Tomb Raider: Legend is the seventh game in the Tomb Raider series. Published by Eidos Interactive, this is the first game in the series not to be handled by British-based Core Design, developed instead by British-owned U.S. studio Crystal Dynamics.
It serves as a reboot of the franchise, with a new incarnation of Lara Croft.
"At the age of nine, Lara survived a plane crash in the Himalayan mountains that resulted in the death of her mother. After miraculously surviving a ten-day solo trek from the crash site to Katmandu, she spent the rest of her childhood under the close tutelage of her Archaeologist father - the late Earl of Abbingdon, Richard Croft.
At the age of eighteen, after the death of her father, Lara inherited the Croft estates and became Countess of Abbingdon. Since then she has been credited with the discovery of some sixteen archaeological sites of international significance.
She has been hailed both as an Archaeological Wunderkind and a glorified Treasure Hunter, depending on whom you listen to. There are thousands of rumors surrounding Lady Croft's exploits, invariably involving the unexplained or outright unbelievable. Lady Croft herself is, unfortunately, never available for comment, which further adds to the veil of mystery that surrounds her life and work.
Consequently, Lady Croft continues to be the focus of wild speculations and intense debate. Idealized and vilified in equal measure, she is perhaps one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of our times."
When Lara Croft was nine years old, the executive airplane carrying her and her mother crashes into the Himalayas in Nepal, leaving them as the only survivors. After taking shelter in the ruins of an ancient Buddhist temple, Lara discovered an ornate Stone Dais holding a sword. Unwittingly activating the ancient artifact, Lara watches in horror as her mother vanished in front of her eyes. Devastated, she left two pages of her diary behind, but kept the directions of how to open the portal with her.
"Anaya telephoned today. She heard a rumor about an ancient temple in Bolivia that contains an ornate stone dais. It could be the one I'm looking for. I'm setting out first thing in the morning."
Lara attempts to find an ornate stone dais similar to the one in Nepal. After navigating a pre-Incan temple and disposing of mercenaries sent by American businessman and adventurer James Rutland, she arrives at Lake Titicaca, where the dais is situated, only to find out that Rutland and his team have beaten her to the place. Old memories are brought back to haunt Lara as Rutland implies that her deceased friend Amanda Evert is still alive. After an intense battle, Rutland as well as most of the mercenaries escape in the helicopter. Left alone, Lara then examines the stone dais finds out that a sword must be placed into the slot of the dais in order to activate the portal. Desperate to understand what happened to her mother, Lara decides to retrieve the sword at any cost.
Lara meets up with Anaya in Peru at the Paraíso village square, and after a battle with mercenaries sent by Rutland to stop them, they manage to reach a condemned archaeological dig near Paraíso, where a tragedy befell Lara and her friends many years ago. When Lara was a student on an archaeological excavation, a mysterious demon was released which killed most of the team except for Amanda and Lara. Amanda managed to seemingly destroy the demon by removing a mysterious glowing red stone from a wall. This, however, led to a cave-in. In their attempt to escape, the cave was filled with water and Amanda was buried in falling stones and boulders. In the present, Lara discovers that her old friend had apparently escaped by finding a unlaced tennis shoe after retracing her steps in the present day. She explores the tomb, and uncovers the legend of the Queen of Tiwanaku. Originally the daughter of a benevolent king she was displaced from here home and was raised by a warrior. The Queen rose to power again after meeting a shaman named Tunupa with a magical staff and after ushering in an era of peace she was brought to paradise by a woman in Lake Titicaca after an epic final battle, the culmination of a struggle for power. Lara realizes that the tomb of the Queen of Tiwanaku is linked to Bolivia. She also uncovers a replica blade similar to the one Rutland described. Lara then theorizes that the sword piece is in fact Excalibur of Arthurian legends and that Amanda is working with Rutland to forge the sword fragments. To her surprise, she realizes that the artifact she is hunting has already been discovered, and is in the 'care' of businessman-turned Yakuza boss Shogo Takamoto, who had it stolen from Waseda University. On her way back to Anaya, Lara battles more of the mercenaries and heads to Japan.
Lara's journey takes her to Japan, where she sets up a meeting with Takamoto for the negotiation. She enlists the help of an old friend named Toru Nishimura, a wealthy media business tycoon and former investigative journalist who has encountered similar risks to Lara. Nishimura arranges a party for them to meet. While Lara has a small rendezvous with Nishimura, Takamoto and his team gatecrashes the party and an argument between him and Lara occurs. Takamoto refuses to negotiate due to grudges with her over an incident some years ago wherein he tried to forge artifacts from the Asuka period and retreats to his penthouse. Barefoot, clad in a ripped dress, and armed with her signature pistols she had smuggled in, Lara pursues him. Nishimura briefly intervenes before she leaves, explaining that the only way to get him is through the construction site. He advises her to be careful and gives her the elevator pass to the roof. Lara ascends to the roof and swings over to Takamoto's apartment. Takamoto refuses to let her see the sword and leaves Lara to deal with his men. Lara eventually tracks Takamoto down to the roof of his penthouse by navigating the skyscraper both on foot and on a motorbike. With the sword fragment on the end of a spear, she and Takamoto fight and she witnesses for herself the terrifying power of the sword fragment. Nonetheless, she manages to kill Takamoto and retrieve this first part of the sword. After being collected by Nishimura Lara gets wind that Rutland is in Africa.
Lara proceeds to Ghana to chase Rutland, since he possessed a sword fragment. It is unknown where this sword fragment was found. She soon tracks him down to a mysterious, ancient temple hidden behind a spectacular waterfall. Strangely, her father had been here, since he had left a pendant behind. When she finally finds Rutland, he tells her about something called the Ghalali Key, believing it to be in Lara's possession. The Ghalali Key was probably found in this temple. Lara has no idea what he was talking about and this frustrates him. Rutland then attacks her using his sword fragment but Lara manages to defeat him. Retrieving his sword fragment, Lara hastily leaves while realizing that the sword was meant to be separated and reattached the function of the Ghalali Key. She then receives news from Zip and Alister that Amanda has searched Lara's manor for the Ghalali Key whilst she was in Ghana. Both of them survived the attack by Amanda and the Force Monster and were alright, though.
Lara travels to a military base in Kazakhstan, where Amanda's men are quickly killing off the soldiers to gain control of the entire place. After Lara saves two soldiers from the mercenaries, they give her access to a nearby train station. From there, she travels by motorcycle, and then on top of a train to an abandoned Soviet lab in Kazakhstan where failed experiments on a sword fragment led to its closing down fifty years ago called "Project Carbonek". Lara catches up with Amanda, who is clearly still angry about being left behind in Paraíso. Lara quickly goes after her and finds her conducting experiments on the third sword fragment. To Lara's horror, she realizes that Amanda is using the Wraith Stone to control the Force Monster which killed their friends in Paraíso. Her investigations lead here to a shield with Lancelot's crest with a map on the back that Lara has Zip and Alister decipher. She also realizes that Amanda wants to use the sword for her own selfish purposes. She then merges with the Force Monster. Lara fights off the Force Monster and recovers the sword fragment from the Soviet machinery, destroying the entire lab in the process. Both Lara and Amanda manage to escape from the laboratory before it falls apart.
Following the map on the back of a shield also recovered from the Soviet lab, Lara's adventure surprisingly brings her home to Cornwall, England. "As in, take the M5 to the A30 Cornwall?" She discovers the real King Arthur's Tomb in Cornwall hidden under a tacky and now-derelict King Arthur tourist attraction, along with the fourth and final sword fragment. Lara realizes that the entire court of Camelot actually existed, and that Arthur and his knights brought the fragments of Excalibur to locations across the world influencing the destinies of various civilizations. Under the tourist attraction Lara finds a series of catacombs that leads to the tomb of Arthur and the entire court. After battling a Sea Serpent, which was probably assigned to protect the place, hundreds of feet underground, Lara returns home to figure out how to put the sword back together. Lara realizes that the previously unknown Ghalali Key was in fact a pendant given to her mother by her father. It is also the one that her mother had with her when their plane crashed into the Himalayas.
Lara is thus forced to return to her past once again, as she tracks down the wreckage of the plane she was on in Nepal and recovers the Ghalali Key before the plane wreckage falls off the cliff. She then returns to the temple where her mother disappeared, reassembles the sword Excalibur using the Ghalali Key, and uses its awesome power to escape from the temple.
Lara returns to Bolivia determined to use Excalibur on the Stone Dais but Amanda, Rutland and their mercenaries await her in order to steal the sword away. In an effort to bypass those trying to stop her, Lara cuts through Rutland's men and unintentionally kills Rutland himself. Amanda rushes over to him, and he passes away in her arms. Feeling sorry for what she has done, Lara tries to patch up the rift between Amanda and herself and suggests both of them use the sword together. Amanda angrily refuses to cooperate and releases the Force Monster once again, this time merging with it. With the help of the Excalibur, Lara defeats the creature once and for all.
Following the directions from her diary and opening the portal once more, Lara discovers what happened to her mother as she looks into the mirror of light. Lara realizes that the mirror spans time and what she is seeing is her mother just moments before she disappears while removing the sword. Her mother asks Lara - obviously not recognizing Lara in her adult form - to leave her daughter alone and that she "meant no harm." Amanda wakes up and shouts at Lara to pull out the sword or it will explode. As Lara's mother hears this, she pulls out the sword, the same as she did all those years ago and the dais explodes. Lara, to her utmost shock, realizes that Amanda was the one who 'killed' her mother. Furious, Lara fires a handful of bullets at either side of Amanda's head, trying to get answers. Amanda confesses that Amelia is alive in Avalon, where Amanda herself had wanted to go. Amanda then states that since Lara would not believe her, she is wasting her breath. Lara knocks Amanda out, saying "From this moment, your every breath is a gift from me." Lara then leaves the area, now believing what her father thought, and determined to reach Avalon and save her mother.
The locations of Lara's seventh adventure are in order of play:
- Tiwanaku, Bolivia - A pre-Incan civilization currently in ruins. Lara arrives there by scaling the rocky cliffs of Bolivia. Lara is in search of a stone dais, very similar to the dais where Lara's mother mysteriously disappeared.
- Paraíso, Peru - Lara meets an old friend, Anaya, in the town square, but they soon find themselves under enemy fire. They then revisit the dig site where Lara once lost many friends and she uncovers the secret they had been searching for all those years ago.
- Tokyo, Japan - A piece of the sword, stolen from Waseda University, is in the hands of the Yakuza boss and Lara wants it back. Lara traverses the rooftops of Tokyo to get to his penthouse.
- Ghana, West Africa - Another piece of the sword is in the hands of James Rutland, who is currently in Ghana. Lara uncovers a phenomenal temple, set in a lake and hidden from sight by roaring waterfalls.
- Kazakhstan - Lara's search brings her to an abandoned secret KGB testing facility where experiments with the sword fragment led to disaster.
- Cornwall, England - "As in take the M5 to the A30 Cornwall?" asks Lara dubiously. Lara investigates an abandoned tacky King Arthur tourist attraction and unearths the catacombs beneath it.
- Himalayas, Nepal - The artifact that can re-forge Excalibur lies in the plane wreck where Lara and her mother once crashed. Lara revisits the crumbling Buddhist monastery where her mother disappeared.
- Bolivia Redux - The final confrontation between Lara and Amanda and the truth is revealed about Lady Croft's death.
- Croft Manor (training level), England - Croft Manor contains a number of puzzles in the form of hidden passageways, lyrical codes and concealed switches. This level can be played at anytime for as long or as short as the player wishes, however they need to complete the first level to unlock the doors of the manor. There are many treasures here as well!
The original released versions were the Xbox and PlayStation 2 versions. The game was later ported to Gamecube and PSP the next year. Then, the game was ported to Windows and Xbox 360 using higher resolution graphics, and finally ported to PlayStation 3 as part of the Tomb Raider HD Collection, and contains high resolution graphics as well as new sounds.
PlayStation Portable players have received some exclusive extras. While the textures and polygon count were significantly reduced to run on the portable, some new gameplay modes were introduced. The Tomb Trials, three multiplayer modes and six additional outfits were not available in any other version of Legend. The Tomb Trials put the player against a series of traps and acrobatics to be dealt with before the assigned time is over, based on locations of the regular levels. Note: On the last level "Bolivia Redux" the "Natla Industries" crates are not present, and you can not destroy the statues scattered around the level.
The Nintendo GameCube version has had a couple of cuts, most likely due to disc space. The rolling demos that would normally play if the game was left inactive while in the title screen have been removed, and the Unfortunate Mishaps video is also missing. The game runs at a slightly smoother frame rate than the PlayStation 2 version, and it also loads faster. But at some specific points there are some noticeable frame rate drops (such as in the train chase, in Kazakhstan). The many filters used for explosions and motion blur are also gone, rendering the game with sharper textures but less remarkable explosions.
The versions for Nintendo handheld consoles are different. Despite following the same storyline and featuring all the levels and key moments from the bigger counterparts, the game is a sidescroller on the GBA. The levels have been broken down into several smaller segments, probably due to technology limits, and feature a lot more platforming than the original versions. The progression of the storyline is told via comic-strips during key moments. The rewards are also present and they unlock simple minigames. Lara also changes outfits in this version, though she's limited to only three - the regular outfit, the Tokyo dress and the Winter suit.
The Mobile version presents a compressed version of the story, featuring only three levels (Tokyo, Ghana and England) based on the original levels from the consoles version, and has a far more limited gameplay style. It features, however, three gameplay modes: corridor combat, room combat and platform exploration.
- This is the first and only game in the Tomb Raider series to be released on the original Xbox and GameCube.