Thursday, December 27, 2012

The Skills of Lara Croft

Sorry for the brief break, folks, didn't have a buffer of posts going into the holiday and didn't have much time to write.  That's okay, we're getting back on track with the skills of Lara Croft.

The first thing that we really encounter in Lara Croft is her acrobatic and athletic skills.  The Tomb Raider games feature a lot of platforming elements, and as such, Lara spends quite a bit of her time running, climbing, jumping, and swimming, to make her way to her destination.  The first thing we're going to take a look at is her jumping, with an element of parkour known as the precision jump.

The precision jump is for making long, accurate jumps onto pinpoint landings, possibly from a similarly confined space.   In order to properly take off and land, you need to get your whole body into the motion.  The idea is to properly calculate the arc of the distance you need to travel, so you land coming "down" on the target, rather than "forward" into it, so you don't have to worry about killing any forward momentum.  This is good when jumping from ledge to ledge in a rickety old tomb, or, in a more common application, on a railing, or a small rock or boulder.  I will not attempt to write down a step-by-step tutorial on a precision jump and will, instead, hook you up with a video from Urban Current!

Next there is climbing!  There are two major categories for climbing, climbing with ropes, and bouldering.  Bouldering is typically smaller rock formations, without ropes, from the perspective of solving "problems."  Routes are rated by difficulty on different scales, and are approached as a challenge and problem solving experiment.  Regular climbing, with ropes, has to do more with ascending heights, and traversing large distances.  Both are usually done with groups(and are much more fun that way) and both should most likely be attempted and learned under the eyes of a more experienced person.  I would recommend checking in your area for a local rock-climbing gym.  If you can't find this, then check out these climbing organizations and see if there's a club in your area!

Finally, there's her shooting.  Lara is an expert marksman, in both firearms and archery.  First, let me start by saying that dual wielding pistols and sub-machine guns, as she does in game, is pretty unrealistic.  Even if you can handle the recoil with one hand, your aim is going to be crap.  It's much better to use one hand, with the other reinforcing or gripping the stock(depending upon the type of weapon you're firing).  That said, learning a gun is still a damn useful skill.  Weapon ownership varies from state to state and country to country, however even if you can't own a weapon, there's good odds you have a local sport shooting range to take advantage of.  You can typically find these by asking around at local sporting goods stores.  Sometimes sporting goods stores will also offer deals in partnership with local ranges for lessons and whatnot.  Just make sure you let them know you're interested in it for recreational target shooting...with all the unfortunate violence that's been going on lately, you don't want to be labeled as just another psycho.

There is, of course, more to Lara's skills, as there is with every character we profile, but I think these should give you a good jumping-off point.  If you enjoy parkour, check out the rest of Urban Current's videos.  They're excellent tutorials, and I learned a lot of what skills I have in the art from them.

That's it for today.  Tomorrow we take a look at Lara's motivations and mental characteristics, with the Mind of Lara Croft.  Until then, make sure to follow me on Twitter,  like the blog page on Facebook, hit up the Tumblr, and continue to be awesome!

Dan "DaRatmastah" Wallace

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