You Are Browsing ' Featured ' Category

No Gravatar

This past December, I was given a copy of The Elder Scrolls Online, and immediately went and got the Morrowind expansion as well. Playing the MMO, especially the Morrowind expansion, made me think back to when I first played Morrowind. This was a year or so after the game came out, and while I liked it then, I hadn’t played it since 2005. I was worried the game didn’t hold up well, after Oblivion and Skyrim advanced the series, and attempting to look back on the game years later made me reluctant to try playing again. After playing the Morrowind expansion for ESO however, I felt now was as good a time as any.

Before I started playing again, I decided I wanted this to be a pure retrospective run. I had no mods whatsoever installed, meaning whatever bugs were in the game ended up staying put. Upon loading up and starting to play, I was instantly taken back to my youth and playing the story of a newcomer to the strange land of Morrowind once again. But what shocked me about the game, was how much my fear was misplaced. Yes the game had aged, and the visuals didn’t look so great anymore, but they were not as bad as I had feared. Yes the game lacked many features that would be a big part of later games, but I didn’t mind. I just wanted to keep playing and rediscovering things.

Nostalgia is a powerful influence on our memories and I had been worried constantly that looking past a nostalgia filter would show how bad the game truly was, but I feel the inverse happened. I had built it up in my mind so much that the game didn’t age well, that when I finally played again, it was an excellent experience still. Granted there was a learning curve as I had to remember how to do certain things, as well as how to unlearn other things. My muscle memory from Oblivion and Skyrim tended to get in the way for a while, as the games are very different, but this also made me appreciate how unique Morrowind really is as a game. It is considered the breakout title in the series (although I personally still feel Daggerfall is the more important title), and there is a reason Skyrim was designed to harken back to Morrowind more than to Oblivion.

Playing again and exploring the Island of VVardenfell, I cam to appreciate how far the series had come and also the unique nature of the series. The Elder Scrolls is a series that can reinvent itself every time in order to give a new experience. While many games can claim this, it is not the same since The Elder Scrolls universe doesn’t just grow and adapt with new entries but completely reimagines possibilities. Going from a  traditional western fantasy, to a truly bizarre fantasy land, back to a European fantasy land, then to a northern European inspired land with its own twists and turns, The Elder Scrolls shows there is nothing off limits to the dream.

I urge you all to look back on this series again, and if you fear it has aged too pearly, you might be surprised. I even sort of want some of the unvoiced NPCs to be a thing again in future installments in some way, just so the world can feel more lived in and there can be more personal interactions. if anything I learned from this experience, that you can end up fearing nostalgia to the point of hurting your own memories of something. Based on this, I will be taking a look again at other games I haven’t touched in years. I want to see what else still feels good, and I look forward to doing so. Perhaps next though, I will take a look again at Arena, another game I felt didn’t age too well. I hope you will join me then.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion and experience of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku Gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Jan, 2018 At 11:32 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, PC Games, PlayStation, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Street Fighter V was a highly anticipated game that ended up having a rough couple of years. The game launched with barebones content, and while more and more was gradually added, it never reached the heights of great Street Fighter games past. Capcom has taken steps to address this and now the game has undergone a massive relaunch as Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition. But is this a welcome change, or is it too late?

Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition certainly lives up to its name. One of the biggest criticisms of Street Fighter V at launch ( and for years) was that it lacked an arcade mode of any kind. In fact, it lacked virtually anything for players who were not interested in only playing online. There was mini story modes, and a full story mode was added later, but aside from very miniscule endurance modes, there was nothing for players offline. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition changes all of this by adding arcade mode and several more features.

First, let me talk about Arcade Mode. Arcade mode is arranged by game, so you will take on characters in relation to the game they appeared in. This is a fun trip down memory lane and also serves to add a new type of arcade mode experience. There have been different types of arcade ladder variations before, but not quite like this. It feels like Capcom truly wanted to make sure there was enough single player content in this mode to keep everyone happy, and with the set up and variety, I think they did well. There are also new challenges and other single player modes to try out, and there are some interesting surprises here. Its not as extensive as say, a Netherrealm fighting game, but its far above what Street Fighter V was before, which again was extremely minimal.

There have also been a variety of changes to the gameplay. New expansions of moves and abilities, compliment the action along with improved visuals. It isn’t a feast for the eyes so much as a polishing of what was once dusted and muddied.  I do also like the addition of Team Battle Mode, and I like it because Street Fighter is now stepping out of its comfort zone. Street Fighter V: Arcade Edition feels less like an apology addition as some called it, more as a rebirth of not only Street Fighter V specifically, but Street Fighter the series in general. The online has been expanded, the characters expanded, and so on. yes this feels like what Street Fighter V should have been at launch, but it is also clear that Capcom took the criticism ( and lack of sales) to heart. I had abandoned playing Street Fighter V early on, but now I am happy to come back and play again. I did not think it possible, but Capcom managed to win me back over. I say give this a go, because if you give them the chance, and they will win you back over as well!

 

By Jonathan Balofsky On 18 Jan, 2018 At 08:03 AM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, PC Games, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Frozenbyte sent out the following

 

 

Frozenbyte has released the first update to the Nintendo Switch version of Nine Parchments. The update includes the much sought-after multisaving feature as well as a number of smaller fixes.
The full changelog:
  • You can now store up to 10 runs
  • Fixes to saves being wiped when disconnecting from an online game
  • Online game can be started alone, no need to wait for others to join in the lobby
  • A lot of bug fixes to different kinds of issues of camera not moving and enemies not spawning or dying correctly
  • Changes to the online matchmaking logic
  • The invisible quill in Endless Snowbanks is now visible
  • Fix to the ”The Hero of Trine” Amadeus not unlocking if Amadeus dead when the boss is defeated
  • Other minor fixes

 

The multi-saving update is available on PC and Nintendo Switch, and the PS4 version is being worked on as well.

Nine Parchments is a trademark of Frozenbyte Oy © Frozenbyte Oy

©2017 Nintendo. Nintendo Switch and Joy-Con are trademarks of Nintendo.

 

This is a very welcome update. Nine Parchments needed this, and the other fixes are equally welcome.

If you haven’t yet seen our review, you can read it here.

Source: Frozenbyte PR

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 05:17 PM | Categorized As Editorials, Featured, Opinion, Television | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Ah Star Trek, the wagon train to the stars that has endured since the 60’s. It is a series that brought many firsts for television and movies and broke barriers. However, a realization occurred to me while re-watching episodes recently. That realization is that above everything else, Star Trek is a rejection of everything Lovecraft wrote and believed in.

It is difficult for many to understand now, just how H.P. Lovecraft was. While the racism in his work is still apparent, many don’t realize just how it fuelled his work along with his fears and paranoia’s.  Lovecraft’s work was deeply personal and from a dark place. The monstrous half human hybrids for example, were inspired by his fears of miscegenation, and his great old ones and cosmology in general were inspired by his fear of the unknown. Lovecraft came from an old New England family and was horrified by the changing culture, especially his brief time in New York  when he interacted more with other ethnic groups. His own family problems left him with many psychological issues, such as a fear of intimacy and openness.

But what does this have to do with Star Trek? Very simply, Star Trek rejects each and every aspect of Lovecraft’s work. Racism is attacked, black women are shown in positions of power, and interracial relationships are shown. Different cultures working together is shown as a good thing and even Spock can be seen as another rejection of the monsters of Lovecraft’s work, given that he is half human and half alien. But it is the opening of Star Trek that truly shows the power of idealism vs giving into fear.

Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

Star Trek is about rising above fear and hate and daring to explore. There is no fear of the unknown but instead a desire to learn more and see what has not been seen. Yes there are dark moments, such as in Deep Space Nine, but with one or two exceptions, the victories achieved are done by rising up above hatred, fear and paranoia. The entities that are above human comprehension are seen differently as well. In the episode ” The Squire of Gothos”, such an entity is shown to be a child ultimately, and then there is Q. Q is an omnipotent entity, yet the Enterprise crew is able to best him more than once, and even learn from him.

There are times that the unknown truly is terrifying, but these are not the norm ( and ultimately that makes these instances stand out better). The message of the show is ultimately a simple one, but one that needs to be heard time and again. If we work together we can grow as people and fear is something that can be overcome. Humanity has potential, and we must work to use it to its fullest and best.

 

 

Disclaimer: The above was the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of Real Otaku gamer or its staff.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 16 Jan, 2018 At 04:29 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, PC Games, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

A few months ago, I reviewed Knight Terrors, an auto runner from FreakZone Games and Nicalis. While my general view of the game has not changed, I feel I did not do it justice and want to add more to it. I feel I was overly praising it and could have mentioned some of the more negative parts and other positives.

I noted that the game has intuitive controls, which is true as they are simple two button controls. That being said, there are issues with the controls not responding right away and thus leading to getting hit or missing enemies repeatedly. This isn’t a a major issues, but I should have mentioned it before. I also feel the background has a lack of variety that takes something away from the experience and gives a sense of sameness. I do appreciate the visuals in the foreground and the multiple varieties of enemies, which harken back to the golden age of console retrogaming, but I think some more could have been done.

There is also a lot of content in the game, but it must be unlocked. This doesn’t seem that bad, but unlocking each mode becomes somewhat frustrating (albeit equally rewarding). I am not saying everything should have been available from the start, but rather maybe a little more variety included in the unlocks wouldn’t have been bad.  The powerups are a great thing to unlock but sometimes it feels like they are a goal for a goal’s sake. I am wondering, if a mission structure of sorts would have worked better.

I do not want to seem like I am ragging on the game, because I genuinely do like it. It is a budget game that offers a lot of content for its price. It has a fun music beat that fits the game perfectly, and indeed all the music is handled well. I would still recommend this fully even if I think there could have been more. The fact is, playing Knight Terrors is great in short sessions as well as if you need something to occupy yourself for a little bit while travelling or waiting somewhere. This is a game that works great on a portable device, and thus is a perfect fit for the Switch. It follows a pattern but tries ( and mostly succeeds) to put its own spin on things. I suggest checking it out.

By Stark Wyvern On 15 Jan, 2018 At 06:44 AM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSuper Meat Boy is a classic platformer of the modern era, and even now on the Nintendo Switch, it still shows that it’s worth the praise. Super Meat Boy is an amazing game starring a sentient blob of meat on a journey to find his lady love. It’s an amazing game that tests the mettle of anyone willing to play it, making it an intensely rigorous game, where every move counts especially as you continue playing.

Super Meat Boy tells the story of a Meat Boy who is out to rescue his girlfriend from the evil Dr.Fetus. Meat Boy runs through a vicious world filled with saws and other tough barriers to his justice. He has to dodge all that comes at him or else be instantly destroyed. Touch anything dangerous and you’ll have to run and jump through the perils all over again.

This game doesn’t just end with a run through what it calls the Light World. You will also have to run through the chaotic Dark World, an evil version of the original levels. These levels are far harder than the first run through, and your instincts will have to be even sharper if you are going to survive their assault.

As you play through this game you will also have to face bosses who will make your life even harder. Dodging and taking on bosses certainly, don’t make running through levels easier. Dr.Fetus is out for blood and he will only get more bloodthirsty as the adventure continues.

The game also includes warp zones which send the player into different worlds. These worlds are inspired by different games including ones like Castle Crashers. There are also versions based on classic systems like the original Game Boy. These levels will put your skills to the test, without the stigma of facing the time. They really help mix up the fun when you find the warps.

Don’t forget to collect the bandages you find around the world. These bandages are hard to find and collect but the rewards are amazing. Finding enough will allow you to play with different characters. All of the extra characters are different, making the game play interesting. Commander Video plays slow and has the ability to freeze in the air for a moment. Playing the game with a style like Commander Video can make it easier or harder depending on the stage, allowing for new ways to play the game.

While I may not be a master platformer, I did find this game to be one I wanted to continue playing. Dying multiple times is never terrible when your main character explodes after every death. With the games awesome soundtrack you simply want to continue playing. Plus, when you finally complete the level and see all of your past attempts at action it’s rather funny seeing the Meat Boys run and die showing off your evolution.

Super Meat Boy is a stellar game that really has a lot to offer. With 300 stages to blast through, you will certainly find a lot of enjoyment in playing this game. Plus, collecting bandages, playing with different characters, and conquering all the warp zones will certainly add to the fun. Super Meat Boy is out now on Nintendo Switch and has been out on many systems for quite awhile. If you’ve yet to pick up this meaty game, jump into the wicked world of Super Meat Boy today!

By Stark Wyvern On 13 Jan, 2018 At 08:35 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo 3DS, Portable/Mobile Gaming, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarThe Fifth installment of Etrian Odyssey is upon us, and it is certainly a brilliant RPG. This RPG is different from most in that you get to create your party and make them whatever you wish them to look like. While there are four core groups and each have their own job types, you get to design the rest.

This RPG is not the first of its kind that I have played, as I greatly enjoyed Persona Q which was of the same vein. Exploring the dungeon in a first person view makes for quite an exciting experience. Never knowing when monsters will appear is also quite magnificent.

Jumping into the game, I created my party, and decked them out as I saw fit. It was a little hard, figuring out what types of characters to bring to battle, but eventually I decided to pick one from each group. I found that each group had different powers that would aid me, though I had no idea if I had chosen right.

Etrian Odyssey V then tasks you with a quest and after some shopping and maybe a save, you are sent to the dungeons. With beautiful, yet, somewhat funky music blasting, you find yourself in a forest. This is where the fun begins, and you begin your dungeon trek. Exploring this forest you learn that you need to make a map of your surroundings. Quite a novel experience really. You need to place down markers, so that on subsequent journeys into the areas you will be able to get through them easier. It might be time consuming but it also makes you very aware of your surroundings.

The battle system is fairly simple in that you have three characters in the front and two in the back. Choosing the right characters and classes can break or make it for you. You’ll need to know where characters need to be to effectively fight these foes. There are also unison skills which can help your team as well as skill points to buy individual skills.

All in all Etrian Odyssey V Beyond Myth, is a good game. While, it might not be up everyone’s alley, it is certainly worth trying the demo. The sheer ability of customization is great, and the fact that you can give any character any voice is hilarious and actually quite nice. So, boot up your 3DS or 2DS, form a party, and get dungeoneering! This demo is available right now on the 3DS Family of Systems.

By Jonathan Balofsky On 11 Jan, 2018 At 11:06 PM | Categorized As Featured, News, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews, Reviews, ROG News | With 0 Comments

No Gravatar

Like many, I miss the days of classic 3D platformers such as Banjo-Kazooie and others from Rare. I was therefore delighted when several former Rare employees for Playtonic Games and announced Yooka-Laylee as a spiritual sequel. My eagerness for the game was lessened after hearing about the issues many had after launch, but I was determined to make my own opinion.

Well, Yooka-Laylee is certainly an interesting experience from start to finish, but I do not know if that is a good thing. The game starts out strong, with many callbacks to its spiritual ancestor, but issues arise almost immediately. To begin, I must address the camera issues that have plagued many. The camera feels like its taken from the N64 era and not in a good way. It interferes with the game and causes you to miss jumps and attacks. There is an option to change the camera movements, but this only helps a bit. But the camera isn’t the only issue, as aiming projectiles is much harder than it needs to be. I can never aim in the right direction and the projectiles constantly go where I was not aiming. Add to that, the fact that in several areas there are platforming scenarios that combine these two problems, and you have a recipe for frustration.

It is not all bad though, as the spirit of 90’s Rare is here. I do feel there is a good game that could have been, but the full vision was simply not realized. There were several moments such as certain boss battles, where I really did get a nostalgic feeling for Banjo-Kazooie, but then the uneven parts hit and I was ripped from the past. I feel Yooka-Laylee could have been a great game but perhaps it simply had too much pressure on the developers. Taken as a standalone game, it isn’t perfect but is more forgivable besides the camera and projectile issues, and could have been better received if not for expectations.

That being said, I find I have a hard time putting the game down. I do not know what it is, as I am often frustrated by it, but will keep returning to it in the end. I genuinely was not expecting to react to Yooka-Laylee that way, and that tells me that even if the game is flawed it definitely has that special something that keeps you from staying away. Maybe it is the amazing music from Grant Kirkhope that expertly recreates the mood of BK while adding in its own sense of identity, but the game does have a charm that works for it. In the end, I know I will keep coming back to this and that is an accomplishment for any game.

 

 

Disclaimer: A review code was provided

By Stark Wyvern On 11 Jan, 2018 At 11:52 AM | Categorized As Featured, NINTENDO, Nintendo Switch, Reviews | With 0 Comments

No GravatarWhat if you were trapped in prison, and finally had enough? In The Escapists 2, it is up to you to break out of prison, which is certainly a novel idea. The game throws you right into to what I can only think of as the Shawshank Redemption ending gone wrong tutorial. You are given all the skills needed to get out of prison and everything really feels just a little too quick, but it works. This is by far my most positive experience with this game, as it really shows you the game at its finest.

 

After you beat the tutorial and learn what you need to play the game, you are thrust into a revamped version of the same prison. Though in this, there really is no sense of danger and thus it is just plain tedious. My prisoner, Clive, roams around and does what he wants, as long as he behaves nothing bad happens. He completes quests for other people and often goes to the library. While there are other prisons that will obviously be a challenge, this opening level doesn’t make it appealing to continue.

There is certainly a part of me that is spurred to play more because of how tedious the game is, but it is not all consuming. I’m playing as a white haired gent wearing a blue bear hat named Clive. Clive is going about his day to day life, completing quests and being as good as he can be. Part of me just doesn’t feel right breaking him out when I’ve been pretty diligent about making him an upstanding prisoner. Sure, he could certainly do more in life out of prison, but when I’m playing there isn’t any drive to break free.

Now, this game is really only like that when you play solo. When you play with others there is a sense of urgency. Playing with others online or locally does provide you with more incentive. Now, here you are ready to break free because you have people to support you. It’s now a true game where you want to get out because everyone wants to. This is where the true fun comes in, even if you are playing in the simple first stage now there is competition.

The Escapists 2, to me, is a game about making prisoners and giving them their own stories. My main character Clive or The Kuma, as I’ve dubbed him, has done heinous things and now he is ready to take his lumps and be good. When playing solo, I found that it was par for the course to inject some story just like in the tutorial level. Without any emotion this game plays just like a simple simulator where you are guided by time lines.

While the game looks nice, and in multiplayer situations it can be fun, I just know this isn’t a game for me. I just find it to be droll, and I know that’s not saying alot having only played the first true level. But, if a game doesn’t pull me in the first level it’s not going to pull me in later.

There may be people who really enjoy this game and more power to them for playing it. But, for me, whenever I play it, I’ll be happy playing as Clive, a former Mob Boss, who now just wants to help find his mate’s harmonica that some other guy stole.

If you are itching to break free from a jail, then Escapists 2, may just be the game for you. While it was dull for me, it may just be a fantastic game for you. So, if you wanna escape prison, do it a game like The Escapists 2!

By Jessica Brister On 10 Jan, 2018 At 11:15 AM | Categorized As Best Game Ever, Editorials, Featured, PC Games, PlayStation | With 0 Comments

No GravatarSince I have a lot of hobbies and loves, it’s not uncommon for me to listen to music while playing a game (as I’m sure many gamers do).  One odd aspect of my gaming career is that I inadvertently made “soundtracks” to games that do not play more modern music (i.e. the GTA franchise is out because it already has a soundtrack).  I stuck to this so much that when I think of a game, I automatically think of the soundtrack I made.  Or, if a song is playing from that soundtrack, I immediately am transported back to that game and possibly even that level that I assigned the song to.  This might sound awesome to some people, or it might sound incredibly geeky to others.  I find that I love to flash back to the nostalgia of a game when hearing a particular song; I may not have thought of said game otherwise.  Add some years  to when I first started doing this, and I’m enthralled with what I had initially did: it’s helped me remember aspects of some games that I know that I will never return to.

Enter: Tomb Raider II

It’s one of my favorite all-time games, and it’s definitely the best puzzle-based adventure game I’ve ever played.  I just completely fell in love with it, even though I such at puzzle games and had to buy a walk-through (yes, I said buy; the walk-throughs on the Internet weren’t great).  It looks dated now with Lara Croft’s squarish appearance, so I’m glad I can think back to days when it looked so “real” in comparison to what games came before it.

Tomb Raider II came out in late 1997.  However, I compiled my soundtrack sometime in 2000 on my second play-through, so if there are any songs that are newer than the game, that’s why.  I felt the need to share this list with everyone, if not for the fact that I don’t want it to die in my memory, so enjoy…

Level 1: Great Wall

Song: Creed – Torn (from My Own Prison, 1997)

 

It was the album before Creed turned obnoxious: My Own Prison had some dark vibes, and the song Torn really delivered.  It’s also one of those songs that feels like it starts things off, so it was perfect for the first level, Great Wall.  Lara ran around the ruins of the Great Wall of China, and the level gave an intro for things to come.

Level 2: Venice

Song: Stone Temple Pilots – Sex Type Thing (Core, 1992)

 

I chose this STP song mostly based on the fact that I was listening through Core at the time and also because of the pacing of the song.  If you put Lara at her natural “run,” she runs to the beat of the song.  For whatever reason, this song “took on” the feel of the level.  The actual content of the song itself didn’t necessarily matter, so the song really isn’t some sexual objectification of Lara for me.

Level 3: Bartolli’s Hideout

Song: Stone Temple Pilots – Wicked Garden (Core, 1992)

Another STP song that actually is right after the above fore-mentioned song on the album, Core.  It ended up being a natural transition from one level to the other, even though I took me approximately forty minutes for each level (yes, I put the songs on repeat).  This is also one of the songs where if I hear it, I immediately go back to that level.  Every.  Single.  Time.

 

Level 4: Opera House

Song: Days of the New – The Down Town (Days of the New, 1997)

Days of the New made all acoustic cool again in the late ’90s.  The Down Town might still be one of my favorites from them.  In this case, it emphasized the cool location of Lara’s exploration of a run-down opera house, while highlighting how dilapidated and grungy the place ended up being.  The song also really feels cool listening to while Lara is running.

 

Level 5: Offshore Rig

Weezer – My Name is Jonas (Weezer, 1994)

This level in particular made me stick to the song, My Name is Jonas, even if I used the rest of the album for other levels.  I thought it was cute because of how the lyrics describe, “The workers are coming home,” and the level is on an offshore rig.  It might be a stretch, but this is another song where I can’t not think of this album when the song plays.

 

Level 6: Diving Area

Weezer – Pretty much the rest of the Blue Album (Weezer, 1994)

I ended up listening to the rest of what Weezer fans say is “The Blue Album,” noting the blue background of Weezer’s self-titled album from 1994.  I flash back to this level any time most of the album is on, and I love it!

 

Level 7: 40 Fathoms

Jars of Clay – Flood (Jars of Clay, 1995)

When you’re playing a level where you have to fight for every breath, I thought Jars of Clay’s Flood was perfect.  This is probably the band’s more famous song.

 

Level 8: Wreck of the Maria Doria

Pantera – Floods (The Great Southern Trendkill, 1995)

One of Pantera’s most haunting and beautifully written songs, Floods seems to just fit with a level where Lara is trapped in a upside-down shipwreck, using pockets of area to survive.

 

Level 9: Living Quarters

Machine Head – Message in a Bottle (The Burning Red, 1999)

Living Quarters explores the passenger side of the Maria Doria, and it’s a bit of a head trip, since this part of the ship settled upside down.  Machine Head’s cover of The Police’s Message in a Bottle continues with my nautical-themed, darker toned set of songs.

 

Level 10: The Deck

Alice in Chains – Grind (Alice in Chains, 1995)

The Deck is an expansive level that highlights part of the deck of the Maria Doria, which had crashed through a huge cavern.  I thought the song “Grind” was appropriate as this level is a bit of a grind.

 

Level 11: Tibetan Foothills

Static X – So Real (Wisconsin Death Trip, 1999)

Tibetan Foothills is probably my favorite level for TR II because of the fun puzzles and the snowmobile action.  The pulsing beat of Static X’s So Real fits perfectly with some cool snowmobiling across the icy mountains.

 

Level 12: Barkhang Monastery

Jars of Clay – Liquid (Jars of Clay, 1995)

Nothing echoes the feeling of exploring a huge monastery like the haunting notes of Jars of Clay’s Liquid.  This is also a favorite level, and you get some much-needed help from the monks as long as you don’t attack them.

 

Level 13: Catacombs of the Talion

Metallica – Call of Ktulu (Ride the Lightning, 1984)

Catacombs of Talion is an icy and particularly tricky level that is perfect with Metallica’s Call of Ktulu.  Because of this pairing, I love to drive in snow storms with this song on.  It brings me back to TR II.

 

Level 14: Ice Palace

Metallica – One (…And Justice For All, 1988)

Ice Palace is the last of the cold climate levels, and it definitely delivers.  It has some crazy puzzles and some tough baddies, which is why I selected Metallica’s One for this level.

Level 15: Temple of Xian

Metallica – Wherever I May Roam (Metallica, 1991)

Temple of Xian is probably the largest level for TR II, and if it’s not, it certainly feels that way.  The place is massive and has some crazy puzzles.  Metallica’s Wherever I May Roam felt perfect for the level.

 

Level 16: Floating Islands

Metallica – Orion (Instrumental) (Master of Puppets, 1986)

The Floating Islands level is a bit of a trip to play; the whole thing is quire surreal.  Because of this, I wanted a song that matched that quality, and I thought Metallica’s Orion (Instrumental), especially the beginning, really fit the level.

 

Level 17: The Dragon’s Lair

Alice in Chains – Again (Alice in Chains, 1995)

There’s nothing quite like a boss level with the completely rock-on song of Alice in Chain’s Again.

 

Level 18: Home Sweet Home

It’s such a short level that no song is necessary.

And for when you’re in post-Tomb Raider II blues after the game is completed, finish it off with:

Alice in Chains – Over Now (Alice in Chains, 1995)