Game Diary: Tomb Raider (2013) Week 5

Welcome back to another week of Game Diary featuring the 2013 reboot of Tomb Raider. This time around we infiltrated the base of the Solarii and ended on a big climactic note that I’m really excited about showing. This week I went through the Cavern Entrance, Geothermal Caverns, and the Solarii Fortress. A lot happened in these sections to progress the story, and it feels like we’re really building up steam towards the finale.

Cavern Entrance Recap

As Lara enters the cavern, she can hear voices deeper within. She automatically pulls out her bow in preparation for whatever is waiting inside. Very shortly in, Lara finds a large group of Solarii soldiers standing before Mathias. Looking further in, Lara sees Sam tied to a stake in the middle of a pile of hay. Mathias riles up the crowd stating that Sam is the one they’ve waited for and that she is the answer to their freedom. As one of the soldiers comes with a torch to light the hay, Lara pulls her bow and shoots him. She is immediately overran by several soldiers who beat her, but Mathias calls them off before they kill her. The soldiers strip Lara of her weapons and drag her to Mathias. He tells Lara that he understands the need to fight and kill to survive, but he’s been doing it much longer than she has. Lara apologizes to Sam and tells her to focus on her as Mathias lights the hay. Suddenly a strong gust of wind blows the fire out, and Mathias exclaims that this is a sign that Sam is the chosen one. They begin to untie Sam, and Mathias tells Lara that her fight is over before she is carried off. As Lara is being dragged across a natural bridge in the cave, she attacks the men holding her, grabs her bow off of one of them, then jumps off into a large pool of blood below. The soldiers above believe she is dead, but decide they will go down anyway to look.

“I’ve just been doing this a lot longer”

Cavern Entrance Thoughts

Based on the name of the section, I kind of assumed it would be a short one. I did get a little bit worried when they lit the hay around Sam, but I expected Roth or Grim to burst in to save them. The fact that they took Lara’s weapons and I was left with a bow was no issue for me since it was already my favorite weapon to use. I do have to give a lot of respect for Lara though in doing whatever she has to in order to survive, even jumping into a pool of possibly diseased blood. Eugh.

Mathias can be a very creepy man

Geothermal Caverns Recap

After getting out of the pool of blood, Lara finds a cavern path upward blocked off with a poisonous yellow gas. Lara notes that this gas is likely flammable prodding the player to shoot a fire arrow at it to blow away the gas to pass through. Just beyond this gas is a new campfire to stay at. At the campfire there is a journal from one of the Solarii that notes how new members are thrown into a makeshift prison and forced to survive on their own going potentially weeks without food. The idea behind this was meant to remove the humanity from new members so that they can perform inhumane actions.

I feel like I’d rather try to survive on my own

Shortly after, Lara finds that she is in this very same makeshift prison as she witnesses someone being thrown in, only to be immediately attacked by a group of cannibalistic lunatics and killed immediately. Making her way down below, Lara may be attacked by some lunatics if she sticks around too long or chooses to explore further. Near the exit door is a valve that can be broken off to force it to spew out more flammable gas to blow off the jail door.

Hey! I found Golum!

Continuing further on, two groups of Solarii soldiers will begin to come down to search for Lara. At this point you can either take them on directly or sneak around and take them out stealthily. One of the groups is also standing near some yellow gas so you can shoot a fire arrow at it to blow them all up at once.

This moment made me feel cool

Afterward, Lara will come to a large chamber where several Solarii are worshiping some sort of totem. After defeating them or sneaking past, there is a short puzzle involving using a gas explosion to launch a metal cage into another locked door which spurs on a cave in. After a very short escape sequence, you’ll finally find the crew. Alex, Reyes, and Jonah are in a hanging cage above, but Whitman isn’t with them. After solving a couple of explosion puzzles, you get their cage to swing towards the exit, but the bottom of the cavern also drops out revealing a pool of magma below and the cavern continues to fall apart.

Boom?

After the crew is free, Lara tells them she’s going into the palace to look for Sam and Whitman. She climbs through a tunnel above leading up into the palace which is currently on fire and blowing up in several places leading to the Solarii Fortress.

Time to leave!

Geothermal Caverns Thoughts

The stealth portions of this section were especially fun as it took me back to the same feeling of the beginning of the game when I was only armed with a bow. I noticed in the room with the large amount of Solarii around the totem that there was a cloud of flammable gas near the idol, but I failed to light it without getting caught. After the ensuing fight I lit it and it burned the idol slowly, though I don’t know what effect it may have had before the fight. I also found a letter that Reyes had written for her daughter, though I don’t know how she intended to deliver it to her considering the subject of the letter seemed it was meant if Reyes never made it off the island.

I’m still not sure why she never told either of them

Solarii Fortress Recap

As Lara climbs into the palace, everything is on fire from the geothermal explosions below. Lara runs through the corridors and eventually out and on the rooftops of the palace. While she runs, several Solarii soldiers are seen running away and being crushed or burned or blown up. Lara comes to a room full of Mathias’ notes and pictures about Himiko and the rituals involved in her ascension.

“No one leaves”

As Lara climbs onto the roof she must fight her way through a couple of people to make it to the center of the palace where she finds Dr. Whitman. He explains to her that he made it clear to the Solarii that he wasn’t a threat so they let him wander freely. He excitedly tells Lara that the Solarii are an anthropological marvel, but Lara doesn’t want to hear it and tells Whitman to watch their escape route as she goes in to find Sam. When she finds Sam, she is being held by two Solarii who happen to be the ones who beat Lara at the cavern entrance, and Mathias is attempting to convince her that logic doesn’t apply on this island and she must do what he tells her if they want to get off the island. After Mathias and one of the two men leave, Lara shoots the remaining soldier, frees Sam, and gets her weapons back. As they start to head back, Whitman is dragged around the corner by a Solarii soldier and he shouts that it’s a trap. Lara tells Sam to run ahead while she fights off the ambush.

Armed once again

After fighting her way through the ambush, Lara is besieged by a man on a mounted machine gun. She must quickly make her way from one piece of cover to the next without staying too long or the cover will be blown away by the machine gun. Once Lara makes it up to him, she jumps on top of the gun and attempts to shoot the attacker with the machine gun herself, but he shoves her off the roof. He switches to a pistol to finish her off, but Lara finds a grenade launcher on the ground and promptly uses it to fire a grenade up and blowing the attacker up. Lara immediately wraps the grenade launcher up onto her rifle giving her rifle a permanent grenade launcher attachment.

“N00b Tube!”

After fighting through several enemies with the grenade launcher, Lara comes across another mounted machine gun along with a spotlight and once again has to run from cover to cover to get close enough to use her grenade launcher to blow them up and advance back down to Sam once again.

Lara is becoming more and more of an action hero

Lara tells Sam to head for the helicopter but not to take off for fear of the storms striking them down. Lara looks for another way out, but as she climbs into a tower full of flammables, a Solarii soldier spots her and throws in a grenade. This begins an escape sequence as the palace falls apart around Lara.

One of the best escape sequences yet

As Lara climbs to a tall rooftop, she attempts to call Roth over the radio, and he responds saying he’s there as a helicopter flies up in front of Lara. Roth tries to coax Lara to jump to him, and at first she falls to a lower floor, but on the second attempt he catches her and pulls her up. As they fly off, Lara tells the pilot that they need to land as the rest of the crew is on the ground and he refuses to given the storm. Lara takes Roth’s gun and holds it up to the pilot and demands that he lands. Before he’s able to, lighting strikes the helicopter and it crashes to the ground. Roth wakes and finds Lara unconscious, and administers CPR to revive her. She wakes, but is still weary and more Solarii are coming. Roth holds Lara in one arm and begins shooting the Solarii with the other. Then Mathias comes with a throwing axe, and Roth realizes he is out of ammo. Making a last minute decision, he turns in time to take the axe to the back without it hitting Lara. He drops Lara and pulls out a second pistol and shoots the remaining Solarii before falling to the ground. He tells Lara that she can survive without him because she’s a Croft. Roth then dies, and the crew members all come to find him there. They hold a funeral pyre for Roth, and Reyes decides she’s going to fix up one of the crashed ships to get off the island, but Lara and the rest of the crew agree that it’ll take more than that to escape.

I named this video “Sacrifice and Loss”

Solarii Fortress Thoughts

This section was definitely ramping up in the action and excitement and I was really excited to get the grenade launcher and plan to make use of it a lot through the rest of the game. It seemed almost like it had a lot of finality to it, but I know all to well that there’s still a good amount of time left in this game, and Mathias is still out there.

I was really caught off guard by Roth’s death, and it was very emotional. Especially knowing that he never got to meet his daughter and I know that it really affects Reyes because of that. But I’m really looking forward to how they can ramp it up even more than they already have.

Final Thoughts

We’re definitely building up to a big climax here, as the action has really built up and so has the atmosphere. I’m thinking at this point that Reyes ship will actually get them off the island, but not until some other loose ends are dealt with. And I look forward to a big final standoff with Mathias. I’m also very weary of Dr. Whitman who has appeared as very sketchy from the very beginning and I simply don’t trust him.

Next session I’ll be playing through the Summit Forest, Shipwreck Beach, and the Cliffside Bunker. If you want to play along, you can purchase the game here on Humble Bundle where a portion of your payment goes to charity and another portion helps support me.

If you have a suggestion for another game you’d like to see done in the Game Diary, please comment your suggestions below. I may or may not accept all requests, but the game you suggest could be my next. The general rules are as follows:

  • The game cannot be too long
  • The game must have a clear ending
  • The game must have intrigue beyond gameplay (i.e. Match 3 games won’t work out)
  • It must be a game I’ve never played before (No real way to tell without suggesting it first though!)

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