Game Review - by Jeremiah Pratt
It was a year ago, that this busty gal came into the scene, with all kinds of guns and all kinds of aim. What is so captivating about this heroin? Is it the usual jumping, climbing, running, and rolling? More or less the feel of a true adventure drew you. And included were some puzzles that would make Einstein's brain hurt. The second installation of Tomb Raider introduced the wonderful world of vehicles. Here we'll be treated with all of that and more. Can we say Rocket Launcher oh boy.
On a voyage of exploration in centuries past, British sailors discovered a meteor buried deep in the earth. Unwittingly, they looted four artifacts placed with the meteor. One of these sailors kept a journal as they headed back to England. He was the only one to make it home alive. Present Day, Antarctica a research company begins to excavate something buried deep in the ice. Readings taken from the rock indicate traces of a previously unknown material. The material appears to have the potential to multiply and alter hock genes - the genes which determine the make-up of living organisms. These alterations are capable of evolving a greater diversity of life. Within the rock are the next most important findings in genetics and evolution since Darwin. On their dig, the researchers discover the body of a European, perfectly preserved in the ice. Scratched on his tombstone is the name of the boat he sailed on. Following this information, they locate a shipmate's journal and set about searching for the artifacts lost by the sailors. Meanwhile, Lara is in India searching for one of these artifacts. Unaware of its true history, she only knows that in local beliefs it was supposed to hold great powers and has been revered by tribes there throughout the years and so the adventure begins. Tomb Raider III unfolds in a much more non-linear fashion than Lara's previous adventures. Lara will once again span the globe from the arctic pole to the islands of the South Pacific. But this time gamers will be able to choose their own destiny by selecting the order in which they play each of the 4 main levels. The levels are also more open, with multiple routes to the same end-so choose wisely. Or replay each level, or you might miss part of the adventure.
The Interface, known to all of the Raider fans, stays the same. We still have a cumbersome inventory screen. Something that I wish would get kicked out the door. Something more in the line of real time selection would be dandy. Despite that the controls as usual are perfectly integrated. Needless to say you better have a precision gamepad. Or as many Gamepad Pro users will find their device in pieces against the wall. In the sense of actual features, you get to ride new vehicles, shoot new guns, and find new things. All of which is what makes this sequel fun to play.
The big question for sequels what's new? Did the developers answer the gamer's woes? I admit the developers made a valiant effort to achieve these goals. First off, you will notice the cut back in shooting a.k.a. kicking butt. Edios put more emphasis in the run, jump, climb aspect. As you will find yourself running around way more than before. You have more switches to pull and more traps to dodge. That may be an understatement though. There are many more traps to evade, making me fear every step I take in worry of a crashing bolder. The level design is improved, but after seeing 3 of these baby's. You get the "been they're done that feel". No matter how many times you tell yourself "This ain't Kansas any more". The new weapons are always welcome. Especially when you can get your grubby hands on a Rocket Launcher. I begin to wonder is Lara trying to rival Quake. Who cares, this weapon is awesome and I'll leave it at that. New guns, new rides, this is all nice. But what about the actual control? Now you can Duck, Dash, Crawl, and Look. Adding these new elements gives the feel of full control. You have full reign over Lara, don't get a big head about it.
Graphically, the main problem with elder Raider titles was clipping. Got some clipping here and some clipping there. Plus large tile blocks in walls, and in the water. Needless to say the block problem is fixed. The entire clipping has not been fixed. I remember reading somewhere developers wanted to pay more attention to detail. They were referring to Lara Crofts model. In respect to this, it is true, while Lara interacts completely with here environment. Her hair flaps in the wind, she makes appropriate movements while crawling. She takes care attention to slipping down a wall, or climbing a ladder. So many little details where added to her model. You can't logically list them all in one paragraph. This is very nice touch. And with the revamped level design it is a nice touch. Low and behold all problems weren't addressed darn.
The sounds are on the ball. Each sound effect happens when it's supposed to, the timing is perfect. Another thing the gun noises are definitely beefed up. I almost thought I was firing a howitzer. But it was only my twin 40's. In respect to the voice acting why oh why the fake accents. Some of these horrible depictions of culture leave you wondering. Wondering in the sense of what they say. I bet you would understand the native language better. This might be a goal for Tomb Raider IV. Recruit native voice actors to add realism and depth. Not for Lara Croft, but for the other characters. The Music track so far hasn't ever been a let down. Some tunes for Tomb I still stick in my mind. We'll leave at this you will enjoy the music.
You get the feeling, where's the rest of the game? Not sure where they went wrong, but I noticed the improvements. The maps have been redone; Lara's model got a huge face-lift. The animations have been increased and improved. The guns are louder and the grunts are in sync. The CG's screens still captivate me. And the story doesn't lag, there is still a good plot. Certain graphic issues were fixed and now you begin to wonder what more can you do? Where else can Lara go? I'm not sure but I do know this, she's running out of hot spots to crash.