Tomb Raider EP18: Kiss This Guy

By Shamus
on Jul 26, 2013
Filed under:
Spoiler Warning

88 comments


Link (YouTube)

Rutskarn is really making me want to play Call of Juarez: Gunslinger. A game filled with constant lampshading? Sign me up! It’s hard to imagine something so smart and self-aware came from Techland, since their previous game had been so stupid and tone-deaf. To be clear, I haven’t played either game.

What were we talking about again? Oh right. Tomb Raider.

So this part of the game is pretty cool. Everything’s gorgeous, there’s tons of platforming, plenty of puzzle solving, a moderate amount of combat and very little cutscenes. We’re in full-on adventure mode and aren’t slamming between “Romancing the Stone” and “Heart of Darkness”.

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Footnotes:



202020208Great Scott! 88 comments! If only this post was a DeLorean.

From the Archives:

  1. Tohron says:

    Video is private. The scourge will not be stopped!

  2. Sabredance (MatthewH) says:

    Hrmm…

    Narrative and gameplay cul-du-sac.

    What I’m hearing is a thousand videogame publishers saying “this should have been DLC!”

  3. broken says:

    Josh, what method are you using for those custom textures? I assume you’re not actually changing in-game assets. (re: title card)

  4. Phantos says:

    …Why do people hate Prometheus(the movie)?

    I don’t get where the hate comes from. I always hear grumbling and moaning whenever it’s mentioned, but no one ever seems to want to elaborate.

    • Astor says:

      Where do we start?

      Oh, with the characters! Nonsensical decisions, nonsequitur dialogue (“I can’t create life! *sobs*”, which also doubles as bafflingly bad exposition), and wanton idiocy from supposedly scientifically trained and/or educated individuals.

      The script was lazy, stitching together scenes in awkward ways and presenting astonishingly bad science. But more than the scientific plausibility, character development and their common sense was discarded in favor of cheap thrills and ACTION! in such an amateur way that was appalling.

      The only redeeming features in the film are acting, cinematography and direction, too bad they were wasted on such an awful screenplay.

    • Zukhramm says:

      I loved it. Second best in the series.

    • Daemian Lucifer says:

      Because it tried(lazily,I might also add)to connect itself with the original alien,a very smart scifi movie.This one,is just incredibly dumb(scientists acting like children,exposition crammed in awkward ways,that surgery machine,captain thats more about booty call,running forwards instead of to the side,etc,etc,etc,etc).

      If it didnt try to cram in connections with the alien,it wouldve been just another dumb average scifi movie,and much less hated one.

    • Nytzschy says:

      It makes a lot of wrong turns, but the chief failing for me is in the offensively irrational and foolish characters. Every last one of them is annoying, unrelatable, or foolish in some major way, except for the android and the characters who don’t get much characterization. It’s really saying something when the best character is an android.

      I haven’t seen the first Aliens movie, but I think it’s telling that they decided that the Space Jockey thing is really just a spacesuit for a humanoid alien. When I learned of this, my only thought was “what a waste”. Mystery is important.

    • LunaticFringe says:

      Everyone else has pretty much covered the problems, but I thought Peter Watts’ review from a scientist’s perspective highlighted a few of the dumber character choices (it’s also just funny to see a real world biologist complain about stupid things fictional biologists do).

      • Phantos says:

        Okay, I see everyone saying things like “it was dumb”, and I don’t agree. At all.

        Charlize Theron trying to outrun a giant hula-hoop instead of running in another direction was stupid, as Penny Arcade pointed out. But in regards to everything else, I’m glad a film was more about the search for answers, instead of trying to supply every last one of them and have it all wrap up nicely.

        Most of the complaints I hear are from pro-science people, and I have to wonder if they’re missing the point of a science-fiction film.

        • Daemian Lucifer says:

          “and I have to wonder if they’re missing the point of a science-fiction film.”

          Fiction doesnt mean stupid.

          Ok,lets have examples of smart SF.For example alien:When they return from an alien planet,what does ripley do?Initiate a quarantine.Why?Because who knows what sort of pathogens they can find there.

          Or for another example,the first rama book:When they enter a huge alien spaceship,what do they do?One of them lifts his helmet a bit and takes just two breaths(all after their sensors took extensive readings beforehand),then they go back,and only later when they come a second time do they take their helmets off.Why?Because who knows what sort of pathogens they can find there.

          And both of those examples were done under pressure(first one a crewman was attacked,second one the rama ship was going to leave quickly),and with crew of non-scientists.Now lets look at prometheus:They are under no pressure here,they came here to thoroughly investigate the planet,and the crew were mostly scientists.So what do they do?One of them takes off his helmet because he was bored,then the rest simply follow because he was ok for 5 seconds(fun fact about pathogens:They can take hours,or even days to incubate in your body).Later,when a clearly sick character wants to come back on board,they just want to let him because…quarantine?Pffft,who gives a damn about that.

          Or how about the surgical machine in a FEMALE, PRIVATE cabin that doesnt know how to perform a caesarean because it is calibrated for MALE patients only.

          Or how about the character that was terrified of a dead skull reaching for live snake.

          And so on,and so on,and so on.

          • Zukhramm says:

            Complaints about the surgical machine being calibrated for male patients always confused me. Did you not watch the film?! It’s not her machine. It’s not her quarters. It’s not her mission. They’re not there to do science. They’re all there because an old rich guy is afraid of death.

            • Daemian Lucifer says:

              Thats just as nonsensical.This old guy,days away from death(weeks at most),for whom the modern medicine(of that time)cannot do anything more,and has only one single thing keeping him in life,decides to purchase this pretty crude machine for himself so that…it can kill him in the off chance that he will get unfrozen and nonfatally hurt,I guess.And it is a crude machine,since we saw it in action.Thats a traumatic experience for a young person to endure,and not someone so close to death.

              Whats even more,he decides to place this machine,that he bought for himself,in his daughters cabin,which is quite a way away from where he is frozen.

              And even more,he was so stingy to buy just a male only model,instead of a universal one,so that it can heal half the crew,but not his daughter.To save money,I guess.

              Also,also t doesnt matter who is funding them,it matters why they decided to accept the funding.Again,compare it with alien:They werent there to capture the xenomorph,they were hauling cargo.So what were they focused on before they found out about the alien?Finishing their cargo run.What are these scientists who know nothing about their benefactor focused on?The moneys and lack of any procedure.

              • Zukhramm says:

                It’s not his daughters cabin. I don’t even think she was supposed to come along. It’s his own machine in his own cabin. He probably had it before he was frozen.

                And what are the scientists focusing on? Getting eaten by aliens.

        • Astor says:

          Hah, I love it because everyone complains about the “running in a straight line” thing, but it’s the only thing I have no major problems with. When you have such a massive object of that longitude and width coming, or rather towering, over you plus debris and flames raining all around you, you have the entire horizon behind you covered by the ship, you are running in desperation, not thinking clearly and maybe you don’t really have anywhere to run to, if you run to the side all you may gain is to be squished earlier.

          The problem with the science, though, is that it was exceptionally and laughably stupid. There’s a thing called science fiction as you say, and then there’s a thing called willing suspension of disbelief, not to mention that instead of giving emphasis to “fiction” you should give an equal emphasis to science.

          When you have “scientists” acting like idiots, using electricity to “trick the brain to think it’s still alive”, expose themselves to the “fossilized” head without even using surgical masks and eye protection, use carbon dating in some planet nobody knows anything about, take their helmets off inside alien ruins just because there’s air, getting lost even though they had mapping equipment both the guys that got lost and the captain back on the ship could see where they were. The spaceship just happens to land next to the alien ruins, a character wants to burn somebody alive even though the ship has no decontamination procedures for the space suits (ie. your ship is already contaminated) and no quarantine for idiots who take their helmets off (ie. your ship is even more already contaminated), you have a complete disregard for evolution… the geologist is not “here to make friends”, who the hell talks like that?, the biologist is afraid of a fossil but wants to pet the alien snake-vagina, the boyfriend dude is depressed after FINDING DEFINITE PROOF OF ALIEN LIFE and doing “research” for just a couple of hours! The captain, after failing to see the two wandering idiots getting lost and/or warning them of the storm, leaves them to die even though he got some unexplained movement in some completely unknown alien ruins, the old dude is alive and nobody cares, the chick runs off from the doctors and nobody cares, she then manages to extract a cephalopod from her uterus even though the machine should have removed her ovaries and is running and rappelling an hour later… you have cringe worthy exposition… The list of faulty science and incomprehensible character decisions goes well beyond your average space romp in this film.

          The film wasn’t about the search for answers, the film was for the search of box office success appealing to the lowest common denominator of ACTION!, RUNNING! and EXPLOSIONS! (at least there was no BOOBS!). The film gave us the answer to the Space Jockey (completely retconning and ruining it), to the origin of the aliens and even the origins of the humans! The original ALIEN had very believable characters and character interactions, Prometheus was preposterous. And I better shut up because I could rant for hours and hours!

    • False Prophet says:

      It was the Eight Deadly Words: “I don’t care what happens to these people.”

      I’ve seen defenders of Prometheus state that other films in the Aliens franchise, even the first two nigh-universally beloved installments, had stupid characters and unlikeable characters. This is true. However, in both Alien and Aliens we spent a lot of time with the characters and saw them interacting with each other well before the plot showed up. We got to know them as human beings.

      So when characters did something stupid, we generally got a sense of the rationale behind it–often it was basic human empathy or a desire to help their friends and comrades. Even when it wasn’t, the characters had been established enough as fellow human beings that we could at least empathize with their stupid decisions even while lambasting their idiocy.

      With Prometheus, the characters were not an established crew that had worked together before and had some kind of rapport. They were complete strangers who’d been recruited separately, frozen, and shipped dozens of light-years away, being introduced to each other at the same time as the audience, and making few attempts to even try and bond with each other, even though they’re all four years from home and have no other social ties. So if none of these characters even like each other, why should I care about them? Idris Elba’s captain was the only character I came close to liking, because he had one scene where he tried to ingratiate himself to another person. Yes, it was for the purposes of sex, but at least he was upfront and authentic about it, and not a flat stock character like almost everyone else.

      When you’re cheering for the cast of unlikeable idiots to die, that’s not a well-written cast of a sci-fi/horror drama. That’s the cast of a slasher film or creature feature, where the real star attraction is the killer/monster and its methods of murder, not its victims. Which could be an entertaining movie, but then you have to play it that way, not try to have it both ways.

  5. hborrgg says:

    I don’t remember if this has been said yet, but it feels like kind of an interesting subversion where you slip and think “oh, no worries, I’m above some deep water. . .” only to get a cutscene of Laura being dragged into sharp rocks by the current and killed.

    • ehijen says:

      Though honestly, most players would prefer a 5 second death scene followed by a reload of a very recent save to wading back to the nearest point where you can get out of the water again and have to trudge all the way back to where you fell, I think.

      • Merzendi says:

        Yes, I think that’s pretty certain, especially like here, where the checkpoint is normally pretty far into the platforms. Also this is by far the tamest death animation we’ve seen so far (of those that give proper animations, not simply a slump followed by fade-to-black). Still more brutal than most games, but I think this is where the devs got to the right level of death animation to make it feel visceral, but not just disgusting.

  6. Even after trying over ten damn times to stealth that one room, there was always this ONE guy in the corner who was pre-programmed to spot you no matter what. Pissed me right off.

  7. Warrax says:

    I know I’m not famous around here or anything, but I would be happy to accept the blame for any mishaps you might encounter. They don’t even need to be gameplay related; I’ll take credit for graphics glitches, hot beverages spilled on laps, dysentery amongst the cast, whatever you’ve got.

    Full name is Warrax the Chaos Warrior by the way.

    • Ofermod says:

      If we’re making a list of people to be blamed for Lara Croftbert’s deaths and other amusing problems, add me to it as well.

    • 4th Dimension says:

      I was wondering what “list” or better yet, what blog post is hamus reading the names off from.

      • Daemian Lucifer says:

        He constructed a program that filters through the entire blog,then weighs in everyones posting frequency sprinkled with some random noise,and Shamooses mood at that particular time of day,and presents with a name that would cause the best humor to outrage ratio.

  8. Zukhramm says:

    Oh, this Alex bit coming up. I really really hated it. I guess I’ll keep it until that episode, but it’s easily the worst part for me and almost made me completely hate the game.

  9. MrGuy says:

    After listening to her “excited archaeologist voice,” I now have a powerful urge to follow Mumbles around a Natural History Museum with a camcorder.

  10. MrGuy says:

    Y’know, I liked that raft pulling puzzle the first time I played it.

    When it was in Arkham City.

    Seriously, just call the “rope arrows” the batclaw. We all know that’s what you’ve been going for the whole time. (really? you pull down walls by shooting a rope arrow into more rope somehow?)

    Don’t get me wrong – if you’re going to take stuff from Arkham City, it’s a better thing to steal than the terrible crypto sequencer (that they also stole, but mercifully just the once).

  11. MrGuy says:

    Also, shouldn’t this episode be called “Touch this guy,” in homage to yet another “almost got it!” lyric quote by the SW crew?

  12. Tim Charters says:

    The torch not igniting the wooden table it’s placed on might actually be realistic. Heat rises, so it might not heat up the table all that much. Plus, I’ve learned from 8 years in the Boy Scouts that large pieces of wood are surprisingly hard to ignite, especially if they’re even slightly damp.

    But of course all of the other fire mechanics are so ridiculous that I highly doubt this was intentional.

    • ehlijen says:

      So the boyscouts didn’t teach you to use mook bodies as firestarters?

    • Nytzschy says:

      The explanation is simple. That table happens to be one of the few surfaces on the island not coated with a fine layer of kerosene.

      This is the true source of “Himiko”‘s power. That, and a dude with a projector and a comb with a tissue in its teeth.

  13. Corpital says:

    That jumping puzzle in the beginning really reminded me of some of the Guild Wars2 puzzles. Aaahhh good times. Including the deaths of course…CURSE YOU, DREAMDARK ENCLAVE!

    I have a theory about the guy, that’s lighting the candles in the tomb. It is pretty crazy, but hear me out: He carefully enters the area and then activates the electricity by carefully Not Exploding The Console. Sounds insane, I know, but just might be possible.

    Unrelated question, but is there another upgrade for the fire arrows? You fight a lighter and get napalm arrows. You research napalm arrows and get molotov cocktail arrows.

  14. It’s probably been said elsewhere, but just in case…

    Where else have we seen puzzles where the only “valid” surfaces that you can use to travel are kind of a dusty off-white? And your means for your female protagonist to travel between them is via some kind of projectile device?

    I’m beginning to think Cave Johnson was stranded on this island for a while.

    • Astor says:

      I guess we’ll have to add “moon dust” to the list of hazards Lara has been (over)exposed thus far.

      • MrGuy says:

        When life gives you off-white surfaces, don’t make off-white ade. Make life take the off-white surfaces back! Get mad! I don’t want your damn off-white surfaces, what the hell am I supposed to do with these? Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Lara Croft off-white surfaces! Do you know who I am? I’m the woman who’s gonna burn your house down! With the off-white surfaces! I’m gonna get my engineers to invent a combustible off-white surface that burns your house down!

  15. Phil says:

    Ah, so this misheard lyrics site is indeed still around. I remember stumbling onto this site like a decade ago or so; surprised it’s still around.

    This episode naturally reminded me of the site.

  16. Will says:

    First! We’ve got to create…

    …the mood.

    Precussion. Strings. Winds!

    Words.

    There you see him. Sitting there across the way.
    He don’t got a lot to say, but there’s something about him.
    And you don’t know why, but you’re dying to try,
    You wanna-

    -Kiss this guy.

  17. Velkrin says:

    Oh I remember that tomb. I spent at least ten minutes trying to figure it out, because I was certain that I could make it to that small staircase, despite multiple deaths telling me otherwise.

    It probably didn’t help that I kept getting 95% of the way to safety before I died, resulting in me having to tub the raft back over into position again (by the long staircase) while standing on top of it. That’s how physics works right?

  18. Nytzschy says:

    We need to snuff all this erroneous candle talk. The game is very clear that the one who keeps the candles in the tombs lit is Colonel Kerze.

    I must say, though, that I loved Rutskarn’s “flickr” pun. I’d really like to have four of him around, just in case such a brilliant pun opportunity in my life goes un-punned. Or, if four is impractical, at least a paraffim.

  19. ChoppazAndDakka says:

    It was a bit after this point I got tired of the game and stopped playing. The game would build up to a climax, faff around a bit, build up to a climax, back to faffing around. It got old. As Shamus said, this whole section was a plot cul-de-sac, with very little accomplished. I just wandered to the ship, did something, came back. It was basically just an excuse for “character development” with Alex and to get a new gadget. I often bemoan how short games are these days, but I would rather have a shorter game with a tight plot and solid pacing, than one that messes around with nonsense filler. It’s the same problem I had with Assassin’s Creed 2. I was invested early on, but after so much plot filler I stopped caring and got bored.

  20. Mormegil says:

    You can tell Josh isn’t a parent – the name is under the skirt so the toy looks ok but still has something on it to identify it.

  21. I know that feeling Rutskarn. I’ve been trying to write an article concerning a video game and the Prometheus myth for quite a while now, and everytime I talk about it (or just simply the myth) I HAVE to make the distinction between myth/movie. Heck, I did it just now. Twice. It’s practically second nature at this point because I know most people will confuse it.

    But I knew exactly what you were talking about when you called Tomb Raider “Prometheus” with regards to uncharted.

    Aside, you guys keep bringing up this creep-Alex moment and I completely missed it somehow. I don’t even know where it was. I had a different impression of Alex, but I guess I’ll get to that when we… get to that.

    • anaphysik says:

      I assume that SW/viewers think of the movie first mostly because of a parallel with “the Citizen Kane of video games” (note that Ruts words it as “the Prometheus of video games”).

      That doesn’t (necessarily – maybe you worded it the same way :P ) excuse whoever you were talking to, but it does excuse people in this instance.

  22. River Birch says:

    Josh, I feel your pain concerning the kidney stone thing.
    You see. I had my first kidney stone when I was in 1stish and 2nd grade, and it hurt SO MUCH that I couldn’t sleep. I earned myself a trip to the doctors, and a diagnosis that I was born with a very special disposition to developing kidneystones.

    Thankfully, water, and drinking LOTS of it, had helped me not pass a kidney stone through the very small hole .

  23. BeamSplashX says:

    It’d be great if the artifact examining minigame was like a hot/cold game, where Lara’s mouth would gape wider and she’d say “HMMMM” louder as you got closer to finding a new detail.

    This is also roughly how probing in Mass Effect 2 should’ve worked.

    P.S. When Josh had finished talking about kidney stones and opened that artifact chest, I was hoping someone would say “This kidney stone dates back to feudal Japan! There’s a name tag on it… Josh.”

    P.P.S. Chandler’s favorite show is “Burn Notice”.

  24. Dave B. says:

    RE: Lara’s “gangsta archery”

    When Lara had a primitive longbow, I was willing to let it pass. It is possible to use such a bow while holding it sideways, even if it isn’t optimal. Whatever. But now she has a compound bow. Every aspect of its design is optimized for a vertical grip. You simply can’t use it sideways. The shape of the hand-grip is wrong, the position of the arrow rest is wrong, and the placement of the sights is wrong. (Yeah, the in-game model appears to have pin sights. Lara doesn’t use them. Maybe she is a Jedi and aims with the guidance of mystical bacteria.)

    My only guess at this point is that the devs didn’t want a vertically-held bow to block the view of the player. Fair enough, even though it looks ridiculous.

  25. RTBones says:

    Funny story –

    Watching this episode, Shamus says, “Thanks a lot, RTBones!” At the time, I was half watching, half listening, and half getting some work done. (Yes, I know, three halves dont make a whole. They dont even make two. Just go with it.) Anyway, as soon as I heard it, I went back 20 seconds or so in the video and watched/listened. Then I spent 3-5 minutes going back through the blog looking for posts I had made, on the off chance I had somehow unknowingly caused offense.

    Then I watched it again…and realized Josh died…and then I got it.

    And I laughed hysterically at myself for being an idiot…and at Josh for dying again again.

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