Lara Croft is back. In a race against time, Lara must travel
across the globe to unearth history's greatest weapon - a
legendary artefact of such immense power it could threaten
humanity's very existence. Take Lara back to the tombs with
totally new moves and hi-tech gadgetry in her most explosive
the disappointment that was Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness,
Lara is back with a vengeance. I was one of the countless
individuals who pre-ordered Angel of Darkness and then
instantly regretted it. I should have learnt my lesson, but
when I heard that Legend was being released I pre-ordered
it the moment that Amazon would let me. Yes, I know. Once
bitten, twice shy, and all that... but there is something
about the franchise that compels poor saps like me to part
with their money before they've any idea what the game will
be like. I suppose it's because, for a lot of us, the first
Tomb Raider game was what what made us buy a Playstation
- and resulted in many long nights as we were hooked on a
game we'd never seen the likes of before.
actually bought the Xbox version of Legend (just because
more often than not Xbox versions of games seem to fair better
in the graphics department, and the loading sequences are
generally quicker). Then over a month later we were sent a
review copy of the PS2 version.
be honest, there is not that much difference between the PS2
and Xbox versions. Both look and play wonderfully. The whole
franchise has been torn down and rebuilt, with the graphics
being hugely improved. When swimming through water the graphics
look amazing - even down to little details like Lara being
wet when she makes it to dry land - with the water glistening
on her face and neck. There are also plenty of breathtaking
landscapes where you stand overlooking beautiful surroundings.
start the game in Bolivia and must make your way to some hidden
ruins. Once you've dispatched the mercenaries, who have been
ordered to shoot you on sight, you enter the ruins and explore
the stone corridors within. This level is used as a sort of
training level, although it never really feels like that as
you are thrown right into the main game. The rest of the game
has you jetting across the world - to locations including
Peru, Japan, Ghana, Russia, England and Nepal - in your quest
to collect fragments of a mysterious artefact. But you are
not the only one scouring the world for these hidden pieces.
is almost a return to form for the franchise. Almost, but
not quite. Overall I really enjoyed it, and certainly didn't
feel cheated, but there were quite a few issues I had which,
if rectified, could have made the game far more enjoyable.
unlike the earlier games in the franchise, I never really
felt as though I had free reign to explore my surroundings
- with the exception of Kazakhstan, where you can roam around
a very small area. For the most part you are confined to following
a set path - which is a real shame. Part of the fun of the
earlier games was exploring these big, beautiful levels where
you had to roam for hours before you could complete each segment.
With Legend it feels like the developer is holding
your hand and guiding you to complete the levels. You'll very
rarely have a dilemma over which way, or where to go. There's
a path from A to B and that's it.
puzzles are all either way too easy to figure out, or make
no sense at all. In one level (England) I was stuck in a tomb
with a large bell. When I figured out what to do it was more
through messing around with the things in the environment
than any real deductive reasoning. If
you do get stuck, it's simply a case of examining all the
objects in the room with the remote analysis device (RAD)
setting on your binoculars. You can pretty much guarantee
that if an object is flagged up as "useful" by your
RAD binoculars you'll have to use it.
fact, like an old episode of Scooby-Doo! (where you
could tell which rock the monster was going to appear from
behind, because it was a slightly different shade of grey
than the other rocks) if an item in a room is slightly lighter
and glowing gently than the surrounding objects you can bet
your life that you'll need to use it. This
dumbing down is a little disappointing. Thankfully they just
stopped short of going the whole hog and inserting a large
flashing arrow pointing at these objects with a klaxon sounding
every time they were in view. This is also the case with items
you can attach your grappling hook to - they flash to indicate
that you need to use them. To be fair, I'm not totally sure
whether these elements are still there on the "expert"
game setting, or if they are only included on the "beginner"
major problem is the camera. It has a tendency of placing
itself in such a position that it is difficult to see your
environment properly - this is particularly frustrating when
attempting to gage where to jump to in perilous environments.
You also can't look around fully, which can be disorienting,
and more than once I managed to backtrack before I realised
I was heading the wrong way.
was also disappointed that more wasn't made of the combat
mode - which has been greatly improved. It is now possible
to perform sliding tackles, as well as run at your opponent,
jump off them and then shoot them in slow motion. There are
hardly any creatures in your environments to attack - just
the odd wild cat and I think that's pretty much it.
liked the idea of the interactive movie sequences, It was
just a pity more wasn't made of them. Here, you are treated
to beautiful CGI segments with Lara trying to escape danger.
An action icon will flash up on screen (usually one of the
button icons) and you have to quickly press that button. If
you don't, Lara dies horribly. If you are quick enough you
continue to the next part of the segment - where, again, you
have to press the button that is flashed up on the screen.
While this is really interesting I was disappointed that these
segments were so short. The maximum number of buttons you'll
have to press in any one segment is four (spaced out by 10
seconds or so) and it was a shame that when you replayed each
segment, after getting killed, that the buttons you had to
press didn't alter.
is also a nice little side game where you must run around
Croft Manor finding all your gadgets in order to explore more
of your surroundings.
the end of the day Tomb Raider Legend is a thoroughly
entertaining addition to the franchise. Although, hardened
gamers should easily finish it over a determined weekend.
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