Firstly, let me nail my colours firmly to the mast- I've been a huge fan of the Tombraider series ever since I first bought a secondhand PS1 that came with a demo of TR1 from the cover of a magazine - I played the demo half to death, then zipped out and bought the full game. I've played every incarnation since, not necessarily finishing the later ones. After the pretty sub standard Angel of Darkness, I took a downer on the whole thing, yet I still tried both Legend and Anniversary on the PS2, though in truth I found them a bit ...meh.
Tombraider's strength has always been it's exploration and sense of isolation, and whilst I'm sure many will disagree, the combat could disappear from the games completely as far as I'm concerned.
I've not had my 360 long, and with Underworld at a bargain price, I decided to give it a go, and I'm very glad I did!
Despite what some people have said, the graphics are beautiful, each environment is nicely atmospheric, and by and large, massive. When you are making jumps above some of the long drops, it can give a real sense of vertigo- the fact that Lara lands in a nauseatingly unpleasant, twisted heap makes the long drops even more concerning. The mechanical hammer room is a good example of this, as is the huge rotating column that you have to climb - I'll mention no details of these, save to say it gets nerve wracking when you know that if you mis-time a jump, you'll fall to a grisly end.
I do have a few gripes, the first of which is the combat. Not that the controls are horrendous, or that there is HUGE amounts of it, more that I just don't enjoy it - as I've already said, for me the joy is in the exploration, the puzzle solving and the story (even if it is fairly basic, it's interesting enough), not shooting things. There are two levels based on boats with the enemies being soldiers/mercenaries, and I found these a chore, though in truth they are mercifully short, so no real problem there. Although some people like bosses, I was glad not to come across any in all honesty.
A second gripe are the motorcycle riding levels - I just fail to see the point, and the bike levels could have been easily done away with altogether, not to mention that it's the most peculiar looking bike I've ever seen - it seems to have a square-section off road car tyre on the rear, and the bike itself seems to have been designed by someone who has been TOLD what a motorcycle looked like, but has never actually seen so much as a picture of one.
A number of reviewers seem to have had problems with the camera and whilst I did have the odd moment of frustration when it got stuck, these were few and far between, and adjusting the camera angle manually usually sorted it out.
One thing I've completely failed to mention so far is the controls - on the block/cube based levels of the earliest games, the old control system was to my mind, near perfect (I appreciate not everyone will agree, but it really worked for me). As the level designs have become looser and less geometric, the control system has had to evolve to cope, and on occasion in recent outings it has failed miserably, but once you get to grips with it, the controls on Underworld are pretty nice, and slowly you'll gain confidence in making those leaps and jumps (huge drops and crumpled death thoughts notwithstanding). Combat is a little awkward, but nothing horrendous, as has been stated earlier.
Overall it's very much a fun game, and challenging enough to while away a good few hours - another reviewer claims to have completed it in two hours, and if that's true he must be a damn good gamer is all I can say. I have no idea how long it took me, but 12 hours or more would be my guess.
For fun, I've given it five out of five - this is Tombraider, and few fans of the original games will find too much to complain about here. Overall I've given it four stars - I've taken a star off purely because for me there's too much combat in it- some people would doubtless like to see more action, not less, but remove more (or even better, all) of the fighting in the next episode and I'll be a truly happy bunny.