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GF! Archival Version Copyright 1995-2004

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by THQ

Ups: Great graphics; excellent conversion; lots of moves. 

Downs:  Too many spikes; too few monsters.

System Reqs:
Game Boy Color Only


Lara Croft is back, AGAIN, but this time she's been shrunk down to fit on the little GameBoy Color screen. Tiny Lara is trying to unravel a ancient south American mystery, so this means many booby trapped temples filled with meanies hell bend on stopping her. While of course Lara and the rest of the Tomb Raider universe had to be simplified, Eidos (with THQ and CORE) managed to keep that Tomb Raider feeling. Porting popular Nintendo 64 and PlayStation games to the GameBoy can be very difficult, and often these ports feel like very crude and shallow imitations of their forebears. The GBC Tomb Raider manages to harness the ambiance of the Tomb Raider franchise while still maintaining the simplicity needed in a hand held game. In fact it was one of the most holistic games I've had the pleasure of playing on the GBC.

Tomb Raider in 2D may seem weird at first, but it took very little getting used to. The side scrolling action actually works quite well for the maze-like temples. I was actually happy that I didn't have to stare at Lara Croft's big square butt for once. But Lara still titillates with her slightly bouncy bosom, I mean if you can find a teeny video game character titillating. But really considering the limitations of the two-inch GBC screen the graphics on Tomb Raider are excellent. The colors are vivid and the backgrounds are detailed and exude a Tomb Raider style. Water, rock, and wall textures are all above average and add to the overall playing enjoyment.

The standard Tomb Raider FMV’s are replaced with high rez stills, that do a great job with forwarding the story in an interesting way. I was also impressed with the sound; while there isn’t too much of it, when it’s there, its perfect. The patented Tomb Raider sound track ushers you into each level, but quickly fades away (which is nice because who wants to listen to the same errie song for the duration of the game). The sound also helps to give hints and warn of coming danger. Even Lara’s footfalls have their own noise, again adding to the spooky ambiance of the temples.

Lara looks great and she moves great too. The movement on Tomb Raider is some of the most complicated I’ve seen on a GameBoy. Lara can run, jump, climb, crawl, swim, shoot, hang, and more. Squishing all of these moves on to the GameBoy’s direction pad and two buttons was quite a task. While it’s not always easy to pull off the move that your intending (numerous times I executed a short hop instead of the long jump I was trying for). I really can’t think of any better way to include all these cool moves on a control pad that’s so limited, and getting rid of a few moves would severely hinder the game.

Tomb Raider had me reminiscing about my good old NES, it really felt like a port from the good old days of 8-bit power. I mean this as a good thing, a really good thing. I felt like Tomb Raider (on the NES) could have been played along side the greats: Ghosts and Goblins, Metroid, even Super Mario. Tomb Raider is totally comparable in style, playability, and even length. It’s rare that a game on the GBC is worth playing in the living room when almost everyone sports a high-end gaming system there. But while my boyfriend danced the night away with Space Channel 5 I was happily playing Tomb Raider.

Tomb Raider is by far one of the best action games to come out on the GameBoy, and I highly suggest it to anyone going on vacation or anywhere without their beefier game systems. I do, however, have a few suggestions for the next GameBoy installment: more monsters and fewer spikes. Essentially Tomb Raider is a find the key to open the door, to find another key, to open another door, and then perhaps fiddle with a lever or two to open the floor up so you can get the dynamite to blast open another door type of game. I guess what I’m saying here is Tomb Raider is far from action packed, but it definitely delivers hours of engaging gameplay. So if it’s action you’re looking for get yourself a fighting game; if your looking for a solid adventure game look no further.

--Sarah Wichlacz