E3 2002Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness impressions

We got our hands on the next Tomb Raider, which is on display at E3. Check out our impressions of the game so far.

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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
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The biggest game that Eidos is showing off at E3 this year is undoubtedly Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. As the only Tomb Raider sequel released more than a year after its predecessor, and the first Tomb Raider game following the release of last year's successful motion picture, there's a lot at stake with The Angel of Darkness. Which is undoubtedly why Eidos chose to show a playable build of the game--even though it's clearly still rather early in its development. We did get our hands on the game, but there was little to actually play.

What we saw at least looked pretty good. Though Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is slated to be released for both the PlayStation 2 and the PC, only the PS2 version was on display, and it featured some nice-looking real-time lighting effects and realistic-looking water. The architecture of the few areas shown, while all of them were typically Tomb Raider-esque underground caverns and catacombs, were complex-looking and quite detailed.

We didn't see Lara pull off any of the new moves she's supposed to have. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is supposed to let Lara perform a lot of new techniques, like stealth attacks, but in the demo build, she could merely jump and swim. The animations for these techniques looked as good as ever, though Lara herself didn't look noticeably different than in previous games and was seen only in her basic shorts-and-tank-top outfit.

The demo consisted of several very short sequences. In one, we directed Lara to jump up and grab a horizontal bar, from which she automatically swung and kicked down a large statue, causing it to break a hole in the brick wall behind it. Another sequence consisted of a tough jumping puzzle across a bunch of tall beams. To make matters worse, stone dragon-shaped heads along the walls started spewing steam into the area. The steam effect was quite well done. Another sequence allowed Lara to swim through some underwater passageways.

Eidos has stated that Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness will be a departure for the series and will have a much darker tone. Early scenes from the game showed Lara in combat against heavily armed soldiers. Unfortunately, none of this was on display in the playable E3 build. We look forward to seeing more of Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness in action, and we'll keep you posted.

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