Copyright 2000

[ August 9th 2000 ]

Tomb Raider: Chronicles...Is she or isn't she. According to Core Design's Adrian Smith, "she could wake up, have banged her head in the shower and it all would have been a horrible dream..." mocking that infamous episode from the television soap Dallas. Adrian also comments during an interview in this months UK Playstation magazine of the "deluge of email" received from frantic Tomb Raider fans across the globe quizzing the company on whether their worldly adventurer Lara Croft was actually dead, having been consumed by the Temple of Horus at the close of the suggestively named The Last Revelation.

"We left Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation on a bit of a cliff hanger with Lara sealed in a tomb and people not knowing whether she's alive or dead. We're going to carry this premise on through Tomb Raider: Chronicles. Chronicles is what it really is. It's adventures that people haven' known about and a way to reinforce the fact that Lara has been around for a long time."

"Time has passed and we're five days on from the end of The Last Revelation," Adrian continues, "Lara's body hasn't been recovered, people can't imagine that she's dead and sealed in the tomb. The whole effect we want to create is the cinematic setting of a funeral at Croft Manor. It's Lara's family home, steeped in mystery. People have seen this house many times but here is a whole new area of it. - the family burial ground. Lara's friends and close relations are there to put Lara Croft to rest, and the world's media is also there as this is a huge occasion."

The game begins with the scene at the funeral of our heroine Miss Lara Croft, feared consumed in the Temple Of Horus at the end of The Last Revelation (aka Tomb Raider 4). Wilson and several other guests begin to reminisce of adventures entertaining Lara to the covenants of the globe. "It's a flash back from her friends and colleagues that you'll have met," continues Smith. "People like Jean Yves and Pierre from the earlier games in the series reminiscing on adventures and exploits they had with Lara in the early day. It's a really good way of ending the chapter of what we currently know as Lara Croft and Tomb Raider."

On Chronicles, "We're treating each adventure as four seperate games. They're all different passages in Lara's life, so there's potentially different attributes you'll have in each of them. A lot of new things will be put in and combined with features from the past four adventures. "For example, when we looked back there was a lot of stuf we put into Tomb Raider III that we didn't carry across to The Last Revelation, So we've put them back into this latest adventure."

Tomb Raider: Chronicles features a host of new moves, improved graphics and performance, and even a companian for Lara in the Tower Block levels. Smith describes the improvements as "leaving the core technology predominately the same, but changing all the areas around that." "While we've pushed the technology as far as we can, we've gone over everything again. A lot of the focus for Chronicles has been improving elements such as the camera system and control mechanism that we've always wanted to go back and revisit.

"Lara will also have new moves in there and those moves will be key to actually achieving some of the goals in each mission - the tightrope walk is one them and it's great to see Lara edging across and wobbling from left to right. "There's a lot more interaction with Lara's enviroment. If she's searching in cupboards and filing cabinets, she'll be able to pull stuff out of them. There are objects that she can actually search out rather than just picking up objects lying on the floor. She'll have to open doors, look through them and find things. "We've put the duster over the whole thing, in essence."

Adian Smith also comments on the upcoming Simon West movie Tomb Raider Movie, starring Angelina Jolie as Miss Lara Croft and due for a summer 2001 release. "We've got the Tomb Raider Movie coming, which is being filmed as we speak so we might include some of that or maybe some of the teaser ads. We've also looked at taking some of the original maps and levels and putting them though the new technology - the lighting would be better and they'd look much better, it'd move faster and Lara might have different outfits."

Commenting on the possibility of a sixth installment of Tomb Raider, named Next Generation, Smith confirms that people had for some time realised that Core had been working on "something special." "It's got to be something different and while, yes, it's got to be Lara Croft, people want to see her doing something different. So we've got to bring a new game in there. "Chronicles means we can finish this chapter off, then start a new one on Playstation II" The question still remains, and will ponder on the lips of fans until November when Chronicles makes it's commercial debut.... Is she or isn't she ?

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