Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (commonly referred as Tomb Raider 4) is an action-adventure platform game developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. It is the fourth entry in the famed Tomb Raider series of video games, and the first one released on the Sega Dreamcast. It was released for the PlayStation on November 19th, 1999 (December 6th in America), for the PC on December 3rd, 1999 (November 23rd in America), and for the Sega Dreamcast on March 24th, 2000 (March 27th in America).
- The tutorial is rather poor for series veterans, since it goes over moves that they most likely already got to grips with in previous games. Also, unlike Croft Manor in the other games, this tutorial cannot be skipped, meaning you have to do it even if you don't want to. Even worse is that there are new moves in this game, but the tutorial either explains them poorly, or doesn't cover them at all. For instance, you can now shimmy around corners while edge hanging, but the game doesn't tell you that!
- Lara's actions make her seem more reckless this time around; instead of reading the artefact she is seeking before removing it from its resting place, she instead removes it, takes it outside, and then reads the inscription. She actually instigates Armageddon because of her actions! And this isn't last time in the series she does this, either...
- Poor objective conveyance; players accustomed to how things worked in previous titles are likely to be left scratching their heads when they can't figure out what to do next. Examples include shooting a ball off a pedestal to alter the environment, doors can be opened by hand, and interactable surfaces don't pop to signify they can be interacted with. Again, nothing in the tutorial indicates any of this!
- There is a lot more backtracking compared to previous entries, and it can get tedious; since levels are more connected to each other, you may find yourself going back and forth between levels just to complete one goal. Becomes especially problematic if you forget an important item in the previous area.
- The game is much longer than its predecessors due to the number of levels increasing from 19 in Tomb Raider 3 (20 if the secret level is unlocked) to 35 in this one, and the aforementioned backtracking issue.
- The new rope swinging mechanic is awful; aside from being poorly explained in the tutorial, it is incredibly difficult to make accurate leaps between multiple rope if there are more than one; it was so bad in fact, that walkthrough maker badassgamez (known for his No Med-Pack runs of the classic Tomb Raider games) went as far as boycott the rope swinging wherever he thought he could get away with doing so.
- Some of the game's puzzles practically require prior knowledge of the game to solve them, which just isn't possible for newcomers, especially when backtracking is involved.
- Lara's sex appeal is put on full display more than ever in this game, and it is almost a distraction; she is given narrower shoulders, a lower cut top, a higher trim at the bottom (exposing her hips a little), and tighter, more detailed shorts accentuating her rear a lot more. The increased number of more suggestive camera angles certainly doesn't help; while this has always been a thing in previous games, they were never this brazen with flaunting Lara's sex appeal until this entry to where it can subtract from everything else in the game.
- The Alexandria Crossing level is probably the biggest highlight of the adventure, as it takes place on a moving train.
- The graphics have been upgraded, with Lara receiving a more detailed model; she is also far less blocky than previous entries with her limbs now properly rendered instead of looking like a Rock'em Sock 'em robot.
- The voice acting has also improved, with Jonell Elliott replacing Judith Gibbons as Lara Croft, and delivering a good blend of snobby, but classy.
- There is one standout puzzle, and that is the Game of Twenty Squares against a spirit. Its inclusion does show a great level of research by the developers.
- The game finally allows players to create multiple save slots! Now they can have a backup save in case they get into an unwinnable situation.
- Rather than globetrotting, the game takes place entirely in Egypt, which works well with the archaeological themes the series is known for: raiding tombs.
- There are more in-game cinematics in this game, emphasizing story more than the previous entries. These cutscenes are higher in quality as well with actual lip movement (sort of)as opposed to blank static faces.
- As mentioned before, the way Lara's sex appeal is flaunted throughout the game is nothing more than a distraction, and nothing else. It doesn't ruin the game by any means, and is not worth getting outraged over.
By the fourth consecutive year of doing nothing but Tomb Raider games, in addition to Eidos Interactive's strict deadlines for annual releases, the team at Core Design were beginning to suffer from creative and franchise fatigue, as seeing Lara Croft all the time was growing tiresome. According to designer, Andy Sandham, the team secretly hatched a plan to kill Lara off in the fourth game, and were able to do so thanks to two weeks of upper management being completely off-hand with the project. The end result is that Lara is killed off, but the team was severely reprimanded when the CEO of Core Design, Jeremy Heath-Smith, found out what they did:
"We all wanted to kill Lara. Looking at Lara's avatar all day every day for two years was about as much as some of us could take. Management were pretty hands off, so for two weeks, we hatched a plan to kill Lara, and followed it through to fruition. By 'fruition' I mean [Jeremy Heath-Smith, Core Design CEO] finding out we had killed her and it was too far gone to reverse it, and taking us into his office and shouting at us." --Andy Sandham
The team's plan to kill off the main star backfired, as the higher ups found a way to circumvent Lara's death by making the next entry an anthology of sorts. Since the team was so tired of Tomb Raider, their fatigue and lack of motivation carried over to the next game, Tomb Raider Chronicles, which key members admitted they only did it for a paycheck. The team unwillingness to continue with the series reflected heavily on Chronicles' reception and sales.