Tomb Raider: Chronicles Details

Eidos gives us a new look at the fifth Tomb Raider game and the new level editor. Six exclusive screenshots inside.


Tomb Raider: Chronicles

We recently had the opportunity to see the latest version of Tomb Raider: Chronicles, the fifth installment in Core Design's popular series of third-person action-adventure games. Tomb Raider's star, adventurer Lara Croft, disappeared in a cave-in at the end of the previous game, but expecting Lara Croft to make a dramatic reappearance was not unreasonable. With such a key franchise at stake, the show must go on.

Yet Chronicles manages to set up a plausible premise for this new chance to play as Lara Croft. The game opens at Lara Croft's funeral, where her friends tell stories about her past exploits. This provides a convenient way to segue into several new episodes. The focus of this sequel, as with most of the others, is to give fans new areas to explore. Not many changes have been made to the graphics engine or the gameplay, although Lara Croft does have a few new moves, such as the ability to walk tightropes.

The game is divided up into four separate locations for you to adventure through. The first we saw was set in Rome, and it featured architecture highly reminiscent of the Venice scenes from the second Tomb Raider game, with rows of Mediterranean two-story buildings. Another mission will have you find and penetrate a Russian submarine. While the game has only a few vehicles, this level lets you dive down in a deep-sea suit to gain access to the submarine. Anyone who enjoyed being able to train as a teenage Lara Croft in the last game will enjoy the haunted forest level. Lara is decked out in pigtails as you adventure through these outdoor areas, and she is apparently too young to carry guns, so you'll mainly be jumping and running through this part.

One of the more interesting twists on the standard Tomb Raider setting takes place in a high-tech mission, in which Lara must infiltrate a high-security building. As we might expect of a high-tech spy in such a situation, Lara has a remote guide radioing her information about the building's traps and changing tactical situation. While we didn't have a chance to hear the voice help ourselves, this promises to make the puzzles in this part of the game a bit more straightforward.

We also had the opportunity to check out the level editor that Eidos has promised to ship with the game. It is essentially the tool that the developer used to design the levels for the previous game, and it appears rather accessible compared to other 3D game editors. The Tomb Raider games have often been criticized for their blocky appearance, but here this just helps simplify the mapmaking process. Six raw levels from Tomb Raider: Last Revelation will be included to make it easy to see how the designers put things together and to give easy access to a library of map textures.

Tomb Raider: Chronicles is scheduled for release during this holiday season. For more background, read our preview of the game.

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