November 14, 2012

Browser-Based Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light Free to Play

If you missed Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light when it came out a few years ago for PC and consoles, you can now play it in your Windows or Macintosh web browser. Core Online is offering both free (ad-supported) and paid versions of several games including Guardian of Light, Hitman: Blood Money, and Mini Ninjas (yay!), with Tomb Raider: Underworld and other titles coming soon.

There's no co-op mode in this version, so I'm not sure why the video below shows so much co-op play. Perhaps they plan to add it later. Also, they're clearly still working out some of the kinks. I ran into a couple of minor technical glitches, but once I got the game running, it played beautifully—just like the original version. And you can't argue with the price! ;)

Visit beta.coreonline.com for details. Their help page includes system requirements and troubleshooting tips. For more about the game itself, including my walkthrough and mini-review, visit Stella's Guardian of Light page.

November 12, 2012

Tomb Raider Collector's Edition Details Announced

With the new Tomb Raider game still 4 months away, I've been reluctant to post information about the various special editions, especially since details have been sketchy so far and special editions have not yet been announced for some countries. People keep asking, though, so when Crystal Dynamics sent out official photos of the European and North American special editions today, I decided to go for it. Here's what we know so far, per Community Manager Meagan Marie:

Tomb Raider North American Collector's Edition

North American Collector's Edition
Click image to enlarge.

Includes the following, according to the Official Tomb Raider Blog:
  • Endurance Survival Kit Packaging: A survival tin salvaged from the ill-fated Endurance. The tin houses a copy of the game and the Lara Croft figure (below).
  • Play Arts Kai Lara Croft Figurine: Fully posable figurine with over 40 points of articulation. Comes with alternate set of three hands, bow and arrow, shotgun, handgun, and climbing axe. Approx 8" tall.
  • 15" x 19" Double Sided Island Map and Poster: Discover key landmarks from the mysterious island of Yamati, where Lara Croft and her fellow castaways were marooned after the Endurance shipwreck. On the reverse is a poster size image of the box art.
  • Lithographic Print: 5" x 7" heavy stock, matted print of a painting by Brenoch Adams.
  • Experience Shields: Three iron-on badges of the game's key icons: Animal Instincts, Climbing Axe, Fire Arrow.
  • CD Soundtrack: Tomb Raider Original Soundtrack 'Survivalist Cut': A collection of 10 tracks totaling over 60 minutes of music from the game.
  • Downloadable Weapons Pack: A selection of weapons to help Lara survive in-game against the island's inhabitants.

This Collector's Edition will be available in North America for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 for $99.99. Tomb Raider will also be available in North America for the PC via digital download, with Collector's Edition details pending.

Several pre-order editions have also been announced by retailers including Amazon.com (their "Final Hours Edition"includes the Hunter skin for Lara, a digital art book, and a Kindle Fire edition of "The Final Hours of Tomb Raider" documentary), GameStop (includes an exclusive challenge tomb) and Best Buy (includes the Aviatrix skin for Lara plus a 48-page Tomb Raider comic written by Rhianna Pratchett).

UPDATE: Steam has also just announced a digital Survival Edition, which includes various downloadable rewards, including a free copy of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light, challenge tomb and Endurance DLC packs, an art book, soundtrack and island map.

Tomb Raider European Survival Edition

Tomb Raider European Survival Edition
Click image to enlarge.

Includes the following, according to the Official Tomb Raider Blog:
  • Art Book: A 32-page mini art book compiled by Tomb Raider Art Director Brian Horton, depicting Lara's epic adventure through original concept art.
  • 15" x 19" Double Sided Island Map and Poster: Discover key landmarks from the mysterious island of Yamati, where Lara Croft and her fellow castaways were marooned after the Endurance shipwreck. On the reverse is a poster size image of the box art.
  • Waterproof Survival Pouch: A 4" x 6" waterproof re-sealable adventure pouch for storing belongings.
  • CD Soundtrack: Tomb Raider Original Soundtrack 'Survivalist Cut': A collection of 10 tracks totaling over 60 minutes of music from the game.
  • Downloadable Weapons Pack: A selection of weapons to help Lara survive in-game against the island's inhabitants.

Tomb Raider European Collector's Edition

Tomb Raider European Collector's Edition
Click image to enlarge.

The deluxe collector's edition includes everything from the Survival Edition (above), plus the following:
  • Endurance Survival Kit Packaging: A survival tin salvaged from the ill-fated Endurance. The tin houses a copy of the game and the Lara Croft figure (below).
  • Play Arts Kai Lara Croft Figurine: Fully posable figurine with over 40 points of articulation. Comes with alternate set of three hands, bow and arrow, shotgun, handgun, and climbing axe. Approx 8" tall.

The Survival and Collector's Editions will be available in Europe for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC. I was not able to find pricing information at this time. I'm guessing it varies by country.

For more information and regular updates of pre-order and promotional offers worldwide, visit the official Tomb Raider site.

Again, for those living in tombs or shipwrecked on mysterious islands with limited internet access, the game will be released March 5, 2013.

November 2, 2012

Podcast Features a Conversation with Tomb Raider Writer Rhianna Pratchett

The most recent Crystal Habit Podcast has been out for about a week, but thanks to Hurricane Sandy, Halloween, and a little laziness on my part, I've just recently had a chance to listen. I'm so glad I did.

Rhianna Pratchett
Tomb Raider Lead Writer
Rhianna Pratchett
The podcast, hosted as usual by our Community Manager, Meagan Marie, features a nearly hour-long interview with Tomb Raider's Lead Writer, Rhianna Pratchett, in which she discusses her role in re-imagining one of the most iconic characters in gaming, reveals some interesting details about the new Lara, gives advice to aspiring game writers, and tells what she'd like to bring with her into the afterlife. . . and more, if you can believe it.

Download the audio here: Crystal Habit Podcast #15 (MP3).
Get the written transcript here: Crystal Habit Podcast #15 (text).


Past editions of the Crystal Habit, featuring Meagan and other members of the dev team, can be found on the Official Tomb Raider Blog and iTunes.

Read more about Pratchett on her web site, rhiannapratchett.com.

UPDATE: Eurogamer has also just published this interview: Rewriting Tomb Raider: Rhianna Pratchett on the rape controversy, giving Lara a new voice and why it's time for games to grow up.
Tomb Raider Archives - Collecting all the classic Top Cow Comics
Tomb Raider Archives 4-volume set collects 50 issues of the best-selling Top Cow comic. Order from TFAW, Amazon, or Amazon UK.