Copyright 2000

[ December 4th 2000 ]

Tomb Raider Chronicles is the fifth incarnation of Eidos Interactives incredibly successful Lara Croft series, following on from the apparent death in Last Revelation with four flash back adventures accompanied by the narration of Father Dunstan and friends in the cosy surroundings of the Croft Manor Study. Chronicles has faired some pretty stiff review, and the general consensus is that too little has changed from whence the original Lara Croft hit our consoles. Gamespot UK, fresh from it's review of the Playstation version of Chronicles, puts forward it's argument for Dreamcast flavours.

Gamespot says that the inclusion of incremental upgrades has "ultimately robbed the property of any sort of excitement", but concedes that many of the rough edges found in previous incarnations of Tomb Raider have now been smoothed off, including problematic camera angles and a touchy control system.

"While Ms. Croft can still be found running, jumping, climbing, and shooting exotic animals, the game's puzzles have moved away from shoving blocks around and closer to using stealth. This stealth element is nowhere nearly as developed as it is in games like Konami's Metal Gear Solid or Activision's Tenchu, though. For instance, in one case, Lara has to quietly walk up behind an enemy, choose a crowbar out of her inventory, and brain him. As such, it's not very gripping and could have been far more developed, but it ends up as a nice minor break from the norm at the very least. The mainstays of the series - puzzles in which you need to perform a series of complex jumps, climbs, and long distance runs in a short period of time - are its real focus, and elements such as tightrope walking and target shooting have been thrown in for good measure."

One point which Gamespot suggests disillusions fans is the incredibly tough difficulty level, commenting that stages in the game "often contain sections that go beyond being challenging" Much has been aired about this point, with some levels packing a multitude of AI and whirring machinery to overthrow with little more than a mini health pack and one cartridge of ammo.

"Tomb Raider Chronicles, though, is a little less difficult than previous games in the line, making it one of the more playable Tomb Raiders in years. It's still an evilly tough game that will require regular peeks at a walk-through, but you won't need to sit with the guide on your lap this time. regarding the Dreamcast version specifically, the graphics have been noticeably improved over last year's edition. While pop-up occasionally appears, the game's visuals are very sharp and look as though the developers created the game with the Dreamcast in mind from the start instead of as an afterthought (as Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation suggests)."

Gamespot concludes that the Tomb Raider line is such a tried and true formula that it runs the risk of becoming formulaic. As was the previous argument against Playstation versions of Chronicles, Gamespot's most recent review stays firmly within the lines of acceptable impartial criticism. Gamespot UK's review here

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