Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Review

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness Info

genre

  • N/A

players

  • 1

Publisher

  • Eidos

Developer

  • Core Design

Release Date

  • 11/30/1999
  • Out Now

Platform

  • PS2

rating

Watch

your

step,

Lara.

I’ve

always

pictured

Lara

Croft

as

the

type

to

wade

into

a

fracas

with

both

guns

blazing,

asking

no

questions

and

taking

no

prisoners.

And

it’s

been



perplexing

that

someone

possessing

her

amazing

physical

prowess

would

be

as

helpless

as

a

kitten

when

left

without

a

firearm.

However,

it

never



occurred

to

me

that

what

was

missing

was

an

ability

to

tip

around

as

silent

and

sneaky

as

a

ninja,

peering

around

corners

and

creeping

up

on

foes

from

behind.

Since

she

never

went

up

against

anything

that

actually

deserved

the

reverence

of

stealth,

there

was

never

much

incentive

to

sneak.

Well,

the

good

folks

at

Core



apparently

bitten

by

the

Solid

Snake

bug



have

opted

to

add

a

stealth

element

to

the

game,

in

addition

to

a

bevy

of

other

new

features

that

probably

no

one

on

Earth

thought

were

missing.

The

result

is

Tomb

Raider:

Angel

of

Darkness
,

a

hodgepodge

of

odd

gaming

options

that

never

actually

coalesces

into

a

satisfying

adventure.

The

story

here

revolves

around

our

heroine

Lara

Croft

having

been

framed,

Max

Payne

style,

for

the

murder

of

her

mentor,

Professor

Von

Croy,

as

well

as

for

the

deaths

of

a

number

of

others

unfortunate

enough

to

enter

into

the

adventurer’s

company.

The

tale

also

features

cultists

and

several

paintings

with

occult

associations

and,

though

aptly

moved

along

by

numerous

cut

scenes,

it

never

manages

to

build

to

a

captivating

crescendo.

Nevertheless,

it’s

a

far

cry

from

some

of

her

previous

nonsensical

adventures

and

a

good

deal

more

mature

in

nature.

In

addition

to

exploration

through

Paris,

Prague

and

the

catacombs

of

Europe,

players

will

encounter

the

obligatory

puzzles



although

these

are

much

more

intuitive

and

not

nearly

as

mind-meltingly

difficult

as

those

in

previous

games.

Speaking

with

or

performing

a

task

for

other

characters

will

help

you

to

solve

many

of

the

puzzles.

This

is

a

definite

plus

to

anyone

familiar

with

Miss

Croft’s

earlier

exploits.

Of

course,

you

will

still

be

seeking

elusive

keys

to

open

a

series

of

doors,

but

you’ll

never

find

yourself

having

to

execute

blind

backflips

up

narrow

chimney-like

passageways

in

order

to

obtain

them.

The

game

indeed

looks

better

than

earlier

installments

in

the

series.

Environments

are

suitably

creepy

and

dark,

or

impressively

expansive.



Effects

such

as

rain,

smoke

and

water

have

definitely

improved.

The

characters

are

passably

well

rendered,

including

a

new

playable

character

named

Kurtis

Trent.

Everyone

seems

to

fare

better

than

poor

Lara

who

still

resembles

nothing

more

than

a

bubble-headed,

alien-eyed

refugee

from

Captain

Scarlet

and

the

Mysterons
.

However,

there

are

still

graphical

glitches

and

players

will

notice

a

variety

of

clipping

errors

and

a

good

amount

of

slow

down,

at

times

ití¢â‚¬â„¢s

almost

like

playing

the

game

in

slow

motion.

The

item-ring

which

was

a

standard

in

the

TR

series

is

mournfully

absent

here,

replaced

by

a

standard

item

menu,

which

increases

the

chances

that

you

will

collect

items

without

knowing

what

they

are

and

then

have

difficulty

finding

them

later.

There

is,

however,

a

helpful

hand

icon

which

will

now

appear

to

indicate

objects

with

which

you

are

capable

of

interacting,

and

this

is

bound

to

minimize

some

of

the

frustrations

of

exploration.

Unfortunately,

the

hand

icon

never

disappears,

even

after

an

object

has

ceased

to

be

useful

or

a

particular

box

or

cupboard

has

yielded

all

of

its

useable

contents.

Lara

now

allegedly

gets

more

powerful

as

you

play

the

game.

These

increases

are

not

optional,

they

are

necessary

to

proceed

in

the

game,

and



they

are

also

something

that

must

be

taken

on

faith

as

you’re

never

actually

presented

with

stats

to

view.

She’ll

simply

tell

you,

“I

feel

stronger

now,”

which

indicates

that

some

ability

has

increased

but

there’s

usually

no

telling

precisely

what

precipitated

the

change

or

why.

She’s

simply

stronger

than

she

was

30

seconds

ago

and

so

can

perhaps

jump

farther,

hang

on

longer

or

move

a

particular

object

that

she

couldn’t

move

before.

This

can

be

frustrating,

since

figuring

out

Laraí¢â‚¬â„¢s

new

ability

by

trial

and

error

can

lead

to

a

lot

of

reloading

saved

games.

When

it

comes

to

control

set-up,

TR:AoD

has

one

of

the

worst

of

any

game

in

living

memory.

To

incorporate

her

new

stealth

and

hand-to-hand

combat

moves

(and

perhaps

just

to

be

obstinate),

Lara’s

controls

have

been

completely

rebuilt

from

the

ground

up.

Reliance

on

the

analog

stick,

while

an

option

in

previous

games,

is

now

absolute.

This

is

unfortunate

as

D-pad

control

was

always

far

more

accurate.

The

new

Lara

seems

completely

incapable

of

grasping

the

concept

of

backing

up,

instead

she

rotates



not

fluidly,

but

in

fits

and

starts.

Just

getting

her

correctly

positioned

for

a

jump

is

a

frustrating

ordeal

and

certainly

not

suited

to

an

action

game

where

precise

control

is

key.

The

once

sure-footed

Lara

is

now

prone

to

stumble

off

of

planks

and

accidentally

hurl

herself

over

railings.

To

offset

this,

they

have

implemented

a

walk

toggle

which

will

prevent

her

from

falling

but

has

its

own

irritations,

especially

when

you’re

locked

into

a

walk

and

need

to

make

a

sudden

run.

At

times

Lara

will

muster

the

fortitude

and

presence

of

mind

(or

foot)

to

actually

kick

in

a

door

to

gain

entry.

Later

she

will

encounter

an

identical

door

and

make

you

go

look

for

a

key

instead.

You

can

also

count

on

her

to

inexplicably



dummy

up

on

obstacles

a

two

year

old

could

accidentally

knock

over,

or

be

completely

blocked

by

objects

that

an

old

codger

with

arthritis

in

both

knees

and

a

hip

replacement

could

easily

scramble

over

or

under.

To

make

matters

worse,

there

still

remains

that

torturous

lag

between

pressing

a

button

and

Laraí¢â‚¬â„¢s

actual

execution

of

a

move

which

plagued

previous

TR

games.

At

least

you

always

have

the

option

to

save

your

game.

This

is

necessary

because

the

faulty

control

will

keep

you

dying

on

a

regular

basis.

Fortunately

for

the

new

stumblefoot

Lara,

her

opponents

put

up

almost

no

resistance

at

all.

Although

she

now

possesses

a

few

lame

stealth

abilities

and

several

new

and

poorly

implemented

hand-to-hand

combat

maneuvers,

you

can

hardly

believe

she

needs

them

because

the

enemies

you

encounter

are

the

usual

assortment

of

dead

bulbs

who

will

permit

themselves

to

be

peppered

with

bullets

without

ever

entertaining

the

notion

of



duck-and-cover.

A

few

stiffly

executed

kicks

will

knock

them

right

over

and,

once

deceased,

their

bodies

will

flash

arcade-style

and

then

simply

vanish.

So

much

for

realism.

When

compared

to

its

predecessors,

TR:AoD

is

about

as

short

as

Herve

Villechaize

kneeling

in

a

pothole
.

However,

that

may

be

a

blessing.

Despite

its

new

look,

fairly

interesting

storyline,

and

a

bucket

load

of

new

moves

and

features,

this

game

is

fatally

flawed

by

the

completely

revamped

control

system

which

makes

it

a

nightmare

of

frustration.

Hopefully,

the

controls

will

be

overhauled

yet

again

before

Ms.

Croft

goes

on

her

seventh

spelunking

installment.







REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

1.5
Rating
Box art - Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness
Improved graphics
Decent storyline
New hand-to-hand combat skills
More intuitive puzzles
Helpful Hand Icon
Controls from hell
Unnecessary stealth maneuvers
Silly stat increases
No more item ring