Tomb Raider Too Tough for Americans? (1999)
- The Croft Times -
The British newspaper 'The Daily Mail' on its November 10th edition published the following article, which started the latest controversy on the Tomb Raider universe.
Lara the cyber babe too tough for U.S. players
The exploits of cyberbabe Lara Croft, the gun-toting star of the best-selling Tomb Raider computer games, are being dumbed down for her devotees across the Atlantic. The makers of Tomb Raider IV: The Last Revelation have deemed the British version too tough for its American market - so have made its puzzles easier to stop players getting bored and giving up.
And in the lucrative Japanese market the traditional fear of a 'dishonarable death', even in a computer game, has forced the software company to make even more changes. Operation director Adrian Smith said: "Our research has shown that American people mainly sit in front of a game for short periods - sometimes only for ten minutes - and then go off and watch TV. For that reason we make the games a little bit easier for the U.S. market.
If a problem is particularly difficult to solve, it could take longer than ten minutes, which could prove frustrating, and players could lose interest. The UK and European markets are very similar. Here games 'nutters' play for 12 hours straight, so the game-play can be more complex." The nature of the British game was also unpopular in Japan, Mr. Smith revealed, because Lara Croft, is "too British and kills bad guys in dishonourable ways." He added: "We have had to make significant changes for the market. The Japanese don't ever want to die in a game, so we are having to introduce things such as penalties where Lara looses weapons if she takes a bone-crunching fall. They don't like stopping and restarting."
According to the Official PlayStation Magazine, Tomb Raider is not the only game made more difficult for the British market. In Metal Gear Solid, players must stop an evil group bent on world destruction. Copies of the game abroad have easier puzzles and the bad guys die more quickly. In Resident Evil 2, police search a haunted house and kill zombies without the help of an automatic weapons targeting option featured in the foreign version.
Core Design however claim that the statements on which this article is based, were taken out of contest and only admit that part of it is true. According to them, Tomb Raider was only altered for the Japanese market "so that Lara does not die so often. US version is the same as UK."
Core Design also admits that they've "adjusted certain games such as Ninja and Fighting Force 2 for US in the past, but not Tomb Raider." Although we've only played the European version of the TR games, we've read enough American walkthroughs to confirm this. There was never a difference between the European and US versions of the games.
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