No, there aren’t any nude codes.
Everybody’s favorite pistol-packin’ mama has returned! Tomb Raider II: the Dagger of Xian is the game that we’ve all been waiting to play. Frankly, I’m excited. The game is good, but does it live up to its mighty predecessor? Well, just keep reading…
wants to follow Elvis on stage. You just can’t top some acts, and Tomb
Raider is a very tough act to follow. It was new, fun, exciting, beautiful
and revolutionary: a game unlike any we had seen before. So how do you
make a sequel? If we think of Lara as Indiana Jones (plus breasts), then Tomb
Raider II is MUCH better than The Temple of Doom. It’s more like The
Last Crusade: pretty good, plenty of action and stunts, but it fails to completely
capture the charm and magic of the original.
But let’s talk about the good stuff first. Lara is back! She’s got the moves of an Olympic gymnast and the soul of Annie Oakley. Her look hasn’t changed very much, with the same tight blue top and brown short-shorts. She has been… well lets just say ’rounded’ a bit more so she looks less angular and pointy.
Lara also has a couple of new tricks. She can now flip and change directions in mid-air, and climb certain walls, both of which she does with her usual grace and style. A couple of new weapons flesh out her arsenal with the classic M-16, and the obligatory grenade launcher.
There are also a couple of new lighting effects, but frankly, the biggest advancement of TR2 over TR1 is… (drumroll please…) Lara’s pony-tail. Yes ladies and gentlemen, giant advancements have been made in the field of Pony-tail Physics. While this has countless, obvious, real-world applications that will improve your life immeasurably, it also makes Lara’s hair the most realistically rendered object in the game. It whips around, blows in the wind and floats in the water. A nice bit of attention to detail.
Lara will need all her tricks, hair included, to find the Dagger of Xian.
This ancient Chinese relic gives the power of the dragon to whoever plunges it
into their heart. Ouch. Better hope it works the first time. Lara begins her quest
in the Great Wall, but an Italian mobster, Bartoli, has beaten her to it. So it’s
off to beautiful Venice. Begin your mornings with fresh coffee and a plunge into
the unbelievably clear and unpolluted canals. Luxury accommodations, provided
by Eidos, include the romantic and dangerous ‘Bartoli’s Hideout’, and three nights
in the confusing, but beautiful, ‘Opera House’. From there, the adventure continues,
but I won’t tell you where.
This is where Tomb Raider II just doesn’t quite live up to the first one. The level design just isn’t as interesting. This has a lot to do with the settings. Having already journeyed through the ancient ruins of South America, Egypt, England, and even mythical Atlantis in the first Tomb Raider , the new places to explore such as ‘Oil Derrick’ and other modern venues just don’t have the same magic. They’re just not as interesting.
realizing this, the designers have made Tomb Raider 2 a more arcade-style
game. Depending on who you are, you may or may not like this. Personally, I was
a little disappointed, but others will not be. There are more fast-paced things
to jump and dodge, tons of swinging objects, rolling boulders, flame jets and
the like. You can race a speedboat and a snowmobile. There are also lots of people
to shoot, unlike the original. Combat is frequent, human enemies abound and must
be eliminated. The new action Lara with the Kung-Fu grip has less of an emphasis
on exploration and puzzles.
Speaking of ‘action Lara’ (yes there is an action figure now), this game should have been called “Tomb Raider II: The Marketing: Starring Lara Croft”. The CD insert with the instruction manual has 9 pages of game instruction and 14 pages of catalogs, advertisements, and order forms. This smarmy parade of overpriced merchandise includes the Tomb Raider Backpack ($199!), the Tomb Raider watch ($499!), the Tomb Raider travel mug ($40!), and the usual assortment of baseball hats and T-shirts. The ads are for video game magazines (not Game Revolution), other Eidos games, the Tomb Raider comic book ($2.95), and worst of all: Eidos’ own 1-900 line ($0.95 per minute please, and no heavy breathing). This is, in a word, pathetic.
But in the end, after you throw out the marketing crap, you’re still left with a really good game. Lara is still beautiful, the gameplay is still great, the action will still make your heart skip a beat. It’s just not quite as good as the first one, and it’s no longer a new and amazing type of game. A fairly worthy sequel to be sure, but still just a sequel. Elvis has left the building.