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.
Tomb Raider Chronicles opens just days after the events of The Last Revelation. Lara is still missing and presumed dead. A memorial service at Croft Manor brings together three old friends of Lara: Winston, Charles Kane and Father Bram Patrick Dunstan. While the rain outside is pouring, the three reminisce about Lara's earlier adventures: The hunt for the Philosopher's Stone in Rome, a deep sea dive off the coast of Russia in search of the Spear of Destiny, a brush with Hell spawn in old Ireland, and a foray into a high-tech office complex to retrieve the Iris artifact. Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away Werner Von Croy coordinates the frantic dig searching for answers buried deep beneath the Egyptian desert.
At a memorial service at the Croft Manor involving Winston, Charles Kane and Father Patrick Dunstan while Werner Von Croy investigates the tomb in Egypt where she was believed to have died. At the memorial service the story of one her earliest pursuits, the Philosopher's Stone is retold.
While at a opera in 1989 Larson and Pierre Dupont prepare to exchange the Mercury Stone for some cash but take both from her. She gains the stone back and navigates the streets of Rome whereupon she gets the Saturn Symbol in the Temple of Saturn and happens upon a large serpent gate and finds that she must enter three more god symbols. Larson then tries to assassinate her from the rooftops but is stopped by Pierre who explains that is better to let Lara open the gate for them. Lara makes her way back to the gate after exploring the streets, and encounters both men who steal the Saturn Symbol prematurely. Larson is then set in fire by a serpent. Apparently the gate realigns itself and if it does not get the next two stones soon it will explode. In the Trajan Markets, Lara activates a centuries old device to secure both the Venus and Mars Symbol, guarded by an animated bronze soldier statue and floating soldier head that fires lasers. Placing them in their respective receptacles at the Philosopher's Gate before a fight with Larson. She is then forced to attack the serpent guardians of the gate to enter The Colosseum. She finds herself hanging on a ledge, over a pit. Lara is confronted by Pierre who agrees to save her in exchange for the Gem Stone that act as keys to the prize, but she turns the tide and causes him to fall to his apparent death. Fighting off gladiators and lions, she procures the Philosopher's Stone in a golden cave and exits the landmark after defeating a reanimated Roman Statue.
The memorial then shifts to Kane telling the tale of her exploits in the Russian Submarine in the Barents Sea which had just gotten hold of the Spear of Destiny from a sunken German U Boat from the Second World War. Kane guides Lara to a Zapadnaya Litsa port in 1995 which she infiltrates and When the alarm in the base goes off she makes her way to the harbor she overhears Admiral Igor Yarofev and Russian mafia boss Sergei Mikhailov discussing their venture to the bottom of the sea to salvage the sunken U Boat. She stows into the submarine and is confronted by Yarofev who is actually unaware of the existence of the Spear and escapes through the air vents and takes a short trip outside into a series of underwater caves. She finds the artifact in a small wooden box but her Extreme Depth Suit is punctured when the mechanical digger blows up part of the cave. Upon returning to the submarine she is confronted by Mikailov who takes the spear from her and soon falls victim to its power which not only kills him but also breaches the hull. Lara encounters Yarofev who injured refuses to leave as he gives her a key to a storeroom with oxygen tanks for one person to use in the escape pods. On his deathbed he asks her to: "Tell my story. Tell how the proud men of the Russian navy fought against the enemy from inside and sacrificed their lives so their dear country might once again stand proud.". The submarine sinks as Lara then escapes in the pod leaving the Spear behind realizing that its power was too powerful for anyone to hold or wield.
Father Dunstan tells the story of when a 16 year old Lara in 1982 was staying at Winston's Cottage in Ireland while the Croft Manor was being repaired. Father Patrick arrives and details his plans to investigate and possibly exorcise the ghostly apparitions on the Black Isle. Lara stows away onto the island. Lara encounters a Hanged Demon on the Gallows Tree who states that his heart has been stolen and is currently somewhere in the root system of the tree guarded by a dragon named Níðhöggr. "My soul is gone, and how it fares, nobody knows, and nobody cares!" He promises to give her a favor in the afterlife in return for getting his heart before disappearing. Navigating a series of abandoned cottages and tombstones she meets Father Patrick exorcising a demon with iron and tells her the element can banish similar creatures thus protecting her from death. She finds and releases the heart from the roots of the tree and uses it to enter the chapel. Inside the village chapel Lara encounters death and follows it through the labyrinth until she meets back with Dunstan after collecting the Bestiary, book which contains the names of demons and how to control them. At the Old Mill she encounters Vladimir Kaleta inhabited by Verdilet, a 700 year old demon who "worshiped the first Kremlin" and was promised eternal life by "a pox ridden abbot by way of an ancient scroll” who trapped him in a barn surrounded by running water which demons cant pass. Verdilet is holding Father Dunstan hostage and agrees to spare his life once freed. Lara who attempted to ward him off with an Arcane spell then decides to dam the river, freeing him trapping a vicious Sea Hag on the way which is then eaten by Imps. He agrees to let Dunstan go but decides to kill Lara who using the bestiary, manages to speak his name and gain control of him. With his newfound freedom gone he is ordered to return to the mill for all time. The two then leave the island with the demonic presence taken care of.
Back in the present day the three of them move to the trophy room to view the Iris from Angkor Wat, Cambodia which was the root of the animosity between Lara and Von Croy. It then shifts to 1999 with Lara at the Von Croy Industries HQ in New York where she uses a Hang Glider to get to the roof. Lara infiltrates the building, with the assistants of Zip from her earpiece, and gains possession of the Iris. having to leave her weapons behind she must escape using only her stealth skills and chloroform. Von Croy soon learns of her presence and sends his guards and also cyborg assassins to deal with her, but she escapes.
At the end the trio make a toast to Lara while Von Croy finally manages to reach the temple containing the entrance to the tomb of Set and finds no trace of Lara except her signature backpack.
The gameplay of Tomb Raider Chronicles is closely tied to that of The Last Revelation. In terms of movement, the only 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 drop from a ledge forwards while crouching. Several weapons from the previous game have disappeared but the HK Gun submachine gun from Tomb Raider III and the revolver from The Last Revelation have returned. A new tool takes the form of the Grappling Gun, which 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 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. It contains storyboards, concept art and also drawings and early drawings and 3d images from the next game Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness.
- Lara Croft - The world's most famous archaeologist whose whereabouts are unknown.
- Winston - Lara Croft's butler who takes part in the memorial service.
- Father Bram Patrick Dunstan - The Croft family's priest who recalls the Ireland chapter.
- Charles Kane - Lara's former History teacher who recalls the Russia chapter.
- Werner Von Croy - Now free from Set's power, Von Croy sets up a digging team to find Lara.
- Henshingly Croft - Lara's father who attends the memorial service at Lara's statue.
- Lady Croft - Lara's mother who attends the memorial service at Lara's statue.
- Larson - Working with Pierre Dupont, Larson attempts to get the Philosopher's Stone before Lara.
- Pierre Dupont - Working with Larson, Pierre attempts to get the Philosopher's Stone before Lara.
- Sergei Mikhailov - Leader of the Russian mafioso who bribe the navy to try and get the Spear of Destiny.
- Admiral Yarofev - An admiral in the Russian navy who despises Sergei and his mafioso.
- Kruschev - A workman working for Admiral Yarofev.
- Leonid - A naval officer working for Admiral Yarofev.
- Vladimir Kaleta - A demon in Ireland now called 'Verdilet' who kidnaps Father Patrick.
- Father Finnegan - Father Finnegan takes Father Patrick to the Black Isle in his boat.
- Zip - An expert in hacking who helps Lara break into Von Croy Industries.
New York City
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.
Although praised for improved graphics over previous Tomb Raider games, Chronicles was criticized for mediocre sound, bad voice acting, and lack of originality. Ron Dulin of GameSpot said that players would "feel like [they are] playing a game from five years ago."
Although IGN staff did not notice any software bugs, GameSpot encountered crashes, clipped graphics, and cut scenes that would not play. In the last stage, "Red Alert", loading certain save points may cause key items to disappear. Sometimes specific events will not be triggered. The game even felt as old as the original Tomb Raider engine, and its "grid system" of level design seemed to be showing its age.
Some puzzles were criticized, although were noted as trying to have a more modern approach than the typical Tomb Raider puzzles, including elements such as pushing blocks. Some were extremely hard due to a lack of clarity of how Lara can interact with the environment; Lara could perform new moves, but players were not told how to perform them. Items were more hidden than in previous games and would blend in with the environment. In the level "Old Mill", there is a coin that has to be picked up in spot with a yellow background; it blends in almost completely and the player cannot progress until it is picked up. If the player goes forward a short distance away from the coin, a cutscene occurs and Lara is spawned in a different location.
- Tomb Raider: Chronicles Press Kit
- Peterson, Erik (December 5, 2000). Tomb Raider: Chronicles. IGN. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
- Dulin, Ron (November 29, 2000). Tomb Raider: Chronicles Review. GameSpot. Retrieved on 2008-12-11.
- Gaming Target. Tomb Raider: The History of the Search For Ancient History. Game Profile. Gaming Target. Retrieved on 2008-07-10.