Lara Croft is alive after all these years! But is this her final breath of air for her, or is it off to the grave for this once great video game series?

Game:Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness
Systems: PlayStation 2, PC, Mac OS X
Release Dates:PC: 6/20/03 (NA), 7/1/03 (EU), 8/14/12 (GOG.com), 11/28/12 (Steam)
PS2: 6/20/03 (NA), 7/4/03 (EU), 10/23/03 (JP)
OS X: 12/18/03
Developers: Core Design

A Tomb Raider and Possible Murderer?
Story:Itís a dark and stormy night, as Lara Croft and her mentor, Werner Von Croy were having a chat about Croy wanting Lara to get some 14th century paintings for some cult thing. Lara, after the events of The Last Revelations, is still bitter at him, thinking that he left her back at Egypt. She refuses until Croy screams ďGet out!Ē and hearing some gunshots. After the noise died down, Croy is down on the ground, dead. Minutes later, the police storm in and think Lara was the killer. Now Lara is on the run all over Europe to clear her name and find out about the paintings Croy wanted so badly.

How Could It Have Gotten Any Worse?!
Gameplay:Oh boy. Where do I begin folks?
So this is the next-generation Tomb Raider game. So youíd expect new things as well as improvements right? After all, this game was delayed to come out the same time as Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, the second film. Sadly though, the gameplay got a bit worse.
Essentially, Lara still has tank-like controls now on the analog stick (which let me tell you, is a terrible feeling). Not only that, but now she runs a bit slower than ever before. Her movements are also very slow now too. For example, if you were to do a long jump where you would have to hold her arms out so she could pull herself up, it takes forever. For some reason now, you have to wait for her to stop swinging so she can pull herself up. This will get really old, really fast trust me. Not to mention, the jumping button is for some reason backwards. For long time fans, this will throw you off guard. Oh yeah, and the shooting mechanics are also vastly different too. Rather than her already having her two pistols by her side, now she has only one. And you have to use ammo wisely too. The way she aims and shoots is almost similar to something like Resident Evil.
Oh and there really aren't any tombs either. Yeah just like in some of the previous games, you're in the city for a majority of the game. One building you have to be in is even a club. Really? It's just obscene. Also, expect to get lost in these areas as they are plain and too big and confusing for their own good.
Don't even get me started on the AI as well. Some of them are flat out glitchy. Some of them run against a wall and don't see you. Even when I sneak up to them. Oh yeah, that's another new element too - stealth. Lara can now sneak up on enemies and take them out silently - just like Metal Gear Solid. This game is trying to be different from the previous games and it's not even good.
Another stupid element is ďleveling upĒ Lara. Yeah, itís almost like an RPG. A terrible one. So there are some things Lara canít do in certain areas, such as pushing something heavy (which is dumb because she could push big blocks in past games, but hey whatever). So youíll have to do something such as opening a door for her to say ďI feel stronger nowĒ. How do you get stronger from opening a freaking door??
Now there is another character to play as, named Kurtis Trent. He plays a little like Lara but is still not as great control wise. He doesnít get a lot of play time either.

At Least It Looks Good
Graphics: Despite the crappy gameplay, the graphics of the game actually look decent. It looks pretty good for a 2003 PS2 title. The environments can be colorful and or too dark for its own good. Lara looks pretty good (though some of her outfits arenít the best honestly). But like I said, for an early-ish PS2 title, it does look pretty nice. Which is the only good thing about this game. But I will say the animations are pretty damn slow too. Like for her to pull herself up from a ledge or her opening a cabinet to find an item. This makes the game a lot more tedious than it already is.

Still As Epic As Ever
Music:The music here is still pretty good. It can get real heavy and epic when something is happening or rather calming when running around the empty bleak areas. The theme is also pretty good but I donít know, itís alright.
Music is composed by Peter Connelly and Martin Iveson.

She Truly is the Angel of Darkness
Overall:Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is not that great of a game. The controls are still, the gameplay is slow and boring and just rather confusing. Not to mention that the animations are tedious and slow, making the game drag on. Lara seems to be having an identity crisis too. Is she trying to be Solid Snake or Jill Valentine? This game is sadly a disappointment. At least the graphics do look a bit nice though.

2 / 5