Saturday, June 23, 2007

Lara Croft is back in nicely updated `Tomb Raider Anniversary'

Scantily clad dungeon-crawler Lara Croft has been reborn many times over the years as a line of video-game sequels and mediocre film remakes.

Now this digital heroine is reprising her role from the original game with a remake of sorts called "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary."

A lot has changed in the decade since the groundbreaking original.

Gone are the barely distinguishable blocky graphics and the unforgiving controls that would often spell instant death.

Everything in "Anniversary" -- the precise, dynamic controls, the impressive, though not quite next-gen visuals, and the expansive, puzzling levels -- speaks of a game that's received a proper, careful overhaul for the PC and PlayStation 2.

The game's story remains essentially unchanged, and you'll spend most of your time bounding from one obstacle to another with pistols in hand.

It's cool reliving all those exciting moments from the original, culminating with a showdown with a towering T-rex. (And this updated beast has some pals that make it a much greater, more engaging challenge.)

The puzzles, and there are many, are far more interactive and complex than they were in the first game. And Lara's far easier to move around than ever before thanks to a revamped control scheme that is far more precise.

Video-game technology has changed immeasurably since 1997 and that's painfully clear if you happen to have a copy of the original "Tomb Raider." Game features that seemed revolutionary at the time are curiously quaint by today's standards.

One thing you don't get with "Anniversary" is a copy of the original. It would have been a great way to show just how far things have come in 10 years.

And this new version doesn't really take Lara in any new directions, so don't go expecting a completely new gameplay experience.

Lara might be forever preserved as a youthful heroine, but her gameplay has aged, and improved, considerably in "Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary."

No comments: