A true classic remake
I played TR1 a lot, getting up to the T-rex. As a young kid seeing a T-rex pop out of the dark in front of little 'ol Lara Croft kind makes you jump out of your seat. By the time I was a little older, and had a little more courage to go on, I realized how much of a treat the game was.
I didn't even realize how complex the games worlds were, and how large they were. So, I wanted to go farther into the game to see everything. Even finding TR1's box, in the game store for the first time, was like finding a lost artifact in a gauntlet of others, that were to much like DOOM or Myst clones. It had a nice cover art too :) But before I make this sound like a review for TR1, let me continue.
Tomb Raider Anniversary will have the classic fans, having flash backs, in a good way, of course. The game wasn't entirely designed to play like the classic game. But everything will be familiar to the fans.
There is new graphics and new physics technology in the gaming world. So, might as well put them to work. You will especially notice this in Lara Crofts glorious makeover. Her polies and animation grew up real nice :) Still it's not an ultra realistic character model of the human body, but its getting there.
The level design is basically a makeover as well. You will recognize almost everything from the classic levels, with few or many updates. For instance, some structures that looked like they were supposed to be separated from the rest of the level design as a individual structure. Now small huts, buildings, arent blocked squarely into the level design any more. Overall, things look a lot more realistic. Instead of feeling like you are just going through a large subterranean structure, some places are broken up more, to feel like you are in a large open cave with ancient buildings inside. The geometry of design isn’t boxed up so much, anymore.
Music and ambient sound pretty much like the classic game. Fortunately, that’s good because it was done well. It was re-mastered too. TR1 had a great intro track that can put you into a trance. The level sounds are updated to sound better, but still have the same edge as TR1. The raptors new sounds make them feel even more like stalking predators, then what they did in TR1. You can hear them sometimes echo down a tight corridor, around a corner.
There are few things I didn't like about the game. Most that doesn’t bother me at all, because they were done in ways to keep the gameplay fun.
For instance, I expected to see maybe a little blood on Lara. The again, I am not sure how realistic her character model is, to add that kind of detail. It might look a bit unreal. They could have maybe shown a raptor ripping off her limbs, if she died. Then again, if the gameplay gets to realistic, it takes away from the fun of the game. Lara Croft never gets to tired or injured to do what she is supposed to, to make the game fun.
I'm also not going to argue with some of the control flaws in TRA, because they are way better than TR1. Lara Croft may have seemed to move smoothly in TR1, but a lot of it made her feel a lot heavier than she really was. I can get through TRA a lot faster and easier than TR1.
Then there is the fighting. You basically are defending yourself from wild-life, prehistoric, and fantasy predators, along the category of non-human. Except for what you see in some cut-scenes. That’s how TR1 was. So I'm not upset about it.
Lara Croft makes action and avoiding traps of death it more interesting now, with her new or improved moves, and her ability to lock on, dodge, and attack with a deadly headshot all in one.
For an updated game, the bosses were about the same level of difficulty in the classic game. The final boss in TR1 was also easy to defeat, if you knew the trick. The bosses have basically the same idea, but a few things have noticably changed to make it more interesting.
The Bottom Line
Tomb Raider Anniversary is one of the best action adventure games with a female character. If you played the classic, this has that, and so much more including new unlocks.
If you are new to the Tomb Raider world, you should like it as well. Especially if you like the console style action adventure games. Just realize that this is a game that was improving on an older one. So, it's mostly a fan based game. But, I wouldn't doubt it attracting a lot of the new younger crowd, like I was 10 or so years ago.