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Sprite Machine

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  1. Something about the box art annoys me. Ryo's and Shenua's face are lit from different directions, and the light on Ryo's face is coming from the opposite direction of the actual torch next to them. Hopefully this will be the full extent of my concerns about the game!
  2. I've got a meagre GTX660Ti so I hope it's not too demanding! I meet the min specs, just about. I don't mind locking it to 30fps if I have to.
  3. Bah, FINE! I've bought Shenmue I&II*. I'll play them next. *(£7.49 for the next week)
  4. The final level is mercifully short, as I must admit I am beginning to grow weary of the game. After dispatching some more spear guards and knife-throwing Bartoli goons, I enter the dragon's lair itself. Marco Bartoli is lying on a slab in the middle of the massive chamber, and as I approach, he transforms into the gigantic golden dragon. It's the final fight! I'm sure this beast was a formidable opponent during ancient Chinese battles against men with spears, but up against modern military-grade munitions, he ain't much cop. After some failed attempts where I'm stamped on unpleasantly, three hundred uzi bullets finally put the dragon down and I grab the dagger from its chest, melting its skin and leaving a bare dragon skeleton behind. The escape route tunnel is punctuated by falling debris but it doesn't hit me, then a flashy FMV of Lara's escape, in which a big chunk of the Great Wall explodes, caps everything off. BUT WAIT! There's more. One final level, an epilogue. Lara, getting ready for bed, is roused by the mansion's alarms. Bartoli's goons are back for revenge, their unmistakable vans parked outside. I have only a few seconds to get the shotgun out of the gun cupboard next to the bed and then take out every man and dog that dares to enter my domain! This is another quick level, though I wander around the darkened mansion for a while, wondering where the last dudes are. The fella with the big guns arrives last, while I'm on the front driveway, and I blow him away to finish the level and complete the game. Lara shoots the 'camera' before stepping into the shower, implying the camera was an enemy following her around all along... or something? The credits music is darned catchy. So... that's Tomb Raider 2. It is better than the first one? Overall, I'd have to say "no". It has some technical improvements, control and graphics improvements, and some really nice ideas - but it rarely feels like it lives up to its premise of being a "Tomb Raider" game. The variety of locations is good, it still manages to play a very precise game of platforming and solving navigational puzzles, and it's still got bags of atmosphere (mostly due to its use of redbook audio). Alas, it's too action-heavy in my opinion. Too many gun-toting bad guys, not enough awe and wonder and gloomy silence. Also some of the levels just go on for far too long. Still, it's been a trip down memory lane. Notable (and mostly welcome) functionality changes in Tomb Raider 2: - Save anywhere (in all versions) - Sky box support / outdoor locations - Occasional vehicles (speedboat and snowmobile) - Occasional zip-lines (only two or three in the whole game!) - Small 'buttons' in addition to the normal gigantic mechanical levers - Ladders and climbable walls - Shallow water and wading - Roll button now flips you while jumping, and turns you around quickly underwater - Flares / enhanced lighting - Three additional weapons - 'Smoothed out' character model and new hair braid (with physics!) - New voice actress (posher!) - Three secrets per level and rewards only for finding all three
  5. Interesting! Sonic 2 sprites, S&K mini-boss music, incomplete zones, messed up bonus stages and the special stage seems to exist only as a weird tech demo!
  6. Through the portal and into... another dimension? This is weird. Floating Islands is an odd level, consisting of platforms suspended in midair within a dark void of nothingness. There's some Chinese architecture and buildings but it's an abstract location that feels like some modders built it out of bits and pieces of other levels. The main enemies in this stage are green statues that come to life, fly towards you and then try to spear you to death. They take excessive amounts of ammunition to put down and they're a pain in the arse when you're locked in a room with them - not so bad when they're far away. I don't think I've ever died so many times in one level - mostly from falling.
  7. More like spraying piss.
  8. Max Richter - On the Nature of Daylight (as used in the movie 'Arrival'):
  9. Why was he playing the 2016 trailer?
  10. Wasn't Attack of the Clones and/or Revenge of the Sith actually shot digitally in 1080p? How are there 4k versions of these films?
  11. Now with even more changes! https://www.filmstories.co.uk/news/disney-viewers-report-more-changes-to-star-wars-4k-versions/
  12. He's still too lanky and furry, but it's loads better.
  13. The Temple of Xian opens with a long corridor leading towards the altar where the dagger was kept - the location from the game's opening FMV. It's one big troll moment, though, as the floor drops as you approach the altar and sends you down and through one of the toughest levels in the game - a labyrinth of traps and monsters. This is still the Great Wall of China, right? Somehow, this elaborate area has managed to remain hidden from civilization. There's a waterfall, a lake, an underwater cave system and a hidden temple filled with rows of inanimate armoured figures. Plus the usual tigers and birds, but no men. Oh, and there's a very dark spider's lair filled with massive giant fucking spiders, so that's nice. At least there are no mummies. While not as scary a level as TR1's Atlantis, the background ambience is rather ominous in its own right - predominantly hollow winds and low growling noises reminiscent of a sleeping dragon. It's spooky. The most dangerous part of this level is the ladders! The level ends with an in-game cutscene, showing Marco Bartoli plunging the Dagger of Xian into his own chest while his troupe perform a chanting ritual around him and then carry away his 'dead' body. Lara follows them through a large doorway, a portal into... somewhere else entirely.
  14. The next two levels are a little shorter and I suspect they were originally one big level that had to be cut into two. Catacombs of the Talion is first, and when I reached the end of it, I thought I'd missed loads of things because there's a rope bridge above the main temple entrance that I couldn't reach, and a giant melting pot above a frozen pond that I didn't manage to tip over and melt the ice. These were things I was sure I remembered doing before, and it's only when I got to the same place in the next level (Ice Palace) that it made sense. I don't actually know what would have happened if I fell off the rope bridge before melting the ice - I assume it's possible to get back up, but I didn't dare try. This is the second time that Tomb Raider has brought the player back to a previous area in a new level (the first was an Egypt level in Tomb Raider 1). Catacombs of the Talion introduces a new enemy, the yetis, and features the scariest room in the game - a completely dark room filled with the screaming, growling monsters. Fortunately, they're all in cages and can't reach you at first, but you don't realise that when you enter the room and fumble around in the dark, throwing flares every which way and keeping your guns drawn. The yetis are actually not that difficult to beat, just very agile, but it's the noises they make that terrify me. Plenty of grenades lying around in this level, so I make use of them, blowing up yetis, leopards and armed goons. Ice Palace introduces bizarre spring platforms that launch you into the air. Ever since playing this game twenty years ago, I've mentally pictured myself suddenly springing hundreds of feet up into the air whenever I walk over a square cover on a pavement. Just because of this bloody game! There are bells that activate doors when shot at, a giant gong in the main palace at the end, more yetis in cages, more leopards, and finally a rather large boss. I had completely forgotten that there even was a boss at the end of this level. It's like a big metal muscly bird thing. Fortunately, my stocks of med packs are good, and my ammo isn't too bad. After beating the Ice Palace boss, I'm treated to another FMV. Lara makes her escape from Bartoli and his goons in a jeep and then drives back to the Great Wall. Using the Talion, she opens the sealed Temple of Xian and enters...
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