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GameTap: Tomb Raider: Underworld Preview

GameTap's Douglass C. Perry writes: Sitting in Eidos' Redwood City office this week, I realize I'm giddy to see the new Lara Croft Underworld--and I'm not sure why. Over the last 10 years, I've seen half a dozen demos designed to convince me how the next Tomb Raider will be larger, better, more enticing, and will somehow out-do the previous version. In this meeting, Creative Director Eric Lindstrom tells how the legendary female spelunker is a heroine of circumstance, an explorer who reacts more or less with fierce curiosity in a way few others can.

Tomb Raider is still very much a single-player action-adventure game, but hundreds of little subtle actions render it distinct from previous iterations in the series. Thanks to advanced technology in the form of the PlayStation 3 and the Xbox 360, for the first time, Lara Croft's movements are motion captured, instead of hand key framed, giving her a fidelity of motion and personal swagger that is more felt than seen.

This first elaborate puzzle captures the essence of the first and vast landscapes of the original Tomb Raider. It also premieres the new game's themes, which, in addition to Lara's can-do abilities, also portray the notion of the underworld. Eric Lindstrom tells us Underworld is named such because it's based on archeology from real places and from real myths. Eidos wouldn't reveal any storyline details, except to say that in each of the locales Lara visits, she explores the depths of each local myth. Each is serendipitously interconnected with one another.

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