Tomb Raider Diaries #6: Free Falling
Previously on Tomb Raider Diaries: Our enigmatic archaeologist learned that her best friend, Sam, was likely going to end up as part of a fiery ritual sacrifice. Now Lara Croft must race against time to save Sam, but not before exploring a few more ruins. And falling a lot. On with the spoilers!
PLAY TIME: 2 hours
ACHIEVEMETS: Boom Goes the Dynamite, Down and Dirty, Epic Fumble, Sharpshooter
Off in the distance is the palace of the Sun Queen where Sam is held captive. My mission? Get there.
But despite Sam’s insistence and the indication that the ritual is likely going to occur in the very near future, there’s still so much to explore. I’m sure Sam would understand that Lara needs supplies and needs to build up her strength in order to be a better hero. Sam also needs to understand that I have just discovered a very nice new wine house and my gaming abilities may or may not be compromised from here on out.
After collecting more salvage items and upgrading a weapon or two, I finally pointed Lara in the right direction. The stakes are getting higher, which means the enemy attacks against the “outsider” are coming faster and with greater participation from the Solarii members. There is now more opportunity to use the terrain. By that I mean making things explode. Gas leaks and explosive barrels are now a thing, as well as Solarii who toss dynamite that they can conveniently drop.
Speaking of dropping — or rather, falling — this is something that Lara seems to do often.
I mean, like, all the time. In fact, it seems to be the preferred method of travel. If she’s not facing off against bad guys, she’s slipping down hills, falling off of crumbling buildings, escaping debris, and generally proving how effective gravity is.
I needn’t have been daunted by the distance to the palace, because after a few Solarii battles, Lara found some new way to slip, tumble, slide and fall her way closer to her destination. Okay so she did get impaled on metal poles a few times in the attempt, but the important thing is that we made it that much closer to the palace and to Sam.
Lara manages not to break any bones on these falls, but this time, she did wound herself pretty badly, on top of the initial pipe through the gut she suffered at the beginning of the game. Shake it off Lara. We can do this. Just need to get to that downed helicopter the bad guys are talking about and find us a bandaid. After a few more shorter stumbles, Lara ends up in a sewer sort of thing where the Solarii dump bodies. The Solarii are all over the place so stealth is a priority, but I guess Lara’s wounds are too much for her and she keeps making grunty, gaspy noises that, to someone overhearing this, could be construed as some activity other than bleeding out as she wades through a corpse infested waterway.
After some difficulty, Lara makes it to the chopper, but, dammit, there are no bandaids! There is, however, a lighter. Using the lighter and an arrow, she cauterizes her sucking chest wound and screams loud enough to disturb the local flock of birds. And to think I’d been complaining about her loud sexy noises. Thankfully, no one but the birds heard that, so Lara is able to get back to the all important task of falling. But this time, she has a parachute! Which breaks! Gravity PLUS trees leads Lara to a shanty town filled with tricksy Solarii in even greater number. They even abuse the secret tomb labeling practice to lure Lara into a trap where Lara ends up strung upside down (something else that happens to her quite often). But Lara now has her trusty lighter, which she can use to ignite her arrows. I can now officially use the phrase “kill it with fire!” and do so effectively.
While travelling, there have been overheard hints that her friends might be held nearby. She’s also found a letter to Roth from his lover, Reyes, informing him that her daughter is actually his. DRAMA! Will need to discuss this with Reyes when we get back together. Assuming Reyes doesn’t die first. Like Grim. Moving through the shanty town, Lara finds Grim, the old seaman. She must make her way across to him, fighting Solarii as she goes. Of course, just as she gets close, he’s captured and they threaten to kill him if she doesn’t lower her weapons. Grim will have none of that and takes out his captors by sacrificing himself and taking a few of them with him.
I’m going to say that I wasn’t overly broken up about this, and neither is Lara. She says the necessary words, but, perhaps because I haven’t been playing for a while, I’m finding a disconnect between me and the story and characters now, which is disappointing. After my last diary’s realization that this really is just a movie that pauses to let me shoot things and solve puzzles, perhaps I’ve grown a little jaded and just want to get on with it. But now it feels like the game is trying to be more game than story, with more and more action sequence interruptions.
There was one more marked tomb for me to explore. I determined that this one wasn’t a trap — because pfft like they’d do that to me twice in a row. Lara deduces that the Solarii have been using these tombs as some sort of workshop. Perhaps this explains why they haven’t been taking any of the treasure. Of course, Lara is all about collecting the goodies.
Anyway, following Grim’s death, Lara crosses the final platform, but two Solarii cut the rope as she’s crossing. Lara *gasp* falls—but for once, she holds on, which serves only to leave her as a wide open target. In comes Roth for the save with his sniper rifle! Lara and Roth briefly discuss Grim’s death and Roth says the necessary words about making his death count, then the pair make plans to get Lara across the last obstacle to the palace while Roth snipes her a path. I sure hope you’re a good shot, Roth.