Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend

With her career in critical condition after 2003 flops "Cradle of Life" on the bigscreen and "Angel of Darkness" for videogame consoles, Lara Croft is in desperate need of a reboot, and that's exactly what she gets in "Legend."

With her career in critical condition after 2003 flops “Cradle of Life” on the bigscreen and “Angel of Darkness” for videogame consoles, Lara Croft is in desperate need of a reboot, and that’s exactly what she gets in “Legend.” While the magically proportioned adventurer’s seventh vidgame isn’t particularly innovative, it’s a solid, eminently playable entry that puts the franchise back on firm footing.

Physical assets aside, “Tomb Raider” has always stood out for booby-trapped ancient sites. That’s exactly where “Legend” shines. Not only are its puzzles challenging, but the controls are very forgiving, making it less likely gamers will throw their controller in frustration after Lara accidentally falls while dangling from a high ledge.

The rest of the game is more mundane — action sequences are highly derivative and aren’t as compelling as those found in pure shooting games.

Sound and graphics are both excellent, however. It’s particularly impressive that new developer Crystal Dynamics has designed a completely recognizable Lara Croft who doesn’t look as much like a blowup doll as previous incarnations.

Like the majority of videogames, the latest “Tomb Raider” is most lacking in the script department. “Legend’s” storyline, such as it is, is a hackneyed affair about Lara’s past coming back to haunt her, and it’s told through dialogue that’s often cringe-inducing. With the next “Tomb Raider” game, Eidos would be well advised to develop a story that’s half as intriguing as the puzzles Lara Croft solves.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Legend

Production: An Eidos Interactive presentation of a game developed by Crystal Dynamics for PC, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360. Rated T (teen). Reviewed on Xbox 360.

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