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Tomb Raider 4
"With more twists and turns than an Egyptian Labyrinth, Lara Croft begins her Last Revelation." Image Loading...
Developer: Core Design
Distributor: Eidos
Game Type: Adventure
Review Date: Nov 99
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In The Beginning:
 
      "Having attended Wimbledon High School for Girls from the age of 11 years, Lara's parents decided that now she was 16, she should broaden her education by studying for her A' levels at one of England's most prominent boarding schools. An adventurous soul, Lara found the idea of being sent away to boarding school an exciting prospect.

Image Loading...Lara glanced at the copy of National Geographic on the hall table. The front cover featured a familiar name - Professor Werner Von Croy. A respected archaeologist, Von Croy had once lectured at Lara's school to pupils and parents alike. The experience had a profound effect on Lara, triggering a desire for travel to remote locations in search of adventure. In some ways Von Croy had become an inspirational figure for Lara.

As Lara read further, she learned that Von Croy was currently preparing for an archaeological tour across Asia, culminating in a potential new discovery to be made in Cambodia. Unable to contain herself, Lara burst into the room, thrust the article in front of her parents and without hesitation demanded she accompany Von Croy on his expedition. Lord Croft could hardly disagree that travel was an education in itself.

Image Loading...As Lara argued the case further, he found himself walking over to the desk and penning a letter to Von Croy, introducing himself as an influential society figure and offering financial assistance in exchange for his daughter's place on the expedition.

Von Croy's reply assured the Henshingly Crofts that the territories were friendly and that he had ample experience to look after both his and Lara's well being. Lara's company as an assistant would be welcome, as was the offer of such a generous cheque. He remembered Lara from his lecture - her incessant yet inciteful questions had made quite an impression upon him.

And so it was agreed by all that Lara would accompany Von Croy for the duration of the tour.... "
 
Image Loading...Young Lara Croft:
 
      After a brief intro movie the player takes control of a tender 16 year-old juvenile. Young Lara has cute ponytails and is dressed in a white crop-top, long shorts and waistcoat but has no weapons during the level and so must rely on her mentor, Werner Von Croy, to deal with enemies. Thankfully these are confined to a couple of annoying hogs.

You no longer need to keep one eye on the instruction booklet as Von Croy is going to give the fresh faced youngster a refresher course on the full repertoire of essential moves and skills. Newcomers will find this course vital, while hardcore fans should sail through and still find the time to twist the camera angle around, thus gaining the best possible view in which to lech at the tender teenager.

Image Loading...Of course if you don't pay full attention and watch carefully as Werner Von Croy demonstrates how to grapple hand over hand, perform a jump, a roll, a side-step, a slow walk, a look around, crawl around on hands and knees and sprint through this mini adventure, then you will possibly miss some of Lara's brand new moves. She can now climb around corners and crawl into tight spaces at high level. There's a rapid diving somersault. Leaping forward and pressing the action button will see Lara fly thorough the air and then grab hold of a rope by wrapping her legs and arms tightly around it. Moving upwards Lara heaves herself to greater heights, motioning downwards sees her smoothly slide down to the ground, while swinging from rope to rope leaves Tarzan standing way back in the shade.

Throughout these opening levels, set in Cambodia, Lee Van Cleef... err... I mean Werner Von Croy has young Lara doing all of the dirty work... jump in there... swim through that.... just climb up here... unzip thi...(stop it!). He doesn't hang around and no sooner has Lara reached a switch to drop a drawbridge, or open a gate, he sprints off into the distance leaving Lara to constantly play catch up. What an old git!

This may sound like a bit of a chore to go through but getting to grips with swinging and jumping maneuvers from the rope should make it all worthwhile (don't forget to use the R2 button). Anyhow, experienced players will easily complete the course in less than 30 minutes. There's also a few secrets hidden around these opening areas, so don't be afraid to investigate.

Image Loading...The end of the level features a timed race between Lara and Von Croy. This race has two start points - easy and hard. Experienced players will be given access to the hard route whilst those who have had to stay and listen to Von Croy's instruction throughout the training session will play the easy route. Von Croy has an identical range of moves to Lara, but is also able to set traps for her.
 
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