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Tomb Raider Legend review

Lara takes a brave step forwards on to PSP... but also a few steps back

Thursday 8 June 2006
In order to be small and mobile, sacrifices have to be made. Just look at that Smart Car thing. When driving one you're able to nip between the wheels of larger vehicles or park in spaces usually reserved for bikes. But the pay-off for this is that you lose all respect and get mocked by children and old ladies alike.

Scaling things down can mean making things less fun. Tomb Raider Legend is like that - it performs the same functions as its PS2 sister, but in becoming smaller, compromises have been made and it just isn't the same any more.

When we reviewed theXbox version, we gave it 9/10. While we had issues with the ease of completion, the length of the game and the way it cherry-picked ideas from other games and movies, there was no doubt in our minds that it restored the battered Tomb Raider reputation.

What you're getting in this PSP version is the complete PS2 game - every boss, every level, every secret, every ripple of water trickling down Lara's chest - but on a handheld. You're also getting looks of an almost identical quality, with PSP's smaller screen disguising the slight tweaks that have been made to the textures.

There's even some PSP-exclusive content in the form of speed challenges, which charge you with barrelling Lara through some mini-levels in sub two-minute times. In terms of presentation and content, this is a shining example of the power of the PSP.And, as we say, it's small and mobile. And much more fiddly to play. So therefore nowhere near as good. Damn.

See, one of the most important aspects of the Lara revival was the tight control you had over the heroine. Gone were the days of struggling to clamber onto a skip or leaping into a spiked pit on what looked like a whim of the computer- now it feels like you're controlling an expert climber and talented acrobat, rather than a meat puppet.Sadly the Lara Croft that's on PSP has rather a lot more in common with the clutz you wrestled with on the PSone than the one that recently pirouetted and flipped her way through PS2's version.

More info

DescriptionBullets, breasts, and brain-busters thrust Legends back into classic territory.
Franchise nameTomb Raider
UK franchise nameTomb Raider
Platform"PSP","Xbox 360","Xbox","PS2","PC","GameCube","DS"
US censor rating"Teen","Teen","Teen","Teen","Teen","Teen","Teen"
UK censor rating"","","","","","",""
Release date1 January 1970 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)