It's everything you expect and more.
Genre: Adventure/ Platform
What can be said about Tomb Raider that hasn't already been? It's an amazing game that came out of nowhere and completely upped the ante for future games on the PlayStation. Everything from level design to control was practically flawless.
Now a full year on, Core has begat Tomb Raider 2. Obviously it has a lot to live up to, what with the phenomenal success of the first. However, the big question is, is it just as good a game as Tomb Raider, or is it even better? Core has talked the talk about number two being bigger and better, but of course it takes a good going through to separate the wheat from the chaff.
Tomb Raider 2 is everything you expect it to be and more. Lara is back on the Indiana Jones tip, this time searching for the Dagger of Xian. Her search begins in mainland China atop the Great Wall, and takes her through the canals of Venice and beyond. The first thing you ll notice about Tomb Raider 2 is the plethora of outdoor locations, as compared to the first s mostly indoor caves and tombs. This gives the game a fresh, new feeling, and adds tremendously to the gameplay.
Which brings us to level design. It s superb. If you played Tomb Raider, you know how vast and complex the levels can be. Well, Core has pushed the game even further this time, adding 25% to each level, making it more of a challenge. Puzzles are less obvious this time, and require some definite backtracking and exploration to figure out.
In fact, Tomb Raider 2 is an all around more difficult game than its predecessor. Movable objects aren t as obvious (like the discolored rocks in Scooby Doo that you always knew were going to move). Plus, Core has peppered the levels with bat and gun-toting humans who are significantly harder to kill than the lions and dogs of before. To counter this, you get more ammo and medipacks, and bigger guns sooner. And you can save at any time in the game, something you ll be doing every five minutes if you re smart.
Plus, Lara has some new moves, which helps to deepen the gameplay. She can climb certain walls now, as well as drive vehicles. These play into the levels, and require you to take them into account beyond just the opening of walls and doors, of which there are plenty.
Now the chaff:
For all its cool new level types and little touches (Lara s hair is now loose), Tomb Raider 2 is very much like Tomb Raider. It s not a brand new game, in the way that Gex: Enter the Gecko will be. And many of the first game s graphical flaws, such as jittery camera angles and polygon clipping, are still very much present.
Tomb Raider 2 is also very hard. This, however, can be good or bad, depending on how you like your games. Be prepared to spend a lot of time with this girl -- it s not a walk in the park.
This being said, if you liked Tomb Raider, you re going to love Tomb Raider 2. The original feeling of awe may be gone, but the level of challenge is there, as well as a host of new elements. But that still leaves the question open: is it a better game? In my humble opinion, no, but it is just as good, and makes a worthy sequel.