Xbox 360 Review: Tomb Raider Underworld – Lara’s Shadow

March 19, 2009 by  

See the lighter side of Lara’s Doppelganger

Lara’s Shadow places you in the role of the Doppelganger that you see in Tomb Raider Underworld, which tries to kill Lara. The downloadable content sees you attempt to restore an ancient machine to restore health to Natla, who is in bad shape after the events of TRU. The Doppelganger has a few lines of dialogue, but is mostly quiet…unlike her double.
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The DLC adds in a new ability, which changes the gameplay to make it more combat-focused. You have a shadow power which can be activated with either shoulder button and once charged, a simple button press can deal a lot of damage to the enemies that you will face in Lara’s Shadow. There’s also a puzzle element to using this power as it slows down time and makes you very fast. With it, you can climb up walls that you can’t without using it, slow down platforms and lasers and so on.

There isn’t much of a challenge in Lara’s Shadow, although I did die a LOT thanks to some puzzles that required a bit more thought and every time I messed it up, I died. The game pops up hints to help you along if you are stuck, but you shouldn’t really…It took me about 2 hours to do, but remember I did die a lot and I had a few breaks in-between. There are hidden relics and treasures to find, which will work towards achievements…as well as time trial achievements that will make you go through the game again.

Here’s the full achievement list for Lara’s Shadow:

Treasure Hunter—Find all Treasures in Lara’s Shadow (10 points)

Relic Hunter— Find the Hidden Relic in Lara’s Shadow (10 points)

Master Reward Hunter—Find the Hidden Relic and all Treasures in Lara’s Shadow (25 points)

Lara’s Shadow—Complete the Lara’s Shadow Mission (50 points)

Refinery Speed Run—Complete a timed speed run from the first slope in the Refinery to the back platform without saving (10 points)

Right of Passage—After destroying the Transformer, beat a timed speed run through the unstable passage without saving (10 points)

Shadow Combat Master—Complete the combat tutorial in Lara’s Shadow (10 points)
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The one problem I have with Lara’s Shadow is that you have to go back and forth through the one level at least twice. I became so used to the layout of the level that I could have done it blindfolded, no word of a lie…well maybe a little exaggeration.

You can use your guns, but they don’t deal that much damage…so it’s best to stick to good old combat, which is more effective in this than in the main game. In TRU, you could choose between them but fisticuffs didn’t seem worth it when you could kill an enemy with just a few bullets (unless you dragged the settings to the hardest possible) while in Lara’s Shadow, it’s almost essential to fight with your body and not with your weapons.
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Unfortunately, I missed out on Beneath the Ashes…so I was a bit lost when it came to Lara’s cutscene with the Doppelganger (No more spoilers, I promise!!) but managed to get the most of it thanks to Wiki, although it’s hardly the same, is it? I personally think this is a great piece of DLC, despite the lameness of backtracking.

Cutscenes are well done and voice-acting (although small) is impressive. You soon see that the Doppelganger isn’t such a bitch after all, although I wonder what will become of her afterwards. Will she make a return in the next game or is this the end of her? Such questions are ridiculous at this point; chances are we won’t know till the next game emerges anyway.

The Verdict

Lara’s Shadow is a fantastic piece of downloadable content that continues the story of Tomb Raider Underworld very well, it has its problems with backtracking…but it’s the only complaint worth mentioning. The rest is pure enjoyment and definitely a piece of DLC worth buying.

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