Tomb Raider Anniversary
Picture a wedding anniversary: typically the husband forgets and has to scramble madly to buy a present at the last minute. Inevitably, disappointment follows and somebody ends up sleeping on the sofa. This was the case with every sequel to Tomb Raider. Receiving each one was like getting a progressively worse presents, until by Angel of Darkness, the wife stopped caring. In 2006, CRYSTAL DYNAMICS took on the task of resurrecting the series with Tomb Raider: Legend. This, finally, was a fair game, if a little derivative of The Sands of Time
Fast forward to 2007: Crystal Dynamics decided to reinvigorate the series by giving the original game a 21st century makeover. If you’re thinking, “What’s the point? I’ve still got the original,” think again. This isn’t a simple cut and paste job. Instead, the developers have recreated the original levels and objectives, and invented new ways to solve them.
You play as Lara, hired by cardboard villain Natla to find the scion of Atlantis. Combat has been overhauled with the inclusions of adrenaline quick dodges and God of War-esque quick time events, which breathe life into the sometimes stale cut scenes of the original.
Exploration gameplay is heavily inspired by the recent Prince of Persia series; sadly, the camera doesn’t emulate them. Anniversary defies logic by assuming that player actions are dictated by the camera’s position in relation to the world rather than the player’s, and as a result, the controls aren’t forgiving enough. One section of the game made me kill the same two enemies and do the same series of jumps at least 30 times purely because of bad controls.
You shouldn’t expect Anniversary to push forward action/adventure games much as a genre—it is a remake after all—but a few neat control touches occur in Anniversary that are worth future emulation. When Lara must rearrange objects, rumble pads let you know when you get close to the correct position. This really stood out as a step forward in immersion, and the creators are to be praised for this.
You can definitely sense that Anniversary is a remake. Level design isn’t as grand as more modern contemporaries, but this makes the game more charming, as it’s a return to simpler puzzle solving and exploration. You don’t expect to traverse a whole city in under five minutes, and this is a game that rewards players who explore each area fully. Various artefacts and relics located throughout the game unlock bonuses, such as level commentaries and time trial mode, and merit a replay for ardent treasure seekers and fans of Relic Hunter
PC, Wii and Xbox 360 versions are largely identical. If you want the best looking, the 360’s specially rendered HD graphics are the best. The Wii offers innovative uses of the Wii remote for archaeological mini games. The PC, as ever, offers an all round experience. However it’s worth noting that I experienced errors when trying to save, as well as a few texture issues on the PC. If you’re a fan of the original game or the Prince of Persia series, Anniversary is a solid and fun experience that stays true to the source material. If you preferred the action-oriented gameplay of Legend, you may wish to steer clear.