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Bruce Spiraling toward Oblivion. 9GB hard drive space RECOMMENDED: 2GHz CPU, 512MB RAM, 256MB videocard, gamepad MULTIPLAYER: None > IN THE LATE ’90S, NO “VIRTUAL celebrity” was as famous as Lara Croft. Her debut in the original Tomb Raider broke new ground and defined an entire genre. Half a dozen games, two movies, and a spate of product endorsements later, Eidos inauspiciously coughed up Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness in 2003—an ugly, difficult-to-control, buggy, inanely plotted mess. And with the arrival of brilliant competition like Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and God of War, even Croft-oholics began to lose interest.

In turn, Crystal Dynamics > brought on Toby Gard—the man responsible for the original Lara Croft character—as a consultant. The new team opted to scrap much of the convoluted backstory from previous Tomb Raider games, giving Lara a new origin, several new outfits, a new body shape, and even a new voice actress. The gameplay stays basically the same, though. Like previous games, Legend emphasizes acrobatics and puzzle solving, with some occasional gunplay thrown in. Thankfully, the control system rectifies the gaffes of Angel of Darkness, and Lara now responds to commands as instantly as a shock therapy patient.

He uses the tricks of 2D animation to make the sky seem enormous, when in fact it’s a flat drawing curved to insinuate space. “At some point we had it looking a lot better, if I can be honest,” says Martel. “At one point we had the sequence looking almost like a Monet painting. It was really, really exciting. But we had to cut down on effects, because the machine can only take so much. ” I ask him, since he’s done movies and games, which type of work he prefers. “I’m hoping I can find what makes me vibrate more in games than in movies,” says Martel, still glued to the computer screen.

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Computer Gaming World (July)


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