Thursday, July 29, 2010

Samus Croft

I was reading another article from Kotaku that expressed concerns about the upcoming Metroid, and it reminded me of a long-held sadness regarding the Tomb Raider series. When Tomb Raider and Mario 64 were introducing us to the world of 3D platformers, their approaches were very different. Mario 64 excelled in that Nintendo, breezy-and-addictive way, but Tomb Raider was an experience that immersed and affected me deeply.

It was the loneliness and silence that made Tomb Raider so great. These qualities made me feel like I was exploring untouched parts of the world deep within the earth, and only had my own wits and skill to get out of a situation. And Lara was a vulnerable character, that despite having confidence with guns, still got mauled by bears or wolves, and occasionally misread a jump only to fall horribly to her death, her body twisted at strange angles with no one in the world to see it. The net result made moments like the appearance of the Tyrannosaur or the pounding of your heartbeat in the alien ship that much more unnerving.

But then Tomb Raider 2 came out, and it seemed whichever hand most influenced the title was convinced that it was successful because Lara Croft was a dual-wielding sex bomb that murdered mercenaries by the thousands. The Tomb Raider experience was gone, and I'm not sure it ever came back. Hopefully, the new Metroid avoids this.

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