Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword
Lara is visiting her friend Jane's museum of antiquities when some bad guys bust in and steal an ancient sword, which was believed to have been used in rituals of 'dark magic.'? In the process of trying to recover the sword, Lara gets cut by it and will be doomed to become a zombie if she can't re-capture the sword thieves and reverse the effect of the sword's curse.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
is a standard 2D-platform game, however the control scheme is fairly complex for a Game Boy game and takes some getting used to. Through various combination presses of the directional pad and the A, B, Start and Select buttons, Lara can jump, run, walk, shoot, climb, swim, roll, flip and hang from ledges. I found that the control was a bit sluggish when trying to execute a running jump, but for the most part the controls get the job done.
Most of the game consists of jumping challenges and simple puzzles. The puzzles are mainly of the go find object X to clear obstacle Y and then find object A to get past obstacle B and so on. The levels are very large and if you enjoy jumping and climbing there is plenty of that to do.
Most of the levels have a few enemies scattered throughout, but the main gameplay challenge is in not falling off of things. A few levels have a type of boss enemy at the end to defeat, but they suffer from the same poor AI that makes the regular enemies pose little challenge. For the most part, quickly mashing the buttons combined with a bit of movement and/or ducking will dispatch your slow-witted opponents in this game.
The graphics are some of the best I've seen in a Game Boy Color game. The images are crisp and bright and the game makes good use of color. There are plenty of animated background events to spice up the images, such as fluttering laundry, flying birds, flashing sparks from electrical equipment and even a bit of debris to kick around in the subway level. The only complaint I have with the graphics is that the settings aren't very interesting compared to other Tomb Raider games. Museums, rooftops and subways just don't quite have the same appeal to them as ancient pyramids, jungles and other such typical Tomb Raider locales.
Unfortunately, the audio is very typical for the Game Boy -- it doesn't detract from the game, but it doesn't add much either. Wisely, they opted for music mostly just at the beginning of levels or other key events, so you don't have to listen to cheesy music played over and over through the whole game. For the most part the game doesn't make much noise at all, other than the occasional obligatory sound effects for doors closing, guns firing, and lever-pulling type activities.
Curse of the Sword has a good framework for a fun side-scroller, but they needed to flesh it out more. Less jumping and climbing and more (and smarter) enemies would have made this game more interesting. The levels are large and take a long time to get through, but the gameplay in each level is the same thing over and over. I would have enjoyed this game more if they had included a larger variety of puzzles and varied the type of obstacles in the levels a bit more. Even though the game only takes about six hours to complete, it suffers from a seriously slow pace. I spent most of the game hoping that the next door or ladder would take me to the end of the current level, so that I could move on to something different. If you really, really like jumping and climbing then get this game. If you're looking for fast paced action, then this title isn't for you.