PC ¦ PlayStation 3 ¦ Xbox 360 ¦ Wii ¦ DS ¦ PSP ¦ Others ¦ DGC Grade Table

Tomb Raider: Legend Xbox

Published by Eidos
Developed by Crystal Dynamics

Lara Croft is back and better than ever! She explores exotic ruins! She
shoots bad guys! She kicks ass!

For many gamers, Lara Croft was their first video game love. Oh sure, other
girls came later, but Lara was always special.

That tight green shirt, the short-short brown shorts, the double handguns
riding on those hips, the pony-tail, the sunglasses.......she was an instant
icon.

We spent hours exploring with her, solving puzzles, running from T-Rexes,
shooting lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

And then time went by and we sort of went on to other games.

Well like an old high school sweetheart we had all forgotten about, Lara's
come swaggering through the door into the XBox world and that old challenge
is gleaming in her eyes.

There's ruins to be explored, bad guys to be shot, wild animals to be tamed,
and deadly ancient conspiracies to be unearthed.

Wanna come along?

Oh, HELL YES!

Gameplay:
The gameplay varied as you would expect. Lara's big early success was founded
upon having so much varied gameplay, sometimes within one single level. You
will be exploring a gorgeously rendered ruin one moment, then trying to
figure out a puzzle so you can advance, then running like crazy to avoid a
dangerous trap, then shooting your way through a horde of attacking enemies,
then hopping in a vehicle and racing off to some far destination.

Many of the levels are not linear as in earlier Tomb Raider games; you can
choose which path to take to an objective. I've found playing through the
opening Bolivia level several times Lara can take different paths when it
comes to taking out the mercenaries she encounters; she's not stuck on a
single trail with only one way to advance.

The only drawback is that the game is too short; it can be finished in about
8-10 hours on the first play through.

Another minor gripe: for sneaking around, a command that would put Lara's
back to a wall and allow her to peek around corners would have been nice.

Controls:
The control scheme fits the XBox controller to a 'T'. The directional pad
allows you to quickly cycle between Lara's gadgets and select what you want
to use. After just a few minutes of playing moving Lara around was a breeze,
and I never had a problem getting her to do what I wanted.

Graphics:
While no game for the XBox compares with it's counterpart on the 360, Tomb
Raider: Legend does make full use of the old XBox's graphic engine. The
backgrounds look spectacular, and Lara is rendered beautifully. The shadows
and water look great, and when you get Lara wet you can actually see the
water running off of her and see her skin glistening and her hair dripping. I
haven't seen the 360 game yet, just video clips, but after seeing what Eidos
managed to do on the XBox I'm sure the 360 version in nothing less than
jaw-dropping.

Sound:
The sound is quite simply superb. Great voice acting, and each exotic ruin
has it's own ambience. Dripping caves, creaking crypts, you name it, each one
has it's own distinctive quiet background noises.

Value:
This is a true adventure game. It's not just a shooter, not just a puzzle
solving game, not just a fighting game, not just a game where you ogle the
drop-dead gorgeous heroine as she does her spectacular moves....IT'S ALL FIVE
OF THOSE THINGS.

Reviewer's Tilt:
Hey, this is Lara, back after a long absence. We've missed her. We just
didn't know how much until she gave us that look over her shoulder and then
dived into a murky underground crypt, laughing for us to follow her.

Deaf Gamer's Grade: All cutscenes are subtitled, and so is much of the
in-game dialogue.  This is a very deaf-friendly game; the only thing lacking
would be sound related subtitles to let you know about something happening
off-screen.  B

Overall Score: 8.8

by Brian Cates