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Tomb Raider and other Video Games that Journeyed to Hollywood

Posted by THEPOGG on Sep 11, 2018

The latest “Tomb Raider” instalment, “Shadow of the Tomb Raider”, is released on Xbox and PlayStation at the end of this week. The game has been in development since the release of 2015’s “Rise of the Tomb Raider” and sees our hero take off where she left us back then. Lara’s various trials and tribulations will see her journey through South America and Mesoamerica, which I am reliably informed is a historical region of North and Central America that existed prior to the Spanish invasions.

Given that a new film was released earlier in the year and that there are successful slots games based on the “Tomb Raider” franchise, we thought it would be worthwhile taking a look at what other slots games there are out there based on computer games that made it to the big screen after their pixelated release. We’ll be fighting zombies in “Resident Evil”, shooting bad, good, whoever guys in “Hitman” and dishing out a relentless spamming of Down, Down-Forward, Forward + Punch, in “Street Fighter”.

Tomb Raider

After the franchise was re-born in 2013, “Tomb Raider” became a much darker, much grittier game with greater emphasis placed on realism; so much so, that each release has been rated 18 since then. And it’s not just the games that have been given a much-needed make-over, the films have also been re-imagined for a more discerning audience. The hot pants are gone, so is the pouting and the pristine levels of hygiene. In comes a lot of dirt (you’ll struggle to find a photo of Alicia Vikander as Lara without a significant spattering of mud and grime), where you would have once found Jolie’s famed curves, you’ll now find Vikander’s 6-pack and distinctly chiselled features. There’s also more of an attempt to make the action seem real, so that we see Lara struggle through her numerous obstacles and often win without the grace and finesse that Jolie’s Croft did.

After a dip in popularity at the start of this century, when sales of 2000’s “Tomb Raider Chronicles” slumped to 1.5 million copies, down from the 8 million shifted by 1997’s “Tomb Raider 2”, the franchise appears to be well and truly back on form and meeting the high expectations of today’s decidedly critical gaming community. More films are likely to come after the success of the re-boot saw Alicia Vikander’s “Tomb Raider” rake in over 57 million dollars in profit and place the film at number 5 of the most successful computer games to hit the silver screen. At number 1? Angelina Jolie’s original “Tomb Raider”, pulling in an enormous 131 million dollars in profit and proving that cinema goers are less discerning than their gamer brethren.

Tomb Raider – The Slots Games

The slots game based on the original “Tomb Raider” release is a 5 reel, 3 row game with 15 different paylines. Lara is exactly where you’d expect her to be, running around ancient crypts and tombs, a gun in a hand, searching for hidden treasures. The game looks good and there are a few interesting bonus features to hold your attention.

Play the game here.

Tomb Raider Secrets of the Sword

The second instalment from MicroGaming well and truly ups the anti in this offering. Now, instead of two bonus features, we have three and they are infinitely more immersive and interesting than what we had in the first game. Again, the symbols look good, despite time aging the graphic quality of our hero.

Play the game here.

Hitman

The “Hitman” series began its rise to fame back in the year 2000 when the original, “Codename 47” was released exclusively on PC. Since then there have been another 5 games released on all major gaming platforms. The franchise has grown so popular that, not only have there been 2 films adapted from the games but there is growing collection of novels and a TV series in the making. If all this wasn’t enough to prove the popularity of the “Hitman” franchise, the latest edition in the gaming series, “Hitman 2” is due for release in November of this year.

The story of “Agent 47” is one of betrayal and conspiracy. The game’s central character is raised to become a faceless killer by the “Diana” organisation, who use him to meet their own wicked ends. He, like all the hitmen raised by “Diana” is uniquely identified by the barcode printed on the back of his head and is programmed not to think, only to kill when told to.

The game and original film ask our central character to question who he is and what he has been conditioned to do. As the narrative unfolds he finds himself unable to trust anyone, at odds with all intelligence agencies and is forced, like all great heroes, to go it alone.

The “Hitman” slots game has 5 reels and 15 paylines to keep players entertained. The game boasts 3 different bonus games, 1 of which allows you to become a hired killer and take up a contract of your choosing and the weapon that you think will get the job done the most efficiently. And speaking of weapons, the vast majority of the symbols are various implements that someone in the hitman trade might use take to work with them.

Play the game here.

Street Fighter

The “Street Fighter” franchise started all the way back in… wait for it… 1987. The Berlin Wall was still standing, Ronald Reagan was in the White House, Margaret Thatcher secured her third term in office, the first drill hit the shores of the English and French Channel and Bananrama hit the airwaves with “Love in first Degree”. Perms and mullets were the must have hairdos and you could buy a Mars Bar with a 20 pence piece.

When the game first came out you’d need to cycle your BMX down to the local arcade to get in on the action. And even when the better known “Street Fighter 2” was released in 1991 you’d have to wait until the following year before you’d be able to play it at home on your brand-new Super Nintendo.

It was the second game in the series that had the most profound effect on the gaming industry, setting the template for fighting games for years to come. The series of characters all have their own special abilities and back story to help create a varied gaming experience in what can be a fairly one-dimensional genre.

Various incarnations of “Street Fighter II” would take shape over the years that followed, with a “Street Fighter” game, not including the number 2 in its title remaining obsolete until 1995. Part of what made “Street Fighter 2” so iconic was that it remains playable today. The graphics have not aged like the original “Mortal Combat” and the characters remain ingrained in a generation of gamers’ hearts and memories.

So, onto the film… Can we stop there please?

The script is bad. The sets are bad. The acting is worse than the script and the sets. Yet, it could be argued that the “Street Fighter” movie is so bad that it’s actually good? Could it?

I guess “Street Fighter” is a prime example of what can go wrong when trying to take a much-loved computer game and turn it into a movie. In this particular case, you have a game about fighting, a game that is all about the gameplay and whilst there are narratives for each character, getting them to join up and meet in an international fighting competition clearly proved so difficult that a new script was written, which when combined with the other factors mentioned left fans of the game disappointed and, at worst, alienated.

As for the slots game, we’ll be taking a brief look at “Street Fighter IV”, which we would argue is the best of the bunch. There is only one bonus feature in the game but it is varied and interesting and we were also many of the much loved characters making a welcome appearance. It looks good, with a background similar to that found in the actual game.

Play the game here.

Resident Evil

The launch of Sony’s PlayStation in 1994 had a seismic impact on the gaming industry. Up until this point you were Sega or you were Nintendo. You were Sonic or Mario. After 1994 PlayStation made sure there was another option on the gaming table. They might not have been directly responsible for Sega’s retreat from the console market, but the reality is that the “Saturn” and the “Dreamcast” failed in part, not just because of their own short comings but also because they couldn’t compete with the new kids on the block. As for Nintendo, they now find themselves working the handheld market, leaving the serious gaming for Sony and Microsoft.

What made the PlayStation stand out was not just the quality of the gameplay but also how good the games looked. Previously you would have needed a PC to reach the heady heights that Sony started distributing in the mid-90s, with “Resident Evil” and “Tomb Raider” being the two key pieces in Sony’s quest for global domination. Gone were the cartoon characters, the primary colours, the bright and breezy, and in swept guns, zombies and buckets of gore. Making it onto the list of best video games of all time, “Resident Evil” was important because it signalled the future of gaming and along with “Tomb Raider”, cemented PlayStation as the biggest and best console for half a decade.

“Resident Evil” brought a complex narrative to video games. It plays out like a horror movie, full of twists and turns, except now you don’t have to sit passively by and watch as the story unfolds from behind the couch. Now, you are a part of the action. Now you determine the plot strands, having more than one character to choose from and 4 possible game endings for each of them. Despite its somewhat grim outlook on life, “Resident Evil” was the herald for a new dawn in video gaming.

The film had much less of an impact on audiences than the game but that didn’t stop the subsequent release of 5 more movies with the promise of a reboot not too far away. The series of also brought, another strong female lead to our screens, just a year after the monumental success of Jolie’s “Tomb Raider”.

The slots game can’t quite live up to the legacy left by the video game but it does have a few features that make it interesting. The game also looks good, taking reasonable advantage of the theme on offer. The background and game frame are suitably horror themed and the symbols contain some of the characters from the game along with a few relevant objects.

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