Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light
Xbox 360 (available now) PS3 & PC (available Sept. 28)
Man, Lara Croft has faced some peaks and valleys. There was once a time when our favorite tomb raider enjoyed a level of fame and stardom reserved only for Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog ... until Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness came out, and boy, did that game suck. Despite the fact three good Tomb Raider games followed, Angel of Darkness radically changed popular opinion. In a departure from the norm, Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light is here. Out is the solo spelunking, and in is an arcade-style experience that sees Lara teaming up with Totec, the titular Guardian of Light. Together they will do battle with Xolotl the keeper of Darkness. OK, the story's kinda silly, but the game's seriously fun.
One thing you'll notice is that despite still raiding tombs, Lara has new moves. Her once slow and methodical approach is now quicker and more agile. Also, there's higher focus on the gunplay, allowing Lara or Totec to strafe, utilizing Smash TV style dual joystick controls. While generally faster, puzzle solving is still at the series' forefront, as you will be utilizing both Lara and Totec's talents to confront dangers. Lara has a grappling hook that allows her to swing across gaps, and create a tightrope that Totec can traverse, while Totec's spears can be used as platforms that'll help Lara reach areas she previously couldn't. While the game is enjoyable solo, it's meant to be played with a friend. One caveat: The XBLA game was released without online multiplayer, which will be available via patch at the same time the game is released for PS3 and PC.
In short, Lara Croft & the Guardian of Light is lean, with minimal storyline, but heavy with action. Hell, Guardian of Light is so good, in fact, it's almost criminal that it goes for a measly $15. Buy it immediately.Send comments to [email protected]