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Welcome, friends! Welcome. Come in. Take a seat. Here at Crazy Tom Braider’s Gently Used Car and Videogame Emporium, we have everything you could possibly want to suit your baddie-horde-bashing, 2000-year-old-Mayan-warrior-co-oping needs. We also have one car, but that’s not for sale because it’s mine. Then again, I suppose that Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light isn’t technically for sale either, given that it’s actually free-to-play by way of this crazy ad-powered Core Online gadgetmowhatsit. Yessir, our prices are craaaaaazy. And by that I mean kind of confusing.
Just in case you missed the isometric adventure game Lara Croft an the Guardian of Light in 2010, you can now play the game for absolutely free. Square Enix has added the title to its "Core Online" platform, the ad-supported, browser-based game service it launched it August.
The game is supported on Chrome, Firefox, and IE browsers, and Mac users can play it using Chrome's Native Client. The game received positive reception from critics, despite being a fairly radical departure from the standard Tomb Raider series. It's a co-op adventure in which Lara teams up with a 2,000 year old Mayan warrior named Totec to recover the Mirror of Smoke.
Core Online currently hosts Hitman: Blood Money and Mini Ninjas, and still plans to release Tomb Raider Underworld and Gyromancer as promised in the initial announcement. As previously reported, the Core Online business model lets you choose between watching intermittent ads, or paying a fee to bypass them altogether.
Square Enix is launching a new Web-based gaming portal that offers some of the company's back catalog for free. The "CoreOnline" service lets you play Hitman: Blood Money or Mini Ninjas by either watching advertisements between chunks of the games, or paying a fee to bypass them.
The CoreOnline site (via GI.biz) only boasts those two games so far, but promises others on the way like Tomb Raider Underworld and Gyromancer. Save data is also stored on the cloud, so you can pick up from a different computer or browser at any time.
This isn't the first time the publisher has experimented with cloud gaming. During the launch of Deus Ex: Human Revolution, the publisher included a free OnLive version of the game with every retail copy, leading to a scuffle with GameStop. It appears Square Enix is now more interested in pursuing its own platform, instead of partnering with the beleaguered streaming company.
"Square Enix is at the forefront of experimentation of new business and services models in the game industry," said Square CEO Yoichi Wada. "Through our CoreOnline technology service, users can access our content easily through the browser."
Square Enix and Sony Ericsson have just secured a partnership that will bring a number of the publisher's games to the first PlayStation-certified phone, the Xperia Play. Starting in November, Square will begin releasing games for the device on the Andriod marketplace, the first such offering being Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
"This is just the start of what we plan to do together," said Ben Cusack, head of mobile for Square Enix Europe, "but right now, we are delighted to be able to show off the full potential of our games with this innovative smartphone, bringing them to life as our creators intended."
Previously released as a downloadable title for PC, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and iOS. Given Xperia Play's foundation on the Android OS, it's likely the game will find a wider Android release in the future.
I was a big fan of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light when it came to consoles and, it turns out, I'm just as big a fan of the iPhone version.
The game translates surprisingly well, using twin digital thumbsticks to let players control Croft's movements and in which direction she fires her twin handguns. You can also tap over to a spear, which can be thrown into walls and then jumped up on to get to hard to reach spots.
Croft also has a mine she can drop and later detonate. The game comes with ten levels, a plethora of challenges and the ability to play through the game cooperatively with a friend. The game is worth the $6.99 price tag despite the issues I had finding anyone to play the game with.
Lara Croft's face adorns the 56 iPads that make up the "world's largest iPhone" at London's St. Pancras International station. Once the installation was completed the devices were given away to celebrate the iPad release of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light.
Gameface is a photographic celebration of the people who make, play and love video games.
Square Enix is bringing Tomb Raider spin-off Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light to iPhones, iPods and iPads this week. It's the kind of Tomb Raider game that might play just fine with a touchscreen.
The top-down cooperative adventure has already been released on PC, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 as a downloadable game, but the newest Lara Croft game—pre-reboot—will discover new platforms tomorrow. The iPhone/iPod touch version will set players back $6.99 USD, with an HD version of Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light shipping as well for $9.99 USD.
We'll see if touching Lara Croft to control her (and her Guardian of Light partner Totec) when the game hits on December 16.