Eidos-Interactive

“One night… in dreaming… came to me… the spirit of the sphinx. In his passing, he spoke unto me words of great wisdom. ‘Thutmosis, here is your true destiny: This land of Egypt is forever yours to rule. In return, protect me always from the sands of time. As you are, I must be free from head to toe. So that we both may see the divine beauty of creation.’ ”

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In providing the information heavy Detective Vision and so many vertically advantageous locations for the player to traverse, Batman: Arkham Asylum greatly changes how stealth is employed by the player. By giving them so many advantages when going after groups of armed enemies, but still leaving them relatively vulnerable to gunfire, the game is able to create an intriguing mode of play, where the player is always at the advantage, but never completely invincible.

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The Russian Tomb Raider fan community have been hard at work on their own localisation of the first three Tomb Raider games and alongside those developments, a talented programmer Arsunt has been digging through Tomb Raider II and optimising it for modern PCs. Anyone who has played TRII on PC in recent years can tell you that the game has a number of shortcomings as display resolutions increase and 16:9 became the standard. So far Arsunt has managed to implement full 16:9 support, corrected the display of sprites (no more straining your eyes at tiny pick-up displays, ammo counters or health bars) and my personal favourite; customisation for draw distances for land and water. That’s the dense black fog the first three games used to save memory when displaying larger areas. Some people love the fog and feel it adds to the atmosphere but I have to say there’s something about seeing these environments all at once for the first time that makes them feel brand new again after twenty years.

Arsunt is also working on solving a number of bugs that plague the PC version as well as porting over PS exclusive features such as semi-transparency for water and gunfire, gradient health and air bars and barefoot SFX. He’s already succeeded in porting the PSX’s waving inventory to PC. If that wasn’t enough, there’s also support for HD FMVs, HD image packs, external texture packs and language packs. With TR3 to come!

PC players, if Nicobass’s incredible demo had you wanting to swan dive back in to Tomb Raider II, it might be worth holding off just a little longer for the release of Arsunt’s optimisation. It looks like it could be the definitive version.