Tomb Raider: Legend


This is the first Tomb Raider game I’ve played since the very first one way back when. The consensus from a few internet reviews that I read is that I haven’t missed much. Legend is the first Tomb Raider game produced by Crystal Dynamics, who were given the franchise to resurrect after the supposedly abysmal Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. They took the pre-existing Lara Croft, with her aristocracy and disinterest in anything other than archaeology, and added a new back-story, which is fed to the player a piece at a time by the game’s narrative structure. As one who appreciates game stories as much as the regular variety, I liked the extra depth that this brought to both the character and the game.

While I readily admit that the developers did no disservice to the character design of Lara, I wonder if my wife should be more worried that I’m even more appreciative of the quality and variety of level design, and the attention to detail shown in ways such as the change in Lara’s character animation during the cocktail party scene. I’ve had several “wow, look at that” moments… and not all of them for Lara! I’m only about 1/3 of the way through the game so far, but the experience has been the closest that I’ve felt to being immersed in environments that are believable, and participating in a story that is as exciting and compelling as a movie. The recent Prince of Persia games, which I also greatly enjoyed, had great level design and presented an exquisite fantasy world, but it always felt very dry and sparse to me, and not just because it’s set in a desert, and the Prince is a self-absorbed, narcissistic loner. I can’t think of any better way to describe it, except maybe that the environments lacked soul? Crystal Dynamics have done an excellent job of creating a vibrant, lively world. (I’d also like to give a quick mention to Deux Ex, which features an awesome futuristic Hong Kong.)

The quality of the game is also apparent in the way that I’m choosing to suffer intense nausea just to play it. One of the problems with Tomb Raider: Legend is that the camera often swings around wildly and uncontrollably, making my eyes and inner ear have arguments in my brain about the gymnastics that are(n’t) supposedly happening. On a side note, the Wikipedia article on motion sickness mentions that drinking soft drink helps. Maybe that’s why the stereotype of gaming geeks usually involves a bottle of fizzy somewhere, because apparently, motion sickness is quite common.

Now I just have to try and get through the rest of the game without throwing up. Pace myself, that’s all I have to do. It’s supposed to be a pretty short game anyway. I’ll do a follow-up post if there’s anything worth writing about that I haven’t mentioned already, but I think I’ve already gushed enough!


The lego figurines (or “minifigs” in the vernacular) are the creations of Justin R. Stebbins. You can find more pictures at his Website, Saber-Scorpion’s Lair.