Pocket Raider 4 - The Money Machine

Written by TAD

Icons and Role models

I've recieved a few emails concerning my previous moan about the Tomb-Raider games and none have defended the game itself. This is surprising when you consider that 16 MILLION (yeah, 16 MILLION) copies of this game have been sold. Someone is racking in the chink, chink stuff and so I feel that it's time that Core Design spent some of that to employ some more outspoken play testers rather than just slapping in a few new textures and re-selling it.

Most other games companies would be well pleased if only 1/2 a million games were sold, and considering the standard of many other low selling games I find it really strange that people still want to buy the TR games. I am missing something here? I can't all be about the vast size of her breasts, can it?

Or maybe it can. The artists at Core Design admitted that they had increased the number of pixels in this area of Laura's body. Remember all those shouts in the beginning about her being a good role model for female players? Somehow I think that that particular message has been lost in favour of more sales.

I don't agree with the old argument that girls don't like computers because they can't deal with technical things. It's a fact that females are more organized and able to juggle many things at the same time. There have been a few experiments to show that their memory for detail is vastly superior to men. Men tend to focus on a particular task and ignore everything else around them. ("What'd mean shave... I'm coding God damn it!!"). I would imagine that Core Design have few female designers and programmers. This is a shame because most areas are in need of fresh new approaches in terms of design and ideas.

Same engine, same problems

Where most other games and sequels have envolved the Tomb Raider series seemed locked in the past with the same old engine. When you consider the amount of extra processing power and wide audience of 3d-card owning gamers in the world there is no real excuse for sticking with the same engine. The excuse that the engine needs to run on a lower powered console is also false. Everyone knows that the Playstation is already long in the tooth and with the next generation of consoles coming close to the power of high end Pentiums there is absolutely no reason to continue with the same cube based engine.

Or perhaps there are...

Of course the Eidos and Core Design people would like to sit back and collect vast sums of money from all the marketing and spin-off products from the Laura Cash (sorry, Croft) money machine. The only real advantage from having a cube based engine is that you want write a platform style game, because the level editing is much easier with a cubes. Simply count N cubes across or N cubes down and you will know if your main character can make the jump or not.

The PC rules

Sorry to get all "patriotic" about the PC, but in terms of 3d engines and technology the PC leads the way. Take the Quake, Unreal and any flight simulator you want, then show me a similar game which is better on a console.

Not convinced?

Okay, modems. Now all the next-generation console are getting modems built into them. Something many PC have had for years. Then keyboards, now consoles are starting to get more add-ons like printers and keyboards. Again the PC was there first. The CD-ROM and DVD drives first appeared on the PC too. The old arguments about a console being cheaper and better graphically is simply not true anymore. After you've bought all the extras to turn your console into a PC-like kit, you've probably spent the same amount of money that a PC would have cost. Now try ungrading your console with a faster CPU or a new 3d chip... what'd mean... you can't?

It seems clear to me (even if everyone else will disagree) that the PC has been at the forefront of games development for many years. This wasn't always the case, remember CGA and EGA? Barf central. But recently with games like DOOM, Quake, Half-Life, Unreal etc. the world of on-line gaming has started to become a real possibility. Now huge communities of gamers, designers, artists, coders and level designers can come together to produce truly world-class productions.

This leads me back to Tomb Raider. Have you seen any add-ons for it? Any new monsters, new levels, new weapons? No? Why not? After all the game has literally been around for years and with 16 million players around there isn't a shortage of people. The only reason for this total lack of TR community must either be lack of interest (which is clearly untrue) or lack of flexibility and openness from Core Design and Eidos.

Closing Words

I find it very sad that some of the community spirit of most PC games (and the companies behind them) hasn't reached Core Design yet. I personally think it's about time that they gave their customers something back in return for their huge profits.

It's not like there are short of money or resources to implement a new game engine, is it?

Oh well, sorry about the rant-nature of this article but some companies are so focused on the software pirates ripped them off that they don't realise that they, themselves are ripping off the real customers with dull, lame sequels and bug-ridden software.

I hope some will try to put the "me" (the player) in the middle of the "entertainMEnt" instead of their inflated profits and crappy FMV sequences.

Happy gaming.


TAD #:o)