Tomb Raider: The Last
See also my page 'The Mythology and History in TLR' - included in my TLR Walkthroughs download. This page includes some short notes on the gods, locations etc in TLR.
'Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation' is the fourth Lara Croft adventure. This new adventure sends Lara back to her 'roots', and is set in several locations in Egypt, with the exception of the Training levels, which are in Cambodia. Also, the Training levels are now compulsory - you cannot commence the game proper until you complete them. The interface has been changed, and the menu ring has been replaced with a list. There is a demo-style cutscene running behind the interface as you enter the game, similar to the demo's in the Mac version of TRII (it's worth watching the complete cutscene to get an intro to the game). So, right from the start it 'feels' quite different, which is not a bad thing.
The game starts in 1984 with the training levels. The teenage Lara is accompanied by her mentor Professor Werner Von Croy - he leads the young Lara through the ruins of Angkor Wat, explaining the moves you need to make as you go. It's important to use these levels to hone Lara's skills, and in particular the new moves. These include rope and pole climbing, and there are a couple of opportunities to practice rope use in the Training. The most difficult move Lara's yet had is using ropes and it's well worth spending time to learn how. Pole climbing has similar types of moves, but is a lot easier than ropes due to the pole being more rigid. A bonus cutscene in the Training explains how Lara got the backpack which is so much a part of her later.
After a race at the end of Training, you find yourself with the adult Lara in a cavern in Egypt in the present day. The puzzles are similar in some ways to the earlier TR's, but a lot of effort has been put into the graphics, and into making new style solutions to the puzzles.
Graphics - the new terrain textures are a big improvement on previous versions. Not only are they much 'sharper' with more detail, but they have a much more realistic appearance. One consequence is that Lara sometimes has a lot of difficulty negotiating the terrain, and can easily get 'stuck' at the texture joins etc. while underwater. This was a small irritation in TRIII, but is sometimes a real problem now. My advice is to always save your game before swimming down an underwater passage.
Lara - there are now two different Lara models. One is at age 16 in the Training levels, where she is physically smaller and younger looking. She also seems to interact differently with the terrain due to her smaller size, and lighter weight (for example, she appears to have less ability to swing the ropes). The new adult Lara has also been improved, and she now has a more natural appearance - particularly her hair. And the extra rope and pole climbing moves add even more realism.
Puzzles - although the puzzles are similar, and involve finding stuff and opening doors etc, the details are now quite different. For example, you may need to find two items to open a door, and combine them in the inventory before they will work. There's not too much guesswork, as they are clearly identified as needing to be put together, but it's an extra complexity. However, the real change is to the way Lara uses objects. Switches and levers are now more realistic, and there are now many more options on how Lara can progress. An example is the different ways she might use to open a door - it could be a switch, or a key, or she may need to use a crowbar to lever it open. Some doors she can just open by hand, others she may kick open. Things may be in sight, or could be hidden in pottery jars or packing cases. Another example is where Lara needs to release a boulder trap consisting of a boulder hanging from a rope. To do it she needs to find a torch nearby, light it in a fire (without getting too close...) and then use the lit torch to burn the rope suspending the boulder so it falls out of the way.
Progression - Lara's path through the game is now much less linear, even less so than in TRIII. Not only is it possible to do a level in a different order, but it is possible to skip levels entirely by taking a wrong turn, only to realise later that something's wrong. Also, there are occasions where Lara is of necessity moving back and forth between adjacent levels to proceed, and I believe that this is needlessly complex. A comparison could be with the Tibetan levels in TRII, where Lara retraces parts of a previous level. However, in TR4 it is not simply retracing sections of previous levels, but actually changing levels. In one area, Lara leaves a level (Coastal Ruins) and enters the next (Catacombs). After doing one thing, she then needs to retrace her steps, and the game puts her back in the previous level, when all she has to do is to get to another part of the puzzle via the previous level. This can be very confusing, and you need to be careful to search areas very carefully to be sure you're doing the right thing.
Overall impression - The first thing you notice is the greater graphic detail, with camera lens flare and complex terrain. Then you find the puzzles adding to the experience. The attention given to small details like cartridge cases splashing droplets as they fall into water, and Lara dripping after leaving the water, gives extra, subtle touches.
In a word, the difference is realism. The game's a lot harder, and much more immersive - more than ever before, you really feel you are there with Lara. The advances made between TRIII and TLR are in many ways much greater than ever before, and where TRIII showed improvements over the earlier versions, TLR is a distinctly different type of experience.
The Last Revelation is the most difficult, most immersive, best looking, and most atmospheric Tomb Raider of them all. Lara looks and moves so naturally now it's sometimes hard to believe she's just a collection of textures. It has some brilliant puzzles, and a well thought out and believable plot. There are excellent FMV's to link levels, and also a lot more cut-scenes to explain the plot. The FMV's are close to cinema standard now, with realistic faces and expressions. No longer is Lara just dropped into a level, with the player having little idea of what it's all about.
My only criticisms might be that it is sometimes very confusing, and maybe a little repetitive. But is that such a bad thing when the experience is so good?
Whether The Last Revelation becomes the definitive Tomb Raider or not, only time will tell. For me, it will be very hard to beat TRII, but maybe that's because it was my first adventure with Lara and has a special place because of it. The Last Revelation is certainly a brilliant game and outshines all the previous versions in terms of its capacity to draw you into Lara's world and immerse you in the experience with her. As a gaming experience it's as close to perfection as you can get today, and again sets new standards for the style of gameplaying that Core Design invented in 1996 with Tomb Raider I. Indiana Jones, eat your heart out! (It's worth noting that the Core Design team put a small tribute in Last Revelation to the inspiration for the Tomb Raider games, Indiana Jones. It's in the'young Lara' levels in Angkor Wat, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled! It still cracks me up ;-)
Playing in OS X Classic (7 October 2006)
For tips on playing Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation 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 'P' 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: TLR download contains the following walkthroughs and information:
Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation -
Notes - Watch out for Pickups and Secret areas (it's easier to think of Secrets as areas rather than items in TLR, as you are often credited with a Secret before you pick up any goodies). Where there are Pickups, I indicate them with the quantity and the letter P - e.g 3P. If a Secret is included, I indicate it as S. Therefore you may see something like 3PS - this means a total of 3 Pickups, which include a Secret. Counting the eight Secrets in the training levels, there are a total of 70 in TLR, so keep a good lookout!
In TLR there are a lot more levels than before - at least 56 in total, depending on the route you take, but some are quite short. As usual, my walkthroughs will take the most direct route, getting all the Secrets and the maximum goodies, but I will also mention the alternative routes. To save confusion, I've listed every time you change levels as a separate level, even if it's just a short transit.
I've included explanations of some of the history and mythology behind the game and I've also detailed a shortcut in 'Hypostyle Hall II' which uses the Corner Bug, and a trick in 'Cleopatra's Palaces II' to get some free extra goodies :-)
Thanks to Chad's walkthrough, and the Prima TR: TLR Guide for hints to a couple of the more difficult puzzles. In particular, Chad's walkthroughs gave me the hint that all was not as it appeared in 'Tomb of Semerkhet' and sent me searching, and the Prima Guide tipped me off about two Secrets in the Pyramid levels. The rest is pretty much all my own work. Thanks guys :-)
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.
The Last Revelation 1.0.2 patch is no longer available at Aspyr. However it is posted at Stella's site - go to her Last Revelation page and click on Patches. I hope to be able to post it here before too long...
I won't be posting any savegame sets for TLR (too many files, too little bandwidth...), but if you need a savegame to get you past a problem you're welcome to contact me and I'll do my best to help!
Binocular light bug in 'Temple of Horus Pt I' - If the binoculars are selected and the light switched on in the large cavern in 'Temple of Horus Pt I' prior to fitting the armour, the game can crash. No solution that I'm aware of, except not to use the light with the binoculars. There's also a problem with the flares, in that they may not work while Lara's holding them but do work when she drops them, however this doesn't affect the stability of the game. Thanks to Tom for this one! (This problem is common to the PC version as well, and the flare issue is a well known bug with TRLE Custom Levels - it's known as the 'Flare Bug', and is possibly caused by excessive flame emitters in a level.)
Savegames - (not a 'bug' as such, rather the way the game is designed.) When you save your game it only saves to RAM until you quit TLR - then it writes to disk. So if the game freezes and you have to do a force restart you may lose all saves since the last time you started TLR. However, if the game crashes to the desktop, the savegames will probably be OK. To reduce the problem, get TLR as stable as possible, and Quit regularly. Every time I quit I also copy all the saves to an archive folder so if I lose them I have backups. This also applies to Screenshots. (This also happens in TRC.)
RAVE graphics - there is a known issue regarding refresh rates and RAVE which stops the game running. However I've observed that this may also occur even though you CAN play the game - it may cause random crashes during gameplay. Check the TLR Read Me for more details (it's installed with the game). (I've always preferred Voodoo to RAVE as it seems to have less problems, but TLR has no Voodoo support and never will now Voodoo is officially deceased ...) NOTE - the TR: TLR 1.0.2 updater seems to have fixed the RAVE problem - use the link in the downloads entry above to get the updater.
Bug in Cleopatra's Palaces II - There's a bug in this level which will prevent Lara from being able to grab the ridged ceiling in the Golden Lara room to swing across the room and gain access to the upper levels. When you've used the Mechanical Scarab for the third time, you MUST pick it up before going on - it must not be left on the floor, even though it's of no more use to you (although it is OK to use it the fourth time so it destroys itself). Thanks to 'Mette' for sending me a savegame with this problem, so I could work out what was going wrong!
There are also errors with the vehicle controls in the TR: TLR manual:
Land Rover ('Jeep') (Valley of the Kings, KV 5) - To get into the Land Rover, use Action at either side door. Use the Left and Right Arrow keys to steer. To accelerate, use Action. To brake, use Jump. To select reverse gear, use Sprint. To select forward gear, use Walk. To exit the vehicle, use Jump + Left Arrow key.
Motorcycle (Cairo levels) - To get on, use Action on the right hand side. Steer with the Left and Right Arrow keys. Pull back (reverse) with the Down Arrow key. To accelerate use Action. To brake, use Jump. To dismount use Jump + Right Arrow key. To activate Nitro use the / key.