REFLECTING ON TOMB RAIDER II THE
DAGGER OF XIAN
[ 25 July 2017 ]
The second instalment in the series
of Tomb Raider games invites you to join Lara as she
travels around the globe to retrieve a precious artefact
before it falls into the wrong hands. The legendary
artefact, the Dagger of Xian, is said to give its possessor
the power of a fire-breathing dragon.
Lara's search for the dagger begins
at the Great Wall in China, where she learns she has
competition in her quest: a sect by the name of Fiama
Nera (Italian for Black Flame), led by Marco Bartoli,
wants to possess the artefact and would do the impossible
to reach it before Lara does. A frantic race for the
dagger ensues, with each side trying to outwit the other
at every turn.
Lara's odyssey takes her to different
parts of the world; from China where she starts her
journey, to the famous Venice, then to a sunken ship
searching for clues that may help her with her quest.
From there, the plot thickens as Lara is compelled to
visit one of the harshest climates in the world, Tibet.
As she discovers more and more clues, she finds herself
face to face with Marco Bartoli back in China, but if
only things were that simple - Marco isn't giving up
without a fight.
This second installment of Tomb
Raider retains the charm and atmosphere of the original,
while introducing exciting new features. Lara faces
more enemies than she did before, resulting in action-packed
and often challenging combat sequences. A new Lara Croft
game model has been introduced, as well as somewhat
improved graphics - and let's not forget plenty of new
In addition to better puzzles,
harder-to-kill enemies, and a large variety of levels,
a new and very successful appendage has been introduced
to this game: vehicles. The game puts Lara - and you
- behind the wheel of the speedboat and the snowmobile,
introducing high octane action to the broth.
Indoor environments, as befits
places long forgotten, have undergone an atmospheric
decrease in illumination - and the addition of Flares
allows Lara to light her way through the darkest tombs.
Controls remain much the same
as in the previous game, with the addition of useful
new movements: wall-climbing opens up new perspectives
in level-design, while the acrobatic midair turn - also
performable during the swan-dive for a graceful effect
-comes in handy during combat.
With more combat naturally comes
a bigger arsenal, and Tomb Raider II has no lack of
new weapons. The powerful M16 Assault Rifle, the harpoon
gun to fight off underwater enemies, the grenade launcher
and many others are all at Lara's disposal.
For example, Lara doesn't need
to get closer to distant enemies. Now, with the help
of an M16 she can down them from a distance. Only a
few shots from this monster will topple the largest
Having troubles underwater? The
new harpoon gun helps you defeat all sorts of swimming
nasties, from enemy scuba divers to vicious great white
sharks. And as for the grenade launcher - the cream
of the crop - it tends to take care of things right
away, shattering your opposition instantly.
Unlike the original Tomb Raider,
this instalment features more human enemies. But there
is no shortage of non-human opponents, such as statues
that come to life when Lara approaches them, deadly
underwater creatures, birds, bats, spiders, and so on.
The T-Rex also makes a dramatic comeback, though locating
this classic enemy might require some skill.
Aside from the default one, Lara
has some new outfits. In China and Venice she wears
her normal outfit, whereas in the snowy Tibetan levels
she chooses something offering a little more warmth:
a flight jacket along with her usual shorts.
As for clothing worn in the oceanic
parts of the game, Lara is bare footed and wears her
famous Sola swimsuit. And finally, for the concluding
levels in the Manor when Lara receives unexpected guests,
she wears a beautiful blue velvet nightgown.
Tomb Raider II was and still remains
a solid sequal to the popular Tomb Raider adventure
game from Core Design. The game was released on Microsoft
Windows and Playstation in 1997 and on Apple Mac in
1998. An iOS and Android version released 2014 and 2015