What is it about?
Tomb Raider is a third-person platforming title that involves a fair amount of action-adventure, featuring Lara Croft as the protagonist. Born into an aristocratic family, Lara never knew the complications of the outside world until her chartered plane crashed in the midst of Himalayas on her way back home from a skiing trip. Having been forced to adapt herself to the harsh conditions, Lara learnt to use her intellect and quick reflexes to survive through the whole ordeal. After that, Lara felt she couldn’t fit in with the aristocratic society, and so she started out on her adventurous trips pursuing her archaeological interests. In the prologue, Lara is requested by Jacqueline Natla, owner of Natla Technologies, to go on an expedition to recover a strange artifact called Scion from Peru. After she recovers the artifact, Lara comes to know, in time, Jaqcueline’s real motive, and as the plot thickens, Tomb Raider makes for an awesome game till the end.
Why should I play it now?
Although it’s been more than fifteen years since Tomb Raider was released, the gameplay value that it offers is astoundingly competitive, not to mention the engaging plot as well. Tomb Raider features a variety of platforming movements and interactions with the environment to fully immerse the player. Tomb Raider offers some gun-play as well, which is not solid on its own, but it bodes well with the platforming nature of the game. Often, you’d have to face wild animals, mutants or human opponents. Be it jumping from ledge to ledge, tumbling around, swimming underwater in search of secret passage-ways or pulling a combination of levers to solve a puzzle, Tomb Raider offers stiff challenge that requires finesse.
How does it hold up today?
Time has not been kind to Lara visually, as she doesn’t look quite as beautiful as she used to, back in the mid-nineties. The visuals really need some getting used to, but once you get accustomed to the dated visuals, you will be able to realise that Tomb Raider has aged very well in every other aspect namely level design, platforming sections and puzzles.
Is it similar to anything else out there?
There is no real substitute to Tomb Raider. There are many games in the market that feel very similar, starting from Indiana Jones to Prince of Persia, but Lara’s unique style and flamboyance are what bring Tomb Raider its irresistible charm.
What do I need to play this?
Since the game runs on DOS, any device that runs Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8 would run the game fine. The game is also available on Playstation and Sega Saturn.
‘When I played through…’
I learnt patience. Every jump or hop seems pretty easy at first sight, but requires consistent precision. After having killed Lara in every way possible, I had to make well calculated moves to make my way through platforming sections. After a while, the mere feeling that I’ve gotten quite good at it made me feel like I’m on top of the world – one of those feelings that only a videogame can give. I also can’t forget one point where I foolishly saved the game while Lara was in mid-air, getting caught in an infinite death-loop. I had to play the entire level again to make up for my foolishness.
Is there anything else I should be aware of (i.e. mods, crazy glitches, contribution to pop culture, Internet meme, etc)?
I played the game on my Windows 7 based PC, and did not encounter any game-breaking bugs. In fact, the game runs extremely smooth for a DOS game (using the DOSbox emulator). But there are many minor bugs that could really be irritating. For example, you’d often get stuck in a corner or in a space near a wall, and would have to pan around it to make Lara move again. Bugs like these account for needlessly convoluted gameplay sometimes, but it’s nothing that can throw you off your game.
Where do I get it?
Although Tomb Raider was released on the Playstation and Sega Saturn, I’d suggest not getting the console version(s) (even if you’re in luck to source a copy) as they have restricted save points, meaning, once you die, you’ll have to progress all the way from your previous save point. With the PC version, you can save anywhere you want to. Steam sells Tomb Raider for 9.99$, but GOG‘s price is unmatched as you can grab Tomb Raider 1,2 and 3 for the same price of 9.99$, which is a bargain!
Of course, if you aren’t in a retro mood, you could always grab the new Tomb Raider out now. We positively loved it.