Robert Wm. Gomez's

September 2019

Tomb Raider Legend on PC (8/10)

Lara is a swinger

I could have sworn I had played this game before, but I wasn't completely sure. I get this one confused with Tomb Raider: Anniversary. All I knew is that I didn't own it and, if I had played it, it was probably on Gametap as a freebie. Well, this weekend it went on Steam sale for 97¢ so I grabbed it knowing that if I managed to have an hour of fun with it, it would have been worth the price.

Yup, I've played it before. I definitely remember the first level. Things get cloudy after that. These games aren't quite known for their strong, memorable narratives. The game would seem completely new to me then I'd hit a particularly tricky level and memories would flood back. Most of the reason I write these redundant reviews is to help me remember what I've seen or played.

Q: The Winged Serpent (7/10)

A piece of 80s shlock that's much better than it should be mostly due to the excellent cast and characters. The plot involves a small time crook, grizzly murders, ancient Aztec sacrifice and the return of Quetzalcoatl. Interspersed every ten minutes or so are hilarious scenes of random New Yorkers being attacked from the sky by a mostly unseen monster. Q emerges in her full stop-motion glory at the climax and by then you are totally cool with how corny it looks.

Fat Guy Goes Nutzoid - Wood Engraving

This print has nothing to do with the movie of the same name. This started as a sketch of a large man with a lobster bib and it morphed into this. I wanted to try engraving in maple again after years of using resingrave. I'm hear to say end-grain maple stinks. The lines are rough and it prints very unevenly. But never mind that. Buy this print!

Rise of the Tomb Raider on PC (8/10)

Ship in Ice: Rise of the Doom Raider!

Part two of the Tomb Raider reboot doesn't offer anything really new in terms of game play but that's okay. The core of the series is 3-D platforming mechanics and it does that very well. This is especially evident in the nine or so "challenge tombs" scattered throughout the world.

Boxer from Shantung (8/10)

A small-time hood uses his fighting mastery to become the boss of his own gang. Features a fight with a giant European wrestler and a long, bloody finale in which the hero has an axe in his belly half the time. The movie is a bit too long but that final fight really makes up for all the fluff. Like Man of Iron, the lead character isn't terribly likable but I guess he makes a little effort not to be a really bad crime boss.

John Carter (6/10)

A standard, post-LOTR epic movie with clashing armies and English accents. This should be a fun fish out of water tale but the story is structured in a way that kills any mystery and discovery. It has it's moments but no real surprises here. This wasn't the Martian Dreams follow-up I wanted.

The Ettin - Pen and Ink Drawing

Earlier this year I decided to support a Kickstarter campaign for a new Apple ][ game called Nox Archaist. It is going to be an RPG in the style of the 8-bit Ultima games. There are was a call-out for artwork submissions to be included in the manual. I decided to try and produce some drawings for the project. In the end I made about half-a-dozen pen and ink drawings of various fantasy creatures. This one was perhaps my favorite of the lot.

Ultima Worlds of Adventure 2: Martian Dreams on MS-DOS (8/10)

Martian Dreams

Martian Dreams is built on the same game engine as Ultima VI. Much like that game, it is much less of an RPG and more of an adventure game in which you are wandering through the world, talking to NPCs, and combining objects to solve puzzles. You're not really building up and customizing your character here. Sure there's combat and leveling up, but it doesn't really feel like it matters much.

The most important part of this game is the story and the world it's built around. Martian Dreams takes place a fictionalized the late nineteenth century setting in which space flight is a reality. Dozens of historical luminaries from the era have all been accidentally sent to Mars and it's the player's job to find them all and get them back home. Along the way the real-life talents of the characters will come in to play: George Washington Carver knows botany, Louis Comfort Tiffany know glass making, and Sarah Bernhardt knows, um, stage make-up. The only human villains are the evil monk Rasputin and the anarchist Emma Goldman.