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Video Game / Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

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"D'you know it's going to be a real pleasure to shut you up."

Narrator: There have been seventeen reported murders so far in this latest outbreak of Monstrum killings. It would appear to be the work of a single highly psychotic perpetrator. The name of the latest victim was just released: professor Werner Von Croy. A female, described as Caucasian, brunette, and wearing a ponytail was seen leaving the most recent crime scene...

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was released in 2003 and is the sixth installment of the Tomb Raider video game series. It continues on from the events of The Last Revelation and Chronicles.

It was the first Tomb Raider created for 6th-generation hardware, but also the last game in the series to be developed by Core Design, the game's commercial failure and negative reception spurring Eidos Interactive into taking away production of the Tomb Raider games from Core Design. Subsequent entries were produced by Crystal Dynamics, an American developing studio.

The game sees the return of Lara Croft, but this time, as a wanted fugitive. The police consider her the prime suspect for the murder of Werner Von Croy, her mentor, the latest in a string of killings committed by a notorious serial killer only known as 'The Monstrum'. With her own recollection of the events surrounding Von Croy's death blurry at best, Lara sets out to clear up what happened, but unexpectedly ends up caught in a ancient conflict centering around 5 crucial Obscura Paintings, which, if they are all collected, can place the world in great danger. Joined by a mysterious stranger, she dives into the underworlds of both Paris and Prague, determined to clear her name.

The game is notorious for the mixed reception it has garnered; while it featured a gripping, dramatic storyline, pretty visuals, exploration and, as always, an amazing score, it was simply unfinished. A large amount of features were left in an obviously unfinished state, further marring the game experience, despite the fact that the game was delayed numerous times (it had orginally been slated for a late 2002 release). The blame is most often pointed at Eidos Interactive, for pushing Core to release the game, despite its unfinished state. However, Core is not entirely blameless, having missed numerous deadlines, and being too ambitious in certain areas. Predictably, the game got bad reviews and had one of the highest return rates for a game ever. Despite all this, the game does have its fans, mainly due to its well-executed storyline and fitting atmosphere, however purists tend to cite it as an example of Lara Croft being moved away from her origins as an archeologist and more towards being a deadly action character.

Released for the PC, PlayStation 2 and the Mac.

The game contains examples of:

  • Action Girl: Lara Croft, naturally.
  • Always Check Behind the Chair: Especially during the first few levels of the game.
  • Anti-Hero: Probably moreso here than any previous game as while Lara had her moments then, she still was intent on doing the right thing. Here, Lara isn't out to save the world as much as clear herself of the suspicion of killing Von Croy, dealing with mobsters and shady people along the way, and only getting caught up in Eckhardt's plots as a result of that goal. Lara's attitude is much more jaded and cynical as a result of being buried alive in Egypt, which can show up if Lara chooses dialogue options that are more aggressive.
  • Arms Dealer: Daniel Rennes, the guy who owns the pawnshop, has some firepower for Lara... for the right price.
  • Badass Bystander: Janice has quite a fiery attitude.
  • Badass in Distress: When Kurtis traps Lara, moments before gameplay switches between the two characters.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Lara and Kurtis, especially during the disarming scene.
  • Beware the Quiet Ones: Kurtis is very stoic and always calm. He absolutely mops the floor with everything around him.
  • Boss-Only Level: Boaz Returns
  • Bullethole Door: The way the Cleaner begins his second attack on Lara.
  • Clear My Name: Lara knows she's innocent. Try telling that to policemen who don't speak a word of English.
    • Not quite so simple in the opening, though: the killing of Von Croy, a cutscene that pops up multiple times, at first is ambiguous as to who actually killed him. In fact, the killer initially is completely unseen; the player is led to believe that Lara, who up until that point had been throwing a temper tantrum at Von Croy, had been the one to kill him; this is reinforced by Lara seeing his blood on her hands. Only later is the identity of the real killer progressively revealed, finally becoming clear at the end of the game - Karel.
    • This is even reinforced during the scenes in Mme. Carvier's apartment, as neither dialogue choice will relieve Carvier's suspicion that Lara herself may have killed Von Croy since Lara can't recall enough details to clear her name (remembering arguing then gunfire) or outright omits details that could incriminate her which Carvier picks up on. The gaps in Lara's memory are just too broad for her to convince anyone (sometimes seemingly herself) that she's innocent.
  • Color-Coded Elements: One of the puzzles in the game involves collecting and utilizing stones based on the four elements: the fire stone is red, Water Is Blue, earth is brown and air is green.
  • Continuity Nod: Kurtis uses a customized Browning High-Power, the kind of handgun Lara's pistols were in the PlayStation games.
  • Continuity Snarl: During the intro, Lara accuses Von Croy of being a coward who left her while saving his own skin, back in Egypt. Anyone who played The Last Revelation would question that line.
  • Cool Shades: Lara sometimes sports these in cutscenes. There are programs made by fans such as the EXE-Multipatcher that allow having them on in-game on PC or using a cheat disc on PS2.
  • Cut Short: This game was intended to be the first of a trilogy of games, and ends on something of a cliffhanger. Sadly, due to the game's failure, Core's subsequent firing, and the series being rebooted (twice!), the hanging plot threads were never resolved.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: Lara manages to survive a fall that would otherwise kill her at the end of the Industrial Rooftops level and Margot Carvier's Apartment. Also during the cutscene at the end of the game, considering how high up Lara is when she drops down to the ground.
  • Darker and Edgier: This game explores much darker themes than it's predecessors. The main plot involves a Serial Killer who leaves his victims in awful Body Horror situations, and isn't above putting his own lackeys through a body horror situation if they disobey him. Lara also receives a much tougher personality this time, and her new sidekick Kurtis is seemingly killed by Boaz after his boss fight with her.
  • Dead Sidekick: Kurtis. ...Or is he?
  • Delicious Distraction: The second time you run into the Leviathan, it will be blocking your only way to the dungeon and it swims too fast to be avoided, forcing you to distract it first by dropping several chunks of bloodied meat in the pool.
  • Dem Bones: One of the mooks in the game include a few reanimated skeletons.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Kristina Boaz, after being fed to a larval mutant, transforms into not one, but two different hybrids.
  • Elite Mooks: Gunderson's mercenaries are significantly tougher than any other human enemy, with their body armor making them quite resilient to anything that isn't the K2 Impactor/Dart SS, and their SMG's can practically one-hit burst kill Lara at close range. Even then, the Dart SS only knocks them out for a few seconds instead of permanently, unlike the Louvre personnel.
  • Everything Sounds Sexier in French: Carvier and Janice.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Try leaving Von Croy's Apartment before the Cleaner shows up.
  • Fan Remake: There's a novelization by J. R. Milward (known for voicing Lara in various fan projects such as the Tomb Raider 2 remake Dagger of Xian), and an audiobook version of it.
  • Fed to the Beast: Muller is sacrificed to the mutated Boaz after Eckhardt deems him a failure. Boaz herself was fed to the Pod previously.
  • Game Mod: The Restoration Mod Pack. , which re-adds the Dual Pistols, restores cut dialogue and other fixes.
  • Guide Dang It!: Several due to the game's rushed nature:
    • Some of the PS2 manuals are missing the information that pressing roll while locked on swaps targets. This is vital against Boaz, as the auto-aim won't always target her weak points.
    • There are several moves that aren't mentioned in the manual or game or are described inaccurately:
    • Holding sprint and pressing jump while holding onto a flat wall to kick off for it a 180 turn.
    • Holding walk and pressing action with Lara's back to a ledge to back flip and grab it.
    • Holding action down works better for the safety grab when sliding down a slope.
    • There's nothing telling you that the strength upgrade in The Lost Domain is the sprint-jump upgrade. This isn't a problem on PS2 as they increased the timed door timer to be doable without it, but it's vital on PC.
    • Weapons now have damage effected by range, but outside of the weapon descriptions hinting at it nothing tells you, and the various handguns have a longer lock-on range than the shotgun/submachine guns.
  • Good Old Fisticuffs: The first TR game to let Lara melee enemies with punches/kicks if she runs out of ammo.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: The opening cutscene of the game.
  • Hooker with a Heart of Gold: Janice. No matter how you choose to have Lara talk to her, Janice will be more than willing to provide you with the information you're looking for.
  • If I Had a Nickel...: Well, it seems that nickels aren't good enough for Lara...
    Lara: If I had a coconut for every time a lunatic said something like that...
  • Immortal Life Is Cheap: Good luck killing the skeletons you come across as you can only get rid of them by knocking them down a pit. Oddly, the PC version allows you to kill the skeletons in The Vault Of Trophies after knocking them down a few times while the PlayStation 2 version has them invincible like the skeletons in other levels.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Kurtis
  • Join or Die: The offer that Karel extends to Lara to become "part of a benign new order in the world", after he reveals himself to be the real Big Bad.
  • Leave No Witnesses: Louis Bouchard and Gunderson will make sure of that.
  • The Man Behind the Man: It was Joachim Karel all along.
  • Never Found the Body: The final cutscene implies that Kurtis survived.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Lara's strength/stamina bar increases when she performs specific actions at random occurrences throughout the game. These were intended to be part of a more RPG-like skill system, which was clearly unfinished, almost to a comical degree. Lara mysteriously gains the ability to sprint when she opens a cupboard, and somehow gains strength at one point by jumping.
  • Night of the Living Mooks: Skeletal knights return in this game.
  • No Fair Cheating: Perhaps unintentionally. Using the Level Select cheat to avoid an untimely demise in certain parts of the game where a cutscene would normally occur before then (most notably the Wrath of the Beast level) will cause the game to softlock.
  • No-Gear Level: The first couple of levels could really be considered as this, as Lara is unarmed and without her backpack up until the end of the Parisian Streets level.
    • The same can be said of Von Croy's Apartment, after Kurtis takes your weapons.
  • Non-Indicative Name: The titular angel of darkness refers to the Proto-Nephilim... which looks like some sort of giant, spike-covered rat beast, not even close to the traditional depiction of a semi-humanoid angel being. In a way, the Leviathan as well: it is a sea-dwelling beast, but it's not as big as the name would suggest.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: Taking too long to escape Carvier's apartment after getting the notebook results in the police storming in and arresting Lara. Likewise, getting too aggressive with Bouchard when you first meet him has him pull out a gun and he shoots Lara dead.
  • Not the Fall That Kills You…: It's a long way down in the Tomb of the Ancients level.
    • Soft Water: As demonstrated in the Aquatic Research Area level.
  • Power-Up Food: Health items are no longer limited to two kinds of med packs, as the weakest is now a chocolate bar that restores only 10 percent of your health.
  • Professional Killer: The Cleaner in Von Croy's Apartment.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: Depending on the player's playstyle, Lara can end up killing or knocking out various police/Louvre security personnel while trying to clear her name of Von Croy's murder. Her stealth takedown animation on them is a knock-out punch instead of a neck snap, and it's possible to dispatch the Louvre guards with a non-lethal taser/dart gun if the player chooses.
  • Role Called: This is the first game in the series to use the "Lara Croft Tomb Raider" prefix in its title, to tie it in with the movies (as The Cradle of Life was just around the corner); this titling scheme would last until Anniversary.
  • Sea Monster: The Leviathan, encountered twice in-game. Despite its name, it's about the size of a crocodile or a big shark.
  • Serial Killer: There's one roaming the streets of Paris, hence the premise of the game.
  • Shield-Bearing Mook: The most irritating thing when combating skeletons, though getting point-blank lets Lara fire over their shields.
  • Shop Fodder: The fun part about the Parisian Ghetto level is that you can optionally collect such things and sell them in order to get a Scorpion-X later.
  • Shown Their Work: While the game went through infamous Development Hell, the devs did a surprisingly good job due to finally having a budget to work with. This included extensive location hunting in Paris and Prague and a few day-long visits to the Louvre. Guards of the museum finally started to question the guys doing the location hunt if they were planning a robbery.
  • Sinister Shades: Eckhardt
  • Spikes of Villainy: The Proto-Nephilim is covered in thorn-like spikes.
  • Spinventory
  • Stat Meters
    • Life Meter
    • Oxygen Meter: For your everyday swimming underwater purposes, and this time, surviving in poisonous gas.
    • Strength Meter: If Lara is shimmying, a strength/stamina meter is shown. The stronger Lara becomes, the slower this bar takes to deplete.
      • Oddly enough, sprinting in this game does not sap stamina, unlike earlier games.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: Most notably the pawn shop.
  • Surprisingly Sudden Death: What seems to happen at the end of Boaz Returns, when Kurtis is suddenly stabbed through the chest by Boaz's second form after winning the fight. Ultimately averted, however, as the final cutscene reveals that his body is missing. Word of God later confirmed that Kurtis did in fact survive.
  • Touch of Death: Eckhardt has the electric touch, don't you know.
  • Trial-and-Error Gameplay: Good luck figuring out how much of the platforming paths works in some of the levels without falling and having to try over or dying repeatedly like the infamous pillars in the level Breath of Hades. Just like past games, sometimes what walls are climbable is not obvious.
  • Turned Against Their Masters: The Proto-Nephilim ends up attacking and mauling the very people that created it (or rather, their hapless mooks).
  • The Unfought: Marten Gunderson and Dr. Grant Muller.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: Margot Carvier
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: What exactly happened to Kurtis' body?
  • World of Snark: Most of the people Lara can interact with in-game are on the receiving end of her infamous snark, but manage to give as good as they get - particularly in the Parisian Ghetto.
    Lara: [Approaching Janice, a prostitute] Not a lot of passing trade at this hour?
    Janice: [Unfazed] Move along, ma cher - you make the place look crowded.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment: Sure, you could be a total Jerkass to everyone you meet, but being an ass to the wrong person can either have someone not being helpful to you (which can make the path ahead more difficult) or even cause an outright Non-Standard Game Over (such as being a jerk to a gangster leader when he's clearly armed).

Alternative Title(s): Tomb Raider Angel Of Darkness, Lara Croft Tomb Raider The Angel Of Darkness