Tomb Raider Chronicles sees Lara-and-her-ample-proportions Croft return in the fifth adventure in the Tomb Raider series. Despite the fact that we are now four years on from the first instalment of the game, the format hasn’t changed, and unfortunately it’s still struggling with the same old problems. Gameplay tends to be repetitive and static and visuals are unclear.
Despite Lara Croft’s notoriety and very, very tight hotpants, the ‘run for your life, get out of my way, look good, shoot ‘em and then pose’ concept should have given way to more sophisticated gameplay. The developers of the series appear to be relying too much on its reputation for great things, and not putting enough work into creativity, design and innovation.
‘Chronicles’ has Lara undergo a metamorphosis, as we see her resurrected from the dead to appear in this adventure. The story takes over from The Last Revelation and begins with Lara missing in Egypt, presumed dead (no chance!). Those closest to her gather at the Croft Estate for a memorial service in her honour. After the service her friends reminisce about her life, exploits and adventures and reveal some of her intimate secrets. Fanatical Tomb Raider fans will love the fact that the Chronicles give the gamer a new understanding of the past adventures of Lara Croft, but we suspect that new users will find the storylines confusing and dull.
Having said all this, ‘Chronicles’ does contain four new adventures, which take you on a journey from the rooftops of a fast moving city to the ruins of Rome and the depths of a German U-boat. In each region your mission is to search for an ancient, precious artifact, so no change there.
Some of the new moves are impressive, though. Lara has obviously spent some time training with the British Olympic Gymnastic Squad, as she has mastered some nifty new acrobatic and gymnastic skills including tightrope walking, monkey swings and messing around with parallel bars. There is also a greater choice of weapons available, ranging from the sniper rifle and chloroform to a grappling hook gun. This can be used to bridge gaps between buildings by firing a capsule that can grip onto certain surfaces and act as a normal rope. Be afraid Spiderman, be very afraid.