In which, I finish a hard game.

Lara Croft and I have a somewhat sparse history.  I owned the original Tomb Raider back when it was released for the Saturn, but never finished it, and then I bought and got crushed into pitiful defeat by the second Tomb Raider on the Playstation… and then I didn’t play another Tomb Raider game until the excellent “Tomb Raider Legend” on the Xbox 360.

That might have been the end of it, but they had to go and re-make the original game for modern systems and PCs… and they did it RIGHT, in my opinion anyway; they did change an awful lot of the game but they had the spirit of the original down perfectly.  The only thing I kind of miss – and this is the embodiment of masochism – is that they did away with the breakaway floors that would drop you to your death in the original.

I miss the spike pits.  There, I’ve said it.

The sticking point for me the first time around was the boss at the end of the Egypt level.  Never could manage to beat him.  In the remake – and I refuse to believe this is sheer chance, I believe that the developers at Crystal Dynamics did this solely – SOLELY – for my benefit – there is no boss at the end of the Egypt level.

That said, there is a platforming bit, a couple of levels later, where you are climbing a shaft with lava at the bottom and things flying at you trying to knock you into said lava and ruthlessly timed pole-swinging and wall-running elements.  After about twenty painful deaths at once particularly sticky bit, I went, humbled and angry, looking for sympathy and advice.

I did find that the section I was stuck on was universally considered the hardest bit of the game, which comforted me somewhat, and I found further that there were lots of people out there who had completed it and were glad to offer hints, explicit walkthroughs, and even video run-downs of how to pass this nasty tricky bit.

And pass it I did.  After that… smooth sailing: a couple of really quite entertaining boss fights, some tricky-but-never-impossible platforming and puzzle bits, and I was happily watching the end credits roll.

I have so many games in the backlog that getting stuck on a difficult one for any length of time seems a real waste, so I don’t finish many “hard” games.  I readily admit this.

Still, there’s a satisfaction that comes from actually sticking with a particularly nasty bit and finally overcoming it – yeah, I had to go and look up HOW to, and yeah, it took me a gazillion tries even knowing the trick – but, darnit, it feels good.

Looking forward to Tomb Raider : Underworld now.

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