Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Legend

aka: Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Legenda, Tomb Raider 7
Moby ID: 21999
Windows Specs
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Description official descriptions

Legend is the seventh major game in the Tomb Raider series, now for the first time developed by Crystal Dynamics, along with the original character designer of the game's protagonist Lara Croft: Toby Gard.

Heroine Lara is searching for a South American relic, but her adventure takes a different course when rogue anthropologist Amanda Evert shows up. Presumed dead along with a team of graduate students after an accident in a tomb in Peru, where Lara was the only one to escape, Amanda is back with a score to settle as they both race, along with the shady James Rutland Jr., to obtain an ancient artifact. Many other characters, both friends and foes, will stir things up. The story takes Lara through locations all over the world, from the Himalayas to Ghana, Kazakhstan, Bolivia, Japan, and England, including her famous mansion filled with secrets and collectibles. Aside from current events, Lara's past is also revealed, through flashbacks. Among other things, you will get to know how she lost her mother and why it is such a burden.

The typical third-person action-adventuring exploring is still present. Lara can move more freely and is no longer limited by specific jumps. As you travel through rough environments, you will need to run, dive, swim, climb on poles, ladders, roofs, use zip lines, shimmy, and vault, with acrobatic actions such as somersaults and flips. You need to cross difficult terrain, solve puzzles to advance or open up new areas, and engage in combat. New tools include a grappling hook, not only used to move around but also to haul enemies Scorpion-style, binoculars, a PLS (personal light source), flares, a PDA and a headset to keep in contact with tech support Zip.

Enemies are still rather scarce. Both humans and animals will attack you, and the game retains the auto lock-on mode, but now with a slide attack and close combat with both kicks and punches, plus bullet-time actions to get behind enemies quickly. Lara carries her trademark dual-wielded pistols, but can also pick up new weapons along the way, such as a shotgun and grenades. Missions take place in both indoor and outdoor environments, with arcade motorcycle and jeep sequences in between. As usual, Lara has a fancy outfit for each location.

The PSP version includes the full game and adds a multiplayer mode: Tomb Trials. You can race another player through tombs to see who comes out first, or go on a timed scavenger hunt for artifacts.

Spellings

  • Lara Croft: Tomb Raider - Легенда - Russian spelling
  • 古墓丽影:传奇 - Simplified Chinese spelling
  • 古墓奇兵:不死傳奇 - Traditional Chinese spelling

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Credits (Windows version)

300 People (260 developers, 40 thanks) · View all

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 81% (based on 79 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 134 ratings with 3 reviews)

What a change of developers can do...

The Good
I don't want to speak much about gaming history, but allow me to sum up shortly the impact that Lara Croft's first public appearance had. In 1996, the very first "Tomb Raider" was an awesome achievement. It pioneered, along with "Super Mario 64", the use of three-dimensional environments in the Jump'n'Run genre. It also had an engrossing atmosphere, state-of-the-art graphics and fascinating gameplay. It made Lara Croft a star, a brand name, that was used for advertising and appeared in nearly all kinds of media. That her fame is originally based on a really good and innovative game, is often forgotten. The reason partly is, that the sequels, that Eidos and Core Design pushed out in very short intervals, could simply not hold that quality. While Lara became a cultural icon, her games became more and more boring.

After the sixth major release, the critically panned "Angel of Darkness", Eidos realized that the next "Tomb Raider" had to make real advancements and took the series away from its original creators at Core Design. The result is "Tomb Raider: Legend", developed by Crystal Dynamics, who were among other things responsible for the "Legacy of Cain" franchise beforehand. The product, they finally delivered, goes after years of stagnancy suddenly even a bit far in expanding the old formula. It eagerly tries out new gameplay ideas – not always to good effects. But on the other hand this also means a fresh breeze, for that Lara's old tombs surely have begged.

Presentation:

Probably the first thing you will notice about the seventh "Tomb Raider" game are the truly gorgeous visuals. The engine behind all that is a completely new and absolutely good one. Firstly, Lara herself profits from the improved visuals of "Legend". The amount of polygons, that form her body, has increased noticeably. I'm also quite sure, that they scaled down her chest a bit and I must say, that the now more realistic proportions suit her well. Animations are also of the quality, we came to expect from the series: Lara's athletic exercises appear fluid and life-like. The facial design and expressions are also much more detailed. Personally I would say: this is the first time, Lara can really be called pretty. It is quite amazing by the way, how she is always perfectly styled, now matter whether she is visiting a party or a deserted dig site in Peru – it almost seems as if she were well aware of us gamers...

But what's really wonderful to behold are the panoramic landscapes, this game features. When you travel to Ghana and witness a natural spectacle in form of a valley with waterfalls gushing into a sea, you will certainly be impressed. Believe me, when I say: jumping headfirst from a cliff into that sea provides an amazing feeling. Ghana surely is a highlight, but there are other beautiful landscapes as well: for example the mountain regions of Bolivia and especially the snow-covered ones of Nepal. The more urban settings are no less stylish: the city of Tokyo, that you once can oversee from a skyscraper, makes a breathtaking sight. Kazakhstan remained the only place, that felt a little uninspired in my eyes. Otherwise, the detailed environments are of high artistic value.

The engine also is strong at bringing those places to life, which the series is named after. Lara again ventures into several old tombs, temples and ruins of ancient cultures – be prepared for some stunning architecture. Once Lara is inside those ruins, the atmosphere often gets quite intense. Those buildings show their age: the places are run-down and dark. In fact, the lighting is sometimes done superb and significantly fuels the unfriendliness, those ancient ruins emanate. You can notice about "Legend" that the designers previously worked on the "Legacy of Cain" series: the atmosphere is sometimes really dark and creepy.

One sequence, that is to be remembered, is Lara's discovery of legendary King Arthur's tomb. Here the game lets you descend to some catacombs, that are hidden underneath the British Cornwall and filled with deadly traps and the like. Deeper and deeper the game sends you underground. It confronts you with many dangers and a whole lot of coffins from less important knights, before you finally arrive in a huge cavern. There, placed near the rear-wall, stands an impressive gothic cathedral, wherein Arthur and his whole crew, the Knights of the Round Table, have their final rest. The dramaturgy of those moments is exciting. The dangerous descent and the slowly rising tension, that finally pass into a fascinating discovery.

When it comes to mythological charged places like King Arthur's grave, to exploring terrain that is unknown to modern mankind, "Tomb Raider: Legend" shines. The magic of the series, the sweet sense of being the one and only discoverer of ancient cultures most secret and holy treasures, is finally strong again. Also very important for the atmosphere of the game is the beautiful soundtrack, written by Troels B. Foelman, of whom I never heard previously. Nevertheless the music is a key factor to the tension, the game sometimes manages to build up. More important than the beautiful main theme and other quite magnificent interludes, is the dynamic drive of the score: how the music oscillates between bombastic and quiet, how it changes with the mood of the game, how it underlines your seeings, your discoveries. There is no doubt, that this is by far the best soundtrack ever heard in any "Tomb Raider" game or movie, which is just another part of the all in all awesome artistic presentation of this title.

Gameplay I:

As long as it sticks to the classic strengths of the series, first of all the jumping and climbing, I don't hesitate to call the gameplay truly great. A minor problem is, that the level design is more or less in a conflict between offering challenging gameplay and realistic environments. It is sometimes irritating, how conveniently for example ropes and metal bars are placed through the course of the game – often in very unlikely places. This could easily destroy the illusion of the game, if one would care to think about it. But at least I was hardly ever bothered by that as the gameplay proved to be captivating enough to make me get rid of those logical objections. It really is a fascinating thing, how suspenseful virtual climbing can be – this was one of the characteristics, that made the very first "Tomb Raider" such an amazing experience in its day.

"Legend" sure is less complex than the first "Tomb Raider" sprout. In principle the levels are fairly linear, but this is hard to notice, since the climbing action is so damn cool. You can jump acrobatically through the air, swing on ropes, grab hold of small ledges, poles and ladders and you will be swimming and diving through deep waters. Some new opportunities are included as well. The most important one is without any doubt the use of Lara's newest achievement: the grappling hook. Mrs. Croft can throw this magnetically loaded, handy little gadget at any metallic surface. Then, for example, she can swing on the attached rope beyond a deep abyss to a distant platform. But the hook often serves other purposes as well. Often you can pull metallic objects towards Lara, that she otherwise just couldn't reach. That still is not everything you can do in this game. It may be all about climbing and finding your way through a course of different obstacles, but nevertheless there is a lot of variety in the gameplay of "Legend".

The game features clever puzzles as well. Again, Ghana comes to my mind, where you have to activate a water wheel by opening a gate and thus directing the water down to it. This is not as easy as it sounds, as the procedure to open the gate is quite a complicated one. It is a good example for a huge puzzle, where several little puzzles are seamlessly integrated. You have to pull several levers, move heavy objects onto panels and solve some other simple tasks to get the water flowing. The problem is again to reach those mechanical devices. This involves not only the notorious dangerous climbing, but for example also navigating a primitive raft through the water on the other side of the gate. Here you have to use your grappling hook to overcome the stream of water by pulling yourself and the raft towards some objects. The game makes also use of physics: in this section you jump over boulders, that are balanced against each other in scales-like constructions. When you jump on the first one, it goes down, while the other one rises. You then have to catch the right moment for jumping on the second boulder. Bit by bit, with actions like that, you slowly make your way through the room and finally manage to get the water wheel working.

It may be hard for a reader, who isn't familiar to "Tomb Raider", to conceive that kind of gameplay as the fascinating thing that it is. But you have to believe me, that it is highly entertaining. It are those quiet moments, that mark the highlights of this game. Moments, where there isn't any gunfire, where nature is your worst enemy, where you have to be utterly concentrated to avoid deadly mistakes. The experience gets really immersive here and lets you forget about the outside world. Really, if Crystal Dynamics would have focused on this kind of gameplay, there would have been nothing wrong with "Legend". It could have been a glorious return for Lara Croft. But unfortunately other things get in the way...

The Bad
Plot:

Adding a narrative to a game can never be a bad idea, when you have good writers. However when you have bad writers, that furthermore make the mistake of taking themselves too serious, it can be all but enriching. When playing "Tomb Raider: Legend", you basically can notice, that a lot of energy went into creating the background story. There are quite numerous movie sequences, that some Hollywood directors couldn't have staged better (they are for example superior to Jan de Bont's second "Tomb Raider" movie, but I won't call this an achievement). The problem only starts, when you look behind the cool staging – and discover only bullshit.

"Legend" throws a couple of different story pieces at you. There are flashbacks, that show how Lara lost her mother, when she was a little child. There is her former friend Amanda Evert, whom she considered dead, but who is actually alive and now possessed by some weird demon-thing. And there is – a typical and uninspired excuse for globetrotting in a video game – Lara's search for the broken pieces of Excalibur. A good thing is, that the well-known legendary sword has a short but cool cameo as a usable weapon towards the end of the game. A bad thing is, that none of the mentioned story-ideas is elaborated in a convincing way throughout the narrative. The whole thing is nothing but a confused mess of different plot fragments, poorly told and garnished with some pseudo-intellectual history lessons, that would make any historian weep. But actually all of this isn't very annoying, compared to the heroine of this game.

When you examine people in real life a little closer, you may discover, that no one is as uncool, as someone who desperately tries to be cool. In real life those people are typically male. They often do stupid things like wearing sunglasses inside of buildings and eagerly try to dress and act in clichés created by the media, because they don't have any personality of their own. It's funny, how Lara Croft resembles those poor male idiots, that have no idea, how ridiculous they are. Lara's two most obvious influences are James Bond and Indiana Jones. With her dumb and worn-out phrases she seeks to imitate them in almost every line of dialogue. And she fails so miserably that you can really pity her – pretty, but stupid. You will miss those times, when she remained silent during gameplay and kept her dignity at least a little bit.

Lara is of course not the only one: "Tomb Raider: Legend" features a cast of other boring characters as well. Especially Lara's two colleagues, the black-and-white duo of high-tech-hobbyist Zip and snobby British academic Alister, are a consistent pain in the neck. Both are permanently in contact with Lara and babble stupid comments through her headphone. The dialogues in this game are sometimes really hard to bear. That frequent babbling is rather a disturbance than an achievement. Once a hallmark of raiding tombs, the sense of loneliness and isolation is now killed by meaningless conversations of meaningless characters. "Legend" demonstrates, how much atmosphere a silly story can destroy.

Gameplay II:

As already mentioned, gameplay is fine, as long as the developers stuck to the strengths of the series. But there are also several attempts of integrating new gameplay elements and many of them are implemented badly. Moreover Crystal Dynamics made the mistake of emphasizing too heavily on shooting.

As Lara's former friend and present enemy Amanda is not only possessed by a weird demon-thing, but also has a super-rich lover, who can afford whole armies of mercenaries, you really have to shoot a lot in this game. Maybe I could have lived with some shooting elements as little distractions from the main gameplay, as it was also the case in earlier "Tomb Raider" games. Maybe I would have even appreciated it, then. But "Legend" simply goes too far. The frequent shooting does the rest in making the atmosphere, the feeling of isolation vanish. Those mercenaries just don't fit in those deserted tombs.

Furthermore, the dramatic staging of the shoot-outs can not – or at least not very long – hide the fact that they are oversimplified. The shooting has never belonged to the strong sides of any "Tomb Raider" game and "Legend" can't change this. While companies like Rockstar Games showed cool ways of integrating gunfire into a third-person 3D-game, Crystal Dynamics must have slept. Basically, "Legend" offers the same shooting as always. Lara automatically locks a target (now visually indicated by a red frame around the enemy) and you only have to press the appropriate button to let your bullets hit. While doing so, you run aimlessly back and forth to avoid the bullets and grenades of your not so intelligent foes. Apart from the simplicity, that makes the whole thing boring very fast, another problem is that you often don't see the direction you're heading, as the camera prefers to show your current target.

All of those problems plague the franchise since its first installment, where it was even less bad, as shooting played only a minor role back then. The little improvements, that "Legend" has to offer, count almost nothing. The throwing of grenades goes utterly inaccurate and kicking at enemies is more or less ineffective. Of no use at all is the manual aiming. When you do so you are not able to move, which is always crucial if you want to survive. The summary: there are no real advancements to be found when it comes to fighting. Especially the boss fights I found annoying. They are everything but easy and last far too long.

There are some other new elements in the gameplay as well. And they are not always absolutely bad. The game has some simple reaction tests, similar to those seen in "Indigo Prophecy", but fortunately not that difficult. It certainly is nothing outstanding, but you can call it a nice addition. I think, the general idea behind "Legend" was, to offer a more diversified style of gameplay. And that idea is certainly not a wrong one. But the influences from other genres are mostly not beneficial. The performance, the game makes in some areas, is just not worthy of a top product. Take the racing sequences, where Lara rides a motorbike once through Peru and once through Kazakhstan. The handling of the vehicle is everything but accurate and the sequences as a whole are just primitive.

The Bottom Line
"Tomb Raider: Legend" once again shows the amazing potential of the series. But while the technical improvements are praiseworthy, the innovations in gameplay are often not. And the story, particularly the protagonist, gets on the nerves. I fear, there is no chance for Lara Croft to evolve into a brighter character, as her traits seem already determined. Maybe going to Hollywood was a mistake. An alliance between the anti-actress Angelina Jolie and the script writers of Paramount can do nothing good to the shaping of a character. The funny (or maybe not so funny) thing is, that it reflects in the games as well. "Tomb Raider: Legend" is somehow like a gaming equivalent to a Hollywood Blockbuster: highly polished visuals, an impressive musical background, frequent exchanges of fire, stereotypical characters and a silly story. It is entertaining while it lasts, but afterwards you will forget about it very soon. The only things that stand out, are those moments where the guns remain silent, as it is primarily the case in England, Nepal and Ghana. In those places the designers focused on the best elements of the series: the slow exploration, the delicious jumping and climbing, the clever puzzles, the intense atmosphere of isolation, the overwhelming might of nature. If they had concentrated more on these elements, they could have easily made a modern recreation of the truly "legendary" first "Tomb Raider" game, that made Lara Croft so famous in the first place. As it is, "Legend" is far away from achieving that goal, but is entertaining nevertheless.

Windows · by micnictic (387) · 2008

Pulls a once beloved series back from the brink

The Good
Tomb Raider: Legend is the seventh main Tomb Raider game and there were a bunch of side games as well. Keeping a series fresh this far in is quite difficult and very few franchises have managed it. In fact, the series was widely considered to have gone off the tracks around the third installment, but here it pulls it back by keeping the elements that worked and dumping lots that didn't.

One of the elements that hadn't been working was character designs. Lara, with her odd joints, large, immobile breasts, waist about as thick as her calves and awkward animation never seemed to me to be a woman so much as a wooden marionette: a grotesque parody of femininity. The character designs of Legend are still quite stylized. I wouldn't say any of the characters look like real people. It's more of a 3D cartoon, but the animation and facial expressions now suggest emotional depth like the previous system didn't. And Lara, while her body isn't exactly natural, at least reacts to gravity and has a waist that looks like it could hold some organs.

The cast has been entirely replaced here. Keeley Hayes of the MI-6 show plays the lead with just the right mix of British wit, steely determination and pathos. The rest of the cast are veteran voice actors and it shows. While the material isn't terribly difficult for the most part, this is top-notch game acting.

The ultimate weapon has been broken into X number of pieces and scattered around the world. You must gather all the pieces, one per level, to keep the bad guy from getting them or get them away from the bad guys, then use the assembled weapon to fight said bad guy. This has been the plot to dozen of games in several genres, including the last game I reviewed: Sly Cooper and the Thievius Raccoonus complete with the tragic parent-death, but here it works, largely because the actors and animators do such a great job selling the characters the characters. A good sense of camaraderie and betrayal along with a few attractive women and a few flashy set-pieces can go a log way to making a paint-by-numbers plot work. In keeping with this, the cutscenes are appropriately epic. Every boss fight and even the conversations seem like they are from one of the better summer blockbusters.

The controls for Tomb Raider were originally based essentially on the available buttons on the digital controllers for Saturn and PlayStation. Each new installment added a couple new moves, but it never really took advantage of modern controllers or rethought the whole scheme into something more workable. Here, the series redoes the control scheme from scratch and finally takes proper advantage of the analogue stick. Lara moves in the direction you push. There's no more back and forth punctuated by very slow turns, pixel-perfect jumps, etc and movable objects can now be put anywhere, rather than having to be rotated and dragged in increments. The most exciting addition is the grappling hook with can be used not only for swinging, but for moving objects you can't reach, which makes for some unique puzzles. All this is backed by a relatively accurate physics model which makes for some great physics-based puzzles, such as the makeshift catapult in the first level.

The control improvements really show in the combat. In earlier games, combat consisted of locking on to a bad guy and jumping back and forth like a crack-headed ferret while he takes a dozen shots to go down, unless the bad guy is a bear or something: then it's essentially the same, only it takes more shots and he doesn't shoot back. This is still the case to some degree, but things are drastically improved. I remembered in an earlier installment, I snuck up behind a guy who was on the edge of the dock facing the water and I wanted to just kick him into the harbor and be done with it, but the game didn't give me option. Now, you can kick enemies up into the air, do a Scorpion move with the grappling hook, blow up environmental hazards, hop into turrets and even do a slo-mo rebound off their chests while riddling them, plus there are grenades.

While it doesn't look as good as many games native to Xbox 360, Tomb Raider: Legend looks very nice. The textures and models are highly detailed and it's filled with great lighting effects and other effects, like Lara's hair, which has gone far beyond the simple jointed ponytail of Tomb Raider 2 and now hangs loose with appropriate physics in some levels.

The Bad
Like a lot of games that have tried to open themselves up to a wider audience, Tomb Raider: Legend errs on the side of being far too easy. Difficulty only affects the combat sections of the game, which are never very difficult. I blew through the whole game on medium in about six hours and most of that time was taken up figuring out the puzzles. All of the new stuff in combat isn't really necessary unless you're playing on hard mode and barely even then. I'm not sure dying is even possible in easy mode (except from falls) unless you do it on purpose. Medium should have been easy, hard should have been medium and there should have been a mode that anyone who'd played a game before won't just blow through in a couple evenings.

On a related note, I'm not fond of the vehicle segments. There was clearly an effort to make them accessible to people who don't play driving games, but it went way too far. The brake/accelerate are digital, so there's no concept of controlling your speed. There really are no tricky turns, tight passages, etc, so this isn't crippling, but it means all you do is hold down the accelerator and avoid hitting anything. It's somewhat forgiving even of that. There are enemies, but all you have to do is hold down the trigger whenever they appear and make sure to use a health pack occasionally and keep driving as usual. You don't even need to pay attention to their positions.

The checkpoints are always right before cutscenes. You can't just press a button to skip them, either. In order to get past a cutscene, you must pause, then select "skip cutscene" from the menu. It's poor interface design.

I'm not sure if this next item is another bad interface decision or just a missing feature, but as far as I can tell, you are only allowed to save mid-level your first time through the game. Once you've beaten it, the continue function just brings you to a list of levels rather than back to where you left off.

If you closely at the pretty graphics, you'll see the cracks in the design. Lara's shadow doesn't always quite touch her feet. In several cases, small, mobile objects start off suspended in the air until you interact with them, like the paint cans on the scaffolding in Tokyo. The various plants on the ground look great sitting there, but pass right through Lara's legs rather than bending out of the way and when you dive or surface, it takes the camera a second or so to switch between the regular and underwater rendering modes.

The default brightness is way too dark. If your TV is properly calibrated, you won't be able to see anything in the cool sepia flashback in Peru since you don't have your chest light there. Luckily, you can turn it up.

While this won't affect most of you, the surround sound implementation is a bit glitchy. Frequently, when I was firing a gun, it came out of the rear speakers, even though Lara was in front of the camera and it should have been from the front, leaving me spinning around trying to find the guy behind me who was shooting, who did not actually exist.

The achievements leave something to be desired. You get points for beating the game, beating the time trials and collecting the collectables, basically, your standard goals. They lack the inspiration of something like Crackdown or Gears of War.

I remember the first Tomb Raider game being controversial because you killed a lot of animals. This is still the case and it's as nonsensical as ever. For instance, I was in a temple of a pre-Incan civilization in Bolivia when I was attacked by a Jaguar. I had evaded several death traps and swum through a deep underwater passage to get there? Cats are nimble, but generally don't like getting wet, so what's he doing in here? If the combat actually dressed up the platforming and puzzle solving like it's presumably was supposed to, this wouldn't be such a big deal, but it's not challenging enough to be anything more than a distraction.

Similarly, Lara seems to be rather ruthless for a blue-blooded archaeologist/explorer. By my estimates, she killed considerably more people in Kazakhstan alone than the Bride killed in both Kill Bill movies combined. How do the villains keep finding mercenaries willing to take the job? Lara isn't a trained assassin/superspy/career soldier like James Bond or the Tenchu crew or Master Chief. It doesn't make any sense for her character to be a stone-cold killer, but she keeps up in body counts and this is just ignored by the narrative.

The Bottom Line
This is the best Tomb Raider game by far. It's odd the way various influences collapse upon each other. Tomb Raider itself was originally somewhere between a female Indiana Jones and a 3D Prince of Persia. Then, the Prince of Persia and Indiana Jones games came to 3D and borrowed quite a bit back and Tomb Raider came to the movies and turned out like some sort of modern take on Indy. Now, the new Prince of Persia games and the movie adaptation have had their influences poured back into Tomb Raider. The result has been fairly refined, though at a few points I got confused and tried to use the Prince of Persia controls, which have several differences. The game is short and easy, but it's still easy to justify the purchase at the prices this has been going for lately. What there is is plenty of fun. My complaints about the violence are really a complaint about video games as a whole, so that shouldn't dissuade you. While it's far from the greatest game ever, it's certainly the best this series has produced and shows a lot of potential for future growth.

Xbox 360 · by Ace of Sevens (4479) · 2007

Legend plays like an impressive tech-demo

The Good
After the commercial failure that was Core Design's Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness the series was in trouble. Thus, Crystal Dynamics took over the franchise and they hired Croft’s original animator, Toby Gard to consult them in reimagining the series with Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend. Also, BAFTA winner, Troels Brun Folmann won Best Original Score for his compositions in Legend. Additionally, Gard and Eric Lindstrom used elements from the Paramount Pictures Tomb Raider films starring Angelina Jolie. Furthermore, Crystal Dynamics modified Lara's controls by using their Legacy of Kain technology, which made the game run a lot smoother than before. Overall, the story pertaining to King Arthur's sword is entertaining enough and Legend is presented well and offers a good amount of replay-value.

The Bad
The QTE's and on-rails vehicle mechanics in Legend were reminiscent of Tomb Raider's earlier era on Sega Saturn, yet Tomb Raider was never an arcade game. This structure made Legend extremely simplified in its design, with too many in-game prompts and an overly streamlined experience. Also, the game ends on a cliffhanger and is overly short.

The Bottom Line
Legend goes back to the basics of Tomb Raider and Crystal Dynamics played it safe as newcomers to the series. However, with Gard on board, he was able to steer the character in a direction that was more in tune with his original. The bottom line is that Legend plays like an impressive tech-demo showcasing the capabilities of the Legacy of Kain game engine.

Xbox 360 · by john perkins (11) · 2021

Discussion

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kazakistan amanda monster's friend alex 76 Jan 31, 2008

Trivia

1001 Video Games

The Xbox 360 version of Tomb Raider Legend appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Controversy

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend got its own Nipplegate scandal when someone ripped textures from the game prior to the US release, unveiling a complete nipple. It was used as a texture for some female dancers in the Tokyo level, as initially the animators use a naked model to drape dresses around them later. In fact, the texture is not even mapped to any points in the meshes, meaning that it is impossible to see it in-game. However, Eidos wanted to avoid a Hot Coffee scandal, so it has been removed from the US release, and on the day of the European release, a Windows patch was released with a replacement texture, even though that is not mentioned in the patch notes.

Next Gen mode

Although the Next Gen mode for the PC version makes Lara and the environment look much better, it omits a few effects seen in the normal mode. For example when Lara gets out of the water in the latter mode, her skin is wet and water is dripping from it. In Next Gen mode however, this effect is missing. Also in certain levels (e.g. Japan) some of the Neon Lights are disabled in Next Gen mode. Several of these issues were fixed in later patches.

References

The guys at Crystal Dynamics seem to have fond memories of their Legacy of Kain series: out of the gazillion possible secrets to unlock in Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend, there is the possibility to wield Kain's legendary Soul Reaver. All time trials should be beaten to get it though, and it's not that good a weapon either.

Awards

  • GameSpy
    • 2006 – Best Rise from the Ashes of the Year (PS2)(
  • PC Powerplay (Germany)
    • Issue 02/2007 – Best Comeback in 2006 (after the disappointing previous installments)

Information also contributed by Dr. M. "Schadenfreude" Von Katze and Karthik KANE.

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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Sciere.

OnLive added by firefang9212. PSP added by Xoleras.

Additional contributors: Unicorn Lynx, Jeanne, UV, Zeppin, Paulus18950, Cantillon, Evgenii Andzhe, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, FatherJack, Kennyannydenny.

Game added April 10, 2006. Last modified February 19, 2024.