Hi Michael,

Michael wrote:

       I haven't a clue on how I'd go about playing something like Tomb
Raider, though.  A good 90% of what attracted me to the Tomb Raider
series was the panoramic scenery and stark panic, like when the T-Rex
pops it's big head around the cavern wall and comes barrelling down on
you like a locomotive.

My reply:

Unfortunately, third-person games like Tomb Raider are virtually
impossible to complete on your own if you are blind. Although, I still
play them I get a lot of help from my wife getting through some of the
more complex parts, and some of it just down right comes to memorizing
things as best as you can. This really takes away from the experience
because you can't just wander around the levels looking at the
panoramic scenery which certainly got more detailed as the series got
more technically advanced.

For example, in 2007 Edos Interactive released a remake of the
original Tomb Raider game, Tomb Raider Anniversary, with some huge
improvements in the graphics. There are all kinds of things like the
ability to change Lara Croft's outfits to much more detailed scenes
etc. One of the things that amazed me is I've been told in Tomb Raider
Anniversary when Lara comes out of the water you can see the
individual droplets of water dripping off of her body which you got to
admit is pretty cool. That's hundreds of times better than the
original 1997 release. If they have put that much detail into
something like that you can imagine the rest of the graphics etc would
have to be extremely awesome. Our buddy T-Rex, which was awesome in
the first game, would absolutely rule with the improved graphics. I'm
just a bit upset I can't see it.

Anyway, getting back to my point playing Tomb Raider blind is
virtually impossible without a lot of practice and some sighted
assistance. If you haven't been keeping tabs on that series the games
have gotten quite a bit more difficult since the early days. If memory
serves me correctly to exit level 1 in the original Tomb Raider game I
believe you had to find a few keys to unlock various doors. In Tomb
Raider Anniversary, the 2007 remake, when you reach the last room on
the level there are two giant stone weights hung from the ceiling by
ropes. Lara has to climb up to a ledg jump on one of the weights and
ride it down until the two stone weights are exactly balanced. This
unlocks the exit from the level. Unfortunately, the doors are timed so
you have to get through them pdq. However, trying to do that blind is
pretty much impossible just because there is no way to indicate when
the weights are perfectly balanced.

Another degree of comnplexity/difficulty is beginning with Tomb Raider
Legend they introduced a grappling hook as part of Lara's basic
inventory. This helps Lara swing over giant chasms, lava pits, or
whatever else she can't jump over. Plus you can use it to climb to
ledges far above Lara's head. This is all well and good except setting
the hook is once again very visual. There are usually large rocks,
cracks in the ceiling, or things that look like little stone loops in
the ceiling where Lara has to set the hook. If you can't visually see
where to set the hook you can spend all day randomly trying to set the
hook. Even once you get it seated you have to have Lara climb the
rope, start swinging, wait until she picks up enough momentum, and
have her leap off the rope at the exact moment to grab the ledge,
cross the pit, whatever which isn't easy. My wife can see it and she
tells me it is pretty tough to pull off. So I guess guys like you and
I are pretty much out of luck as far as games like Tomb Raider goes.
Too bad as I'm still in love with Lara Croft.


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