Review by JW ACE

Reviewed: 10/02/03

Would be a 10 if not for the bugs......

When I saw a friend of mine playing the demo of this game, I ran out and bought it. I should tell you guys that I love dragons, and have been looking for a game just like this for a long time. My prayers were answered, by Surreal.

Graphics

This games graphics are what you would call sweet and simple. The views wile riding Arohk are just awe inspiring. Upon closer look, the games engine(the Riot engine) is really simple. I believe the Riot engine is meant for more ''open'' levels, not meant to focus on tinny little details. As a whole, all the levels look good, close up, some spots look a little generic and undetailed. For example, the Wartocks have rather square heads, you just don't really notice this while they are running along a path waving their ax saying that they are going to kill you.

Sound
Voices are pretty good for the most part. With exception to some occasional lip sync miss match. The sounds of the dragon wings and breath weapons are excellent however.

Control
Here is one of the great parts about this game. The controls for both Ryhn and Arohk are very similar. Yes, even though Arohk will add another dimension to travel, the controls still handle the same. And quite honestly, I think the next Tomb Raider game should have controls like these. Surreal did an excellent job here.

Story-
Here is where it gets a little flaky. One, the typical story of my-home-was-destroyed-I-want-revenge is a little dull to begin with. Thankfully, the fact that your brother is taken captive adds a little spark....until you get to the end which I will not spoil for you. Lets just say it is a little tragic, not a terribly bad ending, just a little unexpected. The other thing is, although Ryhn is hot,(I would say hotter than Ms. Croft, yes even after Angilena Jolie played her)I would have liked to learn a little more about her. The game just picks up with your town being ran sacked and your brother being kidnapped. The story then gets way better, you are driven to find this famous dragon, who is asleep in a hidden cave somewhere.(although I would not want to wake up a dragon, but whatever, she had nothing to lose). The scene where she wakes up Arohk and bonds with him is a well done scene. You do get to know a little about Ryhn here as Arohk wants to know why she wants to bond with him, and makes fun of the fact that she can't let her brother go. She basically just stands up to him saying she wont be talked down upon by a dragon. He then decieds to bond with here, and honestly so would I.

I mean a female who won't take crap from even a dragon!!!Whats this girls phone number? Why aren't there more women like you? I mean 50% of the women I know are scared of grasshoppers.

So I rave on and on about this game...why only the 8? Well, the game has a lot of bugs, and I think it should have spent more time in testing. I even got the game a few years after is was made, after Psygnosis got bought out by Sony, after about 5 patches came out. There was still a few bugs in the game, with one of them being a crash and burn show stoper, with tech support saying stuff like, try walking backwards with Arohk breathing his fire. I mean what the hell is this? Futhermore, how did a bug like that manage to go through 5 updates without getting fixed? That is inexcusable. You could blame Surreal, but maybe its Psygnosis's fault, after all, Sony then had surreal make a sequal for the PS2, and that game had noware near as many bugs, plus is a console. So I'm sure Sony told them to take as much time as possible to work out every bug. Which is most likely what they did. Thats the advantage to a big publisher like Sony, they are willing to delay a few things, smaller publishers will push the developers into finalizing an unfinished product. And that is a lose-lose situation

Overall, if you take out the bugs(most of which are now with the final patch) you have a great game with a heroin that can compete with the great Laura Croft. Sorry Laura, but once another Draken game or two become mainstream, you will go down.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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