Tomb Raider: Legend Review

Developer: Crystal Dynamics Publisher: Eidos
Release Date: April 11, 2006 Also On: PC, PS2, Xbox and Xbox 360

Tomb Raider was one of those stubborn franchises that wouldn’t go
away. Eidos stumbled one sequel after another. Tomb Raider, many
hoped, would become one of those lost relics, never to be found again.
Well, Eidos has finally recovered this PlayStation-era relic and
restored it to the glory that it once was by switching development

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Fixing Tomb Raider would not be an easy task. Like the very tombs
Lara Croft raids in her games, Eidos left this series in ruins. Lara’s
first next-generation game on the PlayStation 2 was one of the worst
in the series and quite frankly, on the system. It suffered from
anemic controls, wretched graphics, a horrible camera and pitiful
A.I., not to mention the isometric stiffness and inconsistency of old
3D gaming.

With Tomb Raider Legend, Crystal Dynamics has settled for “out with
the old, in with the new”. The new philosophy took a lot of work, but
it paid off heavily. While keeping all that we loved about Lara
(uh…give me a minute…oh yeah, Lara, the adventure, the mansion,
her accent….pretty much the bare essentials of the franchise), they
scrapped most of the stuff you didn’t like. Yeah, the camera can still
be a nuisance, but the improvements are astounding.

Let’s start with the most noticeable to the eyes: her breasts. I’m
not being sexist in that remark, because what I mean to say is they’re
more proportionally sized. No longer are these melons larger than her
head. Maybe the smaller breasts helped Lara maneuver better too. Bye
long box-stepping, hello free control system. It begs the question:
what took Eidos so long to learn there are these things called “analog
sticks” that can do magical things in third person adventures.

Tomb Raider is about two things: action and adventure. You get
plenty of both and thankfully, they’re equally well done, except the
driving parts. You may scratch your head every now and then when it
comes to solving what to do next, but again, this is to be expected in
a Tomb Raider game. What really bothers me is unnecessary deaths that
result in long load screens to the last checkpoint. Not only do you
have to wait for load screens, you have to go painfully through
cut-scenes again. If you want to skip them, have to go through the

If you’re expecting an overly long affair, you might be
disappointed. I beat the game in three sittings, spanning roughly
eight hours total. With three difficulties, the length may vary a
couple hours from that (I played it on the medium difficulty setting).
Replay value is sparse. There are few motivating “extras”, but you can
visit Lara Croft’s mansion. It requires you to play single-player’s
story, but it’s a neat bonus where you can play around for a while.

If Eidos’ goal was to get Tomb Raider back on track, they did far
more than that. While most other Tomb Raider games are fatally flawed
in more than one way, Legend manages to diminish the negatives of the
past while exemplifying why Lara is still relevant. In one attempt,
Lara Croft manages to remain a prolific female protagonist in the
industry. Instead of uncovering a worthless relic, Eidos discovered
Excalibur with Tomb Raider Legend.

Graphics: 8
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Creativity: 7.5
Replay Value/Game Length: 8
Final: 8.3
Written by Kyle Review Guide

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