Previews

Tomb Raider: Anniversary

The best videogame starring Lara Croft yet?

Lara Croft, the most famous PlayStation icon of all time, is set to return to PS2 this March in a game based on her 1996 PSone debut, Tomb Raider. In response to endless requests from devoted fans of the mega-boobed archaeologist, Lara will once again be tackling the trap-laden tombs of Peru, Greece and Egypt as she first did a staggering ten years ago.

While Tomb Raider: Anniversary might appear to be a straight remake of the original game with tarted-up visuals, the team behind Anniversary are keen to stress that's not the case at all. Instead, favourite fan moments from Tomb Raider have been used for inspiration - such as the fight with the Tyrannosaurus Rex, and the overall sense of isolation that the original game had - with some special surprises filling the gaps.

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The result is a game that features all the action and intuitive control of Tomb Raider: Legend, while at the same time staying true to the original idea of it being Lara, on her own, against the worst that ancient civilisation can throw at her - dinos, bears and wolves.

Although much of the level design of the original has been streamlined - the long, empty corridors that plagued the 1996 game having been dumped - many of the larger, open areas of each tomb have been transformed into enormous, sprawling caverns, allowing the designers to expand many of Tomb Raider's key puzzle moments, as well as adding secret areas and giant enemies to each level. Even dedicated Lara fans who know the original inside out will find plenty of new stuff to explore.

Lara has been redesigned for the new game too, the aim being to make her appear ten years younger than she did in Legend. While that's simply a case of 'less sag' for the casual observer, long-time fans will note her original vest, backpack, shorts and boots combo is back, along with a distinct lack of modern gadgets - specifically no more earpiece feeding you information from Croft Manor, a move that should appease those who felt Legend led you by the hand far too much.

Although there are some new aspects you won't find in the original (Lara's grappling hook from Legend returns, and she has a couple of new acrobatic moves, such as the ability to balance on the end of upright poles), Anniversary looks to perfectly blend the old-school spirit of original Tomb Raider with bang-up-to-date visuals and controls. PSW has played the finished game and the verdict is clear: this will be THE best ever Tomb Raider game.

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