Review by Wild Ali

Reviewed: 11/01/99 | Updated: 07/05/02

Is this game better than Tomb Raider III? No. Is it a good game? Yes.

Don't have a heart attack. Please.

Because I did indeed say that Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft is a far better game than the above-average Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.Yes, it's true; Soul Reaver offers up many innovations. And of course, the infamous 'Tomb Raider' game series is really starting to get a little old now.But anyone who's played both Legacy of Kain and Tomb Raider III can tell you which game totally marvels them with solid realism, spot-on controls, and a variety of mind-numbing puzzles. And that game is Tomb Raider Three.

So, many of you have stopped reading my review, right? You don't want to accept my opinion on this matter? Well, that's OK...it's only an opinion, and it isn't mandated by our Creator as truth, or anything crazy like that. Instead, it is merely the opinion that I have developed after playing both games extensively. To try to explain why I feel that Tomb Raider III is ultimately abetter game than Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, I will rate LOK:SR in five categories: Graphics, Music, Sound, Control, and Originality. Then I will draw a comparision to TRIII, to show the infinite similarities between both games and how Tomb Raider III does all the things that Soul Reaver does (to a point), but does them better.

Graphics: 9.0 The meat of any game, even though no one admits it. Tomb Raider III still amazes me with it's incredible high-res graphics and itsoverwhelming sense of atmosphere. When you go though the levels in TRIII, it really feels like you're there...in an ancient temple, or in late-night London.Legacy of Kain: SR is very well-done graphically, and has amazing locales (check out the Pit of the Dammed...nice!), but you don't really feel quite thesense of total immersion that you felt in TRIII. Perhaps it's because the environs are fictious?

Music: 8.5 Music is very important in most games, even though some gamescan get away with total silence, if it enhances the mood rather than isolates, as in TRIII. In Tomb Raider III, music is used to enhance the mood rather thanto drone on and on continuously, ad nauseum. Legacy of Kain: SR uses sharp enviromental music well, but sounds too "urbany" and "new-agey" in places for such a Gothic, Medieval-enriched game like LoK: SR.

Sound: 10 The sound in this game is DIVINE. EXCELLENT voice acting portrays the interesting story, and all SFX, from Raziel's feet scufflingacross the marble floors, to the guttural screeches of a Vampire impaled, are incredulously sharp and resonant. Tomb Raider III gets the same marks from me, sans the voice acting rave (the voice acting in TRIII is just slightly above-average, IMHO) that I give LoK: SR. The sound FX in both games are justheavenly. So I'm not disappointed in this area, for sure.

Control: 7.5 This will either make or break a game (compare Super Mario Bros. to Batman and Robin for PSX) and Legacy of Kain: SR is no exception. The controls in TRIII are spot-on...deadly accurate and non-forgiving, which makes a successful pit jump or shimmy feel that much more rewarding. Not so in Legacyof Kain: SR. In some parts of the game, the computer would controlyour character for you (especially in twisting corridors), which took away fromthe 'immersion' factor of the game. And the controls feel way too loose and automatic for their own good. The spotty camera work doesn't help either; thewonky camera angles oftentimes end up forcing you to manually adjust your view just so you can see how to make another perilous jump. Larverly.

Originality: 5.0 I know that this is hard to come by in a gaming age of rip-offs and 'sequelitis', but still, all can't be lost yet, I believe. TombRaider III is very inventive with its puzzles (they haven't been truly replicated in any game), and it made female main characters in video games the "in-thing" for the 90's. Which is good. And TRIII oftentimes gets a bloody bad rap for catering to the male sex, as if that was so bad to begin with. Sure, Lara Croft has big melons, so what? I've seen women with bigger packages,and they weren't packing silicone.

Now, I will go on a tangent about Lara Croft and her Breasts.

Tomb Raider III takes a lot of flak for exaulting feminine wiles and such. Notthat it's bad, it isn't actually, but still...people have a problem with womenwho have chests that aren't as flat as a man's. Think about it...make a womanlook feminine in a game, and she's a whore. A vixen, maybe. But make her looklike a guy in drag, and suddenly she's the "pinnacle of ladyhood".

Whatever.

I go to the beach too often in life, and must be subjuated to oodles of lassestrotting around half-naked with breasts that aren't silicone, and they would putLara Croft out of business. Rarely do I see a flat-chested woman. Rarely. Sowhy would women be offended by this [Lara Croft] imagery?

They're not. They're really just trying to get your attention. Why, you ask?Well, maybe you might be ignoring them, or maybe you're paying too much attention to the "virtual Lara-Croft-babe" or whatnot, which equates to a womanas mental adultery, but still, it's all just over-hyped garbage meant to drag in sales. Core and Eidos know the skinny...America knows it as well. Sowhy make a big ado out of nothing? Why not just accept TRIII for what it is?

Well, in an age where progress is concurrent, we should be beyound these...trivial amusements, these...societal fronts...but, I disgress. Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, here's my last rating for Legacy of Kain 2.

Overall: 8 I like Tomb Raider III. A lot, you might assume, if you've read my review. But I also like Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver. I do, however, think that it's very overrated. To prove my stance on this, I've recentlyplayed Final Fantasy VIII. It is a magnificient game, and I'm sure you'd agreewith me. I read many hyped reviews, many of everything, seen pictures out of the wazoo of the thing, and still was decidedly happy and not disappointed withthe final product. On the other hand, I read tons of reviews, saw tons of pictures and raves for Legacy of Kain, about how it makes the Tomb Raider gameslook like dirt, and how it's so different from it. Then, I bought and playedLoK, and was severely disappointed. It was Tomb Raider II (not III) meets Zelda in Hell, and I was expecting more from it. After playing it, my expectations waned and became realistic, and I began to enjoy the game for what it's worth. But I still think that Tomb Raider III looks and plays better thanLegacy of Kain: Soul Reaver, and that's really it. To me, really, the overhyped Legacy of Kain is a decent diversion that might last 6 months in my PSX library.

To sum it all up, let me say this: I fell for the hype with Final Fantasy VIII and I came out of the experience happy and not disappointed. I did the samefor Legacy of Kain, and I felt let down and frustrated. So, in the end of allthings, my expectations were met for Final Fantasy VIII, my expectations weresurpassed for Tomb Raider III, and my expectations were not met for Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver.

Make of that what you will.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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