2014 is quickly drawing to a close so this is likely to be one of the last few fan interviews of the year. I hope you’ve been enjoying these interviews as I plan to continue these throughout 2015. ^_^
But first, let’s say “hello” to Robert, known to many in the community as Mrxenomorph123. What does he have to say about the Tomb Raider series and Tomb Raider fan community?
Well, my name is Robert, I’m 17 years old (coming up to 18 in a couple months), and I live in Rugby in the UK. Most people around the Tomb Raider community know me as mrxenomorph123, so this is pretty much my alias now. *laughs*
Ever since I started playing Tomb Raider, I started to love the subject of Ancient Egypt and really dug into movies that revolve around exporing old ruins and tombs, such as Indiana Jones. A lot of people also know me as a huge Walking Dead fan. Tomb Raider + Walking Dead are my life now!
When and how did you learn about the Tomb Raider series?
Typically, like a lot of Tomb Raider fans I’ve met, by watching my dad play. *laughs* I was about 4 when I started playing Tomb Raider (this was probably about 2000-2001). It was the first game I started with. I play the console versions now but I used to play the PC versions of TR1 and 3. My mum felt I was too addicted to them and broke them. *laughs* I was distraught at the time but it’s something that makes me laugh now.
Do you run a Tomb Raider fansite or blog? If so, what would you say was your biggest achievement to date?
I don’t run a fansite or blog but I have a Twitter account (@mrxenomorph123) and a YouTube channel. My favourite part of “Let’s playing” on YouTube is meeting the members of the Tomb Raider community by doing co-commentaries. I’ve done co-commentaries with Gamermanmark, MasterPlaythrough, NathPlays, KoasterKid95, and Stella from Tombraiders.net. This content is what really makes Let’s Plays shine.
How has Tomb Raider changed your life?
It has changed me in many ways. I didn’t have many friends when I was young, and Tomb Raider kind of filled in that patch. It’s what made me a gamer for life. Lara Croft has been sort of a role model for me, personality wise, and taught me to be tougher rather than a push over. Where I live, there aren’t that many people I know who love Tomb Raider as much as I do, which was a huge shame. But when I look around YouTube and Twitter, I’ve met some really great people from the Tomb Raider community. Gamermanmark is one particular person I’d like to thank for welcoming me to such an amazing community that I didn’t know existed years ago. I pretty much talk to people in the Tomb Raider fan community every day now. It’s one of the greatest things in my life!
Were you interested in archaeology before discovering Tomb Raider? Have the Tomb Raider games and films inspired you to learn more about ancient history?
I was really young when I began playing Tomb Raider so I wasn’t at first. But yes, playing the games and watching the movies has made me want to learn a lot more. History was one of my favourite subjects at school, especially if we did Ancient Egypt.
What are your thoughts on Lara’s image? Is she simply the product of a sexist gaming industry or can she be seen as a positive role model?
It depends on what kind of person you are. I feel it’s okay to have a laugh, but not to take it too far. The TR1 boob jokes are understandable, especially as it was actually not intended. They messed up with the sliders. *laughs* I feel she’s been more of a role model to me. Playing Tomb Raider has influenced my life in so many ways.
What’s your favourite Tomb Raider game?
That is kinda tricky. I kinda switch between TR1, 2, and Last Revelation. But right now, I think my favourite would definitely be Tomb Raider 1. It brings back the most nostalgia for me. Plus, out of all of them, this game defines “Tomb Raider” as Lara is actually exploring tombs throughout the entire game, which I absolutely love! The soundtrack by Nathan McCree is also top notch. So nostalgic it sometimes brings a tear to my eye as I miss the good old days. One particular piece of soundtrack that I love is in Tomb Raider 2. When you are outside fighting the crows on the Great Wall, there is that amazing piece of soundtrack that plays as you look into the distance.
And your least favourite game?
Tomb Raider 2013. Not saying it’s a bad game by any means, but it’s just not Tomb Raider anymore, not my Lara anymore. Can’t deny the story is great though. Love the soundtrack. The combat, though, I really despised. It was just such awkward combat from my personal experience.
Classic, Legend-Anniversary-Underworld or Reboot Lara?
Classic, hands down! This is the real Lara Croft in my eyes. She may have had a dodgy design at the start, but that doesn’t change my opinion at all. It’s the Lara Croft I grew up with and she will always have a huge place in my heart.
Do you have any favourite Tomb Raider moments or quotes?
For favourite moments, I’d say I love the part in Tomb Raider 1 where Lara finds the first piece of the Scion in the Tomb of Qualopec…and then the tomb starts falling apart. It was so fun trying to get out without being squished. *laughs*
For quotes, I actually love it when Kurtis tells Lara that “You’ve caused enough problems in the last two days. Safer for everyone if you stay in one place for a while. You’ll be okay in there”. It really makes me laugh because Lara has actually trapped herself like in TR4 and, for once, has been outsmarted by someone. Angel of Darkness actually has so many good quotes. Even though the game didn’t meet everyone’s expectations, I loved it. When Lara tells Luddick “Is that it? Is that all you’ve got?”, the way she says it makes me laugh a lot!
What about least favourite moments? Is there anything you dislike about the games/films/comics?
Other than a lot of moments in TR2013, I’ve never been a fan of the underwater sections in Tomb Raider 2. They got a bit tedious and were really dull and dark. And in Tomb Raider 3, the London section was a bit boring (except the train in Aldwych).
If you could change one thing about the Tomb Raider franchise, what would you change?
I’d probably have included a little of Lara’s back story in the old games. It mentions the Himalayas incident in the TR1 instruction booklet, but nowhere in any of the Core games was it actually featured in the games themselves. That’s one thing I felt Crystal Dynamics did really well. Also, almost everything about TR2013. It has gone completely off the rail for the franchise. CD were doing well with the Legend-Underworld trilogy. But the whole island thing, the fact there weren’t many tombs, just killed it for me. So I’d just make the games go back to their old roots.
Which places would you like to see Lara explore in future games?
Hard to choose. There have been so many places. I would love to see China again, more Egypt. For somewhere new, maybe an old castle with a tomb buried underneath, kinda like in Lara’s home. Also I found the the Indian tomb Lara visited in Tomb Raider 3 very interesting so I would love to see another Indian tomb.
Finally, if you could join Lara on one of her adventures, where would you go?
Kind of a mix between Tomb Raider 2 and Last Revelation. If I joined her in TR2, I’d get to fight a dragon, which is really awesome! But in TLR, I’d get to go to Egypt. I’ll go for TLR as Egypt is one country I’ve always wanted to visit and will make sure to do so in future. Plus I’d make sure Lara doesn’t get herself trapped in any tombs. *laughs*
A huge thanks to Robert for taking part in our series of fan interviews! Feel free to check out his Youtube channel for Let’s Play videos or follow him on Twitter (@mrxenomorph123).