Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is the sixth game in the Tomb Raider series, and is the sequel to Tomb Raider: Chronicles. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. The game was originally released in 2003 for PlayStation 2 and PC. The story line follows Lara Croft as she is hunted across Europe, accused of murdering her former mentor, Werner Von Croy.
"Central National Bureau. Paris
Commissioner Mirepoix, Special Crimes Investigation Force.
To the Préfecture de Police.
REPORT ON RECENT SERIAL ATROCITIES WITHIN THE CAPITAL.
As yet no significant arrests have been made for this latest spate of 'Monstrum' killings in the capital. Seventeen have been reported so far. A woman was seen leaving the apartment of the latest victim, Professor Werner Von Croy. Described as Caucasian, brunette, about 1.8m and of slim build, she was wearing jeans, denim jacket and a pony tail. She is dangerous and probably armed. Officers are being advised to use extreme caution when apprehending the suspect.
The press have sensationalized this latest outbreak of killings as "The Monstrum's Dark Renaissance", referring to similar atrocities in the capital over the last decade, and possibly as far back as the 1950's. There are definite links to atrocities in other European cities going back at least fifty years.
Forensics have made no headway regarding the bizarre metallic eruptions found on the bodies of all victims. At present nothing appears to link any of the individuals involved. There have been significant numbers of casualties within Parisian gangland factions.
It would all appear to be the work of a single, highly psychotic perpetrator. The bodies were desecrated and all crime scenes daubed with unintelligible graffiti, indicating some ritualistic fixation. There are no known survivors of these attacks so far.
The suspect's apprehension should be made top priority..."
Following the events of The Last Revelation and Chronicles wherein Lara was presumed dead, the city of Paris in France is disturbed when a serial killer, dubbed by the press as "The Monstrum" unleashes terror into the city, killing several seemingly unconnected individuals in a brutal, ritualistic fashion, stealing body parts and leaving strange symbols made with their victim's blood in its wake.
An unspecified time later, Lara Croft arrives in Paris to visit her former mentor, Werner von Croy, at the latter's request. The visit, however, is not pleasant; Werner begs for her help, revealing that he was contracted by a mysterious client named Eckhardt to track medieval icons known as Obscura paintings, complaining that he is being stalked, and asks that she visit his friend Margot Carvier, a historian at the Louvre, but Lara admonishes Werner for abandoning her in Egypt at the conclusion of her last adventure which led to the imprisonment of the Egyptian God Set and gets up to leave. A flurry of activity occurs when an unknown force attacks them, resulting in Lara being knocked unconscious and Werner getting killed by an unidentified figure. When Lara awakes, she discovers Werner dead, his blood is smeared both on her hands and the walls of the apartment, forming strange symbols. Unsure of what has happened, and of her own guilt or innocence, Lara flees the apartment, and is pursued down the backstreets of Paris by French police. Eventually, Lara makes it to Carvier's apartment, and informs her of Werner's death. Carvier reveals to Lara more details of Werner's work and adds that he had been fearful doing the job. She gives Lara Werner's field journal and advises Lara to leave before the police arrive. Lara manages to take shelter in a derelict train carriage at a Parisian slum.
Von Croy's journal contains details of his last project; research on a work of art known as the Obscura painting, apparently located in a medieval chamber beneath the Louvre. The research apparently involves a man known as Louis Bouchard, and Lara resolves to find and question him on Von Croy's final days. Everybody on the streets appears to know Bouchard. One is a city guide a who offers Lara information of the death of people by the Monstrum and Bouchard formerly ran a club known as Le Serpent Rouge while a prostitute called Janice reveals information of Bouchard's two main club workers: chief club janitor Bernard and bartender Pierre. Janice also reveals of Carvier's murder by the Monstrum after Lara left her.
Lara speaks either to Pierre or Bernard and is given access to Bouchard's hideout if she returns a box to either of them. She does the job. Lara notices a mysterious stranger known as Kurtis sitting in the corner, who later takes off on his motorcycle.
Pierre/Bernard gives Lara the details on access to Bouchard's hideout, located in crypt beneath St Aicard's Church. While making her way through the tunnels, Lara finds a deformed, crazed man named Arnaud strapped down to a bed in a locked cell. She visits Bouchard in his office, demanding of his connection to Von Croy. The initially innocent-playing Bouchard lies that Von Croy asked for maps and information of the Louvre for to take "a busload Japanese tourists to see Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa" but admits on Lara's further demands that Werner asked for weaponry alongside details of an archeological dig beneath the Louvre. Lara asks for the same information and weapons, which Bouchard agrees to provide her if she delivers a set of Czech passports to his associate, pawnbroker Daniel Rennes. When arriving at the pawnbrokers, Lara is knocked aside by a gruff, tall man on his way out. Inside, she finds Rennes dead with his corpse surrounded by mysterious symbols written in blood. His safe, containing the weapons Von Croy had requested, is open, but while collecting them Lara trips an alarm and is forced to leap from the building as it self-destructs. Collapsing on a canal boat, Kurtis from Cafe Metro again appears, flicking a cigarette into the canal before exiting again on his motorcycle.
Now fully armed, Lara takes to the sewer tunnels beneath the Louvre, in an attempt to break in to the archeological dig while the museum is closed. Following the drains, Lara eventually blasts a hole in the wall of the Louvre's ancient foundations, and makes her way through the heavily guarded museum. To gain access to the archeological site, Lara uses Carvier's security pass and discovers more information Carvier had collected for Werner's final project.
The painting in question is apparently one of five mythological paintings, created by an ancient black alchemist known as Pieter Van Eckhardt, head of a mysterious Prague-based organization known as The Cabal whose ultimate goal was immortality and world domination, in the 14th century. The paintings, originally depicting evil imagery, create Sanglyph or blood sign when united. However, a Christian monk named Brother Obscura formed a society of warrior Christian monks, called the Lux Veritatis (Latin for Light of Truth) to halt the Cabal. The society imprisoned Eckardt in a deep pit near their headquarters, Castle Kriegler, located in present-day Germany, using three ancient weapons of light called the Periapt Shards, which are capable of destroying immortals when united. Brother Obscura then took possession of the five paintings that contained the pieces of the Sanglyph, and painted over the previous images of evil with new religious imagery, christening them as Obscura Paintings. Before the paintings were hidden in locations throughout Europe only known to the order, secret copies of each painting, called as the Obscura Engravings, were created, with each engraving containing an encoded map to the location of the original painting. In 1945, the bombing of Castle Kriegler prior to the end of the Second World War caused the shards to separate. Eckhardt escaped the pit, vowing revenge against the Lux Veritatis and revived the Cabal, basing it out of Prague. The new Cabal became devoted to hunting down any members of the Lux Veritatis. Eckhardt also managed to obtain the Periapt from the Lux Veritatis, hiding these shards in his old laboratory, deep underground beneath the Strahov, the headquarters of the Cabal. Eckhardt and the Cabal set out to reclaim the five Obscura Paintings, in order to acquire the Sanglyph. Lara also discovers information on a mythical creature known as the Nephilim, the so-called Angel of Darkness, thought to be a hybrid of humans and angels that once lived in ancient Turkey. The remains of one Nephilim, the Cubiculum Nephili or Sleeper, are believed to still exist. By the time Lara became involved in the plot, the Cabal had already attained three of the five paintings. Eckhardt then hired Werner Von Croy to find the last two; Von Croy managed to locate the fourth painting beneath the Louvre from the Obscura engravings, but never informed Eckhardt as he discovered Echardt's evil intentions. Von Croy then asked for Lara Croft to assist in finding the paintings.
With Carvier's security pass, Lara descends into the archeological dig beneath the Louvre. Beneath the former French palace, Lara discovers a series of magnificently decorated halls and chambers, defended by monstrous (and immortal) swordsman and demons. Lara is forced to scale the walls of the complex's largest hall, the Hall of Seasons, to find a small chamber, guarded by the ghost of Brother Obscura, in which the glowing painting sits. Dodging the angered spirit and removing the painting, the Hall of Seasons begins to flood, and Lara swims up through the hall to the surface beneath the Louvre. Upon her return to the museum, a team of mercenaries lays siege to the galleries, attempting to poison Lara using tear gas. Lara makes her way towards the gallery's exit, eliminating her enemies, until she runs into Kurtis once more. Surprising her from behind, he disarms her and takes possession of her hard-won painting, using a mysterious flying disc with retractable blades. However, in his own escape from the galleries, he is mysteriously knocked unconscious. Lara picks up one of his strange weapons, a glowing dagger, but before she can recover the painting, is herself knocked out. In her final moments of consciousness, she apparently sees one of the mercenaries morph into Bouchard's doorman.
Bouchard rescues Lara, the latter requesting to return to Von Croy's apartment. During the trip, Bouchard reveals of a new Monstrum murder victim, Czech art dealer and historian Mathias Vasiley, whom Von Croy exchanged information of the Obscura Engravings with before the latter's death. As Lara returns to the scene of Von Croy's murder, Bouchard makes a telephone call, telling a colleague to dispatch The Cleaner. While in Von Croy's apartment, Lara is able to recall more of the blurred events; Werner yelled at Lara to get out of the way, as the same man Lara saw leaving Rennes' pawnshop enters. The skirmish is between this man and Werner, and is he who murders Werner, not Lara. Lara must now find this man if she is to clear her own name. However, at this moment, The Cleaner arrives and showers the apartment with a storm of bullets, sending Lara flying for cover. He has also booby-trapped the building's corridors, but Lara is eventually able to deal with him, leaving him dead at the end of the apartment hall. His phone rings, and Lara answers. It is Bouchard, asking if the girl has been "taken care of". Lara does not give him the answer he was expecting. Lara then heads to Prague, CzechRepublic, where Werner's murderer now appears to be continuing his murder spree.
Arriving at the Vasiley crime scene, on a grand upper-class town square covered in snow, Lara meets a diminuative reporter, Thomas Luddick, who fills Lara in on his suspicion that the Cabal may be involved, and that Vasiley may have been murdered when he refused to provide the Cabal with one of the Obscura engravings. The Cabal apparently work out of a base in the Strahov complex, and Luddick promises to give her access to the organization's headquarters if she gives him the full story. First, though, Lara attempts to gain access to Vasiley's office, again by breaking through the basement. In the building's cellar, however, Lara finds Bouchard chained to the radiator. Questioning him on why he had tried to kill her, Bouchard reveals he worked for the Cabal, still headed by the apparently immortal Eckhart, which is seeking to reunite the five Obscura paintings to revive the Cubiciulum Nephili. The Paris painting was number four, and now the Cabal need only retrieve the final painting, locked somewhere beneath Prague in an impenetrable chamber known as the Vault of Trophies. Bouchard was instructed to help Lara obtain the Paris painting, then eliminate her once he had bring the painting to Eckhart. However, now that Lara is still alive, Bouchard is fearful for his life. He believes Eckhart is the monstrum, the man Lara saw murder von Croy, and Bouchard will be his next victim. Lara instructs him to remain there, while she further investigates Vasiley's office. The grand, Jugendstil main hall of Vasiley's library has a mysterious, clock-like pattern on its floor, which Lara discovers is a trapdoor to a secret, underground study. There, Lara finds the Obscura engraving. Returning to Bouchard, Lara discovers the Monstrum has murdered him, locking his dead body in a cupboard.
Back out on the square, Lara returns to Luddick and asks for his help getting in to the Strahov. In order to penetrate deeper into the Cabal's fortress, Lara shuts down the power-grid, unknowingly releasing a bloodthirsty monster held deep within the complex. Inside the Strahov, Lara discovers a greenhouse populated by strange and deadly plants and bugs, and meets Grant Muller, a Cabal member who mocks Lara and mentions the existence of a Proto-Nephilim, a failed attempt by fellow Cabal member Boaz to recreate the Nephilim without the Sanglyph. Muller disappears before Lara can uncover more, leaving her to continue her journey deeper into the Strahov complex. On her way, Lara spies Eckhart murdering Luddick, and a confrontation between Boaz and Eckhart, in which Boaz admits she did not destroy the Proto as she had claimed because a Periapt shard is needed which Eckhardt rebuffs, and it is now on the loose. An enraged Eckhardt feeds her to one of Muller's mutant bugs.
Lara's journey is cut short when Kurtis again appears, locking Lara in a hydraulic chamber, where he says she will be safe and out of trouble while he attempts to track down Eckhart and regain the painting he took from Lara. Lara reminds him that she still possesses his dagger, which he calls a Periapt Shard, but he claims he will deal with that later. He now heads off further into the Strahov, leaving a frustrated Lara to cool off. This young man appears to possess superhuman abilities, including the ability of sight beyond sight. He travels through a sanitarium that forms part of the Strahov, filled with crazed and deformed men now freed from their cells by the power outage. One of the few coherent men in the building reveals he was employed by Boaz as a truck driver, transporting something from Turkey, but upon his return to Prague, in lieu of payment, he was locked up in the Sanitarium by Boaz, like the others, to serve as food for the Proto. Reaching the center of the Strahov, the maximum containment area, the stranger comes face to face with the Proto-Nephilum, the monster Lara inadvertently freed. Using another of his Periapt Shards, he kills the Proto and restores part of the power grid, returning to Lara. She attempts what appears to be an ambush on him, but turns out to be directed towards one of Muller's mutants that was trailing him. The duo introduce themselves and reveal of their past; Kurtis is the sole surviving Lux Veritatis member on a quest for vengeful justice to kill Eckhardt, who murdered his father. He reveals to Lara about Eckardt's plans to use the paining to revive the Sleeper and rebreed the Nephilim race which he says is the reason for murdering innocent people. Lara agrees to work with him to stop Eckhardt from killing more people and reviving the Nephilim, but to this end they need the third and final Periapt Shard, hidden by Eckhart in his lab beneath the Strahov, which together can kill any immortal being, and the final painting from the Vault of Trophies, which must be destroyed.
Lara agrees to retrieve the final painting, and Kurtis informs her the Vault of Trophies is located underwater beneath the Strahov. Lara must swim through the Strahov's Aquatic Research Facility and through several booby-trapped corridors before she arrives at the sunken Vault of Trophies, a grand hall featuring giant statues of King Arthur's knights of the round table. Bringing together the Knights Limoux and Vasiley causes the roof to collapse, revealing a secret medieval library guarded by undead knights. Here sits the final painting, which Lara removes and returns to the surface of the Strahov. Once there, she discovers Eckhart has captured Kurtis, forcing Lara to give up the painting for his release. With the painting in his possession, Eckhart releases the now highly mutated Boaz on Kurtis and Lara. But Eckhart says that Muller has failed him and feeds him to Boaz. Kurtis vaults Lara to safety, and gives her his two Periapt Shards, telling her he will deal with Boaz, and she must recover the final shard to stop Eckhardt. Kurtis defeats Boaz in her giant, spider-like state, only to find this state was a cocoon for her rebirth as a praying mantis like creature with wings and sharp pincers. Just as he thinks he has defeated Boaz once more, she uses her last breath of life to stab him through his torso; he uses his flying blade to behead Boaz, but appears to collapse, dying, on the floor.
Lara, meanwhile, moves through the Strahov's underground tunnels to Eckhart's lab, where he uncovers the well-hidden final Periapt Shade. In a large chamber behind Eckhart's lab, she discovers Eckhart in the process of reviving the Nephilim, having joined the paintings together to form the Sanglyph, a gilded disk. In her final showdown with Eckhart, Lara stabs him with two of the shards, and makes her move to drive the final one into his head when she is stopped by Karel, the up-until-now silent member of the Cabal who stood at Eckhart's side. Surprisingly, Karel drives the shard into Eckhardt himself, ending Eckhart's immortal life. Turning to Lara, Karel reveals himself to be the last of the nephilim, having used Eckhart and Lara himself to revive the Sleeper and save his species from extinction. He says Eckhardt actually worked for him and shows himself to be a shape-shifter, having become Luddick, Bouchard and even Kurtis himself to aid Lara's quest. Lara's memory of Von Croy's death now appears completely restored, it was Karel, appearing as Eckhardt, who had murdered Von Croy, sparing Lara because Von Croy had promised she would be able to retrieve the lost paintings. Although Karel promises Lara eternal life as a reward for her help, she is unable to overlook his casual attitude towards human life, particularly that of her former mentor. Though Karel attempts to stop her, Lara takes the sanglyph and places it directly on the foot of the Sleeper, causing it to overload with the new blood the Sanglyph provides, and explodes, destroying it and killing Karel.
Physically spent, Lara collapses on the ground of Eckhart's chamber, only to discover Kurtis' mysterious flying weapon lying nearby. She picks it up, and it quivers, its blades springing out and pulling her towards the chambers' exit. Lara smiles and makes her way out.
Much like the Tomb Raider games before it, The Angel of Darkness is a 3rd-person, action-adventure-puzzle game that stars Lara Croft. The player controls Lara as she explores twenty-nine levels, maneuvering carefully across traps and solving puzzles to progress. Lara's new moves include a back-flip, a small hop, stealth, army-crawling, rolling out of the crouch position, hand-to-hand combat and the super-jump that can be performed whilst sprinting. Unlike other Tomb Raider games, it is sometimes necessary for Lara to acquire a strength upgrade in order to clear certain jumps. An RPG element was added to the series, with the player choosing what Lara says in conversation, such as polite questions, bribery, or threats. Although this does not affect the main story line, it does alter the route taken to ultimately reach Lara's goal. For example, she enters the club 'Le Serpent Rouge' differently depending who she talks to, and may be shot by Bouchard by saying the wrong thing. This is, however, only really the case at the start of the game (Parisian Ghetto); after that, choosing what you say only affects the replies you get while speaking with another character.
Reception and Legacy
After a long delay, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was the most highly anticipated game of the Summer. With improved graphics and a new look for Lara, coupled with an evolving storyline, Angel of Darkness was planned to be the most ambitious Tomb Raider yet. However, upon release it proved to be the worst-received game in the series. It was heavily criticised for having numerous bugs, its controls, and a poor gaming structure.
The failure of Angel of Darkness was blamed on Eidos Interactive rushing the game out to coincide with the release of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life, despite numerous delays prior to its release. This was revealed in an interview with former Core Design developers in August 2006 in an interview with Edge Magazine. As a result, large sections of the game (particularly in Paris) were drastically cut down in scale or removed entirely in order to meet the final deadline, and play testing - of the control system in particular - was truncated.
This caused the game to have difficult-to-overlook plot inconsistencies (or leaps) and frequent continuity errors. While it was not the first (or last) game in the series to suffer such abridgments, the final results was especially jarring and confusing due to the new focus on storytelling. For example, in the final encounter between Lara and Karel, they appear to recognize each other, despite the two never meeting prior to that moment, with no pre-existing relationship being established beforehand.
Other criticisms held against the game included the lack of traditional tombs, as the majority of action takes place in large urban environments (such as a nightclub), as well as abandoning Lara's trademark akimbo pistols (although her dual pistols were among the cut features that never made it into the game, they can be used with cheats).
The reception of the game, coupled with the exhaustion of the developers at Core Design, caused Eidos Interactive to replace the studio in favor of Legacy of Kain developer Crystal Dynamics. As such, this would be the final Tomb Raider game to be developed by Core Design. Crystal Dynamics rebooted the series with Tomb Raider: Legend, discontinuing the Angel of Darkness storyline. Core Design had planned for Angel of Darkness to be the first of a trilogy of games, with a spin-off series centred around Kurtis Trent also in early development.
In the years that followed, Angel of Darkness received retrospective praise for its unique story by Murti Schofield. Its original soundtrack performed by the London Symphony Orchestra also received praise, with composer Peter Connelly remaking and releasing its music as part of Tomb Raider: The Dark Angel Symphony in 2019, alongside music from The Last Revelation and Chronicles. The project was officially licensed by Square Enix until 2021. There have been numerous fan projects in tribute of Angel of Darkness over the years, including a fan remake entitled Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness 1.5 which was created by Julian Guba.
Top Cow Comics
Issues 32-34 of Top Cow Tomb Raider series retold the story of Angel of Darkness. However there were several differences.
More to be added.
- Angel of Darkness is the final game in the original series, where it was rebooted when Tomb Raider: Legend was released.
- When Angel of Darkness was released, it was planned as a trilogy. Core Design were developing the sequel to Angel of Darkness at the time, which would take place following the events of the previous game. However, Angel of Darkness was a critical and commercial failure, causing for the game to be cancelled. They would later go on to attempt to develop a remake of the original Tomb Raider, but that was cancelled in favour of the Crystal Dynamics headed Tomb Raider: Anniversary.
- The Crystal Dynamics version changed several story elements to fall in line with other aspects of the Legend Timeline.
- Despite being a PlayStation 2 release, the game did not appear in Tomb Raider HD Collection for PlayStation 3.
- Whilst other games in the series are classified as action-adventure games, Angel of Darkness combined survival horror and RPG elements.
- This was the first Tomb Raider game to feature a Lara Croft model with over 5,000 polygons rather than 500 in the previous games.
- Whilst the game takes place in Paris and Prague, unused data was found for levels that took place in Germany and Turkey.
- Jean-Yves, who appeared in The Last Revelation and the beta version of Tomb Raider: Chronicles was set to appear in Angel of Darkness. He was to be killed in France at the start of the game, before it was decided that Von Croy would be killed off instead. This was due to legal issues with real life French archeologist Jean-Yves Empereur.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PlayStation 2. IGN (2004-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PlayStation 2 - GameSpy. Ps2.gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
- トゥームレイダー 美しき逃亡者 みんなのクロスレビュー、最新情報 / ファミ通.com. Famitsu.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PC - GameSpy. Pc.gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
- Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PC. IGN (2004-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
- Aspyr releases The Angel of Darkness. Aspyr Media (2003-12-18). Retrieved on 2012-12-05.