Sunday, April 17, 2022

Tomb Raider Chronicles (PC) Review

I finished this game on Thursday, March 25, 2004, 1:25:00 PM and the first version of this review was published on Monday, March 31, 2008.

Chronicles is the fifth game in the Tomb Raider series. Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, which ended on an interesting note, gave rise to a lot of speculation about the next game. Tomb Raider Chronicles promised a lot, but I am afraid that it did not deliver.

The game had a lot of potential, but instead of carrying the story forward, it dwells on the past exploits of Lara Croft, previously untold adventures discussed by a group of friends who mourn her believed loss. I felt quite disappointed to know that the game does not shed any light on the future.

The graphics are almost identical to the last installment, with a few improved textures and bump mapping effects thrown in. The game supports higher resolutions, but those who have played Last Revelation will have weary feeling of déjà vu, because the improvements are not very perceptible.

The sound is as good as ever, whether or not there are any actual improvements is hard to say, it remains solid throughout the game. Unlike in Tomb Raider III, this time it is possible to follow the dialogue without any difficulty.

Gameplay wise, apart from a new weapon and the ability to walk on a tight rope, not much has changed. I was willing to tolerate more of Last Revelation type of gameplay but the levels do not capture my interest. Although the starting levels were quite good, and I enjoyed them, the rest of the game does not offer a lot, because you find yourself in many urban settings.

There is an entire episode dedicated to young Lara Croft, where you play without any weapons, and evasion is your only course of defense. Yet again, this is not something new, we have seen this in the previous games, and personally, I found these levels quite tedious.

I did not quite understand this decision by the designers to include such levels in the game. Seeing the lukewarm reaction they got with Tomb Raider III, they should have realized their mistake, especially because Last Revelation has redeemed the series with excellent level design.

I have to mention some technical flaws as well. The game has a few bugs in the final levels, and if they are activated, it would be impossible to finish the game, and sometimes the player may not even know that the bug was activated. I know I had to face that problem.

In spite of these faults, Chronicles is not such a bad experience. I did enjoy some parts of the game, and to its credit, it is not very frustrating. It is the shortest of all the Tomb Raider games so far, and that works in its favor.

Coupled with a level editor for the PC, this game has some good value for money. Tomb Raider fans like me would enjoy it. By itself, it is not such a bad game, but it just does not have a lot to offer and being the fifth game in the series, that is a bit of an offense.

+ Decent graphics
+ Good quality sound & voice acting
+ Level editor gives good value for money

- Poor level design
- Technical faults
- Not enough innovation

Verdict - Fans of the series might want to play this; others need not bother.

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