I’ve been a little concerned by the tenor of the Tomb Raider game I’m playing now (TR3) . The emphasis has moved away from gunning down rare but dangerous animals (lions, gorillas, cougars, T-rexes…), various half-insane baddies (evil geniuses, reincarnated out-of-control Atlantean goddesses), and genetically modified freaks (centaurs, mummies, flying Atlantean mutants) to shooting unarmed American law-enforcement agents. I’ve just played a level where the main objective is to break into a high security compound, gun down about 8 unarmed guards, steal their quadbike and drive it out of the desert.
Unsurprisingly, when feckless Lara crashes the quadbike (she’s supposed to, not another of my unscheduled whoops, there goes the quadbike down the fifty-foot drop, boom, bits of Lara flying across the screen) she gets arrested and locked up in a higher-security compound.
Which she then proceeds to trash. They’ve taken her guns off her, so she’s left with only her feminine wiles. She flutters her eyelashes (a whole new key-combination) at various George-Michael-a-like inmates who off the guards for her. She doesn’t even need to get her kit off (Google Nude Raider if you must), and these lawless thugs are breaking lawmen’s necks. Then she runs amok in Area 51 mowing down a whole variety of increasingly well armed military policemen and soldiers before launching a missile to some undisclosed location and stealing alien technology right out of a flying saucer.
OK, pretty cool, but all this shooting soldiers, particularly the unarmed ones in the earlier level, is a bit unsavoury.
But since we’re going there, a few tips to running high-security military bases in Laraland:
- Don’t put a tunnel right next to your high-voltage fence — Lara is quite flexible.
- By and large, if you hear shots, and you’re a guard, you ought to do something about it rather than wait for the gun-toting Amazon woman to get to you next. She knows no mercy
- Please, find somewhere else other than directly beneath it to put the button to launch the missile. Running away before getting frazzled by the blowback is a bitch.
- Designing laser traps that with enough leeway to let people jump over them or crawl underneath them is a bit pointless. Scrimping on the lethal lasers was never going to be a good budgetary decision. No-one ever got fired for buying too much security!
After a few days shooting American soldiers, we now move on to butchering tribesmen armed with blow pipes in the South Pacific islands before finally going to London, and visiting the Natural History Museum. I don’t think she means to wander quietly around the dinosaur exhibit and join in the debate about whether pandas are raccoons or bears.