Tomb Raider: Chronicles Review
publisher: Eidos Interactive
developer: Core Design
genre: Action Adventure
PII-266, 16MB RAM, 3D card with 4MB, 4X CD-ROM
|ESRB rating: T
release date: Nov 21, 00 (released)
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Well, well if it ain't Ms. Lara Croft - again! Who would've thought? This is a pleasant surprise! 'Very nice to see you for the fifth bloody time miss Croft.' 'Don't worry, all of us here at ATrip (cough) greatly admire your persistence to stay in the gaming industry.' Anyway, it is delightful time and again to see miss C. She's back, and she's mean, tough, and as always - good looking. Unfortunately though, Core Design didn't focus on changing the game's basics - again! They've stayed the same in the last three installments.
This particular part, starts off with Lara's funeral, and the events unfold as the storyteller remembers her great deeds. One of your first quest begins in the vast city of Rome, and the rest of the game will be taking place in the freezing bowels of a German U-boat. Later on, you'll be going to the merry old Black Isle and so on...
To start things off, Lara must involve herself in a series of mystery journeys, each one with its own scenario, plot, and various assignments. From the visual stand point TR: Chronicles has admirable qualities; like the exceptional animations of Lara's movements and actions. Unfortunately, the swimming, swinging, and the balancing on ropes and stuff, are the same in every way as the previous TR games.
It's amazing how mass-production games keep coming back at us with countless sequels, which bring crappy clich' storylines. Identical gameplay is maintained throughout the Croft Saga, nothing inventive, just another damn PS conversion. We will never see the end of such unimaginative projects. Let us dip in the past a bit and recall the continual Final Fantasies, the 'cherished' Resident Evil trilogy, and parallel undertakings. Milking the (always reliable) cash-cow by certain game developers never seems to stop. Not to divert from the subject, but we're sick of these oppressors not satisfying our artistic hunger. People, listen to me; it is time we take a stand, let's rise together against the mega-money grabbin' tyrants! Who's with me? Not many volunteers here, right? Oh hell, it's no use; I'm all alone on this one...
Even after Core Design's triple strike out, the spirit of miss Croft will apparently be forever respected. It shocks me that there are tons of people who are actually going to buy this thing, only to find out that it has an equality to the last four games. This will not bother them, simply because it didn't present a problem before. I've seen these folks, and the intensity of their involvement in these adventures always terrifies me. Most of them are friends of mine, and to this day they have waited for the arrival of the TR: Chronicles with great anticipation. Whether the game is a virtual carbon copy, or not is not important just as long as they can view Lara's cute little butt again. Poor girl. Although, I can't help having a little crush on her myself. She was cool once, but now she's really beginning to annoy me. Then again it's not her fault, of course. It's those ruthless money-lusting publishers.
Anyhow, must get back to the conventional reviewing and probing the issues at hand. When it comes to Lara's expeditions, they are exciting as always, however, it does appear like you're watching Indiana Jones III for the 40th time, so you can anticipate the puzzles, traps, and secrets. The unfolding of the scenario is repetitious and sometimes gets extremely tiresome. The only thing that is exciting to me every time, is the cliff-hanging and shimming on rock faces. All the same, this particular game feature is as old as the first edition of the Prince of Persia. New moves and character attributes could have been added on to Lara's sophisticated personality. If the developers kept changing the game's essentials in every so often, then maybe we wouldn't see so many unnecessary sequels. It would at least be a brave effort, and it may avoid the unoriginal and recurring gameplay.
Well, at least the graphics stayed good; bright and vastly colored areas are seen throughout the game. And less gloomy, shady, and dungeon-like environments. We observe the marvelous effects while our main character ignites her flares (yeah right, like we didn't see that one before). The prominent diving element is somewhat enhanced with the deep-diving suit feature. Sadly, you get to use it for a very short period and you cannot even swim that far, cause the seabed has the invisible and tremendously annoying borderlines that keep you from roaming across the ocean floor. This sort of restriction of movement is noticeable throughout the TR history, although, in all fairness it's tough to create a game where you can walk freely in the streets of Rome. The combat mode needs more fresh approaches. Lara's moves and weapons are getting to dull. For example, in some situations (when the baddies disarm her) she desperately needs kick-box and karate-chopping moves. Practically, nothing new was added to the character, except maybe a few different looks during certain levels.
Again we have decent hi-res graphics, and excellent animations of Lara's moves;
...which definitely cannot compensate the enormous amount of déjà vu, along with the cliché 'hunting' for door keys and similar traditional things.