My Top Ten: Things Tomb Raider Taught Me

I know that you BioShock Infinite obsessives are probably going to throw a flock of crows at me for saying this, but I think Tomb Raider has been my most enjoyable videogame experience so far in 2013. In spite of how much fun it was, I did suspect a few lessons that it taught me as being, perhaps, a little off. Let’s have a look at the lessons I learned from Lara’s latest adventure.

Through the looking glass.

Killing a deer is a harrowing experience but killing about a bajillion humans is fine. There’s a fine line between killing for necessity – when you’re starving to death, for example – and killing for pleasure. Lara laments the necessity of putting an arrow in a deer to get food and stay alive but after a brief vomit and a moment of mumbling panic, she’s fine with murdering a nasty man. And then she’s fine with murdering every nasty man. I was almost surprised she wasn’t wearing their ears on a necklace after fifteen minutes.


Being impaled on a bit of rebar isn’t so bad. You’ll stagger around for a bit and you’re going to need to hold your belly like you have to go for a particularly troublesome poo but in a few minutes, you’ll be fine.

You can fix precision weaponry with bits of old scrap. I had always been under the impression that firearms were delicate instruments. Certainly, when dealing with deadly equipment like that, I’d like things to be as well constructed as possible. Lara isn’t so careful though, she finds boxes full of old bolts and shards of twisted tin and somehow crafts them into extra length magazines and longer barrels for her weapons.

Rope weighs nothing. This might be why you can carry twelve miles of it in your skin-tight pocket. Seriously, where is all the rope coming from? Is Lara secretly a silk worm?

Things only burn if they’re white. If you live on the mysterious and deadly island that Lara is stranded on, you only need to dye your fabric red and it’ll be totally flame retardant. Conversely, if you’ve got anything white – a bed sheet, a bandage, a Tottenham Hotspur football kit from the 1987 FA Cup final – you’re likely to burst into flame at any given moment.

You can wade through lakes of liquidised humans and probably not even get a bit sick. Years of medical research and biological study tells us that once animals are dead, bacteria bloody loves to pop round and have a bit of a nibble. That bacteria then creates waste and that waste is, at least, very smelly. There’s also a serious risk of transmitted disease like hepatitis B and C, HIV, gastroenteritis and cholera. Not so for Lara, who enjoys a good paddle through some human soup entirely unmolested.

The way out of most locked spaces is by crashing a bell into something. My bathroom lock stuck the other day and I was trapped in the smallest room of the house. It was harrowing. Rather than wiggling the lock until it freed up or kicking the door until it fell out, I opened the window to let some wind in and started rooting through the drawers in search of a bell to fling around. I’m still stuck in here. Send help.

Arrows won’t go through a bit of tin have no problem penetrating rock face. I don’t know what material Lara’s arrows are made from but they tend to ping off those big enemies with the dustbin lids on their chests. Strange, then, that they embed themselves deep enough into softer rock faces that they’ll happily support a fully grown woman on a zip line.

Starvation is only a worry for 24 hours, after which, you’ll never need to eat again. Within moments of falling off her relatively homely boat, with its fully stocked kitchen and regular mealtimes, Lara almost starves to death. She murders a deer (or two deers, three rabbits and a crow, in my case) and feels very bad about that. But it’s okay, she had to hunt a deer or she was going to die within minutes. She stumbles back to her camp and drops a bit of animal on her fire, making a nice bit of supper that saves her life and fills her up for a nice morning of threatened sexual assault and mass murder. But then she never needs to eat another morsel. Was that a magic deer?

No matter how cold you are, two spaghetti strap vests are plenty. How many nasty men does Lara manage to kill? How many of those nasty men are wearing big warm coats and jumpers? Why is Lara still fine with jumping about the freezing cold island in a couple of the most flimsy articles from Topshop’s 2013 Summer Collection?



  1. Starvation is only a worry for 24 hours, after which, you’ll never need to eat again.

    Hey! How else is she supposed to keep impossibly thin for the guys on the island to fawn over and the women to be jealous of.

    Best game I’ve played in the last few months but I have Infinite to finish so the jury’s still out on that one.

    • On the topic of current game of the year, I’m nut sure if Tomb Raider was able to knock Ni No Kuni from the throne. It’s almost impossible to compare these two games because they are both brilliant but so very different from each other.
      It’s still very early and a lot of great games have yet to come out. I wonder how the Zelda: A Link To The Past “sequel” will turn out. The original SNES game is probably my all time favourite game so the hype is definitely there.

      Also: Lv 7 member! I feel special. Now where’s my personal member tag? :P

      • I’m really liking TR, best game I’ve played for some time too

      • Yeah, for me it really lived up to the hype and it really deserves the praise it got. Obviously it might not be everyone’s cup of tea but it definitely struck the right chords for me.

      • I haven’t bought Tomb Raider yet because I’d heard mixed things about it, but after this praise I guess I might need to go get it :)

        Also I saw the steelbook edition on special yesterday, that helps too ;)

  2. I can only imagine how it would look to an innocent passer by if I was stuck in a small room only to burst open the door by slamming a huge bell through it.
    Keep these lists coming. I really enjoy reading them. :)

  3. This list is brilliant. I’m playing through this right now so even better with the timing :)

  4. LOL, enjoyable list. The first point ruined the whole game for me though. Why spend a solid couple of years selling your game as an origins story and focusing on Lara struggling to cope with her situation, when after an hour she is fine and can headshot enemies from great distance and not give it a second thought. So stupid and put me off.

  5. Disappointing end of game baddy too. After fighting what felt like hundreds of those ghosts the final boss was a bit of a let down.

    And don’t get me started on sliding down ziplines with no protective gear and just your axe for grip

  6. Haha,cool article :-)

  7. Stuck in Borderlands otherwise would have completed it a long time ago. Still go back to it once a week for an hour or two and all these points are hilarious. I find it funny she can hide all that rope in those strap vests :)

  8. That eating part got me as well. At first I though that it was going to be hardcore, like you had to hunt every few steps of the way so you wouldn’t die… on the other hand, if I count the total hours on game I do realise that I/she managed to get out of that Island in less than half a day, so :P

  9. I loved it up until she shot the first bad guy, then it kind of turned into uncharted. Nothing wrong with that, it was a very good game, but the first few hours felt like they was onto something special.

  10. Although I eat meat, I would find it incredibly difficult to deliberately kill an animal, but if some dickhead wants to try to kill me he becomes fair game, so I guess I could be a cannibal! ;)

    Really good game though, it just about edges out Bioshock Infinite for me, but the point is well made that the ending was simply too easy – whereas the Infinite ending was just a little too manic, before the cerebral stuff kicked in.

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