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Mon 9th Jan 2006
By David Whyld - See all my reviews
Chris Cole’s first proper non-AIF game (one room game aside), Lara Croft: The Sun Obelisk is actually an adaption of an AIF he wrote a while ago. While there’s nothing actually overly erotic about this game, several elements from the earlier version have crept in, although even with these this is the sort of game that shouldn’t offend anyone but the most prudish of gamers.
The storyline behind Lara Croft: The Sun Obelisk follows Lara’s attempts to find the mysterious Sun Obelisk, an artifact that grants special powers to anyone who gazes on it. However, the map containing the location of the Sun Obelisk has been stolen by Lara’s former friend, Damian Strathairn. Armed with a copy, Lara heads off in hot pursuit...
In many ways, this seems like an old-fashioned text adventure, the sort of thing that blossomed in the 80’s. Emphasis is on the puzzles and less time is given over to descriptions which are straightforward and to the point (although nicely written all the same). There are a few bad points - several of the locations are very similar - but nothing glaringly wrong, and a few occasions where very unfair puzzles are thrown at the player of the one-wrong-move-and-you’re-dead variety.
Not all of the AIF elements have been taken from the game. Examining a certain part (or, rather, parts) or Lara’s anatomy is still possible, and another puzzle later in the game is overcome by flashing said anatomy at her captive.
There’s a lot to like about this game: it’s fairly easy to make progress with, well written and has several decent puzzles. The harder parts - figuring a way past Jimmy being the worst of them - let the game down somewhat but providing you’ve got an earlier save game to fall back on they shouldn’t prove too frustrating. In a way, the only criticism I would have of the game is that it is too easy. Beating some of the enemies is childishly simple and often the most straightforward approach is the one that works best. Then again, this is probably better than having enemies who are next to impossible to defeat...
After playing this, I’m kind of hoping Chris converts his other AIF games into regular IF format because if this is any indication of what he’s capable of, I’ll certainly be looking forward to playing his other games.
Logic: 8 out of 10
No real lapses in logic on offer though getting the better of one enemy by exposing yourself left me wondering if such a thing would ever happen in real life.
Problems: 9 out of 10 (10 = no problems)
None as such though some of the enemies could have been made slightly harder to defeat, or the way to defeat them less obvious.
Story: 7 out of 10
A minimum of background but well written throughout.
Characters: 6 out of 10
Several different ones, all enemies. They’re reasonably well described although conversation with them seemed a bit limited.
Writing: 7 out of 10
Above average all the way through.
Game: 6 out of 10
Overall pretty good.
Overall: 43 out of 60