In 1996 Tomb Raider was released on the SONY Playstation worldwide, it was praised for its amazing graphics, in depth story and huge environments. Just over Ten years later Tomb Raider is still going strong, selling over 30 million copies worldwide with Lara Croft being one of gaming's most recognizable characters, for both male and female players. The original story behind Tomb Raider was that Lara Croft, a world famous archaeologist, was hired by a woman named Natla to retrieve an artefact called the "Scion". Natla hired Lara to go to Peru in search of a piece of the scion to later return it to her with the other pieces. But what Lara didn’t know was that Natla was planning on using the device to create an army of Atlantean creatures which would soon take over the world. When Lara found out Natla's plan, she set out to stop it. This later caused Lara to destroy the Scion and the lost city of Atlantis, while killing Natla in the process.
Ten years later Lara was searching for a place called, Avalon, which was where her mother was meant to have been teleported to when Lara was just a little girl. Lara found a gauntlet in the Mediterranean Sea which she believed to be related to Avalon, Lara also found relations with that site, to the Norse god of thunder, Thor. Lara also believed that the gauntlet she had found was related to Helheim, the Norse equivalent of Avalon. Lara was soon attacked by goons, which they soon stole the gauntlet from her. As Lara woke from her unconsciousness she then seen the goons flee, which she then followed to the water’s surface and soon found them on a boat. Lara boarded the boat to search for the goons whom she had seen on the deck from a distance. Upon searching the decks and lower decks, while slaughtering all the crew in her path (O_O), She then found out that Natla was in fact, still alive and Amanda, Lara's old friend who had tried to kill her in the past, was keeping her hostage in a glass tube/cell. Lara confronted Natla and demanded the truth, which in turn, Natla told Lara that Avalon and Helheim were in fact one and the same, and the only way to gain entrance was with Thors hammer. Lara then set out on a journey to retrieve Thors Hammer and the artefacts needed to wield it.
Tomb Raider Underworld was seeming to live up to the previous titles before its release in late 2008/early 2009, But upon its release people had begun to complain about the frustrating glitches and awkward camera system. Some even stated that a massive glitch in the late stage of the Thailand level rendered the game "unfinishable" stating that a lever that should have been there to open a door, had miraculously disappeared. However patches were soon released to fix this very problem.
Lara's environments seem realistic and beautifully rendered, as she runs through shrubs and branches she will flick them to the side and hold her hands up to her face for protection of sharp thorns and leaves.
As Lara rolls and flips through her environment her skin and clothing become visibly dirtier, that is until you get her wet, which then her clothing becomes darkened and thinner, almost like its sticking to her. Her skin shines and glosses as it becomes wet and water will trickle off and down her body.
The AI seems much of an improvement also. Enemies will follow Lara up small platforms and through doorways and over obstacles, while also hiding behind cover protecting themselves from Lara's bullets. Lara can also shoot from where ever she is now, whether it be scaling a wall, standing atop a pillar or even hanging from a pole, Lara can pull out one of her pistols and fire at an enemy.
Not only that, but Lara can now also aim at Two enemies at once. Even pick up objects around her (example.. Poles) and use them as melee weapons, while still being able to shoot. Lara can also use those poles to scale the walls even higher, at certain points there are cracks in the walls where Lara will need to shove the pole into it in order to climb atop it to reach a ledge or pole above her.
Lara also seems to react to enemy fire, if she is hit Lara will grab her chest and hold an arm up for protection. Enemies can knock her down and she will grunt or moan as she hits the floor.
Her acrobatics have been greatly improved now too. The player can do all sorts of different combinations of flips and rolls. Lara can now flip over obstacles behind her while shooting, Lara can also cartwheel over small platforms or use them as springboards. Lara can even stand atop pillars and balance on poles, tight rope walk over thin beams and shimmy across ledges with her back against the wall, she can now also wall jump between two walls that are close enough to each other.
The Final Verdict:
Tomb Raider Underworld is an enjoyable and puzzling game, with an epic story line that previous Tomb Raider players will gasp at, Amazing graphics and unforgettable landscapes and Lara looks great on the screen as well.
Tomb Raider Underworld has great gameplay and an amazing story, although the camera needed to be greatly improved, seeing as that is what courses most glitches in the game as it randomly sticks to objects and walls and will bounce around Lara as your trying to make that big jump across that gap. But other then that, its intriguing story, unique character and fulfilling levels will have you coming back for me. The weather system is also a great feature. As Lara climbs up walls and grabs onto ledges, the rain will make her slip and hold on with one hand trying to balance herself, causing the player to press
to make lara grasp the ledge again.
This game has some of the best graphics that I have seen. The environments look beautiful with brightly colored trees and branches. As each level passes you can really see that they are all unique and they don't all feel the same, to the bright green rainforest of coastal Thailand, to the dark muddy jungles of southern Mexico. Rain will trickle down walls and off ledges as you scamper across the ledges. And Lara looks amazing up on the screen, her body looks real and her pony tail acts real, it will fling and bounce as you flip and climb along the detailed platforms across the levels.
The voice acting in this game is superb, you can really feel the emotion of the characters and their mouths actually are in sync with their voice. The sound of Lara's weapons are also fantastic, as you waste a round and Lara reloads, you can hear the shells hit the floor as she reloads, and the sound even echoes if your in an enclosed area. The environment sounds believable with birds whistling in the background and the sound of branches hitting each other in the wind. As you go into narrow caverns and hallways the sound of wind passing through will whistle and howl, Lara's footsteps echo and her grunts and moans bounce off the wall as she flips and climbs. As you near an enemy an epic soundtrack will start to play and you can instantly hear the quality that Troels Folmann has put into this game.
Once you have finished this game, there isn't much else to do. You can choose to revisit any location upon completion of the game, but the only reason I can see to do that is to just collect the treasures that are hidden throughout the levels in many, many jars and pots. Although it is nice to just go back to your favorite level and just explore and climb while trying to make Lara look good. It could vary on how long you took to finish this game, but if a dedicated player played this for hours on end, it would only take 10-15 hours at the most. However, I would advise if someone were to pick this up, pick up Tomb Raider Anniversary and Legend first. The story of underworld follows on from the stories in both those games. Anniversary first then Legend. Otherwise you would be greatly confused by the story.
8/10: it could have gotten an easy 10, but its a tad short compared to the classic Tomb Raider games, and the camera is very annoying at times.
Tomb Raider: Underworld Review
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