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Author Topic: Tomb Raider: Underworld - Southern Mexico sucks big time  (Read 7876 times)
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JonLeung
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« on: January 01, 2009, 06:19:58 PM »

Okay, maybe this stage isn't so bad, I just have bad luck/skills/common sense or something.  Let me tell you why I hate the Southern Mexico stage in Tomb Raider Underworld.  It mostly has to do with the stupid motorcycle, and how the whole stage took me four hours.  It was really frustrating because I knew what to do, but often couldn't do it, and the repeated deaths and subsequent loading times made it worse.  On the way back, it always felt like I was a couple minutes from the exit, but it would be a half-hour (or probably more) before actually getting out.  The stage should have been simple, but it certainly wasn't.



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1. HAVING STUPID BIKE CONTROLS AND NOT FINDING A JAGUAR STATUE'S HEAD WHICH HAS NO BUSINESS BEING BACK AT THE BEGINNING

A few days earlier, I was playing the jungle portion.  Nothing about it is truly hard, but you use the motorcycle to get around.  I'm using a Logitech Dual Action game pad (the one I got for guessing all the retro games correctly at GameTap's E3 booth in 2006) which is usually a pretty good controller for PC games.  The problem is that for whatever reason in this game you need buttons to operate the motorcycle, so to move forward (gas) using the very logical "up" on the left analog stick, I would have to map the gas to the "up" on the directional pad and then I'd have to remember to hit the controller's special swap button that swaps the directional pad and analog stick's controls every time I get on and off the motorcycle.  Whenever I get off the motorcycle and forget to hit the swap button, when I tried to walk I would activate the light or more often (and worse), the stupid binoculars.  More often than not, I'd die and come back to life a few steps from my motorcycle, so I'd trigger the dumb binoculars that way.  In retrospect it would have been easier to unmap or remap the light and binoculars but I didn't think I'd be using the bike all that much in this stage...I was very wrong.  I also did not map a brake button, I just figured having "reverse" for "down" would've been sufficient.  Later on I would find that I need a brake, more on that later.  Oh yeah, and sometimes the bike moves forward inexplicably, or backwards too much, both of which contribute to deaths.  Every time I mention the motorcycle later on, assume that I have to deal with the binoculars a good deal of the time as well.



So here I am, not finding the jaguar head I need to solve a puzzle, roaming around the jungle, attempting to jump the pits that I keep coming back to for some reason.  I'd hit the checkpoint right before a jump with the motorcycle at a funny angle, mess up my jump, come back to life, trigger the stupid binoculars again, try to back up the motorcycle, mess with the camera that keeps moving awkwardly, try to line myself up, bounce off the side and go off the ramp at a funny angle, die, come back to life, and I'm still a few steps away from the motorcycle at a funny angle so I do it all again until I finally make the jump several tries later.  Though the deaths annoy me the loading time just adds to the frustration.  Anyway, I spent maybe an hour, or perhaps more, biking around and not finding the jaguar head.  I finally resort to the FAQ at http://www.tombraiders.net/stella/underworld.html since at the time the FAQ at GameFAQs only went up to the stage before this one, and it turns out the jaguar head I needed was near the beginning, which I never went to because I assumed the path took me back to the beginning which I thought was a useless dead end.  I spent this long so I decided to take a break and play some LEGO Batman with my spare time in the next few days.



2. NOT REALIZING THAT I SHOULD'VE PUT THOR'S BELT TO USE AFTER GETTING IT

I returned to Tomb Raider: Underworld today, thinking I'll just take a short break from a project.  I think to myself, since I already played some of this stage I'll play to the end of Southern Mexico and it'll just be a quick break.  So I get the jaguar head and solve the puzzle that involves it.  Surprisingly, the part where you have to rush into the tomb/crypt/whatever before it closes only took me two tries.  The rest of the puzzles are no problem.  I hate spiders and tarantulas but I'll take them any day over having to deal with the stupid bike.  I do have to use the bike again eventually but it's not hard getting down the the last room with it.  La dee da, next thing I know I'm in that last room, the one with Thor's Belt, the instant-kill water, and those Thralls.  After spending too much time (not a lot, but more than I should have) redoing the fight on the first/upper level because the last Thrall there keeps killing me (I have a habit of being cheap with my first-aid kits, and when I do want to use it I forget which key to use), I make my way down to the bottom.  No sweat.  I drop from the second level to the lowest level (I'm making that point for later), I get Thor's Belt, and make my way back up.  But then I get stuck on the second level, not knowing how to climb to the upper level.  My mistake here is not moving the big glowy pedestal while I was on the lowest level, because when the creepy deadly instant-kill water rises to the second level, I waste almost an hour going around in circles with no way up.  The auto-save happens at each corner as you go around clockwise, and due to the way the obstacles are designed you can't really go back counterclockwise.  Every time I think I passed something I have to do another lap, and the Thralls keep coming back at the same places.  I know how to beat them so they become more annoying than deadly.  If I do die (and I die a lot from missed jumps and whatnot), I'm back at the checkpoint which is, of course, right before another two or four Thralls come up and bug me again.  They always seem to leave a rib cage behind so the whole floor is littered with Thrall rib cages before I finally look inwards and see the top of the pillar I should've moved.  So I do yet another lap to the point where I lowered the water and then dropped down, only this time for whatever reason, simply dropping down does not work as the height kills Lara.  WTF, that's how I came down in the first place.  So I have to figure out the proper way to get down (not hard, but it was dumb to have to waste more time than I already had in this room).  I move the pillar, and climb up to the now-familiar second level.  Then I waste a bunch more lives jumping from a broken pillar to the pillar I moved, because there's a Thrall that comes up nearby, and I really don't feel like fighting them any more, so I usually just run to a the broken pillar and quickly jump to the moved one.  I lose lives and time failing to swing to the ledge that takes me to the upper level, so I keep coming back to this point where the Thrall's coming at me, but if I stall for a second, it usually projectile-vomits out liquid as I'm about to make the jump, which knocks me down into the creepy water.  So after enough tries, I finally GTFO.  I figure I'm just mere minutes from returning to the outside.



3. THE MOTORCYCLE SUCKS AGAIN

So on the way back, you have to ride the motorcycle up.  I didn't mention much about taking the motorcycle down because there was no problem.  There's a part with three pits you have to jump, but either way you go, after two jumps, you have to get off the bike, climb up the side and pull the corner of this pillar down to bring up the ramps up so you can continue, which apparently also lowers the ramps from two jumps ago.  Not hard at all, so it just makes it frustrating when it just so happens that my bike isn't lined up, and all the frustration I had in the jungle is back as I line up the bike and try to jump, compounded by the fact that I have to climb up to the pillar corner each time.  And often, I have to toggle the stupid binoculars off.  I finally make the jump after a few tries, and head towards the exit switch...



4. I HATE JAGUAR HEADS - SO CLOSE AND YET SO FAR

The switch is stuck.  WTF.  I see the jaguar statues on either side, one is missing a head.  Again with the missing jaguar heads!  I'm a door away from the exit and I can't get out.  Fine, I don't care that I have to use a FAQ, so I check where the "Xibalba Key" is.  Apparently I was supposed to have seen and picked up the key earlier, so I have to head back.  @#%$! So, motorcycle frustration all over as I head back, and I know I'll have to come back yet again to get out.  Granted it wasn't as hard, but after the problems I had I just had to scream when I initially found out I had to go back using the stupid motorcycle.  I make it back where the FAQ says the key is, but there's a warning on the FAQ that if I die and come back to life in this stage, there's a chance that due to some bug the key might not appear at all.  So I'm freaking out, since my death toll here is probably a hundred already.  Eventually I find it farther down than the FAQ implies.  I take a very long walk back to the motorcycle (I got off of it as soon as I could here), and use it carefully, lining it perfectly with the ramps so I don't bounce off the walls and/or go off the ramps at a funny angle and die.



5. GLITCHES AND CRASHES, AND THE MOTORCYCLE STILL SUCKS

So I'm at the switch to exit and I have the %#$@!ing jaguar head, so I fix the switch and get ready to leave.  Turns out I need to jump out with the motorcycle.  A fitting end, I suppose.  So I back up the bike - too far and end up in the spikes - okay, I come back to life, do all that again, minus the falling into the spikes, and fail the jump and land on THOSE spikes.  Lovely.  I check the FAQ and see I need to do a boost by holding down the brake as I rev up the bike.  Well, I don't have a brake button.  So I go into the control configuration and think, this would be a good time to unmap the stupid light and binoculars.  So I select the light command, and it asks me to press a key.  Whoops, I can't unmap it unless I press backspace on it beforehand, so I just need to hit some other key at this point.  But the keyboard isn't responding at all.  I'm just about to bang on my keyboard when I figure I should just hit Esc.  Now, this is a new keyboard, which I'm not used to, and it has the Sleep button slightly down and to the left of the Esc.  So when I reach for the corner of the keyboard I hit Sleep instead of Esc.  When I bang the keyboard and furiously waggle the mouse to wake the computer up, Tomb Raider: Underworld goes from being stuck to outright crashing.  Though I hated the auto-save checkpoints before (mostly because of Thralls), I'm glad this one had saved the game at this point.  Okay, okay, maybe this last thing wasn't so bad, but it certainly scared me that I thought I would have to redo some of this stupid stage.  I unmap those, add a brake, and finally, FINALLY finish with this %#$@!ing area!  (I almost messed up with the bike again when I was lining up and realized you have to do it quickly otherwise the door closes again...that could've been another frustration.)



---



So yeah, I know, too long, you probably didn't read, you'll say I suck, and/or that I should've fixed the motorcycle/binocular problem earlier on.  And look, I wasted another hour writing this.  Some "short break".  Hopefully if someone did read this, it helps somebody because I just wasted more time away from my project.
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Revned
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« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2009, 07:19:03 PM »

I didn't read it. You suck, and should have fixed the motorcycle/binocular problem earlier on.
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JonLeung
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« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2009, 07:49:22 PM »

Yeah, I figured someone would say that.  >_>
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RT 55J
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« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2009, 12:29:15 PM »

Half of the problems sound like they're your fault, while the other half of the problems sound like bad game design.

---

"its a good day to do what has to be done by me and help my brother to defeat the enemys" - John Freeman
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JonLeung
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« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 06:56:15 PM »

I kind of put this game aside, I'll return to it eventually.



And I also heard (read) the talk about rebooting the Tomb Raider franchise, but they did that not that long ago with Tomb Raider: Legend, and retold the original story within this new continuity in Tomb Raider: Anniversary, but then Tomb Raider: Underworld is underwhelming, and all of the sudden there's this panic to revamp Tomb Raider when they just did?



(I actually only got into the Tomb Raider games from Legend onwards, actually...and to think I blast others for starting a series partway.  But hey, that was the revamp, so I thought it was an acceptable point to join in.  It is similar enough to the Prince Of Persia games so I was keen on the same kind of climb-and-jump gameplay.)



There was talk about how some guy who said the Tomb Raider games should never go M-rated is no longer with them, so there was the suggestion that it go M-rated now.  But I don't think a rating will help anything, it would only further limit the audience.  Besides, the rating should be a reflection of the content, not a driving force of the content.  That would hurt the gameplay and make it worse.



I could see them redesigning Lara Croft's looks and/or clothes for the overrated M rating (I'm sure us guys wouldn't mind), but if they insist on it, it might be better to expand on the supernatural parts, maybe a touch of horror.  You know, if the M rating is truly their solution, which I don't believe it is.



Aside from my misadventures in South Mexico in this latest game, I don't think Tomb Raider sucks too much.
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