|Publisher: Aspyr Media Genre: Action|
|Min OS X: Any Version CPU: G3 @ 266 MHz RAM: 32 MB 4x CD-ROM|
If a man in uniform is every woman's dream, then a beautiful archaeologist in tight clothing with graceful acrobatic prowess and enough firepower to level a small country has to be the fantasy of every male alive. Lara Croft, America 's favorite top-heavy heroine, has returned in Tomb Raider: Chronicles for the Mac and all is well with the world.
Tomb Raider: Chronicles, developed by Core Design, ported to the Mac by Westlake Interactive and published for the Mac by Aspyr Media (with additional statistics tracking code added by Timex), is the latest installment in the Tomb Raider series. The theme has changed a bit from the previous games and includes several new twists this time around.
Instead of the game opening to have players find themselves in the middle of an expedition to recover an artifact, they discover that Lara Croft may in fact be pushing up daisies. Lara, who has not been seen or heard from for the past three months after venturing off to Egypt for undeclared reasons, has been declared missing. As the opening credits scroll by, friends gather at Lara's home to rehash her old adventures and reminisce about her greatest exploits, revealing new insights about her past.
From this point on, everything players might expect from a Tomb Raider game is realized, plus some cool new tricks. The first adventure begins in the middle of Venice with Lara pursuing an artifact called the Philosopher's Stone. In this segment, Lara competes against two fellow archaeologists to recover the stone, despite their repeated attempts to kill her.
It's also this level that introduces Lara's moves to the player. Core Design has incorporated a training area into the first level, which comes in handy. When players want to learn new moves, they can duck into an opera house's back stage area from the Venice streets to find obstacles that challenge Lara's acrobatic abilities. Players must learn to swim through pools, swing across monkey bars, climb walls, walk across tightropes and practice leaping techniques to get through this area in one piece.
While this is extremely useful to new players trying to get a handle on Lara's moves, it is a bit disconcerting. Tomb Raider 2 featured an excellent training ground located in and around Lara's mansion. This feature not only allowed players to train to their heart's content, but it was clearly defined as a training level. To have the training area within the first level is a bit strange, and players may wonder if it’s necessary to complete this area in order to pass the first level. The training ground teaches the game’s basics effectively (a British voiceover helps players along with vocal instructions, while Lara’s sharp “no!” keeps players in line when they attempt something she can’t perform), but perhaps Core Design should have kept the training areas segregated from the game's other levels.