Lara Croft 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. The PS2, Windows, Xbox, and Xbox 360 versions were released in Europe on April 7, 2006 and in North America on April 11, 2006. The North American PSP version was released on June 20, 2006, the Nintendo GameCube, Game Boy Advance and Nintendo DS versions were released during November, 2006 and the Mobile version was released in December, 2006. The Windows version was released at Singapore's Funan Digitalife Mall in 2006 and it was also made available for download to GameTap subscribers on May 31, 2007.
Notice: Legend is essentially a reboot of the Tomb Raider franchise, and the storyline is standalone. There are, however, a few "Easter eggs" referencing the previous games as well as the two feature films.
When Lara Croft was just nine years old, the executive airplane carrying her and her mother crashed into the Himalayas, leaving them as the only survivors. After taking shelter in the ruins of an ancient temple, Lara discovered an ornate stone dais holding a sword. Unwittingly activating the ancient artefact, Lara watched in horror as her mother vanished in front of her eyes. Devastated, she left the pink book behind, in which the directions of how to open the portal were written.
Years later, Lara, with the help of Zip and Alister, travels to the ancient civilization of Tiwanaku in Bolivia, following a tip from university peer Anaya Imanu. Lara attempts to find an ornate stone dais similar to the one in Nepal. She soon runs into James Rutland and his mercenaries on the edge of Lake Titicaca, where the dais is situated. 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 and finds that it is similar to the one in Nepal. 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.
Lara meets up with Anaya at the village, and after a battle with mercenaries sent by Rutland to stop them, they manage to reach the tomb in 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 and learns the legend of Tiwanaku's Queen. The Queen rose to power after meeting a shaman with a magical staff and was shortly brought to paradise by a woman in a lake 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, the incident in Nepal]] when she was a child and possibly even Arthurian Legend. Later on, she learns about the sword piece that is believed to be a part of the Excalibur. To her surprise, she realizes that the artefact she is hunting has already been discovered, and is in the 'care' of Yakuza boss Shogo Takamoto, who had it stolen from Waseda University.
Lara's journey takes her to Japan, where her media mogul friend Nishimura assists Lara in finding Takamoto so that she can negotiate. Nishimura arranges a party for them to meet. Takamoto, however, ruins the party and refuses to negotiate, since he bears grudges with her over an incident some years ago. He then escapes. Clothed in a ripped dress and armed with weapons, Lara is told by Nishimura 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, where she witnesses for herself the terrifying power of the sword fragment. Nonetheless, she manages to overcome Takamoto and retrieve this first artefact.
After being rescued by Nishimura, 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. Retrieving his sword fragment, Lara hastily leaves and receives news from Zip and Alister that Amanda (!) has searched her manor for the Ghalali Key whilst she was in Ghana. Both of them were alright, though.
Lara comes to a military base in Kazakhstan, where Rutland's men are quickly killing off the soldiers to gain control of the entire place. From there, she travels in a motorcycle, and then on top of a train to an abandoned Soviet lab in Kazakhstan where experiments on a sword fragment led to its closing down fifty years ago. 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 has gone insane and uses the stone to control the demon which killed their friends in Paraíso. She also realizes that Amanda wants to use the sword for her own selfish purposes. Lara fights off the demon and recovers the sword fragment from the Soviet machinery, destroying the entire lab in the process. Amanda manages to escape from the laboratory before it falls apart.
Following a map on the back of a shield also recovered from the Soviet lab, Lara's adventure surprisingly brings her home to England. 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 Arthur and his knights brought the fragments of Excalibur to locations across the world influencing the destinies of various civilizations, and that the entire court of Camelot actually existed. After battling a sea serpent-like creature, 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 falls off the cliff. She then returns to the temple where her mother lost her life, reassembles the sword, Excalibur, and uses its awesome power to escape. Determined to use it onto the stone dais in Bolivia, she quickly returns with the sword.
Lara returns to the stone dais in Bolivia, where Amanda, Rutland and their mercenaries await her in order to steal the sword away. In an effort to bypass these obstacles, 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 both of them and suggests both of them use the sword together. Amanda angrily refuses to cooperate and releases the demon 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 book (it is again unclear how she got it) 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 artefact. 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 hail of bullets around Amanda, trying to get answers. Amanda gives in and says that her mother 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, 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 artefact 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.
Following the success of Lego Star Wars: The Video Game on the Nintendo GameCube, Eidos announced their decision to port Tomb Raider: Legend to that platform, marking Lara Croft's first appearance on a home Nintendo console. Legend is also the first game in the series available on a Microsoft console: Xbox (and later on the Xbox 360).