Tomb Raider: Anniversary - hands-on

We get our feet wet in the redesigned version of the original ruin-delving classic

For months, our peeks at Tomb Raider: Anniversary have been limited to sitting by and watching as others guided archaeologist Lara Croft past slippery cliffs and crumbling traps. We've seen the re-imagined version of the original Peru level countless times, and evencaught a glimpse of the ruins she'll tackle in Egypt. But now we've had our first chance to try out the PS2 version of the globe-trotting adventure for ourselves, and we're impressed.

As you'd probably expect, Anniversary - a completely redesigned version of the original, genre-defining Tomb Raider - plays a lot like the most recent sequel, Legend. Lara's a lot more agile than her blocky original incarnation, able to pull off more acrobatic feats and move a lot more quickly through the swinging blades, crumbling pitfalls and treacherous ledges that stand between her and the treasures she's hunting. She's also got the elastic grappling hook from Legend, and while the game is still unfinished, controlling her is a smooth, near-flawless experience.

Our time with Anniversary was limited to its first handful of levels, which comprise a massive network of caverns, ruins and traps hidden away in the Peruvian Andes. Right off the bat, though, the new game deviated from the old, beginning outside of the ruin on a snowy cliff, at the top of which was a massive gate that would eventually lead to the lost city of Vilcabamba. Lara's guide had gone up ahead, leaving us to figure out a way to scale the sheer cliff face using only a series of tiny, semi-hidden handholds.

For months, our peeks at Tomb Raider: Anniversary have been limited to sitting by and watching as others guided archaeologist Lara Croft past slippery cliffs and crumbling traps. We've seen the re-imagined version of the original Peru level countless times, and evencaught a glimpse of the ruins she'll tackle in Egypt. But now we've had our first chance to try out the PS2 version of the globe-trotting adventure for ourselves, and we're impressed.

As you'd probably expect, Anniversary - a completely redesigned version of the original, genre-defining Tomb Raider - plays a lot like the most recent sequel, Legend. Lara's a lot more agile than her blocky original incarnation, able to pull off more acrobatic feats and move a lot more quickly through the swinging blades, crumbling pitfalls and treacherous ledges that stand between her and the treasures she's hunting. She's also got the elastic grappling hook from Legend, and while the game is still unfinished, controlling her is a smooth, near-flawless experience.

Our time with Anniversary was limited to its first handful of levels, which comprise a massive network of caverns, ruins and traps hidden away in the Peruvian Andes. Right off the bat, though, the new game deviated from the old, beginning outside of the ruin on a snowy cliff, at the top of which was a massive gate that would eventually lead to the lost city of Vilcabamba. Lara's guide had gone up ahead, leaving us to figure out a way to scale the sheer cliff face using only a series of tiny, semi-hidden handholds.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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