Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PC

Also known as: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: L'Ange des Tenebres', 'Tomb Raider 6 (working title)

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Also for: PS2
Viewed: 3D Third-person, over the shoulder Genre:
Media: CD Arcade origin:No
Developer: Core Soft. Co.: Eidos
Publishers: Sold Out (GB)
Eidos (GB)
Released: 4 Jul 2003 (GB)
3 Mar 2006 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 12+, 11+
Accessories: Control Pad


The history of the lovely Lara Croft goes back to 1996 when Tomb Raider debuted on Sega Saturn. But due to Sony’s PlayStation marketing blitz and insufficient installed userbase of Sega’s ill-fated and expensive console, it floundered. However, the PlayStation and PC releases of Tomb Raider later that year were a huge success - the phenomenon was born. Seven years later, and in development for more than three years, Angel of Darkness, the sixth instalment in the popular series, is ready for PC.

Lara has changed since her experiences in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. She has become darker, harder, less tolerant and her tomb raiding days are a distant memory. But then a desperate phone call from her former mentor Von Croy leads her to Paris. Von Croy has been asked by a sinister client, Eckhardt, to track down one of five 14th century artworks - the Obscura Paintings. But she arrives in Paris to find a city in fear. Von Croy has been the victim of a horrific murder and, framed for the crime, Lara has no option but to go on the run.

Core’s ideas for the first next-generation instalment of Lara were a departure from those in previous games. Here, players will have more to do than simply raid tombs, solve puzzles and escape traps; Lara has to interact with various non-playable characters (NPCs) and ask questions in order to get clues as to what to do and where to go next. The idea was to incorporate a role-playing element to the game and Core has done just that. But the old Tomb Raider play mechanic is as dominant as it ever was, and has players traversing numerous - almost geometric - environments in search of keys and lost treasures. However, some of the game’s locales are much more interactive than in previous versions. Players will have to climb through windows and search cupboards and drawers for useful items.

The play mechanic of Angel of Darkness is largely the same too, but features one distinct difference that sets it apart from the other games. For the first time you will be able to move Lara in any direction by simply steering the analogue stick. Previous games employed a Resident Evil-style system where players had to change direction and press forward continually to get anywhere. This is a significant improvement, although players of the previous games will find it confusing to begin with.

Of the two versions available, Core’s PC version is the more impressive. Running the game in high-resolution though a GeForce 4 or better, Angel of Darkness looks gorgeous. The visuals are crisp and anti-aliasing makes the world of difference. A good control pad goes a long way to getting the most out of this game. Analogue control is essential.

Core’s latest adventure with Lara Croft may not be that different from others in the series, but it’s still a highly playable game, a good challenge and great fun.