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Journal of No. 118

January 6th, 2009

The Society for Things that Remind One of Other Things @ 08:47 am

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I've been playing Tomb Raider: Underworld (so sue me), which takes Lara on a quest for Helheim. Coincidentally, Helheim is also mentioned in Robert E. Howard's story "The Grey God Passes", which I just read. It is a Howardian retelling of the Battle of Clontarf, which diminished the power of the Vikings over Ireland. It's not often one can say this when comparing REH to the work of someone else, but, of the two, Howard's story lays greater claim to historical accuracy.
While on the subject of Howard, we watched Mongol last night. It's a bio-pic about the early life of Genghis Khan (the first of a trilogy!). Beautiful and good, but not great. Watching the movie, it's hard for me not to think that there's a strange transmission that goes:

Genghis Khan the person --> Howard's Conan the character --> De Laurentiis/Milius' Conan the Barbarian --> Sergei Bodrov's Mongol

Obligatory Genghisism:
"The greatest happiness is to vanquish your enemies, to chase them before you, to rob them of their wealth, to see those dear to them bathed in tears, to clasp to your bosom their wives and daughters."
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(no subject) - (Anonymous)
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Date:January 6th, 2009 08:24 pm (UTC)
I think I downloaded the demo, but that's about as far as I got.

I know someone on the development team?...

Oh yeah, me and mersh go way back.

Just kidding!
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Date:January 6th, 2009 10:45 pm (UTC)
How are you liking Tomb Raider? I must admit I found it a bit frustrating. Couldn't see well even after turning up the brightness. I also got agitated at the way I was taught to grapple/pull stuff down which inevitably resulted in my pulling heavy objects down on myself, crushing my little perfectly formed body.

Uncharted is excellent, and I do recommend checking it out. I have a copy sitting on my desk right now if you'd like to try it.

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Date:January 6th, 2009 11:06 pm (UTC)
I haven't had much trouble seeing.

I like that there are fewer pointless fights. But something in the fighting seems off. Lara used to be able to jump around like a flea and blast away awesomely; I think the years and mileage have given her a little arthritis. I get one jump in, and then a spider is in my face going mano a manomanomanomano with me.

The most irritating thing though is Lara's tendency to leap stupidly to her own death. Suppose this androgynous child is Lara Croft:

Now if you press the joystick up, you go up the wall.
If you press the joystick down, you go down the wall.
If you press the joystick to the left, you climb along the wall, but suppose you're at a spot where there are no more handholds.
You press the joystick to the left and jump:

Maybe you jump along the wall, maybe you leap back onto the grass.

Rest assured, Lara will do whichever one is most fatal. She's an adrenaline junkie like that. Probably she's done the same in all incarnations, but it seems particularly bad this time around.

I have a copy sitting on my desk right now if you'd like to try it.

You are an enabler. Thanks! No hurries.
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Date:January 6th, 2009 11:09 pm (UTC)
I got carried away there. In summation, TR:U seems a trifle short, has a small number of very good puzzles, and is just good enough to be adequately entertaining.

Journal of No. 118