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November 2007



- Lara has never looked better

- Some very complex environmental puzzles

- A good amount of extras

- Using the Wiimote for shooting is great



- Lots of falling deaths

- Camera doesn't always position itself well to the action

- Wii motion functionality seems forced with the mini-games



Review: Tomb Raider Anniversary (360)

Review: Splinter Cell: Double Agent (Wii)

Review: Super Mario Galaxy (Wii)



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Tomb Raider Anniversary

Score: 7.0 / 10


Some will argue with me but since Lara Croft’s first appearance a decade ago she really hasn’t aged a day.  If anything she’s dropped a few years – all that tomb raiding must really melt the years away – but one thing’s for sure; she has never looked so good.  Thanks to the technology developed in the intervening time between her first appearance and Tomb Raider Anniversary – a “re-imagining” of her first adventure – the technology has allowed the developers to really flesh out the settings and, of course, Lara herself.


tomb raider anniversary          tomb raider anniversary


Rather than complicated gunplay, Tomb Raider Anniversary hinges on elaborately produced puzzles – sometimes it feels like Lara is running and leaping around in a giant clock, with lots of gears and levers to interact with.  There’s still some gunplay involved, what with roving wolves and the odd dinosaur popping up, but 




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the emphasis is on Lara’s acrobatic nature.  She leaps off ledges, clambers up poles, goes swimming, flings herself off crossbars, dodges spikes and springs the occasional trap all in the name of what passes for archaeology in video games.  The path through each area isn’t always obvious and to overcome some of the obstacles there is plenty of trial and error.


(Read that as, “Lots of Lara falling to her death.”)


Given a certain amount of frustration thanks to those instant death scenarios, the satisfaction of getting through with only a few scrapes is good enough to feel like the frustration was worth it.  The Wii version suffers from some awkward camera controls and it features some archeological mini-games to capitalize on the motion controls, but they could have easily been stripped out and not missed. 


tomb raider anniversary          tomb raider anniversary


Rather than have a bunch freely viewed extras, Anniversary makes you unlock each little extra by finding relics, finishing levels, and generally doing well in each level.  Items like the developer commentary should be unlocked right from the start!  I don’t mind playing the game to unlock these things, but after ten years of playing Tomb Raider games (some good, some awful), I wouldn’t mind free access to these insights because Lara’s development interests me – not just in the franchise’s current form but how it all got started.  This more of an editorial point, rather than a criticism, but I wish more games implemented developer commentary similar to what Valve has done with its recent titles like Half-Life 2 and Portal.


Really, it’s hard to find fault with Tomb Raider Anniversary.  It is a relatively straightforward action adventure, but that’s what the franchise was – it’s a decided step back to form.  Those expecting a more action heavy experience will feel a little let down, but as a puzzle heavy action game, Lara can more than hold her own.


- Omni

(February 26, 2008)


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