T&A WITH GUNS NEVER LOOKED SO GOOD!!!!
Three dimensional games are growing fast in the PC games market today. Castle Woflenstein 3D by id software, was probably the first to take gamers by surprise. At the time of it's release, there were no other 3D, smooth moving, action games available to the 'little people' who owned a Super Nintendo or Genesis system. Shortly after, home gaming systems began to drop in sales as PC's began a slow, but steady climb. To combat this, the companies who designed home game systems went to work. 'To bring the arcade home', seemed to be the sorry cry from most of the companies. But we wanted all those fabulous arcade games that could not be played on the mere mortal home systems. Fighting games were fun for a while, but still nothing NEW. We wanted 3D! As much as we could swallow at once.
Finally with the release of the Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, and now the Nintendo 64, they have really caught our attention. 3D games are popping up everywhere. The PC market skyrocketed in sales last year, and not just because of business applications, the internet, and making Christmas cards, but because of games thousands of games! There are more games currently available for the PC than for the Sega Saturn, Sony Playstation, and the Nintendo 64 combined.
The catch to this is simple. Either buy all the systems available to play the best games on the market or buy one system and keep your fingers crossed. But now that plan is less sketchy, with multi-platform releases of hot off the press games. What the hell am I talking about? Here's one new game that is multi-platform and it combines arcade action with 3D texture mapping, and even some of the puzzle solving we've all come to appreciate. It's Tomb Raider.
Tomb Raider, by EIDOS, is what you've all been waiting for. If you haven't yet heard a friend utter its name or you haven't read up on it, go buy it anyway!!! Tomb Raider combines the elements of Fade to Black's third person 3D movement, Quake's texture mapping, Indiana Jones' storyline, and the action of all three. You play as Lara Croft, a world renowned archeologist and pampered British aristocrat. At the age of 21, her plane crashed in the Himalayas. As the only survivor, she learned how to live on her wits (we don't know if she ate her friends). Two weeks later, she came upon the village of Tokakeriby, and was changed for life..
She no longer could stand the thought of going home to the suffocating atmosphere of upper-class British society. She only felt alive while traveling alone. For the eight years that followed, she traveled the globe and acquired knowledge of ancient civilizations. Her family eventually disowned her and she turned to writing to fund her trips. She published travel books and detailed journals of her exploits of ancient sites and civilizations. Now she searches in an almost forgotten realms of intrigue and danger for a lost artifacts.
The controls in Tomb Raider are incredibly simple. There are 9 controls aside from character movement. These controls give players a myriad of possible actions in the game. The buttons: Action- use this button to pick up items, pull levers, shoot, grab ledges and any other possible 'action' in the game. Draw/Holster Weapon- as described. Jump- used for jumping forward, backflips, and sideflips; just push the joystick in the desired direction. Look- hold down the 'look button' and use the joystick to have Laura look in that direction. Roll- used to do a quick roll and turn around. Walk- for walking instead of normal running mode; character will not fall off edges while 'walk' button is pressed. Inventory- used to access found items; new weapons, first aid kits, keys, etc. The last two buttons are sidestep left or right.
All of these controls are invaluable. For example, while running, push the walk and jump buttons together and Lara leaps into the air and does a forward roll upon landing. The jump button is used to swim and dive deeper. Before you begin your adventuring, visit Lara's mansion from the main menu. There you will be taught all the main controls in the game by Lara herself, including some very helpful hints on how to run, jump, and grab onto far away ledges.
The graphics in Tomb Raiderare GOD!!!! There are very few texture mapping mess-ups considering the phenomenal volume of the game. From all of Laura's moves to all creatures encountered, the movement and realism is fantastic. The caverns and lost temples are beautifully rendered. The water has an incredibly realistic and disorienting feel. The sound is also a rare treat. Instead of an annoying soundtrack, EIDOS implemented sound effects. Echoes, short drumbeats, and environmental sounds were used. The creatures encountered will stir those magical sounds of fear with their howls and footsteps. Surprise is the key element in Tomb Raider which makes it so enticing.
The creatures in Tomb Raider are beautiful. They could have done a bit more work on the texture mapping of enemies, but I don't think it's that important in a game of this caliber. The beauty is in the movement. Almost fluid, the wolves, bears, and the bats of the first level have a "feeling" of realism. They even sound real, making odd noises and grunts as they try to devour your flesh. The real treat and was at the end of the first level. I climbed down into a "Land of the Lost" of sorts and I heard a creature approaching. I readied my weapons and when I looked, I almost fell out of my chair! A hungry veloceraptor let out a horrifying scream and charged for the kill. My first instinct was to get the hell out of there! I ran, flipped, dodged, and shot like my life really depended on it. After disposing of two of them, I quickly surveyed the silent valley as I healed my wounds. I began to run forward, guns ready and felt the adrenaline pumping in my veins..."C'mon! Bring Em On!!!". As I turned the edge of a clearing, my eyes popped out of my head and I nearly wet my pants. A HUGE(and I mean HUGE!!!!) Tyrannosaurus Rex leered down on me and began to charge. About face!!!! Run!!! Tomb Raider is filled with chills and thrills to keep you craving for more. Spiked pits, baboons, lions, panthers, alligators, freaky skinless things, and enemy mercenaries are just a few.
Overall, Tomb Raider is a fantastic adventure with non-stop action and puzzles. I think that it's one of the reasons why games even exist. It's my favorite game to date and I'm sure you'll agree when you see it. Run out and buy a copy NOW! You will love it! And if you know any secrets, write me by clicking on my byline. I'd love to hear how to get to ALL of the secret areas in the game.
PS: Watch out for the veloceraptors.