Tomb Raider: Underworld
Adventurer Lara Croft returns on the
PlayStation 3, XBox 360, PS2, Wii and PC in another exciting story that
takes gamers across different exotic locations around the world such as
the jungles of Mexico or the Arctic Sea. The series has always been
strong on action and adventure with this current incarnation no
different from the rest, however the graphics now support high
definition and Lara has never looked better.
Croft is the first female gaming hero, the quality of Tomb Raider games
has become a hit and miss affair, fortunately for fans of the series or
this genre, the latest game has in its essence gone back to basics and
features a sturdy 21st century gaming engine.
Master your surroundings: Reach new heights with the broadest range of
acrobatic abilities and utilize objects within the environment to
uncover new paths to explore.
Explore epic and unknown worlds: Discover ancient mysteries of the
underworld hidden within the coast of Thailand, frozen islands of the
Arctic Sea, the jungles of Mexico, and more.
Treacherous and unpredictable challenges: Each level is an elaborate
multi-stage puzzle masked within an interactive environmental playground
offering more flexibility over how the area is solved.
New range of combat options: Choose to pacify or kill, target multiple
enemies at once with the new dual-target system, and shoot with one hand
while suspended with the other.
New state-of-the-art gear: Utilize the latest technology in Lara’s
upgraded inventory to navigate the world including:
o Active Sonar map: A revolutionary new tool that emits an active sonar
ping to create a 3D image of Lara’s surroundings, perfect for uncovering
hidden items and locations.
o Multi-purpose grapple: A claw-like device with a high-tension cable
designed for climbing, rappelling, performing wall runs and manipulating
objects within the environment.
o All-terrain motorbike: A unique vehicle design built to drive on
everything from mud to snow and ice.
You immediately know that you are in for a treat from the spectacular
opening sequence that sets the pace of the story and of course the
myriad of questions for the player. The game itself begins in the Mediterranean
Sea for the player where our attractive and lithe-like adventurer is searching for the
mystical hammer of Thor, a weapon so dangerous that it can smash
mountains into valleys and even destroy the gods themselves... or so
fable has it.
Of course if this weapon gets into the
wrong hands, mankind will be in danger and as fate would dictate, this
is the very thing that happens and once again Lara must save the world
after her tampering with fate again. Needless to say, it's a classic
Lara Croft tale and is probably one of the more enjoyable tales due to
the constant pace of the story.
In its essence, Tomb Raider Underworld is your classic third person
action adventure game that has the player using a variety of skills and
equipment in order to traverse the gaming environment. This can be
achieved by climbing walls, using grappling hooks and of course using
Lara's innate acrobatic skills. Each of the gaming environments that you
visit has a set number of tasks or clues that must be solved and
needless to say, all the clues are generally right in front of you.
does however become tricky at times when you are balancing on a ledge and
attempting to jump onto another ledge so be warned, you will be playing
many of the trickier areas again and again. Thankfully the game contains
a great in-game save system which will assist in these tricky aspects of
the game. The puzzles in the game are much more understandable then
previous titles, still
offering you a challenge, without it being overtly difficult.
The combat of the game has received a much needed facelift that gives
the player a variety of combat maneuvers as they battle a plethora of
enemies from gun totting villains, animals and giant sea creatures.
Although Lara has access to her hand-to-hand combat, the weapons in the
game is what makes the Tomb Raider series so entertaining and thankfully
you still have access to the trade mark two-guns of Lara Croft.
weapons are only good for their intended environment, so Lara does have
access to other weaponry such as spear guns for underwater battle. The new
dual-target system is a little tricky to master but does offer the genre
a unique experience as does the suspended ledge attack which allows you
to hold onto a ledge while shooting a gun.
There is even an all-terrain vehicle at Lara's disposal that allows her
to traverse a variety of different terrains from snow to rocks which also
breaks up the traditional monotony of the series of just being able to
walk or run around only. The developers keep the story fresh by the various
supporting cast who are in the game and some stunning CGI cutscenes that
look extremely impressive, especially on high definition.
When it comes to graphics, Tomb Raider Underworld is pure eye candy that
contains some wonderful background environments, each with their own
unique looks. The star of the game is of course the sexy Lara Croft as
she nimbly runs through the gaming environment and Underworld contains
quite a few obligatory butt shots of Lara as she climbs and swims.
good to see that the character has not lost that "cartoon" look, however
the change almost borders on realism. The special effects in the game
are first class from the water effects to the lighting, it flawlessly
interacts with the game. The characters in Underworld also move with a human
or animal like grace, whether it's a shark or a villain attacking Lara,
it's flawless incorporated. Match that with a perfect musical score and
great professional voice acting and this game is quite an achievement.
In conclusion, Tomb Raider Underworld is
what the series has been missing and although it may not the standout
game of the year, it's definitely one of the better ones and it's good
to see. Check it out!