PS2 REVIEW: TOMB RAIDER: LEGEND

Crystal Dynamics breathes life into an aging video game starlet so that she may live to kill again. And again. And Again. by Mike Chasselwaite

April 14, 2006 - Tomb Raider: Legend is the definitive sequel/prequel/quadquel to the Tomb Raider series. It's hard to imagine where it can go from here. The problem facing the glut of sequels from the original game, which debuted some 10 years ago, was that this was a hard act to follow. Some games just say everything that they have to say within a sequel or two - if they are lucky. Some developers continue to milk their cash cow until it yields nothing but dry powder - in the case of the Tomb Raider sequels, enough powder to create a desert.

The developers of Legend, have done their collective homework and produced a Tomb Raider game that might not have been possible three or four years ago thanks to new technologies. They are hoping that enough water has passed to cleanse the bad taste left in peoples' mouths by The Angel of Darkness. This version follows the same formula as the original, it just does it so much better. I just hope that we don't see another army of unimaginative sequels based on this version because it really doesn't cover any new ground.

This version has obviously been inspired by the movies that featured Angelina Jolie as Lara Croft. You will note that the Lara Croft character has assimilated some of Jolie's physical traits, most notably her shadowy eyes and luscious lips. We won't mention the other "attributes."

The cutscenes are truly cinematic with excellent writing and good voiceovers. The story features flashbacks to a time when Lara was a young and innocent girl. While on a plane with her mother, a sudden crash landing put them in the middle of a jungle filled with strange objects and markings. After activating an artifact, Lara's mother disappeared into a mysterious void. This event marked the beginning the Lara's crusade and eventual transformation into the Tomb Raider.

Lara handles like a dream. She's got lots of moves and couldn't be much easier to control. She is responsive and has more freedom than ever before. Whether it's combat, acrobatic skills, vehicle operating or puzzle solving, you will feel in total control. The menus are easy to navigate and the interface is designed so that you're never more than one button away from a command.

Moves include climbing, jumping, swimming, sprinting, jumping, punching, kicking, sliding, shooting, throwing and shimmying. Jumps can be small or long. You no longer have to worry about loading the jumps with three steps. While perched on a ledge or when climbing a wall, she can do a somersault and back flip and land directly behind an enemy. This is especially useful to avoid getting hit by the enemy. You can take them by surprise and attack them where they are more vulnerable as they may have armor or shields to prevent frontal attacks.

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System: PS2, X, PC, X360, PSP
Dev: Crystal Dynamics
Pub: Eidos
Release: Apr 2006
Players: 1
Review by Mike