New Details Revealed in Tomb Raider Last Revelation (1999)
by IGN Staff - July 20, 1999
It seems as though the game will be heading back towards its roots with tighter, more compact levels instead of the giganto-mazes that confused TR3.
Core Design has promised to make this version a please-all attempt to keep the game within the reach of new fans, but still bring a new experience to gamers that have conquered every cave, dungeon, and sweaty curve of earlier Tomb Raider titles. What Core has also decided is to stay away from the variety of environments that turned the last two chapters into a world hop that would even have James Bond feeling woozy from jet lag. Instead, get ready to assist Lara in North Africa as she unwraps a mystery involving ancient mythology and the new millenium.
Some of the other features promised for the Last Revelation are:
No Loading Screens: The adventure will become even more seamless with no loading times between levels, and a new trick which allows cutscenes to blend seamlessly into cut-scenes and FMV.
New Inventory System: No more "ring" system, kids. This time around, you can interface your weapons and tools even faster, as well as take a look at Lara's personal notes and a location map.
Smaller Locations: Objectives aren't as nebulous, and the locations have been shrunk down to a humanoid size for us earthlings, instead of TR3, which was actually the release meant to ship to the robot planet.
Core unveils info on a 16-year-old Lara and a brand new mentor
by IGN Staff - October 14, 1999
The time has come or Eidos to reveal its bigger plans for Lara Croft in Tomb Raider Last Revelation. The upcoming version of Tomb Raider takes players back into time to when Lara was just a young babe in the woods, with her first mentor, a 16-year-old tomboy, complete with pigtails...and a more realistic figue. With her new trainer, a well-established explorer by the name of Von Croy, he trains her in a brand new intro level, which replaces the old Mansion and the weird old butler.
If this is all starting to sound a little depraved of Core -- to make Lara Croft even younger and, well softer, and more naive, well -- we're thinking the same as you. But hey, didn't you ever wonder what she looked like when she was a young teenage babe?
Depraved or not and regardless of your own sick fantasies, Eidos revealed today this whole new chapter with a biography of young Lara, brand new screen-shots, and a fully detailed description of the mini-level/training room to boot. Below is the bio, straight from Eidos and Core.
Also, in addition to these new screenshots, we have added two new Tv trailers, both of which are quite long, but are pretty damn cool. The Pizza Hut ad reveals that Lara will ride a sidecar and a jeep in last Revelation, and the Tv trailer, which looks just like a movie trailer, shows her on a range of vehicles facing a number of enemies from her past three games. You must check them out.
The Biography of Young Lara Croft
"The daughter of Lord Henshingly Croft, Lara was brought up in the secure world of aristocracy ¿ wanting for nothing she was surrounded by servants, social events and high society.
Having attended Wimbledon High School for Girls from the age of 11 years, Lara's parents decided that now at the age of 16, she should broaden her education by studying for her A levels at one of England's most prominent boarding schools. While her academic achievements were outstanding, a number of comments on her term reports indicated that she could perhaps benefit from a more structured lifestyle in order to keep her somewhat impulsive nature firmly in hand...
An adventurous soul, Lara found the idea of being sent away from home an exciting prospect. With the summer vacation stretching far out in front of her, school seemed a million miles away. Idyllic days were spent riding, swimming, building treehouses and exploring the full extent of the Croft estate... and beyond. Preferring her own company to that of others, Lara would often take herself off at dawn, returning only at nightfall for supper - much to the distress of her mother who often spent hours phoning friends in an attempt to discover the whereabouts of her wayward daughter.
Upon her return on one such occasion, Lara heard her parents deep in conversation. Concerned that their daughter's vacation was being spent in a less than structured manner, they were discussing the merits of a trip to Europe. Lara would be sent off with her Aunt, a local school teacher, to be educated about European history. Not only would she broaden her horizons via travel, but would surely benefit from a first-hand experience of Europe's main sites of historical interest.
Whilst Lara felt excitement at the prospect of foreign travel, the thought of being accompanied by her stuffy Aunt soon deadened her interest. The idea of being chaperoned, lectured and disciplined 24 hours a day filled her with horror.
As she lingered by the door, Lara glanced at the copy of National Geographic on the hall table. The front cover featured a familiar name ¿ Professor Werner Von Croy. A respected archaeologist, Von Croy had once lectured at Lara's school to pupils and parents alike. The experience had a profound effect on Lara, triggering a desire for travel to remote locations in search of adventure. In some ways Von Croy had become an inspirational figure for Lara - the memories he had recounted came flooding back as if she had been there herself, rekindling her desire to experience the rewards of discovery firsthand.
Perhaps Lara's restless nature and desire for adventure was inherited from her father. He had made a point of attending the lecture since he had often visited archaeological digs in places such as Jordan, Egypt and South America in his youth. Although he had little time to read these days, he still subscribed to archaeological journals and on the odd occasion when he had time to spend with Lara, she would listen, totally captivated, as he recounted his experiences.
As Lara read further, she learned that Von Croy was currently preparing for an archaeological tour across Asia, culminating in a potential new discovery to be made in Cambodia. With limited finances, he would travel alone, possibly hire cheap local help along the way. Already having researched extensively, and planning to do more whilst in Asia, Lara could already see the promise of discovery shining in his blue eyes as they stared out at her from the page.
Unable to contain herself, Lara burst into the room, thrust the article in front of her parents and without hesitation demanded she accompany Von Croy on his expedition, rather than visit Europe's already well-documented and seemingly bland remains. Laughter ensued as neither parent took the idea seriously, but as she argued her case it became more plausible that the experience might well stand Lara in good stead for a future studying history. She may even pursue a career in teaching, just like her Aunt. After his own experiences, Lord Croft could hardly disagree that travel was an education in itself.
Familiar with Von Croy's respected standing and reputation for carefully planned expeditions, Lara's father found himself struggling to argue against her intelligent reasoning and resourceful nature. She was after all, almost an adult -- a mature teenager at least. Her fearless approach to tree-climbing, physical agility and general tomboy antics left him with little doubt that she was physically capable.
As Lara argued the case further, he found himself walking over to the desk and penning a letter to Von Croy, introducing himself as an influential society figure and offering financial assistance in exchange for his daughter's place on the expedition.
Von Croy's reply assured the Henshingly Crofts that the territories were friendly and that he had ample experience to look after both his and Lara's well being. Lara's company as an assistant would be welcome, as was the offer of such a generous check. He remembered Lara from his lecture ¿ her incessant yet inciteful questions had made quite an impression upon him.
Lara's mother, for one, secretly welcomed the fact that her daughter's whereabouts could now be the responsibility of somebody else, leaving her free to organize charity events without distraction. And so it was agreed by all that Lara would accompany Von Croy for the duration of the tour."
Young Lara is revealed as Core and Eidos try a new look at the fourth Tomb Raider.
by IGN Staff - October 15, 1999
Somehow you knew it would come. Another Tomb Raider. And this year? Well, Core says it's learned from its mistakes in the past and has offered some killer new details on just how Tomb Raider: Last Revelation will return the game to its roots and put the rest all to shame.
Tomb Raider Last Revelation brings the forth of the series to a slightly different hilltop in the landscape of videogames. Every year we've seen a new version of this phenomenally popular game zigzag in different directions, from more action, less adventuring, to incredibly hard puzzles to dozens of international locations in which to explore. In Last Revelation, Core has said its focus is to go back to what made the first game so fun. But in this four-game development process, the last two games have enabled the team to see what's best (and worst) in the series, and to explore various tangents and avenues. From these experiences Core tells us that Tomb Raider Last Revelation should be a far more focused, more widely playable game, easier and yet deeper than the past two.
In the demo issued at ECTS (European Computer Trade Show) two weeks ago in England, Eidos presented a single adventure disc with a sample of what's to come in this new version. Eidos sent us that disc to try out here in-house. Aside from the new textures and graphic improvements mentioned elsewhere in this preview, we were particularly interested in the new gameplay, puzzles, and menu system, which stood out as the best new aspects. The last of which was the coolest. Lara's inventory system is swifter and easier to use than before. The weapons and items scroll horizontally, and there are two independent levels, specifically created for the combination of weapons. That's right, if you so happen to pick up a cross bow or a revolver and a telescopic site, the two can be combined to kill enemies who are particularly difficult to slay.
For example, by now you should have seen the skeletons in the new Tomb Raider. Try what you will, rocket launcher, grenade launcher, slingshot (heh, j.k.), or uzi, but knocking these boney buzzards off is nigh impossible. Connect a telescopic site and a revolver in the new inventory system and then aim directly for their heads, and you'll be a new man (or woman). One good shot and their skulls splinter into little worthless shards, and the skeletons then run haywire across the room, completely harmless. These changes may seem small and insignificant, but the change and additions are more than just helpful, they make the game more accessible, something that's eluded the series as it has progressed.
The controls are all the same, with a few additions. Lara can still pull off the jumps, the dash is back and exactly the same (which means, at least in this demo, that making sharp turns while running is impossible), and she can crawl, like before. But now Lara can climb up poles and ropes. Press X and forward to climb, and then use the jump button to back flip off the rope. Apparently, Lara can actually backflip from a rope position, which makes her varsity Olympic team material, but hey, she's Lara, right?
From the demo we played, the puzzles played differently, which was a nice little present. The few we encountered were fun. In one case, Lara had to jump from one medium high block to a lever on a wall, grab it, and pull it down with her weight. That magically produces new steps to a new area.
The second significant puzzle included the use of a torch. Upon entering a new room, Lara picks up an unlit torch, steps on a special part of the floor to light furnace-like lamps from which she lights her torch, and she then brings it to a new room with a suspiciously patchy wooden floor. Throw the torch to light the floor and when the fire dies down, Lara steps on it to get to the next area. Sounds cool. Right? With the exception of actually getting the torch to not bounce and fumble past it every single time, it was.
In all, the demo was quite explanatory of what's to come. Tomb Raider Last Revelation should bring more of the same kind of excitement to gamers' laps as it once did, but with new kinds of puzzles, new abilities, weapons, and an excellent new inventory system. Even though it's getting old, the game should spark anew the fervor it once did in 1996 if not graphically, then because of Core's renewed focus on great puzzles, environments, and clever interaction.
Of course, there will be more updates in the near future, so stay tuned.
The New Training Level
Location: Anghor Wat -- Cambodia
The training level is integral to Last Revelation, says Eidos. Players must pow through it to access Last Revelation itself. In this new rendition of the game, the training level is actually a mini adventure, or game on its own. Lara and her experienced archeologist trainer, Von Croy, are in search of an artifact known by the moniker "the Iris." This level spotlights dialog between Lara and Von Croy, dialog that assists Lara in learning her new skills.
Lara appears in her younger form in the training level, and is completely unarmed. She's oufitted in a tank top, long shorts and waistcoat. So, what's the big deal about the training level. First it's a new take for Core, and we finally say goodbye to Lara's creepy butler. Second, Core is not making the assumption that everybody in the world already has played Tomb Raider. Quite the opposite. Thir, Lara is reintroduced to the player, and we get to know more abou her world, her person, her character, aspects that were amazingly absent in the previous three games. It's actually amazing that we all took Lara Croft at face value after all. I mean, with the exception of large breasts, great athletic skills, and a nice arsenal, what else do we know about Lara? Not much. Not much until now, that is.
Last but not least, Lara and Von Croy battle it out at the end of the training mission with an obstacle race. The race is timed and can be accessed in either easy or hard difficulty levels. The trick here is that Von Croy, while sharing an identical move range with Lara, can set traps for her, such as closing doors, severing bridges, and other sinister stunts. But all is not good at rthe level's end. Something goes deadly wrong, and Lara is forced to leave Von Croy, believing him to be dead.
According to the Core team, the brains behind the other Tomb Raider titles, the game will star Lara Croft (surprise!) and will take place in the far reaches of Egypt. Unlike last year's difficult and bizarre mix of gameplay levels which, Eidos feels went too far away from the original Tomb Raider, TR: Last Revelation focuses on one locale, Egypt. The attention that is going into the gameplay specifically highlights those elements that made the first game so imaginative and fresh, clever puzzles, intelligent level design, and a better mix of adventure to action. Core emphasizes that it wants "to go back to its roots," making Tomb Raider IV more like the very first game, which received universal applause from critics and gamers alike.
Core has also said that it has found a new way to program FMV sequences. In-game levels will now seamlessly dissolve into full-motion video cut-scenes, and the load screens have been removed, providing a solution for those PlayStation owners so used to annoying, 20-30 second load screens. Textures have improved as well. Lara's body textures were far more...telling, as soft-skin textures replaced former simple texture-wraps.
In yet another addition, Core redesigned the inventory system. Gamers can not only stock up on items, but now, they can combine them. Core explains that this new feature adds more depth to the game and has increased the difficulty in the game's riddles and puzzles. At least one good example of the new way in which its works is that players can take torches off the walls and use them to light their way through deep, dark caverns. When she doesn't need it anymore, Lara can put it out and stow it away for later use.
Another excellent new addition to the action and puzzle elements of Lara's ongoing adventures is the use of ropes. Lara can now use ropes to swing across ravines, lower to remote areas, and climb up them as well. Additionally, ropes provide for excellent puzzle elements. Look for pulley and winch hints in this new game.
Now to answer the most important question... "Will there be any changes to Lara's look?" Core has completely redesigned Lara's look -- Lara is now naked. We're kidding! Seriously, Core claims that Lara will look better than ever, including smoother skin textures and few new moves. No nude code has been announced. (And probably never will be, sorry kids...)
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (which, incidentally, is not called "Tomb Raider IV") is being developed by Core and is scheduled to be released in late November 1999.
=> Return to Articles & Interviews <=