December 22, 2010

Tomb Raider and Guardian of Light Holiday Download Sales

If you've been coveting Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light or one of the newer Tomb Raider games but decided to wait until the price was right, now is the time to take the plunge. Both Steam and Xbox LIVE are offering great holiday deals.

Xbox LIVE has Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light at half price (600 MS points) today only! The Kane & Lynch character pack is also free for Gold members today. To sweeten the pot, LCGOL is one of several daily specials that will earn you an extra entry in the Xbox Countdown to New Year's Eve Sweepstakes. For details, visit http://www.xbox.com/en-US/Live/countdown2011/home.

Steam is offering deep discounts on the Windows PC version of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light as well as Tomb Raider: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld. LCGOL is now 66% off the regular price (reduced from $14.95 to $5.10) or 76% off ($3.60) if you already own another Tomb Raider game through Steam. Anniversary, Legend and Underworld are all half price: $4.99, $9.99 and $14.99, respectively. Dozens of other games are reduced for the holidays, too, but the sale ends January 2. Visit http://store.steampowered.com for more info.

Note that these are U.S. prices, but a few friends on our Facebook Page have reported similar sales going on in other countries as well. Please leave a comment here or there if you have details for a particular country/region.

December 21, 2010

Game Informer Tomb Raider Podcast: Answers Breed Questions

Who will voice the next Lara Croft? Will she wield her trademark pistols? Why the Mature rating? Is the game truly "open world"? What role will weather play? Will actual tombs be raided?

Last week Game Informer asked readers to post their burning questions about the next Tomb Raider. This week their entire 40-minute podcast is devoted to a Q&A with Crystal Dynamics' Karl Stewart and Tim Longo. Tune in for the latest TR dish...plus a sample from the new soundtrack.

Game Informer Special Edition Podcast: Tomb Raider

Game Informer Tomb Raider Special Edition Podcast

December 18, 2010

Tomb Raider Contest: Win a Lara Croft Snow Day Statue

We all know that Tomb Raider fans are some of the most creative people out there. From custom levels and other game mods, to artwork, fiction, poetry, cosplay and videos, you guys have got it going on! Here's your chance to put that talent to work and take home a fabulous prize.

Katie Fleming, of Katie's Tomb Raider Site, is hosting a month-long contest. The winner will receive this beautiful, hand-painted Lara Croft Snow Day statue, designed by Adam Hughes and produced by Sideshow Collectibles. It's one of a limited edition of 1000, now sold out.

Lara Croft Snow Day Statue from Sideshow Collectibles

To enter, depict a scene from any of the Tomb Raider games, or one of Katie's Tomb Raider stories, in any medium you like. Draw or paint a picture, write a song, act it out, create something; anything. Once your masterpiece is finished, fill out the entry form on Katie's site to submit your work.

Entries will be accepted between December 17, 2010, and January 22, 2011. Katie and I will be judging the contest together, and we'll announce the winner here on my blog, as well as on Katie's site, on January 24.

For more information, check out Katie's Video Blog (below) and read the complete contest rules. For details about the prize, visit Sideshow Collectibles online.

I can't wait to see all the exciting projects you'll submit. Best of luck to everyone who enters!

December 17, 2010

Guardian of Light Makes Apple Store Debut

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light is now available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch through the App Store. In case you've been trapped in a tomb for the last 6 months and haven't seen it yet, this game is an offshoot of the Tomb Raider series starring Lara and her manly Mayan sidekick, Totec. It's a fast-paced arcade title with a great blend of combat, puzzle solving and platforming.

The LCGOL app can be played solo or co-op (via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth), though apparently it's not cross-platform compatible. So, for example, if you've got the iPhone game, you won't be able to play co-op if your friend has an iPad.

I haven't seen it yet, but I'm told the game is a straight port of the PC/Xbox/PS3 game, so if you need more info or a walkthrough, you know where to go: http://tombraiders.net/stella/guardian.html.

The iPhone/iPod Touch version costs £3.99 / $6.99 / €5.49, while the HD iPad edition is £5.99 / $9.99 / €7.99. (Links are to the U.S. Apple Store.)

UPDATE 12/13/14: The original version is no longer available, but a remastered Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light version 2.0 for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch has just been added to the iTunes store.

Here are a few screenshots from the iPhone game, as well as a video preview, courtesy of SlideToPlay, showing hands-on gameplay in the single-player version of the Spider Tomb level.

For in-depth reviews, visit reghardware.com and appadvice.com.

If you've tried it yourself, please post a comment with your impressions.



Thanks to Sebastian and Matt for letting me know about this.

December 12, 2010

Child's Play Holiday Toy Drive

Just a reminder to all gamers that it's not too late to make a difference for a hospitalized kid this holiday season. Child's Play's holiday toy drive is still on. You can donate games, electronics, toys, books, art supplies and other items directly to the hospital of your choice through Amazon.com or contribute cash by mail or PayPal.


"Imagine being stuck alone in a hospital over the holidays, getting something from a fellow gamer would really raise [your] spirits. Some of the stuff the hospital will give away for kids to keep, while other gifts (like consoles) will be kept by the hospital for patients to use throughout the year." (From the Child's Play web site)

Child's Play was founded in 2003 by the gamers at Penny Arcade. Since then, more than 100,000 of us worldwide have raised over 7 million dollars in toys, games and other much-needed items for sick kids in children’s hospitals across North America and the world. Along with soliciting individual donations, Child's Play also promotes special events year round, including auctions and live online game-a-thons like Desert Bus for Hope and Super Mario Marathon.

Unlike some other charities, they collect no administrative fees or other charges. 100% of all gifts and donations go directly to partner hospitals to help make life a little brighter for a sick child.

For more information or to make a monetary donation, go to childsplaycharity.org.

To donate a game or other gift directly to a children's hospital, go to childsplaycharity.org and click the controller icon at the top of the page. This will take you to an interactive map of the partner hospitals. Click the controller icon for a hospital near you to go directly to their Amazon wish list. On the Amazon page, click the "Remember" button in the left column to add the hospital's address to your address book. Then choose a gift, add to cart, and check out. Be sure to select the hospital's shipping address rather than your own.

The Child's Play organizers have asked that gifts intended for the Christmas holiday arrive no later than December 20, so please consider that when choosing a toy and shipping options.

Thanks so much for your support. When gamers give back, it makes a difference!

December 11, 2010

Tomb Raider Player Survey Results

Some of you may remember the Tomb Raider community survey/contest Katie Fleming did earlier this year. She presents the results in this video blog post. You can also find more info about the project on her Tomb Raider fan site, as well as her professional site, KatieFleming.ca. Notice how many of the top players' suggestions have been incorporated into the upcoming TOMB RAIDER game.

Katie just launched her video blog a few weeks ago, but she already has several posts with game reviews, history and more on her YouTube channel. Check it out!

December 10, 2010

Next Tomb Raider Explores New Territory

Although the intriguing tagline "A Survivor is Born" is being used to promote it, the publishers stress that the ninth game in the series will be titled simply: TOMB RAIDER.*

The New Lara Croft, courtesy of Game Informer
TOMB RAIDER
Here's what we know so far, in the form of an expanded list of bullet points similar to others that have been making the rounds lately:
  • TOMB RAIDER is currently in development by Crystal Dynamics, the same studio that created Tomb Raider: Legend, Anniversary and Underworld, as well as Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, and will be published by Square Enix.
  • The game begins with a 21-year-old Lara Croft shipwrecked on a mysterious island off the coast of Japan.
  • In retelling Lara's origin story, the developers have said they hope to make her a more complex, human and culturally relevant hero, in part by putting her in an extremely dangerous and challenging situation through which she will ultimately prevail.
  • This time around there will be no real-life model representing Lara for promotional events.
  • However, the game will employ extensive use of motion-capture technology.
  • The voice actor who'll play Lara has not yet been announced.
  • Tomb Raider staples like puzzles, combat, exploration and action will be more fully integrated into the basic survival storyline.
  • The auto-targeting feature used in previous games will be replaced by a free-aim system.
  • Weapons may include a bow, pistol and shotgun (shown in various game art), as well as tools and objects Lara discovers in the course of her explorations.
  • While not strictly "open world," the game is non-linear. Players can explore the island freely and can revisit locations as Lara's skills and equipment improve. However, there will be some scripted sequences that advance the story.
  • It will be necessary to gather food, water and other items for survival.
  • A system of "base camps" allow players to fast travel among various points on the island. Base camps also allow players to examine and combine inventory items and access a skill system to enhance Lara's abilities.
  • Changing weather conditions, Lara's improved gear and abilities, and the player's influence on the game world itself are intended to keep locations fresh when revisited.
  • At the heart of it all is a mystery reminiscent of the TV show LOST. What is this island all about? Who are its mysterious inhabitants? Why is it seemingly impossible to escape? Lara—and the player—must discover the truth.
  • TOMB RAIDER will be rated 'M' (Mature).
  • It will be available for Windows PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
  • A release date has not yet been announced.

The New Lara Croft, courtesy of Game Informer
A young Lara Croft shows her grit

For more TOMB RAIDER news and discussion:

*TOMB RAIDER will be the ninth major installment in the series, not including Tomb Raider: Anniversary, which was technically a remake of the original Tomb Raider.

SOURCES: Square Enix. Game Informer, January 2011 issue and GameInformer.com.

December 6, 2010

Game Informer Reveals New Tomb Raider

Today Game Informer unveiled the cover for its upcoming Tomb Raider issue and hinted at more news to come.


According to the news item by GI staff writer and Lara Croft fan/cosplayer Meagan VanBurkleo, the next Tomb Raider will indeed be an updated origin story.

"Rebooting the Tomb Raider franchise through an origin story wasn't so much a choice as an act of necessity, according to Crystal Dynamics. Drastic measures were needed. To build an entirely fresh Lara—a culturally relevant hero worth of the attention that once came so effortlessly—they must break her first. In this new adventure—simply titled Tomb Raider—a younger and inexperienced Lara Croft must endure both physical and emotional trauma to survive."

For more info, including two Tomb Raider cover treatments, check out the unfolding story at Game Informer's Tomb Raider Hub and pick up the January issue when it hits newsstands on December 11. Or watch this space, follow me on Twitter or join the discussion on my Facebeook page.

December 2, 2010

Guardian of Light DLC Free on Steam
Character Packs Coming Soon

At last PC parity has arrived and all is right with the world. Today Crystal Dynamics released a free downloadable level pack for the computer version of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light. Players who own the game just need to log onto their Steam accounts to download the new content, a set of four challenge levels entitled "Things That Go Boom."

For those who haven't been following the saga of the game's staggered release dates and patches, this update means players on all systems (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC) are now equal and up to speed—although I imagine someone, somewhere will still find something to complain about. That's why they call us whiners...I mean gamers.

Long story short, all three systems now have single-player mode, as well as both on- and offline co-op, and all have now been offered one challenge pack free for the first month it is available. For Xbox 360 players, it was Challenge Pack 1: "All the Trappings." For PC and PS3 it's Challenge Pack 2: "Things That Go Boom." Presumably both packs will be available on all systems eventually.


"Things That Go Boom" Screenshot

In other minutiae, the developers have also announced upcoming Guardian of Light character packs featuring IO/Eidos Interactive characters Kane and Lynch, as well as Raziel and Kain from Crystal Dynamics' Legacy of Kain series. Yesterday Crystal asked its Twitter and Facebook followers which pack they'd like to see released first. Videos showing unfinished versions of each pack recently surfaced on YouTube:



I, for one, find it more than a little disturbing to hear Lara's voice coming out of Kane or Raziel's mouth. Let's hope they fix that in the final version.
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