Speaking of Tomb Raider

Why do developers feel compelled to mar the otherwise exceptional gameplay of puzzle games like Tomb Raider (pick one) or Prince of Persia (Sands of Time) with combat?  Especially boss fights?  I have been reminded of this penchant for the odd fight as I have been playing Lara Croft: Guardian of Light (GoL) and Tomb Raider: Underworld (TRU).  GoL isn’t so bad as it’s limited camera view (yay for isometric!) but TRU is especially frustrating as it has multiple enemies and a fairly limited camera view.

In those games my reaction has always been the same.  The internal monologue goes something like this.

“Oooh, this room looks rough.  I’ll have to climb over there, drag the box off that ledge, move it over there, position it on that lever, bounce it onto the other ledge and clime up from there.  Nice, and now…  Aggghhh, stupid ‘gators!!!!  Ok, done with those, cripes.  What’s in the next room?  Uh-oh, a cinematic.  That can only mean…  no, not another %#^$% boss fight!”

5-6 tries later I often quit for the day before I hurl my controller into my TV.  Seriously, my play time in these games always ends on a boss fight.  I’m just loving all the puzzles, getting from A to B, doing all the cool flippy, jumpy, pulley, pushy, swing…y(?) action only to be fun blocked by stupid, out of place, annoying combat.

I love combat.  I really do.  My thousands of hours in FPS and MMORPGs attest to that fact.  I just don’t play puzzle games for combat.  It’s like entering a poker tournament where every 10th hand is alternatively cribbage, spades, hearts, go fish with the final table being a rousing hand of Uno (not even the cool Hot Death Uno).

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