Eidos Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary

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Eidos Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Pros

  • Wonderfully nostalgic, great graphics and atmosphere

Cons

  • Occassional camera/control issues, uninspired A.I

Bottom Line

For series' veterans, Tomb Raider Anniversary is a fun trip down memory lane, complete with a few interesting additions and surprises. If you're new to the series, this is a great chance to experience one of the world's most famous video games with shiny new graphics.

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It's been a little more than ten years since the original Tomb Raider came out, and so Tomb Raider: Anniversary is late to the party. But like every good starlet, Lara Croft knows that it pays to arrive fashionably late.

Tomb Raider may be best known for its iconic protagonist and her "assets", but behind the glitz and glamour, there has always been a foundation of solid gameplay, at least for those with a taste for serious platforming action.

Nostalgia, Upgraded

Anniversary, which is a direct remake of the original Tomb Raider title, keeps this squarely in mind. The designers clearly know and love the original, and wisely steered the game in a direction that will please series fans. The great news, however, is that they've also managed to find ways to draw in new fans as well. Most of the memorable moments are left untouched, while plenty of new surprises await Raider vets. If you remember certain puzzles or encounters, be prepared to have your expectations thrown off in clever, amusing, and spectacular ways.

And of course, the game has gotten an overall polish to its presentation, which definitely helps make things feel fresh. The graphics especially have gotten a lot of attention, which is welcome because, though impressive at the time, the blocky, pixelated graphics of the original just wouldn't fly with today's gamer.

Grip slips

Changes have also been made to the game's controls, and here we faced an odd dilemma. The movement controls are now dependent on the positioning of the camera, which is far more intuitive. However, the first five Tomb Raiders' notoriously "clunky" controls had advantages, the main one being that controls independent of the camera allowed you to make the kinds of jumps and leaps that the game required. Tying the movement to the camera is fine but it does lead to major problems: for instance, in one area you must swing by grappling hook, then jump away from a wall to catch a ledge. Yet the camera angle changes while you swing, which means that the controls suddenly change as well. Let's just say we spent literally two hours trying to get past this particular puzzle; Anniversary is obviously not for the impatient.

There are other niggles, such as the A.I., which hasn't smartened up any in the intervening years, but if you are willing to deal with some frustrations, you will be rewarded with a great game experience and gorgeous, is-this-really-PS2 visuals. You'll experience the wonder and awe of feeling like you are discovering lost tombs, which is what made the original so compelling in the first place.

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