Eidos Interactive's soon-to-be-published Tomb Raider looks to be perhaps the best PlayStation game released so far, but owners of Sony's 32-Bitter shouldn't feel too smug about it. The game's coming to the Saturn, as well, and this version looks every bit as good as the PlayStation incarnation.
For those unfamiliar with this highly impressive adventure title, Tomb Raider is a 3-D game of exploration whose plot borrows heavily from the celluloid exploits of Indiana Jones-except Tomb Raider's hero is a gun-totin, hard-bitten, beautiful woman named Lara Croft. And the very buff, very acrobatic Ms. Croft makes Indy Jones look like a wimp: She can leap across 15-foot-wide chasms, push around massive stone blocks and fire two Uzis at the same time, one in each hand.
Lara's adventure begins when a mysterious businesswoman named Jaqueline Natla hires her to seek out an artifact hidden in a Mayan temple in Peru. It turns out the artifact is one of three pieces of the Atlantean Scion, a powerful, magical object that Natla hopes to nab for her own evil purposes. The first level has Lara seeking out this artifact which Natla promptly steals back once it's found. The rest of the game is spent in a globe-trotting adventure, one that ends with discovering the fate of Atlantis.
Tomb Raider is divided into four subterranean levels, each set in a different part of the world, and these levels are divided into different zones. Lara starts in the Mayan Level, which is made up of three zones; then she explores a Greek Level, with four zones; then an Egyptian Level, comprised of two zones; and finally she winds up in Atlantis, which is divided into three zones. Each of the levels has its own, straight-from-the-history-book look [no wonder, since the game's underground environs were modeled after real-life ruins).
And the levels are huge. A typical zone extends for what seems like miles and is filled with hidden areas that Lara can only reach by scaling cliffs or diving into murky underground rivers. Lara's tour through these areas isn't without its dangers, though. Each zone is infested with a zooful of hungry animals and other creatures (see sidebar).
Players control Lara from a third-person, behind-the-back view as she explores Tomb Raider's polygonal environments. This perspective can be switched to a second View Mode that lets Lara look all around her-a handy feature, since she'll often find herself standing at the edge of a precarious drop.
Control in Tomb Raider is outstanding. Lara can perform forward and side flips, direction-changing tumbles, chasm-spanning leaps and hand-over-hand shimmies along narrow rock outcroppings. In a sense, the game plays like a 3-D version of Prince of Persia or Flashback, in that Lara can grab on to cliffsides in midfall and pull herself up onto higher platforms. But her acrobatic prowess isn't the only asset Lara has in escaping critters and navigating the game's world; she packs some serious heat. too. Although she starts the game with a pair of low-caliber handguns, she later finds a shotgun, Uzis, magnum pistols and other high-powered armament (which she can fire while leaping).
Despite the arsenal, Tomb Raider is more a game of exploration than constant combat Lara will spend more time wandering Tomb Raider's world and figuring out its puzzles-most of them involving switches and moving blocks-than she does blasting beasts. But that's okay. Tomb Raider just goes to show that the next wave of 3-D games is going to be more immersive than ever.
MANUFACTURER - Eidos
THEME - ACTION
NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
2016-09-30 Tomb Raider game added.