Tag Archives: deer

Lara Croft mourns her first deer kill, slaughters dozens more

Tomb Raider hunting deer

I think I’m just about done with Tomb Raider. No, wait. I am done. Given the new low that I stooped to last night, it’s best that I just put it and its unlocked Trophies, as well as untouched online multiplayer aspect, behind me, orphaned on some storm-hidden, sun goddess-worshipping tropical island, one which, with any luck, I’ll never find again.

Tomb Raider‘s story came to a close a couple weeks back for me. I don’t remember the exact percentage number at the end of it all, but since then I’ve slowly been working towards that soul-settling 100%. Basically, nabbing all the leftover collectibles. Well, that’s not going to happen. Sure, I’ve upgraded all my weapons with every mod available, finished every optional tomb, collected every relic and document from every level that had ’em, earned all the ability skills, and done most of the GPS caches and challenges.

It’s that last mentioned category that will go incomplete, thus robbing me of a full completion rating. Oh well. The GPS caches actually end up getting marked on your map, making them easier to find since they are only glittering lights, but the challenges, which are things like “shoot down eight tiny wind chimes that blend in really well with the background” or “find 10 specific mushrooms in a forest filled with mushrooms” are not labeled on the map. That means you spend a lot of time running around the same environment, constantly clicking left trigger for Lara’s hunting vision in hopes of seeing something glow. At this point, I have two mushrooms left to find in the forest levels, and that seems like an impossible task–even with an online walkthrough–as I can’t tell which ones I’ve already collected and which ones are still out there, being fun guys.

But let me talk about earning salvage in a post-game Tomb Raider world. In order to pay for weapon mod upgrades, you need salvage, which is earned from finding crates of it in the environment, looting fallen enemy bodies, and skinning slain animals. However, the first two–crates and enemies–are quite finite once the game ends, with little to no respawning for both of them. This means that if you don’t have enough salvage by then, you’re going to have to grind for it, and the quickest and easiest animal to kill over and over again like some mindless sociopath are deer, the same forest friend that gave Lara Croft some minor heartache when she first had to kill the beast to feed her tummy.

Let me start at the start. Early on in Tomb Raider after acquiring the bow, Lara is given a quest to kill a deer, with the implication that she needs to do this to stay alive. To eat, keep her energy up, etc. She goes through the hunting motions and even apologizes to the deer as she guts it. This is supposed to be an emotional scene, but it quickly dissolves into just perfunctory videogame mechanics, as gutting the deer earns Lara both XP and salvage. Note, not food. The quest was for food, and the reward was other stuff. I’m not a huge fan of hunger meters–looking at you, Minecraft and Don’t Starve–as they constantly put pressure on you to always be looking for something scrumptious to keep that meter high instead of letting you just play the game, but here, where hunting is emphasized, it would’ve made sense to have Lara kill a deer every now–for hunger’s sake.

Anyways, since killing deer obvious meant nothing to Lara in the end, just a means to more skills, I took her down a dark path for my last half-hour with Tomb Raider. Back in the coastal forest sections, I had her running in circles, assault rifle at the ready, blasting deer to the ground with a single shot, sometimes  popping off a rabbit or two while waiting for the deer population to respawn. When ammo ran out, I took to practicing how far I could snipe a deer with a loosed arrow, as well as how high they could bounce into the sky once I got the “exploding arrows” perk unlocked. Evidently, kind of high.

This sort of obsessive, stalker-like hunting all became methodical, something which I think an archeologist would appreciate, approaching a task systematically, even if that task is basically slaughtering deer after deer after deer, and all for salvage, a secondary currency that lets her grow in power. Strangely, even after all the weapon mods were bought, Lara can still earn salvage, but that only makes the hunting seem even further without point. No thanks. I’m done voraciously knocking down digital deer, though I don’t expect their death-cries to leave my head for some time.

All it takes to ignore a dead deer and ruined car is a ton of videogames

Last week, two days before Thanksgiving and hosting the food-centric holiday at our Grimmauld Place for the very first time, I hit a deer with my car. Now, first things first–the deer was already dead, left in the middle of the road like a lost shoe. Hitting a dead deer is, I’m assuming, better than hitting a live one, but the end result was the same, with my car going a bit down the road before overheating and then failing entirely. Had to have it towed to a repair shop, where it is still sitting until an estimator from my insurance policy can take a look at it. With this happening days before a big holiday break, nothing got worked on until starting yesterday, so I was a depressed, anxious man-boy, with plenty of time to worry. So I filled that time up with videogames, to keep the bad thoughts at bay.

First, without even knowing how much this car stuff is going to cost me in the end, I purchased the latest package from Humble Indie Bundle. It’s called The Humble Introversion Bundle, and contains these British gems: Uplink, Darwinia, Multiwinia, and DEFCON. If you paid more than the average price at the time of purchase, you also got Aquaria and Crayon Physics Deluxe, but I already own those games thank to previous bundles so I went the cheapskate route. I paid $2.00 for it, and I do not feel guilty one bit.

Y’all should already know that I then downloaded Metroid II: Return of Samus for my Nintendo 3DS right after a full day of being full.

After that, an email from OnLive was like a warm, sushi-scented hug. To start, I originally signed up with the “play the hottest games via broadband” company to get a free version of Amnesia: The Dark Descent way back in…well, I don’t remember. It’s not important. I’m always trying to remember specific dates and times, when they are more than definitely not vital to the story, a trait passed on to me from my father. Will work on that. Anyways, they were having a crazy weekend of deals, letting users play Homefront and Red Faction: Armageddon for free for 72 hours, and allowing new customers to buy a single game for $1.00. Yes, one dollar. Any game they had. Like, uh, you want Saints Row: The Third? ONE DOLLAR. You want L.A. Noire? ONE DOLLAR. I wanted Lord of the Rings: War in the North? ONE SHINY DOLLAR. It’s a little befuddling, but whatever; I charged my e-dollar and started playing LOTR: WITN with extreme glee and an Xbox 360 controller instead of keyboard/mouse. The only downfall of OnLive is that they expect you to be hooked directly into your router, whereas I was on a Mac using WiFi, which definitely caused some hiccups here and there. But for a dollar, that’s a moot complaint.

The remainder of Black Friday was spent over at my brother-in-law’s house, where a group of four soldiers made a dent in Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels. I can’t remember the exact worlds, but it was something like 3-1 to 4-3. Crazy hard stuff, but a fun time ultimately. Especially when three of us just plain gave up and sat watching Sean keep on keeping on. He deserves a lot of the credit, truly. We also played some football on the Wii, which is always a ridiculous affair.

Yesterday, on Cyber Monday, I started getting sad again. I started thinking about my car and money and wads of money with wings flying away from me as I chased it all right off a cliff that emptied into a roaring sea. So when I saw that Microsoft was having a sale via Xbox Live, I purchased some points and bought some more games and add-ons. Namely, these suckers: Beyond Good & Evil HD, Dungeons & Dragons: Daggerdale, and the final two DLC cases for L.A. Noire. With 130 MP to spare. Not like I can do much with that amount, but whatever.

Oh, and I just got emailed that those who purchased The Humble Introversion Bundle were now getting Dungeons of Dredmor. Another game to play.

So yeah, that’s a lot of new games over a short span of days. I’ve only really skimmed the surfaces on ’em, as time was also devoted to The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, LEGO Harry Potter 2, and some IRL Magic: The Gathering. I’m still without my car, though a rental has been acquired, but until I can know for certain what is happening and what I’m responsible for, I’m going to continue to fret–internally, mind you–and the best way to push it all back is with videogames. Lots and lots of videogames. If you guessed that I use ’em as a means of pure escapism, then this Grinding Down post is your best piece of proof.