Tomb Raider 2 – PC
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Release Date: October 31, 1997
Nerd Rating: 9.5 out of 10
Not very long after the original Tomb Raider, everyone’s favorite British explorer found herself in a sequel that raised the bar even higher than its already bar-rising predecessor. Tomb Raider 2 has sweet graphics and kick-ass gameplay. There’s never a single lazy moment in the development of this game.
After stopping Jacqueline Natla and her aspirations to create a mutant army, Lara Croft heads over to China to investigate the legendary Dagger of Xian. The dagger, when plunged into one’s heart, turns that person into a dragon. While hunting down the treasure, Lara comes across a man working for Marco Bartoli, an Italian Mafia boss who is infatuated with the dagger and will stop at nothing to obtain it. After learning this, Lara heads over the Venice and infiltrates Bartoli’s hideout, determined to steal the Dagger of Xian for herself.
We all know that Lara will get her way in the end, but the adventure that happens in between is so much fun. Right away Lara is plunged into booby traps, puzzles, and expendable, yet endangered animals. The developers were smart enough to keep the same formula of the first Tomb Raider, but changed the environments to bring something fresh for gamers.
As always, Lara is such a fun character to play as, personality-wise and gameplay-wise. She does flips, has superhuman strength, and a huge arsenal of weapons for your leisure. Have you ever blown up rats with a grenade launcher? It’s fun when they go POOF!
The controls are very easy to use. I’ve never found myself getting frustrated with jumps or anything glitching to the point where it’s unplayable. The level design, as always, is genius. You never know what secret pickups you’ll find, prompting you to be thorough and check every nook and cranny for stuff. What I’ve always admired about these levels is how much fun they add to the platforming experience. There’s always something gorgeous to look at because of the amazing graphics, taking inspiration from the beauty of these real historical sites.
One of the cool things that Tomb Raider 2 has over the original Tomb Raider is the additions to Lara’s mansion. In the first game, Lara’s mansion was just a place to quickly learn the controls on jumping, flipping, swimming, etc. In Tomb Raider 2, however, there are bonuses. Bonuses as in puzzle-solving directly in Lara’s home, and being able to go outside to run Lara through a timed exercise course. This is also the first time we are introduced to Lara’s farting butler, and if you’ve been a long time Tomb Raider fan, you mostly likely already know that you can lure the butler and lock him in a freezer. It’s just another incentive to play Tomb Raider 2.
The only thing I could complain about with Tomb Raider 2 is the lack of music. And the music that does play never really seems to fit with the setting of the level. For example, the music used for the Caves in Peru in the first game is used again when Lara is in Venice, Italy. That music already puts a picture in your mind of fighting off wolves in a snowy cave, so it just feels weird hearing it again in sunny Italy. However, this is my only nitpick and I don’t let it ruin the entire game.
Lara Croft never fails to entertain, and Tomb Raider 2 is just a prime example of just how innovative the original Tomb Raider franchise was. The graphics and beautiful colors never cease to take my breath away, figuring out the puzzles makes me feel like the smartest person in the world, and most importantly, it’s a fun game. It has all the qualities of a great game from its easy-to-use controls and intriguing story. As part of Nerd Bacon’s sequel month, Tomb Raider 2 is most definitely worth a shout out.
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