Pros: Keeps you playing. Fun and interesting.
Cons: Zip the hacker sounds so stupid.
Once again EIDOS has found a way to get gamers looking at Lara's knockers. But how is this so? She's dead! Well, the games is as follows: Lara's butler, childhood preist and some bald fellow she knew tell stories of Lara's adventures before the first TOMB RAIDER game. It's as interesting as the training level in THE LAST REVEALTION. This time I have to admit that CHRONICLES teaches us more about "the Crofty one" than we thought we knew.
There are 4 locations each with 4 levels. You begin in Rome where Lara is on her way to the Colloseum to recover the Philosopher's Stone. Remember that country hick named Larson from the first game? Well, he and jackrabbit frog-legged Pierre are back to stop her after she takes the Mercury Stone from them at an Opera.
There's also an underwater location staged in a U-boat that's headed for a stricken wolf ship containing The Spear of Destiny. No Beyonce about it! The deep-sea dive may shake gamers up a bit, so save your game very often. And the submarine is a fun level too; it gives a real feel of claustrophobia.
The Black Isle level is the most interesting: you go through all 4 of these stages without any weapons. The most you'll get is a torch, some writing chalk and a slingshot. This level dates back to when Lara was 16. It's creepy too, especially the Labyrinth level. Don't get lost in there.
The final setting is almost like METAL GEAR. If you are a long-time gamer, you will know the true meaning of "Tomb Raider". This level is truly challenging and fun. It is set in Von Croy Industries Headquarters. Remember the Iris artifact from THE LAST REVEALTION? It seems Von Croy recovered from his leg injury and now has the Iris on the 13th floor. Lara must sneak into his high security compound, take the Iris, escape with it and still get out of the building without a scratch. And it can be done. Believe me, I've done it several times already. There a heavily armed troopers with deadly ray guns and cyborgs that can only be defeated by using poison gas or water. You have to do a lot of "walking" on this stage too. If you run, jump or shoot at the wrong time, security guards not only attack you, but activate ceiling mounted gun turrets.
Lara's controls are still the same: for the patient only. She can now walk tightropes and swing like a gymnast on parallel bars. There's also the EDS (Extreme Depth Suit) used only in the U-boat level; it's better than swimming and has an endless air supply, until you get the Spear. The crowbar can now be used as a weapon to knock out unsuspecting foes from behind. The Chloroform works in this same manner. A new weapon called the HK Gun is pretty cool too. It has 3 settings and can be used with a pair of sunglasses that act as binoculars and lasersight. There's this little gadget called the Grappling Gun that for some reason can be fired up at vents only, and the ammo acts as ropes Lara can swing from. This title is not for the weak, complaining, impatient gamer. I strongly suggest that you buy the PRIMA strategy guide before tackling this adventure.
By the way, Lara looks great in that evening gown at the opera. There is one complaint, though. On the VCI Headquarters stage, Lara gets help from a hacker named "Zip". The voice actor for Zip sounds like he's on drugs. "Time to get hip with Zip?" "I ain't no x-ray vision superhero?" Zip even has a hightop fade, and that hairstyle went out with Cross Colours & Kid N Play! Zip is a stereotypical insult to African-Americans; he's sounds just plain stupid. Other than that, I liked the game over all.
Tomb Raider is about to go to PS2 as "Angel of Darkness". You can see these previews when you collect all 36 gold rose secrets in the game.