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Platform

Playstation 2

 

Genre

Action/Adventure

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Core Design

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

June 21, 2003

 

 

- Great graphics

- Great graphics equals great double-Dís

 

 

- One of the worst control schemes ever

- Frequent slowdown

- Weak story

- Not enough room to finish listing cons

 

 

Review: Shenmue II (Xbox)

Review: Escape from Monkey Island (Playstation 2)

Review: Syberia (PC)

 

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Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

Score: 6.2 / 10

Like it or not, Lara Croft is arguably the most well known female characters in video games and probably will continue to be for a long time. She has starred in a series of games that revolutionized the female roles in games. However even with such an important role, her popularity was due to her sex appeal and not because of the quality of her games. Her latest sequel keeps with the tradition of Tomb Raider and offers a subpar game.

tomb-raider-angel-darkness-1.jpg (19506 bytes)   tomb-raider-angel-darkness-2.jpg (22349 bytes)   tomb-raider-angel-darkness-3.jpg (9863 bytes)

This time Tomb Raider actually has a story! Now that you have had some time to pick your jaws off the ground, I'm sorry to inform you it's not a good one. Lara is about to set off on the usual Tomb Raider adventure when her former mentor gets murdered and she is accused of it. And of course as in all games, she realizes the truth goes much deeper than that and is mired in an ancient conspiracy.

One of the most absurd things about AOD is the upgrade system. Apparently Lara can gain body upgrades throughout the game by doing certain tasks. Many times they are strength upgrades which allow her to do more tedious tasks. Unfortunately you may do things ten times more arduous than the task that will gain you the upgrade and you will get zilch. The whole system looks like it was added in the beta as an afterthought.

 

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Lara makes a huge change in the control scheme this time along. The use of analog. This makes precision jumping more harder than it should be because there is no more grid! Unfortunately the use of the D+Pad is completely disabled and not optional. Without the grid in many levels the analog jumping will make you plunge to your death repeatedly and painfully.

Another feature that is brilliant but implemented stupidly is walking. By pressing the L1 button you toggle walking on 

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and off. While in walk mode, Lara cannot fall of any ledges, as she will stop at the edge. That feature is so important especially in levels like Breath of Hades. Now what really is stupid is that there is another kind of walking. By pressing the analog stick slightly forward Lara will begin what appears to be the same walk. However while using the analog, she will walk off any edge and plunge to her death even if she's walking at the speed of a snail.

In terms of the graphics, this is the best-looking Tomb Raider so far. Many crisp details are evident in the levels but it does come with one side effect. Slowdown. Many times during the game you will be going so slow it looks you're in a bullet time sequence out of the Matrix and then all of a sudden you dash up to normal speed. And since I know everybody is wondering, I am pretty sure they used more pixels than before on her chest. Unfortunately there isn't enough movement in that area than most people would have liked.

This game should have been easy but because of the horrible controls and immense slowdown it could bring the toughest of gamers to his knees. And since most of the Tomb Raider market are pre-teen boys going through puberty, only a select few will actually complete it.

For now Lara will continue to be a hot chick in a bad game. The only thing done right in this game was graphics. The only reason to buy this game is if you still haven't gotten enough of Lara's gazongas. It made a try for the platform of great games and missed as badly as you will with analog control in the game.

- Stefan Shetty

(August 3rd, 2003)

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