Have You Played… Tomb Raider Chronicles?

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.

I wrote last month asking if you’d played Tomb Raider 2. But I was being shy. What I really wanted to know if is you’ve played Chronicles?

Here’s what I love about Tomb Raider Chronicles: Lara’s dead for the whole game. Oh, and also some fantastic level design, the original series at its smoothest and most competent, and there’s an entire chapter on a submarine.

At the end of the rather flat Tomb Raider: The Last Revelation, Lara dies. People seemed to not notice that at the time. A temple falls on her at the end. It’s the most peculiarly odd way to end a game in which you’ve been aiding Lara in preventing temples from falling on her – to have a cutscene do it to her anyway. It was hard to think anything other than, “Just reload.”

But Chronicles sticks with that, and this is a game told via the memories of a bunch of old stuffy gentlemen sat around a fire, after her funeral. Each section is a recalled old adventure, allowing the different parts to be disjointed, and thus wildly different from each other. And that really aids the game, gives it a chance to feel like a ‘best of’, despite all being brand new. It’s an awful lot of fun, but was woefully underrated at the time more due to fatigue with the license rather than any inherent flaws in the game itself. It’s well worth returning.

16 Comments

  1. Troubletcat says:

    Yes! In fact, although it wasn’t the first Tomb Raider game I PLAYED, Chronicles was the first Tomb Raider game I bought, and the only one I ever bought on disc other than Tomb Raider 2 (which is a vastly inferior game).

    Tomb Raider Chronicles is absolutely wonderful. I love how much variety there is. I also remember finding it a much less frustratingly fiddly experience than any of the other early Tomb Raider games.

    I’ve still got the disc, maybe I should see if I can get it running on Windows 10.

  2. MrFinnishDude says:

    Man, those new Tomb Raiders are supposed to be prequels to the old Tomb Raiders right? Does that mean that Lara at some point went from being a traumatized, helpless young woman, to getting a boob job and being a total Indiana Jones-y bad ass in short shorts and catsuits? The canonity of this series baffles me.

    • Troubletcat says:

      Well the whole “Going from traumatized, helpless young woman” to “Indiana Jones-y bad ass” was kind of the point of the reboot.

      As for the boobs and the outfit… I’m guessing that’s the plot of the next one.

    • lowprices says:

      Think of it like the Batman films: the PS1-era Core games are the fun, Tim Burton originals, Angel of Darkness was the Joel Schumacher low- point, and now the current games are the grumpy Christopher Nolan reboot, unrelated to what came before.

      • X_kot says:

        Yeah, it’s better not to force them all into the same continuity: you risk running into Terminator-level problems. Not pretty.

        • welverin says:

          I think you mean Highlander, time travel in Terminator precludes any continuity problems, because the timeline is changed every time it happens.

          Highlander movies preclude the existence of each other. Not that there was more than one, of course.

        • Jay Load says:

          Pfft. 30 years of watching the Transformers franchise balloon into a Multiverse, Megaverse AND Omniverse means I can probably untangle a set of Christmas tree lights tangled into a ball the size of Earth itself.

          You paltry Tomb Raider continuity problems are the lullabies we sing to our children.

          • Jay Load says:

            I stopped playing TR games after TR2 until TR Anniversary got me back into them. I simply adored the first game but I think I might have suffered a bad Hipster reaction to her UltraSuperMega-Fame of the time, but it possibly also coincided with my getting my first PC and not the PS2. TR ports on the PC at the time were abominable, so I think I wandered off and started playing other stuff.

            So no, I’ve never played this one. Shame, as people are saying some lovely things about it. Might be one I have to track down and visit because when the games were at their best they were magical experiences.

          • Jay Load says:

            Well…now my second comment is in the wrong place, dammit. Bloody missing edit function! /harrumph

    • TWChristine says:

      I think most people are seeing the new games as “prequels” when I believe that may be kind of what they’re doing as in telling the story of how she got into all this tomb raiding aspect; however, these are more-so intended as a reboot than actually connecting 100% to what came before. That’s just my understanding though.

      • Xocrates says:

        Not to mention that there are multiple continuities, all of which with blurry outlines.

        The Legend/Anniversary/Underworld continuity is openly contradictory to the new games, and even though Anniversary is a remake it’s not necessarily in the Core games continuity.

        And then you have the Lara Croft games, that appear to be in the Legend continuity but don’t really commit to it.

        Honestly, until proven otherwise (unlikely), I’ll assume the new games are a new continuity.

    • Listlurker says:

      The fact that Lara Croft was suddenly a near-tears, hapless, helpless wuss was probably the thing that killed the Tomb Raider reboot for me. Well, that and the fact that there was no actual tomb raiding in the game.

      Honestly, the whole thing felt like a Far Cry mod with a college-aged female protagonist swapped in. Bleah.

  3. gabrielonuris says:

    That reminds me we never had the chance to know what happened to her exactly at the end of The Last Revelation… I remember that The Angel of Darkness was suposed to be a trilogy, and explain how she survived. Man, the memories… those “have you played” posts are the best RPS, thank you kindly.

  4. Henke says:

    Indeed I’ve played it, however it was a pirated copy with all the cutscenes ripped so I missed the whole “old men telling stories” framing device. She was DEAD? :P

  5. Vandelay says:

    Played it many, many years ago. I remember enjoying it, but little else. Also remember that weird set of levels in which you played a teenage Lara in Scotland, as she was haunted by some ghosts.

    As for The Last Revolution, I remember enjoying it a lot at the time, but perhaps I was just young and naive. I really liked the fact that it was set pretty much entirely in tombs and none of this city and military base nonsense that a lot of the other games featured (I recall Tomb Raider 3 being particularly poor on that account.)

    No idea what Rise of the Planet of the Tomb Raider is like, but I really hoped Tomb Raider would get back to raiding Tombs after the first reboot.

  6. Ferno says:

    Ah I really enjoyed chronicles, particularly the early young Lara segment where you have to run from zombie crusader knights and the vampire dude. Sadly I never saw the ending of the game as there was a fatal bug in the game that stops you from making progress if you save at a specific point while running from the helicopter.