Tomb Raider 2 – The Golden Mask

Published on 30 April 1999 at the now-defunct Yes, we actually reviewed demos. Back when that was still a thing.

Eidos is giving us a demo of the ‘gold’ version of Tomb Raider II entitled The Gold Mask. Wow, didn’t Sierra do something similar to this with the last King’s Quest? I smell copyright infringement. I’m going to attempt to explain the logic behind this demo, as it has in its time of existence already broken some of the major laws of physics and has sent the scientific world into a flurry of debates.

You see Herr Jones, it is not physically possible to walk through walls. Neither can one swim right through a dead shark. Mind you a shark is composed of enormous polygons. And Lara is composed of about 2. One for each breast. How else could this game have sold so well? There is also the question of the shotgun shells lying innocently around snow panthers. I detect pissed off animal rights activists in the distance.

Ah, Lara Crotch, er, Croft, the Demi Moore of the video gaming industry, but more exciting. Well guess what, she’s back. Yippee.

There is a niggling question on my mind. Why the hell release the gold edition now? While there are still Tomb Raider fans out there who’d jump for it like Paul for head cheese, Tomb Raider III crashed and burned, (despite being a good game), and yet Eidos is releasing a gold edition of Tomb Raider II? What’s that smell in the air? Do I smell cheese?

If you’ve played one Tomb Raider you’ve played them all. The demo plays the same as the three other Tomb Raider games, except this demo brings new meaning to the word “stinker.” The ‘Cold War’ mission left me wondering if anyone had ever heard of ‘light sourcing’ as this level just cried out for better lighting. Last I saw, light reflected off of snow.

A hint for those of you determined to complete the mission: use flares often. The problem with flares is that they are dropped the moment that Lara goes into ‘whip it out mode’ and fires off her pistols. Make sure you pick up all the flares in the level, otherwise you’ll have as much chance of surviving as you will of seeing ‘The Phantom Menace’ opening night.

Of course, the enemies also attack at random moments, which made playing stressful as I ended up all too frequently firing blindly in the dark, which quickly became an exercise in futility, despite the auto aim. On that note, including an opening video would be helpful to explain why the mission starts with Lara falling into cold ass water from the middle of nowhere. Or is that one of Lara’s new powers? Big breasts, big guns, and now wings.

The sound is average. Yep. Average. Just the regular ambient wav files copied from Tomb Raider 1. No really. You would think that by now someone would grasp the concept of A3D or EAX or something swanky like that.

Remember way back when Tomb Raider came out? There was an awesome level named St. Francis’s Folly that was simply mind blowing. It was a masterpiece in video gaming history and has yet to be surpassed in sheer originality of design. Now why can’t the same be said of the demo level? For the first time ever in a Tomb Raider game I’m going to slam the level design. I’ve seen better user created levels for Quake. Let’s put it that way. Quake.

As shown in the picture, the entire level was a bunch of walls and boxes with gourad shading and a bit of color. Of course, there is no map editor either since Eidos doesn’t want mappers making bad maps. Cough. Ok. Then how do you explain this mess of a demo?

Perhaps it’s the repetitive textures and floating gourad icebergs, perhaps it’s that Lara still looks like every guy’s greatest wet dream, perhaps it’s because the series is slowly dying, and Eidos is draining all life left in it. As a demo that’s only 10 MB, there’s a whole lot of nothingness. No really, one mission, no multiplayer, awful keyboard control with no mouse control, no replay value, unless her breasts bring somekind of value that, you know what, I’m not completing that sentence.

This demo has very little going for it. As a Tomb Raider level, it fails to deliver. As an exercise in level design, it makes me want to furiously beat myself into a bloody pulp on the floor. Mark thought it couldn’t get any worse with Gromada. Hey Mark, check this bad girl out!

The Goods

Size: 10.3 MB
Pros: Um, I guess being able to take screenshots of her ass for your friend next door on an old Apple IIe.
Cons: Graphics from the dark ages, awful level design, no mouse control, sounds taken from Tomb Raider 1, her breasts are triangular. This demo really is flat out bad.
Bottom Line: If you like to blow shit up and you have the patience to feel up a real flight stick… this game will smell sweeter than yer mom’s tuna casserole.

Worth it?

Download Factor: 3/5
Overall Fun: 1/5
Overall: 1/5