Tomb Raider Chronicles

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Tomb Raider Chronicles
Tomb Raider - Chronicles.png
Developer(s)Core Design
Publisher(s)Eidos Interactive
Producer(s)Andrew Watt
Designer(s)Andrea Cordella
Richard Morton
Andy Sandham
Joby Wood
Programmer(s)Martin Gibbins
Derek Leigh-Gilchrist
Writer(s)Andy Sandham
Richard Morton
Composer(s)Peter Connelly
SeriesTomb Raider
Platform(s)PlayStation, Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast, Mac OS
ReleasePlayStation
  • EU: 17 November 2000
  • NA: 21 November 2000
Microsoft Windows
  • NA: 21 November 2000
  • EU: 24 November 2000
Dreamcast
  • NA: 28 November 2000
  • EU: 15 December 2000
Mac OS
  • NA: 1 November 2001
Genre(s)Action-adventure
Mode(s)Single-player

Tomb Raider Chronicles is an action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published in 2000 by Eidos Interactive for PlayStation, Microsoft Windows and Dreamcast. Following Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, series protagonist Lara Croft is presumed dead, and a group of friends attend a memorial service at her home to recount tales of her earlier exploits. Gameplay follows Lara through linear levels, solving puzzles and fighting enemies. Some levels incorporate additional gameplay elements such as stealth.

Despite the presumed death of Lara Croft in The Last Revelation, Core Design was told by Eidos to continue the series; while a new team worked on The Angel of Darkness for the PlayStation 2, a veteran team developed Chronicles based on concepts cut from The Last Revelation. Chronicles received mixed reviews from critics, is remembered as one of the weakest Tomb Raider games, and at 1.5 million copies is one of the worst-selling games in the series.

Gameplay[edit]

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.

Plot[edit]

Following the events of Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara Croft is presumed dead, buried under the collapsed Great Pyramid of Giza. At Lara's home of Croft Manor, three former friends and associates—Lara's butler Winston, Father Patrick Dunstan and Charles Kane—reminisce over some of Lara's early exploits following a memorial service.

The first story follows Lara's quest through the catacombs of Rome in search of the Philosopher's stone. She is pursued by Larson Conway and Pierre DuPont, adversaries she would later encounter during the events of Tomb Raider. The second story, recounted by Kane, sees Lara hunting the Spear of Destiny, lost on the ocean floor since World War II. Infiltrating Zapadnaya Litsa, she smuggles herself aboard a Russian Naval submarine commanded by Admiral Yarofev and his Mafia handler Sergei Mikhailov, who also seeks the Spear. Lara recovers the Spear, but she is ambushed by Mikhailov. The Spear's power is unleashed, killing Mikhailov, damaging the submarine and wounding Yarofev. Lara escapes the submarine, but Yarofev remains behind as the Spear destroys the submarine.

The third story, told by Dunstan, follows a teenage Lara when she secretly follows Dunstan to an island apparently haunted by demonic forces. Lara confronts several apparitions and monsters which inhabit the island, including a horse-riding humanoid demon called Vladimir Kaleta who was trapped in a prison of running water by the island's former monastic community. Dunstan is taken hostage by Kaleta, who forces Lara to block the river imprisoning him. Using a book discovered in the ruined monastery's library, Lara says Kaleta's demon name "Verdelet", taking control of him and banishing him from Earth. The fourth story, related by Winston, shows Lara infiltrating the corporate headquarters of her former mentor Werner Von Croy to retrieve an the Iris, the pursuit of which first caused the schism between Lara and Von Croy.

Their stories completed, the three toast Lara. In parallel to these events, Von Croy digs through the rubble of the Great Pyramid in a desperate attempt to find her. He finally discovers Lara's backpack among the ruins of the Great Pyramid but no sign of her body: he declares "We've found her!", presuming that Lara is alive.

Development[edit]

Core Design, developers of Tomb Raider since its inception, had grown tired of the series after producing three games successively since completing the original game. The team had attempted killing off Lara in The Last Revelation, but Eidos insisted that the series continue.[1] Core Design split into two teams; one new team worked on Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness for PlayStation 2, while a veteran team developed Chronicles.[2] Most of the team from The Last Revelation returned to create Chronicles.[3] Designer Andy Sandham, speaking in a 2016 retrospective on the Core Design Tomb Raider games, called Chronicles "a load of old shit", saying that the staff created the game to earn a living rather than having any passion for it.[4] In a different interview, he called it the hardest Tomb Raider title he worked on.[5]

Each area was designed around a different gameplay theme; Rome emulated classic Tomb Raider platforming, Russia was focused on action and stealth elements, Ireland forced players to handle a version of Lara without weapons, and the fourth area brought more stealth elements and new elements such as a companion helping Lara remotely.[6] Several level ideas were originally pitched for The Last Revelation before Jeremy Heath-Smith, the head of Core Design, insisted that the latter game focus on tomb-based environments.[1][7] As with The Last Revelation, a separate tutorial area based in Lara's home was removed to reduce the workload.[7] Several gameplay elements were expanded and refined, including new moves including the tightrope walk and refining the inventory UI.[6][3] For the PC version, Core Design released the level building tools as a level editor on a second disc. This was done as Chronicles would be the last game using that generation of technology, and they wanted to allow fans the freedom to create levels of their own.[6][3][8]

Chronicles continued the narrative from The Last Revelation, continuing to assume that Lara was dead.[6] Due to this style, the narrative structure broke away from the linear style used in earlier titles in favour of an anthology format, with four separate adventures loosely tied together by framing sequences.[1] Sandham wrote the game's script after the game's level structure was finalised. There were several continuity errors in the Rome segment of Chronicles related its chronological placement and Pierre's death, attributed by Sandham to not referring to the original game's script beforehand.[5] The use of flashbacks rather than a continuous contemporary narrative allowed Core Design to create very different levels without being tied together with an overarching story. It was also designed to close off the original era of Tomb Raider—including its technology and storyline—prior to the release of The Angel of Darkness.[3] The Irish levels were included by Sandham, who had a love of Irish folklore and was inspired by the cover art of The Black Island, a book from The Adventures of Tintin.[5][8]

The music was composed by Peter Connelly, who returned from The Last Revelation.[9] As with other his other projects, Connelly used early level builds as inspiration for his compositions. Taking inspiration from the narrative's gloomy tone, Chronicles used a darker musical style while retaining established Tomb Raider musical motifs.[10] The main theme is very short compared to earlier Tomb Raider games, but Connelly had wanted something "epic". Time constraints meant that Chronicles did not have a proper main theme, with the closest being an opening segment that was inspired by Connelly's original plans.[9]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate scores
AggregatorScore
GameRankings(PS1) 70.59%[11]
(DC) 68.25%[12]
(PC) 60.24%[13]
Metacritic(PS1) 63/100[14]
(DC) 59/100[15]
(PC) 57/100[16]
Review scores
PublicationScore
GameSpot(PS1 & DC) 7.2/10[17][18]
(PC) 6.3/10[19]
IGN(PS1) 6.5/10[20]
(PC) 6.3/10[21]
(DC) 5.8/10[22]
Official Dreamcast Magazine (US)4/10[23]

It received 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.[20]

GameSpot were mixed, claiming "The main problem is that the Tomb Raider series hasn't grown with the times".[19] 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."[17] 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."[24] 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."[25]

Retrospective staff opinions of Chronicles have been mixed, with many staff feeling it was their worst Tomb Raider project at that time due to a lack of enthusiasm and franchise fatigue.[1][4][26] In journalistic retrospectives, Chronicles has been ranked as the weakest 32-bit entries, and one of the worst Tomb Raider entries prior to the notoriously poor The Angel of Darkness.[4][27][28][29]

In their financial report in February 2001, Eidos included Chronicles among the successful titles published during the late 2000 period.[30] The game has sold 1.5 million copies worldwide; this made Chronicles the worst-selling Tomb Raider game up to that point and the second worst-selling main title in the franchise.[1][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Thorpe, Nick; Jones, Darran (December 2016). "20 Years of an Icon: Tomb Raider". Retro Gamer. No. 163. Future Publishing. pp. 16–29.
  2. ^ Edge Staff (17 January 2011). "Making Of: Tomb Raider: The Angel Of Darkness". Edge Online. Archived from the original on 31 May 2013. Retrieved 16 December 2013.
  3. ^ a b c d Lopez, Vincent (19 October 2000). "Tomb Raider Chronicles Interview". IGN. Archived from the original on 3 August 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  4. ^ a b c Yin-Poole, Wesley (27 October 2016). "20 years on, the Tomb Raider story told by the people who were there". Eurogamer. Archived from the original on 27 October 2016. Retrieved 11 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b c "An older interview we did with Andy Sandham about Tomb Raider Chronicles". Tomb Raider of Core Design. 4 March 2016. Archived from the original on 28 August 2016. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  6. ^ a b c d "Adrian Smith On The Tomb Raider Chronicles". GameSpot. 12 September 2000. Archived from the original on 9 December 2000. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Interview with Andy Sandham (Core Design)". Core Design (fan site). 2013. Archived from the original on 29 April 2017. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Interview with Andy Sandham (Part II)". Core Design (fan site). 2013. Archived from the original on 18 January 2018. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  9. ^ a b Greening, Chris (October 2010). "Interview with Peter Connelly". Video Game Music Online. Archived from the original on 3 September 2014. Retrieved 19 November 2015.
  10. ^ "An Interview With Peter Connelly". Planet Lara. 2007. Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 1 August 2018.
  11. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles for PlayStation". GameRankings. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  12. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles for Dreamcast". GameRankings. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  13. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles for PC". GameRankings. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  14. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles for PlayStation Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  15. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles for Dreamcast Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  16. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles for PC Reviews, Ratings, Credits, and More at Metacritic". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 1 August 2011.
  17. ^ a b "Tomb Raider Chronicles Review - GameSpot.com". Uk.gamespot.com. 17 November 2000. Archived from the original on 15 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  18. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles Review - GameSpot.com". Uk.gamespot.com. 15 December 2000. Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  19. ^ a b "Tomb Raider: Chronicles - GameSpot.com". Uk.gamespot.com. 24 November 2000. Archived from the original on 24 January 2013. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  20. ^ a b "Tomb Raider Chronicles - PlayStation Review at IGN". Uk.psx.ign.com. 21 December 2000. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  21. ^ "Tomb Raider: Chronicles - PC Review at IGN". Uk.pc.ign.com. 5 December 2000. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  22. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles - Dreamcast Review at IGN". Uk.dreamcast.ign.com. 30 November 2000. Archived from the original on 21 March 2012. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  23. ^ Maineiro, James (April 2001). "Reviews: Maken X". Official Dreamcast Magazine (US). Dennis Publishing (12): 62. Scans
  24. ^ Electronic Gaming Monthly [Jan 2004, p.189]
  25. ^ "Tomb Raider Chronicles Review". GamePro. 7 February 2001. Archived from the original on 15 February 2006. Retrieved 4 July 2012.
  26. ^ Gard, Toby; Smith, Jeremy Heath; Livingstone, Ian (interviews); Hawes, Keeley (narrator) (2007). Unlock the Past: A Retrospective Tomb Raider Documentary (Tomb Raider Anniversary Bonus DVD). Eidos Interactive / GameTap. Also known as Ten Years of Tomb Raider: A GameTap Retrospective
  27. ^ Daujam, Mathieu; Price, James (11 April 2006). "Previous Adventures". Lara Croft Tomb Raider Legend Complete Guide. Piggyback Interactive. p. 179. ISBN 1-9035-1181-X.
  28. ^ Wainwright, Lauren (4 November 2011). "The Redemption of Lara Croft". IGN. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2013.
  29. ^ Marshall, Rick (9 March 2013). "History of Tomb Raider: Shaking the Dust Off 17 Years of Lara Croft". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 26 June 2015. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  30. ^ Walker, Trey (28 February 2001). "Eidos Reports Profits". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 15 August 2018.
  31. ^ "Corporate Strategy Meeting" (PDF). Square Enix. 22 April 2009. p. 16. Archived (PDF) from the original on 30 September 2013. Retrieved 3 July 2012.

External links[edit]