By Fred Topel | Image property of respective holders
Tomb Raider: Underworld
Playing a 2D side scroller version of Tomb Raider Underworld made me realize that you can have all the best parts of Lara Croft and cut out all the aimless running around. Really, there's only a set track for the path she takes and the puzzles she solves. Confining it to the Nintendo DS means you get all the adventure and you never get lost looking for the next ledge or button.
Nintendo DS: Tomb Raider Underworld
It's the same Lara Croft. She's still awesome in 2D with beautiful 3D backgrounds and graceful acrobatics. She has the same move set so you still grab ledges, swing on rods and have to perfect your timing to move through the tombs. The camera even moves around like a next gen game, only you don't have to worry about getting disoriented because it's going to settle on the set 2D course.
The swimming physics feel the same with sharks and spear guns to navigate. Really, do you need an open ocean to feel like you're swimming? The game only exists in one spot. Solving puzzles with the stylus is brilliant, and locating and triggering them is just like the 3D games.
Some of the cinemas showing the path ahead of you can run a tad slow and take a bit longer than necessary, but that's minor. As an old school side scroller fan, I'm amazed to see that perhaps the ultimate example of 3D platformers just lends itself to the precursor format.