Tomb Raider Underworld: Beneath the Ashes

To the manor, yawn…

When Lara pirouetted back into our hearts last November, she also seemingly closed the chapter on the Tomb Raider: Legend story arc. Not so, as this – the first of two – of 360-exclusive downloadable content reveals.

Dispatched into the deepest recesses of the char-grilled Croft Manor in search of a means of controlling the evil doppelganger who’s out to kill the first lady of gaming, this is a straight-up devious catacomb of tricky leaps, clever new grappling hook puzzles and lots of scary undead thralls and giant arachnids to reduce to piles of bones and icky goo. As a bonus, Lara herself has never looked lovelier – especially when decked out in her Princess Leia-alike itsy bitsy, teeny weeny golden bikini and splattered in mud…

Beneath the Ashes certainly caters to the Croft hardcore then, but is it honestly worth the delay/800 point combo? That’s rather more debatable. As part of the prologue to Underworld, it’s intriguing (though PC and PS3 owners can consider themselves cheated that they’re only effectively getting half the story without this DLC), yet taking it purely as an isolated Tomb Raider level it’s middling at best. The fresh puzzles hint at lofty potential, but they’re sporadic and frustratingly underdeveloped. And while snagging all the hidden treasures will take even seasoned raiders a while, we’d personally rather have had a larger level to romp around.

Apr 2, 2009

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