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Tomb Raider 7 - Legend

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend is the 7th 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 April 2006 and in North America on 11 April 2006. The North American PSP version was released on 20 June 2006, the Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions were released during November 2006 and the Mobile version was released in December 2006. The Windows version was released in 2006 and it was also made available for download to GameTap subscribers on 31 May 2007. A version for the PlayStation 3 is included in The Tomb Raider Trilogy collection released in March 2011. The game has sold 3.2 million copies since it's release, making the game very commercially successful.

Story

The 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 while searching for firewood. She unwittingly activates the ancient artifact 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 at 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 in 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 demonic entity kill the rest of the team. Lara and Amanda run from the monstrous being before being trapped in a large room. The monster gets in and is just about to kill Lara when Amanda pulls a glowing jewel from the wall, causing the creature to disappear. However, the room then starts to flood, causing several gates to close at the same time and when they try to escape, Amanda becomes trapped under a pile of rubble; as Lara reaches out to keep one of the gates from closing, she watches desperately Amanda being buried alive from the falling cave but still holds on to the door until she runs out of air, leaving impotently after her failure to save Amanda from her death.

Back in the present, Lara discovers the artifact 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 artifact 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 cannot 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 Great Britain. 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 sea serpent that lives in the underground lake surrounding 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, using the Ghalali Key to restore Excalibur back to its complete form. She hesitatingly tries to reactivate the dais but it merely collapses when she places the sword in the stone. Knowing where she must now go, Lara escapes the temple as it begins to collapse and departs.

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.

Locations

The locations of Lara's seventh adventure are in order of play:

  • Tiwanaku, Bolivia - A pre-Incan civilization, currently in ruins. Lara arrives after her colleague Anaya Imanu mentions a stone dais similar to the one that made her mother disappear. Lara climbs through rocky ledges and ruins to find the dais, then meets James Rutland, who hints at knowing one of Lara's old friends, supposedly dead for years.
  • Paraíso, Peru - Lara meets Anaya in the town square of the small town, but they soon find themselves under fire by Rutland's mercenaries. After the attack, she takes a motorbike to the old ruins near Paraíso, where years ago, an unknown creature ambushed Lara's amateur archaeological expedition and killed most of her university colleagues. She returns to find out if the woman Rutland mentioned, Amanda Evert, survived the slaughter.
  • Tokyo, Japan - A piece of the sword, stolen from Waseda University, is in the hands of a Yakuza boss and Lara travels to Tokyo to acquire it. She arrives at a corporate party hosted by her closest friend in the Japanese Media, then traverses the rooftops of Tokyo to get to the boss's penthouse. Lara then discovers that the boss, Shogo Takamoto, can use the fragment to obtain supernatural powers, so she kills Takamoto and takes the fragment from him.
  • Ghana, Africa - James Rutland is discovered to be on the trail of another sword fragment, in Ghana, near an archaeological site that Lara's father and mother worked on before Lara was born. Lara follows Rutland and discovers a temple hidden behind a large waterfall. She finds a pendant that her mother lost on the expedition. She then confronts Rutland, but spares his life, keeping the sword fragment.
  • Kazakhstan - Lara's search brings her to an abandoned secret KGB testing facility where experiments with the sword fragment led to disaster. This level features another motorbike chase sequence, with Lara racing alongside a train, and ultimately jumping on to it. The train stops at the facility, where Lara discovers Amanda to be alive and well, and keeping the unknown entity that attacked the Paraíso expedition as her own pet.
  • Cornwall, Great Britain - "As in take the M5 to the A30 Cornwall?" asks Lara dubiously. Lara investigates an abandoned tacky King Arthur tourist attraction and unearths the catacombs beneath it which is home to an enormous sea serpent and possibly the tomb of the real King Arthur.
  • Himalayas, Nepal - The artifact that can re-forge Excalibur lies in the plane wreck Lara and her mother survived. Lara scales the snowy Himalayan heights and revisits the crumbling Buddhist monastery where her mother disappeared.
  • Bolivia Redux - The final confrontation takes place between Lara and Amanda, and the truth is revealed about Amelia Croft's "death".
  • Croft Manor (training level), England - Croft Manor contains a number of puzzles in the form of hidden passageways, lyrical codes and concealed switches. This level can be played at anytime for as long as the player wishes - however the first level, Bolivia, must be completed to unlock the doors of the manor.

Characters

Legend focuses upon Lara’s quest to learn what the truth about what happened to her mother after an event from her childhood. This goal ultimately leads Lara into a race to acquire the fragments of the sword Excalibur. The following characters were featured:

  • Lara Croft
  • Winston Smith
  • Zip
  • Richard Croft
  • Amelia Croft: Amelia plays a large role in Lara's revised back story. After surviving the crash with her daughter, Amelia mysteriously disappears in an incident in a Himalayan temple and is presumed dead. The lingering mystery surrounding her disappearance motivates Lara to search for answers. Amanda reveals she is currently in Avalon.
  • Anaya Imanu: Civil engineer working in South America and university friend of Lara's. She was with Lara during the tragedy near Paraíso.
  • Amanda Evert: An old friend and archaeology colleague of Lara's. Her apparent death was witnessed by Lara at Paraíso, but harnessing the power of the "unknown entity" allowed her to survive. Amanda re-appears with a gothic style in the Kazakhstan and the Bolivia Redux missions as an enemy having learnt the purpose of Excalibur and seeks to use it for her own purposes.
Lara ultimately allows Amanda to live after she reveals that Amelia Croft is not dead and was instead transported to Avalon. She is also an unlockable outfit that can be worn during the game.
  • Kent: One of Lara's university peers. He and his team were mysteriously killed during tragedy at Paraíso.
  • James W. Rutland Jr.: The son of a senator and a West Point graduate, Rutland also grew up in a bubble of wealth. His motives, however, are a little more self-centred, and he is romantically linked to Amanda. He fights Lara in Ghana before dying in the final level when Lara uses Excalibur against him.
  • Alister Fletcher: A timid researcher of ancient civilizations who, along with Zip, provides Lara with advice via her headset.
  • Shogo Takamoto: A ruthless Yakuza Kumicho and black market dealer, easily identified by his large number of tattoos. His past encounters with Lara caused him to lose face, so he holds a grudge against her. He appears as the boss in the Tokyo level.
  • Toru Nishimura: One of Lara's friends, once a daring investigative reporter and now a wealthy media mogul. He is glad to offer Lara help when she so needs, but has become more cautious as a result of his new found responsibilities.

Versions

Following 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 versions

The original Xbox version does not include the introduction movie with the opening titles. The manager of the Xbox development team 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, and the expense of a new QA test, 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 November 2006. 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, players can save their progress anywhere but loading a game will take the player 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.

Demo

The 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 March 2006 and an Xbox 360 demo was released on Xbox Live Marketplace on 5 April 2006. A downloadable demo was available for the Nintendo DS via the DS Download Station for a short time.

Reception

Metacritic review site gave Legend a score of 80/100 based on 54 reviews, indicating "generally favourable reviews." Aggregator site GameRankings gave the Xbox version of the game 82.85%, the PC version 81.83% and the PlayStation 2 version 82.22% based on 41 reviews. IGN declared "It's now safe to return to the game you once loved. Crystal Dynamics successfully resurrects an old franchise from the tomb." GameSpot said that Legend "finally brings the series into the 21st Century while staying true to the adventurous spirit of the early games." They stressed the game should have been longer and therefore referred to it as a "brief but fun adventure that just about anyone can enjoy." GameZone awarded it an 8.5/10, and noted that gameplay had improved, saying "Lara is a dream to control and her moves come off as more natural and more acrobatic." They included that the game could have been longer and the combat system improved, and rounded off their review by saying "It’s good to see Lara back in top form and while her adventure is a bit on the short side and combat could have been handled a lot better, it’s hard to say no to a pretty girl that still has what it takes to show us a really good time. Fans of the series will certainly not want to miss this one."

Upon release, Tomb Raider: Legend topped the UK game charts for 3 straight weeks and it is now part of the PlayStation 2 Platinum Range.

Music

Legend has the longest score of the series. It took nine months for Crystal Dynamics' in-house composer Troels to finalize the composing process. Over three hours of raw material resulted, becoming four and a half hours of in-game music via the microscoring process, including looping cues and individual accompaniments to cinematic scenes. All material is produced using software and Folmann's personal soundbanks.

All levels in the game were scored individually. When Folmann began composing the soundtrack much time was spent investigating the native sounds and instruments of the different locations' environments and cultures. He wanted to have a specific musical timbre for every level, so he had to understand the musical influences of each individual part of the game. During the Tokyo level the player will hear roaring Taiko drums and the Japanese shakuhachi flute, while playing in Bolivia pan flutes are prominent, and Ghana presents a variety of African percussions. Use of Nepalese instruments in the first Tomb Raider film's soundtrack by Graeme Revell also influenced Folmann's music for the Nepal level

All the cinematics are scored with a symphonic orchestra in a more classical fashion; however, instead of recreating the atmosphere of a real orchestra, Troels employs the use of echoes for the orchestral sounds applied to his rendered software instruments.

Legend's title track starts off with the iconic Tomb Raider motif composed by Nathan McCree in 1996, played on an ancient middle-eastern ethnic flute known as the duduk. McCree's motif is incorporated frequently throughout the soundtrack. Following is a Celtic female voice, full choir and orchestra and a variety of different percussions. The main theme female voice sings a Scottish Gaelic traditional folk song named Ailein duinn, mostly known by Capercaillie's lead singer interpretation for the Rob Roy movie.[citation needed]

In 2006, Troels Folmann was awarded a BAFTA in the category 'Best original Score' as well as the GANG award, 'Music of the Year' for his work on Tomb Raider: Legend.

Soundtrack & Credits

&nbsp 7 tracks were released officially to the public in the Tomb Raider: Anniversary (Collector's Edition) Soundtrack. Besides this, the soundtrack to Tomb Raider: Legend is yet to have a commercial release due to licensing issues with Eidos over the ownership rights to the music[citation needed]. In 2010, several pieces of Folmann's music for Legend were recycled in the downloadable spin-off title Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

The Crystal Dynamics team behind the music of Legend is Audio Engineer Karl Gallagher, Sound Designer Mike Peaslee & Junior Sound Engineer Gregg Stephens.

Featured Images

Tomb Raider Games

Tomb Raider (1996) · Unfinished Business (1998) · Tomb Raider II (1997) · The Golden Mask (1999) · Tomb Raider III (1998) · The Lost Artifact (2000) · The Last Revelation (1999) · The Times (1999) · Chronicles (2000) · The Angel of Darkness (2003) · Legend (2006) · Anniversary (2007) · Underworld (2008) · Beneath the Ashes (2009) · Lara's Shadow (2009) · Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)

Tomb Raider Movies

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) · The Cradle Of Life (2003)