5/5 - Bring It ON!!
Company of Origin:
Graphics and Sound:
Following in the current trend of bringing very successful PSX, PC, and N64 games to the hand held gaming market is Core's pride and joy game franchise, Tomb Raider. But wait, isn't Tomb Raider 3D? Yes it is, but the folks at Core have managed to include all the traditional elements that have made the title a success story on the PSX and PC platforms, but this time in 2D. Featuring none other then Lara Croft at approximately three times the size of a standard Gameboy character, Lara's appearance and range of moves are displayed in more detail than any character previously seen on the format. With all 2,500 animations converted from the existing 32-bit model, Gameboy Lara is every bit as adventurous as her current PC and PlayStation incarnations. Graphics are nothing less then spectacular, some of the best I've seen on Nintendo's handheld. Everything is crisp, bright, and with the fantastic lighting effects, you'll be in heaven. TR GBC also features Full Motion Video cut-scenes that get you into the plot of the game. Throw in digitized speech, and the same amazing music found in previous TR adventures on the PSX and PC, and you'll be left wondering how they managed to squeeze all that on a tiny GBC cart.
Lara's latest adventure has her out and about in the deep jungles of Peru. Hidden inside a lost temple is an ancient crystal known as The Nightmare Stone. As is the case with these long-lost artifacts, it has the power to destroy the world if it falls into the wrong hands. And so Croft must find the crystal before anyone else. She is able to jump, climb, vault, roll and swim through temples, tombs and treasure rooms. Packing an Uzi and a shotgun, those skeletons, giant snakes and evil spirits should be no problem. It's just the endless mix of exploration and puzzle-solving elements that will present a hurdle. Staying true to the series, Lara must explore each level to its fullest, picking up medipaks, keys, weapons, and various other secret items that are hidden in the temples. Also, expect the usual -pull switch/door opens- type of puzzles, along with a new (at least to the TR franchise) ability to use TNT to blow up certain walls and walkways, which opens more areas to explore. It's amazing how the gameplay remains true to its PSX and PC counterparts. If it can be done on those platforms, then it can be done in this game.
The overall game difficulty is not bad at all, especially for those that are familiar with the previous Tomb Raider games. In games like Tomb Raider, you really have a choice as to how difficult you want to make the game. You can choose to play by completing each stage without worrying about anything thing else, or you can collect all of the secrets and other goodies scattered throughout the game. THQ has also gone that extra mile to include a battery backup. Finally, I don't have to write or memorize 10+ character passwords just to continue where I left off when I turn the power off. You can save whenever you want at selected points in the level via a Save Crystal.
Somehow Core has managed to get all of Lara's moves to work well on a simple 4-button gamepad. It will take some practice and getting used to at first, but once you memorize the certain button combinations to do certain moves, you will be set. Controls, for the most part, are excellent - very responsive and tight. Not that there aren't certain parts in a level that you will accidentally die due to pressing the Action key instead of the Jump key. All in all, TR GBC is fantastic! You can tell that some time really went into this game, unlike some companies who put nothing into a Gameboy game. It seems some companies will just slap it's original game's title, and then lead people to believe that it will be like that previous game, but that is not so with TR. Everything about this game remains true it's PSX and PC cousins, everything except the 3D part. Do yourself a favor and go pick up this game.