Written by  :  kbmb (435)
Written on  :  Dec 04, 2002
Platform  :  Windows

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Improved graphics and animation with an interesting story, but #[email protected]*$& hard puzzles!

The Good

I loved the original Tomb Raider game, but never played II or III, so the graphics jump from 1 to 4 was a nice treat. The lighting effects and graphics in general were very nice, and Lara's polygon count seemed to skyrocket. Unfortunately, her breasts were no longer able to impale people (that's a joke)

Lara journeys back into a tomb in this one, which I heard she wasn't doing in II or III, despite being called "Tomb Raider", and the tombs seem believable enough, with the obligatory undead wandering about.

One of the first levels is a flashback to a young Lara Croft, where she finds her backpack and you get a bit of a glimpse into how she became the famous Tomb Raider.

Fans of the first three should feel at home.

The story was also pretty interesting. Unfortunately, I only got glimpses of the story by wandering through the cinematics, because I couldn't get past the fifth or sixth level...

The Bad

Allright, I didn't actually beat the game. In fact, I didn't get very far. Because the puzzles are HARD! Now, I'm not one who usually says, "this is too hard, I give up," but I just had it with this game. I like difficult puzzles, and I like puzzles which make you use your brain, but I do NOT like puzzles that are so impractical and hidden that your best chance of solving them is by stumbling through them blindly. It seemed every level was filled with five or six "dead ends" which you could only get through if you scrutinized every single inch of the level for any sort of object or switch or ANYTHING that seems just enough out of place that it might be something you need to get out of the place. I, for one, want to be able to play the game and enjoy the scenery without having to stop and record every object and texture to memory before I continue on.

Combat hasn't been improved at all, which is sort of annoying. Firing down at wolves from a wall is fine, but when you had guys shooting back at you with the same accuracy as you have to them, there should be a better way to defend yourself than "hope for the best".

Also, where I eventually got stuck, I spent a month just trying to figure out what to do next, since I'm too stubborn to cheat or look it up on a walkthru. I had encountered a bug the previous level, and carried this sceptre things with me. I think maybe I'd ran into a bug and couldn't progress further. And since I didn't have any backup saves (or maybe I was just too annoyed to go back a level and do that all again) I just had to quit there.

The Bottom Line

Fans of the first three will like this. Graphics have been improved, and the story's pretty interesting. If you like impossible puzzles, this one's for you.