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Tomb Raider 5 - Chronicles

Tomb Raider Chronicles is the fifth game 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. The game was originally released in 2000 for PC, Sega Dreamcast and PlayStation. It was also released on the EU PlayStation store on January 12, 2011.

Characters

This game depicts four adventures from Lara’s past as she is missing and presumed to be dead throughout the course of the game. The following characters all play a role in these events:

  • Lara Croft
  • Winston
  • Werner Von Croy
  • Pierre Dupont: Occurring before his encounter with Lara in the first game he is out on the streets of Rome looking for the Philosopher's Stone, but he intends to let Lara do the dirty work for him.
  • Larson: Before encountering Lara in the first game Larson met Lara in Rome, where he works with Pierre against her.
  • Charles Kane: Charles was a teacher at Gordonstoun Boarding school, where he taught Lara history for two years. He has a personal interest in the old Iron Curtain countries and with the advent of glasnost seized his opportunity to visit the Eastern bloc whenever he could afford the time. He helps Lara in her mission in Russia in 1995.
  • Sergei Mikhailov: A Russian crime boss hunting for the Spear of Destiny. He corrupts Admiral Yarofev and then uses his submarine. When Lara discovers the spear, Mikhailov confronts her and takes it, but proves unable to withstand its power, leading to his death. Mikhailov appears in the Russia portion of the game.
  • Admiral Yarofev: Captain of a nuclear submarine, the dissolution of the Soviet Union have forced him to accept bribes and missions he would rather not be involved with to support himself and his men. When he first discovers Lara on board the submarine, he has her locked up. Later, Lara finds him wounded in the submarine's control room after the sub is crippled. He helps her activate the escape pod so she can escape, but chooses to remain behind, asking Lara to tell the world how a government ignored its soldiers needs. He is killed as the submarine crashes into the seabed. Yarofev appears in the Russia chapter of the game.
  • Father Patrick Dunstan: One of the three friends gathered at Croft Manor, Father Dunstan has known Lara since she was a teenager. At that time, he was involved in a dangerous exorcism on the Black Isle.
  • The Hanging Demon: Hanging by Gallow's Tree, a demon resembling a rotting corpse begs a young Lara to come closer before requesting she finds his heart buried within the roots of the tree. He only appears in the level Gallow's Tree.
  • The Grim Reaper: Though he does not harm Lara, she follows him throughout the labyrinth where she finds the Bestiary, a book which later helps her defeat the demon horseman Vladimir Kaleta. The Grim Reaper appears in the second Black Isle level.
  • Vladimir Kaleta: Vladimir Kaleta is demon who goes under the name of Verdilet. Father Patrick Dunstan and young Lara meet him at the Black Isle, trapped on the island for 700 years. He was promised the gift of eternal life, concealed within an ancient scroll by the Abbot and his cohorts, but was tricked and remains trapped within a barn surrounded by flowing water. He kidnaps Dunstan in order for Lara to shut off the running water at an old mill. Kaleta appears in the final Black Isle level.
  • Zip: A hacker who assists Lara in her attempt to infiltrate the main office of Von Croy Industries in 1999. He guides her through the building's ventilation system from a bus parked outside.
  • Elderly Man: While Lara makes her escape with the Iris artefact in New York, Von Croy and an elderly assistant view surveillance footage of Lara breaking into the building. As Von Croy recognises Lara, the elderly man comments that his past has returned to haunt him once more. The Elderly Man appears in a single cut scene during the VCI Tower Block chapter.

Synopsis

Tomb Raider: Chronicles is set just days after the events of 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 of which 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 are, too, 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's 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, we are taken to Egypt where we see Werner von Croy 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!"

Gameplay

The gameplay of Tomb Raider Chronicles is closely tied to that of The Last Revelation. In terms of movement and animation, the new additions to Lara's skills are the ability to walk on a tightrope, the ability to grab and swing on horizontal bars and the ability to somersault forwards from a ledge while crouching. Focusing on Lara herself, little to no improvement has been made from the previous instalment. However, Lara does sport new clothing and gear in the form of a camouflage snow-suit and a black catsuit suitable for infiltration.

Combat and inventory

Several weapons from the previous game have not returned (namely the Crossbow and the Grenade Launcher), but the MP5 submachine gun and Desert Eagle from Tomb Raider III and the revolver from The Last Revelation have returned. 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 Tomb Raider: 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.

Locations

The game consists of four sub-adventures and takes Lara to Rome, a Russian submarine base, a haunted island called the Black Isle in Ireland, and a high-tech building in New York. 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 Level Editor

The Tomb Raider Level Editor is a package of tools used to create game levels for Tomb Raider: 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 version only), that allows the user to create levels for Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.

Advancements

The Level Editor came with several pre-set levels from the game Tomb Raider: 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 Tomb Raider: 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.

Programs 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.

Today

The community based around the Level Editor is still active today, 10 years later.

As for the future of the Level Editor, the custom created gaming engine FexEngine currently being developed looks for an alternative to the restrictions of the original Level Editor. It serves to be open source and compatible with many major content creation programs.

Reception

It received mixed reviews from critics, receiving an aggregated score of 63 (PS1), 57 (PC) and 59 (Dreamcast) from Metacritic. Most critics complained about the lack of innovation, as the game features no new weapons or vehicles. The PC version of the game is notoriously problematic with level bugs. GameSpot came across these, especially in the level "Red Alert!" where the game failed to load up whenever Lara was killed. Naturally, such problems contributed to the game's mixed reception.

Over the years, some critics have begun to look at Chronicles in a kinder light. Official UK PlayStation Magazine gave the game a 10/10 rating, declaring "Lara's swansong on PlayStation is a triumph." Although it was one of the least successful Tomb Raider games, it remains popular with fans around the world, as do its four predecessors.

Tomb Raider Chronicles sold over 1.5 million copies sold worldwide.

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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)