The Diary of Craig Thomas Pearson, Aged 17 and three-quarters: I've just read in PC Gamer about Tomb Raider. The reviewer said it was well wick, a third-person adventure platform type-thing. I'm going to buy it today, then it's off to the cinema to see Star Trek: First Contact.
I read in the NME that Oasis and Blur are still hating on each other. They'd be better together, form a super-band. If everyone thought like me there would be no more war...
Present day Craig: Wow, what a doofus. Still, it's good to look back. And Anniversary does just that, remaking the original Tomb Raider using the engine of the more recent Legend. Can a ten‑year-old game stand up to my modern needs?
Diary: So, Tomb Raider is wick. It's got a busty Indiana Jones to control, called Lara Croft. She's posh and makes this odd grunt when she dies, which she does a lot. She's out doing all this neat stuff, like breaking into ancient tombs to put together an old thing called the Atlantean Scion, which means she travels all over the world to get the bits together. I'd like to travel one day. Lara's pretty.
Present day: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Lara is pretty. And all the other stuff is essentially intact. The plot is untouched, and Lara's skills at raiding tombs remain. She runs, jumps, swings and wears guns on the hip. What Anniversary does best is correct the niggles in the adventuring.
The incidents of Lara plummeting off a ledge as you try to aim a jump are mostly gone. This is a nimbler Croft: where the original demanded pixel-perfect exactitude, this is closer to the more recent Prince of Persia games where you can land, run jump and grab all in fluid, life-saving/affirming movements. That's the point of the game, really. The levels are puzzles, Indy-troubling constructions to delight and frustrate.
On a side note, I toured Australia when I was 22.
Diary: Tomb raiding is great fun. I've spent the whole day dangling from my finger-tips, reaching out and making last-gasp grasps. One thing: Lara keeps on dying by slipping off ledges when I'm trying to line up a jump. Not fun.
Present day: That's been fixed, which makes this is one of the best games for pure adventure I've played in a long time. Even when it's frustrating, there's a real joy in figuring out the way things work. Lara moves blocks and switches, and becomes a part of these great machines. The challenges, while not always fair to the gamer, are beautiful and surprisingly intricate.
Deep inside 'St Francis Folly' there's an area like a large, four-storey building where all the floors have fallen in. High up the walls are doorways you need to get to. There's challenge upon challenge upon challenge to overcome here: simply reaching the doorways involves swinging and jumping at seemingly impossible angles. Even then, inside each doorway there's a little challenge to overcome before getting to the room behind. The rooms themselves provide set-pieces based around Greek myths such as Damocles and Poseidon.
Within this dense and often brilliant section you'll get electrocuted, stabbed and nearly drowned. Each doorway opens into a themed puzzle: the Damocles room, for example, is full of falling swords, and daggers in the floors that you have to sneak around carefully.
The old-school adventuring is complemented by some additions, most notably the grappling hook. The best thing that can be said about this is that it fits perfectly into the game's cavernous puzzles: Lara can use it both to move objects and to get around. First included in Legend, it works perfectly here, adding a little spice to the original Tomb Raider puzzles.