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Tomb Raider: Anniversary

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary, is the eighth release of the Tomb Raider series. It is a remake of the original Tomb Raider game from 1996, using an improved version of the Legend game engine, and it includes all of the original 'worlds' from Tomb Raider.

The game was co-developed by Crystal Dynamics and Buzz Monkey Software for Sony's PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, Windows and Nintendo's Wii. Eidos announced 1 June 2007 as the European release date for the PS2 and Windows version, with the North American release to follow on 5 June 2007. Additionally, the subscription PC gaming service GameTap announced that the game will be available on their service on the same day as the game went to retailers. The game is also available on Steam (although most of Europe is excluded). The US PSP version was released on 9 August 2007, and the EU version was released on 26 October 2007, with the Wii version released in the EU on 7 December 2007. An Xbox 360 version was officially announced on 18 June 2007.

Plot

In 1945 New Mexico, a bomb explodes, engulfing a town and revealing a strange structure, from which a winged creature flies out. In 1996, Lara Croft is approached by Larson, who introduces her to Jacqueline Natla, who wishes for Lara to find a piece of an artefact called the Scion, located in Peru. Lara agrees to go.

In the Lost Valley, Lara finds a tomb belonging to a god king Qualopec. She discovers that he was one of three God Kings (the Triumvirate) who ruled Atlantis before it fell beneath the waves. As Lara reaches towards Qualopec's corpse, a Mummy like creature attempts to attack her, but falls dead at her feet. Lara quickly exits with the Scion, but finds Larson ready to take it from her. After fighting him, Lara discovers that Natla has sent another archaeologist to find the next piece, in Greece. She also travels there to get it before he does.

After a brief encounter with Pierre Dupont, the other archaeologist, Lara races against him to find the next piece. On finding the tomb of Tihocan (the second Triumvirate), Pierre catches up with her and attempts to get Qualopec's piece of the Scion off her - he already has Tihocan's. But he is attacked by two centaurs who then turn on Lara. After defeating them, Lara puts the pieces together and has a vision about the final piece being in Egypt.

After getting the final Scion piece and adding it to the other two, Lara has a much clearer vision about the three Triumvirates, one of whom is Natla herself. Natla tried to rush the Seventh Age by turning Atlantis' own armies against it, and was expelled from the order, then trapped in the crystalline structure seen at the beginning.

Natla takes the Scion away from Lara, who has had her guns taken away from her and is being held by 'Kold.' Natla orders the henchman to kill Lara but she escapes and follows them on a motorbike, managing to get onto Natla's boat and sailing away with them. Lara follows Natla into a desolate island, and kills Larson when he tries to stop her getting any further, which makes her feel guilty. Lara then kills Kold and Kid, before reaching the top of the Atlantean pyramid and meeting Natla, who wants Lara to join her.

Lara shoots the Scion and is attacked by Natla, but she saves herself by grappling onto the edge of another ledge. She soon meets up again with a burnt Natla who attempts to twist Lara's mind, but Lara manages to defeat her. She then escapes the exploding pyramid and sails away in Natla's boat.

Game Content

Levels

  • Peru - Lara is hired by Jacqueline Natla to find the Scion hidden in the Tomb of Qualopec, hidden in the Incan city of Vilcabamba. . Levels include: Mountain Caves, City of Vilcabamba, The Lost Valley and Tomb of Qualopec. Featured enemies include: a T. rex, Velociraptor, Bears, Wolves, Bats, and Larson.
  • Greece - After interrogating Larson, Lara finds herself in Greece, inside St. Francis Folly to find the second part of the Scion. Levels include: St. Francis Folly, The Coliseum, Midas's Palace and the Tomb of Tihocan (which has been merged with the Cistern). Enemies from the original level included: Gorillas, Rats, Lionesses, Crocodiles, Pierre, and two Centaurs.
  • Egypt - Lara tracks the last piece of the Scion to Egypt, hidden in the City of Khamoon. Levels include: Temple of Khamoon, Obelisk of Khamoon, and the Sanctuary of the Scion. Featured enemies include: Panthers, mummy mutants (which bear the resemblance of tall biped mummified panthers and can now throw fireballs), Crocodiles, and Larson. Atlantean mutants (which, as with the mummies, resemble biped panthers, without skin), winged mutants (which bear resemblance to mutant bats), and centaur mutants appear in the Sanctuary of the Scion level.
  • Lost Island - Lara follows Natla to the Great Pyramid of Atlantis to retrieve, then destroy the Scion. Levels include: Natla's Mines, the Great Pyramid and Final Conflict. Enemies from the original level included: Natla's henchmen, Atlantean mutants, winged mutants, centaur mutants, the Torso Beast, and the final appearance of Natla.
  • Croft Manor - The mansion from Legend returns, and has been made larger and now includes outdoors and other fun activities.

Gameplay elements

  • Legend's Zip and Alister did not return. There is no headset.
  • Lara no longer has Legend's PDA, PLS, or Binoculars, but the grapple has returned in the form of a non-magnetic hook grapple.
  • Dual Uzis (which are now called Dual Mini SMGs) and the shotgun made a return. The magnums, present in the original Tomb Raider, also returned in the form of .50 caliber pistols.
  • Enemies include Bats, Wolves, Rats, Bears, Black Panthers, Crocodiles, Raptors, Gorillas, Lions, the T-Rex, Cat Mummies, and the mutants and monsters from the Atlantis levels such as the Winged Mutant and the Torso Boss. They are significantly more difficult to defeat as they attack in groups.
  • The human enemies are Larson, Pierre Dupont, Jacqueline Natla, Kold and The Kid.
  • The Lara model has been upgraded with over 7,000 polygons and has inherited a few new moves, a pole-hopping move where Lara can balance on narrow surfaces. She can also "perch" or balance on small platforms and not lose her balance. Also Lara can run across walls while swinging from her hook grapple Also with the grapple she can go up on the walls.
  • Most of Lara's Legend animations have been revamped to make everything more realistic.
  • The levels are much smaller but more detailed than they were in the original, players can discover more than just one path for Lara to take - a critical improvement over the linear gameplay of Legend.
  • Players should expect a minimum of 15 hours of gameplay, significantly longer than Legend.
  • Interactive cutscenes made a return
  • The auto-grab function from Legend is optional.
  • A journal is accessible in game for hints.
  • Saving is done with a series of checkpoints, even though there is a save function, no matter where the player saves, loading or resuming the save always default the player to the last check point Lara reached prior to manual saving.

Extras

  • Finding secrets, called "Relics" in the game plays an important part in the game, The "Relics" are used to unlock new costumes, and the "Artifacts" unlock the other bonus features (like commentaries, music, comparison shots, etc.)
  • 10 costumes are unlockable, like in Legend. Outfits include the wetsuit costume from Tomb Raider II and Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness, which was shown during a press demonstration of Tomb Raider: Anniversary. Another confirmed unlockable costume is "Classic Lara", which is a version of the polygon Lara from the original game. Other costumes include a Tomb Raider Angel Of Darkness costume {renamed as camouflage}, the Legend costume, a remake of the Croft Manor Home Outfit, a Scorched Natla costume and a catsuit outfit as featured in Tomb Raider 3 & Tomb Raider Chronicles .
  • An unlockable director's commentary with Toby Gard and Jason Botta is present.
  • The soundtrack for the game is also unlockable gradually as each section is complete.
  • A note to the fans from one of the games producers is available from the beginning of the game.
  • A production level called the Style Units is unlockable which merges the 4 areas featured in the game.

(Pictures of the extra costumes are shown in the official PS2 player's guide by Prima.)

Differences from the original Tomb Raider

This is not a 1:1 remake of the original Tomb Raider. Crystal Dynamics has not only rebuilt the game from the ground up - improving on TR1's visuals - but they also added a good amount of new content; yet in the process, they removed a great deal of old locales from the original. Overall, the game is shorter and some of the puzzles have been simplified from the original 1996 version (although some have been improved). A sample of some of the changes, additions and removals from the game are:

  • Mountain Caves: A few rooms, such as the timed door room are removed; however, new to this version is controlling Lara in the opening sequence previously seen only in TR1's intro CG movie.
  • City of Vilcabamba: Some of the Caves and rooms at the start have been replaced by an actual village with thatched huts. It is now more linear and without some of the obstacles such as giant swinging blades and trap doors. The Bear Pool at the end of the original level has been replaced by some corridors and pits (the gold idol has also been removed).
  • Lost Valley: Lara starts at the base of the waterfall rather than the top. The biggest change is that the T-Rex is now a boss who must be defeated to progress; Lara can no longer avoid the T-Rex by hiding in caverns. The Lost Valley itself is now a linear loop back to the waterfall, as opposed to being an exploration area where Lara finds the cogs and backtracks to the waterfall in the original. The cogs themselves are now part of a huge, elaborate wooden mechanism in the main waterfall area. The shotgun is hidden in this version. The Caves from City of Vilcabamba seem to have been moved here.
  • Tomb of Qualopec: The spike pits are deleted, as is the red interior decor. The giant swinging blades missing from Vilcabamba make an appearance here instead. The battle with Larson is an 'event' battle rather than direct combat with guns. Most of the main four-way hallway's floor has crumbled away and now requires lining up tall columns and then jumping over them in order to access the tomb's other chambers.
  • St. Francis Folly: The layout of this level is quite close to the original. Gorillas and crocodiles do not appear, unlike the original. Opening the first few doors requires memorizing patterns and then matching them by shooting lights on a giant mural. Thor is renamed Hephaestus, and Damocles takes much more effort to escape from the room besides just dodging falling swords. Neptune is now Poseidon and features a new water puzzle to solve. Atlas is relatively similar.
  • The Coliseum: Probably the most drastically changed level in the game. The exterior is much smaller and finding a way into the building is more linear; no alligator pit to shimmy across, and the timed door puzzles have been removed. The coliseum is now round instead of rectangular. Also gone are the three corner rooms with their own individual puzzles, and the spiked pits are gone as well. Overall, the level is merely a fraction of TR1's Coliseum size, and it can be completed rather quickly.
  • Midas Palace: Besides the 3 puzzled rooms to receive the lead bars, the rest of the elements from the original have been combined in the main room. Removed is the Five Switches mechanism that opened various doors based on a symbol pattern. Midas is now in the middle of the palace instead of secluded in a hidden room, and Lara no longer traverses the upper perimeter on rooftops and columns to find one of the lead bars; the Aqueduct area is now a simple shallow area on top of the main room. The new Fire Room is more intricate and spectacular than just jumping across flame pillars. Overall, the layout of this level is much simpler now, although the far more intricate puzzles balance things somewhat.
  • Tomb of Tihocan: The 'Cistern' level has been merged with Tomb of Tihocan; however, the only aspect of TR1's Tomb of Tihocan that remains is the actual tomb area protected by Pierre and the Centaurs, and the fast water current. There are no rusty keys to find and no long narrow passageways to explore underwater. The main play area is one large room, and the levers to raise and lower the water level are out in the open, as opposed to being in a side room. The final passage takes Lara right to the tomb, bypassing the entire area that was the former Tomb of Tihocan level in TR1. The Centaurs in the tomb are also a boss requiring special tactics, are much bigger than the originals, and they have the ability to turn Lara into stone.
  • Temple of Khamoon: The first encounter with the mummified beasts features a cinematic sequence not seen before. The main gate area now has two Sphinx statues instead of one.
  • Obelisk of Khamoon: In TR1, this level begins with a room of moveable blocks that reveal more hidden rooms behind them. In TRA this sequence was moved to the end of the Temple of Khamoon as the final door-opening puzzle. This level has far more traps than were in the original.
  • Sanctuary of the Scion: The Sphinx is much smaller in this level than the original. There are a pair of new puzzles that involve raising obelisks immersed in water to reflect light. The statues under the Sphinx and related puzzles are far more elaborate. Larson is not a boss fight, appearing only in the cinematic sequence at the end.
  • Natla's Mines: Boulders do not appear in this level, unlike in the original where they formed a vital part. Also, Lara's battles with Natla's henchmen (Larson, Kold and Kid) are done via 'event' sequences rather than direct combat. The Cowboy is not in this level, replaced by Larson instead. Also, the TNT room and the area where Lara fought kid in the original are gone.
  • The Great Pyramid: This is the former 'Atlantis' level, but again much shorter than TR1's Atlantis level. Most of the rooms and puzzles are gone and replaced with timed switches for scaling walls and climbing with Lara's grappling hook. In TR1, this level was a collection of more than a dozen room-to-room puzzles with boulders, moveable blocks, switches, spiked pits and swimming. The shaft climb is done only once. The only puzzles that remain are the egg room, the encounter with Lara's Doppelganger and the final bridge room.
  • Final Conflict: There are no rolling boulders and spiked pits like there were in the original. The route taken is different - the original level had Lara return to the room with the Scion to destroy it. The water puzzle with the gates from the former Atlantis level makes an appearance here. The columns with fire have been removed. The game ends after Lara's battle with Natla. There is no final escape from the room; it happens via cinematic sequence.

Other changes from TR1:

  • Lara names Larson, indicating they met before, whereas in the original this is not indicated. This change may be due to the events in the first section of Tomb Raider Chronicles.
  • Lara cannot hold her breath as long, and the water sequences are far shorter.
  • The "Walk" button still allows Lara to fall off cliffs. In TR1, Lara could not fall off a ledge even if the player tried to force it while the walk button was held down.
  • Lara's vertical jump is much shorter than it was in the first five Tomb Raider games.
  • Weapons now have a maximum ammunition capacity associated with them, preventing Lara from picking up any additional ammunition once this capacity is met.
  • In TR1, the Atlantean enemies all appeared to be similar, with the same features from the torso upwards. This is changed in Tomb Raider Anniversary - the Atlantean Soldiers appear like skinned biped panthers; the winged Atlanteans appear to be mutated bat-like creatures; the Centaurs' appearance has also changed drastically, and now they charge at Lara and in the Tomb of Tihocan attempt to turn her into stone.
  • The physical size of certain enemies has been scaled down - the rats are much smaller than they were in the original, as are the crawling Atlanteans and mummies. However, the centaurs in the Tomb of Tihocan level are bigger than the other centaurs, and slightly larger than the original centaurs.
  • Qualopec is referred as to being Natla's brother by Tihocan during a cutscene.

Version specific features

Xbox 360 episodic content

On 18 June 2007, Eidos announced an Xbox 360 version of Tomb Raider: Anniversary. The game is split up into four episodes on Xbox Live. The Croft Manor level is available as a free download for each set of episodes. Purchasing all four episodes originally cost 2400 Microsoft Points ($29.99 USD), however this has now been lowered to 1600 Microsoft Points and requires a Tomb Raider: Legend disc. It was the first time a full retail game was made available on the Xbox Live Marketplace. The disc version of the game was released on 26 October 2007.

Wii features

When the game was released for the Wii, various features were added to take advantage of the Wii's unique pointer capabilities. Simple switches from the other versions have been expanded into puzzle minigames. In one type of puzzle, Lara now has to find a cog and place it, along with smaller gears already in the mechanism, in the proper position to make a working switch. Another type of puzzle involves making a charcoal rubbing of 3 images then turning a stone mechanism until it matches the rubbing. New rewards and clues for the new puzzles have been added that require the player, as Lara, to dig for them using the Wii remote as an archaeological tool such as a shovel or pickaxe. Other new features include a flashlight (along with darkened corridors in which to use it) and a new room in the mansion that holds items found during the course of the game like keys, rubbings, and weapons. The room also contains hunting trophies from animals that Lara has killed (including dinosaurs and Atlantean creatures).

Cast

Actor/Actress Character name
Keeley Hawes Lara Croft
Alan Shearman Winston Smith
Grey DeLisle Jacqueline Natla
Dave Wittenberg Larson
Jim Ward Pierre Dupont
Dave Fennoy Kold
Alastair Duncan Qualopec
Steve Blum Tihocan
David Beron Guide
Philip Tanzini Kid
Edward Hardwicke Sir Richard Croft

Trailers, gameplay videos and demo

As of present, nine official trailers and four developer diaries have been released. The first (21 December 2006) revealed an FMV sequence, in which Lara slid into The Lost Valley, battled several raptors and suddenly turned at the sound of the T-rex approaching. What followed was then several seconds of gameplay footage from that famous level, including combat against bears, wolves and bats.

The second trailer (23 February 2007), showed one of the opening cutscenes (Lara's guide being attacked by the wolves) and gameplay footage from Egypt. A new move, in which Lara ran across a wall whilst gripping onto the grapple, was shown during the video. It also showed some mummies attacking Lara. Some of the moves they included was a fireball throw, unlike their original counterparts, which didn't use fireballs (however, the unmummified versions did), and another part of the trailer showed the mummy standing up to look around, another move inherited from the original counterparts. The trailer revealed also that the game was planned for a May release though a 38-second trailer released on 14 April 2007 indicated a June 2007 release .

Several more trailers came out such as the Folly, the Coliseum, and a new one that shows the first footage of Atlantis including shots of mutants and the giant mutant. Gametrailers and Gamespot released gameplay videos mostly from the Peru section of the game.

A demo of the "Lost Valley" segment from the Peru levels was released on 25 May 2007.

Reception

Publication PS2 Score PSP Score Wii Score Xbox 360 Score PC Score
IGN
7.8 of 10
7.8 of 10
7.0 of 10
7.6 of 10
8.0 of 10
Gamespot
8.0 of 10
7.5 of 10
7.0 of 10
7.5 of 10
8.0 of 10
Game Trailers
8.5 of 10
8.5 of 10
8.5 of 10
8.5 of 10
8.5 of 10
1UP.com
8.7 of 10
7.8 of 10
8.0 of 10
Official Nintendo Magazine
90%

Core Design: Tomb Raider 10th Anniversary Edition

A video game trailer showing footage of a new Tomb Raider game was distributed on the Internet on 8 June 2006. The titles and logos of the trailer claimed that the title was Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary Edition, a PSP game by Core Design. The trailer featured Lara Croft in familiar yet remodeled environments from the original Tomb Raider, complete with new animations, and interactions which were much more elaborate than what was in the original release of the game. The footage from the trailer was running on the PSP hardware, using the Free Running engine, though it would most likely have made its way to the PS2 platform and PC. Video game discussion forums had been speculating about the veracity of the trailer, because it featured a recognizable film score (Duel of the Fates from Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace) that caused some viewers to question whether it was a real project. Core has since admitted the trailer was from a cancelled project.The video is now difficult to find across the Internet, since it infringes copyright and was not supposed to be revealed to the public.

The next week, Eidos Interactive announced that it would be making Tomb Raider: 10th Anniversary Edition for PS2, PSP, and Windows. It would be designed by Crystal Dynamics, an American game development company that replaced Core and went on to create the seventh entry in the series, Tomb Raider: Legend. In addition, Buzz Monkey Software would provide the development effort.

Rather than a 're-imagining,' as Crystal considered their version of the remake, Core felt that their anniversary edition was instead a faithful remake of the original, but with several additions, and overall a game that was better than the original in every aspect. When creating the Free Running engine, the team played with a Lara model and suddenly developed the idea of creating a remake of their 1996 classic. They suggested the idea to Eidos, who agreed and allowed them to continue. Early on, Core decided that the game would have to be graphically similar to Tomb Raider Legend, so they gave the Lara model facial similarities. New to the game was the idea of pole swinging, absent in the original. It also had the concept of 'ledge-hopping,' as was seen in Legend. Coincidentally, Core introduced crosshair targeting, which they later discovered was also being used in Legend. Core were also including a brand new extended final level, where Lara would battle a Huge Atlantean War Machine as Atlantis crumbled into ruins. As special features, a documentary, concept art, FMVs and character models from the original game would have been included. Nathan McCree would have developed a new score, and Core had originally planned on using Jonell Elliot to voice Lara, though they never reached the recording stage.

Music

Music info table
Data Info
General mood Relaxation ,
Gaelic
Main composer Troels Brun Folmann
Main theme 3 minutes and 37 seconds
In-game score 34 tracks/56 minutes
Average track length 1 minute and 38 seconds
Ambient tracks 4

The score for Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Anniversary is composed by Troels Brun Folmann. It took 5 months for Troels to compose, and is in the style of electronic orchestra. The majority of the album contains his original scores and themes. However, recognizable themes from the first game (composed by Nathan McCree) such as "Time to Run," "Puzzle Theme," and "Puzzle Theme II" have been recreated.

The main theme for Anniversary can be described as a celebratory version of the original theme from TR1, as similar chord and instruments are used in the piece. The song starts off with a heavy crescendo of woodwinds and low strings playing the famous Tomb Raider melody, and then breaks off into an almost playful arc, featuring parts of the original harp composition from the TR1 theme. Pizzicato strings, cascading pianos and celeste, chimes, and glass instrumentation are prominent throughout this version, implying the fresh and modern twist that Folmann and Crystal Dynamics have placed in Anniversary.

Folmann's work for Anniversary is different from that of Legend, as it has no underlying techno beats or electronic effects. Anniversary's score resembles that of a combination between the original Tomb Raider and a typical movie score: entirely orchestral and choral. Folmann uses more complex instrumentation and composition in his scoring, acquiring more woodwinds, instrument articulation, and ambience. Folmann leaves somewhat of a trademark in his Anniversary music by adding a significant amount of chimes throughout the score.

References

External links

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