Detail drives Tomb

Rating: NNNNNTOMB RAIDER III, for Mac, $65. Rating: NNN The cult of Lara Croft, the demon-killing computer babe with the short.


Rating: NNNNN


TOMB RAIDER III, for Mac, $65. Rating: NNN

The cult of Lara Croft, the demon-killing computer babe with the short shorts, huge chest and two guns strapped to her hips, rolls on in volume three of the massively popular Tomb Raider series, now available for Mac users.

Addicts of the remarkably detailed adventure game will already have figured out how to swing from vines, paddle the kayak and tackle the other additions to the game. Newcomers to the Tomb Raider series need only know that while, yes, there is plenty of killing and perilous adventure here, this is a time-waster designed specifically with the stereotypical basement-dwelling, girlfriend-free video-game addict in mind.

There are thousands of Web sites dedicated to Croft and her digital supermodel-worthy assets. A movie has been in the planning stages for years, and a subtly named offshoot game called Nude Raider, where Croft scuttles around stripped of her already meager clothing, also exists.

Remember, this is not a real person, just a video-game character.

Instalment number three spreads the action between India, the South Pacific, Area 51, London and the Antarctic. Croft travels around gathering clues to a sprawling mystery, battling killer monkeys, giant alligators and a T-Rex along the way.

As with the earlier versions, the game is immensely addictive. There are enough secret moves and subtle tactics to master that you can easily spend a few hours playing and not move more than a few yards (like I did).

With stereo sound and 3D panoramic views, detail is remarkable and the action is fluid, especially when you’re playing on a machine with a G3 or G4 processor inside. It’s those kinds of particulars that make games like this massive. Either you’re the type who doesn’t flinch when you call a fancy bit of image programming sexy or you’re not. No wonder it’s huge.

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