Raider: The Angel of Darkness
by Eidos Interactive
Developed by Core Design
Platform: PC CD-ROM/PlayStation 2
Released - Out Now
Price : £34.99 (PC) £39.99 (PS2)
a doubt one of the biggest titles on the PlayStation was Tomb Raider.
The adventures of Lara Croft in all spawned five titles and with
the release of the PlayStation 2, it was inevitable that Lara would
be reappearing once more to grace Sony's more powerful machine.
What wasn't expected though was the amount of time it would take
for Lara to reappear. Core Design stated that this time around,
Tomb Raider would be a different experience and as it turns out
they are right, it has little in common with past Tomb Raider games,
but does it still have the appeal of the past PlayStation games?
On PC of course Tomb Raider was one of the first titles to make
use of a 3D card. Anyone who remembers the first time they installed
the Voodoo patch for the original Tomb Raider game will tell you
it was a magical experience and one that initiated a new era in
PC games history. Yes, there is no getting away from the fact that
Tomb Raider has been a phenomenal series. Let's take a look at the
latest, the sixth title, and see how it plays.
game begins with Lara, in Paris, seemingly committing the murder
of her mentor, Werner. The Police are certainly convinced of Lara's
guilt and spend the beginning of the game chasing her. This initial
phase, with Lara as a fugitive, serves as a tutorial and when Lara
needs to make jumps and move items you are informed how to make
her carry them out. The best news of all here is that it is fully
subtitled. Only the introduction is unsubtitled (where she argues
with Werner and he gets shot) so you'll be able to enjoy the games
story. This time around you don't control Lara for the whole of
the game, although to avoid ruining the surprise I'm not going to
tell you who you do control, which might upset long standing fans
of the series.
developers always claimed that this game would be darker and this
is exactly how it's turned out. Paris is terrified by the evil creature
known as the Monstrum. Gruesome deaths have been occurring and this
gives the game its dark tone. Lara's initial task is to find out
who killed Werner and to do this she must seek out individuals and
gather information. The original Tomb Raider was seen as causing
the death of the traditional adventure game but The Angel of Darkness
sees the Tomb Raider series becoming more like an adventure game
rather than simply a platformer type game. Lara will frequently
come across situations where she'll have to make dialogue choices
in conversations. Most of the time the choices you make in a conversation
will make no difference at all but it feels better than not being
involved at all during the conversations.
course Lara has always been famous for her athleticism and The Angel
of Darkness sees her with more moves than ever. However controlling
Lara will alert you to one of the games major disappointments. All
the previous control problems in past Tomb Raider games haven't
been fixed and at times it feels worse. Lara feels awkward to move
and as a result jumps feel more awkward than they ought to. Control
is more of an issue with the PlayStation 2 version. The analogue
sticks just don't feel right. Pressing the left analogue stick forward
will cause Lara to walk and eventually run if held completely forward
for long enough. The running isn't as instantaneous as it should
be however and it can make long jumps a bit tricky at first. Thankfully
you can save anywhere you like and it's a good thing because Lara
will die a lot until you adjust to the controls. Lara should have
immediately run when the left analogue stick was moved forward as
this would have made things easier. If you press the L1 button Lara
will walk so there is no need for a delay in making her run. Using
the keys on the PC is a bit better and I found the jumps far easier
to make and Lara was slightly easier to control when using the keyboard.
Turning Lara round in tight spots also proved a challenge. For some
reason she appears to turn in a staccato fashion and this makes
it awkward on both the PC keyboard and the PS2 Dualshock pad.
are a couple of new features that are worth mentioning. Lara's abilities
can now be upgraded. Throughout the course of the game Lara will
come across jumps, or other obstacles such as locked doors, that
she can't negotiate and will remark that she 'isn't strong enough'
or is a 'little rusty'. This means that there is a little puzzle
to be solved and when you've solved it you'll get a message that
Lara feels stronger. Although this initially seems like it's adding
a role-playing element to the game it merely serves as a tool to
make you solve simplistic puzzles and more often than not can become
a hindrance. Lara also has a grip bar that appears when Lara is
hanging or climbing (very similar to the breathe bar that appeared
in past games when Lara was under water) if the bar should empty
Lara will relinquish her grip and fall so you don't have time to
hang about (if you'll excuse the pun) when it comes to climbing.
The Angel of Darkness is by far the best Tomb Raider game. The PlayStation
2 version wins here though. The PC version has a shoddy framerate
and has more than it's fair share of glitches.
you see above is the owner of the Cafe Metro. Yes it does look weird
and no it doesn't look like that on the PlayStation version. It's
not a driver problem either as various detonator drivers were tried
and no difference was made. No other objects in the room were distorted
either. Glitches like this occur a few times in the game and it's
a real shame. I would imagine a patch would fix this. Glitches occur
on the PlayStation 2 version but they are mainly concerned with
peculiar looking shadows. Both versions exhibit clipping problems
which is a shame but not altogether an uncommon problem in today's
games. The games camera hasn't really improved from the last Tomb
Raider game and still has a fit when in a tight corner. On the PlayStation
2 you can manually adjust the camera with the right analogue stick
but the on the PC you can't do this. However, the camera movement
does seem a little tighter on the PC version to compensate for this.
we've already hinted at, The Angel of Darkness is fine for deaf
gamers. Everything, apart from the introduction, is subtitled. The
text is large and easy to read on both versions. The game uses icons
to signify when an object can be picked up or when Lara has received
an upgrade. Brief notes are kept in the log book that Lara has and
this can be read at any time.
fair to say that Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness sees the Tomb
Raider series in a transitional phase. It has its problems and it
isn't the best Tomb Raider game ever but you can see what the developers
have tried to do. Unfortunately the series former niggles still
remain and the control system seems more fiddly than ever. However
the games story does seem more substantial than in past episodes
and is definitely more interesting. Still most fans will be disappointed
with only a dozen hours of gameplay, especially after waiting so
long for this next episode in the series.
Game Rating: 7.0/10
the next generation Tomb Raider experience we all wanted but it's
not a bad game at all once you've adjusted to the rather cumbersome
Game Rating: 6.0/10
the PC controls feel slightly better the graphical glitches and
absolutely shocking framerate make the experience less enjoyable.
Apart from the lack of subtitles on the introduction the game is
fine for deaf gamers.