It’s not often I comment on videogames per se, but I thought this recent item on CBR, claiming the original Tomb Raider games “haven’t aged well”, even as they seemingly admit it’s still influential on computer games today, was worth taking a look at. Since Tomb Raider is something that’s had a life of its own in comicdom in years past, I thought it was rather fishy, so let’s see what they say. What’s eyebrow raising is the disappearance of fanfare:
Flash forward to today, and it’s been a year since the release of the last Tomb Raider game, Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Since then, the series has fallen into a bit of limbo with the trilogy of reboot titles finishing and no future plans to continue it. The series’ anniversary is now upon us and there are, strangely, no celebration plans, upcoming news or announcement of any description to be had.
Well how about that. The last game of the reboot trilogy, laced as badly as it was with political correctness, was a flop, and even some “critics” who’d advocated the kind of social justice tactics that brought it down turned against it, proving they never admired the franchise to begin with, all leading to the point where it’s been shelved as it probably should’ve been long before, if that’s what it took to avoid misuse. The facial design for Lara Croft herself was so surprisingly poor in contrast to the earlier entries, and another big problem is apparently how a storyline is so overtly integral to the game, in contrast to the video games of my youth where it wasn’t so complicated, that could explain why it got scuttled too (but CBR won’t admit it, will they?). Now, let’s see what they say about the original entry:
Let’s cut to the chase: If there’s one aspect that just screams out at you as having aged poorly, it’s the graphics. It may have been groundbreaking at the time and unlike anything people had seen before, but nowadays, it’s not pretty to look at. The color palette of the game features very few bright colors, going for a more muted and muddy palette that was meant to convey realism but instead just makes many of the locations look visually repetitive.
In addition to the colors, the textures are extremely low res, which, while being a necessity due to the hardware, just doesn’t look good. The game is also an early one in the PlayStation’s life and there are a lot of graphical hiccups in the visuals. A lot of cracks in the floors and walls can be seen where the polygons weren’t properly connected and sometimes they just flash out of existence. In a lot of ways, the game looks like its time. Revolutionary for games without any clue to what they’re doing.
Oh please! This is pretty stupid too. Especially when you consider the most recent game squanders the facial design for Lara so dreadfully, it makes the most mediocre designs in the first game look positively Mona Lisa by comparison.
A stark difference is that back in the late 90s, the producers weren’t deliberately trying to make the heroine look awful. And what’s this about lacking a clue? Smart designers, just like smart comics writers and artists, seek to entertain, not to tool a product to preach to whiners who despise their creations.
Graphics, however, can be overlooked especially when the game is so much fun. Unfortunately, Tomb Raider was developed during a time when people didn’t know how to control characters in an open 3D space. As such, Tomb Raider decided to go with a slightly modified version of tank controls. The movement is a bit smoother to control compared to the tank controls of games like Resident Evil, but it still consists of “up” always moving you forward and “left” and “right” turning you in that direction. Luckily, the camera is always behind you (mostly) so the controls don’t feel as clunky as others with tank controls but it’s tank controls nonetheless.
Oh, tell us about it. The game did win people over, tank controls or not, and proved a success for nearly a decade, so somebody must’ve gotten the hang of it, much like the cliffs Lara’s supposed to climb via the player’s controls.
Maybe the most surprising thing about this article is what was noticed by one commenter:
Wow no boobs comment
Yeah, that’s pretty amazing they didn’t fly off the handle to the point where they’d criticize the character design based on that. They must’ve realized making what would be a petty issue was bound to draw more trouble than it’s worth, yet that’s exactly why I’m wondering if this put-down they coughed out was deliberate. If the whole purpose of this CBR item was a stealth assault to shred an iconic character out of disrespect for women, that’s very sad. But then, whatever merit CBR once had got lost once they were sold to another company by the original owners (actually, excepting a few contributors in years past, it never had much value to begin with).
Since we’re on the subject of a game produced by Crystal Dynamics, there’s another certain game they made that is based on comics, their adaptation of the Avengers, which, according to this recent IGN item, features the Islamic “icon” Kamala Khan as its prime protagonist:
“When Marvel brought [Kamala Khan] up as a possibility for us, we were super excited about her,” says Hunt. “Because she’s a fan girl like us. She’s a fan of the Avengers like the whole world is, so we thought that she would be a super relatable character to be our protagonist.”
“And another advantage of her is that she doesn’t have 80 years of history, like Captain America or some of the other other Avengers,” she added. “And that allows us to actually tell more of an original story with her, because her story has just begun, and we can build on that in very interesting ways.”
Kamala Khan was first introduced to the Marvel universe in issue 14 of Captain Marvel, and went on to star as the hero of her own comic starting in 2014. She’s one of the most critically acclaimed new characters in the world of Marvel, with creators G. Willow Wilson and Sana Amanat imbuing her with a sense of excitable enthusiasm for super heroics that’s not really been seen since Spider-Man’s school days. She’s distinctly ‘21st century’, with a love for pop-culture that any modern person can instantly relate to. It’s easy to see why Crystal Dynamics saw her as an ideal protagonist.
I wonder what those “interesting” ways include? Will her Islamic background have any presence in this video game? While I see no mention of her Muslim faith made in this article, I’m sure that’s deliberate too. After all, they can’t have realists catching on to the embarrassing propaganda components the Kamala Khan character was built on. Their reasoning for selecting Khan as a prime star is unintentionally funny, because fanboys and fangirls aren’t saints, nor are Avengers fans, and fictional characters aren’t real people. Nor is “fandom” a good substitute in fiction for having a sense of justice, which goes unmentioned by the producers. The character may be only 6 years or so old in creation, but the Islamic component is already well established since, with full intention by Wilson, Amanat, former EIC Axel Alonso and whoever else at Marvel agrees with their political agenda. By contrast, Kitty Pryde, who could’ve been characterized as a fangirl herself, doesn’t seem a big choice to these phonies.
Recently, Crystal Dynamics unveiled that Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, will be among the primary playable characters in their upcoming Marvel’s Avengers. Not only that, she’s supposedly the protagonist of the whole game. It’s a bold and interesting move, and one that spells exciting things for the story, but what exactly was it that prompted that decision?
Quite possibly because the producers and their staff agree with the whole propaganda tactic behind the creation. The news site says at the end:
I’m inclined to agree with that, personally. Crystal Dynamics’ decision to include Khan in a leading role is an exciting one, and it helps them carve out a unique identity for the game in our currently Marvel-saturated pop culture society. She brings something new to the table, and I can’t wait to see how the game handles her.
Just what exactly does the character really bring to the table other than promoting subtle Islamic propaganda to consumers? This move may not have seemed possible a few years prior, but now it looks like Marvel, as it stands under Disney or any other corporate owner, is willing to go miles out of their way in ramming a politically motivated creation into as many different extended mediums as possible to promote the ideology the character represents.
This pretty much confirms Crystal Dynamics is damaged beyond repair in terms of who’s running the store, and is no longer a suitable steward to produce and guide Tomb Raider as a product. I’d strongly suggest anybody who really cherishes TR form their own outfit and try to buy out the property if you think you can one day do justice to what was once a fine electronic creation. For now, I think that Crystal Dynamics should probably be avoided as much as their ostensible Avengers game that they’re developing, if this is the approach they’re going to take. The sad reality is that we must recognize the computer game industry is as chock-full of leftists as the movie and comics industry, and agendas and ideologies can wind up stifling creativity and entertainment just as badly.
Originally published here.