Tomb Raider V's Official Name Released (2000)
Core Design gives us a crumb on Lara's latest Tomb Raider for PlayStation.
by IGN Staff - July 21, 2000
Derby, England : During a meeting today with Core Design in its new offices in Derby, England, the British developer told IGN that every little bit of gameplay footage we saw was unfortunately strictly embargoed until mid-August of this summer. So, despite the fact that we saw several levels, new animations, and found out a heap of great information on the game, we have to wait until the company is officially ready to announce it in mid-August.
IGN was able, however, to reveal one nifty new piece of information -- that the fifth Tomb Raider, to be released on PlayStation, Dreamcast, and PC game this fall, is officially titled Tomb Raider Chronicles.
Already confirmed information about Tomb Raider Chronicles includes the facts that it stars the feline megastar Lara Croft, that it uses the same engine, albeit modified and improved over past games, as the last four, and that it's an adventure game very much in the same mold as the past four titles.
First Look Tomb Raider: Chronicles (2000)
First details of Core's latest Lara Croft adventure, Tomb Raider Chronicles.
by IGN Staff - July 24, 2000
The fifth and final version of the once venerable Tomb Raider series on PlayStation has just come into sharper focus in England, IGNPSX recently learned. The confirmed fifth game of the series follows a different set of quests for Lara Croft, and brings a new kind of intrigue to the series with her apparent death.
According to the official UK PlayStation Magazine, the story of Tomb Raider Chronicles commences with the funeral of Lara Croft, who is believed dead, following her disappearance in Tomb Raider: Last Revelation. For those few who finished Last Revelation, Lara was closed up in a tomb, and ambiguously left for dead. Will the game answer the question of her death? Eidos and Core aren't saying just yet. (Apparently we have to play the game to find that out.)
Chronicles follows Lara's supposed death, focusing on the friends and allies who fondly remember her via flashbacks. Familiar non-player characters such as Jean-Paul and Pierre reminisce about Lara, each memory turning into one of four levels that take place in the past and include all new locations. One such level features entirely on young Lara. The first level takes place in Rome, another in Ireland, a third on a dock complex in Russia, and the fourth at an industrial complex. Players will get the chance to see and play Lara in all new costumes, handle new weapons, and face new enemies.
Lastly, Tomb Raider Chronicles features several new gameplay aspects, one of which PSM UK revealed, that has Lara crossing tight-ropes. Hm...Isn't she a bit top-heavy for that kind of thing? Eh-hem, in any case, we'll have more Tomb Raider: Chronicles in mid-August to cover Lara as best we can (pun intend...oh whatever).
Thanks to the Official PlayStation Magazine UK.
It's here - Tomb Raider: Chronicles (2000)
Whether you have been waiting with bated breath or not, Eidos presents Lara Croft's fifth adventure.
by IGN Staff - August 18, 2000
In an interesting new twist to the early publicity of the fifth Tomb Raider game, Eidos and Core today delivered the full story of Tomb Raider Chronicles first to an online site The Croft Times, which has long been the champion of all things Tomb Raider. Congratulations to the dedicated English fan site that's done such a great job of delivering Lara Croft and Tomb Raider information since the early days.
And now it's in our Yankee hands. The official name of the game is Tomb Raider Chronicles, and it is the fifth and last of the PlayStation versions of the game. Chronicles also will appear on Dreamcast and PC, and it is due for these systems this November, just before Thanksgiving. Of course, the Tomb Raider series is far from over, as it will appear on PlayStation 2 and other next-gen systems, but this is definitely the last of the PlayStation versions, or at least that's what we're told.
The fifth of the Tomb Raider series stars the slim, trim Lara Croft by opening up with her supposed death. Having allegedly died in a freak accident at the end of The Last Revelation, the premise of Chronicles sets up Lara's new travails with accounts from her friends and associates, each who has a story to tell. Each story leads into a mission, each independent of one another. That's right, Chronicles is the first of the Tomb Raider series to enable gamers to play through any of the levels in a non-linear fashion, with each mission being completely independent one the other.
Using the well-used and original Tomb Raider engine that Core created for the first Tomb Raider, the new Chronicles has several new features and graphic alterations that should entice adventure game enthusiasts. (To be fair, the TR engine has been modified and upgraded with each new game in the series, including this one).
The new features include new moves for Lara, such as tightrope walking, parallel bar swinging, and a stealthy hand-to-hand attack. Players can choose from a new sack of weapons made up of a grappling hook gun, sniper rifle, and chloroform. For those of you who liked the new inventory system in The Last Revelation, Chronicles features a newly "enhanced" inventory system that enable players a greater variety of combinations of weapons and items. Lastly, players can do more snooping. Lara can search through files, drawers, and shelves for useful inventory items that help her solve the riddle of each level.
And perhaps the biggest part of this new adventure is the satchel of secrets that are revealed about Lara's backstory. Each of the four scenarios from the past fills in curious gamers with more details about Lara's life and provide new information on other characters from previous games.
Much like in Tomb Raider III, Ms. Croft will appear in several different outfits, including an arctic outfit, the standard shorts and tank top, and a black catsuit, as the screenshots show. Each suit does its job to hide too much and to reveal just enough. In other words, don't expect baggy clothes. And for those who are interested and we know who you are, believe it or not, she has actually grown in certain areas, two to be specific. Yep, she's "bigger" than ever. Gulp...
Lara appears in four different levels, including Rome, where she goes through a rigorous and integral training session, and in which Larson and Pierre, from the first game, appear. Ms. Croft finds herself on a sinister, X-Files like level that takes place on a U-boat, where she gets to "chat" with Jean Yves. As a much younger lass, Lara encounters much younger versions of Father Dunstan and Winston on Spooky Island, and lastly, in her fine tight catsuit, Lara encounters a high-tech level -- The Tower Block -- in which she must use all of her stealth and cunning to reach her goals. The full list of characters who will appear in the game include Winston, Father Dunstan, Jean Yves, Werner Von-Croy, Larson, and Pierre.
Tomb Raider Chronicles Will Promote Movie and Watch (2000)
You can also see Lara Croft in quite a few TV commercials.
by IGN Staff - November 14, 2000
Eidos Interactive is poised to start the advertising blitz after Tomb Raider Chronicles mid-November release. Fifteen and 30-second tv commercials will show Lara being trapped under an avalanche of rocks, lending to fan speculation that Eidos plans to kill off their busty heroine. The commercials will run on cable tv channels such as MTV, ESPN, Comedy Central and TNT.
Tomb Raider is also getting a jump on merchandising, as Timex is planning on releasing their new TMX Grip Clip in Tomb Raider packaging. Lara will be wearing the watch in the actual game will on a hang glider. The Grip Clip Watch and the TMX logo will also be visible from the inventory screen. Lara will also play hostess at the TMX website, tmx.timex.com.
IGN also will be hosting a promotion where Lara will use her TMX Grip Clip to defeat enemies. Win and you'll automatically be entered in a drawing for prizes worth up to $2,000.
In anticipation of the upcoming Tomb Raider movie starring Angelina Jolie, tombraidermovie.com will feature live Webcasts from the actual movie set, in addition to the first movie trailers with Jolie in Lara character will be appearing in theaters in early December.
"As the 'Tomb Raider' series matures, it's imperative that we continue devising new and different forms of merchandise to keep surprising Lara's faithful fans," said Paul Baldwin, vice president, marketing, Eidos Interactive. "Along with the Timex watch partnership, the continuing curiosity about the 'Tomb Raider' movie will build momentum for the new game."
Tomb Raider Chronicles will be the last game to hold true to the current series. As early as next year we'll be seeing a new Lara on PlayStation 2 and other consoles.
Tomb Raider Chronicles (2000)
by IGN Staff - November 17, 2000
If you're anything like me, you've probably greeted the news of the latest installment in the Tomb Raider series with the same enthusiasm you spent getting excited about Highlander 3 or the next Eddie Murphy vehicle. But perhaps we shouldn't be so quick to dismiss this fifth variation on the Tomb Raider theme. In addition to featuring a host of improvements, Tomb Raider's next Dreamcast outing will go further towards taking advantage of the Dreamcast hardware. We took a trip down to Eidos to talk with Adrian Smith, Director at Core and all-around nice guy.
The newest Tomb Raider might seem "a little bit strange" given that Eidos killed Lara in the end of the last installment. I'll pause here to give you time to gasp in disbelief. For some strange reason, Lara's supposed death is one of the best-kept secrets in the gaming industry. Sure, her body was never found, but that doesn't prove anything. The "death" is meant to allow the development team to make a clean break with today's current platforms and begin focussing on next-generation consoles.
But the death of the lead character won't interfere in any way with this continuation of her story. And it's not accomplished with a "the-spider-bite-merely-put-her-into-a-state-of-suspended-animation" type thing. The new game starts at Lara's funeral (but since there's no body, I guess we should call it a memorial service). It's a "typical British day" complete with all the misery and rain you'd expect. Characters from out of Lara's past convene around her gravesite -- Jean Yves, Winston, Pierre and Father Dunstan. After the service, some of the characters retire to stately Croft manor.
As they sit and reminisce about Lara, they recall to mind four previously unrelated adventures. It's sort of like those pastiche episodes of the Golden Girls, where Bea Arthur and Betty White sit around and say "Do you remember...?" and you hear that harp glissando and the screen gets all wavy. But unlike the Golden Girls, Tomb Raider: Chronicles' flashback sequences are entirely original. This concept allows for four very different types of games in an episodic format. Adrian refers to it as "the definitive collection of what's been good in all the previous titles."
The first adventure takes place in Rome and is designed to get people "comfy" with the game. It's a very traditional or "classic" Tomb Raider level so it shouldn't offer too much in the way of surprises. Lara will also have to travel to an abandoned submarine base in Russia, an area that's been taken over by the army and the mafia. Lara's exploits in this area will be much more focussed on action. You know, big guns, two-fisted kind of action. As an added bonus, Lara will sport a new SAS outfit.
A haunted castle in Ireland provides the backdrop for Lara's sweet sixteen party. There are no guns on this level; you'll just have to dodge and outrun the various ghosts, goblins and ghouls that you encounter. The final level takes place in a hi-tech office building. Lara will be decked out in a "Matrix-style catsuit" complete with headset. Your companion, ZIP, will guide you through the various traps and metal detectors to be found within.
Regarding the PC version of the game, Adrian says that Chronicles is the "biggest change to the game engine we've ever done." He freely admits that, in the past, the console versions of TR have had some advantages over their PC step-cousin. This time around though you can expect a huge graphical improvement with loads of detail and objects, and we presume this will spell good things for the Dreamcast version. Eidos has actually commented to us that Core won't be doing a direct port of the PC engine onto the Dreamcast, but will instead strive to take advantage of the system. The below screens from the PC version already indicate that there's a lot more to see in this latest outing.
There's also a lot more that Lara can do here. On the action side, she'll now be able to walk tightropes (bringing with it the fear that they'll be combined into our beloved jumping puzzles). She'll also swing on suspended bars and use a grappling hook gun. The addition of a "search" option allows Lara to rifle through files and drawers looking for various items.
Lara will also have access to a sniper rifle and some new hand-to-hand combat options. She can sneak up behind enemies and disable them with cosh or chloroform. And since enemies respond to sound now, you'll have to be especially careful when you sneak up on them. Enemy spotting has also been tweaked to allow enemies to take cover behind certain objects in the environment.
Even with all the new additions, Adrian sees this installment of Tomb Raider as a way of "getting back to the traditional values" of the series. The next-generation versions of the game, which may or may not appear on Dreamcast, will feature a much darker, X-Files-esque kind of atmosphere. Each of the new titles will be self-contained but reveal part of a larger puzzle that you'll only piece together by buying all of the new games and playing them through. But let's not get ahead of ourselves; we've still got one more Tomb Raid left before the team at Core launches into their new direction. Get it while you can.
UPDATE: November 17th, 2000
Yeah, yeah... those of you who clicked to this update are probably one of the following: (1) wondering if there is a genuine "nude mode" in the game or (2) curious if the newest and perhaps last adventure of Lara Croft will be as half-hearted as the first Dreamcast Tomb Raider game. Well, after a few hours playing through Tomb Raider Chronicles, I'm surprised that the game is shaping up to give Lara Croft a proper send-off should this be her last adventure. And no, there isn't a "nude mode" that I'm aware of... ya pervs.
As the story goes, Lara Croft is believed to have died in a recent archaeological outing. A funeral service is being held as her closest relatives and comrades gather round remember the thrilling adventures about their favorite busty daredevil. So, instead of following one linear course, the player gets four new, non-related adventures featuring Lara. This allowed the programmers to have quite a bit of flexibility in creating the new settings of these adventures that include an abandoned Russian submarine base to a super hi-tech research facility.
Having played through the first two adventures in Tomb Raider Chronicles so far, this is probably the best-looking Lara Croft model I've seen... and I'm not speaking about her ta-tas, either. Shapelier and a lot cleaner all-around, Lara also seems to be animated a bit smoother, especially when getting hit by enemy attacks. Backgrounds are pretty well detailed though nowhere close to what we've seen in another Eidos title, Legacy of Kain. One thing I'm worried about are the FMV sequences that seems a bit too dark and murky in appearance... maybe it's just me. Also, someone has to do something about the "dripping wet" visual after Lara gets out of the pool.
The gameplay that started with the very first Tomb Raider will be found in Tomb Raider Chronicles with a few additions. The first enhancement you'll see is Lara's tightrope walking ability, and it's actually pretty tricky; when Lara starts leaning over one side, you have to press in the opposite direction, but not too much, else you'll make her sway over too much the other way. I'm impressed with the animation that went into this, though I'm a bit concerned over more important control issues... like the overall control itself. As of right now, the analog control of Lara is a bit too sensitive for my taste and exceedingly frustrating in awkward jumping situations.
Despite the few problems I've seen and experienced, it's actually refreshing to play a somewhat improved version of Tomb Raider. If those wizards at Core can tighten the bolts on the control and fix some of the visual problems, Lara Croft can say bon voyage in Tomb Raider Chronicles with style.
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