Tomb Raider Underworld is a third-person action-adventure game for the DS, PS2, Wii, Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.
The premise of Tomb Raider Underworld is this, Lara Croft has discovered proof of the existence of the mythical hammer of the Norse god, Thor. Legend says that anyone who can wield this powerful weapon will have the ability to smash mountains and the strength to even bring down a god. Lara, being the artifact hunter that she is, goes in search of the hammer, but soon finds out she’s not the only one on the hunt.
In writing the story for the game, Crystal Dynamics, the game’s developer, travelled to multiple places all over the world in order to learn the history and culture related to the myths they wanted to include. The story actually ties together a number of different cultures and their histories, forming a massive new mythology that spans the entire globe.
This is truly an old school Tomb Raider game with updated graphics that can be really beautiful at times and rather dull and boring at others. A particular moment that springs to mind is when Lara is standing on the edge of her boat in her wet suit in the middle of the ocean, yes you have the ability to zoom up and down in all directions if you know what I mean…. Ahem, well you can swim around and explore in what feels like an open world and I must say that the water animation, skies and distant mountainous regions are quite breath taking.
If you’re a fan of the series because of its famous tough puzzles that require lots of thought then you won’t be disappointed, the game has a large amount that certainly had me scratching my head on numerous occasions. Over the course of the game you’ll encounter many enemies including; humans, spiders, zombies, panthers, sharks, bats and tigers! It keeps things fresh but unfortunately there really isn’t any specific tactic for taking down any one enemy, just stand back and shoot. I also found the human AI to be quite poor, mostly standing in the open doing very little to avoid being shot.
At the start of each mission of which there are several you get to choose which weapon you wish to take to go along with Lara’s duel pistols, unfortunately I found all of the weapons felt very underpowered and it just didn’t feel like anything was making much impact. As this is a Tomb Raider game you can bet you’re going to be doing a lot of climbing, thankfully CD did a great job with the climbing mechanic and Lara’s movements are very realistic and authentic.
I would compare Lara’s controls as very similar to the recent reboot with minor tweaks, she’ll push branches out of the way when going through bushes and she’ll trip when running into rocks, it’s all really well done. This isn’t to say that the controls are perfect, sections of the game require you to ride a motorcycle and it’s very clunky but it’s not awful either. The biggest issue you’ll have is the in game camera, at times I was taking leaps of faith because the camera wouldn’t turn so I couldn’t see what was ahead which was very frustrating.
Having played the game through on the hardest difficulty on my first playthrough it’s clear that the game is far too easy, the enemies won’t cause you many problems but expect to die a lot due to falling when thinking Lara can grab onto a ledge when she can’t.
There are 185 collectibles to find throughout the game and I highly recommend a guide as it’s very easy to miss one and if you do there is no way to know which one it was. The soundtrack in the game does quite an effective job, changing when tension is high and feeling quite epic at times especially when wielding Thor’s hammer in the later stages.
I found the story and mythology surrounding Thor really interesting and the cut scenes and voice acting are really well done. I completed the game in just over 7 hours getting all achievements in one play through.
Tomb Raider: Underworld is a really fun platformer with beautiful interactive environments, a strong climbing mechanic and an interesting story to boot. It falls flat in the combat department and the camera can be frustrating, there are a few glitches but nothing game breaking. This game just goes to show that the series and this version of Lara Croft went out on a high note before the eventual reboot.
Tomb Raider: Underworld
- The Final Score - 7/107/10