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Tomb Raider Anniversary Wii

Preview: New details on "the definitive Lara Croft"

Will Tomb Raider Anniversary on Wii be another rushed port with tacked-on Remote waggle? Nope. Senior producer Morgan Gray insists that the many enhancements and new gameplay mechanics being built in specifically for Wii make it the "definitive realisation of Lara Croft". That's what we like to hear.

Little has been said about the Wii edition of the game, but the lid has finally been lifted on the extra treats coming exclusively to Nintendo fans. For those of you that don't know, Tomb Raider Anniversary is a complete rebuild of Lara's first (and best, we say) PSone (and Saturn) adventure. It sticks to the same plot and locations, borrows all of the best puzzles and areas, and enhances the whole experience with improved gameplay, graphics and depth. But the Wii version does even more than that...

The Wii game makes extensive use of Nintendo's unique controller. As you'd imagine, you aim Lara's guns with the Wii Remote's pointer functionality, while dodging manoeuvres are done with flicks of the Remote. That's the obvious stuff but it gets much more interesting the deeper you dig.

"We let you, through Lara, touch the game world for the first time," said Gray, and he wasn't lying. A toolkit he calls the "archaeological toolkit" has been added, which lets you interact with and manipulate Lara's world.

For example, Lara has a pick-axe that she can use to bust through weak walls. When you approach such a wall, the game switches to a first-person view and the axe appears on the screen. The Wii Remote becomes that axe (in a virtual sense, of course) and you swipe it downwards several times to hack your way through the wall.

She also has a chisel to chip away sections of a crumbling wall to reveal secret hieroglyphic symbols. It's cool and all very Indy Jones - you nudge the Remote upwards to wedge the chisel under a slab of stone, then flick it towards you to break the rock away.

Once the rock is chiselled away you then have to clean the sign with a brush, which you do by guiding the on-screen brush with the Remote's pointer sensor. Then you need to take a copy of the symbol. Lara places a sheet of paper over it and you scrub that too with a black chalk, which leaves white marks in the shape of the symbol.

"What used to just be 'walking up to a wall and pull a switch' now has all these steps that really feel that this is what Lara Croft does," said Grey, and you can see what he means. "It's not just swinging on ropes and shooting," he added.

You can also grab and interact with many other puzzles in the game, all using the Remote's pointer as an extension of you hand, like grabbing and spinning cryptic symbols on circular rocks to line up the correct pictures, or drawing special patterns into sand pits to activate something in the room.

"With the new gameplay elements, the world interaction and the active combat, Tomb Raider Anniversary Wii is probably the definitive realisation of Lara Croft", said Grey. "I'm really excited for Wii fans out there to get their hands on that." And you guys should be, too.

The Wii edition of Tomb Raider Anniversary is yet to get a release date, although it's looking pretty good already so we expect it to hit shops before Christmas, and we'll have loads more on it before then.

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