A series of grisly murders brings Lara into conflict with a sinister Alchemist from the past, and a secret alliance of powerful individuals shrouded in mystery. Accused of the murder of her one time mentor, Werner Von Croy, Lara becomes a fugitive on the run. Pursued by the police, she follows the Alchemist into a dark world of blood, betrayal and vengeance where it is up to her to defeat this unholy alliance, and stop them from unleashing their incredible powers on the world.
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness © Square Enix Limited, 2003
I will start from good things, and the best thing that happened to this part of Tomb Raider series is music - none of previous games with beautiful Lara Croft had soundtrack this much amazing. Puzzles, boss fights and RPG system for Lara is something that makes this amazing series more fresh. Atmosphere in this game is also nice but it's doesn't feel anymore like adventure thing. Still, enemies feel sometimes like they are too strong and can easily kill Lara, also level design aren't very interesting. The Angel of Darkness wasn't very successful and players weren't very pleasant about this game. Still, I think it's worth to give a chance. Maybe I didn't like it so much like previous Tomb Raider games but it was unique and fun experience.
When this game came out, it was supposed to revitalise the series, present some of Lara's most notable accomplishments and set the path for the next Tomb Raider games. Instead, it did exactly the opposite by plunging the series into hiatus (darkness as in the title, if you will), destroying the fans' expectations and even alienating some of them and overall being a bad choice to play for anyone intersted in the franchise (it just so happens that this was my fist Tomb Raider game; this didn't stop me from enjoying the rest of the series, being the odd sheep that I am). The game had unresponsive controls that resembled the ones from previous games (this is a reason why many unjustly associate the series with bad controls), a plethora of bugs and glitches, some horrible gameplay elements (rpg elements like dialog options, money and stamina upgrading, which either made no sense in context or were next to useless and without consequences - with the exception of one or two instances, where it felt forced), lackluster combat (especially considering the horrible controls) and an incomplete plot. Most of these points are due the fact that the game was released in an unfinished state, most likely because of Eidos Interactive desire to release the game alongside the movie Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in 2003 (a marketing maneuver) and Core Design's lack of experience with next gen tehnology and inability to deal properly with the situation. The story in particular could've benefitted from a longer development time, seeing as the base concept is very good: Lara having to deal with the insecurity and guilt of potentially having murdered her former mentor, Verner von Croy (remember that guy from the previous two games? now in next gen graphics) and searching for 15th century religious paintings that have a darker purpose, only in the end squaring off against nephilims, the offspring of angels and humans, gone extinct in biblical times. See what I mean? It's also worth mentioning that the game had overall a good atmosphere - just like thre rest of the series - , excellent music (performed by the London Symphony Orchestra and composed by Peter Connelly) - probably the best score in the series - and another playable character besides Lara, namely Kurtis Trent, the last descendant of anancient oreder of Knights (the only time in the series so far this happens). While there were so many changes implemented, you could still tell that this was a Tomb Raider game, only disguised as something else with a mishmash of elements borrowed from other succesful games added on top. It is especially a shame since the game could've been so much more, living up to the expectations and being the best game in the series - at least, up to that point. Were that the case, it's likely that Core Design would still be developing the series, so we wouldn't have the games developed by Crystal Dynamics, which certainly would be a loss. Still, who knows in which one of these realities would we be better off?
This Tomb Raider combines novel elements like a point and click game with Tomb Raider controls, making it an unique experience in the saga. What makes this game so great is it's soundtrack, the first one in the saga recorded with live musicians. The work on the music is outstanding, even better than most nowadays games. The game itself is not that bad, it's not the better of the saga (at least for me), but it's not that bad. It does have bugs, I even encountered a GIANT Lara for no reason (LOL) but the game is enjoyable and the story is very good.
Angel of Darkness is the sixth episode in the Tomb Raider series. Lara is not dead and she's back for new adventures. This was also the first "Next gen" Tomb Raider game (It was released on the PS2). For that reason, Core Design tried to make a more innovative gameplay. Lara (And her new ally) can improve her skills and getting better and better at what she does. The story is cool and the presentation was pretty good for this period of Gaming History. Unfortunately, the game was not as polished as it should have been. The controls are clunky and there are a lot of glitches. It’s still somewhat decent and fun but it was a huge disappointment back in the day...
TR: AoD is an AMAZING game, but it could be a real masterpiece, if it didn't get rushed up (it got released too much early and it wasn't finished). I'm amazed to see how developers kept all classic and fantastic "items" of classic Tomb Raiders and blend them with some modern gameplay. All crazy Lara's jumps and movements which made older games fun (because they were DIFFERENT from reality, instead of newer Tomb Raiders which are just too much realistic, and that's how games should be: fantastic and different from reality) got improved and they're now more realistic and natural. So, you can still do all cool huge jumps and you can still be a really strong woman, but more "naturally" and you will have to improve your strength, stamina, etc. during the game. The Angel of Darknes represents the classic Tomb Raider games in a complete version (in terms of gameplay). The bad point is that it was released too early and some cool parts were cut, so that, sometimes, you will feel just as there is something missing. The plot is amazing, deep and has some twists. Graphics are AWESOME, it's unbelievable how a 2003 game can be that good looking. Amazing reflections, DoF, good textures, effects, good shadows, and a lot of things... ... but it's also unbelievable how a 2003 game can lag on a 2010 computer. In fact, it's poorly optimized. Oh, and soundtracks are mind blowing, probably the best featured on all Tomb Raider games! Graphics + performance: 6 *Graphics: 7.75 - unbelievable *Performance: 3.75 - very bad Plot: 6 It's very good and deep. I really enjoyed it. Gameplay: 7 It's somehow innovative, because it merges classic gameplay with a modern and a more realistic one. Longevity: 5 It's long enough, but it could've been even more, if it didn't get rushed up. Sound: 7.5 AMAZING soundtracks, or better, mind-blowing! Dubbing is very good. Final score: 63 Very good game, I recommend it to anyone!
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