Tomb Raider: Legend
|Tomb Raider: Legend|
|Composer(s)||Troels Brun Folmann|
Tomb Raider: Legend is an action-adventure video game, the seventh entry in celebration of the ten year anniversary of the Tomb Raider franchise. Published by Eidos Interactive, it is the first game in the series not to be developed by Core Design, but by Crystal Dynamics. It serves as a reboot of the series, and disregards Core Design's original continuity.
The Microsoft Windows and Xbox versions, ported by Nixxes Software which also worked on the GameCube version, were released in Europe on 7 April 2006 and in North America on 11 April 2006, along with the PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 versions. The North American PlayStation Portable version, developed by Buzz Monkey Software, was released on 20 June 2006, the Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions were released during November 2006. Human Soft was responsible for the Nintendo DS and Game Boy Advance versions. 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 and has been remastered in HD. A commercial success, the game sold over 4.5 million copies.
A plane carrying nine-year-old Lara Croft and her mother Amelia crashes in a fierce storm while flying over Nepal, leaving the Crofts as the only survivors. While taking shelter in an abandoned monastery, Lara discovers a stone dais with an ancient sword set in it, which activates a dimensional portal when she touches it. Amelia intervenes and removes the sword, triggering an explosion that consumes her. Devastated, Lara sketches the dais in her journal so she can study it.
Years later, Lara, now a veteran explorer, travels to Tiwanaku, Bolivia in search of a similar dais. To her surprise, a group of mercenaries have already located it. Their leader, American playboy James Rutland, questions Lara as to what she knows about a mysterious fragment recovered from the site and mentions that "Amanda" led him to it. As Lara tries to process his words, Rutland escapes and orders his men to kill her, but Lara is able to eliminate them.
Lara returns to a condemned dig site in Peru, where she recalls an incident that occurred several years earlier: while excavating a remote burial ground, Lara's team accidentally awakened a malevolent fire spirit, resulting in the deaths of everyone except for Lara and her partner Amanda Evert. Amanda managed to seal the entity in a jewel, but was subsequently left for dead in a cave-in. Entering the tomb once more, Lara uncovers the remains of Tiwanaku's last queen, as well as a replica blade similar to the one Rutland described. She theorizes that the weapon in question is actually Excalibur – part of the King Arthur legends – and that Amanda, having escaped death, is working with Rutland to find and reforge the sword's fragments.
Having deduced that the second is in the hands of Yakuza boss Shogo Takamoto, Lara sets up a meeting with him in Tokyo. Negotiations quickly falter and Takamoto retreats to his penthouse, where he tries to kill Lara with the fragment's power. After defeating him and claiming her prize, she then heads to Ghana, where Rutland's soldiers are searching for the Ghalali Key, a device needed to reforge Excalibur. Rutland corners Lara in the heart of the temple, but Lara easily beats him and takes his fragment. Meanwhile, Amanda raids Croft Manor looking for information on the next fragment. She learns that it is somewhere in Kazakhstan and heads there, with Lara in pursuit.
Following her trail, Lara enters a Soviet-era lab, where she learns how the Russians tried and failed to weaponize the fragment. Amanda reveals herself and explains that she survived by harnessing the power of the fire spirit, which she summons to kill Lara. Using the lab's experimental equipment, Lara forces it to self-destruct and escapes with the fragment, as well as a shield belonging to Sir Lancelot.
Following a map on the back of the shield, Lara's search brings her home to Cornwall, England. She discovers the real King Arthur's tomb hidden under a fake one in an old museum, with the final fragment stashed under his body. After besting both a sea serpent guarding the tomb and mercenaries sent by Amanda, Lara returns to her home to figure out how to reforge Excalibur. She realizes that the Ghalali Key is in fact a pendant belonging to her mother, who had it with her when the plane crashed. Lara searches the wreck and finds the Key. She then proceeds to the temple where her mother vanished and uses the Ghalali Key to restore Excalibur. She attempts to reactivate the dais, but it crumbles into nothing.
Recognizing that the dais in Bolivia is the only one left, Lara confronts Amanda and Rutland. Wielding the blade, she easily kills the latter and what remains of his forces. A furious Amanda takes direct control of the fire entity and attacks Lara. In a pitched battle, Lara separates them and destroys the entity. She then activates the dais and is confronted with a vision of her mother in Nepal. Realizing that she is looking directly into the past, Lara tries to warn her, but Amanda panics and tells her to remove the sword, causing the explosion that apparently kills Amelia.
Having learned the bitter truth that Amanda is ultimately responsible for her mother's disappearance, Lara threatens to kill her. Amanda explains that Amelia Croft is very much alive, having been transported to Avalon, the final resting place of King Arthur. Lara responds by knocking her unconscious and setting out to rescue her mother, triggering the events of Tomb Raider: Underworld.
Legend has the longest score of the series. It took nine months for Crystal Dynamics' in-house composer Troels Brun Folmann to finalize the composing process. Over three hours of raw material resulted, becoming four and a half hours of in-game music via a process called "micro-scoring", which is the idea of chopping the score down to very small components and triggering them in a way that compliments the game experience, including looping cues and individual accompaniments to cinematic scenes. All material was 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.
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 and Eidos (now an asset of Square Enix) owns the licensing to the material. 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.
Following the success of another third-party game, 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 was also the first game in the series available on a Microsoft console: Xbox (and later the Xbox 360).
Differences between versions
The original Xbox version does not include the introduction movie with the opening titles. Comically this was due to the Mastering managers screen being too small. When creating the master image with the tool maximised there was 1 file left off the bottom of the screen, which went unnoticed. On his current monitor this wouldn't have been a problem. When the mistake was discovered, this would have meant a resubmission would have been needed. 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.
The Nintendo GameCube version has a couple of cuts; 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 Kazakhstan train chase). The many filters used for explosions and motion blur are also gone, rendering the game with sharper textures but less remarkable explosions.
The Game Boy Advance version was released on 14 November 2006. 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, 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 minigames.
The Nintendo DS version of the game was released at the same time as the GBA version, and though it shares most aspects of that version, it has its share of differences. For one, the DS version is built more around limited 3D gameplay, (though certain sections, such as underwater ones, are strictly 2D) and rather than comic strips, the game's key moments are presented through highly compressed versions of the cutscenes from the home console ports. The DS version also takes advantage of the system's touch screen, by allowing players to switch weapons or access Medi-Packs by tapping their icons. Upon targeting an enemy, the player must tap them on the touch screen to shoot them. Additionally, the game allows players to re-watch cutscenes and unlock character artwork by spending gold, silver, and bronze relics which are found in the levels.
The PC and Xbox 360 versions include 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.
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. A Xbox 360 demo was released on Xbox Live Marketplace on 5 April 2006, and an Xbox demo was available in the Official Australian Xbox Magazine, issue 5, August 2006. A downloadable demo was available for the Nintendo DS via the DS Download Station for a short time.
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Tomb Raider: Legend earned the series the strongest critical response it had received since Tomb Raider II in 1997, and it remains one of the highest-rated games in the history of the franchise. 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 Platinum Range for PlayStation 2 titles. In 2009, Eidos announced Tomb Raider Legend sold over 4.5 million copies making the game the most commercially successful game since Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
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