Written by  :  Haiku (10)
Written on  :  Oct 08, 2003
Platform  :  PlayStation 2
Rating  :  4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars4.4 Stars

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Classic Tomb Raider reprised.

The Good

Tomb Raider(TR) has truly evolved into something to be impressed at. From the first TR, to hit retail on the Sega Genesis platform, till TR: Angel of Darkness(AoD) I have been a huge fan. I won't comment on how I flipped when they decided to turn my favorite video game heroine into a full motion picture. Let's go over the basics, shall we:

1. Graphics: These were done with bloody good taste. Eidos has used the power of the PS2 engine and blasted out the epitome of 'lifelike'. Lara Croft is no longer that boxy, archaic character from TR1 but now a smooth-lined, sexy, and real game character. The background had me feeling as if I was actually visiting these place and I wanted to explore every nook and cranny before moving on to the next level/task at hand. Great Job! 10 out of 10 pts.

2. Sound: Absolutely amazing! But I must say that since the first TR I have always been a great fan of the music employed to better tell Lara's story. It's great to hear how it has also improved over the years. I believe that, along with the motion picture music, they should make a soundtrack for those who truly enjoy the instrumentals. Like myself. The character voices did leave little to be desired and I am quite sure that some of them could have been done better. But, let's be serious, the only person that we really want to hear, being TR fans, is Lara Croft. I can give nothing but two thumbs up to whoever did her voice. Stellar performances! 10 out of 10.

The Bad

To be fair and well rounded, I will mention somethings that did irk my nerves. To be quite honest, not every game is perfect and I do believe that is one of the why sequels are made to the originals. Not only do sequels improved on what is already great, but they serve to introduce new missions, characters, levels, and fix bugs and add needed changes. That is precisely what was done in the TR series. It's quite obvious to anyone who is an avid TR fan. With that in mind, lets continue:

Artificial Intelligence(AI): In some cases, Artificial Idiots. I believe that it is quite difficult to actually make an intelligent NPC. They follow specific programs codes that can be changed by the character in a limited way. Basically, if you do this, the NPC will do that, so on and so forth. At one point during gameplay, near the beginning of the game, I had to sneak up on a guard whose back was facing me. To test the guard, I ran up to him with guns drawn. No response. I then proceeded to walk to his front and, facing him, shot the guard in his head for being so stupid. Initially an 8 out of 10 but I understand the difficult task the developers have so the final is 9 out of 10.

Controls: This too has evolved. For the better and a little towards the worse. The game is very involved and require a bit of reading to the get control assignments down. This is usual with most games of the RPG, action, adventure, etc., genre. The controls in TR:AoD were, honestly, annoying. I am justified in this because I have been playing from the start and I know the older controls. I am not too happy that they used the analog nightmare for direction instead of the D-pad. With one wrong move of your thumb Lara is sent to her death, or you miss a ledge, or something else happens that you just did not want to happen. I want the developers to bring the controls back to the Tomb Raider: Chronicles era. Weighed and found wanting: 5 out of 10.

The Bottom Line

In conclusion, there were two reviews done before this one that accurately purposefully went over both extremes and opinions of the game. I felt that in one of the reviews, to label someone as a 'crackhead' because they don't like the controls, was uncalled for. He was a little to zealous in his efforts but I understand the point he was trying to make. The other review was very professional, went over most points in detail, and refrained from name calling. I appreciated his opinions as well. I stand like this: Eidos is always exceeding itself. The first TR, I thought, was an extraordinary achievement and they keep coming better and better. I would have preferred they stick to the Chronicles controls but one has to understand that with sequels, and such, comes change. With practice, anyone can handle it. Everything else was great and because of love my girl, Lara, so much, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness gets at 10 out of 10!