Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (PlayStation) Review

By Athanasios 27.10.2016

Review for Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft on PlayStation

While the mechanics of the old-school Tomb Raider pentalogy remained largely the same, every title had a surprisingly different feel. Tomb Raider was a basic, yet charming, Indiana-Jones-meets-Prince-of-Persia adventure, whilst Tomb Raider II was grander in scale, but also felt less like an archaeology thriller, and more like an action movie, both gameplay and location-wise. Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft, while a tad closer to the original in terms of setting, disappointed most fans… and here's why.

The improvements over the second Tomb Raider become obvious pretty soon. The first romp through an Indian jungle offers a level far more complex in design than any of the stages of the previous instalments, with lots of details, and great lighting, as well as weather effects - although the texture quality seems to have dropped a few notches. Lara is at her very best, though, with her animation getting a slight polish, and her wardrobe getting a small upgrade.

Some of her new attires will make her look like Catwoman (rawr!), some like a sexy commando (not a fan), while others will just cover the important parts (not her personality traits). The sound has gotten an upgrade, too, with guns that don't sound like firecrackers any more (Desert Eagle? Auditory orgasm!), and the music, while still shy about making more than two to three appearances per level, is very good.

Screenshot for Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft on PlayStation

Where dem infinite saves, though? Well, it turns out that Core, in a moment of pure genius, went something like, "Hey, why don't we limit saves once more, and make this game the hardest one yet?" Instead of being able to save anywhere anytime, Lara must collect save crystals, which can then be "consumed" in order to save progress; in essence, the checkpoint system of Tomb Raider returns, but this time the crystals can be collected and used when one wants to.

Of course, this wouldn't be such a big problem if this wasn't so annoyingly hard. Now, challenge in such a title is a good thing and all, but the execution… well, executes it (ha… ha?). For starters: too much darkness! Really, what happened here? Did they forget to put some lights in or something? Furthermore, why have so many narrow corridors in a series where the camera was never exactly its strong point?

Screenshot for Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft on PlayStation

Another problem is that the level layouts, while less linear than before, are more annoying than fun. Firstly, the more complicate design of it all means that the "pull lever there for something to happen somewhere" formula of… almost all Tomb Raider games, leads to a lot of aimless wandering and aggravating backtracking to find where the heck Lara should go next, and if she dies, no biggie! After all, what harm could a level design filled with instant-death traps do in a video game where progress is saved every 10 to 15 minutes?

That's not to say that there isn't some genuine tomb raiding fun to be had here, with some pretty tough and ingenious puzzles that must be solved, some risky, yet enjoyable acrobatics that must be pulled off, and lots of raiding of tombs… at least when not in London and having to do lots of boring jumping around… or Area 51 and falling to sleep while shooting bad guys, as if Tomb Raider II's action was a good thing to begin with?

Screenshot for Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft on PlayStation

Even the plot seems to have slightly jumped the shark, but not because of the premise, since this is actually very… Tomb Raider! The problem lies, once again, in the way it's all handled. Lara must collect a bunch of meteor pieces for various places around the world, but the dialogue sequences in the cut-scenes include some irritatingly heavy accents and badly recorded voice acting that makes it hard to follow what's going on, and what's going on isn't worth following, anyway.

Finally, the overall presentation lacks the mystery and awe of the original. Instead of long lost ancient civilisations, here's a guy that wants to become Magneto and mutate everyone on earth; instead of Atlantis, take a look at a cave underneath Antarctica; instead of an Indiana Jones-like epic, enjoy a B-movie action flick with a top-heavy protagonist… Good in most chaps' book (including this reviewer), but not that good for a 30-plus ride through pain and suffering.

Screenshot for Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft on PlayStation

Cubed3 Rating

4/10
Rated 4 out of 10

Subpar

After its enormous initial success, Core tried to milk its cow (see what was done here?), and the result of this always-bad business practise led to a game that looks like Tomb Raider, but isn't one. Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft has temples to explore, obstacles to overcome, trinkets to find, and beasts - and men - to shoot at, but it all feels annoying and tiresome instead of riveting.

Developer

Core Design

Publisher

Eidos

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  4/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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