As a total package, Tomb Raider for Game Boy Color delivers a degree of immersion not realized since Tomb Raider 2.
Admit it, when a Game Boy Color Tomb Raider was announced, you were skeptical. Who wasn't? For one, Tomb Raider is known for its 3D looks, whereas the Game Boy Color isn't exactly a graphical powerhouse. Secondly, the last two Tomb Raider releases have been less than stellar, besmirching Lara Croft's sparkling reputation. With that in mind, THQ offers new hope with its release of Tomb Raider for the Game Boy Color.
In a side-scrolling quest befitting a female Indiana Jones, Tomb Raider GBC contains 14 lengthy levels spread across five distinct areas. It seems treasure hunters are after the Nightmare Stone, the key to releasing the evil god Quaxet, and it's Lara's job to stop them. Along the way, you'll encounter fallen comrades, greedy treasure hunters, and a plethora of ghastly foes. Rest assured, this is only a brief simplification of what turns out to be an ongoing and immersive plot. Should you happen upon a save crystal, a single save slot is present to record your progress.
Despite the attention focused on Lara's (ahem) ample assets, it's Tomb Raider's innovative control that captures people's attention. Using a plethora of buttons, you can make the PC and console Lara run, jump, swim, climb, and perform a variety of actions. Understandably, there is some concern as to how this control system can be executed with the Game Boy's four buttons. Thankfully, except for the lack of Z-axis jumping, the GBC Lara can do everything her PC and console counterparts are capable of doing. Hold up to jump, push forward to walk, and press down to pick up items. Is an enemy in your way? Hit "select" to draw your pistols. Need to run? Hold B to dash. One could go on forever describing the GBC Tomb Raider's control, but the important factor is this: The control is just as deep as in the PC version.
Many Game Boy owners cringe when a control scheme is described as deep or complex, fearing that play mechanics won't mesh with level design. Such is not the case with Tomb Raider, as each of the game's levels is a platter from which gameplay is served piping hot. Is a ledge too high? Jump straight up and grab it. Do you need to get past a low opening? Roll through it. Maybe you need to make a running leap toward a ledge, rope climb across the roof of a temple, and then slide down a sheer hillside with guns blazing. You can do that too. The real learning curve lies in the game's run mechanics, in that Lara won't stop running until you release the B button. Because of this, some mishaps are bound to occur and may aggravate less patient gamers. To counter this, the programmers have placed many save crystals throughout the game, usually near hazardous dangers. If you see one, it's a good idea to use it.
When it comes to level design, each of Tomb Raider's five areas is nothing short of fuel-injected bliss. Whether it's rope climbing in the temple, swimming in the caverns, or dash-jumping over volcanic lava flows, Tomb Raider's levels are top-notch. Each has its own gameplay theme as well. In Royal Tombs A, for example, the theme is switches and trapdoors, while Caverns A involves swimming and progressing through areas of discolored rock. Admittedly, some levels require more than their fair share of wandering, so the game may be difficult for those who have trouble memorizing geographical landmarks.
Visually speaking, Tomb Raider is impressive. Lara's large character size and ample animation deliver a new definition of fluidity. For every action that Lara performs, be it running, swimming, climbing, or falling, there are at least ten frames of animation. The graphics wizards at Core even snuck in Lara's trademark "jiggle." Though each level isn't exactly packed with enemies, there are a few living dangers to keep an eye out for. Scorpions will sting you, snakes will bite you, treasure seekers will shoot at you, and protective guardians will do their best to tear the very flesh from your bones.
- Player Reviews: 3
- Game Universe:
- Tomb Raider (1996) (PC, PS, SAT),
- Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (PS, PC, DC, MAC),
- Tomb Raider Chronicles (PS, PC, DC, MAC),
- Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness (PS2, PC, MAC),
- Tomb Raider: Legend (PS2, PC, PSP, X360, XBOX, GC, DS, GBA, MOBILE),
- Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft (PC, PS, MAC),
- Tomb Raider: Anniversary (PSP, PS2, PC, WII, X360, MOBILE, MAC),
- Tomb Raider Gold (PC, MAC),
- Tomb Raider: Underworld (PS3, PC, X360, DS, WII, PS2, MOBILE, MAC),
- Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (PC, X360, PS3, IP)