Written by  :  piltdown_man (151592)
Written on  :  Sep 29, 2017
Rating  :  3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars3.5 Stars
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Strangely unsatisfying

The Good

I've played a few DVD games and most of them have been imitations of TV Game shows or quizzes of one type or another. This is the first DVD game I have played that felt like an actual game - at least up to a point.

This game looks like a Lara Croft game because it is a Lara Croft game and not someone's interpretation of a game or a misuse of the license. The DVD game claims to be based on Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - The Angel of Darkness and looking at the screenshots for both games it's clear that game locations have been used, the escape from the police across the rooftops of Paris, Margot Carviers's apartment; the nightclub; entering the Louvre via the storm drains, Vasilly's in snow covered Prague etc - they are all here.

Lara moves well and the music, sound effects, voice acting are all up to the standard of a full Lara Croft game too. This is a quality production.

The Bad

I'm rubbish at these runny-jumpy-platformy type games, I'm just not fast enough and the forced pace of such action games usually just doesn't work for me. The DVD game, with it's 'Lara Croft For All' tagline should have been right up my street and yet, somehow it just didn't work, it was too easy and there was no real challenge.
In this game there's no exploring or wondering what to do/where to go next, in other words the game pretty much runs on rails with Lara moving from key decision point to key decision point on her own. At these decision points the player gets to choose between actions such as Climb;Play Safe;Climb down. One probably leads to death/capture, one leads to the next decision, one gets the game to play for you. It's hardly taxing and there's no penalty for getting it wrong as the game restarts at, or very near, the place where the player failed the mission.

Then there's the scoring, it works and it works well but there are just five points per level which indicates just how many choices the player has to make. Sometimes points are earned by choosing a stealth takedown rather than taking a shot, in other cases opting to explore results in items being found which earns an extra point. What this means is that there are only five places in the level where a player's decision or action actually counts, I found these to be too easy and I felt no pressure to replay to try and get a perfect score.

The game does have timed sequences, most memorably getting past the lasers in the Louvre, and action sequences, which the player initiates by repeating a five arrow key sequence, but these also make the game too easy. In a 'real' game the player has to work out what they need to do and how to do it and it can take ages for me to complete a level, here all that is reduced to a mouse clicks and a few key presses.

I was also concerned by the violence, not that I mind people and attack dogs getting killed it's who Lara was killing that didn't feel right. She's finishing off a quest set by her departed mentor while trying to clear her name and show that she's not a murderer yet she happily kills museum guards, and policemen along the way and that just did not feel right.

The Bottom Line

This game has the same high production standards that I would expect of a big title computer game. It looks good, it sounds good and the game mechanics work perfectly.

Playing a full Tomb Raider game from start to finish is something I've never accomplished, there's always something like the one jump I can't make or the one ledge I can't reach. However I enjoyed those games as far as I was able to get, there was a sense of accomplishment in overcoming the obstacles and in finding hidden items. Here I got no such satisfaction probably because it is so linear and I had so little control, for example in this game Lara never got lost which she usually does when I'm in control of a game like this.

This, for me, is where the DVD game falls down, I wasn't in control. As bad as I am at this kind of game I missed the effort it takes to progress and the achievement that comes from solving problems and making that well-timed jump.

I guess, ultimately, it comes down to what you class as playing a game. here so much of the game was done for me that I wasn't really playing the game it was more like I was clicking buttons to follow an interactive story.