By Brad Gallaway on February 25, 2009 - 10:22pm.
The new Tomb Raider: Underworld DLC came out today. Titled Beneath the Ashes, this new add-on level starts off with Lara Croft in her father's study, hidden underneath the burned wreckage of Croft manor. For those who haven't played Underworld yet, the story basically veers off towards Norse mythology elements, and Ashes has our heroine going deeper underground into a new secret area that was underneath the first secret area. Allegedly there's an artifact down there that can create and control the undead thralls that populated the latter stages of Underworld proper, and Lara's not one to leave vital artifacts unmolested, natch.
I watched a "developer's diary" video on Ashes a few weeks ago, and one of the folks putting it together spent some time saying that the Tomb Raider team really worked hard on the puzzles and were able to dig in and give it their best. I appreciate that they probably put a lot of effort into it, but frankly, I don't see it. Although it's shorter and more focused than any of the levels in the retail release, it still suffers from a heavy feeling of blah, not being very visually interesting and lacking any real personality. There were also a few spots where I was stuck—not because I couldn't figure out what to do, but because the areas still have a vaguely too-open feeling to them which was often complicated by Lara not jumping where I wanted her to. The two things combined led me to believe that I wasn't performing the correct action, resulting in some minor frustration and wasted effort.
I still call myself a Tomb Raider fan, but out of the three titles that Crystal Dynamics has had a hand in, I would rank Underworld dead last behind Anniversary and the stellar Legend. This DLC does nothing to change that, and continues the mediocrity that was present in its parent title. Additionally, this new level is overpriced at 800 points ($10) since most players will be able to get through it in less than two hours. Unless you’re an absolute Tomb Raider fanatic, I'd say that it's not worth the download.
By Brad Gallaway on January 19, 2009 - 11:19pm.
This is sort of a games thing, but it's also a family thing… anyway, the wife is playing Tomb Raider: Underworld right now (not linear enough!) and my son was watching her pilot Lara through some ruins for a bit. He really enjoys watching it, and since the bulk of the action is Lara climbing up walls and jumping chasms, we think it's fine to let him take a short peek once in a while.
So anyway, my son and I were at the airport the other day walking down one of the concourses when he suddenly grabs onto my leg and starts pointing at a wall.
"Dad, look over there!"
I looked in the direction he was gesturing, but I didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I asked him what it was he was talking about.
"Right there on the wall, it's a life pack just like in Tomb Raider!"
Mounted near the bathrooms was a portable defibrillator in a red box, and I have to say, the package inside looked a lot like a life pack. As a dad who plays games as much as I do, that was definitely a pretty cool moment, and I couldn't help but crack a big smile.
We didn't run over and collect it, though.
By Andrew Fletcher on October 3, 2007 - 7:27am.
For all its popular appeal, Tomb Raider
was a geekily strict platform game, but one unmatched (arguably to this day) in making your conquests over the land feel real. When you climbed to a great peak using just your hands and the rock around you, you really felt the achievement, the human achievement. Mario offered carefree, balletic fantasy; Lara, with her bone-breaking falls and audible strains of upper-body anguish, kept it very real.
By Andrew Fletcher on October 3, 2007 - 7:21am.
According to ESRB
, this game contains: Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
Game Description: Tomb Raider: Anniversary retraces Lara Croft's original genre-defining adventure, as she pursues the legendary Scion artifact. New graphics, technology and physics bring Lara's adventure up-to-date and offers gamers a completely new game play experience. Re-imagined, Anniversary delivers a dynamic fluidly and fast Lara Croft, massive environments of stunning visuals, intense combat and game pacing, and an enhanced and clarified original story. 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.
By Chi Kong Lui on January 5, 2000 - 12:00am.
According to ESRB
, this game contains: Animated Blood, Animated Violence
Game Description: Lara Croft returns once again in the fourth installment of the popular Tomb Raider series. The newest effort brings Internet pinup Lara back to the Egyptian tombs that she roamed in the series opener (the now classic Tomb Raider). Our heroine must seek out Horus, an Egyptian god that has the ability to capture the evil soul Set. With a combination of puzzle solving and sharp gaming skills, Lara will navigate through numerous Egyptian locations, including Cairo, Karnak, Giza, Valley of the Kings, and Alexandria. This game promises to unveil vital background information on Lara Croft, who has emerged as an Internet cult icon since the release of the original Tomb Raider in the mid-'90s. At one point in the game, you will flash back to Lara at age 16 to see the origin of her adventurous spirit that precedes her full-fledged career as a tomb raider. While gameplay remains faithful to the preceding titles in the series, there are also several new gameplay elements to explore, including a new inventory system, new weapons, and new moves.
By Dale Weir on January 5, 2000 - 12:00am.
Well, Chi may not want to get started on it, but I sure as hell do. What is with this pedophilic relationship between Lara and her mentor? Every other comment they made to each other was like creepy foreplay. The guy is ancient and she's 16! On top of that, they don't even pretend to flirt well because both voice-actors are incredibly lame. Lara's sass (yes I said sass) and sophistication are lost on me as soon as she starts speaking. Another thing is that the training stage is just an extension of the game so it uses the game's engine to have Lara do all the things she will be doing later. All the camera views and moves that are meant to accentuate Lara's anatomy are still here and look creepier with the 16-year old Lara.
By Chi Kong Lui on January 5, 2000 - 12:00am.
Are all the games, calendars, magazine covers, memory cards, toys, and craptacular wares bearing her buxom figure finally wearing thin on the public? Apparently so, because before the fourth game featuring her, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation has yet to even hit store shelves, skeptical media and fans alike have already expressed tepid reactions.
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