reviews\ Dec 12, 1999 at 7:00 pm

Tomb Raider 4: The Last Revelation - PC - Review

Indiana Jones has nothing on Lara Croft.

Since her debut, the quite-buxom, attitude-ridden and extremely talented and resourceful Lara has embarked upon a series of adventures that have spanned the globe. No more, and give credit to Eidos Interactive and Core Design for that.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation is set solely in Egypt - albeit different regions, but the Land of the Pharaohs has a host of challenges that will chill, thrill and delight the role-playing gamer. This program twists and turns quicker than a Rubik’s Cube.

The game begins in the training level. You can’t advance to the actual game itself without first working through this level. The setting is Cambodia 1984 where a teen-age Lara is learning the tricks of archaeological skullduggery from Werner Van Croy. Yes, that is the same Van Croy who has become Lara’s chief rival, and nemesis, in each of the previous three Tomb Raider titles (four, if you count the Tomb Raider II Gold release).

Werner guides Lara through this level, teaching her how to use her skills, which include a few new abilities like swinging on ropes and climbing. But just when you think Werner is trustworthy, the slime turns the tables and the real fun begins. (Hint: Be sure to save often. Some of these skills take repeated efforts to master, and you don’t want to have to begin all over again. Easier to save prior to attempting a feat, then if you fail, repeat from that point until you get it down.)

Succeed in training and you advance to the main game.

That scenario reads like a Croft nightmare. Fast forward to present day. Lara has stumbled upon a lost tomb and unwittingly releases the ancient Egyptian god Set, a malevolent force who will plunge all of mankind into the darkness of his own foul evil unless someone stops him. That someone? You guessed it - Lara Croft.

Where this title stands out isn’t in the concept (it seems most role-playing games offer a hero against a foul evil spirit that seeks to control the world or universe), but rather in the way the game is constructed. The inventory system has been revamped to allow Lara to put items together inside the inventory to add a little more lethalness to her weaponry, or to make tools that help her along the way. And the villains! Wow. Not only are they smarter (improved AI - artificial intelligence), but they possess skills equal to Lara’s. You can’t just run away, you have to out-think the bad guys, or outmaneuver them, or kill them.

Added instruments, like binoculars that zoom, and new weapons, including a crossbow, give the program zing. And yes, some old friends from previous Tomb Raider games have resurfaced - mostly notably Jean-Yves.

Immersive graphics, solid sound and fully interactive gameplay make Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation a delight, pure and simple. The controls are easy to grasp and use, and can be configured for keyboard or joystick. The program demands that gamers think, not just react. There are more puzzles to solve, seemingly more enemies to outwit, and, of course, Set to defeat.

Tomb Raider was one of the first titles to feature a female hero, who could adventure and shoot with the best of them. It has attracted an almost-fanatical following. In spite of that, this is a title that will appeal to the role-playing adventurer for its sheer entertainment value.

This program is rated Teen for animated violence and blood.

Installation: 9. It doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t consume much hard drive space. That equals maximum fun with minimum hassle.

Gameplay: 9. The Last Revelation moves smoothly from scene to scene, with full and easy control over Lara’s movements.

Graphics: 9. While this is not new ground for an RPG, it does provide entertaining, three-dimensional graphics that are well done.

Sound: 8. Excellent

Concept: 8. This is a continuing storyline, and as such does not forge new ground. But the ground it does stand upon is sound and worth the visit.

Difficulty: 9. There are so many puzzles, so many skills you must accomplish. It is a game for reflexive adeptness and brain power.

Value: 9. It is hard to beat a game that delivers in terms of fun, while taking it easy on your computer system.

Overall: 8.7


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