Raiding the Tomb Again!: Tomb Raider Underworld | The Source Weekly - Bend

Raiding the Tomb Again!: Tomb Raider Underworld

Adolescent boys rejoice, Laura has returned. Tomb Raider helped define the original Playstation. The game sold millions of copies spinning many sequels and a brassiere-busting silver screen turn from a pre-tabloid Angelina Jolie. Now Laura Croft returns for another adventure with Underworld. Making her way through the wilderness of the Mediterranean, the deep jungles of Mexico and other exotic locations around the world that would give Indiana Jones a run for his money. On Laura's plate this time is the quest for the legendary Hammer of Thor. As with most of the Tomb Raider games you have to make your way through mind-numbing puzzles and just about every trap you could think of.

Most Tomb Raider games follow a basic outline, and this one is no different. The layout of the game is gorgeous, and the lush landscapes team with life. A lot of time was put into the environments and animals to make them more realistic than the original Tomb Raider game. Crystal Dynamics was able to blend Tomb Raiders' old-school puzzle solving, shooting, and climbing so they overlap each other. The result is smoother and more realistic. A neat change also new to this edition is the melee combat system that makes Laura fight and keep her distance from her attackers at the same time.

The real meat of any Tomb Raider game is exploring the ruins and lost civilizations. The tombs in Underworld are dark, dank and just plain spooky-even though some parts are a bit too dark. As you travel through these dark and creepy areas, you find treasures, tons of artifacts, puzzles and badass bosses. Most of the boss battles consist of you solving a huge puzzle to defeat the boss who is keeping you from making progress to the next adventure. Does this game seem familiar?

One thing that the Tomb Raider franchise is able to nail that other franchises struggle with is continuity. With tweaks to the game here and there, the game is just like previous Raider titles except a different storyline.

Not everything, however, is rosy this time around for Laura. For a next generation game, Underworld, has quite a few glitches. Sometimes Laura will stick to a wall or object, which is a real handicap if you're fighting an enemy or in the middle of some action. Aside from the glitches, there is little new here to rejuvenate or bring this to a different level than previous games. Games like Playstation 3's Uncharted really made strides in this type of game but Underworld seems to stand still. The changes in Underworld are mostly visual, which either helps or hurts the game depending on the player.

As for the Tomb Raider franchise, Underworld is one of Laura's better outings. Even though this game is much like the Tomb Raider of years back it's nice to know what to expect from a game. The flip side is that it might put to sleep some gamers looking for something new. A solid Tomb Raider title, but not much more.

Tom Raider Underworld
Rated- T for Teen
Platform- PS2, PS3, 360, Wii, DS.
Retail- $29- $49.99