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Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend

Tomb Raider

Talk to anyone about the original Playstation, and the odds are that Tomb Raider will pop into the conversation. Shapely Miss Croft wowed a generation of gamers with her many assets, physical and machinery, as you guided her around tombs shooting creatures and crawling into tight spots. You solved clues, swung the camera in over her arse as she bent over and spent many a time just exploring areas for the next clue. Tomb Raider and its sequel were perhaps gaming gold, with Eidos made a household name.

Then it started going down hill.

Much like Jaws and Mad Max wowed their audiences and then disgusted many with their below-par sequels, Tomb Raider hit its peak. Things seemed to go off the rails, all of a sudden you were running round Paris instead of lush jungles and caves, and the stories focused more on Lara personality than her direction in life. To put it short, things got boring.

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Legends is due out this autumn, and seems to have gone back to its original groundbreaking roots. Lara herself has undergone a massive change, what with her original designer Toby Gard ushered back by Eidos and letting a new and fresh developer take the reigns. Crystal Dynamics have remodelled the girl that so many wanted a nude cheat for, taking her breast size down so it won’t clip through her arms no more and giving her a softer face so she looks more human. The infamous Tomb Raider inventory, which could have equipped an army, now hangs from a belt looped around her tiny and tight shorts, and yes, her arse looks that good. Not that I’ve been looking or anything, oh no…

Many cynics have dismissed any form of next-gen Lara, unconvinced the scantily-clad brunette can cut it in today’s market, and after the efforts of the previous years it’s easy to see why. However, the next title will actually feature (the shock, the horror) some tomb raiding, with fights against 6-armed stone god statues and giant spiders thrown into the mix. There’s also a new range of athletic animations to make Lara more lithe than ever. According to Crystal Dynamics, the focus is on continuous motion, much like the Indiana Jones movies, and is keen to learn from the mistakes in Angel Of Darkness. Watching some footage, Lara looks far less of the clumsy 32-bit bombshell we’ve grown up with and every inch of the super-light and agile supermodel we’ve always expected. She makes her way around levels much like that of Dante from Devil may Cry, she feel so athletic when jumping and swinging on poles and stuff, which should make naviagating life-or-death ledges that little bit easier.

Lara won’t be forgotten in this re-vamp of her series though, with her clothes changing throughout her escapade in jungles, caves and snow-capped mountains. Eidos look certain to try and push Miss Croft back onto the centre stage of gaming, and if rumours about her wearing a skin tight leather costume during a motorbike level, things could be easier than they seem.

Amongst the changes in the new title is the arsenal (guns, not the football club, fools) available to kick monster butt. We particularly like the idea of a ‘personal lighting device’, which had better not be a flashlight…

Early screenshots look promising, with lovely lighting in vivid environments and some great attention to detail on age old tombs. Some footage released does look rather sketchy though, so it seems as if Eidos and Crystal Dynamics will have pull out all the stops to prove that Lara is much more than a pair of melons with a gun thrust in between. Then again…

Lara is set to make her comeback this autumn on the PC, PS2 and Xbox.

The author of this fine article

is a Senior Staff Writer at Thunderbolt, having joined in June 2002.

Gentle persuasion

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