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Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

© Crystal Dynamics/Aspyr

On the video game market, the trend has been (for several years now) towards remakes. After Resident Evil 4 (among others) last year, 2024 will soon allow us to discover the sequel to the Final Fantasy VII remake (and soon Silent Hill 2). But before this highly anticipated Rebirth (which will be available at the end of February), it is Tomb Raider which returns to the forefront. Despite its “Remastered” name, this trilogy offered by Aspyr offers much more than simple “HD smoothing”.

Tomb Raider: neither a Remastered nor a remake…

The promise of this Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered is to have a modernized trilogy, without betraying the original spirit. Also, like the excellent Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap or Halo, this Tomb Raider allows you to switch from remastered graphics to original polygons in one click. In 'modern' mode, the whole thing continues to rely on the engine of the original game, for its sensations which are strictly identical to the game that you (perhaps) discovered ago almost 30 years old.

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

Tomb Raider in “original” © Presse-citron.net

Even today, many people remember the discovery of the very first Tomb Raider, in 1996. An ultra-charismatic heroine, a side “< em>Female Indiana Jones“, 3D galore, puzzles, weapons and even a T-Rex. In short, it's impossible not to give in to a certain emotion by relaunching this historic game today.

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

Tomb Raider version “2024” © Presse-citron.net

It must be said that at the time, Tomb Raider was not just a video game, and would quickly become a social phenomenon. We particularly remember Lara Croft on the cover of certain magazines, without forgetting the presence of the adventurer in TV advertisements.

A striking overhaul (but old-fashioned nonetheless)

Visually, the work done by the developers is truly striking, so much so that the “Remaster” mode reveals a game similar… to the one idealized by our memories. Indeed, it is not uncommon for our memories of yesteryear to enhance a game that we loved in the 80s/90s.

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

© Presse-citron. net

In the case of this Tomb Raider, the “modern” version ultimately represents this “memory” side rather well. Press the Start button, and you immediately switch to the original version… and it will definitely come as a shock to you. “Ah okay, actually it was like that…”. Let us point out, however, that the original game was displayed on a CRT television and that the rendering to the eye was “less worse ” than the one displayed here. But that is another debate.

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

© Presse-citron.net

A duality which is also found even in the game's menus, which use the interface of the time. Here too, press the Start button, and you switch from a modern interface to a more retro interface. And we have to admit that we often have (very) fun switching from one mode to another. Excellent.

Note that upon its launch, this Tomb Raider compilation is preceded by a small warning message, which refers to games containing &#8220 ;insulting descriptions of people and cultures that stem from racial and ethnic prejudices“. Stereotypes announced as “unhealthy and inexcusable“, but which are nevertheless presented here in their original form “with the ambition of recognizing their harmful impact and drawing the necessary lessons“.

Crystal Dynamics wanted to display a message of recontextualization and warning, without clearly explaining the reasons (probably linked mainly to Tomb Raider 3), but without also (and above all & ;nbsp;!) deny the original games. The three games are therefore presented here in their complete version, without the slightest change/censorship. Phew!

On the content side, we obviously find the first three adventures of Lara Croft in their entirety… with the added bonus of the presence of DLCs previously unreleased on consoles. Indeed, the first opus is accompanied by Unfinished Business, the second by Le Masque d’Or and the third by Le Dernier Artéfact, three bonus contents then offered only on the PC version of each game. Chouette  !

Old-fashioned and modern controls, but…

As for the gameplay, here again, the developers wanted to respect the codes of yesteryear. By default, Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered offers the controls “char“, i.e. old-style controls.

For those who yearn for more flexibility, one can opt for more modern controls, such as those adopted by more recent episodes (like Legends and Underworld). Be careful, however, on our side, if this maneuverability at first glance offers more flexibility in open areas, it is also accompanied by a slew of bugs linked in particular to the camera in more cramped areas. So much so that certain passages quickly forced us to go back to the old-style controls.

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

© Presse-citron.net

Idem with regard to the jumps, always just as risky, but also the way of reaching certain platforms, the really nasty cutscenes or even the puzzles “old style“. Add to this the absence of automatic saving (in favor of manual saving at will), so many people will be trapped by a death (absurd or not) after several dozen minutes of play, and who will be forced to start EVERYTHING again.

Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered review: beautiful as we remember ?

© Presse-citron.net

Overall, this compilation wonderfully transcribes the sensations (good and bad) experienced at the time, even if it means retaining quite a few flaws… A deliberate choice on the part of the developers, with games that allow you to enjoy better visual comfort, without sacrificing the original DNA. Also note, and unfortunately, a total absence of bonus content (artworks, making of…) here.

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Without being perfect, this Tomb Raider 1-3 should nevertheless delight early fans, especially for a price of €29.99. Those who are going to discover the games for the first time will enjoy the first three Tomb Raider in 'Deluxe' version, but it will however be necessary to show a lot (a lot) of indulgence in the face of numerous approximations and other defects of all kinds.

Our opinion on Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered

It’s undeniable, Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered is a good compilation… For the fans of the first hour. We find there the DNA of the original games (with their qualities and their defects of the time), while benefiting from a welcome visual overhaul (which matches the game to our memories). Nostalgia is obviously omnipresent, with the ability to switch from modern to vintage graphics in one click. It's a shame, however, not to have integrated an automatic backup (via a future update ?), but also not to have reworked the camera management a minimum (the “modern&# controls 8221;, a horror…) and certain gameplay elements, the games having remained “in their juice“. You have been warned.

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Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116