Tomb Raider: Underworld is the ninth game in the Tomb Raider series and the third game in the series to be developed by Crystal Dynamics.
It is the final game in the main story of the Legend Timeline.
Set shortly after the events of Tomb Raider: Legend, Lara retrieves the whereabouts of ruins her father, Richard James Croft, was going to explore at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea. Once inside the ruins, she finds herself inside Niflheim, one of the Norse Underworlds, and inside Nifleheim, a statue of Thor, and one of Thor's Gauntlets, but is knocked unconscious by mercenaries sent by Amanda Evert, who steal the Gauntlet. Upon regaining consciousness, Lara follows them back to the surface and onto Amanda's ship, where she finds out that Amanda has dug Jacqueline Natla from the ruins of Atlantis. Natla tells Lara that Richard had found the 'wrong' Norse underworld, and that the answer lay off the coast of Thailand. Lara reaches Thailand, and finds another Norse underworld inside it, this time with a statue of Odin, Thor's father, but the Gauntlet inside is missing, and the map to the rest of Thor's artifacts has been destroyed. Lara finds her greatest clue to the Gauntlet's location in the message left behind by her father:
"Natla. I see your goal and am your puppet no longer. RJC."
After figuring out that her father had buried the Gauntlet beneath the manor in a hidden crypt, Lara returns to England and finds the Gauntlet. She also faces against two animated tiger skeletons - thralls - before returning to the main manor. An explosion tears through the manor, and Lara escapes to the main hall, where Zip attempts to shoot her. After dealing with Zip, Lara enters the tech room to view security footage, and encounters her Doppelgänger. The doppelgänger shoots Alister Fletcher and escapes. Despite Lara's best efforts, Alister dies. Lara drags Alister's body out of the house to a dismayed Zip and Winston. Lara announces her intentions to continue the search to find Thor's belt and Mjolnir (Thor's hammer), saying "I need Thor's belt to get his hammer, and I need the hammer to kill a God!"
Lara finds the Belt in Southern Mexico, after battling more thralls spawned by eitr, and then heads to Jan Mayen Island to find Mjolnir. She confronts Natla, who tells her the location of Helheim as being under the Arctic Sea. Lara enters Helheim, where she finds her mother, Amelia Croft, who had been turned into a thrall. After pushing the thrall off a ledge, Natla reveals the truth about her hand in recent events - that she had killed Richard Croft after he batrayed her in Thailand. Lara attempts to use Mjolnir to kill Natla, but her doppelgänger appears and restrains her while Natla leaves to wake the Midgard Serpent. Amanda steps in to throw the doppelgänger over the ledge, and tells Lara to go after Natla. When Lara finds Natla, Natla explains that the Midgard Serpent is a metaphor for the tectonic ridges encircling the Earth, and that the machine she is activating will act on the weakest point of those ridges, causing volcanic eruptions and flash floods. After Lara disables the device, Natla attempts to hold it up with her own power, but Lara throws Mjolnir at Natla, striking Natla and dropping her into the eitr. As the eitr rises, Amanda and Lara escape via a dais that leads back to the dais Amelia Croft activated in Nepal. After a brief altercation, Lara leaves, saying goodbye to her mother for the last time.
An extended ending found on the discs of the PS2 and PC versions of the game shows events after both Amanda and Lara leave the temple. Amanda attempts to kill Lara using a rock, but Lara shoots her. After contemplating whether or not to kill Amanda, Lara walks off, leaving an injured Amanda behind in the snow.
In November 2007, Eidos was reported to have filed for a trademark on the phrase, Tomb Raider Underworld. Eidos soon after reserved the Tomb Raider Underworld domain name. In December 2007, Eidos filed for a second trademark for Tomb Raider Underworld, reserving the right to provide "computer games that may be accessed network-wide by network users." In the January 2008 issue of the magazine Play, details from the "first-ever demo" of the game were revealed. SCi, which owns Eidos, officially announced Tomb Raider: Underworld on January 10, 2008, and confirmed that all platform versions of the game will be released simultaneously in November 2008.
Play's assertions that this is the "first true next gen Lara" and "one big physics smorgasbord" which "looks altogether photo-real" led to speculation that Tomb Raider: Underworld might be using a new game engine for its next-generation graphics rather than the system used by Tomb Raider: Legend, Tomb Raider: Anniversary and Deus Ex 3. Later, the Senior Producer and External Designer separately confirmed that Underworld uses an all-new engine that was built especially for it.
Lara's costume was redesigned and she no longer wears her trademark blue sleeveless top and khaki shorts, but instead, a dark brown halter top and black shorts. Additionally, her hair is no longer braided, but worn in a ponytail. According to Play, Lara "moves as good as she looks [and] no longer moves like a video game character" thanks to being fully motion captured. Olympic gymnast and NCAA Women's Gymnastics champion Heidi Moneymaker was the model used for motion capturing.
The first official video, entitled "Beneath the Surface", was released on July 17, 2008, and featured interviews with members of the development team and showed screenshots, artwork, and several clips of gameplay footage. A teaser trailer was released on 19 July, 2008, and the first gameplay trailer was released on 15 August, 2008.
It was speculated in the Guinness World records book at the Time that Lara's ingame model was the most detailed ever. It consisting of over 30,000 rendered polygons.
It was announced in January 2008 that Tomb Raider: Underworld will be released in the fourth quarter of 2008, as opposed to the third quarter as was previously planned. In June 2008, it was announced that the game would be released in November 2008.
The first trailer for Tomb Raider: Underworld was released on 18 July 2008, confirming a North American release date of 18 November, and a European release date of 21 November.
Differences from previous iterations in the series are that Lara's environment will be an "interactive world that reacts and remembers", such that footprints left in the mud or mud transferred to Lara's knee from kneeling on the ground will be washed away by rain, the bodies of the foes she encounters will remain where she killed them, and any destruction to the environment she causes will be permanent. According to creative director Eric Lindstrom, this is "to not only reward the player for the effect they're having on the world, but to give them navigational aids." The game uses an animation blending system that allows Lara to interact dynamically with her environment, such as pushing foliage aside with one or two hands, depending on if she is carrying a weapon. It also features a "hybrid lighting model that combines dynamic lights with carefully created light maps" and a weather system that changes the environment, for example, "If Lara’s negotiating a wet ledge she’s more apt to slip or lose grip," which makes "the environment ... her adversary" for a large part of the game.
Previously seen separate aspects of gameplay have been combined together for a new experience. Lindstrom explained that "in the past, there was climbing, and there was shooting, and there was puzzle solving. And they often didn't overlap. We've now integrated all of those elements." This installment also features a new melee combat system, requiring Lara in some instances to use "direct combat and evasive manoeuvres to distance herself from her attacker". Notably, Lara's bike, among other things, will be a key component in solving the puzzles she will encounter in her adventure. Pick-ups will have multiple uses as weapons and tools in interaction with the environment, and Lindstrom stated that Lara "can also split up her guns and fire at two different targets simultaneously," or hold an item with one hand and fire a gun with the other. The grappling hook can now be stretched taut and used to push objects off ledges unlike in previous iterations, illustrating what project lead Rob Pavey said, that "Lara will be able to do anything that you'd expect her to be able to do," which he called "the big theme this year." Lindstrom describes this as "a philosophy called 'What Could Lara Do?'—WCLD. It's short-hand for having the player be able to use their own intuition about what someone with her abilities should be able to do in an environment such as this, and consistency across the different mechanics and abilities. If she can throw a grenade, then if she can pick up this pole, why can't she throw it?" Crystal Dynamics also aims to make the game non-linear, unlike Tomb Raider: Legend, and eliminate the need for hint icons that indicate the ability to interact with objects.
The interactive cutscenes from previous titles have been replaced with "adrenaline moments". Instead of specific button presses, time slows down and gives the player a chance to get out of harm's way while retaining complete control of Lara.
Theses are the levels in play order
- Mediterranean Sea; Amanda Evert's Ship
- Coastal Thailand
- England, Croft Manor
- Southern Mexico
- Jan Mayen Island
- Andaman Sea; Amanda Evert's Ship
- Arctic Circle
Troels Brun Folmann composed the main theme of the game, and is the music supervisor for Underworld while O'Malley is scoring the bulk of the music. Underworld's music is purely orchestral in style.
There are pieces that are do not loop meaning they will only play one time and will be triggered on specific events. The score is made more of musical fragments, similar to the first five games of the Tomb Raider series, and there will be less constant music than in Legend.
The first 4 seconds of the main theme are the well known four-notes of the first Tomb Raider game main theme. A similar beginning was already used in another track composed by Troels called "Egypt - Cinematic Mix 2". The end of the main theme gets louder than the beginning by adding choirs and percussion. It then drops into a solo performance of the same four-notes reminiscent of the Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness main theme.
Tomb Raider: Underworld received mixed reviews with the PS3, Xbox and PC versions earning a respective %75, 76% and %80 on Metacritic.
Giving the game an 8/10, Jeff Haynes of IGN.com wrote in his review, "Tomb Raider Underworld is a good game that Lara Croft fans will enjoy, but it's not quite the experience that will live up to or even surpass that of Legend."
This sentiment was shared by Guy Cooker of Gamespot.com. Scoring the game a 7/10, he said "Tomb Raider Underworld is an enjoyable adventure, but it's one that's just too familiar for anyone who's played the previous games."
Official Sites Edit
- Tomb Raider: Underworld for Mac from Feral Interactive
- ↑ EA Mobile Strengthens Commitment to Nokia N-Gage With New Global Games Line-up. Electronic Arts Inc. Retrieved on 30 October 2008.
- ↑ "Tomb Raider: Underworld for Mac Released Today" News article on Feral Interactive.com
- ↑ "Tomb Raider: Underworld for Mac official site" Official site at Feral Interactive.com