This is my first review on here, so I hope you girls enjoy it. Please feel free to let me know what you think of my review. I’ll try and review as many games as possible, but I thought I’d start with a favourite of mine.
Abit of History on Tomb Raider
(For those of you unfamiliar)
The very first release of Tomb Raider was back in 1996 where we see the fictional British character, Lara Croft, on a hunt for artifacts and other historic items in places such as Egypt and Peru. Six of the Tomb Raider games were developed by ‘Core Design’, but the last two Tomb Raider games were developed by ‘Crystal Dynamics’. Lara Croft is probably one of, if not THE, most recognised video game character of all time.
Still going strong, Lara takes us on her 8th journey in this part re-make of her very original story back in 1996.
The 8th Instalment
This year, we follow Lara through what I like to call as abit of a flashback to when we first saw her on our screens eleven years ago. The whole point of this game is that it is supposed to be a re-make of the very original Tomb Raider to celebrate Lara Croft being ten years old. We are taken through the same places as the first instalment and for those of you who would recognise the scenarios from Tomb Raider 1, you will see similar resemblances in the levels, but of course, this 8th instalment has much better graphics, and I should hope so too after nearly eleven years!
You of course can enter Croft Manor which is pretty much the same as the Mansion in Tomb Raider:Legend. Here, you can complete a puzzle that will lead you to the good old maze outside where you will need to find certain objects to complete the overall puzzle. You can also do this puzzle as a time trial to receive an achievement.
In the main game, you start out in Peru, where as usual for the first section of the level you go through a little tutorial but those of you that played Tomb Raider:Legend won’t need to take much notice of this as the buttons are all the same. After making your way through Peru, Greece and Egypt you will come to the The Lost Island which is of course “the boss level” where the puzzles become harder and the way through the level becomes more and more challenging. Watch out for the lava!
Each level has it’s own “boss” and of course they get more tricky the further through the game you go. Each level also has it’s own common enemy, for example in Peru the common enemy is the wolf, then in Greece it’s the Tiger, Egypt it’s the gorilla’s and the mummy’s and in The Lost Island you will encounter huge bat-like creatures that fire heat balls at you so be prepared to start using your better guns as you progress further.
Artefacts and Relics
Something that is well known in the Tomb Raider franchise is the fact that throughout the game you can pick up several relics and artefacts which will unlock rewards for you. I absolutely love this feature as it creates excellent replay value and I’m pretty anal in the sense that I have to find all of the secrets! Instead of there being just 3 secrets per level like in most of the Tomb Raider games, this instalment allows us to pick up more than 3 or less than 3 and only certain levels contain ‘Relics’ which are harder to find and more difficult to actually get to, meaning you probably have to go back on yourself to get to the Relic.
Collecting just one artefact will most likely unlock at least one thing from the Reward section in the main menu but it’s always best to collect as many as you can find, so I usually end up spending hours on one level, trying to find all of the secrets. Of course all of this is optional, but find them all and you will get achievements.
As mentioned above, to unlock items in the reward section, you need to find as many Artefacts and Relics as you can. If you succeed in finding any, once you have completed the level, save it and go back to the main menu and have a lock at what you have unlocked. Chances are it will most likely be some concept art or some music, but if you’re lucky enough to find more than one Artefact or a Relic, you will unlock outfits for Lara and commentaries for each level too so you can listen to the developers talk about how they made the levels and why they decided on certain things. Kind of like choosing the Director’s Commentary when you watch a DVD.
I have finally managed to find all Artefacts and Relics so I am lucky enough to have unlocked everything possible and now when I play this game over in ‘Time Trial’ mode, I can listen to the commentaries, or play Lara in a different outfit, some of which are quite funky.
Another great replay value. Like with Tomb Raider:Legend you have the option (again, you do not need to do this) of playing through each level again against the clock. If you succeed, you will eventually receive achievements and increase your gamerscore. I must point out that I haven’t completed the whole time trial section as I am finding it quite hard! I have only done half of the game as I got far too frustrated to go any further. You are on a real tight time limit and it’s best not to worry about killing everything and focus on making all of the jumps and climbs first time round because if you don’t, be prepared to start all over again.
Lara will start off the game, as with other Tomb Raider games, with her trusty pistols, of which you will have unlimited ammo. Eventually you will pick up the Shotgun which is great for those up close and personal moments of killing those annoying wolves, and then as you progress further you can pick up .50 caliber pistols and Dual Mini SMG’s. You will receive achievements for picking up these weapons. Ammo for these guns are very generous and will constantly pick up ammo for each of the weapons you have so you should never be short of any bullets.
Features / Differences from the Original
There are of course afew different elements in this game when you really dig deep and compare it to the original version from 1996. The graphics of course is the most noticeable difference, but there are some features that have been added in and taken out. For example, you no longer have binoculars or a PDA, you instead have a grapple hook which you can swing from or wall run with. Some of the enemies will be larger than those in the original and others will appear to be smaller. Some of the levels will also look slightly different and some aspects from the original have been taken out and replaced altogether, but this is only supposed to be a re-make not a complete copy.
A great addition to this game is the fact that you can now do one-shot kills. I’m not talking about head-shot’s with a sniper rifle, I’m talking about the adrenaline charge. When you come across enemies in the game, if you shoot them enough, they will get angry and they’ll charge at you, once they have come close enough, your screen will blur a little and a prompt for you to hold the ‘B’ button and a direction will appear. If you do this while still locking onto your enemy, your guns will lock onto their head and with just one press of ‘RT’ will kill them instantly. It actually took some getting used to, but eventually I became a pro!
The XBOX 360 Version
Whenever I really want a game, I sometimes tend not to wait for the UK version and try and import the game if possible. However, I was patient with this game and I waited for this version to come out in the UK and bought it on the release date. You can buy this game from the Xbox Live Marketplace which will cost 2400 Marketplace points which is equivalent to about £20 or so. However, to actually play this game, you will require the Tomb Raider:Legend disk, if you don’t have this, then you won’t be able to play Tomb Raider:Anniversary from the Marketplace.
The graphics don’t look much different than those in Tomb Raider:Legend. Lara is more curvy and less jokey looking, meaning her boobs are no longer pointy like in Tomb Raider 1. We of course know that for some unknown reason, men really liked this pointy-bosom look. The levels are stunning to look at it, especially those with waterfalls and greenery, alot of the views can be quite breathtaking. Lara has been upgraded with over 7,000 polygons so she certainly looks better than in the original version. A very nice looking game, smooth edges, great colour and excellent environments.
Lara handles much differently than when she first popped into our consoles ten years ago. She doesn’t seem to walk on a ‘grid’ anymore and you definitely have more freedom of movement. She automatically grabs ledges where-as in previous versions, you were required to press a button to hang onto a ledge. She handles very well, but sometimes she doesn’t do what you ask her to do. Sometimes when I wanted her to grapple a hook from above, she just didn’t want to do it which meant if I was in mid-air, I would have to climb back to where I was before. This didn’t become a major problem for me though, and nor did the dodgy camera angles that happened only rarely, but it was still a little annoying not being able to adjust the camera to your desired view. However, this never became a big problem.
The sound is much better than the original. The guns sound great, her footsteps on the floor sound very good and her screams are realistic when she falls to her death, not that Lara falling to her death is a good thing, I’m just saying the sound guy certainly made this sound realistic! Another great sound feature is when you’re swimming and she loses her breath which means your health bar will start to decrease, but once she reaches the surface in time, she will take big gasping breaths and even cough like she’s got water stuck in her throat! It’s great!
The animals and other creatures also sound very good and quite scary and monstrous, and the music that comes with meeting an enemy is distinctive and dramatic so you always know when you’re about to become face to face with a grissly bear.
The achievements in this game seem to be alot harder to get than in Tomb Raider:Legend. Most of them are the same, such as, complete the level in Easy, Medium and Hard or get all of the secrets, or complete the time trials. However, there are some really difficult achievements to get this time round, such as completing each level without dying! Now that is very hard as I think this goes back to Tomb Raider’s roots where you get so frustrated at not being able to make certain jumps or not being able to solve the puzzles, and of course there are some spike traps and long falls that would probably make you scream yourself especially if you’re trying to get the achievements for not dying.
Currently I have about 500/1000 gamerscore for this game and that includes finishing the game on all difficulties, finding all of the secrets and weapons and completing each level individually.
My Overall Opinion
I will admit I am slightly bias when it comes to any Tomb Raider game and I can safely say that I haven’t actually played one bad TR game. Yes, some people may disagree with me and say that TR5 and TR6 were terrible and strayed away from the point of ‘tomb raiding’, but I don’t really care about that. What I care about is actually enjoying the game as a whole and I actually enjoy getting frustrated with it too as it makes the game last longer and it becomes your Everest.
Tomb Raider:Anniversary was a game I was highly anticipating and now that I have completed the story, I actually feel a sense of achievement and glory, as sad as that sounds. This game, for me, was alot harder than TR7 and it definitely goes back to it’s roots. There are alot more puzzles to complete in this game and I really enjoy doing those because some of them actually require alot of thinking about and one of them actually required me to write down the technique because the puzzle had to be solved in a certain order! I thoroughly enjoyed the puzzle aspect of this game as it took me back to when I was 8 years old and playing the original version. I have been very tempted to get a walk-through off the internet because some of the puzzles were just a little hard and finding all of the Relics were even harder, but I managed to resist.
The good old interactive cut-scenes are back where you need to press buttons in a sequence to get through it and continue to game. I always enjoy doing this, mainly because it just actually looks like you’re the one doing the fancy slow-mo tricks.
This game managed to last me about 15 hours or so, but of course I still have time trials to complete so my accumulative time is likely to increase by afew hours or so. I only tended to play this game at the weekend as my boyfriend plays the Nintendo Wii during the evenings in the week, which I don’t mind watching at all, and to be honest, i’m so tired in the week I don’t even have the energy to play my games. So at the weekend, I like to sit and enjoy playing one of my favourite franchises. This game lasted me about 4 or 5 weekends, but if you were to play it over a number of days, it would probably only take you 2 maybe 3. This game is significantly longer than Tomb Raider:Legend which is great because I sometimes hate these modern-day games that only last 8 hours.
This game will frustrate you, as it really frustrated me and sometimes I ended up gritting my teeth and turning my xbox off like some spoilt little brat, but there are certain levels in the game, especially the last level where you are required to climb over a lava pit and you will come across moving platforms and timed poles and grapple hooks. This was annoyingly hard and not making the jumps first time was very stressful, but I still enjoyed it as it made me determined to get through it, and when I eventually did, it felt good.
I cannot wait for the next Tomb Raider instalment (Tomb Raider: Underworld) which has been rumoured to be released near Christmas 2008, so I am really looking forward to that. If you are a fan of Tomb Raider or Lara Croft, then I would definitely recommend this game to you, but I must say I thought this game was alot different to Legend, and it certainly goes back to the artefact searching and tomb raiding like in the original, so the developers definitely delivered when they said it would be going back to Lara’s roots.
So girls, pick yourself up a copy of this if you haven’t already. While the male gamers might be drooling all over Lara’s curvy new figure, us female gamers will show them how to play this game with ease! Grab this game as soon as possible and enjoy even more adventures from the worlds favourite British heroine, Lara Croft.
This game is available to buy from:
Gameplay.co.uk – £14.99 + 99p first class delivery or free 2nd class.
Play.com – £24.99 delivered
Game.co.uk – £14.99 delivered
I have also published this review on dooyoo.co.uk