What lies within?
Following a short while after the now legendary Lara Croft was introduced to the world with the classic action adventure that is Tomb Raider, Dark Vengeance is a similar slice of gaming that doesn't quite live up to its inspirations. This is very much modeled on the Tomb Raider franchise, but lacks its epic scope, sprawling levels, globe-trotting narrative and that near perfect blend of action and puzzling, but it remains an enjoyable enough experience. The story here takes place in a fantasy-style world where a disastrous solar eclipse has been unleashed by a magical spell and which has seen the terrible Dark Elves returning to the land. As the Chosen One, it's your responsibility to save your people from certain doom by bringing the light back, although there are actually three characters to choose from, and your decision has fairly significant effects on how the game unfolds. Apart from the different attacks and abilities they have access to, the levels themselves also change according to who you're playing as, while items found as pickups will also be of varying degrees of usefulness. Dark Vengeance is a pretty solid piece of hack 'n' slash adventuring that isn't quite a classic but which offers enough interesting ideas to make it worth a look. The world created here is well realized, with visuals that haven't dated as badly as many games from this period, and with a good sense of atmosphere to enjoy, thanks partly to the claustrophobic level design. There is a good mix of action and puzzling, but the action feels a little tame compared to the TR games, although it does do a decent job with the puzzles. All in all, this isn't spectacular stuff but it certainly proves entertaining.