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E3 2002 Retrospective
May 28, 2002 | Sean Smith

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The Obligatory Photo Op
Harbinger and The Omega Stone

I was struck by DreamCatcher's enthusiasm for the Mac market. According to the company, the Mac version of their adventure game Riddle of the Sphinx has done very well for them, and they were showing a sequel at E3, The Omega Stone, which they have announced for the Mac.

Set in Chichen Itza, Stonehenge, Easter Island, beneath the Sphinx, and even in Atlantis, the game features some beautiful, photo-realistic 3D locations, many of which, such as the Mayan Chichen Itza, are said to be accurately based an thousands of photographs taken by the game's creators.

Harbinger is a Diablo-like role-playing game set in a science-fiction universe: a massive, planet-killing spaceship, the Harbinger. Gamers can choose between three player classes: a human, a gladiator, and a female energy creature (who wasn't being shown at the Expo).

The graphics are beautiful, and if you fancy a futuristic shoot-and-slash RPG with gameplay similar to Diablo, this title could well be worth a look. The game will be single-player only — not everyone has the resources of Blizzard Entertainment to develop and publish a successful multiplayer graphical RPG.

Unlike The Omega Stone, Harbinger has not been announced for the Mac, but I spoke with one of the game's developers, and he's a Mac user and fan. He'd love to see a Mac version and has been pushing for one.

Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness

Here's another game that stays firmly within the tradition of gameplay that made it so popular. In fact, to this casual observer, the gameplay of Angel of Darkness seems little changed from that of Tomb Raider II, but then very little of this latest game was being shown: Lara moving through two rooms, and that's it.

It was only when I thought back on Angel of Darkness that I realized that Lara's model is indeed much more detailed, and that the animations of her turning in place are much more fluid. The change to her costume, too, is subtle, but quite effective: if you're not paying attention, you don't realize that the colors are darker and that the cut of her clothes is a little different. Even her proportions are more realistic. To my taste, the new Lara is much more attractive.

On the one hand, one might wish for Angel of Darkness to break more new ground than was evident on the Expo floor, but now that I think of it, it's an impressive accomplishment for Core Design to so improve the look of this perennial favorite in ways that fit in so well. This is not a new Tomb Raider; this is the old Tomb Raider realized — the Tomb Raider Core wanted to make and its fans to play all along, but never could until now.


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