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TOMB RAIDER LEGEND
TOMB RAIDER LEGEND REVIEW
Date Played Sept 2010

It's hard to imagine someone who hasn't heard of Lara Croft of the Tomb Raider series as the gal has become something of an institution since her inception in 1996. Legend is number 7 in the PC game series, but she also appears in printed adaptations, novels, animated short films and movies, as well as inspiring a variety of merchandise. In the Guinness Book of World Records she is recognized as "the most successful videogame heroine."

Lara was first developed by Core Design and the games were both critically and commercially successful. However, eventually Tomb Raider started to fall behind the times and poor reception of the 6th game, Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness, resulted in a switch to American developer Crystal Dynamic for a makeover. Proving views are subjective however, AOD was my first experience with the Tomb Raider series and even though it did have specific failings, it engaged me enough to want Legend and its sequel, Underworld.


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Aside from the character, the premise of the games itself is alluring. Lara Croft, an English Lady of the aristocracy is an adventurer in the same sense as Indiana Jones, an archaeologist venturing into ancient ruins and tombs around the world in search of special artifacts. Add to the mix that she's rich, beautiful, intelligent, and athletic as well as a crack shot and it's a formula that can hardly miss. With a new game design in Legend, Tomb Raider once again became well received in the gaming community.

Legend centers on Lara's search for her mother and the sword Excalibur. Her adventures take her to Bolivia, Peru, Japan, Africa, England, Kazakhstan and Nepal. In addition to these, there is also a mini game within the game in the form of exploring her English Manor for puzzles and rewards. Along the way she can collect gold, silver and bronze relics which unlock extras such as outfits and models. It's rich in storyline and the various other parties interested in these artifacts provide the combat situations. A great portion of the game is devoted to Lara's athletics. Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.......no, seriously this is almost true as she scales impossible heights, hangs from precarious ledges and swings from ropes and vines.

I feel the graphics could have been better. To me they were slightly crude, but perhaps the designers didn't want to toy too much or too quickly with the institution that made Lara famous. It's always tricky dealing with serious fans. There are one or two glitches like Lara walking through objects and sometimes the camera angle is a decided nuisance. Learning to aim her in the right direction for a jump can be a frustrating experience. These don't seriously affect the gameplay, but there are a couple of more serious bugs that do. She is able to perform a vast variety of movements, almost too much, and this is one of those games where I feel there are just too many controls to remember, but it does make her very maneuverable in certain situations. Her swimming abilities, however, leave a lot to be desired.

Lara can carry one additional weapon besides her dual pistols as well as four grenades, which I found to be mostly useless. Much more useful is her grapple that allows her to cross chasms and move objects. The puzzles mainly concentrate on how to get from one place to the other and in finding the rewards. Some of these moves are pretty hair-raising and involve dizzying heights. There are also a few motorcycle gymnastics just to add variety.

In conclusion, although I found the controls to be somewhat unwieldy, (particularly during the boss fights) the game is a visual panoramic and the story very engaging. That aside, it's just downright fun swinging from pillar to post, swan diving from vast heights and doing back flips off the enemy. There's just never a dull moment.

Game Issues Experienced
  • There are a few game affecting bugs, some of which involve not doing something before you reach a certain point. The best advice I can give here is to go to the site Tombraider Chronicles or Stella's Tombraider where you can find everything you need to know as well as saved game files. There was one point in the Kazakhstan map where I had no choice but to download a saved game in order to move forward, but be warned that once you do, all the rewards in the manor have been collected, so my advice would be to make sure you finish the manor before this point.
  • There was a problem with sound static in the menu portion, but not in the game. If the problem persists, then disable the hardware acceleration on the sound card. Control Panel > Sound & Multimedia > Audio Tab > Advanced > Performance > Slide bar to None.
  • Although the menu says WASD for movement, the arrow keys also work by default without changing anything. That gave me some grief till I saw the light.
Development Note
Tomraider Legend was the first game that was not developed by Core Design and to this point in time became the highest rated in the history of the series as well as bringing commercial success back to the flagging franchise.

Since Crystal Dynamics was given Legend, they have since been involved in developing all consecutive new IPs and remakes of Tomb Raider games. They are also most known for the Legacy of Kain and Gex series, but since Legend have focused solely on Lara Croft games.
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Many digital distributors also offer "Online" CD keys that can be added to your Steam Library
Other games in series:  Tomb Raider Anniversary
Tomb Raider 2013,  See wikipedia
Rise of the Tomb Raider
GAME INFORMATION
  • Genre: Action adventure
  • Developer(s): Crystal Dynamics
  • Publisher(s): Eidos Interactive
  • Platforms: Microsoft Windows, Xbox & 360, PS2 & 3, other
  • Release: Apr 2006
  • Mode(s): Single-player
  • Media: Download, DVD, other
  • DLC Available: No
  • OS: Windows 2000/ XP
  • CPU: Pentium 3 1GHz or Athlon XP equivalent
  • RAM: 256 MB
  • Hard Drive: 9.9 GB free space
  • Video: 64 MB vram 3D accelerated card
  • Sound: DirectX 9.0c compatible
  • Shader Model: 3
  • Input for PC: Keyboard & Mouse, Controller
  • DRM: Retail Securom disc check
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  • Version: DVD 1.1 Patch 1.2
  • OS: Windows XP SP3
  • CPU: Athlon 64x2 4200+ 2200MHz
  • Ram: 4GB
  • Disk Drive: DVD/CD
  • Video: ATI Radeon 4830
  • Shader Model: 4.1
  • DirectX: 9.0c
  • Input: Keyboard & Mouse
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