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Platform

DS

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Eidos

 

Developer

Crystal Dynamics

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

November 14, 2006

 

 

- CG cutscenes and animated moves are a great translation

- Okay touchscreen functionality

 

 

- Control is practically worthless

- Awful graphics get in the way of navigating the levels

- A lost chance at re-inventing the franchise

 

 

Review: Tomb Raider Legend (PS2)

Review: Spider-Man DS (DS)

Review: Kirby: Canvas Curse (DS)

 

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Tomb Raider Legend

Score: 4.5 / 10

 

Just what the hell ever happened to the Tomb Raider franchise?  I was actually looking forward to turning on the DS version of the Legend game – it showed up on consoles and PC a few months ago – but if I knew then what I know now… what a waste!  Not only of my time, but of the Tomb Raider franchise.

 

tomb raider legend          tomb raider legend

 

Thankfully the game is short enough that it wasn’t like I wasted a lot of time, but it still doesn’t excuse the shoddy and inconsistent controls, frustrating level design, downright awful graphics.  The only somewhat good that I can say about Tomb Raider Legend – other than its brevity – is how the touchscreen is used.

 

When gunning down enemies, you tap (or hold) the stylus against the screen to fire.  For example, tapping the head of an enemy will usually result in a headshot;

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pressing against the touchscreen while the machine gun is equipped sends out a stream of bullets.  It makes combat a snap, which also takes 99% of the challenge of gun battles.  After playing through the entire game I never died during a gun battle – it was always the instant-death drops or booby-traps, some of which can only be found by trial and error, which did me in.

 

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Most levels are extremely straightforward – though the game is quasi 3D, Lara can only effectively move on the horizontal plane – but thanks to some of the worst graphics on the DS I still managed to repeatedly die (over and over) because I couldn’t see a critical ledge, a pole, or a platform.  They’re so bad that any context sensitive areas are spelled out so that you don’t miss them.  “X” shows up but don’t know what it’s supposed to do?  Just press it, your grappling hook will grab something.

 

tomb raider legend          tomb raider legend

 

The problem with the graphics is that the developer attempted to port the graphics of the console versions, with zippo in terms of success, except for the pre-rendered cutscenes which are surprisingly good.  Eidos realized a long time ago that Lara Croft can be exploited for easy money because the success of the original game made it somewhat of a legend, but what the company hasn’t realized is that the series is in desperate need of branching out into other genres, particularly when hardware limitations demand it.  A Tomb Raider role-playing game, mixed with a bit of action via the touchscreen, would have been awesome!  But it’s not likely that we’ll ever see such a thing – I am left only with lament for what could have been.

 

Same goes for the control.  It’s just bad, but the best example of how bad it is, is Lara’s ability to roll.  First she kneels.  Slowly.  Then she flash-rolls across a small distance.  The edge is taken off the sting a little because there is hardly ever a situation where you have to use it.  But the worst problem is button presses not registering.

 

Enough venom.  Don’t buy the DS version of Tomb Raider Legend.

 

- Omni

(December 13, 2006)

 

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