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    Review By Jaz
X360: Tomb Raider Legend
Review by Jaz
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Date: 2006-04-11
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Xbox 360 Review – Tomb Raider Legend

When heroin Lara Croft first showed her face on the PlayStation back in 1996, many believed that a new star was “born”. Here we are, ten years later, and Lara is back on our screens in her latest adventure, Tomb Raider Legend (TRL) on the Xbox 360. And she looks better than ever.

The tremendous success of the Tomb Raider franchise had spawned no less than seven sequels since its debut, and a view shared by the majority was that Lara was moving too far away from her original tomb raiding roots. TRL sets to put that right, with the game feeling just like it did a decade ago. The surroundings in Legend are a dream come true for the ever-flexible Ms Croft. Ledges to jump onto, bridges to shimmy across, boulders to leap away from, and vines to swing on are exactly what Lara was designed to do.

The game itself, whilst not massive, will take the average player a fair while to complete. Each level is gigantean in size, and some of the puzzles that you will come across in each tomb will have you sat there working them out for hours - if not days. Once you’ve finished the game, you can then go back and try to complete each level in time-trial mode, where its you against the clock. Make one mistake, and its time to hit the restart button. This extra mode, along with the many achievements to unlock, really adds to the lifespan of this title.

TRL is a beautiful game to behold – based in many exotic locations including ancient tombs, dangerous jungles and snowy mountain ruins. Each area looks perfect, and luckily Lara has a suitable costume for wherever she is, with more to be unlocked as the story unfolds. Aside from the locations, the effects and models in the game are almost flawless. Lara looks about as real as you could expect, as does the water, fire and any other elements that you come up against. One of the nicest touches I saw was when you get out of a pool or a river, you can visibly see the streams of water running off Lara’s face. Beautiful, just beautiful.

Sadly there are no multiplayer modes in TRL, which is a great shame. It may be due to the fact that TRL is released on other formats, but with the Xbox Live online service being built-into the Xbox 360’s structure, I feel that no multiplayer for Lara is a wasted opportunity. Still, some may argue that Tomb Raider was never built for online gaming, so maybe if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Despite the lack of any multiplayer, TRL is a wonderful title. Eidos had looked at where the Tomb Raider series was going, and realised that it just wasn’t right. TRL takes Lara back to her roots, doing what she does best – climbing, jumping, running and tomb raiding in the great outdoors. An instant classic, and instantly comparable to its original 1996 predecessor make TRL an essential purchase.

Tomb Raider Legend is available from retailers now, priced around £49.


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