Review by Megnetto

"A step to a new level in 3D gaming"

For years, companies strive to make the perfect 3D video game. It started with Sega making the game called ZAXXON, in which you pilot a spaceship through enemy territory. Then shooter games such as DOOM and CASTLE WOLFENSTEIN that goes through a 3D maze in a first person perspective. Games like CRUSADER: NO REMORSE, RESIDENT EVIL and THE SIMS came into play by putting a third perspective character in a tilted, isometric area, making it look three dimensional. Finally, a game called TOMB RAIDER takes it a bit further by making it a free roaming, over-the-shoulder viewpoint with 3D real time environments. The game is not perfect, but it is a step in the right direction.

You play the role of Lara Croft, a young former aristocrat, who searches for big adventure. She is contacted by a business woman who own a company called Natla Technologies, to seek out an mysterious artifact called the Atlantean Scion. Her quest starts in the tomb of Qualopec in Peru and from there, she follow certain leads that take her to Vilacamba, the lost cities of Greece and Rome, and the pyramids of Egypt. As she explores, she encounters many enemies, such as wolves, bats, bears, raptors, gorillas and other hunters who are after the scion. This game has 15 massive levels for Lara to go through.

The graphics are unique at the time when it first came out. The backgrounds are rich and the movement is almost fluid and life like. The main problem is the graphics are not sharp and are too much in detail at times. The scenes from a distance look great and realistic, but up close, they become choppy and distorted. You have almost complete freedom on the camera view, although you have some difficulty adjusting when Lara's back is up against the wall. The FMV shown in between levels are a great add-on as well.

The sound effects and music are few and far between. Lara's running and walking, the gunshots, and animal roars sound realistic. The music is short and only comes when something suspenseful happens, like when Lara goes into a large room or when an animal attacks. There are 57 tracks on the CD outside the game that you can listen to. The first 21 have all the music in the game and the rest have vocal scenes, mostly from the training gym in Lara's house. They didn't overdo it, but I wish they add a bit more longer music.

The controls are decent and fairly responsive, although there's a bit delay in the jumping at times (Probably waiting till you hit the directional pad before the actual jump happens). You can adjust the control configuration, if you have trouble with the default mode. There are many things Lara can do. She can run, walk, sidestep, roll and jump. She can grab hold a ledge and climb over objects, push and pull really BIG blocks (which looks a bit unrealistic) and dive into water. The only thing she can't do is a handstand like she does in the Playstation and PC versions.

Although this is an adventure game, what you mostly do is explore a large area, solving puzzles, unlocking doors by hitting switches and avoiding traps while you seek out and shoot at enemies along the way. This kind of gameplay would attract some people, but not all. It would make a remarkable collection for the Saturn, unless you prefer the better graphics and the handstand on the Playstation and PC. Although there are many sequels which improved over time, get this game because it's revolutionary.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 04/24/03, Updated 04/24/03

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