PS2 REVIEW: TOMB RAIDER: LEGEND
Training sessions will help you get the hang of things. A grapple hook comes in handy for a variety of tasks including pulling you up to greater heights or having it wrap around an enemy whom you can pull toward you for a good beating. Grenades can be tossed in virtually any direction but be wary of the physics as they tend to bounce around a lot. The pistols are back and include a lock-on targeting feature that lets you run and gun with a greater degree of accuracy. The pistols never run out of ammo and there is a form of bullet time that can be activated when the screen is overrun with enemies.

There just never seems to be a dull moment in this game. All of the elements are very well balanced and the puzzles are less esoteric than they have been in the past. Not only is there less busy work such as backtracking, but the puzzles have more of an embedded feel to them - as though they are actually part of the environment and not just tacked on to add content. They range in difficulty but are very satisfying to solve. Just keep your eyes open in the immediate environment for clues and items that you can use.

Locations include Bolivia, Africa, England and the Himalayan Mountains. In these areas you'll enter various caves, labyrinths, secret temples and other environments where you'll encounter loose rocks, falling ledges, booby trapped platforms, exploding barrels, puzzle switches, zip lines and of course various animals such as wild dogs and lions. These animals take too many shots to kill. Some might consider this part of the challenge but they could have lost these critters for this new version. Another location that you'll enjoy exploring is the Croft Mansion. It's full of treasures and all kinds of unlockables and secrets. You'll have to solve some pretty involved puzzles to get to the goodies but it's worth the effort.

Graphically the series has never looked better. There are some jaggies and some framerate farts but nothing that will detract from the gameplay. The water effects are really nice, and we all know how difficult it is to make water look fluid. The character models move very smoothly and the difference between the in-game characters and the cutscenes are less pronounced. The music is symphonic and highlights the situations and mood of the game. You can replay levels with time trials and go back and collect all of the gold, silver and bronze but with no extra modes or multi-player, the replay value is limited.

It's finally good to see Lara back. It's also nice to see her front, if you know what I mean?

Features:

  • Lara Croft evolved! – the sexy, dual-pistol wielding heroine is presented like never before with new graphic and animation sets, presenting Lara in the finest fidelity to date
  • Return to the tombs! – discover and explore living breathing, lost ancient realms that hold clues to the secrets of Lara's past. Physics, Water and Fire systems bring the perilous environments of Lara's world alive, and challenge the player to improvise solutions to obstacles
  • The Intuitive and Fluid Control System movement allows you to keep Lara in continuous motion; seamlessly handle any obstacle and interact dynamically with any surface
  • Experience the new legend of the Tomb Raider series! – the future of the adrenaline-fueled adventure meets the promise of the next generation gaming systems.
  • Utilize strength and intelligence on your quest! – use the grappling hook, an arsenal of new weapons, communications devices, and other tools to achieve your goals.
  • Travel the globe to the world's most exotic locales! – explore ancient tombs, treacherous jungles, snowy mountain ranges, and much more.

By Mike Chasselwaite
CCC Freelance Writer

Rating out of 5
Tomb Raider: Legend (PS2)
4.5
Graphics
Best looking Tomb Raider to date. Pushes the envelope on the PS2 and looks amazing on PC, Xbox and Xbox360.
5.0
Control
The degree of freedom and flexibility brings Lara into The Prince of Persia territory.
4.6
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Great music, story and voiceacting. It's like watching another Tomb Raider movie - starring you.
3.8
Play Value
Not a lot of incentive to relive the experience, but the first time through it's a helluva wild ride.
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
2
Preview by Vaughn

She's once...twice...three times...a lady... But has this Lara Croft lassy seen better days or are they yet to come? Crystal Dynamics and Eidos are betting on the latter. by Vaughn Smith

March 20, 2006 - Can Crystal Dynamics resurrect Lara Croft who died literally at the hands of her creators two years ago? Lara Croft: Angel Of Darkness was voted one of the worst games of 2003 and it deserved every rancid accolade. Of course it wasn't the intent of the developers to release an unfinished product - it never is. But Eidos had to deliver the game at the end of June 2003, before the end of it's fiscal year to satiate the stockholders. Unfinished product equals glitches, slowdown and other bugs that render games unplayable and Angel of Darkness was one of the worst examples of raw coding disguised as a finished product we've ever had the misfortune of playing. The game stank so bad it actually brought the movie sequel to it's knees that summer, ruining everyone's hopes of a Lara Croft resurrection.

Crystal Dynamics replaced Lara Croft creators Core Design and are now responsible for the next adventure starring the most famous digital diva ever. Can they breathe new life into those two polygonal lungs of Lara's? After the last fiasco we won't even venture a guess until it's in our hands, but here's hoping.

Personally I feel that the next game should wait for new technology, ie: a next gen system, but it's apparent that Eidos and most likely their stockholders, have much different ideas. Whatever the case, maybe someone, somewhere has learned a lesson and will the next game to be finished before slapping a barcode on it.

Press: Eidos (NASDAQ: EIDSY), one of the world's leading publishers and developers of entertainment software, today reveals the first details, including title, in-game character model and brand direction, of the next adventure for video gaming's leading lady. Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is grounded in Lara Croft's tomb raiding roots and built to challenge even the most accomplished serial adventurer.

"In setting the stage for the Tomb Raider franchise moving forward, we took ourselves back to Lara's origins, asked ourselves the hard questions and challenged ourselves to think differently," said Chip Blundell, vice president of brand marketing, Eidos Inc. "Who is Lara Croft? What makes her tick? How is she relevant today? Only by answering these questions could we ensure that gamers get the experience they deserve with the character they love."

Eighteen months ago, Tomb Raider team members at Crystal Dynamics embarked on their own quest to rediscover Lara Croft. During their soul-searching mission, they unearthed past consumer surveys, conducted new research, re-read every game review, listened to lots of passionate pleas and opinions from gamers and re-played through every Tomb Raider product. From this introspection and open-minded search for a fresh perspective, Tomb Raider: Legend was born.

As a result, Eidos is evolving the brand while building on the original values of compelling character and suspense-filled adventure gameplay. Crystal Dynamics has brought together the biggest and most diverse development team in Tomb Raider history and recruited Lara Croft's original creator Toby Gard as the lead character designer.

"Even before the first title launched, Lara Croft had to fight her way into the Tomb Raider franchise, since at the time most game characters were muscle-bound blokes," said Gard. "The Lara Croft character is resilient and totally unstoppable. In Tomb Raider: Legend, we explore these core personality traits and reveal the Lara Croft gamers have been waiting to see."

Tomb Raider: Legend revives the athletic, intelligent and entertaining adventurer who won the hearts and minds of gamers worldwide. Lara comes alive with intricately animated expressions, moves and abilities. An arsenal of modern equipment, such as a magnetic grappling device, binoculars, frag grenades, personal lighting device and communications equipment, allows gamers to experience tomb raiding as never before.

Eidos and Crystal Dynamics shaped Lara's look and movements to be an inherent extension of her skills, motivation and personality. Lara's character model features natural structure, realistic textures, detailed facial features, reactive eyes and fluid motion, all of which make her part of a living environment.

New character animations and controls allow her to move through stunning environments with grace and precision, while an understanding of the game's original appeal reinvigorates the fundamental explore-and-solve adventure experience.

By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director

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Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best