Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend Download (2006 Puzzle Game)

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Indeed a legend in her own time, Lara Croft returns to home computers in 2006 with a new look, a new game, and a new developer. Revamped physics and an enhanced control scheme allow for more free-flowing action, while graphical improvements present a redesigned Lara who is immediately expressive, more believably proportioned, and as strikingly attractive as ever.

Lady Croft's new look in Legend is based in part on 20-year-old British model Karima Adebibe. Lara now boasts smoother animations, a more realistic deportment, and a number of costume changes. The original Tomb Raider games were popular for their innovative blend of gaming styles as well as for their distinguished female lead, however, and this game is designed to return fans to the winning combination of 3D platforming, environmental puzzle-solving, and third-person shooting found in the blockbuster originals.

While the storyline of Tomb Raider: Legend is told around the series' traditional "tomb raiding" action, Lara must also adventure through modern city levels, proving her acrobatic skill set is as applicable to skyscrapers and cement as it is to unforgiving wilderness and ancient architecture. New equipment, such as the grappling hook and communication device, offer new abilities. A number of vehicles become available along the way, as well, for special gameplay sequences.

For the first time in the series, stalwart Eidos studio Crystal Dynamics (Gex, Legacy of Kain, Project: Snowblind) was developer of this Tomb Raider game, instead of the franchise's creator, Core. The designers at Crystal Dynamics have endeavored to apply their extensive experience in the 3D action genre toward reinvigorating one of gaming's most recognizable and beloved characters.

With her trademark grace and charm, Lara Croft has completely reestablished herself as the supreme heroine of third-person adventure gaming. Whether solving mind-wracking puzzles, gunning down foes with chilling ruthlessness, or exploring everything from steamy jungle waterfalls in Ghana to a frigid military base in Kazakhstan, the lady who vaulted the PlayStation into stardom has returned to recapture our hearts.

Throughout Tomb Raider: Legend there is a palpable sense of a perfected experience. Lara feels on target all the time - she's a whirling dervish of gunplay, gymnastics and personality unleashed with the flick of your finger on the controller. Lara's controls are so refined that the early tutorial-style levels are predominantly geared not toward teaching you the controls, but to training you to look for clues to solve the game's myriad puzzles. Only a few techniques take practice. Finally, Lara is as responsive and agile as her occupation requires, and developer Crystal Dynamics' experience with third-person action adventures (Soul Reaver and Whiplash, to name a mere two) is evident in every jump and roll.

Everything about this game pushes you towards the conclusion of Lara's ever-expanding quest. Each puzzle room has a little hint-movie that pans the camera around, showing off some of the room's points of interest (usually the path you'll need to follow to get out). Ropes, grappling hook attachment points and interactable objects get a shiny sheen to highlight them as possible solution options. Legend wants you to beat it - it wants you to restore Lara Croft to her position at the top of the tomb raiding heap.


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