Video Game: Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation

aka: Tomb Raider Last Revelation
I make my own luck.

Jean-Yves: Be careful, Lara. I fear there are things down there man was not meant to see.
Lara: I am not a man, Jean. And I am always very careful.

Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation is the fourth entry in the Tomb Raider series. It was also meant to be the last, until fans and Eidos Interactive persuaded Core Design otherwise. The game was released on PlayStation and PC in 1999; the next game, Tomb Raider Chronicles, was released next year.

The sequel to Tomb Raider III, it marked a return to Lara's tomb-raiding roots. The story opens with a 16-year-old Lara accompanying Professor Werner Von Croy on an expedition to Angkor Wat, Cambodia, to recover an ancient artifact known as the Iris. Things go awry, and Lara barely manages to escape the collapsing ruins while her mentor is trapped by the Iris' defensive mechanism. Fast forward to the present: a more familiar, pistol-wielding Lara visits Egypt to recover the Amulet of Horus, located in the Tomb of Seth. Turns out this wasn't the best decision; she releases the evil god Set himself when she removes the Amulet from his sarcophagus, and as the world begins to fall apart around her, she needs to find a way to set things well as deal with her former mentor, now her enemy.

The game was notable for several reasons: it marked a return to Lara's tomb-raiding roots, with far less emphasis on modern civilization compared to the previous game, Tomb Raider III, and focused mainly on exploring long-forgotten, ancient ruins. It was also the first Tomb Raider game to take place entirely in one location (Egypt, save for the tutorial levels), which would not occur again until Tomb Raider (2013), and feature no outfit changes. Other new additions include a remodeled Lara, the removal of the Spinventory, the ability to combine items, and huge, interconnected levels.

Overall, this is generally considered the longest, most complex game in the Core Design line of Tomb Raider games, and is legendary for its difficulty, though probably not to the level of its predecessor.

This game contains examples of:

  • Ancient Egypt: Where 99% of the action takes place. It certainly looks a lot different than it did back in 1996, too.
  • Anti-Hero: This side of Lara's personality is made much more apparent here. It is her fault that Set is released into the world.
  • Artificial Stupidity: Certain ninjas will deflect Lara's gunshots by spinning their sabers. But if Lara holsters her weapons and draws them again, they'll let down their guard for long enough to take a few rounds.
  • Bare Your Midriff: 16-year old Lara has this as part of her attire in the Angkor Wat and Race For The Iris level.
  • Book Ends: Cambodia ends with Von Croy getting buried underneath some ruins. The game ends with the roles reversed.
  • Camera Screw: Like its predecessor, this game sometimes shifts the camera to a fixed angle which provides a panoramic view of the area, but due to the controls of the game (which are based not on camera direction but Lara's), this can make getting around more difficult than it should.
  • Crapsack World: After Set possesses Von Croy, the Cairo and Giza levels take a very dark turn. The sky turns to a sickly shade of dark green to dark red, lightning storms constantly blow apart buildings, the cities have been turned into warzones, have been abandoned except for some soldiers who are being methodically slaughtered by undead mythical beasts, and everything is eerily abandoned. The hanging clotheslines and materials would suggest that Cairo fell very quickly.
  • Cutscene Boss: The dragon in Cairo cannot be defeated with Lara's weapons and must be avoided by sprinting past it the first couple times. Once Lara fully upgrades her motorcycle, she can take Sergeant Azizus to his ammunitions truck (loaded with explosives). He will drive the truck into the dragon, killing it at the cost of his own life.
  • Darker and Edgier: The overall tone is darker and more down-to-earth than the previous three games, with a more "apocalyptic" feel to events. Right from the start, Lara is forced to watch as her mentor seemingly is buried alive under a ruin. Later, she nearly destroys the world when she steals the Amulet of Horus and unleashes Set, and she alone can set things right again. And at the end, she herself is buried alive under the collapsing Tomb of Horus, seemingly killed in the incident (setting up her memorial service in the sequel, and her hardened personality in The Angel of Darkness.
  • Dead Guy on Display: one unfortunate explorer got impaled on some spikes near a plinth in Cambodia. Lara takes his backpack for herself. The eerie Cairo levels feature some dead soldiers with limbs ripped off; in one case, Lara needs to drag a body off of a trapdoor in order to open it.
  • Delayed Explosion: in a rather cool sequence, Lara can fire an explosive arrow at a helicopter hovering behind two sentry guns, causing the helicopter to fall and explode. A few seconds later, the sentry guns meet the same fate.
  • Downer Ending: Lara's apparent death.
  • Egyptian Mythology: Like Tomb Raider, this game uses real-life elements of Egyptian culture as reference points, but delves much further into them than the 1996 game did. The gods Horus and Set play integral roles in the plot, as does the High Priest of Horus, Semerkhet.
  • Flash Back: Occurs frequently while Lara is reading ancient inscriptions or scrolls. Her voice changes to Semerkhet's, and a surreal vision usually plays out, in the vein of Tomb Raider.
  • Gameplay and Story Segregation: Normally, the dragon in Cairo will begin lobbing giant firebombs at Lara whenever she's in range, and it is notoriously difficult to avoid. That said, it seems perfectly content to watch Lara help a wounded soldier into a truck loaded with explosives- which promptly results in its death.
  • Goddamn Bats: Well, there are the bats. More annoying are the golden birds in Cleopatra's Palaces; aside from being bullet sponges that launch fireballs, they will attack the golden statue of Lara that appears in the level, forcing her to drop down several stories just to take them out.
  • Hypocrite: Von Croy tells a young Lara Croft that disrespect is the root to carelessness and that they should respect the tombs they explore. Once the duo reaches the Iris, Von Croy ditches his lesson as he tries to claim his prize. Lara calls him out on it.
  • Instant-Win Condition: Crossing the trigger to end a level is an instant win for the player, regardless of Lara's condition or any enemies that may be giving chase. This is taken to particularly Egregious levels by the train level, where you can finish the level by killing yourself as long as Lara crosses the end trigger in mid-air.
  • Insurmountable Waist High Fence: This occurs occasionally in Cairo, mostly due to Lara's inexplicable inability to enter/exit crawlspaces 1 block above the ground, instead of 2. In the first case, she needs to backtrack through the entire level to open a trapdoor, then jump up from below to enter the crawlspace; in the second case, she needs to backtrack through a dangerous set of high-pressure steam pipes. It rivals Lara's inability to retrieve the 2nd fuse in the first game's Natla's Mines.
  • Invincible Minor Mook: the bulls in the Guardian of Semerkhet and Trenches levels cannot be killed. The Minotaur in Chambers of Tulun is another example of this (although with some clever positioning of the motorcycle, it can be run over and killed instantly).
  • Joke Item: Von Croy's broken glasses can be picked up at one point, but they serve absolutely no purpose except to clutter up the inventory, and they can't be discarded.
    • In Pharos, Temple of Isis, Lara needs to find 4 Black Beetle artifacts to activate a mechanism. However, some of the pickups aren't Black Beetles, but Broken Beetles that are completely useless. Furthermore, the game punishes the player for falling for the broken ones by sending a swarm of live beetles after Lara.
  • Kill It with Water: Those bloody fire spirits. They can easily set Lara on fire and can only be extinguished by luring them into a pool of water.
  • The Last Title: The second part of the title.
  • Left for Dead: A recurring theme in this game.
  • Light and Mirrors Puzzle: A minor one occurs in the Tomb of Semerkhet. Lara needs to block the light from hitting the mirrors.
  • Locomotive Level: Lara boards a freight train to Alexandria after posing as a mook. Not content to sit back and enjoy her ride, she manages to hop several cars, murder everyone on board, find a crowbar, and use it to derail all the cars except for the locomotive.
    • Traintop Battle: Of course, things don't go smoothly after Von Croy sends ninjas after her.
  • Magic Mirror: One exists in the strange, sadistic funhouse in the Coastal Village. The room it appears in is filled with hidden spike pits, and the only way to tell where they are is to look at the mirror on the other side of the room. Even the room's reward (the crossbow) is invisible and must be picked up while lined up with the reflection.
    • Another one occurs later in Alexandria-this time, it forms the wall of an underwater room. There is a fake opening on the roof of the room that can only be seen in the mirror's reflection. It gets a little strange when Lara breaks the surface and appears to be treading dirt.
  • Meaningful Name: The game's subtitle, The Last Revelation, signifies Lara's final discovery/adventure due to her being buried alive at the end of the game. Becomes an Artifact Title since Lara returns alive and well in a future game.
  • Only Friend: This game introduced Jean-Yves, Lara's first real friend who cares for her safety and helps her with his research. Thus far in the series, he's her only one; in previous games, nearly all NPC's were hell-bent on riddling Lara with bullets.
  • Sentry Gun: Many of these are present in Cairo and will not hesitate to unload a barrage of bullets (or possibly a stream of fire) as soon as Lara comes within range. In at least 2 situations, it is impossible to avoid taking damage from them. She will need to find a way to sneak up behind them and target the red symbol on their back with the revolver or crossbow equipped with the laser sight; this will instantly destroy them.
  • Spikes of Doom: They're still everywhere, as usual. For some reason, it's no longer possible to safely walk through them, so Lara needs to avoid them altogether.
  • Spinventory: This time, it's not a Ring Menu anymore. It still loops while scrolling and is used just like the previous games' version, but visually it's now a simple side-scrolling list of items. Some objects can now be combined to form others, such as relic pieces, or the Laser Sight with certain weapons.
  • The Atoner: Von Croy recovers from his possession at the end of the game and attempts to rescue Lara. Unfortunately he fails.
  • Three Plus Five Make Four: The Temple of Horushas three different scales, each needing a different amount.
  • We Used to Be Friends: According to the manual, Lara was on good terms with Von Croy at first. By the time the game starts in Cambodia, however, they're already bickering somewhat, and after Von Croy returns from being trapped under the ruins, he bears a deep grudge against Lara- enough for them to antagonize each other completely, and eventually cause him to combine with Set.
  • Violation of Common Sense: In order to get all 70 secrets, one has to purposely lose the Senet Game in the Tomb of Semerkhet.
    • One puzzle in the City of the Dead involves Lara luring two ice elementals into a pool of water, causing it to freeze over and allowing her to cross to the other side. The problem is that this behavior never appears in earlier levels. Normally, ice elementals simply enter water without freezing anything.
    • For some reason, there is a certain area where a sentry gun will continuously fire at Lara- but once she retrieves a certain key card from a completely unrelated area, the gun will not fire at her. There is absolutely no way for the player to determine this without trial and error.

Alternative Title(s):

Tomb Raider Last Revelation