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08.06.2021

Treasure Hunters: Tomb Raider Legend

This new month I am very happy to be able to review some of the rarest collectibles from Tomb Raider Legend (2006), in our Treasure Hunters section. Legend was without a doubt one of the games I have replayed the most times in the entire franchise and it easily became one of my favorite games. Here and now we are going to analyze the historical context in which this game is framed, if last month you missed our section on Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Angel of Darkness (2003) now is a good time to take a look and continue with us this tour. Without further delay, we begin!

In order to put the series back on track and offer Lara Croft a better future within the video game industry, Eidos Interactive had made the difficult decision to dispense with Core Design as developer after the failure of The Angel of Darkness and change of work team by the American company Crystal Dynamics. The development of future Tomb Raider games set out on a new journey from the small town of Derby in England to Redwood City in California.

Crystal Dynamics, aware of the great responsibility they had on their backs, the new team in charge of Lara Croft knew from the first moment that they had to develop a good and balanced title. The aim was to make a fresh and familiar game at the same time to satisfy the most loyal fans and attract new types of public and expand the audience. Tomb Raider had already garnered a large number of fans throughout its, at that time, ten years of history. Much of the public that joined to play Tomb Raider video games were attracted by the success of the films starring Angelina Jolie. Legend is a game that was strongly influenced by the film versions and we can easily appreciate it in the tone and the playable proposal. On the other hand, they wanted to make Lara Croft smarter and less awaken her brute force, encouraging ingenuity and the use of her equipment over her strength. To achieve all this, Toby Gard, the original creator of the character, was hired again to join the team in order to update Lara's design and bring her into the 21st century. Toby Gard re-modeled Lara Croft for Legend, also serving as a co-writer and creative consultant. This is how he explained it to Chris Peeler in the documentary "10 Years of Tomb Raider: A GameTap Retrospective" (2007):

“I wanted to get involved again because I felt that I could help guide the brand and Lara Croft herself on the path that we originally started with the first Tomb Raider. We looked at how to approach the character design in a caricatured and exaggerated way but keeping its features and human structure ”- Toby Gard.

With Gard's vision and participation, differences in focus arose when coming up with the narrative for the title. On the one hand, Toby wanted to personalize Lara as a cold woman, focused on her own interests and without regard for pulling the trigger in order to achieve her goals. On the other hand, there was the cinematographic profile of the Angelina Jolie films, a heroine willing to sacrifice the artifact that she had so hard to find if it helped save innocent lives or even the repentant enemies of her actions.

Ultimately, Legend had an intermediate Lara Croft profile, where her actions normally have a long-term self-benefit almost unintentionally, thus satisfying both those who wished to see her as a hero and those who preferred a tough and tough Lara´s unscrupulous.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend went on sale on April 7th, 2006 and was received by critics and the public with enthusiasm, generally positive thanks to its innovation since it managed to maintain the essence of the saga with a fluid control of the character in addition to a new story that began a trilogy with a promising future. The point that received the most negative reviews was its duration, making it the shortest game in the entire franchise. It finally reached 80% in Metacritic. In addition, the game managed to win several awards such as a BAFTA for the best original soundtrack, a Golden Joystick for the best character and a special recognition at the Spike Video Game Awards for the best mobile action game.

Legend became the fastest-selling game to date, reaching a total of 6.4 million units sold today. Eidos' difficult decision had begun to bear new fruit thanks to this adrenaline injection to a franchise that was beginning to die.

We take a look below at some of the merchandising pieces most appreciated by fans during this period.

Original sketches of Lara Croft concept art for Tomb Raider Legend by Toby Gard

As I explained several lines above, Toby Gard, creator of Lara Croft, had to adapt Lara's original design to the 21st century and reimagine it for Tomb Raider Legend, here we can see some original sketches of Toby Gard during that creative process in which he was born Lara-Legend.

The sketch contains different facial expressions of Lara Croft as well as her costume design and body proportions.

These original sketches came to my hand thanks to a charity auction organized by Crystal Dynamics in November 2018. The auction was to support the children of the UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital in San Francisco specialized in diseases such as cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders, organ transplants…,etc.

A photo of a framed Tomb Raider Legend poster signed by the entire Crystal Dynamics team in 2006

Tomb Raider Legend poster signed in person by the entire Crystal Dynamics team in 2006. These posters were given to webmasters at the time to support the promotion of the new game. A total of 50 signed posters were made. The specimen we see is number 6.

A rare Chinese edition of Tomb Raider Legend for PC

Chinese edition of Tomb Raider Legend for PC. This rare edition has exceptional packaging and includes, in addition to the game, a book about Chinese cosplayers featuring Lara Croft, a plastic Lara Croft figurine and various sets of stickers. Without a doubt, an edition very different from what we obtained in the rest of the world and stands out for the large number of gifts it includes.

A photo of the Tomb Raider Legend PSP console pack released in Spain

Exclusive pack that was put on sale in Spain with the department   store chain "El Corte Inglés" where the PSP pocket game console was   marketed along with the physical edition game of Tomb Raider Legend. All this   wrapped in an attractive packaging. Impossible to resist.

A Lara Croft statue from Tomb Raider Legend made by Studio Oxmox and Muckle Mannequins

Studio Oxmox and Muckle Mannequins produced this statue of Lara Croft in Tomb Raider Legend as usual with each game. The 2-meter-high statue (the tallest to date) was made of resin and fiberglass. Lara was raised on a rock-shaped base on which we could distinguish the game's logo. On that occasion no exclusive or alternative model was made, just the standard edition.

A photo of a 1:4 size painted figure of Lara Croft from Tomb Raider Legend by Sideshow Collectibles

The American company Sideshow Collectibles made this 1: 4 hand-painted statue of Tomb Raider Legend in 2006. It has two editions, a standard numbered version of 750 units and an exclusive premium edition of 500 units that includes the inlaid Excalibur sword at the rocky base of the figure. As a detail it should be noted that all Lara Croft clothes are made of fabric following the highest standards.

The statue was created by the following artists from the Sideshow Collectibles creative department: Tony Cipriano, Tim Miller, Mat Falls, Jared Chapman, Mike Arbios, Heath Hammond, Gidget Earl, Anthony Mestas, and Seth Rinaldi.

A photo of a bedding set by Inno-Wear under license from Eidos Interactive with Lara Croft and Tomb Raider Legend themes

This bedding set was created by Inno-Wear under license from Eidos   Interactive. It is the same company that also created a Tomb Raider Underworld towel and collaborated with the Himmersion brand to develop the Tomb Raider 10th anniversary t-shirts.

Each piece of this bedding set had to be purchased separately and the total set consists of: 2 pillowcases, fitted sheet and duvet cover. It presents several silhouettes of Lara Croft in black and white colors as well as her signature. The bed set is made of 100% cotton.

This has been the journey through Legend and the analysis of the objects that I consider the most rare and attractive about this incredible game. I am Rodrigo Martín Santos and if you like Tomb Raider and / or collecting, I encourage you to follow me on my website www.tombraidercollection.comor through Facebook, your support helps me a lot to grow this community of collectors and fans of our beloved Lara Croft. Next month we delve into the depths of Tomb Raider Underworld (2008). For calendar reasons we will have to skip the remake “Tomb Raider Anniversary” (2007) in order to coincide on dates with the calendar provided by Crystal Dynamics for the celebration of this 25th Anniversary of Tomb Raider. Until next month!

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