I remember the original Tomb Raider game on the PC back in 1996. It was cool, a real unique and standout game for the time. Since then another half dozen Tomb Raider games have come out, none of them really being as impressive as the first in my opinion, although most recently Legend was quite good. Even more recently, this month actually, Eidos Interactive and Crystal Dynamics teamed up to release Tomb Raider Anniversary. Anniversary takes the original Tomb Raider from eleven years ago, rebuilds it on the Legend engine, and makes a series of improvements to the original classic. It’s still not perfect, but for any fan of Tomb Raider, this is one you won’t want to miss.
Revitalizing A Classic
The original Tomb Raider has Laura trying to locate the Scion of Atlantis, taking her through dozens of tombs from Egypt to Peru and Greece. The adventure has never looked better, except for on a PC, which is ultimately where I would recommend you play this title. However, on the PS2, it still looks and plays just fine. Like the original, the toughest parts about Anniversary are the jump puzzles. The controls are ok, but the game engine can be unforgiving and at times even somewhat unpredictable, but without a doubt, this aspect is better than it was eleven years ago. Granted, I still fall and die a lot in Anniversary, but not nearly as much as I did with the original, which I still rather vividly remember my frustration with it at times. The big difference is that Lara navigates the tombs a lot smoother, like in Legend. She’s much more agile in this version than in the original and that makes a hell of a lot of difference in getting around all the pitfalls and perils of the tombs.
The other major source of problems for Tomb Raider, and still to this day many 3rd person games, is the camera. Anniversary suffers from its own camera problems, but you can manually adjust it and ultimately proves not to be a major flaw in the game. I would have liked to have seen a little more of a view in some of the tighter areas, but overall the camera was not as big of a problem as I remember it years ago. I don’t know for certain if it was changed for Anniversary or if the Legend engine somehow helps things out, but bottom line is that the camera, while problematic here and there, is not something that should overly concern you.
What should concern you is how cool the original Tomb Raider game is again. It still has a good story, plenty of harrowing puzzles, and plenty of hungry, although dumb, creatures to shoot. What I really like about the original Tomb Raider is the adventure, more so than the action. Most of this original Tomb Raider pits you against the environment in puzzle after puzzle, trap after trap. Other Tomb Raider games focused at least as much on gunplay and while it has its place, there’s something special about traversing these tombs without having to constantly shoot up a bunch of other people.