Lara Croft returns to the Playstation for one Last Revelation
(IDG) -- It's Indiana Jones meets Barbie again, as Lara Croft dusts off her shotgun and short-shorts in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. This game improves upon the ancient treasure-hunting series, but still has a long way to go to reach the gold.
Game, set, and matchLara Croft has really done it this time. In her never-ending pursuit of ancient, glittery objects, she unwittingly unleashes Set, an evil Egyptian god of death. Lara must depend on her skill, wit, and good looks to find out the secret that will put Set to rest for good.
Meanwhile, a figure from Lara's sketchy past has resurfaced, and he'll not rest until Ms. Croft gets offed. The story contains more twists and turns than the fiendish puzzles you'll have to solve to win.
The Last Revelation differs from previous Tomb Raider games in many ways, including the all-new inventory system (in which you can combine different objects to solve puzzles, improve your weapons, etc.) and a new graphics engine which shows off Lara's spooky destinations with aplomb.
The whole game takes place in shadowy tombs in Egypt, rather than in various places all over the globe, and you have new enemies to kill, like skeletons and mummies. These changes are nice, but unfortunately it's the things that didn't change that threaten to bring this game down.
Driving Miss LaraTomb Raider has managed to survive four games without much-needed improvements in control. Moving Lara about is like driving a riding lawnmower; you have to stop running to turn corners with precision, you must press a "walk" button to sidestep or approach ledges, and controlling precision jumps and rope-swings is an exercise in luck and frustration.
Lara has a LOT of moves, but you'll never have exactly the precision you'll need to flow smoothly through the game. New moves are very nice, but if it's annoying to use them, then nothing is gained.
Core Design's level designers get better with each new game. The puzzles are often devilishly difficult but somehow very simple, and the levels themselves are works of art, with tunnels, hidden rooms and the like. It's obvious that they wanted to emphasize puzzles over gunfighting in this one, as enemies are generally scarce as you run about in search of levers, keys or special items.
The Last Revelation looks and sounds better than the previous three games, too. Dynamic lighting illuminates gorgeous hallways and huge chambers, and ambient noises (with the periodic sprinkles of "mood music") bring these ancient tombs to life. At times you may be tempted to stop and look around, just from the beauty of your surroundings.
The graphics aren't perfect, with texture warping and funky-looking character models, but the design of the levels and the lighting sometimes make you forget that your PlayStation could use a little Oil of Olay.
The end?With a title like "The Last Revelation," fans have to wonder if this is the last time we'll see Ms. Croft in her world-famous li'l treasure-hunting outfit. Core made a lot of improvements to the series in their fourth try, but there's still a bit to be done. Hey, maybe one more try will be enough to make it perfect....
Slave Zero: A small step for a robot, a giant leap for Dreamcast
RELATED IDG.net STORIES:
Download Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation demo
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.