Tomb Raider: Savagery, legacy, and survival

Tomb Raider

On the island of Yamatai, everything can be conquered with fire. Really unrealistic fire.

March’s reboot of the long-running Tomb Raider video game series takes Lara Croft back to the beginning — to her first real adventure. She’s young and pampered, but she loves archeology. She convinces the team aboard the Endurance to brave the Dragon’s Triangle, where she believes the hidden island of Yamatai is located. Then their ship crashes in a curiously violent storm and, well, welcome to the jungle.

The whole point of the game is to show how Lara transforms from naive girl to hardened survivor. She takes the life of a man to save her own, hunts wild animals for food, and fends off wolves. She overcomes her fears and kicks a lot of ass.

Tomb Raider is also a game in love with fire. Lara lights torches, huddles around campfires, burns salvage and blockades, shoots flaming arrows, explodes oil barrels, and so on. It’s a foolproof solution to almost every problem and scenario, and it burns neatly, igniting only what it’s supposed to before putting itself out.

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A little T&R!

Midnight update!

Whoa, it’s been busy around here. I’ll have another fancy book cover for you tomorrow, and another comic book pick soon. But I wanted to take a second and share a piece I’ve been working on for what feels like ages. It took awhile to put this editorial together because of the interviews, but two wonderful volunteers stepped up and helped put a lock on this thing when no one else could (or would).

Maybe you’ve heard of Tomb Raider—the video games, the movies, the comics, etc. Or maybe you’ve always favored Indiana Jones and want to know more about his legacy and the characters he’s inspired. Then again, you could have a burning crush on Nathan Drake of Uncharted. Whatever your preference, kindly take a moment to read my first submission for GamesBeat, the gaming division of VentureBeat. You might just learn something about your favorite characters.

And thanks so much to Hal Barwood and Stellalune (who mentioned me on her site’s blog, Twitter, Facebook, and elsewhere) for lending their voices to the article. It wouldn’t have been half as good to read without their input.

I hope you enjoy, and let me know what you think!

Reading the game: who else loves Uncharted?

Recently I finished playing Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception (see my review). I adore the series and will be sad to see it go as Naughty Dog continues work on The Last of Us for Sony. At least there’s Golden Abyss for the PlayStation Vita, so whenever I can afford the handheld (money, as they say, does not grow on trees, Sony), I’ll knock that off my list first.

Below are four great books for my fellow Uncharted lovers. Have you read any of these?

Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth by Christopher Golden
Publisher:
Del Rey
Paperback:
336 pages
Publication Date:
October 4, 2011

After his old archeologist friend is found murdered in Manhattan, Sully convinces Drake to globe-trot from New York to Egypt and Greece in search of three lost labyrinths—and a fourth that promises power and riches, of course.

I looked up Chris Golden, and while he’s not a popular author, his books have solid ratings across the board. All four stars and up on Amazon. The most reviews came from Of Saints and Shadows and the Body of Evidence thriller series (from 1999 and out of print). Video game stories rarely translate well across mediums, so I doubt this is written extraordinarily well, but since Uncharted structures its narratives more like movies … well, who knows. Might be decent.

The Art of Uncharted 2: Among Thieves by Daniel P. Wade
Publisher: Ballistic Publishing
Paperback: 272 pages
Publication Date: July 1, 2010

This one’s self-explanatory: It’s an art book, a complement to the video game Uncharted 2. Inside is concept art for the characters, environments, cinematics, etc. Amazon lists it for a pricey $45. The editor, Daniel P. Wade, has overseen production on other art books, such as The Art of God of War III.

Uncharted by Joshua Williamson (writer) and Sergio Sandoval (artist)
Publisher: DC Comics
Paperback: 144 pages
Publication Date: July 17, 2012

You’ll have to wait awhile for the collected version of the UNCHARTED comic book series from DC Comics. Amazon mistakenly names Tony Harris as the illustrator—he’s only the cover artist. Sergio Sandoval (HUMAN TARGET, DEUS EX) provided the interior artwork for the book, with Joshua Williamson (XENOHOLICS, DEAR DRACULA) writing. Six issues are contained in the trade, and the two reviews I could find (both on IGN) gave the comic moderately high scores.

UNCHARTED: Drake’s Journal – Inside the Making of UNCHARTED 3: DRAKE’S DECEPTION by Nolan North
Publisher: GameSpheres
Paperback: 128 pages
Publication Date: November 1, 2011

Nolan North (aka Nathan Drake) is one of my all-time favorite voice actors, and a lot of other people like him, too. So it was disappointing to learn that his own account on working on the video game series, a book entitled UNCHARTED: Drake’s Journal, is no longer in print.

According to the publisher’s website, only 500 first edition, signed hardback copies of the book were distributed. The only way to get a new copy is to buy the iPhone/iPad app for $4 … but of course, it’s not one of the signed and numbered few. Neither are the ones GameSpheres is selling on Amazon in “new” condition. The cheapest ones (from the exclusive 500 shipment) are available used for $70. Sigh. WANT.

Also, the back cover features joke pull quotes from the game’s cast, and they’re hilarious and true to character:

“This is the best goddamn book out there. I keep mine by the toilet.” – Victor Sullivan

“It’s not a proper book. It’s full of pictures.” – Charlie Cutter

“What’s wrong with pictures? I like pictures.” – Chloe Frazer

“Who the hell is Nolan North?” – Nathan Drake