Tomb Raider Chronicles
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|Tomb Raider Chronicles|
Tomb Raider Chronicles is the fifth instalment in the Tomb Raider series and the sequel to Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. Essentially a compilation of designs and concepts which had been cut from previous Tomb Raider games, the game breaks from the traditional linear narrative in favor of an anthology format, with four separate adventures loosely tied together by framing sequences.
The game was originally released in 2000 for PlayStation, Dreamcast, Microsoft Windows and Mac OS. It was also released on the PAL PlayStation Store on 12 January 2011. It sold 1.5 million copies worldwide, making it by far the worst-selling Tomb Raider game up to that point. As of 2009, it remains one of the least successful games in the series.
The gameplay of Tomb Raider Chronicles is closely tied to that of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. Lara now can walk on a tightrope, grab and swing on horizontal bars, and somersault forwards from a ledge while crouching. Lara sports a new camouflage snow-suit and a black catsuit suitable for infiltration.
The crossbow and grenade launcher from Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation have not returned, but the MP5 submachine gun and Desert Eagle from Tomb Raider III are revived. New equipment consists of a TMX-Timex that Lara uses to track her statistics and grappling gun, which fires a grappling hook into perishable surfaces and produces a rope from which Lara can swing. It is used to latch on certain areas of the ceiling and swing across vaults. Only one vehicle (of sorts) appears: a high-tech diving suit designed to penetrate deep waters. The ability to save wherever one desires returns from The Last Revelation as does the combining system of puzzle items used to progress in the level. Lara also uses a crowbar and a torch to progress through the virtual world.
Secrets in Tomb Raider Chronicles are represented by a golden rose (much like the dragons in Tomb Raider II). In total there are 36 scattered throughout the game and when the player has found every one of them, a new special features menu is unlocked from the Options screen.
Tomb Raider Chronicles is set just days after the events of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. After the Temple of Horus had caved in, effectively entombing Lara, she is presumed dead. A memorial service is held, soon after which Winston Smith and Father Patrick Dunstan reveal that Werner von Croy is excavating the dilapidated temple in the hope of discovering her alive.
Later at Croft Manor, three old associates of Lara's - Winston Smith, Father Patrick Dunstan and Charles Kane - reminisce some of her past adventures. The first is situated in Rome, where Lara is searching for the fabled Philosopher's Stone. Pierre DuPont and Larson Conway are reintroduced and we learn that they too are after the Stone.
The second adventure entails Lara on the hunt for the famed Spear of Destiny. She encounters a Mafioso gang leader, Mikhailov, who is also after the Spear. Lara retrieves the Spear from the Ocean floor but is apprehended by a couple of Mikhailov's men. She warns him not to use the Spear as he has no idea of the powers it could unleash. However, he disregards her warnings as desperate attempts to attain the Spear. Mikhailov is inflicted with its power and the submarine hull is breached. Lara escapes and leaves the Spear to rest.
The third adventure is set in Lara's childhood on Black Isle of Ireland. She is staying with Winston but overhears him and Father Patrick Dunstan conversing about strange paranormal happenings on the island. She stows away on the small boat Father Patrick drives to the island and encounters many strange beings such as the Hanging Corpse, Changelings, a monster intent on chasing and killing her, the Grim Reaper, ghosts and the Demon Verdilet.
The fourth and final expedition involves Lara infiltrating a high-tech complex owned by none other than Werner von Croy in pursuit of the Iris artefact, an artefact Lara sees as her own from the beginning events of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
After the fourth adventure is wrapped up, back in Egypt, Werner von Croy is excavating the collapsed temple. A young boy gets the attention of Werner and asks him to come and see. He follows. When he enters the tomb, he demands to see what they have found. It is Lara's backpack. He then declares: "We've found her!", presuming that Lara is alive.
Tomb Raider Level Editor
|This section needs expansion with: This section does not reflect the current context of its tools and subset of tools. You can help by adding to it. (May 2013)|
The Tomb Raider Level Editor is a package of tools used to create game levels for The Last Revelation. Part of the package, the Room Editor, was used by the Core Design developers to create Tomb Raider levels. A version of the level editor was released to the public in 2000, as a second disc with Tomb Raider Chronicles (PC & Mac version only), that allows the user to create levels for The Last Revelation.
The Level Editor came with several pre-set levels from previous instalment, The Last Revelation along with textures from other Tomb Raider games. With the original package, level builders were limited only to these assets from the original The Last Revelation game. There was a second release of two more bundles that added to the range of experiences a builder could tailor, and later, a release of the moveable blocks that were missing.
Over time, however, advancements have been made to allow level builders to customise their creations. Programs exist that facilitate the creation and integration of custom content.
Fan-made programs and unofficial patches also became available that modify or replace the original engine provided. Such programs include TREP (or Tomb Raider Engine Patcher), and more recently TRNG, or Tomb Raider Next Generation. TREP serves to modify the original engine through patches. It is open source which allowed community involvement in adding features via DRACO patching. On the other hand, TRNG replaces the original TRLE.
As the Tomb Raider games had been consistently pushed out on a yearly schedule, there was no time to develop a new game engine, and Tomb Raider Chronicles again used the engine from the original Tomb Raider with relatively few modifications. The development team had tried to end the series by killing off Lara Croft in The Last Revelation, and were unhappy at having to work on another installment. In a Tomb Raider retrospective, Andy Sandham, a designer, commented:
"Tomb Raider 5 was effectively a load of old shit. That was the most depressing one for us. We were effectively just doing that for a paycheck because no other team wanted to take it on. So we had to do it, basically. By that time it had taken its toll. Three years of hammering it, and we were burnt out. That shows in the product."
It received mainly mixed reviews from critics, although some reviews for Tomb Raider Chronicles were highly positive. Games Radar gave the game a score of 88/100, saying "Excellent, albeit lacking in revolutionary intent -- but c'mon, how many games really differ in that respect?" Another positive review came from Total Video Games, who awarded the game an 80/100 rating. Even so, they did comment "Unfortunately the game will be over before you really get into it, which is a crying shame." IGN were primarily mixed, rating it a 6.5/10 and saying "Lara Croft's last adventure on PlayStation is also her very best. Still, it's just more of the same." They went on to add "If you haven't liked any of the games or got tired of the series after the 2nd, 3rd or 4th games, then there's nothing here in Chronicles that will revitalise your passion for the series or get you to like it for the first time. Tomb Raider Chronicles is basically more of the same, so you probably know better than anyone else whether or not it's something that you'll like. GameSpot were mixed, claiming "The main problem is that the Tomb Raider series hasn't grown with the times". They were particularly complimentary of the graphics and said "Regarding the PlayStation version specifically, the graphics look better than ever before. The environments in the first Tomb Raider were very sparse and bland, but over the years the developers have been able to squeeze more and more out of the PlayStation. For a game on an aging system, there's a surprising degree of detail in Tomb Raider Chronicles -without a significant sacrifice of level size." One particularly scathing review came from Electronic Gaming Monthly, who said "It should be illegal for you to own money if you even considered buying this crap." While, GamePro awarded the game a score of 3.5/5, echoing the view that Tomb Raider was somewhat in need of an update, remarking "Despite the improved graphics and imaginative story, Tomb Raider Chronicles has the same controls as previous Tomb Raider games, and they feel as antiquated as any relic Lara ever unearthed."
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The actual levels are designed in another in-house utility called The Room Editor which allows the 3-D room meshes to be built from scratch, texture mapped, light-sourced and linked together.
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