Product Type: other PC games
Newest Review: ... I'm talking about. Begins with 'Q'. But what really sets Tomb Raider's graphics apart from other games is the quality of the animation ... more
Tomb Raider - where it all started with everyone's favourite angular animal-murderer.
Tomb Raider (PC)
Member Name: Hannard
Tomb Raider (PC)
Advantages: It's fun to play. The story's pretty good.
Disadvantages: The camera can be wonky at times.
According to movie writers and games producers, archaeologists can be split into two categories. There's your basic academic archaeologist, who spends all or his or her time sitting in a big trench, dusting off bones, and sagely making notes. Then there's the adventuring type, the Indiana Jones type, who are more likely to be found wandering round the world in search of ancient treasures, and fame and fortune. In Core's Tomb Raider you play Lara Croft , who definitely falls into the latter category. Well armed and well endowed in the way that most female computer game characters are, she has been employed to find a mysterious artifact, for an equally mysterious employer. However, she has a competitor, in the shape of a French adventurer, who is more inclined to whip out a gun and start blasting, than farting in her general direction. Not a nice bloke.
Being an athletic type, Lara has a whole host of moves at her, or rather your disposal. Handstands and backflips are amongst her repetoire, and Core have made sure that during that you'll need to use every one to suceed in your quest. The fifteen levels are laid out in such a way as to test even the most hardy gamesplayer. There's a lot of skin-of-the-teeth moments in the game.. will Lara manage to catch that jutting ledge with her fingers, or will she plummet into the river far below? Anyone who's played Prince of Persia will know exactly what I mean.
And it's not just a case of making one or two tricky jumps; each level is a veritable obstacle course, packed with high ledges, traps, puzzles, raging rivers, waterfalls, and more ledges, some of which are almost vertigo inducing. Oh and, there are monsters. In true game fashion, the monsters get bigger and nastier as you progress. You start off tackling bats, and then wolves. Not that tough, you think. But then the game throws something particularly nasty at you.. I got a real shock when after finishing off a bunch of rabid wolves, I wandered past a doorway, and had a huge bear charge out at me.
Lara starts off with a pair of pistols, which she can whip out at short notice; you can still jump and somersault while armed, leading to all sorts of acrobatic death dealing. Things getting crowded? Simply backflip, taking out the nasties as you jump. Tomb Raider features a semi auto-aiming system, whereby if you hold down the fire button while a baddie is nearby, Lara will start blasting, and keep blasting at that baddie while you jump, automatically tracking its movement. Later levels bring bigger and badder nasties, as well as more weapons for Lara to carry. A nice touch is that when Lara picks up the shotgun, it appears on her back, even when she's not using it.
The graphics are pretty spectacular, too. All the monsters, and Lara herself, are made up of polygons, with texture mapping over the top, a bit like that game. You know the one I'm talking about. Begins with 'Q'. But what really sets Tomb Raider's graphics apart from other games is the quality of the animation , and the dynamic viewpoint. The latter, while sounding like a typical marketing buzzword, means that as you move Lara around the levels, the camera follows, moving around her to get the best angles. You usually view the action from above or behind her, although holding down the '0' key on the keypad will let you look around your surroundings, to make sure you're not just about to walk off a cliff. It's a long way down. And the character animation is outstanding; every single one of Lara's movements, swimming, jumping, hanging off a ledge, is superbly animated.
Soundwise, Tomb Raider makes the grade, with the grunts, screams, bangs, and so on that you'd expect from this kind of game. It just adds to the atmosphere of a game that is already overflowing with the stuff. Countless encounters, close calls, traps, and other things make Tomb Raider extremely playable. Remember that bit with the T-Rex in Jurassic Park? The clip that was shown every time Jurassic Park was mentioned on the TV? Remember what one of the blokes in the jeep said about keeping still, because the Tyrannosaurus vision was based on movement? Well, no-one has told the one in Tomb Raider that, resulting in one of the scariest moments in the entire game. You finish taking out the smaller dinosaurs, your health has taken a battering, and holstering your guns, you head off along the valley. Until that is, you hear a roar, and a huge T-Rex lumbers out from behind a rocky outcrop. Run awayyyy! Moments like just add to the 'wow' factor of Tomb Raider.
Tomb Raider is a great game, and actually is more fun to play than the anniversary edition of the game, thanks to its lack of quick-time button events. Sometimes, you get a wierd sort of bug.. little bits of walls flick out of view, or you can see through a wall you shouldn't be able to. This doesn't happen very often, but it's still a tad irritating. But I can forgive the game this. It may not look spectacular but it's still worth picking up and can usually be had pretty cheaply these days. A great game.
(review by me, originally posted on GamesDomain)
Summary: A great game, especially if you want to see where Lara started.
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