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Published on May 8th, 2011 | by Charlie

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Have You Played… – Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (XBLA Special)

“Have You Played…” is a weekly segment on asking gamers if they have played the game in question. It’s similar to “Do You Remember?”, but it looks at current generation games, no matter what platform they are on (as long as they are also on the Xbox 360)! The segment basically asks you if you have played it, so it gets you involved. If you have not played the game, at the same time, Charlie will give his score on how badly this needs to be played and if it’s for you. The segment is also for games good, or bad, so this segment will either tell you to play a game, or tell you to keep away.

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Want to write your own “Have You Played…” to be published on 22 May? For details, click here.

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I was incredibly lucky to obtain this game. I was told about a special promotion “The Guardian” (like how that works?) was doing, where the first 1,000 (or was it 10,000) people who register to this certain thing I can no longer remember and you would automatically get a free code for this game. It only took half an hour for all the codes to go, and I managed to snag two codes. One for me and one that I gave away, and to be able to get such a game for free was exciting. I hadn’t heard anything at all about this game except the information I read up as the game was downloading, and well… it sounded exciting enough. So this is our Xbox Live Arcade special (even though this game is also on the PSN and PC) and most people voted for Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. I was surprised really as I thought Trials HD would come out top, but it didn’t.

"They get a lot bigger." "That's what she said."

In the beginning moments of the game, you learn about a battle between two people; Totec, who is known as the Guardian of Light, and Xolotl who is (of course) the keeper of darkness. Unfortunatly, Totec lost due to the power of an artefact known as “The Mirror of Smoke”, which unleashed an army which attacked Totec. Somehow (don’t ask me how) Totec managed to win the battle and defeat Xolotl, where he imprisoned him inside the Mirror of Smoke, and stood watch over the mirror for two thousand years where he encased himself in stone. In the present day, Lara Croft finds the artefact, and like every said adventure, so does a group of mercenaries. They knew little of the mirror, and accidentally unleash its power, thus also releasing Xolotl. Not only does that happen, but Totec comes to life from the stone statue, and warns Lara that he must be stopped before the light of dawn (sunrise just to make things easier). So yes, the entire game takes place in one night. And what an eventful one it is… First off, the game is a fixed camera game, so basically, the camera is above the character(s) in a non-linear fashion. The game can be played in single player or co-op (both have the same campaign, but in single player, Totec goes off on his own a lot and meets up with Lara, whereas in co-op, Lara and Totec team up). Throughout the game, the campaign was full of puzzles, and a boss battle here and there. Some of the puzzles included having to make your way around a spinning podium breathing fire at you, pulling leavers and pushing stone block, and boss battles which include dinosaurs (I know, right?!) and other such creatures. When playing as Lara Croft, the weapons you are able to use are guns, bombs and Totec’s polearm. The polearm can be used as a weapon and a means of transportation, allowing the player to hop along them to unreachable areas. You can also use a grappling hook, which can be used to cross pits. In multiplayer, when you play as Totec, you can use his polearm as a weapon, he too will use guns (Im surprised he knows how to use it) and you can also use his shield, which Lara can use as a portable platform when he holds it above his head.

Why must everything look so scary?

Hidden all around the game and in destroyable items are gems, which will go towards the end level completition score, which will in the end go on a leaderboard. Also hidden throughout the game are hidden temples, which you can find such artefacts, which can help upgrade, or downgrade either your defence, speed, weapon or bombs. You can also find Relics, which can upgrade your character, for example, they may give you more health or boost weapon power. There are also a bunch of weapons that can be found, from Pistols to Shotguns to Rocket Launchers. There are also five DLC packs; three which contain new maps and puzzles, and the other two contain new playable characters, such as Kane and Lynch (you got to love them, right…?) and Raziel and Kain from the game Legacy of Kain. What’s really great about the game is that some of the boss battles are really challenging, including the final boss fight which took me well over an hour to complete (who knows how long it took/will take you). There’s a tonne of stuff for you to do and could keep you occupied for hours. As fun as this game is, it won’t always appeal to everybody. I, personally, never was a fan of the Lara Croft games, but this game was a real gem. A downside was that the game felt like it dragged on, and a lot more could have been done to the story. So this game, I give it the score:

8.5 out of 10

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light was developed by Crystal Dynamics and Nixxes Software and was released in 2010. As well as Xbox Live Arcade, this game was also developed for the Playstation Network and the PC.

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NEXT WEEK: It’s Dan’s week (@DeadmanDRB) as he writes about his chosen game.

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About the Author

Some say I should be a video game journalist, others say a video game designer. Shame you can't be both.



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