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N-Gage Reviews: Tomb Raider

Tomb Raider was one of the first true 3D adventure games that starred the sexy millionaire heiress Lara Croft that set new a benchmark in gaming. Unlike the 2D adventure games on the market at that time, developers Core Design gave players true 3D freedom that allowed you to go just about anywhere in the gaming world. Not only did the series get released on almost every platform but it also spawned two movies and now it's time for N-gagers to join in the fun.

The story of Tomb Raider revolves around a British adventurer called Lara Croft that not only happens to be drop dead gorgeous but can also kick butt at the same time without breaking a nail. The game itself is a cross between Indiana Jones meets girl power that puts gamers in the role of Lara who must use all her skills, guile and wit to recover a sacred lost artefact. If people find the storyline and graphics of Tomb Raider familiar than that is because this game is in actual fact an almost identical port of the PSOne version that was released in 1996. Tomb Raider is basically an adventure/arcade game that contains a variety of puzzles, fighting and of course finding various items that are littered throughout the gaming environment.

One of the biggest problems with the N-Gage version of Tomb Raider is the control system of the game that goes from extremely playable to extremely annoying. Although the control system is comfortable, there seems to be lag between pushing a button and actually making Lara perform a move that leads to some bad responsiveness. The developers have also implemented an auto-run feature that once Lara starts running, she doesn't stop until you press another button on the game pad. This is probably the most frustrating aspect of the game and although it works quite well in some areas of the game, for instance travelling from A to B, it can be extremely annoying in other areas that require balance. Fortunately all the moves from the original game are still in the game that contain the cool double jumps, shooting twin guns and of course those phoenix back flips from jumping on walls.


Graphically, Tomb Raider looks phenomenal on the N-Gage and it's basically texture for texture and polygon for polygon when compared to the PSOne version of the original game. The most impressive character in the game is of course Lara Croft who has the trademark pony tail and moves quite realistically on the n-gage version. As mentioned before, Lara also performs a variety of manoeuvres such as jumps, rolls, ledge grabbing and flips that is extremely well animated. The wolves, bats and various other enemies in the game are also well modelled that move with deadly grace and cunning.

Apart from the well designed characters in the game, another great feature of Tomb Raider are beautifully designed 3D gaming environments that actually make you feel like you in a hidden cavern below the earth and match that with some realistic textures and you truly have a match made in gaming heaven. The only down side to the graphics engine of Tomb Raider is variable frame rate of the game that unfortunately chugs quite a bit, especially if you try to turn around that plays havoc with the gameplay.

Although Tomb Raider doesn't contain a Hollywood type soundtrack, the game does contain a few short tunes of music that start playing when Lara engages herself in battle or when she discovers an item. There is also a plethora of noises that come from Lara herself such as the sounds of shoes hitting the floor or the excruciating moves that she performs in the game. The developers also have done a great job with the background sounds that help with the ambience of the title and when the dangerous wolves first appeared in the game, their sounds still made me jump.

When Tomb Raider first got released on the PSOne and the PC those so many years ago, it was a very entertaining game that set a new benchmark for game developers. Although Tomb Raider for the N-Gage is an almost exact port, graphically, the gameplay of this title is unfortunately another matter. The sluggish frame rate and unresponsive control system makes this game extremely difficult to play but if you're stranded in the middle of nowhere with your N-Gage, it could help pass the time. The game also supports a multiplayer mode that allows you to shadow race other gamers via Bluetooth that is surprisingly more entertaining then the game itself. Recommend to heavy duty fans of Lara Croft but I first suggest that you rent before you buy.

- Andrew B

The Final Say!

Tomb Raider -  
reviewed by Andrew B 
Review Date: January 2003
Review Score 5.5/10
Distributed By: Nokia

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