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Tomb Raider Anniversary
Website: Official Site
Estimated Street Price: $29.99/£24.99
Review By:
Byron Hinson

Tomb Raider AnniversaryTomb Raider Anniversary was released some time ago on the PC and was in itself a reworking on the first ever Tomb Raider game released over 10 years ago. This time round we finally get the Xbox 360 version. The good news is that the title is being released at a budget price and will also be released in downloadable episodic format next month on Xbox Live Arcade.

In 1996, the original Tomb Raider was launched. The 3D game design, controls and graphics were truly ground breaking for their time. Furthermore, gamers were also presented with a unique, female human playable character with which they could become emotionally attached, Lara Croft. The original Tomb Raider sold over seven million copies and is still heralded as an absolute classic and one of the best action adventure games ever. Tomb Raider defined the PlayStation and changed the way that people played games.

In tribute to this and to celebrate and commemorate the continuing development of the Tomb Raider franchise and its central character, Crystal Dynamics are developing a new Tomb Raider adventure for Lara. Inspired by the original Tomb Raider video game; Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary faithfully preserves the elements which made the original Tomb Raider game such a classic.

Using an enhanced 'Tomb Raider: Legend' game engine, the graphics, technology and physics bring Lara's adventure and pursuit of a mystical artefact known only as the Scion right up to today's technology standards and will offer gamers a completely new gameplay experience.

  • Celebrate and commemorate ten years of Tomb Raider and Lara Croft with Tomb Raider: Anniversary, an entirely new gameplay experience inspired by the first ever Tomb Raider adventure.
  • Play the living Lara Croft, the world's greatest action heroine of all time - use all of Lara's guile, athleticism and gadgets in her quest to conquer the unknown and uncover ancient artifacts.
  • Includes classic environments from the original Tomb Raider as never experienced before - Crystal Dynamics latest technology allows you to fluidly manoeuvre Lara using her latest moves and gear, through all the worlds from the original; Peru, Greece, Egypt and more. The dynamic world allows multiple playthrough options and also opens up new places and ways to explore. Crystal's latest technology allows the environments to take on a breath taking new quality.
  • Explore uncharted and mysterious worlds - enter into strange, undiscovered lands and solve their deepest, darkest mysteries, open doors to new realms, uncover great rewards and unearth secrets to Lara's past.
  • Startling enemy encounters - encounter fierce animal and supernatural enemies, wolves, bears, crocodiles, horrific monsters and the T Rex. New and improved AI means that all enemies will exhibit a more diverse behaviour set, providing improved combat challenges for the player.

How Does It play

Review Quotes
"The game also contains some of the hardest achievements I have seen on the Xbox 360. Unlike most titles that award you for completing levels and number of kills etc, Tomb Raider Anniversary requires you to do a heck of a lot of searching around the levels for ALL of the artefacts strewn about the place to get the achievements."

More good news is that the game is excellent albeit with a few bugs. As mentioned Eidos has been clever enough to make the price low enough for this to be a big hit once it comes out at the end of the week.  The decision to only allow Tomb Raider Legend buyers to the episodes next month seems like a bad move though as they would certainly sell more by allowing everyone to get hold of it.

Eidos has left this version of Tomb Raider to Crystal Dynamics once again just like they did when they took the franchise away from Core. Great news is that Anniversary has all the good parts from Legend and none of the bad parts such as the bike chases and bosses. The game isn’t just a remake of the original 1996 game; it redoes various levels but manages to keep some of the excellent level designs that haven’t really aged since the game first game out.

Anniversary also adds the grapple gun which wasn’t part of the original game and manages to have one of the best control systems we have used in a title such as this. Everything feels just as it should do and you will be jumping around the levels with ease in no time, this is something that is far from the poor controls the later games had. There are no more of the punishments for minor misses or bad jumps that plagued the old games, bad jumps are made better by allowing you to recover by pressing the Y button.

The level designs as mentioned are excellent, everything works just right from jump to jump and from lever to lever. The main core of the game is just right too, the game has all the atmosphere you should be expecting just like the original title did all those years ago. There are only a handful of enemies in the game and it is rare that you come across them especially as the game goes on, it tends to stick to the puzzle element which is just what it should do.

One new addition to the title is called Rage Attacks...these come up when enemies get annoyed at you and come charging towards you, just at the right time you need to perform a dodge which then allows you to go into slow motion. Once this happens two targets appear on opposite sides of the screen which let you perform a headshot as long as you hit them at the right time.ara,

There are some downsides though; firstly we have the problematic Quick Time Event (QTE) which seems to be in every game coming out these days. Once again it doesn’t work as well as it should do, the problem with this is that the original game not only didn’t have anything like this, but it also means some of the great parts of the first game now have a series of button presses which break up the flow of the game. The best thing is that there are not many of them in the game.

The other downer is that the game has a few bugs, the most noticeable is that sometimes when you die in certain places in the Greece level, the level won’t restart and you will be stuck and have to restart from a previous checkpoint.

Graphically the game isn’t as good looking as Legend managed to be, it hasn’t got the high resolution textures and even in some respects has some of the sheen that was seen in the PC version removed. Luckily thanks the great level designs and set pieces the game still manages to look great, the framerate is also excellent which is needs to be in a game like this. Sound is once again very good with the same voice over work that took part in the last game, while there may not be loads of sound effects during the game, what is there works just as well as it should do.

The game also contains some of the hardest achievements I have seen on the Xbox 360. Unlike most titles that award you for completing levels and number of kills etc, Tomb Raider Anniversary requires you to do a heck of a lot of searching around the levels for ALL of the artefacts strewn about the place to get the achievements. There are also “Speed Run” achievements which means you have to try and fly through the level in as quick a time as possible which is very very difficult to do. So for those who love their gamerpoints, Tomb Raider Anniversary will keep you playing for some time.

Final Comments

Byron's Gamertag

For the cheap price that Eidos has put on Tomb Raider: Anniversary it is an excellent buy. It has a great control system, some really well designed levels and is probably the best game of its type released for some years. It feels like the sort of game I used to enjoy lots years ago and there used to be loads of copy cat titles around – but now this is one of the few action adventure games released that feels just like a Tomb Raider game should and I for one am pleased that Lara Croft is getting back to her best.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 88%
Version Reviewed Tomb Raider Anniversary (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Tomb Raider Anniversary (PAL) DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Some cool level designs
Decent Graphics
Great Puzzles
The Bad Points Can be really hard
Graphics could be better
HD Resolutions 480p

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