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Video Game / Tomb Raider Chronicles

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She never was one for diplomacy.

Tomb Raider Chroniclesnote  is the fifth game in the Tomb Raider series. It was released in 2000, and is the sequel to Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation. This was the last game to use the classic Tomb Raider game engine, and thus the last to be released on the original PlayStation. The sequel, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness, was released for then-next-generation platforms and was the last game in the series developed by Core Design.

Winston, Father Dunstan, and Charles Kane drive to Lara's mansion to hold a memorial service in her honor. While there, the men recall their memories of Lara and her past exploits around the world, and the player relives four short adventures, set in different time periods. The first is Lara's conquest of the Philosopher's Stone in Rome, where she meets up with Larson and Pierre for the first time. Next is her adventure aboard a Russian submarine in search of The Spear of Destiny. Third, Father Dunstan tells how a young, teenage Lara stowed away to the Black Isle in Ireland, facing supernatural threats there, and finally, Winston recalls how Lara broke into Von Croy Industries and stole the Iris from Werner.

Chronicles is unique in that none of the action occurs in the present day; instead, the game is set across four brief, but varying flashbacks. The first, the Rome section, is typically considered a standard Tomb Raider setting. The Russian section is unique in that Lara finds her way through the submarine twice, with significant changes to it the second time. The Ireland section features the same young, unarmed Lara as in the last game's Angkor Wat, and the Von Croy Industries section employs a futuristic vibe last seen in Nevada.

Gameplay-wise and graphically, it is virtually identical to The Last Revelation; the only new moves are swinging across poles and tightrope-walking. Certain sequences clash with the series' own established canon, plus a couple of levels are incredibly easy to break and make Unwinnable (even compared to some of the buggier levels in the earlier games). While most weren't bad, its reviews were still mediocre compared to the earlier games. The release of the level editor with the PC version is quite possibly the most interesting thing about the game.

This game contains examples of:

  • Action Dress Rip: Subverted. Lara escaped the opera house in Rome with her elegant dress intact and then simply changed clothes. Most likely taken out from Hammerspace. For bonus points, she also kicked Larson's ass and made few elaborate acrobatics without destroying said dress.
  • Affably Evil: Admiral Yarofev only sides with The Mafiya because he needs to be able to pay and feed his crew after the Soviet Union collapsed. Even when Yarofev captures Lara, he tells her that if he was in a different situation, he would have listened to her warnings regarding the artifact, but since he is under the mafia's employ, he has no choice to but to lock her up. Later on, when the submarine starts to sink, Yarofev sacrifices himself by staying behind so that he can launch Lara's escape pod before the submarine is destroyed by the artifact.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Lara can search cabinets and drawers in this game. They can contain anything from ammo to secrets (or sometimes, nothing).
  • Ascended Extra: Zip, the Playful Hacker assisting Lara during VCI levels. And twice, since he not only ended up in Crystal Dynamics continuity, but also in the film continuity as Bryce.
  • Asshole Victim: Sergei Mikhailov really should know where to stop when dealing with supernatural.
  • The Atoner: By now, Von Croy has staged an extensive operation in the Egyptian deserts to dig through the ruins and find Lara, dead or alive.
  • Attack Its Weak Point: The mechanical head mini-boss from Trajan's Markets can only be defeated by shooting it's eyes with scoped revolver.
  • Attentive Shade Lowering: Official renders such as this one have Lara slyly tilting her sunglasses downward.
  • Bond One-Liner: Right after letting Pierre fall into a pit:
    Lara: Don't let me hold you up.
  • Boss Battle: Downplayed compared to other games in the series; there is no Final Boss. But there's a mechanical dragon in the sewers of Rome, and the animated gargoyles certainly count.
  • Bottomless Pits: Mostly averted, but one large one in the Colosseum is involved in a cutscene. After Lara nearly falls into it, she convinces Pierre to save her, and scares him into the pit instead.
  • Cannot Cross Running Water: How Verdilet is imprisoned on the island. Thus, the demon forces Lara to dry up the stream, in exchange for Father Dunstan's life.
    Father Dunstan: Demons cannot cross running water.
  • Casual Danger Dialog:
    Pierre: An unfortunate situation, non?
    Lara: (Barely hanging over an abyss) I've. Had. Worse.
  • *Click* Hello: In one of the cutscenes Larson sneaks behind Lara, cocking his gun the moment she aims at Pierre and calmly asking her to lower her guns.
  • Cold Iron: Father Dunstan is very fond that it works just like in the folk legends and advises Lara to use it in case anything was trying to get her.
  • Cosmetic Award: Collecting all 36 secrets unlocks a new feature in the main menu - namely the gallery with concept arts and renders for the then upcoming Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness. Now redundant, at the time it was the biggest reason for getting the game.
  • Cutscene Boss: Verdilet, the demon knight from the Black Isle. Lara manages to paralyze it by reading its name from the Bestiary, and banishes it back to "where it came from".
  • Dark Reprise: The menu theme gets this treatment, being a brief, much darker variation of classical Tomb Raider theme.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Everyone in the game has shades of it. Surprisingly, Father Dunstan is full of snark towards the demon that is holding him hostage. Lara is basically flanderised into one, especially toward Larson and Pierre.
  • Dirty Communists: Subverted. Admiral Yarofev and his crew are painted in a much more sympathetic light than The Mafiya who have bought him and his submarine out. The bad Russians in this instance are the capitalists.
  • Distressed Dude: Father Dunstan when he gets captured by a demon.
  • Empathic Environment: Not only is it raining during the funeral, but also when the time comes for a ghost story, the power goes out and everything is lit by candles.
  • Enemy Rising Behind: Larson had it coming.
    Lara: Larson, behind you!
    Larson: I may be a dumbass but I ain't fallin' for that again.
    Lara: (slowly backs away) No, really, behind you!
    Larson: (mocking) Behind you! Behind you! (thrown to the ground by a gargoyle) Aggggggggh!
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Admiral Yarofev captures Lara when she sneaks aboard the submarine and locks her up. Later on, he tells Sergei Mikhailov about finding Lara, only for him to get mad when Yarofev says that he did not kill her because he and his men are not wild animals that kill indiscriminately.
  • Evil Duo: Pierre and Larson, of the Brains and Brawn variety.
  • Fake Difficulty: Combined directly with Fake Longevity. The game by itself is very short, with a total number of 13 levels, making it the shortest game made under Core Design. Most of them are glorified Back Tracking and Fetch Quest mechanics with constant circling back and forth in a relatively small area, while covered with numerous mini-bosses or outright stripping Lara of her weapons for a few levels (either by a mandatory escape imprisonment level or placing the story in her teens). Or pitting her against countless enemies that have massive health or require more creative ways of disposing of than just pouring bullets into them. This created a massive uproar from players.
  • Flanderization: Somehow, Larson is even thicker-headed than in Tomb Raider, and Pierre isn't nearly as threatening as he was in that same game either. Lara herself always had a bit of snark in her, but Chronicles cranks it up so high that she can come off as a Jerkass at times.
  • Framing Device: All four stories are retelling of past events, made by Lara's friends after her funeral.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: The last level of the game Red Alert! has some serious bugs when it comes to saving the game at certain points. For example, if you were to save and reload the game before shooting the valve in the room with the first cyborg, the room could not only suddenly flood, but the valve would disappear entirely, making the game impossible to complete. Another example in the same level is how saving and reloading the game before trapping the second cyborg could make them fall down one of the pits in the helicopter hallway, making it impossible for them to get out, as well as making it impossible to complete the game. Because of those bugs, saving into multiple slots is recommended.
  • Game Mod: The PC version of Chronicles came with the official level editor used to create levels for the Tomb Raider games up until that point. Technically, the engine and assets used are from The Last Revelation, but it was only included with Chronicles.
  • Genre Shift: Four times, in four levels comprising four stories about Lara's past adventures. Perhaps best shown in the last two; which sees an inexperienced and unarmed teenage Lara on a haunted island off the Irish coast dealing with ghosts and demons and The Fair Folk, and then moves to an adult, Spy Catsuit-clad and armed-for-bear Lara infiltrating a corporate skyscraper to fight cyborgs and automated security systems with fancy gunplay (basically going from Gothic Horror to The Matrix).
  • Going Down with the Ship: Yarofev resigns himself to this fate, just to help Lara escape back to the surface.
    Lara: (sadly) Goodbye, Admiral.
  • Groin Attack: You know Larson, don't be too eager...
    Lara: You want to try the back pockets?
  • History Repeats: The fate that ultimately befalls Yarofev's ship, after The Spear of Destiny finds its way on board.
  • Hope Spot: Von Croy finding Lara's backpack in the final cutscene.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Father Dunstan couldn't care less when facing an ancient demon - he just keeps taunting it.
  • Irish Priest: Father Dunstan, obviously.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: It's even mentioned in the discussion between Lara's friends.
  • Large Ham: Verdilet.
  • Laser Sight: Returns from the previous game and can be equipped to certain guns (it also is a standard function of the HK Gun in VCI). At one point in Escape with the Iris, the camera switches to the POV of a mook's sniper rifle as he shoots at Lara.
  • Leaking Can of Evil: Whatever is connected with the Spear of Destiny is on neither a strong nor short leash.
  • Literal Genie: Miss Croft did keep her promise to Pierre.
    Pierre: Could you find it in your heart to help me up? I appear to be slipping.
    Lara: Oh, Pierre. You know nothing would please me more, but we have an agreement.
    Pierre: Agreement?
    Lara: Not to lay a finger on you. Remember, silly?
  • Locked into Strangeness: After an off-screen encounter with a demon, Father Dunstan's hair turns permanently white.
  • Mini-Boss: The mechanical soldiers in the Colosseum count as these. They're relatively easy to defeat with powerful weapons though.
  • Nerf: The revolver is nowhere near as powerful as it was in Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation.
  • Never Found the Body: All Von Croy manages to find in the end is Lara's backpack.
  • No-Gear Level: Occurs three times! In the Russian submarine level, Lara is captured and her guns are taken from her, so she must crawl around in vents until she can find her guns again. The entire section of Ireland is played as Lara during her teenage years, so she doesn't have weapons to use at all. The upper levels of Von Croy Industries has a security scanner that will activate turrets if it detects a person with weapons, so Lara must disarm herself and sneak for a good portion of the level.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with a level, strangely enough. The Colosseum name is reused from Tomb Raider, but the level itself is completely new.
  • Philosopher's Stone: As the MacGuffin from Rome.
  • Product Placement: Of the Timex T73751 grip clip watch. To the point where Timex is even mentioned in a loading screen, only further reinforcing Chronicles was made for quick buck.
  • Public Domain Artifact: The Spear of Destiny from Russian part of the game. To a lesser extent the philosopher's stone from Rome, but it's implied to be one of many, not a unique artifact.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: As noted by Admiral Yarofev, the only reason he takes hefty bribes is to keep his crew fed and having their pay coming each month.
  • Puzzle Boss: The cyborgs in Red Alert! cannot be defeated via conventional means, i.e. gunfire. Instead, the first one must be shot until it gives off electricity, and then the room needs to be flooded; the second one needs to be lured into a trap room, into which poison gas must be pumped.
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: Russian officer hats really are so absurdly big, jokingly nicknamed avianostsy (aircraft carriers).
  • Redemption Equals Death: Admiral Yarofev's ultimate fate after delivering his Rousing Speech about The Power of Legacy.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Father Dunstan and Charles Kane are completely new characters created for this game and never mentioned prior. Kane is especially prominent case, for he was originally intended to be Jean-Yves from Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, but circumstances forced Core to retire that character and find a replacement during the final phase of development.
  • Save-Game Limits: As with The Last Revelation, you can save anywhere, but this game only allow one saved game per two memory card blocks, as opposed to the first three games where every completed level is playable from the main menu. This means that if you want to replay levels after you beat them, prepare to sacrifice a lot of memory cards to do so. Note 
  • Shout-Out:
    • The events on board of the U-boat are one toward Prisoner of Ice. Only in this version the crew failed.
    • All the Russian sailors look like Ivan Drago.
    • The Von Croy Industries levels are fully mining The Matrix.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: When Verdilet keeps on threatening Lara after she read his true name, she finally gets tired of this and orders him to shut up.
  • Sniper Pistol: The Revolver and Desert Eagle can be equipped with the scope and are actively used for short range precision shooting.
  • Stationary Boss: Both the mechanical head and the gargoyle from Rome.
  • Suspicious Video-Game Generosity:
    • A pack of revolver ammo is right next to the spot from which you have to snipe a mechanical head from Trajan's Markets
    • Likewise, picking up the shotgun triggers a legionnaire statue. The ammo count is the exact amount needed to put it down at medium distance.
    • A small pool of water assists fire-breathing gargoyle statues.
  • Too Awesome to Use: Averted. Since each story has their own set of levels, items that you didn't use won't carry over into the next chapter, so it is better for the player to use their supplies as they see fit.
  • Unintentionally Unwinnable: The final level has this. See Game-Breaking Bug above for more info.
  • Unreliable Narrator/Expositor: It should be always remembered that all four parts are nothing more than retellings of the events in which the storytellers played tertiary roles at best. This could explain why so many characters fall under Flanderization.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: You can choose to kill the harmless VCI employees in their orange suits if you feel like it, though you won't gain anything from it other than wasted ammo. However, you do have to kill a specific worker to open a secondary path containing the level's secret, though Zip will chew you out for it. You can also kill a sleeping security guard if you don't feel like sneaking by him to steal his key card.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Zip will call Lara out on this if you have her kill the harmless VCI worker who could have helped you open a door to the Iris.

We've found her!

Alternative Title(s): Lara Croft Tomb Raider Chronicles