Tuesday, 11 September 2007
Chronicles takes place about a week after the events in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. The game's opening sequence reveals a procession of Lara Croft's closest friends and relatives, who are gathered at the Croft Estate to mourn the mysterious loss of the young adventurer. At her wake, those who are gathered proceed to remember her past exploits, which haven't been revealed in previous Tomb Raider games. As each person tells his or her tale, you assume the role of Lara within that person's memory and live out the adventure being told. Tomb Raider: Chronicles will unfold into four distinct moments of Lara Croft's life, each of which comprise numerous levels. As Lara, you'll journey through the ruins of ancient Rome, find yourself in the middle of a Russian submarine base, on an island (without any guns) as young Lara, and in a high-tech office complex, receiving directions from a mysterious companion. These missions are all designed to reveal the mysteries of when and how Lara was able to attain four unique artifacts, found in the Croft Estate.
Not surprisingly, Chronicles sticks to the same gameplay formula forged by the original Tomb Raider. Not even the graphics appear to have changed, as Chronicles uses The Last Revelation's 3D engine, which was a slightly modified version of Tomb Raider 3's. That's not to say that there aren't enhancements to the game. Lara is now capable of performing several new moves, including tightrope walking, parallel-bar swinging, and melee fighting. The first of these techniques is noteworthy because you'll have to constantly maintain Lara's balance as she slowly makes her way across a narrow ledge or rope. She'll teeter from one side to the other, which forces you to constantly adjust by moving the directional arrows in the opposite direction without causing her to lose her balance.
As with a lot of 3D action games, the levels in Chronicles seem to have borrowed a page from the Half-Life book of design - they now feature scripted sequences to progress Chronicle's narrative instead of cutscenes, which break the flow of the game. Additionally, a lot of the levels in Chronicles will stress the importance of stealth, another new trend in 3D games. Instead of bursting into rooms and hallways with guns blazing, Lara will have to sneak around guards - careful not to trip any alarms - and use force only when necessary. As part of her new hand-to-hand fighting capability, she'll be able to dispatch guards silently.
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