Posted by: peanutmaster | January 8, 2009

Tomb Raider Underworld – Eidos – Wii


The Wii doesn’t often fare well when it comes to multi format releases. often developers wave the Wiimote in gamer’s faces like a lollypop and hope it will distract them from the fact that they’ve spend £30 on a pile of steaming old poo. We half expected the same of Tomb Raider Underworld. We were wrong. Sorry.

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The game follows the same storyline as the other versions, and takes in all the same locations. Yes, it’s been pared back somewhat but what the game looses in scale it gains in finer detail. The fat has been trimed from several set-peice puzzles making for a shorter (arguably better paced) adventure, and greater variety is achieved with some brilliant pointer based puzzles.

Oddly, the stages are eerily lacking in wildlife. You’ll occasionally stumble on a dangerous creature, but not very often. Not that it matters as the sense of achievement gained from cracking a tricky puzzle far outways the mild panic caused by the slightly wobbly combat.

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But what of that Wiimote, have Lara’s abilities been unnecassarily mapped to an upward flick and sideways waggle? No, thank goodness. The only concessions here to gesture based controls are entirely logical and add to the enjoyment. For instance point at the screen to aim Lara’s weapons, raise and lower the remote and nunchuck to pull a switch.

A further trend-bucking feature is the sheer retina stroking loveliness of the visuals. It may lack the polish of the next-gen versions, but each environment teems with detail and Lara looks and moves like an olympic gymnast. Like Mario Galaxy and Resident Evil 4 before it Underworld proves the Wii games don’t have to look like something the N64 sicked up.

In short, Underworld is one of the finest Wii games to be released this year and offers a shining beacon of hope for Nintendo fans who are sick of waiting for a new Zelda. Time to dust off your Wii, we reackon.

RATING: 87%

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