The new Tomb Raider is a massive leap forward as far as the saga is concerned; I personally stopped playing after TR3 because of the mundane puzzles and the tedious story lines the game began to pursue. The storyline became lost in time for me and the swan dive a distant memory. It wasn't until I read about TR: Underworld in a magazine and see the stunning graphics on 'PlayR' that I even thought about purchasing the new game...... as well as the fact that Lara looked much much fitter in this new instalment.
I purchased it on PC because of my lack of PS3 and the £20 pounds price deficit, I have a PS2 control adapter and although it took a 103 Mb patch and a graphics driver update to run the stupid thing, it was well worth the hours delay. You begin in a training scenario set in the future which takes you through the different controls and key combos as well as the skills Lara has acquired during her decade of raiding experience. On the whole this is a pretty mundane level and just gives you a starting foundation to lay your skills on.
The level ends in pretty uninspiring fashion and after a cut scene the game begins by taking you to an earlier point in time set in the middle of the Mediterranean sea. Cue some very very skimpy bathing wear, wet cleavage and a whole lot of zooming in and out on Lara's perfectly rendered bottom, a process that was a particular highlight, especially while she is squatting balanced on a pole of some description. Immature? Yes. Sad? Yes. Desperate? Yes……... but I really feel this is one of the major selling factors behind the game, if not the largest, and the new Lara Croft is a hotcake make no mistake. Almost seven weeks went into getting her womanly bits perfectly formed and another 4 months were spent putting her together in just the right way. On top of this you as a gamer can select her clothes from mission to mission and not in the gay designer kind of way. And remember if it aint skin-tight then it just aint right!
After at least 4 hours of complete immaturity, I decided to start playing the actual storyline and satisfy myself with a sneaky glance now and again.
Anyway reverting back to my initial point and forgetting Lara's boobies for just one second no matter how bigger part of the game they have become; the levels are well designed and can be quite taxing if you are not paying full attention to the world around you. It is all to easy to run around for half an hour straight and miss the obvious stone ledge that is just slightly obscured by a furnace…….not that I ever did that of course! It's the usual Tomb Raider take on puzzles i.e. Slide this box, flick this lever, depress this stone switch. But there are some very cleverly designed missions, the addition of the grapple hook adds a new dynamic to the game and has allowed the level designers a lot more freedom. Some tasks really make you think about your approach to the problem and a particular task stands out in the form of a rotatable bridge that you have to spin on it's axis while jumping and swinging around different platforms.
I haven't completed the game yet and I have just finished getting out of croft's own basement but from what I have seen I have been impressed. Thailand is a beautiful level and I can fully understand why this was released as a demo. Whether it is swan diving from the highest ledge around straight onto my face, admiring the scenery, ogling Lara's bum or simply cracking on with the mission, the game play, stunning visuals and a really good puzzle kept me going for at least 3 hours on this level alone and I was thoroughly satisfied once I had played it through.
However I hope this is not the only level to be played above ground in such a beautiful location because no matter how detailed you make an underground cavern or a Pharaoh's tomb it can all be a bit repetitive and dull. Thailand made me fall in love with platform games all over again and highlighted the fact that Lara is back on top…..I wish.
A great purchase for any pervert/platform enthusiast.