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Tomb Raider Chronicles (PlayStation) artwork

Tomb Raider Chronicles (PlayStation) review


"That Lara Croft, eh? Despite the fact that, at the end of the previous game she.... ( SPOILER ) ...well... died ( END SPOILER ), she heroically turns up, regular as clockwork, ready to claim the Christmas number one spot in the gaming charts. So Christmas 2000 saw Playstation gamers once more taking control of the large-breasted one as she once more returned to do battle with the animal kingdom (if David Attenborough has done a documentary on it, then Lara has added it to the endangered species ..."



That Lara Croft, eh? Despite the fact that, at the end of the previous game she.... ( SPOILER ) ...well... died ( END SPOILER ), she heroically turns up, regular as clockwork, ready to claim the Christmas number one spot in the gaming charts. So Christmas 2000 saw Playstation gamers once more taking control of the large-breasted one as she once more returned to do battle with the animal kingdom (if David Attenborough has done a documentary on it, then Lara has added it to the endangered species list at some point over the Tomb Raider Quintet). While this certainly is a case of 'same-old-same-old', and really offers nearly nothing new save for graphical tweaking and a few new (but hardly used) moves, this is still the best of the bunch (closely followed by the first foray for Lara).

This game takes a different approach (plot-wise, at least) to it's predecessor 'The Last Revelation'. Whereas that game offered a much more narrative-led game to the rest of the series, Chronicles takes the opposite extreme. There is no real plot leading throughout the game, instead it seems to be like a short-story collection. Lara's mates (who are for some bizarre reason all old men...) gather by the fireside to tell of some of her previously untold quests (each three-four levels long). And so we join our intrepid adventuress one last time (on PSone at least)..........

Our first excursion sees Lara meet up with Larsson and Pierre in Rome. There is little that is remarkable about this set of levels, really, it's old-school Tomb Raider, right down to the classic green shirt 'n' shorts combo, and even to the Lara newbies this won't take more than two hours to complete - save for one extremely frustrating section that requires inch-perfect jumping and flawless timing to reach an item before it is swallowed by the ground, this is hardly taxing stuff. Perfect stuff for all the people who got the game for Christmas (myself included) to settle down to after a large meal and a few drinks. But get through this enjoyable but uninspired section, and things really hot up.

The second section sees Lara infiltrate a nuclear submarine to hitch a ride to a sunken vessel in order to recover, you guessed it, an ancient artefact. This section is much better than the first. The graphics are very dark and claustrophobic, with the instrument panels on the sub giving off eerie red and green glows - this really is an atmospheric set of levels. There are next-to-no puzzles on this level. It's as if the designers split the two elements of Tomb Raider (puzzles and action) up and gave them a separate adventure each. Which brings us neatly along to....

..... the third part of the game. This level stars Young Lara (from the training missions in The Last Revelation), and being nothing but a child, Lara is weaponless here. So it's puzzle's all the way. This level sees Lara Enid Blytoning her way around a haunted island, and, frankly, it's rather tedious, and I can't think of much to recommend it. Umm... the graphics are pretty, and... Oh, to hell with it, on with the final section of the game!

And what a finale it is for Lara's Playstation days!!! If the first three parts explored what Tomb Raider was all about, this level explores what uncharted waters for Tomb Raider. Lara uses her hitherto ignored stealthy prowess to infiltrate von Croy's tower block. It's like Silicone Boob Solid. This set of levels is perhaps the best few hours of Tomb Raiding yet produced, and is a perfect way for Lara to bow out.

Tomb Raider 5 is a fitting conclusion for Lara's 32-bit life. It shows us just what made Lara's outings great, and shows us that there is still potential to be explored in the future, wherever that may take her.... And although we tired of her exploits over the years, this is still a first class game. Recommended.

Rating: 8/10

tomclark's avatar
Community review by tomclark (March 06, 2004)

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