Tomb Raider: The Prophecy Review


Lara Croft is a lady that needs no introduction to most gamers.  She's appeared on just about every gaming platform since debuting on the PC in the mid-90s.  Her latest appearance is on the GameBoy Advance, in an original adventure called The Prophecy.  This time out, an evil cult has obtained three mystical stones that they intend to use to raise their evil Grand Master.  Lara must travel to the snowy mountains of Norway, explore ancient Greek temples, and even enter the Romanian fortress of the Grand Master himself to retrieve the stones and put an end to the cult's plans.

Screenshots
Watch out for that hole!

The Prophecy shares some traits in common with your typical side-scrolling portable game - gap jumping, ladder climbing, etc. - but is not constrained to the usual two dimensions of movement.  Lara can move in any direction and can jump over gaps and obstacles.  This pseudo 3D environment, along with the overhead, three quarters perspective camera, frees you to explore the levels and gives you a more expansive view of the action than in most games of this type.  Combine this with the crisp, bright graphics and nice animations, and you get an easily playable little Tomb Raider adventure to take with you on the go.

Gameplay consists of making your way through labyrinthine temples and caves as you chase down the stones in question.  Your path will be barred by doors that can only be opened by hidden switches, holes to oblivion, and various and sundry traps that must be avoided or disabled.  In addition to the ability to run, jump, and flip switches, Lara can climb objects, shimmy along ledges, and make her way up ropes.  Lara also can also switch to weapons mode at the press of a shoulder button to take out any enemies which come after her.  When Lara has her weapons drawn she can't go around climbing things which makes running away not a very viable option, but the game makes it easy to aim at your enemies while moving so you won't feel pressured to try and take the flight option.

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Lara faces a shocking boss.

The downside of the gameplay is that it can be repetitive.  Run around and look for switch, avoid trap, open door and move to next area, repeat.  Don't get me wrong, this can be enjoyable enough at times, but the game does certainly have trouble holding your interest for long play sessions.

The game does not come with battery-powered save games, instead relying on a password-based continue system.  If you complete a level, you are given a password that will allow you to start your next gaming session at the beginning of the next level.  The problem with this is that you lose any items such as health packs that you collected on previous levels when the system is turned off.  Also, gameplay always begins at the beginning of a level, so if you die after making it 90% of the way through a level you're stuck starting it over.  This means flipping the switches and fighting all the enemies in the level all over again.

If you've never liked these types of games, then The Prophecy probably won't change your mind about them.  Lara has a nice range of moves, but the game is pretty linear and straight-forward.  What you have in the end is a nice looking but fairly standard game that will have the most appeal to Lara Croft and action-adventure fans.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 75%.  Tomb Raider fans will probably enjoy Lara's latest portable adventure, but don't expect to find any groundbreaking gameplay.