Tomb Raider (1996)
Review by Mad_Ogre
"A Classic In Every Respect"
It was over a decade ago when this game was released, I played it back then and - along with many others - still have fond memories of the game to this day. I recently played Tomb Raider: Anniversary and that inspired me to go back and play the original once again.
When it first came out, this was a masterpiece - barely anything touched it. The gameplay is addictive and is clever in places. The level design is really something to behold, although if you played it now it wouldn't seem as epic as it was all that time ago. Only reason it doesn't get 10/10 is because there are a lot of glitches in the game.
This is ultimately where the game falls down. There is not very much of a story whatsoever. Lara gets asked to go find the Scion of Atlantis, she agrees, and then thats just about it. It isn't the story that makes this game so great, though a better story would have made it even better. The places you go to are fantastic, from Peruvian ruins to Egyption tombs, an ancient coluseum and even to Atlantis itself.
Music and Sound 10/10
For its day, the sound effects were pretty good, I've seen other reviewers complaining of out of sync landing effects and things of the like, but I never experienced this so I can tell you right now that they're making it up or playing on dodgy consoles or with dodgy game disks.
The music was epic, I'll never ever forget the main theme to this game and the others that go with it, they really set off the perfect atmosphere that this game intended to create - truly brilliant, few games have matched this even a decade on.
Where other reviewers bash the game for this aspect, I praise it. If you haven't played tomb raider for yourself, then let me tell you the truth: I played this game when I was 6 years old, and I got used to, and accepted, the controls after about an hour of playing it, so the reviewers saying the controls are unresponsive so badly that you get killed by every enemy because of the unresponsive unresponsiveness are just saying it because they've died 50 times on one jump because they lack the dexterity to work with the controls and got annoyed and came on here to rant about it somewhere. There is absolutely nothing wrong with them whatsoever. Other reviewers say the controls are unresponsive, that is pure rubbish - what really happens is that everything in the game works in squares, when you press back you jump back exactly one square and when you run forward and hold jump you jump at the end of the square - thats how the game mechanics work, no matter when you press the button you jump at the end of the square - no sooner, no later. This is not to say you can only move in squares, actually you can run about and start running from the middle or edge of a square, its just you cant jump till the end of it - there are no physical squares on the ground its just a measurement I'm using to get the point across. Lara works like clockwork.
I bet the reviewers bashing the controls didn't review it till later after they'd played Playstation 2 games and stuff, but over 10 years on I can still recognise that the controls are what made the gameplay shine - moving Lara across the platforming sections of the game is what makes it so good - unless you have no patience whatsoever.
Graphics They are what they are / 10
As I've said above - 'they are what they are.' The graphics were decent for the time, there's a lot of glitchiness involved really, you can see a secret door before you're supposed to know what it is, you can tell when something can be pushed around, you can tell when a floor is going to crumble before you walk on it, and you can see through walls sometimes. Make of this what you will, the graphics were decent enough for the time but playing them now and contrasting them with next gen games will obviously cause them to look stupid.
As I've already said, everything works in square blocks in this game (most of it anyway) and this is quite blatant now when you look back at it, you can tell that everything is this way. In a way this contributes to the gameplay in that it keeps things simple, sometimes its hard to tell if you're going to slide of a slope or not because the difference sometimes between a slide and a ledge you can stand on is not very big - but nevertheless the graphics are what they are and what they are is part of the entire formula of Tomb Raider - the charm and the greatness are, in part, owed to the graphic style.
Fun: High, a game you'll want to play with your family or friends though - in my opinion this makes it 10x more fun. A family game, for Christmas or holidays.
Replay value: Quite low really, no unlockables and no real reason to play again other than to find secrets, and then every now and then you'll crack it out just to look back on it and take a trip down memory lane.
This is one of the best games of the 1990s, it deserves all the respect and adoration it still gets, and if you missed out on it, then either buy Tomb Raider: Anniversary or (better still) get this game and put it in your ps3 or ps2, or possibly even ps1.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/03/08
Game Release: Tomb Raider (EU, 11/25/96)
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