Tomb Raider III and TR
III: The Lost Artifact
Tomb Raider III is the third adventure of Lara Croft, adventuress. Aspyr Media are again handling the Mac version, and the porting to Mac is by Westlake Interactive (now owned by MacSoft) who ported both previous versions so well.
Tomb Raider III takes Lara to new places, from India to Antarctica, with new enemies and vehicles, and extra weapons. Core Design put a lot of work into making the game more realistic and the improvements in the graphics are excellent. Smoke from the weapons and cartridge cases ejecting; new water with ripples; special effects like rain, snow, mist, sunbeams - it's visually stunning in Voodoo or RAVE.
Lara also has more moves - ducking, crawling, swinging, sprinting, and a rolling dive from the sprint (useful to beat a closing door). All the previous moves are there, so the movement through the game is more complex, with extra keyboard controls.
The new weapons include the MP5 (similar to, and replacing the M-16 in TR II), Desert Eagle (heavy single shot pistol, replacing the Auto Pistols), and rocket launcher (an extra weapon for TR III). These are in addition to the pistols, shotgun, Uzis, speargun and grenade launcher from TR II.
There are new triangular textures which make the terrain through which you travel appear more realistic, and ripples on the water from Lara's legs, raindrops, cartridge cases etc. are handled by the use of flat textures which work quite well.
The new vehicles include a Quad Bike, Kayak, Underwater Propulsion Vehicle, Mine Cart, and a Boat. In the Training level, there is an extended Obstacle Course including basic weapons training, as well as a secret Quad Bike track to practice on. However, for the most difficult vehicles (the Kayak and Mine Cart) there is no training, so you have to learn as you go.
There are still lots of pickups, but the secrets are now much harder to find in many cases. Also, all these are now textures, which makes them a lot harder to see as well. My advice in previous versions to look absolutely everywhere around you, is now extended to looking in places you can't see as well. Is that log hollow? What's under that leafy branch? You also come across some large green Crystals which restore Lara's health - just walk through them. The secrets might include Crystals, weapons, ammunition, Medi Packs, or in one case, a key.
You'll meet new dangers and helpers along the way. In the India levels you come across a lot of monkeys - some are aggressive, some friendly, some helpful, and some will steal pickups if you let them. The tigers are more aggressive and will keep at you if you let them, and there are Cobras just where you don't expect them. In general, the AI has been improved so enemy behaviour is more realistic - in keeping with the increased realism of the game itself.
TR III is a worthwhile update to a game that has earned its place in gaming history. My only criticism might be that it is basically more of the same, but if you love TR I & II and want more, here it is with bells on. I'm sure you'll all find it as interesting as I have.
Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact (TR III Gold) (updated 9 December 2007)
'Tomb Raider: The Lost Artifact' is a set of 6 extra levels for Tomb Raider III, played as a separate game. This is a refreshingly different TR, set in a Scottish castle, the Channel Tunnel, a secret underwater laboratory, and a French seaside town. It has some very tricky traps, and some good puzzles. The levels are linked quite well, and the story's coherent (although a bit far-fetched, but what's new?)
Lara is on the trail of the fifth artifact - the Hand of Rathmore - companion to the four she found in the original TR III. She found clues on Dr Willard after his defeat at the end of TR III which sent her to his castle on Loch Ness in Scotland. In the vein of previous versions, there are many traps to negotiate, and bad guys to neutralise. There are also some surprises, such as the 'true' meaning of the Loch Ness monster! Watch out for new enemies, including some big, hairy, kilted Scotsmen wielding Claymores (a large sword). (Here's your chance to find out what a Scotsman wears under his kilt ;-) You will also meet one of Lara's arch enemies from the original game, as the 'boss bad guy' in the sixth level - 'Reunion'.
TR: TLA is a lot of fun, and possibly even surpasses the original TR III for sheer enjoyment. The TR: TLA Mac release is included in the TR Trilogy set, released by Aspyr Media 18 July 2001. It is not available for separate download, and the Trilogy set is no longer listed for sale so it can be difficult to find these days.
Playing in OS X Classic (7 October 2006)
For tips on playing Tomb Raider III in OS X Classic, I've now posted a dedicated page!
Walkthroughs (updated 9 December 2007)
These Walkthroughs and Tips are the result of my extensive experiences and have been carefully checked to give you the most direct routes. They give you enough information to complete each level, with hints or details about every pickup and Secret.
Look for the * in these walks - it means there's something nearby. All the pickups I flag are gettable, but some are very hard! Search every corner of every area you enter, but get rid of any threats first. Please note that I don't generally include any pickups the bad guys might be carrying, so always check them out as well (they don't all carry goodies though...)
When you extract the download, if the walkthrough won't open in your browser automatically by clicking on it, then open it from within the browser, or Drag&Drop it onto your browser's icon!
The TR III download contains the following walkthroughs:
Tomb Raider III -
Tomb Raider III The Lost Artifact
Notes - Look for the * in these walkthroughs - it means there's a pickup nearby. I haven't flagged the secrets separately, but if you find all the pickups I've flagged you should get all the secrets! A (C) means a crystal is close (these crystals restore part of your health, and repair poison damage). Just walk through the crystal to use it. Note that there are no crystals in TR III Gold! (The crystals originate in the PlayStation versions of TR I, II, and III, where they were savegame crystals.)
After the India levels, go to Nevada - it gives you the best chance to get plenty of ammo for the final Antarctic levels. Also, hang onto as many Rockets and Desert Eagle rounds as possible for the final confrontation.
There are many alternative routes through TR 3 - these walkthroughs give the route to get all the secrets. Check the areas out, but use the savegames to return to this route if necessary. Getting all the secrets gives you access to the bonus level 'All Hallows', and the chance to start a new game with all ammo etc.
Special thanks to Andy's T-Raider site for help with some of the more obscure details :-)
Hints and Tips (updated 9 December 2007)
This Gameplay Tips download contains information on all versions of TR up to TR Chronicles, most of which is applicable to Mac, PC, and PlayStation!
Topics covered include the Weapons, Enemies, Moves, Vehicles, Bugs, and Cheats; as well as some Mac-specific information about watching the FMV's, and a neat way to see the TRC Main Menu Flyby and Special Features without that annoying text!
Downloads (Mac game only!) (updated 9 December 2007)
Savegames should be dropped into the Save folder in your Tomb Raider folder. Don't forget to remove your own saves first, and keep them in a separate folder. If a ReadMe is included, check it so you know what to do. Note that you can use a maximum of 15 or 16 savegames in the Save folder at one time depending on the game.
tr3_levelsaves.zip (49k) This pack contains savegames from the start of each level in TR III from the second level in India, and includes the bonus level. Each area (India, Nevada etc.) is in a separate folder - drop the contents one at a time into your TR III Save folder.
tr3gold_levelsaves.zip (18k) This pack contains a savegame at the start of every one of the 6 levels in The Lost Artifact. Drop the savegames into your Save folder (remove your own saves first and place them in a safe storage folder). Note that this pack of savegames is also available on Stella's site as an HQX if you have a download problem here.
Slowdowns - not a bug as such, but related to the machine specs. These occur when some machinery is on-screen. For example, the stationary generators in Antarctica, which vibrate and produce some steam, cause a slowdown while they are visible (probably due to the movement). Not a particular problem on a fast machine, but may cause problems on slower machines. To remedy, get the machinery off-screen as soon as possible.
Tomb Raider III second run (all weapons) bug - From 'Becky' - once you complete your first run through TR 3, find enough secrets, and get the bonus level 'All Hallows', you are able to start a new game with all weapons. You are not able to control the order you can do the areas - you are forced to repeat them in the same order as your first run through. However, there seems to be a bug with this run - you may find that you are unable to do all areas. That is, you may be sent to Antarctica before completing all the other locations.
There are also errors with the vehicle controls in the TR III manual:
Quad Bike (India & Training) - to dismount, use the Roll key, together with the left or right direction key. The handbrake is the Sprint (/) key, and is needed to use the 'turbo'.
Mine Cart (Antarctica) - the dismount is as for the Quad Bike above.
Boat (Antarctica) - the Jump key is reverse, not just a brake. The Sprint (/) key gives extra speed, but Lara can lose health if the boat hits anything.