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About dr.willard

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  1. Thanks to george_croft for providing the information. Translation: 2007 might have been the year of Drake and Altair, but 2008 is Lara’s year. Level 21 is the first Nordic magazine to unveil Tomb Raider Underworld – and we’re very proud of it. Lara Croft looks bloodthirsty. She squints, lower her eyebrows, she’s so fierce her own jaw starts to shake. She attacks, with two powerful steps and basically throws herself and does two flips in mid-air – this scene is without a doubt inspired by the unveiling of Lara from the 1996 debut game. Crystal dynamics are not like other game developers, they have to work hard keeping the franchise fresh and interesting while trying to keep this iconic game franchise close to its roots. While doing her flips, Lara pulls out her loaded dual guns and manages to fire them five times within two seconds. A dying animal lies right in front of her on the ground; it certainly didn’t get its prey this time. Tomb Raider Underworld is not your regular game, and it does not have a predictable story, even if Lara has been through 7 adventures (+the 2007 remake “Anniversary”) This interview did not take place in the game developers head quarters; we had to go all the way to Merida, Mexico (this is where the unveiling of TRU took place). Why the game is being called Underworld was unclear to us – Until we got to see the game…..it really does live up to its name! The new Lara croft has kept her naturally beautiful physique from Legend, but her image is much darker. She’s got a hint of black eyeliner, a fierce look in her eyes, and reminds us of Lara from The angel of darkness (the game that practically ruined the franchise just about 4 years ago). What we’re showcasing today is definitively a lot darker compared to Legend. When you’ll play the game, and get to understand how big of a turn the storyline will take, you’ll understand why Lara has got a darker look. She’s going to go through something tragic , and we wanted that to show off in her image – Rob Pavey, head programmer. When we first got a glimpse of the new Lara, the camera was circulation around her showing off her new style and the way the water drops ran down her body. When he later lets her climb a stone monument you can see the mud from the ground on her skin, clothes and boots. Even if details like that are just part of the “next gen” development, it still contributes to the atmosphere and makes the adventure a lot more realistic. Detail is one of the keywords when developing TRU - Eric Lindstrom. The team wants to really get into ever single detail of the game rather than making a light-hearted adventure. During the development of the game we constantly asked ourselves: “What could Lara do?” (WCLD). The Tomb raider fans already have a certain idea of how Lara is, for example, she can swing on a pole like an Olympic gymnast, therefore she should be able to balance on the pole as well. And if she’s balancing on the pole, doing nothing with her hand, why can’t she take out her guns and fight while doing it? We thought about these things, and these are things the gamers expect from Lara but never really got a chance to do it in-game. And we’ve certainly improved the game on that point, we’ve removed all those rules and boundaries games have. Lara can just about do anything you want her to do! Two minutes after the gameplay demo has started, Lara gets attacked by two huge panthers. Lara jumps, takes turns and does everything in her powers to kill the two cats without getting eaten. She looks like a deadly ballerina jumping and spinning around while shooting the two animals at the same time using dual aiming. The huge auto-aiming-circles floating around in midair kind of kill the atmosphere and realism about the fight, but her moves are still very impressive. Unlike many other game developers, Crystal are using “motion capturing”, this makes Lara’s moves amazingly fluid and watching her doing her moves is like watching a real life Lara doing it. Polygons are not enough; this is the future of gaming! It’s not all about making things look more realistic and atmospheric, it’s about emotions and making the gamers really feel this game – Eric Lindstrom The Tomb Raider games have always been about exploring, and “exploration” is probably the most important keyword for TRU. We want to make the gamers feel like they are the first ones who explore these untouched places. The pouring rain doesn’t just fill this level with atmosphere, but it affects the gameplay, Lara can as an example slip while climbing a ledge. Lara moves slowly, coming out of the jungle when she sees the H U G E maya-temple. The rain is pouring while thunder and lightning lights up the sky atmospherically while showing off the inscription filled walls of the temple. There’s a huge area behind the temple, where the Mayans played some sort of violent and cruel ballgame. See how the water is pouring down the middle of the area? That’s because there’s a hole in the ground! – Eric Lindstrom. Lara steps on the fragile hole in the ground, but realizes she needs something very heavy to break it. There’s a huge stone above the area, and it’s practically impossible for Lara to get it down. A new addition to TRU is the improved grapple, it can attach to any kind of material. The team has worked hard on making the areas as interactive as possible, and with TRU players will be able to interact with the environments more than ever. Lara throws away her grapple, making the huge stone above her fall to the ground breaking the fragile area. Lara starts climbing down to the Underworld, she’s able to use any kind of decoration that stands out, for climbing (only a few of them visible). Her movements while climbing the walls look life-like and remind us of the way Altair climbs in Assassins Creed. She finishes it off with a parkour-ish kind of jump off the wall. After the advanced climbing, Lara finally finds the golden skull she’s been looking for. She climbs out again and runs through the temple ruins back into the jungle; we start to sense the demo is almost over. This is where Crystal Dynamics got to show what she’s really there for. Lara turns around facing an amazingly huge area with stone pillars and altars surrounding it. She climbs up one of the altars and starts moving around rings around the area, that from the high point Lara is at, looks like an ancient calendar. The Mayans invented a lot including the calendar, but their year had 360 days. Beside those days, there’s five days dedicated to the dead. During these five days the door to the kingdom of death opened up and people could walk in and out. After some working on the calendar, Lara notices that the ground starts to shake beneath her. The large stone monument in the middle starts spinning around, and all the plants around it get destroyed. A staircase to the underworld is unveiled far beneath Lara (who’s climbed up on a huge altar). She looks down and realizes that a jump like that would kill her…….Lara starts to hear ticking, the opening it timed. She needs to act fast. Lara turns around and heads towards her futuristic looking motorcycle in the jungle. The monuments starts spinning again, and the opening is about to close. Lara gets on the bike and starts driving towards the opening, she gets through it in the last second holding the edge. Lara falls into the underworld and the ground closes. Tomb Raider Legend was a huge hit recovering the franchise, and Toby Gard got a lot of credit for Lara’s new appearance. Is he still a part of the team? He’s still a part of the team, but he’s not as involved as he was in Legend and Anniversary. He’s the one directing the cutscenes of TRU, but he also worked on some parts of the storyline with us. 2007 has been an amazing year for the adventure genre. Assassins Creed and Uncharted were both amazing games that really impressed the players. What do you think of these new competitors? Plagiarism is probably the finest form of flattering, isn’t it? Haha, nah, joking we’re just happy to see more games of this kind are getting popular again. But bear in mind that Uncharted is very different from Tomb Raider. They make action games with a kind of cartoony comic book-ish feel to it, while we’re making a game that’s far more detailed and realistic. Uncharted is so different from TR, that its even kind of hard for us to compare them. The only thing that it might have in common with TR is the jungle and temple environments – and that is just a shallow likeness to TR. Uncharted is practically Gears Of War taking place the jungle, while Tomb Raider is far from that. I’ve heard people comparing Assasins Creed to TR, and I’ve personally haven’t gotten the chance to play it yet but I’ve heard from others that the environments are not interactive as they promised. Most modern games are getting a lot bigger and not as linear as before. They let the players chose their own path and make their own gaming experience. But the TR games are still rather linear. Have you thought about changing this or do you intend to leave things as they are? We’ve thought a lot about it, and its possibly something we’ll take advantage of for coming TR games. But there are some things that are essential for a TR game that just wouldn’t work out in such environments. We’d like to work on making one amazing TR experience, rather than making something that just isn’t living up to people expectations when playing it. But we’ve found a great balance of both linearity and free roaming for TRU, giving the player huge environments with lots of opportunity while still forcing them to experience every bit of it to the fullest. The Tomb Raider franchise is still a very popular one. Legend sold about 2 million copies within the first month. But during the release people were questioning Lara, and wondering if she still has something give. What do you have to say about that? Lara Croft is an amazingly strong character, and the gaming world is lacking characters like her at the moment not to mention female ones. Lara has something the rest of them lack, she’s still unique and she’s still got a lot to give, Lara has changed through the years. We want to show off this re-birth of the TR franchise, and I can promise you that Tomb Raider Underworld is going to make other game developers cry with envy.
  2. Your very welcome. Now the guys over at www.tombraiderboard.com have been doing some translating for us. Here's the full article in English. It's a stormy night, the kind you don't ever forget. The rain is pouring heavily on the vegetation, giving it an alien form appearance. Deafening thunder growls and the ground is electrified with lightning bolts. The sky is low and billowing clouds are oppressive. The uninterrupted lightning shafts illuminating the unreal landscape. In this apocalyptic scene there is a shadow, she is alone, immobile like an ancient statue defying the wrath of gods. Within the flashes she appears, perfectly formed body, so natural and a familiar grace.The unbearable sound of the flood has no effect on her. Time has stopped. The path, edged by tropical foliage, leads to distant skyline full of fears and promises. First moves leave no doubt in your mind, that silhouette is familiar. Coming out of the darkness, at last she rises from purgatory. Long is the road to redemption, longer the road to rebirth. She is firmly decided not to leave anything to chance. There will be no room for errors... not this time! At glance she has all that is needed to succeed. High boots, close-fitting shorts, twin colts on lavish hips and braid gently swaying in the breeze, there she is; The legend is back. Lara quickly, down there a raging fight takes place. A gang of armed men are fighting gigantic panthers. Auto-aim locked on targets, rolling, tumbling and jumps of all kinds, dodging and precision shooting in a blink of an eye, we are in known terrain. If Lara's close combat abilities have never been her strength, what we have seen sadly has not changed in this new brew. Dissociate aiming was not bad and environment interactivity might make a difference but we must admit we are not there in FPS genre. Even if we can grab pieces of environment to shove in enemies faces, all this serves only one purpose. Clear and secure the zone to get into more serious business. In front of us, in this apocalyptic atmosphere, a vision from another time emerges from the tropical forest. Welcome to Tomb Raider world, welcome to the Mayan ruins, filled with mysteries and treasures. It's as if it has appeared from nowhere, stones and millennium columns create a noble atmosphere seemingly inaccessible. Lara takes care of it as the accomplished acrobat that she is. Almost everything is now possible, and the variety of animations leave you speechless. Awesome how she jumps and grabs swiftly in the scenery. She jumps, climbs and grab like never before, shooting at annoying critters and beasts at the same time. That's new business in the tomb kingdom, and we've seen it for sure. From the highest temple terrace, Lara pauses. She methodically scrutinizes the safest path to her goal. Something has changed in her. She has become more mature, more tempered. Her fine traits mirror her behavior. Her face is harder and older. Her eyes speak the knowledge of her 30 years, but her charms and appeal make us drool in pleasure. Looking down into the pit she see with horror the pouring rain has doubled. She take advantage of the showering rain to clean herself of the mud covering her graceful body from the previous escalate. From there, she can see the water running along the massive stone walls toward an enormous slab on the ground. We have never seen such a mastered control of water in the history of virtual rain. Absolutely fabulous. Moreover, it leads us to believe that the water goes down under the slab, there must be something beneath it. In front of us there is a large block in equilibrium, just a little higher than us. The move is as easy as logical. The new grapple can be thrown in a manner similar to a pneumatic crossbow. Anchored in the facing wall, the bar acts as a lever on the rock, and after a few moves most admirably animated, the rock tips and falls down to the ground below, cracking open the slab. A deep abyss populated by roots, vines and cryptic creatures blossom before our eyes. The beauty won't fail to hook you. The darkness of the pit is oppressive, The flashlight pinned to her shoulder barely overcomes the pitch black area. Heavy silence is only disturbed by the sound of rain drops and swarming of creatures startled by the sudden pallid light. Progress is perilous and stones slippery. After a missed jump, our adventurer must quickly grab a ledge, her hand slips on the viscous mosses and she escapes the lethal fall by chance. At the bottom there is a dim flash of supernatural lighting in a wall cavity. The artifact is there, lying on the ground. The returning path is easier and coming out of the tunnel we realize the weather has calmed. Access to the platform at this height is easier now that the rain has stopped. The complex mechanism that is now revealed in front of Lara looks like a Zodiac wheel pivoting on three levels. Once the artefact is inserted into the plinth, we try to align what looks like planets. In Mayan ruins, the sun eclipse should be something nice. Indeed! An awesome vision of huge columns emerging from the ground and a gigantic stone serpent appears throwing inferno like flames from it's mouth. Beneath it, a staircase open toward the temple depths. No time to lose, the mechanisms ticking sounds like a timed clock. Since we have previously came here, we parked the motorcycle a short sprint away. Full speed to the target, avoiding stones and making insane jumps, we criss cross toward the closing entrance. Our halt is violent and skiding limited, we must stop centimeters from a pit full of lethal spikes. The Mayas treasure is not far but the traps awaiting Lara Croft are numerous and more deadly than ever. Lara is as beautiful as ever. Environments are awesome and delightful. These could become a reference for future level design. Cut scenes and animation wonderfully worked. Climatics and lighting stunningly mastered, carefully designed puzzles comfort us, the new opus will be the blockbuster of the year. We have been seduced by what we have seen but it is still too early to tell more at this time. Lara seems coming back through the great door. Game world has been reworked a lot, particularly enemies. If up until now we have only seen panthers, and not very wise henchmen, the presence of enemies is confirmed. We have even had a glimpse of bosses (still at a very early stage of design though). It seems a mythological slant is in store. Impressive monsters, similar to God of War in aspect, and others more Science Fiction like might well be seen. Epic combats intertwined with puzzles solving simultaneously... New frontiers. All sites visited in this episodes are new ones. The story takes place in modern times in Australia, Easter Island, Vatican City and Rome. Also Mesopotamia and Golden Triangle might be involved. Many underwater levels await. .THE MANOR Substantially reworked, the manor will once more be the training level. It has also been said that a big R&D room in true James Bond style will be created, with vehicles and gadgets in it. One of the big secrets of this new Tomb Raider episode lies in essence of the fact that developers have bet all they had on the total cohesion between environment and progression. It all seems designed as if the scenery leads the gamer toward logical actions. Challenges and puzzles are high level. Study the scenes, think what the architecture offers as possibilities. This all seems straight forward but in fact, we will have to use our brains. Mechanisms are complex and bizarre, and we will have to go to and fro in some places, to access most arduous passage ways. To accomplish this motorized vehicles will be a part of the solution. Good news for those in a hurry, Lara can now run in sprint mode. Indeed she can run like a hare to accomplish the most vertiginous jumps. At the same time, worry about the use of her new capacities. Objects found in the area can be inserted in some parts of the scenery too. For example: Lara can grab hold of a spear on the ground and insert it in a hole in the wall to use as a pole. For those skeptics, and so that everyone can finish the game, a help system will be implemented to avoid useless frustration and desperation for some players. The game will probably not be released before the end of 2008 and it's still a work in progress. The engine is finely tuned and nextgen features promise intense and sumptuous adventure. Source Thanks to Gaetano for the translation.
  3. Eidos have not confirmed the logo to be official; however, it is a part of the official Tomb Raider: Underworld site http://www.tombraider.com/images/underworld_logo.jpg I quite like the change. It's not 'in your face' unlike previous games. For instance Legend had the enormous letters with all these effects. It was slapped in your face really. Now this one you can sit back and marvel at. I would be quite interested to see what other title designs Eidos have. As I know they have quite a selection to choose from. Nevertheless, I can't say I would be upset to see this as the logo.
  4. A big big thank you to Aurelien52 from www.tombraiderforums.com for these scans.
  5. Well now it has been declared for Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC. Although, i am surprised there is no Wii version mentioned there, unless the Wii version will be released at a later day due to it not having the superior components the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 has. Erm for those who are quite put off by the price of the Playstation 3. SCEI announced that they would be implementing new designs for the Playstation 3 to lower the market price in the upcoming two years.
  6. Once again, that time of the year has come where we ponder with ourselves to decided which game has stood out from all other games. The cherry on the cake. The cremé da la cremé. And of course Lara has wormed her way into the nominee's for Best Playstation 2 Game and Best Action Adventure Game. Well I can safely say she won't be winning any unless a couple of thousand of Tomb Raider fans suddenly have a premonition of Lara losing and decided to pop online and vote, but somehow i doubt it. Lara has been placed with some very difficult opponents. Heres the groups. Best Action Adventure Game * Assassins Creed * God of War II * Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition * The Legend of Zelda: Phantom Hourglass * Tomb Raider Anniversary Well Assassins Creed is power housing ahead with a whopping 19,116 votes. Whilst Lara remains in last place with an amazing 1,119! Woah too extreme. The fact that Legend of Zelda has an addition 1667 votes than Tomb Raider upsets me. Best Playstation 2 Game * God of War II * Grim Grimoire * Rock Band * Shin Megami Tensei: Persona 3 * Tomb Raider Anniversary Of course God of War II has a gargantuan lead. Which is hardly any surprise, because the developers Sony Computer Entertainment really did push the Playstation 2 to it's up most max. It leads by 19,321 votes, which with all the other nominees' votes accumulated, it still continues to dominate them all. Lara is coming in 3rd place Harah! With 1,347 votes. Rock Band is coming in second. How embarrassing. Some other categories you may be interested in and their current position. Best Playstation 3 Game * Assassins Creed - Second place * Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - First place * Rock Band - Fifth place * The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion - Third place * Warhawk - Fourth place Best Xbox 360 Game * Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Second place * Forza Motorsport 2 - Fifth place * Halo 3 - First place * The Orange Box - Third place * Rock Band - Fourth place Best Wii Game * Resident Evil 4: Wii Edition - Second place * Super Mario Galaxy - First place * Super Paper Mario - Third place * Warioware: Smooth Moves - Fourth place * Zack and Wiki: Quest for Barbaros' Treasure - Fifth place Best PC Game * BioShock - Fourth place * Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Third place * Crysis - First place * The Orange Box - Second place * World in Conflict - Fifth place And of course the biggie of them all. Game of the Year * BioShock - Fifth place * Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare - Second place * Crysis - First place * Forza Motorsport 2 - Eighth place * God of War II - Seventh place * Halo 3 - Sixth place * Rock Band - Ninth place * Super Mario Galaxy - Third place * The Orange Box - Fourth place * World of Conflict - Tenth place Go now! Get voting for your favourite game. GameSpot Also, i would like to inquire into two things. Anyone ever played on Rock Band? I am just confused how this game is managing to beat Anniversary but is near enough last place on other awards. Furthermore, anyone played Cysis? It seems to be doing quite good. I would love for someone to post a little review of the game if you don't mind. Enjoy!
  7. Hello, I'm Danny ;D and it's nice to meet you all. Never really been fantastic with introducing myself so I'll leave it like that. lol
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