10

One of the best games of all time. Take a bow Tomb Raider.

Modern day gamers are very jaded. They are desensitized and it takes a lot to surprise them, and for a good reason too; they have seen it all happen in the last few years. Gaming has changed completely from what it was in the early 90s.

Gamers are very demanding; it’s almost impossible for a game to be unanimously accepted as a great game. No matter what game we are talking about, there are gamers who seem to find it detestable; even the mighty Half Life 2 wasn’t spared by contemporary gamers. It got ratings all the way from 3-10 on GameSpot.

But there was one game that comes to my mind which was spared all this negative criticism and was accepted as one of the greatest games ever, and actually went on to receive tremendous commercial success – unlike other innovative games, like Deus Ex and Commandos.

Tomb Raider.

Back in 1996, Tomb Raider is not what it is right now. In fact, gaming back then is not what it is right now. For better or worse, gaming was a lot…simpler. As a PC gamer, you weren’t forced to upgrade ever so often to keep up with the changes in hardware. All it took back then was a PC with 4MB video RAM and 32MB main memory to get going.

The market was filled with shooters like Doom, Quake and Wolfinstein and female lead characters were almost unheard of in mainstream titles. Tomb Raider defied the trend by having Lara Croft as a lead character and went onto become one of the biggest video game franchises ever.

But let’s talk about Tomb Raider as a game.

The game was released in 1996, when the concept of 3D gaming was still in its nascent stage. Of course, there were the three giants from id software – Doom, Quake and Wolfinstein, but not much else.

At a time like this Tomb Raider changed the whole scenario by featuring beautifully created 3D environments. The game is played in the 3rd person’s perspective where the player gets to control Lara Croft - the game’s heroine.

Lara Croft is a renowned archeologist who at the age of 21 was the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Himalayas. Being the only to have survived, she learned to live by herself and endure in harsh living conditions. She soon stumbled into the village of Tokakeriby, an experience which changed her life.

She soon left her family and lived on her own in an inherited mansion to pursue her life exploring different parts of the world, and collecting ancient artifacts.

When she is in Calcutta, India, she is approached by Jacqueline Natala, who asks for her help to retrieve an ancient artifact called the scion. The quest for this artifact takes her all over the world including the lost island of Atlantis.

The graphics in the game are extremely good. The exotic locations are rendered beautifully, the snow filled caverns of Peru, the pyramids of Egypt, and of course, the incredible Atlantis among others. The most amazing part of some of the levels is the scale at which they are created. The colossal statues and the gigantic monuments are a sight to behold! They offer a panoramic view of the settings when you make your way to their crest.

Lara Croft is also a work of art. Her movements throughout the game are very fluid and the character is very easy to maneuver. The game contains a lot of puzzles that needs some very agile moves, and Lara is quite capable of executing them flawlessly.

The puzzles in the game are yet another innovation. They are not entirely basic; it requires some thinking to navigate through various levels. The puzzles are sometimes quite challenging, but somehow they were never frustrating. They manage to be tough without making the player lose interest in the game. This, more than anything is the reason for the success of the game, in my opinion.

The game is not without its action elements. Throughout the game, the player will encounter various foes, like wolves, bears, cougars, Tyrannosaurus Rex, raptors and super natural enemies such as mummies, mutants etc. Defeating some of these enemies is not child’s play either! They tend to take a lot of damage and seem to inflict a lot more! Suffice to say, they do not make things any easier and provide a constant challenge.

The game is quite long and will keep you engrossed for hours. Any modern day gamer who hasn't played this game because it’s too old, should give up on that idea and play it right away!

Try as I might, I am not able to think of anything negative about this game. Judging purely based on the fun factor and nothing else, this game receives the perfect score – 10/10!

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