Tomb Raider: Legend
|Tomb Raider: Legend|
|Designer(s)||Doug Church (original design)
Riley Cooper (lead designer)
|Composer(s)||Troels Brun Folmann|
Tomb Raider: Legend is an action-adventure video game, the 7th entry in celebration of the 10th anniversary of Tomb Raider franchise. 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 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 4 million copies.
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (January 2014)|
As a nine-year-old child, Lara Croft and her mother, Amelia Croft, survive a plane crash in the Himalayan mountains. After taking refuge in an ancient Buddhist monastery, young Lara discovers a stone dais with an ancient sword set in it. By touching the sword she activates a supernatural portal. Distorted voices speak to her mother Amelia through the portal, and Amelia removes the sword from the dais. The portal and dais are destroyed in an explosion and Amelia disappears in a bright light, leaving Lara to survive on her own.
Years later, an adult Lara searches for a similar stone dais located in the ruins of Tiwanaku, Bolivia. She encounters a group of mercenaries who are under orders to kill her on sight. Fighting through them, she proceeds to a temple where she finds the dais (similar to the one she saw in her flashback) and James Rutland, a rich American socialite and self-proclaimed adventurer. Rutland, holding an unusual sword fragment, mentions Amanda Evert, a friend of Lara's who supposedly died years before in an expedition only Lara survived. After overcoming his soldiers, she confirms that this dais was the same design as that of the Himalayan.
Lara returns to a tomb in Peru to confirm or disprove Amanda Evert's death in a tragedy that befell them years ago. A teenaged Lara was excavating the tomb when she and Amanda witnessed an unknown demonic entity kill the rest of their team. Amanda managed to entrap the wraith in a glowing stone she ripped from a wall, but she became trapped under falling rubble when escaping. While in the tomb, 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 searching for the sword, which had reportedly been broken into four fragments that are now spread across the globe. Now knowing what she is looking for, Lara recalls that one piece was stolen by Yakuza Kumicho Shogo Takamoto, and arranges a meeting with him.
Lara attends an executive retreat in Tokyo, where she attempts to negotiate with Shogo Takamoto for his sword fragment after he stole it whilst in the care of Waseda University. However, he refuses to surrender it and after being insulted by Lara, orders his men to kill her. Lara dispatches them and climbs his penthouse apartment. Takamoto uses the power of his fragment to fight Lara, but is killed. Lara escapes the scene in a helicopter obtaining the fragment. Having located Rutland in Ghana, Lara enters a temple site her parents had been to before she was born. Rutland mentions an artefact called the Ghalali Key, which can re-assemble Excalibur. After a fight where Rutland uses his fragment's powers, Lara steals his fragment and leaves him wounded. Zip and Alister, members of her crew, inform her that Amanda had raided Croft Manor looking for the Ghalali Key only moments ago, and is headed to an abandoned military base in Kazakhstan to search for another fragment.
Lara assists the Kazakhs in fighting against Rutland's men, and races against Amanda to the lab. The train crashes inside the base, although both Amanda and Lara survive. Lara discovers that the laboratory was the location of failed experiments conducted on a sword fragment by the KGB fifty years ago. Lara re-encounters Amanda (persuading Amanda to think of it as a memorial), is still bitter about being left to die. Amanda uses the Unknown Entity from Paraíso against Lara, although she defends against it and recovers the fragment and an eleventh-century knight's shield which will supposedly lead her to the next fragment.
Following a map on the back of the shield (which is supposedly Lancelot's), Lara's search brings her home to Cornwall, England. She discovers the real King Arthur's tomb hidden under a now-derelict tourist attraction, 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 escaping a sea serpent guarding the tomb, Lara returns to her home to figure out how to reforge Excalibur, and realizes that the Ghalali Key Rutland mentioned was in fact a pendant belonging to her mother, who had it with her in the plane crash. Lara returns to the crash site in Nepal and finds the Key. She then proceeds with a heavy heart to the temple where she last saw her mother and uses the Ghalali Key to restore Excalibur, then attempts but fails to reactivate the broken dais there, before escaping the collapsing temple.
Returning to the stone dais in Bolivia, Lara finds Amanda, Rutland and their mercenaries awaiting her. Using Excalibur, Lara eliminates all the mercenaries and Rutland leaving them in a poor state. An outraged Amanda merges herself with the Unknown Entity and attacks Lara. With the power of Excalibur, Lara defeats the hybrid creature, destroys the entity, and separates it from Amanda. Lara uses Excalibur on the dais and is confronted with a vision of her mother from years ago. She realizes that the portal spans time and there is a chance she can save her mother. Amanda, however, destroys this chance and encourages Lara to remove the sword, letting her know it would explode soon, which transmits back in time to Amelia who believed the voice from the other side of the dais (The Looking Glass) (Amanda) spoke to her. Amelia removes the sword. In the present time, Lara barely has time to run away from the explosion.
Lara grows furious at the realization that Amanda was responsible for the apparent causality loop that claimed her mother, and threatens to execute her if she doesn't explain her involvement. Amanda states that Lara's mother is alive and in Avalon, the mythical resting place of King Arthur, where Amanda herself wanted to go. Lara spares Amanda's life, but knocks her unconscious and remarks that "From this moment, your every breath is a gift from me". The game ends as Lara leaves Bolivia, giving orders to Zip and Alister as she begins the quest for her mother (which is then carried on in the videogame " Tomb Raider: Underworld.
The events of Tomb Raider: Underworld follow.
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.
|This section needs additional citations for verification. (September 2008)|
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 4 million copies making the game the most commercially successful game since Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
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