Storyline--Tomb Raider III revolves around a crystalline meteorite, Charles Darwin, and an ancient culture
that lived on the continent of Antarctica. Million of years ago, a meteor survived the plunge through the Earth's
atmosphere, impacting the then warm climate of Antarctica. The first people to discover this land were a tribe
of Polynesians. Despite the now freezing conditions, there was an abnormal abundance of life and the tribe settled,
worshipping the meteorite crater for the powers it appear to hold. Generations later though, catastrophic events
forced them to flee in terror.
Today, the same area is being excavated by the research company:
RX Tech, who are picking up unusual readings from the meteorite's
impact zone. It is in this zone that they uncover the body of a sailor from
Charles Darwin's voyage on The Beagle. It seems a few of his sailors
had explored the interior of the crater and looted four artifacts
placed with the meteor. Following a story from one of the sailor's
journal, RX Tech have started to take a particular interest in, not
only the crater area, but other parts of the globe where the sailors
traveled to and died in.
One of these places is India--where Lara is currently searching for the legendary Infada artifact. Unaware of
its true history, she only knows that in local beliefs it was supposed to hold great powers and has been revered
by tribes there throughout the years.
Levels--There are numerous huge levels that show thought and
insight from the designers.Your job is to guide Lara Croft through
a surprisingly varied set of these levels. Unlike Lara's first two
adventures, the game play in Tomb Raider III is non-linear, both in the style of play within the levels
and in the order in which you choose to play the levels. It contains
5 separate worlds which link together. India is the first location,
after completing this level, the player can choose any of the three
mid-game areas: Area 51, South Pacific or London and play them in
any order, gaining certain advantages or disadvantages depending on
the levels they choose to play
first. The game concludes with Antarctica. Also, the levels themselves
now have multiple paths to victory. This multipath and locale design
offers extended gameplay. Outdoor levels are stunning and gigantic.You
have the traditional switch, door, boulder, and spiked-pit routine.
But there are new additions to the level designer's palette. Laser-activated
machine-gun turrets, piranha-filled rivers, subway trains, and electrified
fences all add to the depth of the levels. Puzzles are more frequently
integrated seamlessly into the levels, with switches that radically
alter entire rooms instead of simply opening a door.
Engine--The new graphics engine allows the introduction of
triangular shapes and curves into the game, thereby adding to the
detail of the landscapes. The new engine also allows for enhanced
shadows, transparencies, smoke effects and reflections so you get
muzzle flashes, smoking guns, campfires, and icy breath. The addition
of multi-colored lighting effects is great. Lara's flares glow brilliantly
and fluorescent lights flicker and cast long shadows.
Moves--In Tomb Raider III, Lara has an even further expanded range of moves. Lara can now monkey-swing;
crawl under low-lying ledges; and back into a crevasse on all fours to get out of sight. She can also sprint for
short periods of time. The expanded moves lets Lara do just about anything a normal adventuring femme fatale would
be able to do, thus freeing level designers to create levels that make more sense and are more real like.
Animals--Enemies come in different forms, animals, humans,
and mystical. There are dinosaurs, tigers, monkeys, vultures, poisonous
snakes, and sewer rats. All of the animals are vastly improved in
appearance and behavior.
Core used an animal behaviorist to help model the way the animals
Vehicles--There are a variety of vehicles for Lara to use. She can navigate a river in a kayak, traverse
hazardous terrain in a quad-bike, and even splash down whitewater rapids in a rubber raft.
Weapons--Lara still has the double pistols and the double
uzis from the previous games,
but there are additional weapons:
(1) Desert Eagle: The replacement for double magnums. It's the biggest, most intimidating pistol around; (2)
H&K MP5: The replacement for the M16 in Tomb Raider II. This is the machine gun of choice for the Navy SEALS;
(3) Grenade Launcher: A carryover from the last game, except the grenades bounce around realistically before exploding;
and (4) Rocket Launcher: This hefty beast needs to be mounted on the shoulder.
Outfits--On the fashion side, Lara begins with her classic threads in India, but dons a black leather
catsuit in London, blue desert camo pants and a tank top in Nevada, and a skimpy looking jacket and orange camo
pants in Antarctica.
Landscape--The new landscaping system incorporates triangles which makes for smoother surfaces and architectural
structures such as domes, arches, vaulted ceilings. Organic structures and rocky floors are also possible with
the new system.