How time has flown. It's almost 10 years since the then emerging Derby-based developer Core Design hooked up with games whizz Toby Gard to fashion the first lady of games.

Lara had it all. A shapely figure so loved by men and a sassy attitude to snare go-getting women, and the Tomb Raider series went on to become a multi-million pound industry in it's own right with games, movies and merchandise all part of the bandwagon.

Just don't mention the last few installments. Angel of Darkness in particular earned a rather embarrassing joke status. Strolling round the streets of Paris may be great in reality, but the game was slow moving, repetitive and dull.

Publisher Eidos had to readjust their holsters. Core Design was ahem ... let go of, and new developer Crystal Dynamics given free reign. Gard was also brought back on board in an attempt to get back to the game's raiding roots.

As the new face of Lara, stunning model Karima Adebibe won’t need to push this title too hard as the game has improved beyond belief since the last incarnation.

Gone is the aimless roaming and in its place a taught, sharp level design that takes the series to a new prestigious level.

The action starts from the moment you boot up. We enter as Lara and her mum crash land in Bolivia - a scene that could be straight out of Mission Impossible 3.

Thoughtful narrative, dialogue and cutscenes move the story along at a great pace and – unlike previous incarnations – you actually want to look out for this gun toting lass.

The control system is way better too. You'll remember the turn on the spot control from previous games? Well, that's history. A brand new take has her jumping, swimming, climbing and more, but it’s all done with much less effort and much more speed.

Lara now feels supple and athletic. Twenty storey dive into a lake? No problem.

Combat has also received a welcome boost with moves such slide attack and a range of new tools including binoculars and a multi-purpose grappling hook. The hook in particular opens up a wider range of puzzles, so less move this block from here to there, push this button and so on.

Verdict

So adventurers step this way. With perfectly executed controls, combat and design, Tomb Raider: Legend is a must buy.

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