Tomb Raider III: The Lost Artefact (North American title: Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact) is a mini-sequel to Tomb Raider III: Adventures of Lara Croft, sometimes unofficially called Tomb Raider III Gold. It was released exclusively for PC and MacOS in 2000. Unlike the expansion packs for the first two games, this was initially sold as a standalone product rather than as part of a re-release and was not available for free download for existing owners.
In The Lost Artefact, Lara learns of the existence of a fifth meteorite artifact called the Hand of Rathmore. She begins her investigations at the castle of Dr. Willard in the Scottish highlands, progresses to exploring the Channel Tunnel in Dover and then ultimately ends up in the catacombs of Paris, where she is confronted by Sophia Leigh.
"Only minutes have passed since the hideous creature that Dr. Willard had become gasped the last breath of its violently short life cycle. The Experiment had failed, the gleam of immortality returned to the stars from which it came.
Lara looks on silently, oblivious to the press of the bitter Antarctic wind. Suddenly a ragged figure emerges from the dark, gaping hole of the meteor cavern - it is Willard, a human reborn, but in the throes of death. A hand gestures wildly, a final guttural laugh tears through the silence, the figure slumps forward and is still.
With snow already forming a ghastly shroud over the body, Lara quickly tears an object from the dead man's grasp. A wallet, its monogrammed 'W' now standing sadly against Willard's last earthly remains. Inside, the usual collection of tattered mementos, a hodge-podge of foreign currency and... but this cannot be! A familiar expression glides across Lara's face - an eyebrow raised by a wry and knowing smile. Before her, a telegram urging an immediate return to take possession of another artifact now secure beneath the Scottish mists at Willard's Loch Ness Estate.
'The Adventures continues,' says Lara, to nothing but Willard's dark laughter still ringing in her ears.
"So there is a fifth..." - Lost Artifact Manual
Set immediately after the evens of Tomb Raider 3, Lara discovers the existence of a fifth artefact, held at Doctor Willard's Loch Ness estate. Using the now departed Doctor's wallet as a guide, she learns that another person is after the artifact, but the name has been obscured so she is unsure of who it is. Lara heads to Scotland in order to procure the Fifth Meteorite Artifact.
"It has been said: "Dead men tell no tales." Fortunately for Lara, Willard's wallet was screaming at her. Why would a dying man hold out his wallet to someone who just put an end to his life? Was Willard trying to tell Lara something? A warning, perhaps? "Hmmm...what have we here?" Lara wondered, picking up a monogrammed leather wallet no doubt made from the hide of some poor, endangered species. Some foreign currency; a few English Pounds, Dutch Gliders, even Japanese Yen. A map of England, and what seems like a photo of Willard's estate. "Well, well," mused Lara, "it looks like I have a fan. He has a newspaper clipping of me. I didn't low he was so... attached." A yellow piece of paper catches her eye. It's a telegram to Willard from one of his henchmen. "Fifth Artifact found stop. Delivery confirmed to your Loch Ness Estate stop." There's more in the message, but the rest is unreadable except to mention that someone else knows about the Fifth Artifact. "So it's back to the UK for me. Where's that helicopter of mine?" - Lost Artefact Manual
Arriving back in the UK, Lara uses her personal helicopter to travel to Scotland and infiltrates Willard's Loch Ness estate. As she explores Willard's estate, she is confronted by numerous guards, guard dogs and even the Loch Ness monster itself. Lara is able to locate two Thistle Stones that unlock the heart of Willard's estate.
"Willard must have been holding something pretty special to have all those guards around," thought Lara. "They must not know about the failure of his experiment - but the telegram said that the Fifth Artifact was here. It's obviously not in the main part of the castle - perhaps the Loch's natural seclusion hides a deeper, darker secret... A dungeon - perfect for subversive activities and hiding things! The best way to go? Find a locked gate and get on the other side of it." - Lost Artifact Manual
As Lara travels deeper into Willard's estate, she uncovers a myriad of traps and numerous kilted enemies ready to dispatch Lara for intruding. Managing to avoid the dangers, Lara uncovers an open vault, surrounded by a bizarre glowing substance that seems highly corrosive. As the vault is empty, it seems that the artifact was stolen, leaving Lara with no further leads.
"Lara, for once, was at a loss - someone else had reached the Fifth Artifact first. But who? The telegram had warned of someone else. They must have it. Whoever they were, they were good - Willard's guards continued to blindly guard something that wasn't there. And what of this glowing substance, deadly to the touch? A nasty little by-product of the missing artifact, no doubt...
Stumped, Lara returned to her mansion to figure out her next move. A few days later, an unexpected intrusion on morning tea - and her next clue arrives blithely up the garden path, conveyed by a surly paperboy. The repairs to last week's tunnel explosion had begun - her morning paper reporting the destruction caused "by some unknown force." She notices that a "mysterious glowing substance" has been found in the mangled remains of the tunnel - a very familiar glow...
Lara grins as she concludes her breakfast... "Ugh! Cold tea! - but a piping hot trail." - Lost Artifact Manual
After reaching a dead end in Scotland, Lara returns to England. She then discovers a newspaper article detailing a tunnel collapse at Shakespeare's Cliff, caused by a "mysterious glowing substance" - the same substance Lara encountered at Willard's estate. Lara follows up this lead by heading to Shakespeare's Cliff and investigating the tunnel. She encounters armed men and a corporation logo - SLINC, giving her an idea of who might be behind the theft of the Fifth Artifact. She discovers that the tunnel has collapsed due to the glowing substance, and manages to safely traverse the unstable area, locating a hidden entrance to an underwater laboratory.
Sleeping with the Fishes
"After crawling through the tunnel debris, Lara finds a secret entrance to an underwater laboratory. Her competition for the Fifth Artifact seems to be well financed. The underwater loading docks must be for some sort of clandestine operation. Is this a government installation or a private enterprise? Lara knows of only one person with that kind of money..." - Lost Artifact manual
Entering the underwater laboratory, Lara discovers a massive underwater complex housing submarines, divers and more armed guards. She is soon confronted with the familiar glowing substance again, as well as evidence of experimentation using the artefact, both on animals an humans. As luck would have it, she is finally able to locate the Fifth Artifact, the Hand of Rathmore and she delves deeper into the facility.
It's a Madhouse!
"Lara has become well acquainted with the Fifth Artifact and its terrifying powers. The quest should end now, but there are too many unanswered questions. Who's behind all of this? What were they planning to do with the Fifth Artifact? Why were the mutated prisoners being shipped to a closed down French Zoo? Were there further experiments being carried on at the zoo? Just what kind of power does this Fifth Artifact have? All would doubtless become clear as Lara pulls herself ashore on a deserted French coast." - Lost Artifact manual
Emerging from the underwater Laboratory to the French coast, Lara enters an abandoned zoo. She fends off numerous exotic animals, from white tigers to monkeys. Exploring deeper into the zoo, she avoids more traps and unlocks an aviary, leading her to some underground ruins, and coming face to face with an old enemy...
Lara's suspicions are proved right, as she comes face to face with an old enemy, Sophia Leigh. It appears that Miss Leigh had stolen the Hand of Rathmore from Willard's Estate, and brought it to an underwater laboratory to use in experiments. It is possible that she intended to develop cosmetics from the experiments, as she was doing in London. Lara now races to the top of the ruins against Sophia, in order to claim the Hand of Rathmore. Sophia attacks Lara with her staff, sending bolts of energy at the adventurer. Reaching the top of the ruins, Lara is finally able to shoot Sophia down, ending the businesswoman once and for all.
Lara claims the Hand of Rathmore, and flees the area via a hot air balloon, her meteorite collection now complete.
2. Channel Tunnel (Dover)
3. Paris, France
- Lara Croft - In the dead Willard's gloved hand, Lara finds a telegram which speaks of a fifth artefact that is being delivered to Willard's Loch Ness estate in Scotland. Lara then leaves for Scotland.
- Sophia Leigh - After apparently being killed by Lara in London, Sophia returns to fight Lara in France where she is using the powers of a meteorite.
- Dr. Mark Willard - Dying, Willard lends his hand out to Lara who is watching. In his hand is the telegram in which Lara learns of a fifth artefact.
- Dave Cox - An employee of SLinc who tells 'UK Today' newspaper about an explosion in a tunnel caused by some mysterious 'goo'.