Copyright 2006 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ November 6th 2006 ]

The second instalment in our Tomb Raider anniversary review series invites you to join Lara Croft as she travels around the globe in search of 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 of 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.

Tomb Raider 2 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 weapons.

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 2 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.

Lara doesn't require close proximity in order to take a target out. Now, with the help of her trusty M16 she can do it from afar. Only a few clumsy shots from this monster will topple the largest of enemies.

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 gets unexpected guests, she wears a beautiful blue velvet nightgown.

Tomb Raider 2 was originally released in 1997 for the PC, Playstation and MAC. Enjoy a trip down memory lane by collecting a copy of the Tomb Raider 2 demo, and be sure to stop by our gloriously detailed Walkthrough and Game Guide for help untangling any knots Lara may face.


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