Lara Croft: The Character That Defines NekoJonez

AUDIO

We’re pairing 8-bit music thematically, rather than based entirely on series. You can find this track and more Tater-Tot Tunes on YouTube! Stop by and jam to some great tunes.


INTRODUCTION

Normal Happenings is proud to present The Characters That Define Us, a year long collaboration of 52+ incredible bloggers!

Over the next three days, you can look forward to Characters That Define Us pieces that will feature strong female protagonists. Today, newcomer and fantastic blogger NekoJonez features one of the great icons in action adventure gaming.

NekoJonez’s blog is well worth visiting and bookmarking, so go check it out!

This is a fantastic piece, so let’s get started!


1P START

When I was writing my retrospective collab about Tomb Raider, I got various comments that the earliest Tomb Raider games haven’t aged the best. While I can totally see where they are coming from, I honestly think that those games still have their own charm. The main charm of each game is simple, it’s the character of Lara Croft. Without Lara Croft, you can’t have a Tomb Raider game. And without Lara Croft, there wouldn’t be a NekoJonez today. Yes, you read that correctly, the Tomb Raider franchise has been quite important in my life. Let me tell you why.

The Infernal Machine

One of the biggest games from my childhood is Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine. I have told this story many times before, but this game is one of the biggest reasons why I got into gaming and playing games on more than one platform. Before I was playing this game, I played Pokémon Blue on my Gameboy. I also played Pac-Man and a few other games. When my nephew introduced me to this game after I rented the Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark movie, I was hooked.

Hooked to the point that I knew the game as the backside of my hand. To this day, I know huge parts of levels without having to play the game. In most cases, I can mostly tell you where to go and what to do when you are stuck without me seeing the actual game.

Now, when I saw a game collection of Tomb Raider 3 and 4 on the shelves of my local toy store and saw that the gameplay was similar to the Infernal Machine game, I didn’t hesitate one second. I bought the game and when I came home, I installed the game and I played it for hours. At first, I was frustrated beyond belief at the controls. I felt that the controls of the Indy game were just better made. But, then I got used to the controls and now I’m in love with these old games.

Since then, I fell in love with the Tomb Raider series. It reminded me of the amazing time I had with the first time I played the Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine game. When I learned that a new game was coming out called Tomb Raider Legend, I had to play it. Sadly enough, my computer wasn’t strong enough to play the game.

So, I begged my parents for a new and stronger computer. That year at Christmas, I got that computer. It was an HP Pavilion Slimline S7000. I have forgotten the exact model. I had to part ways with that computer last year. I tried to refurbish it to play old school Windows XP games on it, but while replacing the disc drive, I actually cut myself on the CPU fan. The wound made some blood drip on the motherboard and I was unable to fully clean it off and it created a short that made the computer unbootable.

With that sad tale told, I want to focus again on that computer. When my aunt and my parents gave me that box, I was actually crying tears of happiness. It was my first personal computer. A computer that was mine to play and mess around with. I learned so much about computer science while messing around with that computer.

The Legend

So, a few days later, I bought Tomb Raider Legend for the PC. And, I was unable to stop playing the game. I was 13 years old at the time and I just finished the newest adventure of Indiana Jones and the Emperor’s Tomb. I found the whole game an amazing thrill ride from beginning to end.

The cliffhanger was an amazing way for me to follow the series even more closely than before. I wanted to know how the story continued. So, after that, I played through Tomb Raider Anniversary. When I learned that the game was a remake of the first game, I wanted to play the first game as well. Now, I have to admit that I actually pirated the first game in 2007. I’m not proud of that fact right now. Since, I’m in the camp that’s still enjoying the first game.

I admit that the first game has its flaws and is far from perfect. Especially the textures haven’t aged well and it’s difficult to see which platforms you can jump on and which you can’t jump on. Yet, I quickly got used to the game thanks to the remake and I finished both games.

Not too long after, I got my hands on some other old school Tomb Raider games and some of the Gameboy games. I have played almost every Tomb Raider game apart from the handful of old Java Applets for mobile phones. But, I’m planning to play those games in the near future because after researching them for the Writer’s Raid, I found them extremely interesting.

When my parents bought me my first laptop, a HP Pavilion dv6 1360EB, I was finally able to play Tomb Raider Underworld. A game that I was looking forward too for such a long time. The game didn’t disappoint me at all. You know when I got disappointed? When I was able to finish the game and when I saw the end credits roll.

 

Now, after that, the Tomb Raider series went a bit silent. We barely heard anything about the franchise. Right when the series is slipping my mind, the first images and leaks of Tomb Raider 2013 happened. My heart skipped a beat when I learned that a new Tomb Raider game was in development.

When the game came out in 2013, to my surprise, I was able to run on the game that old HP laptop of mine. I was unable to run to the game at the highest settings but still, I was quite happy that I was able to play the game. I loved playing the game so much, I finished the whole game in a few days. Not too long after, I wrote a review on the game and I restarted blogging.

When the sequel Rise of the Tomb Raider came out three years later, I wrote a review on that game to celebrate my 3rd year as an English blogger. Before that, I had a Dutch blog for 2-ish years, so it was my 5 year blogging anniversary.

Last year, the final game in the trilogy came out. Shadow of the Tomb Raider. It was my favorite game of 2018. It was an amazing conclusion to the series and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for the next Tomb Raider games. It’s a real shame that there is no news on the future of the series. If you read a lot of other articles, the conclusion is that there is no sequel planned but that the series isn’t dead.

The Series

So far, I have been talking about how I grew up with the Tomb Raider series. While I haven’t talked about every game that I played, I have given a general overview of the series and events. The gist of it is that I gave the series a chance because it looked a lot like one of my childhood’s favorite games.

I’m glad that I gave the Tomb Raider series a chance since I have been enjoying the series quite a lot. Currently, I have almost every Tomb Raider game in my collection apart from two titles on the Game Boy. But, I’m hunting down those two games right after I have written this article.

The only game that I haven’t fully played is the Angel of Darkness. The 6th game that a lot of fans wish that doesn’t exist. Now, I have played the boardgame based upon that game, and I found it quite enjoyable. Did you know that there is a board game based upon Tomb Raider? I have one of them in my collection, I don’t have the board game based upon Legend.

I have also seen the Tomb Raider movies. I rented the two original movies and I saw the latest movie in theaters. The Cradle of Life I actually saw together with my mom. That was an amazing experience, since it’s a style of movie that my mom doesn’t enjoy.

Now, I might have a controversial opinion on the newest film. That film gets a ton of hate. If you read the reception portion on the linked Wikipedia article, you see that the audience found the movie quite mediocre. The issue is that it’s a sort of retelling of the first game while the second game was already out and the 3rd game was about to release.

Personally, I found the movie quite enjoyable. Yes, it’s not the best movie but still, I found a nice summer movie. It was also a film that used the whole Tomb Raider lore to its advantage and twisted the story of the game so much that it was somewhat thrilling to watch while having finished the game.

I could talk here for hours upon hours on my history with the series. But, I think that one thing is clear. The Tomb Raider series has quite a lot of amazing memories for me. From playing games to watching movies or playing the board game, the memories are quite nostalgic.

Since childhood I always loved series where people are searching for a treasure and having an amazing adventure. Series like Relic Hunter come to mind. Where the teacher Syndex Fox explored the world to find treasures. It was like a combination of Tomb Raider and Indiana Jones. A cross over of Indy and Lara is still one of my biggest dreams in the entertainment industry.

So yes, Lara Croft was a big influence in my life. But I think that’s quite clear if you read this article and/or read my other articles on the Tomb Raider series. But, before I keep rambling on, I think it’s high time that I close off this article.

Thank you so much for reading this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. I hope to be able to welcome you in another article on my blog but until then, have a great rest of your day and take care!


quests

Adventure Map! *FINISHING UP!*

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