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Tomb Raider: Legend
Information about Tomb Raider: LegendLara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is the seventh game in the Tomb Raider series. Published by Eidos Interactive, this is the first game in the series not to be handled by British-based Core Design, developed instead by British-owned U.S. studio Crystal Dynamics. The PS2, Windows, Xbox, and Xbox 360 versions were released in Europe on 7 Apr. 2006 (11 years ago) and in North America on 11 Apr. 2006 (11 years ago). The North American PSP version was released on 20 Jun. 2006 (11 years ago), the Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions were released during Nov. 2006 (11 years ago) and the Mobile version was released in dec. 2006 (11 years ago). The Windows version was released in 2006 (11 years ago) and it was also made available for download to GameTap subscribers on 31 May 2007 (10 years ago).
PlotThe plot opens with a flashback sequence showing a nine year old Lara Croft traveling with her mother. The plane carrying them crashes into the Himalayas, apparently leaving them as the only two survivors. After taking shelter in the ruins of an ancient temple, Lara discovers an ornate stone dais holding a sword whilst searching for firewood. She unwittingly activates the ancient artefact and watches in horror as her mother vanishes in front of her eyes into a portal.
Years after the plane crash, Lara, now an adult, travels to Bolivia after one of her friends, Anaya Imanu, mentions a stone dais located in the ruins of Tiwanaku, a pre-Incan civilisation. After following a twisting rocky path, she runs into a group of mercenaries who are under orders to attack her on sight. After disposing of them, she proceeds to a temple encountering more mercenaries and dangerous native wildlife along the way. On the other side of the temple, she sees the dais and finds James Rutland, an American socialite and self-proclaimed adventurer. Rutland mentions Amanda Evert, a friend of Lara's who supposedly died years before, and then orders his mercenaries to kill Lara. She overcomes them and reaches the dais, confirming that it was the same as the Himalayan one.
Lara meets Anaya at a village in Peru, and after another battle with Rutland's mercenaries, they reach the tomb in Paraíso, where a tragedy befell them years ago. A flashback sequence shows Lara on an archaeological excavation with her university colleagues, where she and Amanda witness an unknown entity kill the rest of the team. The entity vanishes when Amanda removes a mysterious glowing stone from a wall, but this also causes a cave-in that floods the cavern. Amanda becomes trapped under a pile of rubble, leaving Lara with no choice but to escape or drown: she flees the cavern, seemingly leaving Amanda to her death.
Back in the present, Lara discovers the artefact she is seeking may be linked to Excalibur -- part of the King Arthur legends -- and that Amanda survived the cave-in and is looking for the sword, which reportedly had been broken into four fragments which are now spread across the globe. Lara, now realising what she is looking for, recalls that one piece is in the 'care' of Yakuza boss Shogo Takamoto, who had it stolen from Waseda University. Lara travels to Japan, where her friend in the Japanese media, Toru Nishimura, assists her in setting up a meeting to negotiate with Takamoto for his fragment. Takamoto refuses to negotiate, claims he has no idea what she is talking about, and orders his goons to kill Lara. Lara dispatches the goons and chases Takamoto across the rooftops of Tokyo all the way to the roof of his penthouse apartment. Takamoto uses the power of the fragment to attack Lara but she kills him and recovers it.
Lara proceeds to Ghana, to a temple site her parents worked on before she was born, where she finds Rutland again, who is also in possession of a sword fragment. She follows him into an ancient temple hidden behind a waterfall. When she reaches Rutland, he mentions an artefact called the Ghalali Key, believing that Lara's father found it and it is now in Lara's possession. Lara appears to have no knowledge of the key and this frustrates him. Rutland then attacks her using his sword fragment but Lara subdues him and grabs the second fragment. She then receives news from Zip and Alister that Amanda raided Croft Manor looking for the Ghalali Key only moments ago. She offers to return to the Manor to see if they are alright, but they persuade her to try and beat Amanda to Kazakhstan, the apparent location of the third fragment.
When Lara arrives in Kazakhstan, she discovers that Rutland's men have taken over a Soviet lab where experiments on a sword fragment were conducted by the KGB fifty years ago. Lara catches up with Amanda, who is still bitter about being left to die in Paraíso. Lara goes after her and finds her conducting experiments on the third sword fragment. Amanda is also using the glowing stone she pulled out of the wall in Paraíso to control the unknown entity that attacked them. Lara avoids the entity since it can not be defeated yet, while she recovers the third sword fragment.
Following a map on the back of a shield (supposedly Lancelot's) also found in the Soviet lab, Lara's search brings her home to England. She discovers the real King Arthur's tomb hidden under a tacky and now-derelict King Arthur tourist attraction in Cornwall, along with the final sword fragment. Inside the tomb, Lara discovers that after Arthur's death, four of his knights - Lancelot, Percival, Galahad and Bors- took fragments of the sword to locations around the world (inspiring the myth of the Grail Quest), while the final fragment was left with Arthur by Bedivere in the hope of resurrecting the Once and Future King. After slaying a giant sea serpent that guards the tomb, and a group of mercenaries that have followed her, Lara returns to Croft Manor to figure out how to put the four sword fragments back together.
Lara realizes that the Ghalali Key was in fact a pendant given by her father to her mother, and that her mother had it with her when their plane crashed in the Himalayas. Lara returns to the crash site in Nepal to find the Ghalali Key (it had been in her mother's possession, given by her father to replace a locket she lost on the Ghana expedition, which Lara actually finds on her own excursion in Ghana). After traversing high ledges to reach the ruins of the plane, she finds the key in the wreckage, then narrowly escapes as the plane topples over the edge of a cliff. Lara then proceeds, emotionally shaken, to the temple she and her mother found after the crash. She runs into Rutland's mercenaries, quickly defeats them and enters the temple to restore Excalibur. She wonders if the dais is still active, but it merely collapses when she places the sword in the stone.
Lara returns to the stone dais in Bolivia, where Amanda, Rutland and their mercenaries await. Lara uses Excalibur to kill the mercenaries and inadvertently kills Rutland as well. Amanda rushes over to him, and he dies in her arms. Lara apologises and tries to patch up the rift with Amanda, suggesting they use the sword together. Amanda angrily refuses and releases the entity again, this time merging with it to become more powerful. With the power of Excalibur, Lara defeats the entity and separates it from Amanda, destroying it this time.
Lara uses Excalibur on the dais to reopen the portal and discovers what happened to her mother. Lara realizes that the portal spans time and she is seeing her mother moments before she disappears. Amanda gets up and shouts at Lara to pull out the sword or the dais will explode. Lara's mother hears this through the portal, pulls out the sword, and the dais explodes. Amanda berates Lara for her actions: however, Lara is unconcerned, furious at the realisation that Amanda was responsible for the apparent causality loop that claimed Lara's mother.
Lara fires a hail of bullets around Amanda and places her gun to Amanda's head, threatening to kill her if she doesn't explain. Amanda states that Lara's mother isn't dead, but in Avalon, where Amanda herself wanted to go. She hisses that she is wasting her breath, that Lara will never understand. Lara spares Amanda's life, but settles for knocking Amanda out with her pistol, snarling that "From this moment, your every breath is a gift from me". The game ends as Lara, determined to find answers, tells Zip and Alister they still have much work ahead of them.
DevelopmentFollowing the success of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game on the Nintendo GameCube, Eidos announced their decision to port Tomb Raider: Legend to that platform, marking Lara Croft's first appearance on a home Nintendo console. Legend is also the first game in the series available on a Microsoft console: Xbox (and later on the Xbox 360).
Differences between versionsThe original Xbox version does not include the introduction movie with the opening titles. According to Xboxic, the manager of the Xbox development team genuinely forgot to include the intro video on the final build disc when sending it off for the final game testing with Microsoft's Quality Assurance team. When the mistake was discovered, the QA department told Eidos they would need to resubmit the game for re-testing from scratch. Due to time restrictions, Eidos chose to release the Xbox version without the intro movie.
PlayStation Portable players have received some exclusive extras. While the textures and polygon count were significantly reduced to run on the portable, some new gameplay modes were introduced: the Tomb Trials, three multiplayer modes and six additional outfits that were not available in any other version of Legend. The Tomb Trials put the player against a series of traps and acrobatics to be dealt with before the assigned time is over, based on locations of the regular levels. Note: on the last level, "Bolivia Redux", the "Natla Industries" crates are not present, and you cannot destroy the statues scattered around the level.
The Nintendo GameCube version has had a couple of cuts, most likely due to disc space. The rolling demos that would normally play if the game was left inactive while in the title screen have been removed, and the Unfortunate Mishaps video is also missing. The game runs at a slightly smoother framerate than the PlayStation 2 version, and it also loads faster. But at some specific points there are some noticeable frame rate drops (such as in the train chase, in Kazakhstan). The many filters used for explosions and motion blur are also gone, rendering the game with sharper textures but less remarkable explosions.
The Nintendo DS and GBA versions were also released on 14 Nov. 2006 (11 years ago). These versions are different. Despite following the same storyline and featuring all the levels and key moments from the bigger counterparts, the game is a sidescroller on the GBA. The levels have been broken down into several smaller segments, probably due to technology limits, and feature a lot more platforming than the original versions. The progression of the storyline is told via comic-strips during key moments. The rewards are also present and they unlock simple minigames. Lara also changes outfits in this version, though she's limited to only three - the regular outfit, the Tokyo dress and the Winter suit.
The PC and Xbox 360 version includes exclusive "next generation effects", which can be toggled on the PC version. When the next gen effects are off, the game is visually identical to the PlayStation 2 and GameCube versions of the game.
In the PC version, you can save anywhere but loading a game will just take you back to the last checkpoint. This was most probably done to facilitate making and porting the game from console to PC, shortcuts to accommodate the inherent limitations in consoles.
The Mobile version presents a compressed version of the story, featuring only three levels (Tokyo, Ghana and England) based on the original levels from the console versions, and has a far more limited gameplay style. It features, however, three gameplay modes: Corridor Combat, Room Combat and Platform Exploration.
DemoThe PlayStation 2 demo was made available in some regions in the Official PlayStation Magazine, as well as on Jampack Vol. 14. A PC demo was released on 31 Mar. 2006 (11 years ago) and an Xbox 360 demo was released on Xbox Live Marketplace on 5 Apr. 2006 (11 years ago). A downloadable demo was available for the Nintendo DS via the DS Download Station for a short time.
MusicLegend has the longest score of the series. It took nine months for the composing process for four and a half hours of music, which includes the cinematic scores as well as some tracks that were never used in the game.
Legend plays a new kind of music that changes after the actions of Lara. Most of the music is alternative. The alternative genre was already used before for the trials of each game and often in the game. Sometimes the music has small parts of electronic-like orchestra, just like Nathan McCree (and later Peter Connelly) used to compose for the Tomb Raider games, but instead of recreating the atmosphere of a real orchestra, Troels employs the use of echoes for the orchestral sounds.
Legend's title track starts off with the first few notes of Lara's original theme used in all of the games before this one, being played with slight ornamentation on a Middle-Eastern duduk. As this was the first Tomb Raider game made by Crystal Dynamics, the team was slightly oblivious to the existence of the Tomb Raider anthem. The theme is heard several times during gameplay, mostly as a background motif or in a three-note repeating motif that was used in previous Tomb Raider games. The tune and the lyrics to the main theme and other musical cues in the game are from a Gaelic folk song named Ailein duinn by Capercaillie.
In 2006 (11 years ago), Troels Folmann was awarded a BAFTA in the category, 'Best original Score' and the GANG award, 'Music of the Year'.
ReceptionAccording to the Metacritic review site, the PC, PS2 and Xbox versions of Tomb Raider: Legend have met with "generally favorable reviews", while the DS vesion has met with "mixed or average reviews". The game topped the UK game charts at number 1 and remained there for three weeks. As of 30 Jun. 2007 (10 years ago), the game has sold over 3,000,000+ copies worldwide.
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