Tomb Raider (1996)
I don’t recall the day when I first heard about Tomb Raider but I do remember the fascination many gamers had with Lara Croft. Personally, I couldn’t understand an infatuation with a console game character but beyond the appeal of Lara Croft, Tomb Raider sounded like a game worth trying.
Lara’s debut adventure begins in a hotel where she is approached by Larson Conway who works for Jacqueline Natla of Natla Technologies. Natla wants Lara to recover an artefact known as the scion from a temple in Peru. Lara later learns that the scion is in three parts scattered throughout the world and that Natla has hired a rival adventurer, Pierre Dupont, to find the other pieces. Lara decides to locate all the pieces herself but with Pierre ready to stop her can she succeed?
The original Tomb Raider brings back fond memories when you begin the first level. Occasionally a piece of music plays which often indicates some form of danger whether it’s a boulder or a pack of wolves about to attack. Lara’s path through each level requires you to locate levers and switches to open doors and hatches and continue your progress. You will be required to climb, jump and swim to access new areas as well. There are many ways to be killed in the tombs you explore so be on your guard.
Combat plays a big part in the game as well. As well as Pierre you will encounter Natla’s henchmen as well as crocodiles, rats, bats, gorillas and some very peculiar enemies much later on as Lara’s adventure unfolds. You have an assortment of weapons to choose from such as your trusty pistols with infinite ammo, UZIs and a shotgun. You have limited ammo for the other weapons so use them sparingly while your health is replenished via first aid kits which are strewn throughout the temples. How these could be here along with ammo is of course a mystery but you wouldn’t get far without them.
Tomb Raider still plays well today and has a decent storyline as you take in Peru, Greece and Egypt before a final encounter against Natla and her henchmen. I’m still puzzled about the sexual appeal of Lara Croft but certainly welcome a game where a strong woman is the protagonist and more than capable of surviving the many dangers that she faces.
Tomb Raider remains the original and best of the series for me. You can’t really beat that anticipation and suspense of the opening few levels. This isn’t the fault of the sequels. I just think it’s hard to truly recapture that atmosphere. If you can revisit this game it is still worth the journey.
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