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★★★★☆

“One of the very first software titles I bought for the...”

Written on: 10/04/2006 by Parris1972 (9 reviews written)

Good Points
Eidos have returned Tomb Raider & Lara Croft to the exciting game it used to be
Excellent controls
Superb Graphics
Playability that will keep you glued to the TV for weeks or even months
Ability to save as and when you want!
Seriously addictive game, you could recoup some of those taxes you have paid over the years being a valuable member of society! Surely you owe it to yourself to 'duck out' of society for several weeks (months) in order to complete the game (I in NO WAY advocate this, so please don't take this comment seriously or I might feature in the national press!)

Bad Points
One player mode only
Initial video sequence was nothing to write home about
You may just decide to quit your job or pull a sicky until you complete the game, which could see you draining the economy of vital tax revenue! It is a seriously addictive game!
Very expensive (Shop around as I bought mine in a certain supermarket for £10 less than anywhere else)

General Comments
One of the very first software titles I bought for the original Playstation One was the first 'Tomb Raider' game and I was hooked immediately! Each subsequent version was eagerly anticipated and purchased within a few days of release.



That was until the previous two titles. I felt that the game was getting too clever, too elaborate and darting from one global position to the next. The essential premise as far as I was concerned was that Lara Croft was at heart a 'Tomb Raider' and I began to question why precisely she was standing atop a warehouse in Venice or shuffling along the ledge of downtown New York. Ultimately, I got bored.



When I heard that 'Legend' was going to be available for the 360 I began to wonder whether it might be worth a go, but it wasn't until my girlfriend's brother (a graphic designer) started marvelling at the pre-shots and waxing lyrical about the proposed scenarios that I decided to look a little closer.



The main thing to note is that Legend addresses many of the complaints that Tomb Raider aficionados had been grumbling about for a long time. Lara Croft is placed right back into the framework of an adventure worthy of Indiana Jones.



Although I have only managed to play the game for a short period of time (approximately 2hrs) I was impressed and felt that this version rekindled my original excitement and curiosity, which I hadn't felt playing Tomb Raider games for a very long time!



Lara Croft herself is blessed with more moves than I can even begin to describe here. The graphics relating to her are very neat and precise, although in essence rather more cartoon than being based on any particular character or actress. For those who are interested in these minor details, her chest size seems to have been up'd slightly and she hasn't lost that little wiggle!



The new and improved Lara is by far the best representation of feisty, butt kicking womanhood to date! She is impish and cute, cunning and brutal all in one - this from a bundle of computer generated pixels! What I am really trying to say however is that Lara Croft is a games character you can instantly recognise and Eidos have been mindful of this.



The video cut shots are still there, however I don't think they detract greatly from the game play. There were the odd instances when I was in the middle of a particular move and up popped a video, which was a tad irritating, but no more than in any other Tomb Raider game. They are however more informative and due to the clarity of the graphics you benefit greatly from the additional information.



You begin the game with an introductory sequence. Lara Croft (as a child) and her mother are inboard a plane, which suddenly catches fire and nosedives into the snow covered mountains...fast forward a few years and you are in the present guiding Lara Croft up the mountain face in what becomes the obligatory "training ground" sequence all Tomb Raider fans endure!



I wish that Eidos considered an option to skip these training grounds for anyone familiar with the controls, but the truth is that this game differs so greatly (in terms of Lara's movements and controls) that in this instance it is essential.



You progress up a gorge cut into the mountain side towards a hidden temple buried amongst piles of stones and boulders.



Through this particular part of the game you are still really learning new moves and abilities (such as using a grappling hook to swing over large gaps).



One excellent feature of this particular title is that you can click on menu and save at any point you desire, rather than having (like some previous games) certain objects or areas where you are allowed to save. There appears to be no limitation, but I noticed when scrolling through the 360 dashboard details that it actually tells you how many times you have saved this game in progress!



I personally don't care whether I come across as paranoid and save each time I perform a particularly difficult section or task, yet some may feel it detracts from their ability to complete games with the minimum of save points. What infuriated me in some versions of the game was the inability to save after completing a very long, step-by-step sequence only to be put right back to square one and repeating the process over and over! Thank goodness for the unlimited save function!



All of the key elements of the original Tomb Raider titles have been returned to form, yet don't be fooled into believing that you are just getting a rehash of a title you've played previously. There is enough in the short section I have played through to satisfy my passion for the Tomb Raider series, yet I got that old 'what's around the next corner' feeling which I have felt lacked in the last couple of titles which left me feeling 'I just want to end this as quickly as possible'.



Graphically I cannot fault the game play at all, the video sequence was pretty standard fair and doesn't appear to be as detailed as the 360 could possibly have achieved had it been pushed to do so. In game however the textures, mapping and colouration is very well produced.



In my opinion, with the little I have seen, this looks and feels as good as any of the 'good' Tomb Raider series I have played in the past. It is possible that Eidos have settled down again after the frustration caused by the hype. There was a time that I personally felt that the games just got too cluttered and less interesting.



A back to basics policy seems to be in play here and paying off!



What you can't call basic however is the overall feeling of richness and smoothness (No 50-60Hz judder issues to relate!)



For me this software title is reason enough to purchase a 360. There have been a number of good titles to recently hit the shelf (after a rather slow start software wise). but this is excellent. I wouldn't be at all surprised if this became a 10/10 reviewed title and it drew some 360 sceptics into the fold.



Brilliant! Welcome back Lara Croft!