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Tomb Raider 3 - Adventures Of Lara Croft

Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft is an action-adventure video game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It is the third instalment in the Tomb Raider series, and the sequel to Tomb Raider II. The game was originally released for PC and PlayStation in November 1998 and for the PlayStation Network in 2009 in America, a release for the European PlayStation Network followed in March of 2011. The story follows Lara Croft as she embarks upon a quest to recover 4 meteorite stones scattered across the world.

Story

In the Prologue, millions of years ago, a meteor struck the then tropical environments of Antarctica. It was first discovered by a tribe of ancient Polynesians who settled there and constructed a city in the meteorite crater. They worshipped the immense supernatural powers it appeared to hold, fashioning four artefacts out of the meteorite's core material (which become the focus of the game). Shortly thereafter, the tribe laid witness to the deformed birth of their prophesied leader, born without a face, and fled Antarctica in fear of what the meteorite was capable of. In the present day, the ancient Polynesian city has been buried beneath snow and ice and RX Tech are excavating the site, investigating the meteorite. Led by Dr. Willard, the crew discovers remnants of the Polynesian city, ancient stone statues resembling the Easter Island Moai, and finds the grave of a man named Paul Caulfield of the HMS Beagle.

When the game begins, Lara Croft is in India searching for a legendary stone in the ruins of an ancient temple once inhabited by the Infada tribe. She encounters Tony, an RX Tech employee who seems to be suffering from a severe bout of jungle fever. After parting ways, Tony remains one step ahead of Lara in their search for the stone, eventually finding it hidden deep within an underground cavern. After killing an oddly superhuman Tony, Lara takes the stone and exits. On her trek back to the Indian jungle, she is discovered by Dr. Willard.

Willard tells Lara that the Infada Stone is one of the four Polynesian artefacts fashioned from the material within the meteorite. He also explains that during his research, he discovered the almost 200 year-old diary of a sailor aboard the HMS Beagle, part of a crew sailing in search of new land under the orders of then Governor, Charles Darwin, famous for his theories of evolution and natural selection. The crew, close to death from starvation and disease, reached Antarctica in search of food. There, they discovered the abandoned city and found the four meteorite artefacts, distributing them amongst themselves. One of the sailors, Paul Caulfield, was killed by a wolf. His crew buried him there, resolving to lie to Darwin about how Paul died and about the artefacts they found. Once the crew returned to England, they went their separate ways, each taking their stones with them and eventually dying in different parts of the globe. Dr. Willard travelled to Antarctica after reading the sailor's diary, where he discovered the ruins of the city and Caulfield's grave, as seen in the Prologue.

Willard is now searching for the four artefacts, one of them somehow finding its way to India. Lara agrees to hang on to the Infada Stone and find the remaining three, one each in the South Pacific, London and Nevada. The player then has the option of choosing which area of the globe to search first.

On an island in the South Pacific, Lara discovers a cannibalistic tribe descended from the ancient Polynesians who settled in Antarctica. After fighting her way through the tribesmen, she comes upon an Australian soldier whose plane crashed on the island. He helps her through a dangerous swamp and she continues through to the plane's crash site, defending herself from violent raptors and a T-Rex. Lara then encounters a fasting tribesman who explains the story of the deformed leader born without a face and how his ancestors fled Antarctica in fear. He also tells her that his people feasted on one of Darwin's sailors, stealing the meteorite stone he coveted. She continues past a dangerous gorge and discovers that the stone, now known as the Ora Dagger, is being wielded by the current tribe leader to maintain power over his tribe. Lara infiltrates his temple and faces the tribe leader himself, killing him and pocketing the stone.

In Nevada, the US government has declared the stone Element 115, being that at the time of the game's story, scientists had only discovered 114 chemical elements on Earth. This made the meteorite artefact an extra terrestrial material, and thus, the 115th element. The US government is housing the stone in Area 51 for analysis, where they also conduct research on other extra terrestrial activity. Lara trespasses on government land and is inadvertently arrested by Military Police, who incarcerate her within a high security compound. Upon breaking out with the aid of other inmates and without the use of her weapons for most of it, Lara secretly hitches a ride on the back of a semi trailer bound for Area 51. She navigates through classified areas, witnessing top secret activities regarding space exploration, satellite communication, extra terrestrials and finally a UFO. Housed in its hull, she finds Element 115.

In London, Lara searches for the fourth and final stone, dubbed the Eye of Isis, now in the possession of Sophia Leigh, the head of a cosmetics corporation. Targeted by Sophia's hitmen on the city's rooftops, Lara escapes underground into the abandoned Aldwych tube station. This time targeted by mysterious, violent clansmen who appear to dwell in the disused terminus, Lara gains control of an old train car and travels via the subway to the base of Leigh's headquarters. She is captured by the clansmen who bring her to their leader, who explains that he and his men were test subjects used by Sophia Leigh's research and development team. She has been searching for an immortality potion to maintain eternal youth and beauty. The clansmen are her failed experiments – immortal, but now deformed – forced to live in the sewers. But their leader chooses to assist Lara in her search for Sophia Leigh in exchange for some embalming fluid from the nearby Natural History Museum so that they can rejuvenate their appearance and return above ground. She agrees, and with their aid, finally faces Sophia in her high-rise office, insulting her and demanding the artefact. Enraged, Sophia flees to the city rooftops and attacks Lara using the powers of the artefact, but Lara incapacitates her and takes the Eye of Isis.

Now in possession of the Ora Dagger, Element 115, the Eye of Isis, and the Infada Stone, Lara travels to the RX Tech headquarters in Antarctica to meet Dr. Willard. Upon her arrival, she is furious to discover that some of Dr. Willard's RX Tech employees have been genetically mutated and horribly disfigured. She confronts Willard, who tells her that the power of the stones speed up the natural process of human evolution, explaining how a Polynesian tribe could have lived in the then warm climes of Antarctica, a period that was millions of years before human existence. The mutants, then, are representations of how humans will evolve in many millions of years. He also remarks the irony that Charles Darwin, a known proponent of the theory of evolution, was unaware how close he was to discovering the stones that would have revolutionised his research, and that he commissioned the crew who found them, no less. But Willard is not willing to miss this angle in evolution, confirming that he used Lara to find the other stones so that he could steal them for his own research. He attacks her and disappears with Lara's backpack full of the stones into the RX Tech excavation site. After navigating their mines and then the treacherous, trap-laden ruins of the ancient Polynesian city itself, Lara faces off with Willard in the temple of the meteorite crater. Surrounded by the Polynesians' grandest honours to the meteorite's power, Willard inserts the stones into four points of the temple, activating the meteor, and to Lara's surprise, falls into the meteorite liquid from which the stones were originally fashioned. Thinking he has just died, Lara turns to leave, but is shocked to see that Willard, exposed to billions and billions of years of human evolution, has transformed into a giant spider-like beast. Fending off the seemingly-invincible Willard, Lara deactivates the meteor by removing the artefacts one by one, making him vulnerable. She finally kills him and escapes by helicopter.

Gameplay

Features

The gameplay of Tomb Raider III picks up where Tomb Raider II left off (for a detailed examination of gameplay see Tomb Raider). Once again, Lara's range of abilities has been expanded, now including such moves as the crouch stance, crawling, a sprinting move and the ability to "monkey swing" on overhead bars and vines. Sprinting allows Lara to gain a burst of greater speed while running. When activated by the player, a bar appears in the corner of the screen to indicate the amount of stamina Lara has left. Only sprinting depletes the bar (other activities such as climbing and jumping have no effect on it) and it quickly increases again by itself when Lara stops sprinting. When the bar is empty, she is forced back into her standard running speed. At any time during a sprint she can perform a forward roll, such as to dive under closing trapdoors.

A portion of the game still takes place underwater, but this time new perils have been added. In some levels, such as Madubu Gorge, the current of the stream will pull Lara in a fixed direction, preventing the player from being able to swim back or grab onto a ledge. She will eventually drown or be sucked into deadly rapids. These waters can only be navigated using a kayak. Additionally, some tropical pools are inhabited by a school of piranhas. Unlike alligators, these fish are invincible, and as soon as Lara enters their waters they will flock toward her, and kill her within seconds. Furthermore, the water in the Antarctic levels is too cold for Lara to swim through for more than a few seconds. She can only remain in the water for a short amount of time, and submerged under it for an even shorter amount of time. When she dives into it, a new status bar will appear in the corner of the screen to indicate her body temperature. If that bar reaches zero, Lara's life will rapidly decrease. Unlike the oxygen bar, this temperature bar will decrease if Lara is swimming on the surface as well as under it; so the only way she can cross these waters over a large distance without freezing to death is by using the motorboat. The temperature bar increases again by itself when Lara is out of the water, but it takes longer than the regular oxygen bar.

Quicksand is a new surface introduced in this game. It is distinguishable from regular soil by its slow undulating movement. Should the player fall into it, Lara may wade very slowly but will sink deeper and deeper until she is completely submerged. Like being under water when submerged, the oxygen bar will deplete, and if this reaches zero the health bar will decrease and Lara will eventually drown. The player may climb out of quicksand if next to solid ground. In the Crash Site level of the South Pacific Islands section of the game, the swamp contains hidden stepping stones that Lara can use to cross safely.

As always, the pistols are Lara's most basic form of defence. The shotgun, the harpoon gun, the uzis and the grenade launcher have remained from Tomb Raider II (though the grenade launcher's grenades will now bounce around unless directly hitting a living target, unlike the instant explode-upon-impact style of Tomb Raider II). The small calibre semi-automatic pistols have been replaced by the powerful Desert Eagle. The M16 rifle has been changed to a similar MP5 sub-machine-gun. Also new to Lara's arsenal is the rocket launcher.

On the PlayStation version, saving the game is restricted to the amount of Save Crystals the player has stored in Lara's inventory. These floating blue crystals can be found throughout each level, but unlike the original Tomb Raider, they do not require the player to save the game at the pick-up spot. The PC version allows the player to save at any point. The developers planned on having the Save Crystal system for the PC version,[citation needed] but this was unfinished and the green crystals act instead as small medipacks.

The objective of the game remains unchanged, although Tomb Raider III arguably has fewer tombs to explore than the previous games. Instead, most levels take place in a more modern environment, and Tomb Raider introduces an element of stealth into the game play. For example in the Nevada adventure, it is sometimes preferable to sneak past guards instead of fighting them. Being spotted may set off alarms and close doors that are otherwise needed to complete the stage and therefore the player will have no other option than to take a more difficult route. Unlike its predecessors, after completing the India levels, the player can then choose which of the next three areas of the world they want to explore in any order they wish.

Judith Gibbins reprises her role as Lara Croft from Tomb Raider II.

Characters

Tomb Raider III sees fictional archaeologist, Lara Croft, return as the game's main protagonist and only playable character. The game features several antagonist, notably Dr. Willard, who first hires Lara to retrieve four artefacts but reveals at the end of the game his true motives. The South Pacific levels features Puna, an islander posing as a deity with the power of an artefact, as an antagonist. In London, Lara is confronted by Sophia Leigh, a ruthless business woman who owns a cosmetic company which is experimenting on its employees to achieve immortality. She is in possession of a meteorite artefact. The game also marks the second appearance of Lara's butler, Winston, who appears in the Croft Manor training level.

This game, which follows Lara as she embarks upon a quest to recover four meteorite stones scattered across the world, features the following characters:

  • Lara Croft
  • Winston
  • Dr. Mark Willard: A Scottish, seemingly friendly archaeological researcher, Willard is the head of RX Tech, an excavation crew digging near the meteor crater of Antarctica. He showed an unusual interest in the continent's history, and its relation to four stones that were taken from there decades ago. After a coincidental meeting in India, Lara agrees to work for him. Later on in the game, his true intentions for the artefacts are revealed.
  • Sophia Leigh: She is the main villain in the sub-plot connecting the London levels, and the final boss in the game's expansion pack The Lost Artefact. Sophia carries the "Eye of Isis", a piece of the meteorite rock, on a gold staff. This highly successful but ruthless businesswoman stands at the head of a rather unsavoury cosmetics giant in London. Sophia is obsessed with everlasting beauty, and her company is rumoured to experiment with illegal substances. She appears to be immortal and is immune to Lara's standard bullets, so she can only be defeated through more creative methods.
  • Tony: Under orders of Dr. Willard, an exploration party was sent into the forests of India to recover the ancient Infada stone. However, one of the team members, Tony, experienced jungle fever and went insane. He left his team members, Randy and Rory, for dead (their mutilated bodies are seen in the Temple Ruins level) and took the Infada stone for himself. Lara is forced to deal with him before he causes more havoc. Tony is the main boss of the India-based levels.
  • The Marines: A plane carrying these Australian soldiers crashed into the mountains near Madubu Gorge. One of them was captured by the cannibalistic natives, after a raptor had eaten his leg. Knowing his fate was sealed by his inability to leave with Lara, he gives her a map of hidden stepping stones used to traverse the nearby swamp and enjoys his last peaceful moments before his impending Godly sacrifice at the hands of the natives. Other survivors were scattered around the crash site of the plane and are found fending for themselves against the native dinosaurs with MP5 machine guns. Their superiors, Lt. Tuckerman and Major Bishop were killed by the dinosaurs. The soldiers are considered friendly characters and assist Lara in killing the roaming raptors but should she fire upon one, all soldiers throughout the level will attack her on sight. They appear in the Crash Site level.
  • The Tribesman: Lara encounters this cannibal, fasting in one of the tribe's temples after making her way through the Crash Site level. He gives her information on why his tribe had abandoned their settlement many years ago at the Antarctic meteorite crater when supernatural powers had adversely affected the birth of the new leader. He also explains that they retained one of their artefacts (the Ora Dagger) which was taken by one of Darwin's sailors many years after the tribe's home was abandoned. Before Lara leaves, he warns her that his tribe will still attempt to kill her. The tribesman appears in a cut scene after the Crash Site level.
  • Puna: A man of which little is known, Puna is the high priest of the Polynesian tribe of cannibals near the South Pacific. He wields his tremendous magical powers through the Ora Dagger artefact. He is the boss for the South Pacific section of Tomb Raider III.
  • Sophia's Hitman: A mercenary who tries to ambush Lara on the roof of St. Paul's Cathedral before she disarms him. Lara interrogates him and she learns that he works for Sophia Leigh. He regains his weapon, but is hit by a ringing bell and thrown off the roof of the cathedral before he has the chance to attack Lara a second time. He appears in the cut scene following the Thames Wharf level.
  • The Damned: Amongst the abandoned English tube station of Aldwych live a fearsome gang of masked men. Their leader, Bob, explains to Lara that they were ordinary men once, who came looking for work at Sophia Leigh's cosmetic company where she was secretly using one of the sacred artefacts for scientific research. However, when they were given what appeared to be dream lab assist jobs, they were subjected to her horrific product-testing experiments in her search for everlasting beauty via immortality. The experiments left them horribly disfigured, but immortal nonetheless. They were then disposed of down the waste chutes into the underground sewers. Now they live their lives in seclusion, choosing to hide their deformity from the world. Lara first encounters them in the Aldwych level as enemies covering their appearance and wielding clubs as they attack her. When she is captured after this level, she is dragged to Bob who tells her their story. He is willing to help her through the next level, Lud's Gate, if she were to return the favour by giving them some ancient Egyptian embalming fluid hidden in the Natural History Museum nearby so that they can reverse their disfigurement and return above ground (although this is not necessary to completing the level). After their discussion, the Damned become Lara's friends (unless she shoots one of them, in which they will all attack her on sight). They appear in the Aldwych and Lud's Gate levels.
  • The M.P.s: When Lara travels to Nevada, she encounters many M.P.s in and at the military base and Area 51. When Lara tries to enter the military by using a quad bike to jump a fence via a dirt hill, she botches the landing and passes out on the bank of a small creek. Two M.P.s then take her to a prison cell. Also, one can be seen closing the door to a supply truck heading to Area 51 that Lara hid in to escape the base. There are enemies in the Nevada desert, the High Security Prison, and Area 51.
  • The Aliens: Near the end of Area 51, an Alien space craft, with an interior bigger than the exterior, and four Aliens can be found. One of them is seen laying on an operating table, similar to that of the Alien autopsy video, while another is frozen in a chamber in an adjoining room and the others are in the ship frozen in two of four similar chambers surrounding the Element 151 in the center of the ship. It is surrounded by consoles that look like they can only be controlled by the Aliens. Whether they are dead or alive is a mystery. How the artifact got there is an even bigger one.

Locations

The game has an optional tutorial stage, that does not have to be played to access the other levels. Tomb Raider III is the first in the series to give the player some choice as to the order the levels may be played in. India is the area which must be played first, when completed, three areas, Oceania, London, and Nevada are available to play. Although these three areas may be played in any order, each area contains several stages that are played in linear order. Once an area is chosen it cannot be left before reaching the end, it must be played all the way through and completed before another area can be started; and once an area has been completed it cannot be revisited. When all these areas are completed the final area, Antarctica becomes available.

Lara's mansion in England, UK

Tomb Raider III features the largest tutorial level yet seen in a Tomb Raider game. The assault course from Tomb Raider II is drastically expanded to include exercise of Lara's new moves, target practice and a racetrack to hone the player's handling of the quad bike. Inside the mansion, a secret room can be discovered filled with artefacts and memorabilia from Lara's past adventures. It is the last game of the series to feature this level until Tomb Raider: Legend.

India

The game begins in the jungles of India, where Lara is on the trail of a mystical relic called the Infada stone. She travels by foot and on a quad, as the game takes her through the ruins of ancient Hindu temples and along the shores of the River Ganges. Whilst exploring these parts, she comes across a researcher hired by Willard, called Tony, who eventually goes mad with Jungle Fever and steals the Infada Stone from its shrine, driving it into his chest. This zone has 4 levels: Jungle, Temple Ruins, The River Ganges, and The Caves of Kaliya.

Nevada, USA

The United States Government has obtained one of the stones, and named it Element 115. It has been stored deep within Area 51, the secret military base in the Nevada desert, where all sorts of experiments are rumoured to take place. Unbeknownst to them, it is one of the four pieces of meteorite rock on Lara's treasure list. After a haphazard attempt to break into the base, Lara is locked up in a cell and stripped of her weapons (for this reason it is preferable to play through the game with this level being the first of the optional levels, as important arms such as the Rocket Launcher can be lost forever otherwise). From here on the game takes her through prisons, laboratories and military testing hangars. The levels in Nevada have an emphasis on using stealth rather than action. Unlike the other zones, the Nevada zone has 3 levels: Nevada Desert, High Security Compound, and Area 51.

South Pacific islands, Oceania

Among the beautiful, tropical scenery of the South Pacific, Lara fights a tribe of cannibalistic warriors and reanimated dinosaurs like Velociraptor's and a T-Rex, finds a crashed plane, and kayaks through the dangerous currents of Madubu Gorge. Her trail leads her into the Temple of Puna, where the "Ora Dagger" meteorite stone is supposedly guarded. In this episode, she also learns of the Polynesians' journey to Antarctica and why they fled in such a sudden manner. Prolonged exposure led to one of the natives being born without a face leading to the shocked tribe fleeing the cursed land. Later, she manages to defeat Puna in his temple and acquire the stone. This zone has 4 levels: The Coastal Village, Crash Site, Madabu Gorge, and The Temple of Puna.

Antarctica

After Lara's helicopter crashes into the icy waters of Antarctica, she makes her way through the abandoned research stations of RX Tech. After meeting up with Dr. Willard to hand over the stones, she descends down into mines and fights her way through stronger mutants and deadly mine shafts before finally entering the recently excavated lost city of Tinnos ; the ancient city built by the Polynesians on the meteorite crater. After traversing the ruins of the city Lara penetrates the Meteorite Cavern where Dr. Willard performs a ceremony to transform himself into a large spider-like creature until the artefacts are removed. This zone has 4 levels: Antarctica, RX Tech Mines, The City of Tinnos, and The Meteorite Cavern.

Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artifact

Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact is a mini-sequel to Tomb Raider III, sometimes unofficially called Tomb Raider III Gold. It was released exclusively for PC in 2000. Unlike the expansion packs for the first two games, this was initially sold as a standalone product rather than as part of a re-release, and was not available for free download for existing owners.

In The Lost Artefact, Lara learns of the existence of a fifth meteorite artefact called the Hand of Rathmore. She begins her investigations at the castle of Dr. Willard in the Scottish highlands, progresses to exploring the Channel Tunnel in Dover and then ultimately ends up in the catacombs of Paris, where she is confronted by Sophia Leigh.

Reception

Tomb Raider III received generally good reviews. On Game Rankings, the PC version received a 72.89% and the PlayStation version received a 78.01%. Some reviewers commented that gameplay had not changed a lot but still praised the game, saying it had "In-depth gameplay, good graphics and an established, unique theme." IGN commented the levels show "Real thought and Insight from designers" and praised the new vehicles but expressed frustration that the control system had still not improved. "Absolute Playstation" praised the game, saying it surpassed the previous two instalments, complimenting Lara's new abilities and moves, also saying the save system was an improvement from the previous games. GameSpot praised the game, saying it will provide "hours of fun" but also stating that if players want "something new" they will have to "look elsewhere". The game is generally considered the best of the original trilogy of Tomb Raider games, although critics consistently comment that gameplay hasn't changed a lot from the original Tomb Raider game.

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Tomb Raider Games

Tomb Raider (1996) · Unfinished Business (1998) · Tomb Raider II (1997) · The Golden Mask (1999) · Tomb Raider III (1998) · The Lost Artifact (2000) · The Last Revelation (1999) · The Times (1999) · Chronicles (2000) · The Angel of Darkness (2003) · Legend (2006) · Anniversary (2007) · Underworld (2008) · Beneath the Ashes (2009) · Lara's Shadow (2009) · Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light (2010)

Tomb Raider Movies

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) · The Cradle Of Life (2003)