Thursday, March 23

Tomb Raider Reloaded

Lara Croft returns in a big way this April.

I've been a Tomb Raider fan ever since the first game came out in the mid-nineties. It was a cool game, and the idea of having a female heroine in the driver's seat was pretty revolutionary at the time. Since then, I've played several of the games, seen both of the movies (both of which mostly sucked except for the casting of Angelina Jolie) and generally saw the rise and fall of a videogame icon. Yeah, Lara got her time in the limelight and is the object of admiration, affection and lust of countless gamers, but the games just got blander, the storylines more muddled and she just seemed to drift off into obscurity. The last TR game, Angel of Darkness, didn't do well and the failure of the second movie made plans for the third picture a bit unclear. Lara was on bad times.

But that all may change with the upcoming new game, Tomb Raider Legend. This time being produced by a new gaming developer, Crystal Dynamics, and backed by the original Lara Croft creator Toby Gard (who ironically was shut out of the previous TR games until now). TRL gives Lara a new coat of paint- she looks sexier and finer than ever, yet the designers still made it a point to give her a stylized look to emulate the original design instead of making her too realistic. The increased number of polygons also comes with a lessening of the bumpers- Lara's still hot, but the T&A isn't as blatant this time.
Aside from the cosmetic changes, Lara also comes with a whole new way of playing. Gone are the tank-like controls so Lara can now run, leap, climb, shimmy, swing and sneak with the greatest of ease. The gameplay is also now based on a new physics engine, and puzzles will supposedly be more puzzle solving than switch-finding. Also improved is the combat- Lara's fighting skills are improved with better targetting and even some Matrix-like moves to slow down time and target enemies even better. Slick stuff.

The new game also revitalizes/revamps the Tomb Raider story, starting from Lara's origins and taking the character on from there. The story will reportedly involve Lara's confronting an event in her past that has haunted her to the present day- the death of her mother. She will also cross swords with an old friend-turned enemy, and go across the world in a quest for a mysteirous artifact.
Stages will include actual tombs and ruins in Bolivia and Peru, as well as some urban settings. Aside from her usual Tombraiding get-up, Lara will slip into a sexy black cocktail dress to take on the Yakuza in Tokyo.

Tomb Raider Legend will be coming out early this April for the PS2, Xbox, PSP, Xbox360 and PC. I'll be sure to grab at least two of these versions (I'll try to grab a copy of the 360 game if I can) as soon as they become available. The game's already gotten a couple of top reviews in some game mags recently, so it looks to be a lot of cool gaming this April, and that's no joke. WOOHOO!!!!

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