, and it shows.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Seems very much like the Hitman franchise in that regard. Hitman 1: Codename 47, is a terrible game, but it was a great proof of concept for the disguise system and open-ended gameplay that would prove to be core to the series. Hitman 2 is where they hit their stride, and Blood Money is perfection.

          2. Humanoid says:

            As someone with minimal experience with both BG1 and the Gold Box games, I would have thought the latter would have been closer to a true reflection of the PnP game, with all the positives and negatives that implies.

            I felt the value of BG1 was reminding the publishers that there was a market for this stuff. All the big names of CRPGs were pretty dormant around that time – JVC had shelved the mainline Might and Magic games in favour of the strategy spinoff, Ultima was on the canvas, and Wizardry had been comatose for some years.

            1. Tizzy says:

              I never played the gold box games, so you may have a point. Anyway, BG1 was certainly marketed as the groundbreaking first ever real DnD, whether it earned that title or not.

      2. IFS says:

        Yeah BG1 has not held up nearly as well over the years, there is still some fun to be had with it imo but overall its rather mediocre. BG2 on the other hand is easily one of my favorite RPGs of all time, to the point where it almost made me feel guilty with how many other games it supplanted on my list of favorites.

  26. Daemian Lucifer says:

    And finally laras wound does something meaningful.Once more,I have to wonder:What the hell was the point of the intro cave?This wouldve been the perfect place to have lara impale onto something protruding from the ground,seeing how weak she is in the next few sequences.Why was cold+hunger not enough of a motivation for the beginning?

    1. harborpirate says:

      Yeah, that choice was really odd. Perhaps it was to set the tone of the game? To warn the player: “I hope you like watching a girl get the crap beat out of her and sometimes killed, because you’re in for hours of that”.

      And, also to warn the player about how injuries will be treated in the game: “look, she’s going to do things now on a routine basis that would kill a real person; she’ll not only survive it but actually just shrug it off like she got bit by an ant or something”.

  27. Daemian Lucifer says:

    I think this game came out 2 decades too late.Remember all the crap 80s and 90s movie heroes did and endured?This is what lara is going through.This isnt the game about gritty realism like bourne movies,its a game about ridiculous blood/gore,like predator movies.

    1. StashAugustine says:

      All this talk about Lara getting wounded is just making me think of John McClane pulling broken glass out of his feet for five minutes then immediately jumping off a skyscraper to escape a fireball.

  28. Shamus says:

    “It’s his friend… Steve Bad.”

    Oh my gosh, Chris. I laughed so hard.

    1. The fact that Ventrillo/Skype was cutting Mumbles’ reaction off as if censoring a tirade of profanity made it all the funnier.

  29. BeamSplashX says:

    Too bad Lara wasn’t a Stephen King-esque bestselling novelist. Then she could evade those attacks in close quarters a little easier.

    1. BeamSplashX says:

      Mumbles, why did you shush Rutskarn from referencing Lil’ Jon but join forces to reference Drowning Pools last episode? When I get hired to help trim down YouTube, all videos with “Bodies” are going to be wiped automatically, so know that I’m just looking out for Spoiler Warning when I ask that.

      On a relevant note, the deaths of pretty boy protagonist Leon from Resident Evil 4 could get pretty gruesome, despite the game’s otherwise super-camp attitude. I think you can hear him choke on his own blood in one of the chainsaw deaths…

      1. The Rocketeer says:

        I think that fit with RE4’s tone, though; it was violent and gory as hell, with super parasites bursting out of people’s heads, pus and blood flying every which way, spinkicks that explode the heads of antire crowds of people… the only thing unsettling about Leon’s deaths were that they were happening to the player character, while otherwise fitting in with the rest of the game.

        In Tomb Raider though, when enemies die, they fall over, and are then dead. When Lara dies, she gets run through by jagged rocks and uses the last of her strength to flail around screeching in agony. There’s something of a discrepancy there.

        1. Chamomile says:

          This is definitely true, and honestly I think the game would be better served if they’d spent some of those agonizing death animations on the enemies instead. When you kill someone with a pickax, it should feel brutal. You should be able to see people still groaning and struggling to move around for at least a minute or two after they’re stuck full of arrows or when their chest has been turned to paste by machinegun fire (though they might not last very long from that last one). The only thing that should leave a standard completely immobile video game corpse is a headshot.

          1. The Rocketeer says:

            I think the deaths should be leveled downward, not upward, though; this game already has a serious problem being two thirds pulp and one third grit, and a large part of that comes from Lara having to kill far too many and far too often. Giving the enemies their own ludicrous death animations would just rip that schism even wider.

  30. Tony Kebell says:

    DAMN! I watched this:

    So now I greatly disapprove of Lara Croftberts torch usage. ARGGGH!

    1. anaphysik says:

      That guy’s videos are great, btw. Thanks!

      1. Tony Kebell says:

        Yeah, I know right? Some really interesting vids about ancient swords ‘n stuff. Strange that it was on the front page of Reddit, more specifically his video about the ‘shing!’ noise swords in films make when extracted from a scabbard, than the usual B.S on Reddit.

  31. Foster Powell says:

    That thousand-year-old walkway must have broken as a result of Lara’s tomb-escence!

  32. Wedge says:

    I actually HATED the smash-the-bell puzzle, and this is why: I knew I needed to break the supports, so I tried to pull the big ball to the side so that it would rock into the support on the other side. But every time I did that, it wandered back into the middle. PHYSICS DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY. By the time I figured out I needed to close one side of the shutters I was ready to stab someone.

  33. Chamomile says:

    The brutality of the death animations could serve a purpose in that it demonstrates that people die when they are killed. If I were doing death in a video game I seriously might do it that way to try and shake people out of the idea that death is an inconvenience. It makes you scared of death without making death frustrating.

    But the game immediately undermines itself by having death so frequent and easy to run into. This is terrible for every reason I can think of. It means that you’ll see the brutal death animations often enough to be desensitized to them (the first time Lara’s throat got impaled and she still struggled on for a few seconds, I winced, but the second time, it was more like a shrug). It means that the gameplay ends up frustrating anyway because you’re stuck on the one part.

    You know what might be really interesting? A party-based game with permadeath and these kinds of wince-inducing death animations. And when you swing by with another character, the body of the last guy is still there.

  34. ehlijen says:

    Anyone else wish Square Enix had the Jurassic Park licence so they could make
    Larry Kraft & Rope in: Tom Braider’s Trespasser 2 – This time it’s playable!

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