Review by KFHEWUI
The Last Revelation fixes the flaws of the third game while also adding new improvements
After the disappointment of Tomb Raider III, it seemed the series was running out of steam, but in the fourth installment called The Last Revelation, Core decided to tell of the origin of Lara's interest in archeology. Beginning with Lara as a teenager going on her first expedition with Professor Werner Von Croy then shifting to present day where Lara embarks on her latest adventure.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation marks a shift in the series, and one of the biggest changes is the addition of a story. While I-III had a little story, The Last Revelation has more story development and is told through numerous cut scenes throughout the game. For a series that had little story change, this increased story telling is different, and it is actually pulled off very well. There is a unique and nicely told story while it is enjoyable one issue I have with it is how it is left open for Chronicles.
The same engine is used for the previous games and at the point most engines would be showing their age however that is not the case for The Last Revelation which boosts impressive visuals. In the outdoor parts, there is a lovely sky with clouds passing by, and some parts of the game take place during dusk with an orange sky that is lovely. A nice touch with the graphics is how Lara will leave footprints in the sand. Character and enemy models are much improve, and the characters and enemies no longer have a blocky look. While there was a nice improvement in the third game, Lara's model was perfected in this game, and her limbs have a more natural look them. Textures in the game are crisp and clean, and the rock textures look much better now they actually look like a rock instead of a brown paper with random streaks of different shades of brown on it. The CG cut scenes in the game are gorgeous and stunning, and there are numerous amounts of cut scenes throughout the game.
The Last Revelation begins with teenage Lara on her first expedition with her mentor Werner Von Croy, and this first level is a simple tutorial that teaches the basics to the player. Level is designed nicely to incorporate the mechanics of the game without them looking like they are sticking out of place, and it also teaches the control scheme. The same control scheme from the third game is used, and any one that has played that game will feel right at home with the controls. Those that have not will be able to grasp the controls very quickly yet the controls feel solid and responsive. Layout it is great however the game supports analog mode however the layout for it is awkward and is best to not mess with it.
The second level of the game is race against Von Croy, and it is simply a level to allow the player to mess around with the controls. Sadly it is the last of teenage Lara for the game yet the game leaps a head to present day with Lara in Egypt on her latest quest. This is where the game returns to the gameplay of the series. Lara must still avoid traps, solve puzzles, swim, and collect items to help her on her quest, but the levels in this game are shorter compared to previous games. While this may sound disappointing, there is a good reason why and unlike previous games, some of the levels in The Last Revelation are connected meaning that Lara will have progress back-and-forth between the levels for items to solve puzzles to move forward. For this reason, it makes this the longest game of the series with around a ten to fifteen hours single player campaign. Thankfully the level designs are much more forgiving than Tomb Raider III without the jumps that are towards awkwardly place ledges but some of the swimming sequences can be frustrating due to the passages be very narrow which makes it easy to get stuck on the edge of the passage. There is a great variety of levels in the game including a market town, tombs, lake, library, pyramids, and one of my favorite levels, a train ride.
Lara does gain a few new abilities for the game with one of the abilities being able to grab and swing upon a rope, but there is a problem with it. Grabbing the rope can be troublesome because it does involve timing and secondly getting the rope to swing can be frustrating. Shimming received any update so now Lara can shimmy around corners when she is holding onto a ledge. Lara can also now combine items together like a revolver with a scope for sniping enemies or other items can be combined to create a key or key item needed to progress forward.
Combat in the game still acts the same with Lara having to draw and/or holster her weapon, but there seems to be a more even amount of animals and humans to fight. Including the return of crocodiles, scorpions, and dogs to name a few, and the enemy AI received a slight update. For example some enemies have a shield they can use to block bullets until Lara draws near so they can attack her. One new touch is that Lara can aim at different enemies with dual weapons so if an enemy is bum rushing Lara and another enemy is to her left then she will attack one with the left pistol while attacking the bum rusher with her right pistol. Lara's arsenal includes her standard pistols, shotgun, Uzis, grenade launcher, crossbow, and revolver, and what is a first for the series, some of the weapons have different types of ammo that can be used. For example the crossbow can use poisoned tip bolts or plain bolts. Also worth noting that scorpions can poison Lara if they sting her and a health kit must be used to cure the poison.
There is a large variety of traps in the game including spike pits, lava, and rotating blades. One nice new addition is that at a few parts there is part of the floor that contains fake ground, and a mirror in the background reveals which parts of the ground are a trap and the path to take. There are a few other unique puzzles including one where Lara has to activate a pulley to open doors for her guide and the reason why is because he has a torch that will light up one of the rooms. The light will reveal on the floor the safe path through the room.
Save system received an update and once again the player can save at any time, but it costs two blocks for a single file. Another good change from TR III is that now when items are picked up, the game will show the player what they picked up in the lower corner. Secrets return to the game with a whooping total of seventy in all scattered across the game, but not all levels will have a secret. Lara will be able to drive vehicles in the game, and this time she will be able to drive a jeep and motorcycle however the sequences are very brief.
The Last Revelation is the first Tomb Raider game which the soundtrack was not composed by Nathan McCree, but the new composer, Peter Connelly, creates a great soundtrack. A few tracks are reused from previous games like the chime used for secrets however the new tracks are great. Now the music has been fixed so that when one track is interrupted it will continue playing after the second tune stops like if a secret is found while a track is playing, the track will resume after the chime ends. One thing the music does is create a great atmosphere like in The Temple of Karnak where just the wind is blowing, and it creates a calming feeling however it is just a false sense. Sound effects are great, and I like how Lara's footsteps change depending on what surface she is running on. Voice acting in the game is great with each actor doing a good job of portraying their character.
While the game is long, the replay value is slim other than replaying the game. Unlike the Dreamcast version, the PS1 and PC do not have unlockable artwork however on the flipside, the controls are a complete mess on the DC port.
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation righted all the wrongs that Tomb Raider III did while also adding new game mechanics but despite the lack of replay value, the game is still a solid experience that made the future look bright for the series.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Product Release: Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation (US, 12/06/99)
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