Raider III: The Adventures of Lara Croft © Eidos
Raider set a standard in both the global gaming community and the
technological capabilities of the industry we know today. The
intricate use of 3D modeling and environments was a first, which
inspired countless game designs to take after it. I still remember
installing and loading up "Tomb Raider", the game I had
heard so much about, and at first I was quite astonished.
Unfortunately, the third-person genre has been quite overused in the
gaming industry and it seems to have lost that flare it had starting
off. We are now in the third installment of the game that inspired so
many others. Although not many improvements have been made regarding
the technology side, the gameplay can still serve as a meaningful
entertainment base, and that is what TR3 proves.
doesn't seem like it's been that long since the first game Lara Croft
took us through, but we are now into a trilogy of puzzles and action
combined. I think they tried to uneven the balance a bit more in this
one, adding more to the puzzle weight than the action. The gameplay
requires more choices and decisions to be made, and is a lot less
linear than the first two. Lara has learned some new moves, her
graphics have been improved, her levels are larger, her puzzles are
harder and her breasts are bigger. Well, that last note is a bit
off-topic but I seriously think the image of Lara Croft is what makes
her games sell so well. She is world-renown and a very recognized
figure in the gaming industry; perhaps her legacy will be equivalent
to the impact Mario has had (one day...).
mentioned before, the actual technology of the third-person genre has
not been improved greatly. There is still the occasional polygon
clipping, some textures look odd or can't be penetrated, but the
gameplay has been improved a lot... content-wise. Miss Croft starts
off her adventure in the depths of India, cutting her way through the
jungles and encountering the animals that inhabit the land. The next
campaigns, the South Pacific, London, and the Nevada Desert can all
is played in whichever order you choose. This is what sets the
non-linear play of Tomb Raider III, because in her two previous games
the levels had to be played out in a specific order. Now we finally
have a choice. But don't worry, the fun doesn't stop there.
Throughout the puzzle filled levels, there are also non-linear
elements to discover. In a lot levels you have the option of choosing
a certain path or passage to complete the level. Not only does this
add to the replayability of the game, but the fun factor as well! I
had a great time completing a level and then going back choosing
another path to take, it's double the value. The fun doesn't end
there, a new concept has been added to this edition of the series.
This seems to be a re-incarnated feature to games these days, but
after every level there is a beautifully animated cutscene starring
Lara. Although these cutscenes don't seem to add much to the story
line, they raise questions that you find the answers to in future
levels. It sort of gives you something more to play towards, rather
than reminding you of one single goal.
controls in the game are almost identical to the predecessors, with a
few minor exceptions. One big one actually, is the use of the new
analog gamepads (commonly known as dual-shock). If you remember first
playing Mario 64 and thinking to yourself, how easy it was to control
a little 3d man with a small joystick, you'll understand what I am
talking about. With the analog sticks you can turn corners smoother
and tiptoe to the edge of a platform without falling off and having
to re-do the entire level (ugh!). Other than that, the only
improvement I saw was timing on executing Lara's various moves was
wise, I'd say this is a great improvement from Tomb Raider.
Unfortunately I thought it looked exactly like Tomb Raider 2 with a
few minor improvements. They smoothed out Lara's movement and
textures, and made better use of color, but that's about it. The
engine itself always runs a smooth framerate even with lots of
characters on the screen, and I enjoyed some of the special effects
it had to offer. The quicksand and new water graphics look quite good
for a Playstation, and they have a much more natural, fluid motion to
them. The cutscenes were astounding, as always, with high quality
models and great special effects. I don't think the graphics as a
whole were a step up for the industry, but definitely an improvement
in the Tomb Raider series.
sound effects were both impressive and suitable for the game, but
like the graphics they weren't a breakthrough. Tomb Raider always has
had great sound quality and voice acting, and I don't think they were
concerned with this factor of the game too much. The music was quite
effective for just about every level, and set the mood off perfectly.
In a nutshell, the sound effects, music and speech were equally excellent.
conclusion, Tomb Raider III is a great game. I enjoyed figuring out
all the puzzles, guiding Lara through the various parts of the world
and fighting the different characters/animals. It doesn't solve the
problems that it's predecessors had, but fans of the series will be
pleased with what TR3 has to offer.
great Tomb Raider, but it still doesn't add much to the series