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Insert Credit: “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light”

Insert Credit: “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” (photo)

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Insert Credit endeavors to suss out where you should be allotting your video game allowance, sifting out a single title from many and crowning it as The One Game You Need to Get This Week. Don’t consider these reviews, gentle reader. Rather, think of Insert Credit as a mix of hands-on time, informed opinion and intuition.

For the week of August 16, 2010, you should insert credit into: “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light”

Funny what a name change can do. By simply taking out the words “Tomb Raider” from the title of their new action archeology game, publisher Eidos created an air of mystery around Lara Croft’s next outing. And when the word spread that “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” would be a downloadable title, many wondered if it’d be a rank cash-in that would mark the last gasp of a once-great series.

On one hand, you have to pity poor Lara. Everything that made her unique has been eroded as gaming’s march into the mainstream. Though female bad-asses are still rare, they’re more in evidence than when Lara made her debut. Back then, the muscle boys of the Expendables were on their first go-round of fame and machismo was the norm. Sassy treasure-hunting? A dude named Nathan Drake–hero of the Uncharted series on Playstation–has captured this gaming generation’s hearts on that front. Sexy design? Lara’s tank top and shorts look tame compared to someone more recent like, say, Bayonetta.

But, “Guardian of Light” is no last gasp. In fact, it reinvigorates the character by re-jiggering the things that make her games work into a different format.

The games essentially plays as top-down twin-stick shooter, like old-school arcade classic “Robotron 2084” and newer games like “Geometry Wars.” One analog stick moves the character and the other aims the bullets in a 360º radius. Lara’s always had gun-focused combat but changing the camera angle makes it so you don’t have to worry about navigation as much. Speaking of navigation, the game is huge. Just because it’s a download doesn’t mean that the developers have sacrificed the huge environments that Lady Croft likes to prowl. The isometric camera view provides sweeping views of the levels and takes the focus off of Lara’s endowment.

The biggest change in “Guardian of Light” is the addition of multiplayer. The game’s plot concerns a theft of the mystical Mirror of Smoke artifact once held an ancient, evil South American god named Xolotl. The mirror’s disappearance also stirs Totec, the guardian of Light from the title, and a second player can take his role and join the action. The two characters have skills that complement each other in combat and exploration, making for a completely new mechanic for a Lara Croft game.

Overall, the game’s sharp re-invention of a long-standing character that makes an altogether different but fun experience possible. Grab “Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light” now on Xbox Live for 1200 MS Points ($15). It’ll be available for the PlayStation 3 via the PlayStation Network and on PC via Steam on September 28th, 2010 for $14.99.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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