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Review: Tomb Raider: Anniversary - PS2

by Steven Williamson on 11 May 2007, 08:34

Tags: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary, Eidos (TYO:9684), PSP, Action/Adventure

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Ledge climbing anyone?

The game begins when Lara is introduced to a syndicate who ask her to embark on a dangerous mission to Peru in the search for a mystical artefact known as Scion. Lara relishes the challenge and can't wait to wriggle into those tight shorts and get her hands dirty exploring the bat-infested caves, hidden cities and lost villages of this mysterious part of the world. Lara soon discovers that the people who have hired her are not all that they seem so, without further ado, Lara sets off to Peru to unravel the mystery behind the ancient artefact, armed only with a couple of pistols, a backpack, a grappling hook and a lady-shave.

The action begins when Lara arrives at her Peruvian destination, where she meets up with her guide at the foot of a snow capped mountain. This is Lara's first introduction to the deluge of ledge climbing puzzles, which appear in every level in the game. The premise is very simple; you search around to discover the correct route to the top of the cliff by leaping upwards and sideways to grab onto ledges. There's usually only ever one way to head in all of these climbing challenges, but in the levels themselves there are often multiple ways to reach your destination. There's an intuitive system in place for jumping from ledge to ledge and it's one that showcases just how far technology has come in improving the original animations of Lara all those years ago and the smoothness of her movements - thanks mainly to an enhanced version of the next-gen Tomb Raider Legend engine. The initial jaunt up the mountain, which eventually leads to a gate where you embark on your first bout of tomb raiding, is a fairly simple introduction to controlling Lara and a chance to test out the majority of her vigorous moves, such as shimmying across ledges, leaping from one ledge to another, swinging from vines and using the grappling hook, but as you progress through the levels the puzzles become increasingly difficult and you often need to use a mixture of environmental interaction with the complete assortment of Lara's moves in order to work out the correct pathway to your next destination.

Click for larger image

Click for larger image

The action sequences in the game will be familiar to any Tomb Raider fan, so you won't be surprised to hear that you'll need to keep an eye out for grapple rings to latch onto with your grappling hook so you can swing between ledges, clamber up columns, swing from ropes, branches, poles and vines and work your way around numerous traps where you'll need to jump, roll, duck and dodge. There's a new addition to the game where Lara can leap onto the top of a narrow pole and balance expertly before leaping onto the next ledge and at certain points in the game you can trigger actions, such as shooting a pile of rocks to bring them tumbling down a cliff face or pulling a number of levers in a set sequence. There's also cog turning puzzles and a fair amount of pushing and pulling blocks to open doorways or so that you can climb up on them in order to reach a ledge. It's what we've come familiar with in Tomb Raider games and as a result anyone who has ever played any of the titles will realise that the challenges are only challenging because you need to search for the answer, and if you know Tomb Raider, you'll know the answer immediately; for example: there's a cog missing on a wheel and it won't turn, so obviously you need to find the cog. It's then simply a matter of leaping around examining all the nooks and crannies until you find it and then heading back to place it in position. But, the puzzles have still stood the test of time and thanks to an increase in the size of the levels, with more caverns, dimly-lit caves, underwater chambers and hidden crevices that you can explore, the puzzles are even more of a exploration challenge then the original.