Tag: Peru

Cats In Games: The Magnificent Jaguars Of ‘Shadow of the Tomb Raider’

Lara Croft has come a long way since the days when she was the polygonal, hyper-sexualized protagonist of the early Tomb Raider games.

Thanks to a reboot the new Lara is a smart, adventurous and brave young woman voiced and motion-capped by the talented Camilla Luddington, and she’s never felt more real. In Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara ventures to the Peruvian jungle to chase down Mayan artifacts, and among the many obstacles in her way are jaguars.

Gorgeous, magnificent, regal jaguars who seemingly manifest out of the mist and blend back into the green inferno at will.

Here’s our new Lara, now starring in her third game:

The new Lara Croft
The new Lara Croft is a fearless adventurer and archaeological expert who travels the world unearthing clues to humanity’s past.

Like previous games, her adventures revolve around archaeological digs, ancient tombs and uncovering the history of humanity one find at a time. What would a Tomb Raider adventure be without a bit of danger?

Lara Croft
Lara crosses an underground chasm in search of a Mayan relic.

After an opening sequence, Lara and her friend Jonah head deep into the Peruvian jungle. This being Tomb Raider, they can’t land like normal people — a powerful storm sweeps in, sending their plane crashing into uncharted territory.

Lara finds herself alone, lost in the jungle without her gear. The sounds of the jungle reach a fever peach, with birds fleeing branches and monkeys howling, heralding the arrival of the apex predator of the Americas: Panthera onca, the jaguar, a name that translates to “He who kills with one bound.”

Jaguar of the Tomb Raider
“Hey there, could you tell me how to get to Lima?”

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Okay, stay calm! Remember your training! You’re face to face with an apex predator with the strongest bite force of any animal, but you can do this!

Besides, it can’t get any worse at this point.

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Can it?

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Oh shit. Even the monkeys are like “Dayum! Grab the popcorn!”

Don’t panic! Maybe these jaguars are just saying hello!

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Or maybe not.

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What’s worth noting is that these are not cut scenes — what you see here are screenshots within the game engine. For people who aren’t familiar with video games, that means you’re looking at the game itself. This is what the gameplay looks like.

We have come a long, long way from this, haven’t we?

Old Tomb Raider
The low-texture, low-polygon world of the original Tomb Raider games.

It’s a difference allowed by several generations’ worth of improved computer hardware and software, resulting in billions of additional polygons, millions of additional colors, improved lighting, physics, art assets, high definition textures, motion capture technology and all the little things that fuel progress from a world made from flat, blurry environments and cartoonish characters to a hyper-realistic, almost photo-quality world which makes incredible immersion possible.

Most of our readers may not be gamers, but for those who are, I’ll avoid spoilers here even though Shadow of the Tomb Raider was a 2018 release.

Suffice to say jaguars play a prominent role in the game and serve as the Big Bads, the game’s ultimate threat made even more terrifying by the knowledge that they can appear at any time and ambush our hero before she’s even aware of their presence.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider does a fantastic job of immersion, making all of the dangers of the jungle feel real through meticulously crafted visuals and sound, and a compelling story. And like everything else in life, it’s better with cats!

Archaeologists Find Ancient Image Of Buddy In Peru

NAZCA, Peru — Archaeologists in Peru have found the oldest known portrait of Buddy carved into a hillside in the Nazca desert.

The image is a geoglyph, one of many renderings of animals and people etched into the arid dry lands between 1,500 and 2,500 years ago by an ancient Nazca culture that occupied the southern region of modern-day Peru.

The image of Buddy is 120 feet long and was created about 2,000 years ago, archaeologists said.

A research team was scouting potential sites for observation platforms near several other glyphs when they realized there was an image almost entirely buried on the hillside. After carefully cleaning away the debris that had accumulated over the millennia, they revealed the triumphant image of Buddy lounging.

“It’s no surprise that the ancient Peruvians would honor Buddy,” said Ferdinand Lyle, lead scholar on the project. “Ancient Nazca prophecies told of a legendary cat with huge muscles and unrivaled charm. Indeed, Buddy looks regal and majestic in this lovingly rendered image.”

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The newly-discovered geoglyph honoring Buddy.
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A Nazca geoglyph depicting a spider.

Even archaeologists believed the lines were merely roads or trail markers until 1940, when American historian Paul Kosok was flying above an area near the southern coast and realized a set of lines depicted a condor.

Since then, scholars have found hundreds of geoglyphs depicting people, mammals, birds and fish, as well as abstract designs. Like Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, Nazca isn’t quick to give up its secrets, and experts who have been studying the ancient art works say there are likely hundreds of additional images covered by two thousand years of accumulated detritus.

The images are considered fragile, as most were made by carving trenches about half a foot deep into the topsoil, revealing a lighter clay layer that contrasts with the reddish-brown soil of the surface.

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One of the largest and most famous geoglyphs depicts a condor in flight.

In the meantime, they’re hoping their newest find will prompt additional research funds to look for more renderings on the Nazca plains.

“The tantalizing possibility of more geoglyphs of Buddy’s handsome visage should compel a wave of new donations to continue this important work,” Lyle said. “This has been the find of the century.”