The game isnt due to for
release until November 2002, but the hype has already begunTomb Raider: The Angel of
Darkness is coming. This title marks the arrival of Lara Croft to a next-gen console. It
will also be the first of a series of new Tomb Raider games that promise to be much darker
and edgier than past outings. On the official Tomb Raider website, Adrian Smith,
Operations Director of Core Design states, "Our vision is to take the player
somewhere dark, a place they might not necessarily wish to go, but a place they will have
to venture if they are to bring Lara back. Lara will have some tough moral choices to
make. Its no longer a clear-cut case of good versus evilthis is a more complex
tale, which will ask more complex questions of the player. It will be a new experience for
people who have played Tomb Raider in the past."
The story involves Lara after she
resurfaces from her near death experience in Africa. The experience did not make her
happy. A phone call from her mentor Von Croy takes her to Paris. She arrives to find Von
Croy DOA and is framed for his murder. Now a fugitive, Lara is dragged into a "dark,
parallel world of blood, betrayal and vengeance spanning across hundreds of years."
its dark. The question most fans will have is whether this title will be able to
lift their beloved series out of the rut it has been in for some time now. In other words,
of all Angel of Darkness utilizes a new gaming engine designed specifically for the PS2
and latest PC graphics cards. Lara is now rendered with 5000 polygons as opposed to 500 in
previous titles. And I must say she looks gorgeous. She is sleeker, smoother, and more
articulate than before. She wears a variation of her traditional tank top, shorts, and
dual pistol holsters. Now, as she walks toward the camera, you can see her eyes peering
over her trademark round sunglasses with startling clarity. I dig the heavy eyeliner and
sneer shes sporting as wellsuch a bad-ass.
In terms of
gameplay, Lara will be able to interact with characters in the game, as well as choose
what paths to take, providing for a more intricate and less linear story line than before.
An added twist has players also taking control of Curtis, a playable character new the
noticeable change to Laras repertoire of moves is the addition of stealth tactics
much like those in Metal Gear Solid 2.
Screenshots show her creeping along walls, peeking around corners, even sneaking up behind
enemies and strangling them. With only limited information and visual cues to go by, it is
hard to tell if these additions are a bit too much like MGS2. There are even long
shots down corridors where investigating enemies flashlight beams cut ominously
across the darkness. If Lara werent standing right there, I would swear it was
a shot from MGS2. With so many games constantly being released that are nothing more than
watered-down Tomb Raider wannabes, I hate to think of Lara Croft treading down that same
path and starring in an MGS retread.
have been made, and changes are obviously in store for the video game industrys
favorite buxom heroine. Whether or not you are a fan of the series, or looking forward to
the latest installment, there is no arguing that Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is
going to be one of the most anticipated titles of this fall.
Can Eidos and
Core Design make a sixth venture worth our while? Only time will tell, but I for one
choose to believe that Tomb Raider will rise to greatness once again. I liked the series
enough, once upon a time, to have a little faith. Besides, they have to make up for that