Tomb Raider III

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Tomb Raider III

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Protagonist: Lara Croft
Genre: Action
Adventure
Platformer
Third-Person Shooter
Platforms: Microsoft Windows
PlayStation
Release Date: November 20, 1998
Developer: Core Design
Publisher: Eidos Interactive
Franchise: Tomb Raider
Previous Game: Tomb Raider II
Next Game: Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation


Tomb Raider III (Adventures of Lara Croft) is an action adventure game released on November 20th 1998 for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive as a direct follow up to Tomb Raider II.

Plot Summary

Lara is in the Indian jungles in search of an ancient relic known as the "Infada Stone". After recovering it from an RX Tech researcher, his boss, Dr. Willard approaches Lara, and requests that she find the other three artefacts, and bring them to him in Antarctica.

Why It Rocks

  1. The game uses an updated engine that allows for not only more detailed graphics and textures, but also more detailed level design.
  2. Lara can now sprint, crouch, and crawl, while retaining her older moves as well.
  3. It's not much, but Dr. Willard is a far better antagonist than Marco Bartoli; Lara meets him in person, and we're given a reason as to why he wants these relics.
  4. Enemies are more intelligent than before, especially the human enemies. Some enemies can now poison Lara.
  5. Sound effects are greatly improved, with Lara's weapons sounding powerful when used, and wild animals sounding more fearsome than ever.
  6. Offers a great amount of challenge to Tomb Raider veterans. Also, because of how some of the levels are designed, it is possible to speed run the game.
  7. The story takes a non-linear approach to progression; you'll always start in India, and finish in Antarctica, but the South Pacific Islands, London, and Nevada can be completed in any order you want.
  8. The save feature combines the save crystals for the first game (limited saves), and the book from the second (save any time), which requires you to choose your saves more carefully, but still allowing you to create your own checkpoints.
  9. Introduces the Desert Eagle and a Rocket Launcher as usable weapons (the Desert Eagle is easily the best weapon in the game).
  10. Each continent Lara visits have distinct themes and landmarks to help them stick out from each other:
    • An ancient temple and the River Ganges in India
    • The city rooftops and the abandoned Aldwych Station in London
    • The Nevada Desert and Area 51
    • The lush jungles and the Madubu Gauge in the South Pacific
  11. An assortment of new vehicles play with, included a quad bike, kayak, mini-sub, dingy, and a mine cart.
  12. Finding all of the secrets unlocks a secret level. Completing this unlocks unlimited ammunition, so if feels like you have earned this reward this time around.

Bad Qualities

  1. The formula has remained virtually unchanged from 2 years prior, leading to concerns that the series was starting to stagnate.
  2. Lara still controls like a tank, which clashes with the more detailed level design.
  3. The recurring "Captured and Imprisoned" level returns, but this time stripping Lara of all of her collected items barring her save crystals, and one small health pack.
  4. The London levels suffer from bad lighting, making the use of flares a must, which is risky for platforming because the act of tossing dead flares overrides ledge grabs, and can lead to "Flare Deaths".
  5. Bugs and glitches, including one where saving in a certain area creates in invisible wall which blocks access to a secret!
  6. The difficulty can be very frustrating at times. There are areas where Lara is practically forced to take damage of some kind.
  7. Some of the vehicles control very poorly, especially the kayak.

Reception

Tomb Raider III wasn't as well received as its predecessors, but it was still met with favourable coverage, with a 76/100 on Metacritic, plus 78% (PS1) and 73% (PC) on GameRankings. The game was praised for its graphics and non-linear structure, but criticised for being more of the same as the first two games, and frustrating difficulty.

The game went on to become a commercial success, selling 6 million copies worldwide.