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Video Game: Tomb Raider III
Your perception of good timing is...bad!Tomb Raider III
is the third game in the Tomb Raider
series, developed by Core Design
and released for the PlayStation
and PC. It is the sequel to Tomb Raider II
and was released in 1998. The next game in the series is Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
, released a year later.
One of the more outlandish entries in the series, the story begins with a meteorite impacting prehistoric Earth, destroying all wildlife in the area and creating the frozen landscape of Antarctica. In the present day, Lara Croft is exploring the Indian jungle in search of the Infada artefact until she runs into a researcher named Dr. Willard, who reveals to her the location of 3 other similar artefacts around the globe, and enlists her help to retrieve them. His actual reasons for getting at the artefacts are unclear...
The game is built on the advanced graphics engine from Tomb Raider II
, adding multicoloured lighting effects, environmental rain, fog, and wind direction. Lara herself gained the ability to crouch and crawl on the ground, monkey-swing over chasms, and sprint to gain short bursts of extra speed. Various sound effects were also changed or improved (the most recognisable example being the pistol shooting sound), and the use of short musical cues/stings was greatly
expanded. However, the game is probably most (in)famous for its ridiculous difficulty level
; playing the first two games in the series is considered a prerequisite to even attempting the first level of this one, and even then you're going to have a tough
This game contains examples of:
- Abandoned Area: Aldwych station in London is a more recent example, while the temple from India and the City of Tinnos were abandoned long before the events of the game.
- Advanced Ancient Acropolis: The city of Tinnos in its heyday was this, albeit the technology was considered advanced for the ancient Polynesians, not by modern standards. Now it's all a ruin under the ice of Antarctica.
- Advancing Wall of Doom: India loves this trope a little too much.
- Affably Evil: Dr. Willard.
- Air-Vent Passageway: In High Security Compound there are few sizeable vents above prison's kitchen and a cooling vent for a satellite dish. For the creators' credit, they require Lara to crawl (a move introduced in this game) and are very tight.
- Ancient Conspiracy: Lara finds a masonic lodge around the closed Aldwych station.
- Anti-Climax: The final cutscene has almost nothing to do with the plot. It's often quoted as one of the reasons for the "love or hate" reception of the game.
- Arbitrary Gun Power: MP5 is portrayed almost as an assault rifle, taking down anything on its way, while two mini Uzis hardly scratch your enemies. Both guns use exactly the same 9mm Parabellum bullets.
- Area 51: The Nevada section of the game takes place in the surroundings and inside the base, which also shows off many of the tropes associated with that place.
- Artificial Brilliance: Enemy AI is much improved over the previous games, especially with human enemies. Enemies will actively target Lara and evade her shots, and will sometimes even fire a last desperate shot at her after she guns them down.
- Artificial Stupidity: Even if improved, the AI still has its moments. Most notable are melee fights between convicts and guards, where both parties will circle around, chasing each other at hand's reach. Whether or not the freed prisoners will survive or not is purely up to chance. Some enemies have a visible range limit, so you can stand just behind it and they won't come any closer to retaliate.
- Artistic License – Astronomy: Upon impact, asteroids and meteors that aren't going to cause an Earth-Shattering Kaboom plough through the surface of the Earth, leaving a trail of destruction behind. They don't simply become buried deep in the ground.
- Art Shift:
- The game graphics, textures and models are much better than in the previous two games, enough to distinguish it from them. There are many minor improvements along with the headlining features listed above, including smoke coming out of the pistol barrels, a smoother water texture, blood pooling in water, and multilayered skyboxes. Many sprites (fire, pickups) were replaced with models/3D effects.
- When Dr. Willard is first introduced, it's an FMV cutscene. After India, he's never seen again until the end. When he returns, his cut-scenes are made using the game engine. A sizeable chunk of players didn't even recognise who this guy eating soup was.
- Awesome Aussie: The soldiers from the South Pacific plane crash are all Aussies with Artillery.
- Awesome but Impractical: The grenade launcher packs a punch and ammo for it is plentiful, but the way the grenades are delivered means they hardly hit anything moving faster than a crawl.
- Bare Your Midriff: Lara's Nevada Desert and South Pacific outfits include a black and white sports bra, respectively.
- Big Creepy-Crawlies: The dragonflies. It's not due to an engine limitation - they are intended as being two feet long.
- Bigger on the Inside: The UFO in Area 51 somehow manages to be this to a ridiculous degree without any loading whatsoever, possibly due to how the game engine handles rooms. Or because it's a UFO.
- Blasting It out of Their Hands: Inverted. While Lara did shoot the gun out of the hand of the assassin, she also shot him in the arm, so he won't be too eager to get the gun back.
- Block Puzzle: A few - par for the course for the series - but the most notable examples are in India and London. Sometimes it's finding the block that's the puzzle.
- Blood Is Squicker in Water: An impressive example of the updated graphics, creatures injured or killed in water (including Lara) release a cloud of blood from their corpses.
- Blowguns: Both as mechanical traps shooting darts and, in more typical fashion, carried as weapons by some Polynesians.
- Body Horror: The most extensive examples in the series come from this game.
- The mutants featured in the Antarctica levels, and of course, Dr. Willard's final form.
- The Damned, who were stripped of their skin after being exposed for days on end to Sophia Leigh's chemical experiments.
- In-story, the Polynesians living in Antarctica suffered horrible mutations - one of their rulers was born without a face. After that they abandoned the site and declared it cursed.
- Broken Bridge: A literal bridge is placed above the Madubu Gorge, leading to the front gate of Temple of Puna. Too bad for Lara it's drawn, forcing her to take the long route with a kayak. Tropes Are Not Bad, as the level is one of the best in the whole game, providing balanced challenges and lots of fun.
- Camera Screw: Often, but few are notable, as they are benevolent
- In the South Pacific, a few drops from heights are much easier to aim thanks to this.
- At one point in the RX-Tech mines, Lara is forced to crawl, while a mutant slowly gets closer to her from the opposite side. He's only visible thanks to the camera screw, turning what would otherwise be a guaranteed Jump Scare into a merely tense moment.
- At one point in the Lost City of Tinnos, a map of safe platforms is drawn on the roof. If Lara is carrying a flare at that time, the camera will always turn to show the map.
- Cannibal Tribe: The Polynesian tribe in the South Pacific levels.
Lara: Ripe flesh can be a bit of a delicacy around here.
- Captured by Cannibals: The one-legged soldier. He's fully aware of his predicament, but as he's in no condition to escape, he's decided to calmly accept his fate.
- Checkpoint Starvation: Thanks to which the game is considerably harder to beat on the PS1.
- Clipped Wing Angel: Dr. Willard.
- Conspicuously Light Patch: Some of the moveable blocks will be a bit more defined than the surrounding ones.
- Consummate Professional: Dr. Willard, who feels that he's Surrounded by Idiots, even if the phrase itself is never spoken.
- Continuity Nod: Going to Lara's gym in her mansion will have her tell the player that players who been to the gym previously may notice some new décor added to it. The original Tomb Raider had a gym inside the ballroom serving as a tutorial.
- Convection Schmonvection: In the final levels in Antarctica, which have lava pools sitting right next to piles of snow.
- Cutscene: They became much more widespread compared to the previous two games, allowing more complex storytelling. Every area has multiple cutscenes and almost all levels end with one (highlights including Lara meeting Sophia Leigh and the wounded soldier in the jungle).
- Cutscene Incompetence: After the Nevada Desert, Lara tries to jump a fence with her vehicle, but it goes wrong and she crashes to the ground instead, knocking herself unconscious. Two M Ps carry her off to prison and strip her of all her weapons. Well done, Lara.
- More frustrating, considering that it is possible to make this jump in gameplay (and many much bigger ones elsewhere) if the cutscene flag is turned off.
- Damage-Proof Vehicle: Zig-Zagged. Quads can be destroyed and mine carts easily get derailed, but nothing can destroy a humble kayak or the mini-sub.
- Dead Guy on Display: Poor Randy and Rory. Lara finds one of them suspended in mid-air, in a crucified position with a huge hole bored through his chest, and the other one on a nearby pedestal with a huge slash through his stomach.
- Dead Man's Trigger Finger: Happens in this game with the Nevada M Ps and gun-toting guards from Antarctica. As if they weren't hard to kill already.
- Deadly Euphemism: "They're staying put."
- Deadly Rotary Fan: The fans in the ventilation system of High Security Compound. Thames Wharf also has a pair of giant fans underwater, but manipulating the water level slows down the fans enough for you to pass by without being killed.
- Deadpan Snarker: Lara gets much more of an attitude this time around.
Lara: Then you might like to mind...the bell.
Mook: (Looks around, sees the bell, tries to run away, and gets thrown off the roof) Aggggghh!
Lara: Happy retirement.
- Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Playing on PC comes with the luxury of saving anywhere. NOT so on the PS1 version.
- Difficult but Awesome: The kayak might look frustrating at first, but after mastering its controls, Madubu Gorge turns into one of the most enjoyable levels in the whole game.
- Direct Continuous Levels: Occurs within each region, with the South Pacific and London being most prominent examples - you start directly where the previous level ended. On the other hand, you can never turn back (one interesting example is the beginning of Crash Site; trying to back to the Coastal Village triggers a mysterious earthquake to dump rocks all over poor Lara).
- Disconnected Side Area: About two-thirds of all levels are built on this trope, but Thames Wharf and the whole South Pacific section are the most prominent examples. The first level is also worth mentioning. You can see its ending location almost from the start - on the other side of impassable swamp.
- Dismantled Macguffin: Zig-Zagged with the four meteorite artefacts. They don't have to be physically combined, but must all be present in order to summon the meteorite. There's actually a fifth one, the Hand of Rathmore, that appears in the game's add-on for PC (The Lost Artifact).
- Distant Prologue: The opening cutscene starts in the time of dinosaurs, with a meteorite entering Earth's atmosphere. Then it cuts to present times, where a research team in Antarctica have found it.
- Down the Drain: London features the predominantly-underwater level of Lud's Gate. It's quite frustrating.
- Dummied Out: Exit data discovered in a beta build of this game reveals that the bonus level for collecting all secrets, All Hallows, was in fact a London level originally. All Hallows contains a curious area at the very end, a room containing lots of ammo pickups (that cannot be picked up, as the level ends just before Lara enters).
- Enemy Mine: Lara and The Damned. She wants the Eye of Iris, they want their revenge on Sophia... and the embalming fluid.
- Enigmatic Minion: Dr. Willard. He's introduced as a guy working for someone else, yet he turns out to be the Big Bad of the game.
- Event Flag: Used to trigger effects ranging from opening doors or spawning enemies and ending with a mudslide. Some of them can be avoided, limiting the number of enemies to fight with or making the return trip easier.
- Every Car Is a Pinto: Quads can either land from a jump like nothing happened or get a scratch from too narrow turn and explode with fiery inferno.
- Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: South Pacific is infested with them to the brim, with few different species. Of course, the T-rex makes its third appearance (this time with updated graphics), and the velociraptors from the first game make a comeback. Now they're bullet sponges that take far more firepower to kill than before. Crash Site ends with a non-obligatory fight with seventy velociraptors.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Zig-zagged. In the first level, where monkeys won't harm Lara unless she shoots them, they will make off with useful items like medipacks and even a key, which will most likely cause her to shoot them. With the exception of the key, chasing the monkey without killing it will make said monkey eventually drop the item anyway and lead Lara to a place she needed to go to next (such as a room with a switch). In the second level onwards, they're aggressive by default.
- Evil Is Burning Hot: Fire and boiling water are main weapons of Tony.
- Evil Is Visceral: Mutants run on this trope.
- Evil Plan: Dr. Willard makes his rather subversive.
- Evilutionary Biologist: Dr. Willard is revealed as one.
- Excuse Plot: Played With. This game's plot is much more loose compared to the rest, and mostly serves as an excuse to get Lara traveling around the globe.
- Exposed to the Elements: The sailors in the flashback travel to Antarctica wearing nothing but their normal clothing that would protect them from the cold in England, but not against the sub zero temperatures of Antarctica.
- Averted with Lara herself in the Antarctica levels. Not only does Lara wear a proper snowsuit (though her head is not covered), she will also take damage if she stays in the freezing water for too long.
- Famed in Story: Just like in the first game. Miss Croft is famous enough to have one of the bosses a fan of her, waiting for an authograph.
- A Father to His Men: The one-legged soldier is one for the rest of his men. Too bad he will end up as the main course soon.
- Flashback: When Lara starts to read the diary of Stephen Barr, the action goes back to the described events.
- First time Lara encounters a statue in India, it looks like nothing more than an impressive model. Next room? Similar statue comes to life and it's trying to kill Miss Croft.
- Close to the end of first Antarctic level Lara stumble upon a horribly mutated scientist. Next level is full of all kinds of mutants.
- From Bad to Worse: The Aussies from South Pacific section had it really bad. Their aircraft carrier crashed on tropical island. Those who survived that realised they are in a Lost World. Those who survived dinosaurs grouped and went for shore, only to be Captured by Cannibals. Celebes Isles don't seem like a fine place for staying...
- Gameplay and Story Segregation: In the cutscene after Temple Ruins Lara is limping and thus the quad looks even more appealing. When the level starts, there is no trace of limp.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Dr. Willard's ideas about reaching new levels of power circles around this trope.
- God Guise: Puna is playing with this, even having his own temple. Given the fact that he can shoot lightings, create strange lizards and summon them out of nowhere, it doesn't take to be a primitive tribesman to treat him as a god.
- Good Pays Better:
- If you decide to help Lara's allies during fights, they will survive much longer (or even make it to the end), being helpful in future fights.
- In London it's entirely possible to ditch the Damned and their embalming fluid. However only by helping them Lara gains access to one of the secret from Lud's Gate.
- Great Escape: High Security Compound level is an escape from the titular compound.
- Grenade Launcher: Early access, abundant ammunition and one-hit kills anything under contact. Focus on "under contact" part - it's often easier to tirelessly shoot with basic pistols than try to hit anything with the grenade launcher.
- The Guards Must Be Crazy: Generally it's very easy to sneak past them or make them ignore Lara running just a few meters away. At one point of Lud's Gate there is a short stealth section. Which can be finished while carrying a lighted flare - just keep Lara away from eyes of the guards.
- Guide Dang It: Never before or after there was a Tomb Raider game so merciless with this trope. While the series is all about exploring and searching for secrets, some places are simply beyond even veteran players.
- Sprites were previously used for item pickups, but this game switched to models. Thus, they were subjected to the game's lighting system- in dark areas, pickups are invisible unless flares are used, and even then they tend to blend in with the surroundings. The icon that appeared on the HUD to indicate the item being picked up was also removed. It's very easy to miss important items due to this.
- The very first secret is so well hidden that players tend to mock it as an open trolling from the dev team. It's impossible to see, and impossible to find unless you've played the first couple of games and know that plants aren't actually "there" in Tomb Raider games.
- The game introduced swamps and quicksands. Some of them must be traversed, usually with mud to the chin or above and slowly going deeper. While there is always a safe path to do so, there are no suggestions in-game about it.
- Caves of Kaliya is a sizeable labyrinth full of death traps... and no indication where to go or what to do. Many routes deliberately return to the starting point and thanks to the textures it's easy to miss and keep on circling for hours. The level can be traversed under 7 minutes when the road is known.
- Coastal Village comes with the biggest counter-intuitive ways to beat the level with all secrets and pick-ups. After disabling the light-sensitive trap, it's better to take the route that was open all the time than go past the now defunct trap.
- It's possible to keep circling in frustration around lift shaft at the start of R/X Tech Mine for quite some time. To figure out this puzzle you must hear an echoed sound of opening doors, which indicates that it's the right time to turn back and start running in opposite direction. Deaf players weren't pleased.
- Hand Cannon: The Desert Eagle is overall the most effective weapon, but almost all ammunition comes from secrets.
- Harder Than Hard: Main game aside, figuring out and gaining some secrets is quite a feat even with a walkthrough in hands.
- Hard on Soft Science: Inverted. Dr. Willard has this attitude toward molecular biologist, mocking him as more useful as a horribly mutated abomination than when he was human.
- Harpoon Gun: The only weapon that can be equipped underwater. Useful in London and completely useless anywhere else.
- Heal Thyself: While medpacks able to heal instantly are a staple of this series, on PC version save crystals restore half of Lara's health without no logical explanation whatsoever.
- Hell-Bent for Leather: The leader of the Damned, who wears clothes good for a greaser.
- Hell Is That Noise: Buzzsaw traps from Coastal Village sound more like screams of animals gutted alive. It's really unnerving, since you can hear them for almost a quarter of the whole level. In London, one area involves Lara filling a pool with water; the sound has been described as more like "a portal to hell opening".
- Human Sacrifice: The Polynesians are giving those to Puna or whoever was residing in the temple previously. Since he's using the Ora Dagger and its power for God Guise, it's a very twisted form of cannibalism.
- Hungry Jungle: Invoked.
Tony: This jungle has rooted enough rot into me. I'd offer the same advice to you, but you don't seem the type to take it...to care if I said you're gonna die in there.
- Indy Escape: Starting from the first level. Those spiked walls have a mind of their own.
- Indy Ploy: The whole escape from prison is more or less made on the run, without any plan nor time to prepare.
- Inevitable Waterfall:
- At the end of Ganges River, Lara reaches a waterfall. At the bottom she finds a crashed raft, which was used by Tony to get there. You can figure out the rest.
- If Lara falls off the platforms in Nevada Desert during the canyon climbing section, the current will sweep her over the waterfall to the very bottom and she will have to climb all the way back up.
- Infinity–1 Sword: The humble shotgun will carry you through most of the game and becomes obsolete just right before getting your hands on Desert Eagle. The shotgun is obtainable before Lara meets her first enemy.
- Instant-Win Condition:
- Each level ends after crossing the point designed as finish (unless there is a boss fight), regardless of the situation around. Next one will start with Lara at full health.
- Picking the artefact in Area 51 instantly ends the whole section, even with a swarm of MPs shooting at almost dead Lara. One wonders how she managed to get outside the complex...
- Insult Backfire: This gem
Tribesman: Is well for you, me fasting this day. You make plenty good flesh pot!
Lara: You forget I might be quite hungry myself. Famished, actually.
- In the Hood: The Damned wear hoods and masks to hide the fact that they have no skin.
- Jump Scare: Used very often and yet they retain full potential for the whole game, keeping players on their toes. For this game only, many different short musical cues were composed for this very purpose (the other games only use a few repeated stings).
- Jungle Drums: As Lara is talking with the captured soldier, the natives start to play on drums and chant in the village. She instantly switches the subject of their conversation to escape plan.
- Lampshade Hanging: Everything Tony said, mentioned or suggested during his brief conversation with Lara. His words come with great Rewatch Bonus after finishing India.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Out of the five men who went hunting in Antarctica, only Stephen made it back to London. Caulfield, who mocked him about being the only one without any loot, got his throat chewed by a wolf seconds later. When the cave started to collapse, everyone but Stephen hit tails, leaving dying Caulfield behind. The karma get them later - Smythe was eaten by the Polynesians and whatever happened to Henderson and Jonson wasn't nice either.
- Lava Adds Awesome: Large lava pools exists in the final levels of Antarctica. The meteorite sanctuary is floating on lava.
- Ledge Bats: Anything that flies can ruin your day when it comes to acrobatics or just walking around ledges.
- Lightning Bruiser: Raptors, running mutants and Tinnos monsters. The last one can run much faster than Lara, shoot at her, claw her at close and withstand up to three rockets before dying. It takes a single one to blow anything else into pieces.
- Living Motion Detector: The T-Rex can not see Lara if she doesn't move (a direct Shout-Out to Jurassic Park) - but it can harm her, as it will stomp around very close to her even if she stays completely still.
- Living Statue: The statues in Temple Ruins.
- Locked Door: Numerous, but two are most notable:
- Temple of Puna - the whole level is one big circle around the complex, just to open a gate right next to the starting position.
- More than half of Aldwych is about Lara's robbery on secret masonic lodge to steal their ceremonial mallet... and smash a padlock with it.
- Lost Forever: Numerous examples with secrets. Usually advancing forward without exploring the surroundings cost you dearly. Almost all weapons are obtainable through secrets, not to mention vast majority of ammo stashes.
- If there is more than a single way to get somewhere, the shortest way is always the one without secrets and no way to turn back.
- Decided to simply slide down the slope at the beginning of India without exploring whatsoever? You just missed 3 secrets, one of them being a shotgun. To rub salt into the wound, you will keep finding ammunition to that shotgun all the time, but not the gun itself for a long time.
- A more serious example: Lara's weapons all get confiscated in Nevada, and depending on the order that you've played the levels, she won't get some of them back, ever.
- Lost World: The whole South Pacific section of the game.
- MacGuffin Delivery Service: Dr. Willard knows just what to tell Lara.
- Magic Meteor: The meteor laying under the Antarctica has some powerful properties, which are also very, very corruptable.
- Malevolent Architecture: Everywhere, especially the Indian temples, which seem to have been designed to kill anyone who dares venture inside.
- Marathon Level: Few notable examples
- The second level of the game.
- Most of London.
- The Lost City of Tinnos takes it Up to Eleven, being final "full" level of the game (the next one is just a boss fight with short escape afterwards). By the time players are expecting they've reached the final chamber, they are not even in the middle and the route starts branching.
- Mind over Matter: After Tony impales himself with the Infada Stone, he causes the temple to collapse around Lara just by gesticulating towards it.
- Minecart Madness: Lara is moving around the R/X Tech Mine using minecarts. Ride attractions include: derailment on sharp turns, lack of tracks, broken bridges, bores widening the tunnels and lack of proper lighting.
- Misplaced Wildlife: Surprisingly sparse. The only example are piranhas, present in India and South Pacific.
- In the diary flashback there are regular, dark-furred wolves. At the shores of Antarctica. But this can be hand-waved toward Unreliable Expositor of Stephen Barr.
- Monstrous Humanoid: Mutants in general. While in-game they struggle under engine limitations and use only two models, the script calls for more diverse group of monstrosities barely resembling humans they were.
- More Dakka: Lara's range of weapons reached its height in this game, including things like Uzis, MP5, grenade launcher and rocket launcher. A particularly useful Good Bad Bug allows Lara to combine the firing rate of any two-handed weapon with the ammo of any other gun. Yes, if you want, you can kill a monkey using an MP5 equipped with rockets.
- Multi-Armed and Dangerous: The living statues from Temple Ruins have six arms, carrying a scimitar in each. Not only their attacks are powerful, but they can soak bullets without a fuss and even block them with their blades. Keep in mind that this is the game's second level.
- Mutants: A truly horrific ones swarm in the shafts of R/X Tech Mine. In the past, the Polynesians fled from Antarctica because of increasing level of deformations with each generation living there.
- Mysterious Antarctica: The final act of the game takes place in the Antarctica. Ill-fated hunt from 19th century, armed to the teeth miners, horrible mutations caused by a meteor, ancient ruins of long-gone civilisation, Eldritch Abominations guarding those ruins... There are many Shout Outs toward Lovecraft and The Thing.
- Nerf: The Uzis were quite powerful in the previous games and ammo for them were plentiful to find. In this game, the Uzis had their power reduced quite a bit and ammo is a bit scarce. The grenade launcher, while still retaining its power from the last game, had its trajectory changed where it drops and rolls on the ground instead of sailing through the air.
- Nintendo Hard: Everyone marvels at the bloody spikes in the Great Wall, but in this one, you can break Lara's neck just by performing a swan dive from the starting position. The first level is probably more difficult than TR2's.
- No-Gear Level: The most brutal version in the whole franchise. In all other incarnations, Lara is stripped of her guns at some point. Here her whole ammo reserve and medipacks (except for a single small one) are gone too.
- Non Indicative Name:
- Both India and South Pacific is more about Temple of Doom, London takes place in urban setting and Nevada is all about Area 51, so there are hardly any tombs.
- In-game, the Infada Stone was held briefly by Infada tribe from India, but it originates from Polynesian culture and was carved in Antarctica.
- Noob Bridge: Better learn how to sprint and crouch. Fast.
- In Nevada Desert, should Lara fall into the canyon pool, she can only get out by jumping across a bunch of rocks. One jump appears to require her to do the run+jump+grab combo, but pressing grab actually lowers her arc slightly; she'll bounce off the rock if she tries to grab it, and will just make it if she doesn't.
- Killing one of the Damned in Aldwych too fast means he won't open vital doors. Instead Lara has to chase him the whole way, let him open the door and then kill him. Have fun with figuring it out alone.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Stephen decided to help bleeding Caulfield, while their friends simply run away from wolves during the cave-in.
- Not Completely Useless: Out of all places, harpoon gun really shines in London.
- Nothing Is Scarier: Happens quite often in dark locations, like Temple Ruins, most of the South Pacific and Antarctica after entering the mine.
- Older Than They Look: Sophia Leigh looks to be in her "late twenties; early thirties", but one of her henchmen tells Lara that his father and grandfather both worked for her. She is in fact immortal.
- One-Dimensional Thinking: Subveted - the hitman didn't even have time to try any moves before the bell launched him off the roof.
- One-Hit Kill:
- Dr. Willard's spider form fires homing energy projectiles that cannot be defended against and are one-hit kills.
- Explosives-based weapons take a single shot to blow anything short from Tinnos monsters into pieces.
- Optional Stealth: In Lud's Gate, one of the secrets requires to sneak past three guards and shoot them at close, before they will block the way leading to that secret.
- Outrun the Fireball: Happens in Area 51, after Lara has to outrun the fire burst from launched missile.
- Palette Swap: Lara's training outfit for Croft Manor is the Nevada Desert outfit with the trousers coloured red/brown.
- Pet the Dog: After mercilessly going through the Polynesians and their village, Lara reaches a shack containing a captured soldier with missing leg. First thing she does is offering him escape.
- Plot Coupon: Parodied, when Lara has to get a metro ticket to progress further.
- Politically Correct: Second level, Temple Ruins, was originally named Temple of Shiva. Since no-one was that willing to desecrate an actual temple, the name was dropped.
- Power-Upgrading Deformation: Ho boy... Let's just say that this game likes Body Horror a bit too much.
- Professional Killer: The hitman from London. He focuses on killing people, not asking questions. And it's a Family Business.
- Puzzle Boss: Sophia Leigh and Dr. Willard are completely immune to bullets, requiring to find other ways than blazing guns to beat them.
- Really 700 Years Old: Sophia looks "late 20s, early 30s", but the ageing assassin working for her claims that both his father and grandfather worked for her, meaning that she is at least 100 years old.
- Refuge in Audacity: In Aldwych Lara is required to steal a ceremonial mallet from secret masonic lodge to smash a padlock with it.
- Reptiles Are Abhorrent: First of all, you will learn to loathe how snakes work in this game. Then we've got Puna, who is able to summon lizardmen out of thin air. The lizardmen themselves are a strange combination of reptilian and monkey characteristics with poisonous breath. It's strongly suggested that they were created by Puna or his predecessor as personal guards. Oh, and don't forget that South Pacific is a Lost World.
- Retirony: The assasin from London was planning to retire after the hit on Lara.
Assasin: I mean, I could even be retiring from you.
- Roaring Rapids: Madubu Gorge is full of those. If Lara falls into them outside kayak, she will instantly drown.
- Running Gag: One village hut has a large medipack sitting at the back. The catch: the entire room is filled with deadly quicksand. It's impossible to get this medipack at all, even if Lara stands right on top of it, and there's no escaping the sand. And don't forget that Lara has a rather nasty habit of getting incapacitated or dazed throughout this game:
- After escaping the jungle temple, Lara is attacked by Tony and forces herself to the ground to avoid being crushed by falling rocks.
- Attempting to jump an electric fence on a quad bike in the desert has Lara botch her jump, getting her tossed from the bike and knocking herself out cold.
- At the end of the Aldwych level, Lara sides down a shaft that is a bit too far for her to land safely and winds up injuring herself upon impact.
- After Lara's meeting with Dr. Willard in Antarctica goes sour, the man flips the table on her to knock her down, leaving her dazed. Before Lara can get up, Willard steps on Lara on his way out to keep her on the floor.
- Towards the end of the game, Lara sprints down a hallway to catch up with Dr. Willard, who has just used all 4 artefacts to unseal the cavern's powers. Unable to stop herself in time, Lara teeters on the edge of a ledge and falls off, landing on her back onto a walkway below.
- Run or Die: Downplayed, but still - there is no point fighting the dragonflies from Tinnos, unless they are swarmed or block your way. They just keep on spawning and while it's possible to finally kill them all, it's time and resources consuming. And in some versions of the game they have an infinite spawning pool.
- Save Game Limits: The PlayStation version has a limited number of Save Crystals, so use them wisely.
- Save Scumming: Brutally averted in the PlayStation version due to the Save Crystals being in a limited amount. Saving after a major tough event, like a death trap, is generally a good idea, but trying to push ahead and delaying your saves can bite you in the ass if you're not careful. Played straight in the PC version where saving is unlimited.
- Save Token: PS1 version had "Save Crystals", which were collectible in various levels and were the only way to save mid-level. The PC version replaced them with a save-anywhere feature, and the crystals themselves turned green and now restore half of Lara's health.
- Scenery Porn: This game expanded on its predecessors with a range of environmental effects and lush textures, especially in India, where there are few places purposefully created to marvel at the sights. It was probably the first Tomb Raider game to look really, really good.
- Secret Path: Aldwych got few. Most of them are windows to shoot, but one ( a drapery in the masonic lodge) is a notorious case of Guide Dang It, as there is no indication for it and inside of it there is an object required to get one of the secrets.
- Self-Imposed Challenge: Few remain quite popular even after all the years
- Finishing the game using only basic pistols.
- Picking Nevada as the the last section of the game and thus being stripped from all gear. Some of the weapons will be Lost Forever.
- Not picking save crystals on PC version, as they provide free health.
- Sentry Gun: A celling-mounted ones are guarding many places in High Security Compound and Area 51. They only start shooting if attacked or their laser-sensor is crossed, but since Lara usually have to reach the guarded room...
- Sequel Difficulty Spike: For various reasons, as described above. This led to the game getting a "love it or hate it" reception, and the next game went back to a more sane difficulty curve.
- Sewer Gator: In London, no less!
- She Knows About Timed Hits: As before, Lara will teach you how to move around in her mansion. Many of her lines are actually recycled from the first game, but re-recorded by Judith Gibbins.
- Short Range Shotgun: Inverted. The shotgun retains its full killing potential regardless of shooting distance, but its aiming range (guns are auto-targeting) is one of the shortest.
- Tony plunged the Infada Stone into his chest and gained magic abilities from it. Sounds familiar?
- T-Rex can't see stationary targets, like the one from Jurassic Park.
- After encountering the first mutant in Antarctica, Lara mentions him looking like Brundlefly
- And the setup for that mutant and future encounters with them are very Thing-like in their nature.
- There are many vibes of xenomorph in Tinnos guards.
- Deep within Area 51, there is a Power Crystal known as "Element 115". Deep within another Elaborate Underground Base in another game, there are other crystals called "Elerium-115."
- Sinister Shades: Tony's shades combine this with Scary Shiny Glasses, as far as the game engine allows.
- Sinister Subway: Closed Aldwych station is one of the London levels. The trains still run, though...
- Skippable Boss:
- Sliding Scale of Linearity vs. Openness: A firm 3, as the game is the most non-linear of all Tomb Raiders. Few levels can be finished by taking different routes or different sequence and as a whole, this instalment came with unique section selection. After each artefact is collected, it's up to players' choice which one should be next. Of course the game always starts in India and ends with Antarctica, but still it's a considerable effort to make it less linear.
- Non-linearity is also the main theme for South Pacific section, with levels being as open-ended as possible.
- Soft Water: Constantly present, but with an egregious case in in Nevada Desert level. Early on, Lara has to take a jump into a well shaft, which is about fifty meters deep. She splashes into the water unharmed. It happens again later in the prison base, when Lara jumps down a huge shaft into a sewage system.
- Speedrun: Just remember that "fast" is not the same as "get all the useful pickups"
- First level can be traversed in 36 seconds with proper jumps.
- Thames Wharf might be finished in around a minute.
- With sufficient amount of medpacks, first level of Antarctica might be finished without ever going for the inflatable boat.
- If the level is designed with alternative routes, one of them will surely allow to finish the level in about a quarter of normal time.
- Spikes Of Doom: Present everywhere, often requiring to slowly traverse through them and avoid jumping on them at any cost. In more industrialised areas they are replaced with barbed wire.
- Spoiler Opening: The loading screen for South Pacific shows a raptor, lone soldier and Lara in kayak. Neither of which shows up till second level of this section (kayak is in third). Made even more egregious since the first raptor that shows up is treated as a big surprise intended to shock players. On the other hand the loading screen doesn't mention existence of hostile native population.
- Spy Catsuit: Lara wears a short-sleeved one in London.
- Standard Female Grab Area: Downplayed. After Lara landed from unspecified height in the hideout of the Damned, one of them instantly grabs her by arm and twist it. She struggles for a while to get free from it.
- Stupidity Is the Only Option: After encountering animated statues few times, you collect their scimitars and have to put them in hands of non-moving statue. It only opens the door and the statue remains in place.
- Super Drowning Skills: Justified. If Lara falls into the rapids from Madubu Gorge, it's an instant game over.
- Survivor Guilt: Stephen Barr suffered from it after being the only one alive from his pack. Out of the guilt and superstition he sold The Eye of Iris, being convinced that the artefacts brought bad luck on their owners.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Tony in his dialogue is very specific about "not touching the stuff myself" when asked about the Infada stone and subject of magic.
- Suspicious Videogame Generosity:
- Unlike TR2, flares are everywhere and there is no real point to keep on saving them.
- Harpoon gun from South Pacific arrives in the very same pool that contains first crocodiles.
- Tank Controls: As per usual for the series, but Camera Screw can make the controls difficult at times.
- Temple of Doom: Temple Ruins in India, and the unnamed temple in the South Pacific.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: See above. MP5+rockets are effective to say the least.
- Timed Puzzle: By a trainload. Many of them require perfect sequence to finish in time.
- Too Awesome to Use: Rocket launcher, as there are about 15 rockets in the whole game. And the enemies you finally want to use them against can easily soak them. The Save Crystals in the PlayStation version also becomes this due to them being so few in number while the majority of the crystals are hidden in secret areas.
- Trophy Room: Like in II, Lara's mansion contains a secret treasure room housing the artefacts she's collected over the years. Getting there isn't as obscure as it was in TRII. Lara shows off the remaining bits of the Scion, the Dagger of Xian, an golden skull from the first Indiana Jones film, and even the Iris artifact, at this point unnamed and its significance unknown. There's also a T-rex head mounted on the wall.
- Universal Ammunition: Inverted and subverted. Lara carries two mini Uzis and MP5 submachine gun. Both guns have separate ammo count, while in real life they use the same 9mm Parabellum bullet.
- Unobtanium: The meteorite has some special, but unspecified physical properties.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- Five men just entered gigantic ice cave with marvellous sights. Not only that, but the cave clearly contains some ancient ruins with impressive sculptures. Their main interest? Looking for the animal they were hunting.
- Lara effectively breaks into Sophia Leigh's office through an air vent. Rather than calling for security or attacking Lara herself, Sophia asks Lara to sign a deal with her within her cosmetic company.
- Urban Legends: Played for Laughs in London. Lara meets sewer alligators and finds a masonic lodge right next to the closed Aldwych metro station.
- Vain Sorceress: Sophia Leigh is a modernised version. She's Really 700 Years Old, beauty-obsessed owner of cosmetics company and magic sceptre, powered by neatly carved piece of Magic Meteor. It's implied that she uses that sceptre to meddle with experiments of her company and picks the best results for herself. In the script she's described as "a woman who pays much attention to her looks".
- Video Game Cruelty Potential: Locking Winston in the freezer wasn't cruel enough? Who cares, if he wears a uniform with a bullseye on his chest and you can shoot at him?
- You can also shoot your fellow prisoners at the High Security Compound and Area 51 levels for no reason other than to be a jerk. Ditto for the soldiers in the Crash Site level that are trying to defend themselves from the raptors, but it's doubly worse for them since most of the soldiers that die drop ammo for the MP 5.
- Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: No, they don't. The flamethrower is the most powerful weapon in the game, dropping down mutants like flies. Too bad Lara can't use one, but at least the flamethrower miners are on her side.
- Was Once a Man: Mutants from Antarctica. There is also a theory that Tinnos guards might be humans at some point in the past.
- Who Forgot the Lights?: The PlayStation version of the game is known for being infamously dark and having flares that don't even last 30 seconds. The PC version has the same issue, but its gamma adjustment feature quickly renders the problem a moot point and can even make flares obsolete.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: The Damned are skinless and deformed, with their rotting flesh requiring embalming fluid, yet they are also immortal thanks to the experiment they participated in.
- With Great Power Comes Great Insanity: Tony went quite overboard under the influence of Infada Stone.
- World of Snark: Every single character with spoken lines is a qualified Deadpan Snarker and sizeable chunk of dialogues is made of snark battles.
- Would Hit a Girl: Encountered male enemies aside, Willard has no problems whatsoever to kick Lara in the face and the hitman from London is on the job.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Get the embalming fluid for the Damned... and shoot them right after that.
- You No Take Candle: The cannibal with whom Lara has a conversation after Crash Site speaks this way.
- Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: After witnessing what exactly Sophia is responsible for Lara is full of disgust after learning that Miss Leigh is a fan of her, waiting with a book to sign an autograph.