Tomb Raider: Anniversary - PS2

Could it really be 10 years since we first saw Lara Croft’s ample bosom? Amazingly enough, it’s actually 11 years before her maiden voyage. That little fact making me feel quite ridiculously old. Though it makes it clearer why they dropped the "10th" portion out of this release’s tile.

To celebrate this significant anniversary, the decision has been taken to re-release the original Tomb Raider. It’s certainly not too shabby an idea when it’s still so fondly remembered as a modern gaming classic.

But this isn’t some simple update. Nope, instead they’ve rejigged things and used the impressive graphics engine that powered Tomb Raider: Legend to bring everything right up to date. Slap on a budget price point too and you’ve got a sure fire big seller on your hands.

There’s few sights in gaming as memorable as spying Lara Croft’s shapely figure for the very first time. It’s right up there with pill popping in PacMan and clearing the screen in Space Invaders as one of gaming major memorable moments.

As the years – and sequels – have come, the series has moved further away from focusing on Lara’s certain "assets" and concentrated more on some stunning third person adventuring action.

Even so, the original’s fondly remembered. Fire up your old PS1 and, if you can look past the blocky visuals and Lara’s angular chest, you’ll realise its easily right up there with the very best modern adventuring titles such as Crackdown and last year's Tomb Raider: Legend.

Fans of the series will know exactly what to expect. Lara’s earlier outings were purely about the adventuring and solving all kind of puzzles to get from point A to point B. Anniversary is no different.

It’s no surprise that the PS2’s still ample power has been put to good use here. The graphics are pretty special, especially considering this is a machine that’s been in the shops for more than half a decade.

Just wait until you come across the T-Rex this time around. Thought the first time was terrifying enough? Be prepared for pure fill-yer-pants scariness with a far more realistic looking dino.

Do they lack the seat of your pants nervousness of, say, the bosses in God of War 2? Nope, it’s the absolute terror of realising that one tiny little slip can set you back a few hours of gaming time and see Lara reduced to some red coloured mush at the bottom of a huge cavern. The inclusion of the ability to save anywhere has made these slips a little less frustating though.

Luckily, Lara’s packing some cool moves to make sure that doesn’t happen. Along with the new graphics engine from Legend are all those new moves. They make a massive difference to the realism of the game.

Verdict

Unfortunately, one major bug bear of ours makes an unwanted appearance. The bloody camera system. Most of the time it works to perfection, giving you an ample view of the tomb you’re raiding and you find yourself adoring Lara all over again. Though not quite like you did back in your early teenage years in the bathroom.

But then, one 180 degree camera spin at the most inopportune moment leaves you jumping in the wrong direction and Lara goes plummeting to an untimely death. It’s at that point you start to wonder if all this time staring at her arse is really worth it.

Invariably you realise that yes, it blooming well is. Anniversary may be based on an old classic, but this title is anything but retro. And the bargain price means you’d be a fool to miss out on reliving those childhood gaming days all over again.


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