Tag Archives: Totec

2015 Game Review Haiku, #40 – Lara Croft: Guardian of Light

2015 gd games completed lara-croft-and-the-guardian-of-light

Find mirror of smoke
By yourself or with Totec
Never stop rolling

From 2012 all through 2013, I wrote little haikus here at Grinding Down about every game I beat or completed, totaling 104 in the end. I took a break from this format last year in an attempt to get more artsy, only to realize that I missed doing it dearly. So, we’re back. Or rather, I am. Hope you enjoy my continued take on videogame-inspired Japanese poetry in three phases of 5, 7, and 5, respectively.

Playing co-op the solo way in Lara Croft: Guardian of Light

guardian of light gd cooping by myself

I keep saying that I’m working at completing games saved on my limited Xbox 360 hard-drive space in hopes of then deleting these finished games and making room for those in my growing download queue too large to acquire until some room clears up…but really, I’m dragging my feet. Or rather, my hands. Sure, sure, I polished off The Raven‘s first episode and Assassin’s Creed II some time back, but it’s not enough. Not when Microsoft keeps giving out full retail games as digital downloads, with each ranging between 6 and 9 GB of required space. Feel free to insert a first-world problems snarky comment here; I’ve earned it.

So, over the weekend, I took a good hard look at the list of games on my Xbox 360 and decided that I had let Lara Croft: Guardian of Light sit idle for far too long. According to How Long to Beat, it should only take me about six hours to complete. I think I can do that, especially when you consider that my save sits somewhere around the fourth or fifth level; basically, I just took down the magically deadly T-rex, which was previously a stone statue. Perhaps that means I only have about four or five hours to go if I really get to work and don’t run into any snags. I don’t plan on trying to collect every weapon or relic or do all the challenge rooms that are unearthed, simply finish all the levels.

Perhaps I’ll have more to say about the main storyline or rolling around, dropping button-controlled bombs, and blasting enemies with a staggering assortment of weaponry, but for now, I want to speak about co-op play, as Lara Croft: Guardian of Light is designed mostly from the ground up to be played simultaneously by two players. Either with a friend beside you or across the great expanse we know as the Internet.

Ultimately, honestly, I just wanted to unlock the four Achievements tied to co-op play, because I guess I still care about these things, which are as follows:

lc gol a friend in need ach

A Friend in Need (20G) – Play Co-op mode


lc gol leap of faith ach

Leap of Faith (15G) – Catch Totec with the grapple while he is jumping over a death fall

lc gol return to sender ach

Return to Sender (15G) – Reflect an enemy’s projectile back to him using Totec’s shield

lc gol jump jump ach

Jump Jump (10G) – Jump from Totec’s shield while he is jumping


Here’s the rub: I did unlock them all…by myself. Yup, I sunk low and played a two-player game with myself, jumping back and forth between two controllers on my lap, one for Lara and one for Totec. First, I did try to find if anyone was online and playing, but after numerous attempts, no games were found. Which makes total sense, seeing we are five years out from its launch, especially given that there’s already a sequel to this, called Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris. Second, I don’t really have many IRL gamer friends, which is one of the reasons I still haven’t even purchased a second controller for my PS3.

To be honest, because I did this single-handedly (well, not literally), these Achievements feel all the harder earned. Though the first one, A Friend in Need, simply required me turning on a second controller and starting a co-op game. Easy peasy there. It gets gradually more difficult. Jump Jump saw me holding down the left bumper on the controller for Totec, while using the other controller to get Lara to jump on his shield; after that, while still holding down the left bumper, I had to hit Totec’s jump button and quickly follow it by hitting the jump button for Lara, which took a few tries. Leap of Faith required similar tactics.

However, to unlock Return to Sender, which requires Totec to use his shield to bounce an enemy’s projectile back at them, one must make it to the second level. That means completing the first co-op level, and for the most part, I could simply leave one character standing still in a corner while the other character took care of enemies and puzzles before moving both of them along the main path. There are two sections in that first level where both characters need to be constantly moving, working in tandem, and this proved challenging as I had to juggle moving both Lara and Totec and using their respective skills–Totem can create platforms with his spear while Lara can use her rope thingy to make bridges and climb walls–truthfully, I’m still amazed I got through it all.

With those silly Achievements now mine, all I really want to do left with Lara Croft: Guardian of Light is complete the main story, with little concern to score challenges and collecting all the weapons or relics. Once that’s done, it’ll be uninstalled, and I’ll be one step closer to maybe causing chaos in Just Cause 2.

Lara Croft and the lost artifact to lock away an evil entity

Lara Croft GOL early impressions

Little did y’all know, but while I was playing Tomb Raider, I was also playing Tomb Raider. Er, I mean…Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Which is not like Tomb Raider at all. Not that the newest Tomb Raider was very Tomb Raider-y either, in all meaning of the name. Wait, hold up. This is quickly getting confusing. Okay, let’s start again then.

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is a downloadable, top-down action game set in Central America that has Lara Croft on a quest for some lost artifact that potentially has the power to lock away an evil entity. Specifically, Xolotl, the Keeper of Darkness. Back in the day, Totec’s army was defeated when Xolotl used the mirror of smoke to unleash hordes of ghastly creatures. Totec survived and found a way to defeat Xolotl, imprisoning him in the mirror of smoke and becoming its immortal guardian in the form of a stone statue. In the present day, Lara reads of the legend and attempts to find it. After locating the mirror, a local warlord takes it from Lara and accidentally releases Xolotl. D’oh.

Rather than the series’ traditional third-person perspective, the camera is high overhead, like a bird, meaning Lara is maybe as tall as a toothpick now. Players control her by using the left thumbstick to move and the other thumbstick to point her equipped weapon in a specific direction, with right trigger to shoot. You can roll and drop bombs and jump and throw magical ropes that attach themselves to ceilings, and that’s kind of all the main moves you have at your disposal. Well, that is if you don’t have a friend to play with, as Guardian of Light is designed as a co-op experience, with a second player using Totec, the titular light-guardian voiced by Jim Cummings. Totec has a spear and shield, which play a big part in the platforming puzzles, but when you are going at it solo, Lara just has the spear itself. Despite Guardian of Light being given out for free to all Xbox Gold members, I was unable to find an online game to join and try out some co-op action.

Let’s talk about how the game actually feels when being played. Lara’s a speedy, gun-toting English archeologist. That’s one of the first things I noticed in Guardian of Light, that she’s extremely light on her feet, able to dive this way and that while still being able to shoot enemy spiders and demon-like creatures with deadly precision. Or as much as an Xbox 360 analog stick can give out. But still–she’s fast. Gone are the days of old, when running and jumping from platform to platform was like moving through water and you often spent more time lining up your jump than executing it. Jumping feels a bit clunky, and I never felt 100% confident when jumping from one platform to another. Same goes with using Lara’s rope to run up and along walls. Lastly, and this could just be my controller, but any time I had Lara running down the screen, like towards me, she would stutter and occasionally pause, which made this one puzzle involving spikes shooting up from the ground a real hassle. You gotta keep moving, Lara.

Right. Guardian of Light–I do like it. It’s certainly a different kind of game banking on the Tomb Raider namesake for interest. In truth, Lara could be replaced with anyone else, and that game would be just as good as it is now. Heck, put Indiana Jones in there, and you suddenly have a pretty good Indy game, not to be confused with a pretty good indie game.

However…I’m stuck. Sadly, it’s early on in Level 3: Spider Tomb. It’s just after that spike trap I mentioned two paragraphs up, with Lara stuck in a small room with, seemingly, nowhere to go. I tried throwing spears into the wall and jumping up, throwing her rope like a rabid cowgirl, but nothing worked. I just kept throwing her into a pit of death, lowering my score with each fall. I guess I’m going to have to grin and bear it and find a walkthrough, as there are still eleven more levels to go, and I do want to see more.