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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by Eidos

You are Lara Croft, sharpshooter, world-class athlete, and adventurer extraordinaire. Lara has just returned from a hunting trip in the Himalayas where, having bagged a 12-foot tall yeti, she's itching for a new challenge. While enjoying a little R & R, she's contacted by Jacqueline Natla, a cunning businesswoman who convinces Lara to recover a mysterious artifact from the tomb of Qualopec in Peru. She offers money, but Lara only plays for sport. So off you go, to another seemingly routine adventure.

Wasting no time, Lara sets out on her quest to find one of the three pieces of the ancient Atlantean Scion, a talisman of incredible power. After discovering the fragment, things get ugly - Lara finds herself face to face with one of Natla's hired goons. Using her cunning wits and athletic strength, Lara escapes! But Lara will not let herself be anyone’s target. In fact, this only pique’s her interest more. And so Lara sets off to find the other two pieces of the Scion and solve this mystery herself. The stakes are high, but she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Review:
Tomb Raider is an Indiana Jones movie brought to life. But rather than Harrison Ford playing the lead, there is Lara Croft, a female version of Indy. She is cool, steady, tough, athletic and beautiful. She is privately wealthy and into the business of adventure and discovery. This time, however, she uncovers a mystery that reaches back before the dawn of recorded time to the treachery that destroyed the Atlantean civilization and the disasters that struck the world when it fell.

You control Lara through a 3rd person view. From this viewpoint, you can command and see Lara walk, run, swim, duck roll, draw guns, and shoot.

In addition, you can perform acrobatic stunts like flip jumps, high dives (into water), hang from ledges, and climb. When you enter the Tomb Raider world, you experience 15 massive 3D environments within four lost civilizations:

Vilcabamba... A civilization that flourished for hundreds of years in the Peruvian rainforests of South America. Guide Lara through the lost Incan city while battling wolves, bats, bears, raptors, and more.

Labyrinth... The Golden Age of Greece, and later Rome. Here Lara battles lions, alligators, crazed monkeys and more as she explores ruins of this ancient civilization.

Egyptian... Where the vast power of Egypt rose with the pyramids. Explore buried pyramids and a hidden sphinx while fighting pumas, crocodiles, and some surprising mystical monsters.

Atlantean... The pyramid of Atlantis where the mystery unfolds.

Tomb Raider is a fresh spin on a style of game that has been done many times. Each 3-D world is huge, with a real looking layout. It is not just several linear levels, rather, an entire environment complete with cliffs to climb, pools to swim in, secret passages to find, rivers, bridges, pits, and more. Although the graphics were not as sharp as I would have liked, it is made up for by the smoothness of the movement of Lara and the scrolling terrain. The number of different things to see in each environment is incredible, with no two areas alike. Everywhere you go is unique so the background does not get monotonous (like Doom and similar games). Although Tomb Raider is more focused on adventure and puzzle solving, there are enough monsters running around to keep your pulse racing. Also, the puzzles themselves are just right, not too hard, but not too easy. The choice of character I thought was fresh too. It is the first game of this type I have seen that casts a woman as the lead. But don’t let her good looks fool you, Lara is as tough as they come with athletic abilities that Carl Lewis and Dan O’Brien would be proud of. Lastly, I liked the variety of monsters and animals you face. From wolves and bats, to Raptors and Tyrannosaurus Rex’s, this game has them all.

I really tried to think here and come up with some bad things about this game, however, I could not think of many. I would have liked the options to include a higher resolution for machines that can handle it. Any time you looked at something really close up, it was kind of grainy. I like the 3rd person perspective; however, when Lara is standing with her back near a wall, the viewpoint can be useless. For example, if she has her back to a wall and something is coming from the front to kill her, the view shows her from the front and does not show you the danger at all! This can be very dangerous. It is also bad when you have your back to a wall and are about to jump across something, and cannot see where the ledge is. The ‘look’ control lets you see these things, but when you have to control her, the view jumps back to a frontal view. Also, if you are in close quarters and trying to move around, the view jumps around a lot, trying to follow her. This can cause your eyes to wig out somewhat. Lastly is the reality check of the game. You are in the unfound tomb of Qualipec, and find magnum clips, medkits, uzi’s, etc. I suppose there is no other way to introduce new things into the game other than having them there in the tomb, but it does seem a little odd to find an uzi in an ancient tomb.

--Brent Hegarty