Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Anniversary
Critic Reviews add missing review
Average score: 81% (based on 102 ratings)
Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 98 ratings with 5 reviews)
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.<br><br>**The Bad**<br> 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.
Windows · by IKNOWPCGAMES81 (5) · 2007
Tomb Raider: Anniversary is the follow-up to successful Tomb Raider: Legend by Crystal Dynamics mostly known for their Legacy Of Kain series. While Legend being a great game on its own and certainly a welcome addition into a long-run Tomb Raider series I felt it was somewhat lacking. It was a sunning professionally executed brilliantly written game. Superb action and a new revised look of the main heroine showed that finally after years long years of constant failure, franchise started to move in right direction. But still it remained just number two in my book. Despite of mind-boggling action of this new offering the game was extremely linear. The exploration was the centerpiece of each Tomb Raider. And there certainly wasn’t enough of it in Legend. I always felt led by hand through a sheer dozen of beautiful levels with no step left or right allowed. So to remind myself what once made the original Tomb Raider such a hit I took my old dusty copy of this oldie …. and was utterly disappointed. “What the #@$% is this?” I cried. It’s not the game I played ten years ago. How on earth could I see ancient Coliseum in those lumpy sets of polygons or be impressed by the detail in that triangular breast? Now mind you, I’m a very tolerant person in terms of old titles. I still think of the VGA-era of graphic adventures having the most beautiful artwork and ingenious game design this side of Milky Way has ever seen. But on the dawn of 3D era the game engines were so limited and controls were so atrocious and unintuitive that it’s pretty understandable that those titles crumbles under heavy weight of sands of time, especially those from a third-person perspective (another one that immediately comes to mind is Fade To Black). And then like a send from the heaven a new game in the series was released. And what a game it is! Tomb Raider: Anniversary is not simply a remake; it’s the reinvention the old genre in regard of modern gamer demands. My memory must be playing tricks upon me, but this is THE game I played 10 years ago, and not that monster from 1997 I carelessly installed a year ago. I am not talking about specific details because most of the game has been altered due to all the possibilities that exist in game mechanics these days. I am talking about the spirit and the essence of the original Tomb Raider. And it most certainly resides now in the body of Tomb Raider: Anniversary. The game firmly reminds players why it’s actually called Tomb Raider and not any other title. It’s about exploring tombs, for god’s sake, finding lost civilizations and experiencing the sense of grand adventure. Obviously not shooting cops in Louvre gallery or hiking through military base number 245. Above all I’d like to mention an incredible level design. Taking basic ideas from original game the designers have revised them and then expanded upon them. No room serves no purpose. Each level is unique and aesthetically pleasing. The Greek-inspired level with a crumbled stairway is a bright example of what most of the current game designers aren’t capable of. Except for Crystal Dynamics, with a little help from Core Design. As for others aspects of the game, everything is really top-notch. The game features the most fluid animations of animals I have ever seen. The battles are fast, dynamic and really vicious. Be sure to the turn the lights on while playing Tomb Raider: Anniversary or you might lose a bit more of them nerve cells then you would do otherwise. The music is beautiful and fits the game so well that you start to feel affection for it on a really close, personal level.
This game is faithful to the original. Maybe too much faithful for it’s own good. Of course it’s nice to see so many familiar places spread over four grand levels of the game, but Crystal Dynamic doesn’t have to prove us anything, we know what they are capable of, so a bit more of creative freedom would have been certainly welcome. The only major grudge I have with this game is the unfortunate decision not to include next-generation content at all. I can’t care less about marketing policy Eidos is taking, so don’t start on me. If they don’t want to release it on the next-generation console then why we the PC gamers have to suffer technologically dated graphics. Just imagine what would the game look like with the entire next-gen extravaganza… Not gonna happen! Sorry.
The Bottom Line
If you still remember what the word “adventure” actually means, if forgotten civilizations still send you spinal shivers, if you young at heart and open in mind, then don’t miss this one. You wouldn’t forgive yourself if you do!
Windows · by St. Martyne (3644) · 2007
Prowl around any Tomb Raider forum and you'll quickly learn that the fans are divided into two distinct groups. The first bunch loathe the direction Legend took the series, preferring the exploration feel of the earlier games. While the second lot embraced Legend's updated controls and fresh look, feeling that the previous control scheme was growing stale.
Now there's Tomb Raider: Anniversary, and it's managed to win the hearts from both of those crowds, which is a pretty amazing achievement.
The first thing I noticed when I begun playing, was the immediate sense of polish. Controls on cross-platform games are very finicky when it comes to the PC, but Anniversary works pretty darn well. While you have the option of using a gamepad, I never felt the need.
In particular, the general gun usage feels much more solid than Legend, with the guns drawing easily with the right mouse button (toggle or hold, choice is yours) and firing with the left. And a great improvement over the original Tomb Raider, is that Lara now draws her guns quick and fast, with a great hammer-clicking sound! Remember how you always ran around the original game with your guns drawn? Only ever putting them away to climb something? Probably wasn't what the designers intended. Thankfully in Anniversary, you can run around with your guns holstered knowing that should you need them, Lara can whip them out with speed. This may sound very similar to Legend, but I assure you that if you go back to Legend after playing Anniversary, you WILL find Legend's gunplay very cumbersome in comparison.
One of the big changes that Legend brought to the series was how Lara got around her environment. Anniversary has kept this pretty much the same, with a few new moves. The big difference though, is that the animations are much smoother and, as I said earlier about the game, polished. Now, this system was quite obviously 'influenced' from the new Prince of Persia games, but personally, I think Tomb Raider is all the better for it. And hey, the original designers admitted that they wanted the first Tomb Raider to be similar to the original Prince of Persia except in 3D, so things have come full circle. Despite using the WASD and mouse scheme on the Windows version, it works well and you'll never fight with the game to get Lara to do what you want.
When it comes to the graphics, there have been a lot of complaints because since the only console getting the game was the PS2, the developers didn't create any "Next Generation" graphics, meaning PC users do not get any "Next Generation" graphics. Let me tell you though, it's a misconception to think the PC version is simply using PS2's graphics, because that is not the case. While it's not Next-Gen, some areas are drop-dead gorgeous on the PC, not to mention very immersive. Speaking of that, they've pulled off a stunning job with the atmosphere. The sounds, graphics and lack of music (out of combat) all help hit home the feeling that you're very much alone in these places, which is exactly what old fans missed from the original game. A lot of the levels and rooms are inspired directly from the first Tomb Raider, but the challenges within them have changed drastically. You won't be pulling and pushing many blocks this time. Instead you'll be flipping, swinging, climbing and grappling your way around. There are a few puzzles in here too, but they're very good quality for an action game, and shouldn't leave you too stumped.
Another great change is the music during combat and cutscenes. Gone are the techno tracks from Legend whenever a fight breaks out. Instead, you'll be treated to some very characteristic movie-like scores during battles. Why do I say characteristic? Simply because each animal/beast you encounter has their own tune that plays when you go up against them, and for a lot of them they are very fitting! The themes for the bats, rats and T-Rex are good examples of this. One more thing about the music, if you're a long-time fan of the original Tomb Raider, you will notice some familiar themes cropping up, though most of the music is original work. The sound effects are also top-notch and won't cause any complaints.
Legend didn't rate very high in the 'length' factor, and while Anniversary isn't extremely long, it is about twice the size of Legend in comparison. And a better ratio of it is actual gameplay.
The story has had some modifications too, some of it good and some of it bad. The good is that there is a lot more involvement between Lara and the rest of the cast. This is no longer a simple case of Good vs Evil. One scene in particular will be very interesting to Lara fans, and is pulled off pretty well.
What didn't I like? Well, I love a lot in this game, but there is a large amount I don't like. Unfortunately, a lot of it has to do with the story and quality of the lines.
The original Tomb Raider had a very basic story, but it wasn't bad. Do you recall the speech from the main villain in the original game? Do you remember that person's motives? Well, they've changed. In Anniversary, while the same scenes play out and the story follows the same arc, there is a different motive driving the villain, and I feel it is much weaker in comparison. But hey, at least if you know the original story, you'll get something new.
My other complaint is at the quality of the script. No matter how many insults were flung at Legend, there's one thing that people could not mock, and that was the lines. Sure, people disliked the story (Why? It was better than TR 1 - 5) and people disliked the new Lara, but despite all this, it was clear that Legend's lines were professional and well-written. That's the problem with Anniversary, you see. The one-liners, the conversations... they're all quite weak in comparison to Legend. It's understandable that there's less talking in Anniversary, since that was the goal, but when there IS talking, it's pretty cheesy and cringe-worthy. Lara loses her british flair a bit in this game, whereas Legend enhanced it. The voice acting is still good, but let down by the dismal script. I'm sorry, but it just wasn't down-to-earth enough for me. It was also more melodramatic than Legend, though I can understand this was an attempt to portray a younger, more emotionally-vulnerable Lara.
My third complaint is the AI, though it's an odd one. At the beginning of the game, the AI was terrible. While the rest of the game felt polished, the enemies intelligence seemed extremely lacking. Often a creature would get trapped by something or simply just stop moving, STARING at me while I shot it to death. Funnily enough though, as the game progresses, these occurrences seem to become non-existant, rendering this complaint invalid. Weird indeed!
My last complaint, a small one, is one scene in the game. Anniversary has a lock-on system when shooting. This works fine throughout the whole game, but one difficult-to-navigate area has shootable buttons on the walls. The problem is that when there are enemies (of which this scene has a lot), the game doesn't prioritise enemies over buttons. This means often Lara would lock onto the button when I desperately wanted her to shoot the threats!
The Bottom Line
Overall, this game is awesome. There are some complaints mentioned above, but if you love Tomb Raider for whatever reason, then you'll love this game. For old fans, this is the first Tomb Raider in a long-time to capture the original's feeling of isolation and tomb exploration. For new fans, the control scheme is very modern, and a it's good introduction to what made Tomb Raider famous in the first place (besides Lara, of course).
I can honestly, hand-on-my-heart say that you will enjoy this game if you have any fascination in third-person adventures.
Windows · by Richard Kaplan (14) · 2007
As I have no experience with Legend, I compare this game to older titles.
I have never been a real fanboy of Tomb Raider but I had some great times with older games. There's just that thrill of adventuring in old ruins or dodging natural deathtraps in a jungle. Back in the days I loved them, they weren't something extraordinary special but they did kept my interest and as I played them with my older brother, I enjoyed discussing with my brother how to unlock that door, kill that enemy and so on. As the time passed, my interest faded, mostly because they became more of an action games and didn't add any major improvements to gameplay. I don't even want to talk about Angel of Darkness, that one was awful, strayed TOO far from the formula. I wanted to play Legend, mainly because it was supposed to be a reinvention of the series but never managed to actually play it. Then came Anniversary and I started to play it coincidentally. And I was pretty much blown away at the start, never did Tomb Raider feel so great and gameplay so fluid.
Most important, Anniversary captures essence of the original and gives you a real feeling of nostalgia. The areas are not 1:1 from the original but the most memorable areas are essentially the same like St. Francis Folly. There are also a lot of new areas and different puzzles, mostly because of the new technology and some puzzles/traps just would look lame these days. Areas are also revamped, polished and more detailed. There are four main locations in the game (plus Croft Manor), each has 3-4 levels. They're all quite interesting and fun to explore except the Atlantis (refer to the Bad Section). The new technology and graphics also allow to portray areas more realistically and show what the original couldn't (you remember the second level were there was supposed to be a "village", yup, now you can actually see that there's a village).
And when it comes to graphics, Anniversary certainly delivers. Locations and areas are certainly colourful and give a nice feeling. Peru for example is mostly filled with green grass and from the distance it's nice to look at the green landscape. Graphics also make Lara Croft more appealing. In the older games I always though that Lara looked like an ugly MILF (even concept art and CGI portrayed her a little ugly). Now she looks more natural, cheerful and younger. Now, where can I only get that nude patch, and fast?!?! Enemies look more dangerous and life-threatening than in the original; in the original enemies looked more like cute.
And while I'm on that, there are no human enemies in the game. Nope, you can only shoot animals and creatures. They mostly consist of bats, wolves, bears, panthers, gorillas and so on. Human enemies only exist in interactive cutscenes where you have to push movement buttons at the right time. They're quite neat (slow motion and all) but they chunk off some gameplay and ultimately shorten the game. Enemies AI is nothing to brag about but they do their job well by trying to bite Lara's high polygon buttocks all the time. They're quite easy to kill actually if you are on higher plane than they are. What would real Tomb Raider be without boss battles? There are 3-4 boss battles, most of them quite easy. Only one boss battle was a little challenging because it did take some time to figure out how to harm them. T-Rex wasn't so "holy cow" anymore although; in the original it was a real shock and at first I panicked terribly. Only downside was the last boss, but you can read my complaints about in the Bad Section.
You can control Lara much more freely than you could in previous games (except Legend which I haven't played) and Lara feels more natural. In the older titles Lara felt like a tank: she was clumsy, slow and painful to control. At first you may have some trouble with controlling her but after a few minutes you do it like naturally. Lara can't jump so high anymore but thanks to her new improved abilities she can do without it and she's really more agile and nimble. Combat is improved as well and there's also a new addition (even Legend didn't have that). You can basically dodge an enemy in slow motion and if you fire the weapon when target locks on, you'll perform a headshot, instantly killing the target. Nice feature that you have to master if you want to complete the game.
What makes Tomb Raider "Tomb Raider" are the puzzles and there's a lot of them. There are traditional find-the-key, flip-the-switch type puzzles and puzzles where you just have to get to point B from point A, figuring out just how to get there, especially in Egypt, where tons of deathtraps await you along the way. To me they are perfect, I just love this style of adventuring and guessing; no obscure puzzles that even Einstein can't solve.
Music and sound are nothing extraordinary, but they provide some nice ambient tunes, helping player to immerse himself/herself in. I did like some tunes, like the Main Theme and Bear's Theme (most memorable music piece from TR1).
Nice little thing Crystal included was the final showdown with Larson. It really portrayed Lara as a human, not as a badass who can very well be Duke Nukem's mother. I think most of you find it silly and annoying but I just had to point that out a little.
After you complete a location, audio commentary with Toby Gard (designer of the first game and creator of Lara Croft) and Anniversary's creative director Botta open up. I found those commentaries very funny and they gave insights into TR1 development (why did they do that etc.) and what did they do with Anniversary like changes and reasons behind them. Commentators are most of the time in a good mood and provide more than few smiles. Besides audio commentary, you can also unlock new outfits, concept art, biographies and cheats by completing time trials and finding secret artifacts and relics. As a matter of fact, I tend to be the type who always likes to complete games 100% but I always just get tired of the game and quit . Anniversary on the other hand keeps me playing for some reason.
There's nothing perfect in the world and Anniversary isn't exception, there are obviously some flaws.
First is the length. The game was in my opinion very short and you can pretty much complete it under 15 hours or less. It may take more time if you want to unlock every costume, concept art etc. but there are a lot of people who could care less about it. Or maybe it was just me? All good things end I guess and it's not a very big flaw, just my dissatisfaction with it. And the game is easy, even on harder settings. There are some frustrating and dangerous moments but you can overcome them quickly. And the locations are smaller, another reason why it's so short.
It's not really Anniversary's flaw but TR1's and it's the story. Story isn't exciting, it's more like flat-out boring. It's just the basic "evil-woman-wants-to-take-over-the-world" affair, adding nothing new and hardly developing Lara's character. It doesn't even have twist and you can see the end by miles away. Tomb Raider has never been known for it's great story but at least other titles were much more interesting, like Tomb Raider II. Here it doesn't matter, story is just made up so Lara could visit exotic places. It's original's fault but I hoped they would milk a little out of it and make characters more interesting. Oh well..
I wasn't satisfied with the final boss and the Atlantis section. Atlantis was boring, boring and there was too much shooting and too few interesting puzzles. Again, it's mostly TR1's flaw. I don't know how tough was the final boss in the original but here she was disappointingly easy. Even T-Rex in the start of the game was tougher!
The Bottom Line
+ Great graphics + Good remake of a classic and captures the feeling of the original, provides nostalgia + Improved combat and acrobatics, Lara is much more nimble and agile + Lots of exploration and puzzles + Audio commentaries and secrets - Too short - Last section of the game is disappointing, last boss is a piece of cake - Story is almost nonexistent and boring
I strongly recommend it to any Tomb Raider fan and to other people who are at least remotely interested in TR. It also introduces Lara's first adventure to wider people who were just put off by the ugly graphics in the first game. I wait impatiently for another game and maybe I'll even pick up Legend. As long as Crystal can keep series fresh, they can do as well 100 Tomb Raiders! I'll still play every single one of them!
Windows · by Donatello (453) · 2007
Toby Gard consulted Crystal Dynamics and served as the story designer in reimagining the original Tomb Raider. Gard borrows heavily from the first film in that Lara Croft uses research preceded by her father, Lord Richard Croft, to discover the Atlantean Scion from the original game. Also, Crystal Dynamics reverted back to traversal environments and made controlling Croft more fluid thanks to their Legacy of Kain technology. The score in the original Tomb Raider consisted of choirs by Nathan McCree that would cue when a new puzzle or vista was discovered, which is replicated again in Anniversary by the BAFTA winner, Troels B. Folmann.
Unfortunately, the QTE's introduced in Legend return in Anniversary and these can break away from the puzzles and exploration the original emphasized on. Due to the Wii exclusive controls, the grappling sections later on are even more challenging than the console versions.
The Bottom Line
It was a bold move for Crystal Dynamics to value Gard’s industry experience, having worked on Tomb Raider and Galleon with Paul Douglas. In retrospect, Anniversary captures the essence of the original Tomb Raider, but falls short with unnecessary arcade elements that break up the pace.
Wii · by john perkins (11) · 2021
Contributors to this Entry
Critic reviews added by coolfrost, Wizo, CalaisianMindthief, Jeanne, Rebound Boy, Alsy, Big John WV, COBRA-COBRETTI, Scaryfun, RhYnoECfnW, Donatello, Parf, Zechs_, Yearman, Patrick Bregger, Yurf 77, Jacob Gens, Solid Flamingo, beetle120, Alaka, GAMEBOY COLOR!, Sciere, Michael B, DreinIX, Kabushi, vicrabb, Cantillon, Evil Ryu, chirinea, Tim Janssen, jaXen, Alaedrain.