Available From: Mac App Store
More Information: www.feralinteractive.com
System Requirements: • 1.8GHz Processor • 3GB RAM with 128 MB VRAM • Mac OS X 10.6.8
If you miss the good old days of Lara Croft jumping around platforms wearing too few items of clothing, you’ll love Underworld, the latest Tomb Raider title to hit the Mac. The game’s beginnings are explosive, with Lara’s mansion burning to the ground and you learning the controls as you try to escape. From there you’ll jump across the world, from Thai coastline to the Arctic Circle via Mexico and a few more mythical locations. Underworld has some great graphical moments, with underwater ruins and huge temples that look fantastic if you take a moment to explore them. It’s all incredibly smooth, with fantastic animations and some impressive cut-scenes.
The gameplay is classic Tomb Raider too, with lots of jumping around platforms, or solving puzzles to open your path. These puzzles can be quite taxing, and solving them offers a real sense of achievement, but if you do ever get stuck there is a useful help system in Lara’s PDA that should give you a nudge in the right direction.
Combat is sparse, but it’s rather less successful than the platforming and puzzling. There is a choice of guns, but with unlimited ammo in the pistols you may find yourself sticking with them throughout. There’s no cover system to speak of, so shooting is a case of strafing around a target and clicking to shoot.
The story, however, is genuinely engaging, and thanks to the intro video you won’t need to be an avid Tomb Raider fan to know what’s going on. Lara is searching for the Norse underworld to find out what happened to her mother, who disappeared several years ago. The family element adds a nice twist on the usual plot.
It controls well, even with a keyboard and mouse. As ever with ported console titles, the sheer number of commands on offer means there are lots of keys to remember, but everything is dealt with well and Lara does what you tell her to for the most part. There are a few issues within the game with the camera, which often puts itself in incredibly awkward positions, but the mouse controls the viewing angle so a quick drag will fix that immediately.
It doesn’t reinvent any genres, but for Tomb Raider fans and those who want some classic platforming action, it’s a joy to see Lara back on the Mac.