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Video Game / Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light

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Lara Croft And The Guardian Of Light is a downloadable Gaiden Game in the Tomb Raider series. It was developed by Crystal Dynamics for Xbox 360, PS3 and PC.

The game is notable for featuring online co-op. Gameplay-wise, Guardian of Light is a third person 3D rendered isometric platformer/action title with puzzle elements. It is the only game in the series not to have Tomb Raider in the title. It also doesn't seem to have any place in either of the series' continuity (although it does use some of the music from the three Crystal Dynamics games), meaning players can interpret it how they wish.

Would receive a sequel: Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris, in 2014. A compilation of both games came to Nintendo Switch in June 2023.

This video-game provides examples of:

  • One-Hit Kill: Spikes, lance traps, crushers, all forms of fire traps and bosses will instantly deplete Lara's healthbar.
  • Abnormal Ammo: This game doesn't use actual ammo but rather a "Ammo Meter", a blue gauge which is depleted every time you use guns, depending on the ammo rate of the weapon but not the weapon type, meaning that the "magazine" fits everything from Lara's standard pistols to shotguns to assault rifles to grenade launchers, revolvers and miniguns.
  • Advancing Boss of Doom: The giant fish demon in The Jaws of Death pursues Lara (and Totec) on a crumbling bridge and will swallow them whole if he reaches them. You must reach the end of the tunnel and activate a trap to proceed.
  • All Webbed Up: The Tomb of Spiders, as expected, has many areas and walls covered by thick webs.
  • Alternate Continuity; Doesn't perfectly fit into any of the series' previous continuities. It best fits with the Legend trilogy, but there are discrepancies.
  • Anti-Frustration Features: The game autosaves pretty often as you proceed in the tomb, and sometimes difficult chase/obstacle course sections are divided in multiple parts so that you don't have to restart from the very beginning if you die. Also, if you die on a boss fight, all the damage you inflicted on him will remain.
  • Big Bad: Xolotl, the evil deity who used the Mirror of Smoke to summon forth his hordes of monsters.
  • Boss-Arena Idiocy:
    • The first T-Rex is invincible if not for the Spikes of Doom which conveniently adorn the place and can be activated by pressure plates.
    • At the very end of the bridge where you're attacked by the Giant Fish there's a massive trap which apparently serves no purpose but to squeeze oversized fish to death.
    • Downplayed by the second T-Rex, as while the arena has a rocket launcher and a platform with a ammo stash to refill your ammo, the stash is in a pit of magma, can only be accessed by pressing a plate to raise the platform and form a bridge, and if you don't refill and return fast you're left trapped in the lava pit and die.
  • Boss-Only Level: The Summoning, The Jaws of Death and Belly of the Beast are all levels dedicated to facing off against a specific boss.
  • Crossover: There's a downloadable content pack which lets you play as Kane & Lynch instead of Lara and Totec, and another bringing in Kain and Raziel.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: Well, King: at the beginning of the game, Totec is an Aloof Ally who thinks little of Lara and doesn't think a woman can handle Xolotl and his minions. That being said, he soon enough realizes that he needs her assistance, lends her his spear (single player) and by the time they're at the threshold of Xolotl's fortress he admits she's a strong ally and when he asks her to withdraw it's because he's genuinely worried for her wellbeing.
  • Dem Bones: Skeletons are durable and annoying enemies who hit hard and will reform if "killed" so that they can pursue Lara. You must use a bomb to destroy them completely.
  • Downloadable Content: The game is a downloadable title on Xbox 360 and PS3, available only through the Xbox Live and PSN services. It never had a physical release.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Tomb of Spiders, as expected, is a giant underground crypt which has become the nest of a colony of gigantic spiders.
  • Exploding Barrels: TNT barrels are located all around the area, which will explode violently if shot, damaging all surrounding enemies and structures. Sometimes their placement invokes some Fridge Logic (such as the series of barrels on the sides of the stairway leading up to the Fiery Depths.
  • Family-Unfriendly Death: Aside from Lara's many possible gruesome deaths, you kill the Giant Fish boss by activating a trap which pushes two massively spiked rollers in his sides, grinding his head between them in a shower of gore and fragments of flesh (including an eye).
  • Fiendish Fish: Immediately after the Sunken Passage, Xolotl summons a demon in the form of a colossal fish monster resembling an abyssal fish on steroids able to pursue Lara across a bridge of stone, using the flippers as paws.
  • Fog of Doom: Part of the marshes are covered by a green toxic mist. You must kill a giant poisonous demon to make the mist dissipate.
  • Forged by the Gods: Totec's spear, which he bestows to Lara in the single-player mode: it's a massive golden spear which can multiply and always returns to Lara's side.
  • Gaiden Game: Is a side story in the Crystal Dynamics' first continuity, to the point it doesn't even feature "Tomb Raider" in the title.
  • "Get Back Here!" Boss: The Game, as technically you encounter Xolotl in the first level and must spend the rest of the game chasing after him in order to seal him back into the Mirror before he grows too powerful.
  • Giant Mook: Large Demons compared to the standard enemies, as well as the Large Poison Demons and the Shield Demons.
  • Giant Space Flea From No Where: Aside from Leglion and Xolotl, whose presence was understandable, all the other bosses come from nowhere and with little fanfare. For more context, those include a gigantic lizard-looking demon who randomly pops out of some bushes to try and devour Lara, a demonic Tyrannosaurus Rex animated from a stone statue, a gigantic amphibious fish monster, another demonic Tyrannosaurus Rex seemingly composed of living magma.
  • Giant Spider: The third area, the Tomb of Spiders is their nest: most of them are the size of a dog, with occasional huge specimens as large as an ox. Then there's their queen Leglion, which is twice the size of the giant ones.
  • Hammerspace: Averted by the spear, which Sticks to the Back, but played straight for all the other three types of firearms Lara can wield, which range from pistols to shotguns to assault rifles, miniguns and grenade launchers. All of them only appear when Lara uses them.
  • Heavily Armored Mook: Shield Demons carry a large tower shield with them which makes them impervious to harm unless you blow it out of their hands with explosives.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Warlocks are enemy demons who hurl homing balls of blue energy at Lara. However, said energy can interact with other elements, which can result in the shot blowing and damaging other enemies or the Warlocks themselves.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Xolotl spends an inhuman amount of time mocking Lara and taunting her before making his getaway, to the point that if he hadn't he would have reached his stronghold a lot sooner.
  • In a Single Bound: Once engaged in combat, most enemies will actively pursue Lara, even jumping across huge gaps to get at her.
  • Indy Escape: In order to conclude The Flooded Passage you must activate and then evade a colossally spiked boulder trap down a long, obstacle-filled stairway. Later, in the Twisting Bridge, you have to run up a stairway to the entrance to the Fiery Depths while dodging a series of rolling balls coming from the top.
  • Javelin Thrower: Lara's main weapon is a golden magical spear, given to her by Totec: it serves as a pretty good Emergency Weapon who doesn't consume ammo, can knock back smaller enemies and can stick into walls, serving as a perch to avoid traps or to allow Lara to reach higher ledges.
  • Kaizo Trap: At the very end of the Tomb of Spiders, the bridge you've extended will start to withdraw towards the exit while a giant spiked roller will come down, forcing you to deactivate it and avoid the deadly trap before you're ground to pieces by it. Lampshaded by Lara, who finds the joke unfair.
  • Kill It with Fire: Fire traps, especially those in the Fiery Depths and beyond levees, are always fatal to Lara.
  • King Mook: The second level has a hidden Giant Demon Lizard boss that you can find and kill, while upon activating the last part of the bridge mechanism in the third level you're attacked by Leglion, the spider queen of the tomb.
  • The Legions of Hell: According to the backstory, Xolotl used the power of the Mirror of Smoke to call forth a horde of monsters from the Underworld.
  • Lethal Lava Land: The stronghold of Xolotl is located in the magma-filled Fiery Depths. Lampshaded by Lara, who asks why ancient gods have such a flair for the dramatic.
  • Mayincatec: The setting is an Aztec temple housing the Mirror of Smoke.
  • Oh, Crap!: When on the Island Temple, Lara lets out a big "RUN!" upon realizing that the heavy stone mechanism for opening the door has activated a chain reaction of exploding toxic flowers, forcing her to run away to avoid being corroded to death by the poison cloud. She has a similar reaction when Xolotl sics his Giant Fish on her.
  • Physical God: Totec and Xolotl: the former looks like a massive human, the latter is a twisted, undead-looking demonic entity.
  • Poisonous Person: The marshes feature poisonous flowers which will burst into toxic mist if disturbed or shot, as well as poison-emitting enemies.
  • Puzzle Boss:
    • The first T-Rex boss in The Summoning is impervious to bullets, and must be lured on the three trapped platforms of the area to break through his skin and fatally wound him.
    • The Giant Fish is too large to be taken down by firearms or by the spear, so you must first escape from it until you reach the end of the corridor, then activate a trap to grind him into a pulp between two giant stone rollers.
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: The enemy rosters include giant lizards and, in the marshes, giant salamanders. Then there are two T-Rex bosses.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Xolotl was sealed inside the Mirror of Smoke, until Lara found him and he was released by a local warlord by mistake. Fortunately, Totec was a Sealed Good in a Can ready to put Xolotl in his place.
  • Smashing Hallway Traps of Doom: A couple of sequences have massive pistons ready to crush Lara between them. For extra insidiousness, some of them will open and close before the ones preceding them, so that Lara has to wait and/or backtrack or she'll be smashed between the following set.
  • Spikes of Doom: Some of them adorn the bottom of pits, others pop out of certain plates when pressed and some other are located on the edges of certain pits. All of them will kill Lara the instant she touches them.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Upon being freed, Totec dismisses Lara and tells her that what awaits them is no task for a woman. By the time they've reached the Fiery Depths, Totec apologizes and recognizes Lara's worthiness, and when he asks her to go back it's only because he doesn't want to see her dead because of him.
  • Stepping-Stone Sword: One of the main puzzle and exploration mechanics is Totec's spear (given to Lara in single-player); in addition to its use as a weapon, up to three spears at a time can be stuck into walls, allowing Lara to climb them - but not Totec, as they break under his weight.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Lara has an infinite amount of bombs at her disposal she can place and remotely detonate at will. They can be used to destroy arrow traps, get rid of skeletons and, in some cases, activate switches to solve puzzles or navigate the environment.
  • Super Mode: When a relic is equipped, a colored gauge will appear and slowly fill as you kill enemies without getting hit or you collect gems: once it's full, Lara will obtain extra powers from the Relic (such as increased firepower, speed, spread shot, health and ammo regeneration) which lasts until she's wounded. The gauge will then deplete, forcing you to re-fill it again from scratch.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity: At the very beginning of Belly of the Beast you get a large, shiny rocket launcher on an altar: immediately after you're pit against a monstrous, fire-breathing T-Rex made of magma which you can only hurt with the rocket launcher.
  • Swamps Are Evil: The area beyond the Tomb of Spiders is a massive marshland corrupted by Xolotl's passage and filled with demon salamanders and poisonous pods which explode at the slightest touch.
  • T. Rexpy: Two for one, the first one is a beast summoned by Xolotl through a statue and looks like a bright red, demonic Tyrannosaur with horn-like protrusions on the sides of his head. Much later, in Belly of the Beast you fight another T-Rex which is made of living magma, can breathe fire and unleash his hatchlings on you. The former must be killed with traps, the latter can only be harmed by a conveniently-placed rocket launcher.
  • Technicolor Toxin: The poison clouds generated by pods and enemies are pale green in color.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Xolotl spends most of the game being a Smug Snake and mocking Lara. By the time you break through the forgotten gates and approach his fortress, his mocking laughter is replaced by a frustrated yell as you survive yet another trap.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: The warlord who took the Mirror from Lara didn't think that the legends about Xolotl being sealed inside were true.
  • Zerg Rush: Enemies tend to spawn in large groups and attack all together, especially the non-humanoid ones like the lizard demons or the spiders.