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#88679 - 10/03/03 05:38 AM Angel of Darkness (TRAOD) - Final Judgement !
Gelert Offline
Addicted Boomer

Registered: 09/19/02
Posts: 1097
Sorry mods ! think I should have put this here. I put it in Rpgs first of all.

A personal opinion ;

I write this after approaching 'Tomb Raider : Angel of Darkness', with a completely open mind after my disappointment with 'Tomb Raider : Chronicles', and having played all previous installments of the series.

How did it feel ?

In TRAOD it is clear that much emphasis has been placed on perfecting the graphics of the game. It is debateable as to how successful this has been. Lara did look less pixelated, and the environments were impressive for what they were. There was a complete lack of 'jaw-dropping' on my part, however. Fairly elaborate cut scenes (which, incidentally, never worked within the game on my PC - only sound !), are included, though the atmosphere and beauty of one or two of the previous TRs was completely absent. The game felt extremely claustrophobic due to the paucity of real open-air exploration scenes and the absence of jaw-dropping cavernous chambers, such as in previous TRs where the camera would sometimes pan out spectacularly at the start of a new scene, setting up the player for what lay ahead. If you, as a player, want combat/ exploration in fairly confined environments go get one of the tailor-made games out there, that do it much better, like 'Max Payne', for example. I just feel that Tomb Raider games should have that fantastical quality that the first few had. Expansive environments and complex ambient sounds.

How did it sound ?

The music score was completely undistinguished and unmemorable. It didn't have any eerie quality when Lara entered different scenes and, in my mind, no TR music has come anywhere near that of the first couple of games. Sound effects were good.


How did it handle ?

Restrictions on movement in guns-out mode was a massive flaw and completely ruined the couple of boss battles. I needed a saved game to finish off Boaz's 3rd and 4th sacks of goo ! Lara on stairways was an adventure in itself !

How did it play ?

Load times were typically long for TR games, but the new inventory system for health and weapons was far more restrictive than should have been. Swapping weapons became a chore and seemed pointless anyway. Saved games were stored all over the save list and should have been in the form of thumb-nailed images. Too complicated at 2 o'clock in the morning ! Collected secrets were included for . . what reason exactly ? The 'power-ups' regarding strengths were often illogical. For example, jump a gap -> "My legs feel stronger". Baah ! Humbug !

How did it absorb ?

As seems the norm with TR games these days, very often, Lara has to die before the player can know about the presence of a trap or hazard. Just a personal view, but this is a basic flaw in a game, and completely ruins any sense of flow, survival and, so, achievement.


How original was it ?

The inclusion of Curtis gave the developers the opportunity to attract some pure-action game buyers perhaps. I doubt it worked. It was tense, but not challenging, and pretty boring. A poor man's 'Resident Evil' or 'Silent Hill' scenario. Tomb Raider games are classed as action/ adventure and, originally, this was played out as a constant blend of the two. This game tries to seperate the action from the adventure (viz Curtis and Lara), and seems to be trying to escape from the no-mans land of neither one nor the other, but a hybrid and, instead, almost be two games in one.

How did it relate ?

The game started reasonably well, with the cut scenes (played on WME out of game), setting up a frightening picture of a monster on the loose and a high adrenalin escape from a crime scene. Lara was supposed to be on the run ! I certainly didn't get any sense of that for most of the game. No sign of it in fact.

How did it perform ?

Contrary to some reports, I came across relatively few serious in-game bugs. Some characters were distorted (Cafe owner in Paris - head on backwards, Lara's eyes sometimes peered through the back of her head during an action sequence - VERY disturbing !). I wouldn't say the cut-scene play problem was definitely a bug, as I know only a couple of other people have reported it. My PC entirely met the play requirements, with DX9 plus patch also. Every time I quit the the game, though, I couldn't restart it without rebooting the PC first. I had to reboot before playing WME player too, as it would seize up.

My overall impression of this game was ; +80% effort put into making the quality of individual scenes and environments look good at the expense of -80% imaginative ideas re- expansive, wondrous enironments. Oh for the pyramids, the jungle and the desert !

Yet again, as I felt regarding the obviously rushed TR Chronicles, I have to say that this game has departed further from the tried and trusted original TR formula. That of simplicity of design. As you can tell, if you've coped with reading this, I am very disappointed.

The only shining light of consolation I have is that it was far less a disappointment than the graphically rich and everything else-ically aweful 'Indiana Jones and the Emperor's Tomb' !

Verdict :

Interface : 30%
Graphics : 70%
Sound Effects : 60%
Music : 30%
Story : 70%
Gameplay - split into ;
Difficulty : 80%
Intelligence : 40%
Flow : 30%
Intrigue : 50%
Forgiveness rating : 10%

Overall : 47%

My setup :

Win98SE
Athlon 700mHz
DX 9.0b + patch
384 Mb RAM
Soundblaster
GeForce3 Ti200
Microsoft Sidewinder gamepad

Gelert.

P.S. ; If you read all this, you're a bl%%dy hero ! bravo

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#88680 - 10/04/03 12:29 AM Re: Angel of Darkness (TRAOD) - Final Judgement !
Jenny100 Offline
GB Reviewer Glitches Moderator
Sonic Boomer

Registered: 10/24/00
Posts: 35472
Loc: southeast USA
Great review, Gelert.
I don't think I'll be getting this one, though I got the previous Tomb Raider games.

The first time I played the first Tomb Raider game it was without cheats and took me months with a walkthrough. Recently I replayed it with my brother using a save game editor that gave unlimited health. It was so much more fun that way, without having to worry about getting killed all the time. You can still get killed, but not by someone shooting you or something chewing on you.

My brother and I have now played all the Tomb Raider games through Chronicles - except for the last part of Chronicles, which is terrible. We eventually gave up on it and found a saved game on the tombraiders.net site to get past that awful part where you have to trap the cyborg. It wouldn't have been so bad, except game bugs keep you from restoring the game properly in that part of the game. Actually, it would have been pretty bad anyway, but the bugs made it impossible and not worth spending any more time on.

I still think the first Tomb Raider was the best one. It was certainly the most consistent. I liked parts of nearly all the previous games, even Chronicles. In Chronicles I liked the Ireland level where you play teenaged Lara. You can see how long her hair has grown since then. think

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#88681 - 11/15/03 09:23 AM Re: Angel of Darkness (TRAOD) - Final Judgement !
gremlin Offline

Addicted Boomer

Registered: 11/06/01
Posts: 1626
Loc: Isle of Man
I'm another one who was seriously dissappointed with the new Lara, etc.

I've played all the previous games & their Gold expansions.... and ended up just getting bored with AOD after a few levels!

Gremlin

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