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Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness

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Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness is the sixth game in the Tomb Raider series, and is the sequel to Tomb Raider: Chronicles. It was developed by Core Design and published by Eidos Interactive. The game was originally released in 2003 for PlayStation 2 and PC. The story line follows Lara Croft as she is hunted across Europe, accused of murdering her former mentor, Werner Von Croy.

Storyline Edit

"Central National Bureau. Paris

Commissioner Mirepoix, Special Crimes Investigation Force.

To the Préfecture de Police.

REPORT ON RECENT SERIAL ATROCITIES WITHIN THE CAPITAL.

As yet no significant arrests have been made for this latest spate of 'Monstrum' killings in the capital. Seventeen have been reported so far. A woman was seen leaving the apartment of the latest victim, Professor Werner Von Croy. Described as Caucasian, brunette, about 1.8m and of slim build, she was wearing jeans, denim jacket and a pony tail. She is dangerous and probably armed. Officers are being advised to use extreme caution when apprehending the suspect.

The press have sensationalized this latest outbreak of killings as "The Monstrum's Dark Renaissance", referring to similar atrocities in the capital over the last decade, and possibly as far back as the 1950's. There are definite links to atrocities in other European cities going back at least fifty years.

Forensics have made no headway regarding the bizarre metallic eruptions found on the bodies of all victims. At present nothing appears to link any of the individuals involved. There have been significant numbers of casualties within Parisian gangland factions.

It would all appear to be the work of a single, highly psychotic perpetrator. The bodies were desecrated and all crime scenes daubed with unintelligible graffiti, indicating some ritualistic fixation. There are no known survivors of these attacks so far.

The suspect's apprehension should be made top priority..."

The story begins in Paris where a serial killer the press have named "The Monstrum" has been terrorizing the city, killing several seemingly unconnected individuals in a brutal, ritualistic fashion. Lara has arrived in Paris to visit her former mentor, Werner von Croy. The visit, however, is not pleasant; Lara blames Werner for abandoning her in Egypt at the conclusion of her last adventure which led to the imprisonment of the Egyptian God Seth.Werner begs for her help, complaining that he is being stalked, and asks that she talk to Mademoiselle Carvier, a friend of his and part historian at the Louvre, but Lara admonishes him and gets up to leave. In the next few moments, a blur of activity occurs, and Lara is knocked unconscious. When she awakes, Werner is dead, and his blood is smeared both on her hands and the walls of the apartment, forming strange symbols. Unsure of what has happened, and of her own guilt or innocence, Lara flees the apartment, and is pursued down the backstreets of Paris by French police. Eventually, Lara makes it to Carvier's apartment, and informs her of Werner's death. A shocked Carvier suspects Lara may be responsible, and telephones the police, but not before carrying out Werner's last wish that Lara should have his field journal. Lara is again forced to make a quick exit, and ends up spending the rest of the night in an abandoned train carriage in a Parisian slum.

Von Croy's journal contains details of his last project; research on a work of art known as the "Obscura painting", apparently located in a medieval chamber beneath the Louvre. The research apparently involves a man known as Louis Bouchard, and Lara resolves to find and question him on Von Croy's final days. Everybody on the streets appears to know Bouchard. One is a city guide a who offers Lara information of the death of people by the Monstrum and a prostitute called Janice who tell her that Bouchard formerly ran a club known as Le Serpent Rouge and has lost staff. She also reveals information of Bouchard's two main workers. Janice also reveals Carvier may have been murdered by the Monstrum after Lara left her.

Lara speaks either to Pierre or Bernard and is given access to Bouchard's hideout if she returns a box to either of them. She does the job. Lara notices a mysterious stranger known as Kurtis sitting in the corner, who later takes off on his motorcycle.

Pierre/Bernard gives Lara the details on access to Bouchard's hideout, located in crypt beneath St Aicard's Church. While making her way through the tunnels, Lara finds a deformed, crazed man named Arnaud strapped down to a bed in a locked cell. Bouchard sits alone in his office, and when Lara approaches him demanding he tell her what he wanted with Von Croy, he initially plays innocent, claiming Werner had asked for maps of the Louvre to take "a busload of Japanese tourists to see Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa", but Lara is unconvinced. After pressing Bouchard further, he admits Werner had contacted him asking for weapons and details of an archeological dig going on beneath the Louvre. Deciding to pursue the issue further, Lara asks for the same information and weapons, which Bouchard agrees to provide her if she delivers a set of Czech passports to his associate, the pawnbroker Daniel Rennes. When arriving at the pawnbrokers, Lara is knocked aside by a gruff, tall man on his way out. Inside, she finds Rennes dead with his corpse surrounded by mysterious symbols written in blood. His safe, containing the weapons Von Croy had requested, is open, but while collecting them Lara trips an alarm and is forced to leap from the building as it self-destructs. Collapsing on a canal boat, Kurtis from Cafe Metro again appears, flicking a cigarette into the canal before exiting again on his motorcycle.

Now fully armed, Lara takes to the sewer tunnels beneath the Louvre, in an attempt to break in to the archeological dig while the museum is closed. Following the drains, Lara eventually blasts a hole in the wall of the Louvre's ancient foundations, and makes her way through the heavily guarded museum. To gain access to the archeological site, Lara needs a security pass from Mlle Carvier's office. Whilst searching for it, Lara discovers more information Carvier had collected for Werner's final project. The painting in question is apparently one of five mythological paintings created by a monk, Brother Obscura, in the 14th century, which when united create something called the "Sanglyph" or "blood sign". The paintings were desired by an ancient black alchemist known as Pieter Van Eckhart, head of a mysterious Prague-based organization known as The Cabal whose ultimate goal was immortality and world domination. However, a group formed to protect the paintings, called the Lux Veritatis (Latin for 'Light of Truth') , eventually hid the paintings from Eckhart, including one beneath the Louvre in a heavily guarded chamber. Coded maps to the location of each painting, known as the Obscura Engravings, were also created. Lara also discovers information on a mythical creature known as the Nephilim, the so-called "Angel of Darkness", thought to be a hybrid of humans and angels that once lived in ancient Turkey. The remains of one Nephilim, the "Cubiculum Nephili" or "Sleeper", are believed to still exist. The Lux Veritatis acquired three ancient weapons of light called the Periapt Shards and led by Brother Obscura, used them to seal Eckhardt in a deep pit. The seal on Eckhardt would only last if the three Periapt shards were combined. Brother Obscura then confiscated the five paintings that contained the pieces of the Sanglyph, and painted over the previous images of evil with new religious images. These were hidden throughout Europe in locations known only to the Lux Veritatis, and were christened the Obscura Paintings. A copy was made of each, referred to as the Obscura Engravings, with each engraving containing an encoded map to the location of the original painting. In 1945, something happened and one of the shards became separated from the other two. Eckhardt escaped the pit he vowed revenge against the Lux Veritatis and revived the Cabal, basing it out of Prague. The new Cabal became devoted to hunting down any members of the Lux Veritatis. Eckhardt also managed to obtain the Periapt from the Lux Veritatis. He hid these shards in his old laboratory, deep underground beneath the Strahov, the headquarters of the Cabal. Eckhardt and the Cabal set out to reclaim the five Obscura Paintings, in order to acquire the Sanglyph. By the time Lara became involved in the plot, the Cabal had already attained three of the five paintings. Eckhardt then hired Werner Von Croy to find the last two; Von Croy did learn of the location of the fourth painting beneath the Louvre from the Obscura engravings, but he never informed Eckhardt. Von Croy then asked for Lara Croft to assist in finding the paintings.

With Carvier's security pass, Lara descends into the archeological dig beneath the Louvre. Beneath the former French palace, Lara discovers a series of magnificently decorated halls and chambers, defended by monstrous (and immortal) swordsman and demons. Lara is forced to scale the walls of the complex's largest hall, the Hall of Seasons, to find a small chamber, guarded by the ghost of Brother Obscura, in which the glowing painting sits. Dodging the angered spirit and removing the painting, the Hall of Seasons begins to flood, and Lara swims up through the hall to the surface beneath the Louvre. Upon her return to the museum, a team of mercenaries lays siege to the galleries, attempting to poison Lara using tear gas. Lara makes her way towards the gallery's exit, dodging her enemies as best she can, until she runs into Kurtis once more. Surprising her from behind, he disarms her and takes possession of her hard-won painting, using a mysterious flying disc with retractable blades. However, in his own escape from the galleries, he is mysteriously knocked unconscious. Lara picks up one of his strange weapons, a glowing dagger, but before she can recover the painting, is herself knocked out. In her final moments of consciousness, she apparently sees one of the mercenaries morph into Bouchard's doorman.

When she awakens, Lara is surprised to find Bouchard standing over her, offering his helping hand. He offers to drive her back to Von Croy's apartment, and tells her there has now been a Monstrum killing in Prague, the victim being Czech art dealer Mathias Vasiley. As Lara returns to the scene of Von Croy's murder, Bouchard makes a telephone call, telling a colleague to "dispatch The Cleaner". While in Von Croy's apartment, Lara is able to recall more of the blurred events; Werner yelled at Lara to get out of the way, as the same man Lara saw leaving Rennes' pawnshop enters. The skirmish is between this man and Werner, and is he who murders Werner, not Lara. Lara must now find this man if she is to clear her own name. However, at this moment, The Cleaner arrives and showers the apartment with a storm of bullets, sending Lara flying for cover. He has also booby-trapped the building's corridors, but Lara is eventually able to deal with him, leaving him dead at the end of the apartment hall. His phone rings, and Lara answers. It is Bouchard, asking if the girl has been "taken care of". Lara does not give him the answer he was expecting.

The next move for Lara is to head to Prague, where Werner's murderer now appears to be continuing his murder spree. She arrives at the Vasiley crime scene, on a grand Prague square covered in snow, to find the place well guarded by police. A diminuative reporter, Thomas Luddick, is watching the building, and fills Lara in on his suspicion that the Cabal may be involved, and that Vasiley may have been murdered when he refused to provide the Cabal with one of the obscura engravings. The Cabal apparently work out of a base in the Strahov complex, and Luddick says he can get her in to the headquarters if she gives him the full story. First, though, Lara attempts to gain access to Vasiley's office, again by breaking through the basement. In the building's cellar, however, Lara finds Bouchard chained to the radiator. Questioning him on why he had tried to kill her, Bouchard reveals he works for the Cabal, still headed by the apparently immortal Eckhart, which is seeking to reunite the five Obscura paintings to revive the Cubiciulum Nephili. The Paris painting was number four, and now the Cabal need only retrieve the final painting, locked somewhere beneath Prague in an impenetrable chamber known as the Vault of Trophies. Bouchard was instructed to help Lara obtain the Paris painting, then eliminate her once he had bring the painting to Eckhart. However, now that Lara is still alive, Bouchard is fearful for his life. He believes Eckhart is the monstrum, the man Lara saw murder von Croy, and Bouchard will be his next victim. Lara instructs him to remain there, while she further investigates Vasiley's office. The grand, Jugendstil main hall of Vasiley's library has a mysterious, clock-like pattern on its floor, which Lara discovers is a trapdoor to a secret, underground study. There, Lara finds the Obscura engraving. Returning to Bouchard, Lara discovers the Monstrum has murdered him, locking his dead body in a cupboard.

Back out on the square, Lara returns to Luddick and asks for his help getting in to the Strahov. In order to penetrate deeper into the Cabal's fortress, Lara shuts down the power-grid, unknowingly releasing a bloodthirsty monster held deep within the complex. Inside the Strahov, Lara discovers a greenhouse populated by strange and deadly plants and bugs, and meets Grant Muller, a Cabal member who mocks Lara and mentions the existence of a Proto-Nephilim, a failed attempt by fellow Cabal member Boaz to recreate the Nephilim without the Sanglyph. Muller disappears before Lara can uncover more, leaving her to continue her journey deeper into the Strahov complex. On her way, Lara spies Eckhart murdering Luddick, and a confrontation between Boaz and Eckhart, in which Boaz admits she did not destroy the Proto as she had claimed because a Periapt shard is needed which Eckhardt rebuffs, and it is now on the loose. An enraged Eckhardt feeds her to one of Muller's mutant bugs.

Lara's journey is cut short when Kurtis again appears, locking Lara in a hydraulic chamber, where he says she will be safe and "out of trouble" while he attempts to track down Eckhart and regain the painting he took from Lara. Lara reminds him that she still possesses his dagger, which he calls a "Periapt Shard", but he claims he will deal with that later. He now heads off further into the Strahov, leaving a frustrated Lara to "cool off". This young man appears to possess superhuman abilities, including the ability of "sight beyond sight". He travels through a sanitarium that forms part of the Strahov, filled with crazed and deformed men now freed from their cells by the power outage. One of the few coherent men in the building reveals he was employed by Boaz as a truck driver, transporting something from Turkey, but upon his return to Prague, in lieu of payment, he was locked up in the Sanitarium by Boaz, like the others, to serve as food for the Proto. Reaching the center of the Strahov, the "maximum containment area", the stranger comes face to face with the "Proto-Nephilum", the monster Lara inadvertently freed. Using another of his Periapt Shards, he kills the Proto and restores part of the power grid, returning to Lara. She attempts what appears to be an ambush on him, but turns out to be directed towards one of Muller's mutants that was trailing him. Kurtis introduces himself to Lara, and says he is part of the Lux Veritatis and the last surviving member. He tells Lara about Eckardt on how he wanted to revive the Sleeper and rebreed the Nephilim race which he says is the reason for murdering innocent people. Lara agrees to work with him to stop Eckhardt from killing more people and reviving the Nephilim, but to this end they need the third and final Periapt Shard, hidden by Eckhart in his lab beneath the Strahov, which together can kill any immortal being, and the final painting from the Vault of Trophies, which must be destroyed.

Lara agrees to retrieve the final painting, and Kurtis informs her the Vault of Trophies is located underwater beneath the Strahov. Lara must swim through the Strahov's Aquatic Research Facility and through several booby-trapped corridors before she arrives at the sunken Vault of Trophies, a grand hall featuring giant statues of King Arthur's knights of the round table. Bringing together the Knights Limoux and Vasiley causes the roof to collapse, revealing a secret medieval library guarded by undead knights. Here sits the final painting, which Lara removes and returns to the surface of the Strahov. Once there, she discovers Eckhart has captured Kurtis, forcing Lara to give up the painting for his release. With the painting in his possession, Eckhart releases the now highly mutated Boaz on Kurtis and Lara. But Eckhart says that Muller has failed him and feeds him to Boaz. Kurtis vaults Lara to safety, and gives her his two Periapt Shards, telling her he will deal with Boaz, and she must recover the final shard to stop Eckhardt. Kurtis defeats Boaz in her giant, spider-like state, only to find this state was a cocoon for her rebirth as a praying mantis like creature with wings and sharp pincers. Just as he thinks he has defeated Boaz once more, she uses her last breath of life to stab him through his torso; he uses his flying blade to behead Boaz, but appears to collapse, dying, on the floor.

Lara, meanwhile, moves through the Strahov's underground tunnels to Eckhart's lab, where he uncovers the well-hidden final Periapt Shade. In a large chamber behind Eckhart's lab, she discovers Eckhart in the process of reviving the Nephilim, having joined the paintings together to form the Sanglyph, a gilded disk. In her final showdown with Eckhart, Lara stabs him with two of the shards, and makes her move to drive the final one into his head when she is stopped by Karel, the up-until-now silent member of the Cabal who stood at Eckhart's side. Surprisingly, Karel drives the shard into Eckhardt himself, ending Eckhart's immortal life. Turning to Lara, Karel reveals himself to be the last of the nephilim, having used Eckhart and Lara himself to revive the "Sleeper" and save his species from extinction. He says Eckhardt actually worked for him and shows himself to be a shape-shifter, having become Luddick, Bouchard and even Kurtis himself to aid Lara's quest. Lara's memory of Von Croy's death now appears completely restored, it was Karel, appearing as Eckhardt, who had murdered Von Croy, sparing Lara because Von Croy had promised she would be able to retrieve the lost paintings. Although Karel promises Lara eternal life as a reward for her help, she is unable to overlook his casual attitude towards human life, particularly that of her former mentor. Though Karel attempts to stop her, Lara takes the sanglyph and places it directly on the foot of the Sleeper, causing it to overload with the new blood the Sanglyph provides, and explodes, destroying it and killing Karel.

Physically spent, Lara collapses on the ground of Eckhart's chamber, only to discover Kurtis' mysterious flying weapon lying nearby. She picks it up, and it quivers, its blades springing out and pulling her towards the chambers' exit. Lara smiles and makes her way out.

Gameplay Edit

Tr6-model-011

Much like the Tomb Raider games before it, The Angel of Darkness is a 3rd-person, action-adventure-puzzle game that stars Lara Croft. The player controls Lara as she explores twenty-nine levels, maneuvering carefully across traps and solving puzzles to progress. Lara's new moves include a back-flip, a small hop, stealth, army-crawling, rolling out of the crouch position, hand-to-hand combat and the "super-jump" that can be performed whilst sprinting. Unlike other Tomb Raider games, it is sometimes necessary for Lara to acquire a strength upgrade in order to clear certain jumps. An RPG element was added to the series, with the player choosing what Lara says in conversation, such as polite questions, bribery, or threats. Although this does not affect the main story line, it does alter the route taken to ultimately reach Lara's goal. For example, she enters the club 'Le Serpent Rouge' differently depending who she talks to, and may be shot by Bouchard by saying the wrong thing. This is, however, only really the case at the start of the game (Parisian Ghetto); after that, choosing what you say only affects the replies you get while speaking with another character.

Reception and Legacy Edit

Tomb Raider The Angel of Darkness 2003 Render

After a long delay, Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness was the most highly anticipated game of the Summer. With improved graphics and a new look for Lara, coupled with an involving story line, Angel of Darkness was planned to be the most ambitious Tomb Raider yet. However, it proved to be the worst-received game in the series. It was heavily criticized for its flaws which included numerous bugs, drastically different controls from previous releases, and a poor gaming structure.

The overall result suggested that the development of Angel of Darkness had been rushed, despite numerous delays prior to its release, to possibly improve the final product; difficult-to-overlook plot inconsistencies (or leaps) and frequent continuity errors added to the belief that significant 'cuts' were made from the original design. While it was not the first (or last) game to suffer such abridgment, the results were especially jarring and confusing. For example, in the final encounter between Lara and the overall perpetrator, they appear to recognize each other--without it ever being previously established that either even knew of the other.

Criticisms also concerned the lack of actual tombs in the game as the majority of action takes place in large, urban environments (such as a nightclub), as well as abandoning Lara's trademark akimbo pistols and other aspects of the series (although dual pistols are among the hidden features that never made it to release, they can be used with cheats).

The amount of criticism the game provoked caused the series' publishers, Eidos Interactive, to replace developer Core Design, in favor of Legacy of Kain developer, Crystal Dynamics. As such this would be the final Tomb Raider game developed by Core Design. Crystal Dynamics rebooted the series (twice) with two versions of Lara. Both Timelines are still being developed.

Within three years of Angel of Darkness' release, Core Design were closed.

An interview with members of Core Design in the August 2006 issue of Edge Magazine, saw the developers claim that the game was rushed to release by Eidos in order to meet quarterly financial targets, despite it not being completed. As a result, large sections of the game (particularly in Paris) were drastically cut down in scale or removed entirely in order to meet the deadline, and play testing - of the control system in particular - was truncated.

Nonetheless, Angel of Darkness received some praise as having the best story line in the series along with its Original Soundtrack performed by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Top Cow Comics Edit

Issues 32-34 of Top Cows Tomb Raider series, recreated the story of Angel of Darkness. However there were several differences.

More to be added.

TriviaEdit

  • Angel of Darkness is the final game in the original series, where it was rebooted when Legend was released.
  • When Angel Of Darkness was released, it was planned as a Trilogy. Core was currently in development of the sequel to Angel Of Darkness at the time which would take place right where the game left off. However, the game did not do well and the sequel was cancelled. They would later go on to attempt to develop a remake of the original Tomb Raider, but that was cancelled as well. Instead, the remake was later handled by Crystal Dynamics and was named "Tomb Raider: Anniversary".
    • Crystal Dynamics' version changed several story elements to make it fall more in line with their version of Lara.
  • Despite being a PlayStation 2 release, the game did not appear in Tomb Raider HD Collection for PlayStation 3.
  • All Tomb Raider titles are available in some form on PlayStation 3 via PSone Classics, and the Tomb Raider HD Collection. However, this is currently the only Tomb Raider title that is not available to play on PlayStation 3.
  • The game was highly different than the other titles. The other titles are Platformers and Action Adventure Games, where Angel Of Darkness took a more Survival Horror and Role Playing approach.
  • Although the game is generally overlooked due to its flaws and reception, the game was finally re released on Steam in early 2013. The re release however, does not contain any bug fixes, and is a simple digital download of the original game. This caused a large deal of anger from fans on the steam forums. 6

ReferencesEdit

  1. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PlayStation 2. IGN (2004-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
  2. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PlayStation 2 - GameSpy. Ps2.gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
  3. トゥームレイダー 美しき逃亡者 みんなのクロスレビュー、最新情報 / ファミ通.com. Famitsu.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
  4. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PC - GameSpy. Pc.gamespy.com. Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
  5. Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness - PC. IGN (2004-03-04). Retrieved on 2012-07-19.
  6. Aspyr releases The Angel of Darkness. Aspyr Media (2003-12-18). Retrieved on 2012-12-05.

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