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
Like many puzzle games of this type. Tomb Raider has secret areas which do not need to be explored simply in order to finish the game. This walkthrough will attempt to mention some of the secrets that we found, but there are no guarantees that we found them all.
The first thing to realise is that this game will allow you to get into an unwinable position, so do keep lots of save games. Jump the wrong way, or destroy the wrong floor tile, and there is no way back! Also remember you can jump further if you take a run at it.
Level 1 - Hie Caves.
Follow the wolves' footprints to where they first appear beneath a ledge. Run and jump up onto the ledge. Find the locked door at the base of the steps and open it using the wall switch. In the room with the golden gate, there is supposedly a hidden switch to open the gate, but if you can't find it (and we didn't!) jump out of the room on the opposite side and cross two bridges to find another doorway, which will eventually bring you to a ledge on the other side of the golden gate. Jump across to the opposite ledge and find the wall switch to open the next gate. Jump down into the passageway behind the golden gate and leave through the final exit door.
Level 2 - City of Vilcabama
Find the door with the switch in the large silver panel beside it. Open the door and go up the stairs. Jump across the gap to stand on the opposite window ledge - don't walk forward! Jump sideways down into the room below to avoid destroying two crumbly floor tiles in front of the window. Move the large cube which blocks the exit door, then go forward and collect the silver key and the gold statue. Return to the block room and push and pull the block to line it up with the two suspended ceiling tiles. Climb onto the block, then using 'nimble fingers' jump back up and out. (Note: There is an extra first aid kit in a secret alcove above the door which was jammed up by the block.) Back in the entrance room, you can jump down into the pool to discover two secret wall switches. One switch opens a door in a serpent room which contains magnum clips: another room contains more first aid.
Use the silver key to open the locked door in the main area. At the end of the deadly alley stand two locked doors and an entrance to a swimming pool. By jumping and moving quickly, you can reach a final room containing a wall switch which opens one of the two externally locked doors.
(Note: Exit by the window to find some shotgun shells.) Enter the second external door and again climb the walls to find the switch to open the final door.
The final passage leads to a pool outside a room containing a bear.
Swim underwater to find another pool leading up to a balcony above the bear. Throw the wall switch to open the gate in the bear room, then jump down into the pool. Leave the pool, dodge the marauding bear and use the gold statue to open the wall to freedom.
Level 3 - Lost Valley
Jump into the stream and take a trip over the waterfall. Exit the water and enter the crevice on the left. Just before you reach the end of this tunnel, climb the white rock face to find the entrance to the secret valley. Kill all of the dinosaurs, using the side tunnels and platforms to shoot at them from safety.
You must now find three large gear wheels. The first is hidden at the bottom of the well in the ruined temple. The second is on one side of the ruined bridge. (You can jump up there from the ground if you position yourself right.) Find the waterfall, which you can dive into, and follow it through to a cave with a Raptor in it. There is a ledge at the side which is the first of a large number of blocks you can climb.
At the very top is the last gear wheel. Return to the starting position of the level, then head upstream to a side alcove where you can run and jump to the opposite bank. Continue jumping backwards and forwards across the river until you reach the bridge. Cross the bridge and insert the three cogs into the wall mechanism. Pull the wall switch to close a gate which stops the flow of water over the large waterfall.
(At this point you can travel further up river to find a hidden first aid kit.) Walk to the base of the large waterfall and enter a passage which has now been revealed. Through this tunnel you'll find the exit door.
Level 3B - Tomb of Qualopec
Enter the large red room and use the wall switch to the right, deal with the two Raptors, then enter the tunnel on the right. The three rooms which now confront you have a number of wall switches which must be executed to open three gates to the room which contains the Scion.
The room to the left contains a sunken area with a large statue facing a wall switch. The floor beneath the wall switch collapses when you stand on it, dropping you into a pit of wolves. This wall switch cannot be operated and is a red-herring which can be ignored.
The next room contains a block which seals a doorway. Push this block, then push a side block which is then revealed. The dodgy floor which lies between you and the wall switch can be jumped. The third room contains a wall switch and a window into a room. Pressing the wall switch moves the block. DON'T DO IT YET! Jump into the room, then exit out of the side door which leads up to the top of the other large block which stands in the room. Jump sideways off this block to another alcove and thence through various passageways to end up on the first unmoved block. Jump sideways from here and then up to find the switch which controls the other block. Return to the first wall switch and move it. You should now be able to use the two blocks to jump across the spikes and find the final wall switch. Collect the now available Scion object.
Return to the waterfall area of Level 3 and shoot Larsen.
Level 4 - St Francis Folly
Move the block onto each of the omega signs to open door. Enter door and operate two wall switches to open the high-level door outside. Use the sliding block to jump onto the central pillars and across the room to the opposite side. From here get through the high door.
(Note: There is a secret area on the wall on the same side of the room as the sliding block.)
Find the shotgun and then use the switch to lower the water level. Enter the central area with the tower. The tower contains the four switches to open the side areas - Thor, Atlas, Neptune and Damocles. Ignore the hammer in 'Dior. Jump over the rolling boulder in Atlas, then jump up to reach a ledge in the passage wall.
Collect the key from each area, then unlock the door at the bottom of the tower.
Level 5 - Coliseum
Climb out of the water and get up onto the external ledge on the second level of the building in front of you. (Jump onto the first level from nearby rocks.)
From the edge of the second level ledge, jump into the nearby cavern. You can bypass the crocodile pit by jumping and catching hold of a rock ledge which runs alongside it, then by moving hand over hand. When you arrive at the Coliseum, jump into the arena, then exit by the left-hand slide down. Operate the two switches in the room, then exit back into the main arena.
Find the gate behind the rocks and solve the riddle of the gates and the pressure pads. Exit up to the top of the rock pile, then jump across to the emperor's box. Move the sliding block and operate the switch. Jump back into the arena, back up into the stands, then find one of the three side doors which is now open. Solve the simple problems in each of the three rooms to finally find a key. Return to the emperor's box, nip downstairs for a first aid kit, then back up to use the key which opens the gate.
Level 6 - Palace Midas
Climb out of the water and go right up a large flight of stairs to the room containing the four doors with codes above them. The doors are opened by using the code switches on the roof of the central building. Behind the northern code door there are three slots to hold gold bars. First you must collect a lead bar from behind the three other doors. Take the bars to the garden and jump up onto the roof of the building where the first aid box can be seen. A passage leads from here to the Hand of Midas. Use the lead bars on the hand to change them into gold.
Tips: behind the door with the flaming torches you can use a first aid kit whilst hanging from the pillars to regain your strength. This way you can survive the fire damage that you'll suffer as you jump from pillar to pillar across the room. Ignore the cage doors under the water, they are red herrings.
In the room with the T-shaped water canal, find the lead bar by jumping across the chasm to where the first' aid kit is, then swing hand over hand to the left to find a ledge beneath you. From here you can jump back across the gorge and find the passage leading to the lead bar which rests on the roof of a palace.
Level 7B - Cistern
When you reach the large-central room, shoot the crocodiles in the pool before jumping down. This level requires you to find two rusty keys, each of which opens a door on the left side of the main area. There is a lever which floods the central room, allowing you to reach places previously unreachable, but you must not flood the area until you have been through the first rusty door on the left and obtained the silver key.
One rusty key is on a high ledge in the central area which needs you to go hand over hand along a small ridge to reach it. The second rusty key is found after you flood the main area and then dive in what was the crocodile pool to find the small passageway through. This rusty key will lead to the second silver key and the gold one. The two silver keys open the main door out of this main area. Use the gold key next and then pull a block to exit the level. Tip: there is a set of magnum pistols to be found on a high ledge in the room behind the first rusty door. They are on the far wall, middle ledge.
We'll be back next month with the second half of this terrific game, so until then remember to keep your toes out of the crocodile pools and don't go climbing onto any high ledges without a save game in your tights.
Processor: PC compatible, P-200
OS: Windows 9x, Windows 2000 Windows XP, Vista, Win 7, Win 8, Win 10.
Game Features:Single game mode