Tomb Raider 2
After playing Tomb Raider, we all thought it couldn't get any better. We were wrong. Tomb Raider 2 boasts hugely improved Al, a smoother and more logical feel and the chance to get out from those nasty dark tombs and out into the fresh air. This second adventure takes the football chested one everywhere from the canals of Venice to the snow covered mountains of Tibet. Once again you'll have to jump from dangerous ledges, traverse pits and explore exotic locations, using Lara's improved spectrum of movement to make sure she survives new dangers and foes.
With the release of the recent Tomb Raider film, all five of the Tomb Raider games re-entered the charts, proving that their enduring appeal hasn't diminished over the years, and despite its ageing graphics there's still plenty of entertainment to be had with this second instalment.
Download Tomb Raider 2
Lara Croft's second outing may seem similar ' to the first, but TR2 actually packs a lot of subtle--and some not-so-subtle--differences that make it better than the original. At 18 levels, this sequel is about 30 percent larger than the first game. Playing through TR2 is like running a marathon (indeed, after each level you're shown how far you've traveled; by the very end, I had jogged 86 kilometers). And even when you think the game's done, you get an epilogue adventure (with Lara wearing her skimpiest outfit yet, by the way). Where Tomb Raider's emphasis was on exploration, this one is all about traps, traps and more traps. Lara faces spiked pits, compacting spiked walls, rolling spiked disks and...well, just lots of spiked stuff in general. She's going to die--a lot--but now you can save the game at any point so you can immediately retry the tricky parts. Lara also drives two vehicles, a boat and a snowmobile, during the course of the game, and you'll need both to solve some of the puzzles. She faces a few more enemies, too, but the lethal environment (as well as a few awkward camera angles) still remains her greatest adversary. With the exception of a few new moves, most notably her ability to climb, Lara controls the same as before (nope, no analog support). You'll need to be a Tomb Raider master to pass the later levels.
I'm just as sick of hearing about Lara Croft as the next guy, but I gotta admit--Tomb Raider 2 is pretty cool. Adventure game fans will be in heaven-the game is LONG, there's a lot to do and see, and the story flows very nicely. On the downside, the control is still very poor (some say it's a style thing--if so, fine--I don't like the style), and the game can get quite frustrating at times. Still, if you like TR and you've got a lot of patience, this game is for you.
Man, I'm glad this one turned out to be everything we hoped--I mean, we covered it enough! Tomb Raider 2 is simply incredible. It may not be a whole lot different from the first, but if it ain't broke, why fix it? The graphics are still a little rough, but for the levels being as huge as they are, it doesn't matter too much. The "save at any point" feature is the best addition as far as I'm concerned, but the Bosses were far less than amazing.
The sequel of the year is here, and I've definitely put this one on top of my shopping list. Graphics are improved, with awesome lighting effects. Lara now has several new tricks to perform, from climbing, harpooning, gliding on pulleys and more! She can also drive vehicles to reach her goals. Probably the only letdown of this wonderful sequel is the lack of a whip for a weapon and Indiana Jones-style swinging. Now, that would be perfect!
One of the most influential characters in video game history has made her return. Get the marching band ready for the parade, because this game is what everyone has been waiting for. Actually, I think what we have is a case of the legend of Lara growing to mythical proportions — just about anything short of godliness is sure to be a letdown. Fortunately, the game comes close enough to satisfy, but in the end is just too damn hard to play.
Tomb Raider II has our busty babe, Lara Croft, in a whole new set of adventures. This time around she is looking for the Dagger of Xian, which is claimed to have the power of the dragon. Of course she is not the only one looking for the Dagger. There are plenty of bad guys lurking around every corner, looking to stop her. It is up to you to get Lara through Tibet, China, Venice, and a sunken ship. It is time to paint your shorts on, slide your spandex shirt over your ample figure, and head out into the unknown to kick some ass.
When the original Tomb Raider was released, I was one of the few people who was not sucked in by the hype. Sure, it was a good game, and it was revolutionary to have a female lead character, but it did have some flaws. I feel the same way about Tomb Raider II. I do like this game better than the original in some areas, while I wish they would have remained more true to the original in other areas. Everyone will have an opinion, but one thing will never be argued: Lara has definitely used some of her earnings to visit a specialized plastic surgeon, if you know what I mean.
Lara herself is one of the biggest overall improvements in the game. I don't mean this in a polygon-perversion sort of way, either. The developers did an outstanding job making Lara look, act, react, and feel like a real person. This is an incredibly difficult task to pull off, and you can tell that this was a painstaking process to get right. I can just see the developers gathered round a monitor while someone was showing Lara pull herself up from a cliff. I bet they had to rework this animation hundreds of times before they were happy with it. There is one animation in particular that really stood out and made me take notice. Lara is swimming around and finds a lever underwater. The lever is for opening a large, wooden door. Instead of just having Lara swim up and pull the lever, she actually swims up to the lever, turns her body sideways and braces herself with her legs against the wall. Then, using the leverage and strength from her legs, she pushes off from the wall and pulls the lever. It was one of the most realistic-looking moves I have ever seen in a video game.
Enough about Lara for a moment. Let's talk about the gameplay. For those of you who missed the original game, this game follows the same basic formula. You play from the third-person perspective with Lara always in the front and center screen. You will climb, jump, swim, shoot and explore your way through tons of levels. Most of the levels are based on flipping switches and finding keys, which did get a bit old after a while. It is the old "flip this switch and unlock that door so you can flip another switch to unlock another door" type of game. That does oversimplify things, but it sums up a majority of your actions.
Another thing that the developers need to be commended on is the level design. The first level you encounter has you in a cave, which is where you spent most of your time in the original game. The first thing that came to mind was "lame, more caves. I got real tired of seeing caves in the first game and now I have to work through another game of caves." Thankfully, you will find your way out of the caves and spend a great deal of time in other locations. The caves make me feel like I am still just playing a game, and keeps it from being too realistic. When Lara started walking around buildings and such, it felt much more realistic. The developers spent so much time making Lara act real, I am glad they took her out of a cave so the atmosphere was more realistic.
Another cool new feature of Tomb Raider II is that you can now ride various vehicles. The first you will encounter is a speedboat. When you jump into this thing and rev the engine, there is no sneaking up on anyone. Every time I went for a ride in it, I laughed and thought Tim Allen would be proud. Lara also gets to speed around on a snowmobile, which is a complete blast once you get the hang of driving it.
I really only have two major complaints about the game. The first is the difficulty of the gameplay. I found myself stuck more times than I care to remember. I didn't die often, but I got stuck frequently. I can appreciate the developers making the game more challenging, but I think they went a bit too far. One example that you will be faced with fairly early on is that you will have to throw a switch, jump in your boat, and gun the engine so you fly over a ramp. Then you must drive the boat up a walkway — crashing through a skywalk — and maneuver your way through narrow canals, making it to the exit before the clock chimes 12 times. If you don't make it, the door closes and you have to try again. Once you know what you are supposed to do, it is not that hard, but figuring this out was a nightmare. The only thing they forgot to do was make Lara hop on one foot while patting her belly. Without some sort of strategy guide, only the strong will survive.
The other thing that bothered me somewhat was the camera angles. This was a problem in the original and it is still a problem in this game. There were times where the camera was just not positioned correctly, so you couldn't tell where you were meant to jump. You did have a manual camera adjust, but it seemed like when the main camera angle was off, the manual adjust was not much help. This seems to be a problem with lots of 3D-type games, and maybe I should just come to expect this as a side effect, but it still bothered me and it did affect my game on more than a few occasions.
The last thing I want to say about the game may not be the game's fault at all. I had played about 6 hours into the game and just found a new area. It was late, so I decided to save the game and start up the next day. I went to load my game and it said "load successful," but it did not bring me to my game. I checked the memory card and it showed a TRII file, but it would not load. There is always a chance that it is the memory card, but I have NEVER had a problem with any other games not saving data. Needless to say, I was less than thrilled about having to start over from the beginning of the game. The moral of the story is that I would save to two different cards after I got deeper in the game. Nothing will piss you off more than playing for 16 hours and losing all your info.
The best way to describe the graphics would be to say they have been stepped up a notch or two from the original. The cave level looked a little cleaner, but the game really shines when you get into the cities and buildings. Lara looks awesome and I really enjoyed her lifelike animations. All in all, the graphics were impressive and at times incredible.
Tomb Raider II is definitely a great game, but it was just so tough in spots. I fear that many gamers will tire of getting stuck all the time and not want to continue. There is so much to see and do in the game that this is a shame. The switch flipping does get old, but the explorations and animations make up for it. Don't bother renting this game, because you will never finish it in a weekend. One more thing: Lara is not real, so stop your drooling!
Join the female Indiana Jones (Laura Croft) once again in an adventure that takes her to the ends of the Earth and beyond in Tomb Raider 2. This time Lara will delve into a tomb beneath the Great Wall of China, a mansion in Venice and a wrecked ship. Unlike the first game, some levels will be set outside. New weapons and even more treacherous enemies and animals are to be expected this second time around. Lara will also be able to perform new moves, like climbing hand-over-hand up sheer cliff walls.
We'll have more on this hot sequel in our E3 coverage next month.
- MANUFACTURER - Eidos
- THEME - Adventure
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1
Last year Eidos Interactive opened its Tomb and struck serious pay dirt. Eidos hit the big time with the original Tomb Raider, so it's gone all-out with TRII. This action/adventure CD follows the continuing exploits of Dr. Lara Croft, acquirer of ancient antiquities, as she seeks the fabled Dagger of Xian (see sidebar "The Story: Lara Croft and the Dagger of Xian").
Lara in Good Form
Tomb Raider II is being developed by Core Design (programmers of the first Tomb Raider game), and the Design boys continue to make Lara look like a dream even as she battles rendered 3D nightmares. TR fans will play via the same behind-Lara views, and in the prelim versions, the camera still tracked automatically, so you may encounter those famous off-screen Tomb Raider firefights.
They say if it ain't broke don't fix it, and Eidos and Core certainly seem to agree. In TRII, the gameplay enhancements are few, but with one major addition: Not only will Lara retain her outstanding multidirectional leaping ability and all her other moves (including extensive underwater swimming), she'll also be able to scale walls vertically and laterally like a rock climber.
Weapons Vs. Weirdoes
In the original Tomb Raider the monsters and bad guys were mean but their in-game population was lean. In Tomb II, there will be a population explosion! Lara will face a horde of foes who are human, animal, and...whatever. Human bad guys will star Warrior Monks, Imperial Soldiers, and Fiama Nera Assassins. Animals include leopards, eels, sharks, and giant spiders. The whatever? How about the Yeti (abominable snowman) and humanoid reptiles?
In order to beat these beasts, Lara will pack major firepower. In addition to her standard pistols, she wields dual machine pistols and double Uzis, too. Lara also has a special treat for underwater foes: a wicked harpoon gun. But when the going gets really tough, she goes military with an Ml6 automatic rifle or a grenade launcher.
All This and Tomb Raider II
So far, Tomb II looks like a can't-miss opportunity for Raider fans who crave brain-rattling puzzles and finger-spraining shootouts. Looking for adventure? Once again, prepare to enter the Tomb.
THE STORY: Lara Croft and the Dagger of Xian
The Dagger of Xian: Believed to have once been used by an unnamed tyrannical emperor in China before its seizure by Tibetan Warrior Monks. Legend has it that the dagger was restored to a secret resting-place within the Great Wall. Reportedly, a fanatical cult called the Fiama Nera worships this mythic artifact for its reputed magic powers. "He who plunges the dagger deep into his heart will gain the power of the dragon. " From an encyclopedia of ancient Chinese mythology by Liau Tjang Mygano
Dr. Lara Croft, freelance adventurer and acquirer of archaeological antiquities, has uncovered a clue to the location of the mysterious Dagger of Xian. Her quest for the mythical artifact begins at the Great Wall of China where she discovers a locked passageway to an ancient temple, possibly the hiding place of the Dagger of Xian.
However, an impenetrable door blocks the way to the trophy room, and Lara also encounters members of the infamous Fiama Nera, who will stop at nothing to find the dagger. She learns that the key to the door may be the property of deceased magician Gianni Bartoli, whose residence is Venice, Italy.
Lara's search will take her to the Venetian canals, a floating deep-sea salvage rig, a shipwreck on the ocean floor, the eerie catacombs beneath a Tibetan monastery, and a subterranean land called the Floating Islands.
Her every step is dogged by Tibetan Warrior Monks, assassins of the Fiama l\lera, Bar-toli's evil nephew, all manner of vicious beasts, and even the mythical Yeti (abominable snowman). But as Lara--and you--will discover, these are the least of the lethal dangers awaiting as she chases the Dagger of Xian.
The time has finally come to stop gawking at Lara Croft and start some serious game-4 playing with her. In a season of video game sequels, Tomb Raider II ranks as one of the best...ever!
Now Dr. Croft seeks the fabled Dagger of Xian, an ancient artifact with a monstrous secret. Her epic quest explores 18 danger-filled areas, with exotic locales that include the Great Wall of China, the canals of Venice, and the foothills of the Himalayas.
Digging the Dagger
Of course, Lara's not the only one who craves the Dagger. TRII easily outdoes the original Tomb Raider in the sheer number of enemies, traps, and physical challenges.
Beasts of the animal and human kind dog her every step of the way. Tigers, eagles, and great white sharks are among the creatures who want to maul Lara; baseball-bat-swinging thugs, pistol-packing assassins, and kung-fu monks are among those who just want to brawl with Lara. The robotic enemy A.I. is no evil genius, but it does display singleness of purpose: Attack Lara Croft!
The traps in TRII induce far more panic than those of the original. Boulders chase you between crushing spiked walls and your oxygen threatens to run out when you're 40 fathoms deep. Lara must run, leap, and ferret out hidden switches to avoid ever-present death.
That's okay, because Croft gets crafty with an amazing number of moves. In addition to her trademark leaps and jumps and a cool breaststroke, she's acquired the ability to climb structures and to drive vehicles, too. She still has auto-aiming, but her arsenal received an impressive upgrade, including dual Uzi submachine guns, a harpoon gun, and an M-16 automatic rifle in addition to her regular two-gun rig.
The Way She Moves
All this is ably managed by the workmanlike controls, which do a good job of handling Lara's massive repertoire of moves. However, TRII is for experts. Unlocking the mechanics of Lara's physique requires patience, skill, and practice, practice, practice.
Lara possesses so much freedom of movement that making her perform precise moves when time is tight (such as picking up ammo before sliding walls crush you) requires such exact position ing that it can be slow, ponderous, and often fatal. Come armed with a spacious memory card, and save often.
Tomb Raider the Movie
Lara's look is killer. The impressive animation for her moves is stunningly life-like. The handy auto-moving game cam enables you to scan the surrounding terrain 180 degrees. And the computer-generated story cinemas between levels are so sweet, they're a true reward for completing a stage.
All is not perfect in graphics city, however. There's noticeable clipping (that is, walls that appear solid from one angle appear pixel-thin from another). Also, as in the first TR, the awkward position of the game cam can force you to fight blind. But the overall visual presentation is so fine, such flaws rightfully qualify as nitpicking.
In the audio department, Tomb II masters the minimalist approach. Effects and voice are used sparingly but well, and music only plays for clues and cues during game-play. During the story cinemas, however, the audio pumps pure symphonic force.
Tomb Raider II is an awesome adventure game. By the time Lara asks, "Haven't you seen enough?" you'll know the answer...No! Long after you beat TRII, there'll be only one thing on your mind...Tomb Raider III.
- Tigers and other land-based foes do not like water.
- When you reach 40 fathoms, swim away from the mini sub, follow the wreckage, and enter the sunken sub near the anchor at the tail.
- Sometimes Lara sees danger before you do. When she aims her weapons, just fire.
- When Lara jumps, she nails every landing. Use that to position her for quick grabs.
Tomb Raider ll's lifelike animation, gorgeous computer-generated cinemas, lusciously detailed character graphics, and scenic backgrounds are enough to overcome that darned moving cam that sometimes obscures gameplay.
You get what you need during the gameplay, and a movie-style score during the story sequences.
Lara pulls amazing moves; however, moving her quickly to avoid being trapped can be as cumbersome as it was in the first game.
Tomb's a gas and a half for experts. If you're not a pro, you'll be one after beating this tough but mesmerizing game.
Everyone's favorite 32-bit gun-totin' babe, Lara Croft, is back for more action with this sequel to last year's hit. In Tomb Raider 2, Lara's adventures take her around the world--from the Great Wall of China to Venice. The game's early in development, but it will feature new weapons, new character moves, and stages that take place in the great outdoors. These screens show some fast-paced excitement-let's hope the final game's that way.
Lara Croft is back in Tomb Raider 2 with her guns ablaze and a host of new features. In this sequel to last year's smash action/adventure game, the developers, Core, have armed Lara with new abilities like crawling and crouching, and new weapons like an underwater harpoon gun.
These early screens show some vast and eerie worlds, and word has it that Lara will also be able to climb, which should mean that the environments will be even more expansive. Although not available until early next year, Tomb Raider 2 will likely be one of the hottest, most anticipated titles of 1998.
When Lara Croft first appeared on the gaming scene a little over a year ago, she took the action gamers by storm with a mix of as-yet-unseen graphics on the PC (including being among the very first to pioneer 3Dfx technology), amazing and complex gameplay and design, and a figure that made her look like Barbie's more well-endowed sister. The result was a runaway success for then-small Eidos and an almost cult-like following of Lara fans who couldn't wait for her return.
Well, the wait is over, and the second incarnation of Lara is even prettier to look at than the first (and Lara's wardrobe even more revealing), yet the game itself has lost something. It may be, in part, that others have caught up with the technology, but after many hours of painstakingly guiding Lara through the dangers of China, Venice, sunken ships, and ancient temples, I can honestly say that Tomb Raider 2 just isn't as much fun as the original.
I suppose I'll be branded as some sort of heretic for saying anything against Eidos' buxom beauty, but frankly, Tomb Raider 2 is too hard, and this is where it comes up short against the original. In Tomb Raider, you could always puzzle your way through a difficult spot, and while it was at times frustrating, it was never seemingly impossible; when you at last solved a puzzling level you had a feeling of satisfaction. In Tomb Raider 2, after being killed time after time after time, I just wanted to quit the game and go play something more enjoyable.
A busty woman in a wetsuit is all you'd expect from the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, but in a game, you want, well, satisfaction.
I will say this: Tomb Raider 2 blows away just about anything else in the genre in terms of graphical sophistication, nifty gadgets, cool level design and computer AI. You just have to have a great deal of time, patience, and manual dexterity to get very far (and ultimately a walkthrough will be the last refuge of 99% of those who want to see Lara through to the final showdown).
As in Tomb Raider, the objective in Tomb Raider 2 is to seek out fame, fortune, and danger while exploring ruins, temples, sunken ships, mazes, and the like. You're basically a much more attractive Indiana Jones, and instead of Nazis, you're up against wild animals and sword-, baseball bat-, and harpoon-wielding ne'er-do-wells. What's added in Tomb Raider 2 is more moves for Lara (you can climb walls, shimmy along ledges, swim underwater, do back flips, swan dives -- just about any move you can think of), plus, in Tomb 2, you get to try your hand at a number of different vehicles, including motor boats and snowmobiles. It's quite a rush, and quite a bit of work getting a handle on how to make Lara do everything she's capable of (I still maintain that she has too much, ah, ballast to dive underwater as effectively as she does, but that's another story), and this can end up being a major frustration in the heat of battle.
Another important change from the original Tomb Raider is that Tomb Raider 2 adds many more human opponents into the game, so instead of having to pick off wolves, bats, and the occasional bear as in the original, in Tomb 2 you get more than your fair share of ninjas, temple guards, freaks with baseball bats, Phantom of the Opera fans with pistols, and more. The result is that you feel more like you are involved in an action game than in the original, and you feel that you actually have enemies instead of having to take target practice on the animals that just happened to also like to hang out among the precious idols and lost treasure.
Your arsenal of weapons in Tomb Raider 2 is pretty much the same as in the original, with the addition of some underwater implements, some heavier firepower for the increased cadre of enemies, and some flares for use in dark places. And, just as in real life, your flares have a maddening tendency to run out at inopportune times.
When all is said and done, Tomb Raider 2 will get you to know your keyboard a lot better than you did before, and it definitely delivers a lot of game for the money. It's not long in terms of total number of levels, but even the short intro level will take experienced players an hour or more to figure out, so be prepared to be tested. All in all I'd say that 2-3 hours for each of the 15 levels is a pretty good benchmark (and a couple will take you as many as 8-10 hours to figure your way through).
The folks at CORE and Eidos have once again produced a graphical gem in Tomb Raider 2. The environments, level design, lighting and motion effects are all excellent, and are once again a showcase for the possibilities of 3Dfx technology. Lara has been rendered a bit more, has longer hair and a variety of outfits this time around, and the enemies are much more life-like and detailed. As in Tomb Raider, this second offering also mixes a great variety of different settings, and uses the graphics engine to its utmost to deliver devilishly difficult puzzles, walls to climb, chasms to traverse, and underwater tunnels to swim through. There is, however, still the annoying problem of both bad clipping (textures that should be solid having transparent patches that allow those behind to bleed through), and the flying point-of-view camera that will fairly regularly lose your perspective at a critical moment. The bottom line here is that Eidos has pushed the limits of the technology, both to great new heights and to sometimes detrimental glitches. On balance, though, the glitches are worth it to see the movie-like quality of the rest of the game.
Ambience is big in action games, and while Tomb Raider 2 doesn't quite measure up to the likes of Quake 2, it still compares favorably with the majority of its competition. There is nothing breathtaking here, but they have done some very appropriate samples of water, wind, and other environmental noises that help give the impression of being there. They've also left intact the often-amusing "uhnh" that Lara dazedly mutters every time you accidentally walk her headlong into a wall.
Windows 95, Pentium 90 MHz Processor (133 MHz recommended), 16 MB RAM (32 recommended), 100% SoundBlaster-compatible sound card, joystick, keyboard, game pad
Tomb Raider 2 will test the best action gamers out there and stands a good chance of frustrating the heck out of the rest of us. It excels in graphical beauty, complex and creative level design, and a richly-rendered virtual world, but it has taken the original Tomb Raider to a new level of challenge that will likely be inappropriate for many gamers.
It is hard not to recommend Tomb Raider 2, as I like it very much, but I must say that if you're going to get this game, make it the only game you concentrate on, because it has a fairly steep learning curve and will tax the most logical minds to solve the sometimes arcane and peripheral puzzles that have been somewhat inadvisably added to an otherwise excellent action game. Overall, I rate Tomb Raider 2 an 85 -- it again pushes the technological envelope at the same time that it seems a bit over-designed and a bit unnecessarily provocative for a video game.
When Tomb Raider was first released, there was a good deal of interest over the fact that a shoot-'em-up action title had a female lead character. Some people thought that that was a gamble, that Eidos was crazy to break away from the "tough guy" action hero model. Crazy like a fox, it turns out. Heck, there are enough "Weird Science" wannabes out there to have written "naked Lara" graphics patches for Tomb Raider 2 -- that ought to prove something, I suppose just what the Internet has already proved -- that sex sells most anything. Personally I think it's too bad that this angle had to get added to a game that would be every bit as cool without it. Maybe that's why I'm not in marketing.