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The Scion Sanctuary Lite: The world's most ill-informed Tomb Raider site.
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A far-from-condensed explanation for this whole sorry episode, along with one or two things you probably already know. But might not.

 Lara Croft
Herione, icon, reluctant role model. New stuff including Rhona scans from FHM, a couple of interviews and... Well, that's about it, really. 

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 And Lara vows to kill the person that stole her legs. 

i chose not to choose life. i chose something else...
Monday 27th October, 1997
Tombs: More dangerous than Beirut. Talk about an extended vacation. And I'm still on it. Neat. So what we have here is a few things that I've collected during my time away from Internetland that I thought would be too selfish to just keep to myself. Unfortunately, because of the sheer size of the things that have been added, an equal number of items have had to be removed - A quick glance left to the once-packed navigation panel will confirm this. A measly two items it may well be, but - I think you'll agree - at least one of them is worth the immense effort of pressing (or 'clicking', jargon-people) the mouse button a few times for.

 So, without being all cryptic and hiding behind faintly-amusing banter, you'll find that the entire conversation and (obviously) photo-shoot with Rhona Mitra has been shamelessy ripped from the sturdy spine of 'top' men's magazine FHM and placed carefully on to the more comforting surroundings of the scanner. Not only that, but... well, other than a few extra scans and mini-articles from other corners of the world's media, it *is* just that but, hey, there's still enough to keep you interested for, ooh, maybe the best part of five (yes, five) whole minutes - In total, no less than 774Kb of new graphics and a slightly less impressive 38.8Kb of new text. That's still quite a lot of text to get through, though. 

But enough about me. So, how've you been? 
 

Rhona in FHM: Selected highlights.
Monday 27th October, 1997
If you're not aware of FHM (it stands for 'For Him Magazine' actually) the chances are it isn't available in your country. Apparently, it's Britain's best-selling men's magazine and has even gone so far as to win a few awards which is nice and not at all surprising considering that it caters for the discerning male who hasn't got the guts to reach a few shelves higher.

 And so, in the November issue Rhona Mitra joined the likes of Gillian Anderson and... others in appearing on FHM's front cover. Along with seven pictures dragged from the photo studio (including one with "the world's luckiest snake" - like, as if the snake even cares), a short interview dug a shallow trench into Rhona's personal and public life including long-awaited news of the forthcoming Lara Croft single. Quoth Rhona:

 

The Lara Croft single is called Getting Naked. When was the last time you were naked in a public place?
I don't think going starkers in a public place is especially commendable. You can go to Stringfellow's for that. Although they don't get it all off there, do they? The song is really about one night stands and a woman saying that she'll go so far but not the whole hog. Why does all frolicking have to end in penetration?

 

It all sounds fair enough - In fact it makes the 'good point well made' list but, and call me Mr. Picky if you like, if you can imagine John Lennon singing 'Give Peace a Chance' dressed in a blue hedgehog outfit you'll be pretty close to how much the song's message is dampened for Rhona. Crashing on, she even manages to say a thing or two about Demi Moore of the long-running 'Who should play the movie Lara?' argument:

 

Be careful. After filming GI Jane, she's quite buff these days.
So am I. And I'm younger than her. The idea of her playing Lara is sacrilege. She has to be a posh English girl with a stiff upper lip.

 

You can now confidently expect to see Rhona making some sort of an appearance in the next annual FHM 'Top 100 Babes' feature - Take the previous appearances of Pamela Anderson and Jo Guest as a yardstick of the average male intelligence. Until then, if you feel you're ready enough to try the full interview then you'll be pleased to not that it's all here, along with the pictures (scanned and compacted into a neat JPeG format) in the Lara section. 
 
Eidos is Eidos. Core is Core. Note the line.
Monday 27th October, 1997
Having already upset most of the Sega Saturn community by making sure they donít get to see Tomb Raider 2, Sony and Eidos have taken the deal one step further. Although the PC remains safe, the chances of seeing Tomb Raider on the Nintendo Ď64í have now become a great deal slimmer. The agreement, probably sealed with large amounts of hard cash, means that Tomb Raider or indeed any other Lara-related game will only be developed on, you guessed it, the Sony PlayStation and PC.

 Usually this would be cause for a long rant about Eidosí twisted priorities and, once again, an example of the company turning a blind eye to the people that actually buy the games in the first place. After all, who needs morals when you have money? But, at least as far as the UK is concerned, Nintendo care more about head-lice than they do about the general public, the games are very few and far between and are still being released on outdated, under-equipped, over-expensive cartridges. And if the people who bought the N64 on itís UK launch date (which was, with customary Nintendo apathy, about a year after the rest of the world got to see it) didnít feel even slightly ripped off by the huge price-drop a few months later then theyíve got more money than sense - Who cares about them? Theyíre just the sort of people Nintendo want.

 Eidos proved with the early plans for the Unfinished Business expansion pack that they were more than prepared to rip people off but, against all that is wrong with the Nintendo empire, the deal is the lesser of two evils. Sorry, Nintendo people - if you didnít want a PC you should have bought a PlayStation. Surely someone told you that? 
 

The wait is over.
Monday 27th October, 1997
PlayStation Magazine. Intellect-friendly journalism.If, like me, youíve spent the last three months ignoring the printed media youíll probably be quite surprised when you realise just exactly how close Tomb Raider 2 is to being released. In fact, no less than a whole level from the game has been released in a handy try-before-you-buy demo form on both the PC and PlayStation. Hurrah indeed, matey.

 For the PlayStation people, you can find the demo neatly mounted to the front cover of PlayStation magazine, a publication which, unlike every other magazine in the world, has been very well behaved by not slapping giant pictures of Lara on the front cover each and every month just to boost sales. Unfortunately, if you want the PC version and donít feel like downloading it then youíre going to have to buy PC Zone and suffer reading a magazine that is not only badly written and badly designed but also seems to take great pleasure from scattering every conceivable swear-word wherever they can be crow-barred in and then thinking it makes incredibly amusing reading. Banal, pre-pubescent trash with the intellect of a nine-year-old, basically.

 So, a word of advice, rather than spend £4.99 on PC Zone and adding another one to their circulation figures, try stealing just the CD first. Then write to the editor and thank him for the free CD. Alternatively, you can try this plan. The demo included on the magazine CD is faulty and requires a fair bit of messing about with your system registry and adjusting the time before you can get it to work. Thoughtfully, they included a phone number for people who donít wish to do this and just want a working copy of the demo. Simply phone 0990 100444 (calls charged at 6p a minute, it says here) and theyíll probably send you a shiny CD to treasure forever through the post. Neat.

 

The pseudo-sexy 'sleep with a gun' pose.
 
PC Zone gave the full game a rating of 94% while PlayStation Magazine copped-out massively by making Tomb Raider 2 share the ten out of ten rating with another in the same issue. To cut a long story short, the editor of PSM, Rob Pegley, announced 'a Good Month' due to the appearance of two games receiving the rare and coveted perfect ten rating. To which we say: Oh come on! You can't like two games equally, it's either Tomb Raider 2 or Final Fantasy VII and we want to know which, Pegley.

 The demo itself impressively shows off, amongst other things, the new, more Ďroundedí Lara - thankfully, in the process of smoothing Lara out a bit, they seem to have decreased the size of Laraís boobs so at least she looks proportional now, the ponytail, the dynamic lighting and one or two of the new enemies. You can even do a bit of shallow-water wading and notice that, when slowed down by the water, she moves a bit like Donald Duck did when he got angry. Try it, itís uncanny.

 On the other hand, it's not all roses on the demo front. There's no options to save or load games, you can't define your own keys (leaving you to cope with the blatantly unusable CTRL and ALT for action and jump respectively) and if you leave Lara doing nothing for a minute or two then you get dumped back in Windows. Surely things that are going to be non-existant in the full game, but still... 
 

The complicated futility of gender wars.
Monday 27th October, 1997
The most recent issue of Essential PlayStation contains a feature on the rise and rise of girls in computer games and makes the claim that rather than using a 240v A/C adaptor the PlayStation runs on Girl Power. Kind of missed the point somewhat...

 It canít be just mere coincidence that since Tomb Raider was released, Core Design went from massive losses to massive profits. It also canít be a case of unbelievably good timing on the part of the rest of the games industry that since Core Design started counting out money in multiples of a million that loads more games have appeared with female characters in them. Pandemonium 2: Female character Nikki gets a sexy new haircut and several inches added to her chest. Hexen 2, Daikatana, Quake 2, Fighting Force etcetera, etcetera start appearing with females among the cast list and suddenly itís a sure sign of girl power. Certainly not when you consider that these female characters are designed by men to appeal to the 95% of games players that also happen to be men who hold the shallow belief that "as long as it's got a good pair of tits it'll do me". The male equivalent of 'girl power', the 'new lad' rears its pig-ugly head once more.

 Females have made appearances in computer games since the beginning of time (roughly) and have never made it higher than the brutally honest description of token girlie (Oh. Except Ms. Pac-Man and I never heard the cries of 'girl power' to accompany that one). Granted, the position of the female in computer games is getting more respected as more girls find themselves playing them but itís the smiling face equal opportunities and nothing more - it'll be a few years yet before the games industry grows up enough to have a female in a computer game and not just for the publicity. As for girl-power: How about considering the gut-wrenching irony of taking self-respect lessons from 'Ginger' Spice - kind of like taking good business ethics lessons from Eidos Interactive Limited... 
 

Late news: Just arrived.
Monday 27th October, 1997
Apparently, according to the 'Man in the Know' column in PC Zone, Rhona Mitra has been dismissed from her position as the 'official' face of Lara Croft. Bit of a shame, considering that, unlike her predecessor Natalie Cook, Rhona at least looked the part and was the only sensible suggestion for a Tomb Raider movie.

 

Regular readers of this column - I am led to believe you are legion - will now be only too aware of the exploits of one Rhona Mitra, she of ever-expanding breasts. Hired to portray the ubiquitous star of Tomb Raider, Rhona is Lara is Rhona - is no more, it would seem, having been dumped by her paymasters Eidos.

 Details of the reasons are sketchy, although in a secret meeting with one of my international team of snouts, the words 'whining' and 'bitch' were mentioned. Whither now for the young starlet, her otherwise moribund career having been given a major boost by Eidos, to the extent that she recently reached the status of FHM cover model? Without the Lara Croft endorsement, the words 'borrowed time' spring to mind, although with her undoubted assets she could have a very big future in the specialist video market. Womb Raider, anyone? 

Whether there's any truth in the rumour is, like everything else in PC Zone, left entirely up to guesswork. Never let it be said, however, that she can't fall back on her acting - The Man Who Made Husbands Jealous has recently been released on video (in the UK at least) and it may not have been a huge part but it was getting somewhere...

 

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