Journal

Tomb Raider Abridged

Alright, okay. Ow. Ow! Thank Christ that's the worst part of my day over with early. Right. Where am I? I remember being shipwrecked, then knocked out and... think, Lara. You've been trained by the best. You can totally do this.

Okay. I'm in a spooky cave. It's full of... oh god. Human sized bags of human shape. What's... oh. They're full of single boots and toolkits. That's a relief. Probably just local culture. As long as I don't run into anything spooky or anyth-

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On the one hand, oh shit. On the other... kinda impressed by how many candles whoever made this managed to scavenge. Most spooky islands a bit like the one from Lost don't have branches of Ikea. Maybe I'm being too hasty about-

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AAARGH TELEPORTING HOBO! DIE! DIE

Wait! I'm here to help! I'm hiding from the others because they're crazy, but I know where there's a speedboat to take you back to the mainland and also that cave's about to collap-

KICK TO THE FACE! DEATH FROM ABOVE! Phew. Right. Well, now at least nothing else can go wrong, right? This ground seems solid at leaaaaaaaaaargh!

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Right. Lara, when you get out of here, never speak again! What kind of legend am I going to be if I keep falling off, down or onto absolutely everything here? Not a Tomb Raider like Daddy, that's for damn sure.

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Oh, like Nathan Drake never fell on his arse during his tutorials? Typical bloody double standards in the media, right there. I hate this reboot already...

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Grr. Okay. Remember your survival training. If wounded, hold your hand near but not actually on the wound. Was that it? Can't remember. Can't think from... hunger. Wait. Is that a convenient bow lying around? Thank god! Finally something works out.

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Oh. Right. Arrows. Damn.

It's okay, Lara! Our island that's a bit like the one from Lost always provides! You'll find arrows everywhere, and bullets and grenades, even though nobody you meet will carry a grenade launcher! It's just the magic of this place!

Is that how you can talk?

Don't be silly! Animals can't talk!

...

...

...can they be fricasseed?

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My god, that was delicious. From now on, I have a new goal - to murder every species I see, especially the endangered ones - ideally with a pair of iconic twin pistols I'm somehow sure I'll find at some point during this adventure.

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You must be Lara Croft. I've heard so much about you from your friend Sam, who's sitting right here.

I'm just out of shot!

Please. Allow me to introduce myself. I am Mathias, a teacher by trade. I would-

Villain.

No, no. I appreciate I may look a little intimidating, and you are right to be suspicious of a friendly face in such a... dark place... but-

Villain.

Let me earn your trust. Come back with me to my humble abode, and I can prove- Wait, why are you playing Ode To Joy on your iPod?

Villain, villain! You're the villain! Not going to trust a word you say Might as well just twirl a moustache Gonna kick your ass in the endgame

I see. Very genre savvy. I assure you, I am definitely not the leader of the Solarii brotherhood and-

THE VILLAIN SONG HAS MORE THAN ONE VERSE!

Everything you say is bullshit
Would not fool a dumbass sloth
Your idiot ball has been pre-dropped and
Frankly I have enough!

Okay, fine, you got me. I'm-

As a threat you're not too subtle
And your lies are trite at best
I could beat you with no walkthrough
But for time, I'm kinda presse-OW!

I should probably drag her unconscious carcass as a spare for my queen, but... No. It's not like she's likely to survive this island and discover an untapped reservoir of inner strength. Crazy talk. And not the kind I encourage.

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Hey! Wake up!

Hmm.. huuh? Oh god. Is this that rapey bit from the trailers? Already?

Absolutely not! This is merely the decision to make a bold storytelling choice and gameplay choice designed for emotional weight. I'm going to kill you, just like if you were a guy, only probably a bit more easily because you're tiny.

Phew, that's a relief.

Though now I think of it, we do often make a special case for women and burn them to death to appease our evil storm goddess. So, really, we're not exactly knocking it out of the park in the gender equality stakes. Still, don't want to talk your ear off.

FEELING NOT MUTUAL!

OW MY EAR! CURSE YOU FOR BEING A BLACK BELT AT QUICK TIME EVENTS! Hey! That's my gun! Don't you dare shoot me! You... you don't want to do that! It's really bad for the soul, not like being burned alive! That's for a goddess, so it's okay! Noble, rea-

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Because of me, a man is now dead. And not like that hobo, someone of a sufficient social status to give a rat's arse about. I... I sure hope I don't have to do that another eighty thousand times today. It'll be a real pain scavenging the bullets for starters.

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...and then I found a tool. His name was Whitman. Then I found we were trapped here by storms for some reason. And then I found you, Roth, my mentor, continuing to live what will no doubt be a long and happy life. Any word from our group?

We decided to split up to save time. Seemed a good idea, definitely not something that'll lead to us being constantly tortured by native cultists. Anyway. How have you been? You look like you've been through the wars a little.

Oh, it's been horrible! I've been beaten and shot at and stabbed and gnawed by animals and fallen off stuff and down stuff and been definitely not-sexually intimidated and been spiked through the chest and burned and nearly crushed and- Yourself?

Bit of a flesh wound. Unrelated, I'm sending you to climb a giant radar tower at the top of a mountain that's probably guarded by an army. If you need me, I'll be here, poignantly reading this note about my long lost daughter.

I am calling all the bullshit on this.

Just remember your survival training and you'll be fine.

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Wish... wish he'd told me to remember a coat. Freezing my brand identities off up here.

We've all got coats. You could headshot one of us and take your pick. They're pretty warm. It's all the lice wriggling around. Comfy!

I... choose.... hypothermia... Anyway. I've signaled for help and someone replied. As soon as the rescue plane arrives, we're-

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I HATE THIS REBOOT!

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Wait, NOW I need medical attention? What does this survivor have to do to get voted off? I don't see any morphine here and duct tape's not going to seal this gut wound up so well. What do these sadists expect me to use, magic and wishing?

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God, if you're up there... please don't let them make a sequel.

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So, to cut a big chunk of story short, we're screwed like a customer trying to get through to a human on the HMRC helpline, and I'm one sneeze from my guts spilling on these boots. And these are nice boots. Anyway, think we should go rescue Sam?

It would be a bit awkward if she escapes and we hadn't tried. But Lara, what of your traumatic experiences taking human lives?

Pffft, that was like, half an hour ago. My only regret at this point is that none of these island cultists have a specific bark for "AAARGH SHE SHOT ME UP THE ANUS!" You know they keep trying to set me on fire as a form of distraction?

A distraction?

I know. Lucky I'm half phoenix and wore my asbestos bra today or it might vaguely inconvenience me a little. Anyway, I'm heading over to that giant evil temple to kill some dudes and see if I can find me that grenade launcher the deer mentioned. Coming?

I'll bravely cover you from a distance. By the way, when you go under the bridge and I shout there's too many of them, don't look up to see how many I mean. I lie a lot. We both know this. Just let me have my moment being- wait, what deer?

Nothing. Come on. Let's get on with this. I've sacrificed enough already.

Sacrifice? Girl, you know nothing of sacrifice. Sacrifice is a choice you make. Loss is a choice made for you. You will learn that, sooner than you would like...

You mean I'll be forced to make hard decisions? Not just survive a linear adventure modelled after a torture chamber with no branching points like I've been doing so far?

No... I mean... well, there's a chance, I suppose. I was thinking more that when it comes to the moment, you'll see you can't save everyone because... uh... well, maybe all three men in your life worth saving will nobly commit suicide to protect you.

I see, I think. That wouldn't be my sacrifice though, would it? What would it even teach, except that sexism is super-dumb? Wouldn't they really die from ignoring that I'm the deadliest thing to hit this island since cholera and not letting me take charge?

Look, it's... it's noble, like the prince rescuing a princess... sacrificing... uh... himself so that the one he loves... can... like a fairy tale, you know? It's romantic. Well, once anyway. Maybe twice is pushing it, and okay, three times...

It's not that I'm ungrateful. I'm just saying, it's been a really, really long day of being brutalised, and I can't help think it'd be a much more empowering one if not every man who didn't want me dead instead felt the need to patronise my tits off.

Oh, look over there, a three headed monkey.

I MUST KILL IT WITH MY BOW!

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GREAT STORM GODDESS HIMIKO WHO IS TRAPPING US HERE ON THIS ISLAND... WAIT, YOU KNOW THAT ALREADY. I GIVE YOU THIS PITIFUL FEMALE THAT YOU MIGHT BE REBORN AND HOPEFULLY BE QUITE GRATEFUL ABOUT IT! IN YOUR HONOUR, WE SAY-

Freeze, Silent Hill. This is the 21st century and damsels in distress are officially in another castle! Untie the girl and- What are you all staring at?

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Blast. Sorry, sorry. NVIDIA card. Anyway, anyone who wants to help me get my 'kill 50 guys' Predator achievement, shout "Get her!" now.

Get her! Ow!

CLOSE ENOUGH!

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Wait! I was press-ganged into joining these madmen after being shipwrecke-AIIIIIE!

AAARGH SHE SHOT ME UP THE ANUS!

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"Would You Kindly Stop Shooting All My Men?" Hell no!

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I don't believe this! Kill her, you idiots, before she ruins everything! Kill- THAT BOW IS NOT A MELEE WEAPON YOU FOOL! Himiko's crack, minions, we've got LARA CROFT running around and YOU are the biggest boobs on this island!

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So anyway, I thought that was almost definitely the last bit of the game, but here we still are for some reason. Why aren't any of you even slightly dirty by the way? I had to swim through a lake of blood a while back.

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I mean, I'm not a complainer by nature. It's just not fair all you lot get to look like you just walked off a fashion shoot, while I'm already coming down with enough PTSD that my new favourite comedy is Apocalypse Now. I HATE THIS REBOOT!

If it helps, you still look beautiful. I can totally see you headlining an edgy new line of cosmetics. A raw look, for the girl who wants it all and also an assault rifle. You know. Maybe she's born with it. Maybe it's a ruptured spleen.

Never speak again. Listen, I've figured out what's going on. We're trapped here by the spirit of the storm goddess, who needs Sam here-

Hello!

-as a new vessel for her evil. So, first rule, next time someone goes "You must put aside logic in this place", hit them, it's actually pretty straightforward. Got that everyone?

I'm conveniently Asian!

Now, I think we all know that at some point, one of us, the slimiest of us, the one who looks most like a Burn Notice villain - basically, looking at you here, Whitman - is going to betray the group and kidnap Sam again.

That does sound like something I'd do. Could you at least try to look surprised when I stab you in the back and then inevitably get murdered when asking for what I deserve?

No promises. So, basically, what I suggest is that Sam and Whitman stand there, and we all turn around and count to thirty. Very slowly. Have we all got that? It's that or the group splits up again so that everyone gets more kidnap and torture.

Seventh time lucky, right? But Lara, couldn't I take a level in badass like you, rather than being pointedly re-damseled in a fairly stock fashion not really changed much by the fact that you're also a girl and sigh a bit about patriarchal mythology on occasion?

Haha, no. Right. Everyone ready? Traitor knight? Princess substitute? On the count of three, trope!

...

OH MY GOD SAM HAS DISAPPEARED I DID NOT SEE THIS COMING. Right, time- Alex? Problem?

I was just noticing how amazingly undamaged your clothes are, despite having done enough sliding and falling and being stabbed that it's a wonder there's enough skin left for a graphics bug. They should wrap black box recorders in your wardrobe.

Fine. I'll rip my T-shirt up a bit. Not in a fan-servicey way though. More like Batman in Arkham Asylum, and I don't know why I thought of that game and also Uncharted. Survivor chic, right? Because I'm almost a survivor now. Not quite, but almost.

Speaking of survival, I just wanted to tell everyone how thrilled I am to still be alive. As a mentor and father figure, I was sure I wasn't going to make it-

Wow. Heart attacks really can strike out of nowhe-

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Miss Croft! Or should that be Ms. Croft these days? I admit, your skills are impressive. But are we so different, you and I? Like you, I only seek to survive. How many lives have you taken to reach this point, eh?

That weren't actively trying to kill me, due to being led by a crazy mad bastard who gave them guns and taught them to shoot first, burn women to death later?

...okay. Point taken, that was bollocks. Anyway, attack, undead minions who are functionally identical to those you've killed in their hundreds! I know I shouldn't expect much, but I don't exactly have a Plan B here.

Right, Lara. Next time, just shoot that guy in the face while he monologues. It's not like killing has any meaning to you any more. God bless speedy character arcs.

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He actually does have undead soldiers? The storm queen's personal guard? I... I don't understand! How can they be alive after all this time?

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Ah. They never met a chick with a shotgun. Another of this island's mysteries, solved!

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Alright Leisure Suit Solarii, it's time to end this once and for all and this time actually finish the job! I'd better hurry though. Sam's depending on me, and he's already in the middle of the ritual. Who knows how long I've got left?

It's okay! Take your time! He says we're going to be quite a while yet!

Really? That sounds oddly convenient.

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Well, you know what they say about storm based rituals. They can be quite-

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...long-winded.

Oh good grief. Hang on, Sam! Fight it... if that's at all possible! I'll be there as soon as I've killed these generic goons and-

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SURPRISE! LAST MINUTE BOSS FIGHT!

I'LL BE THERE IN TWO MINUTES! I'M PRETTY SURE I'VE FOUGHT THIS GUY BEFORE IN EVERY SINGLE GAME EVER MADE!

Argh! You spotted the incredibly conspicuous gap in my armour! My one weakness if you don't count Belgian chocolate and listening to opera and... I... don't....

Let that be a lesson to you. When you show up in a crowded genre with exactly one move to your name, the only thing you're going to be able to kill is time. And not much.

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Wow, that bitch puts out a lot of power. If we didn't have to destroy her, I'd replace the Croft Manor generators with her. To hell with the National Grid. I could leave the bathroom light on all the time.

DO NOT SPEAK THAT WAY OF MY QUEEN OF STORMS! PREPARE FOR THE QUICK TIME EVENT TO END ALL QUICK TIME EVENTS!

You know what? No. I'm done with this. Eat my iconic shit.

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Spoilspooooooooooooooooooooort!

About damn time someone else fell off something around here. He'd better have impaled himself on a pipe or something too. On that note, I wonder if it's possible to kill a goddess with a twig.

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MYTH CONFIRMED. AS A WUSS.

Lara! You saved me!

Wouldn't count your chickens until they're hatched and in a boat to anywhere else. My record for actually saving people's not been that hot today. Ask anyone I ever cared about, present company excepted if I can borrow your PSP.

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You did it, Lara! You found the hero inside, and rescued almost everyone who wasn't too capable to be allowed to live. You even got like 70% completion. What a trip. I can't wait to get home and not tell anyone about it for fear of being committed...

Home. Ha. I'm not going home. No, I've got the adventuring disease now. So many myths to shoot people around and leave empty handed. So many optional tombs to consider raiding, but then not. It's like a drug. I feel it in my veins. My... heroine addiction.

I've been so blind. So naive. For years, I resented my father. Doubted him, like the rest. But he was right about so much. I just wish I could tell him that. There are so many mysteries I once dismissed. I need to find answers. I must... understand.

Next time though, I'm bringing a ****ing coat.

March 13, 2013 - Filed In: General Nonsense