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    Play Magazine Girls Of Gaming Lara Croft
    In Memory of..

    Jeremy and Adrian Smith (president and VP of Core, respectively) weren't available to comment on the creation and evolution of Lara, as they were so stung by the press on Angel of Darkness they hadn't set foot back in their studio as of mid-October 2003, so I offer this having known them since 1991.

    I remember sitting with Jeremy in his tiny booth at CES '93 like it was yesterday, laughing out loud as he half-jokingly described (as only Brits can) a female fortune hunter with big boobs, an absurd notion for the time. A decade later, that once-small shop is ground zero for Croft central, and now, apparently, the wheels have finally come off. Over the years, I beseeched Jeremy to return to the company's roots, making games like Chuck Rock, Son of Chuck, and Wonder Dog - the fun, innovative plat formers that put them on the map - but he's been content to keep cranking out Tomb Raiders, along with the odd side project like the quirky (but cool) Swagman, the forgettable Fighting Force, and perhaps the most underrated game on the globe today, Herdy Gerdy.

    In bringing Lara to PS2, Core spared no expense designing an elaborate, hyper-detailed adventure awash in old-school Tomb Raider difficulty (for which they generously added a lock button, making it impossible to fall while setting up a jump), a wonderfully integrated story and all of the trademark moves (and then some) her fans love along with a stunning new model. Forced to ship the game early, however, they missed a few minor bugs and had to centralize some slowdown into areas where it wouldn't affect game play, but otherwise they thought they had created a new adventure worthy of the namesake that fans would enjoy... then the press attacked and seemed to revel in the opportunity to cut the game and Core to bits. As a result, the Lara we've come to know and love, quirky multi-button control, charming quirks and all, is gone forever, placed in the hands of Crystal Dynamics where she'll likely evolve but never be quite the same.


    Ducking into the review site I frequent for research, the initial reviews prior to the bad press were overwhelmingly 7s to 10s until the onslaught hit, and with it the joke low scores derived from bits of bad reviews describing the first moments of the game. What a strange send-off for gaming’s premiere female lead. And I thought Hollywood was tough.

    -Play Magazine Girls of Gaming, Special Issue, December 2003

  Play magazine ..in memoria di Lara Croft

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