The 1997 sequel to the classic Tomb Raider, Tomb Raider II, was once again developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive.
The sequel builds upon the good parts of the first game and delivers even more Lara Croft hi-jinks and agility. An enhanced version of Core‘s Tomb Raider engine was used to power the game world.
Tomb Raider II features new weapons, extra acrobatic moves, more complex level designs, and even a set of vehicles. Lara‘s now got a flowy ponytail which bobs around as she moves, which adds to her character.
Gameplay remains much the same as before, but with an extra layer of complexity. Tomb Raider II is a worthy sequel to the classic Tomb Raider and retains the precise control system and imaginative levels. The vehicles in particular add an extra dimension to the game.
The game features more colour in the levels – the second level, Venice, is particularly vibrant – and the first couple of levels are mostly exteriors. Enemies again include animals, such as spiders, tigers, wolves, and birds, and from the second level onward human opponents becomes more prevalent. The animated character models are still very blocky and basic, except for Lara who has obviously been given more definition and finesse. It’s still a joy to control Lara and once you’ve gotten used to the controls you should be climbing and jumping your away around the landscape with confidence. The same as before: pressing the space bar will switch Lara between hands-free mode and combat mode, and Lara‘s two arms will again point at targets independently if she’s holding her default twin pistols. And various of extra weapons can be found while exploring. Ammo and health packs are occasionally dropped from fallen enemies, or found hidden throughout the levels.
The traps in the first level are quite evil, and smashing windows – so that you can climb out of them – is more of a thing in this game. At times it’s not always obvious where you have to go to next, but exploration and observation will point the way.
Tomb Raider II is a decent continuation of the Lara Croft story. It has just enough new features to feel like a progression, but enough familiarity to still feel like Tomb Raider. This second game in the series I believe skipped MS-DOS and came out straight onto Windows and was probably one of the first major PC games to make this important transition.