Do you remember when you forgot to bring your PE kit to school and had to wear some ill-fitting crud-o-shorts from the lost property box? We operate on a similar punishment system, for a palm-eradicating DS Fatso awaits the unsuspecting writer who forgets to bring their own DS Lite. Sometimes we forget just how dull the old DS screen was, and it seems that Santa Cruz Games did too, because large chunks of Tomb Raider: Underworld are so dark as to be literally unplayable. Unless you’re planning to play in a tanning bed or can shoot light from your eyes, your choices are to either upgrade to a newer model or give Underworld a wide berth.
We’d recommend that Tomb Raider fans – or fans of 2D platformers in general, actually – do the former, but only if they have access to one of those relaxation CDs you find in zoo gift shops, because despite the pleasing fluidity of Lara’s movement, there’s loads of infuriating leaps of faith here. For better or worse, Underworld tries to recreate the vertical scale of the levels in home console-flavor Tomb Raider, which can result in some graceful chains of parkourdom when the moons align, but all too often critical ledges, ropes or vines set up shop just outside the screen. Checkpoints occur every second ledge or so, so your tunnel vision isn’t ruinous, but if falling down holes was fun, we’d all gospelunking a lot more often. And when was the last time you went spelunking? Exactly.
Dec 1, 2008