The remastered Tomb Raider trilogy destroyed my nostalgia glasses

I waited Tomb Raider I-III remastered for 21 years. That’s when I played the second part of the series for the first time, as it was a “gift” from my mother’s boyfriend, who gave me both his PlayStation and a handful of games – sans jewel cases – for no other reason than want to free up some space. in his closet. I played it incessantly, enamored with the game’s action and puzzles and the fact that it was the first game I ever owned that featured a woman. But after reconnecting the Tomb Raider II section of Aspyr’s remaster, I wonder: what in the natural hell thought 15 year old Ash?

To play Tomb Raider II on the Switch – it’s also available on Xbox, PC and Playstation – was an exercise in self-flagellation, with the game’s controls responsible for 85 percent of my problems. I guess I’m too used to the conventions of ‘modern’ 3D platformers to feel any frustration with this remake. Even with the remaster’s improvements in the ability to remap buttons, choose between the original’s tank controls or what the game calls “modern” controls, and control finer settings like sensitivity and dead zones, Lara still moves like a clumsy, clumsy mess. There were many times when Lara or her camera simply wouldn’t move as my button presses required, for seemingly no good reason. This is a platform game. I won’t have much fun if I can’t see where I’m platforming, thank you very much!

Nevertheless, during the moments where Lara behaved predictably, I felt my love for the game creep back in. Everything remains the same in this remaster, down to the secret locations, key item placement, and enemy patterns. Even the graphics can remain unchanged; if you want, you can switch from newer, upscaled textures to the old-school PSX graphics with a quick button press.

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It felt good to turn down a random path and discover that one of each level’s three secrets was still waiting for me, just as it was when I first discovered it over twenty years ago. It also felt really good to get out my pistols and finally defeat a duo of tigers that often surprised me as a kid.

Tomb Raider II was and remains very good at building a tense atmosphere. Through music and sound effects, the game skillfully builds tension and fear, creating an oppressive aura of danger that a treasure hunter like Lara Croft should feel. Enemies crash through glass windows; the silence of a cave is suddenly interrupted by roaring, bloodthirsty tigers; or the quiet beauty of an opera hall is ruined by rolling boulders a la Indiana Jones. This game made the shit I wasn’t out of it when I was fifteen, and after more than twenty years it still evokes that same level of fear. Even though I now know to expect it something to get out of the game’s absurdly bad lighting, it still manages to find ways to surprise and scare me.

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I never officially completed it Tomb Raider II like a child. It was my first ‘modern’ game on a ‘modern’ console and it simply proved too difficult and scary to complete. Despite that, I loved that game. I played the first few levels over and over again, sometimes progressing to later levels with cheat codes before the difficulty (and fear) left me stuck.

Tomb Raider II used to be a title that transformed me from a girl forced to play video games with her male cousins, to someone who had such a joy and enthusiasm for the art form that she would make it a career. But now that I’m older and wiser – and with much more than just the meager handful of games that 15-year-old Ash had to play – I’m forced to confront my inner child with her fervent, undiminished love for this game. and ask her, “Damn, have you lived like this?”

Tomb Raider II was exactly as I remembered it – but what didn’t return was my affection for it.

Tomb Raider I-III remastered is now available on Switch, Xbox, PlayStation and PC.

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