Tomb Raider (1996) Review

Tomb Raider is a 1996 3D platformer-puzzle game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It was released for the Sega Saturn, Playstation 1 and MS DOS. The game was the first release in the popular video game series that sees Tomb Raider Lara Croft solving dungeons to discover treasures.

Relaxing in a Hotel in India, Lara is approached by a texan man named Larson who shows her a video feed to his boss Jaqueline Natla who offers her a job to travel to various countries to seek out the Scion of Atlantis which had been split into separate parts and hidden in tombs across Peru, Greece and Egypt.

The first Tomb Raider game while not limited in it’s environments definitely is forgettable, nothing about these areas stand out much apart from the enemies that you would fight, for example Peru has wolves and bears, Greece has lions and gorillas, Egypt has panthers and Atlantis has bleeding skin demons.

In the game you will have to solve puzzles and commit to some tricky platforming in order to survive the many tombs in the game, unfortunately you would be best playing the game on an original PS1 controller as more modern controllers make the platforming difficult as the game really was made with the Playstation’s original limited controller in mind.

while general control is rather clunky and a little stiff I found that swimming in the game worked really well and controlled smoothly, I believe this is why I enjoyed the underwater segments the most.

For an early PS1 game the graphics are really good and even hold up better than some games released later on in the systems life time, the game focuses primarily on tombs and is actually quite realistic as Lara will die constantly due to small mistakes and the tombs feel like they could exist in real life due to their simplicity by using mainly levers, switches and difficult platforming sections, there is nothing in the game that feels fantasy minus a few additions such as the Lara Doppelganger in Atlantis which is a puzzle in its self.

The soundtrack is great, it uses simple tunes but mixed in with orchestral music that fits perfectly into the lonely tombs and helps to amp up serious moments in what is a very quiet game. The developers decided to not have music playing constantly in the game but to only have it appear on certain cues such as discovering a secret or triggering a boss fight.

Tomb Raider on PS1 is a very important game as it was the introduction of Lara Croft who would go on to become one of video games most famous female icons. I wish the game controlled a little better or at least would save after every challenge as the controls really did make the gameplay unnecessarily difficult, I also wish that the environments were more memorable as apart from Atlantis and the dinosaur section nothing else really stands out. Overall I dont think is one of the best games I have ever played but its far from the worst and I look forward to checking out Tomb Raider 2 in the future.

5.3/10

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