$29.95, for iPAQ and other Pocket PCs
Reviewed July 2002
If you are rich, it's good. If you are
rich, traveling around world and shooting monsters with big
guns, that's even better. If you're Lara Croft, all that
is your destiny. From the big PC and PlayStation hit, Eidos
has brought Tomb Raider to the Pocket PC. Even though it's
been sequeled many times on PlayStation and PC, Tomb Raider
for Pocket PC, which came out before the PlayStation 2 new
release, is a faithful port of the original Tomb Raider.
The graphic qualities resemble the raw talent of the original
game; and the game play follows the first hit to the tee.
Playing Lara Croft on Pocket PC brought
back the wonderful memories of my first time playing Tomb
Raider on PS. The game gives you the entire environment and
movements of Lara Croft from the original game. You'll remember
the snowy tunnel, the grassy meadow and the vines crawling
on the ground and on the walls covering the ancient carvings
on the stone. You will see the caves with water you have
to swim in; and you'll see the ancient temple, the palace
and the coliseum still standing there. In the interior, you
will see pillars, stone walls with carvings, bridges that
are covered by corpses, as well as small and large tomb like
rooms. Lara's movements are smooth and precise, even when
moving. You can see characters' shadows. You'll also appreciate
the polished title screen that came straight from the original
game. You can set options, save/load games and go to training
mode from this screen.
As if the original Tomb Raider got
shrunk down from the TV screen to the Pocket PC, the graphics
keep the original jagged pixilated look, maybe even more
jagged on the Pocket PC. I played it on an iPAQ 3835, and
turned the brightness of the device to maximum, and turned
the brightness in the game options to maximum, it's still
a bit too dark to see in some dark places. The 3800 series
does have a darker screen than other iPAQ models, so you
may find it easier to see if you're not a 3800 series owner.
While the movements of Lara and other characters/monsters
kept the original game's smoothness, the environment looks
poor in comparison, maybe because it has to render a very
rich environment on much smaller screen. Often it's easier
to see far away objects and scenes compared to things that
are up-close because of the pixel distortion.
The gameplay is the jewel of this
game, and a joy to experience. You'll easily spend many
hours playing; and you will explore 15 very massive levels
of caves, temples, pools and tombs. You will pick up many
items including medical kits, weapons, ammo, keys and other
items. You will need to shoot and kill bats, lions, crocodiles,
and rats, dinosaurs to survive. You need to figure out
puzzles and perform incredible actions to advance. You
will never know who you will run into at the next corner
of the tomb, but one thing is sure: you will die a lot.
Get your guns ready, and shoot as early as you hear the
animal roar. While the shooting was fun and swimming was
a breeze; the exploration is a bit tricky, as the environment
isn't as clearly rendered as on the big screen. Lara's
movements such as side rolls, backward jumps, jumping over
high walls are pure fun in the game. Tomb Raider uses all
the hardware buttons as game controls, as well as 7 on
screen buttons in conjunction with the hardware buttons.
For example, if you want to look around, you can hold the
Look button on the screen and use your D-pad to look at
the directions you wish; you can use the jump button then
the action button if you'd equipped Lara with guns, and
she'll jump and shoot at the targets way above her.
Great game controls and glorious game play
would probably be the main reason people want to play this
game on a Pocket PC. The sound effects are very realist as
well. From animal howling and roaring, to footsteps on the
stairs and in the snow, Tomb Raider for Pocket PC kept the
sound bites of the original. The game is displayed in landscape
mode, for lefties or righties. The game itself takes up over
700K on iPAQ and not a lot more for game data. Currently
it officially only supports iPAQ in three languages (English,
French and German).
Playing Hints and Tips
When you explore, check everything.
Look for things that stand out. When you try to jump over
a short wall, use running-jump or side jump roll, and when
you try to jump over a tall wall, use jump and hang. Shoot
early, even when you just hear the animals but haven't yet
seen them, especially in later levels. You will meet the
animals as soon as you start the levels. There's a pretty
good amount of ammo and new weapons throughout, make sure
you pick them up.
Go through the training (choose Lara's home at the game's title screen to get
to the training mode).
Read our interview with Eidos Interactive here!