Posted by Female Gamers on Jan 19, 2010
Tomb Raider: Anniversary – Review

Tomb Raider: Anniversary – Review

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Tomb Raider: Anniversary is inspired by the first Tomb Raider title, released way back in 1996 (yes it truly was that long ago some of us popped Lara into our Sega Saturns and were wowed). The title now has a fresh coat of paint, thanks to Crystal Dynamics, the company that managed to breathe new (and much needed) life into the Tomb Raider franchise, when they released Tomb Raider Legend. Is Tomb Raider Anniversary worth the money, or is it simply just a prettier version of its former self? Let’s take a look…

At the time of release, the original Tomb Raider was revolutionary. Not only did it feature one of the first cool female protagonists in a video game, but it also featured graphics and sound that had gamers agog. As the franchise went on however, it seemed to get a little worse for wear, all culminating in the abysmal Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Eidos seemed to have completely dropped the ball; enter Crystal Dynamics.

Thankfully when Crystal Dynamics took over Tomb Raider development duties they knew what had gone wrong in Angel of Darkness and remedied the problems in the release of Tomb Raider Legend. Now they’re back with what is essentially a retelling of the original Tomb Raider title. The story is the same, along with the majority of levels, though they’ve all been given a new graphical sheen and brought bang up to date. Along with the graphical and sound mark-up (easily playable by the deaf or hard of hearing gamer, with only the click of timed puzzles perhaps a tiny hindrance), Tomb Raider: Anniversary also features a much improved control mechanism, along with new moves and the same massive and beautiful level design of the original. There’s also some nice little touches along the way, such as glistening skin when exiting water, smoke trails from a gun or just the overall look of those gorgeous levels, each detailed superbly by comparison to the original.

The gameplay in Tomb Raider: Anniversary is a doddle for those already familiar with the franchise and particularly those that played Tomb Raider Legend more recently. The only real downside of the title would be a few tricky sections on levels where camera angle and movement sequence really don’t do each other any favours. This can lead to a few extremely frustrating moments as Lara back-flips her way to her doom, but overall this niggle should in no way hinder all the fun.

The Female Gamer angle on this one is of course superlative, this is Lara Croft after all. Yes, of course, as we’ve mentioned in previous Lara outings, she is overtly sexualised, though still one hell of a tough gaming babe. She’s more lithe than Indiana Jones, better looking and has a cool edge that few games characters can get away with. Tomb Raider: Anniversary sees Lara return to her roots, the place it all started and she’s even cooler for it. Gone are the sexy oohs and ahhs, the triangular breasts and the ridiculous sexualised hype. Lara Croft is now a legend, in the gaming arena, movie arena, marketing arena and then some. Female gamers are damn lucky to have her and younger female gamers are even luckier to get the chance to relive her old days. It may essentially be a rehash, but who cares. Girl gamers unite in yelling from the rooftops that Lara Croft is and always will be their number one female games character.

Overall Tomb Raider Anniversary is an old game redone, and in this case at least, that’s no bad thing, and this coming from someone who pretty much despises it when they remake classic movies. You’re never going to get back that thrill veteran gamers of a certain age (yes myself among them), felt when they first played the original Tomb Raider title on the PS1 or Saturn, but this is a lovely attempt. It’s great to relive all of those moments, with a better control system, gorgeous graphics and enough changes to make this feel like a whole new game. Chances are the only gamers who are not likely to love this title are those already adverse to it and to those we say Meh!

What are you waiting for, go buy Tomb Raider: Anniversary now, it may well be the best in the series so far. Now if only the Xbox 360 version of Tomb Raider: Anniversary would hurry up and sate all those Tomb Raider loving Xbox 360 owners.

Review by Angela

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