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Tomb Raider: Chronicles

Windows - 2000

Also released on: Mac

Alt names Tomb Raider: Хроники, Tomb Raider: מסע בזמן, 古墓丽影:历代记, 古墓奇兵5:回憶錄, TR 5, TRC, Tomb Raider 5: Chronicles, Tomb Raider Chronicles: La leggenda di Lara Croft, Tomb Raider V, Tomb Raider: Die Chronik, Tomb Raider: Sur les traces de Lara Croft
Year 2000
Platform Windows
Released in Germany, Italy, Taiwan, United Kingdom, United States (2000)
Australia, New Zealand (2003)
United Kingdom (2004)
Russia (2006)
Worldwide (2012)
Genre Action
Theme Asia, Editor / Construction Set, Europe, North America, Platform, Puzzle elements
Publisher Acer TWP Corp, Eidos Interactive Limited, Noviy Disk, Sold Out Sales & Marketing Ltd., Square Enix Limited
Developer Core Design Ltd.
Perspective Behind view
4.41 / 5 - 17 votes

Description of Tomb Raider: Chronicles

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Strange to think now that when the original Tomb Raider game was released, it was considered to be at the height of the action genre. Since then, the series has slid gradually into mediocrity - as the standard for games moves on, Tomb Raider has stayed disappointingly static. And as tales of "Tomb Raider: Next Generation" start to leak out from Core's offices, are they simply marking time with this new release?

As Lara appeared to die at the end of the preceding instalment, Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, this episode features a number of incidents from her past brought together into one game, plus the normal extra moves - and, this time, a level editor for good measure.

There's no doubt that, for a dating engine, Chronicles looks great. It runs well in high resolutions, and the texture work in particular is excellent - very crisp and rich-looking. Though the other inhabitants of Lara's world look like bizarre square-limbed freaks, they've been like that for so long it's easy to accept this as a style decision.

It is disappointing, though, that old familiar problems are still evident - Lara still does the old favourite "half-standing-in-the-wall" move, and when picking up items from the ground, you must be irritatingly precise. Surely, after all these years, someone at Core has figured out a way to sort these problems out? Guess they must have more important things to do.

The levels, ranging from the usual catacombs under the streets of Rome to a German U-Boat, skyscrapers and haunted Irish islands, are pleasantly diverse, and again there's good variety in the textures and enemies. But it's disappointing to find that in these days of curved-surface support, Tomb Raider insists on sticking to levels built on relentlessly square tiles. This takes the feel of the levels beyond appealingly old-school and, nowadays, into the realms of the lame. We can do curved surfaces now, people.

The difficulty curve could also do with some tweaking - rather than starting gently and ramping up, it starts off with the "I've never played a computer game before" (optional) tutorial level, then once into the game the curve feels more like a flat line. There's no sense of progression, and this adds to the woolly feel of the levels.

Strange, too, that for the first few hours of play the only new move you'll be called upon to use is the "tightrope walk" - where Lara balances on a wire to cross a gap. Sounds exciting? Your involvement with the process is limited to sitting there holding 'forward', and occasionally tapping 'left' or 'right' as she makes a half-hearted attempt to fall off in one direction or another. Hardly a revolutionary addition. But her moves are, as always, well-animated, fluid and convincing, and the new stealth attack is kind of fun.

Puzzles are chiefly of the key/door variety, but with token attempts made to make them seem more interesting - rather than actual keys, the objects are mysterious relics and/or tools. If you've got the right object to open a lock, the inventory screen will spin to highlight it - so there's no guesswork (or intelligence) required to figure it out. Thankfully the block-pushing puzzle seems to have gone for good.

So what of the level editor? Will we be inundated with user-created IB levels and adventures? Well - no. It's a complex beast, as the screenshots indicate, and seeing as the typical Tomb Raider player is a hormonal 15-year-old male with a breast fixation, most owners will only play with it long enough to realise there's no way to replace Lara's textures. You know what I'm talking about. Tomb Raider's certainly not going to catch the imagination of the mod community, and to be honest it's hard to understand Core's reasoning here. Is it too critical to suggest the editor is a good way of using an existing internal tool to add perceived value to a quick'n'cheap production? Still, if this is your thing, you'll probably get more out of this than the game itself.

Astonishingly, some familiar irritations are still present from The Last Revelation. If you remap the controls to a gamepad (recommended) the game will occasionally forget your assignments - this gets aggravating. Combat, too, remains more a matter of jumping about at random while firing continually rather than a matter of skill. We also experienced some crashes when playing - we couldn't reproduce them, but they are worrying nevertheless.

It's hard to see what the point of this game is without being cynical. Previous incarnations of Lara are available on budget, so if you missed out on one of them, pick up one cheap. If you played them all, you must be fed up with the whole concept by now. If you're looking for something similar to Tomb Raider, but which doesn't feel like it was written five years ago, go buy Heavy Metal: FAKK 2, and resign yourself to completing it in half a day. But there's no reason to spend your money on this tired, dated and hackneyed offering.

Review By GamesDomain

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Comments and reviews

Bladez1992 2023-09-03 0 point Windows version

Hey everyone, I've had a project for a few years now making new installers for old PC games; Tomb Raider - Classic Collection (I, II, III - The Adventures Of Lara Croft, IV - The Last Revelation, V - Chronicles, VI - Angel Of Darkness) are six of the games I've restored
Come check out Legacy Gamer's Union on Discord for this game and plenty of others that actually work on Windows 10/11

Super Nitro Z64 2019-05-16 -2 points

This game was the first Tomb Raider game to fail, partially because it was the same as the previous four.

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