Tomb Raider EP14: We Require More Vespene Gas

By Shamus Posted Thursday Jul 18, 2013

Filed under: Spoiler Warning 124 comments

Link (YouTube)

Yes, this bit is ridiculous. Let’s get that out of the way. We can defend this part of the game against many things, but against the charge of being flagrantly and excessively silly we must plead no contest.

You’re blowing up pockets of natural gas just two meters from your face so you can shatter metal and stone to open the way to your friends, who are imprisoned in an impractical container suspended off the ground. In the process of freeing them you obliterate the floor to reveal a lake of magma that – if it really existed – would have long since heated this chamber to uninhabitable temperatures. You’re doing all of this just to fling the prison cage around the room, rather than just using whatever existing equipment is used to load and unload this cage.

Having said all that – I don’t really mind all that much. We’re definitely operating in a universe driven by Nathan Drake / Indiana Jones physics. You can get away with balderdash like this as long as the game doesn’t linger on it too long. In my mind, none of this silliness is anywhere near as offensive as the previous cutscene.


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124 thoughts on “Tomb Raider EP14: We Require More Vespene Gas

  1. Ofermod says:

    Is this the first episode that’s had the same photoshopped title card as a previous episode?

    1. Corpital says:

      Maybe we are still not clean enough. I mean it’s just rude to not properly wash your hands before you ritually murder your victim.
      I have also been told, running around with blood all over you afterwards is frowned upon in modern society, even though *I* never encountered a person offended by it, mhm mhm.

    2. MrGuy says:

      Do not question the title card. The title card knows. All glory to the title card. We love the title card.

      (washes hands)

    3. MrGuy says:

      Also, re: the title card. I realize now that it’s wrong, but I read the caption on the glyph to Laura’s left, that looks like a house with a huge explosion in it, as “Scarface.” Hello, little friend!

      We now return you to your “regularly” scheduled Spoiler Warning.

  2. SlothfulCobra says:

    I don’t know about you guys, but I am super competitive about checkers. I wasted at least an hour or so on the checkers minigame in Assassin’s Creed 3.

    1. Humanoid says:

      I was in a similar position to Chris in that all my knowledge of draughts/checkers does not go beyond the surface of “coins that jump diagonally”. But that’s still infinitely more than I know about Backgammon – but to be fair, I have not encountered anyone in my life who professed to know Backgammon. As far as I know, its only purpose is to decorate the underside of magnetic chess sets.

      1. Ofermod says:

        I’ve played Backgammon before. It’s rather fun.

        It’s been ages, though, and I’ve completely forgotten the rules.

      2. Hitchmeister says:

        The important thing to remember about checkers is that the jump, jump, jump, jump, “King me and, oh by the way, I win.” “Whaaaaa…?” ending of the game only ever happens when a (usually older) more experienced player deliberately sets up the board so a small child needing a ego boost can win.

      3. Syal says:

        I profess to know Backgammon.

        Basically, you want to keep all your pieces stacked because lone pieces can be captured and you have to move them back onto the board as far away from where you want them as you can get, and you want as many stacks as you can make really close to each other because your opponent can’t move onto a square if you have a stack there (they can move over them but not onto them).

      4. Felblood says:

        Backgammon is basically “Sorry!” for two players.

    2. patrick johnston says:

      am I the only one who felt a little better about myself when I found out that someone as smart as Chris didn’t know how to play checkers.

      P.S. I actually felt better for a moment. Then realizing how stupid and petty that was felt bad.

      1. Michael says:

        I’ll be honest, for a moment there, I thought Chris was messing with Shamus.

        1. Syal says:

          I’m still not convinced he wasn’t.

      2. Syal says:

        But as long as you feel good for feeling bad for feeling good about it, it’s all alright.

  3. Tony Kebell says:

    So, if we’re learning so much science this episode, how many Sids long, is my room?

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Four. Your room is four Sids long.


  4. newdarkcloud says:

    I think they explain the whole castle burning down by saying that Himiko was angered at the complete failures of the Solari and Lara’s success. As it turns out, she’s a very petty evil.

    Also, considering the way the ending plays out, Mathias could’ve quite clearly saved himself and his whole group by smashing the shit out of the corpse containing Himiko’s soul. When you consider that, this guy has a very tight grasp on the Idiot Ball.

    EDIT: And I’m the only member of Disclosure Alert who doesn’t get called out. I should be joke offended, but I’m actually grinning.

    1. SougoXIII says:

      Well you could rationalise it by saying that Mathias don’t even have a chance to get close to Himeko without a ‘chosen one’ since she’s guarded by crazy samurai zombies

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        If one woman can take out dozens upon dozens of those guys en masse, I’ll pretty sure enough of his boys can do the trick.

        1. Syal says:

          Are you talking about the woman that slaughtered all those boys you’re talking about? I don’t think that’s a fair comparison.

          1. Tim Charters says:

            The documents also reveal that the Stormguard slaughtered all the Japanese soldiers that were stationed on the island, and it is implied that they did the same to some US Marines that also landed there at some point. All of which would indicate that the Stormguard are quite formidable opponents to people who aren’t video game protagonists.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          But she is not an ordinary woman,she is the goddamn batman!I mean lara croft.

          1. newdarkcloud says:

            Even better, she is Larry Craft… Larry Craft as Tom Braider.

            1. ehlijen says:

              But she’s not alone! It’s Larry Kraft & Rope, the tomb busting duo!

    2. Tim Charters says:

      In addition to the aforementioned risks posed by the Stormguard, Lara doesn’t get the idea to destroy the body until she goes into that research station on the beach and finds a scroll from the corpse of the former leader of the Stormguard. That body didn’t look like it had been recently disturbed, and the Solarii there talk about being scared of the Oni. So it’s possible that they never went in there and, as a result, never learned that it was the fact that the soul was trapped in a corpse, specifically, that was the problem.

      Plus at this point, I imagine Mathias would much rather return to civilization as “trusted general of Sun Queen Himiko,” rather than as “recently found missing person who is currently being detained by authorities and questioned about the numerous murder-caves filled with recently deceased bodies that have been found on the island.”

      1. Zombie says:

        Or “Crazy person spouting off nonsense about a ‘Sun Queen’ and zombie samurai, who will inevitably be sent to an insane asylum somewhere where he can have a nice, padded, rubber room”. When those are your three choices, door number 1 seems the best.

    3. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      No, no, no, no.

      Himiko is angry and burning own the castle because Disclosure Alert is distracting from the real work of Spoiler Warning -and that is also why the world periodically stops rendering.

      Also, this is mostly newdarkcloud’s fault because he has a Fallout Avatar and we know that the fallout series is the true kryptonite of the SW teams bitchin.

      Feel better?

    4. anaphysik says:

      I like how Rutskarn unwittingly employed the “blame anaphysik” meme that aldowyn and you like to employ.

      Also, Rutskarn, don’t forget that you’ll have more things to blame on me later. #NagaSutra

  5. Tony Kebell says:

    Josh, excuse me, RE: Indian Jones… KALI MA, KALI MA, KALI MA!!!
    Also, a fucking NUKE!

    1. Tony Kebell says:

      P.S: I like Indian Jones 4…Also wasn’t the fridge thing supposedly feasible, he’d be in a LOT of pain, but alive, apparently.

      1. Humanoid says:

        There’s only one good instalment of Indiana Jones in the entire franchise, and that’s Fate of Atlantis.

        1. Duneyrr says:

          That game was awesome. (And happens to be currently on sale!)

          1. Bubble181 says:

            …I missed the best sale of the summer? GOSHDARNMAGGIT.

      2. Hitchmeister says:

        There’s also the ICP level of understanding how magnets work to explain how they find the macguffin in the hanger shortly before the illogical fridge.

        1. MrGuy says:

          I’m sorry, but you’re faulting the film series that gave us scary magic god ghosts in a metal box, people who could somehow rip people’s still beating hearts out of their chests without killing that person, and a magic cup that can cure wounds and other magic cups that make you age and die instantly, with having a LESS THAN PERFECT grasp on the principals of electromagnetism?

          1. Klay F. says:

            Yes. Yes we are. We know how radiation and magnets works. That doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to include unexplained things in a story. Clarke’s quote: “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” applies here. Magnets aren’t included in “sufficiently advanced technology.”

          2. Zombie says:

            To be fair, those things were a lot cooler than “I can use shotgun shells to find an alien”. I mean, when you can describe a trilogy’s main points as: “scary magic god ghosts in a metal box, people who could somehow rip people's still beating hearts out of their chests without killing that person, and a magic cup that can cure wounds and other magic cups that make you age and die instantly”, and then the fourth film gives you: Magnetic Aliens, magic fridges, a trip to South America for no reason (I mean, really, the whole thing could have been in central Africa, Southeast Asia, the Outback or the Southwest US and not been any different), and really stupid communists (versus the comedic stupid Nazis who managed to have some signs of having a brain), there’s a HUGE disconnect between “This is awesome, I don’t care how it works”, and “This is kinda boring, and how the heck is this even working?”

            Plus the sidekick guy was a total moron, and I hated him. He somehow managed to be completely unimportant, and barely there, and yet he still managed to make me hate him because he was stupid and nonsensical. /end Indiana Jones rant.

          3. Tim Charters says:

            With the gunpowder-magnet thing, what’s more important is that no one had any reason to think that would work. Modern gunpowder is nitrocellulose: cotton reacted with nitric acid. Black powder is sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate. Neither have any magnetic or even metallic components whatsoever. They at least lampshaded the attracting gold thing, but why would the artifact attract guncotton and not, say, cotton clothing? And how could Indy possibly know about that, in any case?

            If they were looking for something with a magnetic field, what Indy should have said is “can someone give me a compass?” That would display Indy’s knowledge, connect the new soft Sci-Fi premise with real science instead of nonsense, and allow ILM to not spend money on yet another pointless CGI effect.

            1. Syal says:

              I propose the plan was not to actually find anything, but to convince the Russians to keep dumping their gunpowder on the ground until they were all empty and Jones could escape (“I guess we’re not close enough yet, let’s try it again over there”). Then it worked inexplicably.

              1. Tim Charters says:

                So Indy planned on the Russians being the stupidest mooks in the history of stupid mooks?

                But I actually would have liked if that explanation was in the movie. Because that would have been hilarious, and the movie could definitely have used some comedy, intentional or otherwise.

          4. This kind of comment always amazes me. “You say the plot of Crystal Skull was idiotic from a series that gave us face-melting ghosts, death cults, and holy grails?”

            Yes, it is. The first three films placed the universe of Indiana Jones firmly in the realm of the adventure serial genre with supernatural undertones. That is, magic exists and is often found in powerful ancient artifacts that our hero goes to retrieve and/or keep out of the hands of the bad guys.

            Putting elements of science fiction in the fourth movie would be like Peter Jackson tacking on an extra plot to the end of LOTR where you learn that Gandalf is actually an alien, his “magic” is just super-technology, and all of the non-human races are the result of escaped creatures from his crashed starship’s biological containment area.

            In addition, Kingdom of the Crystal Skull had other things wrong with it:

            – Communists instead of Nazis. For all the current bile behind calling someone a “commie,” you can’t beat Nazis for a villain.
            – There were too many characters we were supposed to act like we knew tossed in as plot devices.
            – Shia LeBoef. If you like him, great, but he’s often in films that really aren’t terribly good. The monkey-swinging sequence was particularly painful.

            For more, this “Honest Trailer” sums it up better than I can.

            1. anaphysik says:

              Funny thing is that I considered LeBeouf’s acting (in the normal talky scenes) to be one of the few good parts of the film… He was fine. Movie wasn’t.

              EDIT: How fucking DARE that video dis Legends of the Hidden Temple.

            2. Noble Bear says:

              +1 To all the above with a +2 on Shia. Seriously. There is never a time where he’s playing a character that I don’t find obnoxious and painful; yes, that includes Disturbia.

              For the rest of it, I’ll just refer folks to the Plinkett review.

            3. MrGuy says:

              That was NOT my comment, actually. And IS my point.

              There are many, many, many bad things about “that movie.” I’m still angry I paid good money for it, after loving the first three. From aliens ex machina to crazy ant swarms, lousy writing, not being clear if it was a family story or an adventure movie, weak acting, terrible dialogue, a terrible movie all around.

              I just don’t think “that’s not how magnets work!” would be at the top of my list of criticisms of a series that’s always played a little fast and loose with physics and laws of nature.

              I’d forgive the magnet thing, just like I forgave the underground “petroelum” that only burns in the precisely plot appropriate way, or the “leap of faith” that ignores how perspective works, or the weight trigger making no sense, or the crazy minecar ride, if the story was fun and the movie interesting.

              The movie was bad. The magnets were at best incidental to it being bad.

            4. Tim Charters says:

              I don’t think the LOTR comparison is apt. Indiana Jones movies are all episodic, each with their own scenario, mcguffins, and bad guys. And they’d already been pretty contradictory in regards to what is and isn’t possible in this world. The first movie features an artifact from Jewish mythology, the second movie has stuff from (butchered) Hindu mythology, and the third movie an artifact from Christian mythology. All of these things had real magic behind them, which raises some strange questions about religion that nobody in the films bothers to ask. And that’s not even getting into any of the “expanded universe” stuff like Young Indiana Jones.

              I don’t think the Indiana Jones ever bothered to establish any consistent rules for what does and does not exist in that universe. And I actually think that aliens or alien artifacts could have been done well in an Indiana Jones movie. Heck, even the first incarnation of Larry Craft here once broke into Area 51 to get an artifact off of a crashed UFO. Commie villains could also have been done well. Plus they were practically a necessity if they still wanted to use Harrison Ford (whether that was a good idea is another discussion).

              The problem is, they weren’t don’t well. Saying things like “you can’t have aliens in an Indiana Jones movie,” or “you can’t have an Indiana Jones movie without Nazis,” misses the point by focusing on the superficial aspects. The problem with the aliens isn’t that they were aliens, the problem is that their whole story was poorly defined, failed to follow any kind of internal logic, and didn’t give us any reason to care. The problem with the Commies was that they had weak motivations and never posed any believable threat to the heroes, not that they were Commies.

              1. Multiple gods existing in the same continuum is nothing new and makes things more intriguing. See Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman,” Terry Pratchett’s “Small Gods,” and the fact that in the real world, people worship many different deities (or flavors of the same one), all of which exist for those praying to them.

                Aliens were a bad choice for the series, given what came before. I was hoping that the MacGuffin would have been the Spear of Destiny, Excalibur, or even Atlantis (as the LucasArts game was pretty good). Even if the aliens had been worshipped by gods, that whole concept had already been done far better by “Stargate” and the subsequent TV series.

                Even if done well, it then lessens the previous movie concepts, I think. “Wow, does that mean the Ark was some kind of TARDIS and the Shankara Stones were Dilithium Crystals?”

            5. Grudgeal says:

              Ah, the old “Doing in the Wizard” trope (TVTROPES ALERT). “You got your crappy sci-fi all over my fantasy RPG”, indeed.

              I think my personal worst example of that was an ontological mystery series with fantasy elements. It concerned a small insular mountain town that worshipped a local god, where people tended to go “missing” if they stepped out of line. People who dug too deeply into the town and its secrets eventually got cursed by the god and very creepy supernatural stuff started happening, causing them to go crazy, attack their friends and eventually commit suicide.

              Then the second season revealed the “curse” was actually a brain parasite.

              1. Fleaman says:

                The curse was *ALSO* a brain parasite. There actually was a real god. They did in the wizard, but had a spare.

              2. Tim Charters says:

                I wouldn’t call this Doing in the Wizard. Crystal Skull didn’t say that anything that had previously thought to be magical like the Ark of the Covenant or the Holy Grail was actually “scientific.” It simply introduced new Science Fiction elements into a setting that previously didn’t have them. In the movie, we know that the Crystal Skull stuff is alien related pretty much from the start, and it never attempts to retcon/reveal anything about stuff from the previous movies. Which is another reason why the LOTR analogy above doesn’t work.

            6. Fleaman says:

              Indiana Jones isn’t high fantasy, it’s pulp adventure. It’s not about magic, it’s about hokum. Science fiction is more than welcome, especially when the “elements of science fiction” in question are UFO conspiracy aliens who do space magic and were worshipped as gods by jungle people.

              1. I disagree. I’d call it low fantasy: An otherwise realistic adventure setting with rare supernatural events/items/creatures.

                Pulp is there in the form of fisticuffs, collapsing bridges, swinging from whips, etc., but we also have:

                – Ghosts
                – At least two gods
                – Insta-healing
                – Insta-death
                – Immortality
                – Heart surgery via Priest-Grip

                All of those are the MacGuffins, of course, but they’re all supernatural MacGuffins. Changing gears like Lucas did was like having Conan the Barbarian go up against a cyborg or Captain Mal having to throw the wizard off his ship before the fire-breathing dragon catches up with and destroys the Serenity.

                Both can work in the same series, but this late in the game, it was a huge mistake to alter the setting like that.

          5. Bloodsquirrel says:

            This argument always gets tossed out there, and it never convinces anyone.

            Having one unrealistic element in a fictional work does not mean that every other unrealistic element is automatically on the table. Having one fantastic element in a movie does not mean that the entire thing can run on Looney Toons physics.

            Indy 4 was a movie that seemed like it had a death grudge against willing suspension of disbelief. It was like watching one, long Saturday Night Live sketch* that was trying to pass itself off as a real adventure movie.

            *I was going to add “with no jokes”, but since I had already mentioned that it was a Saturday Night Live sketch it seemed redundant.

        2. Daemian Lucifer says:

          Im surprised that this is not here yet:

          Fucking magnets,how do they work?

  6. Tony Kebell says:

    I would like to second the ideo of a “Your’e to blame for Josh fucking up Sweepsteaks” and put my name forward.

    1. Eljacko says:

      Address: XXXX N. XXXXXXX Chicago, IL
      Name: Jack Marrinson
      Username: Eljacko

      Disclosure of censored information available upon request at gunpoint.

      1. Khazidhea says:

        Joining the sweepstakes!

        Address: X/XX XXXXXXX, Adelaide, Australia
        Name: Karl K
        Username: Khazid’hea

    2. Daemian Lucifer says:

      Id put forth the name of liqa madiq.

    3. Felblood says:

      I’d put my name in but my first name is “Josh” so they would need to specify or it would make no difference.

      For extra troll lols, they could blame Josh upfront, and then turn around and explain that this was actually the fault of “Felblood, the Other Josh.”

  7. Tony Kebell says:

    Also, this episode of Spoiler Warning is totally bitchin’ and rad.

  8. Tony Kebell says:

    Also, yes, Rutskarn, she does grab her boob.

    1. Noble Bear says:

      Oh, yeah, she’s totally grabbing her own boob.
      +1 to impromptu cancer self examinations.

  9. Syal says:

    Yes, some forms of checkers make you capture; like, the official ruleset. This is CHECKERS, it ain’t CHESS.

    (If you can’t tell, this post is mainly to break up Tony’s wall.)

    1. MrGuy says:

      Why IS she my goddess? Because she knows my name?

      She sold shipwrecks to innocent sailors. The world is a better place without her.

      1. Humanoid says:

        I have no idea what this comment was responding to, but now I have an image of a slimy used-ship salesman with an Atlantic accent, as played by Rutskarn.

        1. MrGuy says:

          I have no idea what this comment was responding to,

          Kids these days. Don’t know nothin’

          Can’t find a good YouTube video, surprisingly…

          1. Humanoid says:

            Like prospector-Shamus, I believe no good movies have been created since 1998.

            1. Syal says:

              …wait. Are you saying you’ve never seen Office Space?

              1. Humanoid says:

                No recollection of it whatsoever, I assume it’s a movie about offices – had to Wikipedia it to confirm that I’ve never watched it.

  10. Cynicism Overwhelming says:

    Called it.

    This is supposed to feel like victory I think. But really it just feels like not wanting to go back and finish off the item hunts in this game after listening to these four tear at it for half an hour.

    1. Alexander The 1st says:

      I wouldn’t say it’s gone Bioshock yet – possibly after Roth’s death, but until then, the current plot hasn’t really resolved yet.

      As I understand, that was the problem with Bioshock – once Andrew Ryan was dead, it tacks on another objective to keep the game running.

      Even after that, it’s only a minor amount of time before it goes “Hey! This plot thread has to be resolved the way I wanted it to or rocks will fall and everyone dies!” on the player, forcing them to do a smaller section of the full plot.

      Like, the radio tower never felt like the end of the game to me because there was the obvious thread of “No inroads have been made on finding Sam, so that’s the next goal once the plane lands.”

      1. Cynicism Overwhelming says:

        They even mention the plot advancement idea in the episode. Here we are: Mattias in our sights, there’s Sam, we can just arrow him in the trachea and leave.

        But she doesn’t, because the game and the story aren’t going in the same direction. So instead of this being basically the wrap-up episode, there’s still another 5-7 left. And I don’t remember there being much plot advancement between here and there. We get a few more cutscene deaths, but the “new” objective of saving Sam after we saved her here just keeps going for another 3 hours.

        This episode was just bouncing back and forth between talking about random things that came out of Ruts’ mouth and then insulting the game whenever they got back on topic. But hey, maybe I’m wrong and the rest of the season won’t just be “Tomb Raider plays in the background while we get a short, unscripted Diecast.”

        I’m not going to hold my breath though. :P

      2. Peter H. Coffin says:

        well, plot-wise it would be trivial to remove the threat to Sam and make the radio tower the end. You just need to excise some capture from your script, and she’s fine with whomever was the responsible adult in that fraction of the merry little band. Lara’s still Big Damn Hero, but rescue can be effected. The number of mooks slaughtered at that point is still manageable and practical for ships accidentally getting to close to the island and getting wrecked without making international news that makes the Bermuda Triangle seem like a hedge maze in comparison. There’s few enough ships lost and things that you can credit this as merely “lost” and can leave the question of the supernatural open-ended and let it get further explored in another segment.

        Instead, by the “present” point in the game, the body-count is dozens and we’re facing the likelihood that there are hundred and hundreds of men in ranging in age from late 20s to early 50s when a typical crew on a a 100,000 ton cargo vessel is less than 20 souls. That island would have to be wrecking a plane or ship per month to have that many mooks on it. And somehow Japan Coast Guard has NOT interdicted the place in any way that the intoduction scenes thought worthy of mention.

  11. ehlijen says:

    A few things I’d like to say.

    Checkers: There are a lot of checker boards on this Island, plus a still packed up one in Lara’s cabin (and a toy octopus thing, what’s the deal with that?).

    This escape is actually where Sam is the strongest. She definitely turns into a passive object later, but here she escapes the raging inferno full of bad guys, shooting one of them in the head (you have to zoom in to see it) on her own, apart from Lara cutting her bonds, and beats Lara to the gate.
    Also, I think most players would prefer a convenient separation of plot contrivance +5 to an escort quest with questionable AI.

    Basically, I didn’t mind Sam as a character until the second abduction, where we needed to see a reason why she was so docile. Was she drugged? Did she think Lara was a hostage? Did Matthias promise her to let her go after (at least then she’d be dumb, not simply a brick)?

    And as to the fire first aid to action hero massacre jump: Rambo did it in Rambo 2. It’s not unheard of for characters to go through that in one story. Not a terribly brilliant story, of course, but one that still has its fans.
    Also, I think that’s supposed to be this game’s version of levity: when Lara turns the tables and makes all the bad guys run away in fear (that and the architecture in places). It’s still a mess, but I think from about the wolf den onwards, the game is fairly consistent about this being a macho action hero story, but with a female lead.

    1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

      Wait, there’s going to be another?


      1. The Rocketeer says:

        He meant First Blood: Part II from 1985.

        There probably will be another Rambo movie at some point though, and I’m not any happier about it than you are.

        1. ehlijen says:

          Huh, I actually thought Sabrdance meant ‘there’s going to be another abduction’…

          There have been rambo movies since the 80s? Oh dear…

          Yay for clues and not having them!

          1. I’m still mystified as to how Rambo was made a kids’ cartoon show. I know the 80’s were responsible for a LOT of weird stuff getting animated, but I didn’t think there was enough blow in the world for a Rambo ‘toon to make it into production.

            1. Hydralysk says:

              I’m not really surprised. If they greenlighted Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos then a Rambo cartoon seems like a given.

          2. The Rocketeer says:

            Actually, I think he did mean another abduction, now that I look at it.

            First Blood was the story of a vagrant traumatized, severely PTSD Special Forces veteran completely losing his grip on reality after a round of small-town police brutality set off some nasty torture flashbacks and triggered one hell of a misguided rampage.

            First Blood: Part II was an unironically lip-licking, gee-whiz recounting of the mission that made him that way in the first place.

            The children’s cartoon isn’t really much of a surprise, considering Rambo has been completely off the rails since it became a franchise.

            1. Sabrdance (MatthewH) says:

              I did mean the abduction, but that’s OK. It’s what I get for not indicating which part of the comment I was refering to.

  12. silver Harloe says:

    Hurray for more cut-scene stupidity. She ropes down, knocks down the dude with the big gun, and instead of reaching for any of the FIVE readily available weapons she’s been using all game to murder people at that range very quickly and efficiently, decides to turn around said big gun, giving him time to recover and fight back. I swear the first two times I died in that scene trying to hit the axe button.

    Last night I spent time thinking about the inevitable sequel. This game spends a lot of time on “improve your weapons” and “get skills” mechanics to take you from nothing to superhero. In many RPGs, the solution to this power creep is to have you play a different party in the sequel (or to murder you and have Cerberus rebuild you before the first playable moment). While I can see them starting the next game with some cut-scene where she stupidly loses all her weapons and has to restart them from scratch, I’m finding it hard to justify the skills going away.

    Option 1: Remove what has become a new core mechanic, and just take her final skill set (all of them) as her baseline abilities from now on. There’s just less to do at base camps from now on. Cue hordes of angry fan complaints.

    Option 2: Completely and utterly destroy the entire point of this game and especially its ending line (“a survivor is born”) by having her start over because of, I dunno, a good knock to the head or something. This is just stupid and turns her origin story into the first in a series of the same origin stories told over and over.

    Option 3: Come up with new improvements to all her skills, which will seem wholly unnecessary because she can already take down an army of mooks single-handed. Then by game three she can only be opposed by an entire well-organized, well-trained, well-equipped major national military. By game four, she can dispose of the kind of bad guys normally reserved to oppose super groups like the JLA or Avengers.

    Option 4: Sooooo much cut-scene stupidity that it doesn’t matter what her skills are. Nevermind. I know what’s going to happen in the sequel.

    I find it entirely plausible that Himiko as descendents in Japan (and, thanks to the last century, well beyond) – all she needed was one son who treated with some of those diplomats who used to visit, or even visited other countries before she became super-isolationist for a while. However, I still think that the way Sam is presented as kinda silly and loopy in the first camera-back scene, with Lara saying “get serious” immediately afterwards, that no one, not even Sam, actually believed Sam was a descendent of Himiko, nevermind had real evidence for it. I think it was just a lark she took on because of her friend’s interest in history and is no more serious than my claiming to be a descendant of some famous ancient Scottsman just because my aunt traced our family history back to Scotland. I think it was just a game to her, one that turned out to be right (or close enough to right – maybe all Himiko really needed was a weak-willed Japanese lass with any ancestry to take over). There are plenty of weaknesses with the game without bringing up the Sam/Himiko “relationship” over and over.

    1. Astor says:

      Oh, yes. They are totally going to go Option 2. (To be fair Arkham City did that). It’d be awesome if they develop the second game around a different theme (this one was survival-gorn) and come up with a new set of skill trees to level up that befit the new theme (plus having the skills from the first game crop up in a few spots).

      That’d be too much effort, though.

    2. Tim Charters says:

      Or option 5: have her start out with a good skillset to start the game out with, then have her get upgrades to whatever level the designers want the maximum upgrade level to be. Don’t bother coming up with an explanation in universe, just have a new starting point and upgrade path.

      It’s not like any of the upgrades were explicit in-universe powers. They were just things like “get more slavage when you break open crates,” “deal more damage when you hit guys with an ax,” “stab guys in the neck with an ax instead of chocking them with your bow,” and so on. I don’t think anyone would care about you maybe not being able to do a few of those things when you start up the next game. The RPG elements are pretty light and beneath notice in games like this.

      As for weapons, just set the game in some place other than an isolated island, start Lara off with a modern store bought bow, guns, and stuff, and have the enemies be mercenaries or whatever with reliable access to modern weapons. Lara didn’t bother keeping the stuff she picked up on the island because no matter how well it performed in the moment, it was still old slapped together stuff that would undoubtedly be very unreliable over the long term. So she would start out with “real” guns and pick up “real” weapon upgrades over the course of the game. And if they want her to start off without a shotgun or rifle, just start the game in a situation where it is impractical to carry a shotgun or rifle and there isn’t much expectation of danger.

      Plus Lara probably doesn’t have a permit to possess machine guns and grenade launchers. Especially if she actually lives in the UK.

      Really, I don’t think these issues will be anywhere near as hard to solve as you make them sound. Actions game sequels handle them easily all the time. How many pre-Halo FPS games let you acquire a massive arsenal by the end, then started the sequel with you only having a pistol?

      Re: Sam’s ancestry. I could think of ways that tracing herself back to Yamatai could be possible. The place didn’t completely disappear, as there are legends and stuff, and in the ship videos people act like Yamatai was a real place. So some records must have survived. Maybe there was some Japanese guy several centuries back who claimed to be descended from Yamatai royalty/nobility, and Sam can trace her ancestry back to him.

      But yeah, this could have been explained better.

      1. ? says:

        It would be pretty weird if Lara spend the rest of her life carrying her pimped out assault rifle everywhere she goes. Next game can start with Lara separated from her gear (when carrying it would be inappropriate or simply when she does not expect for this kind of hardcore survival situation to repeat itself) and until she can recover it or find a substitute, she can’t use most of her powers (the game still needs to introduce mechanics to players, so she can’t start with everything anyway). The main difference would be that she feels more confident about rock climbing when she finally gets her climbing axe again. I also hope that next game will introduce some new weapons and mechanics to upgrade.

    3. Syal says:

      I can see Option 2 happening due to a curse or something. The universe has established supernatural elements, they can be leveraged to reset the power levels without resetting the plot.

      1. Humanoid says:

        Spoiler Warning already has too many “oh no, I died in the intro cutscene games”.

        It could just be a case of drugs, too much boozing and binge eating. Tomb Raider 2 can be a deconstruction of the celebrity lifestyle, an exploration of the dark side of fame. Yeah, totally that.

        1. Syal says:

          Considering that spike through the gut, I’d say this is one of the “I died in the intro cutscene” games already.

    1. anaphysik says:

      That is amazingly cool (hot, whatever).

  13. Earan says:

    According to IMFDB the assault rifle she’s using there is an AK-47.

  14. Aldowyn says:

    I figured out a reason (well, manufactured one) that the namedropping me was appropriate: I once thought I blew myself up shooting an explosive in a boss-like encounter once in Disclosure Alert, but our current theory is simultaneous death.

    Also, you missed newdarkcloud. Hopefully you rectify that next episode.

    *edit* And no, we don’t hate you. Too much.

    1. Hieronymus says:

      Nice going.

      1. Aldowyn says:

        Gave me something to put in the credits, at least :P

      2. anaphysik says:

        He also killed himself by trying to punch a turret to death.

        The really funny thing is that he actually manged to take the turret with him.

        Of course, if he’d taken First Aid… [/meme]

  15. X2-Eliah says:

    The physics silliness I could live with – explosions and all – but what really makes this hard to watch (or enjoy while playing, I guess) is the redonkulous amount of mooks to kill, and – as Campster said – the gung-ho John McClane nature of it all.

    Maybe shooting jaguars was not all that bad, eh?

    1. Tim Charters says:

      Jaguars are endangered. Crazy hobo cultists, clearly, are not.

      1. Syal says:

        All the more reason to shoot them now, while you still have the chance!

      2. anaphysik says:

        “Jaguars are endangered. Crazy hobo cultists, clearly, are not.”

        Actually, Roth Whitman basically said that they were:

        Man, these ‘characters’ are so forgettable that I haven’t even played the game and I’m still mixing their names up!

        1. All the cultists are dudes, right? Unless they expand their ranks through constant shipwrecks, they’re going to go extinct sooner or later unless they learn how to reproduce via mitosis or something.

          1. Corpital says:

            Don’t worry, the Sun Queen will fix it, just like she will cure premature baldness and eradicate world hunger by placing everful vending machines +5 that dispense lovable kittens that poop delicious bacon and generelly not get anyone killed.

            On the other hand…maybe they are an anthropololothingygal marvel, because they refuse to reproduce? Maybe every other century, a group of people end up trapped on the island, form a cult and throw all their women and children in the cannibal mines that you just blew up? And after a while they all die and maybe become a new batch of oni. Hm…nah, the Sun Queen will fix it.

          2. Tim Charters says:

            I think the idea is that they do expand their ranks through constant shipwrecks. What with the whole faux Bermuda Triangle thing going on. I’m sure that idea has problems of its own, but it does fit the pulpy tone of the game.

            The real problem is how freaking many there are due to how often the game throws big combat sequences at you. To quote someone on a forum I frequent, “this is the biggest cult of shipwrecked crazy people ever.”

            1. Bloodsquirrel says:

              I was mocking this in an earlier SW thread- where the hell are all of these bodies coming from? We’re constantly seeing entire rooms full of fresh corpses. You’d need an entire cruise liner crashing on the island every month or so to have so many bodies around.

              1. They must send them into the caves and falsely promise them that whoever lights the most candles will be set free.

            2. Peter H. Coffin says:

              And cargo ships don’t have that many crew. A giant container ship might have 15-25 crew on it. How often would they need to wreck ships there? Wouldn’t someone have noticed by now?

    2. ehlijen says:

      I’d rather fight through a ridiculous number of enemies that are established as evil than have to kill a lesser number of endangered creatures that the main character picked a fight with.

  16. Nano Proksee says:

    Shamus I don’t think that’s magma. I think they went for something like this.

  17. The Rocketeer says:

    Uuuugghhhhh Whitman.

    Remember, aspiring writers, if you want to have a betrayal seem unexpected and carry emotional weight, make sure to make the traitor a pugnacious, selfish dick with every single action they take and line they speak, from the very first time they appear on screen.

    For bonus points, have them start plotting and cooperating openly with your worst enemies a third of the runtime before they officially betray you.

    1. Tim Charters says:

      I was especially disappointed when I found his diary and his reasons for betraying the group were basically, “I’m going to be rich!” When in fact, there were legitimate reasons that someone might decide that Mathias’s plan is the least bad option. After seeing two rescue aircraft get shot down by lightning out of nowhere, and seeing the ridiculous amount of wrecks on the island, I could totally see how someone might start to think that putting Sam through the ritual is the only way that anyone can get home.

      But no, we just get a boring desire for profit and fame. I really wish the game had more stuff like Mathias’s conversation with Sam in this episode: characters calmly and clearly discussing the situation they are in, and what their options are.

      1. The Rocketeer says:

        There’s also the fact that a bright, enthusiastic archaeologist/anthropologist happened to stumble right into some hardcore, large-scale no-fooling thanaturgy/sorcery-type deal. I can understand how that might pique his interest a bit.

        I’d like Whitman a lot more if he had been letting Mathias play Mephistopheles to his Faust, viewing Sam as an unfortunate but necessary admission to witnessing firsthand something completely beyond the pale of conventional wisdom and possibility. In fact, I kept expecting things to turn more that way, since the idea of him treating the whole thing as a chance to sell books is so garishly pedestrian by comparison that it seems gauche to try and pull it off with a straight face.

  18. Tim Charters says:

    At 18:00, Sam clips through her bonds, then a second later they just disappear. That’s some very sloppy animation and editing.

    Also, to be fair to Sam, running out of the room actually worked out better for her, and for us. If she stayed with Lara, then she would have had to hide in a corner while Lara fought off wave after wave of mooks. It would have been like Ashley in Resident Evil 4, except without the option to stick her in a trash can until you’ve cleared a path. What with the building being on fire.

  19. Noble Bear says:

    Lara reminded me very much of Jill Valentine, ala RE3. Has almost all the same weapons, surrounded by the burning remains of a local civilization, on her way to fight a hulking thug.

    The difference tho is Jill’s background meant she had the training and expertise to use all of them, whereas with Lara, I get the sense she’s this uber adept.

    As an aside, I’m not into hating on our national leader, but for the sake of the meme, I would totally go with the username “Obama”.

  20. Noble Bear says:

    I noticed my last post didn’t feature my gravatar. Odd…

      1. anaphysik says:

        Way to screw the pooch, Nodwick!

        1. MrGuy says:

          Dude, take a chill pill.

          1. Gruhunchously says:

            Smoke a peace pipe, man.

            1. Syal says:

              Calm down, toots.

  21. David says:

    At 29:00 Josh says “I know it’s not actually supposed to be an AK-47…” Apparently it is.

  22. River Birch says:

    *Slowclaps* Rutskan. I’ll be sure to let Aldowyn to watch this…

    On another note. The amount of fire in this game is too damn high.

    1. Paul Spooner says:

      Well, the fire comes from the gas, and the gas is venting out of the rock for some reason. So you could say, “The Vent is Too Damn High”.

  23. RTBones says:

    “The tomb, the tomb, the tomb is on fire….”

    I saw what you did there, Ruts!

  24. Adam says:

    I’m glad to see Josh’s response to Lara setting off ALL THE NATURAL GAS EXPLOSIONS is exactly the same as mine.

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